Pseudonymous or truedonymous?

Having convinced myself that I’d pretty well exhausted both my own opinions on and Malaysiakini readers’ patience with this topic in my previous column, I’ve received some highly thought-provoking comments from mostly pseudonymous but far from pseudonymousey people, and thus feel encouraged to continue the conversation.

Starting with the glaringly-obvious observation that I carelessly overlooked last week that by far the majority of pseudonyms are used not by writers, movie stars, politicians philosophers or Malaysiakini subscribers, but by women, or more specifically wives.

Because, at least in most if not all of of the countries in that part of the world I know best, the West, by far the majority of brides forsake the family names they inherited from their fathers for those of their husbands.

Admittedly there is a small and apparently growing minority who keep the names they’ve been given at birth and grown-up with; some without any change at all, and others by adding their husbands’ names to their own, as in the case, for example, of Hilary Rodham Clinton.

But amazingly to me, in this allegedly enlightened era of egalitarianism in general and sexual equality in particular, most women are still prepared to put up with the patriarchal practice of being ‘given’ in marriage by one man into the care, or, if you prefer, the custody of another, and assuming a pseudonym in the process.

A practice that is patently reminiscent of the days little more than a century ago when a woman was presumed to be the property of her husband, was denied rights ranging from a proper education to participation in elections, and had few if any legal protections against marital mistreatment or outright abuse.

Unsure of why so many intelligent and in most other ways independent women are still wedded to the tradition of changing their truedonyms to pseudonyms in marriage when the practice is so reminiscent of the bad old days, I conducted my customary survey of one, and asked my wife why she did it.

Nothing to do with subordinating herself to my patriarchal authority, I was both happy and, in light of her ferociously independent personality, far from surprised to learn.

On the contrary, as she explained. Any fears she had of appearing to embrace enslavement either to me or to the Western marital tradition were, she said, vastly outweighed by the fact that the adoption of my clearly occidental family name as a pseudonym would finally free her of the burden of having two oriental truedonyms that, in her native Malaysia, had identified or rather bidentified her as a mixture of two races, and thus confusingly a member of either both or neither.

It also liberated her from mis-identification as an adherent of a racially-decreed religion. Or, as it transpired, of any religion at all, as when she turned-up at the appropriate office to renew her Malaysian identity card (IC), she drew attention to her new matsalleh-style pseudonym, complained that her religion had been wrongly specified on her old card, and thus under ‘Religion’ on her new one she was given the denomination she requested: ‘none’.

And of course when we decided to come live in Australia, her having the same family name as me was of considerable help in convincing immigration that we were legitimately married, and thus hastened her achievement of permanent residency and eventual citizenship here.

But why most other women adopt pseudonymous family names that make them appear mere appendages of, if not total dependents on their husbands, be it out of custom or tradition or whatever, I’m not sure.

Certainly it doesn’t appear to be for the purpose of deception, as so many pseudonyms used in politics and government are.

A point I made many years ago, as some longer-term readers of Malaysiakini may recall, by writing that under the rotten Umno/BN regime, the term ‘by-election’ was actually a pseudonym for the truedonym ‘buy-election’.

And in fact the name of the Umno party itself was actually pseudonymous given that its practices of stupidity, cupidity and nepotism revealed that in reality it should be known by such truedonyms as Dumno, Scumno or Chumno.

I’ve also frequently mentioned that when many if not most countries that claim to be democratic are using this term pseudonymously, considering that they are in fact  truedonymously domocratic, like, for example, Vladimir ‘Ras’ Putin’s opposition-crushin’ Russian Federation and Jinnie the Pooh’s people-repressing Party’s Republic of Chaina; or dermocratic in that they’re ruled by people of a particular skin-colour, like black-supremacist Zimbabwe, Malay-privileging Malaysia and far too many white-majority countries in Europe and the rest of the West; or dumbocracies/dimocracies where millions of citizens are stupid enough to vote for a president like Donald Trump, or else to enable his election to office by not bothering to vote for a more acceptable opponent.

