Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Politicians & Fishermen

Subsequent to the recent death of an MP from the ruling Government, Datuk Edmund Chong, the scene is now set for a by-election in Batu Sapi. All those who're vying for the seat, especially the respective supporters in Sandakan must be on their toes right now. And they will all be working very hard for the next 10 days or so.

In the mean time, in the front page of the The Borneo Post today, is the announcement of a whopping RM4.41 mln allocation meant for non-Muslim religious bodies and Chinese schools in Sandakan. I can just imagine that the Sandakan folks are eagerly waiting for whatever other similar announcements by the Government over the next few days. That is after all quite a normal trend whenever there is a looming election in Malaysia.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some days on a fishing trawler, and I pride myself with the experience of living—at least for those few days—like a fisherman.

Come to think of it, politicians and fishermen are not very different from one another. The fishermen on the fishing trawler had this huge net which they trawl for hours at a time. And each time the net's raised, the catch could come up to tons.

I was intrigued watching the fishermen weaving gigantic nets from tiny shreds of fibres and strings. And after a few weeks all those strings and fibres almost magically transformed into huge nets weighing perhaps several tons each!

The politicians also weave nets. But they don't really use strings and fibres as their raw materials. No—they use other materials which are sweeter and much stronger motivations to lure their catch. And of course the party with more resources will have better chances to weave bigger and stronger nets. So he weaves a bit of this and that into a huge net, and hopes that the net is strong enough to hold the entire catch.

However, sometimes the fishing net might tear in spite of its strength, and some of the fishes might escape. Thankfully, that doesn't happen very frequently, especially if the net maker is an extremely good one. Besides, as strange as it may seem, the fish will never learn—they keep going into the net, generation after generation. History has a strange tendency of repeating itself. And the fishermen shall continue to earn their living.


Unsettled Soul said...

I like what they are trying to do by allocating this money, it feels good because I feel like it is promoting unity. Of course it is all political, but maybe the people will use it well. I guess we'll see. Do you think it will happen?

I wonder what they are doing to try to get the refugee/undocumented immigrant vote.

Cornelius said...

Oh I think these people will use it well, I have no doubt about it. And yes, I agree with you that it's good that the government is allocating this money for this purpose. But it's kinda disgusting that it has to happen during the election time.

As a general rule, it is much better when the government is announcing small allocations as opposed to those worth billions. People have a much better chance to actually see the smaller allocations becoming a reality. The big ones are usually only on paper.

Regarding immigrant voters (we have come to use "phantom voters" here in Malaysia), that has always been a problem, especially in Sabah. But in the case of Batu Sapi, I think it's a bit too rush for anyone to create bogus voters (had he wanted to).

At any rate, the Sabah government is not really threatened by the Batu Sapi seat. It's mainly for face value only. Even if the opposition can win that seat somehow, the BN is still comfortably controlling the state. They have overwhelming majority - nothing much a single seat can hope to achieve.