Thursday, December 11, 2008

MIC’s Pathetic Drivel

Recently the MIC propaganda machine apparently tried to set the record straight about its so-called re-branding exercise. Evidently, this setting straight of the record by the ‘MIC communication team’ was more of a retaliatory move to undermine the arguments various critics of MIC have been making, rather than a credible or convincing attempt to set the proverbial record ‘straight.’ I am not the least bit surprised that the ‘communication team’ was largely propagandist rather than substantive in its thrust.

As you might know, to say that I’ve been rather critical of the MIC leadership and its impotence would be a gross understatement. So I think it is not only appropriate if I do take the liberty to respond to Samy’s ‘communication team,’ I think I would be remiss not to – once again – point out exactly why the criticism that many of MIC’s detractors have leveled against the party, contrary to its claims, is not only highly warranted but indeed a contribution to genuinely setting the record straight. To this end, rather than respond to and comment on every single rhetorical point of the MIC’s ‘communication team,’ I will make my points about the problem with MIC and its credibility by responding to selected remarks of the MIC team.

At one point, the ‘communication team’ claims, ‘MIC and its leaders are not arrogant. Arrogance only steps in when one denies the truth and remains ignorant of the facts of the subject matter.’

I submit to you that in recent months alone, there have been several instances of arrogance where, to quote the ‘communication team, ‘one denies the truth and remains ignorant of the facts of the subject matter.’ Let me highlight one case in point of ignorance – as described by the MIC’s team itself – displayed by one of its leaders. Several weeks back, the MIC’s deputy president had insisted that Indians in Malaysia are not marginalised. Now, talk about an ignorant (and arrogant?) statement! How’s that for denying the truth and being ignorant! But then, when one is engaging in propaganda, what’s the use for facts? So, you see why it is impossible for me to take seriously these kinds of propaganda claims by the MIC’s so-called ‘communication team’?

Let me take up another example from the ‘communication team’ to illustrate another shortcoming evident in its propaganda. It is claimed that the ‘MIC does not engage in fashionable actions such as street demonstrations which have been popular but rather ineffective. MIC has its own institution whose effectiveness has been tested and proven. It has the power to mobilise 500,000 people overnight if it wants to. Confrontational measures are our last resort whereas mutual respect and negotiations have always been our modus operandi.

Now, maybe the blind and brain-dead cronies of Samy Vellu may be impressed. I’m not. First, let me say that after almost half a century of having a stranglehold and monopoly over the preponderance of Malaysian Indian voters, it would be embarrassing indeed if the MIC could not ‘mobilise’ a few hundred thousand people if it wanted to. I would think that despite all the MIC’s incompetence and ineptness, at least it could stir up enough of MIC cronies to do this much. So don’t be too self-congratulatory about something that is not particularly much of a challenge to accomplish.

Second, I’m equally humoured at the MIC's sense of cognitive dissonance and arrogance about its – at best – dismal accomplishments to date. The claim that the ‘MIC has its own institutions whose effectiveness has been tested and proven’ are not only overly – once more – self-congratulatory, they’re also utterly hollow and without credibility in the eyes of millions. I submit that the destruction of Hindu temples by its 'ally' the UMNO-led government is a perfect example of why such a claim by the MIC ‘communication team’ is not only nonsensical, it is farcical. Only recently, we learned again of another case of a Hindu shrine being destroyed in Taman Desa, Seputeh.

By the MIC’s own admission, this destruction at Taman Desa upset the MIC because it supposedly had an understanding with the Federal Territories Minister that there would be a ban of temple destructions and no temples would be destroyed unless alternative land is first allocated for the displaced temple. It sure seems that in this, and the many other cases of temple demolitions, time and again, the MIC has been caught sleeping. I wouldn’t quite characterise the MIC’s so-called ‘effectiveness’ on this issue as ‘tested and proven.’ Actually, if this is symptomatic of the MIC's 'effectiveness,' I'd hate to imagine what its failures would be like! Seems to me, the MIC leadership has been nothing if not absolutely incompetent and a dismal failure on the matter of temple destructions. Unless, of course, on-going temple destructions is what the MIC is trying to accomplish!
Furthermore, the list of its proven failures goes well beyond this one area.

Unlike what the MIC’s ‘communication team’ likes to claim, much of the criticism that has been directed at its beloved president has not been ‘baseless.’ On the contrary, it is the response of the MIC and its arrogance – yes, arrogance – that has been indefensible.

In a society that strives to be democratic, public scrutiny of the kind that the MIC has been subjected to is not only healthy, it is essential. Social commentators, journalists, analysts, and others should not become simple cheerleaders for political organisations and those who want to claim the public’s trust and confidence. So, those of us who – in the words of the ‘communication team’ - 'are willing to strain [our] fingers to write with an agenda and go on a rampage against the untiring efforts of others’ do so because, above all, we hold in high reverence the democratic process, which calls for the conscience of the public to be a check on politicians. It is not the role of bloggers, journalists, and other commentators to express blind allegance to politicians like Samy Vellu. That kind of ‘manipulation’ and propaganda function is precisely the role of entities such as the ‘communication team’ of a political party - not that of those who strive to keep politicians accountable.

And let this response to the MIC’s propaganda be an example and lesson to the MIC ‘communication team’ on the role of scrutiny and public accountability, which those of us who ‘strain our fingers to write’ perform in what should be a free and open society.

G. Krishnan