As for my own country, Australia, while it’s supposedly or pseudonymously democratic, it’s not only so white-majority-ruled as to be truedonymously dermocratic, but also, at least under the nation’s currently-ruling pseudonymously right-wing but truedonymously wrong-wing conservative coalition, doughmocratic, in that corporate and personal greed are routinely given precedence over ethical, environmental and social need.

But that’s more than enough from me about the eternal struggle between pseudonymity and truedonymity in Australia and the rest of the world, as Malaysia’s first new government following six decades of official lies, larceny and contempt for the rule of law strives to restore genuine democracy to the nation and its citizens.

So the shared concern and quest now for all honest, upstanding Malaysians, and of course foreign friends of Malaysia, to hold Pakatan Harapan true to the promise of its name, and to keep it from ever descending into some pseudo-BN-style Pakatan Horrorpan.

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Pseudonymous or pseudonymouse?

A young woman in the community college creative writing class I’m currently tutoring has asked my opinion on whether she should use her real name to identify herself as the author of the blog she’s considering starting, or a pseudonym.

My initial response to her, in light of the fact that she sometimes writes stuff that is so risqué as to be socially or professionally risky, is that she should consider going pseudonymous, or, in light of the fact that she’s an unmarried female, pseudonymiss or ms.

Or, even better, to go what I suppose could be called binonymous/miss/ms by starting two blogs . One under her real name for her more conventional or ‘respectable’ writing, and the other under a pseudonym, pen name, or perhaps even more appropriately considering its purpose would be to keep her identity as the author of her raunchier stuff safely safely under wraps, porn name.

But she responded that, though she could see some sense in this suggestion, she was far from willing to write and publish under a pen, porn or any other name but her genuine or given one, as nobody would know who she was if she had the good fortune to get famous.

At this point I not to persist any further in giving her the advice she’d asked for, keeping to myself the obvious observation that this early in her career it might be a mite premature to worry too much about fame.

And not bothering to argue that Eric Blair didn’t fare too badly famewise as the pseudonymous ‘George Orwell’, or Samuel Clemens as ‘Mark Twain’, or Mary-Ann Evans as ‘George Eliot’, to name just a few of virtually countless examples of writers who achieved fame in the past under fictitious names, and their many successors who continue the practice today.

I also drew the line at making the obvious point that, however many writers have achieved fame despite adopting pseudonyms, they are they are probably a small minority compared with their real-name peers, and an even smaller minority compared with, say, actors and other performing artists.

For example, it’s hard to imagine that a girl with as homely a moniker as Frances Gumm would have become a star of stage and screen if she hadn’t been pseudonymed Judy Garland. Or Marion Morison making it big without a change to John Wayne, Alan Konigsberg to Woody Allen, Robert Zimmerman to Bob Dylan, and Issur Danielovitch to Kirk Douglas.

Politicians, too, have been known to get in on the act too, with Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, for instance, having opted for the much racier ‘Stalin’.

And the ancient Greek philosopher named Aristocles at birth has for over two thousand years been known to the world by the nick-name possibly given him by one of his teachers in childhood, ‘Plato’.

Of course, now that I come to think of it, the name ‘Dean Johns’ under which I’ve worked and written for decades, is something of a nick-name-related pseudonym too.

When I turned up at infant-school with a name twice as big as I was at the time, Adrian Deane-Johns, my equally diminutive classmates shortened it in typically Australian style to Dean or Deano, and I just went with the flow.

Not for the purpose of concealing my identity, however, as so many people do these days, especially on the net, for various reasons.

Nefarious reasons mostly, as in the cases of scamsters ranging from the financially fraudulent through the socially and sexually predatory to the politically propagandist.

