Animal Farm our Parliament has become?

Azly Rahman

Bodoh. Bodoh. Bodoh. Bangang. Bengap. Bahlul. Bengap. Biol. Bebal. Binatang. Berok. Baghal. Baboon. Bocor. Booooooo! Bodoh. Bodoh. Bodoh.

These are some of the recurring B-words that have become the common nouns, adjectives, and adverb lacing our parliamentary debates. Like the chorus of clanking machines in W.S. Rendra’s play “Perjuangan Suku Naga”

It’s like Bronx gangsta rappers trying to rhyme the vulgar “B____” and “N_____” words to sell their albums and their degenerative ideology.

Don’t we have any shame being representatives of the people who are supposed to not waste time spewing vulgarities and linguistic diarrhea in a house that is supposed to urgently and efficiently solve the problems of the poor, needy, the marginalized, and the dispossessed?

How much time gets wasted in parliamentary debates that thrive on cajouling and the hurling of abuses? Why do we still have rude, vulgar, and diplomatically incompetent “elected representatives” still sitting in those debates, representing the rakyat?

Is this the picture of progressive thinking we have developed as a political culture — 50 years after Merdeka?

Shame. Shame. Shame!

Politics of desperation

We teach children in schools, universities, and educational institutions how to debate respectfully and rationally but in the Parliament that is supposed to be a congress and congregation of highly intelligent and politically productive adults, we see the culture of George Orwell’s animal farm reigning.

We hear adults screaming at each other, interrupting each other violently, rational voices drowned in the cacophony of political thuggery. Perception and reality is now one. The culture of Ijok and of the parliament is now all the same. The line between perception and reality is destroyed.

What are we adults teaching our youth and the children of our next generation? Is this the coming of age of our politics of desperation in which anger rules as a result of the total eclipse of reason?

We wrongly call brutish politicians “Yang Berhormat”. They should be called “Yang Tidak Patut di Hormati”.

We cannot immediately change the culture of unreasoned and brutish parliamentary debates. We paid the price for voting those species of parliamentarians into power. This is the disease that this nation has contracted since feudal times; from the brutishness of those who ruled since the times of Srivijaya and Majapahit to the modern times of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.

It will probably take a hundred years for this culture of intelligence amongst parliamentarians to evolve. It seems that to teach these people the art of listening while others are talking seem impossible.

Why are these rude parliamentarians called “Yang Berhormat’ when they do not even have the necessary intelligence to carry out reasoned and data-driven arguments and when they have not earned the respect of the people?

We must evolve culturally.

Culture of shouting

Our culture of parliamentary debate has the great potential to evolve from a ‘circus’ and a Balinese cock fighting and keris-wielding arena to a problem-solving forum, if and when we begin to elect more intelligent, rational, and meaningfully articulate politicians to represent our constituencies.

Our society is becoming more intelligent and our imitation of models of development has become more sophisticated, but some of our parliamentarians need to learn how to speak in public and how to talk sense based on a data-driven style of argumentation.

Must we continue to live with news reports concerning parliamentary debates that have representatives call each other “bodoh”, “berok”, “baboon”, “binatang” and other less than human designation, instead of calling upon facts and scientific reasoning to back up national issues that need to be resolved?

Must we tolerate a culture of shouting and yelling and cajoling in sessions that are supposed to be used to deliberate and mediate our most urgent and serious issues involving the social, economic, and political fate of millions of citizens who voted for those into power?

Must we let the culture permeate into our universities, schools, social and cultural institutions, and homes in which this brand of feudalism and ignorance and brute force rule in a half-baked democracy?

Why have parliamentarians who present well-researched issues in the most civil manner been shouted at and interrupted perpetually by those who cannot mount anything substantial other than foul language and a chorus of gangsterish rowdiness?

Why are we still seeing this culture at the time when our parliamentarians are becoming more and more educated either locally or abroad?

What kind of parliamentarians gets voted into power and do those with brutish public speaking skills really represent their constituencies? Or are they now becoming an embarrassment to their electorate and an insult to its intelligence?

I think this name-calling sessions that waste public money and glorify brute and arrogant ways of presenting opinion need to be ended.

But how? What must we do? Where do we begin?

Ponder these questions

Be a smarter voter

Rude parliamentarians with substandard intelligence need not be respected. They need to be voted out in the next election, so that the “general will” of the people can proceed with maturity, leaving these mentally decaying parliamentarians behind.

