The Murderous Dance GERAKAN story the party of refugees from MCA their narrative has run its course

If you want to know who will form the next government in SELANGOR, you will have to check with either God or toyol , and neither seem very communicate on the subject.Any democracy is hobbled without an Opposition. Are we condemned to replicate SELANGOR at the national level — where a government wheezes, gasps and limps triumphantly to the finish line because there is no other horse in the race? Mahathir’s take on the election results was revealing- he felt that the problem lay in the absence of a strong grassroots network which did not convert positive intention into delivered votes while Najib complained of there being too many leaders on the ground. In both cases, what is interesting is that the analysis is in … Read more

In electoral science, statistics are illustrative, interpretation is critical and everything is fluid. Politics is evolutionary, and evolution – even Darwin’s – is a theory, not a fact. No election is an echo of the past, let alone a mirror of the future.

Defeat is the distance between a bedtime story and a wake-up call. The former starts with ‘Once upon a time…’ and lulls the voter to sleep. The second is an energiser that addresses a fresh dawn.

Three political parties have become victims of their own success: their narrative has run its course, and they have not been able to find a further chapter to their saga.The  GERAKAN  story is the simplest: the fairies have abandoned its fairy tale. It began as the party of refugees from MCA Datuk Seri Najib Razak must act now and snuff out once and for all attempts by his ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) main party to inflame religious sensitivities in the run-up to national polls, his political foes from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) reminded the prime minister today as they denounced a controversial Facebook posting in Umno Youth’s … Read more

The statistics of this year’s general elections do not justify the self-evident depression that has overtakenThe Left, which could have been taken seriously had it taken itself seriously, reminds one of an anecdote which should be better-known. The ever-punctual Comrade Gorbachev, who huffed and puffed so hard that he brought the whole Soviet house down, was once late for a meeting with a French delegation. He explained to his guests that he had been delayed by a problem in agriculture. When did the problem begin, asked the solicitous French. ‘‘In 1917,’’ replied Gorbachev.

A Pakatan Rakyat double-decker tour bus has been repeatedly splashed with red paint, reflecting that the next general election is approaching and the conflicts between the confronting coalitions have been intensified.

Meanwhile, the route of the bus has also exposed the Pakatan Rakyat’s political strategy.

The bus carrying Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was attacked in Kelantan, Malacca and Johor. Why was Anwar touring these states instead of Selangor, which has been greatly attacked by Barisan Nasional?

Anwar made an announcement recently that the Selangor state election will not be held simultaneously with the general election, as the Election Commission has not cleaned up the electoral roll.

Pakatan Rakyat predicts that the general election might be fall in October or early November and it is also estimated that the Kedah and Penang state elections will be delayed. However, the Kelantan state election will be held simultaneously with the general election.

The strategy brings several advantages to Pakatan Rakyat. First of all, leaders of the opposition pact can first attack BN’s fortress states, including Johor, Malacca, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

Secondly, when Pakatan Rakyat is attacking BN’s fortress states, More important, the major Opposition parties seem trapped in either geographical or ideological limitations, with their cadre having become part-asset and part-liability. Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose political skills should not be underestimated in a crisis, and who put them on display in a feisty performance in the last Lok Sabha session, has been unable to grow outside Uttar Pradesh. The ‘Yadav’ .A statistical approach to national elections is more likely to provide accurate predictions than to regional polls. A critical mass has now formed for a stable government and sharp tensions not only along traditional urban-rural lines, but also big city-big town competition. It is a myth that votes gel or splinter only along a single dimension; there are variables even in the support that goes t Mahathir’s Perkasa. This is why opinion and exit polls have lost their excitement. The eventual truth tends to be far more exciting.Moving on and forgetting will not help. We need to deal with our inner fear to help us combat terror! despite the reported spontaneous ire of people against the government, showed a decidedly lower level of interest and response than earlier similar attacks. Newspapers reported life back to normal faster and the ever “resilient” people of …Read more

If Pakatan Rakyat takes over the office, it can then clean up the electoral roll. Also they will have more political resources for the Selangor state election. Even if BN stays in power, the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat will still be able to gain sympathy votes.

