Dying in two different ways

by Goh Keat Peng

In the news this week, we are numbed by reports of the death of hundreds of human beings not unlike ourselves. Some of these our fellow human beings were going about quietly in their everyday life in a city that is not only beautiful in myriads of ways but also ordinary like many other cities of the world. At 12.51 pm on February 21, 2011 an earthquake struck and to date, 147 have being confirmed dead, with still 200 people missing.

What do we, can we, say? For all these many years, that city like so many others in the human world was functioning normally with few if any extraordinary event ever happening. Then this thing happens and loved ones, colleagues and neighbours are taken from this life in a twinkle of an eye leaving behind heartache, anguish and bewilderment. Even those who are left without loss of loved ones face months if not years of rubble- physical and emotional- to cope with. Normalcy and routine as one resumes one’s life under these circumstances is not possible for a while.Then, we hear that the man in Libya has arranged for live bullets to be fired at street protestors, and in at least one instance, even worshippers who were coming out of the mosque after Friday prayers. In his televised speech, he said that the arsenals will be opened if need be so that loyal supporters of his regime can be supplied with weapons and ammo to wage a patriotic war against the enemies of the country, that is, those out there who are demanding his removal. To date, more than 1,000 have lost their lives many of whom were where they were when killed by their own decision, seeking freedom from despotism and the suppression and corruption which come with it.

What do we, can we, say? Especially when each new day will see many more deaths in this fashion.

In the case of natural catastrophes, there is little if indeed any room for argument or debate. Death comes when it comes. If one happens to be there, the scene of the happening, one is there at that particular time of the catastrophe. Victims were not taking a conscious risk. It could not be said of them that they knew the risk involved. They were not going anywhere which could be regarded as a place of present or perpetual danger. To say that the place one is in is within the ring of fire (that is, earthquake prone) does not necessarily mean that nobody should be staying on there. If that were so, whole human populations (not to mention, animals) in countless number of places the world over would have to be moved or resettled. But where to, how to?

Obviously, the predicament faced by protestors against despotism is in a very different category of equation altogether. The danger to one’s wellbeing, limbs and life is clear to all such protestors especially in the case of Libya. Unlike in the case of the Philippines in 1986, you won’t get nuns (of any religion) going around and quietly, slowly, deliberately placing a stock of bright flower into the barrel of each gun pointed at the protestors. To go against this particular man, you would have to be making a conscious decision; you are putting yourself at great risk.

Clearly, for any person to go on the street who is not an obvious supporter of the power that be, would be to place him- or herself in clear and present danger. The chances of being hit by a live bullet or beaten up or arrested and shut away are bound to be very high.

It is a very humbling sight to behold, these people who are intentionally placing themselves in the line of fire. Humbling precisely because when people don’t have to be in a desperately dangerous place but knowingly choose to do so. It is a very sobering thought for us who view such scenes on television to know that this or that face we are seeing may be the next victim of a brutal act, may have lost his or life in the next moment.

Fastforward from Benghazi, Az Zawiyah and Tripoli to our own situation in Malaysia where the challenge we face is not guns with live bullets or any life-threatening or even necessarily job-threatening or captivity-threatening. The task before us seems very much easier, so much more doable. Like for instance, if I am not already registered to vote, I must do so immediately. If I am already eligible to vote, to just make sure I turn up to vote, despite the traffic or the queue or the weather. If any of the by-elections happens to be in my constituency, I must make sure that my name is not transferred to some other polling station without my knowledge. When I vote, I should bear in mind what my vote involves and I am ready to vote with good reasons and at least in a deliberate, intentional way, knowing who, why and what I am voting for.

Just taking a little trouble to think through certain things in the midst of my daily schedule, my at work or at home responsibility or my entertainment, sports or leisure schedule. To think about the nation, where it is going and where instead it should be going.

Itu pun tak boleh. Even this little we are unwilling to do?

Come to think of it, there is a third way of dying. That is, dying in effect by not living in a responsible, thinking way. Doing by not doing.

  1. #1 by Thor on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 1:04 pm

    Countries like China, Australia and New Zealand have to face natural disaster like earthquakes and typhoon and floods but here in Malaysia, we have to face the worst, that is UmnoBN!

    • #2 by cemerlang on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 8:09 pm

      China, Australia and New Zealand have the money and the status of being rich. Malaysia has peace. Which would you choose ? Money or peace ?

  2. #3 by k1980 on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 1:10 pm

    Goh, put yourself in the shoes of the poor villager in Sarawak subsisting on RM3 a day who is out hunting for food with his blowpipe. He would be too busy hunting to feed his family on polling day, unless some one puts RM50 in his hand and orders him to vote for his white-haired raja.

    So Goh, if you were to be that poor villager, you would also throw away your principles and cast your vote for that white-haired raja. My point is that democracy can never work in societies which survive from hand to mouth. Which also explains how gaddafi manages to be king for almost 42 years.

