Tis a season to be jolly?Posted: December 27, 2011
Today is the beginning of the last week of this year. This is also the time when people start thinking about what they’ve been up to for the most of this year, and whether they have achieved what they set out to do.
It’s the same for me. For the past week or so, I’ve been assessing my achievements and non-achievements – identifying the things I’ve done and the things I didn’t manage to complete. Of course, in the process, I realised that there have been a substantial amount of uncertainties and surprises that suddenly sprang my way.
I suppose this is what happens to everyone – we can never be too sure about what will happen in the next minute, next days, weeks and months.
Take last week for example. The marriage of Ariff Alfian Rosli in Ireland to his same-sex partner made headlines in Malaysia. I’m sure for him, the kind of media attention he got was something he did not expect.
Perhaps, for himself, it was an achievement of sorts. After all, being officially bonded to the person you love is an event of huge influence to one’s life. It’s a celebration, a joyous day, a cause to be happy. It’s that one day, one event, that changes the course of your life.
Of course, when this was “exposed” by the local media, many jumped, with or without good reason. So now, instead of it being a meaningful day for the happy couple, it has become a circus of differing opinions and suggestions of what should be done to “save” this young man from deviating.
The government of the day has also decided that they are not going to be ‘left out’ of this incident, and apparently are going to send a representative over to ‘talk sense’ into the young man and ‘bring him back onto the right track’. It’s also disturbing to know that Petronas, which gave him his education loan, decided to retract and demand repayments from his parents.
I’m in no position to comment about the legality of Petronas’s action, though I do think that it’s rather abrupt and very ill-willed. And basically, the articles and commentaries that have been written in response to the “exposure” of this little piece of news have been very unsavoury.
Reading all this, and during a week like this, makes me wonder if we’ve made even the slightest move forward in our pursuit to be more tolerant of each other, and less prejudiced towards those who are different from ourselves. It’s a little depressing, taking a look back at the year that has been. It feels like for every little step that we seem to take forward, we’re actually moving slightly backwards. And we don’t even know it yet.
Our Prime Minister announced that the ISA would be repealed. That’s a step forward. But then we got the Peaceful Assembly Bill, which basically took us two steps back. We’ve seen Seksualiti Merdeka being organised for a few years with hardly any hiccups, and yet this year, the police declared it illegal and stopped the organisers from going any further.
So, in hindsight, what have we done this year? What have we, as a nation, accomplished, and what is it that we are still lacking? Are we moving in the right direction? Judging from what’s transpired in the past week, it looks like we’re still lacking of a strong enough captain to steer this boat.
But as I’ve said, there’s really no predicting what might happen next. So in the spirit of the holidays and season of cheer, let’s all have a little more faith in the goodwill of our own people.