Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ijok and the problem with Malaysia

The polling stations in Ijok have closed and the votes are being counted. According to TheStar, almost 82% of the population turned out to vote in what the BBC calls a key by-election. However it turns out, I have learned one very important lesson from observing all these politics.

The problem with Malaysians is that we vote with our hearts, and not our heads. That is why, emotions always run high during any election. From the stories that have been filtering down over the course of this by-election, you can already see the kind of things that we will run into in the coming general elections. Things are going to be totally crazy during the next, no holds barred, GE.

With emotions, it makes politics much easier as the politicians merely need to appeal to the feelings of a person. They don't need to show any quantifiable results nor do they need to have any logical platform or cause to fight for. The Malay politicians need only to pull out a keris and remind their population on who is master. Then, Chinese politicians continue to keep their population divided. And the Indian politicians just continue to keep telling their population the same lies again and again.

The sickest thing about all this is, in order to continue to hold on to power this way, the ruling coalition has to ensure that the economy does not do well, and that people are not educated. By keeping people hungry and dumb, they can continue to win their hearts by appealing to simple base needs. Nobody cares about national economy, education and healthcare when they are concerned about putting food on the table. If the country was doing absolutely well, the people would have a sufficient margin in order to consider voting for the opposition.

The stupidest thing about all this is that both sides play the same game. In order to garner votes, the opposition has to appeal to the base mentality of the people as well. Therefore, the opposition merely help the ruling coalition to perpetuate this vicious cycle. The people get beaten down, and then vote for the very masters who beat them down because, better the devil you know than the devil you don't. The opposition doesn't present an alternative to the ruling coalition as they fight for the same base needs of the people.

Aisay, I need to stop this blog and go make some lunch.. I'm feeling rather hungry..

UPDATE@1530: Seems that BN has won the Ijok seat by about a 1800+ margin. I'm now waiting for the opposition to hail this as a victory because they didn't lose too badly. Well, if they can do something similar nationwide and control 40% of parliament, we might actually get somewhere. The curious bit about the whole situation is that the voters all turned up at the 11th hour to vote. Interesting... [conspiracy gears turning... hehe...]

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