ALB: Shopping, Hoping, and Missing

From the Selangor Times 25 November 2011. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!

I read that the goods in Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia aren’t really cheaper than some hypermarkets. Which led me to wonder, where does Lord Bobo do his shopping? (Hassan Jaffar, via email)

His Supreme Eminenceness was quite intrigued by that story, too. At first, we had to double-check that it wasn’t some advertisement for specific hypermarkets. You know, those ads where celebrities (in this case, politicians) come up and say, “Hey look, this product is cheaper here by 50 sen!”

The whole KR1M concept is flawed anyway. It is supposed to be a way of making cheaper goods available to the needy rakyat – but it is open to all, which means that those stingy Penang Datins can ask their servants to head to a KR1M to do their shopping.

Wouldn’t the resources be better allocated by distributing provisions directly to the poorest of the poor? Then again, we suppose that this model gives rise to more opportunities for contracts. Someone has to run the stores, supply the goods, set up the distribution logistics, etc.

Dear Lord Bobo, I’m a single mother struggling financially and emotionally to raise a child. May I ask you for some parental advice on raising children in Malaysia?

My 15-year old son recently declared that there is truly no “1Malaysia”, only “Zero Malaysia”. He recently decided that the moment he is old enough, he will leave Malaysia for good – for elsewhere; anywhere! You may say my son should be focusing on his studies and leave the “1Malaysia” thing to the grown-ups instead of getting so worked up about it. But how can he, when for five agonising years, he has been taunted, ridiculed, and even beaten up for his ethnicity?

When he was 10, and playing alone at a public playground nearby our house, a group boys came along and beat him up. After doing so, they called him names and warned him never to play at that playground again. My badly beaten son staggered home to me, crying relentlessly. This incident continues to traumatise him. School, from Form 1 until now, has also been agonising for him.

So, dear Lord Bobo, please advise me how to raise up my traumatised child in Malaysia. Incidentally, he recently said this: “Malaysia is not a melting pot (of different races living in harmony), but a high-pressured pot (of hatred and discrimination) just waiting to explode.”

He has chosen to suffer in silence for now, waiting for the day he can leave. He actually doesn’t want me to publicise this issue, and he says the situation is hopeless.

Thank you, Lord Bobo.

A Very Distressed Mother, via email (Note: the email was edited)

This is the saddest email that Lord Bobo has ever received through this column. It is obviously terrible that your son has had to go through all these experiences as part of his childhood. However, Lord Bobo would ask that you remind him that not all Malaysians are like that – we would say that most Malaysians would feel very sad and outraged to read the account above.

We understand that it may be difficult to change your son’s mind about leaving Malaysia. Our advice to you is to surround him with the love and care of friends and family. Don’t let a group of racist and immature students be his enduring memory of his childhood.

If you want, both of you would be more than welcome at the LoyarBurok Rakyat Centre. We have kids as young as 15 who are active in the many initiatives that are run there. The UndiMsia! citizen empowerment group are planning many exciting and fun-filled programs in the coming months. Challenge him to get involved and link up with a whole new circle of friends.

Lord Bobo knows it is tough. But you, and your son, must be optimistic. For it is from optimism that the courage and commitment to bring about change will come about. There is no guarantee that he will not have bad experiences in whichever country he decides to leave Malaysia for. We must hope and believe that things will be better. And what better place is there to build a future than this nation we call home?

Dear Lord Bobo, why are you always so negative and cynical when it comes to Malaysia? We have a lot of good food here you know! (Negaraku, via email)

This is a misconception. Lord Bobo loves Malaysia. After all, of the hundreds of countries on this Earth (not to mention the countless number of planets, galaxies, and universes), His Supreme Eminenceness chose to reveal Himself and His continuous wisdom and guidance to a bunch of Malaysians!

As for the government, ah, perhaps the reason you feel that Lord Bobo is negative or cynical is because we sometimes criticize what the government gets up to. The problem is, many Malaysians have been brought up thinking that the definition of “Malaysia” is “the government”. This is, of course, a fallacy. The country is not the government.

Now, as the Lord is passionate about human rights (selflessly, despite being a monkey), His minions naturally speak up strongly against violations of human rights in Malaysia. This often translates into criticism of the actions of the government, as quite understandably, it is the government of the day that would be more likely to commit violations of human rights. Not because they are evil dwarves in bush jackets, but because the government of the day would have the most resources and access, and hence opportunities to commit acts go against human rights principles.

So, to be clear, His Supreme Eminenceness is not anti-Malaysian. The Lord is not even anti-government (we are non-partisan, remember?). We are all about love, harmony, group hugs, and car-pooling. And hey, of course Lord Bobo knows Malaysia has good food – didn’t you read our article about durians?

Lord Bobo, we notice that you were missing from Selangor Times again last week. What gives? (Ashley K, by email)

Dear Ashley, did the editorial team put you up to this? Or are you some sort of self-appointed class monitor?

Please go and harass the columnists who have a lot of free time, like that Patrick Teoh fler. Lord Bobo has all sorts of world domination related activities to get up to.

Or better still, use your observations skills to keep an eye on where the taxpayers’ money goes to – cows, diamonds, condos, shopping trips – it’s all very confusing.

Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected], stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!

You can read archives of all the Ask Lord Bobo columns by clicking here. These are the divinely-inspired words of His Supreme Eminenceness Lord Bobo Barnabus PhD SP GBE OMGWTFBBQ.

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Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered! It is the ONLY place that His Supreme Eminenceness' thoughts are regularly channeled, via His Lordship's most loyal meditating purple-banana munching minions.

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