A nation of cowards

A fortnight ago, at the World Bloggers Summit in PWTC, a woman who identified herself as a medical practitioner walked up to the mic and directed a question that smacked of ‘gratefulness’ to Malaysiakini CEO Premesh Chandran and his co-panellists who were discussing the impact of social media on politics.

“What cars are we driving now? What houses we live in? Are we better off? You tell me,” she said. Of course, she was not asking a question and wasn’t inviting anybody to answer one either.

Her rhetorical question was a finger pointing directly at ‘the facts’ so that all other arguments about Malaysian politics could be put to sleep: we have economically progressed as a nation in a just few decades, so what are we complaining about? In short, she was asking us to be ‘grateful’ instead of questioning the current state of Malaysian politics.

‘Grateful’. I could afford a sly smile. The very same word that I heard over and over again throughout my childhood, so much so I have become sick of the words, ‘grateful’ and ‘loyalty’.

When the only option of a newscast in my house was a monotonous Buletin Utama when I was a kid, my eyes were trained to watch images of massive destruction whenever the ‘world news’ segment came over. There are wars and conflicts and earthquakes and volcanoes and chaos and murder and hurricanes everywhere else in the world, except for Malaysia, of course.

All is good and prosperous, and all multiple races co-exist in such harmony and, not to forget, this is one country that is so strategically located in the equatorial zone that it is gets away scot-free from natural disasters. I can’t remember how many times my mother told me to be grateful that I was born here and not elsewhere.

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