Thursday, September 01, 2005

More on Merdeka

Still on Merdeka.

There is this article written by Raja Petra, published in Malaysia Today, an online publication.

I have taken excerpts from it, which I find to be food for thought. Emphasis are my own.

48 years ago today, Umno, they would have us believe, succeeded in gaining independence for Malaya after a long, hard ‘struggle’ since 1946. 11 years of battling the British Colonial masters finally bore fruit when the First Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, stood proudly before cheering Malayans shouting, “Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!”

As I said, that is what Umno would have us believe.

Actually, the fight for Merdeka was spearheaded by many unsung heroes whose names have been conveniently left out of the history books. At best, Umno was the British ‘running dog’ that collaborated with the British rather than fought against them in the pursuit of independence.

As the Americans would say, why should we want to remove a dictator 10,000 miles away and replace him with 10,000 dictators one mile away? And that is what we achieved on 31 August 1957, this historic day called Merdeka Day which is celebrated every year, today included.

The British plundered this country and used the wealth of this nation as their own. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British did not tolerate freedom of expression and would detain anyone who spoke out against and criticised the government. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British introduced laws that not only stifled and restricted freedom of expression but that also allowed those who violated this law to be detained. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British introduced a law that allowed for detention without trial, where one need not be brought before a court to be formally charged or tried for any crime. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British detained anyone perceived as threats to the nation even if they had not committed any crime but were only harbouring dissenting thoughts. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British practiced a divide and rule strategy so that the various races would not unite and would distrust one another. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British groomed the Malays for the civil service while the non-Malays were geared towards economic activities. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British created a Malay elite and ruling class complete with titles and the full trimmings of elitism. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

And the list can go on and on. 48 years of Merdeka and what do we have? Same shit different day. We sent the British home in favour of a better Malaya. But once the British left we just aped what they did when they were the masters of this land. Maybe Darwin was right after all.

Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!

The question is: from what?

3 comments:

Chaichakri said...

Derek,

Yes, after 48 years, we have a lot to think about. Independence from the British Colonial masters is simply not enough.

Malaysians have to be independent from many more chains that bind the people. For instance, detention without trial, OSA, ISA, AUKU etc etc

Yet, all these have to be done slowly, and in stages. We are a young nation, we have a fragile stability with a complex and plural society.

Can you have full freedom when the peace and prosperity of the nation is at stake?

Derek, we cannot be selfish. If we remove these chains, Malaysia would end like Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. Do we want that?

Take your pick :- ultimate freedom and chaos, or a guided-democracy with peace and prosperity?

To me, Malaysia is still MY land of milk and honey. It is a place, where I can call home!

Derek said...

It never ceased to amaze me that some people think that when there is freedom, chaos will ensue.

When there is no more ISA, will people suddenly take part in protests on the streets and riots will happen?

When there is no more OSA, will people suddenly betray the government’s secrets and leak them to Thailand?

When there is more journalistic freedom, will true journalism stop to exist and all we have is just libel and malicious reports?

Rules and laws have a place in society, but those that infringe on a person’s right have to be abolished.

Unless you don’t think there are any mature, intelligent and peace-loving adults in Malaysia.

MyOwnOpinion said...

Nowadays, during the month of Merdeka, ppl especially newspaper reporters are always aping about the bad things that the British had done to our country. I agree with you Derek. Why not we look at the good sides of British colonial rule. Without the ruling of British, we would not be what we are today. In short words, British MODERNISED us. They built railway tracks and made use of our economy. These led to the arrival of immigrants and investors.
Think again, without British, the Malaysian(maybe it would be still called Tanah Melayuians) will continue to become farmers and fishermen. They would not improve themselves.
Besides, do you think national history written in textbooks are 100% true. I doubt so. I am now in Form 3 learning about the how Malaysia acclaimed independence from the British. There, the writers began to condemn the British rule saying that they conquered Tanah Melayu by cheating. For instance, Francis Light gaining Penang. According to the book, Francis Light had promised Sultan Kedah military help to face Siam's(Thailand) attack if the Sultan gave him Penang. When Siam attacked, he broke his promise. Nonetheless, think again at a postive side.... Francis Light was just trying to prevent innocent lives from being killed. If Britain really invaded Penang, plenty of innocent civillians would be killed.