Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Disrespecting the Respectable

I have come to realize that ‘Datukships’ in Malaysia has become a common joke for the number that it represents and the reasons it is being awarded. It is said that if you grab a handful of stones on the ground and threw them into the air, the possibility is that 50% of them would fall on the heads of Datuks. That’s how many Datuks we have in Malaysia.

I don’t know whether this is true and I’m not familiar of how people get to get the Datukship. I guess that they must have done a great service to the country or the state to be granted such an honour. It kind of disturbs me to hear comments that, that isn’t the case for most of the Datuks but I choose to keep my mind open until I find some proofs to the comments.

I hope it is not true as I cannot imagine a filthy businessman or a corrupt politician being shown the same respect as the national heroes. Hmmm…. who am I kidding? We all know for a fact that the former Prime Minister of 22 years who took us to the sky and another former Prime Minister who took us down the hole in barely a term both received the same title: ‘Tun’. Both are mentioned in great honour and being praises for their services just the same.

You see, for courtesy sake, we don’t speak the truth. We lie to ourselves and others, we pretend and we accept ‘pretention’ as a way of life – a necessity, even a civilized thing to do.

Isn’t this unfair to the one that had done their best and really deserved the honour? Isn’t it an insult to their service that some good for nothing fellow also getting the same respect as they do?

A couple of days ago, Malaysians witnessed a statesman’s funeral for the late Karpal Singh.

Well, I’m not trying to be rude here nor am I disrespecting the late Karpal Singh. Like I said before, the man was a true politician, an exceptional lawyer and a gentleman but I think a statesman’s funeral for a Member of Parliament and/or a lawyer is an exaggeration, a little bit over the top, theatrical or melodramatic.

One needs to serve the country or the state in order to receive such honour. For me, Karpal may have served the party and his clients but his service to the country or state was very much subjective that I have trouble trying to list them out.

Karpal could have deserved a heroic medal as the person who first exposed Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘lust-extraordinaire’ but he revoked that rights too, when he challenged his own accusation and defended Anwar later on in his life and up to his death. This is why when people say that Karpal was a man of principle, I tend to lift my brow in doubt.

But then, I try to understand that Karpal had to live separate lives as a lawyer and a politician. It must be hard for a man of principle like him.

The truth is, everybody has the good sides and the bad sides and that’s what makes us humans. Pretending that a person is all good just because we like him so much makes us an irrational person. A rationale person should accept the good and the bad sides of others as a fact of life. There is really no need to lie, especially to ourselves.

Karpal was vocal in politics. He could be a hero for DAP but not for Malaysians as a whole. Karpal did not share the same aspiration as the majority Malaysians. Some may also see Karpal as another version of Lim Kit Siang, which I don’t agree because Karpal had never been taken as a racist. Like all DAPs who challenge our constitution, the very basic landscape that make Malaysia, Malaysia, Kit Siang doesn’t deserve to be called a statesman, and so did Karpal.

What I’m trying to say here is that Malaysians need to learn to not exaggerate things and think rationally. Just because you hate the government so much, doesn’t mean that you have to look up on every opposition leader as a hero or a statesman.

Heroes served and made impacts on people’s lives. Heroes sacrificed and stand by their words till the end of time. Statesmen lead, move masses and make significant changes. So, don’t lower the levels of our heroes or statesmen by calling every vocal person as one. Just like not every policeman deserved a heroic medal, not every politician deserved a statesman’s funeral. We don’t have to worship everybody just for doing their job.

Therefore, in my opinion, Karpal was a great man though not a statesman, but he was definitely a statement that democracy has always been alive and well in Malaysia.

Again, my highest respect to the late Mr. Karpal Singh and my condolences to his family…

May he rest in peace.

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