Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oh Najib, what have you done?

One of my favorite jokes goes like this: If 2 Malays get together, they will form a political party. If 3 Indians get together, they will form a workers union. If 4 Chinese get together, they will ---------- play mahjong!

The joke is innocent enough, but poignantly illustrates a maddening trait of the Chinese race. The Chinese as a race has gone through an un-proportionally high number of man made and natural calamity in its span of history. This cultivates the pervasive mind-your-own-business and keep-peace-at-all-cost mentality. You can insult them as being squatters, threaten them with a weapon, they will swallow the insult as long as there is some bread crumbs left for them to make a living.

It is virtually impossible to motivate the Chinese to do anything other than making money, as 50 years of DAP struggle can testify. The 308 tsunami got them somewhat excited. But even so you won’t see many Chinese in various rallies and anti-government protests. Their first instinct is to protect the rice bowl. There is nothing you could do to get them away from their comfort zone. But all of that changed over the past few days, with the unfolding of the coup in Perak.

Najib may seem to have won the battle in Perak, but he made a very serious tactical mistake. It can prove to be a very deadly mistake indeed. Najib, being so immersed in the Malay Ultra culture surrounded by yes-man Chinese, is completely unaware of a taboo; an un-crossable line in the Chinese psyche. In his desperation to gain back some morale after a string of humiliations he committed the worst offence in the eyes of Chinese.

The Chinese are not what they seem on the surface. Nobody is what they seem on the surface for that matter. Whatever a certain character trait is overtly demonstrated on the surface, you can be sure that the complete opposite is lurking in the shadow. The seemly peace loving Chinese are not all that benign under the hood. It can be seen in the pervasive triad culture, the kung fu culture, the patriotic literature, even in its religion. The most popular god for Chinese is not Buddha the transcendental one; not Guan Yin the goddess of mercy; but Lord Guan, the god of war, the legendary general revered for his absolute loyalty and righteousness.

The bloody history of China was spotted with numerous upraising against foreign invaders and tyrants and oppressors. The secret societies’ heroic deeds are enshrined in literature and folklore, and the virtues of righteousness and absolutely loyalty sworn with blood are deified in Lord Guan. By the same token the traitors that sold out their own race are similarly enshrined in history to be cursed for eternity. Such is the dark hidden aspect of the Chinese psyche. The Chinese have no qualms about shaking hands with you even if you are a murderer. Money comes first; the rest is none of their business. But betrayal, especially betrayal of the race is an absolute taboo, an unforgivable sin.

Najib, in his haste to win Perak, has created one such unforgivable sinner in the person of Hee Yit Foong. In doing so he put himself in the position of a corrupt tyrant. The stage is set and all the actors in place: the villain Najib, the traitor Hee, and the unexpected rise of Nazir as the grassroot kung-fu hero. The racial memory is awakened and the Chinese finally united and up in arms for an epic struggle. PAS and DAP comradeship was never so strongly cemented.

Well done Najib, you managed to achieved what DAP could not do in the past 50 years. The hatred for Hee will be forever tied to you. No amount of sweet talk can get you out of this. No amount of money can buy you out of this. I am not sure how the collective hatred will manifest, but it will be a very ugly reality for you. It will be as dirty as the techniques you used to siege Perak.

Look at it objectively; the coup in Perak is really only a storm in the tea cup. It is nothing close to the Manchurian invasion or the Japanese occupation. Is the hatred projected to Hee Yit Foong really justified? There are 4 assembly men/women who deserted Pakatan Rakyat, why the exclusive focus of hatred to Hee?

But human beings hardly ever act rationally. The mob emotion is a very dangerous beast. This incident is the proverbial last straw that breaks the camel back. What got released is a deluge of pent up anger, frustrations, hatred and what not. There is nothing rational about it. But the despicable intrigue that Najib played to topple the Perak government was equally irrational and unjustified. It was completely uncalled for in the current global climate. The blatant disregard of the wish and feelings of the people was a form of wanton selfishness. Such irresponsible act will prove to have a very destructive effect for both the Prime Minister to be and to Barisan Nasional.

I would have loved to see the incarnation of a culture of tolerance and cooperation where all these ugly memories can be put to rest forever. I would have loved to see Barisan Nasional stand strong and lead the country out of the epic crisis that is already at our doorstep. But the rampant corruption in Barisan Nasional had not given me any hope yet. It has been getting from bad to worst for all that I see.

My support for Pakatan Rakyat is not because of the historical ideologies of the respective component parties. The rather unexpected victory in 308 has forced the three parties – PAS, PKR and DAP - to go through thorough transformations to adapt to the new roles they have to play. My support is a way of facilitating the transformation so that it can become vehicle for our common survival in the current global crisis. I will give myself in completely for that.

This is a time of reflection for all, not for rash actions. There are a lot of questions to ponder. Why would Hee Yit Foong, who dedicated 28 years of her live with DAP, made such an irrational decisions? Her action is akin to suicide. Her actions is destructive to herself, to the parties she sworn allegiance to and to the people that she pledged to represent. It is a grotesque and tragic manifestation of uncontrolled egoity, much like the destructive game that Najib is playing now but in different flavor. This is a complex question. I will write more about it later.

Is the battle lost for Pakatan Rakyat in Perak? May be. But I think the war is only just beginning to warm up.

“The Chinese are sons of Adam. The Malays, too, are sons of Adam” Nik Aziz Nik Mat
"Something new must emerge ..... A new mode of social contract ...., an egoless mode ...... based on cooperation, tolerance and universal participation and accountability. " Adi Da, Not-Two IS Peace

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead