Monkey see, monkey do

Rom Nain
Jun 21, 2012

As the 13th general election looms on the not-too-distant horizon, the incumbents seem to flinch at giving us all a date when it will be held.

Indeed, the coast seemed clear for them to set a date some months back. But three letters, N, F and C, some related cows, cars and condos – and the predictable disappearance of few million ringgit of our tax money – started to screw things up.

Of course, no sooner had the minister involved been chastised and then, of course, cleared and forgiven, then the mainstream media got all that off our radar.

But, as the saying goes, it doesn’t rain, it pours.

So, despite the goodies increasingly being dished out from the taxes we pay, to soften most of us up – from one BR1M to the next, from one material promise to the next – truly ‘unfortunate’ official screw-ups still occur to further stall matters.

These screw-ups have really been too many to count. Very quickly, nonetheless, there was the brutality of the boys in dark blue on peaceful marchers, including news reporters, on April 28, the day of Bersih 3.0.

Such brutality, unfortunately for the perpetrators, was almost instantly broadcast on YouTube for all to see, complicating things further.

And in the aftermath of that worldwide event, the stupidity of the incumbents’ supporters, in intimidating the woman lawyer who had helmed the rally in late April, certainly lost them even more potential friends (and voters).

It is often said that unbridled arrogance will lead to our shooting our own feet. So, when the much-maligned Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Rais Yatim, declared condescendingly that only about 22,270 people attended the Bersih rally, many shook their heads in disbelief.

And then, when it was later, officially, stated that 967 gas canisters and grenades were fired at these people, meaning that a gas canister or grenade was fired for every 23 people, going by Rais’s guesstimate, this same minister then had to explain (which he didn’t, of course) why the extravagance, why the excessive force.

Which, nonetheless, perhaps isn’t as bad as the truly moronic comment – by yet another federal minister, I’m afraid, this time the minister in the prime minister’s department – about the revolutionary potential of salt and water bottles.

Unbelieveably, he was quoted as saying: “Don’t underrate salt and bottles. If supported by the public, it can topple governments.”

While he’s renowned for his frequent ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease, this latest attempt at depicting April 28 as an attempted coup was clearly his most pathetic effort to date.

Even if we move away from the truly inane comments made about Bersih 3.0, other unfortunate events have turned up to make some of the wannabe – though not necessarily ‘winnable’ – candidates look rather silly.

The recent ‘WWW’ number plate shambles was certainly one such event. It was truly ‘geli-fying’, as my 11-year old daughter, Elayna, would put it, the way that the (health) minister concerned tried to squirm his way out of explaining how and why he got the quite-expensive ‘WWW15′ registration number for his official car.

And I’m sure all this didn’t endear him – or his party and coalition partners – to an increasingly fed-up Malaysian public.

15 minutes of fame – or shame

But, of course, this is the land of ‘monkey see, monkey do’. Or as my French-speaking expatriate friend, Dr Matthews, would put it, singe qui voit, singe qui fait.

And in such a land, deliberately or otherwise, the underlings, the minions, the unfortunate wannabes also want their 15 minutes of fame. Sadly, more often it turns out to be 15 minutes of shame.
Indeed, though uninvited, they nonetheless start crawling out of the woodwork making seemingly profound, but decidedly inane, statements.

Such was the case very recently when one wannabe state chief pledged ‘free port’ status for the island state of Penang, only to be contradicted by his ‘big boss’, PM Najib Abdul Razak, who categorically declared that “the concept of a free port no longer exists” and that “the issue of Penang becoming a free port does not arise”.

But, nonetheless, despite the crass missteps, despite the utter stupidity, in spite of the vacuous comments made by supposed leaders, we are heartened by the words and deeds of seemingly ordinary Malaysians.

In this regard, I think we should now – and for a long, long time – remember the name Paulino Miranda.

His is not a common Malaysian name. But, I believe, that is because he is an uncommon Malaysian.

Rev Father Paulino Miranda, according to one news report, is the parish priest of the ‘only Catholic church in Shah Alam’. He is on trial for taking part in a peaceful candlelight vigil against the Internal Security Act (ISA) four years ago.

He could be fined RM10,000 or jailed for a year if found guilty. But he refuses to pay the fine and is willing to go to jail, if found guilty.

Amidst all the stupidity, selfishness and self-promotion, it is thus reassuring for us mere Malaysian mortals to have a true leader to look up to; someone who, according to the activist-lawyer-blogger Haris Ibrahim, “does not just attend to his flock from the pulpit, but also stands shoulder to shoulder with them when it counts most”.

ROM NAIN is a media analyst and academic who is weary of incompetent, unethical leaders and their apologists and spin doctors in the media who try to get away with murder while professing to rub shoulders with God’s angels.

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 2:46 pm

    Is Ali Hamsa the new Chief Secretary and head of the ‘civil’ service a ‘singe’ as well? He’s just announced his loyalty to BN and urged all civil servants to do likewise, when they are all supposed to be neutral, to be loyal to the King and country and to serve the public fairly and diligently. Maybe he is a card carrying member as well? Let us not be labelled ‘Monkeysia’ with apologies to all simians.

  2. #2 by SENGLANG on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 3:07 pm

    So much sweet has been given to every one, include the Chinese. The recent free gifts to those Chinese Independent schools top students was another sweet but it only come after last GE tsunami other wise it will never has happened. But will the sweetener works?

    The Chinese always take education as it first priority in their house hold spending. They have survived and keep doing pretty well despite the could not careless attitude from BN government. The fight for scholarship and the so call imbalance allocation of funds has never been solved and it will never end.

    Most Chinese family work hard and save hard, mainly to cater for their children education. The allocation must be fair and equal opportunity is the answer but not ad hoc basis of throwing sweets when support is dare needed this coming GE.

    The magic of sweet will not works.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 8:05 pm

    Malaysians cannot be easily fooled.
    They know their priorities in life.
    They are a smart lot and that worries Mahathir and Najib like hell.

  4. #4 by undertaker888 on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 9:00 pm

    It’s all going downwards when the sith lord mamak started to appoint half past sixes people in the ministries as his silent policy so that he can lord over them to lord over us.

    The days of findings thieves and tyrants in dirt holes, drainage holes are near in reality.

  5. #5 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Monday, 25 June 2012 - 9:05 am

    “Vote umno”

    Now that sounds just like a joke doesnt it? Like something so last century. So what-the-heck-is-that. Like, huh? wot? black and white TVs? Like OMG IBM DOS!

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