Sunday, May 4, 2008

Why wave the Keris to begin with?

(also posted in Malaysiakini)
Last edited 7th May 2008 12:05 am

This response to Hishammuddin keris waving apology (Hisham apologises for keris act) is late in coming, but I found the whole episode so bewildering that even after writing my first response (Hisham: I apologize for my apology??) I still felt something very unsettling about it. It took me a further full week investigating the various aspects of it before I felt I have enough clarity to pen down the following questions and observations.

Let’s begin from the very beginning. I would like to post this question: what message was Hishammuddin trying to convey by waving the keris, accompanied by the ultra radical slogan from UMNO youth supporters? Did Hishammuddin thought that the Chinese were making too many unreasonable demands such that he has to wave a weapon as a gesture to defend the rights of the Malays? If that was the case, then what were the demands the Chinese made that were deemed so unreasonable to him?

Was he referring to the Chinese demands for more Chinese schools? What I recalled was that the Chinese communities were not even demanding for more Chinese schools, the demand was only to relocate some schools in the rural areas to the city, to reflect the change in demographic of the population. Or is there something wrong with Chinese education, for example that it hinders ethnic integration? If the Chinese education was not the issue, then what was it?

Whatever it is - can our leaders enter into mature dialog with each other to resolve them instead of resorting to waving weapons and chanting ultra radical slogans?

As of now, I still do not understand what this whole episode was about. Hishammuddin apology was as if it had something to do with the dignity of the keris and the Malay race. That was a lot of nonsense to me. He could have waved a parang or a Chinese Sword and people would be equally offended by it.

Similarly Najib’s follow up statements (Najib: Keris apology won't derogate Malay dignity ) and MCA acceptance of the apology was equally nonsensical.

I remembered reading about how the Beatles was being promoted at the beginning. The promoter hired a bunch of young girls and got them to scream and tear off their clothes, and that set off a whole generation of mass hysteria. Now we have one person waving a weapon with a few people responded with some slogans and the whole country is divided in semi-hysteria.

To me this whole episode was only a cheap publicity stunt, intended to further the political interest of one person.

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