Friday, December 9, 2011

Fool's guide to instant politics: Election Survival Kit

The various 'perhimpunan agung' of recent dates (or should I say ' perhimpunan gaung' by virtue of the great echo and noises generated?) are over, be it PKR Johor skid, or UMNO's KL bonanza. While the one sent delegates into enemy's traditional stronghold, the other invited and entertained delegates to the capital for, politicking, as well as for the usual 'distractions' and' indulgences' of the city, a change from the province. But both lived up to the 'gaung' aspect, by way of fiery, theatrical and millennial packaging of speeches.

Judging by the tempo and temper of both, they were bracing for the major cockfight around the corner ( I am serious in my term 'cockfight', for it represents accurately the essence of election in this country, where it is mainly a question of winning or losing, never mind the issues)

One thing is clear, the war drums had been commanded and judging by post-gaung events, preparations for the election had been intensified or put on the highest alert to 'war'. The clear signs are there: the quarrels over candidature and seat allocation, and the intensification of mud slinging between parties as well as internally, and the intensification of servility, cringing and pledging of loyalty to the 'great leader', 'supremo', 'the sheikhul' the king maker, who decide which cock to feature in the pits.

In such moments, I truly feel sorry for the innocent clueless uninitiated, dreaming of becoming politicians, who stand absolutely no chance against the adept, the 'old hand', the invincible 'veteran', the well connected, those boasting of 'pedigree', or simply 'polticians'. So to even things up somewhat, I decided to share some of my scanty notes on politics, that they may fare better than me ( my notes are yellow (papers) due to the years, never succeeding even to nudge me into 'politics')

If you hope to be a candidate in the coming election or cockfight, which is around the corner, learn the following principles mighty fast. Your 'political' survival may depend on this.

Don't try to learn or deepen your grasp of politics and politicking. Above all else, politics is 'play', a 'play acting'. Pick up tips on theatre art or acting. Before you can dream of being a politician, you must brace up your acting. For instance you must know how to 'dress'. Actually it is not 'dress' , but more familiarising yourself with the art of 'costume'. For the Malay audience of a perhimpunan gaung, with a strong nationalistic and religious bent, dawn the bajung kurung and the tall deep songkok. For court sessions, with the more westernised audience, international media, dawn the stylish and posh western suit, saving the more flamboyant and striking graphic or batik wear for evening 'indulgences' or 'escapades'. Learn to pitch your 'scripts' and ' delivery' to the right crowd or audience. It is not about being 'sincere', 'being who you are', ' to be of 'conviction', it is really getting into role playing, into the script ' convincingly', to the point that the audience forget they are watching a play acting.

Those who miss this point, are usually confused as to Malaysian politics. They lament the inconsistency of principles, the lack of unity of vision and the almost schizhoprenic nature of our politicians. They are confused or disappointed because of their wrong expectation. They are looking for a 'leader' of a politician when there is none really, for most of our politicians are merely actors reading different scripts, on different stages, in different theatres, before different audiences. I am not here referring to contextualisation of speeches, with same principles or values of a leader with an integrated personality, which is of course necessary or unavoidable in politics.

For heaven sake, don't be stiff! Learn how to use you body language. Use you hand gestures. Watch the master actor-cum-politicians. Practice on that sharp downward double thrust of the elbows, followed by the double clenching fist, give it several shakes or twang reflecting intensity, and with boisterous voice and extreme emotionalism say your script, ala Hitler, or Soekarno.

Learn the proper diction and the voice control. Know when to go soft and seductive, boisterous and commanding, secretive and slimy, glib and gossipy. But above all never, never neglect to cultivate the deadly 'nasal'. This is particularly potent and hypnotising. Pick up some points from yoga manuals on breathing control and practise. You must be able to switch from normal to 'nasal' at will. The 'nasal' represents many things, among others learning, profundity, depth, piety, saintliness, eroticism, exoticism. Based on my observations of our actor-cum-politicians, including the most adept, I recommend that the nasal be reserved for the fatal blow, involving key words like ' corruption', 'cronyism', 'akhlak', or arabic based etymology with roots in Islamic history. All in all the 'nasal' works wonders for your political 'telo' or 'lingo'.

And lastly, don't learn only from dictators, great leaders and orators, learn from fine actors too.! If you study closely many of our prominent leaders, they incorporate many elements from no less than characters played by the late P.Ramlee himself. Pick old videos, whether of UMNO days or post-UMNO era, note the smug, the rolling of the eyes, the hand gesture, the disguised naughty eroticism, the 'boyish', 'cutish' 'shy' quality (malu-malu kucing), faked humility, feigned lurking behind flamboyance and craftiness. Learn to use smattering of dialects or multilingual expressions, which is nothing more than popular racial stereotypes really, for effects. The late P.Ramlee was a master at this. He could swith smatterings from Javanese, Arabic, English, Tamil, Chinese, German and many more, in slang in not the actual language. In this respect observe and learn how a prominent contemporary opposition politician avail himself of bollywood materials and javanese. Don't forget also that P.Ramlee was himself a great 'nasalist', who used it deadly for effects. 

In tight corners learn how to take the fight to the street. Learn how to roll up your sleeves in public to indicate readiness to brawl . It is a refined art. The rolling of street brawlers is quite different from that motivated by fashion style. There must be strength to it, with clenched fist packing mighty punches. This seemed to be very effective for ladies and lady audience, as evident in the last perhimpunan gaung Wanita UMNO when it worked a frenzy. It was most effective in hand-offs and in deflecting issues at hand. 

Always takes lesson from history. Take the example of PKR AMK during the last perhimpunan gaung ( or was it AMUK?) The youth leader has learned well from his French history perhaps, that bit on the storming of the Bastille. In high drama, he solemnly vouched to break prison wall or topple the goverment from the street if they have to! ( is this constitutional or in accordance with the law?)

And by the way, if ever you are caught with your pants down (metaphorically or otherwise) in any compromising situation, deny, deny and deny to the hilt.  If confronted by strong evidences, deny that you were' you', attributing the act to a double acting as' you', put up to it by others. To pull this off successfully, your acting as you will have to be better than the double playing' you', for in all probability the double would be a splitting image of you.   

I have to stop now. My warranty ends here. This manual is only for aspiring members of parliament.I hope these notes are of some help to you. Those aspiring for more, perhaps an MB or PM, are well advised to learn or understudy elsewhere. Anyway, good luck in the coming general election, or shall I say the cockfight!

P.s I am posting this unedited in view of the fact that the election in around the corner, hence time is of the essence!I  absolve myself of liability over any loss of deposit for the advice tendered in this manual.

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