Are Politicians Human?

I received an interesting email tonight. I thought what he wrote is worth our attention and reflection. He is my guest blogger for today – mrgohkp (I think some of you might already be able to guess who my guest blogger is). I’m honored to have his writings grace my garden. For those of us in Malaysia and who have been following the news, we’ll be able to feel the context more strongly, and appreciate what mrgohkp is conveying. I’ll shut up and let him speak. .. read on, his piece came in untitled, so I tried to give one which I hope will draw people to read this post.

BLC Ceiling Light

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On Christmas Day at about three in the afternoon at the Archbishop’s compound in Bukit Nanas, he stood with two others. I saw him as soon as I arrived for the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Christmas Open House. My immediate thought was that he seemed alone and somewhat abandoned. Of course at that time I had no clue of any rumour that might have involved him. My instinct was to go to him to shake his hand and thank him for coming. But I held back realising that I was no longer holding any position with CFM and felt I should leave the right people to do the honours. Even when a few others of the MCA big guns arrived, he was still on his own in fact until the closing moments of the function when people were leaving.

Not until that night did I get a whiff of what might have happened when I read “my SinChew” web page about a top Johore politician. Despite the big scandal which was written about, I thought of him almost instantaneously. Even though I had the feeling that the connection I was making in my head was pretty incredulous. The confirmation came the very next day.

What can we who follow Christ learn from this?

Surely that man’s heart, as Jesus had said, is wicked altogether. Despite our facade, our carefully dressed veneer, our position, our education, our intelligence, our other achievements, whatever good we had done, the evil in us is indescribable. This is not about one man; it is about every one of us. Evil is what we do. If it is not precisely what this one person had done, it is something else but whatever it may be, it is no less evil, no less wrong. The outcome of sin is the destruction of a good promising, prospectful life. With one careless wayward thought, one unthinking act, we risk all and can so easily lose all.

We know wreck to riches stories. There are also riches to wrecks stories.

The sad thing about this is that others who may be much less conscientious in fulfilling their public duties as office-bearers at any level may have in fact committed the same sin or worse but manage to go undiscovered and unexposed. These others remain in office. And the acting continues.

The evil this one human person committed is no more nor no less what his political enemies had done. Jesus said,”Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” In God’s sight, a sin is a sin even had it remained hidden. The fact that we are able to better hide our secrets does not mean that we are without sin and are morally superior. In this case, it seems that the sin committed by this man’s enemies in washing his dirty clothes in public is well hidden and whatever police probe that is now being carried out their sin would in all probability not be uncovered. There are two sinful parties here: one has been exposed and is taking the punishment. The other goes scot-free. Life isn’t fair. Not this side of heaven.

We need also to learn that indeed politics is dirty and cruel. It seems that to climb the political ladder, my rival’s progress has to be stopped whatever it takes. It must have taken a lot of strategising, a lot of surveillance, a lot of planning, a lot of clandestine work to set up the trap to produce the incriminating video tape. And then to release it in strategic places in the open streets. How they must hate him! Yes this kind of operation also takes a lot of hatred!

Given the nastiness and ruthlessness of politics, I have always felt that politicians of both sides of the parliamentary divide do need support not merely in terms of votes cast for them but prayer and pastoral support as well. In religious terms, every politician needs a confessor, a counsellor. There is now much clamour for change in the political process. A lot about desirable change is being written and blogged. Yes, more of the silent majority must and should care enough to learn about the political process and realise that their lives and certainly their children’s lives are at stake if they do not care enough to make change happen. Alongside this process, for desirable change to come about, we must also have a parallel process of moral development so that politicians are being conscientised and take the responsibilities of public office more seriously. Without moral fibre and fortitude no change will be realised, no improvement can be expected whichever side wins. Dirty politics will not make a nation better.

This story has a lot of ramifications and implications and much is left for contemplation and reflection. But my thoughts remain with the man in the centre of this tragedy. I see his face which I saw on Christmas Day. I feel for him and his family. I do not see him as an MCA or UMNO or MIC or DAP or PAS or PKR politician. Only as a human being in need. For in the final analysis, he is a human being made in God’s image, a sinner like me for whom as a Christian I believe Christ had died. I know enough about human struggle and pain to know how terrible it must be for him and his loved ones not to mention the other person who was involved and simultaneously exposed with him. Despite the brave face and brave words, it would be difficult to fight off the despair that sets in.

I wished that I had shaken his hands as he stood quite alone upon the archbishop’s compound on Christmas Day. At such a time, a human person needs another human person to walk alongside him. To tell him and his that in the darkest night, God is still there with them.


January 3, 2008

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About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
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