Thursday, February 8, 2024


That’s what the Munchkins gleefully sang in the wee hours of May 10th, when it became apparent that Barisan Nasional had finally been voted out after 61 years. As we celebrate Merdeka three months and three weeks from the epic and euphoric Great Reset of 2018, let’s grab a drone’s eyeview of what grand promise regime change may hold for the nation in general and the Arts in particular.

For a start the fraudulent toad of financial excess has been forced from its comfort zone - the odious tempurung of identity politics, founded on false notions of tribal supremacy and monoculturalism. Bare their reactionary fangs and beat their atavistic breasts all they will, they can’t turn back the quantum wave of evolutionary change that swept them off the ramparts of their crumbling fortress. The sheer energy and exuberance of millennials who proudly posted pics of blackened fingers on election day, combined with the tenacity and passion of elders who never lost their youthful idealism, will ensure that things will generally improve rather than worsen (although not as swiftly we’d like).

Now, the essential difference between practitioners of Commerce and the Arts is that while the unrepentant entrepreneur compulsively seeks to privatize what’s public (for instance, fencing up a forest, installing a turnstile, and selling tickets to the waterfall), the true artist feels obliged to transmute private experiences and insights into public displays or performances (turning a painful romantic breakup into a catchy folk ballad, or some childhood nightmare into a blockbuster horror movie).

The sneaky and destructive urge to exploit, control, anesthetize and enslave is shared by the bureaucrat, corporatocrat, technocrat, aristocrat and plutocrat; while the inherently creative artistic impulse seeks to excite, awaken, enlighten and liberate. We can gauge the maturity, sanity, vitality and wisdom of a nation by the value it places on the future-shaping dynamic of cultural and spiritual ferment generated by its arts practitioners and sociocultural visionaries.

As a rejuvenated nation (and who doesn’t feel young seeing an acerbic but grandfatherly nonagenarian reinstated as prime minister?) celebrating its hard-won freedom from the mental shackles of a murky feudal past, Malaysia would do well to encourage and nurture creativity and innovation in all its diverse forms - even if fresh ideas and a revitalized national narrative may horrify a few stick-in-the-mud Keepers of Outmoded Tradition.

Only an inept and timid fool would drive into an unknown future with eyes glued to the rearview mirror of a dysfunctional past. So let’s look forward in confidence, calm and clearheaded, and trust in the innate decency, creativity, resourcefulness and wisdom of all Malaysians.

Failure to seize the moment and ride the momentum of metamorphosis will lead to cultural paralysis, intellectual stagnation and political disintegration. If we wish to witness a reverse brain-drain and a resurgence of true patriotism expressed creatively, then we would do well to embrace the enthusiasm, optimism and positivity of a Dorothy Gale, whose close encounter with the dreaded Wizard of Oz ends happily with his being exposed as merely a bogus god, fearfully hiding behind expensive machinery and massive propaganda.

[Originally published in The Edge Merdeka Supplement, 31 August 2018, reposted 5 October 2018]

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Absolutely fascinating... the behavior of a hecatonicosachoron in 4D/3D space! (reprise)

[Source: American KabukiA CELESTIAL MYSTERY SOLVED ~ The Secret to an Unknown Human Power by GW Hardin]

 Hecatonicosachoron rotating in 3 Dimensions
Hecatonicosachoron inner cell rotation in 3 dimensions

[First posted 19 April 2013, reposted 11 Febriary 2019]

Monday, February 5, 2024

One easy way to work a miraculous transformation in Malaysia... (reprise)

Institutionalized idolatry... or what? I can understand some folks hanging portraits of their dead ancestors on the wall to honor their memories.

Teenagers tend to adorn their bedroom walls with posters of their current idols - usually chart-topping popstars or icons of the silver screen.

College students generally prefer to decorate their dorm rooms with images of their ideological or athletic heroes.

Bachelors tend to worship buxom bombshells like Playmates of the Month or Bollywood sirens.

So why do some folks hang up formal portraits of royalty? Well, I can sort of understand if they are impressed by figures of authority dressed in ceremonial costumes.

But why put up official portraits of public servants? I mean, unless your maid is as hot looking as Robengah, why would you hang her picture on your living room wall?

Perhaps there are a few kinky people who have a collection of infamous criminals' images on their wall - notorious characters like Jack the Ripper or Jeffrey Dahmer (the serial killer and cannibal) or Dick Cheney or even Pol Pot.

But why Najib? He may be involved up to his eyebrows in the cold-blooded murder of a Mongolian woman he never met... but nothing has been established in court... not yet.

So why accord him such a place of honor on your wall? Wouldn't that only serve to bolster his puffed-up ego and make him believe that 69% of the population actually adores him?

If you wish to do something really positive for your nation, people, take down all those ridiculous portraits of the crime minister... and chuck them in the trashcan.

Believe me, everything will improve overnight in this benighted land!

[First posted 4 January 2011]