Sunday, April 15, 2018

In Response to the lovely Lisa Lee (updated & revisited)

Early one morning in January 2009 a very charming blogger left this comment on my blog after I had gone to bed. She made some pertinent statements about Malaysian politics that prompted me to respond at length. I feel this exchange deserves to be upgraded to a blogpost in its own right rather than left in the comments section... (thanks for inspiring this post, Lisa!)...

Lisa Lee said on Jan 17, 2009 @ 4:32 AM MYT:

Honestly, I do wonder if BN will ever lose control? Because the livelihood of many will be affected. Peace and harmony is my hope for Malaysia.

The thought of BN losing may impact so many people and for this reason, I hope peace prevails. Desperation sets in and who knows what may happen.

Having said that, I hope that Pakatan Rakyat would be a strong cohesive Opposition. Maybe not take over in this sitting but next election, consolidate their hold in Malaysia.

I do hope that Malaysia will be like USA (Democrats vs Republicans) and England (Labor vs Conservative) - in a sense that we will have a strong two party system to have the check and balance there.

Can you share your views on this? I like to learn from you. TQ :)

My dear Lisa,

Imagine you're a princess adopted as a baby by pirates who slaughtered your parents, ransacked the palace, and set themselves up as the new government of the land. They spared your life because you were cute and harmless and posed no threat to them (even pirates must have some vague memory of almost-forgotten human feelings). In fact, the pirate king saw that you were destined to blossom into a true beauty and fancied he could acquire royal status by marrying you once you were of age.

In other words, you grew up knowing no other authority apart from this band of brigands who began to dress quite well and were soon able to pass themselves off as "respectable folk." Nobody dared inform you who your real parents were and as time passed you came to regard the pirate king as a beloved uncle and trusted him implicitly. After all, he did possess a sort of rakish charm and was actually quite a clever chap (though some might call it "rat cunning"). He told you stories about how he had heroically rescued you from the evil clutches of an ogre and now you owed your life to him and were duty-bound to wed him.

One day, walking through a forest, you chance upon a humble cottage and out of curiosity decide to find out who lives there. As you approach the cottage, the front door swings open and a smiling old man steps out to offer you a cup of tea. You accept and soon find yourself engaged in deep conversation with this mysterious hermit of the woods, who reveals the truth of what happened to the land when you were just a newly born.

The old man shares with you a secret that forever changes your destiny. He was the loyal adviser to your biological parents, the King and Queen of this land, who were cruelly murdered by the marauders. He managed to escape the massacre and fled to the forest along with a handful of others who have long awaited the day you were old enough to rule the land as the rightful Queen. For years this band of survivors have lived in hidden caves, dreaming of the day when they would be strong enough to reclaim the land and liberate it from pirate dominion. He concludes by asking you if you are ready to take your place as the leader of these true patriots who desire to see the end of pirate misrule and justice restored.

Now, this is your current dilemma, Lisa. Having known no other form of government apart from the piratic (and parasitic), can you remember what true leadership is all about? Pull the wool from your eyes and you will see that for decades the Barisan Nasional has attracted mostly those who seek to aggrandize and enrich themselves at the expense of the land and of the people. They care little for the sufferings of the common folk and even less for the health and well-being of the land itself, having inherited the rapacious tendencies of their pirate ancestors who understood only rape, pillage and plunder.

In the name of greed, these self-serving parasites continue to destroy the landscape through mining, logging and insensitive "development." They support those who share their own destructively uncreative urges - namely, ruthless businessmen with megalomaniacal tendencies - while suppressing, through barbaric and repressive laws, all those who desire to see the wealth of the land equally and wisely shared.

In effect, dear Lisa, the simplistic scenario I have outlined is a parable for the sort of misgovernance we have been subject to on this planet for countless generations - a top-heavy Humpty-Dumpty sort of power structure wherein the most aggressive and unprincipled amass the greatest amount of wealth and then proceed to hijack the processes of government via almost absolute control of the mass media, education and financial systems, even religious institutions (I mean especially!).

However, the time has come for those who truly love the land - and I mean Planet Earth - to reclaim our sovereign power as conscious individuals, liberating ourselves from generations of inherited robotism (living our lives according to factory defaults) and fatalism (believing it is our lot to suffer in this "vale of tears").

We must think globally (nay, universally) and act locally. So in Malaysia our foremost duty as true patriots is to remove Barisan Nasional completely from power - because they have abused the power entrusted them for too many generations.

In the most basic terms, BN must not retain control of the police force, the national purse, and the mass media. Those are the mechanisms by which they have ruled us through fear and greed - a powerful combination of intimidation and bribery. Any population subject to such misgovernance eventually becomes infantilized, demoralized, and dehumanized.

