I do benefits for all religions – I’d hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. – Comedian Bob Hope
I have concluded that following Malaysian politics is foolhardy, an invitation to heartache, heartburn, and hypertension.
Just consider Pas. To the fire and brimstone faithful of the Islamic Party of Malaysia, immorality is the morality of all those who occasionally enjoy a glass of beer or seven.
Or, for that matter, the behavior of all those who aren’t immediately among its midst or isn’t an ally.
It thinks it will rule by 2050 and I’ve no objection but only because I won’t be around. Ok, selfish, but there you are.
But recent trends indicate a grimmer prospect. Which brings up a question: why aren’t more people heading for the hills?
Let me explain.
Pas has indicated, quite categorically, that Malaysia can only “progress” through a theocracy ergo it will implement the same when it takes over. And unless you are an oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Brunei, or an Iran, most Islamic theocracies in the world are pretty much failed.
All “progress” should be taken with a good dollop of salt anyway. If a cannibal begins using a knife and fork, for example, is that progress?
Malaysian politics has become too all-or-nothing for me which is why I’ve retreated to humour and fantasy.
Example: I remember reading, and enjoying, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass when I was quite young. I can still recite the first stanza from Jabberwocky because I was so taken by the nonsense rhyme that I committed it to memory.
Out of curiosity, I reread both to see if I still liked it.
It was a blast! The imagination of Lewis Carroll, a mathematics professor no less, leaves you breathless.
In Through the Looking Glass, for example, Alice climbs through a mirror where, predictably, everything gets reversed. Example: running helps one stay stationary while walking away from something brings one towards it.
Carroll was a forerunner to many after him: Tolkien and J K Rowling spring to mind. And its characters have burst onto the language – “as mad as a hatter” is just one example.
As an aside, the cinematic character was played by Johnny Depp who came across as a saturnine yet servile hatter (to the Red Queen). I thought he got it just right.
And it crept into the music. In songs like I am the Walrus, Glass Onion and Come Together,John Lennon borrowed heavily from Carroll, both in imagery and in lyrical content.
The writer John Irving – the World According to Garp – singled out Charles Dickens as one of his greatest influences. I’d read A Tale of Two Cities when I was young and was moved to tears, but it was an abridged version.
As an adult, I thought I’d do the real book and added Great Expectations for good measure. Both would have done well as doorstops.
Which is why you should leave some things well alone. I found both unaccountably depressing.
The pedants of literature will, doubtless, be horrified but I think life’s too short for depressing stuff. Let us have laughter or, better yet, wonder.
Indeed, we can all take comfort in the last words of Steve Jobs. Apparently, he said three:
“Wow, wow, oh wow.”