Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to lose a battle and stay cool at the same time

I must admit the unpleasant business of the police harassing people and detaining them is beginning to get to me. Imagine detaining the vendors who were hired to put up the canopy and the balloon. This is sheer intimidation and abuse of power. It is nothing but a shameful and gutless display of brute force in the service of political masters. Is the ordinary Malaysian to look away and pretend this is really for the good of the nation? Is this how BN hopes to gain lost ground, earn our respect?

No, I think we have long passed the point of no-return. That way is the hard way. Besides it would take too long and asks too much of BN. No, the politicians who hold the levers of power have a new game plan. Better to be feared than to be loved, writes Machiavelli, and it’s his playbook they are following. So they no longer brook any dissent, and they want us to know it. If you ask me, all this clampdown and play tough are nervous convulsions of a creature in the throes of death.

Meanwhile, I am disappointed with Nizar and the Pakatan aduns in Perak. I know you have had the rug pulled from under your feet. Hey, I am on your side. Perhaps I do not understand politics and how one needs to resort to drama and public spectacle to spite your opponents. Maybe I underestimate the appeal of the theatrical as a political tactic.

But don’t you think all this BN-baiting gets tiresome? Fasting. Hunger strikes. Balloons, etc. Perhaps there’s a place for this. But please think about how to behave like a ‘government in waiting’ as Neil Khor wrote. Yes, we need thought-leaders. We need leaders who speak the language of government and not juvenile one-upmanship of the playground. You all still have constituencies to serve. Show some dignity. Don’t be like a yelping dog that’s lost a bone. Be cool. Behave. Be different. You may have lost a battle, but there's a very very good chance you'll win the war.

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