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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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When Harapan can’t talk about race and religion - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Beware the ridiculous. It will one day rule you.” - Steven Dietz, ‘God's Country’
COMMENT | We do not normally see pieces like Fa Abdul’s piece ‘And the award for best actor goes to…’ on Malaysiakini very often. This is to say that the “serious stuff” that Fa Abdul wrote is ignored for pieces that highlight the corruption scandals in this country and not the underlying moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the opposition.
I realise long-standing friends from the opposition do not like it when I write these – as one political operative often says – “screeds”. However as each day passes, I keep thinking of how even if the opposition loses in the upcoming general election, they will not have the moral or intellectual high ground. Those people who voted opposition would not be able to say they voted for change but did not succeed. 
If “racism” is such a big issue to people who support the opposition, if the systemic inequalities that some describe as an “apartheid” system is really destroying this country, then do we really have a future when the opposition will never address these issues? Even if by some miracle they do manage to take over Putrajaya, the opposition would always be beholden to a demographic that supports institutionalised racism.
When questioning the Pakatan Harapan new deal, I wrote – “Anti-Chinese narratives fuel ‘ketuanan’ politics and while it may seem like a good political strategy to further the narratives that the Malay community is under threat from foreign Chinese intervention, the reality is thanks to Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses, the social contract, the racist rhetoric of Umno, the ‘putar belit’ narratives of the opposition, this meme that the Malay community will always be under siege, is what is going to destroy this country in the near future.”
This is why racial politics in this country is so screwed up. While Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman gets to wax eloquent about how a Chinese man is a hero because he defended a Malay man in a political gathering organised by right-wing Malay nationalists – and this is precisely what Bersatu is - Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, a member of another right-wing nationalistic Malay party, gets to call Perkasa – a right-wing nationalistic NGO - "racist" because Perkasa cast aspersions on “Chinese” (PRC) development in Malaysia
While I have claimed that a two-party system is the only moral and intellectual argument that one could make for supporting the opposition, the reality is that I think no political party is interested in resolving the systemic dysfunction in this country because the single issue of removing Najib from power dominates mainstream politics these days. Consider this piece as an attack on my own argument.
Let say the opposition removes Prime Minister Najib Razak from power, then what? Does the opposition stop all trade deals with China that the past regime made? Does the new regime repeal all those “security laws” that the former “kleptocrat” made? Does the new alliance stop peddling in identity and racial politics that they claim was needed to oust the Najib regime?
Does the new regime start up local council elections even though former prime minister, now the de facto opposition leader, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that this would be detrimental to race relations in this country?
Wrong path
Will Islamic extremism – which I am on record believing this as the existential threat facing Malaysia –  be halted because the new regime is “secular in nature? On every “Islamic” issue that has cropped up, and please keep in mind Islam and race here in Malaysia are not mutually exclusive, the opposition (especially Muslim opposition politicians enabled by their non-Muslims counterparts) have dodged, evaded or fudged from taking any stand which is opposite from the ruling Umno regime.
This is why, this passage from my article – ‘Benching Umno will not preserve our constitution –  was greeted which much dismay from certain opposition political operatives who claimed that I was “attacking” the opposition when there are bigger issues at stake.
“While everyone was blaming Umno for the ‘sandiwara’ of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s bill, the reality is that Muslim politicians, especially from the opposition, made no clear statements on their stand on this Islamic bill. Now some would argue that this is about playing the game safe and being mindful of the ‘Malay’ vote but the reality is that since there are no Muslim oppositional voices that are a direct contrast with that of Umno and PAS, there can be no alliances that defend and preserve the secularity of the constitution.”
Fa Abdul asks, “But if right is right and wrong is wrong, why do we take the wrong path to achieve what is right?” Of course, some people would say that we have to be pragmatic. Yes, because pragmatism under the decades-long Umno rule delivered us to the current Najib regime. Pragmatism has led us to collude with the supposed architects of the mess we are in and pragmatism means that oppositional apparatchiks attack committed activists who voice concerns about the trend of falling back into old bad habits would mean further erosions of our civil rights and liberties.
I have given this hint before - “If you want to stop religious and racial extremism, stop funding - on a state level - institutions that enable such impulses in the guise of reaching out to the Malay/Muslim community. As long as you are held ransom to the idea that in order to defeat Umno you must use the same tactics to secure the Malay vote, there is always going to be that Malay tilt to Umno.”
Here is the thing, though. There is nothing anyone can say that would change people’s mind. I worry about the day when a smart Umno political operative would debate an oppositional political operative and it would be revealed that beyond the 1MDB issue there is not much difference between the opposition and the establishment when it comes to policy and ideology, especially now that Bersatu is in the mix.
It would not make a difference though. It has become so bad that opposition leaders cannot talk about race or religion anymore because of what the opposition and its supporters have embraced.
If that is not the definition of the wrong path, I do not know what it.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:47 AM   0 comments
‘Nothing to Hide’ violence - the shape of things to come - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Malaysiakini : 'Political thuggery goes all the way back to Dr M's rule' - Kua Kia Soong
Mahathir supported the genocide in East Timor
COMMENT | Would it surprise anyone that when the dust of this recent scuffle at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum settles, the perpetrators – always young Malay youths – would be portrayed as the aggrieved party, much like the thieves of the Low Yat fiasco? Umno has always been protective of its voting base with Malay oppositional voices harassed and intimidated when it comes to courting this specific demographic.
While I have been skeptical of the efficacy of this particular tactic of the opposition when it comes to using the 1MDB issue as a vote getter, the response from the regime and the attempts to derail any form of dialogue points to how much this regime fears the architect of modern Malaysia – Dr Mahathir Mohamad -and his designs on the throne of Putrajaya.
While the current Umno grand poohbah holds solidarity prayers with Muslims begging God for peace and stability, the Najib refuseniks busy themselves with the task of destabilising Umno hegemony. There is no point talking about a Malaysian tsunami because the violence in this event, the harassment that Malay oppositional figures face, the use of the state apparatus to investigate Najib refuseniks’ sympathisers points to the reality that the next general elections will be the ultimate Malay scuffle.
While some would argue that the questions asked by these so-called provocateurs were meant to derail the forum, the reality is that those questions form the basis of right-wing Malay politics and are the means to which Umno has maintained hegemony.
Those question about the Memali incident, Bersatu’s simpatico with the DAP and the supposed sins of jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim – rights, race and religion – were meant to demonstrate that the former Umno prime minister had abandoned the Malay community and conspires with the ‘Chinese DAP’ to supplant the rightful place of Malays and Islam in this country.
So, while urban opposition propaganda promulgates the narrative that we are all in this together, the reality is that this “scuffle” between the Malays in the existential threat facing Umno today. This fight will eventually determine not who controls the destiny of the Malay polity – mainstream Malay politics is based on “ketuanism” – but rather who controls the gravy train. Nothing will come of any investigation into this matter as nothing has ever come of any investigation where the Umno ‘titushkas’ have used political violence to disrupt the numerous oppositional and other activists’ forums meant to highlight or discuss the malfeasances of the state.
Ironically, a friend of mine from PAS told me just recently that he remembers the time when the Umno ‘titushkas’ disrupted ceramahs and various other political gatherings to demonstrate that the opposition could not maintain stability in their own house, then how could they with the country. In case anyone assumes that it is prejudicial to jump to conclusion as to Umno’s role and my description of the Umno provocateurs, read the comments of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with regards to the intersection between organised thuggery and Umno – “He said, ‘The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs (samseng), they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group, Gang 30, Gang 7 - these are festivities (kenduri-kendara) gangsters." Furthermore, he added, ‘I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done.’”