Rude supporters of rude parliamentarians need not be respected en masse either. They will merely continue the intellectual destruction we the Malaysian people are trying to create as culture and as a legacy for our children who are becoming more and more intelligent and idealistic than the generation of rotting parliamentarians who get voted through unethical means.

How might we recognise a Cicero, a Sheikh Kadir Jelani, a Gandhi, a Patrick Henry, a Sun Yat Sen, a Ho Chi Minh, a Che Guevara, a Sukarno, a Vaclav Havel, a John F Kennedy amongst us – leaders who can articulate sense with the power of reason and social imagination?

Here are some questions for us:

* Do our parliamentarians read philosophy?

* Can they reason scientifically?

* Can they think holistically?

* Can they understand the complexities of arguments?

* Can they gracefully link one idea to another and understand the deeper meaning of the themes?

* Can they argue beyond the prison-house of “race and ethnicity” and bring arguments to a different and more sophisticated level?

* Can they analyse past, present, and future systems of oppression?

* Can they recognise ethics in decision-making and move beyond partisan politics?

* Can they articulate what a utopia of a truly multicultural and ethical nation is, based on the power of scientific rationality, transcultural ethical system, and social justice that evolve out of the respect for the human intellect and the freedom to think without being punished for speaking up?

* Do they read much at all to develop the power of their intellect that will be manifested through their powerful oratory skills?

* Do they know how to mediate instead of merely aggravate?

A hundred years is not too long for us to have our parliament evolve into a respectable and ‘world-class’ institution. We must begin to look at what concepts and skills we need in order to educate the younger generation with. We also need to explore what politics mean and what species of politicians we must create.

The first step

The first step is to recognise the symptoms of a corrupt political system — how much is spent to put a leader into power.

The higher the office, the more the money is needed, seem to be the political wisdom of the day. Therefore, we now see the total enculturalisation of corruption — from the promotion system in our universities to the presenting of politically-charged ‘ang pau’ and ‘duit hari raya’ to children.

The postmodern system dictates that billions of ringgit is needed to prepare for the next general election. The network of political-economic control is getting more sophisticated and the system of manipulation of human consciousness is getting more glitzy and savvy.

The wealth of our resource-rich nation is used to maintain political hegemony. The ideological state apparatus is used to shut up citizens who speak up against various forms of injustices.

Political hegemony translates into the control of the educational institutions, so that we may reproduce the brand of arrogance and ignorance desired.

Our public universities are being used to shut people up more stylistically and sophisticatedly, using better language of mental domination, using more totalitarian system of educating, utilising authoritarian methods of teaching.

What the must we do? You and I must decide fast. Our elected representatives have even lost the ability to speak politely in public.

But essentially — we are all at fault.

As the Indonesian poet Sutardji Calzoum Bachri would say: “Kalian… pun”. (You… as well)

  1. #1 by moong cha cha II on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 2:22 pm

    maybe we will never see life debates on TV.
    All the tin-tin kosong will be exposed.

    Or as one Minister said Malaysian public not as clever as BBC viewers, that’s why no life parliamentary coverages.

  2. #2 by dawsheng on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 2:52 pm

    “The line between perception and reality is destroyed.” Azly Rahman


  3. #3 by BioLovepulse on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 3:25 pm

    What has been written by YB Lim Kit Siang is true indeed. There is much things that politicians don’t understand. We are way behind compared to the recent development of the world. A world class Parliament is a long way to go.

    Listening – the very fundamental skill for every great communicator, is lacking among our politicians. The voices at the base (the public) should be their utmost priority. What people wants? They fail to understand. All they need to do during the election is to stir up the voters’ emotions and translate them into votes that put them on their chairs for 5 years. 5 years is not short timeframe. By choosing the wrong people we get 5 years of setbacks in country development. And don’t forget there’re another 5 years after a term. If we choose the wrong people, I’m not surprised to hear that our country is way, WAY behind.

    I’ll also like to point out that hegemonious governence is a violation of our right to access for information. As the media is controlled, we can’t do our homework as electorates, because we don’t see the big picture! How can we make wise decisions when we don’t even understand things as a whole?!

