November 13, 2014
Your Choice: The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?
by William Leong Jee Keen
Morpheus: It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.
Morpheus:This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. (The Matrix)
Malaysians have taken the road of racism for 57 years because our minds have been imprisoned. A leader may show us a path to a better tomorrow but we will miss the turning if we cannot liberate ourselves from the prison of our minds. Only by choosing good over evil can we see the true path. The time for choosing has come.
He will not be silenced
After seven days hearing submissions from the defense and the prosecution, the five Federal Court Judges will decide whether to acquit or convict Anwar Ibrahim. If Anwar is convicted, he will be imprisoned for a term that will end his political career. The Opposition Leader said this is his final sacrifice, his last final service for Malaysians. He will not be silenced. But will Malaysians grasp the opportunity he paid for with his freedom?
Whether there are flying carpets, briyani suits and what happened to the missing KY jelly is for the court to decide. The target audience for the remake of the stage production of Sodomy I, updated by DNA forensic investigation replacing the old fashion mattress prop, is not the court. It is always the Malaysian public especially the Malay Muslims. The impresario, whoever he or she may be, thought Malaysians are either gullible or easily intimidated or both. Now Malaysians will show whether they are indeed a timid and feeble-minded audience or they are bold and resolute judges firmly punishing evil and rewarding the good. Malaysians will have to decide whether to take the red pill or the blue pill.
The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill are popular culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (the red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (the blue pill).
The term is popularized in the 1999 film, “The Matrix”, where the main character Neo (Keanu Reeves) is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain living in the “ignorance of illusion”, while the red pill would lead to living in the “truth of reality” even though it is a harsher, more difficult life.
Americans chose the red pill when Martin Luther King Jr was shot. The civil rights movement marched on because they knew oppressors would never give up their privileges on their own. President Johnson in his speech before Congress to pass the Voting Rights Bill allowing men and women to vote whatever the colour of their skin said:
“The real hero of this struggle is the American Negro. His actions and protests, his courage to risk safety and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this Nation. His demonstrations have been designed to call attention to injustice, designed to provoke change, designed to stir reform.”
In 2008, America elected a President based not on the colour of his skin but on the content of his character. They had overcome.
South Africans chose the red pill when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. For the 27 years he was in jail, South Africans continued his struggle for freedom and equal opportunity. They fought for the idea, which Nelson Mandela in his statement from the dock said: “Was one he cherished, he hoped to live for but if needs be which he was prepared to die for.”
Mandela and Actor Theron
Internal resistance to apartheid came from organizations dedicated to peaceful protests, passive resistance and armed insurrections. It came from Steve Biko, Bishop Desmond Tutu, white activists like Harry Schwarz, Joe Slovo and Trevor Huddleston. It came from the Black Sash, an organization of white women against apartheid. It came from students and churches. In 1994 the long walk for freedom was finally over, apartheid ended.
Anwar chose the red pill 16 years ago when he rejected the offer to go away quietly and instead took the path of “reformasi”. It took him from the heights of being the acting Prime Minister to the depth of being the lowest convict. On his release from prison, he crafted the New Economic Agenda for affirmative action based on needs and not on race and to restore the country’s international competitiveness. On his qualification to stand for election, he announced on April 15, 2008 at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman Kampong Baru, the venue where Malay nationalists gathered to fight for independence, that while the constitutional rights of Malays would be protected, it was time to change from “Ketuanan Melayu” to “Ketuanan Rakyat”
The Eight of March 2008 General Election proved to be the birth of a new era where the millstone of race and religion which had been the burden for Malaysians to bear was finally shattered and it transformed the political landscape of the nation. In 2013, Pakatan Rakyat secured 89 parliament seats and won 52% of the popular vote but was thwarted by gerrymandering, and unfair electoral practices from forming the government.
When Anwar chose to awaken Malaysians and give them hope that there can be another Malaysia, he was fully aware he would be challenging the twin pillars of UMNO politics, the first is being thst Malay unity must be maintained at all cost and the second is that UMNO’s dominant political position must be maintained.
Anwar was aware that those who left UMNO would be ostracized and made an outcast of his community. UMNO had accused Dato’ Onn Jaafar, the father of Malay nationalism and founder of UMNO as having sold out Malay rights and his heritage when he formed the multiracial Independence of Malaya Party (IMP). Dato’ Haji Zainal Abidin bin Haji Abas, who with Dato’ Onn was one of UMNO’s founders and its first General Secretary became another example of UMNO’s punitive deterrence. He left UMNO to join IMP and later became the chairman of the United Democratic Party. He was completely alienated from the community.
