Grow up, Malaysia

USJ Riots

It was deja vu when I woke up this morning and did my routine Facebook check.

There were several postings of rioting at the Hindu temple in USJ 25 which is just a stone’s throw from where I live.

These initial postings had already concluded that the attack at the temple site was a deliberate racial provocation. The problem was something else – issues with the land developer and relocation of the temple.

Flashback to 31 years ago – Oct 18, 1987 – when a young Prebet Adam Jaafar ran amok in the Chow Kit area with an M16 rifle, killing one person.

Racial tensions had been high then because of other issues and the immediate reaction was that the Prebet Adam incident was intentional and it would be May 13 all over again.

There was so much fear and anxiety among Malaysians. The government made arrests under the Internal Security Act and took other measures to put the brakes on any possible upheaval.

But the damage had been done. The trust that was slowly rebuilt since the May 13, 1969 incident was lost to a certain extent.

I felt the same fear and anxiety this morning.

In recent days, there have been all kinds of hate speeches and heated exchanges on social media on issues which I dread even mentioning here. It is really uncomfortable.

The police acted fast today to bring the situation under control. At the time of writing, roads leading to the temple area remained closed. There were some injuries in the overnight incident but fortunately no lives were lost.

Also, besides the police, there were others who were quick to post on social media to clarify and explain the situation.

It just shows all it takes for hell to break loose is a single spark.

It is my firm belief that politicians are to mostly blame for inciting hatred and provoking the people using what is their biggest weapon – race and religion.

We claim to have grown up, the biggest indication of which is getting a new government in place after 61 years. But it’s a fallacy. As long as we allow ourselves to be manipulated by politicians, one side or the other, democracy in Malaysia will always struggle to achieve adulthood.

We seriously need to grow up fast.

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