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Pronounced "trwa-nix." Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, writer. The girl who does not go silently into the night.
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Annette Singh @Troisnyx

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There's something I need to get off my chest

Posted by Troisnyx - May 10th, 2018

Speaking as someone who grew up in a very repressive Malaysia where one party has held the reins for getting on 60 years, since the creation of the country:

The place of my birth now has a new government, a new party, but an old face, and I'm not really having a good feeling about this at all.

So first off, I'd like to start by putting into a bulleted list, what the news outlets have to say about this whole matter:



So naturally, one wonders, whoopee! Change has come! Malaysia has its first hung parliament! What next? Thing is, considering Mahathir Mohamad's track record, I have my misgivings.

For starters, I remember him being Prime Minister when I was a child. Specifically, all the way up till I was 11. At that time already, he was the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of the country. To his credit, he did modernise the country and bring in information technology -- a little late, considering most of the developed world had it in the 70s and 80s and we were playing catch-up in 1995, when it was introduced to us. However, he perpetuated some pretty horrible things, including the awful Malaysian human rights record. He brought with his reign sentiments of Malay dominance over all the other ethnic groups, just like a fair few of his predecessors and a fair few people who replaced him.

And, most notably, he imprisoned his then deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, on fabricated charges of sodomy, charges that would be repeated in the last decade as well -- in a country where male homosexuality is illegal, but female homosexuality is perfectly fine. Don't fucking ask me why. Many people around me, particularly in the cities, saw this as unjust and perhaps a perfect way to get rid of one's enemies within the party. But there were still many more others who swallowed the lies and believed, at face value, that all of this was true. Needless to say, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

On top of that, Mahathir Mohamad, in the 1980s, came up with a scheme of sorts called Wawasan 2020, or Vision 2020 -- a plan to make Malaysia on par with the developed West and East by the year 2020. Many people over there may have forgotten about it, but I certainly haven't. Well into my primary school years I and hundreds of other schoolmates were singing patriotic songs about Vision 2020 in our school assemblies. I remember, I was the fucking pianist for these songs. The news reports that I mentioned above allude to Mahathir's comments that he will step down after two years. If you ask me, I imagine that it's because he still remembers Vision 2020, pardon the cheesy name -- and that if it doesn't come true, it's not only Najib Razak with his corruption who'll be a laughing-stock. Mahathir himself would be a laughing-stock as well. Mahathir wants to avoid that.

But honestly, what drastic change can be done in two years without its immense share of problems?

I mean, come on. I am in Britain now and I love this country with all my heart, but Britain already has its problems; we're in what people describe as a constitutional crisis. Our brethren in the US... well, we hear enough problems in that country every day because of the President-made-of-cotton-candy-and-clown-pubes. And back when I was in Malaysia, many of us who were fed with information about Vision 2020 were fed also with the naive thought that we would have no more problems to deal with, we'd be a technological, prosperous paradise. I do not know if that naiveté still lingers on in the hearts and minds of the Malaysian people, and for their sake, I sincerely hope not. I sincerely hope that they realise that they're going to be faced with these problems  throughout their history and they have to take responsibility, and be accountable for these things.

I must also mention perhaps the most important thing of all that is filling me with unease.

The last time an opposition party took a lot of seats, it was in the 1960s. Immediately, goaded by political bigotry and hatred, a bloodbath happened that took the lives of very many people, predominantly from minorities. That came to be known as the 13 May 1969 Incident. Now, I am all for change if it is really heartfelt, and properly followed through -- but a lot of people tend to pay lip-service to that change. I remember that throughout my school years, propaganda about the 13 May 1969 Incident was consistently hammered into our heads. We were made to live in fear that if we elected anyone apart from the ruling government, something like this would happen again. We had to at least maintain a surface relation of harmony between all the ethnic groups -- fuck all the problems that happen beneath the scenes -- so that something like this doesn't happen and so that the status quo could be preserved. Now forgive me for my cynicism; I sincerely hope that it doesn't lead to something like this but what are the odds that Barisan National, or its component parties, won't go kicking and screaming throughout Mahathir Mohamad's new term? Or worse yet: what if they don't, because they're subjected to the same repression that we all knew in decades past?

Will many people be able to talk about their fears without prejudice? Will people be able to protest freely without tear gas and violence given to them? Will the Foreign Office here in Britain finally lift the warning to avoid centres in cities where protests are going on?

Will the sunset clause on majority rights for the Malay people finally be put in place, which has not been put in place since 1957, the independence of that country? Will it finally say, "until such time that there is economic parity between all the ethnic groups"?

Or will their legacy be one of a technological autocracy? Will people try to perpetuate the dominance of one ethnicity over all the others, like all the almost fascist rhetoric of "Malay lordship" or ketuanan Melayu that was propounded in the last decade?

I am still simmering with memories of what had been inflicted on me during my time in that country. I have nightmares of it in my sleep; they've happened nearly every night now. So naturally, I take a massive change like this with extreme caution, because I've known that country to be volatile in the past.


