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Saturday, June 20, 2009


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Walski's pre-post forenote: This post has kinda been brewing in the cobwebs of Walski’s to-be-completed pile for about a week, and will probably seem dated. It’s been kind of a busy week, and when that happens, posts don’t get completed in a timely manner. You might even say that this post is “so last week”. And you would be absolutely correct.

Image taken from Wikipedia, hosting by Photobucket

A simple 5-letter word like class can have numerous meanings. Amongst its numerous meanings, class can mean a division or rating based on grade or quality (via Mirriam-Webster).

And that’s the definition that Walski would like to focus on in this post.

When talking about people, too, class can be a defining factor. Particularly when trying to dichotomize a population, based on economic factors. Such as that shown in the diagram on the right – albeit, based on the structure of American society. But you get the picture.

In a society that has historically been feudalistic, Malaysia being one of them, we generally still identify station in life according to class. And there are many categories – too many for Walski to bother listing out.

And being that Walski tends to be somewhat egalitarian in his outlook, he simply categorizes people as those with Class, and those with No Class.

Especially when it comes to politicians…
(Class in the world of No Class politics, in the full post)

To be able to appreciate politicians with Class, it is usually helpful to examine those totally bereft of it. And for the present moment, no other politician epitomizes No Class, than the current Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Pahang, Adnan Yaakob.

Who can forget this classic clip (courtesy of Tumpang Sekole…?, via YouTube).

This politician is one that is known to shoot his mouth off – as opposed to speaking his mind – there’s a big difference between the two. Adnan, in commenting about former UMNO member Zaid Ibrahim joining PKR, said that Zaid was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” (via Bernama). Walski does wonder if that makes Adnan Yaakob a wolf in wolf’s clothing…

"Before he was in the Cabinet for a short duration and tried to be a champion of democracy and freedom, but see what he has done against the government," he told reporters after attending a taichi exercise programme with the people, here today.
(source: Bernama)

Speaking of taichi, Adnan, who had been named as defendant in a lawsuit by Seruan Gemilang Makmur Sdn Bhd for breach of contract pertaining to a logging concession deal (as Pahang’s Chief Minister), has since refused to pay the compensation amounting to RM 63 million, as ordered by the courts. He has since, however, managed to obtain a stay.

You know, this talk about wolves in sheep’s clothing and all, made Walski remember this classic Gary Larson cartoon, from the now defunct The Far Side series.

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But be that as it may, as Walski mentioned earlier, it is useful to look at No Class, in order to understand Class. Also partly because in Malaysia, there really aren’t that many politicians whom Walski consider have a lot of it.

And therefore, our case study is, not unexpectedly, Zaid Ibrahim – the target of Adnan “No Class” Yaakob’s blinkered party-line accusations. Zaid was, of course, formerly from UMNO (until he was sacked from the party late last year), and also formerly the de facto Law Minister – a post he quit from in protest of the abuse of the Internal Security Act.

To Walski, if there were any politician that could be said to have Class, it would be Zaid Ibrahim. Sure, there are those out there who are dead-set against Zaid, simply because of his liberal views on certain matters. Well, Walski has pretty liberal views, too. So, live with it.

In any case, this is what Zaid Ibrahim had to say in rebuttal (originally in Bahasa Malaysia here, translated by The Edge, via Malaysia Today):

Responding to Pahang Menteri Besar Tan Sri Adnan Yaakob's description of him as "a sheep in wolf's clothing", Zaid said he was surprised by the hatred from Adnan.

"Adnan is constantly accusing and insulting me. Some people say that he was one of the strongest proponents of my sacking from Umno," said Parti Keadilan Rakyat's latest high-profile signing.

"I've never being involved with any dodgy land or logging deals in Pahang hence I'm surprised by his attacks," Zaid wrote in his blog today.

The former minister also said that "anyone who seeks change such as eradicating corruption and curbing the abuse of powers or arguing against the Internal Security Act is seen as an Umno enemy". Adnan, said Zaid, had also complained that he had enriched himself through his relationship with Umno and Barisan Nasional.

"When Umno leaders are upset with me they constantly raise this issue. Nevertheless, I've always maintained that I'm neither rich nor was made rich by Umno.

"But since this is a recurring accusation, I suggest that the government repeals the Official Secrets Act and declassify all information pertaining to government contracts, projects and shares given out to ministers, former ministers, chief ministers and other Umno leaders and their families," Zaid wrote.
(source: PDF of a report in The Edge, via Malaysia Today)

No angry or insulting rhetoric - just a straight, in your face, gentlemanly rebuttal. Now that’s what Walski calls Class. The original Bahasa Malaysia piece by Zaid Ibrahim can be read here (via his blog).

But Walski does wonder if The Edge had really meant “sheep in wolf’s clothing” when they wrote their report… kinda like saying “Lipatan dalam gunting”, or “Batu di sebalik udang”…

Zaid joining PKR is probably something not unexpected. Still, it is a scary development as far as UMNO is concerned, primarily because now it brings about even more speculation as to whom else will cross over. Plus, it doesn’t do one iota of good for UMNO’s image.

We live in interesting times, people – the development politic is likely to get more and more interesting in the coming weeks, months and years. Whom else as high profile might we see crossing the Styx of Malaysian politics in the near future?

Whomever it may be, Walski hopes that they bring across Class

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