It’s generally been a depressing week, don’t you think?
George Carlin was right all along: how, on God’s green earth, can any war be civil? And amid a still-raging pandemic?
I read, with mounting disbelief, that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the largest in Europe, was on fire early Friday after an attack by Russian troops.
Are they out of their minds?
Even Vladimir “Stoneface” Putin must know there are no winners in that kind of war. In the words of Bertrand Russell, it’s either “co-existence or no existence.” In those circumstances, all men are truly cremated equal.
Against that hellish backdrop, the banality, and continuing dishonesty, of Malaysian politics comes across as almost refreshing, a bit of comic relief in an otherwise grim world.
The nation’s First Felon, the peerless, Fearless Leader once again demonstrated his prodigious ability to perplex by telling Parliament Wednesday that the government had yet to pay “a single cent” of the principal debt of 1MDB, the sovereign wealth fund that Fearless set up and, subsequently, crippled through the sheer weight of its own debt.
He was attempting to show that taxpayers hadn’t been injured in the slightest. You have to admire the man’s gift for being disingenuous.
It is true that the principal amount of 1MDB’s debt (RM32 billion) hasn’t changed but it’s only because the bonds issued by 1MDB – to buy unnecessary assets at inflated prices – aren’t due yet. Since its inception in 2009, taxpayers have repaid over RM13 billion of 1MDB’s debt with another RM38-odd billion to go.
The latter will become due starting May and will have to be serviced by the taxpayer until 2039. Malaysia’s total national debt is over RM1 trillion.
Blessed are the children for they shall inherit the national debt. The sentiment was Herbert Hoover’s and he was the US President widely credited with exacerbating the Great Depression of the 20th Century.
In a backhanded sort of way, it makes me glad that I’m over 65.
Meanwhile, the bells of judgment have begun tolling for Fearless. Having been found guilty by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, Fearless had desperately tried to delay matters by attempting to claim “new evidence”.
The hope was extinguished Wednesday when the country’s apex court rejected any more postponements. And so Fearless’ final throw of the dice will take place March 16-18.
If he loses there, he can no longer “pass Go nor collect $200”. Instead, he will have to “proceed directly” to jail to begin serving a 12-year sentence. There, he won’t have police outriders or bodyguards. Nor is he likely to expect the adoring throngs, with their raucous cries of “Bossku” (My Boss) any time soon.
He will have to get used to new dietary conditions, new clothes, an out-of- parliament experience and grimmer accommodation than he’s accustomed to. His pensions are also likely to be axed.
On the plus side, he will still get to go out from time to time: Fearless still faces very serious charges in several remaining trials.
From somewhere deep in Macao, Jho “Felonious” Low watched the plight of his once-trusted friend and helpmate with all the sympathy a bottle of ice-cold Moet & Chandon Esprit du Siècle Brut can summon.
The sympathy was considerable but it was also tempered by relief and a sudden epiphany on Felonious’ part.
There but for the grace of Money and many passports go I.