INSTANT KARMA CAN, AND WILL, GET YOU

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Benjamin Franklin

There are reasons why people come up with sayings like “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Dr Afifi al-Akiti might be contemplating life somewhat ruefully right now. A video of the religious adviser to the Perak Sultan being present in a Kuala Lumpur nightspot surfaced on Twitter recently and it’s sparked a buzz over social media, with phrases like “forbidden fun” among the more charitable descriptions being bandied about.

The gentleman, wearing a baseball cap, is seen air-drumming along to a rock tune being played by a band on-stage. Meanwhile, a lady seated next to him is seen nodding her head in time to the music.

That’s about it and nothing much to shout about otherwise. Unless, of course, you want to quibble and mention that such places are generally the ones frowned upon by Malaysia’s Moral Majority, those holier-than-thou purveyors of piety who routinely vilify such nightspots as “immoral” where Muslims are concerned.

And this is exactly where the situation begins to turn ridiculous. Reason: one Ustaz Husam has rushed to the adviser’s defence, claiming that the good doctor was merely there to distribute pamphlets about Islam.

In short, would you believe he was proselytising in a nightclub? In a home where the buffalo roam, and the beer and the loud rock bands play?

Maybe it’s not as weak as the old “the dog ate my homework” ploy but methinks many people would beg to differ.

Ridiculous excuses have been going on for millennia. Take, for example, the reasons sportsmen come up with when they are caught for doping.

Czech lefty Petr Korda, once ranked number two in the tennis world, attributed his fondness for veal, especially those injected with steroids, as the reason for his failure in a 1998 dope test.

But dope, or its measure at least, is an exact science. To match the amount of steroid in his system, the science showed that he would have had to eat 40 calves every day for 20 years!

Then there was US sprinter Dennis Mitchell’s “too much sex” explanation. Caught in 1998 for high levels of testosterone, Mitchell explained he’d had sex “four times” with his wife the night before the test.

The US athletic body accepted his explanation but the international association wasn’t buying. While sex does increase the hormone’s levels, it would not reach the dizzying levels it actually did in Mitchell’s system.

He got banned for two years.

And this, from Michael Blodkin, a New Yorker pulled over for recklessness: “I wasn’t driving dangerously. I was just swerving to the music.”

And, finally, this ironic blow to hypocrisy. Former Republican Senator Larry Craig – who has a history of supporting stridently anti-gay policies – was arrested by a plain-clothes policeman for attempting to solicit sex in an airport toilet. After initially pleading guilty, Craig quickly backtracked when the story gained public traction and claimed he merely adopted “a wide stance when going to the bathroom.”
Now, would that have sounded reasonable to Ustaz Husam?

ENDS

s

IF THEY WOULD ONLY LISTEN…

I wonder if our ministers or our politicians read what people say about them on social media?

I wish they would. Perhaps then, they might be less inclined to say things that just mystifies the hell out of the average person.

On Thursday, the Minister of Federal Territories Annuar Musa, for example, said what can only be described as bizarre. He said that the public’s seeming indifference, their lack of fear in their flouting of restrictions, indicated that the government had been successful in its handling of the pandemic.

It usually takes a woman to make fools of men, but Mr Annuar seems like a do-it-yourself type.

But perhaps mindful of the fact that it took an election in Sabah to destroy the good the first movement control order (MCO) did for Covid numbers, he may just have been thinking of Homer Simpson: “Stupidity got us into this mess, and stupidity will get us out.”

It was the writer Henry David Thoreau who said, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” In an ideal world, it is a phrase that’s frequently used to justify following one’s passion and achieving a life that avoids the mediocrity of playing it small but safe.

But this is not an ideal world. Far from it. It’s a pandemic and things are falling apart because, going by the minister, the centre isn’t making sense. What Mr Annuar does not grasp is that the mass of Malaysians are truly leading lives of forlorn desperation and that is why some flout the rules.

They are desperate for jobs, desperate to meet friends and family, desperate for company, desperate for hope. The last thing they need is a glibly asinine statement by a minister who ought to know better.

