Friday, August 15, 2008

Samy's Democracy

Just in case you had forgotten, mind you Samy Vellu has once again shared his profound and weighty thoughts and reminded us that ‘this is [a] democracy.’

I know you must indeed feel deeply reassured – as I am – whenever Samy Vellu pontificates and comments on public matters. I was in fact starting to feel a sense of emptiness – at least since his interview with Malaysiakini back in July – that we had not heard much from the highly articulate, nuanced, and intellectually complex thinker that is Samy Vellu. [Incidentally, you can read more about my ‘interpretation’ of his aforementioned interview here.]

In his latest comments, Samy reminds us that ‘This is a country where everybody has their independence to do whatever they like.’ Now, don’t you find this just profound and enlightened? Man, I’m almost in tears just reflecting on his comments! [sniff, sniff. Sorry, I can’t help and get so emotional about it.]

You see, when we have a leader so insightful and thoughtful like him, what does it matter, when so many realities on the ground smack in the face of this man’s brilliant observations. Or maybe it is just his perverse version and notion of democracy? Yes, that’s got to be it.

In Samy’s democracy, learned and thoughtful people who get together to deliberate and discuss ideas and policies about religious conversion can be threatened and censored by a mob of protesters.

Indeed, in Samy’s democracy, instead of permitting free and open inquiry, we also ban books because we are threatened by ideas.

In Samy’s democracy, a teacher who espouses racist views and terrorises her students is essentially let off the hook and allowed to continue teaching. As for Samy’s public response? Well, I’ll let you decide: ‘I want to tell you: You can recommend, you can talk to them, you can do many things, still there will be people who do this sort of things.’

Huh? Are you following his thought process? I know, you and I must just not be bright enough to keep up with him. Well, I could go on and on…but you get the point.

I’m not sure which scholars and philosophers of democracy Samy has studied and who he takes his inspiration from for how he conceptualises the meaning of democracy. But it seems to me, by his standards for what constitutes a democracy, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other such countries then, like Malaysia, must also be democracies.

And he must truly think we’re all idiots.

G. Krishnan