Participatory democracy in action. Beautiful. | Photo by Marcus van Geyzel for LoyarBurok

From the Selangor Times 2 November 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!

Lord Bobo. What is the United Nations Malaysia Award and why the heck did the meddlesome Bar Council get it? (Perkasasourkana, by email)

Let’s get this straight – it was the Malaysian Bar wot won it! As we have explained many times before, and will now explain again for hopefully the last time, the Bar Council and the Malaysian Bar are not the same!

The Malaysian Bar is the body corporate established by the Legal Profession Act 1976. All practicing lawyers in Peninsular Malaysia must be members of the Malaysian Bar. We do not know why it is not called the Peninsular Malaysian Bar, so don’t ask.

The Bar Council consists of 36 people elected to manage the Malaysian Bar by a combination of postal balloting amongst the entire membership for 12 members, and elections by each State Bar for two members each.

The award was given by the United Nations, which is an international body on your puny planet that was established after the last (so far, we can’t say much more at this point) of your World Wars with the aim of promoting world peace. It will inspire the United Federation of Planets that will be established in 2161 (accounting to Earth years).

But enough of such intergalactic meanderings. The UN Malaysia award is a rather prestigious award by Earth standards, and is said to have been awarded by the UN for the Malaysian Bar’s steadfast defence of human rights and the rule of law throughout the years.

The Bar has had a long history of standing up to the government for what is right. As the Citation for the Bar by the UN puts it, “In the 1970s [the Malaysian Bar] stood against the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975 that amended the law for the trial of offences against national security, which included changes in the basic rules of evidence and removal of a judge’s discretion in sentencing.  In the early 1980s a contingent of lawyers marched to Parliament House to oppose amendments to the Societies Act, which infringed on the freedom of association and curtailed the self-regulation of registered societies.  42 lawyers were subsequently charged in court for taking part in an unlawful assembly, found guilty, admonished and discharged.”

In 1988, the Malaysian Bar was one of the most vocal voices against the emasculation of the judiciary by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed with the sacking of then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two other Supreme Court judges, and the amendment of the Federal Constitution to basically emasculate Malaysia’s then proud and distinguished judiciary. That is a lot of emasculation.

The Malaysian Bar is the only professional body in the world where members pay a contribution to a legal aid fund as part of their subscriptions, and the first legal aid service provided by a bar organisation rather than the government.

And of course the ultimate endorsement of the talent, selflessness and downright sexiness of the Malaysian Bar is that His Supreme Eminenceness Lord Bobo Barnabus chose a group of lawyers from Malaysia to mind control to start LoyarBurok.

Participatory democracy in action. Beautiful. | Photo by Marcus van Geyzel for LoyarBurok

Dear Lord Bobo, why does LoyarBurok sell merchandise like t-shirts and badges? Shouldn’t LoyarBurok be focusing on human rights instead of making money selling merchandise? Isn’t there a danger that people will join just because it’s “cool” rather than because they believe in the cause? (Old Skool Activist, via email)

You have hit on a problem faced by many – the curse, blessing, burden, and inspiration (all at the same time, all the time) of money. In the Dipsiwixie star system, the inhabitants there – all of whom look like horses but have 6 legs and 21 hands – survive quite well without money. Trade is purely done by barter.

However, those of you in Malaysia apparently follow a strange and wonderful system called “crony capitalism” mixed with “election handout socialism”. In this system, billions of ringgit are allocated to already rich people to make themselves even richer, whilst the poor and less well off are given meaningless rewards once in four or five years a few months before a general election.

Thus, in order to maintain a website that has the most discerning socio-political commentary around (and is just generally quite awesome), our loyal minions require funds. And as the front page of the New Straits Times pointed out, our minions received some funding from foreign funders. (They also said our minions were intent on overthrowing the Malaysian government, not realising that world domination is really what we’re after!)

Our resources, though infinite, are symbolised purely in the form known to humans as purple bananas, and are thus impossible to exchange for your Earthly currencies.

Our loyal minions are therefore constrained to find resources in whatever way they can. Hence, the sale of t-shirts and other such merchandise which has our visage (or rather what some artists reckon is what we look like) on them.

We understand that mugs, cufflinks and car stickers are on their way as well, and all this to be found on a new website dedicated for the sale of this merchandise – watch this space!

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.

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...

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