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LETTER | Hope is the consequence of action

LETTER | In recent times, it is natural to be disquieted by the current state of domestic politics. 

The chief reason for such despair is mainly because, as regular citizens, we may feel that there is not much that we can do.

We have had a peaceful transition of power, but that did not last even two years before the old guards wrestled power back. 

Coupled with a global epidemic, it is hard to put citizens under worse conditions than what we are currently subjected to.

The recent disastrous floods in and around Malaysia, and the subsequent enthusiastic mobilisation of citizens in helping victims signified a glimpse of hope. 

A hope that if we mobilise and act, we can make everyone better, together. 

A hope that transcends the normative views of responsibilities, and connects humanity across creed and colour.

The key is mobilisation, physically and conceptually; the constructs we live within, should we remind everyone, are made by people. 

The fabric of society is sown, not discovered, therefore tenable to change, however incremental that change may be.

Against all odds, people acted by mobilising above and beyond what was expected of regular citizens. In effect, that act of mobilising brought hope.

Exercise our democratic right

A mistake we often make is that we tend to think change needs to be revolutionary, anything less would not be worth the effort. 

This works only to the benefit of the incumbent.

A polity rarely survives the progression of time without changing, no matter how stubborn it may be. 

It needs to face the facts and realities, or risk being sunset into irrelevance.

As citizens, it is our part of the bargain (the social contract) to become diligent in ensuring the best of conditions for each other (that is why we pay taxes, obey the law, take the vaccines, educate our children, etc).

In return, we expect the people we vote to represent us to fulfil their part of the bargain.

If they come up short, we exercise our democratic right. 

Should that be fruitless, the next best action we can take is to do what we did during the floods, stay together and mobilise.

That will bring us hope.

“Hope is not the condition or cause of action. Hope is the consequence of action. And those who fail in hope should act practically or conceptually so that they may hope.”

- Roberto Mangabeira Unger


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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