October 11, 2010
source: The Corridors of Power at http://www.malaysia-today.net
On Turning 60: Random Thoughts of My Friend, Raja Petra Kamaruddin in the United Kingdom
by Raja Petra Kamaruddin
“Malaysia needs change. Initially we thought that Pakatan Rakyat would be that agent for change. But after more than two years we are not seeing Pakatan Rakyat walk the talk. And because of events like the Selangor PAS internal skirmish between the liberals and the conservatives, the Selangor DAP mud slinging, the Perak DAP public quarrel, and now the PKR party election fiasco, it appears like the three Pakatan Rakyat parties are no different from the parties in the Barisan Nasional coalition.”–RPK
Later today I am going home. I spent the last ten days in London to attend the October 2 talk with Anwar Ibrahim, Tian Chua and Tunku Abdul Aziz and to confer with friends and associates to discuss what the future holds for all of us. That is why you have not heard from me for about week now, other than the MACC revelations in The Corridors of Power.
Turning 6o and what’s next ?
As you may be aware, I also celebrated my 60th birthday on September 27, and my friends chipped in to buy me a birthday present, a Roland electronic drum set. I suppose I am going to spend more time polishing up on my drumming rather than writing articles. Anyway, I shall try to balance my time so that my drumming does not cause my writing to suffer. My friends have threatened to repossess the drum set if I start slacking in my writing.
I am now eligible for a ‘freedom pass’ so I can actually ride the public transport either free of charge or on a discounted fare. I am also eligible for many other free services and discounts, even when I go to the cinema. So life of a 60 year old is pretty nifty here in the UK with my senior citizen status.
I consider myself at the crossroads of my life, not just because I am now 60 but because of the current developments in Malaysia. And that is why I decided to take a ten-day break and just chill out and jam. As I write this I am awaiting the rest of the gang who are coming over to jam. We may even put on a show at the end of next month for a farewell gig for one of our friends who will be leaving for home after spending more than a decade working outside Malaysia.
Divided on What’s Next
My friends, associates and family are quite divided on what I should do from here on. I am not in a hurry to go back to Malaysia. I have a house here and am quite comfortable in my new surroundings, the country of my birth. I do still have family in Malaysia. But I also have many family members here in the UK — brother, sisters, cousins, children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and their children who would be my cucu saudara. So I am not quite alone or detached from the family.
The question would be where I would want to be buried. My mother and my maternal grandparents are buried here. My father and my paternal grandparents are buried in Malaysia. So does it really matter where my final resting place is going to be? One place is as good as another and once you are no longer a member of this world it really does not matter too much when you would not be aware of it anyway.
I am going to reflect on the situation these next two months till the end of November. In December, subject to what happens over these two months, I shall have to make my decision. And in January, whatever that decision may be, I shall embark on the next phase of my life. What that decision is going to be will all depend on what I see over these two months.
Committed to The People’s Declaration
I am still committed to The Peoples’ Declaration. That is going to be the foundation of what I embark upon. I believe that Malaysia needs reforms and The Peoples’ Declaration clearly spells out what these reforms should be. And I am prepared to work with any group, movement or political party that can commit itself to these reforms.
I earlier spoke about the Third Force. This idea has met with mixed reactions. The Third Force can be anything. It can be a political party. It can be a movement. Or it can simply be a group of like-minded Malaysians who share the aspirations defined by The Peoples’ Declaration. Ultimately, it would be a grouping of Malaysians who seek change or reforms.
Malaysians can longer trust Politicians in UMNO-BN and Pakatan Rakyat
Malaysia needs change. Initially we thought that Pakatan Rakyat would be that agent for change. But after more than two years we are not seeing Pakatan Rakyat walk the talk. And because of events like the Selangor PAS internal skirmish between the liberals and the conservatives, the Selangor DAP mud slinging, the Perak DAP public quarrel, and now the PKR party election fiasco, it appears like the three Pakatan Rakyat parties are no different from the parties in the Barisan Nasional coalition.
Can we trust Pakatan Rakyat to be that agent for change? All I can see is the same garbage that we see in Barisan Nasional. The only thing is that in Barisan Nasional it is bigger. But garbage is still garbage, whatever the size.
The People’s Declaration
I am proposing a meeting of the members of the civil society movements to discuss where we go from here. The focus must be about how to seek change as laid out in The Peoples’ Declaration. Can the current political structure serve our purpose of seeking this change? Can Pakatan Rakyat still be that agent for change?
I don’t know the answer to this, at least not yet. I hope that by December the scenario would be clearer and that by then we will know exactly what we must do. Is this aspiration an exercise in futility? Should I instead plan the rest of my life around just lazing in the sun on a Mediterranean beach with a drink in my hand and a cigar in my mouth?
I do not hide my disappointment and disgust with Malaysian politicians and Malaysian politics. I feel we can no longer trust politicians from both sides of the political divide. It may be time to take back power from the politicians and give it to the people. But how do we do that? I don’t know. And I hope by December it would be clearer.
Life is never simple and straightforward
I have choices as to what to do with the rest of my life, many choices, in fact. I can, if I want, be selfish and make a choice that serves me best. But that choice may not quite be what is best for Malaysia or for the people of Malaysia. So my final choice may have to be laced with some sacrifice and will have to take into consideration what is also good for Malaysia and Malaysians. And what that is I am yet to decide.
I suppose life is such. It is never so simple and straightforward. Anyway, let me stop here for the meantime and get back to my drums and hopefully by Christmas you and I will be clear in our minds as to what we need to do come the new year.