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Nathaniel Tan says the so-called debate between malaysiakini reader Umar Mukhtar and I is too personalised for attacking each other, and rather emotive. I have to say it's quite remarkable and fanciful for Tan to think that politics and emotions can be mutually exclusive. Perhaps he should tell this to Julius Caesar, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, or indeed Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose ongoing war of words via the local media is so vituperative that it makes the discussion between Mukhtar and I seem innocuous by comparison.

Tan then asks me for whom I would vote 'if' I were a Malaysian. I find this bemusing, to say the least, because I am not a Malaysian (I shall never become one in a million years even if Prime Minister Abdullah pays me). When one is not a Malaysian citizen, one therefore cannot vote in any Malaysian election. So it's hardly a question that bears any kind of relevance for me.

Nevertheless, elsewhere, Tan offers some interesting points worthy of response and discussion. His chief argument is that, if Malaysians want change, they ought to become direct participants in a political party so that, if change from above does not materialise (for the better), then change from below, from within opposition political parties, could prove more effective. In some ways I agree with the proposition. However, as I have been suggesting over the past week or so, I don't think it'll work ever.

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