It is a dilemma of democracy, especially in the internet age, that respect for individual expression means that pretty much everyone, regardless of the validity of their argument, receives an equal platform to propagate their views. As we currently see in America, the far-right movement gives itself free rein to disseminate lies about healthcare reform and mock the president in a manner that is puerile at best and just dirty at worst. There is a major distinction between difference of opinion and downright slander, and in this instance the conservative movement, bereft of valid arguments, prefer to indulge in the latter.
The same is true with the socio-political scene in Malaysia, although in place of left-right bickering is a political landscape that is largely marked by racially-based ideology. While there are genuine efforts by Malaysians to create an honest, open discussion about racial divides and economy iniquity, there are also those who choose to use their blogs as a public avenue to vent their frustration and air their deeply-held prejudices.
Recently, through pure misfortune, I came across a blog by Jeer-On, who debuts into the Malaysian blog scene intent on “pouring out his disgust to the world around. What I have in mind can never be contained anymore. I am burning with flame and I know sooner or later the truth will reveal itself…” This is obviously a man or boy who is consumed with anger and bitterness and, like many angry Malaysians he chooses to channel his frustration towards, oh who else, those Malays.
In his new post entitled “The Malays or the Malas” (yes, how clever…) he starts off with that predictable diatribe about the lazy Malays. “It is the (sic) fact that how (sic) the Malays in this country are no longer the Malays whom (sic) they used to be. The Malays are plain lazy and thus they deserved to labeled as one” asserts Jeer-On. Truth be told I have no objections to such a statement, generalised and grammatically-incorrect as it may be. I do however, take umbrage when this guy produces grand rhetoric without being able to back them up with facts.
“Look around you, how many Malay graduates are really holding high positions in most corporate companies in this country based on their own effort and skills?” he asks. He says “most corporate companies” because he doesn’t really know how many; in fact probably not that many if we are to go with his own assertion that “The Malays are working for the so called “immigrants”, the Malays live in houses and land belong (sic) to the so called “immigrants” and the food, the clothes and even almost every thing the Malays have to buy or get the supplies from (sic) the so called “immigrants”“. But see, it doesn’t matter if what he says is the truth or not, because it conveniently feeds into his stereotype about The Malays and that’s good enough for him.
Not content with pouring his anger at Malays, he chooses another easy target, oh who else, Womankind. He may be a blog debutant, but he’s wise enough to know that a grand introduction breaks or makes a post, so he starts off with an intro of biblical proportions thus, “It’s all started since Adam and Eve. Men are seen and regarded to be superior to women since the dawn of civilization. Men are the breadwinners for most of the families in the world. Women on the other hand, are regarded to be the caretakers of the household chores”. Never mind that many of us, having been enlightened by years of proper upbringing and education don’t actually share his view; this is how he sees the world and that is how the world is thus.
“Every day, women all around the world are trying their very best to be equal and to topple men’s positions in the society. Perhaps, the hunger of power and authority in them has grown slightly bigger than ever. It makes them sick and if they sit and be quiet about it they might just blow up like a bursting balloon”. Yes, that’s what women are – devious, power-hungry, conniving monsters out to put man in his proper place. Such cave-dweller views would be laughable if they were fictitious, but unfortunately this guy is for real.
It is tempting to dismiss such imbecilic views, on both a community and a whole gender, as just-another-frustrated-Chinese or guys-being-guys. But as we have seen in the United States, silence gives consent and when we allow a bunch of idiots to use the same platform to voice their prejudices, we move a step closer to tolerating stupidity. And that’s just plain stupid.