Malaysian Bodoh Politik 101!

Light (and silly) side of politics

Self-proclaimed centrist Anas Zubedy, who has just published a book titled Bodoh Politik 101: Easy Guides on How (Not) to Choose a Malaysian Leader, insists he takes no sides in politics.

BODOH Politik is when you think those who do not support you are disloyal to the country or have been bought over by the other side.

Bodoh Politik is when you spend public money like it’s your own.

Bodoh Politik is complaining that certain media is biased to the other side but you think it is okay when other media is biased to your side.

Bodoh Politik is when you say Malaysian students have no right to get involved in what is happening in their own country.

Bodoh Politik is when you ask and advise others to vote FOR or AGAINST someone simply because he or she is from BN (Barisan Nasional) or PR (Pakatan Rakyat).

 Dose of humour: Anas has compiled some of his tweets on the silly politcs practised in this country into a book ‘Bodoh Politik’. The easy-to-read book pokes fun at both sides of the political divide.

These are some of the amusing quotes found in a little book by Anas Zubedy called #Bodoh Politik 101: Easy Guides on How (Not) to Choose a Malaysian Leader.

Cute? Funny? Does any of these hit a mark?

The quotes are actually some of his tweets from late last year and Anas thought it would be a good laugh to compile them into an easy-to-read book.

And he has dedicated it to so-called “Clever Malaysians”.

“We need to cheer up a little because in our zest to make Malaysia a better place, Malaysians are getting angry with each other to the extent of it sometimes getting ridiculous on both sides of the political divide,” Anas says.

“We must remember at the end of the day that while we might oppose each other’s ideas, we are not enemies.”

He believes there is a bunch of Malaysians who are active on the Internet who have become “ugly Malaysians” and are using nasty words on Facebook, twitter, blogs and the web sphere and who are also going around screaming and shouting to disrupt the other party’s ceramah.

It bothers him that political leaders on both sides are not doing anything against it.

“They should tell their supporters to not do it because it’s not helping them or the country,” he says.

His book of tweets, he adds, is in jest and “yet deep”.

Bodoh Politik, he explains, means Silly (not Stupid) Politics.

Anas insists he is a centrist who does not support any side of the political divide. His tweets do take pot shots at both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Bodoh Politik is when you make chauvinistic jokes about women politicians.

Bodoh Politik is when you keep predicting the date of the next general election as though it is your day job.

Anyone following politics in the country, including parliament sessions, is able to tell for sure the first is directed at Barisan (thanks to some of their MPs sexist remarks) and the second at Pakatan.

Then there are a few quotes that are very personality-specific.

Bodoh Politik is when you run for politics and then go and bite the ears of a policeman. It is a no-brainer that this tweet was aimed at PKR’s Tian Chua, who bit the ear of a policeman in 2007 after the latter threw a punch at him.

The following year, Tian Chua was voted into parliament as Batu MP.

For the biting incident, Tian Chua was charged and fined RM2,000 but the policeman who punched him was never charged.

Describing him as “nonsensical” and “gila” (mad), Anas makes no secret what he thinks of Tian Chua.

“Why so silly? How can you be a political leader and go and bite someone’s ear? There must be some kind of wrong make-up there (in the head) for him to do that.

“Also, during the Bersih 2.0 protest, Tian Chua got a bunch of followers to rush towards the policemen. For what? These kinds of things make Bersih look bad.

“He’s gila. But the good news is he’s calming down and maturing.”

About a year ago, Anas (who says he doesn’t belong to any political party) called for the resignation of the DAP’s respected leader Lim Kit Siang, which understandably got party members really angry.

They called Anas an Umno tool and attacked him ferociously in cyberspace.

One of his tweets in the book pretty much sums up what he thinks about the matter: Bodoh Politik is demanding old-timers from the other side resign from politics but getting emotional when the same is asked from your side.

Anas bristles when asked about him being seen as an Umno tool.

Stressing that he has always been a centrist, he points out that before 1998, he was seen as being anti-establishment and hence a leftist.

And it was only after the 2008 elections, “when the left has gone so far left”, that he who has remained in the centre now appears like a rightist.

“I’ve never changed my position for the past 20 to 25 years. When I say be fair to both sides’, people say cannot’. To the opposition, anyone who is not with them has been bought over or is with Barisan.

“Barisan used to be like that too. If you are in the centre, they used to call you a traitor, but not any more.

“I take offence when people say I am an Umno tool. I refuse to take money for my business from cigarette, beer and gambling companies, so do you think someone like that will take money from Barisan or the Opposition?

“I will sue the next person who says I have been paid by Barisan,” he says.

People should vote for the candidate rather than the party, Anas stresses.

“We have good people in both Barisan and Pakatan but the problem is the good people might not be in the forefront so we need to support them so that they can come up,” he says, adding that party members shouldn’t be too extreme to support their leader when he makes a mistake.

