Bastardized Democracy

Quite unlike what the western media love to promote, parliamentary democracy is not something invented by western do-gooders for the good and happiness of the people of the world. It was as seedy and grubby as institutionalized class struggle, but not between the workers and the capitalists, for such a class struggle is usually characterized by strikes, lock outs and sometimes even violence.

Parliamentary democracy was institutionalized class struggle between the capitalists and the aristocracy in England. (Remember that the English capitalists made 2 revolutions which never completely got rid of the aristocracy unlike the French capitalists who were much more efficient). It used to be characterized by violence as well, the very extreme kind where heads get chopped off. But over time, they decided that it was better to spend time making money by robbing and killing other people who were more primitive and hence more easily killed than to chop off each others’ civilized very-difficult-to-chop-off heads.

So it was that parliamentary democracy came to being. It was suited to the conditions of England where the competing classes watched each other like hawks, ready to pounce and turn to violence again should the other break the rules. There was created a happy and peaceful balancing act which over time became a class struggle of slightly different classes under new conditions prosperity and security.

In Malaysia, we happily and blindly copied their model thinking it would bring the same peace and happiness to us. Unfortunately, as usual we neglected to study the conditions required for success. Our parliamentary democracy was never a balancing act. It became one party rule, which over time became even more vicious and corrupt than what our old colonialists used to be. (Remember Newton’s Law, but as a curious side effect, this sometimes creates fond memories of our old masters in some people through the use of selective memories). As they say – power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The trouble with parliamentary democracy is that there is a long period in between elections which is meant for the elected government to rule without distraction. In the west, this period is jealously guarded by competing classes through NGOs as well as a powerful opposition (who are strong enough and rich enough to form shadow cabinets) in case the elected government plays hanky-panky.

In Malaysia, the opposition is too weak to play this role and so also are the NGOs. The end result is that the whole civil service and even private sector gets seduced to support one party rule – the police, the judiciary, the treasurers, the auditors, the election commissions, the journalists and their editors, the towkays and their donations, the municipalities, the village heads and even the post office, the communications, water and electricity boards. Every one of any influence gets seduced.

As the seduction process broadens and deepens, the usual symptoms surface – abuse of power, unabashed corruption, rotting infrastructure, inefficient civil service, an education system that turns out mindlessly-western-aping children who cannot count or read, increasing and increasingly violent crime, unabashed show-off grand projects, fat women draped in obscene jewelry, young women draped in skimpy clothes, loss of morality and good conscience.

I am not saying this process is smooth and regular. Sometimes men and women of good conscience try to arrest the rot and some good progress is made, but too often, these men get shunted aside or put into cold storage for refusing to get involved in corruption.

The end result is what we are living today. Although it is still not a living hell except for some activists / opposition members brave enough to risk the wrath of the system or some poor soul caught by the crime wave or entangled in bureaucratic incompetence or corruption, more and more people are now facing the prospect of a living hell.

The Rule of Law is set aside in an open and transparent way. The Law itself is made into a mockery in an open and transparent way. Policemen and judges break the law in an open and transparent way. The media tells lies in an open and transparent way. The whole civil service is becoming a gang of criminals in an open and transparent way. The government dips into the Treasury without any accountability in an open and transparent way.

The people have no legal recourse. The system is pushing people into taking extra-judicial recourse and the authorities are branding them as criminals and threats to national security. This is becoming a bastardized democracy in the ideal sense in an open and transparent way.

Yet the people hesitate. Yet the people react only so slowly – first individuals, then groups of individuals. All the time the authorities brand them as criminals for not using the legal process which are already primed against them in a Catch 22 manner. Individuals and groups of individuals are easily picked off and made to disappear from the public eye, whether by threats, bribery or incarceration without trial.

The authorities are already trying to blindfold the public. If this carries on, the public will be gagged and then eventually, their hands and feet will be tied. If this is not a picture of a crime victim, I do not know what is. I guess the next logical thing to expect is to be beaten up mercilessly while blindfolded, gagged and with hands and feet tied. Our children are already doing this in militarized institutions though something called “ragging” – as usual, copied from western military traditions.

In the meantime, activists or even just men and women of good conscience who try to remove the blindfolds are branded as criminals. Those who try to remove the gags are also branded as criminals. Those who try to free the hands and feet from bondage are branded as threats to national security. The best sons and daughters of Malaysia are being beaten into submission. Back to no legal recourse.

In the meantime, the public continue to hesitate. So many “in the meantimes” – it is as if time itself were suspended. People start to get inured to seeing vicious brutality and criminal acts in an open and transparent way. It is even entertaining – just like watching Wayang Kulit.

In the meantime, our bastardized democracy is safe. Anyone who tries to change it is a criminal and a threat to national security. Unlike in the west, where extra electoral or even extra judicial measures would have come into play a long time ago, Malaysia remains peaceful and secure, waiting for the next elections to do our patriotic duty and go to the polls. How truly blessed we are.

How should we then handle our self-induced, drugged, peaceful and happy existence? The authorities push anyone brave enough to try and changed anything into the realm of criminality.

Unlike some of you, I for one am quite averse to violence and brutality. I do not think using sin to combat sin or corruption to combat corruption is a good tactic. In this sense, I am a great admirer of Gandhi. I believe that somewhere along the line, people can become so indignant with sin and corruption that they refuse to be governed by a corrupt and sinful government anymore. I believe that this point can be reached.

So while the authorities push people into criminality, people have to resist this and to raise their indignation. While the authorities try to provoke people into violence or extra-legal actions, people have to resist this violence with even more indignation.

With indignation, the line between corruption and decency and between sin and good conscience can be clearly drawn. It is at this point that a corrupt and sinful government cannot govern anymore.

So while, some of you may believe in the secularity of the west and try to copy western ways and traditions, I believe that eastern decency and religious values still apply in the east. We tried the western models and they are not working, instead leading us down the path of brutality and violence. It is time to go back to our roots.

– By batsman