Ask Lord Bobo: Crimes of photo-stomping and plagiarism

From the Selangor Times 14 September 2012. 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!

Dear Lord Bobo, I read that the 19-year old girl who surrendered herself to Johor police after she stepped on a photo of the Prime Minister was handcuffed. This seems harsh. However, KL police chief DCP Datuk Mohmad Salleh says that the police were just following the Criminal Procedure Code. Is this correct? (Shackled, via email)

Firstly, it is not clear why anybody should be arrested for stepping on a photo of an aesthetically displeasing rotund individual who apparently is the leader of our country – and this applies to her husband too.

After all, it is not uncommon for people to step on a photo of someone they dislike. It is far more preferable for one to do that than actually stepping on them in person.

Furthermore, it was not very clear from the news report whether her contempt was directed at the quality of the paper used for the offensive looking photo, or at the persons depicted in the photos. This is a crucial fact that has been assumed. After all, it is not uncommon for some more sensitive souls to get into a blind rage because of the poor quality of paper used.

Now to directly address your question.

It is interesting that Mohmad Salleh mentions the Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC”) because the word “handcuff” is never once used in it. Section 15(1) of the CPC states, “In making an arrest the police officer or other person making the same shall actually touch or confine the body of the person to be arrested unless there is a submission to the custody by word or action.” So, if a person surrenders himself, there is no need to actually arrest them or “confine” them, which means that 19 year old girl should not have been handcuffed.

Additionally, even though you have been arrested, you are presumed under the law to be innocent until proven guilty. That means the police should treat you as if you are innocent unless your behaviour prior to your conviction suggests otherwise. Since this girl did not pose a flight or fight risk, there was no basis in law for the police to handcuff her, unless of course she is the sort that enjoys that sort of thing.

Then again, reciting the law here does not mean much. After all, it is not uncommon for the police to disregard pesky details and restrictions such as this thing called “the law” when it comes to carrying out their duties.

But hey, His Supreme Eminenceness is of the view that we should cut our police force some slack. Look at the speed in which they located and forced these dastardly photo-stompers to surrender themselves, thus averting a potential nuclear holocaust. Surely this exceeded all the KPI ASAP SOPs that even the biggest acronym fetishist in PEMANDU can come up with. Hopefully someday the police can apply this super efficiency to solving actual crime.

To conclude, no, the statement made was not correct based on the version of the CPC we have. Perhaps the DCP is referring to his leather-bound Criminal Procedure Code (Special Fantasy Edition) instead of the actual CPC.

It is well known that the Special Fantasy Edition sets out specific protocols such as how you never, ever handcuff a VIP even though what he is accused of doing is far more serious than stepping on a photograph.

In all seriousness, perhaps the police should take the trouble to know the law before they go about enforcing it.

Lord Bobo, I’ve been reading about the plagiarism scandals that Fareed Zakaria and Jonah Lehrer have been involved in. I was shocked that Malaysia also has such blatant plagiarism in the form of Dawn Jeremiah, who has been terminated as a columnist with The Star. What do you think of plagiarism, and do you think Ms Jeremiah and The Star should apologise? (Copycat, via email)

The furore around Fareed Zakaria and Jonah Lehrer was based on quite different things, but had a common theme – dishonesty.

His Supreme Eminenceness is always deeply affected by a breach of the trust relationship, as this is something that Lord Bobo holds very dear. We suppose it is an inevitable by-product of today’s gimme-more culture of constant consumption that journalists and writers will feel immense pressure to keep having an opinion on at least a fortnightly basis. And with the Internet, it is natural that when one wants to write about something, one will fire up Google and consume as many related articles that have already been published.

The sad thing is when the plagiarism is so obvious, so direct, so lazy really, that the writer cannot be bothered to mask the fact that he or she is copying someone else’s ideas. It is said that many ideas and views are recycled, and refined with each cycle. However, when the dishonesty is as blatant as it was in Fareed Zakaria and Jonah Lehrer’s case, one cannot help but feel disgusted. And the writers cannot do much other than apologise and accept the disapproval.

As for Dawn Jeremiah, we have read the online reports about her column. As far as we know, The Star has not made any official comment about it – which is a shame, as we would expect that this is something worth condemning, and a newspaper should take a strong stand against such blatant plagiarism, if proven.

In relation to an apology, we would be disappointed if she does not apologise eventually. But it would hardly be surprising in the current climate of scandal-today-forgotten-tomorrow, where most people assume that wrongdoings do not need to be apologised for, as they will be forgotten (if not forgiven) in the very near future.

An apology takes character, and integrity. We will soon see if Dawn Jeremiah or The Star has a sufficient supply of these qualities.

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.

Posted on 14 September 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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5 Responses to Ask Lord Bobo: Crimes of photo-stomping and plagiarism

  1. David

    Two times is much a long time to delay before addressing a problems like this, Williams says. But Trivitt suggests that "but it is never too delayed to completely describe your organization's activities and its values plagiarism checkers

  2. lisa_ng

    There's nothing wrong with recycling old newspapers right? I mean, who looks at what picture is on the pages when you need to get things done with them? As for plagiarists, we need some kind of ID system where every person who looks for work has to have their ID scanned and a record of misdemeanour pops up, if any. Outside of CSI, I'm sure we have the technology to keep Malaysian employees honest! CV thefts and fantasy resumes float about even as we speak.

  3. Special Edition

    So, under the Special Fantasy Edition, it is presumed that hordes of fish- and vegetable-sellers should also quake in their rubberboots for wrapping the perishables with the newspapers containing photos of the Rotunda and her husband?
    Good grief, all our wetmarkets would close down!

    Down with the Special Fantasy Edition!!

  4. najib manaukau

    I used papers that bore the image of our political leaders every day when I go to the toilet to get rid of what I do not want. I will continue to do so and am advocating that all Malaysians to do the same. There is nothing the quarter cooked police can do about it !