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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

so who you vote?

Election fever is really beginning to show. We are contemplating postponing the start of a project till after the elections so that everybody can go home and vote. The flags have started flying, especially in this kampung town where I am.

I think I have said enough about the state of the political parties in this country and how voting for any of them is nothing more than being between the devil and the deep blue sea. Enough about me moaning about how the government seems to be screwing things up and the opposition definitely not being strong enough run the country. When you are standing in front of the voting slip on election day and you don't know who to vote, there's always the option of drawing a monkey and marking an 'X' next to it.


I watched one of Barack Obama's speeches on CNN the other day was absolutely enthralled. I watched him talk for 10 minutes and I was totally drawn into his propaganda. He hypnotised me with his elocution skills and for that brief moment in time, I actually believed IN him, never mind that I have nothing to do with the US Elections. I told my friend this story and she asked me if he was talking about "giving power to the minority" since he was black himself.

I can't say that I follow the American presidential race very closely, but I understand that both him and Hillary Clinton have made it very clear in a few of their speeches that they hoped they would win the nomination, not because they were a woman/black but because the voters believed in them and trusted their abilities. In short, Obama refused to make it a racial issue, while Clinton refused to make it a gender issue.

And this is where we Malaysians FAIL big time. We ask for meritocracy, but many a time I have heard the Chinese complain that they will never see a Chinese Prime Minister. I always have the same response. Instead of asking that our Prime Minister be of a certain skin colour, how about asking for a competent and clean one instead?

We score top marks in the hypocrisy section when we ask for equal rights as Malaysians. We ask to be treated equally and abolish special rights given to certain Malaysians. But when the elections come around, you have people like Hindraf complaining that the government didn't do enough for the Indians. The Chinese go on and on about their ridiculous Chinese school demands.


I have been telling everybody for ages that democracy doesn't work. Not in this country anyway. Democracy works under the assumption that each and every voter has all the facts and can make rational and informed decisions. Not a chance in hell that is going to work. Not when you have citizens who vote a party just because they repair your village dirt road 2 months before the elections. Not when you have citizens who vote a party because they were told there are religious consequences in the afterlife if they didn't.

Giving power to the citizens just because they have a vested interest in the country is like giving power to 500 000 factory workers in Vietnam and asking them to vote somebody to be the CEO of Nike. In the corporate world, there is a Board of Directors who make decisions like that. These are people who are undoubtedly capable and competent in their own right. These are people who can make informed decisions.

In Malaysia we have The Council of Rulers, our very own permanent Board of Directors. Why are the Sultans powerless? Screw democracy and power to the people. If this model works in all the biggest companies in the world, why can't this model work for a nation? Is management in the corporate world so different from the outside world?

I am actually keen to know whether people choose to vote the party or the person. I actually do have a peeve with most of the people I meet who say that they are sick of the way things are and are willing to vote for ANY opposition because they are desperate for change. I reckon that is the stupidest thing anybody can do.

Look, if you support the opposition, vote for them by all means. If you believe in them, if you believe in their abilities then yes, support them all you like. But don't vote for them just because you want something different. How can you buy into something you have no faith in? Similarly, if you think the current government is doing a good job, then go for it. Re-elect them. But don't do it just because you don't like the particular opposition party.

When I was young, I couldn't understand why there were so many spoilt votes. I always wondered how people could be so stupid to not understand that they have to mark a simple 'X' next to the person they liked. Now I know why they did it. I think most of the spoilt votes came from people who didn't like either of the options they were provided and wanted to voice their opinion.

Honestly, it seems like a pretty good option at the moment.

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Ramblings:
You may be right about people being stupid to vote for anyone except BN just because they wish to make a change, rather than electing the right person for the right task.

Partially it might be because 50 yrs and malaysia is moving backwards instead of forward. So, being optimistic under desperate measure, thinking voting opposition is their best bet.

For now, i vote opposition regardless who they are, it's because i wish to deny 2/3 majority by BN.

"So what has 50 years of 2/3 majority given us?

* The Malaysian Constitution has been amended some 690 times. The USA has been in existence for more than 200 years and their constitution was only amended 27 times."

 



Heheh.

I find it interesting that those who say 50 yrs of BN have not progressed the country, do not even consider that 5 years of Saudara Anwar or Comrade Lim or Ustaz Hadi might send us back into the 19th century. Back when all white men were "tuan", Indians tapped rubber, Chinese mined tin and Malays grew food crops. While Ibans, Dayaks and other indigenous people were considered unruly savages.

I would rather vote for an independent candidate, who has no party manifesto to sell and therefore only focuses on the local community.

p.s. to Anon: If you get your wish of no further amendments to the constitution, your favourite article re Malay Special Rights will remain as is.

 



sucks to have the right to vote and not know who to vote for. hmm. i have not heard anything from the candidates contesting in my area.
 



... do not even consider that 5 years of Saudara Anwar or Comrade Lim or Ustaz Hadi might send us back into the 19th century. - coivim

Heheh, it is this fear which is constantly holding us back from potential greatness. Instead of taking a leap of faith, people like you prefer to continue letting the ruling party suck the country dry.

I would rather vote for an independent candidate, who has no party manifesto to sell and therefore only focuses on the local community. - coivim

Or they could be BN moles planted to split the opposition votes. Bet that never crossed your mind, hmm?

i have not heard anything from the candidates contesting in my area. - lishun

You can't hear anything when your ears are not open. Did you actively seek the candidates out or attend any of their talks? Or do you expect to be spoon fed?

A teacher can only teach if the student is willing to go to school and learn.

 



Leap of faith??

Eh...I don't care who you support, but this decision is too big a decision to leave up to 'faith'. You are supposed make an informed decision and pick the best candidate.

Mole planted by BN government to split opposition vote. Listen to yourself speak. So, just because independant candidates think that the opposition are morons, and hence choose not to join them, they are now called 'moles' ??

Haha! And don't get me started on 'splitting the opposition vote'. If people voted somebody because they believe in that person, then there wouldn't be an issue of 'splitting the opposition vote'.

This is a bullshit democracy.

Voters are supposed to have more than TWO MISERABLE OPTIONS. Because the incompetant and unambitious opposition have an alliance (even though most of them share no common philosophy), the voters are screwed because we aren't given a full range of options.

Like I said. Vote the fucking monkey.

 



You are supposed make an informed decision and pick the best candidate

I don't know about you, but the MP in my area has been doing a pretty good job in the past 8 years so I'm voting for her. Her party's ideals (which I happen to agree with) are a secondary priority.

Mole planted by BN government to split opposition vote.

Key word(s), "could be". Standing as a candidate requires funds, funds that not many people can or are willing to afford. Where do these funds come from? Again, it's just a speculation from me since I tend to question a lot of things (including the opposition).

If people voted somebody because they believe in that person, then there wouldn't be an issue of 'splitting the opposition vote'.

That can only happen if people are informed. At this point, its not possible thanks to the media blackout.

Meh, whatever it is, I support the opposition because I believe in them and their ideals. Sure there are a few bad apples here and there (which party doesn't?), but I still have faith in them.

You're not going to condemn me for that, are you?

 



well, i'm glad you know what you believe in and you're voting for it. just don't make such quick assumptions about me not actively seeking out the candidates in my area, yeah? thanks.
 



My apologies.

Which area are you from lishun? Candidates rarely keep silent during the campaigning period. My MP has been sending out CNY cards around my area asking the residents to attend her talks.

 



Laksarian demonstrates the reason why our so-called opposition cannot cari makan outside of the interweb.

Vote for the independents! Enough institutionalized innuendos and related muck!

LOL

 



Some people can be so gullible. So just because the candidate is an independent and has no party manifesto he will therefore only focus on the local community? Can you be 100% sure that he has the interest of the community at heart? Is there no doubt in you at all that he could be a mole who will join BN if he wins? Do you really trust a candidate that much just because he is an independent?

