Nowhere to hide

THE Nothing to Hide fracas was not unexpected. To the discerning it is yet another pointed indicator that the political culture is fast heading into a tailspin.

Despite the many voices condemning the incident or rejecting it as not our "Malaysian" way (some with a tinge of guilt or as sheer political posturing), they are rather too late to make a difference.

Why is that? Simply because as of late we have gone overboard in transgressing the well-established decorum or "adab" and "budi" that forms the basis of cordial co-existence (moderation) as argued by this column a fortnight ago.

It therefore borders on "uncivilised" politics (others dub it as political gangsterism) that has no place in a country that wants to be known as "developed" in two years time.

This lapse of judgment all around is shameful for the country, particularly for those who fancy themselves to be "leaders" of such a "developed" country.

Have they not listened to the wise who have long warned us to be mindful of our "thoughts" because it will determine our "words", which in turn will shape our "actions"? Have they forgotten that to speak ill about someone publicly (colloquially "membawa aib") is a major sin that promises hell-fire? Therein lies the reason as to why the fracas!

Succinctly, it boils down to the many ill-chosen and crass "words" (one of them is "celaka") spewed arrogantly in public in front of thousands of people without anyone censuring them.

Not to mention how these are carried by all forms of media reporting and blogging to millions more. By the logic of accepted wisdom, the fracas is the kind of (ill) action that will follow unless one is courageously wise enough to refrain from it. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Like the bullying reported in schools, most started in the same way by teasing to cause "aib", ending up in physical violence and trauma.

It is no different in politics and political bullying, which has been noticeably on a sharp rise lately.

The only difference is that we assumed adults are mature (if not wise) enough to be more responsible at the very least in the things they say let alone their actions. But it was a big let down.

It seems that they are no better than school children bent on tit-for-tat. Now the children have even more reason to perfect the art of bullying knowing that it will be handy if they choose to be political leaders and make a name for themselves. How terribly sad!

Instead of opting to be role models as statesmen and behaving like one, many choose the easy way out; become a clown!

In this regard, it boggles the mind to note that it largely involves one particular ethnic group that often claims to be the voice of the Malaysian political landscape.

If they believe that this is truly so then the fracas is the latest clear signal that they have fallen short, embarrassingly short. This is starkly because as the wise further assert: Watch your "actions" for they can turn into "habits", which then form your (political) "character". This then will shape your future "destiny"!

In a nutshell, silly thoughts leading to inflammatory words will create crude actions and behaviour that hardens into bad habits and an obnoxious character. A sure route to a dark and bleak destiny for oneself. And if you are a so-called "leader" then you will drag everyone else with you.

Viewed this way, the fracas is a fair reminder that the situation has gone on far enough in bringing out the worst in us – literally having nothing to hide any more.

Carrying on with this foolishness will defy the dream of being a great nation as our final collective destiny. Like it or not as we welcome the 60th Merdeka we are indeed at a crossroads.

Unless we grow up and amend our ways now, the ultimate will be so humiliating that we have nowhere to hide in the eyes of the world.

As it is now it is already difficult enough to stand tall among other nations.

With some four decades of experience in education, the writer believes that "another world is possible". Comments: letters@thesundaily.com