Numb and dumb no more

Dean Johns | 12:15PM Dec 21, 2011

When I asked a young and beautiful pro-democracy activist at dinner in Bangsar the other night how she felt about the latest antics of Malaysia’s ruling regime, she shocked me with her initial single-word response: “Numb”.

But, as she quickly went on to explain, she is vividly aware that numb and dumb is precisely how Umno/BN want Malaysians to feel, and keep on feeling, so they’ll keep tolerating the ruling regime’s regimen of repression and robbery.

And that she knows, as I do, that her momentarily depleted emotions and energies will soon be re-charged by her passion for participating in the massive awakening and spirit of change that is sweeping Malaysia.

Unhappily, however, there are still far too many Malaysians who remain politically naive or napping, having been lulled into slumber by Umno/BN’s endless litany of lies.

And then there are the countless hardcore cases; cronies and supporters of the regime so hopelessly narcotised by regular fixes of patronage, power and loot, that they’ll do anything to help sustain the dopey status quo.

The end is finally in sight

But it seems to me that an unstoppably growing majority of Malaysian citizens is wide-awake to the fact that Umno/BN has degenerated from a formerly respectable political coalition into nothing more than a criminal conspiracy.

And they’re increasingly politicking, blogging, protesting, walking, talking, calling and above all yearning to vote for honest, transparent and truly progressive government.

And now that I’ve seen and felt some of the power of this popular movement in an up-close and personal way, everywhere from the coffee-shops to the recent Anything But Umno (ABU) rally, I’m convinced that the end of Umno/BN is finally in sight.

Especially convincing to me is the fact that the regime appears panic-stricken at its evident powerlessness to turn back the tide of revulsion and revolt that could soon make the ‘tsunami’ of 2008 look like a ripple.

In fact, every counter-move that Umno/BN makes seems to do nothing but evoke bigger and more threatening waves of derision, dissent and determination to achieve its political extermination.

The more Najib Razak and his partners in grime and crime trumpet their rallying-call of “1Malaysia. People first. Performance now”, the more nakedly it is revealed as numbingly dumb and duplicitous.

This gruesome government’s every deed clearly demonstrates that “1Malaysia” is nothing but a mask for a two-faced system in which there’s one Malaysia for the Umnoputras and another for the rest of the people.

One law for the Umnoplunderers of projects like the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) and countless other massive, unsolved and even un-investigated scams, and another for opposition figures like the endlessly-prosecuted and persecuted prominent opposition figure, Anwar Ibrahim.

One law for the killers of Altantuya Shaariibuu and ‘suspects’ in the custody of the Umnoputras’ lapdog police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and another law altogether for ‘common’ criminals.

Two or more kinds of lifestyles

One permissive attitude to protest by Umno/BN-sponsored rabbles abusing a severed cow’s head at a Hindu temple, or against false allegations of attempts by Christians to proselytise Muslims, and quite another response altogether to people rallying to call for clean and fair elections and harmlessly banner-defacing students.

One kind of lifestyle, RM15,000 Birkin handbags, RM60 million diamond rings and all, for the Umnoputras, and another for the peasants, to whom Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) stores have committed the KRIME of selling not only mislabelled foodstuffs to needy families, but also peddling sub-standard milk powder to the parents of babies.

One standard for the proprietors and operators of upmarket bars-cum-brothels like the Beach Club and Thai Club off Jalan Sultan Ismail, and another for more down-market “massage parlours” and prostitutes lacking high-level protection.

One system for those who display giant posters and pictures of their political icons that arguably contravene the belief that such idolatry is haram in Islam, and another, contrary system for those legitimately displaying non-Muslim religious symbols or even publicly singing Christmas carols.

In short, it’s clear by now to every Malaysian who’s not totally numb and/or dumb that the “1Malaysia” slogan signifies at the very least two Malaysias: one for the Umnoputras and their families, cronies and supporters, and quite another for the rest.

Lording over KL‘s night sky

And as if the “1Malaysia” part of Umno/BN’s false and self-serving slogan wasn’t making the populace feeling sufficiently insulted, the “People first. Performance now” part is driving many of those I’ve spoken to into a veritable frenzy of resentment.

Perhaps, the most vivid reaction I’ve seen in this regard has been the disgust by so many people I’ve met at the arrogant, overbearing way the Umno building has been lit so as to lord it over KL’s night sky.

This domineering display of both sainted and living Umno/BN prime ministers in a celestial blue glow is a glaring symbol of the fact that Umno/BN considers itself first, and puts the people swarming below dead last.

Especially considering that these people are endlessly stuck in monster traffic jams caused by decades of ‘people-last, performance never’ Umno/BN governments that have overseen poor planning and traffic-engineering, pathetic traffic and illegal-parking policing, and toll roads cleverly designed to line the crony contractors and operators.

And those of us who choose to walk instead of drive are confronted by footpaths that, where they exist at all, are often obstacle courses if not outright death-traps cluttered with poles, broken pavement, parked vehicles, piles of rubbish or manholes with missing covers.

So much, then, for putting people first and performing now, if ever. Thus, it’s small wonder that so many Malaysians feel a tad numb in the face of the shocking contrast between the 1Malaysia portrayed by Umno/BN and its public relations flacks and media hacks, and the stark reality of 1Malaise, ya!.

But just as my young activist friend’s innate fire and life-force will soon overcome her current emotional numbness, so will more and more of her formerly numb, dumb or glum fellow Malaysians regain their true feelings and voices.

And the rakyat will finally have both the will and the numbers to say “no more” to the numb-nuts of Umno/BN.


DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’ and ‘1Malaysia.con’.

  1. #1 by Taikohtai on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 11:38 am

    What used to be the well to do middle class in Malaysia is now the working poor. Their savings are being depleted by the rising cost of living. But most of all, they have to re-mortgage their homes and withdraw their retirements funds to sponsor their kids in tertiary education. Even their EPF is now on shaky grounds.
    When this group realises that BN has been one big con, they will respond albeit lately. Its time to prevent Malaysia degenerating into another sorry country like its neighbours. BERSIH and ABU are eye openers and BN is now exposed and never more vulnerable. 2012 shall be a most eventful year.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 12:46 pm

    We have the will…the patience and tolerance…waiting and waiting to speak with our votes….looking for the 13th GE date.
    Dirty politics is stale and repeated.
    No one cares nor is afraid of threats..fear factors created to change their votes.
    Najib know that too well.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 1:07 pm

    ///But it seems to me that an unstoppably growing majority of Malaysian citizens is wide-awake to the fact that Umno/BN has degenerated from a formerly respectable political coalition into nothing more than a criminal conspiracy.///

    The prelude to Malaysian Spring has finally arrived.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 1:43 pm

    Is the end finally in sight? Remember,

    “It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting.”

    You know, comrades,” says Stalin, “I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 4:01 pm

    The dumb is so extreme …making a person numb..speechless.
    It is curtain call for Najib.
    Better travel more and enjoy….spending our money like water…while still holding false power.

  6. #6 by homeblogger on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 5:07 pm

    I want to believe you but I fear you are wrong. As this giant animal called UMNO finds itself being cornered, it WILL kill anyone to preserve itself. As you mentioned, there are still thousands who are still politically naive. These thousands of naive Malaysians plus the trillions of RM UMNO is willing to dish out to preserve its evil ways WILL see them win GE13. They will say, in your face, with all the arrogance borned of hardened, evil hearts, “Yes we cheated, so what? Try and topple us and we will KILL you”. And only after years as a failed nation like Zimbabwe or Somalia, suffering death, murder, rape and plunder by UMNO will a naive Malaysia wake up and make a change. Yes, by then, the UMNO animals would have left the country, enjoying life, but only for a while. God is just. Their enjoyment is only while they are on earth, for eternal judgement awaits them. This is for sure – NO ONE escapes the judgement of God.

