Are we blinded by mad cow disease?

Based on this, it does seem that the parading of the cow’s head in Shah Alam and the subsequent spitting and stomping on it must have been fuelled by anger or hatred towards something other than the poor cow.

By David D. Mathew (MySinchew)

The cow: Here are some facts.

A cow spends its day generally grazing around, staring about and sleeping. It speaks gently by way of a moo. It is a mammal that has been around since time immemorial. A single cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime. In fact, cows are responsible for supplying around 90 percent of the dairy needs of the world population.

Cow dung is used as fertiliser. In some parts of the world, it is also used as fuel. A large collection of the same can also be used to produce enough biogas to create electricity.

Interestingly, humans and cows have the same gestation period, which is about nine months. So it seems to me that the simple cow is an extremely useful creature which exists for the purpose of providing human beings with much benefit. It also seems to me that the cow is an extremely laid back creature with no penchant for violence or aggression.

Well, there is of course the bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow issue but that is a disease that affects cows and not an inherent behavioural trait of the cow.

Based on this, it does seem that the parading of the cow’s head in Shah Alam and the subsequent spitting and stomping on it must have been fuelled by anger or hatred towards something other than the poor cow.

I could be wrong of course. The organisers of the protest against the relocation of the 150 year-old Sri Mariamman Hindu temple from Section 19 to Section 23, Shah Alam have pleaded ignorance. The police have thus far seemed to find it hard to get to the bottom of things. So hard that the Attorney General had to direct them to go investigate further.

Once the police investigation is finally over, the Attorney General will decide whether or not to prosecute. The trouble with this is that he still has not (at the time of writing) decided what to do with the case of A. Kugan’s death in police custody. Kugan died in January so the cow’s head file should be quite far down in the order of the Attorney General’s business.

The Home Minister too is baffled. After politely asking the protest organisers whether they knew who was behind the incident, he found it fit to exonerate them because they did not know. It is indeed amazing that he found the time to meet with the organisers personally and then convene a rather jovial press conference with the leaders of the protest flanking him.

The Home Minister also seemed to get a little sidetracked by the Internal Security Act saying that the people who were once asking for the act to be repealed are now asking for the protest organisers to be detained under the same act.

“Logic or not?” asked the Home Minister.

Well Sir, in the main, the anti-ISA movement condemns the act because it allows for arbitrary detention without trial. They however also condemn the act because it is constantly abused and used selectively by the government of the day.

In fact Mr. Minister, you would remember that the act was also condemned because it was used by your predecessor against a journalist for the laughable reason that the said journalist needed protection.

The Home Minister then bizarrely raised the issue about a pig’s head and proceeded to cite the age old adage of an eye for an eye. “If everybody takes a decision that an eye for an eye is the way out, then everybody will end up blind” said the Home Minister. Indeed, Mr. Minister. 52 years on and we are without a doubt going blind.

Blind to the abuse and selective usage of the Internal Security Act and Sedition Act. Blind to the failure of this country to give all our best and brightest students the scholarships to study so that they eventually return home instead of putting up roots in and contributing to our neighbour down south.

Blind to the fact that an economic system built on concessions and political patronage instead of ability and value creation will doom us to failure.

Blind to the grievous hurt caused to hundreds of families around the country because we have failed to properly deal with conversion issues that result in mothers losing the right to have a say in the religion of their children and families playing tug of war with the Islamic authorities on burial maters.

Blind to the fact that we have beaten around the bush when it comes to answering the burning question as to whether an order of the High Court of Malaya is subservient, equal or superior to an order of the Syariah Court.

Blind to the fact that we do not need to be mollycoddled when it comes to whether or not we can watch the Black Eyed Peas perform in our spare time.

Blind to the fact that many tourists will no longer remember the nice little expensive advertisements for Visit Malaysia, Truly Asia shown around the world because they have this picture of a woman being whipped for drinking beer in their minds. But there is no point crying over spilt beer.

There is also no useful purpose in depending on the government to heal the situation because race as political currency is inbuilt in the DNA of all the main coalition parties which is why they preach convenient tolerance and not good faith acceptance.

Let us as a people start to work together as one people irrespective of race to condemn all forms of bigotry, racism and stupidity. We sit and break fast with each other during Ramadhan. We hug each other when our favourite football team scores. We eat each other’s traditional dishes and sometimes even adopt them as our own. Regardless of race, we all grieve when the talented among our people pass on.

So there is absolutely no reason why we cannot, as one people, turn our faces against narrow-mindedness and intolerance as demanded by all our respective religions. The politicians and trouble-makers that stand on the other side will then never be seen again.