Fear and loathing in the province of respectability. September 17, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in "We can do better", Columns, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Writings.
I read, with horror and frustration, that once again, university authorities had the gall to walk into dorms and harass students.
But I’m even more frustrated that our student activists are so disempowered that they allow these thugs to do whatever they wish. If we wouldn’t allow anyone to pilfer our homes or our rooms, why then are students allowing these thugs get away with this? (Just a thought, don’t students keep baseball bats in their rooms, like we used to?)
My latest column is a reflection of this frustration, which has been in my thoughts for a week now.
Eight years ago, amidst the sound and fury of Reformasi, one of the student leaders went missing.
Let’s just, for the moment, call him “Mr. Respectable”.
He was after all, a proponent of ‘respectability’ and ‘respectable’ dressing among the student activists.
I thought it was one of those local odditities, considering it was only a few years ago when we wore what was considered then, haute couture for student activists – tank tops, dirty black jeans, Blundstones faded to a hue of purple, sometimes with a flannel shirt and a scarf around the neck, in anticipation of delights such as a hot sunny day or tear gas in downtown Sydney.
A week later, we discovered he was holed up at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya. Between room service and cable TV, he made furtive calls, arranging meetings with Reformists to offer anything their hearts desire, so long as they saw ‘his light’.
Little did we know that during one of those ‘respectable’ discussions with government officials, he had negotiated a sweet deal for himself. (Con’t reading here)