Kugan: Making Sense of Kugan's Death|
Contributed by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 03 @ 01:50:44 CST
Nadarajah, Feb 03 2009|
The death of Kugan has alarmed Malaysians. But why should we
be concerned about the death of such persons as Kugan? Isn't this person
a common criminal? A low life? The s***** of Malaysian society? A
lumpen element? A popular representation of the Indian/Tamil community? He was
someone who must have been a major problem and headache for many car
owners. So why are we so bothered?
As the images of Kugan's lifeless body are webcasted, we
begin to see something beyond the death of a criminal. Those images touch
the core of our being. They naggingly summon and question us. Kugan as
criminal has disappeared. In death, Kugan is now directing our attention
to a sickening nature of our society.
There is something about his death that offends our
humanity. It takes us back to the lawless, brutal past and conflates us with the
mob of the most savage amongst humans and the ghastly acts they have
committed. We have been pushed into their company. The body of Kugan is the canvas
on which that message is written, boldly, loudly and in red.
March 8th opened the possibility of creating a New Caring
Malaysia. But it seems to have also strengthened its opposite, a Lawless
Cruel Fractured Malaysia. It is a dark reality that lurks in our midst; it
kills human rights, dishonours democracy and harms our future together
as a people and as equals. It is a reality sustained without any conscience.
In one unconscionable act, all our political and social
idealism, all our religious teachings and values, and all our spiritual
moorings have been crippled.
To move on as a people, we have now all been summoned to
this one point – the body of Kugan and the bloody brutal "writings"
on it. Conscious or unconscious of this, to move on, this nation has to now
"symbolically" walk over and across the dead body of Kugan. What morality has
brought us this low?
Is there some hidden code in all these brutalities inscribed
on the bodies of members of the Indian/Tamil Malaysian community? It seems
like a national collective is bent on inscribing messages of pain and death
on the collective body of Indian/Tamil community periodically. But
why? To seek
revenge for situations significantly influenced by the
community, which contributed to change in national politics? To teach the
community a lesson by going beyond the law to hurt its vulnerable members (many
of whom are already adversely affected by the generational impact of
national policies, institutions and structures that have marginalised them)?
Keeping alive an age-old dislike? To convey a warning message "We are
still in control, whatever it takes" to the community? To harshly drill
into the psyche of the community, and others in the national society, fear?
There is a dark history of suffering and death such as the
one that Kugan faced, a fate faced by many Malaysians which goes beyond
acceptable administration of democratic criminal justice. It seems like the unfolding of national hate distributed sporadically and in retail
installments, across time and geographical space, so that it is seen, recorded
and forgotten as stray incidents and not one driven by calculation and
design. Is that really so?
Whatever that may happen now, whatever the remedy, the trust
in officialdom is only further eroded. On what basis will the Indian/Tamil
Malaysian community/citizens really go on to trust this nation?
Dr. M. Nadarajah is a sociologist by training.
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