Aziz Ishak, once out of UMNO was hounded, all kinds of charges were laid against him and he was later arrested under the Internal Security Act. However, nothing prepared Anwar for what they did to him.He was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed and denigrated by scurrilous attacks against him and his family, ostracized, made an outcast and labeled a traitor to his own race. The raucousness of the venom, the ferocity of the hatred and the viciousness of the attacks were at levels never seen before. He is now more prepared mentally but physically he is not as strong and as young as he was 15 years ago.
If you choose the blue pill you will carry on in your blissful ignorance of illusion. You can choose to ignore and jettison the teachings of your religion, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism or other faith and ignore your conscience not to harm your fellow men or to help him because the “common good” of your race demands that you disregard the needs of those of a different colour or religion.
The illusion however, demands that your life as an individual belongs not to you but to the group or society and in this case, to your race of which you are merely a part, that you have no rights and must sacrifice your rights, your values and goals for the greater good of your race.
The illusion further demands you are not to question why but to do and die. You are not to question what is the greater good for the Malays for one person to control Malakoff Corporation, Gas Malaysia, Aliran Ihsan Resources (water utility), Port of Tanjong Pelepas, Johor Port, Senai Airpor Terminal Services, SMART Tunnel, MMC-Gamuda, Proton Bhd, Edaran Otomobil Nasional, MODENAS, Honda Malaysia, Bank Muamalat, PUSPAKOM, Alam Flora, POS Malaysia, Defence Technologies, Tradewinds (M) Bhd which subsidiary BERNAS has a monopoly of rice importation and distribution, Central Sugar Refinery and smaller stakes in Malaysia Sugar Manufacturing which together holds a monopoly for sugar, hotels and property development companies.
The illusion demands that the individual sacrifice you are called upon to make is for the common good for the greatest number of your race. Your income from 2009 has risen by only 8.1% while your household expenditure increased by 12.1% and 88.6% from 1994. Your household expenditure for housing, water, electricity has gone up by 102% since 1994, transport 94.6%, food and drinks by 60.9% while your household debt has increased by 13%. It is difficult to make ends meet with the increased price of petrol, the higher tolls for privatized highways and bridges, the tariffs for the privatized water and electricity, even your rubbish and sewage collection have been privatized. You have no idea how to pay the increased school bus fares but you will be proud that you have contributed to the many monopolies owned by Syed Mokthar Al-Bukhary, one of you.
The illusion says your sacrifice in being unable to afford your own home is for the greater good. While you are seeking to rent a house, the rent-seeking elite buys luxury bungalows and condominiums. After payment of the car installments, credit cards, food and other bills you have no money for emergencies much less a holiday while the elites are flying first class and staying in five star hotels.
The illusion says your government has provided your children with a university education but they are not employable. The June 2014 World Bank Malaysian Economic Monitor reports 60% of the unemployed are aged 20-24 and 25% are graduates. Your children hold a university degree but employers find they lack soft skills; 47% inability to work independently, 49% lack problem solving skills, 51% lack analytical skills, 56% lack creative/critical thinking and 81% lack communication skills. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 Malaysian students rank 52 out of 65 countries and the bottom one-third among more than 70 countries in international assessments like Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMMS). The results show the education standard of our 15 year olds are three years behind Singapore, Korea, China, Japan and even Vietnam.
No matter how you seek to justify you cannot ignore that while a responsible government builds a floor for the weakest students to stand, it encourages the best and the brightest to fly as high as they can. It is wicked to clip their wings because 150 years ago their great grand parents came to work in the estates, railroads, tin mines or to seek a better life.
While all accept that the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak are disadvantaged and neglected under colonial rule for more than 200 years and ought to be assisted what justification is there to allow Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indonesians and Filipinos who came yesterday to enjoy these same privileges so the elite can maintain power?
The blue pill unfortunately, will not be able to provide the answers and will not save you from the rude awakening one day when Malaysia ends up like Rwanda, Serbia, Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe.
If you choose the red pill, you will realize the painful truth that you yourself are part of the oppressed and you must fight for your own freedom and not that of the elites who can hardly claim to be identifiable with you.
Your life as an individual belongs to you and you have an inviolable right to live it as you see fit, to act on your own judgment, to pursue the values of your own choosing. The basic tenet is that each individual has an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men and women deal with one another as equals. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. We cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.
You will recognize that no race holds a monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of strength and there is more than enough room for all in this country. You will understand what Malcolm X said:
“I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think it will be based on the colour of the skin”
Anwar has given Malaysians the keys to the door of change, if Malaysians grab hold of them once opened the door cannot be shut but if Malaysians do not use them once shut the door cannot be opened.
What will you choose reality or illusion?
William Leong Jee Keen
Member of Parliament Selayang
12 November 2014