What May means to me ― Saleh Mohammed

MAY 28 ― It started with the most terrifying and as in recent days, a political turmoil.

The start was the May 13, 1969 incident. The Sino-Malay sectarian violence in Kuala Lumpur occurred in the aftermath of the 1969 general election when opposition parties made gains. It led to a declaration of a state of emergency and the establishment of Majlis Gerakan Negara (MAGERAN), a caretaker government between 1969 and 1971.

I would like to forget the incident because I was very young and was right in the eye of the storm in Jalan Hale (now Jalan Raja Abdullah), Kampung Baru. A stray bullet hit my uncle’s room on the top floor.

I am not petrified but it troubles me when some people who were not even there or not even born yet are today calling for the opening up of what really happened then. The trauma still lingers within me and I am very sure survivors and the families of those who vanished do want to be reminded every so often too. Many people may have drowned in their own tears.

Oh, I forgot. There was also sunshine and a silver lining along the way.

It was in May too, many years ago that I got married to the sunshine of my life and the apple of my eye.

Some believed the previous government will forever stay in their hearts and rule for another 1,000 years but a year ago, at the 14th general election in May, Malaysians made history and a new beginning by removing them. There seems to be hope for a better Malaysia and the transition went well with some small hiccups.

In recent days, our former colonial masters experienced political turmoil. Its prime minister, Theresa May, resigned after three years of trying and failing to pull Britain out of the European Union (Brexit). She left a message, “To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not, such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise”.

Brexit may not be an event but a legal process. For the records, prior to the referendum she campaigned to remain in the EU.

In short, Brexit is partly white supremacy since Britain’s politics is polarised and there is global intensification of right-wing nationalism.

We are hearing something similar at home clamouring for supremacy.

I will then be petrified. One side wanting to institutionalise Malay Supremacy (Ketuanan Melayu) while other groups called for their “racial” interest to be protected. Racism, expressed in the form of nostalgia, bigotry and xenophobia is damaging. Racism is the problem and anti-racism is the solution.

We cannot afford it when we are moving towards developed nation status. Brexit has so far tarnished political, economic and social life in the UK.

Remember May’s message on finding consensus and compromise from all sides of the debate.

Sorry, forgot another one. The song First of May is one of my all time favourite and incidentally released in 1969. When I was small the Christmas trees were talL Now we are tall and Christmas trees are small We used to love while others used to play And you don't ask the time of day But you and I, our love will never die

Now that we are tall, let us walk and stand tall to achieve greater heights together with confidence.

What say you

Goodbye May, see you next year, InshaaAllah                                             

*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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