Issues are not sensitive, people are. There is nothing wrong in being
sensitive, it is human nature. However the problem is when people
react irrationally and emotionally towards an issue. The recent series
of emotional outburst in Malaysia clearly suggests that Malaysians are
a bunch of emotional and insecure people.
In Malaysia there is a culture of fear, a perceived prevalence of fear
and anxiety in public discourse and relationships which affects the
way they behave with each other. This fear is actually hollow, just
like many other things in Malaysia, yet this is the same fear that
divides us. Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to
produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the
herd. Allow me to apply two theories in explaining the Malaysian
culture of fear.
Firstly the theory of constructed fear, I believe many sensitive
issues in this country are actually devised to be as such by parties
that have certain interest to maintain the status quo of the issue.
The reasons behind such deliberate fear propagation can vary, but the
consideration of potentially increasing social control on the
emotional and insecure Malaysians would be the main culprit. Those in
power would always want to maintain the social support to benefit
their interest, and the easiest way to do that is to create fear
amongst the ignorant crowd and provide them a false sense of security.
Secondly the theory of emergence fears, a reaction that is born
spontaneously. This is due to the historical evidence of our society.
Some historical dark past maybe the reason why there is so much
anxiety in public discourse on the so called sensitive issues. Is the
fear still relevant? Perhaps not, but it is effective and thus
maintained by the scaremongers I mentioned above. However discourse is
inevitable in the age of the internet. Open dialogues will happen if
not in reality then virtually. There is nothing to fear except the
refusal to engage in discourse, for you fear what you do not
understand and fear creates aggression.