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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Landscape Re-engineering

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If you came here thinking this was about rearranging shrubbery and those cute flower plants... you've come to the wrong blog.

Horticulture and Walski don't make very good flower-bed fellows... in fact, Walski probably has a very un-green thumb. Visit his garden sometime... the weeds seem to thrive, but not the African Daisies.

No, Walski's talking about the political landscape of Malaysia. One that has been engineered along racial lines for the last half-century. The question here is this: is Malaysia ready to move to the next level of engagement - one that revolves around issues and need, and leave behind discussions along racial lines?

If the answer is Yes, then why are political parties like UMNO, MCA and MIC still hanging around? Waiting for a resurgance of racial awareness, or simply waiting for time? And if the answer is No, then Walksi has to ask a further question (short one, this time): Why not?

For far too long, the political landscape had been engineered by the Barisan Nasional, spearheaded by UMNO. But in the states that have recently fallen to the Opposition, change is afoot. But change is not easy, not even for some of those who have fought for it in the recent elections.

To be fair, the basis Uncle Lim's objections, taking his press statement at face value, is more procedural rather than racially motivated. But that has not prevented many from being disappointed.

The timeliness of a deracialized political landscape is probably a difficult question to answer, for some. Easy for others. Those who hold the nostalgic notions of a Tanah Melayu, meant only for Malays, others being reluctantly tolerated tenants, this would be a very caustic question to ask, and even a more gut-wrenching one to answer.

But the results of the recent elections probably paint a different picture. At least, as far as the success of the opposition goes. For the first time, the political rhetoric revolved around common issues that bothered everyone, regardless of color-tone or creed - crime, the economy... basic issues that were on the minds of everybody, regardless of race and religion. Issues that weighed heavy on the minds of Malaysians, in general.

And that, perhaps, bodes well for the real call towards a "Bangsa Malaysia".

Let's face it - apart from a handful of people, for most non-Malays living in Malaysia today, this is the only country they can honestly call home
(more re-engineering, and ch-ch-changes, in the full post)

What we are beginning to see, at least in Penang for sure, and most likely in Selangor as well, is the emergence of a racially balanced coalition government. The younger of the two Lims has probably set the precedence - and a good one, Walski might add - in how he has chosen his deputies. All of Malaysia is watching to see how the DAP/PKR/PAS coalition can fulfill its promises made.

But let us be realistic. As Walski has always maintained, old habits, like old Hobbits, don't die easy. And change takes time. Or at least, lasting change. It's no point rushing change - kind of like how quick-fix solutions really aren't good solutions. But it's the baby steps that the people want to see happen, and not stalling on facilitating change as we've seen all too often with BN.

Political expediency may be the easy path, but it is one that in the end goes nowhere fast.

Change, however, is necessary. As this guy's shown us - which is why David Bowie remains relevant in the music world, even after so many decades.

Bowie has changed style and image, probably more times than Abdullah Badawi has flipped-flopped - okay, maybe not as many times, but you get the picture. Change means adapting to environmental needs, and not remaining where you are, fighting to maintain the status quo.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes... they aren't easy, and they take time. But at least there must be signs that the needed changes are underway...