Multitude of emotions washed over me earlier this afternoon as I continue to refresh my internet browser for the latest update from the Palace of Justice. Words cannot do justice to how I was feeling—embarrassed, mainly—over the fact that I was at a Starbucks nearby and not standing with the people.
I am weak and a coward. I dare not jeopardize what I have built for myself and my family to show solidarity with the people. Instead, like most Malaysians, I sit behind my laptop, struggling to wax poetic over the political situation in the country. But unlike many Malaysians, I am an academician, with a purpose and responsibility to ignite change in my limited capacity. Most importantly, unlike you, sir, I lack the courage to face the injustice pervading our nation today. For that, I salute you.
I admit that I don’t really like you as a person or politician. It does not mean that I am in favor of your nemesis either. It just means that I have yet to find a political figure that I fully trust to lead the country. I don’t even like the people in your party. I find them arrogant and mainly interested in superfluous politicking, making them no different than those they criticize day and night.
However, I respect the foundation that put your party in motion more than fifteen years ago. I support the fight for justice, I support the need for a liberal society, and I support the effort to create a harmonious society. Therefore, all I can say is, “Be patient, sir.”
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but I believe that your name will soon be written in our history textbook in the same light as our founding fathers. Yes, you made mistakes while within and without the government, just like any other political and civil leader before you. You are, after all, a fallible human being like the rest of us. But it is your courage that has paved the way for later generations to push forward for reform and for a better Malaysia.
Be patient, sir, for I believe that your struggle will bear fruit in a few more years as we see a generational shift in the make-up of the country. My generation, which has witnessed your ups and downs, will not forget all that you have sacrificed for us. My generation, though narcissistic, dependent, and unemployable, is ready for a new Malaysia that will come from this verdict. It shall not be in vain. This is not a call for the youth to band together in a renewed movement, for I am not an activist with the interest of crashing the gates on injustice. I am just an academician with an eye for patterns of cause and effects, and what I see is a renewed spirit for change that will continue for years to come. Will we soon be successful? I doubt it because of the many institutional challenges blocking our way. But will the people surrender? I don’t think so.
Sir, I hope you will be patient in knowing that you are the Mandela and Suu Kyi of Malaysia. And just like them, I hope your future is brighter than the bleak prospect you’re currently facing.
Be fearful, don’t, as fear by your opponent is the catalyst for your predicament.