    I’d like to ask all of you again. Are voices listened? I don’t think so. Some infrastructure projects are long overdue! As a result, time is lost. Don’t forget, TIME is our MONEY as well! As productivity drops, we are wasting millions of hours per day (1 person has wasted n hours in a traffic jam, multiply that by the no. of population and see!)

    Everyone, take this as a wake-up call. Time to have a paradigm shift to reform our mindset and mentality!

  4. #4 by zack on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 3:56 pm

    Dr Azly,
    Unlike YB Lim whose here fighting in the war zone, you are making noise from abroad! Why don’t you come back and be a gentleman and get elected and proved your worth!

  5. #5 by LittleBird on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 4:34 pm

    I think vidoe clips of monkey behaviours like the Pahang MB during the by-election and MPs in the parliment should be forwarded to all in DAP or any relevant mailing list. Make sure the file is not too big.

    Let the public know what they have elected.

  6. #6 by JusticeII on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 5:22 pm

    i have watched some of the parliamentary debates on youtube and was appalled by the crude languages used. The BN menteris are allowed by the Speaker to make vulgar, sexist and offensive remarks attacking others, without fear that any actions will be taken against them. The BN menteris are like school bullies – they ganged up to bully other students who are weaker than them. The only difference is these bullies’ actions are supported by the disciplinary teacher, who not only affirm their actions by not punishing the bullies, but encouraged them by repeatedly allowing the bullies to take advantage of the situation. The headmaster (aka PM) is nowhere to be seen as he is busy attending all the khursus (overseas trips) using the school’s funds.

    These bullies’ actions require the immediate attention of the headmaster. We can only appeal for the headmaster to take heed.

  7. #7 by grace on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 6:40 pm

    Almost all BN MPs and ministers are underqualified to sit in the august hall. They definitely are not lawmakers materials, but pasar malm hawkers(maybe those hawkers are better than them) or mat rempit material. Talking to them is really daunting. That is the reason why I always think how civilised, cultured and highly intelligent people like Karpal, LKS and Dr. Tan Seng Gaw could put up with those monkeys with cow mentality! They(BN MPs) do not debate but bark like mad dogs.

    “We wrongly call brutish politicians “Yang Berhormat”. They should be called “Yang Tidak Patut di Hormati”.”

    Think they(BN MPs) should be addressed as YB(Yang Biadab) to be more apt.

  8. #8 by Libra2 on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 7:04 pm

    I have watched our neighbour’s parliamentary debates on Singapore TV and I can assure you we are miles apart in style, decorum, maturity and intelligence.
    Not once have I seen any member, even opposition candidates, going berserk like our Malaysian MPs.
    Even though it is “not a country” (sic) they are eon years ahead of us.

  9. #9 by Educator on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 7:43 pm

    Which party scored the largest number of “B….”? Go figure how those “Yang Tidak Dihormati” were elected!

  10. #10 by k1980 on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 8:14 pm

    …Khairy is very important to the country. Khairy has many friends from his university days spread out all over the world, explained Abdullah. These friends of Khairy of his same age group are all very clever and this ‘team’ is assisting Abdullah in running this country, by the Prime Minister’s own admission. So spare Khairy, urged Abdullah, because he needs his son-in-law and his band of merry friends all over the world to help run this country.

  11. #11 by tune on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 8:35 pm

    to see plp representators to act in such a no qualities is something not only tarnish the image of the country but also fail to represent the 50 years of merdeka of our nation….

    even though in term of material development we can say quite progressive compare to what we have 50 years ago but in term of the quality of debate in our house of represenatative the quality is drop down at a very significant rate….

    those who use the B words we can rated them as P….P for PALIA

  12. #12 by Godfather on Sunday, 1 July 2007 - 9:53 pm

    I’ve never addressed people like Nazri as Datuk Nazri. To me, the honorific title lost its significance a long time ago, and if we don’t really respect the individual, we don’t have to address him/her as Datuk this or Datuk that.

    I’ve told Bung and Mat Said to get lost countless times, and I’ve called the MP for Jerai an uneducated monkey. Yes, we can play the same game, and we can start by omitting their honorific titles.

  13. #13 by JusticeII on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 12:10 am

    Uncle Kit, I read about your noble act during 513 in Ronnie Liu’s blog . I applaud your ready to sacrifice spirit for the sake of the country. Hope that like you, we will learn to love and believe in this country. Your fight will not be in vain. You have already won my vote.

