There’s a phrase that Walski’s been thinking of a lot lately. And that phrase is siege mentality.
Here’s how siege mentality is defined by Wikipedia.
Siege mentality is a shared feeling of victimization and defensiveness. It is a state of mind whereby one believes that one is being constantly attacked, oppressed, or isolated and makes one frightened of surrounding people. This can cause a state of being overly fearful leading to a defensive attitude.
Last Saturday, Utusan Malaysia ran a front-page story about this “conspiracy” to make Christianity the “official” religion in Malaysia, replacing Islam (as enshrined in the Federal Constitution).
As it turns out, calling this a “story” is pretty accurate. Of the fairy tale kind, specifically. The true story of how this became front-page news, in all honesty, is kinda funny in a very mundane sort of way.
As far as Walski can tell, It all started with a blog posting from the pro-UMNO Marahku blog, entitled “Agong under threat? DAP wants to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia?".
The posting essentially revolves around some information that blogger received – unverified and from an unnamed source – that a a group of 35 pastors, during a fete thrown for DAP in Penang, "formed a circle and touched each other's shoulder and vowed in English to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia and put a Christian Prime Minister in office".
To lend credence to this, a picture was posted, supposedly from the same gathering, showing a group of folks, some with their hands on the shoulders of the person next to them. Don’t know about you, but that could have been a picture of anything, including a badly formed conga line.
The same “story” was also featured in another rabidly pro-UMNO blog, that of the one who calls himself Big Dog. The posting there was entitled “Making Christianity the official religion?”, and was posted some 24 minutes after the Marahku posting.
It can be safe to assume, therefore, that both bloggers were relating the same incident based on the same anonymous information that both received. Or it could be that they were in the same room – who knows? Frankly, it doesn’t really matter and is totally beside the point.
Fair game – both bloggers are rabidly pro-UMNO, and both bloggers hate DAP. The stupid chapter of this story really began when Utusan decided to front-page it.
(the intermediate end-game, and more, in the full post)
And from there, our fairy tale takes a further tumble downhill.
You see, once something is reported by Utusan, no matter how far-fetched it may be, it becomes the gospel truth. In this instance, an unverified story, from an unknown source, reported by two blogs, suddenly becomes a nation-threatening conspiracy of gargantuan proportions.
So unfathomably credible is Utusan regarded in certain circles, that even our ministers accepted the report without question (via The Malaysian Insider). Okay, granted Hisham & Rais aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, but you’d have thought our cabinet ministers would be a tad bit more circumspect.
The only plausible explanation that Walski can think of as to why Utusan holds such high levels of lethal credibility, despite been proven time and time again that their reporting borders on the tabloidish, is siege mentality. Either that, or UMNO has been brainwashed by extraterrestrials – which, admittedly, is an explanation that also borders on the tabloidish, so that can’t be the real explanation.
So, this great revelation of conspiracy, once reported by Utusan, is suddenly absorbed, internalized, and regurgitated by all and sundry associated with UMNO as fact. Pembela, the undisputed champions of siege mentality, called on the police to immediately investigate the validity of the Utusan report (via The Malaysian Insider). Walski won’t elaborate on why he regards Pembela as such in this post, but if you’ve been following their goings on, you’ll probably know why.
But if you thought that unverified information reported by blogs, then blown totally out of the Proportion Ocean by Utusan was bad enough, enter Perkasa, with another strange twist.
Perkasa now blames ex-Reds for presumed Christian plot
Perkasa now believes former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members are using local groups for an unsubstantiated plot to replace Islam as Malaysia’s official religion. Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said he suspected CPM supporters had infiltrated political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious groups and business associations after the party laid down arms in 1989 in order to carry on their activities.
“I believe there are (former) Communist Party members who still hold communist beliefs and want to see the country descend into chaos,” he told reporters in Kampung Baru here today.
The Pasir Mas MP had earlier given the government two weeks to verify the plot’s existence.
Ibrahim warned Malaysians who have forgotten about the communists to be wary of statements made by certain parties which contained anti-national and subversive elements rooted in the ideology, which he blamed for the increased racial and religious tension in the country.
“If it’s subversive, this is the work of communists hiding behind certain organisations,” he said.
(source: The Malaysian Insider)
These must be Christian Communists, Walski reckons, and not the usual kind that have no special regard for any religion. Of course, as usual, Ibrahim Ali shoots his mouth off without the need to back up his claim, probably thinking that it’s okay to lay unsubstantiated accusations on unsubstantiated plots.
But the point here is not Perkasa’s degree of silliness and density – the organization’s continued shenanigans makes their brain-matter deficit self-evident.
It is how something that isn’t much more than hearsay can become “fact”, just because it is reported by Utusan. Apart from Utusan, which acted as a conduit, Walski thinks the main factor that contributed to this is the underlying siege mentality that evidently has a choke-hold on Malay-Muslims in Malaysia.
The question is then, why is this so? Granted, the continued fear-mongering by the likes of Utusan, Pembela, Perkasa, and a long list of like-minded organizations, is definitely a contributor to the continued siege. Being the majority, and having the biggest say, is apparently not sufficient. So what is enough?
Walski isn’t entirely sure what the ultimate goal is, but based on the current political scenario, he thinks that there is at least an intermediate end-game. This he surmises purely based on his own observation of what’s going on in the country right now, and through the tell-tale signs as seen through popular social media vehicles, such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
And that objective is to entrench UMNO as the de facto and ideally only Malay political voice in the country.
To do this, all other predominantly Malay political entities not in cahoots with UMNO/BN must be eliminated. And the path towards this elimination: discredit these entities in any way possible.
If you’re on Twitter, you’ll notice how UMB postings get re-tweeted by those within the UMB network. This was true of the Big Dog and Marahku postings as well – the two postings were RT-broadcast through Twitter, then other UMB blogs posted either links to the two, or augmented the “story” further.
And because DAP is involved, PAS gets the blame for not championing Islam. Whether or not there was any conspiracy to begin with becomes moot. PKR has their own special place in UMB hell, and while they were mentioned in passing, the focus this time around was on PAS.
Interestingly enough, the Marahku blog, as of yesterday, took down ALL of its postings, including the one that started the ball rolling. Apart from an obvious panic that the posting had become more viral than expected, why did the blogger take the posting down? In fact, the entire blog has been wiped clean. The blogger, who also happens to be on Twitter (as @bshamsul), has apparently deleted his Twitter account as well.
There are other associated developments as well, primarily involving Perkasa, premised upon the basis that what was posted on the two blogs, and reported by Utusan, was fact. Among them, Perkasa calling the Bar Council racist for picking on Utusan, and the right-wing nut organization filing a police report against MyConstitution’s chairman for pointing out that there is no mention of an “official religion” stated in the Federal Constitution (all links above via The Malaysian Insider).
Walski’s observation of the intermediate end-game, incidentally, is based purely on his own observation, and so if you disagree, do feel free to leave a comment to tell him why. That the end-game is fueled by siege mentality is also a conclusion that Walski has made on his own accord, based on his observation. That conclusion, however, is shared by more than a handful of other Malaysians.
And as things stand, the siege mentality fueled end-game is still in progress, with no clear sign that the final whistle will be blown any time soon.