That Boring Yet Necessary thing called Governance

By Farish A. Noor

For two weeks now, this political scientist has been sidetracked from his work on transnational religio-political movements by the controversy that has erupted in Malaysia as a result of the accusations of sodomy levelled against former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. This is not the first time I have been way-laid in the line of duty; for scandals, controversies and conspiracy theories have the rather nasty habit of popping up when you least expect it in the Asian region.

Now this comes as an unwelcome change for me as I have spent half my life in Europe and the last seven years in Germany. Allow me to make a very simple (and admittedly general) comparison here: Politics in Germany, like much of Western Europe, tends to be dull, dull, dull. Politicians have less colourful lives than their Asian counterparts and it would be the event of the century if a senior German politician was caught with his pants down or accused of sodomy of all things.

Indeed, one of the outstanding features of German politics – particularly on the level of local governance – is how dreadfully boring it is. It also happens to be painfully serious, and as someone who has seen local government at work in Germany I can tell you that it can put even the most imaginative among us to sleep in nary a second.

But this is what politics and governance ought to be like. Politics is serious business, and it ought to be taken seriously. Much of daily governance however is laborious and time consuming, but necessarily so. I have sat through local council discussions on road-widening projects, environmental campaigns, kindergarten fund allocations and such things, and I was struck how every single one of these issues were treated with utmost seriousness as if the budget of Germany was being discussed.

Furthermore, German politicians I met and know tend to be a rather grey lot. Unlike the President of France whose wife has added considerable sparkle to French politics, Germany’s politicians are as grey as the suits they wear. They also tend to be a dour, humourless bunch who plod along as they read their files and write their speeches; and they tend to take every single word they read and write seriously. There were times during my seven-year stay in Germany that I felt that they were over-doing the ‘serious public servant’ role a bit, but in retrospect I feel that such a dose of seriousness is precisely what Asia needs at the moment.

Looking at the political culture of South and Southeast Asia, we see that politics has been overtaken by political culture instead; and what a crass and crude culture it is too. Never mind the occasional bout of sodomy-frenzy in Malaysia: From Pakistan to India, Bangladesh to Sri Lanka, Malaysia to Indonesia, Thailand to Philippines; the political culture of many South and Southeast Asian politics is determined by the behaviour and antics of politicians who often behave as if they were movie stars or who were themselves former movie-stars. Politics is seen as a demonstration of power and largess, and power has to be demonstrated and performed in the public domain in the most spectacular manner.

Hence the tendency for Asians to leap on to the bandwagon of cult leaders and hero-worship, to glorify their heroes and vilify their enemies. Our politicians walk the earth like demigods of the age of Dewarajas, our parliaments and local councils resemble the colonial durbars of old with their hollow pomp and expensive pageantry. In every single Asian country I have visited or worked on, politicians never shy from the camera or would even pay to have it pointed in their direction; red carpets are the earth upon which they tread, flower petals make up the carpets that cushion their feet. They cut ribbons, pander to the gallery, raise the political temper at will whenever it suits them.

Since the elections of March 2008, hardly a day has gone by in Malaysia without some ruckus or scandal erupting in the corridors of power. This reminds us of the shambolic mess that was Indonesian politics between 1998 to 2005 when a succession of populist leaders were heaved upon the political throne of the nation, only to be brought low again – President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) even left his office in his boxer-shorts, ostensibly to make a point though the effect was to heap even more ridicule upon an office that was losing credibility fast. The President of the Philippines caused a scandal when she appeared on the cover of a popular magazine in the guise of a movie-star; and Philippine politics inched one step closer to Bollywood in its emulation of froth and glitter with no substance.

Europe of course did not get to where it is today without plentiful reforms and even violent revolutions. But Europe’s success lies in its capacity to transform the revolutionary potential of these social upheavals into concrete institutional change, which today has sedimented and become routine. Governance was not always a serious thing for we know that up to the 18th century European politicians were little more than robber-barons bandits too. But as the revolutionary impact of these reforms were institutionalised, opening the way for the emergence of an independent middle-class and the industrial revolution, genuine and lasting social change took place.

