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Monday, May 02, 2011

Poll Position: A Trinity of Threats

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In the most recent poll here at myAsylum, Walski asked you which, from the list of choices he provided, you considered to be the real threat to the Malays. The poll closed at midnight last night, and the final results are in.

Poll Position results, image hosting by Photobucket

The final tally is somewhat different from what Walski had expected it to be. The biggest surprise, however, is that not one single respondent chose DAP. He can think of a few reasons why it turned out this way (analysis in the full post).

If Walski were to summarize the results, it would be this: the real threat to the Malays is not one specific entity, but a trinity of threats.
(poll analysis, and more, in the full post)

Before we delve in further, a word about the Nasi Lemak choice. Some folks on Twitter have taken this the wrong way and have said that Walski is race-profiling. Some have said that because of this, Walski is racist.

The real reasons? Nasi Lemak happens to be one of Walski’s favorite foods. Secondly, it qualified itself to be included the poll because it made the news. Yes, the Health Ministry thinks it’s a threat to everyone (not just any one particular ethnic demographic), but Walski personally thinks this is true if, and only if, your entire diet consists of nothing but this Malaysian delicacy, and you do ZERO physical activity. Moderation, people – you can never go wrong with that simple concept.

In any case, he’s explained himself, and so any further misinterpretation of why Nasi Lemak was included is therefore your own damned problem. Those who know Walski personally can attest to just how “racist” he is…

Be that as it may, kidding or not, 7% of poll respondents selected Nasi Lemak as being the real threat to the Malays. Walski will extrapolate a bit and say it’s the entire diet and eating habits (plus lack of exercise) that’s a threat. Not just to the Malays, but to all Malaysians. That said, the prevalence of obesity amongst the Malay demographic is the highest when compared to other groups (via U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health).

So, who/what is perceived to be the real threat to the Malays? The top 3 choices, accounting for 85% of poll participants: UMNO (60%), Utusan Malaysia (13%), and Perkasa (12%). From a personal perspective, this result is not too far off from what Walski expected the final tally would be, although he’d have thought Perkasa would have garnered top spot.

That said, the ultra-right wing nut organization does have some credibility problems. How Walski interprets this is that the fact these 3 topped the polling indicates a perceived nexus, and the buck, so to speak, stops at UMNO. Or, at the very least, a certain segment within the party.

Walski is of the view that no political organization is entirely monolithic, despite claims to the contrary. UMNO may have an “official” voice, but whether or not that voice is 100% representative of the entire body politic is a big question mark. Some may see Utusan as that voice, but Walski sees it merely as a voice of a certain faction within the party, still mired in antiquated political ideals. It is the voice of those within UMNO who refuse to accept that times have changed.

If you’ve ever read Sakmongkol AK47’s blog posts, you’ll probably know what Walski means. While Sakmongkol (the pseudonym used by the blog’s author, Dato' Mohd.Ariff Sabri, former state assemblyman for Pekan) may be still loyal to his party UMNO, he sees many things wrong within it, and chooses to speak out against them. Not so with the many other members of UMNO who actively write – whether or not these people actually think everything’s hunky dory within the party, or merely putting up appearances, is anyone’s guess. 

Similarly with Perkasa. While it may claim to be the voice of the Malays, Walski sees them as being possibly two things: a proxy for UMNO’s more antiquated voices reprising the role of the UMNO Youth of yore, and secondly, the voice of a segment of a Malay generation, brought up with a mindset that the world owes them a living – the dark side by-product of the NEP.

This may sound somewhat harsh, and Walski would probably have to agree. To him, while Perkasa does not reflect the mindset of the entire Malay demographic, it certainly does speak for a specific group within that demographic. And the organization certainly is not doing anybody any favors, as their actions reflect on the whole Malay populace.

What really is surprising, though, is that no one selected DAP as the real threat. There are a few possibilities why it turned out this way. First, Walski thinks that none of the really hardcore pro-UMNO/BN folks participated, or a scant few if any did. Which would also indicate that the results are skewed towards a particular demographic of folks who are more liberal-minded. Second possibility, DAP poses no real threat, despite the vitriol frequently thrown at the party.

Here’s one thing that came out of this poll that’s never happened with previous polls – a concurrence of the “Other” choice. Of the 4 responses (5%) received, three, or roughly 3.5%, were as follows:

  • THEMSELVES (meaning the Malays)
  • Malays
  • other dim witted Malays

The idea that the Malays are their own worst enemy is not new, nor is it surprising, seeing how the Trinity of Threats were the popular choice collectively.

At the root of it all, in Walski’s opinion, is this post-March 2008 renewed focus on race, at least at the political rhetoric level, and online. To a lesser degree, on the ground in real-world Malaysia. This fear, which grew out of the much reduced support for BN in the last General Election, is what’s responsible for this renewed focus.

And that fear stems from a reality check on the belief that UMNO/BN will rule this nation in perpetuity. Hence, increased race-laced vitriol, and of course, the birth of Perkasa.

The thing is this, however: no one wants to be identified as lazy freeloaders, and Walski is sure that many very hard-working Malays in this country resent that classification. And yet, in their effort to further the race agenda, the Trinity of Threats is doing exactly that – painting, in bold broad strokes, a very negative perception of the very thing they struggle for.

Someone on Twitter once pointed out that in Malaysia today, we’re way too focused and obsessed about where we individually come from, and not bothered enough about where we are headed as a nation. Walski personally feels there is much wisdom in this simple observation.

Our focus should be on how to move forward as a nation, as Anak Bangsa Malaysia, and not be obsessed on what ethnic route we took to get to the present. Regardless of where each and every one of us came from, there is one thing that not even the most right-wing, most wing-nut of organizations can ever take away – that Malaysia is our country, and it’s the only country we call home.

Walski’s oh-and-another-thing post poll analysis footnote: The fourth “Other” choice, in case you were wondering, was ‘the salmon mousse’ – Walski thinks he has a pretty good idea who’s responsible for that… it may have killed the dinner party, but it certainly didn’t do any harm to the poll.