Selangor is important for both BN and Pakatan Rakyat and, thus, Anwar tries to besiege BN’s fortress states to save Selangor. With his silver tongue, he hopes to first set off a political tsunami in BN’s fortress states. A feast in Skudai alone had attracted 8,000 people.Muhyiddin Yassin People of Selangor are not stupid as you think We Selangorian and very happy with Tan Sri Khalid Three cheers for Tan Sri Khalid He’s been boxed in so badly so far with all the politics. But they say that the resolve of a quiet and decent man should never be underestimated. As British … Read more

History does not repeat itself, but does it imitate itself? The answer will take a while.Every political party has colluded in this change; even though self-proclaimed secular parties encourage Muslims to indulge in the self-delusion that a dispute exists. In truth, all that the can offer is to build a bigger illussion , which does not quite have the same emotive force as MCA have chauvinism to fall back upon. If the MCA wants to reclaim national space, it will have to establish another horizon.

When socialism became passe,PAS yhemself brilliantly as the anti-thesis of the UMNO, blending it with a distinctive element of DAP socialism, empowerment of the backward poor. However, when the thesis is faltering, the anti-thesis cannot be robust. That is the MCA Party’s problem vis-a-vis the Muslim vote. As for the Backwards: Malay has been milked dry. malay has delivered for those whose prayers were answered Nik Aziz. A new generation of Backwards needs solutions for the 21st century.

MCA can no longer stand for the attacks and, thus, party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek announced to hold eight banquets nationwide, including two in Johor. Attendees of Pakatan Rakyat’s events were mostly Chinese and if a wind of anti-incumbent is triggered in the Chinese society, MCA’s performance in the next general election might be worse than in the 2008 general election.

In conjunction with Malaysia Day, leaders of Pakatan Rakyat have recently been working hard in Sabah and Sarawak. They have also signed the Kuching Declaration, promising to restore the rights and autonomy of the states under the Federal Constitution, according to the Malaysia Agreement.

Relying on Anwar’s personal networks, Pakatan Rakyat has successfully roped in some BN leaders and if the general election is further delayed, once the anti-BN forces are combined to strengthen activities in the inland areas and stir up emotions, Sabah and Sarawak might no longer be the fixed-deposit states of BN.The shock is that Najib could not read the internal map of every constituency as well as he once did.UMNO confidence lies in its brilliant management of the most important gene in democracy’s biology. It consolidated its vote, while najib dissipated his support.umno has become the natural recipient of the Muslim vote, both of which have well-defined geographies and therefore, tip their candidates into the lead. UMNO strength in the next assembly election, and do remember the ‘if’ attached – then its seat-slippage will continue.

In addition to votes in BN’s fortress state, Pakatan Rakyat is also trying to win women’s votes by introducing the Agenda Wanita Malaysia, hitting the 1 Malaysia concept.Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is ramping up its efforts to win over women voters with the formation of an initiative called Agenda Wanita Malaysia (Malaysian Women’s Agenda) this September 13. This comes on the back of political observers and analysts saying that both the youth and women are the swing voters who will determine who takes … Read more

From now on, the political heat will gradually rise. The Dong Zong is going to hold a protest on September 26, the 2013 Budget will be tabled on September 28 and the Pengkalan Himpunan Hijau will be held on September 30.

Also, the confronting coalitions will compete through their annual general assembly. Some people estimated that about 100,000 people will attend the Pakatan Rakyat Convention scheduled on November 3.

Since its inception the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) has long been considered by the Chinese population in this country to be the custodians of the community, safeguarding and protecting the interest of the race.

But that was what the MCA started out with, to be a party to champion and ensure that the Chinese in Malaya and later Malaysia will enjoy a certain protection and security from the threats of “outside influences” against them.

The MCA didn’t coddle the Chinese community but caused them to face up to the hard, harsh realities of being immigrants from mainland China wanting to escape the hardships of communism and wanting a better life in this country.

Founder-president of MCA, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, an astute and shrewd man who lived his politics to ensure the Chinese community fared well in this country, though he was of Baba heritage from Malacca, gave confidence to the Chinese that they have a place under the sun in Malaya.

The British had left, as the sun, contradictory to what Queen Victoria once said, had set on the British Empire and it was now evident the Independence of Malaya had caused the Chinese to view with a certain apprehension, fear and doubt over their status in this country.

Siew Sin and his betrayal of the Chinese community

Their fear was not without basis, as MCA under the stewardship of Cheng Lock’s son, Tan Siew Sin, crumbled in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 race riots and left the ruling coalition for a spell.

When Siew Sin and MCA returned to the fold, it was at a heavy price and many Chinese blamed him for having betrayed the Chinese community and buckling under pressure by compromising on their fair and equitable stake in the country.