  7. #7 by Loh on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 5:30 pm

    ///This gruesome government’s every deed clearly demonstrates that “1Malaysia” is nothing but a mask for a two-faced system in which there’s one Malaysia for the Umnoputras and another for the rest of the people.///– Dean Johns

    1Malaysia, two races; Malays and non-Malays.

    1UMNO, two member-types; UMNOputras and UMNOmiskins

    1Malay, two people; Malayu tulin, and Mamak-kakak dari Calicut India.

    1law two rules; rule by law, and rule without law.

    1corruption two outcomes; 1 decided by the court, and one denied by the powers-that-be.

    1court two decisions; one based on law, another based on the wishes of the powerful.

    1sentence two standards; one to show that a sentence was passed, another to finalize persecution.

    1Ruler two treatments; all practiced by UMNO.

  8. #8 by Ordinary on Monday, 26 December 2011 - 9:31 pm

    Sinchew today published about Nazri’s statement saying to be an advanced country, Barisan Nasional needs to control more than 2 third of parliement (like Mathir did last time for 22 years). This is another sweet talk and another trick to lure voters in the rural areas. Urban voters know how corrupted BN.

    These BN people is the cause for poverty in Malaysia. As we read the report from Transparency International about “Corruption is the cause of poverty”:

    Buying a pair of binoculars at RM56000 (original price is RM1900), how could Malaysia be an advanced country?

    Just like Taib, having billion Ringgit property overseas (see how could Sarawak be advanced although much natural resources there? We see rural areas in Sarawak without electricity and without computer.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 - 2:04 am

    As an advanced country..??

    Advanced country when more than 80% of its families have to queue and beg for the br1m RM500-once-in-54-years aid?

  10. #10 by k1980 on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 - 2:05 am

    br1m RM500-once-in-54-years aid means than only RM9 or so is given per year

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 - 10:43 am

    Really? Numb n dumb no more? Don’t b too cocksure abt it – cos we still hv lots of voters who, 4 a few $, continue 2 vote 4 UmnoB/BN

  12. #12 by jus legitimum on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 - 2:26 pm

    Rm500 to the poor folks is just an attempt to buy votes.But this is the first time in 54 years that such paltry sum is given to the needy families.However the wise voters will not bow to this election gimmick .

  13. #13 by Loh on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 1:06 am

    jus legitimum :
    Rm500 to the poor folks is just an attempt to buy votes.But this is the first time in 54 years that such paltry sum is given to the needy families.However the wise voters will not bow to this election gimmick .

    By receiving the RM 500 handouts, people now know that they can actually receive benefits from the government. They now realize that the quantum they receive is dependent on the ability and willingness of the government in power to provide. Thus, the more leakage through corruptions, the less is their share. Wouldn’t they want to have a government who was willing to look after their interests to pay, than the government which pays as a last resort. It pays too little because of corruption, and too late because of lack of sincerity. The payment of RM 500 is a two-edge sword; it cuts both ways.

  14. #14 by Loh on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 1:14 am

    ///Perkasa wants Rev Eu probed for sedition
    Hafiz Yatim | 6:41PM Dec 27 | 104
    UPDATED 8.45PM Perkasa claims Rev Eu Hong Seng’s questioning of Article 153 of the federal constitution at a Christmas function can lead to racial disharmony.///–Malaysiakini

    Perkasa in making that suggestion is disturbing peace in the country. The police should do what they are supposed to do, and citing racial disharmony is equivalent to arousing people to rise up to it. This logic is different from Mamakthir’s logic that anybody who highlights racism is racist. In this case a suggestion of disharmony gives those who cannot think the suggestion that whatever was said amounts to disturbing harmony. That amounts to incite hatred.

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