Politics in Malaysia

Malaysians recently have been bombarded by the airing of dirty laundry from both sides of the political divide. The constant lobbing of political bombs from both side of the aisle atypically not only failed to abate during the fasting month but actually intensified. Exposé after exposé made it to the headlines of the alternative and mainstream press and they got all tongues-a-wagging.

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Faux Pas

The internal conflict between the professional and the ulama factions in PAS has threatened to break the party apart. While the internal struggle has been going on for a while, it wasn’t until the current Selangor Menteri Besar fiasco that it has made its way into broad national discourse- no doubt added by an ever willing mass media to showcase the “bad” side of the opposition. Will PR, as we know in its current shape and form, survive this?

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Apple September 2014 Event Keynote

It is really weird that Apple’s announcements are always called keynotes. I remembered times when a keynote meant the most important speech that always underscores the theme of an event. It is supposed to precede an event. Apple’s Special September Event is just that– an event where the only thing happening was the keynote.

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May the Fourth Be With You: Happy Star Wars Day!

The cast for Star Wars: Episode 7 was recently revealed by StarWars.com. Returning to their original roles are Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker as Luke, Han, Leia, C-3P0, Chewbacca and R2-D2.

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The 13th Malaysian General Elections will be the most important turning point in the history of our nation, bar the independence of Malaya and the formation of the federation of Malaysia. For the first time ever, all 222 parliamentary and 505 state assembly seats will be contested. This broke the tradition of BN winning seats by default during nomination day due to non-contest.

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Invisible Obama and Phantom Tweeters

The just concluded 2012 Republican National Convention was memorable because Clint Eastwood gave a kooky speech while talking to an empty chair. Apparently, he was castigating an invisible potty mouthed Barack Obama who supposedly sat in the chair. Even before poor Mitt Romney took the stage to give his acceptance speech, the twittersphere was a buzz with snarky and often humorous tweets on the surreal “performance” of the Oscar winning, husky-voiced, octogenarian actor-director.

One of them is @InvisibleObama. He (or she, or they) started a series of funny tweets (often at the expense of Mitt Romney and the GOP) with gems like:-

When Mitt Romney says “Mr. Chairman”, do you think he’s referring to me?

I’m behind Mitt! No seriously. I’m right behind him.

Pretty soon, everyone joined in and even President Obama chimed in with this:-

This seat's taken.
“This seat’s taken.” tweeted Obama

Memes started popping up:-

Meanwhile, our own Communications and Information Minister (who has the dubious honor of a permanent hashtag of #yorais attached to every tweet regarding him) encouraged tweeting Malaysians to tweet between 8.15pm and 9.15pm on the 31st of August. The topic is should be about freedom, independence and…how grateful Malaysians feel towards “promises fulfilled” (which is the theme of this year’s independence day).

While Rais Yatim claimed that the massive simul-tweet campaign is a success, others didn’t think so when they analyzed the tweets.

Politweet reported a spontaneous need for 111 Malaysians to tweet about their bowl of Curry Mee in Queensbays Mall at around the same time in almost the same language on their Facebook page.

It is interesting to note the prominence of social media in our modern political arena. While one can control the message, one can’t control the medium (without being discovered). In parting, there is only one way to compare what happened in the US with what happened in Malaysia: While Americans are tweeting about an invisible president, invisible Malaysians are tweeting about Merdeka!