Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Hero and the Villain

There're many things which make life today rather confusing. For example we're all very concerned about our health and so we always listen to the advice of doctors given through the newspapers. magazines, TV and the radio. But if we do, almost all kinds of food and drinks seem to contain chemicals that can be harmful t our health or can cause cancer. Even coffee or tea. We all use handphone nowadays. That too is said to be harmful to our hearing, Even the television and the computers can cause a lot of harm to our eyes, hearings and our health in general.

But most confusing to me is in regard to giving our respect to the heroes of our country. The men (or women) whom we respect and honour for many years since small, may suddenly turn out today as the villains of society. In the same way the villains of the past may suddenly rise in popularity and become a celebrated hero. A good example is Hang Tuah and Jebat. For years we consider Hang Tuah as a hero and Hang Jebat as a villain. But today there are many who consider Hang Tuah as a mere chattel for the Sultan of Melacca and that Hang Jebat is the real hero who fought against injustices. Munshi Abdullah was a literary hero when I was a student but today many consider him as a stooge for his British master, Sir Stamford Raffles. Chin Peng had always been the enemy no:1 of Malaya before but recently some considered him to be instrumental in pushing Malaya (now Malaysia) to get its independence.

Npw look at our current heroes on the national horizon. Even some past PMs who have brought so much changes and development to the nation are being picked out for something undesirable that came out of their decisions and are, therefore, looked upon as a villain with the laurels they had won in the past being slowly withered away. Walking around amongst us today are people regarded as leaders and heroes by some but looked upon as villains by others, with a long list of the injustices they have committed. There are also the wealthy icons who have made their way to join the Forbe's international list of billionaires but looked upon by some like they have smelled a rotten fish. At the lower end of the scale some rich and famous characters are simply classified as the 'plunderers' of the nation.

In such a situation is it surprising that we have no heroes that our young can look upon to emulate? The line between being a hero and a villain seems so thin or amorphous that one can not only fall on either side on the line but also qualify to appear on both sides of the divide at the same time.


abdulhalimshah said...

Ya Akhi Norzah,
We must go back to the basics. If we believe that the rationale of our existence is in accordance to what verse 56 of Surah Adz Zaariyat said, " Dan Aku tidak menciptakan jin dan manusia supaya mereka menyembahKu" then we are on the true path.
Villains and Heroes are mere transients in this mundane life and human beings are irrational depending on how their hearts "see" things around them. If you cleanse your heart every day 17 times and more in performing the voluntary solat, then you shall be able to differentiate the right from wrong in every aspect of your life. Our beloved Prophet (PBU) is the absolute model or " Contoh" we should emulate and revere and the rest are merely falsehood which changes shade according to one's "seeing" hearts, if any.

norzah said...

For us the grown ups and hopefully wiser, we may be able to single out our heroes, Akhi. Even then we can be mistaken sometimes, mistaking the hero for a crook or vice versa. But ultimately we'll know. But for the young people who like to have role models to emulate,they may not find the heroes or heroines they want among the leaders because of their ambiguous profile - sometimes lovable sometimes despicable. Hence they choose the filmstars for their role models,not from among the national leaders. They know and love the film and tv celebrities more than the national leaders. One day I'm sure a film star will become the PM of this country. At least the filmstar can act more convincingly.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ which roughly translates as ‘ what is beautiful to one may not be so to another’ or ‘you cannot fault one that sees beauty in a person that others don’t’.

That explained why some pretty girls are pursued relentlessly by a few guys but ignored by those who didn’t see much in them. Ahem!

If we are to extend this to hero-worshipping a character or a personality it would be somewhat similar though the emotions involved are somewhat subdued.

One tends to be more objective in terms of feats accomplished (moon-landing heroes, sporting heroes, etc) contributions by way of personal sacrifices to family or country (freedom fighters) just to mention a few.

They were held in awe and great respect for what they had done based on accepted norms or principles.

It would create problems only where there are dissenting views put forth by authorities or individuals with their own agendas.

