Brainwashed by Bersih?

Pang Khee Teik debates with Facebook friend on why the young are joining the rally


Pang: i realise why msian govt is desperately frightened of bersih. they are scared it will turn into an uprising.

: yeah true
it’s so scary
it’s sad to see youngster who knows nothing joining the rally
easy to be brain-washed

Pang: um
is it possible that those who are NOT joining the rally also brainwashed not to join?
don’t accuse people of being brainwashed. that is too easy an accusation to make.
we are all products of various influences.
the best we can do is to be aware of the influences and decide for ourselves whether we agree and whether they fit with our conscience.
if people are aware and act according to their conscience i am fine with it.
[Added later: people should be given the choice to choose which influences they like. and they can even have more than one. people are not as simple as we think they are.
but the key is to give people enough information so they can choose for themselves.]

Friend: but yeah, some people joining the rally just for the fun of it
and not to understand what is it for

Pang: but how do you know what they know?
this is the same as accusing gay people of “choosing” to be gay. being gay is so tough that nobody in their right mind would “choose” to be gay if there was such a choice. similarly, risking arrests and tear gas is really no fun, so i really don’t think anybody in their right mind would be doing it for fun.

Friend: hmmm…..ur a person with a strong opinion

Pang: if i take your first statement, you are saying it is OKAY to join the rally if the youngsters KNOW what they are doing it for?

Friend: no, im just saying that youngsters could be in the rally just to express rebellion, therefore it’s easy for them to say yes to anything

Pang: but if that is true for youngsters joining the rally, then it is true for youngsters joining anything. is everything done by youngsters an expression of rebellion? are the youngsters who are not joining perhaps doing it out of rebellion too? is that rebellion okay?
but if they are not expressing rebellion, then is it okay for them to join?

Friend: im just not sure

Pang: did you consider perhaps there might be other reasons they are joining? like maybe they are concerned about their future, and want a country that they could be proud of?
maybe they are joining the rally because they really care about those who don’t have their voices heard? maybe they care about those who are marginalised and discriminated by bad laws and policies in malaysia? and they want to do something about it?

Friend: could be one of the reason

Pang: anyway, as you can probably guess, i am joining the rally. and i hope you don’t think it is because i have been brainwashed.

Friend: oh ok

Pang: and i also know many others who are joining, and they are clear of the reasons they are joining. they want a better election process in malaysia.

Friend: maybe i shouldnt say anything more
i’m sorry i’m not really good in discussing things

Pang: but you have opinions.
and it is good.
if you have clear reasons and evidence for your opinions, you should be able to defend them. otherwise, you should also be willing to shift your opinion.

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Pang Khee Teik is a freelance arts consultant, curator and writer. He is known as the co-founder of the sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka and former Arts Programme Director for The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. In 2013, he completed an MA in Gender, Sexuality & Culture at Birkbeck College, University of London, under the Chevening Scholarship.

Posted on 8 July 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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