And what exactly should these groups be doing? I would argue that if three years ago you made the claim that Tiga Line was disrupting Bersih activities, you would get Umno members saying that these thugs are only doing what needs to be done.”
Instilling fear
In other words, it should surprise no one that what needed to be done was to disrupt Nothing to Hide 2.0 to instil a sense of fear in any Malay participant that there would be violence in Bersatu’s political gathering. This is why the state security apparatus is shifting the blame to the organisers of the forum instead of the disruptors of the event.
Always keep in mind Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s rejoinder – “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”
What makes this a little more dangerous is the fact that Umno is not only turning on the Malay community, it is also turning on its own. It should surprise nobody that the former prime minister has many sympathisers within Umno who do not make up the elite of Umno but who are the “ordinary people” of the party and the beneficiaries of his patronage of his long Umno watch.
These true believers are pining for the days where the corruption was managed and Umno kept the Islamists – PAS – at bay while the Islamists within worked their dark sorcery on the Malay community. These are the sleepers that the current Umno elite fear. What damage have they done in terms of leaks (propaganda) or could they do during the election (sabotage)?
One of the complaints I get from Malay opposition operatives is that I always seem to highlight the political violence against non-Malay oppositional parties and personalities and imply – I disagree with this description – that Malays have an easy ride when it comes to spreading their message to the Malay demographic.
Malay academics and social activists always remind me that when it comes to violence carried out by the state, the Malay demographic feels the boot the most. However, what should be of concern is that this time because of the political actors involved, the level of support of the Najib refuseniks and the hidden hands of the Malay oppositional political elite, the violence could escalate.
It would be easy to dismiss Nothing to Hide 2.0 violence as just another episode where the state disrupts a gathering – or as some have argued, a black bag operation from the master manipulator – because this is, in reality, the shape of things to come.
When you have a sitting prime minister who refuses to acknowledge if he would abide by the results of the democratic process, when there are laws in place which override the traditional mechanism for declaring emergency and a security apparatus which is not independent (and has more or less made such a claim), what you have is a Molotov cocktail of racial and religious disorder.
The most important question is who is going to throw that cocktail, and if you think that Umno is the only one capable of doing that, you have not been paying attention.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 1:55 PM   0 comments
Muslims converts do not suffer; the law will not permit this - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Malaysiakini : “If you are a Muslim and you know that it’s un-Islamic and you are not voicing it out, you have done a great injustice and that is haram.” - Jihad for Justice chairperson Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim
Secretary-General Takiyuddin Hassan who uttered horse manure
COMMENT | PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan uttered the most odious defence of his religion here in Malaysia when he claimed “for the last 10 to 20 years, the 'muallaf' (Muslim converts) also suffered. It is the same thing" (as M Indira Gandhi). Really? Of course, he does not explain how their suffering is the same.
Let us take these examples, which are demonstrative of the worst excesses of the state and the state-sanctioned religion which has caused distress in countless non-Muslim lives.
Have Muslim converts had their children unilaterally converted to a religion which the child cannot renounce when he or she comes of age? Has the Muslim convert been denied justice in the civil courts? Has the Muslim convert had their child kidnapped and then had the state claim that they would not interfere because the ruling of the civil court conflicted with the syariah court?
Has the Muslim convert watched in horrified anger and grief over the years as the child is indoctrinated to a state religion which the child could never leave and if the child attempted to do so would be sent to a rehabilitation camp where more alleged abuse awaits the now adult child? This is how S Deepa suffered, and also M Indira Gandhi. Has a Muslim convert ever suffered the same way? Let us unpack the statements made by Takiyuddin a little bit more. He said, "The amendment appears as if the Muslim convert will be forced to settle his marriage dissolution in the civil courts. It's a contradiction (with syariah jurisdiction).”
What does this really mean? The civil courts ostensibly apply to all Malaysians equally. This idea of conflict with the syariah courts is merely code for the reality that the syariah courts favour the Muslim. So, it is not justice that the Muslim is seeking but preferential treatment conferred by religion.
When in the S Deepa case, her allegedly criminal husband says that he embraced Islam so he could get special privileges, what this says is that he believed that he would get special treatment because he was a Muslim. This is exactly the underlying theme of the PAS secretary-general's objection to the proposed amendments.
What is sickening about Takiyuddin’s comment is that it implies that Muslims and non-Muslims are operating on a level-playing field. That if there were injustices, then the Muslim and the non-Muslim suffers the same. This is clearly not the case.
Indira Gandhi’s child, as was S Deepa’s, was unilaterally converted, now their grief is hijacked by this Islamic party, the Umno state and by Muslims who support this weltanschauung. These Islamists do this as a means of dismissing the grief, loss, and powerlessness of these two women to camouflage the injustice of how their religion, their “ketuanan” and their hegemony is inflicted upon Malaysians who are not Muslims.
Islam trumps secular laws
There are two important points I have made over the course of writing about the state-sanctioned ‘crime’ of unilateral conversion. These two points are the real issues. All the rest is just a diversion to hide the fact that the superiority of Islam trumps secular laws and that non-Muslims would always be at the mercy of an oppressive system that does not care about their rights which we are constantly reminded are enshrined in our constitution.
1. “What unilateral conversion does, and we should be clear that this involves Islam as the Islamic (sic) minister is wont to remind everyone, is rob the child of the right of his or her religious freedom. This has far-reaching consequences in Malaysia because race and religion have legal obligations along with the so-called special privileges that place a Muslim in the harsh glare of federal and state Islamic authorities.
2. “If an adult wishes to place himself or herself under such obligations, then it is their right to do so, but a parent unilaterally deciding to convert a child without the consent of their partner is not only morally reprehensible but should also come with legal consequences, preferably jail time with a couple of strokes of the rotan.”
So you see, the problem is really not unilateral conversion. If a parent, for whatever reason, chooses to convert the child to a specific religion, the remedy is that when the child becomes an adult, he or she is free to leave the religion that was imposed upon him or her. The problem here in Malaysia is that Muslims – even though they were unilaterally converted – cannot leave Islam.
This means that they remain Muslims with all the obligations that come with professing the faith here in Malaysia. Let me remind everyone that if the executive wanted to change the laws, it could do it easily. In fact, when it involves elections, especially where non-Muslims play an important role, the executive has stepped in and personally interfered in the administration of justice in this country. The Rooney Rebbit case is a prime example.
The words of Sabah Council of Churches president Reverend Jerry Dusing states the case plainly – “This turn of events clearly project two things - firstly, the NRD (National Registration Department) which is an administrative arm of the federal government has no regard and respect for our religious freedom guaranteed under the federal constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Secondly, that our exercise of religious freedom is subject to political interference.”
Therefore, when the government claims that it needs a two-thirds majority to remedy this issue, this is total horse manure. It is a big lie that these so-called defenders of race and religion propagate to deceive non-Muslims into voting for a corrupt regime which would impose their religion on the non-Muslim demographic and then claim that they are suffering as those (non-Muslims) who feel the boot of the state on their necks.
To answer DAP parliamentarian M Kula Segaran’s question, these extremists do not care if Tevi Darsiny is a Muslim or a Hindu. All they care about is in the eyes of the law, she is a Muslim. Her children will be Muslim. This is religious kidnapping. This is the ongoing agenda of cultural hegemony. This is a crime, and there is nothing you can do about it.
