"Whenever i face an opponent in debate I silently pray, 'O Lord, help him so that truth may flow from his heart and on this tongue, so that if truth is on my side, he may follow me; and if truth be on his side, I may follow him.
- Imam As-Shafi (767 CE - 820 CE)
Do it for Unity: Resist bipolarity; Let’s move forward as one nation, not as a nation divided
Our symptoms of bipolarity are becoming more and more evident. By now we have seen how some function on the basis that there are only two ways of looking at things. It is the ‘if you are not with me, you are against me’ Syndrome.
The bipolar syndrome leaves no room for alternative views. In their zealousness to gather supporters, both parties demonize others who do not fit into their narrow definitions of ideas. To win votes, they bend facts, exaggerate, and lie according to what would make them look better than the other side.
If we do not resist bipolarity, the consequences are quite certain. Whether or not we make headway as a nation, we will be characterized by manipulation and cheap politics. Our focus will shift from the goal of excellence to a muddle of political expedience. It will be about political positioning rather than sincerity.
If we do not to resist bipolarity, whoever wins in the end, it will no longer be about real merits or who will take better care of our country, but about who can play the game better.
A two party framework forces the people to choose between two extremes. All other views are alienated, even those in the middle. If we do not resist bipolarity, we are heading towards becoming two separate groups growing stronger and stronger with a deepening gulf between us. History has shown this can be a precursor of civil hostilities. This is not the democracy we want.
We want to move forward as one nation, not as a nation divided.
The reality remains that there are more than two ways of seeing things. It is not just either black or white. It is much more colorful than that. As a young nation, for each action towards change, we can expect various reactions to it. We urgently need more bridge builders. And it is those who are balanced and pragmatic, those who see right as right and wrong as wrong, who build the bridge that allows us to move as one.
We urgently need more bridge builders. Stop antagonizing others who do not hold the same view as us; resist the urge to take one side or the other. Let’s see wrong as wrong and right as right. Let’s build bridges. Let’s listen to each other.
At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.
Let’s be first and foremost Malaysian.