Asian societies today cannot afford to stagger behind in this race for societal development. There is no point for the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India or Pakistan to weave elaborate fictions or dream of development as long as our collective understanding and praxis of governance remains mired in the stagnant swamp of neo-feudal mentality, the cult of heroes and villains, the drama of farcical politics and the culture of conspiracies and rumours. Sooner or later, these politicians have to learn, or be taught, that they were voted not to cut ribbons or make fiery speeches, but to govern properly: That means getting the drains to work, building schools, alleviating poverty and illiteracy, etc. That means less talk and drama, and more reading of Parliamentary files and reports. It means less gala dinners and balls and more late nights understanding reports on economic performance and alternatives for development. In short, it means doing that dull but necessary thing called governance.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:59 am

    It also means the leader of a country can’t be so stupid as to openly declare that a DNA profile established 10 years ago is now outdated and a new DNA specimen is required for a current case.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  2. #2 by pjboy on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:23 am

    Here’s what I don’t understand. The sodomised is in police protection. The DNA samples should check if it is belonging to DSAI or not. Why need a fresh sample from DSAI? No reason. As I read, even while in jail, blood samples were taken right up to 2004. So, the gov have enough samples of to run DSAI DNA profile. A DNA profile was already made during the 1998/99 trials. All these are in record. If the DNA profile of that found in the sodomised underpants matches that of DSAI, then what are the police waiting for? If there is already a sample of the DNA obtained from the sodomised, then this should be first reported. The DNA profile should be reported based on that sample & should also be sent for external DNA profiling if the sample of that DNA was current or dated 1998/99. For this, I see the right to demand the police report against DSAI which the police did not want to show him while in custody. This entire episode has throughly turned against the scriptwriters who thought they have nailed every corner & leaks. For this reason, they are not in Hollywood but still in Amanwood. What RPK revealed also make sense. It’s obvious they are desperate for fresh sample of DNA profiling otherwise – no case. Then sodomised will claim that all this while he was sleep walking & a dog came to sniff his backside actually.

    It’s obvious our most clever one in the cabinet don’t watch CSI. I wonder where he gets his info from. Should be sacked. Truly Very Idiotic Politicians (VIP).

  3. #3 by AhPek on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:35 am

    It is not as simple as most people made it out to be.However Bodohwee in insisting that fresh samples of Anwar’s semen be given has also unwittingly revealed his intention….his intention of trying to navigate out of a checked mate position.Just read

  4. #4 by AhPek on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:52 am

    Perhaps you should go to the previous thread Teo Seng Koon-Remember him?

    Scroll down, get to commenter Mendela and click on the link given by him.I have done something wrong somewhere in the link I have given above.

  5. #5 by raven77 on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 2:24 am

    The Barisan Nasional are not being clever….it is 2008….not 1998…..this is the age of the internet and blogs………you cant just fix people by planting evidence…….the plot will turn 180 degrees and hit the accusers……Badawi for all his dumbness is slowly but surely distancing himself from these goons …it just isnt going to work…..satu kampong sudah tauuuu…….

  6. #6 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 3:15 am

    “…Bodohwee in insisting that fresh samples of Anwar’s semen be given..” GODFATHER

    It is not that easy to make semen at that age! He would need twelve issues of Playboy magazine to help him out! Since Playboy is banned in Malaysia and S’pore they will need to import them. I’m willing to sell my old copies if the price is right.

  7. #7 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 3:16 am

    ooops sorry that was Ah Pek and not Godfather!

  8. #8 by isahbiazhar on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 5:30 am

    We will never be like the Germans.It will take us another century to come almost near them.It is because of not knowing religion and reality.Our politicians are corrupt and as such they can never be serious.Look at China and see the difference.They had communism and we had democracy.China had come out and now very serious.They had their share of corruption but their punishment is severe; death.What is ours! Serious!

  9. #9 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 6:18 am

    If we carry out punishment on corrupt politicians in Malaysia like what China does, then politicians will soon be “dinosaurs” – extinct!!!!

  10. #10 by Godfather on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 6:48 am

    You mean Saifool was sodomised EIGHT times with the perpetrator not wearing a condom ? The perpetrator left behind traces of semen ? Hmmmmmm……

  11. #11 by lkc57 on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 7:58 am

    Dear Godfather, they must have attempted to emulate what one ex-president (who got a kick in the butt by an old citizen) did. However, the no brainers, though claimed the fool had been sodomised, there was no penetration by a real thing. So they are trying very hard to secure some DNA to incriminate an innocent soul….Malaysia Boleh!

  12. #12 by taiking on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:29 am

    The result of a DNA analysis will be recorded on a piece of paper. They look like bar codes to me. But that is the thing they call the DNA profile. If a comparison is needed than I think it is like finger prints. The bars are highly specific and highly unique for each person. Because of this property, police often use the DNA profile to establish the identity of perpetrators in crime.

    Having got the profile, for the police at least, the tissue samples from which the profile was obtained would become useless. So they may deteriorate or even dry up, disintegrate and vanish. It matters not. And by an extension of the same logic, new tissue samples are not necessary.

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:52 am

    Western democracies are mature democracies; they rarely resort to sex scandals and innuendoes to bring down their foe. Unlike Asian politicians, most Western politicians uphold the rule of law.

    The problem with Malaysia is that those who are in high office are perceived to be involved in cronyism, nepotism, corruption and abuse of power. As a result, they do not get the respect and trust of their juniors and the rakyat and that makes governance of the country difficult.

    Lee KY of Singapore said if one complains that the Singapore government is corrupt, he would not agree and would go all out to sue that person. Lee KY can be so firm and authoritative at his word because he knows his cabinet is “clean” and is not involved in any misdeeds. Under such situation I am not surprised if Singapore ministers find that governing Singapore is an exciting thing.

  14. #14 by oknyua on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:13 am

    “Stupid is as stupid does.” Godfather.

    I suggest Abdullah Ahmad Badawi watch “Jurassic Park” once again. I think his remark wasn’t just colourful, right down stupid. He does not know anything about DNA, double helix sequence – does he? The profile taken a hundred years ago – if they have the means to take a profile – is still valid till today. Unless of course, the mattress stain for the DNA taken 10 years ago wasn’t from Dato’ Anwar’s sperm.

    Coming back to the thread, Malaysian politics appears colourful, but it’s outright dirty and stupid. They (BN politicians) take each Malaysians as stupid and that’s where the present colours come from. There is a leader who is a serial liar. There is another that the public perceived as someone unable to control his “other” head. There is another leader that shouted nonsense like a schoolboy. What else…..? Of course these add to the colour of Malaysian politics.

    Above all, there’s a CM from one state that clings to power for 27 years.

  15. #15 by anna brella on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:30 am

    Boring maybe but good governance is definitely a necessary given for all those in power.

    And today I am glad to say that Radovan Karadzic will finally understand that simple given. And soon so too will Ratko Mladic.

    There is Justice always in the end, no matter what.

    “Imagine Power To The People” John Lennon

  16. #16 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:45 am

    We have a major problem with good governance.
    For example we had a royal commission that recommended the IPCMC but the government backed down after some police officers objected.

    Now they want to pass a law to set up DNA database. That could pose serious issues of accountability when the police themselves are compromised.

  17. #17 by kritikus on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:39 am






  18. #18 by PSM on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:45 am

    Nicole earned the Datukship.
    How many of our Politicians have earned it (especially since most of them are from the BN)?
    And now, our Space Tourist also?! It just makes the title cheap! I guess he will be entering Politics soon (I remember he was the “poster boy” for the BN in the last GE (fat good it did them!).

  19. #19 by wizzerd on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:52 am

    Earlier the ‘swearing by the Quran’ strategy did not work for the scriptwriters. So now, they are baying for his blood (literally and figuratively) to collect the DNA sample. If DSAI is able to deflect this, they will come put with a new approach to nail him.

    I was wondering why the authorities did not check the CCTV footage at that luxury apartment. After the crime took place 8 times, there surely be some implicating evidence pointing at DSAI going in and out of the apartment. Hmmmm…the statement given by the victim is also fishy as they contained only general but not specific details..

    Another thing.. why didn’t they ask for DSAI alibis? I think they will not cos this will definitely open for public scrutiny and the case will be thrown out in no time.

  20. #20 by digard on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:53 am

    Amazing, what miserable behaviour some people expose, ain’t it? Our cherished Farish Noor writes a good piece on our policies and compares it with a continental European system, and everyone takes the liberty to completely hijack the topic for just something else. And these are self-declared academicians who, and very much in their own right, whine about the lack of civilised manners everywhere, be it on the side of drivers who open extra lanes and block emergency vehicles, or the attitudes of government servants.
    And with this I am in the very centre of the topic: Usually I adore Farish Noor’s pieces of writing. This time not so much, to be honest. Not that there was anything wrong, but Farish Noor is a political scientist of standing. While what he argues about is not intrinsically a mannerism thrown at us by the powers that be. Rather, political phenotype is inherently based on the sociological underpinnings of a society, psychological and communal behaviours and convictions. Therefore, Farish Noor can argue, and argue correctly, until the cows come home from his point of view as a political scientist. The matter won’t change essentially as long as the society does not change mostly sub-conscious and partially conscious perceptions.
    And here we are: A very valid article and simply, unthinkingly, abused, raped, sodomised, to get quite another message across, a free space, tabula rasa, and off we go splashing out what we just have in mind. Will you please stop complaining next time, when a driver, similarly, uses a free lot, an emergency lane, to similarly splash his car for some short-sighted advantages?

    And here I could have stopped. But since, contrary to Farish Noor, I have been observing the makings of our society from the perspective of a sociologist, and not a political scientist, I permit myself to having developed another perspective by meticulously observing the ongoings in our society. And I can only add to the article by stating that, sorry, actually we have somewhat of a government that we deserve. If not, a government that we kind of encourage or aspire. At least sub-consciously.
    Not wanting to lecture everyone here and hijack the opportunity myself, one thing is for sure, and this applies to all ethnicities in Malaysia, and contrary to the masses in Europe, we love for someone else to solve our problems! We are just waiting and wanting for someone to step in, ‘the relevant authorities’ how this tends to be expressed, to ‘look into it’. This is a trait that lays the groundwork for exactly the policies that we have. When we are in need of whatnot, we approach the local bureau of the MCA, the MIC, our MP, and pass the baton to them to do what they can to be active on our behalf. Wherever I go in the corporate world, be it Twin-Towers or some SME in Subang, we wait for instructions, try to do our job the easiest way out, write a report back to the authorities, and be nice on all other occasions. When we, Malaysia, needs some knowledge, Hi-Tech, phone system, reliable cars: We approach someone, someone else, outside of Malaysia, to solve those problems of ours. We pay someone else to do the job. Again, this is not limited to certain ethnicities. “Anwar is the better orator”, is what I hear more frequently than a praise of Anwar’s grasp of the ‘gory details’ that are needed to govern a country like Malaysia. Take this as an example only. But ponder about it. We are not really into the kind of work that Farish Noor has observed in Europe. We want a fast, cheap, easy and complete solution. Most of all: One that is provided by someone else.
    For me as sociologist it was a horrendous possibility to observe the people after March 8th, especially in the notorious 5 states. There are, really and unbelievably, large numbers of people who, after a few months, think that ‘it was better under BN’, simply because ‘one knew what one had’, and – now listen carefully – ‘PR hasn’t achieved much, have they? Not much of a difference’. This is oil into my fires. Malaysian electorate reluctantly vote, once per 4 or 5 years, to get someone into place to do the job for them. The MCA candidate, because he will understand my problems, the MIC lady because I can approach her for the maintenance of the temple, UMNO because I will get some handout.
    As long as this is what we expect people and politicians to do, that is doing our work, delegating our decisions, we will get what we deserve, and Farish Noor will be able to observe great differences in the way politics are administrated.

  21. #21 by wizzerd on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:53 am

    Haha…Our Datuk Space Tourist, after getting his Datukship for going to space and back ..what’s next…joining UMNO Youth??

  22. #22 by badak on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:05 pm

    To days NST SAIFUL is willing to swear infront on an ULAMA..Said his father…Please lahhhh only God knows the truth. Any way 65 % of all those sent to prison are innocent.
    By swearing infront of an ULAMA the truth will be known.I DOUBT IT.To me its just making fun of the religion.
    Give a MILLION BUCKS TO SOME GUY.And he will swear on some holy books that his own father rape him….

  23. #23 by sudokuku on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:11 pm

    it hurt conclude that those in power are so stupid, but everything they do just prove that they are that. Do ever study?

    Joke of the day-
    ” Top chief ask 2nd command – apa itu DNA?,
    2nd command ask machai – “check itu DNA apa? boss mau tau”, machai ask cleaning lady – ” makcik lu dengar pasal DNA kah?”,
    Makcik said – ” oh it Susu powder lah untuk otak DHA”
    So the report on the desk read DNA – susu untuk otak.”

  24. #24 by PHUAKL on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:23 pm

    Why is German politics “boring” and “serious”?

    Because they respect RULE OF LAW over there!

    In Germany, holocaust denial is illegal, displays of Nazi symbols are outlawed, extremist parties are kept out of the Bundestag by election laws that stipulated minimum conditions.

    What do we see in our Malaysian Parliament?
    A BN MP who makes an obscene gesture and gets away with it.
    A Speaker who does not apply rules in a neutral manner.
    A Minister in the PM’s dept who imposes restrictions arbitrarily on members of the press. Ad nauseum.

    Phua Kai Lit

  25. #25 by citizenwatch on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:32 pm


    Farish Noor touched on the local and foreign political culture. Let’s consider what a first time tourist/foreigner in Malaysia will be asking.

    – You don’t pay road tax, do you? (Seing many tolls in the

    – Why are the newspaper stories different from those on on-line

    – Are there enough police to look after rallies and also to prevent

    – What’s the education level of your MPs? (After seeing Bung
    Mokhtar in action)

    – Is your govt on a public relations drive manifesting the pleasant
    looking people in public (After seeing Angkasawan, Bakri Ibni and
    the latest neing the IGP’s lawyer)

    – Is your DPM that magnanimus to meet anybody with problems of
    being sodomised?

    – Why is it nearly everyday in the news one by one,
    people, including your PM, are asking DNA from this Mr Anwar,
    your former DPM?

    – Do all your politicians from the ruling govt salivate or have
    spittle at the corner of each mouth when they debate? (After
    seeing Shabery in action)

  26. #26 by One4All4One on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:40 pm

    My dear fellow discussion members and all who care enough to read and reflect:

    So much had been said here and elsewhere regarding the state of affairs in the country we call home.

    What has come out of all the views and opinions? Surely someone in position would have taken note of all and sundry? And having sieved through whatever there are, the good and the bad, sensible and nonsensical, wise and silly, novel and archaic, workable and impossible, balanced and off-side, etc., etc., where do we go from here?

    The leaders do not seem to be doing what are considered to be urgent and rightful for the general good of the rakyat. Money seems to be pumped here and there on an, at best, ad hoc and reactionary basis. The methodologies ( if, any) do not appear to be cohesive and well thought out. It adds to confusion and glaring inefficiencies the manner the country is being administered.

