Any Change Seems Terrible At First

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad did not approve of political jokes. He’d seen too many being elected. 

That was why the world’s only nonagenarian leader was perplexed by the Honourable Member from Tanjong Karang. Was he being deliberately obtuse?  No, the doctor thought, he should never attribute to malice what could safely be explained by natural stupidity. 

In a recent parliamentary debate, Noh Omar, the said parliamentarian in question, had offered a whole new definition of morality that boggled the minds of everyone listening except those who firmly believed in it anyway. Incidentally, their numbers were not inconsiderable. 

“Stealing is not wrong, only when you are arrested it becomes wrong,” mused the philosophical Mr Noh. “Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is not wrong, only when the police arrest you it becomes wrong.

Mr Noh was a lawyer, which was mildly disturbing to the profession. But he more than made up by his keenly developed moral handicap. Indeed, if what he didn’t know could not hurt him, he was practically invulnerable. 

Even so, his cogent reasoning in Parliament delighted a select few in the previous administration who knew that stealing was wrong and best left to government. It was also the primary reason why the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the police had never been busier. 

Things had changed in Malaysia. Previously, it had been as Jonathan Swift had described the law as being “like cobwebs capable of catching small flies but allowing the wasps and hornets to get through.” 

At least for now, the wasps and the hornets aren’t getting through.

It is said that Australia is a “Lucky Country.” But if we are really truthful about it, it is actually us that make up the Lucky Country. We are blessed with natural resources and, unlike Israel or California, we don’t have to worry about water as a scant resource. 

We have no hurricanes, volcanoes, typhoons, cyclones or earthquakes. Nature is, has been, and will continue to be remarkably kind to us. Not for us the four seasons. Instead, we have a long hot summer all year around and, while boring, it beats walking to class on a dark, bitterly cold evening in New York City in February. 

Indeed, we have been abundantly blessed and yet we only have to look down south to realise that we have been punching way below our weight for the longest time. 

It just goes to show the importance of good governance. May 9th opened the door to that and the opportunity of seeing people like the Honourable Member from Tanjong Karang no longer occupying the seat of government. 

The problem is that May 9th also came with unreasonably high expectations. Change – serious, profound and irrevocable change for the better – must necessarily take time, and will if it is to make any serious difference. 

We just have to stop bitching and be good natured about the fact that, in the words of Benjamin Disraeli,  “everything comes if a man will only wait.” 

I mean, let’s face it: ceaselessly complaining about yesterday today won’t make tomorrow any better.

One thought on “Any Change Seems Terrible At First

  1. Such an elegant satire and conclusion very pragmatic.
    Even in private enterprise,transitioning a bad company to new successes takes years.
    We need to learn to live with short term pain to future proof our sustainability as a prosperous nation.Instituitional reforms,culture change and good moral standards take years to build but will be a good foundation for high economic growth.

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