Entertainment vs Empowerment

By Augustine Anthony

A few of us were chatting and one in the group quipped, “Hey did you see the video footage of that parliamentarian?” To this curiosity, another friend seated next to us immediately raised his voice, “THAT goon? If he can become our parliamentarian, then Popeye can also become our Prime Minister”. Before anyone rushes to think that that reference must always be reserved for the Barisan Nasional politicians, please hold your horses for it was a sharp riposte against one of the opposition parliamentarians.

Entertainment: The art in which even garbage can be glamorized

With our football standards declining to a state where very soon the remote pacific island of Vanuatu might give Malaysia a good drubbing, the disappointed Malaysians can now hope on our politicians for a good weekend entertainment. And have faith and believe that our politicians can truly deliver.

The habit of distracting the nation with entertainments is not something new. It has been happening for as long as we can remember. The only thing is, the methods employed keep changing to suit the flavor of the day.

The Roman Empire, sure we all know was mighty.  I mean mighty boorish. And in the declining years, in order to distract and misdirect its unsuspecting nation, the leaders gave them great entertainments.  But unlike any other entertainments these were certain to bring death. The Gladiators fought to death. The persecuted Christians were mauled by hungry lions.  But there were no tears, only cheers for the departed souls. The defeated gladiators and persecuted Christians were given a less than honorable send off from the grand Coliseum to eternal Elysium.

The unique thing about anything that is deemed entertaining is that, the form is more important compared to its substance. Some repulsive examples in the form of songs that enjoyed phenomenal success as chart toppers in the 1980’s are worth mentioning here.

The Rock Band Def Leppard and its song “Love Bites” with its lyrics, “When you make love, do you look in the mirror? Who do you think of? Does he look like me?” though is a catchy ballad but the substance is nauseating.

The pop song called “Last Christmas” from the group Wham with its lyrics “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day, you gave it away, this year, to save me from tears I’ll give it to someone special” though having a lovely melody but can cause serious drop in our intelligence quotient.

I am sure many including members of PDRM will still remember the group called The Police and their song “Every Breath You Take” and its lyrics – “Every breath you take, Every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, Ill be watching you, Every single day, Every word you say, Every game you play, Every night you stay, Ill be watching you…. Oh can’t you see you belong to me……..

If the musicians think that they had perfected the art of glamorizing garbage, then they must really reinvent themselves for they now have serious competitors in politicians. Just look at the buffet of political filth that is being spread everyday with limitless choices and variations. In short we are amazed. Soon politicians with flower adorned home made crowns with sashes befitting beauty queens will be dancing to the tune of “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club to hoodwink the gullible voters.

Politicians who have read the people well are cunning enough to give the people what they want. Entertainment. They do not care that many of these people who come to them are ordinary people looking for guidance, assistance and leadership. Selfish personal interests particularly their continuous survival in this political poker game that gambles away the nation’s interest draws veils of deceit against these unsuspecting people.

Many politicians are no longer interested in disseminating gainful information to the people which can empower but are more interested in entertaining the people regardless of how obnoxious and reprehensible these acts are. These irresponsible politicians do not understand that the information transmitted through various ways and means though instantly forgotten by the conscious mind after the given period of entertainment but are nevertheless permanently stored in the unconscious minds (not to be confused with sub conscious mind) of the recipients, particularly youthful recipients, who may later bring to bear when circumstances necessitate, the full devastating effects of these contaminated details embedded in the minds of these gullible people.

The events from nomination day to polling day of any election, the usual ceramahs every now and then, the senseless tussle for power in political parties, the Parliamentary debates which are tastelessly ornamented and even the State Assembly proceedings with strange show of power by enforcement agencies, all make eerie entertainments with little or no value for our progress towards a better and greater future.

Reasons had given way to rowdy rendezvous and ridiculous rhetoric. Looking at the present and bigger picture it is apparent that some of our politicians are in reality nurturing a very dangerous and destructive mindset in people.

If only these politicians are honest, their communication skills can be put to great use in educating the general public so that informed choices will be the order of the day.

Education: A beginning with end in mind

Before an organisation embarks on the topic of empowerment, it must first impress upon the general public on the educational endeavours and the educational tools that are already in place. Empowerment is a natural progression of a state of mind that pursues knowledge which corrects our course from ignorance to illumination, from silly haughtiness (bodoh sombong) to dignified confidence and from glib con men to grand statesmen.

