FEB 12 — The stage is set as the makeshift spotlight shines brightly on a simple wooden rostrum and a microphone.
The hot weather, with hardly any wind blowing, forces those seated below to fan themselves with leaflets and scarves as they discussed daughter-in-laws, the latest television serials and every single thing the government does — good and bad.
The crowd slowly builds up as the star finally arrives, leaving his fashion sense at home. He waves to his supporters and flashes a big smile as his tummy gets in the way. Perhaps a pair of Spanx would’ve done the trick.
He makes his way onstage, and just like any rock star, takes the microphone.
There’s no point describing what transpired after, for the tune sung was far from a Billboard hit. In fact, replays of Barney’s I Love You are more tolerable than the words that spewed from his mouth.
To put it bluntly, it smacked of sheer shallowness and stupidity; he tried hard to captivate an already sweaty and unimpressed audience by hammering his opponents in a silly fashion. One might even think it was an audition for Maharaja Lawak or an American Idol blooper that would have you smacking your palm on your forehead.
What happened to articulate leaders who are able to speak their minds in an eloquent fashion? Why can’t they gather their thoughts before shooting off their mouths? Do they actually think that hounding their opponents will earn them points?
Sadly, politicians now have way too many advisers who are good at “advising” everyone else but their bosses.
Many of these politicians are also still stuck in the 1980s. Here’s a dose of reality — Transformers was a cartoon series then but has now evolved into a much-anticipated movie franchise. Games like Snap and galah panjang have been replaced by Candy Crush and Angry Birds Go! on tablets.
The 80s was the era where American rock band Toto topped the Billboard charts (in 1983) with their song Africa. If you ask teens today about Toto, chances are they would say it is a lottery company!
There is a need to progress with time. Gone are the days of playing Snake on your Nokia and writing to pen pals. We now speak about Android smartphones and Whatsapp.
Just like our progressive environment, our politicians ought to keep up with the times. They are now forced to address a generation who do not want to be taken for granted, and are not easily amused by silly antics.
There is a need for leaders, especially ministers, to raise pertinent issues concerning the masses, especially in times of economic uncertainty and high living costs.
The Malay Mail conducted a street poll on Monday to ask a simple question — are our politicians matured in articulating facts? The answers we got were obvious.
However, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, for one, was right to say Malaysians expect a greater degree of statesmanship from its leaders.
Responding to our poll, Subramaniam said: “Rather than being engulfed in petty childish skirmishes, we would be better off focusing our energy handling national issues for the greater need of the nation.”
I now look forward to meeting a statesman that respects his opponents while providing solutions to everyday problems — from the constant water disruptions to the perpetual potholes in our roads.
Run around the stage and talk about bread and butter issues instead of ambitious plans laced with personal agendas. Listen to the people, because you represent their voice.
More importantly, speak wisely, for only then will you mesmerise your followers like a rock star.
*This is a personal opinion of the columnist.