Articles, Opinions & Views: A cabinet of misfits by R Nadeswaran

Views & Articles
No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“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

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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A cabinet of misfits by R Nadeswaran
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | In the Indian Parliamentary elections in 2014, one-third or 185 of the 542 winning candidates had criminal cases against them. They (never attempted to hide them) declared that they had been charged for among others murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, and communal disharmony. They occupy both sides of the divide in the House.
The same cannot be said about our members of Parliament. All had been declared “clean” by the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). The definition of “clean” in this context is that he or she has not been charged or convicted for any criminal offence.
There are some MPs and even cabinet ministers who under a cloud – investigations into their lapses are ongoing. And if the MACC is allowed to proceed with the prosecution, those involved will fall by the wayside. I know this for a fact because I have personal knowledge and had helped the authorities in their investigations.
It is said that to get into politics, there is no entry point or qualification. To rise in the political arena, one must be loyal to the party elders and undertake overt and covert operations on the instructions of the boss. From “getting the boys” to being a “bag carrier” and from getting posters printed to getting them stuck on lamp posts, he or she must have done it all. In short, he or she must be a lackey or for want of a better word, crony.
The rewards – not necessarily monetary – are immeasurable. To even be the cheerleader for the incumbent is a privilege accorded to a few as events over the years have shown. In Singapore, those in the corporate sector are identified by the ruling party, interviewed and persuaded to become candidates. Hence, the quality can be seen in their performance both in and out of Parliament.
The same cannot be said about our parliamentarians who come with varied backgrounds and some are plucked from oblivion to join the hustings. Academic qualifications, common sense and intimate knowledge of issues are seldom the criteria.
Hence, the quality or lack of it can be seen in the Dewan Rakyat and sometimes in the Dewan Negara. Some are there for the sake of creating the din and noise and to a certain extent to raise their hands in approval or oppose proposals as and when the situation demands.
A quick inspection of the Hansard will reveal among others, their sparse attendance and their failure to take part in debates. The only time they spoke was when reading the number of the question they had submitted: "Tuan Speaker Soalan Nombor Tiga.” It has been just over a month since the Perikatan Nasional came into power and the competency – more the lack of it – is in the public domain for all to see and read. We have seen ministers falling all over trying to compete for the dubious title of the best-of-the-worst title. The health minister has advocated (over national television) that drinking air suam (warm water) kills the coronavirus.
The housing minister was seen in a “Telly Tubby” suit with dozens of firemen cleaning the streets. Video footage, however, showed two firemen at the task with the minister and the others watching this whole spectacle. The deputy women’s affairs minister has dished out advice to women as if she was the official spokesperson for the Obedient Wives Club! And the riposte from aggrieved women’s organisations and individuals is still reverberating as this article is being written.
Yet, another minister was keen on cleaning our sewerage system to get rid of the coronavirus! But the minister of higher education takes the cake. She had launched a Tik-Tok competition only to abandon it and run with her tail between her legs when it imploded.
Meritocracy and competency had never featured in cabinet appointments or even appointments in the civil service. Ministers in the previous government were also stumbling and fumbling in the initial stages but their shortcomings were a far shadow from the antics of some of the present lot.
Where do we go from here? You can’t change the mind-sets of some people who are fixated on issues based on religion, race and creed – not fact. A few are obsessed in making hay while the sun shines through grandiose ideas and plans which bring little or no benefit to the rakyat.
Surely, their schooling, upbringing and experience would not have allowed these incidents to take place unless of course, they have none of the above. Could the cabinet secretary publish the curriculum vitae (CV) of all ministers and their deputies? Perhaps, then there will be some sympathy because people would say: “What to expect? He didn’t even finish secondary school” or “She was just selling cempedak goreng by the roadside when she was pulled out from obscurity to the forefront.”
Can a crash course or an induction into systems, governance and communication help? Not likely. One commentator on social media gave a broad hint: “Right brain is not working and the left brain is empty.”
Perhaps a bit too punitive but if the bumbling, blundering and nonsensical acts and omission continue, be prepared for even harsher judgments from the people.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:01 PM  
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