If there is an Arabic phrase equivalent to ‘balik kampung’, Anwar would have introduced it too — (… just Helen’s opinion, lah)
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I’m reproducing below in full and verbatim Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s latest (Aug 22) blog posting titled ‘Change’. He allows interested parties, including the press, to republish his material with the condition that they are credited to CHEDET.CC.
Sharpest tool in the shed
Many Mahathirites hate Anwar. Most Anwaristas hate Mahathir.
Getting past the blinding hate though, the fact is that Malaysians really need a lot of indepth study to be able to compare one man against the other with any justice on what they’ve both done to the country.
I have not researched in order to assess either with the gravity such a subject matter deserves. However as a writer, I feel I’m qualified enough, at least, to appraise their individual writing styles.
Dr M’s is plain spoken and straight to the point. He does not engage in verbal gymnastics.
One thing I do respect him for is that Dr M has no tendency to quote verses from holy books and thump scriptures and mount the pulpit. Nor does he religiously preach, and annoy with preaching sermons. Politicians should leave the job of preaching to the priests.
Also, Dr M doesn’t appear to give a fig as to what others think, especially if these others are, in his opinion, less intelligent than him — which might well apply to 99.99 percent of the Malaysian population in his estimation.
How this supreme self-confidence, i.e. lacking any need at all to try to impress anyone in Malaysia, affects his current writing style is to produce a refreshing quaintness. Opposition supporters may still loathe Mahathir but my discussion here is about his ability as a blogger to communicate his ideas and message to the general public.
I remember Dr M wrote an article in his blog on 20 July 2009 which he titled ‘Kaki dalam kasut‘. That’s not a Malay idiom but a literal translation from English, “to put yourself in another person’s shoes”.
A close Malay approximation I can think of is berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul. Perhaps you can think of better.
But this matter of translation is a trifle that Dr M can’t be bothered with. He is a man more than confident enough to throw the style book out the window and just do things his way. So we see this maverick VVIP give the title ‘Kaki dalam kasut’ to his article, which must surely have raised eyebrows in Gapena, DBP and the rest of the Malay literary agencies.
This trait of disdaining the common trend or otherwise of not following conventional wisdom (bowing to language and grammar prescription in the case of ‘Kaki dalam kasut’) is displayed when he defied the IMF, World Bank and U.S. Treasury to implement a currency peg on Malaysia’s exchange rate. (See Mahathir’s paragraphs 17 & 18 below)
Sometimes Dr M gets it right and at other times not. Several top economics experts have evaluated his capital controls in 1998 to be a correct move.
One day after he announced the radical measures to regulate trade in the ringgit, Dr M sacked Anwar. It was no coincidence. Please give some thought to this.
A ‘God’s Gift’ – similarly Kim Guan Eng too (worshipfully bestowed also with an identical title) and Papa’s Mama counterpart “who lives for God” – is quite obviously antithetical to Dr M, called the “old devil” by his detractors.
Rahsia awet muda? At 87 years old, he certainly looks ‘better’ – the Malay term ‘seri’ is more appropriately used – than the Asian Renaissance Man (aged 65), especially of late.
To read Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘renaissance’ thoughts – if he’s writing in Malay – you would need a dictionary by your side.
One gets the impression that if there’s a choice of four available words to describe a single meaning, Anwar would choose the longest and the one least familiar to everyone. Oh well, as long as the Anwaristas are impressed.
On another note, DAP supporters akin to Anwar followers, are easily impressed as well, claiming that their evangelistic leaders are smart and eloquent and of the highest moral calibre simply because they (the Christian leaders) love to climb on stage, hold the mic and preach all the time.
Funding the pastors, of course, helps to uplift their image as these folks are further motivated to sing praises of evangelical politicians to their Christian congregation.
To burnish his religious credentials, Anwar heaves into eh, whazzat? Arabic words when the simple Malay is known to everyone.
If there is an Arabic phrase equivalent to ‘balik kampung’, Anwar would have introduced it. (Perhaps the Arabs do not have the concept as Malays understand it.)
Not only does Anwar extensively quote the Quran, Hadith, Sunnah, fiqh and what have you, he has no qualms in liberally cannibalizing the religious texts of other major faiths.
Plus he likes to name drop — quoting Western philosophers, political scientists and whomever. He’s like a magpie collecting quotable quips so that people will believe he is widely read.
As for how Anwar’s writing hints at the man’s character, read Dr M below.
Dr M knows Anwar better than you or I do
I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting in bold certain paragraphs from the Che Det article which I hope that readers of this blog will pay attention to.
