Thursday, November 12, 2009
Mutual Respect ( A reflection)..
When discussing issues affecting national unity, the question of mutual respect always takes center stage. Behind all allegations and charges that one party has insulted the feelings of the other, there's always the element of mutual provocation, whether we accept it or not. Most often one party feels the provocation involved more than the other and we tend to minimize or even fail to recognize the seriousness of our own failures to observe certain basic principles in mutual respect.
When this happens, misunderstanding and misgiving start to sprout like weeds after the rain. Accusations start to accumulate, each party trying to justify its own stand, often increasing the seriousness of the insult or violation of the basic principles of mutual respect. Emotions flare up and reason takes a tumble. When this happens the negative forces of multiracialism in a society can easily tear the society apart.
For this reason we Malaysians as the citizens of one nation - 1 Malaysia - must constantly check our understanding of the concept of mutual respect. We must be ready to check our tendency to blame others more than ourselves, our tendency to magnify the failures,connivances or provocations of others more than our own. We must be ready to reexamine our own attitude, assumptions, belief and even community values.This is fundemental to restoring mutual respect, trust and goodwill to maintain and promote national unity.
Having said that let's take a quick look at some of the issues which threaten national unity in this country as a result of a failure in mantaining mutual respect. The national language issue related to its official use and education, religious freedom as against the need for Muslims to adhere to the Sunnah wal-Jamaah and protect the aqidah, the supremacy and purity of Allah from abuse , the basic rights of citizens under the Constitution as held against the need to preserve the right of bumiputeras and prerogatives of the royalties etc., had always been at the center of many controversies, polymics and and emotional outbursts. Charges like 'ketuanan Melayu', ' minority groups being marginalized, opposition parties being persecuted, the rights of non-Muslims being eroded, the violation or infraction of the law by the rich and powerful being condoned etc can cause the sparks of distrust and hatred to start flying around.
Only the breeze and atmosphere of mutul trust and respect can prevent such sparks from flaring up into a bush- or even forest-fire. Such mutual trust and respect must be based on the evidence of peace and harmony that this country has enjoyed in the past. The horrible memory of the May 13th incident for those who witnessed it and the stories told to those who didn't, should suffice to make us want to preserve that peace and harmony. Yes, problems will crop up, disagreements will arise within and between the racial groups that make up our people, the political parties will continue to bang each others heads and twist tails as they are wont to do to gain dominancy in runnung the affairs of the state, laws will continue to be violated by those driven by greed and ceiminal tendencies, the hands of the law must continue to be harsh in order to equal the brutality of the criminals and maintain order. But so long as we maintain a mutual respect and trust of each other as the relatively peaceful history of the country after merdeka has proven, we will still be okay. We can fight for what is just and fair, but we don't shed our respect for each other as Malaysians.
We may even dislike certain leaders. But when the people have chosen them to lead, we must respect the common weal. Criticize the decisions they make that we don't agree with but respect the reasons why those decisions were made and show the public other alternatives that could be pursued in solving a certain problem. The right to make the final decisions of course remains with the leaders whom the people have chosen. When we don't respect that right, we're throwing away respect for the Malaysians as a whole and tryuing to force through our own interest.
Let's ponder about this for a moment. I think bloggers need to do some deep, abstract thinking too, and not just ride on the popularity of certain political views, pro or contra, to gain mileage for your own popularity.