By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Just as the dust from the Jawi issue seems to be settling down after the Waythamoorthy meet, the issue of Chinese New Year decorations at a school seems to stir back the embers of racial tension in Malaysia.
An individual belonging to a group of NGO that has an objective of divisive politics claims that the decorations with red clothings and the brightly coloured tanglungs and ornamental lamps would convert Muslims to become Chinese religious adherents.
Such low level intellect can be expected from this kind of racist group which thrives on frightening Malays with their race and religious siege mindsets. My wife's family, which comprises of pensioners from the teaching professions, would simply believe these incompetent individuals who know very little about Chinese customs and religions. These teacher pensioners who hold head teaching posts then and now are 100% the willing cyber troopers for fake news and wild accusations. These Muslim teachers believe they are performing a religious duty to Islam by fighting non-Muslims with whatever lies, deceit and false information that would defeat the enemies of their faith.
Such is the strength of hatred, distrust and blindness that have pervaded our nation since the defeat of Umno in the last general elections. Believe me, that as stupid and as ridiculous the accusations of the Malay NGO are, there exist vast willing listeners and believers sadly from the teaching and academic professions in this country.
Enough about the individual with the niat or intention to sow the seed of discord. What I want to write about is to give a thumbs up to Kak Wan and her 'quiet politics'.
Many people do not give Wan Azizah the respect she deserves as she has always been in the shadow of her larger-than-life husband. I, too, am one of them.
We Malaysians are always caught up by the strongman politics of brazen words and brash politics of the likes of Umno politicians. Kak Wan, Saifuddin Abdullah, Guan Eng, Teo Nie Chee and Syed Sadiq all deserve the grateful nod of Malaysians who have seen the light of positive change dim day by day consumed by race and religious rhetorics of Zakir Naik, Kongres Maruah and Jawi issues.
It's a suckers bet that Malaysia is headed for doom and dragging Sabah and Sarawak with it, unless those two nations decide to not follow the Semenanjung's suicidal stance.
Malaysians can now see a hope in the ailing PH in terms of individuals rather than their parties. Malaysians have long given up on PPBM and its Umno-styled politics, AMANAH for their useless stay-silent politics and the PKR who-the-hell-is-my-leader dance moves.
In GE15, there are whispers of a Third Force comprising of civil society individuals bent on retaking the middle ground through a coalition of independent candidates seeking to work with individuals from various parties and groups to form a credible front to take on Muafakat Nasional's racial and religious rhetorics and also to strike a blow to the three PH parties.
Malaysians now look to individuals and not political affiliation for they are fed up with Wakil Rakyat becoming Wakil Parti once they are elected to power.
Syed Sadiq has given some new life to his dimming prospect by coming to the Puchong school along with DAP and PKR partners. He should rethink his present stance of blind obedience to his party or to some individual 'mentor' and project himself as a person, a citizen and a leader of his own making and self respect that puts the faith of the people ahead of everything else. Malaysians will reappoint him but I would not place a 20 sen bet on his party.
Kak Wan has shown great leadership not only in helming PKR and PH but also projecting a quiet strength in her resolve to appear at a Chinese-bashing event at the Puchong School. Kudos also to the Pengetua or Head Teacher for making a tradition of decorating the school at every celebration. I don't remember seeing a Christmas tree or a tanglung at UTM where I used to teach for 27 years.
The school and the leadership of Kak Wan present a spark of hope that there is still a Malaysia somewhere buried in the depth of racial hatred perpetrated by politicians, NGOs and even, sadly, muftis.
We are a nation nearing the throes of death but a heartbeat of hope that suddenly bursts forth must be nurtured to grow stronger by Malaysians and the likes of politicians who came that day to SMK Puchong. Viva Malaysia!
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)