When will positive engagement become a reality?
(Posted on 10.46am Oct 22, 2001 )


I do not remember everything my late grandfather said or taught me, but, two things he did keeps running in my mind of late!

"Every cloud has a silver lining" and that "one should not be terrorized for upholding the right values, principles and for an uncompromising attitude towards what is simply wrong!"

He also said, "Boy, if sacrifices must be made, so be it." But he reassured "your stand and action will bring joy in the corridors of heaven!"

Well-respected but poor in financial resources, grandpa George Philip, a retired headmaster, died at age 62 in 1974.

He had his early and late years in Taiping, Perak and Sungei Patani, Kedah, a close friend of our founding father and affectionate Prime Minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.

Grandpa also said this, "Remember boy (as I was affectionately called), the Lord is the author and finisher of our lives!"

How true these words are, even after 27 years had fled, as we reflect on various issues, the snowballing hypocrisy, double standards, blatant lies and of outright deception that concerned communities confront each day.

I cannot but feel the truth of these sayings, more now than before, as I face the might of certain forces all ganging up upon me, each working in unison to protect their self interest and need!

GEORGE, THEY WILL DESTROY YOU

One well-respected individual told me last week. "George, a certain group want to break and destroy you - you have become the symbol of resistance, a questioning mind. But remember son, you may not be the State Assemblyman nor MP, you have the people's support in this particular matter and God's blessings and protection!"

Another, whom I consider friend - told me that I am in the "wrong alliance"!

And he may be right. He reiterated that despite being a strong and "turun padang supporter" and member of the Barisan Nasional, but because of my vocal stance on issues, I will never be considered for a plot of land for a bungalow in, say Tropicana or Subang. Or a house or shop lot at dirt-cheap prices, as some are alleged to have been given.

Perhaps, I won't even be nominated for a JP state honor, because I am not in the "right alliance", at least from where these people suffering from an incurable disease called "political blindness" stand!

But, I know that there are countless individuals and people out there in the community and country who uphold strong principles of right vs. wrong. There are people who will stand up and be counted when the time is due. With my friends like these, I shall strive for transparency, good governance and accountability!

PM'S ADVICE

But people like them are so rare these days. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir has to repeatedly remind us to work for the rakyat, honestly.

He continues to remind elected representatives NOT to be involved in business activities or business activities that will place the government in bad light, business that can give rise to unnecessary speculation and claims of impropriety and be subject to public criticisms.

He reminds the wakil rakyat and Yang Berhormat to work with individuals and community groups, including those whom we may consider unfriendly as we prepare the groundwork and support for 2004.

But how many really follow our beloved PM's advice?

They just give lip service and echo political rhetoric in unison, whenever the beloved PM or DPM calls for accountability and transparency, but never too hesitant to sideline respectable Barisan Nasional grassroots and community workers who speak without fear or favor!

As the saying goes, 'Cakap tak semacam bikin'!

On one hand, they preach and parrot mesra rakyat by erecting huge notice boards with various mindless slogans. On the other, behind close quarters, activities tentamounting to debasing the government are hypocratically planned!

And when individuals and sources close to the rakyat raise pertinent questions on accountability and governance, they are threatened with injunctions, defamation suits and blacklisting.

Why don't the powers-that-be engage these individuals in proactive conversation over, perhaps teh tarik sessions and embrace them into the various work groups and committees and work together for the common good of the community!

How many out there - elected representatives, appointed councillors or retired politicians - have tried to bring about a reconciliation between perceived groupings in the community for the good of all?

One reporter recently told me that he asked a certain State Assemblyman and MP to act as a mediator in a certain community vs. council dispute as it does not "look good in the eyes of the community."

The State Assemblyman was alleged to have said that the individual must be "taught a lesson and with his limited financial resources, there is no way he could win against the huge financial resources of the government body!" while the MP backed away and refused comment"!

I can only think of only one powerful Barisan Nasional leader and Head of State, who asked me, if I was willing for a teh tarik session with ANY QUARTERS I DIFFER ON ISSUES.

To him I replied: "Yes, I am an anak Kedah/Penang, growing up in a kampung setting in Sungei Patani, Kedah and Butterworth. I have no problem meeting anyone for discussions, but in an atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity.

I trust this is not asking too much?

But if others feel that Jacob George should be destroyed AND TAUGHT A LESSON at all costs for their political agenda, I leave my fate in God's hands!

True, I will shamelessly admit, I have limited financial resources, after being "retrenched" in 1999 and presently jobless. But, there are many out there, whom I believe will represent me without costs, or even contribute to a legal fund because they know the truth, deep down their hearts!

And thus, my conscience is crystal clear.

As grandpa George said - AND AS A CONSUMER ADVOCATE, I am ready to face reality, whenever, whatever it may be as - 'He is the Author and Finisher of our lives!"

Dr. Jacob George
Subang Jaya