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Be vocal and angry on issues that matter, urges Marina

 | August 20, 2017

The social activist claims Malaysians are generally great at grumbling and complaining, but don’t express their anger.

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KUALA LUMPUR: While people do care about issues in the country, there is a lack of overt outrage, claims social activist Marina Mahathir.

She noted that Malaysians were generally good at grumbling and complaining but did not express their anger.

“We are averse to outrage. But we need to know that, to change things, we need real overt outrage.

“A real palpable anger at something,” she said during a panel discussion held in conjunction with the launch of Faisal Tehrani’s book, The Nurse & Crises, here today.

She was responding to a question by moderator Fuad Rahmat, who asked if people really cared about what was happening around them.

He had also noted that it was difficult to get the public to support freedom of expression, as more often than not, they would not be vocal about it and would just leave a comment or two before moving on.

Marina further explained that in the end, the arguments all came back to Malaysia’s education system, which has not taught the people to be critical of what they read.

“For instance, when it comes to books being banned, nobody thinks it is important, because they have not read the book.

“These days, people do not like to read heavy stuff. They prefer short bites.

“Sometimes, they would just read the headline and react to it without seeing if the story reflects the headline. This is what you are getting in social media today.

“The problem is, if you do not say anything, it allows impunity. And this keeps going on,” she said.

Marina also noted that each day, cases of human rights violations were occurring, but lamented that there was an increasingly narrow space for people to talk about it.

“If we do not talk about the issues we face, then don’t tell me we are going to talk about the sun and the butterflies?

“We need to express ourselves in the most genuine way possible. It is not just about human rights issues. There are so many things going on in the country,” she said.

Author Faisal Tehrani (centre) speaking during a panel discussion held in conjunction with the launch of his book "The Nurse & Crises" here today. With him are social activist Marina Mahathir (left) and Fuad Rahmat.

Author Faisal Tehrani (centre) speaking during a panel discussion held in conjunction with the launch of his book “The Nurse & Crises” here today. With him are social activist Marina Mahathir (left) and Fuad Rahmat.

Faisal concurred with Marina, saying that there are indeed problems in the country and many human rights violations.

“As a writer, I cannot just ignore all these and write about the sun and the butterflies. I need to do something about it,” he said.

The Nurse & Crises is a compilation of Faisal’s scripts for theatre. Six of his books have been banned.

Faisal has often been accused of promoting Syiah teachings in his books, but the author says this is a fiction conjured up for people to believe.

“I am a freelancer. I write for a living. In my books, I actually challenge the idea of institutionalised Islam,” he said.

As a writer, he said his job was to experiment with ideas, structures and techniques.

He also hopes to see a Malaysia that is better than what it is today.

“If I was pessimistic, I would not be here. I would stop writing and just stay home, under the covers.

“But I am here because I feel a lot needs to be done for society.

“I am not saying I am right. I just want to throw something out there and I want to see a better Malaysia.”


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