On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Forgive me for talking politics

As editor of a media group, I am often asked to give my educated guesses on when the elections would be held.

I have to confess that I have got it wrong at least two times. One editor of a news portal predicted the election date three times in one month alone and has become the subject of amusement in the media circles. Most of us have given up predicting now.

The campaign period, or the silly season as the media calls it, has dragged on for far too long it’s safe to say that every party has been campaigning since the 2008 general election.

So we have to treat with great cynicism anyone who still claims that the duration of the campaign period is not sufficient once the polls are called. Political parties have been staging ceramah, forums, dinners, gatherings, and all sorts of functions almost daily. Call it what you may, but the bottom line is these are all political campaigns.

That’s as far as I would want to talk about politics in this season of forgiveness where we show the world that, as in every ethnic and religious festival, we can come together and celebrate as One Malaysia. Please don’t tell me even that description is political.

We shall talk about football, the one topic that, besides politics, can send Malaysians into a frenzy. The English Premier League has started.

Notice that Malaysians just love games that we perform badly in. Take football and the F1 – we are lousy at these two sports but we are still emotional when we talk about them.

Most of us have never heard of 10m platform diving until Pandelela Rinong Pamg won the Olympics bronze medal. But it’s safe to say that most of us won’t be taking up diving, even though there is a heightened interest in the sport at the moment. Then there is squash. Datuk Nicol David is a world champion and while there are many Malaysians playing squash, it is unlikely to be the subject of intense debate over endless glasses of teh tarik at the mamak stalls.

So, it’s not wrong to say that most of us, the ordinary sugar- and calory-loving Malaysians, are not very good at squash. Let’s confess, most of us do not even know the rules.

We will stick to English football. As an emotional Arsenal supporter, I am still unable to accept the decision of Robin Van Persie (RVP) to join Manchester United. That’s Arsenal’s arch enemy!

Every time RVP scored a goal, he rushed to the camera while kissing the Gunners badge on his jersey. He also kept repeating his undying loyalty to the Gunners. But the next thing you know, he has joined Manchester United for RM120mil.

I know, I do not want to talk about politics but this is beginning to sound political. Are the footballers starting to behave like politicians? It’s like those political frogs who may be in a party for decades and then decide to jump. It often happens when they are no longer being considered for party positions. That is when they point out the many flaws in their party, which they have conveniently ignored before. Talk about principles.

Some spend their time tweeting away their frustrations while a few, despite their crony records, decide to change their political affiliations. One can be expected to grow a goatee and wear a robe soon at ceramahs.

Okay, RVP is 29 years old, prone to injury, and his heart really isn’t with Arsenal. Business sense dictates that both RVP and Arsenal can part ways with both sides making money out of the deal.

The Gooners hate MU but the reality is NO other club can afford RVP at that price. As a public listed company, Arsenal is doing the right thing but it’s hard for us fans to stomach.

That’s like politics here too. It’s becoming difficult to be reasonable and logical to hardcore fans. Everyone is accusing each other of being biased when they are biased themselves.

Oh no, I meant to skip politics and stick to football but it did not end that way. Please learn to laugh at ourselves and keep Malaysia sane. Maaf zahir batin and Selamat Hari Raya to all.