FEBRUARY 1 — Welcome to election season.
Today, on the show, some advice for Pakatan Harapan followers.
There are plenty of words being exchanged over why some “friends” have lost their love for the coalition — Pakatan in any avatar it chooses to be in currently.
I’m a Pakatan voter, and I understand how excited Pakatan fans can get and naturally, they want to do their bit for the cause.
Fans are not leaders or part of their party’s election machinery.
They are not directly involved but they want to do more, other than signing up as polling station agents and counters.
Because they are voting Pakatan, and they like to contribute.
This list looks at how they can contribute.
Pick up a phone
Call someone you know. Fair chance a significant number of relatives and friends don’t believe in Pakatan, for now.
That lab partner in your final year, for instance. Or the baker down the street.
Reach out to them.
This is different from sending random posts on WhatsApp, which is generally impersonal — especially in astronomically large groups.
They did not agree five years ago, they might today. It might just require a conversation, covering what holds back their vote.
It is true, uncles are likelier to listen to their nephew’s argument more than to Anwar Ibrahim.
Why not let them have that debate.
Maybe this is a throwback to the days of Ghafar Baba and bell-bottoms, but Umno has always relied on its Wanita wing to sway stay-at-home moms.
While it is tempting to overplay the value of social media, the super-highways in cyberspace always at the end rely on old-fashioned conversations.
Max out CNY
Every politician worth his salt milks the major holidays.
Dress up, serve food, smile and thank them for turning up, it does loads in affecting a person. They may not want to vote for the politician but they will struggle to hate him.
For politicians, that is a great start.
Fans can generate all kinds of great starts for the coalition by engaging the masses at all these get-togethers. In fact, they have better advantages over politicians, collectively of course, since they attend private gatherings over these holidays.
Put together, the total dwarfs all politicians’ open houses.
Pakatan fans should be out there campaigning this Chinese New Year.
Ask the leaders
For the candidate list to be released.
If supporters know their local contestant, they can promote him.
As much as Pakatan leaders are petrified of revealing their strategies too early, there is massive advantage in getting local fans who have no affiliation with the party’s local machinery but are well connected to the locality — meaning its voters — to stump for candidates.
This will force Barisan Nasional to leak their candidates too.
As the coalition of ideas and talent, Pakatan surely would agree that giving constituents more time to peruse their candidates works in their favour rather than against.
Locals do best in local promotion, and the threadbare Pakatan machinery can use the help.
Ask the leaders, again
Political parties detest releasing manifestos early, as much as children hate broccoli.
Supporters should ask for the coalition manifesto, now. Because if the problems of the country are as manifold and complex as Pakatan leaders claim over and over, they must suspect the prescribed solutions would require study.
So let them have it.
Because there are stages to this. Pakatan supporters first have to understand the manifesto conceptually, then they have to be able to question their leaders inasmuch to be clearer about the value proposition of the manifesto and rationalise their own misgivings regarding it and provide explanations, and then finally, approach voters on behalf of Pakatan.
A whole slew of discussions ensues thereafter in thousands of coffee shops, playgrounds, train stops and nightclubs.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
There is a special place I’d like to bring Mahathir Mohamad to.
My dislike aside, if Pakatan is serious about winning then an apology from the ex-prime minister would be invaluable.
There is a sizeable number of voters whose feelings are severely mixed, and their votes are on the line.
They can’t accept Mahathir presently, but they may be able to if he actually apologises unreservedly.
It won’t change my mind about him — Torquemada would struggle to alter my thoughts on this matter — but a lot of people would.
If Mahathir was serious about winning, then he has to say it without retracting it afterwards.
Pakatan fans should urge him to apologise.
Wear a T-shirt
It’s not rocket science. Wearing a T-shirt backing Pakatan on the train to KLCC would reinforce support for others.
Being visible says far more than a Facebook post these days.
Wear one as a fan. I hope it does not cramp your style on a weekend.
Off you go
That’s that. Hope that helps.
I’ve been pining for change for decades. But I learnt, even if I do not exhibit it enough at times, that being angry about the situation or the people indifferent about the situation does not improve the future.
In a coalition filled with individuals wrapped up in their own messiah complexes, it gets lost in translation that voters are more straightforward. They like to be appreciated, engaged in a manner respectful of their political knowledge and asked, not told.
Pakatan fans are those voters and they can rock the vote. Let’s mobilise.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.