Ahmad Mustapha: We, Malaysians, are a bunch of Jokers

Posted by Din Merican (June 6, 2008 )

Joke, Jokers and Joking!

by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

Ahmad Mustapha Hassan Writes On The Lingam Tape and Says That You Can Joke With Some People Some Of The Time But You Cannot Joke With All The People All The Time.

Everything is a joke according to some Malaysians. They go through no entry signs and say that the sign is a joke. You ask how the Police Force is performing and the answer will be that the Police are a joke. And if you confront a ‘mat rempit’ and ask why he put up such a stupid act that endangers not only himself but also other innocent people Answer will again be that it is all a joke. ‘Saja Seronok’, meaning it is all done just for fun.

This culture only emerged a couple of decades back. Previously, it would be a sin and a crime to treat things as jokes. This was so when I was a child. Nobody dared to treat anything as a joke. Things were serious and proper.

I believe it is the frustration in facing the current malaise in the Badawi administration that resulted in the birth of this negative culture. The Government does not take things seriously and the Prime Minister is a big joke himself and so his Islam Hadhari.

The administration is more concerned with creating their own bunch of cronies and flatterers. The leadership enjoys having jokers around.

The leadership feels this can be an anecdote to their inability to forge a united Malaysian nation and also to cure all the social ills facing the nation. By creating divisions, they feel their presence will forever be needed. The jokers can provide entertainment to a frustrated the nation.

Another aspect is the lack of creativity in the leadership. And thus the leadership becomes too engaged in this pastime to compensate for their intellectual deficiency. Everyone is trying to entertain everyone else. Even our honorific awards are becoming one big national joke (watch June 7, 2008 national award ceremony on television).

We take the ‘UMNO’ general assembly as a case in point. Due to lack of positive brain power, the ‘kris’ was used as a symbol of manhood and courage. After this show of socalled belligerence, the stand up comic, Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn would then take over the proceedings of the assembly.E ach speaker would try to outdo the other in coming out with hilarious and so-called witty comments and flattering pantuns.The leadership was entertained and so were the other participants. Serious talkers would be out of place in such a gathering.

This assembly has become an annual comical affair. Poking fun has become a kind of national pastime. Everybody had a good laugh; everybody gave loud clapping and everybody roared with heartiest laughter while they spend their lunch time and evening doing big deals with hardpressed businessmen.

Once this culture emerged, it then took strong root especially with the UMNO Malays. And they did sometimes forget where they were. So they also tried to play jokes in Parliament. The leaking of the Parliament roof was equated with some crude remarks. Again the joking trait seemed to have no boundaries.

Parliament too had become a theatre for vulgar and dirty jokes. Recall the “bucor” remarks by that despicable Barisan Nasional Parliamentarian from Kinabatangan, Sabah. And the jokers were UMNO Malays and fortunately enough not from the opposition political parties. This culture was, however, peculiar to UMNO politicians as it was seldom found among the non-Malays. That is most telling.

The latter are more serious in the performance of their duties. They may be construed as being colourless. One should know where and when to be serious, not joke all the time. Things should not be lumped together all over the place and all the time. There is a time and a place for everything.

Jokes would be much appreciated in pubs and drinking bars. At these places politics and religion were taboo. These are places for relaxation and light conversation. These are places to let one’s hair down. And so jokes will be much appreciated. The jokers in Parliament should dispense their witty remarks at these watering holes.

Not being serious and joking most of the time only showed that some people were suffering from some kind inferiority complex. Not being able to come to par socially and economically even with affirmative action being lavishly accorded to them ,these UMNO politicians would try to overcome the sense of guilt by creating jokes; and these jokes were usually at the expense of those who have achieved economic success on their own steam.

So when the Government set up a Royal Commission to look into the Lingam tape episode, many took this Commission to be a joke. The main actor in the tape even told the Commission that the character in the tape “looks like him and sounds like him” instead of either confirming or denying that it was him. This is some kind of a sick joke.

Once this tempo was set by the main actor, others too followed. They simply treated the Commission as a joke. Vincent Tan, the tycoon in the corridors of power, also played to the tune of the principal actor. He thought he was being very clever in taking such a posture. Tunku/Teuku Adnan Mansor too played his role in concert with Vincent Tan and Lingam. When it came to the turn of Dr. Mahathir, he conveniently chose what to remember and what not to remember. I have this feeling, that all felt that they were taking part in some kind of comedy.

