Monday, January 31, 2011

Chua Soi Lek and the Gloves of Doom

Mr. Chua Soi Lek pompously pronounced  today “Some politicians practise the politics of hate, whereby there are attempts to make people hate each other.This does not augur well for the nation.”

He well fits Samuel Johnsons definition of a hypocrite as "him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice".

Coming on the heels of his gratuituos fear and hate-mongering in the Tenang by-election, one is compelled to wonder what could have possesed him to draw attention to his own failings in such a graphic manner. Clearly, he is a follower of the credo that offense is the best form of defense.

His petty harpings on the PAS candidates wearing of gloves was one of the low points of the Tenang campaign. Unless he particularly wanted to shake her bare hand (which less charitable Malaysians may consider a distinct possibility); his only motivation was to cynically incite xenophobic emotions and paranoia because the opposing candidate was 'different'.
He the went on to out-do himself by insinuating that Malaysia would become an Islamic State if the electorate voted for PAS in the Tenang by-election.
Throughout all this, he remained criminally unmindful of the long-term impact that such negative electioneering could have on Malaysias race relations and unity.
His motive in going to such extents in an Election that BN could not lose was purely self-serving. To induce the Chinese electorate to vote for BN, and thereby legitimising himself. In this, at least, he failed. Miserably.

Some may be tempted to believe that Mr. Chuas statements prove that he is just plain stupid. You would be wrong. He thinks you are.

The Inhumane Society

Well, if the anti-death penalty activists, anti-ISA activists, tree-huggers, greenies, animal-lovers and various others are going around setting up innumerable societies; then its certainly time that we; the crass, the cruel, the sadistic, the self-centred, the unthinking, the ignorant, the uncaring and the unfeeling; should set up our own. After all, there are more of us. We will, naturally, call it The Inhumane Society.

Automatic membership for the Verterinary Services Department (for maintaining a puny 6 month jail sentence in their 'new' Animal Act), the police (for contributions too long to be listed), for the AGs Department (for their thoroughly incompetent and failed prosecutions of evildoers, particularly when its a high-profile case), for Malaysian Pathologists in general (for what they don't say about murdered corpses), for Perhilitan (for the miserable job they are doing of protecting our wild animals), for TV3 (for their mind-bogglingly crass, 3rd rate propaganda. Yes, its inhumane) and for the Ipoh City Council (for their wanton murders of beloved companion animals). The list goes on of course, but one grows weary.

Members will be responsible for the carrying out of various inhumane acts (particularly during the discharging of official duties) but also, perhaps, on dull afternoons to while away the time. Other duties will include looking the other way while heinous acts are carried out and helping to cover up the deed after its done (because hes your friend, because you're part of the same organisation, because you'll look bad if your subordinates are caught, because your boss ordered it and various other becauses).

If you're a prosecutor, be sure to charge only one person for a crime committed by twenty and then artfully botch up the job (that way more of our fellow members will be able to continue on their merry way) . Do remember to appear shocked by the verdicts and always promise to appeal.

If a politician, keep the poor poor and the disenfranchised disenfranchised. That way you'll be able to buy their votes cheaply come election time. They'll never vote for you anyway, once they're educated and urban.

Well, that should get you all started. No reports on the details of your inhumanity, please. We don't want the bleeding-heart humane societies to find out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Xenophobe in Winter

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, in an interview with National Geographic, displays a shameless bigotry that one could be forgiven for only expecting from the KKKs Grand Wizard; or other such luminaries.

As reported in the Singapore Democrat Mr Lee says of Singapore Malays, “Well, we make them say the national pledge and sing the national anthem but suppose we have a famine, will your Malay neighbour give you the last few grains of rice or will she share it with her family or fellow Muslim or vice versa?”

He makes them say the national pledge and sing the national anthem. Remarkable. No doubt they would sing Rasa Sayang otherwise.
The second part of his statement is even more objectionable. It depicts the Malays as being uncaring, self-centred and racially biased. Based on his comments, it is perhaps a description that better fits Mr.Lee himself.

He also goes on to question their donning of head-scarves, a habit that seems to queit irk Mr.Lee. After all, he doesn't wear one himself.
I suppose, Mr. Lee, that its up to me if I want to walk down Orchard Road wearing a sombrero. Or will I be arrested and find that it's already been legislated against in Singapore?

Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister, then, in a craven abdication of responsible leadership, refrained from condemnning those grievous remarks. Instead, he mouthed empty patronising words.

Mr. Lee should apologize of course, for his careless, crass and hurtful words. But it is never in the nature of autocrats to admit to their mistakes.

"Cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis, in errore perseverare"  - Cicero

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Voting for the Oppressor

It appears that the majority of the Indians in Tenang will vote for the ruling BN on Sunday. Considering they are the most marginalised, poor and underpriviliged community in Peninsular Malaysia, this self-imposed masochistic tendency is certainly curious.

Since BN has been the government for the past five decades, a rational voter would have to arrive at athe inevitable conclusion that BN is responsible for their sad plight today. Therefore, you would have to vote for the alternative, if for no other reason than to send  a message that BN must change their ways.

Visiting Tenang, one is presented with a stark vision of poverty and deprivation in the estates. Little has changed from 50 years ago. The Indians in the estate have received no benefit from the current rising commodity prices that have enriched their Malay and Chinese brethren. Their votes are cheaply bought by the BN; a bag of rice, paltry sums and yet more false promises. An oppositionist attempting to bring his message to these communities would find himself faced with numerous obstacles, including paid hecklers, threats and security guards who would not even allow them into the estates. Civil election campaigns, it would seem, are an anathema to the BN.

