18th Feb 2014
Public figures will be subject to public ridicule and satire, whether they like it or not, unless they choose to be out of the public domain like Malaysia’s fifth prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
We all know Bill Clinton was impeached, and was forced to step down as the president of America because of the sex scandal. Even Barack Obama is not spared from political satire.
Cartoonists have rightfully poked fun at the politicians for ridiculous things that were said, and unless you are Mao Zedong, you have to live with public cynicism for what you say in public even years after you have kicked the bucket.
A good example
Those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a good case.
Although retired more than 10 years ago, Mahathir is still opening his big mouth. Not realising that Malaysians are generally fed up with him, Mahathir continues to make statements that are ridiculous.
In response to what he said recently about the Kajang by-election, I cannot help but to call him, “A stupid idiot who talks nonsense!” Mahathir was implying that a vote for Anwar Ibrahim is a vote for America.
He may be speaking to a section of the community that has been brainwashed by him in the past, but my question to Mahathir is: “Who, if not the Umno-led BN Government, that is now talking about signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which benefits the Americans more than Malaysians?”
In the past, even when Mahathir was at the height of power, he was not spared of being called a ‘recalcitrant’ by a then-Australian prime minister. Even the then-US vice-president, Al Gore, had walked out on him once.
Recalcitrant! This is after all the essence of what makes up the complexity in Mahathir. I only started opening my eyes, when he started hitting out at Abdullah Badawi, but Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Petra Al-Haj had apparently foreseen how Mahathir would “bankrupt” the nation, and the morals of the Malay community which Tunku’s Umno was championing in the early years of this nation.
Looking back, I cannot agree more with this apt description of Mahathir.
This is how Mahathir, despite being the most powerful man he claims himself to be, is subject to coffee table talk. So, what’s the big deal about Teresa Kok’s video, I am wondering!
Despite public condemnation of their acts, the Islamic NGOs are now coming out with their own justification.
A few of them had first denied that they were involved in the slaughtering of chicken in public. Now, they are telling us that their action was to silence the voice of the minority group.
They claimed that Teresa Kok’s political satire was an insult to the Malay leadership, the sultans and Islam. They are wrong.
When I watched the video, it is nothing but a brilliant and creative piece of political satire that has been distorted by the propaganda by these Islamic NGOs.
In the video, the Puchong MP was the talk host – a Chinese. She spoke to three people on the panel – two of whom are definitely Chinese, and the third is a Mrs Jit. They were supposed to be feng shui masters.
So, where exactly is the Malay leadership factor that is being poked fun at? Even the other two do not represent the Chinese community, what more the Malay community!
Mrs Jit could well be the wife of Mrs Sarjit Singh, or the wife of Mr Amarjit Singh. Supposing that Mrs Jit is a secret admirer of Rosmah Mansor, can she not behave and dress up like Najib Abdul Razak’s second wife?
Even if the fat lady in the video clip reminds people of ‘Rosmah Mansor’, since when was Rosmah a national icon and leader? If I were a Malay, I would not even have her as a role model for my children. For a man, I would rather pick Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who exhibits the good values of being a good Muslim and a well-respected Malay gentleman; for a woman, Endon Mahmood, or Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, without a doubt.
My question to these Islamic NGOs is: “Why has no one ever made fun of Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali or the well-loved Endon?” These are wives of former prime ministers.
It boils down to one sentence: “Respect is earned, not gained.” When someone knows how to conduct herself in an elegant manner like Princess Diana, no one would have the heart to poke fun. Only comedians are being poked fun at.
The bottom line is: If you insult our intelligence, we will not help it but agree with what is being portrayed of you. That’s the underlying reason why Teresa Kok’s Chinese New Year video clip received such a huge number of hits within a short period.
Lahad Datu was mentioned in the context of tourism, and nothing more. If the Islamic NGOs are so concerned about the death of the policemen, they should have asked the then-defence minister and home affairs minister why police commandos were first used against terrorists in a setting where they are least equipped to fight the invaders? Why was the heavily-armoured and well-trained army personnel not sent in, instead?
In my opinion, none of the allegations hold water. The characters in the video did not even mention about the sultans or Islam. So, if this is what the Islamic NGOs could come out as their conclusion, I have my doubts about their mentor who is advising them.
Instead of protecting Islam, these NGOs have made a mockery of themselves, and clearly, except for a minority few, even the local Muslim community at large condemn their actions. If news of this is flashed across the world, I am sure that the international Muslim community would look at these bunch of people with disdain.
Message in focus
What Teresa Kok’s video clip has done is to hit a note with all Malaysians who have recently complained about the price hikes affecting their livelihood.
When the horse comes, it is supposed to be a great year, but the underlying message in the video clip is that 2014 will not be an auspicious year after all. Teresa Kok’s role as host of the talkshow was to find out how.
One of the points raised was that the people wold be badly hit by the inflationary pressures, caused by drastic cuts in subsidies and hikes in various basic goods and services.
It is not only the prices of basic necessities but even crime rate has gone up. Or else, why are we having so many ‘roadblocks’ by the police and at every housing estate, there are security guard posts which are manned by foreigners? Why do we need to install so many closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras?
What Najib and his cabinet ministers should analyse is how our society has evolved over the past 10 years. Perhaps, the answer is to concede to losing the last general election, and the people to have their choice of government, instead of behaving like an immature kid trying to still cling onto power when it no longer enjoys the people’s confidence.
To me, Umno may reach a point of no return (to Putrajaya) if it continues to cling onto power, and project the image of being arrogant and insolent, while being indifferent to the people’s suffering. Umno should not imitate Mahathir who once said to a Malay journalist, “Kalau tak nak bayar tol, baliklah ke kampung!” (Go back to your kampung if you choose not to pay toll).
I am sure after P Waythamoorthy resigned from his post as deputy minister, there is a lot that he can tell the people about the BN government that had betrayed the Indian poor. The same can be said of the Iban poor, the Kadazan poor, the Chinese poor and the Malay poor.
The ‘kangkung’ comment has its equivalence in what the wife of French monarch Louis XVI had uttered: “If the people have no money to buy bread, ask them to eat cakes.” Malaysians have to be grateful that what Machang Bubuk state assemblyperson Lee Khai Loon had done is so much milder compared to what the French people did to their king and queen during the French Revolution.
I pray that public anger will not rise to such great height that Putrajaya has to be purged of all the filth that has accumulated all these six decades.
STEPHEN NG is a chemist by training. He dealt with printing ink, paint and emulsion polymer for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer.