Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you got carried away by what everyone was doing, and the next day, realised what a stupid thing it was to do?
Like for the common man, during an electrical sale 3years ago in Nilai, could not wait for the door to open, broke it down, grabbed the goods and left. Without paying. 10,000 looters were involved, helping themselves to 3,000 electrical products. [i remember reading about this, but i can't find a newspaper link to it. however, it is featured in TVSmith's Malaysia Boleh Records] 10,000 people who when they left their house in the morning, thought that they were going to buy cheap TVs, DVD players, kitchen appliances, then got caught up with the atmosphere, and broke down the gate and looted the shop.
Lately, in the aftermath of the keris waving assembly, the press has been doing their damage control Malalysia Muhibbah articles. They talk about how during May 13, the Malay neighbour would protect their Chinese neighbour, and the mobs would pass that house unharmed. People were interviewed and gushing about how grateful they were to their friends. And Lulu is indeed thankful for them.
Have you ever wondered about the perpetrators? The ones who ran around KL with parangs. The ones who beat up people. The ones who killed people. Burnt up houses and cars. Looted shops. Men who are fathers. Youth with dreams and ideals. People who started the day like normal, and by nightfall, ... To this day, Lulu has yet to hear or read anything about them.
Mob mentality. An electric atmosphere. Certain parties inciting hate. Being caught up for the moment. Losing all common sense and following the crowd.
Afterall, what sane man would run around with so much hate in them?
No one says, "I defended the race and took up the parang". Instead, we read of those who helped their neighbours. Those whom their good sense and virtues prevailed. The parang yielders are silent. Lulu thinks that they are filled with remorse, regret and shame as none of them boasts of being a participant of this tragic event. Caught up in the moment, they took away someone's father forever.
That is one of the reasons why Lulu cringed when she saw Kerismuddin wave his symbol of Malay unity, and the Youth Assembly listening and cheering whenever there were references to defending the race at whatever costs. The men cheering could be a friend. Or a neighbour. Or a colleague. Someone who knows me and consider me his friend. But in an electrified situation, cheers and supports Kerismuddin. Has no qualms about shedding blood to defend what they believe is enshrined in the constitution. Totally enthralled and hypnotised by the speeches. A few days later when it was pointed out that the emperor had no clothes on, the sentiments changed.
What can Lulu do about all this?
Is there anything Lulu can do to unite all Malaysians?
The next time mob mentality prevails, how do we minimise the time it takes for those involved to allow their common sense to prevail?
Can we totally avoid this mob mentality?
I don't know.
But I remain hopeful, and will work towards a better Malaysia.