Those who thought that the Third Reich’s cause was futile and spoke up were labelled as traitors, cowards, Trojan horses, turncoats, agents of the Allies, and whatnot and were sent to the firing squad. So it was most advisable to just nod and agree and tell the Fuhrer that it was a brilliant plan. Of course, behind the Fuhrer’s back they will mutter and say that the Fuhrer is mad. But you do not tell this to the Fuhrer’s face.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
A friend from Liverpool dropped in a couple of days ago and our discussion touched on the subject of ‘Malaysian mentality’. “How do we change the mentality of Malaysians?” he asked me. “Do you think you should write simpler? But you are already writing in very simple English. I don’t know how simpler you can write. But still most people can’t seem to get the simple message you are trying to convey.”
They say if the message is lost then it is the conveyor and not the receiver of the message who must be blamed. It is the job of the conveyor to ensure that the receiver understands the message. If not then the conveyor is at fault.
I suppose this would be true to a certain extent. But how far should and can you go to ensure that the receiver gets the message? I mean, have you noticed that English-speaking people when talking to, say, an Italian who does not speak English, will shout and speak slowly? They feel that if they pronounce word-by-word in a very loud tone then the non-English speaking person would understand what you are saying.
Suddenly the Italian-speaking person is supposed to understand what you are saying.
The chap would reply, in Italian of course, and would probably say: I…CAN’T…SPEAK…ENGLISH….THAT….DOES…NOT…MEAN…I…AM…DEAF!
That reminds me of an incident my wife and I had in Paris many years ago. We walked up to two policemen to ask for directions to the Eiffel Tower. In perfect Queen’s English one of the policemen asked me: Do you speak English?
I replied with a broad smile on my face that I did and he responded, again in perfect Queen’s English: Well, we do not speak English.
I got the message. We then walked over to another policeman further down the road and asked: boleh tolong tak? Eiffel Tower di mana?
The baffled policeman then asked me: Do you speak English?
And I replied, “No!...ah…little, little,” and showed two fingers clasped tightly to demonstrate the ‘little, little’. The pleased policeman then rattled away in English and was most helpful -- but of course I had to scratch my head and give him a very puzzled look as if I understood only part of what he said.
Malays call that ‘main wayang’.
Anyway, people will believe what they want to believe. There is just so much you can do in delivering a message. However, the job of a messenger is very dangerous. Have you heard how they used to kill bringers of bad tidings in the old days?
If the receiver of the news likes the news, they will gleefully accept it. If they don’t, then the messenger must be put to death. That has been happening for more than 2,000 years if you believe in the Greek Mythology of Proetus, his protégé Bellerophon and his father-in-law Iobates, or stories about the Trojan War.
Hence, we have to live with the occupational hazard of being the bringer of bad tidings. More than 2,000 years of history has taught us that you must always tell the King what he likes to hear. To do otherwise would result in your death.
Who dared wake Hitler from his sleep to inform him that the Allies had landed on Normandy? Waking the Fuhrer was bad enough. But to wake him up to such bad news would mean you would get sent to the firing squad. So they allowed the Fuhrer to continue sleeping while they pondered on what to do. By the time the Fuhrer found out, the Allied forces were already halfway to Berlin.
And should you be the mouse to bell the cat? Napoleon proved that engaging the Allied forces on two fronts and invading Russia was suicidal. If the Russians do not kill you, the cold and starvation will. Napoleon lost 600,000 soldiers. It is estimated that Hitler lost the same number of soldiers although 20 million died in total if Russian soldiers and civilians were included in the death toll. But then the European population in 1800 was only 200 million compared to one billion or so in 1940.
Those who thought that the Third Reich’s cause was futile and spoke up were labelled as traitors, cowards, Trojan horses, turncoats, agents of the Allies, and whatnot and were sent to the firing squad. So it was most advisable to just nod and agree and tell the Fuhrer that it was a brilliant plan. Of course, behind the Fuhrer’s back they would mutter and say that the Fuhrer is mad. But you do not tell this to the Fuhrer’s face.
Anyway, people will always believe what they want to believe. And it is very difficult to change their viewpoint even how simple your English may be. Take religion as one example. Probably more than 90% of the people believe that there is a God or at least some form of higher power. They will kill and die to defend this belief.
But can they prove all this? What is the basis of this belief? Some will quote verses from the Quran or the Hadith. Others will quote from the Bible or whatever Holy Book they believe in. Every single person will swear that this ‘fact’ came from God Himself.
Can you rebut this? Of course, if you use reasoning, you can. But the believers will not accept reasoning. Their belief is based on handed-down stories. And based on these handed-down stories they will argue that this is all the ‘proof’ that they need.
Hence, when humankind has been conditioned and brainwashed into accepting what they like to believe and rejecting what they don’t like to believe, it works in a vicious circle. Beliefs are what are comfortable to you to believe. And if you do not feel comfortable then you will not believe it.
That is the bottom line. And that is how humankind has been programmed. So, should I bother about trying to change these beliefs? If people can accept the belief that killing those who do not believe in what you believe is what God wants you to do and you will be rewarded for all those women and children you have killed, then my chances of changing beliefs would be very slim.