But now, the last laugh is with the Commission. The Commission members did not treat the whole thing as a joke. This was a serious affair. The credibility of the judiciary was at stake. They did what they had been entrusted to do. They came out with a report that caused the various actors in this episode to lose their appetite for jokes.

Malaysians must not treat every single thing as a joke in order to cover up their weakness or embarrassment. They should not feel that they were above the law and that they could treat all and sundry with laughable contempt.

This high and mighty attitude was due to their being close to the seat of power. But the occupant of that seat had already vacated the place in 2003, and he himself was also implicated in this incident. Vincent Tan was all smiles in appearing at the hearing of this Commission and thought himself to be very clever in acting the way he did.

‘You can joke with some people some time but you cannot joke with all the people all the time.’ Wealth and position did not merit the kind of attitude that should be shown to a Royal Commission set up to determine the authenticity of the Lingam tape.

Each and every one that was connected with the tape was duty bound to tell the truth to assist the Commission in coming to a truthful conclusion. That it did come out with its much awaited report was very commendable, especially in an a environment that was treating the whole exercise as a matter to be taken lightly.

Now the Commissioners knew that the whole affair was no laughing matter. But in Malaysia, there always emerges some wise character who would throw a damper on what the Commission wants done. The Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak opined that investigation may not mean prosecution!!

But there are agencies of the government that will look into the findings of the Commission, and why not just allow them to do the needful. The ball is in Badawi’s court, not in the hands of Gani Patail, the Attorney-General to commence investigation on the former Prime Minister, Vincent Tan, V K Lingam and the two former Lord Presidents, Eusoff Chin and Ahmad Fairuz.

29 thoughts on “Ahmad Mustapha: We, Malaysians, are a bunch of Jokers

  1. Are we becoming a nation of jokers,comics and clowns, pak turuts nombor wahid and cynics? My friend, Ahmad Mustapha, tries to make a case for his thesis that we are.

    I hope, however, that March 8, 2008 was a turning point, not only in terms of politics, but also in the way we look at our lives and deal with our government. This is important because we want foreign countries and tourists to take us seriously. It is vital for business and much needed foreign direct investment. It is about our self respect.

    Friends and Fellow Malaysians, do you agree with Ahmad Mustapha? From the feedback I get from my friends and associates abroad, I can say that they do not respect and trust our present Government led by a flip flopper Prime Minister. However, they feel that Malaysians are a wonderful people, warm and friendly towards and respectful of tourists and busines people except for our cheat taxi drivers around Jalan Pudu and KL City Center.

    I trust that my friends and associates are not being nice. But I do know that they take me seriously. Cheers.

  2. Far from considering all this as a big fat joke, my heart is wrecked in pain for the country. I have this surreal sense of being in a horrible nightmare which I cannot shake off the sleep. UMNO is one big sick disgusting parasite of an organisation hell bent on destroying our country for their own selfish gain. We have tycoons like Vincent Tan who thinks that being associated with big powerful sick men like TDM equates to a teflon-coated armor. And the biggest and sickest ‘joke’ of them all is our very own DPM, drooling and salivating over his prospects of ascending the monkey throne – does this ‘thing’ have no conscience? The Mongolian murder case is awashed with questions, legitimate questions, about his direct bloody involvement, and yet he simply brushes it aside as if it’s just a little ‘nuisance’.

    Din, this is NOT a joke. We are living in a hellish Malaysia!

  3. Dear Din,

    “I believe it is the frustration in facing the current malaise in the Badawi administration that resulted in the birth of this negative culture. The Government does not take things seriously and the Prime Minister is a big joke himself and so is his Islam Hadhari.”

    Yes. The frustration is probably the only plausible explanation for the jokes surrounding the country now. It is perhaps the only escapism left from the ever increasingly difficult life that Badawi and his evil warriors are creating for us. Islam Hadhari is turning into an “Islam Tak Sedar Diri”.

