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Friday, March 20, 2009

Logos & Logic (or lack thereof)

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If you follow RantingsByMM and Unspun, you’ll know that our neighbor, Indonesia, will be going to the polls next month.

Marina, in her post talking about the Indonesian polls, posed a question, based on how Indonesia does absentee votes and their voting age (17, by the way) – whose is the more advanced country, ours or theirs?

Hold that thought for a moment, because Walski wants to add one more bit of input to help you answer the question.

Image hosting by PhotobucketYesterday, Malaysiakini reported that Parti Sosialis Malaysia, having fought long and hard to get their party registered, now face yet another obstacle – the Election Commission. Apparently, the EC has issues with PSM’s logo. They say that it’s “morally unsuitable” and has “connotations of violence” (via Malaysiakini, subscription required).

The EC arrived at this opinion based on the clenched fist that is central to PSM’s party logo, which of course is borrowed from popular socialist symbolism. From a symbolic point of view, the fist represents solidarity, being that “many weak fingers can come together to create a strong fist” (source: Wikipedia).

Is the EC’s apparent ignorance just an excuse? Or is it another symptom that our education system is totally crap, capable of not much more than producing consumer robots without the ability to think beyond the obvious?

If the argument is that the clenched fist connotes violence, what about the symbols of the other political parties? In fact, the whole “concern” on the part of the EC reeks of pettiness.

So, now you can answer the question Marina posed with ease: who’s more advanced, us or them?  
(if it’s violent you want, violent is what you see, and more, in the full post)

Truth be told, a number of the political party logos can be construed to symbolize violence of one sort or another, if you really tried hard enough. In some cases, pretty damned obvious.

Image hosting by PhotobucketWhile on the surface, the scales on Barisan Nasional’s logo seems innocuous enough. But have you ever been whopped on the face with a pair of scales before? Walski fortunately hasn’t, but he can imagine that it would sting. Especially since the scales has loads of pointy edges. And the two hooks… those definitely gotta hurt. Of course, it would take a twisted mind like Walski’s to make this kind of  connection between the ruling coalition’s logo and violence. But a connection there certainly is. So, why doesn’t the EC have an issue with BN’s logo? Enquiring minds wanna know…

You don’t need much of an imagination to realize that whenever there is any type of weapon used in a logo, an implied meaning related to violence can be derived. Such connotations are rife in a few of some other political parties’ logos, too.

Image hosting by PhotobucketTake the keris (wavy blade dagger) that’s prominently used in UMNO’s logo, which, come to think of it looks very much like a Rorschach blot.

This classical regional (it’s not just Malay, incidentally) hand-combat weapon, whose long history in the annals of literature portray it not just as tool of destruction, but a crafted object of great beauty and elegance, has certainly gotten some pretty bad press in recent years.

It has unwillingly become a participant in several displays of Malay machismo and threats of violence, by some pretty prominent members of the party. If something benign like a clenched fist is “morally unsuitable”, tolerating the use of a weapon as part of a logo surely implies that we’ve developed a very warped sense of morality.

Image hosting by PhotobucketOn a larger, mass destruction type of scale, is another weapon – the Rocket – used as the logo for the Democratic Action Party, or DAP. But, as Walski thinks, if a weapon is okay, then a weapon of mass destruction must be more okay, several hundred times over. You see, more is always better. It’s quantity, not quality that’s important. That line of thinking seems to be in vogue these days anyways. So if a keris kills one at a time, a rocket does it more efficiently, hundreds at a time… or thousands, depending on what warhead is selected. So yeah, Rocket – very okay.

Image hosting by PhotobucketMore subtly deadly, perhaps, is the logo for the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). Stealthily subtle, even. Yes, Walski is, of course, referring to the Ninja Star, or Shuriken, that silent but deadly tool of ninja stealth attacks. Silent farts can be deadly, too, but the Shuriken is much more lethal. Which is exactly what the multi-point star on MCA’s logo reminds him of. Walski reckons that if quantity is okay, so should stealth, when it comes to violent imagery. And so the MCA shuriken is apparently very much A-OK in the EC’s coloring book of violent imagery.

But never, ever a clenched fist. Where the hell is the logic in that?

Go figure.