The first thing Anand asks me after the niceties, on our way to the seafood restaurant was how much dedak have I taken.
He just picked me up at Kota Kinabalu airport.
This is funny, because before this August trip, already in 2014 som
eone else asked me if I am a BN man now, since I was critical of the Dyana Sofea campaign in Teluk Intan’s by-election.
Four years later, some of the same.
I am not a Barisan Nasional man. If you have met me such a mad proposition would never cross your mind.
I am not one for backwardness backed by convoluted rationale dressed up by the convenient fact no one else has been in charge before. That’s BN in a nutshell.
BN for me is everything wrong about this country. The arrested development is from them, they have scuppered this nation’s ability to move forward as a cohesive unit because they need this to be a divided house in order for their politics of divisiveness to make sense.
It was the same in 1955, and it is the same in 2018.
Umno is wrong for this country.
It has been as such ever since.
I am not a new person to this game, I have never changed my mind about BN.
I am committed to the idea of ending BN rule, not because I hate them, but because another possibility is impossible as long as they remain in power.
They are against a nation being a nation without them as sole intermediary.
That our Malaysian-ness, or any semblance of connection to this land is only through the graces of Umno.
Just this, always
it is important to know, two things.
It is ludicruous to say I have been fed by them, and second, I have suffered for my position on Umno. In my life many doors close because of my attitude to Umno.
If so, why would some people may observe me as a troublemaker for Pakatan Harapan?
I speak my mind publically, which is where the problems begin. While I want Pakatan to win every seat possible, it does not mask the innate weaknesses in the coalition.
Clear is clear, the country will be in a better place with Pakatan in charge, not the least because the monopoly is broken.
But winning is about votes, and votes have the counted in a rational way.
They don’t galvanise the collective political will for change when they only raise the spirits of those backing them, and stirs little emotion in those indifferent to them.
It has to be about saying the right thing to get the votes from the required numbers to win enough seats to form government. It is not about saying all you can for every person while retaining all their structural preferences for the country, which induces contradictions left, right and centre.
The country cannot be fixed, or the promise to fix it, can’t come from replicating everything the present administration does and offer extras.
It has to be about appearing strong and certain about things.
A good manifesto loses votes, as much as it gets the adequate amount of support.
A middling approach is exactly Umno.
I talk about these issues, because in a democracy, it is about ideas and their presence in our midst.
It is not about blind partisanship of whether to pick the Jets or the Sharks.
It is not about piling up your roster with every personality ever to grace Malaysian politics with the simple-minded notions that every politician brings x number of votes. So you add their support up, reach past 8 million votes, and win the country.
Because, the x number of politicians also lose x-number of voters.
So yes, I have a problem with overzealous fiscal promises, safe policy promises and “The Expandles” solution to defeat Umno at the polls.
Anyone seeking political reform in this country, must ask for reform not their own agenda.
It is without doubt, a movement can have a process agenda or a personality agenda, but not both.
Is that cold? Of course it is. It is a horrible thing to say if you yourself, or those you love are in are collateral damage, but this business is not a soap opera.
If anyone thinks Mahathir Mohamad came to oppose Najib Razak because the better angels got to him or he went through a catharsis riveted by guilt, they are wrong.
Mahathir had his agenda opposed, not that he found the Malaysia agenda opposed.
I can go on, and name many others and why they fail the test of leadership of reform, but it would just be repetitive.
To vote for Pakatan, of course.
The single most item holding Malaysia back is the monopoly of Umno.
Just because I have huge complaints about the blade to be used to fell the great tree the giant climbs down from does not mean I am not aware about the need to bring the tree down.
I do have an obligation, because I wanted reform when Mahathir punished reformers and laughed at us for not being as strong as him, to ask for a sharper blade.
Asking for a better tool to do the job does not mean I won’t go on with the only tool available to get a result.
I have to try with what I have.
That’s that, then.