    I am very enraged because he continues to treating us Malaysians like a bunch of fools. He asked us to tighten our belt and change our lifestyle when most of us are already scraping the bottom of the barrel just to make ends meet. If he is a real leader, he must show that he is willing to suffer first before making the people suffer. Will he now sell the new private jet to buy food for the poor ?
    Din Ahmad, be ready for this joke: to-morrow, June 7, there will be, it is romoured, 3 new Tuns in town: Ahmad Sarji, PNB Chairman and Author of the book entitled “Islam Hadari” and UMNO Towering Personality, Towkay Gerakan Lim Keng Yaik (Samy has to retire first) and the Chief Justice of Malaysia. I think the CJ deserves the honours, but of Sarji 😉 and Keng Yaik 🙂 , I am not sure.

    Ahmad Sarji was the KSN who joined hands with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to destroy the Malaysian civil service, and now he is being rewarded. It pays to be mediocre. I would have chosen to honour Tan Sri Sallehuddin Mohamed, his predecessor and a true blue civil servant and professional.

    Tan Sri Sallehuddin is not a man who would lobby for titles, or bend to the wishes of politicians whereas Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji makes it his business to lobby and “suck up” to political leaders for his own self interest. In terms of performance, he was less than mediocre. But as my author friend Yahaya Ismail would say, Ahmad Sarji is “pak turut nombor wahid”. Such is the state of Malaysia, rotten to the core.—Din Merican

  4. Dear Din,

    Ahmad Sarji has been the Chairman of PNB and many of its companies for a long time now. Regret to note that PNB now is only in the limelight during “Minggu Pantun” and “Minggu Saham Amanah” It has lost its shine since the late Tun Ismail retired.

    If we do a search on Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji he probably will top the list of the persons with the most directorship in the country. How he manages to spend the time directing these companies is still a wonder to me!! On top of that he is also Chairman of IKIM and also found the time to write the book on Islam Hadhari. Is he a Superhero or a Master of Mediocrity ?

    If IKIM, Islam Hadhari and PNB have been able to show their “par excellence” track record, then he deserves the Tunship. Its actually up to the rakyat to judge because a recognition from our Barisan Nasional government or the Prime Minister have no value whatsoever if judged according to any respectable standards.

    And Tun Dr. Lim Keng Yaik ? The only justification is because Ling Liong Sik also have got it. Of course Samy Vellu, is now waiting for his turn and as long as Badawi is there its just a matter of time.

    Ahmad Sarji has ghost writers, but he never acknowledges their help. He claims all the credit for himself. He is a paragon of intellectual honesty. People in MAMPU, Prime Minister’s Department during Sarji’s era as KSN will tell you what the man is all about. Tan Sri Othman Rijal, Treasury Secretary-General, had nothing complimentary to say. Thanks, Din Ahmad for your comments.—Din Merican

  5. I read somewhere not too long ago, I think it was at Rocky’s Bru, that UMNO in Arab is “circus”. This might explain the high number of “clowns” there are in the higher ranks of UMNO.

    But the article is right that there are some things that just cannot be joked about. It is precisely this “tidak apa” attitude that is getting back at Malaysians these days.

    I don’t normally dwell in race-talk, but this is something I want to point out. I hope you don’t take this personally. This “tidak apa” attitude exists mainly in Malays. Not to say all Malays are like that, but just that generally, among Malaysians, this attitude is attached quite closely to Malay attitude.

    I don’t think it’s healthy to be segregating like this, but there must be an understanding as to why it has come to this. The govt has brought this upon themselves and the Malay race in general. If not for the implementation of the NEP gone wrong, society today might exist in a totally different context.

    There is such thing as too much protection. People get soft when they “know” at the back of their heads that they will get support from the government anyway. My mum used to have a colleague (young Malay man, early 20s), who was going to have his 5th child. He was a mere office boy, and didn’t really get very highly paid. When asked how many children he wanted, and how he was going to provide, he merely said, “Saya nak ramai lagi anak. Tapi tak yah risau, kerajaan kan tolong biayai punya!”

    I retain that politics and society cannot exist without each other. One complements the other. And sometimes politics form the society, sometimes it is the other way around. So far, it has always been politics shaping society. It has been this favourtism in politics that has shaped what society is like in Malaysia today. Being overly dependent on the govt, being unable to play on level playing field, being labelled as “malas” and all other not-so-nice adjectives.

    Perhaps it is about time society changed the way politics is played.

    “tidak apa” is not a Malay matter nor is it uniquely Malay. The Hokkiens, for example, have their “biaukin” or “chincai”. Malaysians tend to adopt this culture. If not, why did we tolerate the present state of our politics? After March 8, 2008 elections, we Malaysians are beginning to realise that we have the chance to change—we needed that shock— and we have to hold our leaders and politicians to a high standards of public accountability.

