As easy as say­ing some­thing nice

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

SOME­ONE once said “di­a­pers and politi­cians should be changed of­ten, both for the same rea­son”. Pol­i­tics is in­deed a dirty game. Ear­lier this month, an im­age of a UKIP politi­cian sprawled on the floor of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment cir­cu­lated af­ter an al­ter­ca­tion with a fel­low party mem­ber. It was de­scribed as “un­seemly be­hav­iour” and some­thing seen in “Third World par­lia­ments” by the party’s lead­er­ship.

Across the pond, the build-up to the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions con­stantly as­saults us with their un­pres­i­den­tial be­hav­iour tear­ing each other apart and dis­play­ing to the world what a great di­vide Amer­ica con­tin­ues to face. Who ever wins, there is a huge mess to clean up and the scary re­al­ity that half the peo­ple wanted a dif­fer­ent per­son in of­fice. What is left though is a trail of un­savoury and vile elec­tion bat­tle scars. At the com­bat­ive de­bate two weeks ago, there was an air of great an­i­mos­ity with an­a­lysts point­ing out that the can­di­dates did not even shake hands. A town hall par­tic­i­pant struck a chord when he asked the last ques­tion “Re­gard­less of the cur­rent rhetoric, would ei­ther of you name one pos­i­tive thing that you re­spect in one an­other?”

It was telling as to the amount of muck that had been spewed and how great a need it was to have some­thing pos­i­tive be said.

Over on our shores, we might not be de­bat­ing as such or our politi­cians not phys­i­cally punch­ing each other in Par­lia­ment but how much muck are the peo­ple dragged through daily?

The un­do­ing of po­lit­i­cal friend­ships seems to have given rise to a mid­dle-aged gen­er­a­tion of un­civilised politi­cians who con­tin­u­ously show us how morally poor they are.

Dis­re­spect­ing the very Rukun Ne­gara prin­ci­ples that our coun­try is built on as they sling mud on each other. So why do they get away with it over and over again?

What is more alarm­ing is that it trans­lates in how Malaysians treat other Malaysians too.

Ear­lier this month, a Ber­sih sup­porter was beaten up. Not only was he pulled off his bike, he was kicked and punched. Is this our Malaysian cul­ture?

Later, some in the Ber­sih team were sent death threats in writ­ing and graph­ics of them­selves with knives on their necks. If that does not en­rage you, the per­pe­tra­tors also sent sim­i­lar threats with pho­tos of the chair­per­son’s sons. Clearly noth­ing is sa­cred.

Not a peep came out of the lead­er­ship to say that there is no place for such threats in this coun­try on any­one. Shouldn’t it have been the im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion?

There was also the in­ci­dent where thugs man­han­dled jour­nal­ists. Con­stantly in­tim­i­dat­ing and ha­rass­ing. Con­tin­u­ally in­cit­ing hate and fear with their threats.

So they just stoop lower and lower and here we are with death threats on chil­dren. Is this what our cul­ture has be­come?

They con­tinue be­cause they are al­lowed to with no rep­ri­mand. There should be zero tol­er­ance of this kind of be­hav­iour. Not a de­layed re­ac­tion but im­me­di­ate ac­tion to show that no one is above the law.

You might think it’s part and par­cel of be­ing ac­tivist and politi­cians but re­mem­ber that se­nior ci­ti­zen who slowly drove through a Ra­madan bazaar on Jalan Masjid In­dia in July and was as­saulted by 10 men. Not only did they hit the man in the car, they tried to break his win­dow and even climbed onto the car and stomped on the roof. Video footage proves what hooli­gans some Malaysians have be­come.

It isn’t just a racial thing or about pol­i­tics, it is now embed­ded in who we have be­come. It does not just stop there. How many bul­ly­ing cases have there been in schools. It is not just the stu­dents them­selves who are thugs and bul­lies but teach­ers who bully stu­dents.

Last year, five orang asli chil­dren aged be­tween seven and 11 years old died af­ter run­ning away into the jun­gle for be­ing scared of teach­ers beat­ing them. Two chil­dren were found close to death. What jus­tice did these chil­dren get in the end?

Our coun­try needs an over­haul. If only it was as easy as just say­ing some­thing nice about each other.

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