Friday, June 12, 2009

1Malaysia, Slogan First, Performance Ever?

We lived for 22 years under Mahathir’s iron fist regime, but hardly anybody would remember that his slogan was “Bersih, Cekap, Amanah (Clean, Efficient, Trustworthy)”. Similarly we suffered 8 years of Badawi’s administration, but I bet you that many would not be able to say his slogan "Gemilang, Terbilang, Cemerlang (Excellence, Glory and Distinction)” correctly. It took me a bit of Googling to dig it out myself.

But in barely two months our sixth Prime Minister Najib has managed to make his slogan “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” more recognizable than Mac Donald’s Big M symbol or Kentucky Chicken’s “Fingers licking good” slogan.

I heard that Najib paid top dollars (mind you, it was our tax money) to engage a top PR film to dress up his public image. I supposed Najib needs all the help he can get as in Malaysia’s 52 years history we have never seen a Prime Minister laden with so much unsavory allegations and with such disastrous approval ratings.

As a slogan “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” is ultra modern, catchy, rhymes beautifully, and more importantly it conjures up powerful images of what Malaysian’s REALLY desired for the country. It succinctly expresses Malaysian’s detest over the endemic corruption, excesses and racism that is ravaging the country. But here also lies the problem. What the slogan expresses is as far from reality as it can be.

Perhaps Najib intention is to fulfill the slogan – but the people are yet to be convinced. This powerful slogan has met with nothing but ridicule form the beginning. The worst damage was actually inflicted from within UMNO. The constant blaring of ultra racist views in state controlled media by the right wing extremist elements were like intentional sabotage to this inclusive and moderate slogan.

1Malaysia, Slogan First, Performance Ever?

I remember on the day that the slogan was announced, it was also announced that 13 people detained under the Internal Security Acts will be released. But due to red tapes and administrative snafus the ISA detainees were released a day later. The slogan was instantaneously morphed into: “1Malaysia, Slogan First, Performance Later.”

To an outsider such cynicism may seem uncalled for. But it nevertheless indicates Malaysian’s distrust of Najib capability and real intention to fulfill the slogan. And things seem to be sliding down a slippery slope from there.

Next came the naming of the new ‘clean and slim’ cabinet. I recalled that the cabinet was ‘slim down’ by only 2 persons, and were no lacking in criticisms for the many tainted characters retained in the Cabinet. The slogan became: “1Fat Cabinet, Cronies First, Performance Ever?”

Since then I have seen Najib creating special positions to reign in delinquent and rejects like Koh Tsu Khoon and Chua Sooi Lek. I am quite sure that by now the cabinet is actually larger than the already bloated Badawi’s cabinet.

Then came the continued unfolding of the saga associated with the hugely unpopular and scandalous coup in Perak. The people got so totally pissed off that the slogan became: “1BlackMalaysia, Power First, People Never”.

Now with the PKFZ scandal and disastrous 6% economy contraction exploding into the scene, I hope it will not end up in: “1ScandalMalaysia, Cronies First, Corruption Forever.”

Cynicism aside, the people are not going to see such a good slogan coming to waste. Various parties are having a good time capitalizing on it. The most famous of which is: “1BlackMalaysia, Democracy First, Elections Now.” in relation to the coup in Perak.

Imitation is the best form of flattery, so it says. The explosion of variations and imitations of the 1Malaysia slogan is a testimony on how powerful the slogan is. Perhaps Najib should have patented the slogan. I guess if Harvey Davidson is able to patent the sound of motorcycle’s exhaust, the 1Malaysia slogan can also be patented as well. Anyway with the Kangaroo court on his side, Najib should be able to sue to the last dollar anybody who attempt to ‘abuse’ his pet slogan.

Below are some variations if the 1Malaysia slogan that I have seen in the Internet. Please don’t quote me, as my memory is rather imperfect, and many are free association triggered by what I have seen. Anyway, below are some of them:

1Malaysia, 2 Chief Ministers, 3 Prime Ministers.

Everybody knows about the ridiculous 2 Chief Ministers in Perak.

I am not going to name our 3rd PM, a twisted soul, a face disfigured with much anger and hatred, and a body bloated with willful self-indulgence. She is probably the most despised woman in Malaysia.

The old fox PM1 had always been critical of PM2, and had made many damaging remarks against PM2. Now PM2 seems to be staging an all out revolt, and the two seem to be heading towards total open warfare. It makes one wonders who is actually running Malaysia.

