Monday, February 16, 2009

MIC: The Paradox

Recently the Kedah MIC chief V Saravanan was talking-up his party’s credentials for contesting for the Bukit Selambau seat in the upcoming by-election. It was not surprising that the news report noted Saravanan, ticking-off his party’s accomplishments in Bukit Selambau, had in the past helped build three Tamil schools, along with, helped “upgrade” so-called “basic infrastructure, amenities and facilities in the constituency” – whatever that means.

Perhaps you may have noticed that whenever the MIC patsies talk up their credentials, invariably, there will be, aside from vague inferences to such claims as improving “basic infrastructure and amenities,” the reference to Tamil schools. I can’t help but be struck by this rhetoric time and again. For example, you might recall not too long ago MIC’s S. Subramaniam tried to make a big deal about how a RM50 million allocation for Tamil schools was proof that his UMNO masters were not marginalising Indians.   

Then there was the time that Samy Vellu tried to pull off a publicity stunt to demonstrate his sensitivity to reforming the MIC’s much damaged image by pandering to the issue of Tamil schools – this time, claiming the MIC “will recommend to the cabinet that the teaching of Mathematics and Science be reverted to Tamil in line with the wishes and aspirations of Tamil school headmasters and parents.” 

The above is only a small sampling of examples about how one–dimensional and preoccupied the MIC typically tends to be about the issue of Tamil schools. It is almost as if there is nothing else more pressing and holy to the Indians than Tamil schools.

Let me be clear: I have nothing against education; in fact, I’m all for it! But I must say, for a bunch of incompetent patsies, the MIC sure does seem to care tremendously about Tamil education and schools, don’t you think? Well, let me put it this way: for a bunch of chums who cannot seem to even allocate grass-cutting contracts without having it turn into a major scandal, these characters seem especially keen on propping up the issue of schools.

Well, we know that in some instances, being a secondary school dropout is actually a really valued credential to operating one of the biggest ventures – albeit a disastrous one – the MIC ever cooked-up. But why complicate this issue about MIC mismanagement and incompetence with their willingness to always seem like champions of Tamil education and schools? No, I’m sure being incompetent doesn’t discredit anyone for being a supporter of education, right? 

After all, we know that promoting our children’s education is the most important thing we can do – no matter how self-serving our motives may be. 

Yet, I can’t help but wonder that given the fact that despite these MIC chums apparently being such staunch advocates for Tamil education and schools, our children continue to suffer the indignity of having to attend such dilapidated and disgustingly under-funded schools. I would have thought given how much the MIC seems to repeatedly brag about having done this and the other for Tamil schools for all these decades, no less with the supposed financial backing of its patron UMNOputeras, our children would be attending state-of the-art Tamil schools! 

Indeed, given how well the MIC had previously done with also promoting “infrastructure and amenities” for all those years they were in control, you’d think the standard of living enjoyed by Indians and others in Bukit Selambau would be on par with that of those living in Damansara Heights or Bukit Tunku!   

Instead, we have this V. Saravanan character trying to take pot-shots at PKR in Bukit Selambau for apparently not having done anything for the constituents in the 10 months since taking over the seat. Here’s another example, I suppose, of how these MIC chums display contempt for the public’s intelligence – and seemingly give the public good reason to wonder if these chums themselves might have missed out on a reasonably decent education. I suppose if you’re as incompetent as the MIC, it would only be fair to give MIC an advantage - hence, allow them to compare their pathetic record from decades of incompetence with that of PKR’s 10 month record in Bukit Selambau. 

Alas, you would think that for a party so intent on supporting Tamil schools and education, it would also have leaders capable of acting in a manner more consistent with one that reflects an appreciation of education. Let me give you a little example. I suppose if one was somewhat ‘educated’ to appreciate civility, etiquette, and respectable public conduct, one would not have one’s ‘communication team’ man-handle and threaten a journalist crew or damage their equipment. That’s just not how I would expect civilised public figures to act. In other words, thuggery would not be something I’d associate with civility or education.           

I realise these MIC chums make a big fuss about supporting Tamil schools – despite the glaring evidence that they have been incompetent in doing so – for especially two primary reasons. First, its political base has essentially been that constituency which has been most dependent on Tamil schools for providing basic education for their children. The politics of identity has been very conveniently and simplistically exploited by the MIC to pander to the base of the MIC. In this respect, Tamil schools have been a fertile ground for marking MIC’s apparent political prowess.

Second, and equally importantly, for all these years, the MIC has actually been largely politically impotent to do much else for the population whose interests it purports to champion. Hence, we hear about pathetic claims such as ‘improving infrastructure and amenities’ for the public, while it mainly continues to harp on the propaganda of supporting Tamil schools.     

I suppose the MIC is the only entity capable of pulling off the miracle of supposedly supporting Tamil schools and improving infrastructure and amenities for its people, and yet the people continue to be inflicted by a discernible and ominous decline in their overall social and economic well-being and quality of life.

Now that’s one of the marvels and hallmark of incompetence personified, which one finds in the fantasy world known as ‘Samy-land.’

G. Krishnan