This last group comprising every kind of creep from Russian Chinese, North Korean and who knows what other hackers hoping to disrupt the relatively ‘free’ world by helping elect dangerous idiots like Donald Trump, to the pseudonymous so-called ‘cybertroopers’ corruptly paid by Malaysia’s former Umno/BN regime to aid its ultimately futile efforts to cling to power.

With the regime gone, however, and presumably with it the paid cybertroopers along with the threat of harsh government reprisal against honest citizens daring to utter Umno/BN-unfriendly political opinions under their real names, I’m somewhat surprised to see apparently as many pseudonymous and outright anonymous comments as ever on articles and opinion pieces in Malaysiakini.

What, I can’t help wondering, is the problem here? That people, wisely or otherwise, still don’t trust Pakatan’s promise to restore Malaysians’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech? Or that sixty years of repression of expression by Umno/BN have so habituated people to staying safely pseudonymous that far too many have become hopelessly meek pseudonymice?

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To hell with HLGBTs.

The recent caning of two women in Terengganu for their alleged attempt to have sexual relations has had at least one positive outcome. Not, as state exco member in charge of syariah implementation, Satisful Bahri Mamat claimed, to ‘educate the public on Islamic law’, or to remind people not to commit illicit sex, or what he called a‘cancer on society’,but to inspire an outpouring of outrage against the persecution of people of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and other persuasions, or, in short, LGBTs.

But I’m tempted go go further than just defending these entirely blameless LGBTs, as I and many others have done for decades, to expose, excoriate and I hope deeply offend all the other truly evil LGBTs, or rather HLGBTs or even HelLGBTs; the hypocrites among all the latents, God-botherers, bullies and touts who threaten them with everything from revilement to the rotan for their own rotten purposes.

H for hypocrisy, in my humble opinion, is what characterises many if not most of the haters hell-bent on shaming, stigmatising, criminalising or even advocating ‘curing’ those of their fellow human-beings they presume to define as sexual deviants. And these hypocrites come in many guises and disguises.

L for latents, for example, people know or suspect themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but out of fear of exposure and its possible consequences strive to hide their true sexual orientations by hypocritically criticising and attacking others who’ve had the courage to come out of the closet.

In other words, people who ‘protest too much’ against what they purport to deplore in others for the purpose of concealing similar proclivities of their own are all too commonly latents who are blatantly lying.

G for God-botherers, too, are frequently faking it, in the hope that their displays of false piety on one issue, like, as in this case, allegedly ‘sinful’ expressions of sexuality, blinds the rest of us to their profanity in most others.

As in the cases of the Malaysia’s now- and I hope forever-defunct Umno/BN regime and its on-again, off-again partners in PAS, who apparently still persist in their delusion that the flogging as in caning of offenders against allegedly ‘ungodly’ sexual preferences and practices diverts our attentions from their flogging as in stealing the rights, privileges, riches and even the lives of the people, faithful and infidel alike.

Of course the most infamous examples of such God-forsaken hypocrisy were the two jailings of Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy brought against him by the notoriously nation-sodomising and fraudulently sanctimonious Umno/BN regime.

But lest any reader imagine that I’m coming on anti-Islamic here, let me hasten to say that Christianity, into one of whose countless competitive sects I was born and initially indoctrinated, has hypocritically stolen far more loot and lives in the course of its God-forsaken history of unholy ‘holy’ wars, and suppressed more people of all possible nations, races, sexes and other creeds than most Muslims could possibly imagine.

From the so-called ‘crusades’ through countless pogroms and other persecutions to the rape and pillage of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia by Europeans in the name of Christ and his creed of peace, charity, meekness and mercy,

not to mention the ongoing exploitation by ‘Christian’ capitalism of pitifully-paid workers in the ‘Third World’ and the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of children in their charge by some members of the clergy.

Due to such ‘religious’ hypocrisy, homo- and other allegedly divinely-disapproved sexualities have remained criminal offences until just decades ago in most ‘liberal’ Western democracies.

And it is only in the past few days that India has finally decriminalised homosexuality, which until now has been punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years in jail due to a law imposed on the hapless people of the sub-continent by their ‘Christian’ Britain colonial masters back in the 19th century.

