Think about it - when someone says, "Yeah, merdeka, dude!", he's not happy that suddenly he's paying the rent out of his own pocket. Nope, he's happy to be rid of something. Whether it's the end of school, or work, or a corn on your big toe. Especially if it's a corn on your big toe.
That in mind (freedom, not your big toe) today I'm thankful for Dr M.
Not because of the funky bridge. Which is such irony since I actually think that the bridge should be built, but just that well, more important is that it's not Dr M's decision, man.
On that little tangent, you know why I think we should build the bridge?
First of all, where else can you have a bridge that's called a "scenic bridge" as well the "crooked bridge"? Only in Malaysia man. Or, well, maybe a little into Singapore, come to think of it. I like irony. And scenic crookedness is just well, it says so much. So, like, literary man. Fer real.
And second, once in a while, ain't it fun to mess with Singapore? (Kidding, kidding!) I mean, the symbolism alone of Malaysian scenic crookedness having only one destination... :P
No, it's not because the darn bridge. It's because Dr M is finally chipping away at a different part of his legacy - the lack of freedom of dissent. After Ops Lalang, and for many many years, the concept of it was just ethereal. And perhaps now he's seeing things from the outside for once, though I suspect he just always thinks he's right, and the problem is that when he is right, he's really right. Anyway, it's a good deal, to see things from the outside. I'm hoping Anwar will have... a wider world view as well when he gets back into the political picture. But I digress.
Back on topic, now: I'm sure that at the time, things like Ops Lalang and the OSA and ISA were deemed necessary, and I can respect that, to some extent.. Over-caution is often better than utter chaos. So long as things evolve. You can't stay in bed forever. And don't give me that excuse that Malaysia has only been around for 49 years. We're in the 21st Century whether you like it or not.
And so, it's a good deal, Dr M speaking out, even if to some it is all a lot of hot air. And the grand thing is all you need to do is Google news "Mahathir" to get it from ten different sources around the globe. Because no matter what the outcome, Malaysians need to see that we need that discussion, that debate, that sense of gee whiz, there's another opinion and let's hear it out and not live in utter fear of an independent thought. Or perhaps, fear that one doesn't have any independent thought to counter it with.
Yes, unity is good. But diversity isn't evil. Especially when you have a country that's been diverse from Day 1.
Dr M thinks what he's doing now is for the betterment of UMNO and for Malaysia. And I completely agree - just perhaps in a different way than he thinks. I just support his right to speak out and voice his opinions, even if that right hasn't always been there for others. Even more so, since it's about time to make a change. And for that matter, I'm grateful we have Nazri. People need to see that extremists are right here in your face and not just hidden away in huts in Kelantan. And we get that lesson from his right to speak out too.
Whether all this hoo-ha actually brings about a greater sense of what democracy is all about is beyond me. But then, we're not talking about democracy.
We're talking about Merdeka.
That's what it's all about.
Happy Birthday, Malaysia. Don't let anyone else blow out your candles.