Bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee are now being charged for publishing a ‘seditious’ photograph on Facebook of themselves eating bak kut teh with a Ramadan greeting and posting content that could possibly stir religious hostility.
Can we blame the bloggers for the sour and humourless dispositions of our politicians? Perhaps, they’ve been eating too many sour grapes and have no means of expressing their frustrations in a more positive or creative way, muses Grumblestone.
Here we are again facing another Merdeka celebration that for some seems a chance to exhibit their patriotism in conventional or unconventional ways. Whatever way you do it, is seen as some kind of political statement, even when it may be merely a means of self-expression. Authorities in this country may not have reached the stage of open-mindedness found in some other countries. Our politicians lack humour and the ability to laugh at themselves or their silly mistakes. They’re as sensitive as ‘touch-me-nots’.
In the US, even George Bush and Bill Clinton can laugh at themselves. Brits laugh at their royals and politicians from time to time. But in Malaysia, some of those holding political power seem to see themselves as ‘divine beings’ whose names should not be taken in vain on pain of being sledge-hammered with sedition, the ISA and other humourless and draconian rules.
In contrast, other countries like the US, UK and Australia suffer their nathional flags and effigies of their leaders being burnt and trampled on by protesters in foreign countries. Rightly, foreign protesters can do whatever they like on their home grounds as long as their governments tolerate it. There is no cause for a diplomatic incident as one does not tell one’s neighbours how to live their lives. Yet, again, we bristle up like porcupines and wag fingers at the neighboring populace beyond our jurisdiction… tut,tut,tut.
Yes, we should celebrate our ‘Merdeka’ in a big and ostentatious way, but for some, quiet patriotism suffices. Yet, the apparent festivity and ‘smiley-ness’ of the whole thing with fluttering ‘jalur gemilang‘ from car roofs and buildings leaves a somewhat artificial after taste. We are 53. Have we matured and grown wiser or have we missed maturity and gone straight to senility, falling into dementia instead?
This anniversary sees hard-sell talk of 1Malaysia and anti-racism, but is the reality convincing enough? The hard-sell on anti-racism is somewhat loaded on one-side. Like a dice used by the jackals always winning by means more foul than fair.
So can we blame the bloggers for the sour and humourless dispositions of our politicians? Perhaps, they’ve been eating too many sour grapes and have no means of expressing their frustrations in a more positive or creative way.
Happy Independence Day, Malaysia!
Stay connected, current and committed to justice. We deliver the truth right to your doorstep every month for only RM30 a year — which is far less than your newspaper bill each month. All you have to do is click here.
Justice was never won without personal sacrifice – whether measured in time volunteered, energy devoted to a cause, or financial support generously given. We need your support in our struggle for justice. Your contribution no matter how small will be like a droplet that builds up into a wave of change. Click here if you would like to contribute financially.
Charter 2000-Aliran is deeply disturbed by recent developments that could restrict the space for freedom of expression over the Internet and curb the democratic right of bloggers to air their opinions. It is especially worrying because the Internet is one of the few avenues left for concerned Malaysians to freely express views and gain access to information that is normally not carried in the mainstream media.