    • #4 by cemerlang on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 8:15 pm

      And most in Sarawak do not use the blowpipes anymore. For your information, traditional living is staged. Real life living is as modern as how much money the person has. Have you been to a modern longhouse that does not look like a longhouse and more like a terraced double storied house ? Sarawak produces some of Malaysia’s richest people. In Sarawak, the rich will go on supporting BN because for a simple fact. Many want development, as developed as West Malaysia which they always go to. As developed as Singapore which they have been to. As developed as Sydney or Melbourne which they have visited. Who still wants to peddle away a boat ? If he has an engine, he will use that engine sampan. If he has a boat like Datuk Azhar, do not be surprised if he uses it on the mighty Rejang River and sail across the world.

  3. #5 by dagen on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 1:11 pm

    Did someone say something about dying?

    No. That wont happen in malaysia. Here at the most we will have crushed bodies and lost lives. And oh I forgot, the act of soaking the keris in chinese blood. All these are not meant to cause death. Not necessary for death to happen. One may have crushed ribs and smashed skulls and still live on. Likewise, if one were to disappear, that does not mean one is are dead. And needless to say, soaking the keris in chinese blood is a relatively harmless act. Get a few pints of chinese blood from the blood bank and then soak the keris in. Will anyone die? No. So if death does result, somehow, clearly that must be an unintended result, a pure coincidence, and a most unfortunate consequence.

    Oh I will spare the rambutan man this time.

    • #6 by cemerlang on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 8:17 pm

      You can die while still living like a drug addict.

  4. #7 by tak tahan on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 1:26 pm

    Now no worry already la.We have a big boss here to take care of our problems.


  5. #8 by k1980 on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 2:37 pm

    Let’s say you are contesting for a state assembly seat with 20,000 voters in the ulu. From statistics, you know that at least 6,000 of them support your party, while the remainder 14,000 are either fence sitters or opposition supporters. How can you win?

    Easy. Get your party boss to come up with half a million bucks. Pay RM100 to each of the hard-up fence sitters (the most hard-up the better), telling them to vote for you. Hence you can get 5,000 extra votes, enabling you to claim victory.

    This explains how democracy was invented by the fat Greeks cavorting around with their concubines, while their slaves do all the work, and not by the Bushmen of the Kalahari gasping for survival.

  6. #9 by Loh on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 3:13 pm

    Yes we don’t face real bullets. We face the bullets drawn on the papers in the ballot boxes, and some through the post.

    People in the Middle East have simpler solution because they know who are the evil beings. Back here the evil beings have brainwashed their agents to put bullet in ballot boxes in support of them. The people are conned with crumbs and the masterminds send 889 billion ringgit overseas. For three generations the people have been drugged with believing of special entitlements. They want that to continue albeit receiving unequal share. There is no sense of what is fair and good for the nation, but they harbour only the thought that together they keep this entitlement intact.

    The younger persons who realize that UMNOputras have been making use of them for self advancements of personal interest found it hard to openly opposed UMNO policies. They are accused of firstly being ungrateful for the system which made it possible for most of them to be where they are, though that was a warped argument because with the resources available, the same assistance would have been provided to them without having to deny people of the wrong races the same opportunity. To those who questioned NEP UMNO accuses them for being selfish after they had enjoyed it and now deny other Malays of the same arrangement; as if the arrangement is the only one possible. That argument plays on the racial emotions of young Malays and it serves to urge them to feel that despite the leakages the beneficiaries are Malays. It becomes their racial responsibility to ensure that the wrong system continues. With that all the training young Malays receive such as in civic classes are irrelevant in real life. Besides not only the teaching of equality of races in Islam are subservient to NEP, they are to ignore the basic tenet that one harvests what he sows. Indeed one cannot be religious to accept NEP as a permanent feature in the society. Yet UMNO declared that Malaysia is an Islamic state as if they are God fearing.

    Malaysia is not like Libya because UMNOputras are smarter than Gaddafi. But they share the same thought in how they treat the country.

    It is difficult to dislodge UMNO in the GE 13, but it does not mean that we should stop trying.

  7. #10 by Loh on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 4:27 pm

    ///Former transport minister Chan Kong Choy was slapped with three charges of cheating at Putrajaya Sessions Court today, in relation to the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.///–Malaysiakini

    CKC is charged for deceiving AAB by withholding information which might have otherwise alerted AAB into not approving the appointment of Kuala Dimensi in operating some turnkey projects in PKFZ. The case rests on the claim that AAB would not have approved what he did if he had known about the information which were said to be unavailable to him at that time. Question might be asked as to whether AAB would have comprehended the significance of the ‘withheld’ information to his approving the projects. Further was it proper to impute that CKC knew about the details which had been said to be withheld from AAB? If the information were on records but CKC did not comprehend the link between those information and the approval of Kuala Dimensi’s project, can he be guilty of misleading the PM? Can ignorance be a defense, regarding CKC? Can super-intelligence be imputed to AAB so that he would have done the right thing without the wisdom of hindsight.