This is faith by fiat.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:22 PM   0 comments
Muslim atheists? O ye, of little faith - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Malaysiakini : “We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilisation is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself.” - Sam Harris
COMMENT | So Mahadi Awang, a representative from the Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim), claimed that “Muslims who turn atheists only do so because they wish to break away from the chains of the Islamic way of life in order to experience pleasure”, which seems a rather dubious assertion.
If anything, what the official narratives of Islam in this country have demonstrated are that Muslims have to be prevented from seeking “illicit” sex, alcohol, smoking, music videos, movies, books, pornography, the company of the opposite sex and of course, excessive laughter. Now the reality is that many Muslims have sex, drink alcohol, smoke, watch music videos, movies and pornography (online), mingle with the opposite sex, and laugh a lot. Hence as Muslims, they already experience pleasure but what prevents them from openly experiencing pleasure are the religious police who are paid to ensure that they stop having pleasure.
Of course, if you are a rich Muslim, then you are exempt from the overt policing that your average Muslim is subjected to. Hence the more logical explanation as to why some Muslims become atheist – let’s dispense with the deeper intellectual motives for a moment – is not because they want to experience pleasure – they do that already – but because they do not want their pleasure policed by the state. Of course, in Malaysia they have to be quiet about it but sometimes affirming your non-belief with simpatico people provides clarity that all the religious indoctrination that they have received since birth has not.
I really do not blame the Umno state for coming down hard on Muslim atheists. Since the constitution defines who a “Malay” is and Islam is the most important part of that definition, what happens when a Malay chooses to shed his or her faith? Does he or she cease being “Malay”? If someone is not a “Malay” anymore, what happens to the special privileges?
Since there are Christian and other “bumiputeras”, the argument can be made that an atheist Malay is still technically a bumiputera unless of course there is legislation in Malaysia which sanctions a lack of belief in God. But wait, the first principle in the Rukunegara is “Belief in God”, which is annoying to many atheists but more importantly, it means that a Muslim atheist is in a religious quagmire that he or she may never break free from.
I mean no oppositional political party is going to defend an atheist Muslim’s non-belief. So-called “secular” parties fund Islamic religious institutions, champion the rights of non-Muslims faiths and champion the rights of religious freedoms offering a mixed bag of secular principles that more often than not does more damage to secular principles than inaction itself. This is why Islamic extremism is on the rise. Of course, if folks got their noses out – just for a minute – of the 1MDB cesspool, they would realise that the opposition mired in religious politics is part of the problem.
Read what Yenny Wahid, daughter of the late Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, said - “We're not just coming up with a counter narrative, we are coming up with a counter identity, and that's what AI (Archipelago Islam) is all about. We believe we're good Muslims but to be a good Muslim, we don't have to accept the recipes that are handed out by some radicals from the Middle East."
What are the Muslim counter identities here? The Muslim as feminist? The Muslim as liberal? The Muslim who does not believe? The gay Muslim? The secular Muslim? The non-observant Muslim? All these counter identities the state wishes to expunge and the opposition has no interests in nurturing for obvious political reasons.
A lack of understanding?
Seriously, the atheist plague? How I wish there was really an atheist plague. If there was an atheist plague in this country, then Umno, PAS and Bersatu would be cast aside as would every politician who bleats about how god put him or her on his or her political path. The religious card would be totally ineffective in the national discourse and money wasted on religious initiatives would be channelled elsewhere.
However, let us not kid ourselves. Corruption would still exist but at least we would not have to put up with the hypocritical religious rantings of the state or politicians – whatever the religion – asking us to look to god to solve our problems or hide our problems.
I mean, we do not have any gay pride parades here so what are these so-called atheists going to do? March on the streets and hope the god they do not believe in will save them from the chemically-laced water cannons of the state? Demand that their special privileges be stripped from them because they are not “Malays” anymore, or worse still, feel entitled to their special privileges even though they are not Muslims anymore? Carry around posters claiming that they are ex-Muslims and they are here to stay?
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim says that Muslims who become atheist do so from a lack of understanding of Islam. This is the excuse given to any Muslim who does not subscribe to the state-sponsored religion.
Muslims who want to reform the religion do so from a lack of understanding of the religion. Muslim women who demand equal rights do so from a lack of understanding of the religion. Gay Muslims who want to be accepted – one wonders why – do so from a lack of understanding of the religion. Liberal Muslims do not understand the religion. Non-Muslims who speak up for their fellow citizens do not understand the religion.
Maybe if so many people do not understand your religion, the problem is with the religion and not with the people attempting to leave or reform it. Furthermore, this obsession of the state in their belief they can “fix” Muslims who stray from the state-endorsed path is the apogee of ignorance that some Muslims take pride in.
Apparently, the state can “fix” gay Muslims. They can “fix” liberal Muslims. They can “fix” feminist Muslims. They can “fix” atheist Muslims. The only things they cannot seem to “fix” are Muslims who are engaged in nationwide and worldwide financial corruption scandals.
As Sam Harris, author of ‘Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue’, opens this piece, he should end it – “The great liberal betrayal of this generation is that in the name of liberalism, communal rights have been prioritised over individual autonomy within minority groups. And minorities within minorities really do suffer because of this betrayal.
“The people I really worry about when we have this conversation are feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, ex-Muslims - all the vulnerable and bullied individuals who are not just stigmatised but in many cases violently assaulted or killed merely for being against the norm.”
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:58 PM   0 comments
Umno should just ban all non-Malay political parties - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, July 17, 2017
Malaysiakini : “A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.”  Henry A Wallace
COMMENT | Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak claimed “the opposition coalition can never match BN, which has a track record of cooperation between the different ethnic groups and tolerance between its leaders, without compromising party principles”. This brings us to the question of what exactly are Umno’s principles.
We know from the National Civics Bureau (Biro Tatanegara, BTN) courses that Umno’s principles are an unholy brew of racial supremacy, religious bigotry and corporatism that was endorsed by a compliant Malaysian polity, resulting in a cascade of religious and racial issues that compromised every facet of government. With the ouster of the charismatic, jailed political prisoner – Anwar Ibrahim – from the Umno fold, the contemporary Umno narrative is one of loss of power and influence by attrition.polity, resulting in a cascade of religious and racial issues that compromised every facet of government. With the ouster of the charismatic, jailed political prisoner – Anwar Ibrahim – from the Umno fold, the contemporary Umno narrative is one of loss of power and influence by attrition.
The Malay vote is the most important vote to Umno. I wrote about how the dialectic in the Malay community is a threat to Umno hegemony, which is the real reason behind the racial and religious sabre-rattling. This is the existential threat Umno is facing – “what would happen if a majority of Muslims in this country decide that they have had enough with state religious authorities intruding into their lives?
They have had enough with money going into religious organisations while essential services that benefit their community are underfunded and mired in bureaucratic corruption. What would happen if they grew tired of the hypocrisy of the state where Muslim elites were immune from the harsh glare of Islam but the rest of the polity was not?”
While the non-Malay component parties of Barisan National scramble to discover their relevance in a post-Pakatan era, the reality is that their days of being handmaidens to Umno warlords are over. Most non-Malay opposition supporters have realised that it is better to have no representation in an Umno Parliament than the compliant non-Malay representation that the traditional mainstream component parties represent.