No comprehensive plan or strategy appears to have been envisaged by the BN or its Indian component, the MIC, to help these people. Surely a clear plan should have been put in place on how to help, educate and develop these hapless estate communities. If such an agenda is in place, it is certainly remarkably ineffectual.

The MIC, plagued by an autocratic structure and little room for free discourse, is able to attract few genuine, educated members to its fold. It seems to attract instead, for the most part, a type of mean and self-serving politician who has neither the vision nor the will to truly help his constituents. There can be no arguing with this, the current state of the community is living testament to their mediocrity.

Dominated by UMNO, MIC politicians rarely dare to fight or confront the government when their communitys rights are infringed. In the case of the destruction of the temple that led to the Hindraf rally and eventually BNs debacle in the 2008 elections, they were weak and vaccillating. And in their weakness, complicit.
In the never-ending death in custody cases they have largely remained silent and unwilling to provide leadership. When A.Kugans alleged beater was released by the court, and the outrage that followed that decision, a few lower ranking MIC politicians finally spoke up, but could only manage a weak parroting of PKRs quixotic Mr.Surendran.

And so the Indian community staggers on, to an indeterminate and clouded future. While always, like so many lemmings, voting for their oppressor.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hopeful in Tenang

Ramu sat on the porch of his house with the hot tea steaming in his hands. He liked sitting here like this in the evenings after work. He had lived here all his life and started working when he dropped out of school at twelve. His father had become too sick to work, his liver rotted by a lifetime of cheap liquor.

Ramu was 48 now, though he knew he looked older. Six children and a life of hard toil in the estate had seen to that. He wished he could have done more for his kids but it was a challenge just to feed them every month. Three of them also worked in the estate while two had cleaning jobs in the nearby town. His youngest son, who was the smartest among his children and whom he loved dearly, had one day followed his friends to Kuala Lumpur and never come back. He heard he had ended up in jail, but there were no letters, no word.
He would go there and bring him back.One day.
He knew he should stop the drinking. But it was the one time he felt free. With his friends. He had nothing to look forward to anyway. There seemed no hope. Not that he cared about his own future anymore; but he wished his children had something to look forward to. But it was pointless. Here they would stay and here they would die.

It was election time again. The big cars would arrive stirring up the red dust of their roads, The ruling party flags had been up for a week now. There would be ceramahs every day. He only went because they would hand out crisp new fify ringgit bills sometimes. But he didn't listen to what they had to say anymore. He knew it was all lies.

A long time ago, when his father was alive,they had sold the little jewellery his mother owned and invested it in a company the politicians had started. A new leader had come to their estate and spoken. A new hope for the Indians he had said. You will all become rich.
They never saw their money again.

And every time there was an election, they would come and say the same things. But he still lived in the decaying, ramshackle house where his father had lived.This time there was a new group who had come and given a ceramah. They were younger and they had passion in their eyes. None of them had quivering chins or bloated stomachs.They didn't ask for money nor did they hand out bills.They spoke of demonstrating against an uncaring government. They spoke of being arrested, beaten and jailed because they fought for change. Perhaps not for you, they said, but definitely your children will benefit. You have given them fity years and gained nothing. They give you 50 ringgit bills but they have stolen your life and now they are trying to steal your childrens future.Vote for us for a change. Give us a chance. We won't fail you.
Ramu stepped lighter as he walked home that day. He felt a little younger.

It was getting dark. His friends would be here soon. Perhaps he wouldn't join them today.

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast" -Alexander Pope

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to stop reading The Star

Well, not just the The Star but The Straits Times as well (if anybody still actually pays for that propaganda sheet).

Of course, you're going to say "you mean you just realized they're propaganda sheets?".
I've known it for ages but old habits are hard to break. I need my newspaper with my roti canai every morning. Of course I knew I must stop supporting these people. They insult my intelligence every morning. Every  article is pro-government. Every article is written in a condescending manner and appear to be designed to cater to the lobotomised. There is no partisan analysis of any political issue or situation. And they are just plain boring, tasteless and lifeless.

A case in point is that a day after the 2nd post-mortem on the poor gentleman who died in police custody, The Stars headline blared that the Home Minister had done a remarkable job on his KPIs. No mention at all of the death in custody. Perhaps preventing deaths in custody wasn't part of his KPIs. Or was it a blatant attempt to take attention away from that very issue?
Baradan Kuppusamy in The Star meanwhile, keeps up an unending series of negative articles on the opposition with no regard, it would seem, to journalistic ethics. Shouldn't an analytical article provide both sides of the argument? Don't you have to believe in what you're writing anymore?

PKRs direct elections, to give another example, came in for remarkable negative reporting in the mainstream media; while pointedly ignoring the fact that those much maligned elections make it the most democratic political party in Malaysia today.

All pretence at being a free, bipartisan paper; a cynical pose that they adopted post March 2008; has been gaily abandoned. The lesson of 2008 is forgotten and they are back to treating the electorate as pliant and credulous creatures, ever willing to be manipulated as they wish. They may yet again find themselves mistaken.

So, is The Star stupid? Or do they just think that I (and my fellow habitual newspaper buyers) are stupid? Do they believe that we have no access to alternative news? Twitter? Am I in a banana republic?

In any event, I now carry magazines, books, even work, to breakfast every morning. Its not so hard to stop, after all.
If your restaurant carries a free copy of the mainstream newspapers, then go ahead and indulge yourself.

But don't give them your hard-earned Ringgit 1.20.