  14. #14 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 12:55 am

    When these MPs who dont use logics but emotions to debate, the end result will be wielding Kris and other means to show that they rule and others will have to submit to them! data and proof meant nothing to them!
    Dr. Azly failed to understand majority of our MPs, they are not full time MPs but MP is only their part time job!!

  15. #15 by mybangsamalaysia on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 3:02 am

    zack Says:

    July 1st, 2007 at 15: 56.00
    Dr Azly,
    Unlike YB Lim whose here fighting in the war zone, you are making noise from abroad! Why don’t you come back and be a gentleman and get elected and proved your worth!

    I agree fully with you Zack and i would like to extend this to the rest of you who are talking from overseas…. action please.

  16. #16 by paix on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 6:20 am

    Forget about philosophy, economics, laissez faire, illegal immigration, health care, environment or anything that requires a person to have some brain cells. Unfortunately, many of these MPs lack this essential ingredient in their system.

  17. #17 by Winston on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 9:00 am

    So, folks, do yourself a favour.
    Go forth and spread the word that the BN must be voted out in the next election.
    It doesn’t matter who your audience is, they can be of any race because even the Malays themselves are getting fed-up with this government.
    Give the DAP a chance to to govern and show the BN what government is all about.

  18. #18 by kelangman88 on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 9:03 am

    I think they forgot another B word….muahahaha….

  19. #19 by MWong on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 9:34 am

    Should we say ‘LUCKILY’ our parliamentary debates are conducted in ‘BAHASA’? Imagine if it’s subtitled in English, definitely an INTERNATIONAL laughin’ stalk!

    The behaviours of those ill-mannered, barbaric MP’s are shameless, disgustin’, & intolerable! They dont deserve any respect at all!

    Please, please, please can we’ve more quality MP’s in parliament after next GE!!!!!!

  20. #20 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 9:48 am

    Here are some questions for us:

    * Do our parliamentarians read philosophy?

    First question first: How many (or how many %) of MPs read English? So philosophy is out.

    Secondly, how many MPs even read ‘ANIMAL FARM’? So forget about the sophistication of philosophy.

    Thirdly, if the MPs do not read as much as they should, should we be surprised their vocabulary is limited to the vulgarities of the ‘B – word’?

    I agree, Azly, the standard of ‘debate’ (or the lack of meaningful debate as the busy exchange of trite noises indicate), is absolutely deplorable. I wouldn’t even suggest any secondary schoolboy tune in to listen as there is almost nothing meaningful to learn and so many boorish manners that they will pick up and be spoilt by the examples.

  21. #21 by pwcheng on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 10:29 am

    What can you expect of the product and by product of NEP. If you abuse meritocracy your product is mediocrity. That is Newton laws of motion, action and reaction always work hand in gloves.

  22. #22 by MWong on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 10:30 am

    //the rest of you who are talking from overseas…. action please//

    I’m residin’ in the UK. I read Msian papers online daily (w/out fail), politicians’ blogs, and parliamentary debates on you tube etc…

    I’ve registered myself as a voter since last year (when i was back home for hols)! Anytime, anywhere, I’m ready to exercise my right as a MALAYSIAN either at the embassy or even jet back if I happen to have the time!

    I’m confident, there’re plenty of Msians who’re like me too (im nobody to speak on their behalf) but im sure, overseas Msians who leave their comments here are not because we’ve nothin’ better to do with our time (NOT read it for fun either) but a gesture of care & concern despite our absence at home.

    So, before askin’ Msians outside the country to keep their mouth shut, please understand…

  23. #23 by Godfather on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 10:43 am

    Whose definition of mediocrity ? They are happy with the relative positions of Bodohland in Transparency Index, they are happy with the relative positions of our universities in the global context, and they are happy with the standard of conduct in Parliament.

    It’s only the small minority that is constantly complaining about the relative positions and constantly comparing ourselves with everything else around the world. The absolute majority doesn’t really care, and hence their power base will always remain.

  24. #24 by Toyol on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 11:02 am

    This is what happens when you have ‘otak kosong’, triad members and gangsters in Parliament representing the public. They are not qualified to make sensible statements and lead us out of this slump we are in.

