The crime of seditious libel was defined and established in England during the 1606 case "De Libellis Famosis". The case defined seditious libel as criticism of public persons, the government, or King. (Wikipedia)
But to criticise and hurt the feeling of the non public person, the ordinary man on the street, the rakyat jelata is seditious too, I think. In democracy, is not the rakyat the true government? Just that they don’t have some big time lawyer arguing for them one can go about hurting their feeling. They too can change a government.
Sedition, is a big, big word these few days. Whatever it means, I don’t want to be charged as seditious and hauled to court. So this blog is dedicated only to my children, and that of my siblings, and probably in the future, the children of their children. The rest, read on your own free will.
The price of rice, our only staple food is up. Among the cause, as the article implied; too much is being consumed. Terenganuan and Kelantanese eat up to four times of rice a day. ‘Please don’t eat rice that many times’ our good minister said, more or less.
Sometimes last year, when petrol price went up, another minister said, ‘change your life style.’ Of course he can keep the Cheyenne in the garage and drive a 325i instead. But what do the rakyat change their kapchai to?
I was at the nasi dagang stall that day. An old man reading a newspaper at a table in front of me remarked angrily, ‘Menteri bodo! Doh nok suruh kite seme ni makang apa?
So what are we supposed to eat?
I want my children to know their own history well. Our family was not always well off. There were times, when we were younger, when aki was jobless or in-between jobs, we suffered. Yes, we still manage to eat but it was all basic. We were lucky because Wan was always creative with food and it all tastes so good. Or was it because we were always so hungry the food was good always. She too works wonder with ubi kayu or ubi stele. When ubi is available, it was time for ubi rebus, goreng ubi or kueh keria. Otherwise, all we had was rice. So it was rice in the morning, afternoon and dinner and all that was in between. It was the cheapest and the only food affordable.
For breakfast it was the left-over from previous dinner (nasi dingin) turned to nasi goreng or nasi lemak, for lunch nasi, for tea maybe some dried rice turned to lok-lik and for dinner nasi again. And if ever we turn hungry in between we turn to the periok for what else but nasi. Chicken and beef rarely available if any will be considered a feast.
The minister must have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, ‘beranak dalam beras’ some Terengganuan says; to have a choice of bread and pudding for breakfast and tea. That s why he can by choice not to have nasi that many times a day. Unfortunately we didn’t as certainly many more, even now. Many that I know around me are still as poor, depending only on a single kind of food to live another day.
I am telling this to my children.
Even if you feel that you are rich, look around you, please look around you, at your friends in school, the friends in your neighborhood.
You don’t even have to look that hard, to see so many that are poor.
They eat rice four times a day because they don’t and could not have McD and Secret Recipe in between. They eat rice four times a day not because they are being excessive but because that is all they can have, that is all their mother left for them in the periok when the mother is out washing cloth at somebody’s house.
I know you could not feel their suffering because you just couldn’t. But even if you couldn’t, do not ever make fun of them. Never say anything that can be mistaken as making fun of them. Never ever tell them to eat less of the least that they are able to. Please do not do that. Not now. Not ever. Not even after you have become a minister. To say that hurt the poor. To say that is in a way seditious too.