    Interestingly, the person who directed that the PKFZ land be purchased at ‘negotiated’ price, rather than through forced acquisition allowed by the law, at a fraction of the price paid, that is Mamakthir, the Finance Minister at that time had not been charged. ChenSuiPian went to jail immediately after his term as President. How come we have legally untouchable in Bolehland?

  8. #11 by DAP man on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 4:40 pm

    How easy to charge a former Minister from the ‘pendatang’ community?

    The charge is also a joke. If a PM can be deceived, then he must be a dumb PM. By the way, can the prosecution prove the charge or is this another sandiwara?

    • #12 by cemerlang on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 8:22 pm

      Well someone has to be the scapegoat knowingly or unknowingly.

  9. #13 by Loh on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 6:47 pm

    ///(Bernama) – KUALA LUMPUR — The family of Teoh Beng Hock has shown “clear disrespect” to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by boycotting the Commission of Inquiry into the political aide’s death, a former Court of Appeal judge said today.

    Shaik Daud Ismail, who retired from the judiciary in 2001, said all parties involved should give the CI due recognition and respect because it was set up on the command of the king. ///

    The government has not implemented IPCMC which was the recommendation of the Royal Commission established on the command of the king, so the government has shown no respect to the king. If the government cannot set a good example, how can ordinary citizens show due respect?

    TBH family wants justice done and the reasonable explanation to who caused TBH’s fall to his death. Whether or not they are at the RCI would not change the outcome of the investigation. To impute their absence at the RCI as ‘clear disrespect’ makes people feel ‘clear suspect’ of the intellectual capacity of the retired judge. It was as though RCI depended on the presence of TBH family to justify its conclusion. If that was the case, then the RCI should clearly be postponed until the AG withdrew its appeal for a dubious verdict from the court.

  10. #14 by monsterball on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 7:06 pm

    Vote vote vote…everybody vote.
    Not yet register to vote…do it now.
    Not doing so…you are totally irresponsible and unpatriotic.
    And these should be the people Najib should bang bang bang to save JayaPutra.
    But his otak tak centre…and want to bang bang bang anyone voting against him and call these millions Malaysians unpatriotic.
    Now Rosmah coming out with tears to campaign at by election. Tears sure work wonders for jokers.
    The way of the dragon will sacrifice his life..to hentam the “Big Boss” and bring peace and prosperity to all Malaysians.
    Idiots only know how to plant rambutan trees are taught to rare live stocks for exports.
    After reading all comments…and the main post….and noting the absence of cintanegara…all is well and good.
    This guy does not even have the decency to wish birthday boy…yet come visiting this house as and when he likes.
    Buy we know…UMNO B melayu have no manners…just best to talk nonsense…and craps…as if we do not know how to talk like that also.
    Anything they can do…we can can do better.
    Anything better…we can do better than them..so said Annie…so said me.

  11. #15 by Loh on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 10:17 pm

    ///(Bernama) – PETALING JAYA, Feb 28 — Mastering the English language will not make one less patriotic as English is currently the language of knowledge, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.///

    So why is learning Chinese and Tamils objectionable? This mamak Knows no logic and he argues what supports his stand.

  12. #16 by Taxidriver on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 10:29 pm

    In Malaysia there is a fourth way of dying: dying as a witness in MACC office, dying in police custody and dying in a hail of bullets fired by trigger-happy police.

    Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan and Amirulrashid died the fourth way.

  13. #17 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 - 1:17 am

    Aiyoh..fourth way,i think it will be close to the most probable logical way(umno way);dying without knowing the cause of ‘wanting to die’ as suggested by none other than our most proud and over standing lawyer,Razak right?Backed up and got liwat by our Kangaroo judge?????No????

  14. #18 by monsterball on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 - 5:15 am

    All ‘traitors” cannot die so easily.
    So Najib suggested the fifth way…to die and sacrifice himself to defend his PM position.
    So brave…so daring.
    But he spoke that with control of all guns and forces.
    It is big talk with no meaning
    But that will be the fifth way….with thousands dare to die bare handed …if Najib dare to start the war against so call Malaysian “traitors”.
    It seems Najib is fighting a war against his own people..yet he proclaimed ..he is People’s PM.
    This must be the ONLY country in the world with so many traitors after a PM’s blood.
    Rosmah needed to perform with tears at a by election.
    What are the signs showing after Egypt and now…whole of Middle East?

  15. #19 by Loh on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 - 9:50 am

    Gaddafi is said to have 450 billion ringgit worth of assets overseas. That is about half of what Malaysians sent out illegally. Just wonder whether the largest holder of the 889 billion ringgit overseas exceeds what Gaddafi has.

    The oil price jump in the 1970s by OPEC has caused real inflation in the world. The vast percentage share went to a few dozens families, including one in Malaysia. The change in Middle East has been too late in coming.

  16. #20 by k1980 on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 - 2:09 pm


    53 years after achieving independence from the Brits and this is what the rakyat get—-

  17. #21 by son of perpaduan on Friday, 4 March 2011 - 10:32 am

    Guy like Ong Tee Keat will bring change to better nation if he consider joinning the right political party.

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