A society in education is a society with purpose. There must be a gathered and codified knowledge in structured state ready for dissemination. There must be a beginning with end in mind. There must be a common goal with essential tools to achieve it. There must be a time frame for the ultimate realization of that common goal with regular short term targets to achieve and ascertain progress. There must be understanding and appreciation that some may take longer time than others to attain the desired knowledge. There are bound to be temporary setbacks but there must be perseverance and fortitude. Above all we need honest people to be the educators who take pride in the progress that they see in those receiving the education rather than the steady increase in the stipend they receive as remuneration.

Though there is a beginning with end in mind however there will be challenges. The initiators of this education may never see the end result in their lifetime but their initiative will become an ageless jewel that will sparkle for generations to come. Their legacy will be the cornerstone of the elusive knowledge based society that may for now seem intimidating and unachievable.

Yes! The education process can be a daunting task. Not all who need the education are lucky enough to drive or be driven to classrooms, workshops and seminars. Educators sometime need to cross rivers and lakes, wade in streams, trek hills and slide down valleys. If unlucky one can bleed through ones clothing as a result of injuries, be stung by wasps and bitten by strange insects, slip and plunge in deep falls, and in all these times only hoping to return home safe, satisfied that the message is carried to the people in need.

But this process can be great fun too. It is just that one needs to find the element of fun in these adventures and when it is found, it can be exciting as much as exhilarating. Whoever created human beings knew too well that even the most important characteristic of human existence that depends on procreation must be complemented with elements of fun and excitement for otherwise there will be no human race to sustain continuity.

A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down! So the saying goes.


Marginalisation can take many forms. It can be social, political and economic. A national empowerment process cannot exist if there is a deliberate or even an unintended isolation of the general mass into segregated groupings. In a segregated state of existence, empowerment remains nothing but a superfluous pronouncement with empty rhetoric.

Empowerment is the epitome of conscientious and honest efforts where trust and confidence reign and marginalisation and segregation voluntarily withdraws, its ultimate realization being a knowledge based society.

Knowledge Based Society

In knowledge based society empowerment nears redundancy. Entertainments will remain entertainments without misdirecting the nation. And above all comedians, clowns and conmen will not be mistaken for politicians, parliamentarians and leaders.

Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club

  1. #1 by OrangRojak on Friday, 6 November 2009 - 9:45 pm

    How did you manage to write that without mentioning Mary Poppins?

  2. #2 by monsterball on Friday, 6 November 2009 - 9:52 pm

    The flavors are sweet talking….slogans..all good news…great acting skills…looking so surprised on bad news….must take actions on this and act that corrupted acts……..with merry go round investigation methods…all for show…no results…hoping Malaysians can easily forget and move on.
    To find suckers…to believe them..behaving so innocent..so truthful…so kind…to make sure..youngsters will vote for UMNO.
    All seasoned old voters..vast majority cannot be fooled.
    Companies …big and are suffering…retrenching…shrinking.
    Some are UMNO members and they now know the truths…sick of Mahathir and Najib too

  3. #3 by tenaciousB on Friday, 6 November 2009 - 11:59 pm

    The days of UMNO are numbered, they know it all right, huge investments are being authorised in order to campaign and buy confidence in all opposition acquired states. They planned the perak illegal acquisition, now they are planning the selangor acquisition.

    Obviously they have the MACC at their dispossal and the judiciary system and the pathologists and the police force and submarines too now..LOL

    With tyranny over 50 yrs now, the old tarantula has a spider nest built of titanium alloy! It was perturbed during the last elections and it did shake the habitat significantly that they lost 2 of their offsprings!

    The scandals are unraveling and very soon UMNO is gonna lose their credibility to all new subdetectable level. Now, the problem is a dodgy opposition, weak component parties make the take over more difficult. Anwar needs to get his act together if he wants to pull this off. Gettin rid of a veteran tarantula ain’t easy y’all!

  4. #4 by tenaciousB on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 12:25 am

    does anyone buy rosmah’s story about distributing her pricey reward from an arab prince to needy malaysian organisations? sounds like fairy talelish publicity stunt for her husband and his party?!

    Someone should try and get an inside scoop whether the story is credible and perhaps get an interview with this arab prince. i sense another big stage play by a controversial couple yet again. Deception is the theme! LOL

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 3:34 am

    What entertainment? We could almost envy Roman mobs. At least they got distractions from their economic woes and deary existence in The Colosseum from seeing real gladiators fighting to the death or virgin torn by wild beasts.

    The nearest to entertainment we get from our politicians are scenes of Perak Legislative assembly being held at 2 different places, one at Perak secretariat building and the other under a tree, 2 competing MBs and Speakers, with the PR one manhandled, forcibly carted off or having his Speakers robes snatched by police!