1Indian, 2PPP, 3Hindraf.

The 1Indian is a concept proposed by MIC. Talking about MIC, the legendary Samy Vellu automatically came to mind. He is an enigma, a true eye opener to the culture of ego maniacs of the Mahathir era. Samy Vellu seems to be determined to bring MIC to the grave with him. In times to come he may very well be known as the last emperor of MIC.

Now Samy’s son Vell Paari is being primed to take over MIC. But apart from being Samy’s son, the only things I ever heard of Vell Paari are the many juicy scandals befitting of a gangster than a worthy representative of the people. In fact with Samy Vellu at the helm the whole of MIC looks more like a Mafia gang than a political party to me.

By putting forward the 1Indian idea Vell Paari may think that he is licking Najib’s ass. But just imagine the Chinese also wanted to do the 1Chinese thing, the Mamak doing the 1Mamak thing, and the 1Hakka, 1Cantonese, 1Tamil, 1Dakyat etc all joining the foray. Can you see how ridiculous the idea is?

Everybody knows what 2 PPP means. The maverick Murugiah is playing on the perception that Najib is on his side, but the incumbent Kayveas is no push over. I am waiting to see how Najib is going to handle the situation.

Now the 3 Hindraf refers to the fractioning within the Hindraf movement. I counted 3 fractions, and I suspected that there are many more. One spinster group even got themselves registered as the Makkal Shakti society. Obviously Barisan Nasional is behind them. You can see this as their ploy to corrupt the Makkal Shakti slogan, much like how the opposition is corrupting the 1Malaysia slogan. I find that a real pity, as Makkal Shakti has been such a power slogan for the people power movement.

Not Enough Indian Representatives?

Yes, the Indians are being marginalized. But it is not because there is insufficient Indian representation in the government. The real problem is that there are too many people claiming to represent the Indians; and they are literally killing each other over it.

As a matter of fact it is not just the Indians that are being marginalized. The whole system of corruption and patronage has created a society so imbalanced that only a small handful of power mongers are controlling the vast majority of the country’s wealth. It is not that these scumbags are able to consume all the wealth under their control. Their personal palaces, mistresses, fleet of sport cars and overseas shopping spree only cost some number of millions in the long run.

The bigger problem is that these people are hell bent to maximize their wealth and maintain their privileged position. They have resorted to sowing hatred and manufacturing artificial racial tensions to keep the society divided. It is causing widespread social ills that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Everybody is being marginalized. Even the middle class professional couples are finding it hard to make ends meet, not to mention the kampong folks and the underpaid blue collar workers. People power cannot allow for the tribal mindset and artificial division to continue. Nobody should fight for any particular race, everybody should instead stand together to fight for the common survival for all.

I am not asking everybody to become an unquestioning and cultic follower of Pakatan Rakyat. In fact there are many dubious people within Pakatan Rakyat that I do not trust any more than the Barisan Nasional goons.

The 318 tsunami was only a wake up call, and Pakatan Rakyat is only the stepping stone. People Power will eventually have to move beyond the political divide. We will need a different type of leadership. A group of fearless and incorruptible people will have to step forward to take lead and bring everybody together, regardless of race, religion and political affiliations. That will be the next paradigm shift that needs to happen, otherwise with the current rate of decay the whole society will descend into a downwards spiral sending everybody back to the middle ages.

1Malaysia, Jolly Good Slogan It is!

Below are some more variations:

1CorruptMalaysia, Money First, Power Now.
1BarisanNasional, Power First, Screw You Now.
1MACC, Cars and Cows First, PKFZ never.
1KangarooCourt, Fix Judges First, Justice Never.
1BlackCoffeeAfterWork …
1Black Café …

You see, the slogan is so versatile that you can mix and match a small number of key phrases to come up with virtually infinite variation of it. It can be used in the commercial sector as well – for example:

1HeavenlyResort, Luxury First, Heavenly Service Now.
1TandooHouse, Good Taste First, Gratification Now.

1Malaysia. Jolly good slogan it is!


Aus Pilot said...


Anonymous said...

How about 1Ringgit Malaysia? Becos with all the scandle, that's what will be left in our coffer.

"Satu Malaysia, Hanya Untuk Saya,
Lain makan Rumput, Goreng dengan Batu"

Humble Voice said...

Good idea anon above. How about:

1Ringgit Malaysia, 2 Empty pockets, 4 Bare walls.