Jottings from a Psy-chologist

February 12, 2013

BN CNY Psy Bash: Jottings from a Psy-chologist 

by Terence Netto@

COMMENT: Napoleon once famously observed that god is on the side of the big battalions. This may be true of military battles but yesterday some Penangites furnished reason to believe that in electoral ones, the deity may not always favour the Goliaths.

Psy Penang CNY open house_1On Sunday morning, the first day of the Lunar New Year, celebrants in George Town awoke from their feasting at family reunion dinners of the previous evening to find their city decked in endless rows of blue ‘1Malaysia’ flags.

Thousands of these flags were posted along every major street of George Town and several minor ones. The Mat Rempit crowd would have relished this chance to earn several quid putting up these flags in the hours before dawn when they would normally be tearing down freeways along the coast.

The plethora of flags was a sign of the clout BN is able to wield.It was as if an invading army had sent out an advance team to display signs of their intent to descend in numbers and complete the invasion.

Penang BN CNY

Penangites knew that the big battalions of the BN had begun with a preamble of which the finale was the grand Chinese New Year bash at the large grounds of the Han Chiang High School in Jalan Lim Lean Teng, opposite the state mosque.

First-hand view

The following report was sent to me by a friend who was there. It makes for interesting reading:

Quote–It was advertised that the gates would open at 7am. We thought it was important to try and get there early to get a seat in the shade. We arrived before 8am. By then there were already a few hundred people there, but still lots of room.

Our first attempt to get a seat under cover was rebuffed by a friendly but insistent Rela-person, who explained we needed lapel stickers. These were easily obtained nearby from whom we assumed were BN operatives, as behind them were scores of cardboard boxes containing BN-branded half-litre water bottles.

Once into what we further assumed was some kind of VIP area, we got five shaded seats about five rows back from an open area next to the stage. By any standards this seemed an excellent result.

no-utusan-malaysiaIncredibly, on each plastic seat there was one free copy of Utusan Malaysia, two plastic-sealed at first unidentified gizmos that looked like a pair of black drinking straws stuck together, and a cartoon book with rude (and likely libelous) stories about Anwar Ibrahim, Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng, and others in the Opposition camp. The ‘drinking straws’ turned out to be a plastic ‘banner’, with the BN ‘balance scales’ on one side and ‘I [heart] PM’ on the other.

Both the banners and the newspapers were a godsend for those in the sun. I can report that Utusan can offer excellent shade, if little else of value. Copies of Utusan were trodden on and widely scattered. One young man had an ‘I [heart] PM’ banner over his head, attached to each ear. Another crossed out the M of PM and with a felt tip pen made his own sign: I [heart] PSY. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dancers various came and went, most of whom had been at the Penang Chief Minister’s Open House the previous day. Once again we’d argue that the Indian dancers stole the show.

Paralysing noise

And then, three hours after we arrived, the VVIPs arrived.Simultaneously, the volume of the public address system went up from perhaps 90dB to at least 120dB. Decibels are on a log scale and so this is much worse than it looks at first sight.

Najib and Gang at PSYThe THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) simultaneously increased from approximately negligible to an estimated 20 percent. The noise was paralysing. The same happened last year at the BN CNY bash at the Tanjong City Marina.

Why do they do it? Do you have to be deaf to be a BN supporter? Luckily, we’d remembered to bring earplugs, which when securely rammed in reduced the noise to just tolerable levels.

It can’t just be a Malaysian thing. We’ve been to the last three Chief Minister’s CNY Open Houses at Pisa, at which the volume was kept well within bounds. I remember last year nodding a ‘thank you’ to the sound engineer at the mixing desk.

Okay, so wild over-amplification probably doesn’t matter all that much in the great scheme of things. In Row Five we’d thought we’d have a good view of the proceedings.

But as the VVIPs arrived a gate was opened and the mob was allowed into the open area in front of us. Most had umbrellas.


Those in Rows 1-4 stood on their chairs (and copies of Utusan) to see the show. Thus we saw nothing at all because even the big TV screens were obscured. I’ve now been to two BN CNY events and have yet to see the PM. Which is neither here nor there, but those behind us were furious.

Note to the organisers: Those in the front have to sit. Those in the middle can sit on chairs. Those in the back can stand. Then everyone can see.

The Penang BN chief spoke adequately, partly in Mandarin and partly in English. The PM’s son made a brief speech in Mandarin that was quite warmly received, and then the PM started on his bellowing ‘Satu Malaysia’ routine.

He promised a monorail if BN wins back Penang. The crowd seemed distinctly underwhelmed. There might even have been boos in lieu of cheers. And then, at last, the sainted Psy arrived. By his own account he was jet-lagged after a 20 hour non-stop flight from Brazil.