This was a devastating blow for MCA and the Chinese in Malaysia, though Siew Sin himself was amply rewarded and went on to become Malaysia’s longest serving finance minister. He was however viewed by the Chinese as having “kow-tow” or stooped to the wishes of UMNO.

As Siew Sin and MCA caved-in, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was subsequently implemented on the specious grounds of providing affirmative action for the newly-coined term for people known as “bumiputras” (indigenous people or sons of the soil).

Doubtless that era spelt the beginning of doom for Malaysia and the non-bumiputra’s as evidence now is overwhelming that the NEP only served to create the minority bumiputra elite that exists now. The larger masses of still down-and-out bumiputras were merely manipulated by the ploy of UMNO.

An opportunity to redress the issue goes awry

MCA eventually became a crony establishment who veered off-track on the founding principles of the organization to look into the welfare and well-being of the Chinese community with their presidents being proudly fond of sucking up to UMNO leaders.

If there ever was an MCA president who bucked the trend, it was the affable Tan Koon Swan who was once described by the now-defunct Asiaweek magazine as being “the most brilliant Chinese in Malaysia” when he helmed the MCA.

Asiaweek, in a later issue, also confirmed Mahathir Mohammad as the “6th most powerful man in Asia” owing to his growing influence in the region and having been instrumental in transforming Malaysia from an agrarian-based economy by introducing a slew of new industries.

Koon Swan was a maverick who saw that the time was opportune in this newly-industrialized environment to restore fair play, meritocracy and egalitarian values in the country and to restore the status of the non-bumiputras as being equal with bumiputras and in wanting to cause the separation and division to be eradicated.

In wanting to do so, he underestimated that the daggers had been drawn against him by UMNO and was hauled up by the Singapore authorities in the Pan-El crisis to answer charges preferred against him.

The writing was on the wall against him and having recognized that this was nothing but a political conspiracy by UMNO to cut him down to size and put him in his place, as a man with a sense of the realities of Malay politics, he pleaded guilty to virtually all the charges preferred against him.

In prosecuting him, Glenn Knight was at his usual swashbuckling style to not want to lose the case and though there was a period of trial, Koon Swan knew he had painted himself into a corner of Changi Prison.

Ironically, the  over-zealous dark Knight may have risen to become Singapore’s attorney-general, only to find himself also landing into the same prison as Koon Swan later on, after charges of corruption, to which he was found guilty and duly sentenced.

In a remorseful apology to Koon Swan now by Knight, it must be noted that it was not the Singapore judiciary that was in doubt or to be questioned, but Knight prosecuting with overwhelming vigor in wanting to ensure that “the big fish doesn’t get away.”

It is only right for Knight to apologize to Koon Swan for the surprising vigor and enthusiasm with which he wanted to “nail the culprit” but the judiciary of Singapore in no way compromised on the dispensation of justice neither did they err in any way.

But for MCA and the Chinese community, the incarceration of Koon Swan caused him to resign as president of the association and since then the presidents in power are those who have a great penchant of giving in to the wishes, aspirations and instructions of UMNO.

What now for MCA?

With Chua Soi Lek at the helm now, the status quo is being maintained as the current MCA president is really the worst possible choice to have been elected by MCA members as he stands in blatant and flagrant disregard for the civility of being president of MCA.

If the president of the United States of America governs from the Oval office, the president of MCA goes about his business seemingly from the Oral office. The fact that despite being caught in the sleazy act of oral sex with a lady friend he can be put up to front the MCA ,while more capable and able candidates were swept aside, shows UMNO’s endorsement of the kind of leaders they wish for to steer MCA within BN.

Of all the highly qualified and capable people from the Chinese community, a character like Soi Lek is helming the party goes to show to the right-thinking members of the Chinese community that it is high time to flee and cross over perhaps to the Democratic Action Party (DAP) as the DAP leaders still seem to have their head on their shoulders.

Soi Lek has been going on a rampage on behalf of UMNO with the Selangor state government over the issue of an impending water crisis developing in the state. The MCA president has obviously run out of ammunition and now is shooting with a “water gun” to scare the residents and voters of Selangor before the 13th GE.

Who are we trying to kid here? Besides Soi Lek, the new kid on the block for MCA, Chua Tee Yong, is trying to scandalize the Selangor government by creating “Talamgate” which has drawn more amusement and bewilderment by the Selangor state exco and the people of the state.

