Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The flame that burns brightly

A tribute to Lim Kit Siang, the doyen of Malaysian oppositionists
By M. Kulasegaran

“The good life,” said the French poet Alfred de Vigny “is a dream of youth realized in maturity.”
The dreams of my youth were fired by episodes in 1974 and 1978 when I was 17 and 21 years old respectively.

Their fulfillment in the ripeness of middle age is largely due to my trysts – political and social -- with Lim Kit Siang who ignited those dreams and whose arrival at the point that Shakespeare felt is the summit of a full life we laud today.

Happily for us, medical science has prolonged man’s longevity so that we in the DAP and democracy desiring citizens of our polity can keeping bringing their torches to be lit at the flame that still burns brightly in Kit Siang.

I remember the first lighting of my torch in 1974 while preparing for my Form 5 examinations. It involved the case of Kit Siang’s alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act, a case that was a cause célèbre at that time.

My friends and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Kit Siang was fined a sum of RM1,900 that did not disqualify him from Parliament.

The second case of my torch’s igniting occurred in 1978 when enroute to Subang for my flight to England for law studies, I paused at a bookshop in Petaling Jaya and there saw and purchased a copy of ‘Time Bombs in Malaysia’, Kit Siang’s prophesy of disquiet-to-come in our beloved country.
On the long flight to London, I read the book and almost immediately began to rescind a prior decision I had made not to return to the country of my birth after my law studies for reason of its discriminatory policies.

That book still resonates in my memory and has kept my flame for the political reformation of the country burning brightly.

In the forests of the Malaysian opposition’s struggle for the reform of their country, the torch held aloft for nearly four decades by Lim Kit Siang has burned brightly, lighting the path for thousands such as I who have struggled to find their feet in the often bewildering and shifting sands of time.

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