Another year is coming to an end. Some people make personal vows on matters affecting their lives, others celebrate the coming of the new year as if there’s no tomorrow.
I have no wish to celebrate or make any life-changing resolution, except to tell you a story about how wonderful Sarawak is. Sinatra croons about New York—the city that never sleeps—while I would say that Sarawak is the place to be in the future when Peninsular Malaysia burns through its own folly.
I see a lot of similarity between Syria and the Peninsula. Syria is in the throes of a civil war that has taken the lives of more than 200,000 people. The feuding parties, the Sunnis and the Shiites, just don’t know when to stop and seem to hate each other more and more every day. They call in allies and friends, leading to a massive escalation of the conflict that could bring Middle Eastern countries, including Turkey, into full-scale war.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have crossed the desert and the seas, suffering the loss of their loved ones in the process—all because they wanted to escape tyranny and violence. If we wanted to escape the tyranny of Putrajaya, moving to Sarawak would be a walk in the park by comparison.
I feel it is prudent for us to stay away from Peninsular Malays who are always looking for a fight. They want to fight Christians, liberals and those selling smart phones. Perkasa wants the group of pensioners who call themselves G25 to be classified as “deviants”.
Sarawak will not insulate us totally from everything but it will provide some kind of protection from the madness found in the Peninsula. In Sarawak, Malaysians will be quite safe from racist thugs whose idea of “jihad” is to fight over shopping malls and enforce khalwat laws. In short, Sarawakian leaders can provide us with some relief from the toxic and deleterious politics of Putrajaya.
People emigrate when situations become unbearable. They do it because they want to give a new and better life to their children and grandchildren. They may not succeed but they have to try. This is no different from the emigration of Europeans after the devastation of the First and Second World Wars.
The worst that can happen to any family is when a country breaks up and violence rears its head; when everything that constitutes law and order is dictated by one man. That’s when life becomes cheap. Thugs rule the country and lesser thugs roam the streets. Leaders continue to “rule” with the power of institutions controlled by their self-interested flunkeys.
Sarawak is potentially the best place to be if you want to escape the misfortune that will sweep Peninsular Malaysia in the years to come. The school system and even public administration will be better with the use of English—when your English is good, you tend to know more about the world.
The Islamisation of the state will be impossible because UMNO is not in play there, and Malays in Sarawak will be safe without UMNO. The current Chief Minister is a practical man who is concerned about poverty and who has made some sensible decisions for the people. Only yesterday he challenged the media to help expose corruption and injustice in society.
I know it’s an election period but you will never hear that kind of thing from Putrajaya. In Putrajaya they talk about race, religion, conspiracies, “enemies from within” and nothing else.
In Peninsular Malaysia we can all hope and wish that things were different, but nothing will be the same again. We can wish that ISIS stays away from us but we are breeding them by providing the same philosophy in our schools and religious institutions that the madmen in Syria do. Our political leaders and highly-paid preachers sound like Taliban leaders and the self-styled ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakar Al Bagdadi, so how can we expect a different outcome?
We can hope that in the new year, Ali Tinju will not hog the headlines and that the recent fight in Kota Raya was not a prelude to something more serious. We can pray that Federal Court judges become fearless and independent and that the Police become a professional law enforcement agency.
We can hope that the Resolution of the European Parliament with respect to 1MDB and human rights abuses in Malaysia, amongst other things, will be taken seriously by Putrajaya and that our politicians will take heed of what world leaders think.
But seriously, no such thing will happen. We can wish all we want but Malaysia will be Aleppo and Western Syria in the years to come.
I am now on the way to Serian to see some fine Bidayuh farmers who are rearing fish and keeping lots of durian bukit for me to try. Yesterday, I had the most wonderful bario rice (reddish in colour and eaten with shredded meat and wild vegetables) courtesy of a friend from the Kelabit community.
Sarawak, here I come.