Articles, Opinions & Views: Why Harapan is losing the cyberwar to BN - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Why Harapan is losing the cyberwar to BN - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, January 29, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Here’s how the opposition can reclaim lost ground in cyberspace. “It doesn't matter if justice is on your side. You have to depict your position as just.” - Benjamin Netanyahu
COMMENT | The more Pakatan Harapan talks about needing Dr Mahathir Mohamad to secure rural Malay votes, the more this plays into the hands of Umno. There are three ways that Umno uses this particular narrative.
The first is that a majority of the Malay community does not support Harapan hence Mahathir is a traitor to the Malay race by attempting to split the vote, the second is that the mandarins of Harapan realise that their choice of Mahathir as the Big Cheese leading the charge is causing dissonance amongst the faithful, and the third, is that it also gives the Umno state the opportunity to attack the legacy of Mahathir, which are:
1. Gives succour to those why do not want to whitewash his contributions to this country.
2. Allow the ruling hegemon to use the opposition own words about the former prime minister to point to the hypocrisy of Harapan.

They do this without harm to themselves or their narrative that the opposition is weak and in need of saving. The more Harapan invest in the narrative that they need Mahathir and the rural Malay vote (not to mention all those corruption scandals that apparently will cause the zombie apocalypse), the more damage this does to their narrative of change.
If the Harapan leadership and supporters think that what Australian National University (ANU) researcher Ross Tapsell said about BN winning the cyberwar is complete bunkum, I suggest stepping out of the echo chambers. Not only is Umno winning the cyberwar, they use the rhetoric of opposition leaders and their online supporters in propaganda materials that are extremely effective. Now, some people may consider this lazy or maybe it is just working smart. The end result is that BN supporters or those who just do not care, are given clear messages as to what Umno stands for, while the opposition is scrambling to pander to diverse demographics in the hope that something simple and intelligible comes out of their mixed messages.
To recap, when I wrote that Harapan needs a clear narrative, I wrote this about the 1MDB scandal – “When Nurul (Izzah Anwar) says that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak does not talk about his scandals, what this really means is that the Umno grand poobah is not playing defence. Umno is on the offence when it comes to the corruption scandals that plague this administration.

“He does not need to talk about them because he understands that these scandals are complicated and that the opposition’s rhetoric that he is an international outcast does not jive with the photo ops that ‘world leaders’ provide for future services rendered.”
With regards to the ongoing seat allocation fiasco and the conflicting messages from Harapan leadership – “Furthermore, when you talk about the opposition being oppressed and the need for people to empathise with the opposition, and the path to this ‘empathy’ is a clear narrative, you are on the wrong path.
“Here's the thing. People want to believe that politicians empathise with them even if politicians clearly demonstrate that they do not. Therefore, when the people see all the infighting that goes on in the opposition, they translate that to the opposition only being concerned about themselves and political power.
Some people dismissed the “Manifesto of the 99%” released by a coalition of left-wing groups, but the reality is that what is in that manifesto – which can be read in Malay, Tamil, Chinese and English – is exactly the type of bread-and-butter issues that the demographic that Umno maintains a choke hold over is concerned about.
You know what the evidence for this is? The fact that this is exactly what the message that Umno is sending its base when it comes to welfare, educational and economic issues. This, of course, is done in the Umno way, through the lens of racial and religious politics but the core issues, remain the same.
Politics 101
As I said, grassroots organisations know what the people most likely to vote for Umno think and want, but more importantly, they understand what they need. Umno knows this too, which is why their policies of handouts for the Malay polity and governmental benefice for the non-Malay/Muslim demographic is neither contradictory nor counter intuitive. In other words, giving them what they want so they do not think of what they really need. That is Politics 101.
This is why when we look at the great upsets in electoral politics all over the world but specifically in the US, there has always been the major element of grassroots activism working in concert with on-the-ropes political hegemons to pull off electoral victories that mainstream pundits assumed impossible. This includes highlighting regional issues to bringing out the vote.
Every time oppositional political operatives tell me that they are making progress in the rural demographic, I keep asking them why is this not in the echo chambers of the alternative media? Why are these efforts not the front and centre of the oppositional discourse? Why isn’t the opposition changing the narrative of what the rural demographic really cares about instead of wallowing in the personality politics of their leadership and the whole 1MDB financial scandal which means very little to the demographic that really matters?
The usual answer I get is why isn’t the press covering these news stories? The press covers sensational topics, and if their audience wants to read about the latest stupid thing a BN personality says or the latest scandal that Umno vomits out, then this is what they will do. Honestly, most human-interest stories do not get the kind of traffic that these bread-and-butter stories get. Put it this way. If the alternative press is the propaganda organs of Harapan, then the opposition is really screwed. However, the alternative press is not the only way to change the narrative.

People laugh at what Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said about the open hall in Bagan Datuk but the reality is that it plays well with the demographic that keeps Umno in power. There has always been an element of theatrics in Malay politics that non-Malays mock, but it would be dumb to think that what Zahid did was for the benefit of an urban Internet-savvy audience.
Not only has Umno got the mainstream media that highlights all Umno is doing for the communities it relies on, they have an extremely sophisticated online mechanism which propagates their efforts for marginalised communities. Not all Umno propaganda is how the opposition is dominated by Chinese interest or how the former prime minister wishes to destroy that foremost of Malay institutions –Umno. Umno propagandists send me material which has nothing to do with demonising the opposition but of their efforts to satisfy the wants of communities that they hope are their vote banks. Furthermore, people actually repost these messages as a means of doing something for the community. Do you get where I am going with this?
All I get from oppositional operatives is how the country is screwed because of Umno and the latest in corruption scandals, which mean very little to the demographic that Harapan claims it needs. If Harapan does not manage to change the narrative soon, and reclaim lost ground in the cyberwar, not only will they lose this election, they may also give Umno a two-thirds majority.
Take what “Bibi” said in the opening quote seriously.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:32 AM  
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