Monday, January 12, 2009

恭喜发财 Kuala Terengganu

I know, I know. It’s not quite Chinese New Year yet, and you might think it’s a bit too early for getting in the festive mood. Not so.

I want to just wish you the 8787 Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu an early happy Chinese New Year. After all, it seems many of you are already experiencing an early new year! I would venture to guess, to many of you it must feel like this coming year of the Ox will be a very auspicious one. It probably isn’t too often that most of you see such good fortune befall so many of you at one time. I certainly don’t begrudge the attention you’re receiving from the Barisan Nasional political machinery. Trust me when I say I’m happy for you.

After all, how often is it that we so-called pendatang get a chance to feel pampered by Umnoputeras? Trust me, I know it doesn’t happen too often. Sigh…. I’m sure you noticed that I am Indian so you know that I know what it feels like not only to not get pampered and coddled, you must know that I’ve become quite accustomed to being downright ignored and even persecuted lots of times just for being Indian.

Well, but let’s not get into that, la. This is your chance to be in the limelight, and I surely don’t want to rain on your parade. I’m happy for you. As Foo Chih Wan of the Terengganu Chinese Assembly Hall president has said, "
The government is rich and has been fair in distributing the state's wealth. There may be problems faced by the Chinese in other states but not here." Ahh, so lucky la, you guys.

If the reports are true, the fact that you’ve seen
over RM12 million filter through to the pipeline into the Chinese community in Kuala Terengganu is wonderful news! Imagine how far you’ve come, eh? I mean the guy who wants so much to become prime minister once wanted to bathe his keris in your blood. And here he is now going all out for your support in the Kuala Terengganu by-election. I suppose sometimes things just work out this way, right? But then who knows what the rhetoric will be like come March during the UMNO sandiwara - otherwise known as its general assembly! Maybe UMNO's tune about you will change again?

Anyway, I suppose we’ll worry about that later, la. For now, if you happen to see more cash coming your way, of course you should not feel guilty about the bounty. From all indications, you’re now the centre of BN’s attention. By the way, did you know that in the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan estimated at RM230 billion, there was essentially nothing allocated for the Indians? That’s why I consider what you in Kuala Terengganu are getting from BN a real New Year windfall.

Well, we’re all accustomed to BN style politics so we knew this kind of Ang Pows were surely on their way. But I’m sure even you probably had no idea it would be this good, right? I mean when I read that the “
state government further approved RM2.8 million for the refurbishing of the sole Chinese school in Kuala Terengganu, SJK (C) Chung Hwa Wei Sin” and that “the school's brass band will receive another RM200,000,” then I realised exactly how desperate the Umnoputeras are for this parliamentary seat. Sure, it’s not as if the future of the BN regime hangs on the balance if they don’t get this seat. Nevertheless, here you have one single school getting RM2.8 million!?

To put this into perspective, not too long ago,
Najib tried to entice the Permatang Pauh Indian voters with scrap metal licenses! Remember that by-election? Now maybe they realised that that strategy did not go down too well, so this time around they better loosen the purse strings quite a bit.

Well, to be fair, you might remember that finally last November,
Puterajaya agreed to allocate RM50 million to help with the dilapidated Tamil schools around the country. Now imagine how far that will go given we have over 520 Tamil schools sprinkled around the country? And parenthetically, the MIC orang asing were falling all over themselves at the time trying to prop-up their UMNO masters for such a kind gesture to the Indians. So the fact that SJR (C) Chung Hwa Wei Sin’s brass band alone will get RM200,000 is truly wonderful news. Mind you, most of the Tamil schools we’re talking about don’t even have fully employed and trained teachers, let alone have the resources to support a brass band!

By the way, I'm sure the RM110,000 allocated to 40 Chinese religious organisations in Terengganu will also go a long way. You know, to the Indians, this would be a huge accomplishment. Heck, forget about getting money from the Umnoputeras for our "religious organisations," just not having temples destroyed would be a major step forward.

So make the best of this early Chinese New Year. I understand the Ox is a symbol for prosperity and success which comes from good deeds.

Perhaps you’ll do the good deed come election-day in Kuala Terengganu.

And 恭喜发财 to all of you!

G. Krishnan