Tuesday, 26 June 2012

There are more heroes after all

History is a study of study of past events, in particular in human affair. History explains what has happened in the developments of human affairs of a place. It is unfortunate when a history is not necessarily stated in an manner that is objective and fair to all the parties to it. History is often told  from the perspective of the teller. That person conveys it in the ways that he want the rest of the people to believe.

I can agree that a person, a company or an private organisation does that from their own points of view. They have their own vested private interest to do it. The question whether a government of a country can manage historical information as such that it only benefits the ruling party or the government in office. A government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people in a democratic country. It should only act in the interest of the people and portray historical events fairly for all the people of the country. In real life, I suspect there are not many countries that are willing to do that, especially when one ruling party has been in power for a few decades.

Hero is typically some one who is admired for courage or noble qualities. All heroes in a country should be recognized. Heroes in a country must have a place in the history of that country. Malaysia has many heroes over the course of its history. Heroes of the countries can be political leaders, sports persons, inventors, scientists or even heroic  personality of ordinary man and woman. You can find a book on 100 Malaysian Heroes launched in 2012. You can find the news here: http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Wajah_Wira, and here: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/4/25/nation/11168827&sec=nation

In my view, there are many more  heroes in Malaysia. The book, 100 Malaysian Heroes, perhaps only tells one side of the story . I can instantly name 2 recent heroes of this country, Ambiga Sreenevasan and  Abdul Samad bin Muhammad Said  (Pak Samad). 

Ambiga Sreenevasan
Pak Samad

You can read about the background of Ambiga here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiga_Sreenevasan and Pak Samad here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._Samad_Said .

I came across these 2 personalities several weeks before Bersih 2.0 in 2011. Both of them played very important roles in shaping and leading the Bersih coalition to strive for clean and fair election in Malaysia. I was very curious why would a 74 years old man still wanted to walk and march under of the hot sun with thousands of much younger Malaysians during the Bersih 2.0 rally.Pak Samad is a national laureate. I find Ambiga's involvement more understandable because she is an ex-president of Bar Council and active civil activist. After all, she is only in her 50's.

Since 2011, i started to read more about news of Pak Samad and Ambiga. Their roles become even more prominent during the Bersih 3.0 rally in April this year. I began to admire the cause that they are striving to accomplish. They were not spending all those hours organizing Bersih rally for themselves. They risked tear gas, chemically laced water canon and police arrests. Should everything goes well, they still have to endure hot sun and possibly rain through the rally. It rained during Bersih 2.0 and in contrast the sun was scorching hot during Bersh 3.0. In both instances, water canon, tear gas and arrests were all widely used by the police.

The key question is why are they still actively pursuing clean and fair election under the name of Bersih?

For me, the answer is in the few words uttered by both of them which i have put in quotes below:

Pak Samad
“Some people have told me that I have changed as a person. But I know I am still the same. I do what I do, say what I say and write what I write because I don’t want to die useless. I want to be able to die knowing that I did something for my country, even if it’s a small part, to bring about the change I hope to see in my lifetime.”

You can read more  here: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/02/20/i-dont-want-to-die-useless/


"I didn’t do enough to fight the rot that was setting in which is the result of what we are seeing today. We should have stood up to corruption and abuse of power much earlier. I think we have failed our next generation because it is the responsibility of everyone to make sure that things go right."

You can read more here: http://www.mmail.com.my/story/unfinished-business-bersih-30http://www.thesundaily.my/news/388234

These are some of the most inspiring words that i have seen for years. They put tears into my eyes. For someone to say this, it takes a lot of belief in what they are doing and the determination to do the right thing. Do you not think that they are so selfless? Are they not  a form of true heroes of this country?

Pak Samad and Ambiga may not have their names in our history books. They may be branded as 'bad persons' for causing  chaos and losses to petty traders. For those who read, we know better who Ambiga and Pak Samad are. Perhaps, our children will not learn about them in their schools but I am sure that they have a place in my children's history of Malaysia. I will make sure that they learnabout Pak Samad and Ambiga. The heroes that inspired hundreds of thousand of Malaysians in the pursuit to have a clean and fair election, and a cleaner, fairer, better Malaysia.

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