    The rakyat surely deserve better. But in the state of confusion and gross neglect what hope and recourse do the rakyat have? Indeed, the average Malaysians are in a state of loss and disillusioned. Disappointment and anger is everywhere. Don’t the powers-that-be sense these? Certainly we can do away with denials?

    In this climate, how does the government hope to attract foreign investment? If the house is not in order, how could we expect our guests to feel comfortable and confident?

    The people must not be mislead to believe in whatever the leaders thought are fundamental and final. Certainly Malaysians of all ethnic background are generally a gentle and sensible lot. It is the so-called leaders who are adding salt to wounds, lacking in wisdom and common-sense, who are doing more harm than good.

    From the parliament house to the everyday newspapers, magazines and even the electronic media, one can read and hear ill-balanced articles and writings which serve nothing more than provocation and misinformation. To the uninitiated these could be perceived as gospel truths. Racial strive and tension are, more often than not, borne out of these irresponsible and parochial messages. Where do we draw the line?

    Race, ethnicity, religion, culture and customs are sometimes taken out of context and being used as cards and chips in the gamble for a place in our society. For those who profess religious beliefs in whatever form and being God-fearing, religions are not to be brought up at all as no one is questioning their right.

    The same goes for one’s ethnic background. No one is questioning the colour of another’s skin. If one cares to note, certain politicians are bent on sensationalizing issues of race and their inherent rights, believing that there are protecting their own kind? Why can’t they be fair and sensible to do good for all? Why have to fight for quotas when they can have it all, if they do it right? Thought we are taught to be meritorious the day we stepped into the place called schools? What do we expect of our kids if we don’t practise what we preach?

    I pray that Malaysians would open their eyes and mind in this ever great place called Malaysia, lest we fall further backward in this beautiful and challenging world.

  27. #27 by yellowkingdom on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:01 pm

    I was disgusted with the comments by the Director -General of Higher Education during the TV2 Hello On Two (HOT) programme, who insisted that allocations of places of studies are based on meritocracy. But when a caller queried, why tertiary-educated graduates constituted only 20% of the employees in the Public Services Department. Are we churning out less employable graduates lending to the truth of producing graduates that do not meet the market requirements?

    These are the key findings of the Centre of Public Policy Studies.


    2. Malays predominate in all the three service groups. The higher the service group, the
    higher its domination by Malays, culminating with 84 percent Malays in the Top
    Management Group. The elite service, Perkhidmatan Tadbir dan Diplomatik, is 85
    percent Malay (pp. 4-6).


    2. Regulatory agencies ensure that 30% of the equity of quoted firms are owned by
    Bumiputera. These agencies do not, however, ensure that individual Bumputera
    allocated large volumes of publicly-listed equity, especially during IPOs, retain their
    ownership of this equity (pp. 8 & 9).
    3. Publicly-listed shares distributed to Bumiputera minority shareholders during IPOs
    should be done in a more equitable manner. Currently, an elite benefits from such
    IPOs, and these shares are immediately divested for huge profits (pp. 8 & 9, 14).
    4. The continuous divestment by Bumiputera shareholders (partly as a means of asset
    diversification) has been mainly responsible for the so-called “under achievement” by
    Bumiputera in relation to the NEP Corporate Equity targets. Even if this divestment
    is not taken into account, Bumiputera share of corporate equity presently is well in
    excess of the target of 30 percent, if more objective methodologies of measurement
    are used. (pp. 12-19)

    Centre for Public Policy Studies

  28. #28 by i_love_malaysia on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:18 pm

    I dont quite agree with Farish A. Noor that governance is boring even in Europe!!! Governance is not boring if you have the right mindset which is to govern and to make things happens and not to think of how to make oneself and cronies to be billionaires in the shortest time possible through corruption, to travell in limosines and private jet and show off their power!!!
    When the right people with the right mindset i.e. genuine desire and qualifications to serve the people, governance is never boring!!!

  29. #29 by i_love_malaysia on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:21 pm

    For those who are governing, it is always a joy and duty to govern and to serve, when it has become a boring thing to do, they should ask for early retirement or to quit immediately!!!

