Friday, May 19, 2006

Malaysia - A Schizophrenic Nation?

Sometimes I wonder if we are a country with symptoms of Schizophrenia, which according to the dictionary is any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

After the Article 11 incident I've been going through the different newspapers, commentaries and blogs on the mob attack on the Forum at Penang. From what I have read and the little I can deduce from it, I must say that I worry for the mental health of our beloved Malaysia. Just view the bolded words above and correlate to the actions and reactions in the Article 11 fiasco and the opinions and justifications for the mob frenzy. I don't know about you, call me paranoid (another symptom!) if you like but I can see all those words in the faces and language of my fellow citizens. And that's frightening.

The world of the schizophrenic is a mystery to me. What makes them tick? What external stimulus do they react to? What does it mean to 'feel deluded'? What are persons with illogical patterns of thinking capable of doing? How does emotional, behavioral or intellectual disturbances manifest? More importantly can the actions of the anti-IFC mob be attributed to some or all of the above characteristics?..... Is there a psychiatrist in the house? One who has the 'guts' (important word these days) to call a lunatic a lunatic even if it isn't politically correct.

Reading the more 'active' blogs where there are ongoing verbal fisticuffs regarding the forum incident, what is very stark and apparent is the total dichotomy of views on the subject. No give and take, just blow after blow from the word 'go'. The divisions are as clear as in a boxing match - "in the white trunks we have.... and in the green corner from....".There was even a comparison of the reaction to the movie The Da Vinci Code in the west and extrapolating that to the reaction of 'others' on 'other' controversies in the recent past.

In certain newspapers and blogs Minister Nazri has been praised for his forthright comments on the action of the mob. In others he has been condemned and savaged. On one side the forum attack has been severely criticized with commentator after commentator calling it an assault on the constitution itself. On the other, the group has been acclaimed as 'demiheroes' fighting for the rights of the faithful about to have those rights deprived.

Is this country suffering from a double personality, where both halves think that the other is wrong? Is there no middle ground? We are we and they are they and 'ne'er the twain shall meet'? I think it's crazy, (perhaps a wrong choice of words!) and something must be done to rectify this situation or at least get both sides to consider the other person's view. We cannot remain frozen in time and see the rest of the world zipping past us. This is the 21st century for God's sake!

To recap, we have reviewed the symptoms of a mental illness called schizophrenia and tried to reconcile the criteria describing the condition with the anguish and agony wracking the nation. However being the laymen that we are, we were unable to come to any decision on that matter and have decided to leave it to the experts. Having said that, there is nothing to stop us from making some sort of provisional diagnosis. If you do have one please let us know at the comments section.

As for me, I shall leave you with a definition of 'national schizophrenia' - a situation or condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities.


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3:18 AM GMT+8  

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