November 25, 2007
Later this morning, a rally organized by HINDRAF will be submitting a 100,000 signatured petition to the British High Commission. The rally has been criticized for various reasons, just as the BERSIH rally was. But really, it just boils down to one thing for me. These are citizens who feel that they have gotten the short-end of the stick, and are merely exercising their freedom to speak up and assemble peacefully.
Sure, elections happen every 5 years and people should speak up using their vote. But to be given a mandate (supposedly) and then failing to deliver, do not expect citizens to shut up and live with it until the next elections come by. People have the right to let their government know how they feel. Cracking down on demonstrations and the people’s freedom of speech, that’s what happens in dictatorships. Not a democracy.
Abolishing poverty is a noble and necessary thing for any country, but it shouldn’t be about helping one person and turning the blind eye to another, just because he/she is of a different race. Government policies based on helping a certain race, and ignoring others have led to discontent and marginalization in this country. There is so little real unity in this country because citizens are not given equal opportunities. We can compose songs and sing about how harmonious our country is, but the level of distrust built up for so many decades will eventually destroy us all.
Ask yourself this. Would you want to live in a country where you need to have money/connections to grow, where everyone merely tolerates each other’s differences, and people identify themselves by religion, caste, color, gender, sexuality?
Or would you want to live in a country where everyone is given equal opportunities to grow, where everyone celebrates each other’s diversity, where people can identify as Malaysian first, and anything else second?
I choose the second option. And with the present government’s selfish policy of divide-and-rule, I don’t see it happening. And it needs to happen now, before it is too late.
Pray that there be no violence and further crackdowns later today.