The more self-satire in M’sia, the merrier

Opinion  |  Dean Johns
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | I’ve long been puzzled by the fact that, whenever Malaysiakini publishes straight-faced reports of Umno/BN-regime figures making fools of themselves, there are always a few readers who complain.

For example, a recent article entitled “Rosmah: We are attracted to macho men” drew several carping comments along the lines of “I did not pay for this trash”, “I din pay to read this kind of purile (sic) stuff”, and “People pay huge sum of money for your subscription for good reasons. More quality stuff please.”

While having no doubt that these complainants’ hearts are in the right place, I can’t help feeling that they’re wrong-headed in their failure to get the whole point of Malaysiakini’s apparent purpose, which is to give Umno/BN spokespersons the opportunity and space to satirise themselves, however unwittingly, in their very own words.

This is a project that not only saves lots of an already very busy editorial team’s time and energy, but also has the virtue of being unquestionably accurate, as the victims’ words are quoted verbatim, often by the regime’s very own official source of ‘news’, Bernama.

Or, to put this another way, there’s no more effective method of ridiculing people who have forgotten the old adage variously attributed to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln that “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt,” than by faithfully reporting their risible remarks.

Remarks like those recently made by self-styled First Lady of Malaysia Rosmah Mansor to some group of people peddling health and beauty products as reported in the article that some readers, as mentioned above, deemed too trivial for words.

But the very triviality - if not outright irrelevance - of the event was, of course, part of its purpose, which, as with so many Umno/BN-sponsored activities, was doubtless to divert public attention from more substantive issues.

Issues like the seemingly endless saga of the alleged massive 1MDB swindle, for example, not to mention lesser subsequent scandals surrounding the financial affairs of Felda Global Ventures (FGV), and, more recently, the adventures of Mara in the Melbourne real-estate market.

What more effective (if all-too-fleeting) diversion could there be from all such ugliness than an opportunity to make a few observations about beauty?

But exclusively female beauty, not male, according to Rosmah, who claimed in her speech to the group of pulchritude peddlers that she doesn’t understand why men want to be handsome, as she and presumably other women “prefer macho men, not those with soft skin.”

If she intended this remark about macho men to evoke the image of her husband Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in the minds of her audience or us readers, surely she couldn’t have been more mistaken...

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