Hindraf Supporters: Open Your Eyes

By AsamLaksa

Malaysian Indians lack a lot but what it lacks most is not schools, capital nor talents, they lack political innovation and effective leadership.

I can understand the frustration of Shan and Sunil that there are so many negative comments relating to HINDRAF and the Indian plight in Malaysia Today and other blogs. What gives?

Firstly, I must ask why get so frustrated over what other commentators or bloggers say? When you lose your cool you delve deeper into talking crap, others will laugh at you regardless of the significance of your points.

Secondly, does HINDRAF does not represent the majority of Malaysian Indians. You can poll the Malaysian Indians themselves and it’s not surprising a large number of them keep a healthy distance away from HINDRAF. Not because they fear for their safety but because HINDRAF’s stance and activities are too extreme for their liking.

Thirdly, nobody is denying that HINDRAF played a part whether big or small in the 2008 elections however nobody cares when you go on and on that everyone somehow owe HINDRAF’s corner of Malaysian Indians something. It is unfortunate that such belief tend to lead to disappointment.

Fourthly, HINDRAF perpetuating the race under attack mentality will get you nowhere. Comments against HINDRAF are seen as anti-Indian. Clearly anti-Indian comments are then repeated loudly and taken to be the truth of how everyone else sees Malaysian Indians. Thus all Malaysian Indians should come together to fight for themselves. Change “Indian” into “Malays” and you get UMNO. Somehow HINDRAF fails to recognise this similarity with UMNO. Indian this, Indian that … orang dah muak dah ….

Fifth, a few HINDRAF supporters lack insight into their significance and effectiveness crossing into grandiose beliefs. I would have strongly advised HINDRAF to stay out of politics and keep to social activism. It is not that the Malaysian Indian plights are insignificant but rather the foolish and naive venture into politics without a sound core principle. HINDRAF claims to fight for all Malaysians however when you read them closer you will find their real sentiment of fighting only for a group within the Malaysian Indian community. Sounds like 1Malaysia on a micro scale.

There is no denying HINDRAF lacks direction and leadership in them picking up the wrong fights at the wrong time not to mention the clear lack of cohesion. HINDRAF’s foray into Kampung Buah Pala was disastrous adding to the decline in support. HINDRAF pushed too hard and others pushed back. HINDRAF could have remained as a social movement building up the self confidence and self esteem of the Indian community helping out in the daily lives of the people but instead it chose prematurely to enter the realms of lobbying and pressure politics with all its pitfalls.

Sixth, the lack of clear leadership and cohesion makes HINDRAF difficult to work with. HINDRAF is still mostly a social movement but it ventures into politics and behaved inconsistently. I can appreciate keeping HINDRAF independent however I do not appreciate a body that shape shifts so often that it doesn’t know left from right.

Seventh, everyone forms opinions and conclusions and sadly HINDRAF’s are also far from reality. No one is denying that there is a big chunk of Malaysian Indians who are in need of serious help however very few believe that HINDRAF knows the solution.

Eighth, I address the emotional aspect of pointless label trading of racism. Even with best of intentions you proclaim your fight for one race, you are baiting to be called a racist. It all comes down to the presentation and context. It is easy to end up appearing the racist when your agenda, propaganda and appeal are confined to a particular race. Even DAP is still seen as a racist party regardless of its multiracial line up. It is mainly because their agenda does not appeal to pro-NEP Malays while appealing to middle and working class Chinese thus hyped as anti-Malay and pro-Chinese. Sadly HINDRAF supporters show their naivety with digging deeper into the pits of racial rhetoric.

In my conclusion it is not that most Malaysians are anti-Indians, it is mainly that less and less people are buying into HINDRAF’s vision. I recognise the frustrations that many Indians experience. Every individual has their agendas and everyone can agree that some agendas are bigger than others. The truth of the matter is that HINDRAF brings up many good points but there are bigger issues that take priority. Instead of putting mutual benefit at the top, HINDRAF chose to run their corner. The ball is at HINDRAF’s and their supporter’s feet; you can either channel your frustrations towards a divisive or a uniting force.

The reality in Malaysia is that no one group can go at it solo. To be effective you need to work for mutual benefit. I end with an unsolicited free advice: HINDRAF, get your priorities right first.