Walski's MSM-semi-friendly explanatory forenote: You may be wondering why Walski is quoting NaSTy Pee in this post. He still thinks the mainstream press has a long way to go before it regains credibility with Walski, but as the often quoted (but misattributed to Sun Tzu) adage goes, "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer". So yeah, Walski will be quoting from the MSM from time to time. When necessary. Even NST.
It appears that finally, the boys in the UMNO supreme council have woken up to the realization that they're at risk of being obsolete. Or at least, as the NST news report states, "badly needs reinvention and revitalisation".
And although it was not reported, Walski suspects that they were also given this book to read.
Created with the Dummies Book Cover Maker
Because how you revitalize and reinvent surrounding a dying paradigm, is really beyond Walski's ability to comprehend.
(lost in a paradigm storm, and more, in the full post)
Either that, or it's that new age fitness program called Exercise in Futility. But hey... who's Walski to comment if folks willingly choose to waste their time, right?
As is now probably common knowledge, the UMNO Supreme Council had a 2-day retreat to discuss the party's future this past week. While no specifics were reported (the attendees were sworn to secrecy, it seems), NST managed to obtain bits and pieces of what was discussed, in this report by Zubaidah Abu Bakar (emphasis by myAsylum).
Charting UMNO's Recovery Plan
UMNO now realises that it badly needs reinvention and revitalisation following the clear message of the March 8 polls.
There was strong rejection of the party and Barisan Nasional among the young and better educated. Many reasons have been cited, particularly its "unfriendly" approach towards the non-Malays.
The Umno retreat by the party's highest decision-making body, the supreme council, in Shah Alam last week delved into the very sensitive issue of "unfair treatment" brought up by the non-Malays, including BN component party members.
So finally, UMNO comes clean with the fact that their behavior was less than desired. Three months late, if you were to ask Walski, since this would have been more than apparent on March 9th, when UMNO/BN found out how badly they'd done. Walski also finds it amusing that "unfair treatment" is something deemed sensitive. Maybe that's why the English FA now issues yellow cards for dissent, eh?
It was acknowledged that relationships among BN component parties had to be strengthened and the perception that the coalition was united only during elections erased.
What these fellers should also realize is that this "perception" is built upon what has been observed, meaning that it's probably not just perception. Remnants of denial, perhaps? And is there a real willingness to walk-the-talk, or just elimination of "perception"?
The transition of power from party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not left out of the two-day discussions.
However, no timeframe was imposed for Abdullah to hand over the baton to Najib.
The majority of attendees preferred to let the party elections take their course, allowing the grassroots to freely decide on the leadership at the branch and divisional ballots.
Now, Walski doesn't know about you lot, but these paragraphs don't seem to add up. On the one hand, they want to let the party elections take their course, but provided the top leadership posts remain status quo. Hmm. Sounds like a bunch of same 'ol, same 'ol to Walski.
As only proposals were discussed, no announcement was made at the end of the retreat. Little information leaked out to the media after council members were apparently sworn to secrecy.
Najib and a newly formed committee have been given the task of compiling and evaluating views and suggestions on the "Umno recovery plan". A draft will be submitted to the management committee, which Najib heads, before it is sent to the supreme council.
Okay, very little specific information, it would appear, but enough broad-based info to report, at least. What will be interesting is what the "UMNO Recovery Plan" is going to look like. Obviously, UMNO and BN would still be maintaining the status quo of race-based politics - something which many of the UMNO leaders still insist to be relevant, even though March 8th seems to have indicated otherwise. But nevermind... if that's what they insist...
The blueprint will cover ways to strengthen the party's Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings, and include clearer demarcation lines between the latter two.
Ironically, no feedback was obtained from young people, the target group thought most central to Umno's revival.
Not the least bit ironic to Walski, however, as to how some things never change. No mention to demarcate between Pemuda and Putera, though, which Walski thought would also be relevant. But, guess it's already obvious - if you're the more kapcai-prone type, you're Putera, otherwise you're Pemuda... or something along those lines, Walski reckons.
So here's the deal, on the surface: let's make a blueprint for change, without really changing, and without finding out from the key demographic groups what's needed to be changed. Change without changing... Wow! Isn't that a novel idea?
Plenty of ideas were exchanged on how Umno and the BN could win back the five states controlled by Pakatan Rakyat.
Of course, what those ideas were couldn't be revealed... tactical strategy and trade secrets, and all that. Walski wonders if any of these ideas included good governance and intelligent policy-making. Yeah, yeah... he's merely speculating... don't pay any attention to him.
Negative reporting on Umno in the mainstream media was a hot topic, as were measures to counter anti-government websites and blogs.
Now, Walski found this paragraph really funny... In the real world, with an honest and free press, negative behavior usually gets negative press, and vice versa when it comes to positive behavior. To some extent, this is true even with the Malaysian press. Guess that concept's just way too much for the UMNO bigwigs to fathom... reporting on UMNO must be positive, no matter what - reality is secondary.
Again, it seems as though there is a strong desire to change, without changing... Perhaps it's also worth reminding these folks that UMNO is not the Malaysian government...
The effectiveness of the first-ever organised brainstorming session for the supreme council will only be known when the recovery plan is made public.
The plan might not satisfy the party rank and file and the country, and should it be rejected by the branches and divisions at their annual general meetings, the positions of the supreme council members could be on the line.
In other words, the retreat could be just one big waste of time, in the end. It will be interesting days ahead to see what the recovery plan actually is, and how the grassroots will react. Historically, though, given enough rope... yeah, well you know the rest.
A majority of supreme council members felt the retreat was needed because a wide range of issues had to be thrashed out in an unrestricted environment.
The two special supreme council meetings held after the general election were apparently inhibited by time constraints.
Instead of finger-pointing, Umno is said to have achieved "positive results" beyond charting a road map for its survival at the retreat.
(source: NST Onliine, or in PDF here)
Well, at least it didn't deteriorate into a blame-storming session instead. But what's this last bit, about "positive results" and all that jazz? Beyond a road map for survival? Hmm... intriguing... the gravy, as they say, thickens...
But such are the intrigues of high-level party politics, Walski reckons. And he waits eagerly for this so-called "Recovery Plan" to be unveiled, despite being skeptical as to the notion that UMNO is not already beyond economical repair. Then again, that's just Walski.
From his many years in marketing, however, Walski maintains that when paradigms shift, you reinvent along the lines of natural change, not against it. What works in marketing frequently works in politics as well, surprising as it may seem.
Whether or not UMNO sees March 8 as a big shift in voter mindset is rather fuzzy, basing on this article alone. Walski's guess is that the supreme council hasn't quite reached that realization. In fact, it sounds like a lot of tried and true (and failed) to him.
Shifting gears without a clutch is a painful experience - to the ears, as well as to the engine you're driving. Shifting paradigms can be equally as painful.
Especially if you're trying to reinvent something to look, smell, feel and taste exactly the same as what you had to begin with.
Walski's Sun Tzu misattributed quote footnote: Contrary to popular belief (including Walski's all this while) the phrase "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer" was not stated anywhere in Sun Tzu's "The Art of War". It's apparently from a line uttered by the Michael Corleone character in The Godfather Part II (via Wikiquote). You learn something new every day...