Thursday, August 16, 2012

What will the UMNO fellas do after they have lost the elections

It’s official, the Raya season has begun.

These are not just days ― and probably weeks ― of merriment, but also deep contemplation. And for those in politics, considering all the tumult-surprise-confusion which inundates Malaysian politics, it is that brief spell to decide one’s future.

The quiet before the storm. The lull before peak-hour traffic is compounded by an eight-vehicle pile-up. Workmen sharpening the guillotine before the marketplace fills up in the aftermath of a revolution.
I worry for the Umno leaders ― “what next” if they lose the coming general election? Though many claim that’s unlikely, Umno booted out, I’ll scenario it out. A one-stop career guidance counselling of sorts for Umno men under a Pakatan Rakyat government. Especially for those who win their seats and find themselves in the opposition.

For Pakatan Rakyat folks, a guide is unnecessary. They have always faced the same day-after permutations for decades. Even when winning a state, the real power still resides in Putrajaya. Moving from a bit more to a bit less won’t scar us, we’d just have to find cheaper “mamak spots” (street eateries).
But for the Umno men, they will be wandering in the desert with little experience. So what can they do, when they lose power? Well... let me tell you, or make something up.

We shall return — real reform, real value

Plan the return back to power.

The defeated can regroup and do some soul-searching. With nobody having the living memory of general election annihilation, most might be dumbfounded for some time.

The honourable thing to do would be to accept the situation and work to improve it so that they will win the next general election. New faces have to be promoted and given more say, and those who ran the show have to step aside.

There will be money in Umno, but not as much as they are accustomed to. They might have to resort to one seemingly horrible measure — to fundraise.

A political fundraiser is when a party or candidate gathers people physically or communicates to a group in a mailing list. These people are told what the party and then the candidate stands for and then asked to contribute if they believe in the cause. This is not a horse-trading session. The party is not in a position to grant favours, it only promises good government or a type of government when it wins.
Organisers cannot give people money, burgers and free transport to the target audience. The idea is to collect from the people, not pay them for support.

I’m being repetitive but I fear that many of my colleagues in Umno will find this “fundraising” exercise incredulous and preposterous.

Many Umno reps would also have to downgrade their lifestyles. Being a division chief or Member of Parliament will not be a ticket to lucrative positions like directors of GLCs, heads of licensing boards or the likes. They might even be unlucky enough that suddenly they are no more closely related to someone holding a monopoly, fat contract or highway concessionaire.

Émile Durkheim did point out in “The Anatomy of a Suicide” that a drastic major fluctuation in wealth can have adverse effects on the psychological well-being of individuals.

A less than opulent Umno might crack more than a few veterans. Those multiple home and automobile repayments may hover like “live” power cables.

Do you have room in the inn? (Umno men head to PKR or PAS)

Defection is a strong word, let’s rebrand it as right-positioning.

If you are used to power, then gravitating to those now in power seems only natural. Swallow your pride and take the new oath.

That, a fair number of Umno leaders might just do.

They have trained a nation to have a short memory and this will come in handy. Malaysia’s “loathe to read but fed on TV majority” would probably forget these leaders’ Umno past.

And for the Umno men, the adjusting to PKR and PAS would be more fluid. Umno has no ideology, it stands for power. So those leaving don’t have to denounce any philosophy or concept.

If you choose PKR, which incidentally was the main trajectory of all their previous spew, you might have to feign innocence and say you were just playing politics — repeat this sound-bite: “Don’t blame the player, blame the game.”

If you choose PAS, then you just have to trade the songkok for a skullcap, pray in public places and look mournful when you recollect the misfortune which forced PAS to part company with Umno in 1978.

Quit politics and talk about it (The life of the political pundit)

A change of government would lead to a more open mainstream media operating with growing Internet content.

So much space, always there for the former politician to become political pundits. Look at Mahathir Mohamad, a blogger on a mission.

Don’t worry if you don’t know much, the general public will not be surprised by this nugget of a disclosure.
The money might be thin, but the politician in you wants to be remembered and current.

You can write your story. (If you can’t type, don’t worry; if you can’ tell a story, don’t worry; and if you can’t remember most of what you were supposed to remember about your years in power, don’t worry. This is why there are ghost writers. They’ll write everything and even lie about knowing you.)

There is the additional option here, but rarely utilised, you can draw your story. Use crayons, use water-colours, use oil or use all of them. Or just a steady German-made pencil.


