Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why Raja Petra Remains Popular & Dangerous

My friend Bob shared his take. Here's mine.

RPK is popular because we love the exposés. We delight in the classified information rendered free-for-all. We punch our fists in the air when the 'bad guys' are taken down in the virtual arena.

Every line RPK writes is like a slap in the face to the corrupt, every paragraph a punch in the guts of the greedy, every post a missile slammed into the villas of the vile.

And we love it because it's so easy to look past our own corruption, greed and violence when staring into the fiery furnace of The System's crimes and corruption.

If porn is unbounded sexual indulgence, and if the movie 300 can be seen as action porn, then RPK's writings deserve a XXX-rating for non-stop corruption smut.

In porn, viewers often end the show feeling they want to 'do it'. Likewise, every other day reading RPK has created a generation of online readers who wants to 'do it' to the leaders. After each article, we shake our heads, click our tongues and whisper quiet (or not so quiet) F-Yous' to the culprits.

And as with porn, we'll never get enough of it, will we? We have to see more. We must get our fix.

Yet, just as porn brings us no nearer to a healthier sexuality (and watching boxing matches don't exactly promote better self-defense), RPK's writings - whilst certainly unveiling the dirt of present and previous administrations - is taking the country nowhere towards healthier politics.

The reason is simple. With all due respect to RPK, his writings make us hate and despise our leaders. That is the primary effect his work.

The very title of his column, No Holds Barred, implies a slugfest and is miles away from nurturing sound leadership.

RPK is about about declaring war on our enemies, about destroying them rather than sacrificially giving ourselves for the community to which our enemies also belong (Matt 5:40-ish).

But, of course, we love to fight. We're eager voyeurs of violence done to those we hate. (This is why the readership ratio between Malaysia Today and The Micah Mandate is surely no less than 10:1...the latter's way too peaceful and constructive)
  • How many of us feel like serving the country more after reading RPK? Aren't we more likely to consider leaving it?
  • How many (and I know this sounds cheesy) think about "knowing and loving Malaysia" after reading RPK? Aren't we more inclined towards 'noting and loathing' everything bad about the country instead?
  • How many, after visiting Malaysia Today, feel like building up their community? Don't more feel like tearing down the community's leaders?

That's why RPK is so dangerous. He's trying to put out a fire by exposing the fire-starters, revving up the crowd so much they're more eager to spit on the culprits than to quench the flames and begin rebuilding.


Yan said...

Just like there is a Ahmad Ismail in each one of us, there is a Raja Petra in us too. (including yours truly here).

My recent encounter with a "foreign doctor" in my course of work alarmed me much of the Ahmad Ismail in each one of us. There was one doctor being arrested for possession of unregistered drugs announced by the police in a press conference. The police announced that as a "foreign doctor". So, it was published in the paper as such.

A "foreign doctor" called with strong reaction that the doctor arrested was actually our very own Malaysian. He said there were only two foreign doctors here. As a result, he and the other foreign doctor had been receiving calls. He "demanded" a clarification.

Had the reporter not felt this way - "Ah, a foreign doctor, I must emphasize this."?

Had the editor not felt this way - "quote the foreign in the news headline."?

Echo with you - it is so easy to look past our own corruption, greed and violence.

A revisit to John 8:1-11 - Jesus and the adulterous woman - probably would help us to drop the stone and walk away ashamed and recognize our sinfulness in the light of God's grace, mercy and forgiveness!

florenceloo said...

Funnily enough, it was RPK who stirred up my feelings of hope for my country.

The fact that he is NOT afraid to speak up against injustices and corruption in our authorities tells me there is still hope for this country.

There is this one guy in 27 million who is willing to risk his freedom against an empire (of his own kind). How many of us are willing to walk that path?

At least he is speaking from passion rather than indifference.

Having said that, i don't hate our current government based on his writings, just that they will buck up cos there are good leaders among the ruling coalition, they just need to be given the opportunity and less red tape. In fact I'm more determined to see Malaysia change, slowly, and yes, painfully but surely.:)

Alwyn said...

Yan, it's good you mentioned's a great example of how Jesus dealt with the 'accused' fact there are HUGE parallels between the Jesus and RPK (which I'm exploring in an upcoming book; fingers crossed that it'll get published!).

Flo, it's always refreshing to hear someone speak of hope (of any kind). Let's work to spread that pro-betterment determination all over.

florenceloo said...

Hey Al, i had a few ideas about the parallels between Jesus and RPK too. Was gonna elaborate them yesterday but thought it would be bit much to liken RPK to Christ :)

So you think so too? And you're writing a book?

timothy said...

get to ur blog thru gcf i-comment. yeah, it's refreshing perspective here especially now that there are so many hatred stir up toward current administration and seems the only way is thru the hard way. i am also thinking abt how our responses should be as a follower of Christ.

alwyn said...

hi Timothy, thanks for visiting.

this is the tough part and i think the reaction of many Christians speaks *volumes* about how 'mis-aligned' our understanding of our faith is...'tis a good time to recover the radical peace-making msg of Christ.