Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I'm not sure if this actually received coverage back home, but about a week ago I read an article in an Australian newspaper about Chin Peng's final application to return home.

A FORMER communist guerrilla fighter in Malaysia who has been living in exile in Thailand is critically ill and should be allowed to return home, his lawyer says.

Born Ong Boon Hua in Malaysia's north, Chin Peng was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and won two medals for helping the British fight the Japanese in Malaya during World War II.

He later led the communist party, backed by China, in a campaign against the British colonial and Malaysian governments before and after Malaysian independence in 1957.

Mr Khaira has insisted Chin Peng has the right to return under a 1989 peace agreement between the CPM and Malaysian government, which allowed several high-ranking communist leaders to do so. But the government has rejected all appeals, fearing Chin Peng's return may open old wounds and anger those whose family members were killed during the Emergency.

Last month, a Malaysian court charged an opposition politician for criminal defamation over an alleged pro-communist remark, suggesting tensions still run high. Opposition leaders and activists slammed the charge as undermining a pledge by Mr Najib to grant greater freedom of expression.

I suppose it IS a rather sensitive topic for us Malaysians.

I know that on one hand, you have those who have lived through that period in time, or at least close enough, that they feel uncomfortable having Chin Peng back home. I doubt that it's about the worry that he will cause trouble, as even if he isn't terminal he's in no position to plot anything sinister.

Then there are those who think that he is not harming anyone, and since he is a Malaysian citizen, should be allowed to return home.

Personally, I do not see why he shouldn't be allowed to return. While it's true that he did cause many deaths, it's not like he actively carried out genocide like Hitler or Pol Pot (and even Hitler is admired for his public speaking and leadership skills). He had a clear difference in political belief with other Malaysians, and sought to get his ideology accepted. That's just like many multi-party democracies today, except of course they don't go into physical warfare.

Having said that, I do understand where others come from. They are the ones who have suffered, who bear the wounds, who live with or have seen the consequences of the power struggle with the communists, and therefore they find it hard to forgive him.

I guess these are the sort of issues that we grapple with from time to time. It's a test of your morals, ethics, values and beliefs. And more often than not, these issues make you question yourself, and what you believe in. I love these issues, because they really make you take a hard look at yourself, and think deeply, and ask- 'what is it that I believe in? What do I stand for?'

Sometimes, you come out of these situations even more confused about your identity than before. You suddenly find that you're a completely different person from who you thought you were, and it's absolutely possible. I can't remember an exact example where I've experienced this, but I'm pretty sure that I have.

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts- would you want Chin Peng back in our country?

P.S. Google has rolled out the new Blogger layouts. Should I change it?
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