“There is not eternal damnation, the only rewards and punishments are right here in this world.”
- Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, ‘The Madman and the Nun: and Other Plays’
COMMENT | As quoted in the press upon his acquittal of graft charges, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said something rather queer.
Of the people who throw “malicious lies” - is there any other kind of lies? - he claimed that their fate would be decided by God Almighty. Really? Then I suppose there is no need for libel and slander laws, not to mention the fact that he has taken up cases against those who have spread lies about him before.
However, those who invoke their god, either for reward or punishment are a dime a dozen here in Malaysia.
Speaking of those who speak on behalf of higher powers, this brings us to the public caning of the two women in Terengganu for same-sex relations or illicit sex, or both. Malaysiakini columnist Mariam Mokhtar in her latest piece about unshackling the enslaved Malay mind claimed anyone who does not have a Malay friend is part of the problem.
Having a Malay friend to drag to a forum or starting simple discussions is apparently how the non-Malays can help unshackle Malay minds after years of indoctrination by the Umno state, the continuing efforts of the Pakatan Harapan state and, of course, the manipulations of preachers of the state-sanctioned religion.
I cannot speak for the rest of non-Malays, but I have many Malay friends. Some of my Malay friends, depending on their economic and social level, believe that their privileges either hamper or have been a benefit to them and their families. Some of them claim with so many children, they need all the help they can get.
While the old maverick talks about the wonders of birth control and our rubber industry, the same does apply to population control when it comes to the vote base, I guess. Of course, my friends - Malay, Chinese, Orang Asal and Indians - do not necessarily have to share the same beliefs as me to be considered friends. Do people only mix with other people who share their beliefs?
And do you really think that only Malays think that their minds are shackled or that their religion shackles their minds? Would you say the same to a religious Christian, Hindu or Buddhist who does not share the same religious dogma as Muslims but in reality, when it comes to cultural and social norms, they have exactly the same religious/cultural prejudices? So really, some people do share the same religious dogma; it is only they do not have the power of the state to back up their prejudices.
And does anyone really think that all Malays have not used the quota system, or whatever benefits they get from the state, to break free from their economic brackets? This is why this whole issue of rights and privileges is just a red herring, especially for politicians - both Malay and non-Malay - who use it for political gain.
So the Malay mind gets unshackled, but unshackled to what? Voting for political parties who do not use race and religion to further their political goals? Can anyone name such a political party. I can but nobody is interested in them.
When it comes to religion, it gets even worse. I have lost friends who disagree with my take on religion, specifically Islam. While others share my views when we talk in private, when it comes to public discussions they disassociate from me and my views. Some friends just wait for the day when the demographic overwhelms the non-Malays and then my views would not matter at all.
Take this public caning for example...