IT’S hard to imagine that it has been 40 years since the event that has so shaped and scarred our lives took place. 13 May 1969 is, to borrow from President Franklin D Roosevelt, a date that will live on in infamy, for Malaysians at least.
The riots in Kuala Lumpur and the bloody aftermath have become Malaysia’s own bogey — a spectre that is wielded ever so often by politicians bent on using it for their own ends.
The events of 13 May ultimately led to the creation of the National Economic Plan (NEP) that has — for better or worse — reshaped Malaysian society to what it is now.
Yet, 40 years on, the fear of racial riots remains; the ghost of 13 May looms large in our collective consciousness. But few really know what actually transpired on that date. The whole event is shrouded in secrecy. Everything from the total number of deaths, to the masterminds behind the riots, is open to question.
What we need to ask is, does it really matter anymore? Isn’t it time for us to move on, to show that we are no longer prisoners of our past?
Forty years on, Malaysians should be mature enough to talk about 13 May in a rational manner, and not let politicians hijack the discussion. Let’s collectively throw off the cloak of fear that dominates discussion on the subject, and move towards forgiveness and reconciliation. Towards making this a home for all Malaysians free of fear of each other.
What do you think? Give us your six words on 13 May in the comments section below. Here are some from The Nut Graph team to get started.
Jacqueline Ann Surin:
Remember the untold May 13 stories.
Why can’t we move on, please?
The politicians won’t let us forget!
A day to reflect and reconcile.
The myth that keeps on giving.
Apa yang sebenarnya berlaku hari itu?
Kau kunci tanahairku dalam tarikh itu.
If South Africa can move on…
Turn that negative into a positive!
Negaraku. Rakyat hidup bersatu dan makmur.
Learn from, not bury the past.
Move on from 13 May, BN.
Don’t make it the bogey anymore.
We’ll never know what really happened.
N Shashi Kala:
Not just another date in Malaysia.
Gan Pei Ling
13 May? *looks around* Seditious lah!
Chinese vs Malays? Malaysians vs politicians.
Surviving 13 May
The Nut Graph — reclaiming 13 May.
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway‘s genius, the Six Words On… section challenges readers to give us their comments about a current issue, contemporary personality or significant event in just six words. The idea is to get readers engaged in an issue that The Nut Graph identifies, while having fun and being creatively disciplined.