Two Different Crossings Of The Rubicon The Same Day 2047 Years Apart

On January 10th, 23 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, a bold defiance of law that ignited the Roman Civil War. Two thousand and forty-seven years later, on the same date, an unidentified individual attempted a figurative Rubicon crossing in Malaysia, aiming to exacerbate and weaponize simmering cultural tensions.

The Molotov cocktail, laden with symbolism in guerilla warfare, is often wielded by the underdog against a mightier opponent. Sadly, this incendiary weapon has also been appropriated by petty rioters, wannabe terrorists, and, apparently, politically motivated arsonists.

Fortunately, this latest attempted cultural Rubicon crossing resulted in only one burnt car, a damaged porch, and two slightly singed vehicles. Thankfully, no lives were lost, thanks to the timely intervention of a vigilant passerby and the fire brigade. However, the potential for tragedy was stark; much worse even the unthinkable could have happened.

It’s clear that the intent behind this heinous act was to instil fear, harm, or even eliminate Dato’ Ngeh, a DAP parliamentarian, former Perak EXCO, and former Speaker of the Perak State Assembly.

This attack against a prominent figure in the Unity Government was undoubtedly a calculated political statement, a public spectacle meant to intimidate Dato’ Ngeh and to rile up the supporters of the perpetrator into a frenzy. It aimed to ignite a tinderbox of racial and religious animosity, plunging the country into potentially irreversible polarisation and unrest.

If the perpetrator had targeted someone less resilient than Dato’ Ngeh, their objective might have been achieved. But Dato’ Ngeh’s immediate preemptive forgiveness, unsurprising to those who know him, is precisely what Malaysia needs to counter the current toxic cultural clashes.

Magnanimity is not merely a personal virtue but a strategic imperative for the nation. It’s also a reminder that lasting peace often lies not in conquering enemies, but in transforming them into allies.

The response to this attack must go beyond immediate outrage and indignation. It demands collective introspection and a renewed commitment to unity and harmony.

It’s a call to reject the flames of animosity and hatred, embrace the olive branch of peace, and unite as Malaysians in the spirit of understanding and forgiveness.

As Malaysia stands at its own figurative Rubicon, the choice is clear. The country can either succumb to the siren calls of division and retaliation and fall into the trap of civil cultural confrontation, or it can chart a new course towards reconciliation and unity.

Over retribution, anger, polarisation, hatred and vengeance, we must choose forgiveness, clemency, peace and unity.

Anything less, those behind the Molotov cocktail wins; we all lose. In this turbulent climate, we can only “go high when they hit low”.