Monday, June 04, 2012

No sense of decency

May 22, 2012

The traders and army veterans have invited only derision for making a public nuisance of themselves.
Crude. Rude. Despicable. That sums up the behaviour of the people who showed up in front of the house of the leader of a hugely popular movement to stage a silly protest. They blamed the gracious lady for disrupting their business on the day concerned citizens boldly walked down the city streets to seek clean and fair play at the ballot box. The protesters did not cause the subsequent chaos that gave the police a bad name.
The business of the April 28 rally was not to disrupt business. The government has twisted and distorted the aim of the popular movement to make it look anti-business. The scenario portrayed was frightening: the economy would be badly hit and people would suffer grieviously as a result of street demonstrations. The protest came and went and left in its wake many bruised bodies and simmering resentment.
But did the wheels of business come to a grinding halt? Hardly. The country did not bleed to death and no investors fled. The upshot of the rally was that it stirred widespread public sympathy for a good cause and condemnation of the heavy-handed use of force against unarmed civilians. The government has lost its high moral ground – and this is not good for its image. It is not good business when Putrajaya gets red marks for bad behaviour.
So something must be done to smear the rally, especially its “ring” leader. What better way to do it than to “sponsor” the burger protest outside the home of the prominent leader. The government made the most of it. The action of the angry burger sellers proved the powers-that-be right: the rally had indeed caused hardship to traders. They did not make a single sen on that historic day. Poor burghers. But they definitely did not tug the heartstrings of the public when they offered beef burger to a Hindu lady. It was done in bad taste.
Then there was this group of army veterans who threw discipline out of the window and put on an obscene act to show their displeasure. They certainly did nothing to advance their cause. They only invited undisguised scorn for their ill-bred conduct. They became a disgusting sight and they represent everything that is boorish, uncouth, base.
Shockingly, the circus show seems to have the blessing of the government. Its servant – the police force which crushed the peaceful rally with an iron fist – looked the other way, giving the mob the right to cause a public nuisance because no laws were flouted. The hidden intent is clear: it is all right to harass political opponents at their homes, ceramah, public forums. Give them no peace until they are hounded out and left totally weakened.
It has become a dangerous trend among certain sections of society to malign other citizens under the influence of the misguided doctrine of race superiority. They think they are the dominant race and therefore they feel they have the licence to bully others into submission. The minority can only watch helplessly as insults, obscenities, vulgarities are hurled at them with impunity.
The political clique ensconced in Putrajaya will have every reason to clap their hands in glee because their goons are doing the dirty job for them. From behind the curtain these sanctimonious leaders are surely egging on the street performers to keep up their nasty antics. This is a self-defeating move. A government which encourages rude behaviour is itself rude. A rude government does not deserve the respect – and votes – of the subjects.
Where can the victims of government-sponsored intimidation seek help to redress an injustice? It is pointless go to the police. There is scant justice there. There is not much hope in the courts. The scale of justice has long ago tipped the other side. It serves no purpose to lick the wounds and suffer in silence. It would only aggravate the mental anguish. The only way out is to influence the political process. The life of a nation is inextricably bound up with politics. A citizens’ movement need not turn into a political party. It can stay on the rim of politics and still be a force to be reckoned with. A citizen’s movement can check the excesses of the government. Street rallies are the ultimate weapon to put a wayward government on notice: shape up or ship out.

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