Voting for a Pot Plant

plant, succulent, potted

If a pot plant is to campaign for our next election, I’ll vote for it — without hesitating for a second.  A pot plant in power could only do good for our country now.  At least it reduces carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, whereas idiots like Ibrahim Ali fart from their mouths.  Even if the pot plant stands motionlessly, it still sets a better example than the kneeling, tail-wagging MCA and Gerakan.  A pot plant takes up little space, and with sun light and rain it grows.  It does not greedily plot to rip off other people all the time.

A pot plant is full of life.  It doesn’t doze off in parliament.  Even if MACC throws it off from the 13th floor, it’ll survive.  Politicians can throw shit at it, and it’ll take shit as fertilizer and grow even stronger.  It’s totally possible for a pot plant to campaign in the next election, but first it must become a Malaysian citizen.  Looking at how desparately Jabatan Pendaftaran is dealing out MyKads to create voters, I have no doubt my rambutan tree can become a Malaysian citizen.  At least my rambutan tree is a living being, better than the 130-year-old phantom voters.

Looking at all the extraordinary stunts pulled by our government in the past 20 years,  I believe there is nothing that can’t be done as long as the officials get paid.  I’ve heard babies being sold in hospitals.  It’s a full package deal including MyKad and birth certificates, as if you have just given birth to the newborn.  Now picture this, from sourcing for willing mothers, delivering babies, faking documentations, to selling and marketing, how many parties have to be involved?  And how much money is in it?  Let’s say I pay thrice the price, surely I could get this government to acknowledge that I’ve just given birth to my rambutan tree.  His name is Rambutan Chiew.  Male.  Born 21 years old, ready to be elected.

So, you think I’m kidding?  I have thought about it in detail.  To save Malaysia, ordinary citizen like me has but one option: not to vote for Barisan Nasional in the coming election.  Even if the other candidates are pot plants and rocks, I cannot vote for Barisan if I want to save Malaysia.

There are no other ways.  Is Malaysia in such a bad shape?  Does it need to be rescued?  After the 709 Rally, Ms. Kimberly, a manager in an advertising company, argued, “Can you still earn a living?  If you can, why rock the boat?”  I explained that our citizens’ rights and benefits have been consistently exploited.  Let’s say you’ve paid RM100 of taxes, but only RM50 is utilized for your benefits.  Some politician’s wife uses the other RM50 to buy her diamond ring.  If you complain, you can be jailed under the Internal Security Act (ISA).  If we are content with “earning a living” only, there isn’t much difference between us and the monkeys in the zoo.  As the country deteriorates, can we still “earn a living” in 5 years?  What about 10?  Is sending our children abroad our only chance?  What if we cannot afford to?

I couldn’t convince Kimberly over lunch.  Barisan needs more people like her.

I am not merely emotional.  I have observed and pondered, and saw our country as a ship with a million holes.  All the maintenance budget has been pocketed by the captain, the vice captain, even the sailors.  They use the money to buy their private lifeboats.  As the ship sinks, the captain hands out drugged candies to keep us sedated.  By the time we wake up, we are already drowning.  The country is going bankrupt like Greece and Iceland.  It’ll all be  too late.

My Greek friends, Constantine and Sophie, told me that their government has been painting a rosy picture for the past 10 years.  Even GDP growth figures were fabricated.  Now the country is going bankrupt.  “It seems OK here”, said Constantine, who’s working in Malaysia now.  I shuddered.

To save Malaysia, there is no other way than changing the Barisan Nasional government.  The reasoning is very, very simple.  The same crew manning the ship for the past 50 years have proven their incompetence and corruptedness by almost wrecking it.  Why won’t we fire them?  If this were a pirate ship, we’d simply throw them overboard.  But we live in a civilized society, so election is the proper way.  Personally, I’d rather feed BN to the sharks.

Our national budget has been in the red for 15 years.  What company can lose money for 15 years and still survive?  Malaysia is blessed with rich resources. probably enough to be ripped off by greedy politicians for 15 years.  But what about the future?  And you must realize that if the country goes bankrupt, you fall the hardest.  Not the greedy politicians.  They have already pocketed millions of your money.

Let’s say the country found RM1 million worth of oil and made RM800,000 of profit.  Part of the RM800K went to taxes.  The rest is eventually distributed to the shareholders.  As the shareholders use the money, it gets pumped into the market and the economy moves.  If the government utilizes the money correctly, not only that the people gets better infrastructure and service, the economy grows as well.

However, the RM800K rarely gets distributed in such ideal manner.  Some official decides to buy 2 rolls of toilet papers with RM700K.  Then the contractor gives half to him as commission.  The two just divided the wealth of the country between themselves.  You could probably still “earn a living” in such economy because there is still RM100K that flows into the market.  But, you as a Malaysian citizen, as the boss of Malaysia government, deserves RM800K.  Your staff has been pocketing your money.  For 15 years.  Why won’t you fire them?

You may ask, even though the money is in the corrupted officials’ hands, doesn’t it flow into the market too?  It’s not entirely the same.  One person owning RM1 million does not deliver the same impact in economy as 10 people owning RM100K each.  The corrupted official with RM1 million may buy a car worth RM200K.  Only one car gets sold.  On the other hand, 10 people may each buy a car worth RM50K.  10 cars get sold, with a total of RM500K transacted. Furthermore, the lives of 10 people have been improved instead of just one greedy bastard.  There are thousands of such greedy bastards in the Barisan Nasional government, stealing from you every day.  And there are real examples.  The recent national audit disclosed that our government bought RM2,000 binoculars with RM50,000, and RM100 stationery with RM2,000.

