Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Will cool heads prevail?

IT'S not the traffic jams that worry us so much. That's more of an irritant than anything else. But it's the possibility of some explosive reaction from several quarters that keep many of us wondering whether or not we'll see history repeats itelf.

The street protests by Bersih and Hindraf seemed to have caught the people's attention, to the point that they have been the major talking point in recent weeks. The lawyers' Human Rights March on Human Rights Day over the weekend wasn't as bad as it is made out to be. The fact that a few arrests were made managed to get some attention, in and outside the country.

At a coffee shop outside the city a few days ago, I was asked what really is happening in KL, especially when television networks are allocating a lot of space to the street walks or demos (as against the picture of traffic jams carried by the mainstream media last month when BERSIH took to the street to state their case).

The coffee shop talk outside the city is just as potentially explosive, if not more, than the street action. I say this because the coffee talk, more often than not, is based on rumours, heresay and speculation. In the absence of consistent dissemination of information, the folks make all sorts of conclusion and offer a varity of solutions, some of which can make your hair stand on ends.

While Hindraf and Bersih continue to get considerable publicity, and some say relevance, I can't but wonder whether their open show of force would invite an equally forceful reaction from their opposite factions. The text messages that have been going round are rather disturbing, to say the least.

While the majority of those who receive the SMS may ignore them, I'm sure there are those who believe them. Or want to believe them. And all it takes is a little bit of misunderstanding or name calling to ignite what could be the mother of all street battles!

There are those who believe that the authorities are hesitant to act; and there are also those who question the arrests. Somehow, at this stage of the confrontation, I don't see how things will cool down or cease without some form of firm action. And even then, the issues won't just disappear into thin air.

There are grievances that need to be addressed, and addressed rationally. Only cool heads can see what these issues are and deal with them seriously and with full sincerity.


Anonymous said...

Your opening lines are truly 'pahit' & 'manis'. The traffic jams, though not such a great worry, are still 'pahit' enough but it is 'manis' to know they are mere irritant compared to the unbearably 'pahit' worst case scenario of history (we know which itsy-bitsy part of it) repeating itself. Bitter sweet it is, the flavour of our times.

Bitter price hikes may still be tempered by sweet teh tarek at day's end or just before the crack of dawn.

But bitter is the resignation when bitterness increases in intensity, no matter how sweet the sugar coating. Alas, bitterness does not dissipate into thin air but a lot of hot air (in coffee shops and elsewhere of late) has intensified the bitterness that is beginning to overcome the thinning layer of sugar that coats issues, that to some are worth getting bruised for.

I believe we have had our fair share of tasting the bitter and the sweet right from infancy; why do we now deny the very existence of this pairing of sensations learned from our taste buds? I also believe the tasting of both bitter and sweet is essential to survival and I say this to all 'warring' factions.

Those who feel oppressed and are bitter must be supplemented with a sweet nectar of some sort. I leave the identification of this nectar and the measure by which it must be dispensed among those feeling bitterly oppressed, to those whose infancy were spent in hushed recluse contemplating their own faeces and how to prolong the tenure of this 'secret' and prevent it from premature discovery; meaning to say any one among us, but preferably those with extra residual memory of that precious moment when a human baby gets first taste of being a political animal trying to hide shit, while being an animal social enough to accept that shit-washing is a communal effort led by a matriarchal figure (sometimes patriarchal). Go figure... I'm still working on this one myself.

As for those whose smile convey the sweetness they feel on their taste buds, a justifiable and quantifiable dose of bitterness must be orally administered as palliative, to temper their euphoria so as not to allow them to stray into delusional episodes that may find them attempting to excise all bitter taste receptors from their tongues.

I may go on but let me end this with an analogy on the use of tongues. Those with more sweet taste on their tongues, please stand up and kiss those with more bitterness on theirs (please stand up too). Let your tongues interact and find the right balance of 'pahit' & 'manis' for each other... somehow.

Lets kiss, not hiss, for peace!

matderis said...

Going by history, war mostly started by irresponsible leader or leaders. The destruction caused is so catastrophic. These irresponsible leaders shall be neutralized at whatever cost. To please all is not a choice in this situation.