Friday, October 15, 2010

Mahathir Criticizes 1Malaysia

I attended the D’Utama Advanced Toastmasters meeting last evening. Officially, it was an Area B1 Joint Meeting but if we identified the members who came – they were mostly from just two clubs – D’Utama Advanced and UniRazak. The meeting theme was Halloween (?) – and for a change, the Toastmaster-of-the-Evening (i.e. Dennis Wee) did not introduce Toastmasters International, but rather chose to dwell on the origins of Halloween! We had one group of fun-loving people who came dressed in costumes and the other group of ‘wet blankets’ who came in their normal office wear. I belonged to the latter unfortunately. I was the evaluator for Foong Weng Tuck who had decided to re-visit his CC manual and so, he did his Ice-breaker speech! He was an engaging speaker and I definitely enjoyed his speech. Better still, he demonstrated his amazing talent to embed humor and we all laughed fulsomely. It was also really nice to see Sheila Wong again – after a long absence – and she did an impromptu Ice-breaker speech. As with Foong, she too knew how to give us a belly-ache of laughs! All in all, a good meeting – even if we started seven minutes late.

Postscript: Sheila passed me a note that was really nice – “you have always been a good speaker BUT today, you are more than good. You are emotionally engaged with us”. A wonderful compliment that perhaps describes my wondrous (I had wanted to use ‘spectacular’ but that would have been boasting, wouldn’t it?) progress as a Toastmaster in the last 2-plus years.

Many people have already said it aloud. Until and unless, Najib clarifies his 1Malaysia concept – he is allowing it to be misinterpreted, misconstrued and misunderstood.

Writing in his blog on Wednesday, Mahathir Mohamad said the Malays interpreted 1Malaysia to mean the abolition of Chinese and Tamil schools and a “fair” participation of Malays and Bumiputras in the private sector.

The Chinese and Indians, he claimed, interpret 1Malaysia to mean an end to special treatment for Malays, the removal of quotas and the end to NEP-style affirmative action policies favoring Malays.

“Without the government spelling out the precise meaning of 1Malaysia, different people are giving their own interpretations which not only differ from each other but are in conflict with each other”.

Then he tempered his remarks by saying “These two interpretations of 1Malaysia admittedly are by the more extreme groups. The more moderate ones from both sides are milder in their expectations but their minimum interpretations still provide irreconcilable conflicts. 1Malaysia clearly means different things to the different races”.

My mouth opened wide as I read the above. To think that a statesman of Mahathir’s stature can be so half-baked in his thinking, that he could spew this mindless jabber. And I suspect these “insights” are figments of his imagination – not what other Malaysians think or believe. What I suspect is that his brain cells could have retreated into the dark recesses of his mentally-disturbed mind and so he made these madcap conjectures on the spur of a crazed moment.

I also happen to believe that Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa are enjoying public notoriety only because Mahathir throws his piddling weight behind them. For sure, the latter deserves public odium. I wish he would just shut up.

And as for Najib – I bet you he is clueless about 1Malaysia!

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