Courage Rises Up Again and Again

Posted on April 7, 2013

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auntybersih

Have you ever been confronted by a menacing snarling dog who is ready to pounce on you? And for the briefest of moment, both of you glared into each other’s eyes. In your heart you felt sure the dog will sink his teeth into you and you would be his lunch.

But then something arises in you, a courage you never knew you had, and with your eyes fixed unflinchingly on his eyes, you lunge forward towards the dog and… lo and behold, he turned around and ran off with his tail tucked between his legs. Seizing the moment for complete victory, you gave chase, shouting after the terrified beast. Hurray, you have become top dog in your neighbourhood.

Nice thought but I doubt if many of us have had such stories to tell because most of the time we just make sure we don’t ever have to come face to face with such a snarling dog. We would “elak” or avoid such a confrontation by making a detour if we know that the neighbourhood bully dog is lying there.

This article is not about dogs but about fear and courage. Fear is a very human emotion and a necessary one to keep us safe and alive. But when fear becomes the dominant emotion in our life, it paralyses us from doing what is right.

Not many would admit to being fearful but would gloss over our fears with such rational sounding terms like – “We just have to be wise” or “Why be a hero?”  Meanwhile, that neighbourhood bully dog still reigns.

But there is a gentle but steady wind of change blowing and something is stirring deep inside us. Could it be courage?

The political landscape of our country in the last five years has been nothing short of extraordinary. Malaysians from all walks of life have, as if, woken up from a fifty year old coma. Suddenly we realised that the world has changed so much after our fifty years of slumber and we don’t like how it has changed.

Instead of going back to our sleep, some of us decided to do something about it, we decided to confront the neighbourhood bully dog. We are tired of making long detours and pretending that we are not afraid.. Yes, courage, the only antidote for the paralysing disease of fear, has arrived.

The hundred of thousands of Malaysians who overcame their fears in the various Bersih rallies, Himpunan Hijau rallies and culminating in the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat mega rally at Stadium Merdeka on 12th January 2013 are testament of this fact – the people are no longer afraid.

Now with the mother of all General Elections in our nation’s history just a matter of weeks away, we are at that point where we are glaring into the bully dog’s eyes. It is more than just a contest between the two contending coalitions but it is a showdown between the people who want change and the people who don’t.

Who is going to flinch or blink first? Would it be the usual victims of fear or would it be the dog?

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi wrote in Freedom from Fear –

“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure.

A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity.

It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear.

Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”

Courage rises up again and again.  No, this time it is not us who would turn but the dog. We sense victory, we could smell it for we have seen the fear and desperation in the dog’s eyes.

At this hour of victory, this is not a time to be weary or be discouraged or be side-tracked by petty issues.  We need to lunge forward together to complete the victory.

We need to shout it out loud – “Enough is Enough!” – “Ini Kalilah” as we march forward to cast our votes and take back what is rightfully ours – our FREEDOM.  Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!