When good people, petrified, swallow poison

Posted on May 3, 2011


By Farida Ibrahim


Dear  Haris,

Please allow me space on your blog.

On March 14, 2008, you ran my article   ‘How Bosses Behave Badly’  –


I had felt compelled to write  then because barely had the March 8 Election Tsunami euphoria ended, and Pakatan’s component parties begun working to settle state positions, albeit with bickering amongst them, there then erupted dissident voices among many of your commentators.

Wild accusations were made about certain successful Pakatan candidates, moans and groans were expressed because the parties didn’t seem to  be able to get their act together.  The most strident voices belonged to those who regretted voting for the Opposition. They wanted BN back!

And this about-turn took place in less than a week after Election Day!

It tells us much about the character, loyalty and maturity of some of the people writing in to your blog.  They gave BN decades but they could not give Pakatan even 2 weeks to sort out matters.

Today, many commentators are walking that same road, expressing an anger akin to  that in 2008.

This time it is levelled against RPK for what he had said or is presumed to have said  in his  interview with TV3,  and against you, Haris, for not distancing yourself from him.

Scandalous, unsubstantiated accusations that you both have been bought over by BN/ Mahathir, demonizing, slurs, verbal threats –  they’re all there.

Sadly, those who made cuts in the interview and masterminded the spin,  – TV3 and its political masters – have been let off  lightly.

These evildoers must be celebrating because their scheme  worked – good people, bewildered and petrified by what had unfolded, swallowed the poison and turned against both RPK and you.

Like the others, I too think it was a dumb, foolhardy thing for RPK to do – to agree to that interview.

Whether or not he took a calculated risk that backfired,  whether or not this was his way of  resurrecting the Altantuya tragedy because he did make a vow to her father that he would not rest till justice was served – who knows? Only he does.

But I do know one thing. RPK, more than any other Malaysian,  opened my eyes to what really was going on in our country – politically, economically, socially, locally and nationally.

My own awakening about political processes, our fundamental rights etc. came about through reading and digesting his writings and yours, Haris. For that I am deeply grateful.

RPK’s courage in standing up to the authorities spilled over onto those of us who had become thirsty for change, and so began our greater participation in public life – from taking part in the Penguin walk, the Bersih rally, the anti-ISA rallies, the candlelight vigils, etc.

Today,  reading again and again the sullying of your names in public space, the mocking language used against MCLM,  I cannot help but wonder why our good people are stuck in this time warp of cursing RPK and you.

The TV3 interview was screened pre-16th March and we are now two weeks hence, yet many of your commentators are unable to move on.


Who are your commentators today? I’d  say they can be  categorized as follows:

a)      pro-BN supporters who think they can now have a field day playing hell with the minds of readers, pitting them against you two;

b)      pro-Pakatan supporters, particularly from PKR,  who want to punish you because you wrote and exposed a lot of things about their divisional elections and put PKR in a tight spot by asking for explanations from Anwar and Azmin and these were not forthcoming;

c)      cyber troopers  paid to  do their worst, create havoc and  divide the Opposition front and its allies so that the BN regime can continue to rule, and mind you, it is actually only UMNO running the country;

d)     decent and sincere readers who write  from an anger borne of   deep disappointment and some, from a sense of betrayal.

It is, really, only the last category that I am concerned about. The others, I would say,  are just  bent on  maintaining or wresting power and so  subject themselves to blind obedience to party demands, and not to the principles of justice, fairplay, truth, integrity and accountability.

So, let me say this  to your decent and sincere readers/commentators:

Good People, just take a step back and examine your own hearts and motives re. this entire episode.  And while you are doing that,  evaluate honestly what you yourselves have done to rescue this country from politicians hell-bent on driving us down into the ground.

Have you walked the distance like RPK and Haris have?  What is your own track record? Or are you merely in the grandstands, cheering them on to do what you shield yourselves from doing?

And for one mistake RPK makes – giving that interview to the enemy– you  crucify both him and Haris?

You are unforgiving towards them but can tolerate what ruthless BN does, day in and day out.

Really, do you know what you have done?

You’ve given BN what it wanted. You’ve fallen into its trap – just like RPK did.

TV3 and its masters served you poison, Good People, and you swallowed it.

They wanted you to desert two men who have stood up against so much wrongdoing.

You did.

They wanted you to mock these two men, tarnish their reputation.

You did.

And in doing this for BN, you damned yourselves.

What do I mean?

Look at the top of the page. It says, ‘The People’s Parliament’.

This blog is  symbolically your Parliament and mine.

Everything we’ve ever wanted our Malaysian Parliament to be, in every way we’ve   wanted our politicians to behave, we  must first demonstrate that in ourselves here.

We must be the catalyst, the statesmen and stateswomen we want our politicians to be.

We must be that heart and mind, voice and spirit of integrity and accountability we want others to possess

But look at what we demonstrate on this blog.

Venom is spewed. Pathetic  arguments are the common offerings. People mock each other. Disrespect flows. Name-calling is common. Words are used to belittle, wound and destroy.

Where is the finesse, the maturity of thought, the substantiated arguments, the respect for one another, the articulation for nation-building?

Some people give pseudonyms because real names would jeopardize their jobs or families. That’s fine, but to use pseudonyms so that they can revel in vile words?

Do we build people up or pull them down?

So, are we  any different from the current crop of parliamentarians, the likes of Nazri, Bung Mokhtar, Najib and his whole cabinet?

Can we honestly say we are  people of integrity, accountable for everything we say and do?

And can we get out of this time-warp and trap we have entered into?  Yes.

How? Recognize the enemy got us,  pick ourselves up, acknowledge we fell from grace. Then move on.

Haris and RPK have. They’ve said what they needed to say  and they’re back to working the ground, with or without you,  to get this nation on track.

So what do you intend to do?

Close ranks?

Stand up and fight the common cause?

Or do you still want to stay imprisoned in that time-warp, wallow in unforgiveness and  continue to swallow BN’s poison.

The choice  is yours, Good People.

I leave you with this wise saying:

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Posted in: Friends