Just a couple of articles ago, I asked what can the MCA do for Umno – “the answer to that is MCA obviously cannot do anything much for the ruling BN coalition anymore. How do you remain relevant when you have lost your voting base? Umno does not need MCA to win elections. The dodgy meme that the current Umno prime minister is a “minority” prime minister is as fallacious as the so-called 'Chinese tsunami'.”
The split in the Malay polity
The Chinese community has borne the brunt of the dark art form of the propaganda warlocks of Putrajaya, but what has really rattled the Umno hegemon is the split in the Malay polity. While their former master strategist – Dr Mahathir Mohamad – has thrown in with the opposition, the only viable Malay/Muslim political party left is PAS. And those folks are really kooky.
When you have Umno members, ministers and the prime minister claiming that the Chinese would usurp the power of the “Malays” if the opposition ever came to power, this is the very definition of racism. When you claim that “Islam” is under siege by make-believe non-Islamic bogeyman, this is the definition of religious bigotry.
Because the Registrar of Society (ROS) is playing coy with the DAP by not officially asking them to hold re-elections and there is an established chain of events that point to a conspiracy between the executive and a public institution, the only conclusion any rational person can make is that Umno and ROS are acting mala fide against the DAP.
When you consider the racist rhetoric coming out of Umno power brokers, government ministers and government institutions, the religious bigotry from the same, Umno should just drop this charade of democracy and ban all non-Malay/Muslim political parties. This way, the Malay community, or least that section of the Umno voting base, will not have to be encumbered by the existential threat the non-Malays supposedly pose to their “bangsa” and “agama”.
If banning the DAP is not enough, they could also partially ban PKR, since it has non-Malay members and this could possibly pose a threat to Umno/Malay hegemony. However, even if you ban non-Malay/Muslim political parties, the problem persists in that the non- Malay polity will still vote.
If non-Malays vote, what is stopping non-Malays from voting for opposition candidates who do not support the policies of Umno? If the Malay vote is split, then non-Malays, especially in the urban areas, may cast their vote for independent non-Malay candidates. So, perhaps the answer is banning all non-Malay/Muslim candidates.
But – and this is an important “but” – non-Malays who do not have a choice of non-Malay candidates may vote for Malay candidates who do not support the polices of the ruling hegemon. These Malay politicians may become proxies to non-Malay interest and in this way, subvert the policies of “bangsa” and “agama”.
This would also mean that the utilitarian value of the non-Malay component parties would be non-existent. If it is true that non-Malays would rather have no representation than representation of BN component parties, then the fig leaf of inclusion could be discarded. There would be no need to govern by consensus. Instead, Umno could rule by fiat.
This would mean that, in order for Umno to safeguard the “Malays” and “Islam”, the only candidates that should stand for elections are those Malay candidates who support the policies of Umno as they relate to “bangsa” and “agama”. But how does a political hegemon ensure that people vote in the “correct” way?
More importantly, how does the hegemon ensure that the “correct” candidates stand for elections?
So, what Umno really needs are only Malay candidates who support its policies and a voting public that would vote the correct way. There are only two options, as I see it.
1) Umno could give the illusion of choice and have various Malay political parties that are, in reality, just another head of Umno like the mythical hydra; or
2) Just cancel democracy and have members of Umno vote in their candidate.
Of course, by this time there would be no need for the non-Malay vote and by this, I mean that non-Malays would not have the vote.
As long as Umno members continue their racist and religious bigotry against the DAP and, by extension, all non-Malays, these are the only two options to the logical conclusion of our fascist end.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:06 PM   0 comments
Public flogging replaces ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ slogan - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Malaysiakini: “There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it.”  - Tom Stoppard, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’
COMMENT | When Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says that the amended enactment allowing for (amongst other things) public whipping in Kelantan only affects Muslims, it is yet again another falsehood told by the state to non-Muslims in this country.
There is empirical evidence - something I know that some Muslims frown upon - which collaborates the fact that anything concerning Islam in this country affects every single citizen in this country. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that the minions of Umno are exempt from the harsh glare of Islamic laws which is not the reality for every other Muslim in this country.
While corruption scandals will never be investigated and wrongdoers subjected to public canings, there will be hundreds of Muslims who will be subjected to such public humiliations for “crimes” that ultimately do not affect the country as the crimes committed by the political elites and rich Muslim cabals.
When it comes to justice and fairness, remember what PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said about the prime minister despite the mountain of evidence of moral and criminal wrongdoing surrounding the 1MDB fiasco - “As reported in the press, Hadi has no problem saying that Najib is only human  and not a saint, and humans make mistakes, but the act of attacking and bombarding the prime minister with unfounded allegations is uncalled for.”
“In other words, Hadi condemns the so-called ‘unfounded allegations’ and dismisses the alleged corruption scandals against the current Umno prime minister as the regular failings of human being. Is this what his syariah system would look like?”
So, when the Kelantan state government warns non-Muslim political parties not to meddle in the affairs of Islam, I say to the Kelantan state government - when Islam does not intrude into the lives of non-Muslims is the day I, as a non-Muslim, will stop commenting on Islam in this country. Do I need to remind anyone that the rhetoric coming out of many Islamists in this country that our rights as non-Muslims should be curtailed?
I think I will. Remember when Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom wanted Umno to crack down on religious pluralism because “there were numerous organised efforts being carried out to challenge the freedom allowed in Islam”?
Here was my response to that horse manure - “What exactly does ‘freedom allowed in Islam’ mean? My own thinking is that the way Islam is defined by the Umno state, ‘freedom’ means freedom to curtail the rights enshrined in our constitution. Freedom means the freedom to not enforce secular laws when it comes to conflict with Islamic laws. Freedom means the freedom to impose religious edicts on non-Muslims because the religious sensitivities of Muslims are paramount. Freedom means the freedom to restrict laws that make it easier for the citizenry of this country to express their opinions and dissent in a very public manner.”
A prime example of how Islamic imperatives affect non-Muslims is unilateral conversions. Furthermore, this phenomenon and the state’s reluctance to settle this issue once and for all, and the various Islamic hate peddlers from within and outside the Umno state who hamper any form of secular reform to this issue, points to the siege that non-Muslims are under from the Islamists in this country.
As I detailed in another piece - “Islamists like Hadi and the numerous other peddlers of hate like to remind us that their laws do not affect non-Muslim communities. We are told that we are bullying the Muslim community by arguing for rights applicable to all. We are warned that our secular trespass into their religious domain would lead to violence. Unilateral conversion is the corrosive truth that it is the Islamists who would invade our sacred domain of family in the name of their religion.”
It’s not about whipping
What would happen if a state decides to carry enact secular enactments which as defined by the constitution but runs afoul of Islamists who see it as an “an attack” on Islam? You better believe that the Umno federal government would step in and the Islam would be used as a rallying cry against those Malaysian citizens who believe in the supremacy of the constitution and that all Malaysians regardless of ethnicity or religion deserve the rights enshrined in the Malaysian constitution and common basic standards of treatment.
I guess because we have Muslim opposition candidates who bend over backwards when it comes to anything Islamic in this country, someone like Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said can make the claim that state’s right is immune from federal scrutiny. If the day comes when an opposition-controlled state decides to rethink the way how Islam is practised in the state, would someone like Azalina be so gung ho on state’s rights?
Let me be very clear. This is not an issue about canning. Singapore carries out whippings - I personally believe that corporal punishment like canning should only be carried out in the armed services - and most people do not seem to have a problem with that, which I find strange. Malaysia too has whippings as a form of punishment for several offences. So, this is not an “Islamic” issue when it comes to this form of punishment.