Ultimately, we shall be turned into a nation of human robots while our energy and spirit are vampirically depleted by an elite cabal of demonically possessed humans devoid of compassion and empathy... UNLESS we succeed in booting out these piratic and parasitic entities and replacing them with open-minded, open-hearted leaders who genuinely believe that being a public servant means precisely that - you serve the public, not private interests!

There isn't a single individual in Umno/BN I can name as somebody I love, respect and trust.

On the other hand, there are many in the various component parties of Pakatan Harapan I wholeheartedly applaud and support in their candidacy to lead and govern. Among these I would unhesitatingly name Anwar Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Tony Pua, Gobind Singh Deo, Mat Sabu, Rafizi Ramli, Liew Chin Tong, Wong Chen, Sivarasa Rasiah, Tian Chua, Nizar Jamaluddin, Dyana Sofya, Zairil Khir Johari, Elizabeth Wong, Hannah Yeoh, Azmin Ali, Guan Eng and Kit Siang, Teresa Kok, Teo Nie Ching, Charles Santiago, Husam Musa, Khalid Samad, Dzulkefly Ahmad, Salahudin Ayub, Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Dr Nasir Hashim, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, and S. Arutchelvan (I have omitted many others but these few are the ones that immediately spring to mind).

Apart from the professional politicians, we now have the civil society movement and a slew of dynamic NGOs - a loose coalition of public intellectuals and true patriots consisting of popular figures like Adam Adli, Hishamuddin RaisHaris Ibrahim, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin AbdullahMalik Imtiaz Sarwar, Kua Kia SoongWong Chin HuatAzmi Sharom, Cynthia Gabriel; and countless other politically aware citizens (including myself). And, don't forget, public intellectuals like Toh Kin WoonZaid Ibrahim, Amir Muhammad, Pang Khee Teik and Din Merican who will certainly play a significant role in reshaping the new Malaysia once the country is free of this stubborn and debilitating disease called BN.

Lisa, the only people who will be terribly upset when BN loses control of the police and Petronas are an overfed coterie of fat-cat capitalists who have enjoyed more than 30 years of monopolistic access to the nation's resources and established huge empires based on political patronage. The competent managers amongst them will be able to adapt and continue doing well under a new government - so long as they genuinely serve the public good. Those who have corruptly made their money as crony rent-seekers will either be allowed to retire in comfort (if they donate a fair portion of their ill-gotten gains to charity) or face a therapeutic spell in prison.

While de facto Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim languishes in jail, his old enemy Dr Mahathir
unexpectedly emerges from retirement to lead the charge against the Umno kleptocracy (Malaysiakini)

When Pakatan Harapan takes over as government, it will not exactly be a one-party management. With PKR, DAP and Amanah joining forces with Dr Mahathir's Parti Bersatu as equal partners, there will effectively be at least three different political ideologies - many more if you include a few independent parties from Sabah and Sarawak, plus the remains of Gerakan and PPP - working together (preferably in perfect harmony and hopefully with minimal friction) towards one common goal - the rescue of Malaysia from the economic and ethical doldrums and the creation of a healthy national ethos in which every citizen regardless of skin color, culinary preferences and creed can at last feel a sense of belonging - and therefore a sense of authentic pride.

It remains to be seen whether Umno will survive as the Opposition. Without its reactionary and dangerous Ketuanan Melayu agenda - and suddenly deprived of the chance to carry on robbing the nation - these descendants of pirates will almost surely disintegrate as a political party. Those individuals amongst them with any intelligence and ability whatsoever will swiftly realize that the horse is DEAD - kaput, finito, expired - and proceed on foot till they reach the next oasis where they will rest and reassess their lives and, insyallah, come to their senses and become decent human beings.

No, Lisa, we don't want Malaysia to become like America or Britain where the illusion of democracy, not the real thing, prevails. We don't want a Tweedledum and Tweedledee type of two-party system (like the Donkey and Elephant parties or the Tories and Whigs). In fact, we don't want to be obsessed with government and politics any longer than we need!

What we want is a clean, efficient administration that will work quietly and with minimal histrionics to ensure that everyday life just keeps getting easier and pleasanter for more and more of the population. Ultimately, the government of a country ought to be just like the plumbing in your house - we don't want to be distracted by it or even notice it. A properly designed plumbing system carries out its functions unobtrusively, without complaint, and with negligible maintenance problems. Indeed, the plumbing in a well-built house ought to last at least a hundred years!

With government out of the way and internalized, we will at long last become a nation of self-governing individuals with nothing to stop us from each fulfilling our true destinies as free citizens and achieving our maximum potential as evolving humans.

And, take my word for it, Lisa dear. It's NOT going to take another two generations. Perhaps two terms under a new, enlightened government!

[First posted 17 January 2009, reposted 14 December 2013]


Lisa Lee said...