Some of the politicians Anas likes on the Pakatan Rakyat side are Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR-Seri Setia state seat) and Mujahid Yusof Rawa (PAS-Parit Buntar).

On the Barisan side, he has high regard for Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (Jeli), Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (Temerloh), Khairy Jamaluddin (Rembau), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Gua Musang) and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (PM).

Anas also takes to task race-based and religious-based political parties, saying that PKR probably has the best multi-racial party at this point in time.

He adds that macho political structures like having the main wing, a Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings is “so old school”.

To have more good leaders, he says, you have to allow people to rise and not segregate them into male and female wings.

“Women make up 50% of the talent pool. In the business world, we would be dead meat without the women.

“But in Umno, it’s the Wanita and Puteri who are doing the work but when it’s time to make the speech, it’s the men who go up in front (to take the credit).

“As for the Puteri, why call them Puteri in the first place? Princess? Come on, are we living 400 years ago?”

Anas believes the 2008 general election changed the political landscape for the better because “the government cannot take the people for granted any more” although, at times, he thinks “the Umno fellows haven’t woken up yet”.

Another thing Anas finds hard to stomach is when the opposition parties start compromising on principles in their desire to get to Putrajaya.

“My favourite politician is Karpal Singh who has always been anti-frogging (against elected representatives jumping parties) but now he is silent on it because his own party wants to go to Putrajaya.

“The opposition has betrayed us because they are not fighting against frogging any more.”

Pointing to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as being responsible for the opposition parties’ compromising on their principles, he says: “We do not have a checking mechanism any more so we need a third group of people who are neither Barisan nor Pakatan who are willing to voice out whichever side is wrong. Without that, we lose our conscience.”

On Bersih, Anas says it is good to clean up the electoral roll but saying that there is massive fraud and cheating in the elections is too much.

Bersih 3.0 should have held their rally in the streets of Putrajaya instead of Kuala Lumpur, he feels, and he is sorry for “poor Ambiga” (Bersih 3.0 co-chairman) because he thinks she got “played out” for working with the opposition parties.

Anas also has a number of tweets on the NEP.

He is all for affirmative action and says it should be celebrated for helping millions out of poverty.

But he believes it was “designed wrongly” because it was a race-based affirmative action, which meant huge chunks of very poor Indians in the estates were missed out.

“I don’t believe in equality. I believe the poor must be helped. I think now we need a special Indian-based NEP to help the Indian poor in areas like housing, schooling to jobs.”

One bad thing about the NEP, he says, is that it has created a nation of blamers.

The Chinese who don’t do well or are not rich blame it on the NEP, while the Malays lack self confidence as they think they cannot be successful and cannot survive without the NEP, he elaborates.

Anas is also known for taking full-page advertisements in newspapers to celebrate festivals. Even this has critics accusing him of being publicity-hungry.

In his defence, he says there’s nothing wrong with publicity: Zubedy is the brand of his company and that brand is unity.

“We have been advertising for almost every festival not only the major ones but even for Vaisakhi and Vesak Day for so many years. I was also advertising Sept 16 Malaysia Day since 2001.

“We are a business organisation and we have a marketing motive. The world will be a very boring place if nobody wanted publicity.

“The only problem is when people get publicity to do wrong things. I am trying to get publicity to win people’s hearts to unite.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” says Anas, who points out that accusations of him being publicity-crazy only started after he asked Kit Siang to step down.

On the back cover of #Bodoh Politik, Anas has put a popular Malay idiom in bold. “Siapa yang makan cili, dia yang terasa pedasnya (Whoever eats chilli, he will feel the spiciness which means whoever has done something wrong, he will feel the guilt).”

For sure, some will feel the sting with this book.


Related post:

Learn anything new from MCA Chua Vs DAP Lim Debate?

Whose Policies Benefits the Country Most, MCA or DAP? Chua-Lim Debate 2.0

Dawn of a new superpower

When the world continues to discuss China’s impact even when there are other issues to consider, China has clearly ‘arrived’

CHINA’S unrelenting growth is continuing to fuel speculation about the implications of its spectacular rise for the rest of the world.

Its irrepressive re-emergence as a major world power shapes and colours private discourses, academic analyses and bilateral and multilateral discussions, whether or not intended originally to discuss China.

It permeates strategic discourses behind closed doors, casual coffeeshop talk and everything in between. The recent Germany-Malaysia Security Forum in Kuala Lumpur, sponsored by Konrad Adenaur Stiftung (KAS) and organised by ISIS Malaysia, was an example.

Germany’s political foundations like the KAS are affiliated with their respective political parties, and with the KAS it is with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rightwing Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

It is significant that even with a conservative CDU government, Germany has no qualms about the rise of China. German delegates instead looked constructively ahead to an even more prosperous China with which to work, above and beyond any ideological differences.