There are countless more examples.  The Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.  The Sharizat family and the National Feedlot Center scandal.  Rumors surrounding Najib’s submarines and Rosmah’s ring.  Khir Toyo’s “palace” scandal.  The forgotten closed-door Approved Permit allocation.  There are cases that you’ve heard of, and cases that you haven’t heard of.  We can’t begin to count.  But these big cases aren’t the most damaging ones.  Do you know that there are agreed-upon “fees” collected by every layer of local authorities, for all approval processes – from blueprint to commencing business – for nearly all buildings on Malaysian soil?  I heard from a lawyer friend that there exists a name list of judges who accept bribes.  He learned about it from a fellow lawyer who pitied him for losing a seemingly sure-win case.

If these cases still seem a little distant, let’s talk about things that happen closer to you.  How did you “get” your driver’s license?  When you are stopped by a traffic police, do you think “summon” or “RM50”?  My friend’s friend was a traffic police.  He said it was explicitly taught in the academy that taking graft had been a tradition, and nobody was to disrupt it.  I knew a friend who had been a police.  His senior brought his team along to collect “protection money” from gangsters.  He was also aware of colleagues who re-sold confiscated narcotics back to drug dealers.  I used to know some DVD pirates.  They would be informed right before any Ministry of Domestic Affairs raids.  Then, they would prepare some obsolete stock to be cleared, and put on a good show for the media.  Of course, I cannot prove any of these “rumors”.  You have heard your fair share of such “rumors” too.  Surely, they come from somewhere.

These small cases are more disruptive to the nation than the high-profile cases because they have become structural and systematic, just like the final years of the Ching Dynasty.  Corruption happens every day, and you get used to it.  “Duit Kopi” has become a term that every Malaysian understands immediately.  It’s “coffee money”, how harmless.  It has become part of our culture.  Corruption is ingrained into the DNA of the country.  This is cancer.  It feels like nothing in the beginning, but left untreated, it spells pain and death.

When money is the only goal, government posts are filled by imbeciles.  Even capable people cannot perform among imbeciles.  Look at all the outrageous incidents in recent years.  Reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, among others, was detained under ISA for reporting facts (though the Minister said the government was merely “protecting” Chen).   709 Rally was met with violent suppression and followed with blatant lies by spineless politicians like Liow.  Our government approved gold-mining with cyanide and building rare earth processing factory against the people’s will, potentially killing our citizens and polluting Malaysian soil for many generations.

Do you remember cases like the Altantuya murder and the Teoh Beng Hock murder?  Lives were lost, but the government either dragged or concluded them hastily.  The government is hoping that the people are forgetful.  It’s about the future of our country.  It’s our future.  We cannot afford to be forgetful.  But what if we are a little forgetful?  It doesn’t matter because under the management of a bunch of imbeciles, there are plenty of new jokes which will remind us of their existence.  The newly-built Terengganu stadium collapsed.  The new Palace of Justice leaked.  Our submarine can’t submerge.  Our bulletproof vest aren’t bulletproof.  Our jet fighters are without engines.  Jokes like these are as many as Rosmah’s jewelry.  Keep digging.

Initially, I didn’t understand why there were so many idiots holding high posts in our government. Aren’t they suppose to be experienced, capable people?  Then a high school teacher enlightened me:  Let’s say an imbecile is transferred to my school as staff.  He screws up everything.  Everybody hates him, but there’s nothing we can do because even the principal has neither the right to fire nor transfer him.  The only thing we can do, is to praise him as much as possible in performance appraisal so that he will get promoted and transferred away.  Then again, the new people in whichever agency he goes to will face the same headache.  So they will have to praise him like a genius too to get him promoted.  So the more stupid he is, the faster he gets promoted, and the more he thinks he’s a genius.  Now, the more capable people who got him there in the first place have become his subordinates.  They could only obey his silly instructions and do stupid things collectively.  Now you understand why we can’t make up our mind whether to teach science in English or Malay.

I am very hopeful that our country will prosper.  After the 709 rally, I realized that I’d never been more patriotic.  It’s only Barisan Nasional that’s hopeless.  Its mismanagement is the root of all problems.  Everybody is afraid of changes.  I long for stability too.  “Perhaps the government will improve,” so we think, but this “perhaps” has already burnt 50 years of our time.  We are stably speeding along a smooth highway — towards a cliff.  Do you still speed forward blindly towards certain death just because you enjoy a smooth, stable ride?  There’s a small path that leads into the deep forest of unknown.  I’m going that way, thank you very much.

We are fortunate.  If there’s a God, God is looking after Malaysia, because He lets Europe and America crash first.  This is what laziness and corruption leads to.  History has shown that BN is hopelessly lazy and corrupted.  If we cling on to the illusion of stability and ignore the certain crash in the near future, we deserve to suffer.  And the greedy politicians deserve to get rich with your money.  We will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

We may feel powerless when facing the odds, but if we do nothing, we will be slaughtered.  The future of our children will forever be dimmed.  Will you allow crooks to steal from your home everyday?  The protectors who are supposed to protect have become crooks.  To live on, we must fire them.  There is no other way.  Your vote has become immensely important, and especially so under the tilted electoral regulation.

If you see my rambutan tree running for office, please vote for it.  If I see your pot plant campaigning, I will vote for it too.  To save our future, we must fire our corrupted staff, the Barisan Nasional government.

There simply isn’t any other way.

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Chiew Ruoh Peng

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