By Jagdesh Singh | MALAYSIA | OPINION
The whole country, including the very young, are all holding their breath with bated anticipation for the outcome of Malaysia’s 14th General Elections. In the next 24 hours, we will know a little bit more of our fates as citizens of this beautiful country.
Punjabis and Sikhs have always been known to portray the general impression of apathy when it concerns local politics. “Don’t bother-lah. Why should we get involve with politics?” has always been the typical response when asked if we’ve been following the political drama over the years.
Since the great migration of pre-Workd War Two of Sikhs into Malaya, we’ve always pride in ourselves of surviving under any circumstances without really depending on anyone, including the government. And to be honest, we did prosper as a community while being completely agnostic to any political affiliation. From cow herders, tin mine laborers to policemen, we’ve managed to grow our succeeding generations into lawyers, doctors and engineers by sheer hard work and tenacity. And to be fair, we took whatever chances we could from whoever was ruling us. We remained an island, our culture and our pride sustaining us.
But there’s been changes in the more recent generations where we see a need to be less passive with politics. Karpal Singh was an exception for his time. He was at the forefront fighting the good fight but he was pretty much the lone Punjabi in the political arena. His next of kin, sons and daughters, have picked up from where he left, fortunately. Many more others are being as vocal about their affiliations and political wants.
These braver Punjabis see injustices that warrant for them to stand up and be heard. It’s in our DNA since the days of our Sikh militant forefathers during the times of the Moghul tyranny, the days of Guru Gobind Singh and the days of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, to react towards social injustice. Our strong identity as a people was borne from this backdrop of struggle. We had no choice but to fight for our livelihoods and our freedom of choice, to fight for our rights as humans and citizens. To right the wrongs of tyranny. Lions and Lionesses.
And perhaps there was no apparent injustice while we were working so hard to survive over here in Malaya and Malaysia, that warranted us to take part in the political process and the ensuing drama as well. Apart from the very few that have stood up and stood out in the political arena, our apathy was largely because our livelihoods weren’t threatened and that we weren’t aware of any wrongdoing, of any injustice and of any abuse of power. Even today, the larger majority of us, especially the older generations, think politics is a luxury they don’t have time for, working hard to ensure their younger ones are taken care of.
However, I would argue that the bigger picture of our local political landscape would have impacts onto our livelihood. This current generation of Punjabis and Sikhs is completely born and bred into the very fabric of Malaysian society. There’s no more Mother India to go back to. What happens today will have consequences for us and the next generation of Malaysian Punjabis and Sikhs.
And we still have our DNA to stir us up when we are made aware of social abuses, wrongdoing and injustice. We still have our traditions of standing up and fighting for us and for others. Traditions that we are so proud of. Sure, we don’t have our swords to take to the battlefield like our forefathers did. But voting and making your vote count has the same outcome. Not as romantic as riding the horse into battle with the Moguls, but as useful and impactful.
For the ones of us that carry a Kirpan, know that it is your personal symbol to stand up and to uproot for justice for Sikhs and non-Sikhs. You don’t have a choice but to practice the ideals that the Kirpan on you signifies.
Go out and vote tomorrow. No matter which side you’re on. Make yourselves aware of what’s going on from both sides. Decide yourselves but stand up, stand out and fight the good responsible fight.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 18873
FROM THE SAME AUTHOR:
Who are we to judge? (Asia Samachar, 23 April 2018)
Remind ourselves that we are blessed (Asia Samachar, 10 April 2018)
Choose harmony (Asia Samachar, 7 March 2018)
Forcing dreams (Asia Samachar, 23 Jan 2018)
The next one will be a boy! (Asia Samachar, 9 Nov 2017)