Biadap isn’t in our culture

When people don’t respect one another seldom is there honesty.

—  Shannon L. Alder, author

Just last week the nation was stunned by an incident where a social media activist openly insulted the King in one of his livestreams.

His justification was that the nation was in dire need of intervention due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that the rakyat was suffering on the ground.

Unsurprisingly, the ill-conceived move garnered nationwide condemnation with many netizens summing up the remarks by the activist into two words: Biadab (barbaric) and keterlaluan (outrageous)

As one netizen pointed out, there has to be some decorum in addressing royals and an individual cannot treat or rather goad the former as if they’re close friends or like a small child. And I agree.

Don’t the National Principles (Rukun Negara) mean anything anymore?

One rotten apple is acceptable. It smells but it is a given, that is how life is. But what worries me is that there are a small section of similarly rotten apples justifying the move.

Their flawed argument is that while the manner which the points were raised by the activist (livelihoods, deaths and Covid-19) were brash, the message stays true.

To this, I say no. Absolutely, no way! We can’t justify things that are unjustifiable.

Yes, you are angry — I am too. I am disappointed that we, despite recording remarkable improvement in handling of Covid-19 nationwide last year, are now registering daily Covid-19 cases in the high thousands.

But that does not give you the right to dole out an insult, to be disrespectful to the royal institution just because you feel like it.

If we are willing to convince ourselves that insulting only the most respected and protected figure and symbols in the nation is acceptable, then there is no telling what else we wouldn’t do.

This is not okay. This is not normal. It should never be acceptable.

I think Sarawak, despite its myriad of ethnic groups and religions, is able to live together in harmony because of the respect that its people have for one another.

Manners, respect, and being polite go a long way. My worry is that if we forego these values, unity would slowly be chipped away.

It is simply not our culture to be disrespectful and say hurtful things without repercussions.

My message to these few rotten apples who thinks that it is perfectly fine that we be kurang ajar (very rude) to get our points across and purportedly fight for the rakyat: Go get your head examined.

We aren’t wired this way. Sarawakians aren’t wired this way. You don’t represent Sarawak!

I also stress this to local youth who are slowly trying to involve themselves in politics — we do things a bit differently here.

We do not share the usual brash nature of Malayan politics. Instead of hurling insults and bickering to no end, we are more focused on getting things done.

The people need development, they need assistance, they need food on the table and not politics or politicking. This is being done, this is being addressed and this is what the fight should be about.

The other side is promoting a brand of politics that is brazen and unabashed where the competition now is about how low they are willing to go to gain political mileage and publicity.
They have no value to protect, we do and we must hold dear to it. There is a limit to everything, there are lines we mustn’t cross.

Activism, for whatever reason, justifications have to abide by these limits and not challenge them. Don’t use the excuse of being an activist as to justify doing something stupid.

Don’t use the excuse of being an activist to say things that we shouldn’t say just because you are belligerent and intolerant in nature.

Instead, we fight for things that matters most – a better living and livelihood, better facilities, a better nation through the right channels.

The government is willing to listen provided we talk to them. I know — it sounds absurd and contradicts just about everything we read on social media sphere, but it is true.

This should be the way. The people and the government must be on the same page especially on critical issues.

By this, we can address the needs of the people while at the same protect our values and identity.