Saturday, April 9, 2011

Anugerah atau Anu-ghairah? ( Saint or Sensous? )

Thought I would have a quiet weekend and forget for awhile (at least for the weekend) so many matters troubling our nation, what with a second death under mysterious circumstances concerning MACC, corruption cases (the arrests and court cases are good news, auguring well for our nation, but as indications of the prevalence of corruption they are most disturbing) involving the Immigration and the Customs, the Bible or religious issues, and many many other ethnic relation, issues portentous of serious conflicts in our nation. But no! way of shutting them out. It's all over in the news, as they say there is no escaping them. Might as well make some notes and impressions.

There is now this 'quest for truth',the identity of a man in a now infamous video clipping. If anyone can have the copyright or even just the physical master copy, he could make millions. It is that hot! But then we all know, that is not to be, right..given the circumstances. The circumstances and the development of the issue is as interesting, instructive as it is baffling in its twist and turn. As I had argued in an earlier posting, perspectives would greatly differ depending on how we defined the video basically, pornography or political document. As it turned out, even this basic starting point is not as simple or clear cut. Like everything else in our Malaysian politics, the lines are drawn by partisan views or political divides. The development is clear now, the opposition would define it as pornography, while for the establishment it is a political document on the action of a political leader , caught in 'the act'.

The basic definition held by the opposition, crying foul of 'porno', allowed it to use the law against those behind the video (away from the one 'in' the video), and to check the circulation of the video, or even public discussion of it, in short to will the video out of public consciousness, all under 'production', 'posession', 'disemination' under the law. This would make it much easier for categorical denial of the content. How is the public to judge then? What will come through is just plain, pure denial, appealing to faith or dogmatism, with no recourse to materials for verification or authentication. Of course this opens the way to the usual political stand simply based on ' he is not capable of such act', 'out of character' or ' yet another conspiracy'. Such faith has been somewhat dented lately when the 'abridged version' of the video had been circulated or publicised, taking care of the 'pornograhic' character of the document, omitting ' the act' as such, merely showing the build up, the preparation before the act proper. While disappointing many interested in 'the act', those interested in identification have enough to go by, towel or no towel.

But still the opposition remains steadfast in its charge of 'porno', denial of identity of main cast, with a political counter charge of the usual 'conspiracy'. The position taken, like all other issues, may be summed up in the maxim ' your word against mine' and ' your words are however lacking credibility, legitimacy or moral authority'. Hence if the public expects 'truth' in the form of admission or confession, or acknowledgement of facts, they are somewhat naive, I have to say. Given its basic formula, this is never forthcoming of the opposition.Even if there had been four live witnesses to the issue, it will be maintained that 'somehow' the person is 'not him'. Hence the public should reconsider its notion of truth, or their expectation of it, in this case. With or without RCI, their basic 'formula' will not change, neither would be 'the truth' entertained.

What about the BN or the establishment? Initially it was caught by 'porno' argument. Now it has wised up to the distinction of 'porno' and 'political'. It is on the counter charge. Minister Hishamuddin as custodian of the integrity of the police force is suing those crying 'conspiracy'. Minister Nazri Aziz is pushing for RCI, regretfully for the wrong reason to the effect: ' since they deny the truth, and blame the BN, the BN has to defend itself'. Now this would have the effect of making the issue of RCI a partisan one, a BN initiative or 'project', and an interested one. Wouldn't this feeding or playing into the hand of the opposition? Wouldn't it gives credibility to the accusation that the proposed RCI is 'politically motivated'? There are so many, much more credible reasons from the national perspective for so constituting an RCI, but the BN seems to be too 'BN centric ' to see or advance them. What about the rational of public accountability, national security, public interests, public right to know, and many more?

The issue is clearly taking a partisan view, hence the notion of truth, and the nature of the quest for it, expressed in the debate between 'anugerah' and 'anu-ghairah'. How will it end? Will the aura and near-saint cult survived the BN endeavor to transform 'anugerah' into 'anu-ghairah'? Will the RCI be instituted and will it change anything? I guess we the public will have to keep an open mind and see if indeed Truth will prevail!

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