The Long Wait, the Miracle of May 9… the Unfinished Journey

At the end of the year, we have a new government firmly in place – and despite the worst fears of some of us, nothing awful happened during regime change; the country is still at peace.

Dec 22, 2018

By Anil Netto
So another year is almost over – and looking back, we have much to be thankful for.

At the end of the year, we have a new government firmly in place – and despite the worst fears of some of us, nothing awful happened during regime change; the country is still at peace.

Unlike the previous coalition dominated by a race-based party, this new ruling coalition is spear headed by a couple of multiethnic parties.

At the start of the year, few could have imagined that the previous coalition would be dumped at the polls. Given the odds stacked against the opposition parties, it would have needed a miracle for them to win – but win they did.

It was an incredible, even miraculous, night on May 9 — and the stand-off, the battle of wills left us on the edge of our seats, utterly spellbound. I was among the folks crowding around a flickering TV
set in the heart of George Town on May 10, and when the new prime minister was sworn in late that night, a collective sigh of relief rang out – and then celebrations.

After what seemed like forever, Hope finally surfaced above the Gloom and Pessimism over the direction the country was taking – rampant corruption, the depressing politics of racial and religious manipulation and rising debt levels … a sense that the country had lost its way and was rapidly
sinking. Finally, the heady feeling of Hope and Freedom in the air.

Why did we have to wait so long for that sense of hope and a new lease of life?

It reminds us of the Old Testament. The people who were freed from slavery in Egypt had to wait for 40 years in the desert before they could find a new life. Similarly, consider the long struggle against
apartheid in South Africa, the decades-old civil rights struggle in the United States and the ordeal the people of El Salvador and Argentine and Chile endured.

Back then, the people in the Middle East had to wait for generations and centuries before the anointed one finally appeared.

This long period of waiting builds anticipation and tests our character. It gives rise to heroes and inspirational characters (known as prophets in the Old Testament) who struggle against the odds despite not knowing when liberation would arrive.

They lived in hope, pointing the way to a world that had not yet arrived.

A string of verses in Scriptures speak of this long wait for justice, the long wait for salvation. Just three examples from a string of similar verses should suffice:

In Habakuk 1:2-4: How long, Yahweh, am I to cry for help while you will not listen … why do you countenance oppression? Plundering and violence confront me, contention and discord flourish… And so the law loses its grip and justice never emerges, since the wicked outwits the upright and so justice comes out perverted.

Psalm 13:1: How long, Yahweh, will you forget me? For ever? How long will you turn away your face from me? Zechariah 1: 12: Then the Angel of the Lord said, “How long, O Lord of Hosts, will You with hold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been angry these seventy years?”

So six decades of oppressive rule is not unheard of in the larger scheme of things. And it is these decades of waiting for change that made May 9 much more anticipated and the outcome much sweeter.

Of course, political change will not mean much if the values that underpin society do not change along with it. That is why the struggle is by no means over. There is still much work to be done to change societal  attitudes towards corruption, racial and religious bigotry and exclusiveness,
and greed.

Sometimes, the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth still goes unheard. The way we view and treat migrant workers still leaves much to be desired: think of the trafficking and the exploitation they suffer.

It is even harder to hear the cry of Nature. But Nature’s suffering periodically manifests itself in flash floods, landslides,severe storms and extreme weather patterns.

The real battle is between competing value systems: the ways of the world selfishnessness, wealth accumulation, greed - against the ways of the kingdom justice, compassion, a sense of community solidarity — heralded by Jesus’ coming.

The journey of building and struggling for that kingdom – the journey of the Way is just as important, perhaps even more important, as the end goal of celebrating the arrival of that kingdom.
Similarly, May 9 was a major milestone in the struggle, but the journey towards a new Malaysia is far from over.

Still, this Christmas, we have much to be thankful for that our prayers for the nation, for a chance at meaningful change, for a place that everyone can count as home have not gone unanswered. After so many decades, we now have a chance for change, even though that change may sometimes still look elusive.

But if there is anything this year has taught us, it is that we should never stop believing in miracles in our journey towards a new Malaysia.

Wishing you a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Total Comments:0