Monday, June 17, 2019

Wanting to Believe

I'm seeing a number of posts on facebook on the recent gay sex video purportedly taken in a room at Hotel Four Points, Sandakan, involving Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz and Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali. But apart from facebook posts, I've also had conversations with friends about the same topic. A fair number of these posts and conversations are basically expressions of dissatisfaction on what has transpired since the time when Haziq confessed that he was one of the men in the video. He said the other man was Azmin Ali, but the latter has denied it. For the benefit of non-Malaysians reading this post, gay sex is against the law in Malaysia.

The dissatisfaction arose due to the fact that Haziq has since been arrested by the police, but the Minister is still a free man. This, they claim, is unfair, and it has been suggested that both Haziq and Azmin should be arrested. Well, I can't speak for the police, but I'm sure it has a valid explanation for arresting Haziq, and not the Minister. But I shall come back to this point shortly.

Of the several facebook posts that I've seen, I've only commented on one—that of a friend whom I'm convinced is an open-minded and learned person, capable of holding a decent and honest discussion on the subject. Of the rest, I have refrained from commenting because most people are not open-minded; and they may even become annoyed when receiving comments that do not agree with their opinions.

I find it very interesting that some people can come to the conclusion as to the guilt of the accused person simply from watching a video clip of which its authenticity has yet to be confirmed. Apparently, one of the persons in the video resembles the Minister, but so far this has not yet been proven to be the case. I'm guessing that the police would need a bit of time to investigate into the authenticity of the video.

Obviously, there are many questions to be answered in relation to the case. Some of these questions are suggestive of Azmin's guilt, while others are suggestive of his innocence. Questions such as Haziq's own father having doubts that that was his son in the video; Haziq's longtime friends having no clue whatsoever that he is gay; Haziq's claim that Azmin was the one who recorded the act (which begs the question: Are we then supposed to assume that Azmin shared that video to kill his own political career? Or was that video stolen by a third party somehow?). So many other questions remain to be answered. But the type of questions raised—whether for or against Azmin's defense—and by whom, are indicative of the persons asking those questions.

There is a psychological significance here, and that is the point this post. Human nature is such that we sometimes have the tendency to believe in something, perhaps even hoping that something is indeed true, and we either consciously or subconsciously jump to the conclusion despite so many questions still unanswered. Furthermore, of the many unanswered questions, there is that tendency to focus only on those which can help our case, and simply reject the questions that are not in our favour. For example, if I'm convinced that the accused is guilty, and if he denies the accusation, there is the tendency not to believe him and reject that denial. If there are witnesses that claim the accused was never in contact with Haziq while he was in Sandakan, that too would be dismissed as trying to protect the accused. Whatever other evidence or witnesses that can help the case of the accused, all those would be dismissed, because subconsciously the mind is focused on one thing, and only one thing—wanting so much to believe that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime that he is accused of.

I have actually discussed this point before, although it was a discussion that revolved around religion. I've said that if a person does not believe in God, no amount of evidence can help to change his mind. Even if God himself appears in a physical form in front of his very eyes, that would be dismissed as merely some sort of magic tricks by a very clever artist. On the other hand if the person is a believer, everything he sees around him is already proof enough for God's existence. He would see the world, the sun and the moon, the seas and the mountains, the air we breathe, and life as a whole, as the ultimate proof of God's existence.

Jumping to the conclusion before investigations are concluded is a natural human tendency. It takes a very strong person to resist the temptation of jumping to the conclusion. And it takes an even stronger person to be unbiased when sifting through the many evidences in the course of the investigation, questioning and analysing each of them with the same veracity, instead of picking only those that can help his case to support something that he wants so much to believe.

Two final points I'd like to make in this post. The first is that I keep an open mind on the matter. That is because based on the available "evidence" right now, I'm simply not satisfied. Anybody can accuse anybody; anybody can deny accusations. I can only form an opinion when all the evidences have been presented and verified or confirmed. The accused may well be proven guilty in the end, and if that is indeed the case, then I have no problem in accepting that conclusion. For I am neither for nor against the accused. I am for the truth.

The second point before I close is on the dissatisfaction of Haziq's arrest (now reportedly released on bail). The police has not offered any explanation why only Haziq has been arrested, whereas the Minister is still a free man up to now. I have said earlier that I can't speak for the police, but if I were the police, I would explain it like this: There are essentially two persons involved in this case, i.e. Haziq and Azmin, and the main evidence is the video clip, supposedly taken in Azmin's room at Hotel Four Points, Sandakan. That video clip is, however, yet to be investigated of its authenticity and the persons in it yet to be proven Haziq and Azmin. On the strength of the video alone, neither Haziq nor Azmin should be arrested. However, Haziq had confessed that he's one of the persons in the gay sex video. In other words, he confessed to a crime under the Malaysian law, and the police therefore can act on that confession according to the law, not act on the strength of the video. If a person confessed to a crime, I see nothing wrong in the police arresting him. Azmin on the other hand did not confess. In fact he denied the accusation. It would mean that in order for the police to arrest Azmin, it would have to arrest on account of the video which is yet to be authenticated. This is just a possible explanation from a layman looking at the matter with an open mind. But of course I'm also aware that when a person had already convinced himself of Azmin's guilt, such an explanation would be dismissed as mere nonsense!

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