KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — To casual observers, Malaysia now appears a powder keg of discord on the verge of blowing up with the next protest.
The ugliness and hate make it hard to see what is fact and what is fiction, but here are the three things that we have learned:
1. There are those who do ill
Some think nothing of terrorising Malaysia with threats of racial and religious violence, clinging on to the riots of May 13, 1969 as though that was some longed-for day now gone past; they confuse the reddish tinge of blood for the rosy tint of nostalgia.
There is a reason why it is often described as the “darkest day” of Malaysia’s history, not solely because over 200 people of various races were killed in the rioting, but because we let our evil get the better of us.
It does not help that those seeking to offer an olive branch do so with curmudgeonly language, with which they cut and whittle away at their rivals before facetiously seeking a truce.
Such offers do nothing to build the bridges the country so desperately needs, but only serve to widen the divide that keeps Malaysia fighting.
2. There are those who do good
Yesterday, a group of 50 Malaysians calling themselves “Malaysians for Malaysia” decided that there is simply too much hate in the country. So, they gathered to try and spread a bit of love with a simple “Walk in the Park.”
Moving from St George’s Church at Farquhar Street in George Town, Penang to a Goddess of Mercy Temple before heading to the Sri Mahamariamman Temple and ending at Masjid Jamek in Acheh Street, they handed out flowers instead of spilling the blood of animals on the streets.
Some of them were also there when Umno and Muslim groups threatened to protest outside the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Klang.
It may not appear much, just a bunch of people out for a Sunday stroll and giving out balloons and bouquets.
But this is something to remind us that there are still a few good men and women among us.
3. There are those who do nothing
“All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing,” or so goes the Edmund Burke quote. While it is tempting to brush it off as clichéd, believe that it is the voice of apathy saying so.
Malaysia is in turmoil. And it needs you. If Malaysia catches fire, you and I burn with her.
Some with the power and influence idle still, but the rest of us cannot. We have no holiday homes in Melbourne to which we might flee or Swiss passports and bank accounts squirreled away under our bunks. This is all we have.
If it all appears helpless, take heart, for a few good men and women have shown that doing our part can be as simple as a Sunday stroll.