Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Complaining Hurts the Country?

Written by johnleemk on 2:30:54 pm May 11, 2007.
Categories: ,

After responding to the comments of "Malaysian's Patriotic Son" about vote-buying in the Ijok by-election, I received another reply:

You can't deny the flaws of the nation. But make it local not international. This can lead to foreigners to intervine in our country. Its good, your speaking about it but have you heard their side of the story? Or are you just complaining because you didn't expect better of something. I suggest, as a community, we find solutions and use teh best solution to help the country. This is a democracy nation not a monarchy or dictatorship, so we just have to abide by the laws and help the nation. (Gotong-royong, Helping the poverty masses, etc)to make Malaysia a better country.

About my last message, the only think i said was to not broadcast Malaysia's flaws because it can give a bad image to M'sia to foreigners. (Economy goes down= Tourism business goes down, Business vendurs goes down. etc)

These aren't new criticisms to me. A number of Malaysians have taken issue with my criticisms of our government and its policies in the past; the education system was one such controversial issue.

The question is...how am I making this vote-buying in Ijok an international issue? I wonder if the reader even took the trouble to read my commentary about the video of vote-buying, which is purely focused on how we can resolve the issue democratically and through the rule of law — even though the video is damning proof that democracy is rather lacking here.

I don't know anyone who has suggested that we need foreign aid to intervene and prevent vote-buying. There are a number of people who have argued that we should accept international observers of our elections, and I don't see what the issue would be about that. There's evidence that we have vote-buying, and any attempt to have impartial observers for our elections should be welcomed, not rejected. As long as they observe, what is the problem?

The lack of specificity in the criticisms make it difficult to understand what foreign intervention Malaysian's Patriotic Son is afraid of. Does he really expect George W. Bush to come marching in and topple the government? Or is he afraid that someone like Al Gore may criticise our government, as Gore actually did in 1998?

In the former case, I suggest he present proof that anyone would invade a country based on evidence of fraud in elections. In the latter, I suggest he get over his inferiority complex and accept freedom of speech, because a statement doesn't hurt anyone — foreigners don't have the vote and can't do anything about our domestic affairs.

The vague inanities about helping the country within our existing legal framework are truisms that most people, including myself, wholeheartedly agree with. I don't know anyone short of some radicals who has suggested that we act illegally to change the country — and I naturally resent the insinuation that posting a video on a website constitutes an illegal act, especially since the government does not censor the internet.

As for the argument that telling the world about our faults will make us a poorer place...that's just bullshit, plain and simple. Are tourists going to stop coming and will foreign investment stop when there is evidence of vote-buying, or of any general deficiency in our country or its government? Of course not — just as there was no such thing with China despite its horrid human rights record, and just as there is no such thing with Singapore despite its overactive activists like Chee Soon Juan.

The true patriots are not those who would stick up for their country, right or wrong, or deny its faults. The true patriots are those who do not shrink to point out how their country can do better, and explore the possibilities for developing it. Living in denial and fear is the exact opposite of what a true patriotic son should be doing.


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.


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