Truth, honour and loyalty
by Zaharom Nain. Posted on August 21, 2011, Sunday
I DON’T mean to be a pessimist, let alone an alarmist. But, as I look around me these days and try to digest many of the indigestible morsels of information being churned out by the media, I can’t help feeling that, on numerous fronts, based on our absolute refusal to consider other viewpoints and an unwillingness to understand other points of view, we appear to be teetering on the edge of lawlessness.
An obvious example, of course, would be the recent riots in England. To see images of kids, some barely in their teens, rioting, mugging and looting, raises numerous questions about parenting, the possible failure of the state, and how any sense of belonging gets thrown out of the window when people feel terribly deprived in a materialistic world.
And surely that sense of despair and alienation will only get worse when the state then removes their – already few – privileges? We shall see, I guess.
Even closer home, recent and ongoing events seem to indicate in some foreboding way that things are also not quite right.
Call it the silly season, if you must, but it would seem that the rakyat is constantly being served a cocktail of blatant lies, appeals to blind loyalty and plain stupidity these days. And served, often by our leaders and their media, with very little shame at that.
Indeed, as far as religion is concerned, as one commentator put it recently, in response to the unfortunate non-kosher food advertisements in a national newspaper: “It seems to me that piety and faith have degenerated into one-upmanship, ie mine is better than yours, mine is the ‘official religion’, so suck it up.”
As she wrote this, up in Penang and in relation to the same gaffe by the English daily (which by this time had apologised publicly twice), we had a small group of thugs masquerading as concerned Muslims burning copies of the newspaper just outside the paper’s northern office.
Yes, I’m sure such action would have made things better, especially in the month of Ramadan when Muslims are asked to be patient, understanding and even circumspect.
Not content with having made utter ninnies of themselves, these same savages also threatened to bring trailers of the same paper to be burnt if the newspaper didn’t ‘apologise properly’. One wonders what apologising ‘properly’ would entail for these guys? And I’m sure all this will bring non-Muslims closer to Islam or even to understanding it.
Then there’s this issue of loyalty. I’m sure you must have read recently, as I did, that some members of a uniformed organisation had come clean about possible ‘discrepancies’, for want of a better word, in the practice of postal voting.
These are uniformed personnel who, to quote Jack Nicholson in that classic courtroom scene in ‘A Few Good Men’, “use words like honour, code, loyalty … as the backbone of a life spent defending something”.
In response to their revelations, the top brass came out, guns blazing, condemning them for being ‘disloyal’. If they haven’t already, I would humbly suggest that these senior officers spend a couple of hours watching ‘A Few Good Men’, especially a brilliantly over-the-top Jack Nicholson in that courtroom scene.
Perhaps then, any confusion regarding being loyal to one’s country as opposed to a political party or even the organisation one is in could be cleared up.
There’s too much of this nonsense going around already. Increasingly, many critiques about the actions of individuals and/or organisations are being misrepresented as signifying disloyalty to the country and even to the King and the Sultans.
Such deflections of valid criticism are often not very clever, devoid of real substance and simply latch on to feudal, even base, instincts.
Indeed, it is this appealing — often irrational appealing — to quite primordial beliefs that appears to be the current, desperate strategy implemented by people who seem devoid of any sense, let alone good ones. And certainly devoid of any true sense of leadership.
And the shameful thing is that many of us, supposedly educated, widely read, extensively travelled and worldly-wise, just sit back and say nothing. We certainly disagree, but we say nothing.
God forbid that we should do something – like raise an objection to all this nonsense. Or even provide some open support for the people who speak up against the idiocy.
Which leads me to wonder what is it that would in the end make us sit up and take stock rather than remain cocooned in our smug complacency or the belief that “all this has got nothing to do with me, especially since my God is with me”?
I can’t speak for everyone’s god, but I would think that mine would be rather disappointed with me for only caring for myself.
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