Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
Mine is filled with fragrant flowers. Welcome.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


As he stood on a podium facing a delegation of thousands of adults in half-slumber and heedless chatter, the man in blue, with his trusted songkok firmly in place, began reciting the contents of his heart--word by word--in every sentence ingrained mindful reminders for the most beloved subject of his ailing struggle. The adults were stunned to silence, moved. Hearts started to inflamed with a long-forgotten aspiration and shame ran down the faces of those who knew, deep down in their soul, how every word pierced through their shallow mindedness and greed like daggers. 

...Sejarah bangsanya yang lena

Tanah lahirnya yang merekah berdarah 

In perhaps one of his most memorable speech as a politician, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed recited a poem that later produced a staple phrase that captured one of the essence of modern Malay struggle--'Melayu mudah lupa'. Anyone who watched his presentation during the Umno General Assembly 2001 would remember hearing the sound of the former Prime Minister's voice breaking and his eyes tearing up as he recite, 

Wahai bangsaku 

Jangan mudah lupa lagi

Kerana perjuanganmu belum selesai

This post might put some ideas into your head--that I am a Mahathir-loyalist or someone who subscribed to the 'Mahathirism' philosophy. Well, both are not true. But a chance of stumbling into this classic political gem from our nation's rich modern history resonates with my frustrations, hopes and belief in this country all at once. Tun's chuckle towards the end was the soft kiss at the back of a perfumed envelope that contained his love letter to the utmost loved subject of his soul--more than his political career and wealth--the nation. 

It is a frustrating time to be a believing Malaysian. To be a citizen who still believe that the nation and its people can still be saved from what seemed like a downward spiral of our nationhood through the abandonment of the most pertinent issues affecting our society--racial intolerance and wealth inequality. It is more frustrating for those who have tried, are trying and wanted to try to address these issues when they realized that those who we seek to represent us do not put the interest of the nation above anything else, in fact, most of them, if not all, put their own self-interest--money, power, position--far above the nation. Our politicians rather bicker with each other pointing which of them is more racist, corrupt and while doing that forget to do what they were voted in for in the first place. This has been our 'tradition' for the longest time but for a while it seemed more restrained compared to now. 

We also have a group of people who rather thrive at highlighting, passing judgement, creating unnecessary uproar over the comments of low-minded people than to actually go to the ground and address our society's problems. We might jump to the roof at every sentence uttered by some of the bigots in Perkasa and Dong Zhong (and others behind closed doors and media's coverage) but we lack the courage to cross our own backyard to see that there are still children to Malaysian parents, pribumis in the rural areas of Borneo, who do not have birth certificates and are unable to receive education like the rest of us. We chant loudly and proudly for the rights of people to cross dress and we forget to look at the back alleys of our streets to see that human trafficking is a bitter reality that also involves the LGBT community, as well as at risk women and children. Getting ourselves embroiled in these issues, guided into our minds thanks to relentless media coverage and the social media are tiring and merely reducing us to manipulated subjects of political rivalry among those in power. Don't get me started on how hypocrite our society has become. Some of us  pretend to tolerate one another when we do not, only acting as passerby who happen to share the same environment and interact with different races when needed to. Most of us, won't admit that we are racist but tell me if you truly believe that 100 per cent. 

It pains me to admit that Tun's love for this country and his refusal to back down, even after his retirement, is a breath of fresh air. Somehow I wonder if this nation will ever see a true statesman as a leader again or do we have to learn the hard way that the stability of the nation, safekeeping our peace and prosperity must triumph over anything else. Hard to admit that the people who are going to face the consequences of our action (or lack of it) now would not be us but future generations. Maybe they too would one day look at Tun M's video of this poem recital and wondered what happened to this country--blessed with wealth, potential and sovereignty. I still keep some hope to myself--that change will come even if its going to be a long winding road for some. As it is, for the Muslims, god has said persistently in the Quran that those who seek to enjoin others to goodness and speak the truth will be met with resistance, ridicule and hardship, but none of the struggle will go to waste. The Malays, they are a forgetful lot and Tun was right. However, now I'm starting to believe that not only the Malays 'mudah lupa'...perhaps the disease has find its way into the rest of us. We are beginning to forget how it feels like to live together in harmony, our youth are shaped to be individualistic in nature, becoming victims to fault policies and corrupt leaders, our children are growing up segregated, not knowing the beauty of celebrating our diversity as a nation.

Wahai bangsaku 

Jangan mudah lupa lagi

Kerana perjuanganmu belum selesai