Where is the light…

pic by AFP

PURSUANT to what was written last week, it is obvious by now that of the many issues and discomfort that came about from the ubiquitous pandemic and wilful Emergency, one that is capable of triggering all-round condemnation is the double standard in the application of rules and punishments.

Simply put, it is an issue of the haves getting away with murder and the haves-not punished and squeezed to the tilt.

It has evolved into an eternal tragedy of mankind where the poor are victimised, while the rich and mighty flaunt and oppress.

Actually, it is not a new narrative.

Only that, this being the season when the economic noose tightens and societal claustrophobia added with fatigue from the movement controls and restrictions, the sense of injustice and class awareness becomes amplified.

The elites are not helping. From elaborate weddings to questionable cross-border movements and juxtaposed with excessive fines slapped on the struggling common folk, the bar of hostilities between the two divides had been raised and continues so. Then, there are the bluebloods — caught in their own detached and perpetuated by opportunists and sycophants.

The political uncertainties are very real. Without an ample and legitimate mandate, it is doubtful the political elite could continue to cling on to power other than through extraneous means and that includes the Emergency.

It is obvious by now that the political elites had shielded all, done and pursued in the name of the King and any attempt to question intent and efficacy, accusation of treason is triggered.

When attempts are made to reach out to the palace about the skulduggery that may have been committed and that it had inevitably smeared the regal of the palace, enter the sycophants, bellowing treason, sedition and instigation, and demanding for blood.

In many ways than not, the nation had remained stuck in a feudal past.

These opportunists and sycophants behave no differently than the nobles, aristocrats and palace eunuchs of yore. In fact, the mannerisms and behaviour are like a page from ancient script of a dwindling kingdom.

On grounds that they were protecting and shielding their rulers from the treasonous ordinary folks, the palace nobles and aristocrats became the oppressors and all done in the name of the palace.

What the rulers had then been shielded from were the transgressions of the nobilities and aristocracies, and that they had committed all these acts in the name of the King.

And history, the world over, had shown how rulers, oblivious to the shenanigans of their nobles, lost their crowns, kingdoms and even their heads.

Feudal Malaysia, too, has had its share of such dreadful tales. Usurping cruel nobles and their wilful oppression of the peasants and whenever there is an uprising, accusations of treason were invoked and “off with the heads” was a given eventuality.

In fact, the present state of whatever is left of the Malay kingdom had a lot to do with actions of corrupt and usurping nobles of the past — not providing the rulers with the truth and correct advise other than self-serving opinions — and blocking and harming those who want to tell the truth.

It may sound a tad dramatic, but what the present-day opportunists and sycophants are doing are no different than that of their predecessors.

In modern Malaysia, accusations of treason, sedition and instigation in relations to palace issue should be sparing and limited, especially when the din is raised by interested “nobles and aristocrats”.

It has become a conundrum, especially when a feudal institution chooses to participate in the modern settings — engaging in public fora, the social media and whatever other platforms available.

These participations render accusations of treason and sedition anachronistic. In fact, feudalistic expectations cannot coexist in a modern setting as it would only lead to a contradiction of existence, be it for the palace or that of the folks occupying the lower rungs of society.

It will inevitably trap the palace and the society at large in an oxymoron, or a paradox; and the nation unable to move forward in tandem.

And there is always the fear that to continue imposing these contradictions will negatively impact its overall wellbeing in the short and long terms. It is about time for the institutions to accept that it is placed on a pedestal for specific reasons and their regality is not by chance, but by design.

The reverence for the institutions, absolute or otherwise, is a given and a novelty that most Malaysians had learnt to cherish even without the threat of treason applied.

The key to all these is simply separating the institution from the usurping nobles and aristocrats.

At a time when the nation is at the lowest ebb, a little light can be extremely bright. Very much as the cliché that it is darkest before dawn.

However in one pop culture series it was asked, “what if there’s only darkness?”

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.