Pieter Bruegel – Topsy-Turvy | Google Art Project
Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted the ‘Topsy Turvy World’ in 1559.
Since then, our Tanah Melayu has her fair share of topsy-turvy experience. One Sunday, I am being reminded that down is the only way up for people living in a topsy-turvy world. Else, we would not call such a world topsy-turvy, where in is out, and up is down. Without going down, Melayu will surely ‘Hilang’ forever in a topsy-turvy world that the nation is in.
So, I thought when we Malaysians could each put into our hearts and minds that we are all mere penumpang in this world, we could achieve this dream of “1Malaysia, for Ketuanan Rakyat, Asal Boleh Ubah kind of Vision 2020 Makkal Sakthi Wassatiyah Ummah Kebajikan”.
After all I do believe in what Simon Peter says in 1 Peter 1:24 that
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall;…“
Penumpang is the perfect antidote for ‘Ketuanan’, especially when it is coupled with a willingness to sacrifice for each other.
Yet, I soon realized if only things could be as simple as what Simon Peter says.
I have little faith that DSAI would answer to the call of ‘Ketuanan Penumpang’. When DSAI was invited to give a talk at UC Berkeley a couple of years ago, I got to ask if DSAI would introduce a reconciliation reading of May 13 into the syllabus for secondary schools. I didn’t get a reply.
When Nurul Izzah sent out info about her wish to meet with friends of Keadilan in London, I did my part to send in my thoughts scripted in my blog posting to suggest Article 153 could be ended in the name of Wassatiyah [ http://wp.me/p1ChLd-3q ]. I didn’t get a reply. Coincidentally, what I got is a strange silence from the Prime Minister’s office on Wassatiyah, since then.
This Easter, through a MalaysiaForum 2012 event, I got to listen to Datuk Lee Hwa Beng’s candid sharing of experience as a down and out politician, that all politicians of previous generation had to use strong right wing rhetoric to climb up their respective party ladders, even though they may not believe in what they say. Datuk Lee reminded us that it is best that this generation don’t follow such habit. I guess this means that aspiring politicians of this generation should follow the path of having courage to be meek, just as how Datuk Lee took the courage to publish all that he knows on the Port Klang corruption incident. Yet, when being asked if he would still suggest what he said a year ago that Christians should fight against PAS’s Islamic Ummah, since he left MCA, Datuk Lee replied sheepishly that it is ‘too sensitive to comment’. His comment left the younger Muslims, Christians and Malaysian audience of other faith or no faith at UC Berkeley I was with, lost and wonder if anything has changed, or ought to change in our topsy turvy fight for ketuanan of one over another.
After years of working as an activist, Rienhold Neibuhr realized that even an ideal society had to coerce some into conforming to the ideal. While an individual could choose to sacrifice one’s share of provision for the greater good, one could never claim rights to give away the rights of those one represents, as Neibuhr explains in his essay ‘Moral Man and Immoral Society‘. Rights of those we represent, is not for us to give away. Gandhi is willing to give away his own life, but he would never compromise when it comes to the rights of those he represents. Come August, when Moorthy returns to Malaysia for Hindraf, even if he could escape jail time, he still wouldn’t be accepted by either of the two party systems. All the two system party leaders are there to represent those they represent, if not merely there for their own welfare, as what Machiavellian princes do. It’s not DSAI, Nurul, or Datuk Lee’s fault for their decisions not to answer.
How can any responsible wakil Melayu give away rights of the Melayu? Yet, such tenacious battle of rights in the name of ketuanan is the exact cause for our topsy-turvy Malaysia. For more than half a century, Malaysians have been ruled by a loveless power of coercion.
Dr Kua Kia Soong informed us that the “May 13 Incident” was a pogrom [organized massacre of helpless people], and not a racial riot caused by Communists, in response to DPM Muhiyiddin’s reminder of May 13 before GE-13. [ http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/may-13-umnos-effete-election-weapon-kua-kia-soong/]
With the May 13 incident, there goes the agreed recommendation from Reid Commission that “that no new quotas or preferences be granted to Malays, but that existing special rights should be continued with some modifications for a period of fifteen years, after which the whole position might be reviewed”, as per what I read from a book published in 1960, titled ‘History of Malaya’ by J Kennedy, a senior lecturer in History at Malayan Teachers’ Training College, Kirkby. J Kennedy gave thanks to many Malay teachers-students at Kirkby who contributed to his work in his preface.
There was never an agreement to dishonor Reid Commission’s recommendation as per what Dato Seenivasagam reminded Malaysians in a rally in Ipoh on April 1969. Reid commission gave us Malaysians our Constitution. Yet, after 1969, the strong armed rhetoric has forever denied Malaysian her own only chance to be just for her people, 3 years before the time for the nation to take courage to take on their agreed upon challenge. Since then, May 13 and special rights have been misused by the rulers to perpetuate their legitimacy to protect a few, and coerce almost everyone else on their paths to the abyss of the topsy-turvy world of ketuanan.
Paul Tillich’s work on ‘Love, Power and Justice’ suggested that loveless power would not last, while powerless love would lead to mere idle talk, if it is not followed with actions that lead to justice. Justice guided by a genuine heart of love for each other is the only pragmatic approach to be taken by any society that aspires to last.
The call to end Article 153 is not done to appease Penumpang Kristian. It is a pragmatic call to every generation of Melayu from the heart of Hang Tuah’s ‘Takkan Melayu Hilang di Dunia’ to save themselves from this topsy-turvy situation this nation is in. Whenever any soul searching Melayu wonders why there are no honest Chinese or Indians working around them, the answer could likely be something closer to their hearts than their minds would be willing to accept. The dishonest loves to hang out with each other in a topsy turvy world.
Niebuhr has given us the knowledge that political organizations would always only coerce. But, modern day pragmatic political theory reminded us that 2 other forces, that is the force of distortion and subjugation, are always at work. The force of distortion happens whenever princes fight amongst themselves vying for ‘Ketuanan’. The force of subjugation from the rakyat wishing to get their rights represented gets the princes work for their good. Since neither of today’s forces of distortion by the princes in Malaysia are fighting for justice and truth of ending Ketuanan, perhaps, it is good for a few good rakan-rakan to shore up the courage to put aside what we own today, and share our thoughts for the greater good that has been distorted by Ketuanan.
Subjugation needs no destructive force of Arab Spring. At times, it merely needed a collective effort of resignations privately from the glory of this world to accept an ugly past that we inherited, and admit fault, and vouch not to repeat such transgression again.
Perhaps, we could all learn from the serenity prayers from the sober at ‘Alcoholic Annonymous’ on this fasting month.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
To my fellow rakan-rakan who are trying to wake up from this mass ‘kemabukan’, let’s have courage to accept the truth behind May 13. True reconciliation is just around corner, as long as we are willing to accept our current condition. Pray that we will all have the courage and heart to share this blog posting to our friends and families, so the truth could be unveiled.