B for bullies, of course, are those gutless wonders who, from the safety of superior numbers, or anonymity, or both, take out their aggression on any target they see as vulnerable by virtue of their difference from perceived norms or their membership of some minority.

And they’re as hypocritical as the previous groups I’ve identified, as they’re capable of turning from bullying the weaker to toadying to the stronger. Or, in other words, from leaping at an ‘inferior’ person’s throat one minute to throwing themselves at a superior’s feet in the next.

T, finally, as long as I’m omitting the QI customarily included these days, in Australia at least, on the end of LGBT, is for touts. Those who piously ape the anti-LGBT attitudes of rich and powerful bigots for the sake of possible profit or position, as many opportunists in right- or in other words wrong-wing political parties do, hypocritically or otherwise.

In summary, and in short, as my allotted space here is

rapidly running-out, here’s to doing everything in our power to protect our family members, friends and other fellows who happen to identify sexually or gender-wise as LGBTs from the poisonous prejudices, predations and punishments so unjustly imposed on them by the HLGBTs.

And here’s to governments with the enlightened good-will, and if necessary also the guts, to legislatively tell the HLGBTs, or, if you prefer, HelLGBTs, to be damned.

 

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Brexcellent trip!

Despite Brexit, the wretchedly retrograde Brexecration, or, as my London-based son has recently branded the damn thing  in a piece at https://sdj-pragmatist.blogspot.com, Brexidiocy, that Brextreme right- or in other words wrong-wingers inflicted on Britain two years ago, I had as brilliant a time as ever there back in July.

Or rather as brilliant a time as ever with the sole Brexception of the fact that the British media, or at least the non-fake-news ones that I always look forward to enjoying, were still full of the Brexcruciatingly boring discussion of how Brexit can best be achieved, or, perhaps more appropriately, Brexecuted.

Otherwise, though, my Brexpedition was a blast, thanks to my son and his wife’s not only generously covering all my travel and other Brexpenses, but for Brextending me such a Brexcess of hospitality that it would have been Brexhausting if not so Brexhilarating.

Most Brexhilarating of all, of course, was he Brexperience of re-bonding with my beloved Brexpatriate Australian son, his devoted Norwegian-British wife on whom I dote, and their children of thus Brexotically mixed Brexstraction, my now fourteen-year-old grand-daughter and twelve-year-old grandson.

Actually I’d been a bit apprehensive before I saw them again this time, for fear that they might have Brevolved from the totally lovable little Brits I fondly recalled from our previous meetings into geriatric-averse adolescent brats.

But I shouldn’t have worried since, except, of course, in size and sophistication, they hadn’t changed a whit. Still as funny, friendly and, according to their Brexam results, not to mention their skill in doing the crossword puzzles we traditionally compete in family teams to be first to complete, as bright as ever, if not more so.

Speaking of more, there are lots of Brextra reasons besides my own fatherly, father-in-lawly and grand-fatherly ones for so enjoying my trips to Britain, or more particularly London, and those are the members of my Brextended family.

My daughter-in-law’s mother is an absolute delight, as are my daughter-in-law’s brother, his wife, and their three lovably boisterous boys.

One of the most enjoyable Brexperiences on my recent trip was a reunion party involving all of the above-mentioned people and many of their Brelatives from all over.

And also a load of fun was a Brexcursion on the Thames involving as many of us all as could safely cram aboard a good-sized motorboat.

Lest you find descriptions of this or any of the many other treks that various people kindly took heaps of trouble to take me on as Brexcruciatingly boring as I found them Brexciting to be involved in, however, I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow details.

