The Discomfort of Getting Off The Fence

Remember what happened when humpty-dumpty sat on the wall? He had a great fall. How much longer will you straddle the fence, bottom comfortably perched, feet almost but not quiet touching ground? What will it take to arouse a person from out of perfunctoriness? – Defenestration? Corruption? Surreptitious alteration of your country’s constitution?

No matter how uncomfortable a fence may be as an improvised seat, the alternative to sitting on it, that is, to get off from the fence, may for many be an uncomfortable option.

The human anatomy once having gotten used to a certain position or posture may prefer to stay in that position rather than to change even if the new alignment will in the long run be good for the person’s posture and long term well-being. In other words, if we have so long been on the fence, the prospect of getting off from it may not be an attractive proposition.

“It has served me rather well for such a long time, why change now?”

Accordingly, many have chosen to stay immovable on the fence.

To be sure, some have little choice but to stay on the fence at least outwardly for reasons of their employment, business, association, family ties, and even personal temperament, etc. This is especially so when it comes to the matter of political partisanship. One’s job or circumstance may be such that to stay politically-correct (which may mean to stay politically neutral) may be the proper thing to do. Indeed, many who wish to be more involved have found themselves caught in such a predicament and often feel forced to remain more silent and still than they otherwise may wish to be.

Under such circumstances, it must be recognized that membership with a political party is thankfully not a prerequisite for a responsible citizen who wishes to engage the political process, that is, to have his or her say about critical issues which impacts not only the governance of one’s country but impinges on the everyday life and aspirations of its humblest citizenry.

If, however, continuing to sit perched on the proverbial fence means that citizens of a country want nothing to do with how the elected government of the country go about its business of running the country, and don’t care about how tenets of the country’s constitution is being interpreted or summarily amended, and how the courts conduct cases brought before it, or how the police, anti-corruption agency, elections commission and civil service go about their business, etc., then for sure by sitting on the fence we won’t just be plagued with a sore bottom.

Something far worse will affect us as a nation. Indeed, the nation has for some time already been inflicted by a deadly ailment.

LoyarBurok Editorial Note: This post has reproduced with permission from the author’s blog.

Mr. Goh Keat Peng is former Secretary General to the Council of Churches, and current Executive Secretary of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST).

He was also on the PKR disciplinary board panel that Zulkifli Noordin walked-out on because “…I cannot bow down and recognise non-Muslim members who would try me on my religion.”

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Posted on 20 March 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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