Over the years, us on the other side have been used to the taunt aimed at us: “If you can’t deal with us in power, then just leave Malaysia.”

I believe no citizen should be told this, I’m just saying they are welcome to review their own “strategic” dare.
Pauline Hanson, the former firebrand racist Australian politician, said in 2010 that she was migrating to Britain because her country had failed her. Her ideas and intentions to keep Australia more “white” failed to capture the imagination of enough, or there were presumably not enough racists in the country.

However, Hanson after staying in Europe changed her mind. She said that too many immigrants have infiltrated Britain. The United Kingdom to her had become not “white” enough.

The Pakatan Rakyat vision of less racism and more emphasis on equality for all Malaysians — even if it takes a generation to realise — ends up being too frightening, then the Umno man might have to look for a for xenophobic locality to move to.

I’d have to warn the Umno leaders though, even if the new destination has levels of hate akin to their taste like in parts of eastern Europe, the animosity is directed at them.

Apparently even haters are hated by other haters of other sorts.

I’d mention also, though this is not to suggest anything in particular, when choosing you might want to shortlist nations which don’t have extradition treaties with Malaysia.

Business, run a business

In any situation, going into business is a common option.

A business would require basic sense of product or service and recognise the market for the product.

Building a customer base takes time and effort. With the proper care for margin in relation to sales volume, a proper business will be realised.

You probably won’t get a business loan simply because you are a political leader. You won’t get a major contract without showing a portfolio of works and establish clear capacity to complete the job. You’d have to comply with financial, industrial and ministerial regulations depending on the nature of the business. You have to build a management and live off margins.

Actually, now I think about it, you are better off not doing business.

Oddball choice: Public relations guru

I’m not sure how promising these options are, but I vaguely see value propositions linking politicians and the career.

You are part of a party which has without blinking sold to the public the most outlandish plans; for example, defective submarines and a national automotive policy built on protecting the inefficient.

There are many young, old, poor, rich, Scrabble playing or sleep-walking citizens who will even after your electoral defeat believe that you and Umno were only doing the best for the country.

I’m not sure what or how, but surely you must be a genius at public relations by the virtue of your leadership in Umno. Perhaps a short correspondence course will unearth more.

Always look on the bright side of life

Still, life outside power will be dim for the Umno man. For them, they will always remember what was mighty about Rome, not that their emperor played a fiddle while it burnt down.

I don’t expect them to change their minds because that involves invalidating the life they led, to a degree.
There would be one industry which would struggle for a short while after Umno’s rule ends, stand-up comedians — they’ve never been short on material in Umno-ruled Malaysia.

There is one silver-lining for them. Those replacing them will not be vengeful as them, being mean is not an affectation you can just pick up. It takes time; it took Umno leaders a long time to become the mean cusses they are today.

[Source: The MI]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Badminton legend Punch Gunalan dies

Former national badminton champion Punch Gunalan died of cancer at the Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya this morning.

Gunalan, 68, breathed his last at around 6.20am at the medical centre formerly known as the Subang Jaya Medical Centre after falling seriously ill two weeks ago.

He leaves behind his wife, P Vijeyakumari, 64, and son Roshan Gunalan, 36, who is an orthopaedic specialist.

NONEGunalan (left) was one of the most talented singles and doubles badminton player ever produced by the country, contributing medals to the nation in many international competitions.

His illustrious career in badminton began in the early 60's when he won the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events in the Negri Sembilan Badminton Championship (1961-1963).

His biggest contribution was winning the All-England championship in the men’s doubles event with his partner Ng Boon Bee in 1971.

A year earlier, in 1970, Gunalan and his doubles partner Ng made history when they won the first Commonwealth gold medal for Malaysia in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The team also picked up the gold medal in the Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand, in the same year, while Gunalan also won the gold medal in the men’s singles event in the games.

In 1974, he succeeded once again in securing a gold medal for the country in the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, this time in the men’s singles event, and earned the broze medal in the doubles event.

He also brought home gold medals in the men’s singles and doubles event in the South-East Asian Peninsular Games held in Singapore in 1973.

Gunalan also represented the nation in the Thomas Cup in 1970 and 1973.

He was also crowned as the National Sportsman of the Year in 1969 and 1974
Glory in 1992 Thomas Cup

After ending his playing career, Gunalan remained active as a national coach and successfully steered the national squad to glory in the Thomas Cup held in Kuala Lumpur in 1992.

