Sunday, April 12, 2015

Malaysia's Sedition Act and the art of kung fu

This week Malaysia further descended into the dark ages when Parliament passed new laws, namely the Prevention of Terrorism Act and an amended Sedition Act, that would make aspiring dictators green with envy.

It basically means that even this innocent and rationally written blog post could land me in jail. Other horrific implications may be read at the cilisos website.

For non-Malaysian readers who don't know what 'sedition' means because they don't get this concept slammed in their faces every day by the media: sedition is when you say/do/tweet something that incites discontent towards the government.

It appears that the above bills were tabled in Parliament without enough time for the MPs to fully consider all their implications. What ended up happening was that MPs stayed up debating the draconian laws until past midnight for three out of four consecutive nights. Tired and outnumbered, those who opposed the new laws lost the fight.

It's obvious that the ruling party BN was fighting wing chun style. Shock the opponent and strike consecutively til they're down. I have to say, it's quite impressive.

Already, I am witnessing friends who are usually vocal activists getting nervous about invoking not just the wrath but the mere irritation of the regime.

But bullies are usually thin-skinned. In the end, it's no use treading on eggshells with such people because you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

So watudu?

I don't have answers. All I know is that I want to talk about things openly and not in a foaming-at-the-mouth manner. Be grown-up about it. That's what democracy is.

But back to the wing chun analogy. BN is the fighter who punches hard, fast and relentlessly. If you've chi sau'd before, you know the overwhelming shame of being at the receiving end of those punches. Likewise, Malaysians have been cowed big time.

I asked myself, what would my Sifu advise if such a thing happened to me in combat?

Usually in such a scenario, the thing to do in defense is any of the following:

Keep calm. You cannot let your shame get you down. Don't take it personally; detach yourself and react accordingly.

Control the blind side. In other words, hit your opponent's weak spot. Better still if it's a weak spot he's not aware of.

Use your opponent's force against him. This principle is also from aikido, not just wing chun. Turn the tables.

Finally -

'There is no retreating step in wing chun.' I interpret this saying to mean that one must always exert forward pressure and must have the confidence to step into an opponent's attack (wing chun is close quarter fighting, after all). Even if you have to step sideways or backwards to avoid a hit, it should be done in a way that diffuses your opponent's oncoming force.

Interpret the above strategies however you wish. I'm not an expert in wing chun or politics. I don't have the answers.

All I know is, I will not retreat.

End of blog post.