Malaysian Tamil Protest: Sign Of Warped Priorities?

By V Shuman

Apparently, Malaysian Indians, particularly the Tamils, have got their priorities all wrong.

Protesting against a foreign “mass murderer” and burning effigies is one thing, but assaulting a Buddhist monk and a diplomat who have nothing to do with the offending party is idiocy at its worst.

For those who have missed the news, let’s have a brief rundown of what has transpired in the last week in the political sphere of the Indian community, which is already fighting a losing battle against its stereotyping as a violent community.

Enraged by the presence of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a forum in Malaysia, a group of protesters, including politicians from both sides of the political divide, gathered in front of the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) to call for him to be sent back to his country and burned his effigy.

Then came the stupidity. The protesters, including members of a group calling itself “Naam Tamilars” (We are Tamilians), gathered in front of the Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in Sentul and demanded to know Rajapaksa’s whereabouts. They then assaulted the chief monk, Sri Saranan.

The anger did not stop there. A small group of men later assaulted Sri Lankan High Commissioner Ibrahim Sahib Ansar at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

And now there’s even a campaign to raise money to bail out five men who have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

What were the rowdy groups trying to achieve in assaulting Sri Saranan and Ibrahim Sahib, who may have absolutely no links to Rajapaksa?

How many of the attackers even know who Rajapaksa is and what the civil war in Sri Lanka was all about? How many of them were aware that the war broke out way before Rajapaksa came to power?

Even if he is alleged to have done nothing to stop the killing of Tamils there, how logical is it to fight a “war criminal” by being violent towards people who have no apparent connection to him?

Don’t we Malaysian Indians already have enough local issues to deal with?

The funny thing is that the Sri Lankan Tamil community in Malaysia, who should rightfully be the ones enraged were hardly involved in these protests. Many are known to have done well in the country. Prominent figures include business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan and Westport’s G Gnanalingam. There are also prominent professionals from the community.

Politicians of Indian descent are very much to blame for encouraging the acts of rage and stupidity. Leading a mob and chanting offensive words, only to later distance themselves from these acts after violence had occurred, was irresponsible.

Malaysian Indians would do best to channel their energy towards helping each other attain a respectable status in society, learning to cherish their culture and language and abstaining from butchering each other.

(Free Malaysia Today)

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