Question everything. Don't blindly vote for a candidate just because of the magic word "independent". I did my research before deciding who and which party to vote for, what about you?

Don't be so gullible.

 



But hey, I'm not here to change your mind or anything. If you truly believe that voting for an independent candidate is better than a corrupted government or a disunited opposition, by all means go ahead. I am always ready to be proven wrong.
 



Stop.

It seems your beef is with the "disunited" opposition.

Actually, they SHOULD be disunited, since none of them share the same ideologies. A united opposition is one of the main reasons I am miffed with them. How can they work together to rule the country (I assume that ruling the country should their objective) when they share different political agendas?

Which brings me to the other point. These morons have got no ambition what so ever. Take DAP for example. They have been around for a million years, yet this is the first year they state their intention to control a state. And even then, they are running in only half the state and parliament seats up for grabs. Where's the ambition, dammit?!

So in essense, you have a corrupt government and a piss poor opposition who has no intention of taking power, but instead prefer to sprout their bullshit and try to disrupt the government.

And that is why I am annoyed. At least the independent candidate MIGHT have some cojones, but not before he gets paid to join a party when he wins the election.

 



We ask for meritocracy, but many a time I have heard the Chinese complain that they will never see a Chinese Prime Minister.

Your comparison with the US Presidential Primaries is flawed because it is a comparison of two different groups. Obama and Clinton both have to emphaise their disconnection from a sectarian cause (for blacks, for women etc.) precisely because public opinion tends to look along those sectarian lines. So they, as public officials, try to dispel such views. If you would follow the race obsessively, then you probably wouldn't have missed the blanket coverage and op-ed dissection of Latino votes, or Asian votes, or black votes, or white women votes etc.

When some Chinese people whine about the impossibility of a Chinese PM, it's not in a capacity of a public official, but as public opinion. Therefore, in terms of society (i.e.public opinion) being sectarian, the US is not too much different. The difference lays in our public officials, who usually don't intend to rise above the fray as say, the Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Furthermore, there is an issue of the egg and chicken in your argument. Are the people who talk about Chinese PMs so sectarian in their mindset because they want it to remain so, or are they sectarian because socieyt has molded them to be so.

To add to that, is the decrying of the impossibility of a Chinese PM a demand for a Chinese PM (which would validate your argument of sectarianism springing from the people who claim to want to abolish it) or simply a way of highlighting the blatant racism on top, and not crying for a Chinese PM?

Next, how do you so easily generalise those who wish for a Chinese PM as the same people who write passionately everyday about meritocracy?

We ask to be treated equally and abolish special rights given to certain Malaysians. But when the elections come around, you have people like Hindraf complaining that the government didn't do enough for the Indians

You seem to indicate that Hindraf's complaints run counter to the demand for equality. That is logically fallacious, since the lack of equality cited is precisely based on racial lines, and highlighting how certain groups are being deliberately slighted under the present system does support the cause for equality to imposed.

Furthermore, is not also a case of seeking the surest way of solving a problem? Asking for a vague sense of equality would have less effect than saying that Indians are being discriminated, because they would well know that the BN-led government would react more strongly towards the latter than the former, and their reaction is usually ones that tries to pacify dissent.

If this model works in all the biggest companies in the world, why can't this model work for a nation?

Your question can best be answered by yourself, since as you say about BoD members:

These are people who are undoubtedly capable and competent in their own right.

whereas there is absolutely no guarantee for the abilities of a monarch, unless you believe in eugenics of other genetic superiority claptrap.

Further to that, who do you think selects directors? They certainly aren't there by birthright, like our venerable monarchs. To have them as "undoubtedly capable and competent", someone has to make sure that is so.

So goes it in democracy, where public opinion is expected to coalesce around those who they think is "undoubtedly capable and competent", and it is the jobs of candidates to convince the electorate to that effect.

Giving power to the citizens just because they have a vested interest in the country is like giving power to 500 000 factory workers in Vietnam and asking them to vote somebody to be the CEO of Nike. In the corporate world, there is a Board of Directors who make decisions like that.