  30. #30 by digard on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 2:48 pm

    I’ll shed a pearl for you here, one of the pearls that I could collect during my years of observing the temporary society.
    Some years ago, we had a guest from Europe, for only a few days in Malaysia and for the first time down here, to guide us in some endeavours our organisation was planning to venture into. This person, aged close to 50, kept himself fit by daily swimming rounds of minimal 2 km. So his main interest in the hotel was in the size of the pool.
    An observant person, he noticed that, contrary to what he had seen in Europe, the large majority of the bathers did not swim, and if at all, it was not quite proficient. At least that is what his impression was.
    So, at the farewell dinner, he finally had to get rid of his curiosity: “Please, why is it that Malaysians cannot swim?” Sure, for him it was asked out of curiosity, for my colleagues it was plain embarrassment. That is when communications break down, though not visible. A question out of culturally nourished curiosity, read by people from a different culture, interpreting the question as ‘offensive’, swallowing all pride and anger, though, keeping their faces, but honestly being answered by one of the managers, that “of course, why do you say so, Malaysians can swim! My brother-in-law for one, he learned to swim in the river of his hometown when he was a boy!”

    Hilarious! Not only is this a nice example of communicational breakdown, when semantics and context run haywire, it also is a nice clash of civilisation as we know it. I don’t know if you see the point, if you don’t, you prove me right, if you do, you also prove me right, thank you! Actually, this is what happens when a person from an essentially individually orientated society frankly speaks about an observation of his own, and innocently asks a question without any intention of being anything but interested. And this is what happens when a person of essentially a communal society does not understand the curiosity, but perceives an insult, and not of him, but of a whole group.
    And to drive my point home, when the question is answered, honestly, by pointing out some person of that group who can swim, and therefore the question was in all honesty considered baseless. It expressed, without any consideration of the ‘I’, that ‘someone else knows to swim and so we are done, we can swim!’.
    I had written “we love for someone else to solve our problems”. This applies here as well, we are not aware that we could take matter into our hands, we don’t have the notion of being responsible and accountable for our actions, we do what is instructed. Someone else knows how to swim, may someone else governs for us, may someone else dish out contracts or handouts to us. We gladly pass on the responsibility to swim, or govern.
    Which is why 2020, in case anyone still talks about it after all, cannot materialise. Being developed nation cannot be achieved with a populace essentially waiting for someone else to act, to achieve something; and then imbibing that success as ‘we can’. Sorry, Boleh-lah. Is not going to work.

  31. #31 by pjboy on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 4:27 pm

    So-do-me case: I think at the moment there is no evidence (current) available to BN/PDRM to move the case forward. Whatever sample they have is 10 years ago. This was already admitted by PM. The same is not too old, but he surely is & need to be educated on DNA profiling. Otherwise how do we know we all came from Africa over 20,000 years ago. That’s old. DNA of a person do not change over time unless we are mutant like X-men. This is what is perceived by our PM. The whole world is laughing at BN/PDRM over this. They are not just blind, but also deaf & dumb.

    As we always see on TV, though it may be fictional at times, but in any CSI episodes, before any samples are taken for DNA, the one being prosecuted will be told of the evidence the police has in hand. There is no need to even take blood or semen samples for DNA profiling – otherwise how in the world did we find 20,000 year old semen in Africa!!! Dry blood maybe possible. Most of the time it’s just a swipe of saliva inside the mouth area. Why ask for BLOOD/SEMEN???

    Perhaps our sodomised fella was sodomised (hmmm, by who???) but not by DSAI & taking full advantage now to frame DSAI. The only way to do this is to fool DSAI & rest of the nation by planting evidence; interesting read in RPK Malaysia Today. After all this, we will find the sodomised in exile in Australia somewhere enjoying the millions he got. How sad. Sodomised 8x by a 60yr old. Who would believe? Only god knows. Right now, no evidence = no case. Where is the full police report that DSAI lawyers were demanding for? It is not DSAI delaying the matter, it’s the PDRM. Sodomised father & Uncle petpet should be saying this instead. Show DSAI the report & get on with it. This is the type of people we have governing the country. Those who voted for BN, this is your own doing.

