NOVEMBER 1 — Over the years it feels that the word moderate does not seem to be well-understood in Malaysia.
It is disconcerting that we keep hearing the same sentiment being repeated over the years, that the minorities should feel lucky that they are “allowed” to stay.
Now we have children cosplaying with guns at schools to supposedly show solidarity with the besieged people of Palestine.
It's a display that is small-minded and worthy of derision. Do you need toy guns to feel empathy? Are fake weapons a new teaching tool?
No one should be blamed for criticising the poor execution of a week of solidarity with Palestine at schools when there were no guidelines.
What is concerning is that people criticising the shallow cosplay of events in the Middle East are told to shut up and that they have no right to comment.
It doesn't help that local online media is playing up the fact that many of the people objecting are non-Malays and thus creating even more tension than there should be.
The other day in KLCC I was disturbed to see women wearing the jihadi flag emblem around their foreheads, likely after attending the protest supporting Palestine at nearby Jalan Ampang.
I understand that the flag itself is harmless (proclaiming the Islamic articles of faith) but it has also been appropriated by the likes of Islamic State.
I wonder too, how Syrian refugees in the country would feel seeing that emblem being worn when in their case it would bring back memories of the Syrian conflict.
Malaysians, as I have noted many times in my column, refuse to make any distinction between Jews and Zionists, proclaiming them one and the same, a sentiment also much displayed by a former prime minister.
The US president has proudly declared himself a Zionist despite being a Roman Catholic white man and not Jewish in faith or origin.
Malaysia makes noise and bluster about the Palestine cause but in reality trades heavily with Israel and the US, its biggest ally.
I think even our trading partners understand that the culture in Malaysia relies on performative, and often histrionic displays to match whatever prevalent sentiment of the day.
As someone on X (formerly Twitter) observed, McDonald's stores are now empty due to a supposed boycott but the reality is people are still eating the franchise's food but choosing delivery instead.
A PAS member on X called DAP's call for a Malaysia for Malaysians “chauvinist”.
Again, another day of being reminded our education standards have fallen so much people do not know the meanings of actual words.
When was chauvinism the same as advocacy for equality. The mind boggles.
We come back to the word “moderate” and I feel as though we do not actually see or experience it here.
I am so tired of the prevailing daily rhetoric that still puts a single race's concerns over every single other citizen, while also making assumptions about other races.
This government again needs to be reminded that it is impossible to keep pandering to racial sentiment without alienating even members of the race you claim to be championing.
At this point even government overtures feel as shallow as the cosplay we are seeing in schools, talking about advocating for the common man when subsidies are cut, wages continue to be depressed while expensive electric vehicles get tariff and tax exemptions as well as infrastructure.
Perhaps one day we will get a government where we have statesmen and not professional cosplayers of statesmen but alas, for now, we will just have to put up with the show we are paying for with no one asking us for permission.
Send in the clowns? They are already here.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.