Fair Game? Freedom?

Resize_Bersih3_NileBowie1When Malaysia’s independence was declared in 1957, there was no rift among those from different colors, races and religion. It was a pure and sincere show of unity when our forefathers fought together in order to have a place that they could call home. It was then Malaysia for Malaysians. Cooperation was flawless.

Today so often after many years of stability, the notion of people come and go does not really apply to most Malaysian leaders, be in the politics, associations or private companies.

They are very reluctant to abdicate their positions. Many even build a family dynasty within these organizations where the children so to speak are groomed to be the crown prince and princess who will take over the throne when the time comes.

The best take in this fairy tale is that the leaders built these empires through the legacies of fighting for the benefits of the people who wished for a better future. This is how heroes were created in the olden days but in today’s modern world, heroes become leaders through a democratic election process.

Although the United Nations consistently persuades all countries to conduct a fair and free democratic election process, most election procedures are said to be free and fair but the baggage usually comes with many unpublished accounts where the losers would have strong objections of the system not being fair and not being free.

The last two Malaysia elections saw the emergence of an opposition party, Pakatan Rakyat loosely formed together by three main parties with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) seen to anchor the voice of the Chinese community whereas Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is on the other extreme, safe guarding and preaching Muslims’ sacred rights of religion and teachings.

Sandwiched in the middle is none other than the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) led by the infamous former Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was removed from office following sodomy charges.

Although not actually having the same principles on how to run a country, these three amigos do have a common enemy that is the current ruling coalition party, Barisan Nasional (BN) comprising several component parties.

BN has been around running the country for ages and is made up of a pie majority of UMNOs and the leftover remaining small pieces are shared among the Chinese, Indian and East Malaysian parties.

The acute frustration is that BN won the last election but the opposition party, PKR won the popular vote. Hence the Malaysian society that was once united 50 odd years ago now stands in a limbo of what I like to call a hot tub politics – meaning even though everyone loves being in a hot tub after a hard day’s work, not everyone is agreeable with the temperature. The best is to be the one controlling the taps. What’s new?

Our neighboring country Thailand has been in this hot tub politics for the past 15 years when the ruling party once led by Thaksin Shinawatra won every election, until the opposition party just took to the streets and staged mass protests that sometimes turned violent just to cripple the economy hence toppling the government.

The last demand the opposition wanted was to have an appointed government rather than an elected one simply because they cannot win but they still want to take charge. They have no doubt succeeded in destroying the economy and deterring any foreign investments but ultimately both sides were losers when the army flexed their muscles, abolished the government and took control of the country in the name of stability.

Some may say that this coup is unconstitutional but I personally have the opinion that this is best scenario the Thais have before the whole country falls into an uncontrollable and undesired unrest like that which happened or is currently happening in countries such as Syria and Egypt. Then what?

Malaysians have been pretty much controlled when it comes to violence, probably because we have been through May 13 and it was a black page in our history. Today, Malaysia has removed its controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) and demonstrations are allowed. It definitely seems that the country is slowly changing and heading to what many deem as a more democratic nation where the people have the freedom to voice out. Is this a good or bad move? Are Malaysians ready for such liberty?

I guess the main worry here is that the majority, especially the younger generations, are happy to be able to have their voice heard but what if a peaceful demonstration turns into an ugly riot? There is no doubt that all of us want a better life and most will not be satisfied with what we have today but look forward to having more tomorrow. Then some will point the finger to the powerful and rich claiming that they are not playing a fair game or to put it bluntly – corrupted or dirty.

It is always so simple to criticize others and not blame ourselves for what we are today. It is always other people’s faults and we are usually always right. Sad to say that most will only become aware of how lucky we are when the situation turns bad and the sufferings eat into their own lives and families. Only then there will be regrets as many are just mere blind followers joining in the fun of it.

Somehow it makes these people feel ‘great’ as they are doing something good for the nation although they usually know near to nothing about the cause. But there is no doubt that they act as if they know everything. At the end, the winners will only be the few smart ones leading the pack if they succeed in their so called ‘revolution’. If they fail, then the winners will be those in power as they would have crushed the uprising.

Like it or not, the losers are always the people. Worst of all is that we are the ones choosing and somehow, sometimes, some of the chosen ones just are not what we expected. Tough! That’s life!

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