Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Omen

I'm not sure whether I'm just reading the newspapers more frequently today, or whether I just remember stuff that are more recent, but I certainly see Omens of things just not going well for our country at the moment, for many many reasons.

The immediate shocker was of course, the gruesome murder of the Mongolian woman who came all the way to a country she isn't familiar with, to seek financial assistance from the father of her 16-month old child. We have heard the stories of such murders of passion before. But the hint of deliberateness, the complicity of the Malaysian police force and the brutal nature in which her body was disposed of certainly makes for bold interpretations by the superstitious.

But it doesn't take an event such as this to provide clear Omens on the fate of the country in the near future, and possibly the governing parties in the next general elections. Other signs are a little more obvious:
  • The bitter public and international political feud between the consensual Pak Lah and the venomous ex-premier, Dr Mahathir Mohammed

  • The disappointing conversion of Pak Lah's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin from an intelligent and progressive reformer into a Malay ultra-nationalist, to the extent of inciting discord between the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties.

  • The disclosure by various independent and credile studies the irrelevance of the government statistics which was used as a basis for propagating the New Economic Policy (NEP) in perpetuity.

  • Marginalisation of poor Malays and Malaysians through a system of entrench political patronage through the NEP as epitomised by an unrepentent, recalcitrant, and now infamous, Datuk Zakaria Mat Deros. Besides being a state assemblyman, he and his family sit on numerous statutory boards which made decisions representing clear conflicts on interest, abuse of power and privilege. He has acted with total disregard for the law in the process of enriching himself, despite being already many hundred folds richer than the man on the street.

  • The ignominious decline in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the country by 14.3% from US$4.62 billion in 2004 to US$3.97 billion last year. For the first time since 1990, Indonesia managed overtook Malaysia in FDI by attracting US$5.26 billion last year. The nation often ridiculed by our politicians as a tiny red dot down south, attracted more than 5 times what was achieved by Malaysia at US$20 billion.

  • And of course, many many more...
Those familiar with Shakespeare's Tragedy of Julius Ceasar will remember sooth-sayer's warnings, the Augerers finding no heart in the beast and his wife Calpurnia waking up frightened due to a horrible nightmare as Omens of his impending assasination. Will Pak Lah and our leaders brush these omens off, dismissing them as hearsay, like Ceasar did to his own folly?

Or should we be like Cassius who refused to accept Caesar’s rising power and deemed a belief in fate to be nothing more than a form of passivity or cowardice, in his conversation with Brutus.
Men at sometime were masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings (I.ii.140–142)
There may be clear Omens for the country today, but clearly and truly, the fault is not in our stars.
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