  32. #32 by Vidya Young on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 5:18 pm

    Dear comrades, please read under LETTERS in Malaysiakini 22 July 2008 “Request for new DNA sample severely flawed” by WJS. How can we ensure that DSAI’s lawyers read it too.

  33. #33 by milduser on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:54 pm

    After 50 years of national independence we are still at square one: talking about unity among Malays, among Chinese, among Indians, among other races, and ALSO among races! What a shame. These should be the issues of the past and as a nation we should get on and see fruits of progress and developments – not still harping on those issues which will bring much benefits but more discord and distrust. The government of the day should at all cost ensure there are peace and harmony, UNLESS THEY INTENT TO DE-STABILIZE the nation to PREVENT THE NEXT LAWFULLY ELECTED government of the people from exposing their PAST CORRUPTED system and made to account for them.

  34. #34 by milduser on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:01 pm

    Sorry for posting on the wrong thread!

  35. #35 by Scofield on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:49 pm

    What is does it mean by dull and boring governance? Do all rakyat really want a government that is always on the limelight whereby our politicians are involved in murder, sodomy, etc cases? On the limelight for the wrong reasons? What for? Wouldn’t we rather live proudly as the people of this land? When we travel to other countries, do you feel proud to tell others you’re from Malaysia, and only getting responses such as, “Oh, you’re from the country with politicians involved in sexual crime”, or “Did your DPM really kill that woman?”

    We were being taught in school since young that we should be proud of our country, heritage, blah, blah, blah…. (and everything to do with patriotism). But the fact is as we grow older, we are forced to open up our eyes and realize that this is not the country we were being taught to be proud of when we were kids. It is actually a playground for power struggle. Because corruption is high, people who are in power would be able to grant approvals, permits, etc for their own monetary gains. Though this is being done more subtly here, whereby the ‘so-called’ policies are still being followed, nevertheless, if you magnify it, you will actually see that Malaysia is not any better than 3rd world countries.

    Look at Kenya, rigging of election between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. At the end of the day, it is not for the people, it is for their own gains. And why do you think that there is so much hoo haa in Zimbabwe? Why is it that Robert Mugabe despite losing the election to Morgan Tsangerai, insisted on a run-off? This is all about power and money. Just that the 3rd world countries are not as good (yet) in covering their tracks.

  36. #36 by lakilompat on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 - 12:26 pm

    M’sia is no difference from 3rd world leader who never admit their faux.

    Only Japan leader is pretty strong, if they think they can’t rule or lead the country they will resign, Samurai spirit. Only then people will respect them, and that reputation will be preserved and continue by others.

    M’sia is difference, our leader, slapping their own race, own face, slandering themselves the root of all this is GREED.

    – Submarine & shukoi jet deals (commission)
    – Abd. Razak
    – Atlantuya
    – Najis
    – Najis wife
    – C4 expert & wife
    – Commandos
    – Raja Petra
    – Judges
    – Media

    So many cause and effect due to what, the root cause of these are from GREED. They should follow the Buddhism teaching, this world don’t belong to them, their body is not permanent.

    The suffer are the nation.

  37. #37 by lakilompat on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 - 12:30 pm

    As a result of our leader greediness, the nation don’t get to enjoy what they deservedly to be. Our infrastructure, buying power, and living standard compare to our neighbor country Singapore and Thailand.

    The profit has been channeled into their pocket, and further burden has been passed to the nation. Well, we suffer, our childrens suffer, and who benefit most are the current leader, who don’t bother much on the nation plight as they are no people starve to death in Malaysia so why bother?

  38. #38 by catharsis on Saturday, 26 July 2008 - 9:42 pm


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