Then there is lockdown fatigue. A Malaysian recently estimated on Twitter that from Match 18 last year to June 28 this year Malaysians would have spent 464 days at home under various government control orders. That would depress anyone into flouting some rules.

One gets the impression that many people are sick and tired of their leaders. When Tajudin Abdul Rahman’s woeful attempt at humour in describing a train wreck earned him a well-deserved sack from a lucrative chairmanship, it’s instructive to note that a petition calling for his sack garnered 150,000 signatures.

Clearly, it wasn’t the petition that swayed the Prime Minister. If it did, then Azmin Ali, the Minister of International Trade, should worry: a petition calling for his ouster garnered over 300,000 signatures and, like a rash, continues to grow.

And to think the Prime Minister promised, when he took over, that his would be a government of “competence.”

It’s more like a government of controversy, recently attracting unnecessary criticism by contemplating the sale – sans competitive bidding – of Subang Airport to a billionaire, for a period of almost 70 years. And this despite protests from every government agency linked to the site including Khazanah Nasional, the federal government’s sovereign wealth fund.

The Klang Valley does not need new malls, skyscrapers or condominiums. What it does need are more green lungs, more parks and more open spaces. If they had their way, these billionaires might actually fulfill Joni Mitchel’s prediction: they’d pave Paradise and put up a parking lot.

ENDS

IF THEY WOULD ONLY LISTEN…

I wonder if our ministers or our politicians read what people say about them on social media?

I wish they would. Perhaps then, they might be less inclined to say things that just mystifies the hell out of the average person.

On Thursday, the Minister of Federal Territories Annuar Musa, for example, said what can only be described as bizarre. He said that the public’s seeming indifference, their lack of fear in their flouting of restrictions, indicated that the government had been successful in its handling of the pandemic.

It usually takes a woman to make fools of men, but Mr Annuar seems like a do-it-yourself type.

But perhaps mindful of the fact that it took an election in Sabah to destroy the good the first movement control order (MCO) did for Covid numbers, he may just have been thinking of Homer Simpson: “Stupidity got us into this mess, and stupidity will get us out.”

It was the writer Henry David Thoreau who said, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” In an ideal world, it is a phrase that’s frequently used to justify following one’s passion and achieving a life that avoids the mediocrity of playing it small but safe.

But this is not an ideal world. Far from it. It’s a pandemic and things are falling apart because, going by the minister, the centre isn’t making sense. What Mr Annuar does not grasp is that the mass of Malaysians are truly leading lives of forlorn desperation and that is why some flout the rules.

They are desperate for jobs, desperate to meet friends and family, desperate for company, desperate for hope. The last thing they need is a glibly asinine statement by a minister who ought to know better.

Then there is lockdown fatigue. A Malaysian recently estimated on Twitter that from Match 18 last year to June 28 this year Malaysians would have spent 464 days at home under various government control orders. That would depress anyone into flouting some rules.

One gets the impression that many people are sick and tired of their leaders. When Tajudin Abdul Rahman’s woeful attempt at humour in describing a train wreck earned him a well-deserved sack from a lucrative chairmanship, it’s instructive to note that a petition calling for his sack garnered 150,000 signatures.

Clearly, it wasn’t the petition that swayed the Prime Minister. If it did, then Azmin Ali, the Minister of International Trade, should worry: a petition calling for his ouster garnered over 300,000 signatures and, like a rash, continues to grow.

And to think the Prime Minister promised, when he took over, that his would be a government of “competence.”

It’s more like a government of controversy, recently attracting unnecessary criticism by contemplating the sale – sans competitive bidding – of Subang Airport to a billionaire, for a period of almost 70 years. And this despite protests from every government agency linked to the site including Khazanah Nasional, the federal government’s sovereign wealth fund.

The Klang Valley does not need new malls, skyscrapers or condominiums. What it does need are more green lungs, more parks and more open spaces. If they had their way, these billionaires might actually fulfill Joni Mitchel’s prediction: they’d pave Paradise and put up a parking lot.

ENDS