Even a man who once had a reputation as a Malay supremacist has ended up looking like a traitor to the Malays.
Ask a Malay to tell you the two things he would give up anything for and the most likely response you’ll get is “God and family”.
Politicians are aware of this and they therefore know that the quickest way to gain support from the Malays, who form the majority of voters, is to create a common enemy who threatens their religion and their families and, by extension, their race. This is why some politicians turn to racial and religious politics.
What many politicians may not realise, however, is that through years and years of playing up racial and religious sentiments, they have created a monster that is slowly breaking free from its chains.
The chaos that erupted at the recent Nothing to Hide forum, when former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was addressing his audience, gave us a glimpse at this uncontrollable beast.
With Umno continuously painting DAP as a party hell-bent on stealing the country from the Malays, Mahathir is now guilty by association.
When you couple the fact that Mahathir is now allied with “chauvanist” DAP and the fact that his lineage has now been called into question, even a man who once had a reputation as a Malay supremacist has ended up looking like a traitor to the Malays.
Judging by the numerous comments FMT receives on a daily basis, there are some who might think race-consciousness is exclusive to the Malays but that may not be true, at least if you go by what Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin said when he addressed Indian youths early this year.
One of the youths at the forum spoke of his desire to see Malaysians identifying themselves as Bangsa Malaysia. Khairy quickly responded by saying this would mean giving up everything that made us Indian, Chinese or Malay.
Perhaps we feel this way because we’ve become so accustomed to the racial politics that our politicians play. Since an end to this does not seem to be on the horizon, the best we can do to guard ourselves against losing our heads like the hooligans at the Nothing to Hide forum is to be aware that it could happen to us too.
As for the politicians who seem to be addicted to this game, the best advice one can give them is to pick up a copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from the local bookstore.