by Goh Keat Peng

“… the top anchors at all the networks had scurried into the briefing room. Once there, they received a presidential scolding for their concern with ‘silliness.’ Obama began his five-minute statement with the complaint that he wouldn’t be able to get the networks to break into their regularly scheduled programming for a speech on policy proposals. “I know that there is going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest,” Obama said. “But I am speaking for the vast majority of the American people as well as for the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve. We are not going to be able to do it if we are distracted, we are not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other … if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts, we are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers.”

The New York Times editorial on this press conference was entitled, “A Certificate of embarrassment”. It says in part:

“With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life… It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones. Mr. Obama practically begged the public to set aside these distractions, expressing hope that his gesture would end the “silliness” and allow a national debate about budget priorities. It won’t, of course.”

Sounds familiar?

In today’s Malaysia, there seems to be a parallel situation and the above words of an American president and an editorial from an American leading newspaper could in fact just as well be describing a prominent news report in our own country about something rather similar in terms of the degree of its silliness. Except for the fact that in the Malaysian context it is not the sitting government leadership who are needing to get their citizens and politicians off silly things. Believe it or not, the twist here in the Malaysian story is that many seem to think that it is the sitting government itself who is putting these silly things on show to distract the populace from more important issues which impact everyday life and the long-term prospect of the nation!

How else are Malaysians (not to mention visitors to our country) to think when so many incongruous things have happened (or not happened) in the drag out case of a certain video?

Granted that there may be several targets and several layers of motives which this low-class strategy and methodology is serving, just as there may be several layers of perpetrators behind this evil scheme. But as a country we deserve better and we can surely do better.

From experience we know that those who are responsible will never voluntarily or sensibly stop. The media can choose not to carry or deliver such sordid, low-class products and stop giving space and credence to the crude works of evil doers. But even if the media, like the shameless perpetrators, would not stop, we the public can stop reading and watching what they put before us. As consumers, we control the market, we can send a signal to the supply and demand chain. The heads of our collective religious communities can warn the autorities as well as those responsible that “Enough is enough!”

In the words of Bishop Dr Paul Tan, SJ:

“No person of conscience can fail to deplore this permissiveness, this inaction in the face of a puerile voyeurism that has now reached a nadir.”

We as a nation will be examined and graded according to how we deal with this wicked episode: as government and enforcement officers, as politicians across the board, as media, as religious heads and communities, as people and citizens.

NB. Of course (in a lighter vein) it is foolish of me to post this article today of all the days! Why so? Because no one will read it. And why not? Because half way across the world, two young people are getting married and practically the whole world would be watching the event live on TV. Talk about distraction! But at least this live coverage will be for General Audience, and seriously, marriage is never trivial or insignificant. May God bless this matrimony.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:31 pm

    Finally someone saying what I have been arguing all along. The fact of the matter is that governance of any country is not automatic, independence is not automatic. You can lose the right to govern no matter who you are, you can lose your right to independence if you fail. Certaintly it takes a lot but there is no guarantee of any right without responsibility..

    The fact of the matter is BN and whatever their ideology or represent, can lose their moral right to govern NOT just through the ballot box but their irresponsibility as governors.

    This country is endowed by so much, and in hindsight could have been so much more, the failure to govern it without going down the despicable, the destruction of very moral fibre of the nation, brankrupting the social fibre of what were highly tolerant, open people should be reason enough to lose their moral right to govern.

    After 5 decades, whatever UMNO/BN is, if it cannot go on governing without further destroying our society, it loses the right to do so. There is no guarantee of ANYONE’s right without responsibility in perpetuity..

  2. #2 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:44 pm

    strange chinese translation=1malaysian chinese

    this is a good joke. did chinese TV (in china) banned this screen?

  3. #3 by Winston on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:12 pm

    Well, since the sitting government is the one
    doing all the silliness, it’s the electorate that
    should whack it in place.
    Give it the boot in the next GE!

  4. #4 by negarawan on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 10:08 pm

    The shameless PDRM even provided bullet proof vests to their friends Datuk T. Every right thinking and fair minded Malaysian knows that the PDRM is in cahoots with UMNO from the special treatment given to the three stooges and the unfair and unprofessional manner in investigating the case. PDRM and UMNO, the rakyat will retaliate in the coming GE for sure!

  5. #5 by raven77 on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 10:12 pm

    The eminent Bishop should be leading Malaysia….his words are profound……his wisdom overwhelming……I believe Malaysia should go Christian…

  6. #6 by negarawan on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 12:55 am

    I can imagine if someone wants to “sumpah” to Allah in a mosque in front of an imam and congregation that he has not committed any sin or unlawful act. But this Datuk T going to the mosque to “sumpah” to Allah that he is the one in the video directing the man and the prostitute to carry out an explicit sexual act, a gravely sinful act in the eyes of Islam itself, is really an abuse of the “sumpah” process itself. Is this an UMNO imam who allowed such a desecrating “sumpah” to take place in a mosque in the name of Allah? Does Datuk T expect Allah to bless him for making the sex video that sole purpose was to destroy the good name of a fellow muslim and his family? Imagine how evil this Datuk T is to even go to the extent of misusing and abusing the muslim religion and mosque to protect his sinful act? A good imam should have booted Datuk T out of the mosque in the first place. The evil UMNO has no fear of Allah and I pray that Allah will serve his ultimate justice on them soon!

  7. #7 by wanderer on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 8:17 am

    Now we all are satisfied why PAS have their own untainted imams!…strange, one Allah, one faith,
    two different type of preachers. Islam in a Muslim country is so confusing…..

  8. #8 by wanderer on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 8:22 am

    Mr Moderator, is’nt DAP promoting true democracy?…freedom of speech and freedom of expressions. Why are you doing the work for UMNO?
    Is stating a fact wrong?!

  9. #9 by k1980 on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 8:33 am

    unmo will next allege that Anwar, like Obama, is not a malaysian citizen. His birth cert had been forged. He was born in Antarctica and must be deported back there.

  10. #10 by dagen on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 10:07 am

    Umno dont have better stuff to do.
    Now you bodoh punya orang do you get that?

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