    We had it so good in the past, tending to take our rich endowment of physical resources (oil, rubber, palm oil, etc) for granted. But bad times are coming with the steep rise in the price of oil, recession is before us and our government is now forced to cut back on public spending and business must to downsize again and our property market which is underpinning our economic growth over the last few years will also contract. It is going to worse before things will be better. Our Government does not have the means to undertake counter cyclical measures given its financial situation (not made public yet). No fresh FDI’s because investors are very concerned about our politics and economy under Badawi.

    So, Su, brace yourself for difficult times in the coming months. I have seen and experienced many difficult times, even things are generally good, and one can never be fully prepared for adversity. —-Din Merican

  6. Su, for jokers like the office boy who said “Saya nak ramai lagi anak. Tapi tak yah risau, kerajaan kan tolong biayai punya!” what can be a better “National Service” than keep producing like a machine!

    If you would remember, this was ‘brainchild’ of that gutter politician Dr Mahathir Mohamed. Yes the Malays were kept dependent and opiated by ‘ketuanan umno’ and religion. That’s the great joke.

  7. Cik Mat… you are joker too ! you know pretty well those without tengku, you still call tengku. Surely you know he was Adnan before. His X-late father in law gave him the title tengku.This is just to upgrade his status quo.Anyway his known among his friends in Kg Baru and Carpet International.For the other friend of his…siapa tak tau tokeh judi ? macam2 tokeh.Late MG Pillai knew him too well.But remember that fellow penah jadi Chairman Sport Toto.

    terebei@lastik, Cik Mat will not disagree with you. At one point or another, we are jokers. The question before us is whether we want to remain ” kaki bodeks, laksamana ampus dan pak lawaks”, serving leaders who have mismanaged our economy and are perpetuating a system of governance that is corrupt, inefficient, and wasteful, when they were given the opportunity since 2003 to make a difference.

    We need people who have the courage to speak to power. In a democracy,we, as people, put politicians in positions of power and responsibility and when they do not perform, we should throw them out by electing an alternative party. That is the way I think we should run the countr, and only then can we stop being a bunch of jokers.—Din Merican

  8. Titled Jokers 😀

    If those titles are conferred on someone based on merits, credibility and true national contribution, I dare say that Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor – YB Lim Kit Siang should deserve a “TUN” a long time ago, long before Dr Mahathir dreamt of getting it.

    What’s in a “Tun” when we have two with that title ‘to be investigated’ for massive corruption, blatant abuse of power etc? This goes to show that there’s nothing so great carrying that title when one is unable to live up to what the title represents. What a shame and a laughing stock for the world to see!

    Jong, we should end this feudal system. Just have Distinguished Service Awards for those who have really contributed to our country.—Din Merican

  9. Pingback: Ahmad Mustapha: We, Malaysians, are a bunch of Jokers « JDMBunga Raya-Wangsa Daily

  10. The ‘joker’ culture reflects the slow decay and growing shallowness in Malaysian society over the past 4 decades. We have become so embarrassed by our lack of real achievements that we hide our shame by laughing at inane jokes rather than engaging each other in meaningful discourse. Our political leaders of course lead the pack of jokers. Pride and honor long ago deserted them.

  11. Bro. Din, Siapa yang letak Ahmad Sarji jadi KSN kalau bukan Mahathir. Antara sebab2nya ialah kerana Ahmad Sarji memang sesuai untuk jadi ‘yes’ man all the way. Cuma kadang2 ‘Si Yes’ men terlalu ghairah dan syok sendiri sehingga mengaku diri mereka ‘negarawan’ setaraf dengan the late Tun Razak and Tun Hussien Onn. Oleh itu Bro. Din, you are correct that this news will be one of the biggest jokes in the Malaysian Civil Service history. Salam
    Terima kasih, Ariffin. Bagaimana untuk membawa perubahan dengan budaya begini? Susah tetapi bukan mustahil. Marilah kita berjuang demi maruah negara dengan sikap berani berdiri atas kebenaran.-–Din Merican.

