On National Day, it is a time to take stock and remember the aspirations of our founding fathers
IT really is quite funny. The Red Shirts, that pro-government Malay group, have always portrayed themselves as super macho. Why, even one of their leaders has a pugilistic nickname.
Real hard men these guys. Ready to fight and die for Malay dignity, rights, honour and whatever else that they can think of.
Yet, recently their actions have been that of the most hated of school playground creatures: the snivelling little tattletale. You know the one. The sneaky little creep who will go running to teacher to snitch on his fellow pupils. Vile little thing.
And that is exactly what these Red Shirts did.
They sent out their, oh this is too rich, “operatives”, to go to the student organised rally last weekend and see if they could identify individuals.
They then said they had gone on to report these individuals. To whom exactly we are not told, but I presume it’s either the cops or the universities.
It is futile to explain to these goons that all people in Malaysia (including them) have a right to gather peacefully and if there are any laws or rules that prevent this, like say university disciplinary rules, then they are unconstitutional.
It’s a simple concept but then for some, it might be too much to grasp.
But I am sure this lot do not see themselves as the snotty-nosed little weasel who keeps running to the headmaster’s office to tell on his schoolmates.
Oh no. I bet they see themselves as un-appointed deputies of the law or brave vigilantes out there to defend their grand leader, race and religion.
They may not have guns like the cops, but who needs them since their martial arts skills are so powerful they can beat the living daylights out of inanimate planks of wood.
Now, some may take issue with me for making light of this group.
After all, the Germans made light of Hitler and his thugs and see what happened there.
The difference is that the National Socialist German Party (although there was nothing socialist about their policies at all) were trying to get into power.
This lot already have the blessings of those in power as can be seen by the approval of those in Government for their first big rally.
In other words, they are not an underestimated political force, they are already part of the status quo.
Which is all too depressing to contemplate on this day of all days.
Merdeka Day is normally a time to contemplate who we are, where we have been and how far we have come.
Usually there will be a sense of national pride and optimism (cautious optimism for many, but optimism nonetheless). But what on earth can we be optimistic about today?
The electoral future of this country is retarded by gerrymandering which ensures that the future of this dear nation is in the hands of people who simply do not care about issues of corruption, democracy, justice and good governance.
A disproportionate number of seats are in constituencies where the voters may be aware of the bigger issues that plague the nation but are more concerned about a few handouts every time elections roll by and in hanging on to the delusion that only one group can protect their race.
And speaking about race, it is utterly depressing that almost all discussions in this country still centre around it.
Poverty, for example is still looked at through the racial lens, when it is a matter of class and the disproportionate distribution of wealth, which is the result of the combination of capitalist ideology and corruption.
So is education, and sport, and governance, and religion and anything else you may want to think of.
So deep is this phenomenon that even the opposition coalition which in the past has been against race-based politics appear to be ready to embrace a new party which is, surprise surprise, open only for the bumiputra (read Malay).
Perhaps I am being too idealistic but to me it is sad that we are in this state of affairs.
It is sad that the aspirations of the founding fathers have been totally discarded.
Do not forget that prior to independence the political elite and the Rulers all were hopeful that one day the ruling of this country would be based on equality and not race.
And yet, here we are having moved not forward but back. Is there hope in the youth perhaps?
Oh yes, the youth. It is always the escape clause for older people (like myself) who have failed to place our hopes in the youth.
Yes, the youth are showing signs of courage and tenacity. They are so much more politically aware and concerned than 20 years ago.
My concern is that we, the older generation, have messed up so much that we may leave little to them and their inheritance is nothing more than a broken, bankrupt and divided shell of a country.
Azmi Sharom The STAR Home News Columnist A Brave New World Wednesday, 31 August 2016