While you could make the argument that the offences in Islam sanctioned by whipping are different from those under secular law, it should not make any difference for anybody against whipping as a barbaric form of state sanction.
No, this is about how Islam as practised in this country and most Islamic states attempts to normalise brutality in the guise of religious piety, circumvent secular law as a sign of superiority and humiliate Muslims by subjecting them to public ridicule as a means to ensure compliance.
We have all seen those videos online of public whippings and beheadings that happen in Muslim countries. Some Muslims take great pride in those acts of barbarity. Some Muslims I have talked to - not necessarily politicians - approve of how Islam is promulgated in this country and are supportive of those they claim to know what is best for Islam and Muslims in this country.
Can anyone tell me the difference between an Islamic State video of public canings and beheadings and the videos of public canings and beheadings that goes on in Saudi Arabia for instance? Could anyone tell the difference between public caning that would happen in Kelantan and those depicted in IS propaganda videos?
People will not talk about Malaysia being truly Asia. There will talk about how this supposedly moderate Muslim country bent over backwards for the Islamists because we have a compromised prime minster.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:12 AM   0 comments
Playing the losing non-Malay race card - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Malaysiakini : “The question of racism has been abolished... that is what is more important to us than that little fight that he (former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad) is trying to create. I always stand by the ruling prime minister.”  - S Samy Vellu, former MIC chief
COMMENT | Former MIC chief S Samy Vellu admitted in a Malaysiakini interview that the MIC really did not have a voice in the Mahathir regime. And it may very well be that the current Umno potentate has done more for “Tamil education” in this country than the former Umno prime minster with “Indian heritage”, but the real question will always be, has all this money helped the “Indian” community in this country?
That is a question that only the Indian community can answer. However with regard to the general race discourse, as I outlined in the last piece about the "Indian" problem and the rabbit hole of Malaysian politics - “Because politics in Malaysia is race-based and the alternative media (especially the English media) is defined by the crudest partisan expectations, issues like tokenism, appropriation and crypto-racism, are subsumed beneath a steady diet of Umno transgression and socio-political red herrings” - this idea that there is a difference in the discourse concerning race in the mainstream and alternative media is complete bull manure.
While MIC chief Dr S Subramaniam may be right about what the current Umno poohbah has done for his collection plate, he forgets that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has also done far more for the Indian Muslim community than the former prime minister with Indian heritage when he accepted Kimma - The Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress - as associate members of Umno.
Like all good Indian Muslims and their relationship with their Malay Muslim brethren, the parameters of the union were well-defined. According to the grand Umno poohbah - “But they (Kimma) cannot be involved in Umno’s internal matters” - and since Umno internal matters bypass cabinet decisions (which has been proven time and again), I suppose Indian Muslims, when they are not running Umno in a de facto manner - which is the main gripe of Malay nationalist types and especially against former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad - they have to be content to be observers (at least publicly) like the MIC.
Anyone who is interested in what people think of the Indian community should lurk on social media forums and alternative news sites’ comments sections. As one Chinese academic and proponent of Chinese-language education said to me, he has not seen such overt racism and this coming from someone who has dealt with the Umno regime for years. If the race discourse in this country is dominated by the Malay/Chinese dialectic, it is because the opposition has not moved it from this safe zone. I mean does anyone really care how the Indian community votes?
What is the latest statistics on the “Indian” demographic? Does the fact there are so many stateless Indians skewers the official statistics? And does the fact that there are so many “Indian” foreigners who have been given citizenship but who because of their religion become something else, skewers the statistics?
Some people do not even self-identify as “Indian”, preferring instead to highlight whatever sub-group they come from, making cultural and economic variations to differentiate themselves from the disenfranchised Indian community who make up the bulk of the criminal underclass in this country and are the object of derision of a particular type of opposition voters.
Value of Indian vote
Forget about dodgy official statistics for a moment and consider the value of a Malay vote - because of gerrymandering, it is greater than that of a Chinese vote. What do you think the value of an Indian vote is? At this stage because of the idiotic way in which how the “Malay” race is defined in this country and because of the phenomenon of constitutionally-created Malays, I would argue that the Indian vote is near meaningless.
If the Indian vote is meaningless, this would mean that the MIC is meaningless. If the MIC is meaningless, this would mean that whatever issues the Indian community faces are meaningless from a political capital standpoint. Before anyone says there are only “Malaysian” issues, I think you should take a good hard look around at the comments of your fellow partisans, the narratives of the state, the policies of both Umno and the opposition, and see how hypocritical, duplicitous and malicious such rejoinders are.
MIC political operatives tell me, like their opposition counterparts, Indian politicians have to rely on Malay and Chinese votes to get elected. While MIC candidates have some leeway (meaningless as it were) when it comes to pushing Indian issues, opposition Indian politicians have a harder time justifying “racial” issues in the Bangsa Malaysia milieu.
So, someone like Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yassin can go on about a Malay tsunami, and the DAP and MCA can bicker on about who better represents the Chinese community but whenever the Indian issue comes into play - and truth be told this is mainly an opposition tactic - everyone suddenly becomes race-blind.
One political analyst recently got into a discussion with me about voting across racial lines. He took exception with a quote of mine that he disagreed with, because according to him, the opposition has an ideological stance which is completely different from the ruling Umno hegemon. I reproduce the specific quote below:
“In addition, this idea that voting across racial lines as some sort of evidence of burgeoning multiracial solidarity is complete bunkum. The real test is when people vote across ethnic and religious lines in support of ideologies that run counter to the interests of their communities and by this, I mean egalitarian ideas that run afoul of constitutional sacred cows and social and religious dogma.”
My argument has always been that there is really very little difference between the opposition and the Umno establishment when it comes to the racial politics in this country. Just a couple of months ago, I made this point again - “Part of the reason for this kind of thinking is that the opposition has never really addressed the systemic dysfunctionality that plagues the country. There has never really been a serious dialectic within the opposition on the issues of race, religion and institutional integrity.
The 1MDB issue has been the centrepiece of the fight against Umno but as anyone on the ground will tell you, this has not gained any traction with the demographic that the opposition needs most.” What this latest MIC fiasco demonstrates is not that the MIC is irrelevant or that this is merely just another opportunity for partisans to pour scorn on the MIC and Umno. The real issue here is that the MIC is the first political party to fold in the racial card game of Malaysians politics.
You can bet that there will only be one political party left at the table of this racial card game and it will not be the one which believes in Bangsa Malaysia.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:55 AM   0 comments
The muzzling of Dr M - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, July 10, 2017
Malaysiakini : “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”
- John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

COMMENT | So now we have proof that Umno members “cover” for their president. We have proof that the corruption of Umno presidents are covered up by Umno members. We have proof that Umno members will overlook any kind of malfeasances to keep their leader in power. We have this proof because, Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is now acting deputy president of the party, admitted as much when he told former prime minister and de facto opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad (aka Our Great Leader) to shut up or recite Quranic verses to Allah, whichever comes more easily.
This is what Zahid said: “He unveils the flaws of the present leaders, don’t forget we also used to cover his flaws. Don’t let it be our turn to show his shame and ‘scabs’. There is so much that we can reveal.”
Let us unpack this statement. We can discern three important facts from it.
1) Zahid does not dispute that the current Umno leader and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has “flaws” and in this case, the only flaws that the current de facto opposition leader Mahathir is unveiling are the numerous corruption scandals that are plaguing this regime. You would note that the Umno acting deputy president is not disputing those flaws, indeed he acknowledges them as human “weakness” that every Umno politician (leader) has.
