Power Corrupts...

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Written on 10/06/2005 12:24:00 am by sikapitan

It is sometimes liberating to return as a Social Commentator, as opposed to the entertainment-friendly, bubble-gum remarks typical of my other alter ego – Senor Elkapitan. Do not get me wrong. I enjoy writing in Malay, and I enjoy interacting with the multitude of personalities you would expect when you touch on something that most people have an opinion about – entertainment! It’s even nicer when you’re interviewed by a radio station, though at some point during the entire 60-minutes segment I wished it was for this blog rather than the other. There’s so much more inside this head of mine than AF, but rants and thoughts of an opinionated 22-year old Malay undergraduate is not exactly what the mass media wants…

For this entry, we will look at what is going on at that sacred institution of ours that grabs the headlines for many wrong reasons- Parliament. To the average laymen, Parliamentarians do nothing more than squabble and bicker with each other. At least, that is what you read in newspapers, and yesterday’s headlining Buletin Utama’s feed from the Dewan Rakyat reinforces this view with Kit Siang and RafidahAziz going head-to-head in a match akin to something from the WWE. It has been the headline for the past week, with even Barisan MPs showing their displeasure at Rafidah’s absence from Parliament.

I would have launched into a tirade if it were not for the fact that I believe Rafidah to be more than capable being the head of a ministry. My mom was a former employee at MiTI, and like I have previously stated – no one’s opinion is free from prejudice - and her words carried weight in my mind. Rafidah, as most who follows politics would grudgingly admit, is an intelligent woman who is often referred to as the Iron Lady for her strong will in performing her duties. She is not without fault, as is bound to be when you are in power for too long a time.

Power corrupts. There is a reason why a cliché is a cliché. No matter what power you hold, how small your post, you would somehow, someday, someway act in a manner that is beneficial to your interest. Remember your Ketua Darjah, who happens to be your best friend thus didn’t reprimand you for not lining up properly before class starts? Or your student leader, who at the end of the day, allows you to meet the artist performing for the dinner backstage? Or that old schoolmate who now happens to be the Head Security to some posh club and let it slide that you did not have the proper ID? You don’t shout “Hey, corruption” because it benefits you, and you don’t see anyone else gets hurt.

Me? I just look at it this way – if I were a minister, I cannot say for sure I would not help a few friends, bail out a cousin or two, and pocket something for when I retire. So should I hold others on a higher standard than what I would do? Who has the gall to say that if the Opposition comes into power there would not be corruption?

Do not get me wrong. I am not condoning corruption, much less encouraging it. Rafidah made mistakes, and I am glad the opposition is pointing it out. The notion of corruption-free governance is one that remains idealistic, but it should not be dismissed because it sets a goal, a target, and without targets, you have no purpose. And when you have no purpose, you’re better off living without rules and laws. This equals anarchy. It’s just that I find it amusing when people talk of corruption as if it is beyond them, that they’re above any forms of abuse of power.

Mawi in Parliament...again!

Do you guys know who Mawi is??? If you don’t then you either don’t subscribe to any form of news media, or you simply turn it off when you see a bald-headed guy appearing on TV. Mawi is the Champion of Akademi Fantasia 3, but more importantly, he IS the new ICON for the Malay community. I am not a big fan of Mawi, but as part of entertainment, he does have his appeal. I just find it amusing how this young man has come to the level of cultural icon in a period of 3 months. What do you think?

Well, Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin certainly thinks highly of Mawi. He urged, in Parliament no less, that the Government exploit the popularity of this Johorean to get youths off from drugs and other social ills. Yes, that would certainly help wouldn’t it Datuk? Ignorance as to the nature of society, as to the cause of substance abuse, as to the psychological element of youths caught up in the tug-of-war between tradition and modernization leads to such simple solution. I do agree that celebrities involved in such campaigns can raise awareness, but tell me – whoever said drugs were good? Could you find an addict who would come up and tell you they genuinely thought doing drugs would cause no harm? A smoker knows the harm of smoking cigarettes. No use harping on the fact that drugs are dangerous.

Talking about smokers, I am pretty pissed off that the recent Budget did not impose a higher duty/tax on cigarettes. Rumors have it that by the end of this year, petrol prices will increase. Tell me now, what is more important – cigarettes or petrol? If the government were to increase the price for a pack to RM10, what harm would it do? Would farmers stop working because they can’t afford to buy cigarettes? Would the lorry drivers/bus drivers/taxi drivers launch pickets because they cannot enjoy their 20 sticks-a-day routine? Would the harm of increasing the price for cigarettes outweigh the advantages of NOT increasing the price of petrol? This is of course a very simple argument from an untrained economist, and I am sure the tobacco companies’ lobbyist has 1001 responses to this proposition of mine. But this is the thought of the average Malaysian, and isn’t that what counts at the end of the day?

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1 Comment

  1. Blogger |

    Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigarettes? I'm buying my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 50% from cigarettes.

     

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