29 October 2008

Of Stockholm (Sweden), Lima (Peru) and Malaysia

This question had been playing around in my mind for a very long time. I’ve been wondering why some keep voting and supporting and hailing, election after election, the very same people who get into noticeable scandals, who are conspicuously suspected of thievery, who easily fall into the clutches of lust, who are most likely to abuse their positions and worst of all, pretend to be innocent and blameless.

Could some of these people be suffering from some form of the Stockholm syndrome? I wonder again. There doesn’t seem to be any other logical explanation. Is it at all possible that there are no other avenues for them except the same downtrodden path?

Is this akin to the Stockholm syndrome? Theoretically speaking, some show signs of loyalty to their captors (read leaders), regardless of the peril (could read as risk) to mental, physical and financial health, that they are forced into. Hypothetically, they have become attached to their captors, feel a sense of mistaken loyalty, and cannot see any other way out. It’s like being in quicksand, in this case “slowsand”. I just made up that word :). There appears to be no escape from the definitive bleak outcome and yet, they cannot help but repeat the same mistakes. Some have even loyally defended the system. They do not seem to want to break out of the pretend cocoon of security escorting them to deliberate calamity. Could some of them be, somehow, afflicted by this disorder?

Why do we keep falling back to the stereotyped form of governance since way back when? Are we unable to break away from this "syndrome" that is, I believe, until today not a recognized medical subject heading (MeSH)?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if we accepted this diagnosis of our id? Wouldn’t it be even more interesting if we became acquainted with the Lima Syndrome, the reverse of the Stockholm syndrome? This is when the captors begin to feel sympathy for their victims, maybe even remorse and turn the tables around. Isn’t this the solution that we are so in need of at this moment? Shouldn’t our captors take a step back, stop to think and do what is best, right, and just? Dare we hope for it?

I use the word "captors" loosely because, undoubtedly, we are all, in some way, their hostages. We need to shake free from this bondage. We need to invalidate the inertia towards the trend of racial discrimination. We have to nullify the false sense of respect for the current mechanism. We have to quash the reverence for any form of superiority. We need to overturn the draconian I.S.A. We have to invent a new syndrome.

We deserve to recreate a new spirit of Malaysia that is just, united, dignified, peaceful, true, and responsible. After 51 years, we have surely earned it.

Could we call it the Malaysia Syndrome? I wonder.

26 October 2008

Candlelight Vigil Take 3

I managed to return from Singapore again, just in time for the vigil at Padang Timur, opposite Amcorp Mall. As usual, my ever-willing and obedient son picked me up from Bangsar and we went straight there. We were earlier today than the other two previous times. Hence, we had the opportunity to watch the crowd slowly growing. Malaysians are usually noted for their lateness but somehow for this vigil, everyone seems to arrive promptly. There were, certainly, many new faces tonight. I met a few of them. Everyone smiles at one another. People shake hands, nod heads and lift their candles without any reservation. Introductions are easy and no one is really a stranger. The feeling of belonging is strong.

I even had the opportunity to finally meet "The Whisperer" and "masterwordsmith". Both of them turned out to be as warm as they sounded in cyberspace. It was a very nice moment for me.
Here are some pictures taken tonight.

One of the supporters came prepared with his umbrella, which doubled up as his candleholder. What a genius!

Fr. O. C. Lim spoke as always, with clarity about the abolishment of the I.S.A. I believe that he was instrumental in the crowd being much bigger tonight. Many of the folks I met mentioned that they had made the decision to turn up because of his appeal and his announcement of the vigil. Good on ya, Fr. O.C.!
Overall, it was a lovely and peaceful gathering with very many people. Maybe, it's because tomorrow is a holiday, or maybe not. Returning home, I felt glad to know that other Malaysians are coming out and speaking up. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to rate tonight 11.

25 October 2008







19 October 2008

Candlelight Vigil Take 2

I was away for the weekend and arrived back to KL just in time for the vigil.

The sense of unity is still strong. The people were enthusiastic and cheerful. I only stayed for an hour and sadly, did not get to meet some new found friends. Maybe next time!

However, it was a nice feeling to return home and immediately join other caring Malaysians who believe that the I.S.A. has to go.

Here are some photos that, I believe, captured the spirit of muhibbah:

Guess who we saw there?
Yep! It's Rev. Fr. O. C. Lim of SFX Church

The spirit of Muhibbah!

People from all walks of life!

Pretty girl with a purple balloon!

Tired after a 5-hour journey home but, certainly, happy!

This post is dedicated to Wilfredo Andre Gayandato.

13 October 2008

Nothing unites people like a common enemy!

I googled this to see if I could trace the author of this sentence. Instead, I found many who had plagiarized it. I am not absolutely certain and I stand to be corrected but I think that the origin of my title came from a book: Frontsoldaten by Stephen G. Fritz in which he wrote, “Nothing unites people more than shared rage against something or someone”.

Anyway, my purpose is not to identify the culprits who used this rather catchy statement in their speeches, blogs, essays etc. After all, I’m doing the same here!

Last night was the first time that I participated in a candlelight vigil. I found out that there would be a meeting at Padang Timur in front of Amcorp Mall. At first, I browsed through this type of news, without a second thought, as I usually do. This time, I don’t know why, I was compelled to show my face there. Who cares if no one knows me? Why worry if I might feel out of place? Therefore, with a bit of nudging (read begging) from me, my son consented to drive me. I finally managed to rope in another person and we were three! Great, we would be a group and not feel so out of place.

When we got there, it was just about 9 pm. I thought the vigil was going to last till about 11 pm and my earlier rush of jubilation to see the candles, even before we parked, turned to a wee bit of disappointment that people were already leaving. Of course, I won’t complain because this left us a lovely parking space available so near the main crowd. As soon as we got out of the car, other vehicles were passing by and pressing their horns. They were showing support! Immediately, whatever little reservation I had, disappeared.

Without delay, a nice lady approached me to ask if I needed a tee shirt. That was my original reason to go for the vigil.

However, I was blown away by the smiling faces, the camaraderie, the solidarity, the friendliness, the easiness and most of all the unity. We were all there for the same reason.

Although we did not interact much, we did not feel out of place. We felt like we belonged there. After all, we are Malaysians aiming for the same goal, wanting the same result.

As more people started to leave, we were approached by a tall guy, Haris. My heart leaped! Could this be Haris M Ibrahim, the blogger? I had to ask. Yes!!!!! How nice!!!!

I think I even saw Bernard Khoo. Next time, I’ll say hello to him. However, I have to admit, I’ll need at least a few more vigils or rallies before I can even recognize anybody!

It is true. A shared rage does unite people. A common enemy like the I.S.A does bring about a new sense of muhibbah. It’s been years since I heard this word. Nevertheless, it came back to me just like that.

To the Whisperer: This one’s for you!

10 October 2008

Respect commands itself and it can neither be given nor withheld when it is due. - Eldridge Cleaver

I have to give credit to Sree Sudheesh for hitting the nail right on its head when he wrote in Malaysiakini about “respect”.

Those who missed it, check it here.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that respect cannot be bought or forced upon anyone. Respect is akin to love. When you feel it, you can’t hold it back, you can’t fight it, and you can’t forget it. It just is there. Respect is intangible, no doubt about that, but it’s a very real sentiment. That’s what I think, anyway.

The very fact that our PM-to-be has to urge Malaysians to respect Malaysian leaders for their own well-being can be likened to a man urging a woman to love him for her own good!

It seems so completely illogical to me.

If I am to love and respect anybody, it will be because it has been earned, nurtured and due.

Sree, this is my sincere thanks to you for prompting me to think a little deeper about “respect”.

09 October 2008

I’ve been sick!

I've been sick for the last three days and had plenty of hours to reflect on my family, my friends and even the acquaintances in my life. With so much free time on my hands, I found myself thinking of all the people who love me and all whom I love in return. I am fortunate that there are many.
With Stephen, I find people telling me that I am so lucky because they can see how much he loves me. In some way, I am humbled by his love. Some only find love once in their lives. Some never find it at all. Some believe that they have found love. I'm not one to boast but in my case, I honestly feel that I am blessed.
I can't complain about anything. It would be a sin for me to do so.
Despite having been under the weather and on medical leave for 2 days, I'm feeling great and I tell myself that God is telling me to slow down yet one more time.
So I'm walking slower, smiling more, sleeping longer and eating better. I haven’t had any coffee or tea since Sunday last. More importantly, I haven’t had any yearning for either. Already, I'm enjoying the benefits of all these changes.
Here’s a wonderful picture that I love looking at and can’t help smiling when I do. I wish I could give credit to the person who took it. If anyone does know, give a shout, okay!

06 October 2008

My Pride and Joy! (see comment on previous post)

Now how in the world did this happen! Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Aren’t the parents supposed to say this to their child?
I’m not complaining. I kind of like it that, in my child’s eye, I am his pride and joy.
Children teach us lots of stuff. They show us how to throw caution to the wind. They bring us down to earth by telling us we look fat when no one else would. They test our ability to sleep through the night when they are extremely late in coming home. They educate us on how to accept that they have to make their own mistakes. They train us to be tough when they want to go explore the world and leave home. They expose us to all the new technology of today. They keep us on our toes.
Despite and in spite of the ups and downs, the pulls and the pushes in a parent/child relationship, it’s rewarding to find out that you are your child’s pride and joy!

03 October 2008

Even a Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day. -- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

The first time I ever heard this saying, was about 10 years ago, and I was in the middle of a huge argument with "someone". It seemed to me, then, that I was winning the fight and I was not, in the least, likely to back down or back off. I was so sure that all my points, my comments, my explanation, my remarks could not be matched one for one. Hence, with a smugness that only arrogance can know, I gave a last parting shot by saying that he was never right.

Alas, his humble reply to my outburst was like a splash of cold water on my face.

It is really hard to remember what we were fighting about then or what his point of view had been. But it was to me, at that time, the most correct thing to say. And it was a rare occasion when I was left speechless!

It’s been ten years since I found out that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

That certain "someone" is none other than Stephen Grosse.