What a let down!

Just when I thought the UMNO leadership is dead serious in transforming not only the party constitution but the culture and thinking of its members through in-reach and out-reach reforms, there came a series of badly executed jokes from the party leaders including, surprisingly, an otherwise earnest party President!

The brilliant oratorical feat of the UMNO President would have gone down in history as the best had the opening address been complimented/ complemeted by an equally impressive closing! Which the substance of it was… until it was thought necessary to play up to the galleys by inserting a few bawdy jokes! 

Then true to UMNO culture, the crowd was roused to near-delirium with the heart-crackling and tear-trickling euphora of party solidarity. The UMNO members from all levels of the party hierarchy were united in spirit and recharged to translate the calls made by the top leadership into grassroots reality. The branch and division chiefs of the three wings will go home  empowered with new energies to execute the President’s and Deputy President’s bidding in their domain of political power and influence.

No doubt I will be accused of being a disgruntled, grouchy, frustrated, ill-informed kill-joy of an armchair critic – turned – citizen journalist with nothing better to do than to snoop into the habits of the UMNO Malays/ malaise. All of which I probably am at different points of my perjuangan demi bangsa, agama dan negara! And of course bahasa!

But I can’t for the life of me understand why it is necessary to turn bawdy and raunchy when you are trying so hard to be serious and knock sense into your congregation! To my own disadvantage I suppose, I can’t accept the fact that in order to be popular one has to give in to the popular culture that has penetrated the otherwise sedate – beradat dan beradab – Malays!

I can only think of one explanation which of course can be refuted at will! The Malays are basically orang kampung, simple out-of-town folk who are at their best when they are chatting informally in the kedai kopi. Here, the true Malay genius and wit surfaces as well as their folksy political insights.

The formal ambience of the PWTC dewan set up for a party general assembly can be intimidating or exhilarating depending on your own particular perspective. However, the etiquette of the event would normally require a certain level of formality in attire, demeanour, language use and behaviour! This the Malays must understand and accept whatever their level of achievement! Their leaders especially must maintain a certain level of decorum which the crowd will observe and emulate!

True – you would want lighter moments in an act of communication! A measure of informality always wins hearts and minds! A few bawdy jokes gives the occasion a magical air of exuberance. Which it did!

But it left sour grapes like me wondering! Was it really necessary to veer away from the seriousness of the event and its pleas and take away some of their bite? Why leave that bad taste in the mouth?


I would have liked to preserve in my mind a picture of the UMNO President and all the President’s men earnest and serious instead of schoolboyish and impish!

5 Responses to “”

  1. 1 dannalli
    October 17, 2009 at 11:30 am

    To be honest, after Dr M’s tenure, I couldn’t care less and all the assemblies past me unnoticed. Gone were the days where I would sit engrossed infront of the TV to listen to the President’s speech.

    I hope the current President has improved in his style when delivering his speech. Most of the times he tend to go overboard and a lot of gestures. It is not good as he is also nation’s Prime Minister.

  2. 2 NanaDJ
    October 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Change? What change? From what I see its more of the same. I thought the earlier speeches made by the Youth Head, the DPM and the PM sound promising and maybe a flicker of good things to come from UMNO but with those unnecessary jokes and rhetorics it is still the UMNO that has broken my heart and spirit.Sigh…

  3. 3 ninitalk
    October 18, 2009 at 9:54 am

    danalli – Najib’s oratorical style is impeccable and well-rehearsed! Yes he uses gestures to deliver a more emphatic note! It has the effect of rousing the audience from inertia or slumber. Tun Mahathir’s oral style is more staid, sometimes verging on staccato! But his
    repartees are crisp verging on cynical.

    The leaders who spoke definitely went overboard with their ill-chosen jokes! Malay humour at its best!

    NanaDJ – like you I’m heartbroken and disillusioned! I think it reflects the sad state of street politics in all the parties, more obvious in UMNO as they are the leaders! Gone are the days when idealistic cikgus and dedicated professionals helmed the grassroots movement. Then the discourse was more authentic and sincere, the rhetoric less contrived! SIGH!

  4. 4 ol' zai
    October 18, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Let’s agree to be kind, nevertheless, and give the UMNO President/PM and his chosen team a chance all the same, and see whether they will walk the talk.. Let’s wait and see whether or not they will be seriously committed to work towards effecting the requisite changes/transformation pledged, and fulfill their earnest promises.
    The whole nation is anxiously watching for the next brave act on the political stage, and clearly, Time is of the essence! Should our UMNO leaders fail to strive consciously to change their ethos and ethics within the short term given, there’s little doubt left that they’ll have to face impending doom and be changed! It’ll be far too late then for more gaffes and guffaws, except perhaps to prepare to sing their swan song before the final curtain, before taking a bow and fading off in the wings..!
    The very thought alone of the devastating scenario taking place is both ominous and frightening, to say the least, but that’s the stark reality which will imminently confront us all should our UMNO leaders fail to stand up and deliver!
    Let’s all hope and pray that with the new political resolve, we shall see a ‘turnaround’, a government led by trusted, committed and respected MPs who are imbued with the strength, courage and integrity to collectively work for the benefit of the people and the country..!

    Long live UMNO, its leaders and its revived spirit!
    Long live 1Malaysia and Malaysians..!

  5. 5 ninitalk
    October 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I beg to differ ol’ zai because sometimes as the saying goes, you have to be cruel to be kind especially when time is of the essence, as you say!

    Can a people or a large group of people change their ethos and ethics in a day, a month, a year or two? I very much doubt it! Can we expect the turnaround you have described? I don’t think so!

    The effort to educate and expose UMNO members into adopting the time-tested values of integrity and honesty is only beginning and must be ongoing. But at the onset there must be a realisation and an admission of guilt and wrongdoing. The PM and DPM seem to be the only leaders who are saying it and even then with a qualification and a caveat as in Isa Samad’s case.

    STRENGTH, COURAGE and COMMITMENT are out there I’m sure but I’m not so sure about HONESTY and INTEGRITY!

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October 2009


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