Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 09 Sep 2011
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.
As it always happens at these fundraising dinners or any other ceramah, there were a lot of speeches. I laughed at some. But after about half an hour I started to feel bored and dis- satisfied. It's always the same isn't it? The topic is almost always about how bad things are under the present administration. Embel- lished with graphic stories about wastage, cronyism, corruption, vote-buying etc.
And no ceramah or fundraising dinner speech would be complete without a few stories about diamond rings and bouffant hair-styles and those water-fearing Scorpions. Is that spelt correctly? Scorpions. Scorpenes. Whatever la.
Each time a corrupt tale is told we cheer loudly. And every time there was an anecdote about Mongolians and explosive denials about tear gas and camera angles and hospitals, we all guffaw, holding our sides while trying to remember the story for our own little soap-boxing session at the next mamak stall gathering.
But after a while, all the stories become rather stale. The punchlines become cliched. And I stop laughing. Then my thoughts turn to whether I should vote for people who are good stand-up comedians, or vote for people who have a good plan of managing the coun- try that I love.
If you're an average Malaysian like me you would have often entertained the thought: "Hiyah! Any change is good change la." How do you know that these flers will do any better once they get into Putrajaya? Never mind what! Sure they will be better than the current bunch. And if not we can always vote them out again.
But like the ceramah and dinner speeches, these arguments soon become less and less convincing.
And that is when you really begin to want to know what these other flers have in mind for when they do become our elected govern- ment. Surely they have plans, right? They have told us to the minutest detail what is wrong with the present bunch, so they must have a big plan to correct all that, kan? So where is this big plan?
When I asked this question of the other diners at the fundraiser I was loudly chastised by... well, I guess someone who is more blindly trusting than I am or less cynical. Go and read the parties' manifesto la. Don't read want to talk what? And so I kept quiet and went home to Google some manifestoes to read. Okay, for those of you whose Engrand not so terror, "manifesto" = a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives or views of its issuer.
In other words, the manifesto of a political party is its plans on how they would do things la. Boy, was I unpleasantly surprised! In the documents there was much rhetoric but very little detailed plans. It's the same: they are so bad cos of this that and the other, and we shall be better than them when the time comes. Oi! How la dei? How? What's the plan? Plans to bring down cost of living. Plans to improve GDP. Plans to bring in more FDI. And while you're at it, what plans for MRT, KPI, MAS, GTP and all the other three-letter nyms that the other flers are always bandying about?
I can almost hear the manifestoes cooing softly back to me: "Plans ah? Wait la. You vote us in first then we tell you lor. Can ma?" And then I almost want to kick myself in the backside. They did declare their intentions ma!
We intend to take over the government of this country. Our motive for this intention is cos we want to take over the management of this country. That is our view. Yes, we (insert political party name here) issued this manifesto. So, where does it say that we have to show or tell you our plans? Sorry, sorry, sorry. I promise I shall continue to laugh at the jokes about hair and corruption at the next dinner or ceramah okay? Sorry ah.