Erna Mahyuni

Erna tweets too much on @ernamh. Angry Sabah native, slave to her dog/cat and blogs at ernamahyuni.com

OCTOBER 18 — I’ve written before about the Malaysian hero worship complex and it disturbs me how much it has surged in the last few days.

Malaysians are both the most trusting and untrusting of people — we won’t trust other races to give us a fair deal (we know we have no qualms about shafting people of our race) but power? Oh, we love power. And money. And flattery.

What I do not love is the Malaysian tendency to dis-empower ourselves. As a bloc, or a combination of blocs, there are many things Malaysian citizens can do without waiting for a form to be signed or some declaration to be made.

Is it fear? Is it laziness? Or perhaps it is just ingrained submissiveness, a response to years of being told “Trust us, we have your best interests at heart.”

If Malaysians haven’t figured out by now that things will only move when they learn to move, I doubt it’s going to happen today. Or tomorrow.

We put too much trust in people with badges and offices to “do the right thing” when we, with our muddled consciences and love of money like telling ourselves pretty stories about just what that ‘right thing’ might be.

Here are the lies we hear so often:

“Protests are not our culture.” So those people protesting the Malayan Union were just having a casual stroll? Or perhaps it was avant-garde interpretive dance. How would I know, I suppose. I hate interpretive dance.

“Use the proper channels.” What proper channels? Do they even exist? Is there a button with the label “proper channel” that I have somehow forgotten to press?

“Unity is strength.” Please google “fascism.” You’re welcome.

I am not calling for all-out anarchy. No, chaos is such an inconvenience and I’d like the trains working and the supermarkets selling food instead of having to buy rice on the black market.

Malaysians just need to stop putting up so many pedestals. We put just about anyone up there these days. It must be painful constantly gawking at every new person to elevate to “hero” status these days.

I don’t want another hero. I don’t want to hear yet another “inspiring speech.” I want to see people who will walk with me, people who if they’re ahead, will help point out the way. People who will wait for those who are falling behind, encouraging the rest of us to help them catch up.

Can we scrap Wawasan 2020? Ignore the pretty, but dull wording of the Rukunegara? Let’s just keep it simple.

Let’s dream of a future where Malaysians can be, for the most part, safe and content. Where no one has to sleep under a bridge or worry about how to pay for an education. Where children won’t cry themselves to sleep from hunger. Where women won’t have to clutch tightly to their handbags when they hear the sound of motorbikes.

I’d like to see Malaysians just be... happy. But how is that possible when some Malaysians won’t be happy unless other Malaysians are unhappy?

Maybe I’ll figure it out. Maybe you will. What’s for certain is... we can’t just leave the figuring out to people who still can’t figure themselves out.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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