Monday, August 20, 2007

Wee Meng Chee - the true patriot

Is Meng Chee patriotic? Some ministers said he is not patriotic because he amended the tempo of the national anthem, some said he is not patriotic because his song is seditious, others said he criticized the government and tried to put the country in a chaos therefore he is not patriotic. What is patriotism? It is the love towards our country. However how do you define a country?

In the year of 1932 in China, there’s a professor named Chen Duxiu. He is a propagator of the Marxism-Leninism. He is also one of the founders of the Communist Party. In that year the Kuomintang Government put him on a trial with the accusation of “betrayal of country”

In his defense argument he said “The Communist Party is against the Kuomintang Government, not the Republic of China, Kuomintang Government is not a country! I did not betray the country, the government and the country are two different matters.”

A country is defined as the land, the people and the sovereign rights. Therefore any action to jeopardize the land, the people and the sovereign rights is betrayal to the country. While those against the government, having different political view if seen as betrayal to the country is erroneous.

Today Meng Chee criticized the government policies, the social evil – we can not take his action as betrayal to the country. In actual fact, he is a true patriot; He is the most patriotic among all patriots. When he furthered his studies in Taiwan, he brought along a Malaysian Flag. How many of us could do this? He even brought the Jalur Gemilang around the stadium during a basketball competition. We have one minister saying that if you don’t hang the national flag means that you are not patriotic. Is he trying to suggest those Mat Rempit who hangs the national flag on their motorcycles as patriotic?

We should ponder why this issue could start developed from the very beginning. If it is not Meng Chee who uploaded the “Negarakuku” on youtube, I believe there would be others who will do the same thing. I regard this as the Meng Chee phenomenon. The main reason of this phenomenon is the government act trying to suppress the young generations thinking. The younger generations do not have the proper channel or space to articulate their views. When the suppression of feelings get greater and greater eventually it will burst and we can see people like Meng Chee trying to express their feeling through video clips.

Why is the video clip by Meng Chee so well received? I asked one of my friends what is his feeling after viewing the clip. He responded “I feel well” Why is it so? This is because Meng Chee said the truth of our society in his song. It is the naked truth, an inconvenient truth that many of us feel deep inside our heart. It is just like the story of the emperor’s new cloth, when everyone is saying that how well the emperor dress is; a little young boy jumps out and pointed that the emperor is actually naked! Meng Chee is this little young boy. When our prime minister started his serving, he stressed that he wanted to listen to the truth. If he wants to listen to the truth, we tell him the truth; Meng Chee even rapped the truth out but what are the consequences? He is going to be punished!

There are also several double standards in this issue. Basically those allegations on Meng Chee could be categorized into three groups. First, amending the national anthem – if you really pay attention to Meng Chee’s song, you will realize what he did was merely increase the tempo of the national anthem and inserting some raps in between. He did not change the genre of the song. In fact, there are some singers who presented R&B Negaraku during concerts! If Meng Chee is to be punished, those singers should be punished as well. The second allegation on Meng Chee - his song is seditious and he is trying to provoke racial disharmony. Is this true? How about those seditious statements during the UMNO general assembly last year? Aren’t they more “suitable” to be charged under the seditious act? The third allegation – he is insulting Islam. To be honest, it is quite hard to defend Meng Chee on this issue. This is also the only part in the song that I do not agree personally. However the worst line Meng Chee used in the song was “ada yang suara macam ayam”

He used the phrase “macam ayam”. If you still remember last year in Parliament, the People Progressive Party President, Kayveas used the phrase “macam monyet” to address the opposition party MP. He even argued that “Saya tak cakap dia monyet, saya cakap dia macam monyet, macam sahajalah” In the end Kaveyas retracted the phrase and today Meng Chee apologized. If the government is going to punish Meng Chee, they should go after Kayveas first!

The government should not punish Meng Chee; they should understand that the main cause of this “negaraku” is the unfair treatment and discriminative policies. These policies should be corrected. It is not the other way round, which is to punish Meng Chee leaving the main issues – social evils, unfair treatment, and public service performance unaddressed. The government should listen to the younger generations view and address the issues brought up. If the government continues using suppressing actions against opposing views, it would only cause negative effects. Today Meng Chee used his real name to upload his song and without any cover up. What if others trying to emulate him but upload songs anonymously and without showing their face? This will only worsen the matter.

In one of Meng Chee’s video clip he mentioned the following
“If it is not the unfair Malaysian Universities policy, I need not come here(Taiwan). I love my country, the deeper my love, the eager I am to voice out my concern, but in return I am going to be punished by law. However, I am not worried. What I am worried is the social evil in Malaysia, the unfair policies and the incompetence of the government. I hope Malaysia will get better.”
These are sincere and heartfelt words coming out from a 24 year-old. Are you hardhearted enough to punish such a young guy?

Today we gather here to express our support to Meng Chee. We are going to back him up. Our society needs youngsters who dare to voice out, who can think independently like him. It is only with people like Meng Chee, we have hope for our country. If the younger generation no longer cares and no longer express their concern in the society and politics; it will be a grieved sorrow to our country.

Speech during "Love the country; Defend Meng Chee" Forum in KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly hall

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