The word “politics” is derived from the Latin “poly” meaning “many” and the word “ticks” meaning “blood sucking parasites.” – Dave Barry, news-paper columnist 

I’m not asking for much. Not really much at all.  

All I’m pleading for is a government led by common sense, that gets the little  things right, that’s not always looking around for the next big project.  

In fact, spare us the big projects altogether, thank you very much. It is almost always cost-inflated, wasteful, excessive and, worst of all, probably unnecessary.   That’s why it’s becoming harder and harder not to be cynical in today’s Malaysia. 

Let’s start with the small things, the little repairs  that can actually save lives and mitigate damage. In short, let’s reclaim our maintenance culture and stop our build-new-and-bigger-things mentality immediately. 

City Hall should get its priorities right because the roads in Kuala Lumpur have more potholes than the hairs on Khairy Jamaluddin’s chinny-chin-chin. 

The last time anything was done in that respect was when that famous chin made unplanned contact with a pothole in Banting two years ago. That particular hole was  immediately sealed with great fanfare. However, nothing else has changed. City Hall is back to idiotic projects that cost a lot – the River of Life anyone? – but don’t make much sense one way or the other. 

Some of the potholes along Bangsar or Sri Hartamas can cause serious injuries to  hapless motorcyclists, not to mention expensive damage to car axles.   

Maybe we should await the agency’s release of A Pothole Dodger’s Guide to Kuala Lumpur before venturing out on the streets. 

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I remember being proud of our country’s roads, which the Reader’s Digest once described as the “best in Southeast Asia.” Indeed, we seem to have lost a lot of our “bests” where the region is concerned. 

Let’s get back our once-nice roads, shall we? It’s not rocket science. Not every expensive but oh-so-very-pleasing to the eye and to the health.  

Back to our seemingly-forgotten culture of maintenance. Our capital city has many beautiful buildings that are sadly in disrepair. Examples include KL’s famous Railway Station and the majestic Sultan Abdul Samad Building opposite the Royal Selangor Club.

These are lovely structures  that are being left to nature. They are worth preserving as iconic emblems to our nation’s history. Instead, we treat them with an indifference that’s as cruel as it is ignorant. 

Tomorrow the nation goes to the polls and push will come to shove: we are at a  crossroads.

Essentially, we’re faced with three choices and that’s only because no party can fool everyone all the time. 

But we should know what we don’t want. I don’t want a party that once blindly supported kleptocracy and, in many respects, still seems to. 

I certainly don’t want a side that encourages obscurantism, a retreat into medievalism and a shunning of modernity or liberalism. 

Once you’ve knocked off those, the way forward is apparent. 

What the head makes cloudy, the heart will make very clear.