On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Artistes hop on to the political stage

Asked whether he was being  used by Keadilan, Ito replied he  was actually the one using Keadilan.

Ito, 48, as everyone in the music 
industry knows, is a fading star. 
His name doesn't ring a bell to 
youngsters brought up in the era of 
hip-hop music.

“I'm using them. I need a platform for my work,'' he explained.  Still, his decision to join the opposition
party must be music to the  ears of the
reformasi movement.

With Ito's participation, Harakah may just decide to be progressive and start a
music review page.

Keadilan's unhappiness seems to  be
towards the country's hottest  singer,
Siti Nurhaliza, who has  been performing
at many gatherings attended by Datuk Seri Dr 
Mahathir Mohamad.

Keadilan's information chief  Ruslan
Kassim has complained  that Siti has
sounded like Dr Mahathir  politically,
that is.

Siti has been telling her audiences that they must be patriotic  and not be used by foreign elements.

Ruslan shouldn't be too upset.  Siti is
certainly not being used.  Like Ito, she,
too is using the Barisan Nasional.

After all, she has said she would 
perform at gatherings organised 
by the opposition if invited. Like 
Ito, she is willing to use Keadilan, 

Recently, veteran singer D.J.  Dave
turned up at a dinner in conjunction with Dr Mahathir's visit  to Sabah.

“I am for stability,'' he told  guests
who sat with him. Stability  is, of
course, the euphemism for  supporting

Just a day earlier, KRU and Elite  were
performing to a packed  crowd at a
gathering organised by  Barisan Youth in
Tuaran, Sabah.

Even Chinese entertainers have  got into
the act  several HVD actors have joined
the MCA. In fact,  there is now the
Malaysian Chinese Artistes Association.

It shouldn't be too difficult for  our
entertainers to climb their party hierarchies.

Politics demands quite a bit of  acting,
actually. And politicians  need to sing
or crow about their  successes.

If Ronald Reagan and Joseph Estrada can become presidents, why  can't Ito or Siti Nurhaliza make it?

In fact, in the US, Warren Beatty, a one-time heart-throb, is reportedly
seriously going for the 

In one city, Americans voted a  wrestler
as mayor.

In India, revered actor MGR  used his
silver screen popularity to  become chief
minister of Tamil  Nadu while Hindustani
action hero  Amitabh Bachan became an

However, it is unlikely to expect 
Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik 
Aziz Nik Mat to welcome Ito to the 

If dikir barat is banned by the  PAS
government, there is no  chance of Ito
singing the blues  away for Nik Aziz and
other PAS  leaders.

Besides, blues carries certain 
connotatios. It would probably remind them of the Barisan official  colour.

Ito can sing all the blues he  wants but
you can bet that PAS  leaders won't be green
with envy.

Siti, of course, won't get a job in  the
Kelantan civil service. She is  too
attractive and is considered a 

KRU and Elite will be at home in 
Bangsar  which, by the way,
is  considered a place for vices,
according to PAS  but certainly not  in Kelantan.

Our politicians should be worried with the prospects of these artiste joining
their ranks.

For one, they are certainly better attractions and need not resort  to extreme ends like chauvinism or  bigoted fundamentalists to get  public attention.

They will be like ducks taking to  water
if they were to address a political rally.

They will definitely not suffer  from
cold feet when holding a microphone before a large crowd.

The only difference is that, instead of singing, they will have to  talk 
which isn't too difficult considering the quality of some of our  politicians.

But the essence of the whole  thing is
still the same  to woo  your listeners to whatever you're  singing or saying.

In fact, singing a song and delivering a political speech have many  things in common.

Performers do not sing different  songs
to different crowds. They  usually sing
one of their hits at every show they go and only sing different songs when they
have new  hits.

Politicians will, at every ceremah, repeat an issue which they  feel can attract and keep their listeners

In short, singing a hit repeatedly  is
akin to a politician's rhetorics.

Politicians are always glad to  have a
new issue that they can exploit during ceramah. If they over stretch an issue,
they fear losing  their crowd.

Surely, that is something singers 
realise. Using a hit song too many 
times may make them less in demand.

A new hit on the charts will ensure they remain in the entertainment

The moral of the story, for all of  us,
including politicians is: Don't  sound
like a broken record.