Public holidays, even religious ones, often tend to be slow news days.
Inevitably, then, the poor reporters or transcribers - this is Malaysia, of course, where real ‘journalists’ are few and far between - have to position themselves strategically very near the ‘newsmakers’, invariably regime leaders.
And (try to) wax lyrical over the most mundane of things, the most humdrum activities.
It was no different this recent Deepavali holiday.
One ‘innovative’ - or, possibly, desperate - rag decided to highlight that rather old technology, the polygraph or the lie detector. I didn’t bother to purchase the rag to find out what that was all about since I’ve long been aware that the rest of its main contents tend to be trashy political propaganda.
The two Malay dailies that I saw at the newsstand had headlines that screamed about the threats to the ummah and, of course, the frail Malay race, that I began to wonder whether the day before had really been a Hindu religious holiday.
But, really, the news that seemed to dominate the front-page of most of the regime-owned and/or regime-controlled rags was that of Ah Jib Gor ‘brainstorming’ with a group of selected young adults, to find solutions to the nation’s problems.
Wow! I thought to myself, if this catches on, we won’t need a bleeding cabinet any more. And it would be so much effing cheaper.
But back to the news coverage of this ‘event’ and the manner of the coverage, given that it was really a slow news day.
Apparently, beloved Jibby had deigned to come down to the streets, so to speak, to meet up with about 50 of the nation's young who had gathered in a local restaurant/cafe ‘to trash out ideas on how to resolve issues affecting the country’.
To whine and dine, as it were.
Now, call me an aged Doubting Thomas, if you may, but, surely, a more contrived event could not have been dreamt up by the regime’s PR people in order to engage a demographic that the regime is concerned it is fast losing - the urban young?
But, then, hey, this is 1Malaysia Boleh where there's no limit to desperation and, indeed, the regime's desperate measures.
Even so, it’s a bit over-the-top to start off one’s spin, I mean report, with an intro that goes ‘It was a brainstorming session like no other’, wouldn’t you say?
Like no other? For God’s sake, they had markers, brightly-coloured stick-its, sheets of paper - the stock-in-trade for any ordinary brainstorming session. So how could that have been a session ‘like no other’?
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, where the hell they get their transcribers from these days?
Be that as it may, apart from Jibby, the focus of the report was on this ‘new’ initiative to get us, the rakyat, to stop whingeing and, instead, ‘come up with creative ideas to resolve (the nation’s) problems’.
Excuse me, but isn't that what we voted in our MPs for? Indeed, isn’t that what all those expensively-manned ministries - from Finance to Science and Technology to Education, for example - and other agencies are there for?
To look at - and possibly resolve - the nation’s problems?
But, nonetheless, according to the reports - and please pay close attention here or, like me, you’ll lose track of who’s who and what’s what- this is all part of the Genovasi Challenge, which, in turn, is part of the Genovasi initiative, launched by Ah Jib Gor in August as, I’m sure, part of the regime’s Transformation programme.
T-shirt slogan’s wisdom
Geddit so far? Didn’t think so. I suspect this regime has cottoned on to the wisdom of the 1960s T-shirt slogan, ‘If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit’.
Nevertheless, it does seem that there are so many of these outfits and their ‘creative solutions’ that it’s gotten so mind-numbingly confusing - even for them, I’m sure. I quite suspect that there are moments that the right hand of these outfits doesn’t really know what the hell the left is doing.
But, okay, let’s humour them and their Great White (or is that pink?) Chief for a second.
We are told that the first challenge being posed is titled Connected Communities. And the aim, apparently, is to come up with ‘ideas on how to develop and enliven your neighbourhood and quality of life’.
And there’s a prize (price?) of RM100,000 - could that be of our taxpayer money again, I wonder aloud? - for the best idea submitted.
We could, of course, look at this challenge of ‘connecting communities’ in a micro or, more interestingly and validly, in a macro sense. Where one’s ‘neighbourhood’ could - would - comprise all of Malaysia, including East Malaysia.
Indeed, isn’t it very likely that our micro problems are manifestations of macro causes? Where the unhappiness of any community - geographical, ethnic, gender, for instance - could really be due to wider policies, old and new, that discriminate against these communities?
There surely is no way we can talk about ‘connecting communities’ in the contemporary Malaysian context if we don’t incorporate and assess what caused, indeed is causing, the disconnect in the first place?
Like the NEP - or at least its implementation - that’s caused so much discomfort, frustration and, indeed, anger, however muffled, among displaced and discriminated Malaysians?
Real causes such as the agencies and institutions - like the racist mainstream media and organisations like Perkasa - that worsen the disconnect with their divisive language and actions... while the people entrusted with governing this country simply turn a blind eye to their ranting, or even encourage their hateful discourses and practices.
Hence, it would seem that ‘connecting communities’ can be terribly problematic after all. And to come up with ideas that really meet the challenge would require us to go beyond simple solutions that refuse to see the structural origins of such problems.
Of course, perhaps the simplest idea we can think of to resolve Malaysia’s problems would be to dispose of those who created these problems in the first place.
Indeed, we need to remove the cancer that has been eating away at - and systematically destroying - this fine country and its long-suffering people for a long, long time.
And come the 13th general election, that’s exactly what creative, critical Malaysians must - will - do.