Really, you can’t make it up | Selangor Times
Issue 118


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Really, you can’t make it up
Writer: Azmi Sharom
Published: Fri, 10 Aug 2012

Rais Yatim should be given a present from people like myself who write current affairs articles. 

Just when one is catching one’s breath after laughing so hard at his suggestion to create a vigilante martial arts group to patrol our streets, he then stumbles headlong into another controversy.

Well, to actually call it a controversy may be giving the man too much credit. More like an embarrassing blooper. 

We are talking of course about the government’s recent efforts at organising the Merdeka celebrations. In particular the song  with lyrics written by Rais himself called “Janji Ditepati”.

Now, propaganda, especially during the Merdeka celebrations, is nothing new for the current government. They have been doing it for as long as I can remember. But never has the propaganda been so crude and so self-serving.

The lyrics of the song, apart from having absolutely no poetic value whatsoever, would have made Goebbels proud in the utterly unsubtle espousing of the virtues of the Barisan government’s recent policies and its hectoring demands for loyalty.

 Our man in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture, in a moment where I imagine that he fancied that having a job with “culture” in its title means that he has some sort of qualification to be “artistic”, has in one fell swoop soured our annual celebrations of independence.

And the government needs all the help it can get to whip up some sort of cheer this coming Aug 31. Felda stocks are falling; the prosecution of Rafizi Ramli has backfired and even poor Lee Chong Wei can’t make the ultimate sacrifice by having Rosmah hug him and a gold medal in front of the world press.

Speaking of Chong Wei, I actually feel rather sorry for the chap. 

The fact of the matter is; he is simply not as good as Lin Dan. He put up a good show however, particularly in the first and third sets, but if the other man is better, well, he is more likely to beat you.

I do have one criticism though. And no, I am not going to savage the poor fellow like M Manoharan did. I remember Mano as a kind gentleman and this does not change that view, but by golly, for a politician, he was more than a little naïve to so publicly say what he did. 

The chap Chong Wei has lost already, no need to whack him for his lack of style. It’s rather mean spirited.

One thing Mano said did ring a bell for me though: the millions of ringgit promised Chong Wei if he had won. This mentality of giving huge amounts of money to successful athletes seems to me to be a rather curious use of resources.

Firstly, it sends the wrong signal. It puts on the back burner the desire to win for the sake of honour, for self, and perhaps for country too. 

In a competition like the Olympics, it rankles even more because it is in principle at least a competition which is about honour not material gain. 

Unlike other competitions, there is no prize money to be won, just a medal.

Furthermore if those who are willing to place so much money for one swift moment of glory have so much to spare, wouldn’t it be better to put all that ringgit in developing our  sports in general? 

Malaysia has a bigger population and more wealth than countries such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Jamaica and Ghana. Yet they can succeed at events such as the World Cup and the Olympics. What are we doing wrong?

I am no expert in sports, but it does not take much to see that if our fastest 100 meter dash was run 20 years ago and has yet to be beaten; that if our team of amateur footballers can qualify for the 1980 Olympics but now our full pros struggle against Myanmar; something is not right.

I don’t see why the country can’t rise above corruption, narcissism, nepotism, racism and plain incompetence, to create sportsmen and women in a range of disciplines to stand up, be counted and take the fight to the rest of the world. 

That is the kind of thing that will help to make the nation as a whole feel proud and happy to be Malaysian. Not some half-baked excuse of a song.


 Selangor Times



Also by Azmi Sharom:

Ethics, morals needed more than ever

SOMETIMES reading the news makes one rush to the bathroom for a long hot shower. 


We live in warped logic

DON’T get it. I just don’t get it.

Greater professionalism in police

Peaceful is as peaceful does

1AI was sitting in Merdeka Stadium on Saturday with a couple of friends, watching the venerable old lady of independence fill up with people, I playfully wondered if  photographers from the mainstream media had been there earlier to take a photo of an empty stadium to be used as “evidence” that no one turned up.

Rotating parties for better governance

IN my last article I wrote about the importance of changing the system of local government that we have. By that I meant we should reintroduce local government elections as well as overhaul the Local Government Act in order to ensure a more transparent and accountable local authority.

Importance of local government elections

THE Batu Caves condominium project has raised some interesting talking points. The most obvious of these, the one taken up by the many comments I have read on the internet, is the sheer bald faced cheek of the BN government.

Can bully boy tactics win?

Oh what a glorious night! Twenty-three years of humiliation, with nothing but self-deprecating humour to comfort oneself, finally laid to rest on that one glorious night.

New wine, old wineskin

It is telling that during the Suhakam inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 rally a police officer revealed when questioned that he did not know that the right to assemble was constitutionally guaranteed for the people of this country.

Scripts for Tinseltown

Hollywood, having run out of ideas, has turned to Malaysia for inspiration. Below are two potential blockbuster movies which draw their plots from the pages of Malaysia’s newspapers.

And so it begins...

The scare tactics that are so beloved by the ruling coalition. We have seen it before of course. Like an evil babysitter, the BN has constantly thrilled at telling horror stories to keep us in our place.

Only the uncaring will not care

If the government is not quaking in their boots after last weekend, then they must be in total denial.

Informed, not phony, reasons work better

There have been two consistent arguments used by the Barisan to persuade the electorate to vote for them. The first and more popular claim is that we should vote for them because they have experience.

Nation of idiots in the making

We are on the brink of becoming a nation of idiots.

When silence implies consent

Hope Springs eternal

THIS year, the most amazing political event to have occurred in the world could very arguably be the Arab Spring. Popular uprisings all over the Middle East have seen dictatorships fall like ten-pins in the centre of of a camel race. The process continues still.


Lack of respect for the Constitution

It’s quite apt that it was during a mass circumcision ceremony that Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz made his announcement that Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 is going to be removed. We, the people of Malaysia, just like the poor little nippers at that ceremony, are going to be rid of something.











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