Postscript: Needless to say, Dr M has political motives in writing what he wrote.
I’m not trying to sway anyone’s vote in putting this up.
Let me state most clearly that I don’t give a toss what DAPsters choose to do with their 1vote.
DAPster votes are after all worth only half the rural vote in the Malay heartland – Tunku Aziz reiterated in his latest column that he has “always said that elections in our country are free but not fair”. Yeah, race politics sucks.
And in some of the worst malapportioned urban constituencies that are the DAP strongholds, the votes of the online Anglophile horde will make a scant difference. In Seputeh, for example, Teresa Kok won with a majority of 36,492.
The violence-prone DAPsters give me too much credit. Even if I manage change the mind of say, 50 initially pro-Pakatan voters, what impact could it have on the outcome in DAP wards which will be won by a landslide?
So the upshot is that DAPsters can go kiss their preferred candidates’ arse — a decision already chiseled in stone.
Hence, the puak perpetual hysteria needn’t flatter themselves that I care one jot to influence their fanatical opinion and cast-iron voting pattern. Their closed minds are not worth my time. Period.
Observe #1: DAPsters are the kindred spirit of Anwaristas.
Observe #2: The DAP generals in God’s Army are soulmate to Anwar Anugerah Tuhan.
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1. In his campaign to become President of the US Barack Obama promised change, “time for change”, he said.
2. He promised to close down Guantanamo Detention Camp.
3. He promised to stop trials of detainees by Military Courts.
4. He promised to pull out from Iraq and Afghanistan.
5. And many more.
6. Now four years into his first term he has failed to keep his promises.
7. Guantanamo is still holding so-called terrorists; still torturing them. No military courts but no trials by civilian courts either.
8. Instead of pulling out from Iraq and Afghanistan he approved a “surge” in the troops sent to this area. Later he pulled out some troops but American soldiers are still in the two countries.
9. Making promises during campaigns for elections is easy.
Keeping them is a different matter. The best hope is that people’s memory is short. They would normally forget the promises.
10. Now the opposition in Malaysia have copied Obama and is promising change.
11. Give them a chance they say. The BN has ruled this country for 55 years. It is time to change. They will change this into a welfare state. Everything will be free. No fees for education. No tolls. Large subsidy for petrol. 20% royalty to oil producing states etc.etc.
12. The Socialist and Communist have tried this welfare state idea. They failed.
Malaysia has no ideology.
But the reality is that the Government needs money in order to develop the country and to subsidise living cost for the people. But when Government foregoes taxes, tolls and fees, it will have less money. But it will have to spend more on running an maintaining utilities, expressways, schools, operational and development cost, pension etc.
13. So where does the Government get necessary funds?
14. Borrowing is okay if the money is invested and giving a return. But borrowing money in order to just spend will lead to non-payment of debts.
15. That’s what happened to Greece. It’s bankrupt now. The whole of Europe cannot put it back together again.
16. Admittedly the BN has ruled this country every since independence. But look at the record and compare it with other countries which gained independence at the same time. Compare it even with the developed West. They are in deep financial trouble and try as they might, they have not been able to overcome the crisis.
17. Remember 1997-98 crisis. The then Deputy PM and Minister of Finance tried the IMF solution without the IMF loans. Banks and companies were faced with the threat of bankruptcy from non-performing loans. Imports cost more. Cost of living shot up.
18. The track record of the Minister of Finance then was bad although there is a fondness of claiming success brought about by other people as his success. PNB, UIA were part of the claim.
19. Now as leader of the Opposition he is claiming to bring about change. What good change did he introduce when he was in the Government? All he was interested in was getting up the leadership ladder of UMNO in order to become Prime Minister. How he achieved his objective does not bear scrutiny.
20. Five years to give a trial as Government is dangerous. Many things can be destroyed in five years. Besides the Opposition as Government will ensure there will be no return for the BN.
Officers in the Government will be used to “gempar” (threaten) whoever tries to change Government.
21. Already we see this person who claims to fight for free speech suing and resorting to the courts to shut the mouth of his critics. Other powers of the Government will be similarly abused. Nepotism and cronyism will be employed as indeed they are in the party he now heads.
22. The record is there.
Malaysians must not allow themselves to be hoodwinked as I was hoodwinked by the appearance of religious piety in the past.
23. The BN has listened to the people and has changed many laws and policies. All that the people need to do is to urge the BN to carry out whatever change the people desire.
25. Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t.