After three days of fiery speeches by Umno leaders on Malay rights, which raised eyebrows in the country and caught foreign media attention, Umno president and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called for a return to tolerance and moderation.
The prime minister says those words without specifying to whom those words are being addressed to. Soon all repeat it like as if they need to remind the 'others' of the prime minister's advice. That routine starts with his Umno colleagues and moves on to his MCA, MIC and Gerakan colleagues. Then we sit here and wonder who now is supposed to be 'tolerating' whom and who ought to be 'moderate'!
I would like for the prime minister to tell me specifically whose tolerance is being sought? Is it that of his Umno colleagues or that of all the others? If it is Umno members whose tolerance is being called for, than obviously Umno is positioning itself on the higher moral ground
To tolerate someone else means that the other person who needs to be tolerated is making a nuisance of himself or is a lesser being than yourself. Rather than spite him and shut him up, you need to tolerate him. Is that what Umno thinks? That they have been tolerating the rest of us?
Or is it the rest of us whose tolerance is sought because Umno doesn't want us to remind them of their own many, many derelictions? The recent Umno assembly filled with venom and threats, failed completely to identify the cancer that is ripping all of them from the inside. All the Umno delegates from the prime minister down failed to note what is characterising and making a point of reference to the very nature of Umno leadership, culture and values.
Today, we have the likes of Said Yusuf, the 'close one eye' MP and Zakaria Deros of Istana Zakaria in Padamaran, leaders who characterise the leadership of Umno. They went unscathed and untouched throughout the Umno assembly. What is the message? That is what the Malay Agenda can do for you. When one breaks the law, they will all join in to play up the rhetoric to make sure everyone's eye is kept off the real issue.
I am from one of those minorities who do not like to tolerate anything. I have got to be a hypocrite to tolerate anything. What is worse, while I am going about my legitimate business of living, it certainly saddens me to know that someone has to tolerate me.
Please tell me what I can do so that you can accept me and celebrate with me my life as I would like to celebrate with you yours? But if you need to tolerate me, then you are not a friend. How I wish that rather than tolerance, the mantra be changed to accept and celebrate!