Well, 2008 has been an eventful year, has it not? I suspect many of you news junkies like me must surely have processed a ton of information over these past twelve months. I for one was roused, stirred, inspired, touched, and moved by many news stories. There were also many things I read which gave me a chuckle and others that, through their sheer absurdity, gave me a good belly laugh. As I looked back on some of the news stories of the year, I was also struck by some of the many quotes I came across that were especially memorable - because of being so absurd, farcical, outlandish, transparently insulting of our intelligence, or comical and laughable.
That's how the following list of my top ten quotes came about. Now mind you, I had a really tough time narrowing my choices down to the following ten. There were some truly memorable ones which I grudgingly had to leave out. Of course not all of you will agree with my picks. But there you have it – each for its own peculiar reason (which I do not go into), my choice for the top ten most infamous quotes that made the news.
Here you have it...
10. “You must be wondering why is this idiot doing all this?” – Samy Vellu, referring to himself while admonishing the guests at the launch of the MIC’s ‘re-branding campaign. Did you think anyone else could utter these words?
9. "When you are a mosquito, do not try to threaten an elephant. When you become beggars, don't try to threaten (us)." - Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz launched a verbal tirade against PPP.
8. "Maybe our intention was misinterpreted. Among BN members, there should not be any misunderstanding. We in BN are like brothers." - PPP Youth chief T Murugiah in response to Nazri’s ‘tirade’ above.
7. ‘This is a country where everybody has their independence to do whatever they like.’ - Samy Vellu. (Need I say more?)
6. “Umno is not a ‘bully’ party, there is no such thing as bully, we are all friends.” – Abdullah Badawi
5. "With this declaration, we will know for sure where and for what she is travelling overseas." – Rais Yatim, on his ministry’s idea to require Malaysian women to have written consent from their employer or family members when travelling abroad. This measure was meant to curtail the use of women as ‘mules’ for drug traffickers.
4. "It is unacceptable to see women who love the male lifestyle including dressing in the clothes men wear." - Abdul Shukor Husin of the Fatwa Council commenting on an impending fatwa against ‘tomboys.’
3. "I received his (Mohd Saiful's) visit in my capacity as a leader and he as an ordinary citizen who wanted to tell me something... I don't know him before this." – Najib addressing a press conference in July regarding his meeting with Saiful.
2. “We are here to bury Anwar’s political career.” - Khairy Jamaluddin’s reference to Anwar Ibrahim, while addressing a rally during the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign.
1. “Babi!" "Balik Cina” - The mob outside the Bar Council intimidating the participants of the Council’s forum on religious conversion. (As we turn the page on 2008, let this serve as a sad commentary – and a sobering reminder - on the persistence of extremist communalism in the country and its power in stiffling the mother's milk of democracy - civilised free speech.)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!