MCA to go on a downward spiral all the way

Has MCA run out of thoughts, ideas and strategies that really work and can benefit the people of Malaysia that they have to stoop to a new low in wanting to see the diligent and conscientious hard work by the Pakatan-led government of Selangor go to waste?

Has MCA become a “bankrupt” party? Out of touch with the people and lacking in ideas and ways and means to sincerely and meaningfully work for the betterment of not just the Chinese community but Malaysians as a whole?

The latest announcement by MCA that they will hold grand dinners and propaganda speeches all over the country are just gastronomic functions that only gluttons might want to attend as Malaysians, especially the Chinese community, are wanting to solve hard pressed bread-and-butter issues facing the community and do not wish to bother with wasteful, meaningless talk and activities.

If the political tsunami of 2008 did not and has failed to serve as a wake-up call for MCA, it will not be surprising they fare even worse in the 13th GE.

The dire sign’s of a Chinese community who want out of the unfolding saga of a political party such as MCA that appears to be going on a downward spiral is becoming increasingly evident in the run up to the coming general elections

Therefore, politics will drown everything, including blurring the national development agenda in the next few months

The events of recent days in the Middle East only forewarn of future turmoil as the democratization of the media in the West meets the political awakening in the Arab world.

The now-marginalized children of Facebook may have inaugurated the Arab Spring, which unleashed — some say liberated — anti-Western voices and actors long crushed by brutal autocrats. But now it is YouTube’s turn to roil the region. A 14-minute preview of a movie called The Innocence of Muslims — posted by a marginal Florida minister on what he refers to as “Judge Muhammad Day” (9/11) — is setting the region aflame as its spreads across the Web.

Welcome to our new world, where no one is in control — neither the West of its social media nor Arab rulers of their liberated subjects. This is a combustible mix.

Anything, no matter what the production value, from home videos of pets to porn to blasphemy, can go up on the Web without curation or editing. In the free Middle East, anti-Western groups are either now tolerated because the mainstream, including the new rulers, shares their views or because the new democratic states have yet to establish their monopoly over violence that makes them truly sovereign.

The old gatekeepers of power that guaranteed stability — from the sober Walter Cronkites of the old mainstream media who exercised editorial control to the Hosni Mubaraks who exercised repression — have been overthrown. (Though they feebly try to reassert themselves: the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, who commands the world’s largest fleet of aircraft carriers and strategic bombers, pleaded over the phone to the Florida minister who posted the video — and who commands a miniscule congregation — to cease and desist.)

The conflicts of the future are thus going to be as much about the abundant cultural flows of the global information economy as about the scarcity of resources or the breach of territory. This is because contending values have been crowded into a common public square created by freer trade, the spread of technology and the planetary reach of the media.

Only in such a world could a provocative Danish cartoon or a truly lame YouTube video on Muhammad inflame the pious and mobilize the militant across the vast and distant stretches of the Islamic world. Only in such a world would Chinese authorities seek to muzzle the artist Ai Weiwei only to find him in touch with the entire planet through Twitter. Only in such a world would the Vatican pull out all the stops to convince the movie-viewing public that the fiction of The Da Vinci Code is not the same as eternal truth.

This global public square is the new space of power where images compete and ideas are contested; it is where hearts and minds are won or lost and legitimacy is established. It is a space both of friction and fusion where the cosmopolitan commons of the 21st century is being forged.

Sending warships, loaded with weapons, to the region can’t undo what Facebook and YouTube, loaded with messages, have done.

No military retaliation, or further violent attacks on diplomatic outposts, can erase the reality that what is sacred for America (freedom of expression, including sacrilege) and what is sacred for the Muslim world (their faith) are clashing values now contending on the same virtual terrain.

The issue goes beyond the most recent dissing of the Muslim faith to the overall message of Western-shaped globalization.

While it is true that the American creed “respects all faith,” it is also true that those who hate Islam or respect nothing can also express themselves. Good faith and bad faith get equal billing in our democratized media culture.

Years before Osama bin Laden conceived of the assault on the Twin Towers in New York, Akbar Ahmed, a Pakistani scholar and former ambassador to Great Britain, grasped the mentality of siege gripping the Islamic world. After an extended trip through the remote villages of the Afghan-Pakistan border where the Taliban got its start, he reported that pious Muslims sense “there is no escape now, no retreat, no hiding place, from the demon” of the Western media, which he called “storm troopers of the West.” They feel, he wrote, “the more traditional a religious culture in our age of the media, the greater the pressure on it to yield” to the faithlessness and secularism of global civilization emanating from the West.