2) He acknowledges that Umno members “cover” the flaws of their leaders. So, as an Umno member, he is admitting that over the years Umno has engaged in acts to cover the possibly criminal or unconstitutional acts of their leaders to safeguard the position of Umno and the position of the president of Umno and the office of prime minster of this country.
3) That by claiming “there is so much we can reveal”, Zahid is admitting that Umno members have evidence of wrongdoing and have purposely concealed these alleged criminal acts from the state security apparatus, the judiciary, the press but more importantly, the public.
So, let me be clear. What Zahid’s statements reveal is that (1) Umno members know that their leaders are corrupt (flaws); (2) that Umno members cover for their leaders; and (3) Umno members have evidence of the wrongdoings of their leaders.
How do Umno members cover for their leaders? Now, I am just spitballing here, but they would have to ensure that their leaders are insulated from the banalities of accountability. This would mean that independent institutions that are meant to investigate and prosecute the “flaws” of politicians would have to be accountable to members of Umno, whose primary goal is to cover for their leaders. This would mean that the security apparatus, the judiciary and the press would have to answer to Umno because these would be the institutions that the Umno leader and prime minster would need “covering” from.
In other words, Umno members, like Zahid and every other Umno member who are covering for their dear leader, are collaborators and/or accomplices to the crimes committed by their president. Now I am not making an accusation, I am merely clarifying what the Umno deputy president said. So, when Umno members defend the indefensible, when they claim that their leaders have done no wrong, when every state apparatus clears Umno leaders of wrongdoing, what we are left with is the knowledge, articulated by the Umno deputy president, that all this was done because Umno members cover for their leaders.
So, this means that the so-called Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the foreign exchange market (forex) issue of the past is merely an attempt by Umno members to “reveal” the wrongdoings of Mahathir? This would also mean that this RCI is indeed politically motivated in defence of the current Umno president and Malaysian prime minster because the Zahid publicly threatened to “reveal” the “shame” and “scabs” of the former prime minister.
And why was Salleh shocked?
So, let take this issue of the “appointments as additional judges to the Federal Court”, which has received a fair amount of justified criticism from members of the Bar and former judges. Former chief justice (CJ) Abdul Hamid Mohamad had warned that “an extension of a CJ's tenure beyond the 66 years and six months may compromise the independence of the judiciary”.
In other words, what the Najib regime is doing may affect the independence of the judiciary. This brings us to Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak’s shocking revelation that Mahathir, in his interview with The Guardian implied that jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim “was fixed up by a corrupt judiciary and the judges were dishonest.”
Here is the problem. If Umno members cover for their leaders and the only way they can do this is if they control the apparatus of the state, then why is it shocking that a former prime minister implies that the state, through the judiciary covered, up a political problem for an Umno president? If Umno members cover for their leaders, and the only way they can cover for their leaders is by controlling the apparatus of the state and concealing evidence (as articulated by Zahid), then why is it a surprise to the communications and multimedia minster that the former prime minister implies a conspiracy by the state (during his tenure) to imprison a political opponent?
If by stacking the judiciary in favour of Umno politicians means that it would be easier to “cover” the flaws of Umno presidents, then why should we be surprised by the fears and warnings that this would lead to an unnatural relationship between the executive and the judiciary as articulated by former CJ Abdul Hamid?
With this in mind, how can we not believe that this move by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to compel the DAP to hold a further round of its central executive committee (CEC) elections is anything but a political gambit by the Umno state to neutralise a political opponent of a compromised Umno president before the upcoming general election?
Concerning this crippling of the DAP, this quote from Lim Kit Siang’s blog needs to be addressed. “In fact, it has led even independent observers to swallow hook, line and sinker to believe in these fake news and false information. For instance, one independent commentator described the whole ROS fiasco as ‘a ticking time bomb of DAP’s own design’ that should have been addressed a long time ago in a transparent manner. How is the ROS fiasco ‘DAP’s own design’?”
Which is the more plausible proposition?
1) That I have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fake news and false information of this regime and its propagandists.
2) That I was sincerely questioning the strategies (as it were) of an opposition political party that is in the crosshairs of this regime, the state apparatus that they control and the propagandists who serve them. I will leave rational readers to decide which they think is more plausible.
Ultimately, muzzling Mahathir says more of the collective guilt and complicity of Umno members, rather than the agenda of the former prime minister turned de facto opposition leader.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:53 AM   0 comments
Repent, says the institution that decries excessive laughter - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, July 08, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
- Mark Twain

COMMENT | Remember a couple of years ago when the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) issued its new guidelines proclaiming comedy shows should not lead to “excessive” laughter.
Muslim Malaysian, Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman
MCA’s Koh Chin Han in a media statement said - "Jakim's failure to see things from a wider perspective will certainly result in serious impingement into the rights of an individual. This will lead towards a divided Malaysian society along religious and/or gender lines. This ironically runs against the justice the religion itself calls for."
Here is the thing. Jakim, or any other state-sanctioned Islamic organisation, is apparently not interested in bringing Malaysians together. They are interested in the purity of whatever school of Islamic thought they are promulgating in this country. That is axiomatic, right?
Remember when there was all this talk about specific labels for Muslim-produced goods. This is what I wrote about the turf war between Jakim and whatever the name was of that other Islamic entity - “Every time the state pushes the edges of what is acceptable when it comes to social cohesion by coddling interests such as these and it goes unnoticed by the so-called silent majority or voices of change in this country, we draw closer to a failed state that would be the logical outcome, if and when we collapse economically.”
(Appropos everything, remember in that label fiasco, “Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was complaining that Jakim’s halal certification was too stringent and a burden on small industries run by Muslims.” What this meant was that when it comes to Islam, you could lower the bar because of race. It all depends on which race)
So, when a Muslim Malaysian, Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman, decided to use a social media platform to talk about her relationship with her pet dog, Bubu, as part of some pet food competition, this has apparently caused distress amongst some Muslims. Did a few Muslim Malaysian cat lovers participating in the same competition decide to whittle down the competition by drawing attention to this video? I mean she has to win now, right? It is the only outcome where good triumphs over stupidity.
I guess you could argue that Nurhanizah made a boo-boo when she adopted Bubu. See, with this kind of joke, you do not elicit excessive laughter. Of course, Jakim would take this act seriously. Remember this is the same religious organisation which got into Aunty Anne’s business because of a pretzel dog.
Remember, in the pretzel dog controversy, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said, “Please don’t make us look so stupid and backward...”; well, I guess it is too late now.
The ‘greater good’
However, what really bothers me is that this is really a class issue. Think about it. Do political and economic Muslim elites have to put with this harsh glare from religious bodies? Are they subject to allegations that they are “maligning” Islam?
When an Umno Muslim woman does not wear the tudung, silence; when any other women, especially if she is opposition-leaning or involved in activism or merely getting on with her life (but does not have the economic or social advantage that Umno provides), well, she gets the short end of the Islamic stick.
This is what really sticks in the craw of these religious bureaucrats - that a woman is “trying to set a new custom which could lead to actions which malign Islam”, in the words of Jakim director-general Othman Mustapha.
Mind you, I do not think that Nurhanizah was attempting to do any such thing. A person attempting such, would not attempt to put the dog up for adoption and walk her dog (since she had no takers) at night so as not to upset Muslims in her community.
