Saturday, May 26, 2012

Words of Wisdom and Folly ~ a pictorial

Then make them attend your workshop or subscribe to your e-bulletin.
Then you reach the end and discover it was a complete waste of time.
If nobody's looking, you're allowed to cheat.
Happiness is overrated anyhow... don't you think?
Yelling at people also helps, if you can afford it.
In fact, you can have lots of fun just hanging around them till they go crazy.
Or just keep quiet and let the damned fool step right into the open manhole.
Well, just ask for directions, silly.



Shooting ourselves in the foot (over and over again)...

Biro Tatanegara (or the National Indoctrination Bureau) was established in 1974 during Tun Razak's tenure. But it took around ten years to evolve into the sinister operation that has been getting a load of negative publicity in recent days.

The fact that BTN is an adjunct of the Prime Minister's Department makes it a convenient mechanism for the systematic dissemination of the official doctrine throughout the rank and file of the civil and diplomatic services. BTN also ensures that the academic bureaucracy adheres to Umno's official doctrine of Ketuanan Melayu and loyalty to the government.

Some who have been processed through the BTN experience and survived with their minds intact and independent report that the BTN's agenda is insidiously racist and deliberately divisive. Unthinking conformity is what the Biro Tatanegara is really all about.

The desire to imprint the rulers' ideology on all subjects is a hallmark of every patriarchal society. After all, the words "pattern" and "paternal" share the same etymology, namely, issuing from the Pater or Father.

And isn't it true that every Father wants his children to be, above all, obedient? The Old Testament - specifically, Genesis - portrays disobedience as the Original Sin.

Fast-forward to the Digital Era where being at the cutting edge requires thinking out of the box, an adventurous and innovative spirit, and a willingness to break the rules.

Where do our BTN graduates stand in the 21st century world of instant communications and nanotech? You can invest billions in an artificial city called Cyberjaya - but, unless you import all the talent, you're not going to find many innovators emerging from local institutes of learning.


In the first place, genuflecting before your social superiors is hardly conducive to nurturing creative genius. Don't forget Tuan is a contraction of Tuhan - and a culture that compels an individual to submit to God will always extend that compulsion to submitting before God's representatives on Earth, namely the Monarchs.

Talented and inspired brainiacs like Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple Computers), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (originator of Facebook) aren't the type who can handle too much protocol - unless you're referring to computer protocols.

Indeed, a distinguishing feature of cybernetic wizards is their disdain for red-tape and formality. Imagine the fun the pioneers of IT had naming everything from scratch. How did they come up with "mouse" for the device with which you navigate the screen? Or a name like Yahoo! for an all-purpose portal?

Let's say you're the Sultan of Selangor and you're accustomed to being addressed formally as Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj (best to leave out the interminable list of honorary titles).


So what happens when the Sultan becomes IT savvy and buys himself a Macbook? He's going to be using email and you can't possibly have such an unwieldy name in your email address. He could shorten it to sultan_idris@istana-selangor.my or perhaps even idris@istana-selangor.my - and in so doing he would be dispensing with cumbersome formality. In all probability, he would write in normal language when sending emails to his buddies, instead of adhering to traditional court language. Indeed, if he were to try his hand at internet chat, he'd probably want to conceal his royal status with a funky nick like "nicerichboy" or "hrh1."

This is what happens when human consciousness shifts from analog to digital mode. Traditionalists may scorn the way kids today have murdered language by coming up with SMS terms like :-) or LOL or 2moro or CU. But you have to admit there's a certain appeal in adopting newfangled computer symbols like @ or signing off with an ASCII heart, thus: <3 - and, as these new memes spread like some species of computer virus, the near-lightspeed movement of binary codes and pixels across the planet's fiber-optic highways swiftly creates a far more egalitarian social template than any theory of human evolution could ever have predicted. That's why I always ROTFLMAO whenever I hear potato-headed politicians like the education and communications ministers urging Malaysians to be "more innovative" and to prepare themselves for the rapid shift to "a knowledge-based economy."

You guys wouldn't recognize a creative genius even if one snuck up and poked you playfully in the butt. I bet you didn't realize a lot of creative geniuses look just like that troublemaker Namewee @ Wee Meng Chee whose citizenship you once wanted to revoke because he "insulted" the national anthem (as though a song could possibly be offended by some 23-year-old rapper doing an off-the-wall cover version of it).

Well, if that's what you really want, you're really gonna regret it when you finally get it, Messrs Muhyiddin and Rais. Do you know why? Because no creative genius will give a fuck how much you paid for your silk ties nor will they be too impressed by all the guff that issues from your political mouths. Keep the population dumb and conformist with your goddam BTN, if you wish to enjoy your VVIP status and your ridiculous robber baron perks. But don't you dare lament the fact that Malaysia has been left way behind every other country.

Up till now you've had it good siphoning off our collective wealth with all the natural resources the land has produced - and things got even sexier when oil was found off our coast. However, some say the oil reserves will be depleted within a few years - and then how are you going to maintain your extravagant lifestyle? Revert to piracy and slave-trading?