Ahmed imagined that “it must have been something like this in 1258 when the Mongols were gathering outside Baghdad to shatter forever the greatest Arab empire in history. But, this time, the decision will be final. If Islam is conquered, there will be no coming back.”

Managing some semblance of stability in this new, out-of-control world is going to take some deft statesmanship. The West is not about to give up its defense of freedom of expression — whether Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” or the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video. Muslims, militant or mainstream, are not about to give up the defense of their faith and its Messenger.

Along with the advent democracy in the Arab world, this is a new reality we will all have to live with. Let’s not pretend that this conflict isn’t real.

I don’t know Sam Bacile. I don’t even know if that’s his real name — or if he’s real.

But I know his type.

I don’t know the individuals who stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo or who killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others, in Benghazi.

But I know their type, also.

You see, this sad dance, this ritualized tango of incitement of violence, and the predictable response to it, is something I’m familiar with from my childhood in India. We middle-class citizens of Bombay were intimately, wearyingly familiar with politicians using religion as a wedge between Hindus and Muslims, and between countless other people divided by religion, caste or region. We watched aghast at the fury and violence that the politicians unleashed, as groups of illiterate, undernourished, frustrated, unemployed youth attacked and massacred illiterate, undernourished, frustrated, unemployed youth from the other group. The powerless turned upon the powerless; the powerful grabbed even more power for themselves.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here. I don’t know what Sam Bacile’s motivations are for making a ridiculously buffoonish, deliberately offensive (both to religious and artistic sensibilities) film.

But what I do know is that Mitt Romney couldn’t wait until the sun had set on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, to wage a false attack on Obama for “apologizing” to the Muslims. Nothing has made me so angry in several months as Romney’s deliberately misleading attack. And given that the last several months have included Congressman Todd Akins’ outrageous comments about rape and Paul Ryan’s chutzpah-filled dissembling on Medicare, that’s saying something.

My strong reaction took me by surprise, until I made the connection between what Romney had done and what politicians in India routinely did. I guess I expect so much more from my adopted country that it hurts to see gutter politics play out here much as they do elsewhere. The incident also brought back memories of the casual prejudice against Indian Muslims that I heard all around me while growing up.

I guess I expect a higher standard from an American presidential candidate than the people of my acquaintance. Where in Romney’s comments was the outrage against people like Bacile putting out their messages of hate and prejudice against one of the major religions of the world? Even George W. went out of his way to stem the flow of hatred after 9/11. Would his base really have held it against him if Romney had shown a little decency, some basic humanity?

As I write this, the origins of the video posted on YouTube remain shrouded in mystery as does the identity of the poster. The only thing we can be sure of is that those who made this film knew exactly what they were doing, what genies they would be letting out of the bottle.

Needless to say, I’m equally outraged and saddened by the fact that these shameless tactics work. I long for the day when the Muslim world can look at an offensive cartoon or film and shrug its collective shoulder. The knee-jerk resorting to violence diminishes the followers of Islam, infantilizes them.

But one thing I’m sure of: It wasn’t the upper-classes of Egyptian society who stormed the embassy in Cairo. It is those who are young, desperate, poor, hungry, jobless, frustrated with their lack of social mobility, who are the quickest to take offence, to resort to anger, to buy into antiquated notions of honor killings and revenge.

And one other thing: There is nothing inherently ‘Muslim’ about this rage. India is a predominantly Hindu nation and yet I have seen it explode at the first signs of religious divide-and-conquer. Hilter harnessed an entire “civilized” nation by feeding its sense of grievance and humiliation. In this country, too, Southern politicians fed the fears and resentments of poor whites until they resorted to acts of unimaginable barbarity against their black neighbors.

President Obama is right in saying that religious offence is no excuse for deadly violence. But while we rightly chastise the murderers who killed four innocent Americans, let’s also turn our outrage to those people of education and privilege who deliberately incite and insult other people’s religious sensibilities. Our First Amendment probably makes it impossible to punish them but the Constitution does not prohibit us from ostracizing them and judging them in the court of public opinion.

And while we are at it, let us also speak out against the man who would be president, for the haste and recklessness with which he sought to score a cheap political point over an incident that should make us even more aware of the fact that words and images are a life-and-death business.

thrity-umrigar

Thrity Umrigar
Author, ‘The Space Between Us

Thrity Umrigar is the bestselling author of a memoir and five novels, including The Space Between Us and The World We Found.

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