This would be more apparent with political motives behind them as what’s happening here now that skewed or coloured their judgements. Whenever politics is involved , credibility is compromised.

As you had mentioned, it is sad. It would lead to unnecessary confusion especially to youngsters who are thrown with a lot of differing opinions by different persons and also at different times. Worst when historical facts are questioned, twisted and even ridiculed .

Heroes switched places to that of villains and their sacrifices are thrown to the wayside. This is the trajedy of what some national leaders face and all because of politics!

This cannot be avoided as individuals are naturally selfish.

norzah said...

Dissenting views with political motives may indeed be the cause of some heroes becoming villain overnight and vice versa, as u suggested, Akhi Kaykuala. Even Nik Aziz, a most respected imam, is sometimes painted as a villain by some. The same with Tun Mahathir, and even the late Tengku and Tun
Razak. How then are the young Malaysians going to respect these people who built our nation?

Well, I guess we just have to select our own heroes and forget what others say about them.

Al-Manar said...

It is a question of black or white, day or night - to side of a coin. We see but can they?

abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
My perception of the younger generations idolising their 'heroes' and 'villains' are mere passing fads rather than true hero-worship. The iconic leaders of the world such as Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, JFK, Mao-Tse-Tung, Ho Chi Minh and others could be on both sides of the coin, depending on how you choose with your preferential values.
As such, that is why I said our categorisation of "Heroes" or "Villains" even by the Y and Z generation are illusionary in character. What is "Apparent" may be regarded as "Real" and likewise who is considered as "Heroes" today can be seen as " Villains" at another point of time. This relativity is coloured by our perception on a continuum from ignorance to enlightenment. Truth may be viewed as falsity by the Quraysh during Jahiliyah period, but ultimately Divine truth prevailed when the Message brought by our beloved Prophet (PBU) is the only absolute Truth through the Revealed Noble Al-Quraan. We must bring our young to the right way in looking at whom should be regarded as " Heroes" and who are the " Villains" as the same way we have been imbued with the values rooted in our Faith. We must not be trapped in our western oriented values of the separation of the worldly life and the Hereafter. Our worldly life is the bridge to the Ultimate, i.e. the World Hereafter.

norzah said...

Clearly then, there's no black and white to separate the villain and the hero; everyone is a shade of grey, just like falsehood and truth. The only truth that's infallible is the divine truth as embodied in our religious faith and enunciated by the al-Quran and Hadith in the case of the Muslims.As far as mortals are concerned, even the Prophet Muhammad SAW, the Insan Kamil as held by the Muslims, is viewed by some as less than perfect.

This leaves human beings as a creation of God that cannot look upon anyone of their own kind as a model of perfection. Only God ( or Allah SAW for the Muslims) is perfect and almighty. And there's no truth but the divine truth. All else is transient and equivocal. Is that an acceptable conclusion, ya Akhir Halim and Pakcik Al-Manar?

abdulhalimshah said...

Ya Akhi Norzah,
There is no further Truth than Divine Truth indeed and as long as we understand every word in our solat and in the Quraan and Hadeeth we should be not be going astray from the straight path. Everything in this world shall become dust when Kiamat befalls us, and that is the Truth. Indeed you have come to the conclusion based on our Faith and you cannot be wrong. Allahu Akbar.

norzah said...

Thanks ., Akhi Hal. I needed that assurance to indicate that we can ask questions and we can argue about religion including Islam( some say Islam does not permit that) and yet do not deviate from the true teachings - aqidah. Alhamdu lillah.

abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
The question of Aqidah is not compromised by Ijtihad, since we must understand and be convinced on the issues which can be opened to intepretation. Even the "Tafsir" of the Al-Quraan is not the 100% meaning of the Holy Book and one must have the capability of " Balaghah " to comprehend the "Tafseer" fully.

norzah said...

Fully agree,Akhi Hal. In fact to comprehend tafseer one must not only know balaghah but also grammer and sharaf .