Among his notable proteges are Rashid Sidek, Razif Sidek and Foo Kok Keong.

Gunalan was also an active member of the Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) serving as its honorary general secretary, and was the president of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) from 2004 to 2008.

He also held the post of honorary secretary in the Badminton Association of Malaysia from 1985 to 1997. His final post in the the Malaysian badminton body was as its vice-president in 2005.

Gunalan was also given the honour of representing Malaysia to recieve the Commonwealth Games baton from Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham Palace in London in 1998.

His remains will be brought to his home at No 9, Jalan 12/14B Petaling Jaya for visitors to pay their last respects from 1pm today before being taken to the Kampung Tunku Crematorium, in Petaling Jaya tomorrow at 4pm.

National Sports Council director-general Zolkples Embong said Gunalan contributed immensely to the country not only as an athlete but also as a coach and serving as an official in the top bodies of the sport such as the IBF.

He said Malaysia lost a great talent with the demise of Gunalan as he had brought glory to the country in the international arena.

“I personally knew him as a person who taught and helped a lot in the establishment of the nation’s badminton arena,” he said.

Media/public relations executive of the Malaysian Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb) Muhammad Aiman Aminul Abdullah said the foundation would give a death contribution of RM11,000 to Gunalan’s family.

“Punch Gunalan was among the first members of Yakeb since 2008 and he contributed a lot of time and effort in the activities organised by Yakeb,” he said.

[Source: Bernama]

The 1974 All England Final between Rudy Hartono and Punch Gunalan

Monday, August 13, 2012

Malaysian criminal activities now getting international attention

The fear of crime is soaring in Malaysia as personal tales of abduction, assault and robbery go viral online, raising pressure on authorities to respond and triggering scrutiny of official claims that offences are down.

Shopping malls and residents' groups have launched patrols, sales of security equipment are surging, newspapers offer tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and social media are abuzz with anguish over the situation, AFP reports.

Residents of the multi-ethnic Muslim-majority country have long complained about bag-snatching and other petty crime. But more serious recent incidents have gained wide attention on the internet, channeling public concern in a country where nearly half the population of 28 million is on Facebook.

A day after two men tried to abduct Chin Xinci at knifepoint in her car at an upscale Kuala Lumpur mall in May, she wrote about the ordeal on the social networking site, a post that was shared more than 51,000 times. Fearing rape, she escaped by jumping from the vehicle as it slowed to exit the carpark. The attackers got away.

“To me, it felt like one long nightmare. We never think it's going to happen to us... and then it does,'' the 24-year-old wrote.

Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged to reduce crime after taking power in 2009 and, with fresh elections due next year, his government claims progress, saying the crime problem is being hyped online. It said the number of reported crimes fell 11.1 percent in 2011 and was down 10 percent in the first half of 2012, crediting stepped-up patrols in crime-hit areas and increased lighting in public.

But many victims say officers tell them there is little they can do to catch bag-snatchers and muggers, and critics say the drop in reported crimes could be due to the resulting apathy about seeking police help.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein admitted authorities were losing the ''perception'' battle. “I'm not in denial. This is something that needs to be addressed,'' he said last month.

Malaysia's official crime rate appears relatively low when compared internationally.
According to the most recent government data, 740 crimes were reported per 100,000 people in 2009, compared with 665 in Singapore, but differing methods of data compilation make such comparisons imprecise.

Skepticism over the figures is rife, given that nearly every resident of Kuala Lumpur has been a victim of bag-snatching or “smash’’ thefts. In the latter case, perpetrators on motorcycles will shatter a car window at a red light, snatch belongings, and use the capital's notorious traffic jams to speed off unpursued.

``There has been a spike over the past couple of weeks with regard to especially this snatch theft and crimes against women,'' said Lee Lam Thye, vice-chairman of the government-linked Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation. “When this goes on the internet and YouTube the impact is very great.’’

Some blame illegal immigrants but victims of some of the most brazen crimes say the perpetrators were Malaysians.

Whatever the causes, Facebook users are trading stories of women assaulted in mall carparks, and knife-wielding robbers tying up families.

National police chief Ismail Omar insisted last month that incidents were few, but conceded that people were becoming afraid of visiting shopping complexes.

Jeffrey Tan, general manager of Centrix Security, said sales of closed-circuit television cameras have
jumped 40 percent in the last three months.

[Source: The Standard, Hong Kong]