Archive for November 5th, 2010

Eight reasons why Pakatan lost

Bridget Welsh
Nov 5, 10

The BN deservedly should claim and savour yesterday’s victories. The combined gains in Galas and Batu Sapi show significant swings across ethnic minorities, which proved to be decisive in determining the final outcome.

This is the first major turning point in the political stalemate between the BN and Pakatan Rakyat among all of the 13 by-elections since March 2008.

From the ground, it was clear that the BN had the advantage in both seats, and I expected both wins. The results, however, are even larger than expected. Read the rest of this entry »


When the people are high on peyote…

Kee Thuan Chye
Nov 5, 10


The results of the two by-elections yesterday are portentous. No matter what analysts may say of their being isolated cases, or their being local stories with no bearing on the national saga, the implications could be deeper than some would care to admit.

Despite the decayed and fallen bridges in their villages, Sabahans stood squarely behind BN and returned its candidate to the parliamentary seat of Batu Sapi with an even bigger majority than in 2008.

They rejected the opposition candidates, one of whom was a former Sabah chief minister. He came off with the least number of votes and ended up a poor third to the PKR man. His Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) hoped to be a viable challenger to BN at the next general election, but after this defeat, it looks pretty unlikely.

It didn’t seem to matter to the Sabah electorate that the rotten bridges might reflect a rotten system. They were happy with the status quo.

And from the way it looks, they’ll be happy with it too at the next general election. By then, you can bet that those bridges would have been repaired.

In Kelantan, PAS lost its state seat of Galas to Umno, and that result was a definite letdown. Losing by a margin of 1,190 brought it close to a disaster. It looked like the Malays were flocking back to Umno, thanks perhaps to the rhetoric of the recent Umno general assembly. And the Chinese too, which was rather unexpected. Read the rest of this entry »


The prerogative of choice

by Goh Keat Peng

This we have to admire about the more established democracies: that there is no monopoly about which party will form the government of any level. The two or more main parties or coalitions of parties have reasonable chance. The people are not saddled effectively with just one choice. In recent times, the world has witnessed a change of government in Britain and just days ago, the House of Representatives in the US has changed hands. Just two years after a very popular president was swept into office, Congress is now in the hands of the opposition.

This should be the case in most things in life. An exception being family. We can of course choose who to marry or whether to marry at all. But we cannot choose which family we wish to be born in. This is of course because you can’t make choices before you have come into existence in the first place!

You go to a neighbourhood grocer’s and there is not just one brand of toothpaste or, for that matter, toothbrush. With multiple choices for any product or service, an alternative is available. So a decision becomes necessary on your part. It could be that you walk into a megastore of today with ten choices of anything and still only stick to one brand of anything. That’s your prerogative.

Choice is on the whole healthy for human beings. To have the prerogative of choice is what you and I must have. Read the rest of this entry »


Broke and broken – should P. Ramlee have come back?

by The Ampas Man

Question: Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti?

Answer: Not in Malaysia

Those who watched the heart-wrenching P. Ramlee documentary on the History Channel on 31st October 2010 must have gone to bed with a heavy heart. It transpires that Malaysia’s one and only film icon had died penniless and shunned by the public including his own colleagues. And the way it was done appears to have uncanny resemblances to what’s happening today in Malaysia, almost 45 years after Ramlee returned to Malaysia.

The documentary, narrated by British actor, Timothy Watson and 12 years in-the-making included precious interviews by some of his friends, actors and actresses who had passed on. The underlying tone was one of profound melancholy.

Ramlee, born out of poverty along Caunter Hall Road at an Achenese community in Penang , had to endure a brutal Japanese occupation whose schools incidentally inculcated a certain discipline in him. In his formative years then, this discipline proved crucial as a founding platform for his eventual brilliance, creativity and innovation in film and music.

He subsequently gained phenomenal success at Shaw Brother’s Jalan Ampas studios in Singapore. His success at Jalan Ampas was the apparent result of the studio’s incredible milieu of experienced film crew, choreographers and directors which the Shaw Brothers had assembled from India, Hong Kong and Indonesia. With the load of management and finance off his shoulders, Ramlee was able to thrive and focus on his talent of creating music, acting and eventually direction, screenplay and editing. Read the rest of this entry »