How Great An Average Speech Can Be (The Malaysian 2019 Budget Presentation)

Getting ready for the show at Putrajaya.

We crossed a threshold today. All of us.

There’s the budget, for sure, but along with the RM100 bus passes, RM20 from PTPTN borrowers if they can earn RM1001 a month and the fuel subsidy for the needy, came that moment. One which will long live in our memories.

Since Malaysian budgets were presented in Malay, predating the Tan Siew Sin days in a different Malaysia, and most certainly on live TV, never was a sight as such was to behold: A full chamber listen to a man present with no alacrity  for the language of his country, present the national budget for his country.

There were the potshots, like the tweet about being amused over the way the finance minister pronounced ringgit.

But the moment to be etched in our collective mindsets is that of an ethnic Chinese man from the most slagged off party in our short memory inform us how money will be spent and collected.

He was telling his fellow countrymen how they propose to govern.

And I tell you, it’s priceless.

The monoethnic beast unfurled by the Malay ultras from the 1960s, not the least by the prime minister himself, was finally put to bed.

There are problems in this country, do not get me wrong.

All eyes on the man of the hour, or two.

But the thing which gets in our way to solving them is our internal battle of whether to exclude some of us from the country and then include us when necessary. A nation constantly at odds with its existence. Since a country is defined by its people and this country struggles to determine who are its people, it has been complicated, for decades.

Having Mr Lim Guan Eng stand up and speak for more than two hours to share his government’s view on how to manage the country, to be its representative, while all his government and his opponents listened on, must have been surreal for all the hundreds of thousands watching on.

As put by Margaret Thatcher:”We cannot go back to the time of not knowing.”

Today we got to know. And we can’t not know, anymore. Mr Lim spoke for Malaysia, our Malaysia.

There will be great dawns ahead.

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