The great pretenders

I would have thought that if you yourself had something to hide, you should be better served by saying less about other people. Like many today in Malaysia, I support and campaign for free speech and a much freer press. So in no way am I challenging the right of expression from any quarter. But my (and anybody else’s) right of expression does not in any way mean that others who disagree with me cannot say so to my face.

In current news, the USA does not like the fact that Russia has given temporary asylum to a high profile whistle-blower, never minding that the USA has very frequently been granting asylum (albeit called by a variety of more sanitised terms) to dissidents from other countries (particularly China). This is a blatant case of “What I do is always right (or can be justified)” whereas others doing the exact thing is always wrong. And so the USA president says, “I will go to an international conference hosted by Russia but I shan’t have a formal sit-down meeting with their president”. This is a syndrome which we Malaysians are given almost a daily dose of, also known as, “When we do it, there is nothing wrong; when you do it you face the music” (of the rockier kind).

Nearer home, south of the border, a certain personage seems periodically to have something to say and actually said so about other people’s country (particularly the country north of his own border). Never mind the fact that his country is as different as ours as the east is from the west- population, demography, religion, geography-wise. Notwithstanding the stark differences, such personages seem to have no less propensity to just “let go” any thinking or saying they have as though their own experiences in presiding over their own respective countries much bigger or much smaller as the case may be than the ones they presume they understand and will know how to very much better run another country were they the leader/s.

It takes very special intellect, competence and skills to run a city-state and due credit to them for not just surviving but achieving huge results, some of which other countries should and can see for themselves and apply with adaptation to their own countries. But being successful and effective at home does not automatically make them adequate and proficient to run a neighbouring country of not just thirteen cities but thirteen states (that is, thirteen cities each with a vast hinterlands of their own). Boleh ka? I think not. I have no issue taking criticisms from outside our own borders since our own sitting government (and we the people) could do with quite a few criticisms for our own use. But regardless of which country you may be -bigger or smaller, older or newer, please do not think that in criticising and commenting on others you may escape looking at the shortcomings of your own country.

Here at home, we don’t like it when our own leaders take pot-shots at other countries and pretend all’s well within our own borders.


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