Looking back on one helluva year

It seems rather unpalatable to have my last posting of 2008 be one on Samy Vellu. Hell no!

So I take this opportunity to revisit this year and all that happened in my horizon.

First of all, I would like to salute a bunch of fellow bloggers who actually stood up to be counted. Many of them got persecuted in some way. Nathaniel Tan disappeared into police custody earlier this year for a “friendly talk”. Kickdefella got into trouble and spent more than a week as a guest of the govt. Raja Petra Kamarudin did almost two months in Kamunting. All of them for their words.

Tai kor blogger Jeff Ooi went to Parliament in March this year. The March elections was where voters dealt an unprecendented blow that sent BN reeling. My fourth time voting and never had I felt so empowered as a citizen of Malaysia.

The disappointing part was that the likes of Bung (Dung?) Mokhtar Radin returned to Parliament together with a new, virulent foot-in-the-mouth strain named Tajiddin Rahman.

Anwar Ibrahim entered Parliament again after a hiatus of 10 years after a very eventful by-election in Permatang Pauh. Five states in Malaysia now has Pakatan Rakyat governments running them.

CheDet started blogging and hit a million mark in a month or less, I was told. That was bloody historic. Looks like Malaysia’s Internet penetration level has risen exponentially since last year. Malaysia Today’s traffic has hit the roof and continues to soar at unbelievable millions thanks to people who have largely lost faith in mainstream media.

Some local daily’s rabid espousal of ketuanan this and that, totally eschewing any semblance of journalistic integrity, resulted in an MP’s and another journalist’s detention under ISA. Theresa Kok is suing Utusan Malaysia for RM30 mil and, though lots of detractors call it excessive, I say “Way to go, Theresa”.

The Hindraf boys are still rotting away in Kamunting along with other older prisoners without a chance for them to defend themselves in a trial. The good thing that came out of this national shame is that more and more people are turning up for the candlelight vigil at PJ civic centre every Sunday night in a show of peaceful dissent.

If they bring their kids to the events, well why not? You have less chance to losing your child at a vigil than you do at our local pasar malam. Remember our dearly departed Nurin Jazlin Jazimin? I will never forget her.

Of course if things turn ugly at vigils, I will only blame those hyenas and jackals in uniform and their bloodlust. Pavlovian-style conditioning have also turned our boys in blue into murderers, so attacking unarmed people in public cannot be too hard.

We lost Pulau Batu Putih to Singapore. I can’t blame any parties but lackadaisical governance. The Singaporean folks had a little more ground to argue.

Ineptitude and loss of control prompted a rebellion in Umno where the powerbrokers issued an ultimatum that ended in a fast-track power transfer from Abdullah Badawi to his deputy Najib Razak. This development also seemed to halt the acsension of the most talked-about son in law, who is now clearly usurped by Mukhriz Mahathir in the race to head Umno Youth.

Everything in Umno turned topsy turvy following the March 08 election massacre, but  the party looks like its consolidating and may yet rise again. MCA underwent a total leadership change. MIC and Gerakan were wiped out. The Sabah and Sarawak folks are sabre rattling. I hope the BN leadership knows how crucial those East Malaysians are to their survival.

Anwar’s September 16 remained a rhetoric, to a lot of people’s disappointment. But I think it is time for all the elected Pakatan Rakyat MPs to prove their mettle. Several Bills went through Parliament  that needed thorough looking at. MPs are legislators and they are supposed to read, digest, understand, debate, pass Bills that are necessary and oppose Bills that would serve to screw us who elected them.

That cannot be done if a lot of MPs are missing during house sessions. As it is, Parliamentary sessions are being talked about for all the wrong reasons. The only thing we haven’t done is throwing shoes at each other or ending in fisticuffs like those Taiwanese MPs love to do.

Speaking of shoes, I must go international. The adage “you reap what you sow” must be ringing in Dubya’s ears after the ignominous incident where an Iraqi journo threw both his shoes at him. What a twistedly fitting way for an internationally unpopular President of the United States to exit the scene.

November brought about a historic occasion when Americans elected its first black President, Barack Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois. The guy will take presidential oath on Jan 20. For now, he is content to sun away the holidays in Hawaii, showing off his buff bod, much to the consternation of  some super-sized, burger munching Americans.

This month has not been very pleasant. The Bukit Antarabangsa landslide served again to remind us that while the monied can choose to live an elevated existence, death is the great equaliser. It does not pay to continue to ignore mother nature.

If there is one thing I really wish for to happen in 2009, it is greater transparency and accountability in governance, because history has shown us again and again that sloppy governance can lead to a lot of death, damage and misery.

An effort to put things right was demonstrated recently after the passing of the Yang Di Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar. All my years, I’ve only known only him as Yam Tuan. My condolences to the Antah family.

As someone who hailed from Negri Sembilan myself, I was gratified when Tunku Mukhriz Tunku Munawir was named as the new Yam Tuan. He should have succeeded his late father, but his uncle Tuanku Jaafar took office then ostensibly because Tunku Mukhriz was too young then.

Many years later, it seems that the Undangs did the right thing by appointing him as the rightful ruler over Tuanku Jaafar’s three sons, including first-born Tunku Naquiyuddin who presided as Regent during the late Tuanku Jaafar’s reign as Yang Di Pertuan Agong.

Let’s hope more people will do the right thing in 2009.

Happy New Year, folks!


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