    BTW, Vietnam has ammounced this morning for the first 6 months of this year, they have USD5.6 billion in FDI. What has the fat lady to say instead of criticizing others for their opinion when she should be doing her damn job. On top of that, coming back from overseas, I see Bangkok airport is so busy that they really need to open the old airport to cope. The new airport was already overused before it opened. KLIA pales in comparison with the meagre numbers at the airport. On top of that, we have the LCCT, what gives?

  25. #25 by ethnicmalaysian on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 11:23 am

    ‘enculturalisation of corruption’ – what was omitted as the primary and fundamental example is money politics in Umno. What a wonderful and benign euphemism, ‘money politics’ when it’s nothing more than bribery and corruption, no different from bribing a govt official or a cop. It is now so ingrained in the Umno/Malay pysche that to get ahead, need to get into the upper echelons of the party, and all that is needed is a large enough war chest. And that’s how this whole rotten edifice is built and must surely one day collapse.

  26. #26 by good coolie on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 2:34 pm

    “People deserve thier king”.
    Let’s add, “The electorate deserve their elected representatives”
    We should not compare our reps with that of advanced countries like USA(United States of America), Singapore, and Europe. To feel good, we must compare our parliamentarians with that of undeveloped countries like USA(United States of Africa): those guys, they don’t merely rail at each other, they kill each other as well. Get what I mean?

  27. #27 by Ghost on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 3:07 pm

    We need direct opinion from our Authority, Pak Lah can you answer? Are you listening or play deaf?
    Why don’t we post some of this post on our daily newspaper, but please remove all critisim, just pure questions and answers pertaining M’sia future. We demand answers!!!!

  28. #28 by boilingmad on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 5:08 pm

    MWong, thank you for support the opposition. It’s nice to know that there are some of you abroad who think about the deplorable state of government here. But please spread the word. There are also a large number of Malaysians here who grumble n grumble at the injustice here but at the same time, shy away from voting. To these people, they deserve what they get. And those of you who have decided to “run away” from it all, don’t forget that there are many here who need your support to ‘unvote’ the corrupt in power.

  29. #29 by Alvin on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 11:05 pm

    i’m with you too.
    Not being in the country doesn’t make us any less of a Malaysian.
    If we are not interested and couldnt care less about our home country, we would not have bothered to read, comment and offer support.
    every concerned citizen plays a role however small it may be.
    So please understand.
    i don’t think i’ve missed exercising my citizen’s rights and i will do come next GE….
    rain or shine
    YB LKS, you can count on that

  30. #30 by Alvin on Monday, 2 July 2007 - 11:09 pm

    everyone has a role
    every contribution has meaning
    every thought serves it’s purpose
    collectively we can bring about change

  31. #31 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 3 July 2007 - 9:47 am

    Libra2 Says:

    July 1st, 2007 at 19: 04.25

    “I have watched our neighbour’s parliamentary debates on Singapore TV and I can assure you we are miles apart in style, decorum, maturity and intelligence.”

    You can say the same about the distinction of the UK Parliament where MPs speak and discourse, not let out a stream of vulgar ‘B’ expletives.

    Malaysian Parliament is not the Westminster model of Parliamentary democracy. Ironically, it’s more like the ‘wet misery’ model of Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe did copy elements of the Malaysian model from Tun Dr Mahathir whose evil legacy is now perpetuated by the ‘super-religious’ Pak Lah (who must now start counting his days left as the ‘hadhari’ PM – ‘hadhari’ means limited days in another sense).

  32. #32 by Beggar in Boleh-Land on Friday, 6 July 2007 - 11:04 am

    hi, pls remember that’s we ourselves had chosen this bunch of MP (MORON PEOPLE).

    I have confidence in educated cilvilsed citizen who wont vote them again but they can easily get their vote by deceiving kampung people.

    Please, please, give them some colour in this coming GE.

  33. #33 by oceanpet on Sunday, 8 July 2007 - 5:26 pm

    I just want to ask i-love=malaysia whatdoes it mean part time MP? are they digging $$ as a full time job or enjoying holidays abroad with our money? NO doubt, Malaysia cannot be prospered without the management from the people and voices from the fellow beloved Malaysian. I feel that we are no less better than what we see in the TV about Taiwan parlimen, greeting, Malaysia is looking east at Taiwan and soon we will be targeted by China. I wish to call for the resignation of those disrespectful MP to step down rather than acting like kids playing in the zoo. What is the limit of freedom of speech in Mlaysia our beloved country or we have to face the consequences of what the dearly LKS had before?

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