I do wonder if these same pious members of her community, so easily distressed, also threw food laced with poison and faeces - cat, dog or human? - into her compound? No, what she was doing was showing empathy for an animal, and what she gets in return is a state-sanctioned religious institution asking her to repent for her sinful ways.
This is why someone like lawyer Siti Kassim who has asked Jakim to repent, is such a threat. While some men find is funny or pleasurable to sexually assault cardboard cutouts, some women like to defend members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community from the prejudice of the state, or in this case, offer shelter, comfort and love to a stray animal. Life is funny that way.
Moreover, because life is funny or maybe just a tragic comedy, we get Islamic groups who claim that Islam needs to be defended and decrying “liberalism”. When you get the Umno president decrying liberalism at a conference about the "Islamic middle path", linking liberalism to paedophilia (Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin case), you understand why most rational people will never subscribe to the idea that there is a moderate path in state-sponsored Islam - “This threat (liberalism) will ruin the Muslim identity because the liberal ones will take the easy route in matters of religious principles, and from there, groups such as liberal Muslims, LGBT, human rightism and many more will be born.”
Recently, there have also been calls by various Islamic groups to name and shame Muslims who do not follow their way of thinking, which is in the state’s way of thinking. This is an important point.
There have been numerous other religious personalities taking Jakim to task for exceeding its authority by declaring this a “sin” or acting beyond its jurisdiction but more importantly, drawing attention to the reality that there are different interpretations of Islam that view this issue differently.
Jakim believes Nurhanizah should repent for the “greater good”.
However, what is the greater good here? Is the greater good, the fact that this caused “distress” amongst some Muslims? Does the greater good involve some people in her community acting in a criminal manner by throwing poison and faecal matter into her compound? Is the greater good, that some Muslims will fear taking care of stray dogs, for acting compassionately to animals because they fear opprobrium from some in their community and possible sanction from the state?
Some folks think this is funny. I do not think this is funny. I do not think it is funny when another Muslim woman and someone who offers shelter to stray dogs and cats, Norashikin Ahmad, (as reported earlier in the year) is kicked out of her house by her mother because the pressure from pious Muslims who objected to her kind acts towards animals became too great for her mother shoulder - “The pressure became too much for Shikin’s mother to bear and as a result, she kicked Shikin, her youngest daughter, out of the house. ‘She told me take my dogs and cats with me to live somewhere else.’ Only after Shikin’s older sister interfered did she change her mind. Shikin now rents the white house from her mother to house disabled cats.”
Nobody is interested of course, but it is issues like these that cause me “distress”.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:26 PM   0 comments
DAP’s ticking time bomb - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | It is pointless arguing about who started the speculation on DAP facing deregistration.
“When are the world's political parties going to get appropriate symbols: snake, louse, jackal, ... trash can, clown face, ... dollar bill with bat wings on it?”
- PJ O'Rourke, ‘All the Trouble in the World’

Before I begin, I would just like to draw attention to two pieces, the first by Rais Hussin, ‘Malaysia’s 'five risks' - who are we kidding?’ - which is a cogent dissection of this regime's domestic and foreign policies, and the second by Dzulkefly Ahmad, ‘Stumbling block to debunking kleptocracy’ - which is the rational way in dealing with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's duplicity.
In one of the numerous speeches about the 1MDB fiasco, Lim Kit Siang, the DAP’s elder statesmen said, “My first book ‘Time Bombs in Malaysia’ in 1978 quoted my speech in Parliament on the Third Malaysia Plan in July 1976 where I warned that several time bombs were ticking away in Malaysia and unless these time bombs were defused, Malaysia could be blown to smithereens.”
The irony, of course, is that this whole Registrar of Societies (ROS) fiasco about the validity of DAP’s central executive committee (CEC), use of logo and the supposed conspiracy to ban the party is a ticking time bomb of DAP’s own design. Like many issues, this one should have been addressed a long time ago in a transparent manner and whoever is in control of the party should have put the interest of DAP ahead of individual interests. Instead, it has become a time bomb with a nervous Umno finger on the detonator, made worse by the DAP provoking a pre-emptive detonation.
When you are dealing with a hegemon which controls the bureaucracy, there is no room for error when it comes to the legitimacy of the party and the credibility of its leaders. In my piece about the prolonged amateur hour of the DAP, I (once) again reminded DAP to stop supplying their political opponents with ammunition.
For instance, when the grand poohbah’s press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad reminds the DAP that it was their lifelong members who lodged the original complaint and have not withdrawn it, he is absolutely correct. There is no point in PKR's communications director Fahmi Fadzil calling it a “desperado” act because this is what Umno does, but the problem is that the allegations brought by DAP members in their complaint to ROS also illustrates that the DAP engages in political acts which go against the principles of democracy. So, it really does not matter which Umno organ recognises the legitimacy of the CEC, it should not have open to political attacks in the first place.
Furthermore, it is pointless arguing about who started the speculation on DAP facing deregistration as articulated by party secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng because all of it is political theatre anyway. In case anybody does not get what this means, it means it really does not matter anyway. This is a regime which has very little understanding of fair play - and this is the important part - this is a regime which received the support of the majority of Malaysians (including non-Malays) for decades, which means until recently the majority of Malaysians did not care about political fair play either.
Even if the Umno establishment manages to deregister the DAP, the reality is that every DAP member standing for election will get the support of their base, no matter which logo they are contesting under and which party they choose to seek shelter with.
It would not surprise me if the Umno hegemon does use this as the means for deregistering DAP. It also would not surprise me that there would be a crackdown in the upcoming elections but the reality is that they (Umno) know that whatever they do will not erode the support DAP has or erode the support that partisan opposition supporters have for their preferred parties. What everyone is worried about is the support of the fence sitters and that the sympathy vote goes a long way.
The question here is that is all this chicanery gaining sympathy for the DAP and its allies, or is this merely creating a toxic atmosphere in which middle-of-the-road voters are sidelined by partisans who confuse, conflate and manufacture issues which detract from the problems this country is facing?
Make politics local again
However, this idea of Kit Siang going to “tour the country to seek public feedback whether we should succumb to such intimidation from Umno-BN - whether Guan Eng should resign as Penang chief minister and I retire from Malaysian politics," is a complete waste of time and the reason why the DAP gets into the trouble it always complains of.
What does this achieve? What “public opinion” are we talking about here? It is not as though the DAP is going around asking the “general public” if Kit Siang should retire and his son should resign as chief minister. If that were the case, Umno would fill halls which its cadres demanding the retirement of Lim Kit Siang and the resignation of Lim Guan Eng.
No, the “public” here are DAP supporters. But what if DAP supporters want Kit Siang to step down and Guan Eng to resign? What would happen then? Would the political apparatus of the DAP “concede” to public opinion?
On the other, what Umno establishment political operatives are claiming is that all this talk about deregistration and tours to gauge partisan opinion is merely a ‘sandiwara’ by DAP to get the support of partisans because there is really no way to accurately gauge the results of this tour. It is merely another method to prolong the dynastic agenda of certain members of DAP, they claim.
Instead of massive rallies and tours for dubious political purposes, the opposition should go about making politics local again. If this is really a kleptocratic regime then surely there will be issues on a state level that reflects this. Opposition political operatives should be working together at the state level to highlight issues that affect specific demographics which could then coalesce into voting blocks.
