Friday, August 30, 2013

This Merdeka

 By Howl Pillay

I have never been more fearful than this Merdeka.
The nation celebrates its fifty-sixth birthday and a month ago I celebrated my fifty ninth.
Context: Born - 1954; Kewarganegaraan - Malaysia; Keturunan - India; Agama - Belum diIslamkan.
But to be fair, the authorities have never hauled me up for “Insulting Islam”. Why should I even think of doing it?
Yes, why should I, when legions of salafists, takfiris and the other ‘mightily misguided’ believers in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan insult the faith on a daily basis by inflicting unending violence against innocent fathers, mothers, children and infants. Even in the month of Ramadan, last month.
We should all be thankful we have kept our distance thus far from this unholy crowd for whom even their fellow believers are fair game. But Comrades, be ever vigilant! The road to Cairo, Mogadishu, Baghdad and Damascus passes through the school toilet of SK Pristina. One day they may make even a movie, “Tandas Pristina”.
And though fearful of developments closer to home, I know someone up there is looking out for me. I thank my lucky stars. And my prescience.
Ten years ago, taking heed of a management guru’s line of ‘differentiate or die’, I considered choosing the following email address: to incorporate the year of my birth.
But something held me back. It was a gut feeling I could not pin down. It did not seem to have the proper effect. Besides in the Cantonese “four” is associated with death. But I wasn’t one to give up easily. As I was born on the 17 July, I toyed with Eventually I chose another email address.  
And it was all for the better! Who knows I could have spent this Merdeka in a cold cell, bruised and black-eyed ala Saudara Anwar. What! you say incredulously. Why not? An Indian somehow associated with both the “04 Gang” and the “08 Gang” will surely be beaten up to within an inch of his life.
Yet others may say: “Don’t be ridiculous!”.

But believe me, these days you can never tell what the country or the cops are up to.

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