Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Simpleton in Politics

Not surprisingly my last column chastising Hindraf had ruffled some feathers among its insiders. My criticism of Hindraf as being ‘morally bankrupt’ prompted the accusation that I’m a “simpleton in politics.”

Some of you in Hindraf say, Pakatan is nothing but another UMNO; it acts like the mandore. Not quite. You see, Pakatan may not give you all you want, but that doesn’t mean it is another UMNO. For it to be another UMNO, Pakatan needs to engage in keris-waving at its general assemblies; it has to repeatedly affirm the racist-ideology that you and I are nothing butpendatang; it has to have as its central ideology, the ideology of Malay racial superiority. You see, you in Hindraf who are so politically sophisticated, this simpleton is not convinced that Pakatan is the same as UMNO. That is simply your hyperbolic rhetoric because you’re frustrated that you’re supposedly not being treated as the kingmakers that you perceive yourselves to be, and therefore you go about making yourselves greater than the cause you supposedly espouse.

I will admit to being a simpleton in politics if...

…being a simpleton means not having to sell-out your principles for political expediency. I may be a simpleton in politics, but I understand that I would not do anything to tacitly enable the party (UMNO) that is the source of my oppression. But Hindraf has done just that. I know that the ideology of Ketuanan Melayu is espoused, preached, and advocated by UMNO. It is hell bent on ensuring I remain a second-class citizen. That I cannot accept, and I will not justify supporting any party that is determined to endorse or abet such a racist ideology. But Hindraf has done just that by willing to undermine Pakatan Rakyat (and therefore, while seeming to be “neutral,” has, for all practical purposes, strengthened UMNO).

I will happily admit to being a simpleton in politics…

…but I’m not obsessed with self-serving political ambition as some in Hindraf have clearly exhibited by selling-out to UMNO. I don’t need to go into spelling this out but the split we’ve seen over the last year in Hindraf is evidence of how many within Hindraf are willing enough to be “a component party” to UMNO. What, I wonder, was the price for these people in Hindraf, for such an alliance? Consider this just a simple question from a simpleton in politics.

The folks in Hindraf don’t deny that they were frustrated by PR for not agreeing to their conditions and, therefore, withheld support for Pakatan in Huu Selangor. Oh, I see, perhaps one has to be sophisticated at politics, like some of these Hindraf folks appear to be, to sell out their cause to the highest bidder! Apparently the ‘crumbs’ that PR was offering Hindraf were not the kind of ‘crumbs’ many within Hindraf believe they can ultimately get from UMNO. I may be a simpleton in politics but I at least have enough self-respect not to sell-out to the highest bidder – especially not one that insults my dignity.

I will be delighted to be accused of being a simpleton in politics…

…but at least I am clear that my humanity is not for sale. Hindraf claims to be advocates of the marginalised Indians. These marginalised Indians are our fellow Malaysians. I care about them because they’re Malaysians who are being exploited by a racist regime. I may not get all the concessions I like from Pakatan for these marginalised Indians today, but I know Pakatan is committed to the cause of the people, and that is a worthy start for me. It is enough to ensure that I will support Pakatan because it opposes the fundamental premise of a racist Malaysia.

If Pakatan, as you politically sophisticated people think, is no different than UMNO, then, let me tell you, Hindraf today has become no different than MIC. It is nothing if not a pathetic, parochial-minded bunch of self-serving panderers.

Finally, let me put it this way to you: as a simpleton in politics, I rather have one-tenth of a kaya roti now (from Pakatan), only to continue advocating for a fair share of the roti for all marginalised Malaysians, rather than eat one-third of a kaya roti with mouldy fungus on it from UMNO.

Ultimately I, as a simpleton in politics, go to sleep at night with my conscience clear that I am not perpetuating racism against my fellow Malaysians. As I see it, those of you in Hindraf, who are apparently so sophisticated in politics, are willing to abet, and are contributors to UMNO’s racist ideology. That is the bottom line.

My kaya roti (and conscience) is clear… is yours?

G. Krishnan