But he did his Gangnam style song well, with fine backing dancers modestly attired in leggings. (We caught a glimpse on the way out; to repeat, we could see nothing at all from our seats.)

And then he did it again. And then he stopped and we all went home. After the first version finished we stormed the exit, to catch the second bus out of the place.

Not in a million years

revitalise-penangDid we have a good day? Yes. Would we do it again? No. Will BN recapture Penang? Based on an entirely unscientific interpretation of the crowd, not in a million years!

Was it a good use of an alleged several million Ringgit-plus spent on the affair? Of course not! But good luck to Psy. He’s found a rich seam in comedy-rap with a catchy rhythm that apparently appeals to almost all.

On the bus going home there was a twenty-something wearing a BERSIH T-shirt. The bus driver said he admired his bravery. We asked if he’d had any grief. “None at all,” he said, least of all from the Police. Perhaps One Malaysia means something after all!– Unquote

10 thoughts on “Jottings from a Psy-chologist

  1. I cannot understand why the state Barisan Nasional chose to ” encircle and attack” Penang which is a Pakatan Rakyat stronghold and allow our Prime Minister to be humiliated by voters in Penang who gave him a resounding NO, not once but three times when he asked them at the Psy bash if they are ready for BN.

    Koh Tsu Koon of Gerakan left Penang in shambles and according to my friends in Georgetown, the state has been revitalised by Lim Guan Eng and his associates since they came to power in 2008. Not in million years will BN take back Penang, they said. So, one would have thought that the money would have been well spent if Barisan Nasional used it to shore up states which are now under threat by Pakatan such as Perak, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu and Johor.

    One of my friends who is a Malay said, “BN jangan shiok sendiri. Lebih baik terima kenyataan. Penduduk Pulau Pinang sudah buat keputusan bahawa Pakatan mesti dikekalkan sebagai kerajaan negeri kita. Guan Eng dan rakan2 cekap, tulus dan begitu bertanggungjawab.” –Din Merican

  2. OUCH
    What is tickling you, Maidin? Or have I asked the wrong question. It should be “who is tickling you?”. Penang is gone even before the first ballot is cast. I get grassroots feedback about the LGE administration and it is favorable to Pakatan. 46 years of BN rule especially the years under that incompetent and smooth talking Koh Tsu Koon, have done more harm than good to orang Melayu Pulau Pinang in particular.–Din Merican

  3. It was a pity the guys who shouted NO forgot to upzip their garage door and show off their fire-engine red Maserati to FLOM and PM

  4. If the Great Winston Churchill lost the GE after euphoric victory in WW2. In fact, Churchill was heralded as the hero who won the war for Great Britain…..But then watch carefully how the people BOOED churchill

    Who the hell is Madhater? Najib? Malaysians, it’s time to throw BN into the dustbin

  5. I can’t remember for how many year’s Kutty was sitting on Koh Tsu Koon’s face , but that is more the reason for his ( Tsu Koon’s ) incompetence during his tenure .

  6. BeEND thot dat PR serang ArmedNO strong hold recently in Johor and BeEND want 2 show their strength in Penang on wrong advise by BeEND Penang. Internal ArmedNO enemies will used this incident against Nah Cheat as a show of no-confidence and retire this weak leader.

  7. Pak Din

    To digress just a little bit – what would happen if Penang and Selangor falls to BN given the ‘new voters’ infused into those states especially in the later?

    Would the results be acceptable to PR?

    Dare ‘win at all cost’ BN throw in those “trump cards” going through possible consequences of the above outcome?


  8. “I can’t remember for how many year’s Kutty was sitting on Koh Tsu Koon’s face ..”– Maidin

    OMG … that’s worse than Mak Cik Pidah sitting on his face !!

  9. Its quite clear the fiasco was the brains of MCA-Gerakan that Najib and UMNO went along with no expecting the outcome at all. It put in public that the leadership of BN and parties often have absolutely no clue what they are doing with blind faith in cynical old ways.

    Najib walking into the fiasco front and center AND even added to it when he did not have the presence of mind to stop asking for ‘ready for BN’ after the first No, revealed in public what a train-wreck they can be including with this whole country.

    The spontaineity and the lack of inhibition of the fiasco. that except for the very few, the little facade still left of UMNO/BN and Najib has been publicly stripped. The Emperor and the entire royal court has no clothes and the people shouted so. It will snowball even worst through the GE.

  10. Napoleon is wrong. Large battalions may be on the side of God and you as a leader may claim to be on the side of God. It is, too, presumptuous to think or claim that God is on side of large battalions.

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