Thursday, July 10, 2008

Malaysian Rashomon

Former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim holed up at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Kuala Lumpur when he was once again claimed for involving in a sodomy case. Meanwhile, private detective Balasubramaniam Perumal disappeared together with his family after he withdrew his sworn statement that suggested Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had sex with slain Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

These are shocking incidents in Malaysia and many local and foreign media referred them to the latest version of Rashomon of Malaysia.

Who is Rashomon?

Roshomon is a Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1950, based on two stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. As the film is a success, many people mistook the origin of the story from this movie.

The film shows human selfishness. It is a story about a samurai and his wife, a bandit and a woodcutter. The film depicts the bandit tricking the samurai to leave for treasure elsewhere and raped the samurai's wife. He then brought the samurai's wife to the samurai and asked her whether she wanted to follow him or the samurai. But later, both the samurai and the bandit did not want the woman. She then provoked confrontation between the two men. However, both of them dared not to duel to the death. Eventually, the bandit killed the samurai by fluke. A woodcutter witnessed the whole process and he stole the murdered samurai's valuable dagger. The murder case was brought to the court but everyone gave their own argument and refused to tell the truth.

The bandit said he won the woman in a duel with the samurai. The samurai's wife said she tried to kill herself after she was being raped by the bandit but failed. Meanwhile, the deceased samurai claimed through a medium that he killed himself because of the betrayal of his wife (even the dead lied) and the woodcutter dared not to tell the truth as he has stolen the dagger. However, the woodcutter revealed the truth because of compunction at last in a place called Rashomon.

Back to Malaysia, there are three possibilities for the case of Anwar's latest sodomy allegations and Balasubramaniam's sworn statements. Firstly, they could be true, secondly, they could be faked and lastly, they could be self-directed shows.

Only those who are involved would know the truth. Most importantly, who would be like the woodcutter to reveal the truth because of compunction? And where would be the Rashomon for them to tell the truth? In court? Abroad? Or a place that nobody knows?

Malaysia is now covered by a fog that hardly distinguish between truth and false. Almost all politicians are telling half the truths and half the lies. Perhaps all are just speaking something favourable to themselves, just like the characters in Rashomon and making themselves look great! (By LIM MUN FAH/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

( The opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of MySinchew )