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Friday, November 17, 2006

The Great Gatsby

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Image hosting by PhotobucketHot air. Threatening innuendos. Bitchiness.

Three characteristics that almost quantify the atmosphere surrounding any UMNO General Assembly Meeting. And the 2006 meeting, which ends today, ended on a very bitchy note.

One characteristic of UMNO has been the unquestioning loyalty to whomever is heading the organization. The latest bout of bitchiness has been the reaction to comments supposedly made by Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir. As reported by The Star, the UMNO leadership has strongly criticized Mukhriz for "allegedly scoffing the policy speech of Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and saying that it contained no new ideas".

Definitely not something which fits into the "Kami Sokong" mentality that has become synonymous with the party.

Adding to the fray is none other than Umno Putera chief Datuk Abdul Azeez "Rempit Wannabe" Abdul Rahim who went as far as to say that Mukhriz was, in fact, the source of the rift between the Prime Minister and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (from the same article in The Star).

He clapped his hands when he was listening to Pak Lah’s speech but gave a twisted statement when he came out."

Quintessential Malay characteristic of being a busy body, no less. And observant, too. Other leaders have put in their two-bits worth of hot air as well. So seriously is everyone treating this, that the UMNO Youth State Chiefs have called an emergency meeting to discuss the purported insult.

But what caught Walski's attention more than anything else were the fervent arm-flailing that usually accompanies these General Assemblies. It reminded Walski of the really God-awful series of TV commercials from the Gatsby range of personal cosmetic and hygiene products.
(Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, and why, in the full post)

To put things into perspective, Walski is referring to these two videos (not the exact Malaysian version, but close enough):

You're probably wondering what all that has to do with the UMNO General Assembly, right? Unfortunately, they only had budget for one keris to share...

Image from The Star, hosting by PhotobucketGATSBY! GATSBY! GATSBY! GATSBY!

The arm flailing exercise goes all the way to the top. Same hand-jive action from the Number Two, no less. Minus the keris, however.

Image from The Star, hosting by PhotobucketGATSBY! GATSBY! GATSBY! GATSBY!

The arm flailing will never be complete, though, without the participation of the Numero Uno himself.

Image from The Star, hosting by PhotobucketGATSBY! GATSBY! GATSBY! GATSBY!

Walski does hope that these folks actually had a sufficient supply of Gatsby, though. All day in those baju Melayu can get a tad bit warm. Phew!! What a symphony of odors otherwise.

Now, kidding aside, for those of you who have actually read "The Great Gatsby", by early 20th century American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, you would know that the book revolves around "the results of the Jazz Age generation's adherence to false material values".

Whatever wisdom and values (if you can even call it that) that have emanated from the 57th General Assembly are certainly ones that have been articulated before. In other words, Mukhriz is right - there's nothing new. And in the process, the fiery rhetoric from UMNO Youth has ruffled some feathers within the other non-Malay components of Barisan Nasional.

Of course, most people aren't alarmed, as this sort of fire and brimstone occurs year in, year out. But it has gotten the attention of the foriegn press, more notably the IHT and al-Jazeera. And what they had to say is not very concerting (see Rocky's Bru for more).

And from what Walski has heard, the Malay Agenda continues to be what UMNO say they fight for. 30 years following a policy that obviously has many shortcomings isn't enough, they say. It needs to continue. Which is no wonder why some have called NEP the "Never Ending Policy".

From the recent hoo-ha about how much equity exactly do the Malays own, it must be said that the policy must have had some beneficiaries. But whom within the Malay community that has benefited most remains the multi-billion dollar ringgit question. Definitely not the common Malays, for the most part. At the very least, not in the 30% kind of way.

UMNO has vowed that they shall remain the protectors of the Malays. The question is, who's going to protect the Malays (indeed, the rest of the nation) from UMNO?