But at the risk of trying your patience even by listing a selection of them, they ranged all the way from the cultural (exhibitions of Frida Khalo’s art, clothing and personal effects in the Victoria and Albert Museum; of ‘Lord of the Rings’ author J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing and art in the Ashmolean; the Wallace Collection, housed in its own mansion; and of oil-drum assemblages by Cristo in and near the Serpentine in Hyde Park),through the educational(Oxford University, Eton College, the London Library, the Museum of London, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey) and the fascinating but kind-of creepy (the dungeon and instruments of torture in the remnants of the old Clink Prison; and Highgate Cemetery, last resting place of countless late luminaries, most notably Karl Marx) to the outright Breccentric (a museum in Portsmouth devoted to the denial of the theory of evolution in favour of the ‘creationism’ of which a great many Bible-bashers, especially in the US, are convinced).

The only trip I took solo, or rather alone among a coach-load of strangers, was a most generous surprise gift from Michael, my favourite neighbour back home and a long-ago Brimmigant to Australia, of a ticket for a guided tour of such iconic British sites as West Kennet Long Barrow, Avebury Stone Circle and Stonehenge.

By way of Brelaxation from all the above, I took time out to sit back and enjoy lots of coffees and conversations, not to mention the inevitable crossword contests with my grand-daughter and -son, mostly at Costa Coffee or other favourite cafes in Shepherds Bush and Chiswick.

And, whenever possible, I rested with a book and a smoke.

Unlike my family members, most of whom are absolute suckers for Brexercise.

My son goes running, rowing or cycling most mornings of the week before work, and regularly competes in triathlons. My daughter-in-law regularly runs, swims or works-out at the gym. My grand-daughter does ballet, studies acting and plays flute. And my grandson seriously devotes himself to any number of sports, including, in the appropriate seasons, rugby, football (aka soccer), cricket, golf and judo.

Speaking of seasons, it was high summer during the time I spent in and occasionally out of London,and so Brextremely and even Brexcessively hot that I found myself missing my sun-loving wife and daughter back in shivering in the Sydney winter even more than I usually do when we’re apart, and Bregretting that they couldn’t be there with me.

But my wife will be finished her PhD very shortly, so maybe it won’t be too long before she has an academic post that deservedly amply rewards her in terms of both salary and annual leave, and that our daughter can take a break from her work-and-study routine, so that all three of us can take this Brexcellent trip together next time. Whether the Brexidiots will finally have managed to do their Brexecrable worst by then, or not.

 

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Air lines.

Like you, I’m aware that airlines and the airliners they operate are so called because aviation borrowed a good deal of its terminology from its precursor, travel by ship, as in boarding, cabin, deck, captain, crew, purser, cargo hold and so on.

But, fresh or rather stale from flying from Sydney to London and back, I feel that I spent the entire 24 or so hours on each leg of the trip not so much on a vastly accelerated and higher-altitude version of a shipping line, but waiting, or if you like, queuing, endlessly in line.

Or rather in a long, long line of lines starting at check-in where progress is always agonizingly slow due to the apparently inevitable fact that half of the counters are closed, and many passengers take forever to be processed, apparently at least partly due to the vast heaps of luggage, cardboard cartons and such they’re determined to take with them.

Then comes the snail’s-pace security line, the long line at passport control, walking the sometimes seemingly endless line to a distant departure lounge, there to sit in line til it’s time to join the boarding line and then the line down the aircraft aisle to where you strap-in and proceed to sit patiently in line for the next however many hours.

And there are lots more lines to look forward to in Do Buy or whatever other shopping-mal-style stopover. But the lion’s share of long lines I encountered on my recent round-trip were at London Heathrow, the ‘row’ syllable of which is presumably synonymous with ‘line’, because the immigration line there for arriving non-UK, non-EU passengers is always between one and two hours long.

Acceptably between one and two hours long according to a senior UK Immigration spokesperson, as I read in one of the British newspapers during my time in London, the official line on this dismal state of affairs being that it is difficult to deploy sufficient ‘highly-trained’ border-security operatives to make the process even slightly speedier.

The operative I encountered when I finally reached the front of the line turned-out to be highly-trained in a quite unnecessarily long line of questioning concerning my profession and purpose of visit.

