Thursday, 28 February 2008

Postal Voting

I went to London yesterday, to the Malaysian High Commission to register myself as a postal voter. Apparently, it was the last day to do so.

When I reached there, I was directed to the consular office to fill in the necessary form. I was rather heartened that I was not the only one there to register for postal voting. Yes, most people were there to register their marriage, renew their passport and other usual administrative matters, but quite a number were there to register to vote too.

At least more than I thought there would be. In the hour or so that I was in consular office, I met at least 10 other people who were there to exercise their civic duty. Some, like me, were not from London and most, including me, were rather clueless on the whole process. But the whole thing was surprisingly quick and easy, and the nice lady who attended us was very helpful.

While waiting and filling in the form, some of us joked if we should write down "Malaysia" under the "Bangsa" column instead of "Cina" or "dan Lain2". Teehee.

But I did noticed a rather curious pattern: everyone whom I met to register was Chinese and female. Hmmm. I can think of many interesting implications.

Oh well, looking forward to going to London again on the 8th.

Here's to greater political competition :)


Thursday, 21 February 2008

The Picture of Corruption

From the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Our Choice

“Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of-good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.”

- Milton Friedman, 1962

You do not have to be a liberal to appreciate this passage; any Malaysian who cares enough to be marginally aware of the current situation of the country would find it difficult to disagree. It is not about philosophy or ideology. It is about reality. It is agreeable not because we are captivated by the convincing reasoning of Milton Friedman, but because we are informed by very own experience on what is happening now.

And this is what I am trying earnestly to convey about the state of our country. Most were enthralled by the apparent conviction of the current Prime Minister to fight corruption in 2004, and for the right reasons. Ironically, we reacted by giving him near absolute power. If corruption is what we fear, giving the ruling party absolute power is about the last thing that we should do.

And herein lies my sorrow too; that Malaysians will make the same mistake again of allowing such concentration of power to persist due to apathy, fear and indolence; and due to the tyranny of status quo and fallacy of reasoning.

Most of us would be lying if we say that we do not want a change for the better, but change would not happen if we insist on granting the current government absolute power. Political competition is absolutely vital, for the country and for the future.


Thursday, 14 February 2008

The Sinking Ship

The parliament was dissolved yesterday.

When I woke up today and found out, I was … excited. Did not know why I should be, but I was. Just so. Perhaps it was the sense that change is abound. That something different will happen this time. The outcome of the election would be such that Malaysia would be rid of a corrupt and disgustingly inefficient and self-serving political hegemony.

I was pondering in my shower, that I should do something. Not knowing what to do, I thought perhaps I would start by blogging. The usual economics unspining. I thought that it will be good to somehow vent out my dissatisfactions of being treated like a complete idiot by the leaders of our country. That our GDP per capita has increased by 5000% since 2002 if calculated in Zimbabwean currency or that Malaysia is the world leader in competitiveness for a country that is near the equator with a population of exactly 27.5021 million. So we should all be driving our beamers to buy our nasi lemak for breakfast. Or something of such.

Or perhaps something more formal, using reasons and rationales to argue why Malaysia needs political competition specifically and change in general. Why the situation now is not a matter of lesser of two evils, but of lessening the power of a blatant corrupt political monster, on why competition provides balance of power and overall improvement of things, on why no votes are truly marginal. But I have done so before. And it was satisfying; intellectual masturbation they say. But like how Def Leppard would sing, it leaves you high and dry.

Moooo: Malaysian Politics

Then it occurred to me: what for? It is not that most people are too stupid to believe the lies. Or that Malaysians support the current government because it is doing great. Oh no. Malaysians are too smart for that.

But I have come to believe that Malaysians love statue quos; whatever they might be. Even if the status quo means a slow but sure decline of the entire nation. Aversion to change perhaps. Change is too risky. Why bother with a crisis that takes like decades to surface (although by then it would be irreversible) when you could ensure your stable life and income for the next two years or so. The future is not for me to worry about. Or is that apathy? Apathetic and risk-averse. Passive cynics, chronic defeatists, or just god damn bloody do not care. I don’t know anymore.

Funny thing is, for me, it is like, you are in this sinking ship, but all you care is to not ruin the fancy dinner you are having. If you worry, it is because the rising water is wetting your nice dinner dress.

And how apt, I am thinking of Titanic.

As the day came to an end, my excitement dissipated. This election will be the same as the previous ones. Malaysians will choose a choice that is akin to not choosing. The ship will continue to sink. I could hope that this time will be different and it is almost certain to be a false hope.

Maybe Obama is right; there is no such thing as a false hope.

But I am a Clinton fan.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Mental note: No more Artois before sleep. A diatribe like this is so unbecoming...