Oftentimes, it is necessary to remind yourself that though you may have collective responsibility in society, you are not the collective but an individual.
This becomes essential in maintaining mental and emotional stability, a sense of morality and ethics and personal direction, especially in a society that has become characterised by confusion and disorder. As an individual, you certainly do not wish to identify with the chaotic society, assuming of course that you had not actively contributed to it.
Our contemporary society, with respect, has become chaotic as it is seen to manifest confusion and disorder at many levels.
Let us look at the political situation in Malaysia.
The society is still, with the puerile belief, that politics alone will solve our fundamental problems. Hence, the media and our entire life is largely bombarded with political news.
Unfortunately, we have left many important matters of life to politics and many more have been politicised.
Since 1998, the nation’s resources have been swept away by political sandstorms that have blinded our eyes. The decades of politicking have been characterised by allegations such as sexual misconduct by political leaders, corruption by politicians, corrupt and inefficient institutions, including the civil service, and issues surrounding the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the judiciary, among others.
All these allegations have hurt many individuals, institutions and the nation unjustly.
The political madness and apparent personal anger between the main political players seem to burn, defame and ravage everything and anyone that appears to stand against their political goals. Malaysians cannot be faulted if they think that politics is no longer about the citizens but a fight for power and wealth among a few powerful families in Malaysia on every side of the divide.
It is equally important to note that the political developments since 1998, while having a maturing effect somewhat, have also brought about negative political behaviour never seen before. One can view our political development as either chaotic or an evolution.
Religion, race and fanned fears have been the most powerful tools to determine political power in Malaysia.
In the forefront for decades was Umno with its rallying battle cry of the Malays being under siege and their existence being “endangered’ by the presence of other ethnicities.
Unfortunately, the Chinese were often used as a fear factor to make the Malays rally around Umno. In that process, DAP became the political party to be detested by the Malays and vilified as a “Chinese party” although Barisan Nasional’s MCA is a Chinese-based party.
This is one of the many political confusions in our country.
I recall that at one time it was almost sinful for a Malay to be a DAP member. This mindset was broken much later after 2008.
Coming back to the Umno of yesteryears, it was confusing that while the Malay-based party appears to blame the Chinese for the alleged economic woes within the community, Umno also kept on accusing the Malays of being lazy and taking the easy way out to make an easy buck.
The reality, of course, was very different as there were many hardworking and intelligent Malays – like any other ethnic group. The political noise, nevertheless, was very loud and it drowned common sense and reality.
It was unthinkable that there would be a multi-ethnic and multi-religious political party in the country led successfully by a Malay leader. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim proved that it was possible through his PKR with his famous line “anak Melayu anak kita, anak Cina anak kita, anak India anak kita, anak Iban anak kita…”
To those with a Malaysian mindset, such a cry was music to the ears.
On the religio-political arena, PAS has travelled along a path that can only confuse Muslims.
For many years in the 80s, PAS vowed never to work with Umno and made all sorts of allegations in the name of religion against Umno.
Likewise, PAS also at one time preached against voting for any non-Muslim as a leader.
However, during the “reformasi” period and beyond, PAS became very defensive of DAP and worked closely with them. Now of course, it no longer wants to work with DAP but allies itself with Umno through Muafakat Nasional. Hence, the politicisation of “Islam” has not, in my humble view, augured well for Muslims.
The 22-month rule of Pakatan Harapan (PH) was disappointing in many ways, especially to those who had great expectations of political reforms.
PH alienated many civil servants in important institutions by a blanket accusation of being part of an alleged “deep state”. Such an allegation is cruel to the majority of the civil servants who have only been serving the country well.
PH’s brief rule also exposed some of the hypocritical behaviours of those who were part of the civil society. Principles were easily compromised the moment “your team” gets into power.
It is apparent politics alone is not equipped to get to the root cause of our fundamental problems. Oftentimes politics seems to bring out the worst in humans, compounding further the challenge to maintain order and clarity.
Hence, it becomes frustrating, futile and dangerous to society when the society allows very important and fundamental aspects of life to be politicised.
I believe Malaysians are largely resilient and will recover from the national injuries caused by the irresponsible politicking by our politicians.
At least, we should now be clear about two things in our mind. First, never trust the politicians without checks and balances.
Second, as responsible citizens, we have to strengthen and protect our national institutions.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.