Your right, my right, and all the ‘goreng’ | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Your right, my right, and all the ‘goreng’
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 16 Dec 2011

In just a couple of weeks it will be the new year. Yes, 2012. Another year. But as with every new year for the past decade, I would say we Malaysians step rather tentatively into the next 365-day period.

For those of us who are parents, we shall spend some time empathising with what our children will face as they enter another school year in an education system that a lot of us have little confidence in.

As ordinary Malaysians, we shall contemplate some of the usual things as we enter a new year. Stuff like new clothes, school uniforms, books… and how much money will be left over after “essentials” to buy little presents for the family for Christmas or to wrap up in the ang pows for Chinese New Year. And yes, CNY comes early this time.

But as Malaysian rakyat, we also have lots of other stuff to think about and decide on as we step into 2012. Will the General Election  be in March or later? This question will be on our minds as we watch the fireworks and make a toast accompanied with a silent prayer that our beloved country will survive another year.

The other question is, surely, who to vote for in the next General Election – or if you have decided, then you might ponder if the government is changed, will the new flers do things any better?

Of late, we have been listening to and reading about a lot of things. Both from our government and also the opposition. But after a while, all the speeches seem to sound the same.

At his party’s conference, our prime minister repeated the fear about losing  this right and that right and having the fear of one  community lording it over another. Ya, of late there has been a lot of race-baiting and hate politics. I also don’t know why there has to all this “goreng” to win confidence and votes.

As an average taxpaying Malaysian who didn’t go to university, I think it is very simple what. Malaysia is our country. Malays, Chinese, Indian and everybody else who was born and raised here. Its future is our collective responsibility.

You mean one community will screw it up just to spite the other? Think about it la. If I was the prime minister or any politician running for election, my whole emphasis would be on Malaysia and how WE all play a part in her progress and prosperity. I am Chinese, you are Malay, but I will defend with my blood your rights as a Malaysian. I am Malay and I will give my life to protect your well-being as a fellow citizen.

If I am rich and you are poor, I will make sure you get the kind of assistance that will make you realise your full potential as a citizen of this abundantly blessed country.

We all subscribe to different religions and beliefs. And I will defend to my last breath your right to worship whichever God you choose. No meh? Very simple only ma. If Najib says that and Anwar says that and Kit Siang and Nik say that, then it will be great. Imagine the fun our General Election will be then. Everybody saying the same thing. Promising the same deals. For ALL Malaysians across the board. Then it is just up to us, the electorate to watch, listen and decide which one we believe la.

BN will say that they are doing good and have done good for 50-plus years. PR will say they are doing damn good since 2008. Then we, as the people who are at the receiving end of all this good, decide la whether true or not. And then vote accordingly. Simple isn’t it?

Then why isn’t it like that one? Now, after 54 years of independence, we are still listening to politicians who want to protect their own communities only ah? Waffor? We are all Malaysians and we all know damn well that none of us can exist and prosper without the other.

Actually, when did we all start thinking like we are all separate people sharing the same room and not co-owners of the housing estate ah? Very funny isn’t it? We seem to be always talking about which piece of the cake belongs to whom. That one bigger, so it’s mine. No la it’s mine. And so on and so forth.

Then with so many mouths to feed, we start cutting the cake into smaller and smaller slices. Then somebody asks, “So why don’t we build a bigger bakery ah?” Eh! You shaddup ah! I give you small slice of the cake you just eat quietly and be happy ok? After all, we only let you into the bakery ma.

Hiyoh! If like this sure one day we all tak cukup makan one. Then how? I osso donch know la.

Happy New Year my fellow Malaysians. I know it’s a bit in advance la. But I wish you now because not sure la whether when the real time comes it will still be happy or not.


 Selangor Times



Also by Patrick Teoh:

Quit the wishy-washy themes

few weeks ago my daughter who lives in Singapore sent me the link to a Singapore National Day promo video. 

It has to be bleep, bleep and bleep!

When I first coined the word “Niamah!” a lot of people asked me what it meant. Well, for those of you who don’t speak Cantonese, when spoken aloud the word means your mom.

Malaysia a safe country: The spinning goes on

The morning newspaper had on the front page a story about security in housing estates. How foreign guards are better than local ones. How illegal foreigners are getting jobs as security guards. How if we pay peanuts we get monkeys as security for our family and property.

Those damn illegal parkers

By the time you sit down to read this, the memories of Bersih 3.0 would be more than two weeks old. But I’ll bet that people will still be talking about the rally. Exchanging experiences. Telling some tall tales.

Transforming to what?

Just a few days ago I was driving past the Umno building in Kuala Lumpur. It was raining and the infamous bottle-neck traffic jam in that area of the city was worse than normal. I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic right beside the Umno building.

Absurd cost of … everything

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Along with the perennial, prerequisite hoo-hah that accompanies it.

End of the world?

In just a couple more weeks the Year of the Dragon is going to roll in. For the Chinese flers it is always an extra-auspicious period of the Chinese Lunar calendar. So what we can expect this Chinese New Year is an even more garish display of the colours gold and red in the shopping malls. Actually, the incessant Chinese New Year musak is already playing endlessly. Petaling Street vendors are going to drag on their sales of made-in-China new year “must-haves” until the last minute of the 15th day of the Lunar New Year of the Dragon.

Time to take the wheel

For a very long time now there has been almost complete anarchy on Malaysian roads. There appear to be no laws governing traffic, nor does there appear to be anyone bothered to obey them if there were. I am sure you see, as I do, on a daily basis motorcycles and motorcars ignoring red lights, double lines and stop signs.

Come on, get happy!

The past couple of weeks has been sort of tough. On the old brain I mean. Mine. Having to remember lines from a script that is not exactly Shakespearean quality and having to say them while moving around without knocking into the furniture on stage. Things were so stressful that I missed the big event of the month: the announcement of the Budget by the prime minister!

Manifestoes un-manifest

Last month I attended a fundraising dinner for a political party. For an opposition party la. When have we ever heard of the ruling coalition ever needing to organise a FUND-raising party? No, right? No need what. Fund-giving got la. Especially near elections time. But I digress.

Conditional love…?

JUST a few days ago a friend of mine sent me a Tweet message in which she referred to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as our Conditional Prime Minister. I laughed out loud when I received that. What a wonderfully apt description of the man, I thought.

The Great Clean-Up

For the past week or more the whole of the Klang Valley has been quavering with excitement, fear, anger, frustration and maybe a little despair.People have been arrested. Threats have been issued by both government and normally level-headed Malaysians. Balai Polis stores are bulging at the seams from overstocking of bright yellow t-shirts which everybody wants but cannot have. After all they’re perfectly good shirts. 100% cotton some more.

Harsh realities of this flawed paradise

As we turn the corner and head for the second half of 2011, things sure ain’t looking that hunky-dory. My family and I enjoyed a few days in the remote beaches of Cherating, Pahang. Those four carefree days of rushing waves and gentle breezes and oh-so-calming peace and quiet were elixirs for the much-stressed average Malaysian soul.

Who copied who?

By the time you read this the good folks in the little red dot, Singapore, would have been to the polls and either a) elected the almost all-powerful PAP again as their government of choice, or b) elected a much younger, more change-oriented government from one of the opposition parties like The Workers Party or the Singapore Democratic Party.

He who laughs last…

As I sit down to write this a lot of funny things are happening in my country. Sex scandals. Snap elections threats. Detailed explanations of when a Bribe is not a Bribe but a Gift.











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