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Written on 5/09/2007 09:31:00 am by sikapitan

She is brilliant. Honestly, she is. Okay, maybe she’s not, but her marketing team must be geniuses. I mean, who could have possibly predicted that Paris Hilton, the hotel empire heiress and one-time amateur “porn star” currently pursuing a “singing” career, would be sentenced to 45 days in prison? In today’s warped world of celebrity-hungry media, Paris Hilton once again appeared in every major newspaper, looking very glamorous no less.

I guess after disappearing for one month from the general public’s consciousness, somebody must be thinking that Paris requires another dose of controversy just to spice things up for Miss Hilton. Paris (yes, we are on first name basis now, thank you) is the perfect example of a worldwide obsession with the famous, regardless of talent and ability. She represents a new breed of idols that became famous simply for being famous. I know that term sounds a bit weird, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

We Malaysians are not immune to this phenomenon. I mean, can anyone here actually remember what Camelia does for a living? Oh, she might list “singing” as her occupation, but I haven’t heard anything remotely memorable from her in recent years (her latest attempt at being techno-mystical don’t even qualify as singing) AND yet she’s had more pictures in newspapers and magazines than most other average singers.

It pays to be beautiful, of course, but it also helps to have a bit of panache when it comes to style (which she has in spades). The only thing lacking are some scandalous pictures or videos, but that wouldn’t bode down well with our conservative society. Thus, Miss Camelia (yes, she is available gentleman), and most other reality TV ex-contestants, perhaps we should just list you as somebody famous…for being famous.


There IS hope after all. All this while I’ve given up on seeing Malaysians vote intelligently, resigning myself to the fact that in Malaysia, credibility and ability means nothing. No, I’m not referring to the Ijok by-election (not yet) but Akademi Fantasia. Finally, the jambu looking yet katak sounding Dafi is out of the competition. It’s not that the rest are worthy champions (which none of them appear to be) but because this kid has stayed on for weeks simply because of his looks.

On that note, I don’t think it’s fair if I over-criticized him for staying that long in the competition. I can’t even blame the public (ie. young girls and old men with different taste) for voting him. I mean, is it his fault when there are actually people, supposedly professionals, who thought that he has talent? Somebody MUST have thought (erroneously) he could sing before they took him in.

Don’t forget, there was a selection process, whereby Astro had the opportunity to go through thousands of singers. And they chose him. They are saying “Boy, you can sing”. So this kid goes in, happy to be there, trying his best with his limited ability. He must be surprised to find out how little people think of his “talent” to sing because hey, the “professionals” in Astro said that he can sing. So between professionals who said he can sing, and the general public who thinks he can’t (please, be honest), we’ve got a massive chasm of confusion as to the real purpose of Akademi Fantasia and their whole selection criteria.

Astro should believe in the true spirit of the competition, and not try to dilute the spirit of a talent contest by politicizing the selection process. There is an imbalance this season because it appears that the selection committee was more preoccupied in choosing those who look good on camera rather than those who can sing. I believe that the Malaysian public is more mature than Astro give them credit for. Nobody is denying the appeal of the complete package singer, but the key word here is “singer” – not poster-boy or dancer or model. Go figure.


On the subject of voting, I wish to congratulate Barisan Nasional for managing to retain Ijok in the recent by-election with a bigger majority than the last incumbent. However, far from me being a gloomy spoilsport, careful analysis must be made to find out why more than 4,000 voters believe that Keadilan represents a better value to them. 5000+ against 4000+ isn’t a big margin, especially considering the political machinery available to Barisan.

The mass media, the manpower, the financial resources, the suddenly effective implementation of government projects should all contribute towards a total wipeout of the opposition who could only rely on ceramahs and gatherings. Yet, this was not the case. No one is denying the fact that a strong opposition showing is a great indication of and advertisement for Malaysian politics, but it remains a fact that almost half of the voters wanted a change, and that doesn’t bode down well if we are to translate this into national voting trend.

It implies that at least 4 out of 10 people want a change in government. More worryingly, there might be those who voted for Barisan because they believe that the alternative is no better but they are still dissatisfied with the present government. This means that there may be more people who are unhappy than those who are. Barisan may still walk away with a new mandate in the next general election, but the underlying discontent among the average Malaysians must be addressed.

I do not believe that poor economy is the reason for such discontent. Malaysians have been through worse patch than before, and though the government must be more proactive in correcting the imbalance of wealth in this country, it is not the sole reason for such dissatisfaction.

I’m guessing that the present restlessness stems from the fact that there is no longer a unifying grand scheme that paints an optimistic view of the future. There is confusion as to what Malaysia wants to be, and how to achieve it. Are we still an industrial based economy or are we really shifting towards agriculture? What happen to K-economy? Are we going to turn into the Halal hub of the world? There are simply too many projects with diverse interest and objectives. It’s not economic downturn that’s affecting us, but economic confusion!

There must also be a national agenda; such was the case when Tun Mahathir was in power, to bind Malaysians together. Social issues such as violent crimes, lack of quality graduates, antiquated education system, collapse of the family institution, the failure to combat menace like the Rempits are all contributing factors that further highlight the lack of cohesion on national policies.

In any case, I’m joining UMNO soon though I’ve been waiting for the form since last week (see, even the recruitment process is laid back and so typically Malay…). Go figure.


UNITED! UNITED! UNITED! 9th Premiership title in 15 years. Ferguson has successfully built another championship winning side. This squad is not the complete article just yet. I believe the addition on a top class striker (who doesn’t get injured often) like David Villa or Sam Eto’o plus two midfielders (Pederson and Gattuso would be my pick, but Hargreaves looks likely to head to OT) would certainly make Manchester United more formidable.

It’s ironic that we actually clinched the title through a series of penalty decisions – two in the Manchester derby, and the one at Highbury. Even more ironic was the fact that the title was wrapped up in matches involving two of Man United’s greatest rivals – Manchester City and Arsenal.

I know Man United and the top teams dominated the PFA team of the year, but I would like to offer “The Best of the Rest” team sheet (just to indulge in a bit of fantasy football).

Goalie: Ben Foster (ironically, on loan from Manchester United) of Watford
Defenders: Steven Taylor (Newcastle), Jonathan Woodgate (Midboro), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Joleon Lescott (Everton)
Midfielders: Mikel Arteta (Everton), Steve Sidwell (Reading), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa) Pederson (Blackburn)
Strikers : Benny McCarthy (Blackburn) and Mark Viduka (Midboro)

Manager: David Moyes (Everton)

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