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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trying to understand the HINDRAF

Now I’m not one for politics. Never had. Nope. No sir-ee. I’m practically mindset on the stuff that I just went Country-Leader?-Whatever during any kind of elections.

In fact, the only thing about politics I’ve ever come close to is this really cute and sophisticated guy I had a major crush on in secondary school; at 17 and already had aims for a high position in Barisan Nasional (that’s a political party for you non-my-countrymen).

And no, I’ve never heard from him since I left school so there’s no sudden re-acquaintanceship that might had invoked this new interest in the current political events. I suppose I’m just like every other sheep in the flock that just grouped together in the currents of a moving force.

It’s the HINDRAF movement.

So far I’ve only got a mildly half-hearted sense of curiosity on the What’s-The-Big-Deal, but I feel like it’s really something I should know about. Really, really know about. I’m neither politically-minded nor Hindu (nor being anti-Hindu for that matter). But I do support, steadfastly support, the right to freedom of speech.

Because I believe that suppression to freedom of speech leads to suppression of the individual mind. If you don’t say something (say an opinion), you loose your right to voice your ideas, your support. Thus, loosing your chance to make your life as part of your nation.

But the HINDRAF confuses me. Sure, I got the idea behind it. A race of people which the nation’s former colonial paleskins had brought over from India to turn into part-slaves as the paleskins suck the money-milk out of the rubber trees, laboured studiously by the part-slaves.

Now the descendents wants their money back from... the English? At least around 8 figures too. And they did a street protest last November 25th, even though their permit to protest peacefully had been rejected. It ended bloodily but not in a bloodbath. From what I’ve heard, it seemed that riot the police got the most injuries.

But then again, it’s probably hard for the newspaper reporters to interview members of the HINDRAF when they’re still running all over Kuala Lumpur, throwing sticks and stones. I was working on my thesis report during that riot event (it was due the following Monday, all 120+ pages of it) so I didn’t read the news fresh-of-the-press.

What interest me were the ones the newspaper did not report. There were no physical damages to the surrounding shops other than business having a slight down-time. The only vehicles damages were the police cars themselves. Nobody set anything on fire.

And Newton’s Law said that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction; thus the police had reported injuries but the newspaper didn’t report the injuries of HINDRAF members though. Maybe soaking wet and tear-bombed but that was just it.

More evidence that our newspapers are biased. Of course, if I were a really prejudiced girl, I’ll say that the government is completely controlling the hardcopy media, just as they did for years and years in Tun Dr. M’s reign of supremacy. In some ways that are subtle, I believe it so.

So now that the HINDRAF are claiming ethic cleansing of many, many of their people and they’re taking that matter to international level. The government then counters by saying the HINDRAF has links with the terrorist groups in India and Sri Lanka. And maybe that’s why New Delhi refuses to meet the HINDRAF leader. It’s turning into an ugly spitting, scratching contest.

Beyond the Fight Club agenda, I’m trying to get more information, for myself, about the group, its objectives and the motivation behind it. I want to know why they’re doing this, how peaceful or violent can they be. I want to hear more about it beyond the newspapers and the blogs that were full of strong words that’s actually more euphemistic than informative.

Most of all, I wanted to be in the Know, right Now. I don’t want to keep to the old stupid Malay attitude - since it doesn’t affect you, there’s no need to think about it. I want to know how the current interactions between HINDARF and the government might affect me as a Malay and a student.

In retrospect, I suppose my old crush had something to do about it. He was in the popular student’s category, way, waaaaaay out of my league. But he was passionate and likes to express strong but concrete views. He cited facts not coloured by opinions. He was open-minded and loved being so.

It was the kind of attitude I liked in a guy, and he made me think more about myself and the advantage of freely expressing the individual voice, having the power of the individual mind. Where ever he is right now, he’s probably collecting every kind of resource about the HINDRAF he could get his hands on (between getting his law degree). Thanks Ibrahim (yes, that’s his real name, by the way).

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