Your arguments are flawed because they reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of whose interests the BoD looks out for. THe BoD selects people based on who they think is most likely to bring about the best profits. In short, they work for the shareholders, not the employees. So your analogy about democracy being akin to employees voting is mistaken, since the CEOs aren't selected based on how much they care for the employees, but based on how bigger they can make the profit margin.

A publicly elected official on the other hand is expected to look out for the voters' concerns.

So the BoD system IS similar to democratic elections, since the BoD vote based on their interests, and voters in a democracy also vote based on their interests.


Look, if you support the opposition, vote for them by all means. If you believe in them, if you believe in their abilities then yes, support them all you like. But don't vote for them just because you want something different. How can you buy into something you have no faith in? Similarly, if you think the current government is doing a good job, then go for it. Re-elect them. But don't do it just because you don't like the particular opposition party.


Each person has his own subjective opinions about what is best for his own interests. If a person votes because he "don't like the particular opposition party", why not? He feels that a certain political party should not be given much credence, and feels that the way to achieve the reduction of this hated party's influence is to vote for the other party.

What if a person's main goal is to ensure a functioning parliament with proper constructive debates? Well then vote opposition to tip the scales then!

What you're essentially doing here is arbitrarily defining other people's interests and how they achieve it, which is as said, arbitrary and completely up to themselves. There is no absolute right or wrong in this case.

I think most of the spoilt votes came from people who didn't like either of the options they were provided and wanted to voice their opinion.


Or perhaps they were indeed dumb of careless. Who's to know?

Therein lies the argument for Free Speech and Free Assembly, for they are far more effective ways of voicing opinions of any group weakened by the electoral system.

I would recommend a reading of Henry Thoreau's Civil Disobedience.

It's not some anarchist rant, but part of the eloquent springing of brilliantly written and logically concise ideas about society and governance during the early days of the American republic.

cheers

 



vincent said...

"Take DAP for example. They have been around for a million years, yet this is the first year they state their intention to control a state. And even then, they are running in only half the state and parliament seats up for grabs. Where's the ambition, dammit?!"

Perhaps their ambition stretches beyond this election.

A lot of skeptics have pointed out how the lack of any will to obtain an absolute majority is a sign of weakness in the opposition.

But these are myopic views that only consider the upcoming election, and not the tens, if not hundreds of elections to come.

If the ultimate goal is to take over government yet it is unrealistic to do so in just one election, isn't it alright to aim for a bigger chunk of the parliament to build upon?

cheers

 



Anon: Like I said, I have limited knowledge of the US presidential nominations, so we'll leave it as that.


Your arguments are flawed because they reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of whose interests the BoD looks out for. THe BoD selects people based on who they think is most likely to bring about the best profits. In short, they work for the shareholders, not the employees. So your analogy about democracy being akin to employees voting is mistaken, since the CEOs aren't selected based on how much they care for the employees, but based on how bigger they can make the profit margin.

Actually, you are the one who has a fundamental misunderstanding of what a BoD looks out for. Business 101 teaches you that profits are not the main objective of a company. The main objective is to maximise shareholder wealth. In this example, profits are easy to come by - all they need to do is cut the basic pay of all their factory workers and immediately their figures will jump up. However, the workers will strike and in the long run, they are screwed. Similarly, the BoD in my article would look out for the citizens because it is in their best interest to.

On whether they are competent, I think many of them are very well respected. They all have a very good education (mostly overseas) and most of them have travelled extensively and seen the world. Besides, those BERSIH people seemed to put a heck load of faith in the King, didn't they?

I think most of the spoilt votes came from people who didn't like either of the options they were provided and wanted to voice their opinion.


Or perhaps they were indeed dumb of careless. Who's to know?


If they were really that dumb, I think my point is proven that democracy is the wrong way and these people don't deserve to vote.


me: DAP has been around for what...40 years now? And in that time, they haven't been able to build up their base and stretch their ambitions? No, I reckon they are happy where they are, making noise for the heck of it because it sure is easier to shout empty promises than actually face the responsibility of having to live up to those promises.

