The personal attacks and emotions aside, this debate highlights once again a popular notion that Malaysians are caught between an evil BN and a 'hopeless' Opposition.
My question to Bhatia would be - if he was Malaysian, who would he vote for?
If the BN is 'evil', and cannot be changed but from the top, that makes them an unwise choice.
Why not vote for the Opposition? Because they apparently have no 'ideologies' or 'policy alternatives'? Because there is no hope that they'll change the government or even change themselves?
Some things are easier to change than others. I have long considered the BN leviathan to be too corrupt and too racist to change. These qualities are all but formally institutionalised.
Some parties are considered too mono-ethnic to ever represent Malaysia. This, too, is difficult to change, but perhaps not entirely impossible (unless you are Umno, MCA or MIC). Different parties are also at different stages, in this regard.
But if one refuses to support the Opposition because of an alleged lack of a detailed vision (leaving aside for now the question of when a commitment to integrity and ethnic equality ceased to become legitimate policy alternatives) or not having enough strength to change the government, then I feel the reasoning is slightly flawed.
If people feel the Opposition can't see the trees for the woods, why not join up and start loudly sketching out some of those 'trees' for the Opposition? I imagine that kind of work and input would be welcome.
I get the feeling that many people who have truly given up on the Opposition have not spent too much time working with the Opposition before. Mental pictures of ineptitude, dictatorialness or naivety appear to be informed either by the mainstream media or other propaganda.
The opposition is wide open with opportunities to play a part in determining its nature. If you want change, get involved and have your say. I refuse to believe someone who says it's impossible without having tried.
Believing that the Opposition is a lost cause because they don't have enough resources or people to affect change while washing one's hand of that same Opposition is even more illogical and counterproductive. Here, Gandhi's 'be the change you wish to see in the world' comes to mind.
BN is only invincible if we keep telling ourselves they are. Have a little faith, dare to dream a little. That's where great progress always begins.
Criticise the opposition as much as you like, but if at all possible, do it with sincere, constructive intent. I'm open to suggestions, but I still unable to see a truly productive third way.