That's the motto to conduct rational discourse in Civil Society, and Sdr Din Merican was often practising in our banters -- yes, we even traded barbs with him defending former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Desi quite vociferous in challenging his defence -- and we never were ever disrespectful to each other. In his latest post at bakrimusa.com reporting on BERSIH's historic "V" rally on November 10,2007, Din again promoted this ethos of civil discourse when responding to a Commenter, generally sharing his thoughts on WHY he joined the PKR vehicle under former DPM Sdr Anwar Ibrahim as a "political activist", whatever that means.
I would have thrown some rotten eggs had he fronted himself as a "social actvist" chauffered around in a Merdes, caliming himself as The Face of National Service, but waiving responsibility for the deaths that occurred among the trainees -- Sack the DG, he cried -- but taking high credit for its so-called successes. Maybe TanSi LLT's working extra hard creeping onto more boards of blue-chip listed Companies in the steal of the night. Also fighting for national interest to get that tonnesheep -- oops, TUNship.
Sorry folks for the digression. I just need to get that off my chest because the MSM giveth him daily coverage and traets him as Lord of all Issues, including new shares of laughing stocks on Bursaa Malaysiaa, but they were blind to 40,000-60,000 Malaysians marching for Free and Fair Elections, and Justice.
Back to Sdr Din, now Programme Director at Sdr Anwar Ibrahim's Office, and VVe rendeswooed halfway round the VVorld in the USA, guests of the good doctor Sdr Bakri Musa:
"Din Merican Says:
November 12th, 2007 at 4:08 am
I am not a politician in the true sense of the word. I have entered the world of political activism, whatever that term means. In doing so, I have cast my lot with Anwar Ibrahim and KeADILan.
My own professor of Rural Sociology at University of Malaya, Prof. Dr. Syed Husin Ali is with the party too. I feel good about reuniting with this unassuming gentleman and intellectual because I yet to meet another human being who is more dedicated than he in the service of his fellow Malaysians and the cause of justice and equity. I feel a man must be driven by an ennobling mission and high ideals. Prof. Dr Syed Hussin is one such person.
It is not my purpose here to change your views about anything. But I would like to say here that Anwar has not said any unkind word about former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir to me even in his most unguarded moment.
I think we all at KeADILan respect the Tun has a one of an unusual kind national leader with lots of guts and intellectual power. Some of my colleagues may disagree with the Tun and his politics, but they are never disrespectful. The Tun would be a formidable competitor, if he was still in office.
We cannot say the same about the present lot of UMNO leaders and opportunists who have ignored the Tun. Perhaps, it is because he cannot give them any more contracts.
Anwar himself never denied that he was able to rise in UMNO to the status of Deputy President and in government as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance largely because of the Tun. One day we will know just yet what actually happened between them during the period 1997-1998. In the meantime, there is lots of speculation and stories about it.
I remain respectful of the Tun and am saddened that the people in the Badawi Administration are trying to blow out the former Prime Minister’s candle to make their man’s look bright. Let me say to you that even a thousand candles cannot help Badawi. They will, in fact, make him look more inept, dysfunctional and deceitful.
Badawi pales in comparison to Anwar and that is a fact. I believe Anwar is the best Malay leader of his generation just as Tun Mahathir is the shining star of his. It is a sad accident of history that Anwar did (Desi inserts here a key word inadvertenly left out by Din -- "not")have the chance to succeed him as Prime Minister. But he may yet be, God willing, by sheer grit, hard work and good strategy. My colleagues and I are working to make it happen.
Yes, we agree to disagree and I will defend your right to speak and express yourself freely ala ***Voltaire."
DESIDERATA: After much rumination,I will be the first to take on Din's take, and I won't allow hisconstantKopi-O kau-kau at Subang Jaya make me any less dilute in my rebuttal, because I will placate him with goblets of tehtarik afterwords.:)
In the same spirit expressed by Din, in similar vein of ***Voltaire's ethos:
"I may disagree with what you say but I will defend, to the death, your right to say it."~~ Voltaire:
Dr Mahathir might have performed remarkably in the first decade of his administration, I have always saluted that. But it must also be noted that from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis onwards, Malaysia saw some heart-breaking events as many of the businessmen who became victims of the crisis, marked by extrme falls in the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, were also cronies of several of the BN ministers. BAILOUTS were then the order of the day, but I won't detail them except cite the cases of Dr Mahathir's own son hit in a "slghtly biger than small" way -- the MISC debacle, remember? -- and the then MCA chief's own son, also hit in a "slightly bigger than small" way -- the youngest-billionaire-at-27, don't you remember? "Small" used in the context of billion-dollar losses, as Zakaria Mad Deros eloquently used as a benchmark to describe his RM7mil-10mil palace in Port Klang a decade later.
But gostan to another decade before that, the 1988 sacking of LOrd President Tun Salleh Abas, and suspension of five senior judges, events well documented by my fellow writer KIM QUEK - that truly started the emasculaion of the Judiciary.
The Lingam video tape scandal still in progress was an event that took place in 2002, almost a year plus before Dr Mahathir handed over the premiership in November 2003 to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. So brother Din, the culpability of the former UMNO president is just a difference in degrees from his successor who many enjoy lambasting as "sleepy-eyed", even catching 80 winks while standing with other national leaders at a regional event. If you are nice to RPK, he may point you to the hoto in his archives. Desi is technology-deficient, won't render this service for free. Indeed, I learnt from organising last year's BUM2007 thingy there is no such sure thing as a constant freelunch.
So while Sdr Anwar has been diplomatic to Din -- a newbie into PKR which is to be welcomed!:)-- in not criticising his mentor Dr Mahathir, it remains a "fact" that the same bastardised Judiciary whose rot started a deacde earlier (when Anwar was himself a member in Tun Mahathir's Cabinet...) caused his (Anwar's) downfall.
All in all, I would think Dr Mahathir would have been recorded in Malaysian history had he not overstayed by some 10 years. Malaysians like Desi would have judged him more kindly. But I believe he's making some amends -- indeed Blogsworld agrees with him when he concluded that the only media in NegaraKu that can report with facts and responsibility today is the infant and emerging Fifth Estate. I was happy I heard it from the horse's mouth one eventfulorning in Putrajaya.
We all are human -- and "To Err is Human, To Forgive Divine" -- and we are hearened by Dr Mahathir's takes on some of the "rotten" things befalling the State of Malaysia-ala-Denmark, paraphrasing someone claimed to be the greatest writer born on this goode earthe. By the way, Dr Mahathir, Anwar and Desi share something in common -- we constantly quote the Bard. That's how some writHers achieve "greatnurse" by aRssocoiation. For badder or worse.The lust byte is abusing Poetic licence, in the tradition of one William Shakespeare.
Din, I offer thee one golden goblet of tehtarik for listening so patiently. With Miss Sunthi if you like. Some arSENic for voyeurs hear?