Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 13 : Why Should We Be Fearful?

Tomorrow marked the 39th anniversary of the fateful race riots that happened on May 13, 1969. If you are a Malaysian, then you will definitely be aware of the significance of this date. For until today, the mere mention of May 13 still manages to illicit fear.

We often hear it being use by politicians to threaten us from questioning certain policies. We were led to believe that if we did not keep a certain party in power, then the whole nation will descent into chaos just like what happened 39 years ago.

In fact, immediately after the political tsunami of the March 08 general election, supporters from the opposition parties, who won a lot of seats were told to refrain from holding victory rallies lest it is use as an opportunity to cause unrest. This was due to the ruling coalition being denied a 2/3 majority, which was one of the catalysts for the last riots.

My dad upon knowing the full impact of the results asked me to stay at home for the next few days fearing that riots will broke out. He had lived through the terrible events of the 1969 riots and many others like him too had such fears ingrained in them.

But people like me, who belong to a generation born after the incident may not share the same sentiment. We learned about May 13 in schools but what was written in our text books are just simplistic portrayal of the event. Although we still learned about May 13 in 'Hubungan Etnik' at university level, the subject remains a taboo. The complex incident was explained in just a few paragraphs & we gained no new insights into it.

Threats of another May 13 do not frighten the younger generation but instead had an opposite effect as seen from the recent general elections. Politicians who threaten to create instability if they lost power shouldn't have been voted into power in the first place.

A detailed account & understanding of the dark events of May 13 is needed or it will continue to lurk
beneath the harmonious race relations portrayed on the surface. It is time to bury the ghost of the past & move on. The incident should serve as a reminder of our fragility instead of being used as a political tool to instill a climate of fear.

Frankly, after 39 years why should we still be fearful?

5 comments:

Johnny Ong said...

the ethnic relation subject found in uni is a washout of the real incidents. just like the japanese who's trying to re-write their history book on their violent war against other nations, m'sian govt was doing the same.

Marc said...

Something new for me, Singaporean

BernardC said...

To Marc, Singapore is outta Malaysia in 1963, so the event won't be in ur history textbook.

The event of 13 May should never be erased from ppl's memory but at the same time should never be feared. No fear of these...because no matter what the gov are trying to do or the opposition try to do, the people are wiser to judge. V r not stupid like last time.

Chicken Feet aka KaKiaYam said...

Well written, clap x3.

Nice blog you have here...will blogroll you if you don't mind..

acura said...

johnny ong : we want a true account of events to ensure that we can move on as a nation.

marc : you probably wont know bout it but we Malaysians had to live with it for the past 39 years.

bernardc : Yup, we are more mature & rational now. Even though some quarters are trying to do all kinds of provocation, the majority of people wont fell for it anymore.

chicken feet : thanks. certainly wont mind & would like to link you too ^~^

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