Monday, October 6, 2008

‘The crying game’

Thankfully, most fair-minded Malaysians are in fact able to see right through the propaganda and scapegoating that some within Umno tend to indulge in. Otherwise we would again be misguided by the bizarre and preposterous claims being hurled around regarding the visit by Hindraf supporters to the prime minister’s open house during Hari Raya. Among other things, some within Umno who are trying to politically capitalise on the situation have really made a big fuss out of the matter by even accusing those Hindraf well-wishers at the open house of presumably 'insulting Islam.'

Well, surely you’ve seen this game played before many times, right? I mean the part about some within Umno who try to stoke religious and sectarian animosity every time there’s a chance to score some political points with the base. But this typically and predictably tends to become especially notable around the time of the party’s general assembly or whenever the party is in tatters. Oh, wait a minute! Wouldn’t you know, it's that time of the year! Indeed, notwithstanding the fact that Badawi has yet to decide when the party’s elections will happen, it’s nevertheless approaching that very festive occasion when in previous ocassions, some have brandished their keris to intimidate others, some have celebrated sectarianism in other not so coded terms, and even - without any basis - warned their fellow Malaysians, not to, as they have put it, ‘play with fire.’

So, I’m not sure about you, but I was not the least bit surprised that some of the regime’s controlled media as well others who are vying for ‘high office’ within Umno have found it convenient to grossly distort and manipulate the goodwill message that those Hindraf supporters tried to convey to the prime minister during the open house. Just for good measure, perhaps those media outlets and individuals swiftly moving to capitalise on this matter would care to share with you some of the images that captured the good spirit and good wishes which those Hindraf members brought along with them to the open house.

But far from disrupting the festivities or ‘insulting Islam,’ I understand – as is evident from a greeting card that those Hindraf members presented to the prime minster – they conveyed the following message: ‘Happy Eid, May in this auspicious day the All Mighty bless you, ‘Yang Amat Berhormat,’ and may you release all ISA detainees and hear the plea of the Indian community in our beloved Malaysia.’         

And take a look for yourself. Posted here are a couple of photos that came my way. [Incidentally, I don't have a proper source for the photos, so my apologies for not duly attributing these photos to the appropriate source.] My oh, my - they sure do look like a manacing group that ventured to the prime minister's open house in order to cause insult to Islam, don' t you think?  

Wow! It is shameful how some of the extremists and nakedly opportunistic can take such a gracious greeting and poignant plea and twist it into a religious insult to score political points. But then again, using religion for profit or political gain has been the modus operandi of the Malaysian political class for decades.

No wonder I’m not surprised how some within Umno and the regime’s media have exploited this story by once again trying to scapegoat Hindraf.      

G. Krishnan