Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Successful Politician

Many of my friends are well-versed with my peculiar habit when commenting on things. I’m always direct, occasionally brutal and insensitive. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth hurts and can be quite ugly. Most people choose to make only positive comments. When there are pleasant things to say about some people, they’re all so eager to shower compliments upon compliments. But when there are unpleasant things, they would not dare to comment. I think it has something to do with the policy of “courtesy to the persons concerned” or “playing safe.”

Recently, I initiated a forum amongst a group of friends via emails, and in it I raised an issue which I knew to be on everyone’s mind, but which was not raised, perhaps due to the policies mentioned in the preceding paragraph. It would not surprise some of you that that was not the first time I sent out such an email.

As I had expected, my email caused something of a stir. I guess I’m fast gaining the reputation as the trouble maker in our circle of friends. However, I’m glad to note that many of my friends discreetly congratulated me for raising the issue. Some eventually participated in the forum and suggested remedial steps for improvements; whereas the rest preferred to observe in silence from afar.

One friend responded and opined that I was not very diplomatic in my approach. He preferred that I discussed the matter in private. I suppose there are pros and cons to my approach, but as I said, I had a fair number of people who supported me discreetly.

Nevertheless, the friend who opposed my approach quoted what he said was a saying he liked:

If you can’t say something nice, say nothing!

I responded that that looks like an awful advice to me. I suspect it must have come about during Tun Dr Mahathir’s era. But as I said, sometimes the truth hurts and can be quite ugly. So if no one is willing to raise the matter, then let me be the scapegoat to say the unpleasant things!

On the other hand, another friend who participated in the forum supported me and said:

I wish you can stand for the coming general election. Sabah needs some straight talking politicians badly!

And naturally I responded in a truthful manner—I said in order to be a successful politician, one has to be a crook! I don’t think I can ever be a successful politician because I simply don’t have the necessary “skills” to be one! I don’t think I need to elaborate on this.

Then yesterday, I met one of those friends who did not participate in the forum, but eagerly observed the affair from afar. He came up to me to quote what I said about being a successful politician, even though the subject matter of the forum had nothing to do with politics.

He tried to lecture me a bit about being a politician. I think he was trying to disagree with my view in a most diplomatic way, thus quoting some great people like Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. Not all of us are very realistic, you see. Some people have the incurably romantic idea which is totally out of this world.

Well, I don’t want to start a whole new debate with no possible end to it, but I’m not sure if the idea of spending half of my life behind bars appeals to me, even if I will eventually be remembered for my sacrifice. Besides, I seriously doubt that any of the politicians in Malaysia are prepared to go to that extent for the sake of the country and its people. If that is what it takes to be a successful politician, then I would rather not be one!


Sarah Elizabeth said...

I am guilty of being a bit brash at times also, sometimes a bit too forward, and I notice possibly it makes me lose possible relationships with other women, because of course the code of conduct is as you said. If one disagrees they just don't comment, and I disagree with that sooo much! If we disagree we should debate and argue and discuss and work it through.. Silent dissent doesn't change anything!

Socrates29 said...

I can't help putting in my 2 cents on this subject although politics and politicians are matters I like to comment on.

From the little that I know especially about being a politician in Sabah in particular and Malaysia in general,it is not easy leading a politician life.

If one is a politician on the ruling party's side, even though he or she may genuinely be an honest and "clean" one who isn't on the take or linked business-wise to anybody,people still assume he or she is involved.
Due to this assumption, everyone assumes there are no clean politicians even though there may be a good apple out of the other bad apples.

Politicians are also burdened by the "hangers on" or "macais" who depends on them for political handouts in the form of business contract awards or kick backs. It is expensive to maintain or keep these people as it involves feeding them all the time for their support and help especially during election time and after.

I know of one local politician whose 'macais" are those involved in the "Ah Longs" (money lending) business.I am sure he needs quite a lot of money and business awards so as to be able to maintain their support and help.

There are other underlying reasons involved with being a politician and steps one have to take in order to survive and stay as one in times like this.

In short,politics is not for the weak hearted and those who don't have enough financial resources and backing.

Cornelius said...


I think we are some of those who fall within the minority group. It takes a very brave person to admit his or her weaknesses. Unfortunately, as I said, sometimes the truth hurts. And all too often, it is not easy to change or overcome many of those weaknesses! So most people would rather not comment.

Cornelius said...


I think most people are aware that there are some - but very, very few - honest and proper politicians. But the vast majority of politicians are crooked, and that is a fact! They can't stay in the game for very long if they are not crooked!

And even if they are really "clean" politicians, it's just a matter of time before they become crooked! The only question is to what extent? As you have correctly pointed out, "macais" are not easy - and cheap - to maintain. And absolutely ALL politicians need them!

We all remember our former Chief Minister who went all the way to a London casino to lose millions! He paid millions in losses and still had millions of unpaid debts! We all want to know where all those millions came from, but of course who dares to investigate? Not unless we're all prepared to be PI Bala?

Socrates29 said...

Actually,financially gainful wise,it is not a bad idea to be another PI Bala considering the fact that he got RM750,000 for doing what he did(making a Statutory Declaration one day and refuting it the very next day by making another S.D.) although the RM5 million he was promised still eludes him so far.

With that kind of money he can retire and live like a king especially if he migrated to India!
But what he did was not as a politician but as a private investigator working for people with high political connections.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Yes, the truth may hurt. But lies can hurt just as badly too.

My take on this topic is, when commenting on sensitive issues (especially in the company of family and friends) to stay factual or risk being isolated. When comments are factual, people tend to be more agreeable to unpleasantries. And refrain from harping as people do not need to be reminded repeatedly on their mistakes.

Cornelius said...


I suppose different people have different priorities in life. Hmmm... I seriously doubt that I am willing to live the life of a fugitive for RM750,000. Perhaps not even for RM7.5 Million! Somehow the idea of living my life in hiding, and having to look over my shoulders all the time does not appeal to me. It's not amusing - that!

I think no amount of money can make me surrender my freedom. Even though if I appear like I am free in another country, actually I am not free!

Cornelius said...


When I comment, I always try my best to be factual. And where appropriate, I always try my best to support with authorities and examples.

However, I have found that in most cases, people don't normally accept criticisms, constructive or otherwise so easily - factual or not.

On your last comment, I must reluctantly admit I have the tendency to repeat myself. Admittedly, it is a weakness and I should try to overcome that tendency somehow! But, y'know, somehow this particular habit is hard for me to change! It's a big responsibility being a Tukang Kutuk, you know!... hehe