Friday, January 9, 2009

Help Malaysia Save Face: Drink a Coke Today

It sounds like a bad joke.

"The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association will spearhead the nationwide boycott of US-made products after Friday's prayers at the National Mosque.
Secretary-general Datuk Dr Maamor Osman said the products that were targeted included cola soft drinks, gourmet coffee and cosmetics."
The Star, Jan 8.

Inspired and amplified by Dr Mahathir, no less. Let's call it for what it is: to mix business with pleasure is none to smart. To mix business with politics is downright moronic.

First of all, it's Israel, not the Americans that these people have a beef with. And it's not as if we're boycotting products that actually come from the US government. It's not as if you see this rolling around the place:

Businesses should be politically neutral, or they will end up being judged politically as well. This shown by the effective boycott of nasi kandar shops earlier this year when people wearing their uniforms went on an unpopular - and it is rumoured, paid - protest against the new Penang government.

"The operators of Muslim restaurants would also stop selling cola drinks at their premises, he added."

Never mind that the places selling the other two targeted products - gourmet coffee and cosmetics - hire Malaysians to work there, not Americans. In the unlikely event that the boycott works, does Dr Maamor really think that these companies would continue to hire our citizens to work at a store that doesn't sell anything? In this global economic downturn, will Dr Maamor guarantee that anyone who loses a job because of this boycott will be given an equal replacement under the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association?

"Dr Maamor said Malaysians should support the boycott, which would show that consumer power was an effective weapon against the US states and its close ally Israel."

Things like this really get me in the mood for rethorical questions. The "US states"? What does that even mean? Does he think that Kentucky Fried Chicken - a certifiably halal place, by the way - is run by the Kentucky National Guard? Where does he think the chicken comes from? Tel Aviv?

And that phrase - "consumer power" - seems familiar. It was the same phrase that our Prime Minister used when confronted with a higher cost of living across the land after the global price of oil went down: that we the people should use our "consumer power" to force prices back down. The prices kept up by people like those Dr Maamor leads. If Malaysians could not even win against their own Malaysian bullies, why are we picking a fight with the biggest superpower in the world, which has nothing to do with you to begin with?

If Dr Maamor's doctorate was in any way related to business, I think the institution granting his degree should be questioned, in the same way that people say to errant drivers, "Where the heck did you learn how to drive?"

In the meantime, help Malaysia save face. Drink a Coke today.

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