Merdeka after May 9

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid... Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
― Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight

COMMENT | For the record, when Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad wonders if the Malays can compete with Chinese nationals, it is complete horse manure. The Chinese community, foreign or domestic, is always portrayed as the existential threat to the Malay community.

The reality is that the threat to the Malay community has always been the foreign nationals from the Indian subcontinent and the purveyors of Arab culture from the Middle East, who have distorted whatever culture the community had.

If anything, the local Chinese have to recalibrate themselves if they wish to compete with their brethren from the motherland. If it is anything like how local Indians have to compete with their countrymen, then it is us ‘pendatang’ are the ones who have cause to worry.

This bumiputera ecosystem has made us feeble. The cultures that sustained us all those years, when we built the foundation of this country, were slowly lost in the delirium of perceived political emancipation within a rigged game with shifty players.

This year, anecdotally speaking, many people – friends, strangers, those who like what I write, and those who despise what I write – are telling me that this is the first time they are happily hoisting the flag for Merdeka.

I understand why some folks would be excited about this year’s Merdeka celebrations. A new government and the fact that democracy works in this country is something to be excited about.

The younger generation is especially enthusiastic because they had regime change in their lifetime and it seemed so easy. It is not a perfect new government, but I understand the sentiment.

Writing about Merdeka during the Umno regime was more often than not an act of defiance. Before Najib Abdul Razak sent BN to the can and rejected the old maverick Mahathir’s hand of friendship, when people supported the old regime and proudly celebrated Merdeka every year, there was this sense that we were living in a great country...

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