Posted: 01 Dec 2013 12:19 PM PST
Sudah lah 'Jib! (You are finished, Najib!) You are just another Pak Lah! Malaysia cannot afford two consecutive incompetent leaders as it enters the 21st Century. The precious and critical first decade is already lost.
Najib's latest "Pak Lah moment" came when his Chief of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar, threatened to arrest Mariam Mokhtar for sedition over her article, "One Ideology, Two Reactions," posted on Freemalaysiatoday.com on November 29, 2013. Mariam dared to highlight the highly favorable treatment Aishah Wahab, the woman allegedly held as a slave by her Marxist master in London, received from the Najib Administration versus the visceral contempt it heaped upon Chin Peng, leader of the defunct Malayan Communist Party.
Mariam suggested that the Najib Administration's generous gesture to Aishah was more on exploiting the favorable publicity surrounding that London slavery case.
"She had better watch out," the Chief warned, "or we will go after her!" The "her" is of course Mariam.
Jantan kampung betul! (a real village bull!), as we say in the village when referring to such petty bullies. The Chief of Police should display his manhood where it would really count, as with confronting the Singaporeans spying on Malaysia, those intruders at Lahad Datu, or the alleged treachery with the loss of Pulau Batu Puteh. Those are the real and menacing threats to the nation's security and stability, not the eloquent writing of a young woman!
Clearly Najib and his officials are threatened by Mariam's ideas. Najib is stuck in the time warp of the old feudal ways, unable to grasp the new reality of a porous digital age. He and Khalid should be complimenting Mariam for her ability to write well, and in English, as well as her courage to express her views.
If Najib and Khalid have a better grasp of English, they would have discovered that Mariam's earlier essay in Malaysiakini.com, "Three Slaves and the Rakyat," on the same case had more punch. In that piece she noted that while the three London women were imprisoned for three decades, Malaysians have been "metaphorically imprisoned for the most part of 56 years," adding that the three women were shackled by "invisible handcuffs," just like Malaysians.
"It is doubtful," Mariam continues, "if many Malaysians realize the similarities between themselves and those three women." Now that's powerful stuff, but Najib and Khalid missed Mariam's well-chosen metaphor and imagery!
Congratulations Mariam! Your voice is being heard at the highest level, and widely too as judged by the outpouring of comments both articles elicited. Keep writing! I hope the police chief and Najib's other top officials would continue widening their reading repertoire beyond the UMNO newsletters The New Straits Times and Utusan Melayu.
Mariam is not the first writer to be intimidated by the authorities. She does not need to be reminded of the horrible experiences of Kassim Ahmad, Syed Hussein, and Raja Petra, among others.
I have nothing to offer Mariam except my best wishes, and I wish her that, and much more, as with her continued success in writing. I can however, pass on the advice from that great Indonesian writer, the late Ananta Prameodya Toer, a man who had endured much from his government.
"Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit," Pramoedya wrote in Rumah Kaca (The Glasshouse), "tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah." (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history."
Rest assured that when the collective "invisible handcuff" gets unshackled, as ultimately it will, Malaysians owe a huge debt of gratitude to brave individuals like Mariam Mokhtar. As for that police chief, only his family would remember him, or if remembered by others, he would prefer not to be. Look at his many 'illustrious' predecessors; one jailed for punching Anwar Ibrahim, another a defendant in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and a third rewarded by being chairman of a casino. That character apparently gambled right!
Najib's Ultimate Pak Lah Moment
Back to Najib's other Pak Lah moments, the supposedly pious and humble Pak Lah squandered millions of taxpayers' funds to renovate Sri Perdana before he deemed it livable. This from a man who only a decade earlier did not even own a house! Najib however, bested Pak Lah on this front. Najib burned over two million ringgit a year just on electricity. When citizens complained, he haughtily defended his wasteful ways by suggesting that his official guests should not have to dine by candle light! He must have the whole United Nations delegates as his guests, and every day too!
More likely Najib must have really turned down the thermostat and then had the fireplace roaring to simulate the English ambience of his student days so he could cuddle up to Rosmah.
Najib should remember the advice he received from his prime minister father when he (Najib) and his brothers were clamoring for a swimming pool at the old Sri Perdana. "What will people say," Najib quoted his old man as saying in turning down their request.
Posted: 01 Dec 2013 08:21 AM PST
There is a saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We know that BN component parties, especially UMNO, have reached the latter stage, that of absolute corruption.
I fear that unless we supporters of DAP give those DAP politicians, especially the ones in power, those in Penang and Selangor a kick in their bloody arse from time to time, they might unconsciously and unwittingly drift towards, and be susceptible to the first level of corruption which comes with a taste of nascent power.
I'm not suggesting that the list of my dissatisfaction with DAP has anything to do with corruption, but it has given me much disquiet.
Okay then, first slap on wrist - The current issue of Jeff Ooi's regrettable 'kucing kurap' has troubled me greatly, more so because I have supported Jeff in his odyssey from blogger to DAP MP. Jeff has been the person who inspired me to become a blogger, and someone I consider as a friend.
I am not entirely blind to his 'weakness' wakakaka, where I know he likes, nay, loves to tweak others' noses and would really 'push' their envelope of tolerance to his insults and/or sarcasms. With his rather acerbic mouth, wakakaka, sometimes his antics have not been commendable, such as the 'kucing kurap' insult at civil servants. It shows a lamentable arrogance and disrespect to those public servants.
When his own party leaders started squirming at his faux pas, he should have taken note of their discomfort instead of defiantly saying he won't apologize. I have to say it has been Anwar Ibrahim who, while criticizing him for using the naughty phrase, also gave him a way out, by suggesting that Jeff might not have realized the severity of the insult due to lack of awareness of Malay cultural nuances.
Anwar even went to the extent of giving an example of this cultural misunderstanding by confessing he had once misused a Hokkien word which he subsequently was made aware that the word was a no-no. I believe Anwar has been extraordinarily gracious in providing Jeff a face-saving way out, an excuse to apologize.
Though Jeff has apologized for that silliness, I'm not all that happy with him for what I see as his rather stubborn and silly defiance in grudgingly and ungraciously asserting he had apologized only because of Karpal Singh. He stated: "I will not retract or apologise but when Karpal Singh tells me to do so, I will follow."
"I can't retract as it has already been uttered. I sincerely apologise if it hurt the people's feelings. Thank you very much."
One should apologize for one's mistake and not because Bhai told one to do so. If that's the case then it's not an apology at all but only a favour or mark of respect or obedience to Bhai.
I hope Jeff will consider my advice as from a sincere friend and loyal supporter, that he should apologize sincerely and full-heartedly.
Second slap on wrist - Recently there was a brouhaha about Lim GE's official visit to Xiamen and Hainan, China, in early November to boost trade and bilateral ties. The criticism was that some wives, including his, accompanied members of his entourage.
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