The past couple of weeks have truly seen some Malaysians wildly partaking in one after another orgy of syok sendiri.
To be sure, we’ve had numerous orgies of this nature many times before. Indeed, at least since as far back as the day a former prime minister – I forget his name now – coined the term Malaysia Boleh!
But for the past couple of weeks, thanks to our compliant mainstream media, these orgies seem to have been shoved in our faces with greater frequency, not giving us much of a chance to catch our breaths.
Or, in the case of a grumpy old coot like me, not much of a chance to recover from one stomach-wrenching episode of throwing up violently before another set in.
I’ve always suspected – and by now am thoroughly convinced – that many of us Malaysians are a smug, self-centred lot, believing that the whole world, nay universe, revolves around us.
First there was the ‘revelation’ by Kamal Ashnawi, the Tanjung Malim-born Dutch citizen who virtually no one had heard of before, that he’s a trillionaire and the richest man in the world.
Perhaps it was simply our media’s need to make us all feel good (or stupid) that made our ‘journalists’ determined to run the story for a few days, despite the silliness of the man’s claim.
A Malaysian-born who’s potentially numero uno on Forbes’ list – now, isn’t that something to brag about to the rest of the world, especially to our snooty, kiasu neighbours down south?
I’m sure next, as in the best Indiana Jones movie, good old Kamal will lead us – or at least our intrepid reporters – straight up the garden path to his ‘treasures hidden in a three-metre-high cave, with gold bars stacked like a pagoda’, etcetra, etcetra, etcetra. And, of course, to the five trillion Euros kept in a bank in London – nope, not for him the stereotype secret Swiss bank account.
And I keep reminding myself that it’s still at least two months away from April 1, a fact that seems to have escaped some of our reporters, evidently going through a number of ‘slow news’ days.
This syiok sendiri period, of course, could not go by without Comical Ali and his merry Perkasa men once again undeservedly being given front page coverage by both old and new media.
After initially pressing for the cow and condo Minister to step down, our rotund veteran MP now virtually comes to her rescue, leading a bunch of Malay (that’s the operative word) NGOs last week to an exclusive meeting with a major actor in the National Feedlot Centre/Corp (NFC) debacle, the minister’s husband.
A meeting that, surprise, surprise, marks the start of a whole rebranding exercise for the NFC lot. An exercise that sees alleged villains being transformed (perchance this is what the transformation programme is all about?) into innocent victims; where the wrong-doers become the wronged; and where a financial scandal becomes a racial issue.
Only in Malaysia, I angrily remind myself. Only in 1Malaysia.
As we all know, this is ongoing, of course. Just a couple of months ago, the parties involved were being shot down for abuse of public funds to the tune of RM250 million or more.
This past week, they hit back.
First, they had that closed-door meeting with our intrepid independent MP from Kelantan and his ‘NGO’ buddies. This was then, followed, just a couple of days back, by yet another meeting with yet another group of select, Malay NGOs.
And what we are supposed to read into all the ‘clarifications’ given is that, apart from this being an Opposition ploy, this is also a Malay project, run by a Malay concern and, therefore, as Malays, we ought to support, indeed defend, it.
What rot. All this is reminiscent of a sad incident more than a decade ago when a national newspaper provided evidence of a social science professor in a premier local university plagiarising the work of her co-researcher.
Despite the clear evidence, she got away with it, of course, and is currently still attached to a local university. At the height of the scandal, one of my colleagues, a blatant racist describing himself as a ‘nationalist’, admonished us for discussing the issue and condemning the cheat. For him all of this should be covered up as it brought shame to the race.
This kind of thinking is just plain stupid. Race and/or ethnicity – and even religion – has got little, indeed nothing, to do with it. It’s about fraud, about daylight robbery, about the abuse of public position and/or public money. As one online commentator rightly put it, “Plundering is plundering. Race has nothing to do with this.”
And there’s no excuse for getting syiok sendiri about supporting ‘our kind’, as these delusional ‘NGO’ groups led by inane Ib appear to be doing now.
But, clearly, the most pathetic syiok sendiri episode these past couple of weeks must be the revelation about one aspect of the origin of the human race by a local ‘scientist’ from a university up north.
This happened at a the Konvensyen Asal Usul Melayu: Induknya Di Alam Melayu (don’t ask me to translate that mouthful, beyond stating that it was a convention on the origins of the Malays) held at the PWTC. But of course it had to be held there.
At any rate, it wasn’t so much the ‘theory’ – the ‘out of the Malay archipelago theory’ of migration originating from the Southeast Asian islands to other parts of Asia – propagated by the USM researcher that made one balk.
After all, as with the theories challenged, such as the one that argues that Malays originated from Yunan, this too may be challenged with scientific evidence. And it may be true for all we care.
No, it was more her reported conclusion that “she hopes the finding reignites the Malay spirit so that people will be proud to be Malays”, that coloured the work she had done and raises questions about the purpose of the RM1.4 million public grant that went into the research.
Indeed, in an era of 1Malaysia why, really, would there be a need to reignite the spirit of any one race? Whose agenda would that serve?