[First published 28 November 2009]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mr Pink Lips Loses His Head... Again!


Uploaded 22 May 2009

Now this is a lot more fun and much funkier than scaring Polis with lighted candles and threatening the Homo Minister with birthday cakes. Whoever carried out this courageous act of guerrilla warfare, bravo and tabik!


[First uploaded 24 May 2009 as a rehearsal. Now we're ready for the real thing.]

This song is for you, Nannan... wherever you are!




HAPPY 71st SOLAR ORBIT, BOB!
Thanks for all the inspiration, bro.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

An obituary for Mahathirism ~ by Josh Hong

A deranged doctor in the house

Josh Hong | Malaysiakini
4:07PM May 18, 2012

Mahathir Mohamad may have been a dutiful and well-respected medical doctor back in the 1940s. But his decision to enter the political fray has - it’s safe to say - turned out to be a sheer nightmare for the country as a whole.

Mahathir could have maintained his good reputation as a doctor, but his name is now ruined, forever associated with the Twin Towers of corruption and cronyism, his only solace being perhaps the personal wealth that he and his sons managed to accumulate when he was at the zenith of his tyrannical rule.

And the most pathetic thing about this old man is that he had a choice to become either a statesman or a rascal, but he has clearly opted to be remembered as a deranged veteran who refuses to believe the world around him has changed.

By any standards, Mahathir was an intelligent man among his contemporaries. Even Lee Kuan Yew found him a tough nut to crack.

Lee is an elite member of the old anglophile school who could easily quote a famous British judge to justify his own autocratic governance, but was confronted with tremendous difficulties in articulating his thoughts with the masses in Singapore’s early days as an independent state. But Mahathir, himself from the top drawer of his time, was often able to return to the grassroots and arouse populist sentiment for his own cause when the going got tough.

Which makes it all the more tragic that the doctor has now become deranged in his own house. With Barisan Nasional appearing to lose power sooner or later, he is living in great fear of his own misdeeds and transgressions being laid bare under the Malaysian sun. Had Mahathir been a righteous and just-minded leader, he would not have to shudder constantly at the scenario of an alternative government, for his rectitude would remain intact, come what may.

But integrity is precisely what the doctor is short of. To pre-empt potential change of government, he is now working profusely to smear both the Bersih movement and the opposition by joining the government’s chorus of vilification.

In fact, he is almost a lead singer!

Admittedly, Mahathir, who is single-handedly responsible for the erosion of the Malaysian judiciary does not see eye to eye with the Bar Council. The bad blood, however, came only from the doctor himself as he tried to ‘fix’ the judges as he did his own patients in Alor Star. His caustic remarks that the Bar Council has become a political party therefore only reveal his ineptitude in understanding the role of the legal fraternity.

Hence, it was a blessing that the colonial administration allegedly denied him a scholarship to read law in London!

Instead of hurling hollow accusations at the Bar Council, Mahathir should have the decency to admit as many as 90 percent of the judges, high-ranking police officers and “mainstream” journalists - especially those from RTM, TV3, Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, The Star and the New Straits Times - actually joined Umno and became his underlings after 1988.

Speaking truth to power

No, the Bar Council is not partisan. It just so happens that the current government is more often than not found to be on the wrong side of the law, and our lawyers are duty-bound to correct it. A Singaporean lawyer once told me how much she wished her colleagues back home would have the guts to speak truth to power like many of her Malaysian counterparts. This time on the Bersih 3.0 rally, the Malaysian Bar Council has again proven her right, of which I am indeed proud.

And Mahathir consistently refuses to accept the simple fact that Malaysians have different political identifications as rightful citizens. As far as he sees it, anyone who votes for the opposition is a bad Malaysian and less worthy, yet he ought to be told that not all who vote for Pas are religious “fanatics” and those who opt for the DAP are Chinese “chauvinists”. They simply want a government that is less corrupt, more honest and knows its limits.

My parents, for one, voted first the Barisan Sosialis Rakyat Malaya and then PAS throughout their lives, and did that make them racists or religious bigots? And how would “racists” like my parents have chosen PAS over either the MCA or the Chinese-dominated Gerakan in the first place? Can the doctor see the abject lack of logic in his view?

Simply put, Mahathir is now so paranoid and caught up with profound angst that he has lost all his senses, bent only on poisoning the minds of the Malays - young and old alike - with his race-centric rhetoric. Instead of championing greater transparency, public accountability and political integrity, he is going on an immoral crusade against anyone who simply wants to make Malaysia a better country to live in.

Which, in retrospect, was perhaps a reason why he was rejected by the colonial administration, for Mahathir just beats the British at their own game: divide and rule that is.


JOSH HONG studied politics at London Metropolitan University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. A keen watcher of domestic and international politics, he longs for a day when Malaysians will learn and master the art of self-mockery, and enjoy life to the full in spite of politicians.