But there are still those bloggers and internet commentators who refuse to take concrete steps to support Sarawakians’ efforts to improve their government. These ‘Orang Malaya’ are all talk and no action. They sneer that Sarawakians are ignorant and ‘deserve the government’ we have, and ‘should not complain’ when the BN government vandalises our state.
It is true enough that many Sarawakians lack awareness, and many are easily bought over come voting time. It is also true, though, that Taib’s firm grip on the state for three decades has been made possible only by the overwhelming might of Umno and successive federal BN governments.
These BN governments have been voted into power in every single election since 1955, thanks to the perennial support of peninsular Malaysians. We remember how Mahathir, and even Abdullah Badawi, won landslide elections in the past.
But it is not too late for us Sarawakians to learn from the mistakes of our past, as well as those of peninsular Malaysians. We must start with working together to remove the dictatorship of Umno and PBB, and the tyranny of blinkered racial politics.
Pakatan Rakyat needs to invest in Sarawak, both politically and economically, and put its money where its mouth is.
All Malaysians must come together to work for justice in Sarawak, both during the state polls, as well as afterwards. Nation building does not only happen during general elections.
Pakatan Rakyat must promise, and deliver, transparent and equitable use of development funds in Sabah and Sarawak. There must be an end to the lopsided use of natural resources: oil royalties must be returned to these two poor states.
The current neo-colonial relationship between west and east brings dishonour and shame to all parties: peninsular Malaysians, Sabahans and Sarawakians.
Malaysians have turned their eyes away from the horror of corruption and poverty in Sabah and Sarawak for too long.
Whenever I am troubled by this neglect, I am reminded of a short story by the great Chinese writer Lu Xun, called “New Year’s Sacrifice”. The story has been translated into English by Julia Lovell, in The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China.
In Lu Xun’s tale, a maidservant, known only as ‘Xianglin’s wife’, has been widowed twice. Therefore, she is considered to bring bad luck to those around her. She gains sympathy initially when she tells her fellow villagers, again and again, the story of how she lost her three year old son, how he had been taken and killed by wolves.
Part of the story is reproduced below:
Her story certainly had an impact on those who heard it. Men would walk awkwardly away, the smirk fading from their faces, while women exchanged their looks of contempt for sympathetic profusions of tears. Some old women – those who hadn’t heard her recitation about town – would seek her out specially to hear her tragic story. When she broke into sobs, their own tears, ready at the corners of their eyes, would also gush out; then, with a sigh, they would leave, perfectly satisfied and still discussing it animatedly among themselves.
Over and over she repeated it, gathering small groups of listeners about her. But soon everyone knew it too well – from memory – and even the town’s most devout lady Buddhists were left unmoved. The moment she began, her audiences felt only irritation.
‘I was so stupid –’
‘Yes, yes, you knew wolves came down into the villages when it snowed, because there was nothing to eat in the mountains,’ they would impatiently interrupt before stalking off.
She would stand there, mouth hanging stupidly open, watching as they distanced themselves, before moving on herself – as if she, too, were bored with her own tragedy. - Hornbill Unleashed