They should borrow pages from the PSM playbook and go to the ground and not only talk about the 1MDB issue but on basic issues which Umno is ignoring with its usual propaganda of race and religion. These efforts should be highlighted in the alternative press instead of the constant 1MDB ‘porn’ that satiates a specific demographic
Meanwhile (and this is the funny part), former Umno minister Zainuddin Maidin in an attempt to “defend” DAP claims, “The Malays are worried about the Chinese from China coming here as they fear they will assimilate easily with local Chinese, who still have strong leanings towards their motherland.”
Only a former Umno member could extend a hand of support while simultaneously throwing a punch. So, let me get this straight. Malays will always suspect their fellow citizens of not having the interests of their homeland at heart because of their allegiance to mother China? However, the DAP is okay because they want to ‘Malaysianise’ the country.
And to top of the crap cake with a cherry, Zam sagely claims, “Besides, non-Malays also notice the change in Umno's secularism and liberalism since the party started working together with PAS to rule the country.”
Really? Umno was a “secular” and “liberal” party? Can we take it then that Bersatu is “liberal” and “secular” like the old Umno?
Look, Zam in the past has admitted that the Umno establishment through their propaganda organs demonised the Chinese community, so all he really has to say is that the DAP was never really a threat to the Malays. There is no need to normalise Malay bigotry in attempt to justify Bersatu’s contention that they are the new defenders of ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’.
If “ordinary Malays, just like others, are born moderates and do not easily succumb to the lies, fake news and false information concocted and disseminated by Umno”, then why is it Umno had the support of the majority of Malaysians in the past and the majority support of the Malays in the present?  Because the reality of politics in Malaysia is a lot more nuanced that the Bangsa Malaysia kool aid.
Umno controls everything but what these political upheavals have demonstrated is that Umno is not invincible. Their war chest is running out, their election machinery skittish, their pawns jostling for power, but most importantly, their leadership weak.
You know what the problem is. The very same could be said about the opposition.
Stop providing ammunition to Umno and stop creating these dramas which do nothing to reassure middle-of-the-road Malaysians that the opposition can effectively run this country.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:25 AM   0 comments
Opposition should not hold their anti-kleptocracy rally - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, July 03, 2017
Malaysiakini : “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
- R Buckminster Fuller

The peaceful  Hindraf Protest quelled violently
COMMENT | The opposition does not need another rally. I know they want a rally, they want to make some noise but as the last Bersih rally demonstrated, you could be handed a loudspeaker but when you have nothing to say, you end up thinking you have accomplished something but ultimately whatever gained is superficial and just furthers Umno narratives about the opposition in this country.
The big question which has never been answered is why “people don't feel the 1MDB issue is related (to their lives).” Will holding roadshows provide clarity to these people? Would roadshows suddenly make them think independently and question the toxic eco-system of racial and political privilege that subsidises their community while shackling them to religion that teaches them that they are constantly under siege?
Some people have told me that unless the opposition manages to articulate the 1MDB issues in terms that “average” folks can understand, then there will never be a political awakening in the base that Umno relies on to maintain hegemony. I find this line of thinking hard to understand. The opposition in their rhetoric have more or less called the current Umno poohbah a “thief”, demonised his spouse as a Lady Macbeth figure who corrupts the party from within, and virtually controls online narratives that paint this country as a state in failing because billions of ringgit have been looted from public coffers.
One would think that with all this, the opposition would have made inroads with the so-called rural Malay demographic. These people are not all Luddites who only get their information from the state’s propaganda organs - which are failing by the way - and as portrayed by some opposition supporters as too “stupid” to know the truth when its right in front of them.
Something else is going on here. While ignorance, of course, plays an important role in the election of kleptocrats, the reality is that the opposition is suffering from credibility issues that make voting for a corrupt hegemon - something Malaysians have done before - a better alternative than trusting a fractured opposition.
I reiterated this point I made during one of the numerous by-elections in my piece about the hurdles faced by the opposition in overthrowing a kleptocratic regime - “So if Umno delivers everything it says it will deliver, the cycle of complicity will continue. Disenfranchised people will continue voting for a regime which puts rice in their bowls. I am not talking about the urban class but rather those people who have depended on real power, federal power exercised corruptly for their benefit. That is the culture some people forget that we are dealing with. We nurtured this culture.”
Some analysts have made the point that an opposition rally to appeal to a broad demographic which merely means that more Malays have to be involved, less this rally be spun by the warlocks of Putrajaya as a Chinese attempt to usurp power. Conventional thinking is that Bersatu and Amanah could pull in the rural Malay votes or those “Malays” who are enamoured by the former prime minister and current de facto opposition leader.
I made the same point of the last Bersih rally, which really did not pan out as I had hoped for - “What this Bersih rally needs to be about is the dignity and integrity of the Malays. It needs to address the reality that Malay leadership has failed this country and the only way to restore any semblance of dignity to the Malay polity would be for the so-called ‘leaders’ of the Malay community with the help of their non-Malay counterparts to mobilise the Malay demographic into coming to the mother of all street parties.”
Echo chambers
However, what the opposition intelligentsia is overlooking is the fact that “Chinese” participation may not be what they expect. Many people do not like the idea of the opposition hooking up with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who they blame for the kleptocratic state we are in, the racial and religious politics of Bersatu - even though they overlook the racial politics of the DAP - the idea that the opposition is fractured and in disarray because of the political missteps with PAS and finally, something that most opposition operatives do not want to consider, that is the feeling of distrust that Amanah engenders.
Of course, in the echo chambers which are the alternative press, more often than not, the opposition is given a free pass and the 1MDB narrative seems to be the only issue that the opposition can play in order to remain relevant. Disillusioned Malay supporters of PAS and Amanah tell me that they find it difficult to talk about the 1MDB issue because people keep asking them about how this is different from the corruption that has gone on in the past and if they voted for corrupt leaders in the past, why not now?
So what does the opposition tell them now? We have:
1) PAS telling their base that the opposition they once were a part of has a foreign-backed agenda to overthrow a Muslim regime.
2) Bersatu telling them the current regime has lost it way because of “corruption” and their "rights" as “Malays” is in jeopardy because the current Umno leader is selling Malay land to foreign - Chinese - interlopers.
3) DAP attempting to assure them that the Chinese do not want to usurp Malay power but have been making strategic missteps that only seem to prove the Umno narrative that the DAP is the power behind the Pakatan Harapan throne.
4) Amanah telling them that Islamic leaders of Umno and PAS are ganging up because they are corrupt and that Islam has to be saved from this “kleptocracy”.
So this supposed demographic that is supposed to be the keys to Putrajaya is sent conflicting messages about the whole 1MDB scandal. It would also be a mistake to assume that the so-called urban polities are merely accepting the dissonance coming from Pakatan Harapan with the goal of removing a kleptocratic regime as the existential threat facing Malaysia today.
This may be the sentiment when it comes to the echo chambers of the alternative press but there are many people out there who have this "plague on both your houses" and are hoping for the return of that old alliance spirit which received the popular vote.
Holding a rally would be a mistake. There are far too many variables that gives the Umno establishment the upper hand. The only way the opposition can win this election or at least remain a significant presence in the political landscape of this country is if they somehow manage to find a populist platform that appeals to a wide demographic.
As it is, this rally will only benefit the Umno regime because it affords them numerous opportunities to point to the dysfunction of the opposition which means very little in echo chambers online, but is of great influence for people who are sitting on the fence or disillusioned with the opposition and finally supporters who may not even turn up to vote, much less march on the streets.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:22 AM   0 comments

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