    At national parliamentary level, we have an occasional MP BN-Jasin making a sexiest remark against Fong Poh Kuan (MP Batu Gajah) about her menstrual cycle when debating about a roof leak in Parliament and Works Minister Samy Vellu joining in to say our dilapidated 43 year old Parliament House required make up and maintenance just like the looks of a woman of 50 years!

    What real entertainment is there supplied by politicians for the common Malaysian mob already weighed down by a shrinking Ringgit and burgeoning direct and indirect taxes, traffic jams (esp when there is a political protest/demonstration)? An octogenarian ex-premier’s continuous scolding his own anointed successor or how foes in MCA become friends and friends become foes?

    We want real entertainment, Sir.

    If we don’t get, like first century Roman, to witness a lion tearing up a virgin, at least let us have Beyonce : even then she is not coming because our ‘holier- than- thou ‘ moral guardians would not allow her to flaunt her God given assets!

    Empowerment by (in writer’s words) “gathered and codified knowledge in structured state ready for dissemination”?

    Come on where?

    Maybe some political blogs like this one.

    Even then where is the fun when there are some people with attitude baggages or emotional disorders consistently bent on disrupting civil discussion and information dissemination?

    As the writer says, “Whoever created human beings knew too well that even the most important characteristic of human existence that depends on procreation must be complemented with elements of fun and excitement for otherwise there will be no human race to sustain continuity”. We may as well spend more time in that basic activity vital for replenishment/continuation of the human species…..

  6. #6 by lkt-56 on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 6:34 am

    So are we saying that all our politicians are entertainers? But then even entertainers have a role to play in our society. They keep us from getting bored. We visit this political blog for various reasons and to be entertained is one of them. ;)

    Most of are not not ready for serious ideological discourse. The number of comments or response received on each issue raised in this blog for example will tell you what the people are generally interested in and can identify with.

    How many comments have we received on the budget 2010 postings? Yet this is an issue that affects our very livelihood.

  7. #7 by k1980 on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 7:56 am

    1malaysia? Nope, it’s really 1BigContinuousScam. Even kindergarten kiddies are not taken in

  8. #8 by limkamput on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 8:23 am

    You expect the politicians to educate the people? No sir, you are wrong. The people must educate and equip themselves and compel politicians to do the right things. If most Malaysians read not beyond the classified ad in the newspapers, sitting around watching Korean movies all day or listening to our moronic radio DJ churning out one meaningless topic after another, surely they deserved to be fooled around.

    Most Malaysians are smug, and that is because they know next to nothing.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 8:45 am

    ///So are we saying that all our politicians are entertainers?///#6 by lkt-56. And why not?

    In the US, Ronald Reagan made successful transition from film star to president; Arnold Schwarzenegger from “Terminator” to California Governor!

    English actress Glenda Jackson appeared nude in passionate love scene of the 1969 British film “Women in Love”, won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and after many other successful films (with some nude parts) retired from acting and got elected to House of Commons in the 1992 general election as the Labour MP, even appointed junior minister in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, with responsibility for London Transport.

    In Italy ex-porn star Ilona Staller (aka La Cicciolina) was elected as an MP for five years.

    In our local context a good local example is Dr Chuah Soi Lek. Although he did not intend to entertain for which he certainly was not paid for the filming or production of the DVD, and in spite of his berating his detractors/critics of “holier-than-thou” attitude, people entertained had no qualms in giving their votes to let him beat MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan in the October 2008 MCA party polls. He also has more support amongst party supporters than party president Ong Tee Keat or Liow Tiong Lai (individually) so much so that even Registrar of Societies saw it fit to deem him a fit and proper contender to be reinstated as Deputy President over Liow!

    Whether rakyat/contitutency like “entertainment” value and quality of their politicians depends on the level of education and intelligence of the vote bank.

    If people are all less intelligent than politicians, I imagine that they won’t vote and support entertainers who don’t fill their bill of being serious, respectable or clever enough to lead and solve national problems.

    Ironically when people get sophisticated and very intelligent, or as or more intelligent than their politicians – and can see through the BS of the politicians, whatever their ideological positions and pretentions to cleverness – then I imagine such sophisticated people/voters may reach a point that they really don’t care either way and, ceteris paribus, wouldn’t mind placing a premium on the entertainment value that their politicians could provide.

    Although the ability to act, sing, dance or hit a ball has no bearing on a person’s ability to govern/lead, it does give him public exposure.

    Other things being equal, if the politician can entertain, let us poke fun at their bladders of lies and hypocrisy, make us laugh at their foibles and antics, I say, whats wrong and why not when there is really no big difference anyway as when the serious “respectable” and clever ones will still play our back and steal our money, albeit by more sophisticated schemes ???

  10. #10 by limkamput on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 8:54 am

    What some people “consistently bent on disrupting civil discussion and information dissemination?”

