Thursday, August 15, 2013

Here’s what’s really absurd

Here’s what’s really absurd

August 14, 2013
Latest Update: August 14, 2013 08:08 pm
This is absurd...
* Sarawak police chief Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah should widen his circle of friends beyond the men in blue. Then perhaps he will get a sense of the pulse of the public and what is being discussed around dinner tables, at water coolers in the office and even in corporate boardrooms.

He admonished state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen as "absurd" for allegedly saying that the Barisan Nasional government is deliberately allowing crimes in the country to rise to justify reintroducing preventive laws.

"This kind of statement should not come from a man of Chong's stature and standing," he told the Borneo Post.

Memo to Acryl: do not give Chong too much credit. He is not the originator of the idea that the government is taking the "lepas tangan" approach to build up public support for the re-introduction of something akin to the Emergency Ordinance.

Every third Malaysian has a view on the wild, wild West atmosphere in Malaysia, where shootings and carjackings appear to be the norm.

Some believe the official version that the dismantling of the EO resulted in thousands of gangsters going back to their old jobs and haunts to wreak havoc.

Others think that even before the former residents of Simpang Renggam were let loose, crime has been climbing steadily and that police's contribution to any discussion on crime is a litany of excuses and stock answers.

Older Malaysians can't remember the last time the PDRM looked so A) helpless B) clueless in reclaiming the streets from criminals.

Against this backdrop, a theory has sprouted that the authorities are willing to go to any length to bring back detention without trial laws.

Even frighten the daylights out of Malaysians by saying that there are 260,000 gangsters and their soldiers. Absurd figure? Ask Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He said so in an interview with a Malay-language newspaper.

You see, Acryl, what is really sad is not that people are saying that the cops are allowing the crime spree to happen to facilitate the return of the EO. The real sad fact is that a sizeable number of Malaysians actually believe it. What an indictment of the country and its institutions.

Absurd but true.
* Ananda Krishnan's Astro must really believe it is powerful and answers to no one. It is truly absurd that the pay-television operator put up a disclaimer on a documentary on the life of Pope Francis and chose to decline comment when the controversy erupted.

A company in the field of communicating to millions saying no comment is a cop-out. This is what happened. A viewer was upset that Astro put up the disclaimer "THIS PROGRAM PORTRAYS DEPICTION OF RELIGIOUS FIGURES AND REPRESENTS VIEWS OTHER THAN MUSLIMS. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED" four times throughout the airing of the documentary.

How about just saying what prompted the disclaimer? Was it just the decision of an individual at Astro? Or was there pressure from the government of a country where common sense appears to be a fast disappearing commodity?

This idea of a disclaimer on a documentary about the head of the Catholic Church or for that matter any religious leader is plain absurd.

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari backed Astro's decision, saying the company did not want anyone to be offended by the documentary.

"In a multiracial country with many religions, we have to respect each other's religion," he said.
Really? So are there disclaimers for documentaries on all religious leaders or only a select few?

Perhaps the pay-television operator believes  there is little downside to insulting the minorities. Well, it is its right to entertain such a thought. Just as it is the right of Christians or other groups to cancel their subscription to Astro.

Absurd suggestion? Perhaps. -- August 14, 2013.

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