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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The politics of rule in the land of the ‘boleh’



Politics is the mechanism by which crafty lesser men thrived, boosted upon the shoulders of blinkered if not totally ignorant popular support, while more worthy ones find themselves shunted and left behind, for the inability or unwillingness to discard their principles and play the dirty game that politics has become.
While it was devised as a means of choosing the best and the brightest among us to serve society, it has become, more or less, a popularity contest whereby the conscienceless and ignoble find traction, and those willing to dip into muddy practices rise very fast to the top.
Very much like how muck always does in ponds and lakes, especially the stagnant ones, like we have been for over fifty years with no meaningful changes to the political landscape, more or less.
The issues stayed the same, the game is still played thus hence, and the people in it are mostly the same players or are from the same circles and bloodlines.
The composition of our current cabinet is perhaps the best example of how this is. It’s not how capable you are in public service, but how much unquestioning support you can bring to the table, how vocal are you in defending the leader that is, and how much brown-nosing can you personally tolerate.
And with the powers-that-be’s probably intentional widening of the economic divide and educational stagnation turning the minds of our young into mush, and creating social segmentation that makes it easier for them to divide and rule over us. With most of us none the wiser that we have big rings in our noses, like cows being herded.
Thus, far from its original intent, instead of searching for trustworthy servants of the public, politics ended up being the reality show by which we elect our very own tyrants, those that would live like kings and lord over us, while we are reduced to groveling servants, slaves who fight amongst ourselves for the scraps from their brimming table.
This is at the expense of those more capable, though lacking perhaps in adroitness and the predatory cunning that politics requires out of its disciples. They either drop out of the games, or find themselves afflicted with issues like involuntary imprisonment and other maladies that are not self-inflicted.
However, some would say that no one comes out of politics unscathed, for even the most noble of men and women who dare to venture into this dangerous field will find their souls tainted and conscience scarred.
As the old saying goes, “scratch an Englishmen, find a pirate”; in the same vein, scratch a Malaysian politician and you will probably find an allegedly corrupt, snivelling opportunist, mostly that is.
And even those deemed the people’s heroes have more than one skeleton in their closet, as Transparency International Malaysia president Akhbar Satar said the other day, “It appears, however, there is no politician who is not corrupt so we should choose the ones who are less corrupt.”

However some would say that it is we who empower the delusional charade that politics now is, for our very own inability to stand up for ourselves and for our sheep-like contentedness in being thus herded. As Tommy Lee Jones’ character in the Hollywood blockbuster movie ‘Men in Black’ said, “A person is smart, people are dumb.”
And if that is so, maybe we do deserve our lot and what we get, scraps from the table, while those who are supposed to serve us live the high life.

HAZLAN ZAKARIA is a member of the Malaysiakini team.

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