Horizons of freedom


FMT LETTER: From Dr Dominic Damian, via e-mail

The electronic and print media are paralysed with fear. We are not immune to fear of death, losing friends, family, property, earning, poverty isolation, ill health or failure. The security blanket of progress, advancement, harmony has lulled us and made us complacent. The media becomes a voice and mouthpiece for our politicians and the subsequent result is to plant in us so called common sense of conventional wisdom – do not rock the boat and all will be well. This is the most insidious form of fear masquerading and cloaked in the picturesque harmony. It is akin to being dogs on a leash, the length of the leash is how far one can run. this is the reality.

Small daily acts of courage by unsung heroes and heroines from the late Irene Fernandez, the late Karpal Singh, bloggers Raja Petra Kammarudin, Mariam Mokhtar, Stephen Ng, lawyer S Ambiga, National Laureate Pak Samad, Bishop Paul Tan, Catholic priest Lawrence Andrew, social activists Marina Marthir and countless others sacrificing their lives are condemned as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile.

Insults and abuses are hurled at these individuals. Their crime is that preserving one’s self-respect and inherent human dignity are very real threats. Why do we have a person with impartial knife edge opinions of critical sensibility in the calibre of Raja Petra Kamaruddin who for better or worse to his detractors or supporters is hounded out of this country?

Our country has successfully developed a specialisation in a specific area of talent, it is able to use every conceivable method and apparatus to massacre the voice of freedom and sensibility. Our bloggers especially the ones who are impartial and independent of affiliation to political parties have rendered a great service are viewed with contempt as traitors to either race, religion or country or if they point out opposition faults they are categorised and accused of being government lackeys.

It is most difficult for a population conditioned by a combination of fear and handouts to ignore the crushing might of the state and free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet we find under the darkest circumstances women and men of raw courage rise up from the ranks to fight for simple truths and freedom which is a far better option than fear.

In one of my songs, I have written ‘There is a greatness in the unknown’. This unknown can only be known when we find the courage to better lives of our fellow citizens whom we ought to call brothers and sisters, this also means engaging the worst opponents of our ideals in a constructive and respectful manner.

I feel that we will suffer irretrievable intellectual backwardness and become unsophisticated and unthinking when we allow that a disposition of unquestionable, unchallengeable and unaccountable governance is allowed to exist. A strong government will never be afraid of challenges. A clear example is the recent tragedy of MH 370 that placed our government in the limelight.

I do not doubt that our government tried to handle it with all the efficiency and sensitivity it could muster, yet it was a spectacular but sad failure which highlighted the glaring weakness in our government structure. The threats against citizens, the foreign media and general handling unfortunately exposed the incompetence under real life situations. Some of the key reasons that I would attribute are as follows:

  • The propensity not to listen and arrogantly think one knows best.
  • The insecurity of never accepting challenge and resolving it decisively to the benefit and advantage of two parties.
  • When dialogue or communication is either a shut up or locked up scenario, one never grows or matures.
  • The lack of transparency.
  • The quality of personnel in strategic positions.
  • The siege mentality and tunnel vision approach

It is a fact that every challenge is an experience and opportunity to grow and hone one’s skills. In failing to accept challenges the government has fallen and failed very badly. This incident also revealed the immaturity of some opposition members. Instead of presenting a united front, we were compromised when they simply attacked the government in an opportunistic manner. The government should have also recognised that a responsible opposition should be accorded due respect and invited to work together in times of national or international tragedies.

Much our heartache, insecurities, discord and aggression seem to gravitate towards God, faith and religion which is an indispensable structure of our lives. We can safely absolve God of hatching a diabolic plot of such complexity that the best intellectual minds and spiritual souls are unable to solve. Have our lives improved through the belligerent, bickering, aggressive and disrespectful arguments. It is important enough an issue to address and must be acknowledged as contentious and divisive.

We are all trapped and caged by an impoverishment of goodwill that has crippled us, and the irony is that it is just a three letter word called God. And these arguments are perpetrated on behalf of a God who is acknowledged to have created all of us. It is ludicrous but we have engineered all kinds of complexities, probabilities through the pitfalls of conversions, the prohibition of the Allah word and others elements creeping in quietly.

This has ensured that we will have an endless possibility of eternal arguments which will use our valuable time and it is also a proliferation on the shocking degrees of insanity between so called rational educated individuals which exist in all strata of society.

As a nation our politicians are quick to bring God into the picture of existence for whatever reasons that best suit us. We claim to love God and use our religious people, organisation and related NGOs to express our love of God. It is really pathetic and shameful when one’s soul search reveals.

Our love for God is of such intensity that in our obsession we claim exclusive right to Him and forsake our brothers and sisters. We injure our citizens in the name of God.

We are the only nation in the world that offers God protection, how offensive is this? It shows God as a weak pawn incapable of taking care of Himself.

If we really love and honour God we would try our utmost to stamp out corruption, we would promote equality, we would reach the marginalised and down trodden, we would care for each child, we will look at women’s rights, we will accord dignity to the weak and the prisoners as well. We will accord the highest care to the special needs and socially marginalised, we will treat the foreign workers with respect, we will ensure that refugees are well sheltered. We will respect the laws and the constitution and change what is disadvantageous to our citizens. We will not abuse our power in any manner whatsoever.

We will not insult the minorities of the various races or religion. We will accord the deepest reverence and respect to all without exception.

Will we by the grace of God respect our opposition in politics and acknowledge that they are a necessary check and balance and that is a fundamental vital requirement of challenge for betterment?

Will we have the courage to accept the unconventional approach and simple wisdom of the many Ambigas, Pak Samads and Karpal Singhs in our midst?

Will we ensure if our lives are ordained and guided by God we will use the wealth of the nation in an equitable and responsible manner?

Are we the kind of nation that in acknowledgment of God’s greatness not flaunt or display our religious believes or race as superior to our brother and sister?

In our belief of a compassionate God, will we agree to disagree and still hold the deepest respect for each other?