What was apparent by the time a cautious dawn emerged on Sunday was that the only serious disaster buffeting the country was the one inhabiting Putrajaya.
Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the responses by local netizens to a tweet by Apple chief executive, Tim Cook. Mr Cook had promised aid to flood victims in Malaysia and the Philippines which was nice. But even Cook must have been bemused by the Malaysian responses: they urged Cook to direct the aid to non-government groups rather than Putrajaya.
It’s a stunning indictment of a government that’s clearly perceived as not only inept but untrustworthy.
You’d think such a revelation might have given pause to the rocket scientist currently leading our country. No chance: said RS was smilingly photographed Thursday “leading” a Thanksgiving ceremony at the Tropicana Golf and Country Club to celebrate his first hundred days in office.
Given his cheer and general good humour, he thinks it’s been wildly successful. Move over delusions of adequacy, we’re talking d’s of greatness here!
Ok, I’ll phrase it gently. It’s said that women sometimes make fools of men but you had to hand it to Ismail; he was strictly a do-it-yourself type.
I mean, it’s ridiculous. At least 27 people are dead from the worst floods in the history of Selangor and Pahang, a great many Malaysians are confronting wrecked homes and lives, and the premier thinks nothing of spending more taxpayer money to pat himself on the back. Doesn’t he, or his advisors, read social media?
It’s the season of giving, a celebration of God’s love for man. But did they know it’s Christmas?
Not if you go by the carnage and misery unleashed on the people of Selangor and Pahang. And certainly not if you go by the disproportionate self-importance displayed by some of the overpaid ministers of Ismail’s bloated Cabinet.
Why does Tengku Zafrul, the Minister of Finance, find it necessary to commandeer a boat, stuff it with his officials, security and cameramen and go over to the flooded areas if he does not intend to help anyone? Did he think that having a photo-op counted as aid? Or that gawking was an expression of sympathy?
Some people are born important, some achieve self-importance and some have hubris thrust upon them. For Ahmad Faizal Azumu, the minister of youth and sport, the latter moment arrived when he saw it fit to launch his ministry’s squad of flood-relief volunteers in a glittering, expensive-looking, but wholly unnecessary photo-opportunity that was immediately seized upon by netizens as yet another example of ministerial preening.
It’s no small irony that it took a rebuke from the nation’s First Klepto, Ah Jib Gor, to awaken the minister to the absurdity of his excess.
The general self-congratulatory attitude cut across racial barriers. A video of Human Resource Minister, M Saravanan checking aid parcels emblazoned with his face would have struck any reasonable person as tasteless in the extreme.
And yet it was the season of hope and charity, peace and goodwill to all man. Did they know it’s Christmas?
Ordinary Malaysians surely did. The spirit of caring and sharing, of mutual goodwill was evident when Malaysians of all races came together in a glorious recognition of their mutual humanity to help one another without fanfare, self-glorification or reward.
The spirit of the season fairly crackled in the air over Shah Alam and Mentakab among ordinary people and for a single, transcendent moment in time, the government politician was about as extinct, and useless, as the dodo.
It renews our faith in the country and it should give all of us hope.
Merry Christmas everyone.