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Malaysian hypocrisy over Tibet

Two good articles worth our reading. Political reactions world wide is a phenomenon that augers well especially if the people want to send a message to the perpetuator. Right or wrong, the people’s disappointment has been publicised. Let the Big Brothers fight it out.

On Olympic torch arrives in KL amid heavy security

Scott Thong Yu Yuen: As our nation’s leader warn against Malaysians holding protests against the Beijing Olympics, I feel compelled to ask a pertinent question – what if Thailand had sent its army and tanks into Malaysia and conquered the entire Peninsula? And then what if Bangkok were to host the 2020 Olympic Games?

Would Malaysians be all smiley and happy-happy about the Olympic Torch relay while our country remained occupied as a ‘rightful province of historic Greater Siam’? Would our neighbours keep officially silent about the gradual replacement of Malaysian multi-culture with Thai customs and norms, just to stay on the good side of the Thai economic giant?

Would our mainstream media newspapers only print letters that bash the West for daring to criticise and politicise the Thailand Games? Heck, what if instead of China Olympics and Tibetan protestors, they were having Israel Olympics and Palestinian protestors? Do you think that the same people calling for the Olympic Games not to be politicised would keep singing the same tune? Do you think that our politicians would call for public restraint, or public protests?

(If you want a hint, just look at the recent hoo-ha over two Israeli members in an English football team who came close to being denied entry to our tolerant nation.) In my honest opinion, it is totally one’s prerogative to protest whatever you want or to condemn whatever protest is being held.

Just don’t act as if you yourself are completely just, righteous and fair-minded. Be honest and admit your highly political biases. I looked at my nation in the mirror, and saw only hypocrisy.

(II)

Family held at Malaysia torch relay

The Japanese family arrested for unfurling the Tibetan flag was released without any charge [AFP]

Pro-Tibet protesters have clashed with Chinese nationals in Kuala Lumpur after unfurling a Tibetan flag at the start of the Malaysian leg of the Olympic torch relay.

A Japanese brother and sister and the woman’s five-year-old boy, along with a Buddhist monk and a British woman wearing a “Free Tibet” T-shirt, were detained by the Malaysian police, after they clashed with Chinese supporters on Monday.

Strict security

The Olympic torch was carried through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, under tight security, to avoid the chaos that has plagued the relay in Paris, London, Athens and San Francisco.

Malaysian police had deployed 1,000 officers along the 16.5km route of the torch relay.

Security concerns have forced the authorities in Indonesia, Australia and Japan, the torch’s upcoming stops, to change or shorten their routes, with Indonesia opting to have spectators on an invitation-only basis.

Malaysia had warned that anybody disrupting the torch relay would be arrested.

Imran Jaafar, the president of the Olympic council of Malaysia, was the first to run with the torch, accompanied by uniformed policemen and motorcycle outriders.

Jaafar said: “I am very excited, very honoured to be the first runner. The honour is not just for myself, but also for the country.”

Supporters clash

Chinese say their country can not be split [AFP]

Chinese nationals who gathered along the route shouted “Taiwan and Tibet belong to China” and “No one can split China”.

They attacked the Japanese family which unfurled the Tibetan flag at the beginning of the relay with plastic batons.

Muhammad Sabtu Osman, Kuala Lumpur police chief, said: “They unfurled the Tibetan flag and a ‘Free Tibet’ banner, and were immediately taken to the police station, only for documentation purpose.”

Malaysian police said that the Japanese were released without any charges after six hours and were residents of Malaysia itself.

Earlier, the torch relay had attracted anti-China protests during stopovers in Europe and the Americas, following China’s crackdown on protesting Tibetans.

Onward journey

The Olympic torch now travels to Indonesia in its next leg.

Indonesian organisers said that they would stage a shortened, invitation-only torch relay, under heavy security on Tuesday, to thwart any anti-China protests.

Sumohadi Marsis, the organising committee head, said: “The steps were taken after pressure from the Chinese embassy.”

Marsis said: ” The relay was originally scheduled to take place through the centre of Jakarta, the capital, but will now mostly follow the road that circles the city’s main sport stadium.”

“Eighty torchbearers will run around the stadium about five times,” said Marsis.

Marsis said that 5,000 guests, mostly schoolchildren, would watch the 7km relay but members from public would be barred.

“We have to make it limited.”

The torch moves on from Indonesia to Australia and even Australian organisers said the relay route had been shortened to avoid central and narrow streets where protests could be organized.

Ted Quinlan, Australian torch relay organiser, said they had identified “hot spots” for protests and the route could be changed if protests got out of control.

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