A Malaysian delegate privately remarked that Germans had been trading successfully with China for centuries. China had been a major world power then and, after a period of isolation and internal upheaval, it is becoming a major world power again.

Countries East and West that have had similarly positive experiences with China feel the same. Those that might have upset China through war, invasion, occupation or squabbling over tiny islets might feel differently, but exactly how an unprovoked China would perceive them today is another matter.

A larger conference in Berlin some years ago attended by delegates from various countries, and sponsored by Germany’s Defence Ministry, was similarly positive about China. At that time, Merkel’s government comprised her CDU, the equally rightwing Christian Social Union (of Bavaria) and the left-of-centre Social Democratic Party (SPD) of her immediate predecessor, Gerhard Schröder.

Since then, Merkel’s CDU-led coalition had substituted the SPD with the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a centrist party that became another right-of-centre party. That Germany’s formal posture towards a rising China has not changed indicates that its positive outlook on China is deep-seated and enduring, unaffected by political ideologies in Germany or China.

Nonetheless, some classic questions about a rising China and its impact on Asia and the world linger. These tend to refer to developments such as the increasing defence expenditure of countries in East Asia.

Other slick assumptions are that Asean countries are “hedging” against China, and the world has moved from the Westphalian concept of national sovereignty to that of “responsibility to protect”. The former is untested and the latter is still disturbing.

It is easy to make a superficial connection between these issues and a rising China, and then to conclude that there is an arms race in the region, and the arms race must therefore have resulted from a region alarmed by China’s rise.

These points had been raised erroneously 20 years ago, and they will still be raised 20 or more years from now. The problem with these simple-minded assumptions is that they neglect both the key details and the big picture.

All countries spend continually on defence, routinely preparing for contingencies from any quarter and not just to arm against any particular threat. This happens everywhere all the time, regardless of the prevailing strategic situation in a country or region.

A Malaysian delegate explained that it was part of the normal course of running defence establishments, when countries need to renew their ageing arsenals or when they become more developed and can afford to spend more. It might be added that defence procurement is the most lucrative industry in the world, so it easily acquires a logic and a momentum of its own.

However, at a time when Philippine and Chinese officials have had uncomfortable brushes with each other over the disputed Scarborough shoal in the South China Sea, blips in national defence budgets may appear suggestive.

But alarmist presumptions about regional threats and the need to “arm” against them can easily acquire a logic and a momentum of their own as well, however unjustified. At the same time, some parties may be hoping to see conflict in the region to profit from it through the arms trade, strategic leverage or recruitment of allies.

Such a prospect militates against this region’s collective interests and several of its abiding realities.

First, the political stability and economic prosperity of countries in East Asia depend on the stability and propensity for growth in the region as a whole. Injury to the region’s prospects also hurts individual national prospects.

Second, the countries in East Asia, particularly those of Asean, are clearly dwarfed by China. No amount of individual “arming” can address the gulf in national defence capacities between them and China.

Third, Asean countries are still unable to act as one militarily even if by doing so their collective clout can achieve some “balance” with a hulking China. Age-old border issues, disputed maritime territory and other niggling bilateral concerns have prevented any sense of an Asean security entity from developing until now and for the foreseeable future.

Fourth, the immature presumption that smaller countries in East Asia can always bank on the US for protection is both mistaken and dangerous, because that notion becomes very destabilising whenever it is proven untrue.

The notion of a US acting as a countervailing force against China derives only from those instances when US and indigenous concerns coincide in ways that are dissimilar to China’s. When US and East Asian interests diverge, as they will at certain points, the regional strategic picture will change.

US-China joint interests have grown tremen­dously and will continue to grow. They may already have surpassed the shared interests between the US and East Asia minus China.

The US itself is the sole superpower with an agenda and priorities of its own. Beyond a limited convergence of interests with other countries, it will not deign to act as a servant or bodyguard of smaller nations.

China remains inundated with domestic problems of its own. These span pressing social, administrative and environmental concerns as well as restive provinces and an economy running out of steam.

Meanwhile, it has witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union that had suffered excessive arms expenditures, and a troubled US economy weighed down by overspending on foreign wars. Pragmatic Chinese leaders today would know better than to repeat those mistakes.

Modern China’s success also depends considerably on a peaceful East Asia that has enabled it to boost its exports worldwide. And since the regional peace has also been maintained by a US military presence in the Asia-Pacific, China as its greatest economic beneficiary might perhaps be asked to help pay for that presence.

When I mentioned that to Martin Jacques, the British academic and author of When China Rules The World, he chuckled. But that is a modern-day reality that a country like Germany may be able to understand.

Clearly, not all Western views of a rising China are created equal. The differences between the German and US views are interesting, and they become more telling when Germany is a leading country and the strongest economy in Europe.

Perhaps that has something to do with Germany not having to “guard” its status as the sole superpower in the world.

Behind The Headlines By Bunn Nagara

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