Dec 7, 2013
“I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.” – Charlie Chaplin
COMMENT Whenever the Klan holds its annual congregation, it will revive the hitherto dormant coulrophobia in me. And when I confided in a colleague hoping that she will lend a sympathetic ear, she asked, much to my dismay, if it meant that I despised cauliflowers.
The condition has nothing to do with cauliflowers, I retorted. Or any other vegetable for that matter. Coulrophobia refers to the fear of clowns.
And where else can one find an army of clowns assembling under a single roof other than in the Putra World Trade Centre where Umno members from far and wide crawl out of the woodwork for their annual pilgrimage to the capital.
When this dreaded circus takes place, I cower with trepidation under the blanket and observe from a safe distance the numerous mind-numbing and incendiary antics that unravel.
While any self-respecting racist bigot will be proud of what is served, for the rest of us, it leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.
Every year, Umno delegates, without fail, will trek the extra mile to drive home the point that Malaysia is still trapped in a Jurassic political era.
They will paint a bleak picture that if the party is voted out of power, the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, will run circles around the Malays.
So in order for the continued survival of the Malay race and the preservation of their special rights, they must never, ever, vote for the opposition.
Never mind the fact that the opposition consists mostly of Malays themselves, for they are after all, marionettes in the hands of the Chinese DAP puppet masters. And the Malays in DAP? Treacherous creatures!
What is more disturbing is that among the ranks of Umno are numerous bright individuals who have no qualms dimming themselves for the sole purpose of political elevation.
A worthwhile gamble
Umno annual meets are also a nail-biting experience for the likes of MCA, MIC and Gerakan, whose leaders must later squirm uncomfortably in their seats, scanning each crevice in their brains in vain for a plausible excuse to defend the indefensible.
In the aftermath of such meetings, these leaders will struggle to explain the reasons for their respective parties continued affiliation with Umno.
Umno leaders and members still appear unable or just refuse to grasp the simple logic behind the overwhelming support for the opposition as witnessed in the two previous general elections.
It is not because of love for the opposition, but rather their loathing for the ruling coalition that motivates non-Malay/Muslims to back Malay/Muslim candidates from the Islamic PAS, and Malay/Muslims to back non-Muslim Chinese and Indian candidates from the secular DAP.
The opposition simply surfs on the tsunami of discontent.
On many occasions, such as in the recent astronomical salary hike in Selangor, the opposition has shown that it is not infallible and nor are its leaders heaven-despatched messiahs to liberate Malaysia from the throes of tyranny as portrayed by their demagogues.
The discerning voter is aware that the opposition coalition is a fragile pact between parties with diametrically opposed ideologies, which are ever suspicious of each other. And giving them the opportunity to rule can have severe repercussions.
But when confronted with the arrogant and racist outbursts from Umno, that gamble appears to be a risk worth wagering on.
For example, one veteran Penang delegate, whose physical appearance betrays his Indian roots, suggested that 1Malaysia be changed to 1Melayu because non-Malays did not back Umno.
And instead of reprimanding him over his callous statement, the Kedah menteri besar, who also has Indian roots on the paternal side, defended him.
Then there was the Kedah delegate, who deserves a lashing from Indiana Jones’ whip, for his warped argument that gazetting the Lembah Bujang historical site will cause Umno to lose votes.
Concentrate on the majority and not prioritise the minorities, he argued, completely oblivious to the priceless value of such archaeological treasures.
Not to be outdone, another not-so-bright spark magnanimously remarked that he has forgiven the Chinese for turning their backs on the ruling coalition in the last polls.
Unaware that he resides in a democratic nation, he failed to realise that forgiveness is not required for a citizen who exercises his or her right to choose the party of his or her choice.
But such unintelligible and belligerent statements are hardly surprising when it comes from Umno, whose president himself suffered from post-election 1Malaysia amnesia, and lashed out at Chinese voters, while his deputy publicly proclaimed that he is Malay first, and Malaysian second.
However, the top prize for absurdity must definitely be awarded to the Federal Territories delegate who defended Rosmah Mansor’s private jet-setting on a heartstrings-tugging romantic note.
He has taken the art of apple-polishing to a record high altitude.
Having lost the support of the more informed voters, Umno, with unsavoury characters like this in its midst, seems destined to fall down and break its crown, and MCA, MIC and Gerakan will come tumbling after.
And after reading the words of that great entertainer Charlie Chaplin, perhaps it is an injustice to clowns to put them on the same platform as these politicians. Perhaps it is not coulrophobia that I suffer from but rather politicophobia, or at least the Umno brand of it.
RK ANAND is a member of the Malaysiakini team.