We do not need leaders or even former leaders to ridicule themselves with statements that bring shame to our nation in the international arena which may in fact cause a drop in FDI or even trade sanctions. There is absolutely no room for arrogance and self-glorification if they intend to serve the rakyat and the country.

By Masterwordsmith

Years ago, I remember my parents told me that the main threat to Malaysia was from the communists. At that tender age, all I knew was that ‘communist’ was a three-syllable word that implied an external threat. Today, I believe we are facing real threats in our country, not from external sources but from within – leaders who by their words, actions, policies, have caused us to lose confidence and faith in them. Do our politicians have a heart to serve?”

In so many events such as the TBH controversy, the “Allah” issue, MACC do’s and don’ts, missing jets or Skyhawks or Scorpene submarines or GST etc, we can see how leaders and commenters partake in vitriolic debate, but in our heart of hearts and conscience, we know that their words do not impact us at all. If our leaders hope to achieve political influence and desire to make statements that are effective and constructive, they have to speak from THEIR hearts to touch OUR hearts. Their words and actions must speak to our feelings and take into consideration our desires, fears, anger, hopes, and above all, the collective good of our nation.

Intellectual or rhetorical arguments presented by certain leaders do not necessarily influence political orientations, especially if it is evident that someone else or an organization had been commissioned to write that speech or formulate a program upon instructions from leaders. Some could make decisions by mentally assessing the pros and cons but we have to acknowledge that many are still guided primarily by feeling. There could also be those who are subliminally influenced emotionally by certain developments in the country, and use their thinking faculties to justify the stance determined by their emotions. In such a scenario, politicians must appeal to their underlying feelings to influence them.

Let us admit it. Each of us has our own desires and a myriad of feelings about our country such as fear, anger and love/compassion. There are politicians who can successfully appeal to these desires by implementing policies that match our needs such as lower taxes, or improvements in education standards.

At the same time, we all know that there could be politicians who love to evoke fear by their statements or insinuations which alarm us and increase our anxiety and sense of helplessness. By doing so, I wonder if they realize that such mindless and heartless statements do nothing but spur us to close our hearts to their messages and we would prefer to cling to familiar sources of security which may not necessarily be the status quo any more. When one has fear, one tends to be desperate for security and needs reassurances but these are not forthcoming from the leaders who instead, seem to enjoy making veiled threats and allusions which could cause our feelings to spiral into anger in an attempt to make sense out of nonsense!

Currently, there is a dangerous trend of events which can stir anger that may escalate in political protest. In some ways, anger can mobilize people into action which may lead to change or destruction. Far too often, it remains anger AGAINST a group and is not channeled into anger and action FOR a group. In such a climate, it could mean that actions could be disguised by the veneer of justice and good intentions for a covert purpose rather than for noble intentions.

As such, people could lose their faith and hope in such leadership. Even if statements were forthcoming, one would test and assess these to see if words match actions and trends and if these don’t match, again, confidence in leaders would be undermined. It almost seems as though some leaders have no consideration of how the rakyat may feel when they do not speak up against unfair statements made by other quarters or when there are double standards in policies or procedure. All this only serves to weaken their national image.

For a 52-year old nation, it is saddening that we have yet to reach the stage where we are capable of caring for everyone regardless of class, creed and color because of certain myths and stereotyped practices. We raise our flags on Hari Kebangsaan and sing our National Anthem with gusto at official events but beyond such token acts, we have yet to gel together as a nation with a cohesive and acceptable national identity to see ourselves as one. Why? We must ask ourselves if our leaders genuinely want us to move in that direction. While on one hand we may have feelings of compassion for some needy people, it could be difficult to extend our feelings and desire to care for others beyond the boundaries of our families. Why? Because others in the community remain distant for many reasons and we still see others through race-tinted lenses! How sad! Is this practice endorsed and encouraged by certain quarters for a hidden agenda?

It is obvious that with the prices of goods going up and the increase in the cost of living, many of us are overwhelmed by the demands of everyday living and we are trying to maintain control by controlling our emotions. Some may try to assuage our struggles in our own ways and we may be too inward looking to realize the bigger picture that has so many problems that affect our personal problems.

In my heart, I truly wish and pray that our leaders and their subordinates would address our deepest concerns. If they want us to vote them into power, they must convince us that they are genuinely care about the struggles of our lives and they must show us in real terms by the congruency of their actions and policies that they are sincere in working towards our betterment.

But do we see it? We see so many new policies and projects with fancy sloganeering – all which need lots of public expenditure and look good in blue-print but may not necessarily work. While they may proclaim how much they are doing it for our good, our leaders must communicate with the rakyat on a deeper level – from their hearts to our hearts. We are not looking for fancy jargon or sentimental words, but rather through heartfelt expression translated into political actions which reflect their values. We do not need leaders or even former leaders to ridicule themselves with statements that bring shame to our nation in the international arena which may in fact cause a drop in FDI or even trade sanctions. There is absolutely no room for arrogance and self-glorification if they intend to serve the rakyat and the country.