OMG!!! Thanks for sharing it to me in a simple analogy and yet so profound. You are indeed amazing. Your writing can be so intellectual and yet can be so simple.

I appreciate this. Thanks for this insight. Hehe~

Rambling Mind said...

Hahahahaha, you're an idealist at heart.

SFGEMS said...

That's a truly passionate posting! Was wonderful to read it! :)

Mr Bojangles said...

But don't forget the role of the ordinary folk or rakyat in this grand scheme of things. Remember we get the kind of government we deserve, or that government is a reflection of society at large.

Ordinary Malaysians too need to behave, be civil, stand for their rights, respect the law, learn to queue, be disciplined, treat nature, each other, our surroundings, and the environment with utmost respect, mind your dogs, don't dump where it says dilarang membuang sampah, park indscriminately... get the drift?

Oftentimes I think it is the way we behave towards each other that has spawned the type of monster that the BN often is. They see they way WE behave and believe their depredatory actions are justified...why cast pearls at swine or the sweaty masses, kind of thing.

Good governance, transparency, enforcement, lack of corruption, honesty are all very good. But we must have a populace that is really appreciative of the concept. Like, how many of us aren't really grateful that we can pay upfront a little sum to avoid the hassle of paying more at the balai (never mind that our wrongdoing may have endangered others)? Some, if not most, are just glad we have these little, little windows of opportunity so we can get on with our busy, busy, daily lives. How many are just too nonchalant or uncaring that they have cut a queue, scrambled onto a bus pushing aside the orderly or feeble since our business is more urgent or we are stronger, knowing we can get away with it.

So, yes. It's good if we can have the kind of semi-utopia many envisage, but all segments of society have to play their part. No use just blaming the government, the politicians (who, by definition are predators,in any case). Change is good but not by replacing one bunch of marauders with another. And that can be achieved if the community or society at large can also get its act together.

Starmandala said...

Lisa - Thanks for being the first person to read and comment. I'm so pleased you liked the parable. I happen to like words that begin with "para" as in parable, paradox, parakeet, parabola, parachute, paranormal, paragon, paradigm, paradise (perhaps because it takes TWO to tango and a paradox to produce a puppy, woof woof ;-)

Rambling Mind - Call yourself a "professional risk-taker"! Don't you know being a "hardheaded cynic" is just another way of "playing it safe"? But I know something about you that you probably won't publicly admit! Scratch a crusty pragmatist and you'll find the original undercoat of thwarted childhood dreams lying just a hair's breadth beneath the sprayed-on veneer of street-savvy :-) In any case the words "IDEA" & "IDEAL" are closely related, which suggests that an IDEAL is really just the way we ENVISAGE our reality to be... before some unwashed cod-piece-wearing ruffians gatecrashed our reverie & forced us to see the world THEIR way (& we weren't old enough or had big enough balls to tell them to fuck off!)

Lita - Big hug for that! How not to be impassioned when inspired by a young muse named Lisa? ;-) CU later, Emancipator @ the Vigil? xox

Mr Bojangles - Thanks for your highly pertinent remarks. As I always say, how can we expect our leaders to be honest, helpful, sincere, compassionate, generous, understanding, forgiving etc, etc... unless & until we embody those virtues ourselves? Spot on!

zorro said...

Lisa darling, come out and down to meet us very common earthlings.

backStreetGluttons said...

Your new intense truth is stranger than fairytale script should be repackaged into a coming sentimental Klangvalleywood feeling really good blockbuster to rival award winning Pirates of the Caribbean , to be directed by acclaimed Directors BSGCorporation ( New Malaysia ). We are getting the contract ready, plse stby

Anonymous said...

Brilliant summary of the situation, Antares.

Keep shining on your passionate beacon for truth and justice.



Anonymous said...


Starmandala said...

Zorro - Let's hope she likes older guys ;-)

BSG - Let me read the fine print first, OK?

Pak Sako - You are very kind, thank you :-)

Stephen - And so are you, Big Guy with the Big Heart (& Beautiful Wife)!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Antares. This is Dennis. Happy Chinese New Year 2009 2UN family. Cheers, Dennis Chua.

Starmandala said...

Yo, Dennis - Happy Ox Year to you too :-)

TheWhisperer said...

"And, take my word for it, Lisa dear. It's NOT going to take another two generations. Perhaps two terms under a new, enlightened government!"

You have my word too, Lisa.

Bro, excellent post.

Sorry to miss you at the vigil. Was rushing from KT to Bangi and only to make it there a tad after 9pm.

Anonymous said...

Hi Antares,

Thanks for adding me to the "troublemakers hall of fame" I figure the SB watchlist is getting longer and longer soon they will be suffering from sleep deprivations, I can just imagine a whole legion of SB operatives with bloodshot eyes, scatching their heads and trying to scrutinize online

Vijay Kumar Murugavell