Wong Chun Wai of Star wrote, “Can we stop being angry people and try to make sense of the issues affecting the nation instead? Or better still, laugh at them?” in his Sunday column, Of Angry Birds and Angry Malaysians in Sunday Star today.
A young man, about to become a father and a husband, saw his life tragically ended after being subjected to near inhumane interrogation by a government institution. Teoh Beng Hock was under such duress that, according to the RCI, it drove him to allegedly commit suicide. And this is someone who is apparently innocent of any wrongdoings.
An elderly lady, drenched as a result of the water cannons, walks away from a brigade of riot police, eyes stinging from tear gas. All she did was to take part in a peaceful march for electoral reforms with thousand others who suffered the same fate.
A mainstream newspaper and a so-called NGO with its bellicose leader is allowed to spew out racist rants; fan religious tensions; and spread fantastic conspiracy theories (Jewish/Communist/Christian domination, take your pick) to divert attention away from the failings of the government, with barely a murmur of disapproval from those whom we look to for protection of our shared values.
Blatant corruption is not investigated, or when raised, treated with the customary “tak cukup bukti”; a government that ask its people to tighten our belts but is barely able to contain its own bloated spending; and public institutions such as the police and MACC that spend more time defending its obvious masters rather than the public.
Last but not least, our mainstream media that appeals to the lowest journalistic denominator - substituting real, unbiased reporting for a shameless, one-sided politicised news and opinions that stretches the truth or manufacture controversies to hide the real issues.
And we are wondering why Malaysians are angry?
What is anger, if not a mix of frustration and passion for the subject matter? When we are angry with someone, it is usually with the people we love or care about. When we are angry with certain events, it is because the events affect us personally, directly or indirectly.
Yes, we are angry. We are absolutely livid with the current leadership that have virtually stripped our public institutions of their independence, dignity and best traditions. We are enraged by so-called leaders that preaches 1Malaysia on the one hand and turns around to defend those that rubbish it.
We are furious with politicians who think that we, voters, are smart enough to vote them into office but clueless to think of ourselves that they see fit to contaminate our minds with half-truths, spins and censorship. We are furious when we see this country of plenty being plundered by those who were supposed to protect it.
Being angry shows we care. Being angry shows we still love Malaysia. Being angry shows we are hopeful. Hopeful that Malaysia may yet be redeemed by leaders who possessed the real conviction to steer this country to its full potential, for the betterment of our children and not their own well-being; leaders who serve the people with humility and not with arrogance and sense of entitlement.
Anger is good. Anger is fuel for change. Wong shouldn’t worry about angry Malaysians. He should instead worry the day Malaysians stop being angry. When that day comes, it won’t be replaced by laughter, as he suggest, but in most likelihood, by tears and resignation.
I pray that the day won’t come.