On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Hysterical hostility

Some of our politicians seem to be seeing shadows behind everything where there is none. From their perspective, there is intrigue, a hidden agenda and suspicious motives everywhere.

THERE seems to be no end to politicking in Malaysia. We thought the campaigning that reached its peak in the run-up to the general election in May would slowly wind down once the people had decided. But that was only wishful thinking.

We still are in election mode, judging by the endless bickering, growing suspicion over what everyone is saying, and the perception of a hidden agenda behind each issue.

After the polls, there were more ceramah and protests. Taking disputes to the courts was not enough in the battle to conquer the court of public opinion. And we all thought, naively, that everyone would just take a breather.

We all suffer from political fatigue. To be blunt, most of us probably feel nauseated. Surely the politicians, who are humans too, would want to get a break and make up for lost time with their spouses and family members. But no, they can’t seem to stop.

Everyone is talking about crime, the increase in the cost of living and the looming financial slowdown.

Well, we are also talking about Bosnian sperm.

But there seems to be a wide disconnect between our lives and that of our politicians, regardless of their political affiliation.

We do not see any of them explaining to us why our ringgit is weakening and how we should face the problems, even if there are external factors beyond our control. Those with children studying overseas are probably watching the exchange rates with eagle eyes and they certainly want to know what the future will hold.

Malaysians would also like to hear how we should gear up for the softening market as businessmen grapple with escalating costs and declining revenue and profits. It is not just a worry for those who run companies but also for their workers.

Instead, politicians are trying to outdo one another, trying to score points by making some pretty outrageous demands just to get their name and pictures in the media.

The main political parties in the country’s ruling coalition – Umno, the MCA and the MIC – are all holding their party polls very soon. PAS is having its internal polls too while the DAP is conducting a fresh election after its earlier vote tally blunder, which it continues to blame on a technical glitch.

In the case of the three main Barisan Nasional parties, we are talking about elections at all levels – from the branches to the divisions right to the top hierarchy.

We are pretty sure, judging from the activities on the ground and the desperate insecurity demonstrated by some politicians, that they are not doing much these days except to ensure their party positions are secured, or to get back a position.

Many have attempted to be champion spokesmen of their communities, flexing their political muscle, with some espousing views that smack with racial overtones.

Even the movies are not spared as politicians make laughable statements when they have not even watched the films and are unlikely to do so. But speak they must, and so they do.

Some of our politicians seem to be seeing shadows behind everything where there is none. From their perspective, there is intrigue, a hidden agenda and suspicious motives everywhere.

Reaction to the movie Tanda Putera is one example. The hysterical hostility towards the movie is unbelievable. I was among the earliest to be invited by Datuk Shuhaimi Baba, the director, to watch the show and to give my views.

I told her there should be more films like this because the world is beginning to think that we only watch movies about gangsters, ghosts and wife-beating husbands.

In Tanda Putera, the Chinese were not blamed for the riots but the communists and political activists were. This is the big difference which the politicians do not want to understand.

So is the unnerving reaction to The New Village. It is a period movie about new villages set in 1949, when most of us were not even born and the country was caught in a fight with the communists. We are now in the year 2013, yet we are still grappling with the ghosts of the past!

The communists in China have all become capitalists, drinking fine French wine, enrolling their kids in British boarding schools, keeping mistresses and becoming corrupt, as ordinary politicians in a democratic system do!

The only thing commie about the ruling elite in Beijing now is that they still carry party membership cards and uphold the red ideology to avoid a real election! Anything else red would be red wine and Manchester United.

We are still unsure if The New Village will ever make it to our cinemas. After all the party polls are over, perhaps.

Maybe by Christmas, although by then it would really be good luck to the producer because who would care about new villages in December and January as many of us would want to go on holidays and celebrate the year-end!

The holiday season is all about parties – celebratory ones, not political parties – and we just want to be silly, more than some politicians, as we usher in the coming year.

And we really hope that in the coming year, we will finally see the end to mindless politicking.

And can we please appeal to our politicians that they remember why we voted them in – to run the country, make us feel safe, plug financial leakages, seriously fight graft, postpone expensive projects and, if possible, stop using taxpayers money to put your faces on billboards?