I was sorely tempted sarcastically respond with the line that at my age of 75 my purpose was hardly likely to be dying, so to speak, to seek illegal employment, to apply for political asylum or to plan, let alone commit an act of terrorism; but that I was clearly guilty of errorism in imagining that, after a wait in line for so long that I feared it might be terminal, I might have expected both an apology for the delay, if not an actual welcome back to the land of some of my ancestors.

Not to mention several of my descendants, as I’d written on the appropriate line on my arrival card that I was there to visit my son and his family. But, though I may not know much, I know better than to engage in banter with uniformed personnel in airports, so I kept my comments strictly in line.

So I was somewhat grumpily granted entry and thus set free to go stand in my final ground component of my air line to London the line around the baggage carousel, and permitted to make a beeline through the green lane to where the male members of my family line, my son and his son, were waiting to meet, greet and give me a lift to their London home. Or, in other words, as it felt like at the time, to throw me a sorely-needed lifeline.

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ScoMo’s sickening new slogan.

After just days of Scott Morrison’s elevation to the Australian prime-ministership, I’m already sick to death of the slogan he and his minions are mouthing.

‘New-generation’ leadership? Huh? After the orgy of senseless, self-interested in-fighting the Party staged last week, surely Australians of all ages are far more likely to perceive Morrison and his Liberal minions as members of a political Gen Why? than  a Gen Y.

If not, indeed, a Gen WTF?, in light of the clearly-evident fact that, far from new, they’re the same old, same old hacks that have first supported Malcolm Turnbull and now savagely pack-attacked and unseated him.

The same old hacks, in fact, who have backed Turnbull in such fiascos as first promising to reform the tax system, then delivering nothing but a plot to further enrich the rich at the expense of the rest; as promising to deliver plan for cheaper, cleaner, more reliable electric power but failing in that too due in at least part to their fossilised fixation on rejecting renewable energy in favour of coal.

Then, besides obsessively working to keep the ‘coal’ in ‘coalition’, they they also fought so fiercely for years against calls for a royal commission into the banks in particular and the finance industry in general that they’re now seen as enablers of, if not actually accomplices in, the farrago of financial atrocities the commission has uncovered.

Though Morrison has been fighting a desperate rear-guard action against this perfectly accurate public perception by dubiously claiming he’d been striving to fix this situation for years.

Which is precisely the kind of fakery he’s so famous or rather infamous for in speeches and interviews that it finally forced his feral old schlock-jock mate Ray Hadley to cut-off the friendship on the grounds that he didn’t like being lied to, and led me to write some time ago that Morrison’s nickname of ‘ScoMo’ should by rights be changed to ‘ScamMo’.

A suggestion that I fancy would be fine with most of the Australian electorate, but with the exception, of course, those hardest of hard-core ‘coal’ as in ‘coalition’ and supporters who are happy for ScamMo and his ilk to keep the ‘con’ in ‘conservative’ as long as it serves their economic and social interests.

Members of the self-styled ‘Christian’ Right, however, might be somewhat confused as to their feelings about their fellow bible-basher ScamMo’s alleged capacity for deceit, as I assume that they consider lying sinful.

And similarly sinful, I assume, is the kind of spite exhibited by the allegedly Christian Tony Abbott and his accomplices in the political assassination of Malcolm Turnbull that apparently almost miraculously set the scene for ScamMo’s ascension to the prime-ministership.

In short, I see Prime Minister Morrison’s ‘new generation’ slogan as so typically misleading that the more often he and his henchpersons repeat the stupid thing, the more likely they are to make the majority of Australian voters even sicker of them, if possible, than I am.

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Writing the wrongs of the ‘Right’.

Don’t worry, Malaysiakini readers. I’m not about to bore even more rigid about the recent riotous and ridiculously failed attempt by the ‘far-Right’ wing of Australia’s current government and its attack-dogs in the mongrel media to rid themselves of a prime minister who was too moderate for their tastes and replace him with one of their own.

