Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nasi Campur, Anyone?

A Perak UMNO assemblyman has defected to PKR. Wait, two PKR assemblymen have gone missing and are declaring to become independents – and will join the Barisan Nasional coalition. Oh, guess what? A rumour has it a DAP assemblywoman is also defecting and will support the Barisan takeover of Perak. By the way, the former UMNO assemblyman has gone back the other direction into UMNO's loving arms! Hold on….anybody else gone missing? Ah….What’s happening in Kedah? Any updates from Negeri Sembilan? Is Karpal Singh filing a law suit against the sultan of Perak? How many mentri besar does Perak really have? Who is the actual mentri besar of Perak, anyway? Does the answer not depend on who you ask this question?

Has your head stopped spinning yet? Well, mine is slowing down a bit but it is still spinning from all the ‘breaking news’ and fast changing political developments that were coming our way these past week or so.

Oh, the wonders of Malaysian politics and our politicians. Imagine, many politicians actually have the audacity to get annoyed when they find that the public really has very little respect for them. Well, isn't it obvious why most of us have much difficulty putting much faith in most of our politicians? The unfolding of events in Perak – and potentially in other states – should come as a serious wake-up call to all of us about the absurdity of the kind of political circus we are compelled to endure from our politicians.

Let me suggest to you that none of what has transpired in recent days ought to surprise us. These events merely reflect an extension of a pervasive political culture - much like, for example, our highly distinctive nasi campur - very much a peculiarity of Malaysian style money-intimidation politics. Oh yes, I know – you can get nasi campur in Indonesia and Singapore, for instance. What’s so distinctively Malaysian about it? But you can’t get the UMNO flavoured nasi campur in Singapore or elsewhere! This is very much a Malaysian concoction.   

Let’s not be fooled about what we’re seeing unfold. Just as the takeover of Perak was nothing less than a coup d’état, the ethically compromised money-intimidation politics we’ve been accustomed to for some years now has simply degenerated to a new low. That’s all – nothing less, nothing more. This is not about a few troubled souls who could not seem to have enough self-dignity, courage, integrity, and political conviction whereby they could stand for anything other than be reduced to the most basic instinct of self-preservation (some call it self-interest).   

It is easy to scapegoat these individuals who became, in many ways, the latest version of the ingredients in the making of the nasi campur from Perak. Indeed, like the rest of us, they became part of the recipe of our Malaysian money-intimidation politics. This recipe has been utilized many times before and will be utilized many, many more times again. Of course on this occasion, we had a particularly spicy preparation.

Of course we can decide that we’re tired of this recipe and will no longer tolerate these misguided chefs trying to feed us stomach-turning and disgusting tasting nasi campur.

Unless we stop eating this bad nasi campur, we’ll simply be fed more of it - and continue to get sick. 

G. Krishnan