May the farce be with you

Mariam Mokhtar | December 20, 2015
Free Malaysia Today

Why the Umno general assembly failed to be a bore buster.

Several thousand Umno-Baru fans rolled-out the red carpet for the premiere of the “The Farce Awakens,” which was held at the Putra World Trade Center (PWTC) on December 11.

Four days later, in Los Angeles, Star Wars fans queued for days for the premiere of the much awaited Disney blockbuster, “The Force Awakens.” Critics praised it as the best Star Wars film ever made.

To compensate for the long queues, the Star Wars producers should have taken the lead from Umno-Baru leaders, who bussed in thousands of its supporters and decked them in shades of red. The elite among them were dropped off in the latest Porsches, Maybachs, Hummers, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, making it look as though all the stars of Star Wars had driven to the PWTC.

Whilst the Star Wars films are classic tales of the fight between Good and Evil, and of heroes, heroines, loyal troops, action, drama and romance, the Malaysian “The Farce Awakens” is a repeat of the same old drivel perpetuated by Umno-Baru since its formation in 1988.

The creator of the Umno series, former PM Mahathir Mohamad, must feel like the original Star Wars creator, George Lucas, who sold all rights to Disney films for a paltry £2.6 billion. Lucas may have been the mastermind, but all he could do was to quietly fume whilst Disney ignored his ideas for future films.

Mahathir is seething because no one asked for his permission to modify his creation.

Disney’s “The Force Awakens” is a story of a young man who lives on a desert planet and dreams of a better future. The plot is filled with drama, adventure, humour and intrigue.

Malaysia’s “The Farce Awakens” fails to incorporate any of the techniques which make the Star Wars series a classic. It is a continuation of the grim tale about maintaining the stranglehold of Umno-Baru on the lives of 30 million people.

Whilst cinema goers had nothing but praise for “The Force Awakens,” Malaysians complained about the stupefying boredom of “The Farce Awakens.” Many said it put them to sleep. It failed to be a bore buster.

The only excitement was on the media benches, where journalists laid bets to see which alternative newspaper would be kicked off the premises for alleged spinning.
Critics panned “The Farce Awakens” because few delegates dared to make humorous speeches, unlike in previous general assemblies.

This year, the only bit of comedy came from the Jerlun MP, Othman Said, who praised Najib Abdul Razak, calling the party president “The Chosen One.” Othman claimed that God had chosen Malaysia’s 6th PM to lead the nation to greater heights. The audience must have liked this, because there was uncontrollable laughter from them.
Both The Times and The Daily Telegraph awarded five stars to the Star Wars production. Malaysians gave a zero to “The Farce Awakens.”

The Daily Mail’s film critic called the Star Wars film the magnificent seventh (in the series), “a triumph of escapism and exhilaration.”

Umno-Baru’s “The Farce Awakens” was excruciatingly boring. Only its president was permitted to present the closing remarks. In previous years, the deputy president and the vice-presidents were allowed onto the podium.

Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in “The Force Awakens,” was without doubt the star who shone brightest in a galaxy of stars, whereas only Najib was given star billing in “The Farce Awakens.”

Surprisingly enough, there were some similarities between “The Force Awakens” and “The Farce Awakens.” The battle scenes and the psychological showdown between the heroine Rey and Ren, the villain and heir of Darth Vader, were not unlike the posturing and lies of the general assembly.

The battle scenes in “The Force Awakens” are computer generated, whilst those in “The Farce Awakens” are not, and the Darth Vader in the Umno-Baru production has no heir. He is the supreme commander, politically immortal.

“The Force Awakens” is “the best ever Star Wars film,” but Malaysians complain that this year’s, “The Farce Awakens” has bombed as the worst ever general assembly in Umno-Baru’s history.

One is fiction and the other is real, but we know which one is more entertaining.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist

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