I have been insulted, spat on, threatened with arrest for sedition and for breaching the Official Secrets Act and the ISA, tear-gassed, chased down the road by the police in armoured trucks armed with water cannons, reprimanded, censored, and blackballed for what I have said, done, and believed. This is a great lark and the cops know it and I know it, so all’s fair in love and war. We know the terms of engagement and we do what we can when we can to satisfy our respective masters, yes?
Lately, however, I have been guaranteed hell-fire for my blasphemous behaviour by people who have not met me. To be sure, I am an intolerant, self-serving bounder (there’s a word you haven’t heard in a while) and I deserve most of what I get. I am an elitist bigot who believes that wilfully stupid people ought to be exterminated or put to work for the greater good of the community until they learn that their petty and ignorant points of view are utterly disgraceful. I believe that people who deliberately degrade the environment are criminals. I believe that those who are able to lead have a duty to do so; but also that they have no damned idea what “duty” means. So and and so forth.
I am unIslamic, unChristian, and am definitely not kosher even though I do not eat various kinds of meat. I am, in short, a Nazi. Or a Malaysian liberal, which is much the same thing, except I am a traitor and I am not a vegetarian.
I have passed the point where I can physically give a crap about what Harussani Zakariah says, or Ib Ali, or Chua Soi Lek, Waythamoorthy, Lim Kit Siang, Najib Razak, Tony Pua, the White-Haired Raja, Anwar Ibrahim, Liow Tiong Lai, Jeff Pairin, Muhyiddin Yassin, Ridhuan Tee, Khalid Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, Bung Mokhtar Radin, or any other bloody politician, religious authority, or Malaysiakini correspondent except Mariam Mokhtar and two or three other journalists.
Did you ever wonder that all these assholes thrive on public support?
The Malaysian Experiment is a dark and dangerous one. It is an homunculus bred from dangerous alchemy that feeds on human blood and dreams. It can kill us all at any point, or save us. It whispers nasty things in our ears: our worst fears and most cherished hopes, which are often the same thing. But it is ineffable and sadly we have given up trying to understand it. It is almost as if it doesn’t matter to us any more because we are resigned to the idea that whatever will happen will happen inevitably, whether we like it or not.
We expect the worst. When someone cocks up, like a headmistress who mouths off rather clever racist witticisms, we say that “we expected it all along”. We live hand-to-mouth, day to day. But even this is not a revelation. The child in the Kuala Lumpur krash pad or Petrina Chee’s school knows it to be true, and has since before 1957, or 1963 for that matter, but so does the fat cat on the ninth floor of the Bukit Bintang corporate office or any other lardy Hilton-dining pig whose “national service” involves “payment” from an allegedly grateful nation. The fact that I don’t have to spell out any names should tell you enough. Any bloody fool in downtown Kuala Lumpur knows it.
Some people who are not Malay make an issue of the fact that they habitually wear the baju kurung and speak Malay as a matter of course. Good for them, I think. I admire the strength of their convictions, their dedication and their patriotism. But I deplore the fact that they have to make an issue of it in the first place because this leads us nowhere but back into the unending spiral of suspicion, disappointment and hatred that we all seek to avoid regardless of what any race-champion, alim, or journalist tells us. Right?
I hope so. “I got nothing but affection for those who sail with me,” Bob Dylan said in a song that Sheryl Crow sang.
You could be my enemy. But I should very much prefer it if you would be my friend.