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Friday, June 29, 2012

The two sides to the coin


And when do we get outraged when children and babies are killed for whatever reason they were killed? Only when 100 children are blown up by a bomb? Or even if just one child is killed by a religious fanatic? What if that one child happens to be someone dear to you? Would even just one, therefore, be unacceptable since it was someone dear to you or someone you know?
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
I remember, a couple of years back, Mat Sabu was giving a talk during aceramah and he asked the audience whether, once Pakatan Rakyat takes over the federal government, they want to round up and detain all the Barisan Nasional leaders under the Internal Security Act (ISA)? The crowd responded spontaneously with a resounding yes.
Mat Sabu then stopped talking. During that moment of silence he scanned the crowd and then, in a lowered voice, he replied, that is the problem with us. We are opposed to the ISA. We want the ISA to be abolished. But we want the ISA to be used against our enemies. If the ISA is a bad law and we are opposed to it, then we should also be opposed to it being used against our enemies.
I want to ask you again, Mat Sabu said. Once Pakatan Rakyat takes over the federal government, do we want to round up and detain all the Barisan Nasional leaders under the ISA? This time the crowd responded with a resounding no.
Ah, that is more like it, said Mat Sabu. If we are opposed to something being done to our friends then we must also be opposed to it being done to our enemies.
But then that is Mat Sabu. Some love him. Some hate him. Whatever it may be, Mat Sabu can be said to be a most controversial figure. Some regard him as a maverick, some, a loose cannon. Others consider him a religious deviant and accuse him of being a Shiah. He has also been accused of allowing his mouth to move faster than his brain. Nevertheless, he is a star of the ceramah circuit and a Mat Sabu ceramah would not be a Mat Sabu ceramah if you do not go away feeling entertained like hell.
What Mat Sabu said was right. And that was his way of educating the crowd. If we are opposed to something then we should be consistent in our stand. We can’t oppose it in one instance and then support it in another. That is known as hypocrisy.
For example, Muslims will condemn the Roman Catholic Church’s stand of supporting the Inquisition where pagan children and babies in Latin America were killed by bashing their heads against a rock after being baptised to send their souls to heaven. Then, when Jewish children and babies are killed by suicide bombers, Muslims will say that they deserve it and that this is what Jihad is all about.
We must decide whether the killing of children and babies in the name of religion is acceptable or is not acceptable. If it is not then it should not be acceptable whether it is Muslim children and babies or Jewish children and babies. And in the same spirit, detention without trial is not acceptable whether it is Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Najib Tun Razak or Muhyiddin Yassin who is detained.
In essence, killing of children and babies for whatever reason is wrong. And in that same spirit, detention without trial is wrong, never mind who is the one that is being detained. And if we cannot understand this and practice this then we are hypocrites who should be made to suffer the very thing that we propagate.
I know many of you are opposed to corruption if it is committed by someone from the government. But you will not only tolerate corruption if committed by someone from the opposition, you will also get very angry if the matter is raised and you will start cursing and swearing and say that it is a BN plot to undermine the opposition.
Your argument is: the government people commit big corruption running into hundreds of millions or billions while the opposition corruption is small-time. Okay, if the issue is the amount, and hence small amounts are tolerable, then the bribes that Road Transport Department officers take to approve the driving licences of people who cannot drive and the bribes that police officers take to close their eyes to traffic offenses should also be acceptable. We should not, therefore, make any noise about it since it is very small, a mere few Ringgit.
How many of you have lost friends or family members, or you know people who have lost friends and family members, on Malaysian roads? About 7,000-10,000 people die every year on Malaysian roads. Over the last 20 years alone, about 250,000 Malaysians have died or have been seriously injured and/or maimed for life.
Don’t you think that that is a lot of people? And many of these people need not have died or become seriously injured/maimed if idiots had not been allowed to drive, or if those who committed serious traffic offenses had the book thrown at them.
In the UK, if you are caught driving under the influence of liquor you will be banned from driving -- immediate 12 points demerit. If you are an airline pilot, you can’t even drink off-duty if you are in uniform, let alone drive. If you do and you are spotted, you will lose your pilot’s licence. Lawyers who get caught driving under the influence will be disbarred. In Malaysia, all you need to do is to slip the police officer a couple of Ringgit and that would be the end of it.
So you see, the UK goes to great pains to keep dangerous people off the road. That is why in the UK the traffic accident fatalities per capita are only 10% of that in Malaysia. In Malaysia, because we tolerate ‘small’ corruption, people who should not be allowed on the roads get to kill your friends or relatives. That is what ‘small’ corruption does.
So, should we ‘draw a line’ on corruption? And where should this line be? Is RM100 acceptable and more than that not tolerated? Let us make it RM300. How many of those 250,000 Malaysians over the last 20 years since 1992 are dead or maimed because someone, somewhere, gave a police officer RM50 to ‘close one eye’, or paid RM300 for a ‘lesen kopi’, and then crashed and killed/maimed someone?
And when do we get outraged when children and babies are killed for whatever reason they were killed? Only when 100 children are blown up by a bomb? Or even if just one child is killed by a religious fanatic? What if that one child happens to be someone dear to you? Would even just one, therefore, be unacceptable since it was someone dear to you or someone you know?
Malaysians do express outrage when something wrong is done. But we are very selective in our outrage. Muslims are outraged by what Israel, the Jews, or the US does, which is seen as ‘anti-Islam’. But many wore Osama Bin Ladin T-shirts and cheered when the Twin Towers in New York was brought down at the loss of thousands of lives. In fact, they danced on the streets. They also wore Saddam Hussein T-shirts and cheered when Iraq invaded Kuwait. And they marched to the US embassy to protest the invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam.
What bullshit is this? This is all nothing short of hypocrisy. Either it is right or it is wrong. It cannot be right one day and wrong the next. And how can we condemn our enemies if we are doing exactly what our enemies are doing, and then justify it by saying that they are worse or they do it on a bigger scale than what we do. RM50 could have resulted in someone you love being killed on the road. Would a RM1 million bribe, therefore, be worse than a RM50 bribe?
Anyway, the UK is very strict about talking on the phone while driving. In Malaysia, you see this happening everywhere and no one gets hauled up for it. The photograph below demonstrates how law-abiding the Brits are compared to Malaysians. This is the way to go if you want to talk and drive but do not a hands-free kit.

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