New breed of heroes but of the wrong kind 

ZUNAR

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By Phlip Rodrigues

Now and then, new heroes emerge on the political stage, acclaimed for their bold stand and outspoken comments.

They generate a lot of heat and ear-piercing noise until it reaches a point where the life of the country is at stake

This disturbing conduct has become ingrained in Malaysian politics. It gives instant notoriety to those seeking ‘recognition’.

Mostly, these heroes do not fight for altruistic causes. They champion issues that have nothing or little to do with keeping the country safe and sound.

Political heroes come in various roles. Some are freedom fighters. Others are crusaders for truth and justice. Some become martyrs for their beliefs and convictions that go against the unpopular teachings of a repressive state 

Then, there are those who will not toe the line because they believe their leaders are deceitful and corrupt. They would rather quit their party than sacrifice their principles. These are people of courage who deserve applause and respect because they fight not for themselves but for the interests of the country.

It is the other category of ‘heroe’ whose political deeds and thoughts give rise to anxiety and alarm that are of concern. These politicians prey on explosive issues to inflame the feelings of one ethnic group to the detriment of other communities.

When they thunder on the podium, they’re more interested in showing off politically than in being wise, controlled and moderate. Their utterances often carry an implicit threat of violence. Sometimes, they may boldly display dangerous weapons to intimidate others in order to underline their supremacy.

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Such covert or overt displays of strength will instantly be hailed as acts of heroism that will burnish their image as ‘heroes’.

Time and again, Malaysia is treated to such high-risk drama when political heroes of the wrong kind burst onto the scene. They have no problem rallying their supporters who readily believe they are fighting for ‘race’ and ‘religion’.

From obscurity, these warriors hit the scene with such force that their names are indelibly etched on the minds of their intended audience. In the end, they not only help themselves to the riches of political power. They also help revive the fortunes of their party, especially when it has fallen from grace.

Real heroism is not cheap or easily earned. It is a quality that inspires universal admiration and trust but comes at great cost and tremendous sacrifice.

When you fight to save lives, you are a hero. When you are on the battlefield to defend your country, you are a hero. 

When you say you are a Malaysian and do not identify yourself by your ethnic origin, you are a hero. When you say you are the leader of all races and creeds, you are a hero.

But politicians who want to disrupt the social order through divisive and violent tactics are no heroes. They are plain villains. And villains have no place in a country whose people want to live in peace with one another.

Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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