Comments (6)

Can you simplify the Malaysian human rights commission? Wikipedia didn’t help.

The Malaysian human rights commission, SUHAKAM, came into being after this whole Anwar Ibrahim fiasco that I wrote about above. Under the previous government, the Barisan Nasional government, "human rights" were seen as foreign, intrusive, and Western influence, and so SUHAKAM basically had its wings clipped. The one thing they could do is teach people about human rights, in little bits at a time, mainly by telling people about the rights of people in other countries that Malaysia didn't have.

They'd released statements about the use of emergency-era laws against opposition politicians, e.g. the Sedition Act, which is the extreme opposite of freedom of speech. The slightest critique of someone in power could land someone with jail and torture. They'd also run small seminars on various other kinds of laws that prevented people from talking about corruption, rights and freedoms on pain of detention without trial, and torture without trial. The main fear of the people is that people were scared to speak out about their frustrations because they could be taken away without any warning. The local police force had a far bigger body tackling "cybercrime" (read: dissent) than they did for actual crime.

Thing is, SUHAKAM was only nominally mentioned by the ruling government of the time as a means of saying "look, we care about people" when in practice, they were only paying lip service to human rights. It was just a trophy piece, or a thorn in the government's side. Basically, the government had become a narcissistic parent to SUHAKAM. I don't know if anything about it would change.

Anyway, I hope this description helps.

The description helped me a lot. I find that how you feel about Malaysian human rights commissions is how I feel about the American human rights ideals; they have hypocritical undertones every time they are passed; coddled, and set in place to appease those that hate Free Speech. Makes me sick; because while they claim to appreciate your right to living peaceably; those against anyone prospering besides the self-made billionaires (Who we later come to find are only billionaire's in name only; or if they are willing to sell a botched investment; like BitCoin to the masses. Electronic revenues that I am sure help to aid the Sex Trade.) https://thefreethoughtproject.com/allison-mack-accused-trafficking-children-billionaire-backed-sex-slavery-ring/

Which is why John Oliver talked about MLMs and coal mining honchos.

There still is a modicum of freedom, however small -- and that is still a lot better than having no modicum of freedom at all. I agree with you, the US in its current state needs a lot of work, but not entirely from the ground up.

Politicians are all the same in any country and any times. They care for themselves only. If something is announced as a posititve change, be damn sure it is either a lie or will have a painful backfire in other area. I'm observing it right now in my country and at the very place I work. So - yes, I'm afraid your doubts aren't baseless

Uhhhh, what you mentioned gave me shivers down my spine. Too true.

To Britain's credit, there have been positive changes, but again, we had to do it the hard way and often, democracy had to be endured with all the rulebreaking, gerrymandering, rotten boroughs etc. before they were finally brought to account. It's by no means the best country in the world, no country is -- but I must give credit where credit is due. The Republic of Ireland overcame its prejudice towards single mothers. France had Robert Badinter, who singlehandedly campaigned, and successfully at that, for the abolition of the death penalty in France and by extension, in the EU. So I won't go so far as to say there's no lasting change for the better in the world.

But lasting change is often won the hard way, by people who have been so burned that they want to avoid the same hurt being continued again. And I don't honestly believe that many Malaysians have truly experienced that yet, in large part due to what many have been made to believe.

Thankfully not from the ground up, but as long as there are people like you willing to talk about how bad things "can" get for someone, then a standard can be maintained. It is when we get this idea that we are immune that we get swept off our feet.
Never let it be said I take the education you are willing to share for granted and or did not know how to apply this information in the securing of my own personal liberties.
You really are an inspiration. Thanks for being willing to get that off your chest.

I just hope that something will become of this, something good. Because I don't care that my name not be attributed to this, just that people really want things to be far better than they currently are, and bring those desires to life. It'll not be on account of me that change is ever brought -- and that's for the best, I think.

@AGeekNamedBenny @Troisnyx alright thanks.

When I got to the part about sodomy charges I had to stop and scratch my head. Why do conservative politicians freak out about gay anal? If it was heterosexual anal sex, or lesbian anal, everyone would be down like a clown. But when two dudes start tickling each others prostates suddenly its devious...

The older I get the more childish it seems to base political policy around male anal sex. Like, read a fucking book it's just anal.

This is one thing I NEVER get about countries like these, especially with some form of Sharia implemented there, whether it encroaches on the population or not (which it will, to varying degrees) -- lesbianism is perfectly fine, but male homosexuality? Burn the warlock!

The worst part is that I went to an all-girls' school, and I saw hints of this about. This became more apparent when I was picked by lottery to become a conscript; lesbian relations were prevalent, and in many cases encouraged, presumably due to the all-female camaraderie you wouldn't get elsewhere -- and going out with male trainees was frowned upon anyway. But if two guys got involved in similar acts... well, they wouldn't hear the last of it. I don't understand it at all.