Friday, August 7, 2009


MARINA MATHATHIR's Rantings have been on my blogroll when I began blogging in late January 07 but I have never missed her Wednesday Musings, even when we started the No Buy No Lies boycott of the MSM.

I enjoy her raw, gutsy but truthful handling of issues that affect our lives.

Here is what I mean:

Before acting, take a deep breath


FORGIVE me if I’m repetitive but sometimes repetition is the only way to get some things into people’s heads.

Yoga may be banned in the view of some in this country but there’s one practice in yoga that can be helpful to everybody. And that is breathing.

There are many instances when before we do anything, it’s really helpful to take a few deep breaths because it helps to clear our minds and allows that moment of hesitation before we do something unwise in haste.

There are lots of people who could really have done with three deep breaths this past week. Breathing helps to engage the brain, and the brain is always needed when making decisions.

Thus it was that non-breathing on the part of those in power led to the ugly scenes of thousands of Malaysian citizens being water-cannoned, teargassed and arrested at the weekend.

There are those who complained about the inconvenience of such demos because mostly it prevented them from driving into town to go shopping. Perhaps the complaints are wrongly directed at the demonstrators.

Rather it should be directed at the police who put up road barriers and blocks a full day before the planned demos and caused traffic jams long before a single protestor put a foot down on a street.

Would it not have been better to simply issue warnings that since a demo is expected, people intending to go into the city should just take public transport?

Oh, but the demo is illegal! Being illegal doesn’t exactly stop it from happening, not when people don’t believe it should be illegal.

So if you know something is going to happen anyway, all you can do is ensure that it happens in an orderly manner with the least inconvenience as possible.

Which goes back to the breathing. If those in power had only taken the time to breathe deeply, their brains might have given them a smarter and unexpected plan.

And the plan would be to actually allow the demos to take place but within certain limits.

So one demo could have taken place at Dataran Merdeka, and only there, within specific and reasonable time limits.

The other rival one could have been allowed to take place in another venue also for a specific time limit.

No one from one group should be allowed anywhere near the other. (The Prime Minister later offered stadiums for these demos, a bit belatedly).

This has tremendous benefits because it allows people to vent what they want, and at the same time pulling the carpet from under them completely.

It also allows better crowd control and avoids unnecessary actions like water-cannoning and tear-gassing. And you don’t get stupidities like children being handcuffed and lawyers not being allowed to talk to those arrested.

There may be those who believe that we should stick strictly to the law. But as someone once said, the law can be an ass.

Just because a law is there doesn’t preclude using one’s brains to think of wiser ways to handle a situation. And sticking strictly to the rules isn’t necessarily the wisest thing to do.

Ultimately it is about showing wisdom, a virtue that, unfortunately, our leaders have consistently failed to show.

The law is also supposed to be neutral. Despite the neutral-sounding noises before the two planned demos, one demo did not materialise, which had two effects.

One, it made the actual demonstrators look bad because there is nothing to compare them with.

Two, it allowed for some overwhelming smugness on the part of the lone pro-ISA supporter, claiming to represent 100,000 others, who apparently could hand over his memo at leisure and unmolested. (It turned out his claim that he had delivered the memo was untrue.)

He did still feel the need to hide his T-shirt, which says plenty about his ideas about openness.

What did the tear gas achieve? It lost at least 20,000 votes for the government, even more if you count those not participating but concerned anyway. It lost the votes of those who inadvertently got caught in the mess.

But here’s the thing. While the middle of the city was all eye-stinging chaos, the rest of the city functioned as normal.

People went out lunching and shopping as they would any Saturday, all the while keeping tabs of what was happening on their mobiles.

The city did not shut down; nobody felt any fear of the consequences of such demos. At the same time, they were not oblivious to what the demo was all about.

Which is a sign of the maturity of our people. While the doomsayers are trying to paint demos as the end of all civilisation, the public proved they are indeed civilised, more so than politicians anytime.

Note: No reproduction of this article allowed without the author's expressed consent.



Anonymous said...

looks like she got more grey matter & wisdom than her old man...

Zmas said...

Uncle zorro
with the open quarelling between pas n dap , meluat la dgn Pakatan ni , baru menang kat sgor dah besar kepala , nampqk both goblok , macammna nak govern msia ?

Wave33 said...

Agree with her 100%, the daughter of the former dictator PM. I was wondering... what is her dad going say about it?

julian said...

i knew i could trust MARINA dont go to her blog frequently now because of my health--------dont visit her father's though (by accident twice through malaysakini no name mentioned only a title)
way to go girl YOU really got spunk
convey my regards to her when you see or contact her next

nstman said...

Marina is one of the best bloggers there is. One may agree or disasgree with her, but one just cant ignore her views.

Anonymous said...

To all, don't worry about Marina's old man and just see her as she is and I think she is doing ok. As for dad and daughter " air di cencang tak kan putus".
She sees the world differently and hope she remains as it is.
But what ever it is Zorro, I still believe you la... keep the spirit and take care of your health and will join you someday.

Anonymous said...

Just compare.. this MM article and the RN speech...what gives?

Judge for yourself

David Lee said...

.......cakap tak serupa bikin.

Starmandala said...

Marina has always won widespread admiration and support for her "politically correct" views. Often, she and her Old Man have ranted about the same subject from diametrically opposed ends of the spectrum. In this post she criticizes Najib & Hishammuddin's kneejerk reaction to the Abolish ISA Rally on Aug 1st by suggesting they should have let it go on but insisted it be contained within a specific location. "[This] has tremendous benefits because it allows people to vent what they want, and at the same time pulling the carpet from under them completely.] It's the last thought that comes across as a Freudian slip. Marina may have consciously embraced more "liberal" ideas than her father (what choice does anyone with even a bit of intelligence have, if you happen to be born, say, the daughter of Dick Cheney?)... but subconsciously she still looks upon the rakyat as something to be outwitted and manipulated. Otherwise, why would she wish to "pull the carpet out from under them completely"? Somebody who GENUINELY loves the rakyat would INSIST the rakyat be offered the red carpet - not "VVIPs" with hundreds of millions tucked away in some offshore account.

Anonymous said...

True, true Antares.

Cheeweng said...

Please do not compare daughter and father. Marina is a woman in her own rights and respect must be given to her own views.

Much as I dislike the political scheming of her father, the "sins of the father" has not been visited on his daughter. Thank God for that!

However, I do not share her optimism on the maturity of our people. We now have news of "Malay Traders and consumers associations intend to sue organisers of the anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) demonstration last Saturday in their attempt to be compensated for losses." (

Anonymous said...

TMP, where r u ?