It's become a tired running joke between Walski and the Mrs - whenever we go shopping, or have a meal somewhere, and it's time to leave the establishment, Walski never fails to make this stupid comment: "Uh-oh... we can't leave... the outside is Closed".
Can't leave... the outside is Closed
And sometimes Walski imagines, what if the flippable door sign maker made a major typo, and printed Welcome, we're Closed. Or better yet, Sorry, we're Open.
As you would expect, the third paragraph is around about where Walski will tell you that this post is not about sign typos... although, leaving the restaurant a couple of nights ago after our latest eating-out expedition, and seeing the sign above, did trigger some thoughts about what's been happening this week.
But first, allow Walski to express how elated he is that Teresa Kok has finally been released. About friggin' time... and reading about the details of her recent ISA holiday (via Malaysiakini) simply makes Walski fume... It's becoming clear that the latest spate of arrests is nothing short of power abuse. Plain and simple. Walski isn't ecstatic with joy yet, however, as RPK still remains behind bars, courtesy of political-wolves-in-Islam-clothing... clearly being used by the powers that be to silence dissent and dissenters. Not to mention, of course, all the other detainees still being incarcerated without trial.
Which brings us to this week's latest episodes of the ongoing political soap opera - how Pakatan Rakyat is using every legal and constitutional avenue, and the PM shutting the door every which way. Kind of like going into a store and seeing a sign that says, Welcome, we are Closed, pasted at the entrance.
(clinging on to power with the skin of his teeth, and more, in the full post)
To say that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is "embattled" would be a great understatement. It's like a captain of a sinking ship saying his vessel is "having some difficulties", while rowing away in a life raft.
Anwar Ibrahim says he has the numbers, and of course he has reason for not wanting to reveal the details, in light of the recent ISA clampdown (based on nothing more than whims of political fancy, it would appear). So, of course Pak Lah will publicly say that Anwar is lying, etc.
At the same time, UMNO is on the PM's back... to step down by October 9, before the party's divisional meetings start, as indications are that Abdullah won't get the nominations he needs to retain the party leadership come the AGM, scheduled for December. It's a face-saving move, they say... because the inevitable is about to transpire, whatever he (Pak Lah) decides to do. Come next general assembly elections, they say, Pak Lah will no longer be the UMNO numero uno. And by default, that also means giving up the Prime Minister-ship.
So yeah... the man's got some troubles to deal with. Externally from Pakatan Rakyat, and internally, within UMNO. Not an enviable position at all. Add to that his credibility as national leader continues to erode. Like cheap paint on a weather-worn building.
And suggestions for an emergency Parliamentary session - What for? quips the PM... it's gonna reconvene October 13th anyways...
There are other indications, too, which suggest the fact Abdullah Badawi won't stick to the 2010 power transition schedule - like swapping his Finance portfolio with Najib's Defence. A move which added an extra helping of uncertainty to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, already reeling from the Wall Street meltdown. With the blame conveniently lumped onto the Pakatan Rakyat, by Pak Lah. This would've worked 20 years ago, but things have changed - a lot - since 1988. Something, unfortunately, UMNO/BN remains in denial about - or at the very least, publicly in denial.
You see, back then the government actually had a monopoly on information and had total control over what, and what not, the people could know. Not true any longer. Thanks to the Internet, and availability of international news from international news bodies (and not merely RTM's version of the truth), people are a lot more informed today. It's difficult to obfuscate the truth these days.
Twenty years ago, decisive action by the police - whose boss is ultimately Syed Hamid Albar - would have been something to elicit awe and fear. Today, knowing better, many Malaysians are decisive in the conclusion that it was an idiotic move.
But part of the reason is the more "open" stance of the government of the day. Not that they had much of a choice but to be more open. Information availability and all. So much so that Walski was half expecting them to commission big ass signages around Putrajaya saying "Sorry, we're Open".
Or better yet, "Welcome, we're Closed"...
... something that's perhaps more reflective of a government living in the past, unable to cope with the realities of the now...
Walski's photo-op establishment recommendation & credit footnote: The photo above was taken earlier this week at Izzi - an Indonesia-based fusion food franchise, at their Damansara Utama outlet. Apart from the table with the extremely-too-noisy bank employees, and rather bad acoustics, this is one restaurant that Walski would recommend any 'ol time. Great food, friendly service, and free dink refills (on selected items)... but they should really consider putting up more acoustic dampeners in the outlet - way too damn much concrete, causing sound to simply bounce all over the place. They also have another outlet in the Bukit Bintang area (at the corner of Jln Sultan Ismail & Jln Bukit Bintang, across from Lot 10) which Walski has yet to try. But if you ever go there, don't tell them Walski sent you, 'cause they wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about... Visit them, however, you should (as Yoda would probably say).