 



Actually, you are the one who has a fundamental misunderstanding of what a BoD looks out for. Business 101 teaches you that profits are not the main objective of a company. The main objective is to maximise shareholder wealth. In this example, profits are easy to come by - all they need to do is cut the basic pay of all their factory workers and immediately their figures will jump up. However, the workers will strike and in the long run, they are screwed. Similarly, the BoD in my article would look out for the citizens because it is in their best interest to.

It is in their best interest? Since, as you've suggested, they not be elected, then how is it against their interest to care little about the citizens, since they're entrenched in power.

BoD's in the corporate world would try to maximise shareholder's wealth because:
-They are shareholders themselves (their own interests)
-Shareholders actually have a say in who can enter the BoD, and thus it is in the BoD's interest to care for the shareholder.

Take this example to you BoD ruling the country suggestion. If the voters are analogous to shareholders, than they should also have a say at who should be aprt of the BoD... Doesn't that sound sneakily like... Democracy?

On whether they are competent, I think many of them are very well respected. They all have a very good education (mostly overseas) and most of them have travelled extensively and seen the world. Besides, those BERSIH people seemed to put a heck load of faith in the King, didn't they?

BERSIH's reliance on the king is because the heavily gerrymandered system (BN's 90% of seats is on the back of only 64% of the popular vote, i.e. 25% misrepresented), BN's control of the media, the lack of legislative oversight because of BN's strict "vote based on party line" policy and BN's very own restriction in Freedom of Assembly means that BERSIH does not have an embarrassment of choices when it comes to avenues of opinions.

The king is the perfect solution, then. He is practically free from scrutiny by the government, and his words cannot be as heavily denounced as your regular opposition man.

Furthermore, there's also the important distinction as to whether BERSIH's turning to the king was because of the royal position itself or because of specifically WHO was occupying that royal position itself.

If they were really that dumb, I think my point is proven that democracy is the wrong way and these people don't deserve to vote.

That democracy has its weakness is definitely true. That we can manage to elect BN and the Americans elect Dubya is perfect evidence of this.

Winston Churchill once said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter".

But then again, he also said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried".

It is a case of the lesser of a great number of evils.

Anyway, we must also take into account how democracy is actually implemented. That Bush hasn't dragged America into an abyss is largely due to an extensive system of checks and balances (state power, the three branches etc. etc.), something we decisively lack.

me: DAP has been around for what...40 years now? And in that time, they haven't been able to build up their base and stretch their ambitions? No, I reckon they are happy where they are, making noise for the heck of it because it sure is easier to shout empty promises than actually face the responsibility of having to live up to those promises.

Sorry, same guy.

The difference is whether DAP is happy being on the opposition side, or they're unhappy at being an opposition but have so far failed at all attempts to rectify this situation.

 



does it matter that vincent's opinions are flawed in this case? its not like vincent is standing for any constituency as candidate for now, so what on earth is the point of debating with someone as unimportant as vincent?

as a citizen, i'm not that worried that the person i'm voting for has flawed opinions -- i'm not that demanding, no one is perfect anyway, but i am instead voting for someone who is willing to take and make a stand for something that he totally believes in --- not crap about prosperity peace and security and then come around making threats to the nation that if we vote for other people we will all lose that...

but like i said... vincent is NOT even standing in, so what if his opinion is flawed, does it like freaking matter?

Vince ; you have some weird readers who have their priorities in strange places. hahaha.

 



If you don't know who to vote for, then vote for the Siber Party of Malaysia (M). Since the unveiling of our new party symbol, just placing an X on the ballot paper is a vote for us. The Power of 4G to the X !
 



Why is it so hard to understand that you are supposed to vote someone you believe in, not someone who is the lesser of two evils?

It does to me. But then again, a lot of other things matter to me, like always having my iPod placed vertically on my table instead of horizontal.

Perhaps some people love logical discourse, or just want another opinion to be published.

 



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