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Monday, November 26, 2007

20/20 Hindraf Sight

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SMS received yesterday from Lord Panda: "R u rioting with the machas?"

Walski has mixed feelings about the rally on Sunday, truth be told. And no, he wasn't out rioting with the machas. He was, in fact, savoring the lighter than usual traffic on the roads, and amazed at the fact he got a parking spot at The Curve within 5 minutes of entering the carpark. On a Sunday afternoon.

On the one hand, Walski is against any initiative that is race-based. Bersih's rally was different - and he's behind them all the way. But on the other hand, though, he does agree that it is the right of any civil citizen group to assemble peacefully - which is difficult in Malaysia, because there is apparently a high surplus of tear gas and chemically laced water, just waiting to be dispensed.

The ensuing news reports, particularly from the mainstream media outlets, are definitely spin-ish. The most blatantly irrelevant spin had to be this news article from The Star.

Image hosting by PhotobucketWhat a hero...

What Walski found rather disturbing about this news clipping is not so much the hero-glorified portrayal of the MCA President, but what he had to say (somewhere towards the end of the article):

“The majority of us still love peace but when a small group of people starts to get emotional, it creates a sense of insecurity,” he said.
(source: The Star)

The biggest problem here is when our leaders start to believe their own spin and jump to foregone conclusions that public rallies are gonna turn ugly, by default. Or the insinuation that when all other channels fail, and a public rally is required to raise awareness, the "participants don't love peace", as implied.

Or is it perhaps the belief that only when a public rally is BN-sanctioned that things won't get out of hand? Where the worse that can happen is KJ caught on camera making monkey faces and unruly gestures...
(spinning the top of double standards, and more, in the full post)

Now, the other news reports that Walski read today were equally disturbing. Like how the "Demonstrators broke into the Batu Caves temple compound and destroyed temple property" as reported by The Star. Which Walski finds a little mind-bogglingly odd - Hindu protesters vandalizing Hindu temple property?

Or the claims that molotov cocktails and other unsavory objects were thrown at the police. Granted - people drenched with chemical water and gassed to tears are probably not the happiest of campers. Of any ethnic or religious persuasion.

Now here's something else that is equally odd. News reports stated that once the police allowed the organizers to hand over the petition to the folks at the British High Commission, eventually (lobbing tear gas has limited entertainment value), the Hindraf organizers declined the offer. The NaSTy version:

Image hosting by PhotobucketIGP's opinion that Hindraf had no intention to hand over petition

Other NSTP-related media outlets also focused on the injuries suffered by the police, but neglected to elaborate on injuries sustained by the protesters. While the version reported something similar, minus any added insinuation on anyone's part.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThere's probably less risk of tear gas and chemically-laced water in London

Walski doesn't know about you folks, but that's gonna be one hell of a long march to London...

So, the question in Walski's mind, now that the tear gas has dispersed into our wonderful KL air, and the chemically laced water securely embedded in KL's water table, is this: if it is true that there was no intention to hand over the petition yesterday, why go through all the trouble with the rally, arrests and what not?

And yes, Walski doesn't discount the possibilitiy that the decision may have been done in Hindrafsight - which usually is 20/20 (or better these days with improved visual corrective technologies). Probably to prevent further chaos, if the stand-off had been prolonged. At this juncture, Walski doesn't really know.

Another wake up call, or the same wake up call's snooze button timer expiring? Meanwhile, certain people, despite the obvious show of unsatisfaction, are still deep in their slumber of denial... wake up call, or no wake up call...

A related after-post addendum:
In related breaking news, which was just released via earlier this afternoon, the trio of Hindraf legal advisor P. Uthayakumar, his brother and Hindraf chairperson, P. Waythamoorty, and another lawyer, Ganapathy Rao, were let off the hook on charges of sedition.

Three key leaders of Hindraf were today discharged without being acquitted by the Klang Sessions Court from the sedition charge they faced.

Judge Zunaidah Mohd Idris ordered the discharge as the prosecution had failed to submit the Tamil translation of the alleged seditious remarks made by P Uthayakumar, P Waythamoorthy and V Ganapathy Rao.

The trio were charged under Section 4 (1B) of the Sedition Act on Friday based on police investigations pertaining to reports lodged against them in relation to their speeches made at a recent forum in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor.
DPP Ishak Yusuff had argued in court that their whole speeches were seditious.

However the cased was adjourned to today after there were some discrepancies in the charge sheet and the prosecutors submissions.
(source: Malaysiakini)

Apparently, the translation of the speeches were unclear, and insufficient to convince presiding Judge Zunaidah. The trio, however, can be re-charged, as the case has been discharged without amounting to an acquittal. Many were of the opinion that the case brought against the three was a desparate last-ditch attempt to derail the rally.