  12. It seems that receipients of these awards are ranked by their title. Petty thieves and conmen get the Datuk, the Tan Sri ships are for those that have attracted attention on a national basis (real serious crimes involving millions of dollars of national assets) while the Tun is reserved for people who have done real damage and needs the protection (perceived) from the law. Woe to those deserving cases that have been lumped with all these crooks, criminals and fugitives.
    If it is our duty to serve our country, why do we need titles? Just a medal for distinguished service should do. What do you think, Shrek?—Din Merican

  13. Tun Razak, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tun Dr. ISmail, Tun ISmail Mohd. Ali and the rest of the deserving cases – Badawi owes them an apology !

  14. All the Tuns you mentioned are par excellence and have contributed tremendously to the nation. They should not be associated with the present crop of Tuns. The value of Tunship is fast eroding especially when you have Tuns that have been dishonest, Tuns that cannot be trusted, Tuns that are not respected, Tuns that have raided the national coffers, Tuns that have laid the forest bare, and many more.

    We should include Raja Tun Uda, Raja Tun Mohar Badiozaman, Tun Sambanthan, Tun Salleh Abas, Tun Abdullah Salleh (Chairman, Petronas and Head of Civil Service), Tun Syed Zaharuddin, Tun Ghazalie Shafie,to name but a few of our outstanding men.

    Imagine having Samy Velu as a future Tun, Shrek!!. We would be honouring someone who has yet to explain his role in the Maika Holdings debacle.—Din Merican.

  15. Shrek, you are right, and the list goes on…

    Since yesterday we have an added three “Tuns” one of whom sure had a dubious 36 years political legacy! Lim Keng Yaik, one of Malaysia’s greatest clown, a pak turut and a cartoon only next to Samy Vellu! He pride himself to be the first non-muslim national leader to come out in full support Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an “Islamic State”. This Joker went on to assure Malaysians that Mahathir’s declaration was not “a statement of intent” as the statement was “a fact and the reality that exists” for 44 years and that there was no intention to amend the Constitution. Wahlah, he must be mighty proud of his ‘achievement’.

  16. The present crob of “Tuns”, what a bunch of shame we now have! Look at that highly insecured gutter politician, still spewing inflamatory remarks with intent to incite racial hatred among Malaysians to destablise the country and get things done his way, to get Prime Minister Abdullah removed.

    Mahathir should be arrested under ISA, he is a threat to national security but why is this Umno government hesitant, practising double standard? What is so special about him? He may be a former prime minister so what, is he above the law?

  17. Prof. Ismail Salleh – Singapore’s inflation rate is 6.7 per cent. Thailand’s is 5.3 per cent. How come Malaysia’s is only two per cent ?
    The inflation rate in all the countries is increasing and it’s as though Malaysia is isolated from everything.

    Points to Ponder.

  18. Prof. Ismail must be shopping and living in a bubble where everything is subsidised. Ask Prof to go shopping or ask Mrs Prof the cost of groceries now versus a year ago. Surely Prof Ismail know how to calculate CPI. Calculations must be compared with similar urban areas, can’t compare KL to KB or KL to Bintulu. Major factors such as housing and transportation will definitely bear evidence otherwise.

  19. Shrek, Correction. Prof Salleh was questioning the inflation numbers. He did not believe them.Jong graciously included the link in her comment above.

  20. Shrek!, Wat’s wrong, something must be bothering you not to be able to read right, …kitchen closed? 😀

  21. Din, thanks for the response to my comment, I hope I didn’t offend you or anyone else.

    Things do look like they are starting to get worse. I’ll be waiting for them to get better.

  22. Jong, sometimes you look but you don’t see, you listen but you don’t hear and you read but you don’t understand. Yesterday was one of those days. I going through some personal crisis so my attention is clearly not focussed that’s all.

  23. ooops, sorry shrek, but crisis are everywhere around us, just handle it the best you can. Wish you well.

    Btw according to the media, ‘man of the moment’ on this inflation figures is none other than Kamarudin Mohamad, Senior Director of Prices Income & Expenditure Division of Department of Statistics.

  24. wow u people have really got nothin better to do than to criticize everyone in the world its amazing! sour grapes – why dont u turn around and look at yourselves for a fleeting second. wat have you guys contributed to the nation ???? only know how to TALK !!

  25. Badawi was ousted, his purpose for the commission was just to get back at Mahathir, he was never serious of going to the root of the problem. Well of course we can’t expect Najib to take this to the end either, he can’t he is no saint either, if he decides to take on the actors in this Lingam affair the ghost of Altantuya will be resurrected.

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