No fear Guan Eng surged Christians No triumph without tribulation

 

If there is one thing that the last year should have taught many people then it is this – the status quo in India is changing like never before.Any civilized person closely following events in Malaysia is bound to be struck numb with shock at the senseless rape, killing and burning of houses and property of the victims. The worst perpetrator seems to be Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing urged Christians No triumph without tribulation the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) has no business questioning Christians on their religion, and questioned whether Jais was employing Gestapo-style tactics in raiding the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) yesterday. (The Gestapo is the Nazi-era police used by Adolf Hilter to oppress Jews and minorities.)“Has Jais, with the aid of the police force, become an insidious type of Gestapo in Malaysia?” .Tan said the raid by Jais and the questioning of BSM staff violated the 10-point agreement reached between Putrajaya and Christian groups on the controversy over the ‘Allah’ issue. repression by extremists who want to embellish their religious credentials. These extremists hope to make their mark by instigating Christians No triumph without tribulation.There is little point in trying to debate who started what and who did what to whom, though of course the perpetrators of the calamity should be punished in an exemplary manner – though chances are they wouldn’t. They wouldn’t, because a crowd action provides sufficient anonymity to bring out the depravity in us as a people.  It is as if anonymity emboldens us to be on our worst conceivable behaviour. After all, even an otherwise peaceful people of Malaysia,No, savagery is not limited to the Rawandan genocide. Something in us keeps us ever-ready to let our savage loose at the slightest or even no provocation, as long as there is an imagined excuse to do so and sufficient anonymity of numbers to hide behind.  That’s why we see gang rapes more than solo acts, perhaps.

The Penang government will not bow to UMNO religious extremists and racial bigots, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng following this morning’s attack on a church in Lebuh Farquhar.
He said the state government will instead use the “weapons of social justice and sustainable development” to defeat the acts of violence and hatred in Penang.
“In this critical hour with shadowy extremists and racist forces conducting sustained aggression to destabilise the Penang state government, the 1.6 million Penangites must reaffirm the commitment for the past 200 years to protect, preserve and promote respect for cultural diversity, racial and religious harmony by rejecting both violence and hatred,” he said in a statement today.
Whatever it is, the arrival of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng  has shaken up the entire political establishment. Whether they succeed or not, whether their policies work or not, there is talk of innovation in the political process and the big guns are on their toes now, just like the competitive APP ecosystem. We can safely assume that the days of political complacency will be gone soon, for good.
Time for us,  to kickout  Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng rejoice and hope that  election r ‘20148 truly turns out to be a very Happy  to all of us.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) taking a closer look at the slight damage caused by the Molotov cocktails thrown at a church in Penang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, January 27, 2014.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) taking a closer look at the slight damage caused by the Molotov cocktails thrown at a church in Penang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, January 27, 2014.

One is a political party DAP, the other a term used for mobile/internet applications.

One might think the only connection between DAP and APP are their similar sounding names. The Aam DAP Party’s name AAP is often spelled as APP by mistake. But the truth is – they have more things in common than one can ever imagine. For starters, both are new, disruptive in nature, upsetting the way things are run conventionally.
I am going to list out in this blog post many more points that are eerily common to both. Here they go…
 
 Some of the most popular and successful APPs today are Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat among many others. Twitter has now gone public, Instagram was acquired for a billion dollars and Snapchat is reportedly getting offers of four billion dollars and upwards to be purchased – staggering amounts these are.
One common theme among them apart from their high valuations is the extreme simplicity of the ideas on which they are built.
  • Twitter is a service that let’s you post status updates upto 140 characters at a time.
  • Instagram is a simple image sharing platform with basic filters.
  • Snapchat is built on the concept of ephemerality. You share an image and it disappears once the recipient views it.
Instead of letting these newbies capture the market, any of the established big guns like a Google, Microsoft or a Yahoo could have built any of these APPs in a matter of days, maybe hours. But they never did.
Here is why:
  1. The big guns think the ideas are too simplistic, lame, even bizarre.
  2. They first ignore them, then scoff at them, then ridicule and mock them.
  3. By the time the big guns realize the value of the new APPs, it is too late.
  4. They then try to replicate the same model but find the going tough.
  5. The fan base and user loyalties lie with the disrupters – think of Google trying to build a social network like Facebook, once they fall behind, it’s hard to play catch up.
  6. The first mover advantage is always with the disrupters, unless the following thing happens – The big guns or another disrupter moves faster and disrupts further.
Best example is that of Hotmail and Gmail – at the peak of its popularity Hotmail provided 2 or 4 MB space per user as storage. Gmail came along and provided a massive never before heard figure of 1 GB of free storage space. This is the peaks of disruption, how could anyone compete with this logic.
To keep pace and to keep themselves relevant and functioning, the following dynamics come into play between the big guns and the newbies:
  1. The newbies get acquired by the big guns for a fat sum – Facebook tried to replicate the Instagram model and failed. They then purchased Instagram for a whooping one billion dollars. You can’t beat them; buy them, works fine for both parties.
  2. The newbies take partial support and give a minority stake to the big guns in their company – Facebook tied up with Microsoft in its early days for financial support. Facebook is still independent but Microsoft benefits in the long run as Facebook’s partner over direct rivals like Google. Bing, a Microsoft product is the default web search option on Facebook.
  3. The brave newbies with guts decide to go it all alone. They do that by going public – Twitter is the prime example of this model and Snapchat seems to want to go the same way too by resisting the four billion offer from Google.
Though I didn’t say anything about DAP so far I am sure by now you have noticed the similarities with the APPs I mentioned above. Maybe you really don’t need to read any further, but still, here it is…
Needless to say, DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng  is the newbie here while UMNO and  MCA are the big guns. And this is what has been happening in the political arena off late:The first mover advantage is always with the disrupters, unless the following thing happens – The big guns or another disrupter moves faster and disrupts further.
Best example is that of DAP’s promise of  freedom to practice  religion.
The biggest tragedy of such savagery is that it brings out the savage in most of us.  For example, one begins to wonder if even the most savage punishment imaginable, say of the Sharia Law kind, would suffice for the perpetrators of the  crime against, children, women and men.For this utter failure of law enforcement, who is accountable? The politicians? The community leaders? The police? The? Shouldn’t these worthies counsel the people better, even assuming people do not know any better? Unfortunately, practically anything today has become acceptable under the name of politics. Politics  is no longer about unifying the different; it is essentially about playing up the differences, whether on the basis of religion, race, or region.  This is all the more tragic, especially in a state that gave the country a galaxy of leaders in the past. And the police and civil servants mix up their lack of respect for their political bosses with utter disregard for their own responsibilities, and treat the only purpose of their jobs to be self-enrichment; to hell with governance.  After all, why is such a huge mass of humanity in our villages still under such utter poverty, devoid of basic education and without the minimal security of the state, 65 years after Independence, while all we get to hear from our ruling masters are empty words or subsidy schemes which are actually meant to fill their own coffers over and over again? Unfortunately we do not have answers and nor are we likely to have any,
There is a saying, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls, but with good counsellors, there is safety”.
The recent spate of events that have engulfed the nation has amply illustrated that we have neither wise leaders nor good counsellors.The words of this column will make no difference. A government can reduce the past to rubble as easily as an Opposition party can erase a centuries-old mosque. My apologies for a rare detour into the personal, but this is a rare moment. I was a minor part of the Rao government and resigned on the night of December 6 since the stone wall constructed around the prime minister’s house had become impervious to anything except sycophancy. Words demand a different kind of loyalty, and one was relieved to return to the world of words.

