In classical Malay literature, for example Hikayat Malim Deman, everyone in society has his or her own responsibilities, doled out according to one’s capabilities. Thus the deaf would man the cannons, an appropriate enough duty as the blasts could not possibly damage his hearing any further! This reflects the traditional values of our culture in respecting the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, and that each of us can contribute in our own unique ways.
Those great narratives of our ancient literature also reveal something else. While the lame and the limp can still contribute to society, there is one place where they should not be. The limp and the lame have no place in the leadership. I have yet to read of the limp or the lame becoming Bendahara or Panglima in our literature, ancient or current.
Even more remarkable, some Bendaharas and Panglimas can sniff out the qualities of real sultans from the pretenders very quickly. They’d challenge the rightfulness in the agendas of the lame & limp sultans boldly to ensure rakyat’s rights are upheld.
“The meek may inherit the earth, but the lame and the limp, have no right to the leadership of the nation.”
Malaysians are not lame or limp. We successfully stood up against the British colonialists. We still remain unique in that we are the only nation that had successfully beaten back the communist insurgency. We are proud of our traditions and achievements. This is not the time to let the lame or the limp lead us. In fact, there is no such time.