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Last refuge of a scoundrel

Kee Thuan Chye

Published
Modified 11 Nov 2010, 3:43 am

COMMENT “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” So said Samuel Johnson, the famous British man of letters. He is believed to have said that to condemn the false use of the term “patriotism”.

The same can be applied to Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. However, in the Malaysian context, it might be read as “When you want to malign some people, you call them unpatriotic".

In Parliament recently, this minister said that among the reasons for the small number of Chinese and Indians joining the armed forces was their lack of patriotism. It was so sweeping, so unsupported by evidence, that it could amount to nothing more than a false claim. What was his real motive for saying what he said?

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