Saturday, July 25, 2009

Making Pisang Goreng and Going Bananas*

One of my fondest memories as a kid is hanging out with friends and having something good to eat. When we’d get together – whether at recess time during school, walking to and from school, after a football game, or at the hawkers stand on weekends, very little else was as much fun. Pisang goreng was always one of my favourite things and on such occasions, rarely did I pass up the chance to have some.

As I got a bit older and started paying attention to the news and listened to our so-called ‘leaders’ I couldn’t help but start to get tired of the constant barrage of sermons we were subjected to about avoiding racially sensitive issues. From all quarters of the regime, we’d be consistently bombarded with the rhetoric of how great we were for having forged a plural society based on religious and racial tolerance and harmony. And it was anathema for anyone to question the regime’s agenda and approach to ‘managing’ our supposedly delicate state of affairs. Sure, we had our dark times and had to work through those periods and we apparently found some common solutions to get through them as well.

Nevertheless, if was easier – and more convenient - not to contemplate such ‘big’ issues. Hey, enjoy! We are blessed with an abundance of fabulous food all around us! Eat to your hearts content! Distract yourself from the ‘real world.’

As I look at the way this UMNO regime continues to repeat the same admonishments and mantras – and then like true hypocrites – perpetuate and exploit racial discord, it has truly become a farce as this regime continues to go bananas.

The past few days I’ve not been feeling too well. Might be the air quality (or lack thereof) I’ve encountered; I’m really not sure. However, the feeling I had in my stomach was the kind I get whenever I eat a rotten pisang goreng.

You know what I’m taking about? Just sick to your stomach…well, I won’t get too graphic about it. Anyway, I thought I was starting to feel better and then I came across this headline on Malaysiakini: ‘Umno offered PAS to jointly rule S'gor

Now, if you haven’t already, you can click on the link above and read it. Apparently UMNO and PAS representatives met, shortly after the recent general elections, where UMNO proposed for PAS to link up with UMNO and form the Selangor state government. The part about the report that really got me mad as a hatter was the fact that Abdul Khalid Samad (PAS) who is ‘the MP for Shah Alam, further claimed that the meeting was coloured with a racial agenda - to halt the predominantly Chinese DAP from making inroads into the Selangor government.’ [Emphasis added.]

Ahh, the ‘virtues’ of the UMNO regime. Is this the face of a regime committed to a multi-ethnic and ‘harmonious’ Malaysia? I’m not sure what else this could speak to but for me, it sure speaks volumes of a bogus and bankrupt rhetoric that BN has espoused for years. This slice of testimony really does capture and embodies all that UMNO has been – and will ever be about. Take any road, use any means to prevent loss of power. And I am actually not too shocked about it, as I’ve felt, for some time, that UMNO’s game is always about exploiting and thriving on racism. Imagine what a way UMNO employed to ‘entice’ PAS into its fold!

But – and this is the part that continues to annoy the hell out of me – what does this say about parties like MCA and MIC who continue to aid and abet the systematic racism that is central to UMNO. I don’t believe the cronies of MCA and MIC have not been aware of UMNO’s racist tendencies. Quite the contrary, they must know too well how UMNO operates. They would have to be bigger fools than I think they are if these ‘partners’ of UMNO did not understand UMNO’s ways and methods. So I’ll leave it to you to deduce the possible scenarios that explain this kind of blind allegiance from MCA and MIC to UMNO.

Well, I feel like UMNO has been feeding us lots of pisang goreng that looks great on the outside, but is made from rotten bananas. And it seems many – especially in MCA and MIC - continue to deny the obvious: that the UMNO banana tree has been diseased for a long time and only produces rotten bananas. The so-called guardian of uplifting the common Malay person and supposed protector of our plural Malaysia is anything but that.

Perhaps you have heard the Malay proverb that goes something along the lines of: jika batang mati, munkin cendawan tumbuh (where there is a dead branch, there’s bound to be fungus.)

For me, there cannot be tasty pisang goreng from rotten bananas. Not even with a nice glass of teh tarik.

*I posted this commentary last July. Clearly, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

G. Krishnan