Published in NST & The Sun
Monday, 7 March 2016
Events in my personal life as well as those unfolding daily in the country have made me realize how bare the threads of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusiveness are in the fabric of the nation.
Despite pledges made by political leaders to uphold national unity and interethnic integration, the reality is that when it comes to the crunch, Malaysians disperse into their socio-cultural, economic and political silos – silos which run parallel to one another but never meet to boast of a unified national philosophy as embodied in the Rukun Negara.
Malaysians lead disparately separate lives, coexisting and avoiding conflict as best we can, for should open confrontations occur they may be well be bloody ones, considering heightened emotions over critical issues such as the political scandals and financial misappropriations. We therefore hedge our words and release ambivalent statements as guarded politicians expertly do, or indulge in racial slurs and bigotry as the anointed ones confidently get away with.
But still, most of us put on that fake smile, or place our palm against our heart or hug one another to express solidarity. We try so hard to be civil and coexist for the practical reason of getting along, eking a living for some and making pots of money for others.
Realistically, I believe that coexistence should be brandished and embellished as a national philosophy, not the ethereal idea of unity.
But do I support the current line-up of distinguished Malaysians standing side by side for the cause of political inclusiveness? And do I applaud their move to form a united citizen front in pursuit of a common cause, that of petitioning for the removal of a democratically elected Prime Minister? Do I believe in their promise to do the right thing for the sake of our beloved country?
Well, to be fashionably ambivalent and evasive my answer is Yes and No.
In the course of leading a multicultural citizen movement, the Association of Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE) for the last five years, and managing the diversity of beliefs, views and opinions of the association’s EXCO and members, I realise more and more that hard work is key but sincerity and honesty are vital to running an organisation.
Truth will surface at some point and God help me if I have been lying. Admitting one has erred may be a hard pill for one’s pride to swallow but it is the only way. Covering up one’s track of lies and fibs is counter productive as one will be ensnared in and by the vicious cycle of untruths. In the end, no one escapes the fairness of God’s law and providence.
While I see the current move to set up a multiethnic political front as the precursor to the establishment of a truly multiethnic political party and a unity government, I would implore the motley group of political veterans and activists to get their intention or nawaitu right. Please be sincere and get rid of your personal vendetta. Looking at the line-up and the pledge of support from absent ones, it is quite obvious quite a few have axes to grind.
I would say “Yes” to genuine respect and understanding among Malaysians of different religious and socio-cultural backgrounds but “No” to any one individual, group or community attempting to dominate – not UMNO, not DAP; not the Malays, not the Chinese. By virtue of their role, leaders may be dominant but only to the exten that they represent the voices of real consensus, not contrived ones.
Most of all I would urge these political movers and shakers to search their own conscience before pointing a finger at others; search your own soul before becoming holier than thou and accusing others of committing the very “crimes” you yourself committed not so long ago.
Speak your mind with reason and logic and stop employing spin doctors and members of hidden forces to do your work for you – and that at exorbitant rates. Only then will Malaysia and its people receive the blessings of the Almighty. Only then will we be at peace.