Thursday, January 9, 2014

An example of the debate among Malays illustrates why MGG Pillai was heard, and today's non-Malay commentators


While many would be aware that MGG Pillai and I had , shall we say, a major difference of opinion in the last few years of his life, I must say that he was not afraid to participate in debates, private and public , like the ones described below by Rocky Atan. 
He did take sides, and that did become an issue, but he was at least brave enough to do so.
True, he started out as a journalist when the races were less divided,and the leadership more inclusive, but then , he continued to speak and write as he did despite the changing environment.Doing so, he   remained  relevant till the day he died.
On the other hand, today's non-Malay commentators seem more interested in making a play of having "controversial" views,and then of hiding, or remaining quite, for fear that "they" are listening, thus giving themselves a degree of importance they simply do not have. Put in another way, the irrelevant are made even more irrelevant by their ego. 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The photograph that spooked Annie and some others

Got a few calls to ask me if "you bloggers" are revolting against the PM. Even prominent businessman TF was concerned enough to call me for the first time in over a year: "Why are the bloggers whacking Najib ... except you?" The latest caller, a little lady called Annie, said she became particularly worried after reading Apanama's Najib Worse Than Pak Lah? People familiar with the Malaysian blogosphere would equate Apanama with critical-but-polite postings, a cool head among today's very temperamental and crazily critical English-driven bloggers. But Apanama's latest posting was so hard-hitting it seems that even the punching machine Syed Akbar Ali was quoting him line for line.  
"And, aiyooo,  my dear Rocky did you see the photograph published by OutSyed The Box's!?" I promised her I'd check out the two blogs as soon as I get back to my den from a dinner with some consultants. 
And, ah, no wonder Annie was spooked! Here's the picture Syed Akbar published in his posting Apanama makan Roti Teloq - Ampat Biji!! 
Superstitious people avoid threesome shots
People would read all kinds of things upon seeing this photograph and you can't blame them if they do. But I'd tell Annie that things are not always what they appear to be. Tun Daim Zainuddin, the man flanked by OutSyed The Box and Apanama in the picture, engages bloggers every now and then over breakfast. He would even invite some of the mainstream editors from time to time. But no, Daim's not the "unseen hand" some people think is behind recent incessant attacks on Najib, his wife, and family and friends. Or on Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary, for that matter (see Syed Akbar's posting on the former nemesis h e r e).
I have had the privilege of joining the Tun for roti canai in some very public places where we exchanged stories and gossips. Daim is an excellent story teller. The last time I was invited to breakfast with Tun Daim, I was late by a few minutes. After I had taken my allocated seat next to the former Finance Minister, my ex boss AKJ asked those who were pro-Najib to move over to Daim's side, with me and Syed Akbar (who was seated to Daim's left), while those who were not for the PM would sit opposite Daim, with AKJ. Just like a school debate. A lof of things were said in jest like that but we did talk about the serious stuff too. 
When we're not meeting Daim, we bloggers would be meeting anyone who wants to engage us. But not everyone wants to engage us. 
As for Apanama's hard-hitting posting, it is indeed a reflection of what a lot of people feel. Tan Sri Zainal Rampak, the trade union leader, thinks Najib is not getting a true picture of what's happening on the ground and has asked me to "please tell Datuk Seri Najib to go down to the people."  
Apanama wants Najib to stop talking about transformation plans and start transforming. The PM can sack some aides and reshuffle his Cabinet, for a start.
"We need men and women of character, capability and common sense to steer this nation forward ... some of your cabinet members have become laughing stocks. Quite a number of the better cabinet members are finding it hard to hold their heads up in public because of the clowns among them."  
But please do read what Apanama has to say right to the end of his posting so that you won't miss the message:
But time is running out, Mr Prime Minister