Saturday, May 4, 2013

X marks the spot

Malaysians who are registered voters will be making X's and ticks on the sweet spot on the ballots to choose which joker gets to represent them at the state assembly as well as the national Parliament tomorrow.

 I don't know photoshop or I'd change the flag.
Things have gotten a bit tense with both sides going all out badmouthing the other party and praising their own (non existent) virtues, or as the Malays put it, masuk bakul angkat sendiri, (literal translation: getting into a basket and lifting it yourself. No, not in an elevator).

One side is promising transformation of the country into higher income nation and has put in place a number of policies to make this happen.  The other side accuses the incumbent of corruption, cronyism yada yada yada and is urging for CHANGE at any cost for whatsoever reason. Just give them a try. You know, like that outfit you liked at Debenhams. Except that you're gonna keep buying (and paying for it) for the next five years. According to them, if we don't like them, we can return them after the five years are over.


It is quite common to have a lot of mudslinging and accusations of money politic (face it; you'd do the same if you have the moola). There's really nothing new to that. Those who are intensely political (whether a member of a political party or no) are prone to grand pronouncement of the evil being/has been/will be perpetrated by the other side.

Whoever voted a pauper into office? 

However, the vitriol appears to be magnified with social media. Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, blogs etc has made lobbing accusations, speculations, half truths and downright lies to muddle things up beyond all recognition downright effortless. What with the pictures and videos and innuendos and blatant statements, there is no peace in scrolling down my FB wall. I am not going to put up examples of the idiocy they keep spewing every ten minutes; I don't think keeping my blood on boil is good for my health.

I actually longed to see anything but those toxic sewage and would gratefully accept my married friends posting sweet nothings to their significant others or the mommies crowing that their precious child had scored all As/had bowel movement/won the Nobel prize. Mind you, these are things that often made me grit my teeth and want to do massive de-friending.

It's enough to make me want to run screaming into the night.

 I wish I could escape too.

Politicians have behaved as they always did since people discovered that they can screw up society beyond belief (and profiting from it!) by holding elections. After all, a dictator only needs to make sure the gulags in the most inhospitable of countryside are well supplied to house any and all dissidents; no popularity contests needed. Since Malaysia boasts a democratic process to populate the Parliament under the Constitutional Monarch (our beloved Yang Dipertuan Agong), we see the shenanigans amping up since the nomination day some three weeks ago.

Just change the flag in the background and this is applicable worldwide.

Both sides claim that they can do the best for the country. I am pretty partisan, don't get me wrong. But this post is not about preaching to the choir or trying to convert the infidels. I am just as cynical as many about what politicians can actually deliver. The crushing blow experienced during the 2008 election has made the incumbent work harder to satisfy the grassroots, sometimes doing ridiculous things that make even their hardcore supporters wince or even explode in outrage. Nonetheless, this isn't necessarily a bad thing; gone are the days they can put up a flag pole as a candidate and they'll get the votes. They have to amp up the game and do whatever possible to make sure that this time around they'll coax the voters to give them a comfortable majority.

Glad-handing once every four to five years. In between election, the elected official often vanishes into the aether.

I do believe that for our government to work well, we need a strong and decent Opposition. Sadly, that is not what we have. We have a loose "coalition" of three parties (actually five, but one got absorbed into the Big Brother's party and the remaining adik is being mercilessly bullied by the rest) which doesn't even share common goals or ideals. But hey, politics make for stranger bedfellows and all the best to those who believe in their earnest exhortations on how they are actually BFFs (who stab each other in the back on a regular basis) who are the best people to run Malaysia. They will give us free education! Lower the price of petrol (or gasoline to those who speak American)! Abolish toll roads! Vote us and you'll go to heaven!

Standard campaign promises. For some, the manifesto is not a promise.

And the BS goes on.

(Yeah, you can probably see which side I'm leaning on, hehehe).

What really got my goat is their rallying cry of "Ini kalilah!"; an abuse of the national language which does not endear them to me AT ALL. Kalau aku tanya "Baru turun tongkang ke?", marah pulak nanti...
It's definitely a chicken vs egg situation.

Anyhoo ... if you are a registered Malaysian voter, please understand that you are incredibly precious to the country. Not just your contribution to the country's economy, but also for ensuring that we elect the right person to lead the nation.

Remember, your vote counts. Unless you spoil it. 

You are spoilt for choice! You can choose from the incumbent coalition, the Opposition (in a few places, they actually fielded more than one candidate from different parties. I told you it's a loose coalition *rolls eyes*) and a whole slew of Independent candidates (most of whom are actually sulkers from either the incumbent or the Oppo; a few are genuine believers that they have a chance at winning).
Choose which ever your heart desires ...

Whichever party that wins, we must come back together as a nation. It is sad that politics have driven a wedge that separates us, but I have faith that Malaysians can see the bigger picture and put aside our differences to continue to make our country the best that it can be.

For that purpose, Anas Zubedy of the famed "Let us add value" advertisements (that rival Yasmin Ahmad's films on triggering tearful reactions) that appear in the newspapers during the National Day and Malaysia Day has initiated a campaign to heal this rift.

So please participate in this, and help us put the silliness of the elections behind us as quickly as possible. Let us make a conscious effort to not hold grudges, to stop reading and spreading poisonous materials that are put up on our FB walls, and to just keep on living our lives the way we always have (or at least aspire towards): with dignity, grace and kindness.


gostansikit said...

Im afraid the biggest damage ( to the young generation of students on the social media) cannot b undone. The hatred has been sowed n im really afraid what will become of this country in d future. I totally concur with you. But our voice is too old n weak .

catharsis said...

Loved the post! U literred it with all sorts of meows!! And plenty of reason! I think the seeds of hatred could be starved and die out if we refuse to water them and start planting and nourishing seeds of love and tolerance. After all, we still have to live with each other after the elections whatever the results kan? Let's get back to nation building, not just to whoever is in power, but to you and I, the rakyat,as the Snuze's kittens say "let's get back to work". Hugs snuze,

Snuze said...

Ms. Goh, that is why we need to participate in the Say Something Nice campaign. Perhaps we can drown out the hatred with love!

Catharsis, you get eleventy billion hugs and kisses!