It’s about half past one in the morning as I’m writing this. My head feels heavy, my dehydrated lips crack as I yawn and my eyes feel tired. The logical step to take would probably be to lie down in bed and drift off into slumber, right? Makes sense to me. I’ve got a bus to catch in the next four hours so being as well-rested as I can should give me the energy get through the day.
Unfortunately, instead of being whisked away into the theater of the subconscious mind, dull white paint and a bright orange lamp fill my view for a solid 20 minutes. My eyelids don’t seem to be helping me much aside from covering my eyes while listen to myself breathe.
Aristotle had once said that humans, due to their social nature, are ‘political creatures’. In a way, it holds water as people tend to engage in a variety of activities that blur the line between the public and private spheres. To some, politics is the art of governance, the machinations of the bureaucratic machine. However, in the same vein of thought, the unspoken struggle for power in the office, the constant chaos of a student’s life in high school and the invisible imbalance of power between one person to another are also considered politics to a degree.
This complexity of human interaction is what I believe to be one of humanity’s defining features…and also its most confusing.
If any of you mentally sang the title above, congratulations! You get a cookie.
Old music jokes aside, the old has been replaced with the new; the number 7 rolled over with a click to give us 2018 and the new year has begun. Barely a week into this brand new year we have a lot of news coming our way. Good or bad, depends on how you see it. There’s been hearsay that the world might see a nuclear war between the US and North Korea based off of Trump’s and Kim Jong-un’s tweets; the diplomatic ice between the two Koreas may begin to thaw as the North has been reported to have initiated talks with the South to Winter Olympics in Seoul and morepoliticaldiscontent in Malaysia.
Apparently, according to the media as of present, we live in an era of “post-truth”. An age where fallacies such as ‘alternative facts’ or ‘fake news’ are real and effect the lives of the populace. A time where people can deny a truth by saying that truth is false and seek out other truths and facts can be swapped out with other facts when they are deemed ‘alternative’.
However, I have a different opinion: We have been living that way for a very long time and it is called being a hypocrite. Both sides of the spectrum that have been spewing these terms out against each other only use them to their benefit. It can be a damaging fact but if does not fit the narrative, surely we can pick and choose the facts we wish to portray ourselves as. We can say that the news is fake and fabricated but once it is released to the public, there will be people that will come to accept as truth not because they have been lied to, no, but they have been subconsciously waiting for that news to validate a truth that they hold.
“A leader is a statesman first, politician second.”
The above quote, according to the book, Dialog, was said by the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman when asked about his views on the priorities a country’s leader should have. This quote spoke volumes about the level of integrity of the man that was given the title of “Father of Independence” as it shows how dedicated he was to ensure this newly-liberated country of Malaya prospered under reputable hands. A statesman, according to him, puts the people first before oneself whereas a politician puts his own interest before anyone else’s. He also valued unity and frowned upon hateful rhetoric that threatened to break the fragile union of races. He negotiated independence from the British with a vision of a united and harmonious people living in a country to call their own. Yet, six decades later, is is clear that we are nowhere near that now. It would be more accurate to say that we actually downgraded ourselves in terms of values considering that a lot of people in Malaysia today would agree that things were a lot better in the 50s leading up to the 80s in that regard. In a way, they are right; we have devolved and that degradation of values could be attributed to the conduct of the people in the highest office.
First and foremost, I would like to preface this post by clarifying that I am by no means an expert on Islam and that this is an opinion formed based on the years of observation conducted whilst living in Malaysia.
With the negative view of Islam that most of the West tend to hold, it might be difficult for fellow Muslims to procure items which are deemed Islamic or exclusive to Muslims. Such items would usually be halal foodstuffs and head-scarfs which, thanks to the efforts of those who can stand above bigotry, are now rather easy to obtain. However, some countries seek to go beyond. ‘Why stop at labeling food when we can label a lot of other things halal or Islamic?’, was the question that seemed to pop up in the minds of these countries and one example close to home is, well, home; Malaysia.
In the 3rd of April, 2009, Muhammad Najib bin Abdul Razak was sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Since then, there has been an unprecedented level of civil unrest beginning with the Bersih movement. The movement, as the name in Malay implies, was formed to call for transparent and ‘clean’ elections after the highly controversial and still-hotly debated “blackout” incident in the nation’s 13th General Elections which saw the current party, Barisan Nasional, remain in power despite increasingly unpopular views from the public. From there, everything the PM did appeared to result in more controversy; the imprisonment of Anwar Ibrahim over sodomy allegations (again), everything to do 1MDB which would be far too much to condense in one blog post, many accusations of public fund embezzlement regarding his wife and most recently, his deal with Donald J. Trump promising to replace all aircraft engines with American-made ones beginning with AirAsia.
Usually, in light of such damaging incidents, a politician’s career would be ruined. Park Geun-hye was impeached for business deals and political manipulation schemes that would be laughable when compared to the dubious conduct of a regular senior officer in a Malaysian government office. So why then, aside from the Bersih rallies that appear to be tamer with each new iteration, are the people of Malaysia not doing much about it–particularly the youth?
When setting foot in a new environment, be it a school or a workplace, one can be sure to make new acquaintances along the way. One may even make friends too. However, should the moment comes where one has to part ways with their friends, that is when time truly puts those relationships to the test. Read More