    First, you can’t expect everybody to write according to your long winded and ambiguous style. Second, if one cannot handle being challenged, please don’t put down his two cents worth.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 8:55 am

    The danger of our present crop of politicians are that they are not real and serious entertainers. They entertain by default and unintended consequence – unwittingly by their foolish actions that they think wise. Now this dangerous. We relax and get ready to be entertained by Bozo the clown with red nose, painted face sticking out his purple tongue not knowing he hides a knife under his oversized gown and could throw us out from 14th floor to a 5th floor landing, incarcerate us without trial for years etc. Thats not real entertainer but a dangerous fellow masquerading as a clown.

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 8:56 am

    Siapa makan cili dia rasa pedas.

  13. #13 by lkt-56 on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:01 am

    Reply to limkamput:
    Not exactly expecting politicians to educate people. It has to be a two way process.

    I can understand your frustration. But truth is that at the moment most of us focus on material needs and work our butts off to earn and stash away that extra for the rainy days. At the end of a hard day we do not wish to engage ourselves on any heavy stuffs but just light entertainments. It so happens the current political scene fits the bill. ;)

    Recently a friend commented to me: “It must cost you a lot to send your son overseas to study…” I said: “What to do… we work hard and save all our life and then at the end of it all we have to spend it on our children in order to give them a good start in life else we will not be fulfilling our needs as a parent.” “My hope is that by the time all my children are taken care of, I will still have enough to last me till I die. Otherwise we have to depend on our kids in our twilight years. If you are fortunate enough to have filial children, they will take good care of you when you are incapacitated, otherwise be prepared to stay in a state old folks’ home, if there is one… Would I die of heart break if my children did that to me? I really do not know.

    What the heck! Live for NOW and be happy. :)

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:03 am

    ///if one cannot handle being challenged, please don’t put down his two cents worth///

    Where is the relevance of this observation – what is the logic of this thought process – and whats its connection with “consistently bent on disrupting civil discussion and information dissemination?”

    Think before you talk!

    When has it been ever advocated (even by our Moderator) that one cannot challenge or disagree with anothers view (civilly) without descending to ridicule?

  15. #15 by limkamput on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:04 am

    Kami juga tahu siapa dendam hati and ego diri.

  16. #16 by limkamput on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:06 am

    where is the relevance for someone to put “consistently bent on disrupting civil discussion and information dissemination” in this thread if not for his limitless ego.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:12 am

    Response – Your raising of “ego” is a distraction that has no relevance to the argument here. Can’t you see that, though I am sure you may well think yours the smallest though.

  18. #18 by limkamput on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:16 am

    When challenged, four typical responses emerged from this sage:
    1. The points raised are irrelevant;
    2. The points raised do not deserve my response;
    3. I have no time to respond;
    4. There is no civility in discussion.

  19. #19 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 9:24 am

    Amazing insights in #18 exceptional to the norm.

  20. #20 by tenaciousB on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 11:54 am

    i agree with limkamput, jeff your comments are too longwinded, perhaps you should set up your own blog. comments should ideally be short and succint. if you have so much to share, have a seminar and get paid for it. lol

  21. #21 by k1980 on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 12:04 pm

    Yes! The education process can be fun– except that the teachers’ lives may be shortened



  22. #22 by taiking on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 1:15 pm

    Politicians as entertainers? Yeah. Why not. People of today want exactly that!. Heros in the past used to be prime ministers or presidents of some countries, scientists, famous doctors, nobel price winners, writers and many other similarly important or influential people. Ask the same question today and the answer one is likely to get is (wot?) the talented MJ, the good looking Brad Pit, the incredible David Beckham, the quirky Zang Toi, the sweet Taylor Swift or some other artistes, actors, designers and icons.

    Entertainment is in. Taiwan has gone one step further. Look at their presidential election campaign. OMG you can brand it ridiculous but the taiwanese love it! Yes absolutely. Stage. Karaoke sessions. Famous actors and singers are featured for added support. The audience (yes audience not “voters”) catcalls, screams, blows the whistle, waves led signs. Oh. The whole works basically.

  23. #23 by Godfather on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 3:57 pm

    Lawyers get paid to write longwinded stuff, usually long sentences preferably without commas or fullstops. They get paid to confuse the hell out of mere mortals like us under the pretext they can write eloquently. That’s why the use words like “on the one hand, it is this but on the other hand it is that…” or “when I say the sky is not dark, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bright…”.

  24. #24 by tenaciousB on Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 7:00 pm

    well said Godfather. The indians have a slang when they utter the word lawyer..it sounds like ‘liar’.

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