Thursday, October 18, 2007

From Bad to Worse?

Twenty years ago tonight, Malaysian Army private Adam Jaafar from the Ulu Kinta camp entered Kuala Lumpur's Chow Kit area and ran amok, killing a couple of people before he surrendered in daylight a day later.

There has been many a reason cited for his actions but events overtook that for nine days later, the Malaysian government carried out Ops Lalang which netted 106 citizens and closed down a couple of newspapers.

What's this got to do with what?

Absolutely nothing. Absolutely everything.

For that was just the day after the start of why we are where we are now.

We are still figuring out the country's failures among its success, debating whether a Malaysian who made it to space is an astronaut or a tourist and what it cost and profit the country, wondering whether the politicians or the civil service or both are doing a service or disservice to the nation.

There are parallels to what happened from 1987 to 1989 and what we are undergoing now, albeit in a compressed time moment.

Adam's actions lead to Ops Lalang within 1987 and later in 1988, an emboldened Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and a cowed nation oversaw the judiciary emasculated while in Burma, the military regime scythed through its citizens. Mahathir subsequently went through a heart bypass in 1989.

Fast forward to 2007 where there is no amoks or security operations but the judiciary again in a smaller disarray while Mahathir has again spent time under the surgeon's scalpel for a quadruple bypass. Burma, now Myanmar, has again cracked down on its citizens.

Ever thought about history repeating itself or parallels in time. George Santayana said those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Guess that is what is happening right now in Malaysia.

We have yet to move beyond that period in time and we are still circling to find solutions and move on.

From bad to worse?

Funnily enough, the top song the week after Adam's adventure was Michael Jackson's Bad!

No comments: