Articles, Opinions & Views: Harapan squabbling bad optics but it won’t sway supporters - 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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Harapan squabbling bad optics but it won’t sway supporters - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Voters thereby prove themselves bad and indeed corrupt judges of such issues and often they even prove themselves bad judges of their own long-run interests, for it is only the short-run promise that tells politically and only short-run rationality that asserts itself effectively.” ― Joseph Alois Schumpeter, ‘Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’
COMMENT | PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is right when she says that the squabbling for seats in Pakatan Harapan is temper tantrums thrown by spoilt children. Well, she was more pleasant about it, but really mine is a fair interpretation. She need not worry though because while press reports on these squabbling are bad optics, it will not dissuade hardcore Harapan supporters - is there any other kind? - from supporting any candidate Harapan belches out.
Admittedly, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali claiming that he had no knowledge of the candidates' list before the big reveal by Harapan big shots was dodgy and furthered the narrative that it was amateur hour at PKR HQ, not to mention it had a whiff of mala fide. Also the tears flowing at the press conference of Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei was self-defeating as was Batu incumbent parliamentarian Tian Chua’s rejoinder to whoever to be careful.
While all of this may earn the scorn but not rejection of the Harapan faithful, undecided voters may think that sticking with the establishment may seem a better idea since Harapan projects itself as an organisation which could not organise, so to speak, an orgy in a brothel. Like former Bersih co-coordinator Ambiga Sreenevasan, I too received far too many phone calls about PKR’s public spats but none of the phone calls, although filled with complaints, acknowledged that this would not dissuade them from voting Harapan.
Harapan has framed the narrative that this is a do-or-die election for Malaysia, hence supporters are naturally inclined to believe that any choice beyond what Umno/BN is offering spells doom for this country. What some people do not seem to understand is that if the opposition political operatives really believed that this is a do-or-die election, political operatives from the opposition would not be squabbling for safe seats.
As with all politicians, what they value is their political careers and political life after these "do or die" elections. While some supporters believe that it is the end of the world if their candidates do not win, professional politicians understand that there is always a new round of the game. What is important is that they remain in the game.
This is why this idea of “safe seats” should be the most insulting idea for voters. “Safe” actually means that voters are so predictable or gullible that the political career of the political operative is safe. It is about identity politics sure, but it also demonstrates something deeper. Something rotten in a political system that allows politicians job security.
I was never a fervent believer in party loyalty because most often the needs of the particular constituency are more important than the needs of the party. More than loyalty, you have an obligation to serve your constituents. Party loyalty is about surviving in the right cliques and servicing power structures within the party.
Playing well with others should be vague enough not to trump the needs of the people who you serve and savvy political operatives understand the utilitarian value of playing well with others but not at the expense of the rakyat they serve. Remember, the people you serve are not the base of the political party but the people who voted for you.
Parachute candidates
This is why I skeptical of parachute candidates whose very existence is predicated on the knowledge that political elites understand that people vote along party lines. This is why the idea of term limits that Harapan is floating about is very important.
There should be no job security in this game. You are there to serve your constituency for a period and then you move on. In so doing, you set a benchmark for your political party which either means you did a good job or voters look somewhere else.
Harapan political operatives complain that they wish there was more discipline in the opposition coalition, which really means they wish that their parties were as disciplined as the DAP but I always scoff at these complaints. I have no problem with “indiscipline”. Kowtowing to the political leadership under the propaganda of being a “team player” is the kind of fascist tendencies that supporters encourage in their preferred political parties.
Factionalism, squabbling and the rest of the theatre of politics is what democracy is about. While some politicians fight over craven things like seat allocations, this idea of being a “team player” often bleeds into other issues that disrupt the process of debate, which is what political parties need in order to evolve and remain relevant.
All this “fighting” may be bad optics but I would rather have this fighting out in the open rather than in the darkened corridors of power.  Opposition supporters should understand and acknowledge the tribalism and factionalism that is in their political parties so that they can, if they wish, make rational informed choices when they vote or just vote along party lines.
Harapan political operatives also remind me that the seat negotiation is also to curtail the despotic tendencies of the chosen one. This is to ensure that the democratic process in this country is not further eroded if they come into power.
Yeah, that’s it. Look, if the math dictates that Malay sensitiveness when it comes to the alliance with the DAP means that the party holding the most power should be Bersatu to dispel any notion of “Chinese” rule, then there is nothing really the opposition can do to ensure that there is check and balance beyond superficialities. Don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining.
On the same note, I have no idea what undecided voters could be undecided about. You either vote for stability (the establishment) narrative or change (the opposition narrative). Sure, there are undecided voters who think that sticking with the devil you know is better than going with the devil you used to know.
Indeed, it is too late to chase their (undecided) votes. But if Harapan's infighting for seats loses votes, then the internal sabotage in Umno/BN balances it out.
This is really about identity and personality politics. This is why at least with the Harapan faithful, the bad optics will not get in the way of their votes.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 12:28 PM  
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