Makan - the cardinal word of Malaysia

Opinion  |  Mariam Mokhtar
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Last week, two half-baked English judges decided that the chicken rendang cooked by Zaleha Kadir Olpin, in the MasterChef competition, did not pass muster, because it was not crispy.

Pandemonium broke out, when Malaysians, and expats, throughout the world, took to social media, to defend the cook and the humble rendang.

If only Malaysians would show the same anger and contempt for leaders who makan rasuah (accept bribes); we would not be in the deep mess that mires the country, now.

The rendang-gate scandal showed that deep down, neither class, race, religion nor nationality mattered. So, real unity was displayed because of a makanan rendang (rendang dish).

Ask anyone about Malaysia, and he will talk about the food. Never the sun-swept beaches, the pristine jungles or the multi-cultural people. It is always the food.

Makan (food) is the root word but the simpulan bahasa (idioms) associated with makan, are apt descriptions for current day Malaysia. Makan darah. Makan diri. Makan gaji. Makan jalan. Makan rasuah. Makan suap. Makan tidor.

Back to the MasterChef judges. If they wanted crispy chicken, there must be umpteen KFCs to satisfy their cravings. Perhaps, the nearest KFC had run out of chicken, but that is no reason to denigrate both the cook and the chicken rendang.

If the judges were to visit Malaysia, they could gorge on MFC - Mamak Fried Chicken, a more spicy and Malaysian version of KFC, at any of the mamak stalls.

The corruption destroying Malaysia is not an overnight phenomenon. The seeds were sown during the tenure of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but the 93-year-old has admitted his mistakes and is willing to right his wrongs. That is no mean feat. A man, as arrogant as he, is willing to eat humble pie and work with his former adversaries, to save and rebuild Malaysia.

During the height of his powers, Mahathir was the man with the plan to industrialise Malaysia, in a hurry. He may have left the details to his lieutenants, who then abused his policies. Who knows?

Fast forward to today. So much for Najib Abdul Razak and Umno-Baru, who keep harping on about the seeds of discord sown by Mahathir.

If Najib had any credibility, he would have overturned the NEP, the affirmative action policies, eliminated nepotism and cronyism, and all the problems which he blamed on Mahathir. The fact that Najib did not change anything, just shows his insincerity...

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