The first inquiry into the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992 was completed within seven days. On the morning of Sunday, December 13, Sharad Pawar, then defence minister, invited a group of friends and colleagues to the home of an associate MP. He watched a film – live footage of the whole episode, taken by some government agency, possibly intelligence. Those antique reels should still be somewhere in the archives. There was little that any inquiry committee could have added about the sequence of events on December 6 that ended with the fall of the mosque by the evening.
The causes of this historic event were also a matter of public record. L K Advani’s rath yatra was not a surreptitious journey. Indeed, extensive media coverage may have been part of the purpose, since he wanted to create mass momentum for his political project. Neither was there any secrecy when Congress laid the foundation stone of the temple to Lord Ram in the middle of the 1989 polls. Babri was a central theme, along with Bofors, of those dramatic elections. The 1989 BJP versions of Varun Gandhi were full-throated, not muted, in their slogans as parties sought votes with a rhetoric that has been subsequently banned: Mandir wahin banayenge! and Mussalman ke do sthaan, Pakistan ya kabristan! No one hid anything: We shall build a temple on that precise spot! Muslims have two options, either Pakistan or the graveyard!
Democracy is a volatile game played in the open. What was there left to inquire into?
All that an official inquiry could do was place a stamp of judicial impartiality on known facts. It did not seem strange, then, that Justice M S Liberhan, appointed on December 16, 1992, was asked to deliver his report in three months. If he had extended it to six months or even a year, it would have been reasonable. Why did he take 17 years?
The key actors were known and available. No sleuths needed here. Why did Liberhan take more than nine years to obtain V P Singh’s deposition, and nine-and-a-half for P V Narasimha Rao’s? Surely they were not evading his orders? Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti were ministers in a BJP-led government when they gave evidence. Former RSS chief K S Sudarshan appeared only on February 6, 2001. Rao could have said all he had to long before April 9, 2001, four years after he lost his job as prime minister.
Had the commission already served its first purpose by 2001? It had outlived Rao’s term in office and thereby, ensured that its findings could not be used to demand Rao’s resignation. Rao survived December 6, 1992 by the cynical expedient of buying out those he feared most, Muslims within the Congress. Some inside government were given promotions; most outside were inducted in a January 1993 reshuffle. Conscience purchased, life went on.
It would be interesting to know if the Liberhan Commission has disclosed the one mystery of December 6: what was Rao doing that entire day? Babri was not destroyed by a sudden, powerful, maverick explosion. It was brought down stone by stone, the process punctuated by the rousing cheers of kar sevaks.
So, what was Rao doing during those minutes and hours from morning till sunset? Sleeping. That is what his personal assistant said to the many agitated Congressmen and women who phoned to ask why the government was asleep. They were shocked to learn that this was, literally, the official explanation. Their agitation cooled when they realized that the party would have to pay a horrendous price if government was destabilized. Plus, of course, there were concrete benefits in silence.
There may not be a rational explanation for a 17-year inquiry, but there is a political explanation. Every government between 1992 and 2004 had a vested interest in delay. The minority governments of H D Deve Gowda and Inder Gujral could not have survived a day without support from the Rao-Sitaram Kesri Congress. (Mrs Sonia Gandhi was not party president then.) Neither Gowda nor Gujral would have wanted a report that indicted their benefactors.
The BJP-led coalition that ruled for six years had the guilty on its front row. Only Uma Bharti has been candid enough to say that she was delighted when the mosque fell (“I’m ready to own up to the demolition and will have no problem even if I’m hanged”). Justice Liberhan could have punched mortal holes into the BJP front row when it was in office. And so when he sought one extension after another, there was public silence and private relief.
Whether advertently or inadvertently, Justice Liberhan protected politicians on both sides of the great divide. There remains a curiosity question. Why did he not submit his report in 2004? Admittedly Dr Manmohan Singh was finance minister in the Rao government, but he had nothing to do with the politics of Babri. When delay becomes so comfortable, why bother?

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