From the Selangor Times Issue 19, 8-10 April 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!
This week, His Supreme Eminenceness ponders bread-butter-and-kaya-issues, and affirmative action. JyeaH!
Seriously, will we ever have a free and fair election focusing on bread and butter issues for once? @firdaus_h via Twitter
Free and fair elections are a different thing from bread and butter issues.
The truth is we don’t have bread and butter issues. Since we’re in Malaysia we tend to have more rice and rendang issues. After all, how many Malaysians eat bread and butter? Even if they do eat bread, they won’t stop at just butter but add kaya or maybe just eat it with sugar. But hey, whatever rocks your rojak.
And the truth is that the rakyat for the most part are focused on those issues. Most of the rakyat are having a hard enough time just eking out a living, if not a leaving. The problem is the politicians are not focused on these meehoon and sambal issues. They are more interested in poorly made sex video clips, sodomy, more sodomy, sexual harassment — did we mention sex?
If the rakyat want nasi lemak and sambal sotong issues then they have to tell their state councillors and members of parliament their concerns. Tell them to push these issues for you. Don’t let them dictate what the issues are. If they don’t listen to you and address them, then vote them out when you can.
As for free and fair elections, of course we will get there. Eventually.
The possibility of that kind of elections has been given an added boost with the recent launch of the Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok (Pusat LB) — that Rakyat centre of undiluted pure awesomeness in Bangsar Utama (yes, they do have a poorer section where white folk don’t hang out) — which will soon launch its Lord Bobo inspired initiative cryptically named UndiMalaysia.
The idea behind UndiMalaysia is that you, as a voter, should base your choice of election of election candidates based on their stand on local community issues. You should not give your votes away simply because someone gives you money or promises you things they wouldn’t otherwise give you when there are no elections.
You should not also choose simply based on a political party.
You should vote on the candidate based on their track record and what they will do to alleviate pressing issues in the local community such as, “What is your stand on local council elections?” or “Do you think domestic marital rape should be criminalised?” Ultimately this wind-breaking initiative aims to help Malaysian make an informed choice at the ballot box.
UndiMalaysia aims to educate the voters on their rights so they can make an informed choice and ask meaningful questions to the politicians instead of just relying on the ad-hoc promises made by the politicians during the election period. It also aims to educate voters on how to keep their elected representatives accountable and responsible.
So UndiMalaysia hopes to inspire a new political culture where voters make responsible and rational choices at the ballot box. When this is achieved you will find your elected representatives slowly focusing on kuey teow and cincau issues.
Finally, it’s important that you understand that UndiMalaysia is politically non-partisan, but we at Pusat LB love to party, son.
What does Lord Bobo think of Affirmative Action? @fareez_shah via Twitter
Man. You don’t make it easy for us do you? We could do a 3-volume book with this question because Lord Bobo is so very learned. But let’s try our best to address this: Let’s start at the beginning. But not when there were only single celled organisms about. What was the ultimate goal of an affirmative action program in the first place?
It was first implemented on a large scale in the 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement in America. First mentioned in the executive orders by President John F. Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was aimed at increasing competitiveness and combating discrimination against non-whites and other minority communities who were displaced and deprived of opportunities both socially and economically because of their race, religion, origin or simply the colour of their skin.
Some of the policies were aimed at empowering minority communities to compete on an equal footing. Providing equal opportunity to them would entail allowing them access to institutions that would allow them to compete equally. Examples of these are quotas in educational institutions and subsidies in economic opportunities. However, as with everything there are two sides to the story. The pros for such a program is that it tends to boost competitiveness even for those sidelined economically, due to history of events beyond their control (like slavery and war). It also facilitates economic redistribution and helps close the income gap between the rich and the poor or at the very least, slows its widening. The cons to affirmative action are that it discourages true competition and it creates a perception of unfairness to those who do not have access to such policies.
Ultimately, Lord Bobo is not inherently opposed to affirmative action programs, but understands that it can be greatly abused if not carried out honestly, meaningfully and fairly. It cannot also last too long or indefinitely. Affirmative action is simply a temporary measure to assist a community or people who were hampered from competing on an equal footing because of their economic, social or political deprivation that happened to them sometimes without any blame on their part.
When it is abused, then affirmative action programs become a tool of tyranny instead of a springboard to a more equal and just society.
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. The first 100 questions published will receive monkey-riffic LoyarBurok merchandise courtesy of Selangor Times. 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!