Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Merdeka Statement

I choose the wrong times to read heavy-duty stuff. It's late at night, I can feel the beginnings of a headache, and what do I do? Decide that it's finally the right time to go read the Merdeka Statement!

Anyway, as we get closer to Malaysia turning 50, I do encourage all Malaysians to read it. The Merdeka Statement was formulated by many NGOs, and seeks to express a set of nation-building principles and basic beliefs in a fresh manner. Ps. Sivin has a good write-up on its launch. Ronnie Liu briefly responds to some of the voracious criticism of the document.

It does seem obvious to me that things are beginning to come to a head. It think it used to be that Malaysians tended to have a "let's sweep everything vaguely uncomfortable under the carpet" mentality, but a new generation (and even the not-so-new) is no longer satisfied with this. And everything we've seen recently, from the spate of cases on apostasy, to the debates about the NEP is simply the result of long-held frustrations finally beginning to boil to the surface. In other words, the cracks which have been papered over for so long are beginning to show.

And make no mistake, I think blogging has been a force. The Malaysian blogosphere has a pretty big and robust socio-political constituency, even if the level of discourse sometimes leaves something to be desired. While I would be careful not to overestimate its influence (witness how predictions of big wins for the opposition never quite materialise), the very fact that ministers have to, from time to time, issue various warnings and even veiled threats show that the Malaysian socio-political blogosphere is to be taken seriously.

It's also good to know that there are Christians involved who are at the forefront of initiatives such as this. We need to continue to pray for them and encourage them, especially when "politics" is sometimes regarded as a dirty word, as I understand it, in some churches in Malaysia. Also, it'd be good to continue to pray for our government rather than throwing unending brickbats at them (1 Tim. 2:1). In any case, remember, even when things don't look great prima facie, the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed!

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