Monday, July 11, 2011
Periodic Disturbance better than a Sudden Collapse.
The government and the public are still bellyaching over the July 9 event. Everyone's focusing on the negative aspects of the illegal gathering, the diturbance it caused to the public, the loss of business to the shopkeepers, the bad image it gives to the nation etc. The Police is praised sky-high for blocking the gathering and dispersing the crowd which gathered in spite of the fact that holding such a gathering has been declared illegal and against the law,
Our mainstream media seem to cover the event rather cooly, with no highlihtings of any undesirable occurrence and presenting the entire event as an exercise in futility. But AlJazeera TV took it more seriously and captured many of the more disturbing aspects of the people-vs-the authority confrontation. To outsiders the event could have looked like a full scale people's uprising against the governmen.
The government always looked at such gatherings and street protests as unnecessary because there are many other ways for the unhappy members of the public to bring up their grouses to the government. They can bring up the matter through their parliamentary representstives, through the Press or through the website. They can even use the handphone facilities and the SMS. So, why hold streets demonstration and disturb the peace that our nation has been enjoying?
Yes, i canA remember the peace enjoyed bofore the 2008 election. There was not too much of any disturbance and the Barisan was full of confidence that it wiil win a clear majority hands down. The result came as a great suprise to show that a quiet and a non-display of disientient attitude by the opposition can be a worse thing than some show of diagreement on the street. The same same thing occured much ealier (1985) in Sabah when there was not much show of disagreemenr or opposition to Harris Salleh's rule until the election proved that the people was not on his side. Yes, it came as a shock because things look so calm and peaceful before the election and tne Sabah state governmrnt was not prepared for a beating.
This goes to show that it is important for government to allow people to show their concern and grievances in a way that implies they have some power over the government. Taking their anger and grievances to the street is one sure way of allowing them to do that. It is a kind of allowing them to give vent to their pent up feelings and emotions like what the psychotherapist allowed their patience to do in an anger management session. They would allow the patient to get off their anger on some objects by crying out and hitting at the objects as much as they want until the anger subsides. Once they get over their anger they become more ready for treatment. Stop them from letting off steam and they will continue to find ways to let out their feelings and emotions. It is those patients who just kept their emotions to themselves who will literally explode with anger at a later point of time.
If you stop people from giving vent to their unhappiness and anger, they wiil continue to find ways to show that anger at any point of time later. But if you allow them an opportunity to blow off steam for a while under controlled conditions the anger will cool off and they will be more prone to listen to reason. You can certainly cause more harm than good if you stop people from showing up heir concern. anger and fears off and on. Over a period of time if the anger and fears have no outlet whatever, they will really blow off with a big bang. By allowing them to come out into the open bit by bit, you will not only stave off a totol outrbreak but also undersrand their problems better in order to deal with them more effectively. It is better to deal with the smaller expressions of dissatisfaction than to seddenly face a total lost of support at an election.