Thursday, May 3, 2012

Where I Was During Bersih 3.0

April 28th 2012 must have a been a great day for many Malaysians who took part in the Bersih 3.0 rally, however physically demanding.

I must confess that at the same time, I was having a luncheon buffet with my family and we got our news feed of the rally on our handphones. The rally was peaceful so we heard up to 3pm.

What is interesting is the conversation i had with my father about China’s tragic history in the 20th century. Dad said all the problems of the world can be traced to ideology and the conflict between people of different ideologies.

I disagreed. In my opinion, most if not all political conflicts stem from the human need for power whether for oneself (dictator) or for an elite (a fascist regime that feeds off economic profits). I brought up the example of China: when China was about to become a republic under its first provisional president Dr Sun Yat Sen, one of the generals - Yuan Shi Kai - was promised the position of President if he could get the Qing court to step down. After the Emperor Pu Yi abdicated in 1912, Yuan Shi Kai became president and then in 1915, he declared himself Emperor of China. In his subsequent struggles against Yuan Shi Kai and other warlords, Sun Yat Sen later died of lung cancer in 1925 with the disappointment he could not unite China.

What ideology was it that justified Yuan Shi Kai’s actions? Simple greed for power in a time of political instability, international intrigue and uncertainty. China then became a battle field between two tyrants - General Chiang Kai Shek and comrade Mao Tse Tung with the Japanese war intervening briefly in between their conflicts. To the Chinese people, especially farmers, Chiang Kai Shek was a hard task master of a leader and they clearly put their trust in the new liberator and reformer Mao. What an irony that Mao is now recorded in the history books as the worst genocidal dictator (including willful starvation of the population) with 50-80 million deaths during his regime.

To a different degree, the same moral crisis is heading to Malaysia and the 21st century political landscape when politicians vy for power (does Unify Europe at all costs sound errily the same as unify China or Weimar Germany?).

We must be careful even in our demands for democracy and be more circumspect of our politician's personal ethics. Whoever becomes the next prime minister must be an ethical person who has all Malaysians’ sovereign interest and well-being at heart. All politicians are opportunists. Let us choose the one who is God fearing and capable. Even a fairly average PM surrounded by good advisors is better than a maverick who is a law unto himself.

Finally, Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0, despite the subsequent eruption of violence, is the most blessed social phenomenon for this nation because Malaysians of all races can stand together for country and for God, whatever their individual faiths and beliefs.

The human spirit of love triumphs over ideology and communal politics on one fine day. It is my daily prayer that our government is aligned to lead ethically and morally so that we can peacefully rise out of our politicised communal strongholds.

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