But I can’t resist at least briefly expressing my elation at the fact that the victory of the at least middling Scott Morrison over the dire Peter Dutton and his political and media accomplices appears to be yet another promising sign that the wrongs of the rabid ‘Right’ are coming back to bite them, and with a vengeance.

Vengeance they very richly deserve in the US, by way of the most vivid example, where, far from draining the Washington swamp as he promised, Donald Trump finds himself up to his wallet in alligators following the convictions and guilty pleas of increasing numbers of his close associates on criminal charges, and the outrage of the majority of right-thinking as distinct from ‘Right’-thinking US citizens at the racism, religionism, NRA-ism, protectionism, anti-immigrant, anti-environment, super- predatory capitalism and above all the fraudulence, fakery and flakery of his madministration.

And in the UK, vengeance is being wreaked on the far-Right of the ‘Con’ as in ‘Conservative’ government and not only all the UK citizens it conned into voting for Brexit, but also the rest of the population that it failed to fool into supporting a move that is proving so catastrophically wrong that it should by rights be called wrexit.

But, as I hear you students and fans of democracy cry, at least Australia, the UK, US and a great many other comparatively free countries have relatively egalitarian, equality-of-opportunity-for-all Left-wing oppositions to offset or outright fight the wrongs of ‘Right’.

And I couldn’t agree more. In fact, as a glance at the latest global tables ranking such indices as wealth distribution, social services, freedom from corruption, liberty of the press, citizens’ life-satisfaction and flat-out happiness tend to be highest in locations where the Left is strongest, like New Zealand and most of the Scandinavian countries.

Perhaps Malaysia is headed for a similarly happy state of affairs now that its citizens have finally thrown-off the six-decade burden of the Barisan Nasional regime in favour of Pakatan Harapan.

Of course BN was so far further wrong than merely ‘Right’-wing in the conventional democratic sense, that it was actually more what could be termed Right-wring, in that its so-called ‘Three Pillars’ of its rule, royalism, racism and religionism, which, in combination with the ruthless repression of truth, opinion and protest, were employed for wringing as much plunder out of the country, and as many freedoms, rights and ringgit out of the people, as possible.

With the triumph of Pakatan, and its apparent if presently far from completely-realised intention of restoring constitutional liberties and the rule of law,  this sordid Right-wring situation has hopefully been relegated to history.

But in my opinion, and those of many like-minded friends and colleagues, the Malaysian government still seems too riddled with potential for typical‘Right’-wing-style wrongs, and too bereft of truly common-people-friendly Left-wing talents and tendencies to be anything like as progressive as possible.

For a start, there appear to be way too many people in Pakatan, not to mention the civil services, with BN genes in their chromosomes, or the BN bug in their bloodstreams, or both, as even in the cases of Pakatan PM Tun Dr Mahathir and his presumptive successor Anwar Ibrahim.

Then there’s the fact that, while great credit is due PM Mahathir for his past successes in curbing the excesses of the nation’s 11 sultans and virtually countless royal relatives and retainers, these are still far too numerous, and too privileged according to both lore and the law.

Just as Muslim clerics, mosques and Islamic institutions of every conceivable kind are unfairly and unjustly considered superior to their counterparts of other faiths.

A predictable remark, some might say, on the part of the avowed agnostic I am. But my personal enjoyment of freedom from religion doesn’t blind me to the fact that others are entitled to not only to believe in and practice their faiths, but to do so equally freely.

Of course, in writing against any or all of the almost endless catalogue of Right-wing wrongs, I’m all too aware that I’ve no power whatever to totally rid myself of them all, let alone to try stamping them out in Malaysia, Australia or the rest of the world.

But, like the great many Malaysian academics, activists, agitators, legislators and even voters that I admire, I figure it’s well worth going on fighting for right against the wrongs of the ‘Right’ with all the time and energy I have left.

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