Difficult times create three kinds of people: those who help you; those who leave you; and those who put you there.— Anonymouseconomist
After spending almost four decades overseas and returning to my beloved country three years ago, it dawned upon me that there are three kinds of people we meet in our physical, metaphysical and spiritual lives — sitizens, standizens and shepherds — who have been relevant since the dawn of time.
Nothing has changed from evolving societies to this super-computer society. Human nature is all about survival with a “logical” mind.
Sitizens, sometimes called armchair critics, occupy the majority of seats in every society, They sit all day, ponder and wonder, moan and groan, haw and hem, whine and pine, vacillate and hallucinate while solving the problems of the world without lifting a finger.
They are usually self-proclaimed experts and cynics. These are a contented lot because they ask for nothing but the right, privilege, duty and obligation to complain about everything.
Every issue becomes a bone of contention. Sitizens are full of ideas translated into labels and opinions which have a huge following. At least, we could call them the conscience of society. They are quite harmless, but harmlessly effective as they do get the thinking juices flowing.
Standizens are the arms and legs of the sitizens because they organise, control and manipulate protests, civil disobedience, unrest, disorder and chaos. They keep everyone on their toes.
Sixteen eighty-eight England saw the Glorious Revolution when the King became subjected to the rule of law when he enjoyed years of rule by law.
Seventeen seventy-six America saw sitizens and standizens coming together after George Washington crossed the Delaware when the Brits got ejected for good. In 1789, again the revolutionaries lobbed a few heads, and established a republic in France. Again, sitizens and standizens made the difference. It seems they are a very essential part of every society.
Shepherds in the meantime became leaders as sitizens and standizens rallied around them. Everyone seeks out a leader to lead, to shepherd, to guide, to instruct, and correct, and inevitably to destroy.
Everyone needs a leader otherwise there will be chaos, confusion and disorder. Sometimes, a shepherd is a combination of a sitizen and a standizen. Nothing confuses him or her because they know the difference between life and existence. This is a rare occurrence, and this sets the mark of respect upon a true shepherd who knows the times and knows how to harness goodness from evil, deception and falsehood.
And then came politics and government as if it was the natural metamorphosis of ancient societies to suit the super-computer age where everything is measured, gauged, monitored, controlled, taxed, labeled, and politically terrorised.
This is a rare form of legal terrorism when admiration, respect, loyalty, courage, patriotism, nationalism, and obedience evokes a constipated death — in installments with a little bit here, a little bit there, but still oozing out until the physical, metaphysical and spiritual is drained out of the sitizens and standizens who depended too much on the shepherds.
Malaysian politics is evolving today with sitizens, standizens and shepherds playing crucially differing and different roles. We don’t have a two party system with liberals and the conservatives running government as the left and right wings, respectively.
I venture to say that Malaysia is an experiment whose results are yet to be realised. Malaysia has been an experience since 1963 with polarity replacing and displacing solidarity in constitutional consensus as a diverse society yearning to gain the utterance of unity.
We have the best minds here. We have the greatest cuisines, too. We have salivating geniuses in durians, mangos, pomelos, papayas, rambutans, coconuts, sugarcanes, bananas, jackfruits and dragon fruits, to name a few gifts of Nature.
All Malaysians eat almost the same kind of interchangeable cuisines within the limits of religious tolerances. Yet, we cannot come together as One People dedicated and committed as One Nation. Is this because we have shepherds who don’t care?
Our diversity is our strength like different components that come together to combine to make reinforced steel and concrete that offer solidity and visibility to a skyscraper. Why can’t our shepherds come to terms with the aspirations of the citizenry represented by our endless supply of sitizens and standizens to showcase skyscrapers of sovereignty and unity.
Why ape the west with its legalised exploitations, recriminations and discriminations.
Shepherds, answer your calling with dignity, respect and humility. You will always be remembered.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.