Sunday, August 31, 2008

The True Test of Patriotism?

From The Star, 31 August 2008 article We can prevail, says Abdullah

“The true test of a country depends on how its people react to trying times, said Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his National Day message.”

True enough. If it’s a question of when life throws you lemons, then by all means go squeeze out a limau ais. But if it’s your government throws you lemons, well, then people tend to squeeze out something quite different at the ballot box. As we’ve seen very recently. That is about as literal as one can get about the test of a country – the leaders its people select.

“We will continue to combat the problem of rising prices and inflation in the best possible way. The Government is always concerned about the burden of the people, especially those who are poor and those who are less fortunate.”

How has raising the price of petrol seen as combating rising prices and inflation? If you’re talking about the subsequent reduction, a person walking his pet in the park doesn’t get points for cleaning up his own dog’s poo. Or just some of it, in this case. I think there might be some confusion with the words “combating” and “causing”. And unless you have a government-paid vehicle, you are less fortunate today than the day before the price of petrol went up 30 plus percent. Apologies to you if a small portion of one day spent realizing how lousy public transport can be is not seen by some as particularly significant.

“He said the Government had also focused on improving noble values such as integrity, a more open media, and strengthening institutions like the Parliament, judiciary, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the police and civil service.”

All right, let’s go through this bit by bit.

1. “A more open media”: hallo? By attempting to ban Malaysia Today?

2. “Strengthening institutions like the Parliament…”: Ironically this brought to mind Samy’s leaking roof.

3. And as far as strengthening the ACA, well, you may have loosened the leash on that particular bulldog, but only when it goes biting targets far from home. I think it was an editorial in the Sun that pointed out that it’s hard not to notice that while the ACA goes after Perak assemblymen, it has yet to go after the one who told officials to “close one eye.” Making them seem to be – again, ironically – closing more than one eye.

Happy Hari Merdeka everyone. It brings to mind what someone once said about voicing dissent being unjustly viewed as unpatriotic: “I love my country, and am not just infatuated with it.”

No comments: