Sunday, 1 July 2012

And so it begins...

Going The Distance (Selangor Times)
8 June 2012


The scare tactics that are so beloved by the ruling coalition. We have seen it before of course. Like an evil babysitter, the BN has constantly thrilled at telling horror stories to keep us in our place.

There is of course the old chestnut of 1969. They like to pull that out of their Compendium of Frightening Bedtime stories every now and again. They haven’t been using it much recently, but you never know; when they run out of ideas, it’s always there, just waiting.

Then there is the race card. The main culprit for this particular horror story is of course Umno. “If Malays do not vote for us, you will be doomed! Doomed to be left behind! Doomed to have your institutions destroyed! Doomed to be ruled by heathens! And by heathens we mean the DAP specifically! Doomed I tell you! Doomed!”

But it is not fair to just single them out. The MCA too does its fair share of playing the race game. The funny thing of course is that if you listen to the MCA, they are saying the same thing as their fellow partners but with an alternative twist. “If you don’t vote for us you will be doomed to be ruled by an Islamic party! No more bah kut teh for breakfast! No more Carlsberg in a tiny little glass with your supper! PAS will chop off your hands and whip you! Doomed I tell you!”

So which one is it? If the people vote for Pakatan, are we going to have a heathen DAP state or are we going to have PAS fundamentalists running around with cleavers and cats o’ nine tails? But then, fairy tales aren’t meant to be logical anyway.

The latest story they have cooked up is that if Pakatan lose the next general election they (the dastardly Pakatan) will resort to mass demonstrations to wrest power from the Barisan. They will use violence.

OK, let’s take a look at this violence theory. The main ammunition used by the Barisan against the opposition is the Bersih 3.0 rally. During Bersih 3.0 a police car was overturned and a few barriers were pushed down. Oh my goodness! How horrific. I’ll have to sleep with my lights on now.

But then, any event or ceramah deemed to be against the government has been pelted with eggs and stones, gangs of thugs have set of fireworks and cut power supplies, private property have been purposely damaged, people have been threatened in their own homes, intimidation has become something that one expects not a rare anomaly. All these things happen, and happen consistently yet there is hardly a peep of protest from the top leaders of the Barisan.

So who is being violent?

But here is the funniest thing. The BN have taken to playing the victim. They say that any opposition to them is so unfair especially since: “Our election system is wonderful. After all the Pakatan won five (oops, sorry four) states and they managed to take away Barisan’s two thirds majority in the last elections. How can our elections be dirty?

Boo hoo hoo. They are so mean to accuse us of being dirty! Sniff, sob, sob”.

Actually, the way I see it, the progress made by the opposition in the last general elections happened despite a flawed electoral system. It happened even with the magical mystery floating postal votes, and the amazing disproportionate electoral boundaries, and the incredibly complete and utter lack of fair coverage in the mainstream media.

The fact of the matter is the people’s voice in 2008 was too strong, too overpowering and too determined to be nullified by a poor electoral system. The question is will it be stronger now?

Who knows? But one thing is for certain, it is doubtful that scary bedtime stories told by wrinkly old babysitters are going to make any difference.

If only the playing field was truly fair and the referees are unbiased, then the results, whatever they may be could be accepted by all and even if it is not a happy ever after ending for the losers, they will know that there will always be chance for a sequel.

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