Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Road to Egypt

Will Egypt happen here?
An ex-PM and the PM have answered with an emphatic No!  And  I cannot agree more.

Of course it will not happen here. Our power elites have not quite ruined the country like the Egyptian ruling classes have. 

Why have their power elites scored higher than ours on “national ruination”? There are a dozen reasons for it.
First, the Egyptians have had more time, on a historical timeline they are really oldies as old as the pyramids. 

We are just young chicos if not chicolingams (these latter ones are very  small Lingams  that make judges look like even smaller pricks) when it comes to history. Mere new kids on a new block. 

All the same we will get there there one day. Any evidence for it?

Look at some of our ancient politicians....they have been around for some time now and saying and doing the same old things. At least one of them sounds like the mummy of a once powerful Pharaoh come to life again! And also, we are still merrily re-writing and revising even our recent history. At last count Yap Ah Loy, Hang Tuah and Parameswara have been reduced to historical footnotes. Really, can you make Tutankhamen a mere footnote of history and get away with it?
Second,  a very long time ago they  mastered the art of picking the pockets of the poor masses and kept at it without let up. How else can you explain the Great Pyramid of Cheops, or the Temples of Abu Simbel,  Hatshepshut  and Luxor  while we are stuck with only the Twin Towers? 

Well we are learning. Notice that  thousands of students  were flown back from Egypt at the height of the crisis. What were they studying there? Mummification ? Agriculture ? Sand Castle Engineering? Pyramid Scheming? Your guess is as good as mine!
Third, they have traditions and cultural practices much older than ours like ‘baksheesh’. Literally it means a present or gift  and just like us, if not more , they are proud of their “kebudayaan”. 

Someone defined baksheesh as : “remuneration and lavish bribes, rudely demanded but ever so graciously accepted in return for little or no services rendered .” And as far as I know there isn’t  an Egyptian Anti-Baksheesh Commission, but then again perhaps all matters baksheesh come under the purview of  the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and Performing Arts which is something we should also consider. As I said, I think they are way ahead of us on the learning curve.
Fourth, they have simply gone ahead and stolen more, without restraint, without fear. 

Now you know why some countries are addicted to ‘Emergency Rule’. Egypt was for a long time to single party politics. 

If we want to become as corrupt as Egypt we must first destroy the Opposition and  declare a state of emergency,  here, it now looks like  a work-in-progress.  One day we may get there. Then the real stealing can begin. 

You will be surprised how many in Egypt joined in on the gang bang of the nation’s coffers! That is why I am not keen on the slogan “1MALAYSIA”. It may become just the right excuse for all of us to unite to the last man, woman and child to  plunder and pillage this land of ours.”Satu Malaysia, Satu Kali Hentam”?

Fifth, their corruption operates at a ruthless level, that even James Bond will be traumatised.

There is no quantum of solace when it comes to diddling the State of its dues.  Where do you think Ruby the Heart Stealer got her initial training ? Their corruption is of the ‘starve the masses kind’. No quarters given.  Only your pants will be spared  minus the pockets. And  cronyism and nepotism there are on steroids, all bulked up. 

However  over here the face of corruption is gentler. The “sama-sama” type. We are all in it together! Haven’t you noticed that every year corruption is becoming more inclusive even as we become more racist?
Sixth, their Rate Of Rip-off (ROR) exceeded the rate at which wealth was being created. The trouble with the World Bank and the IMF is that they do not hold any ‘kursus’ on newly coined topics like ROR for corrupt leaders. Any  smarty-pants  corrupt leader worth his subsidised salt should know that ROR must keep pace but never exceed wealth creation. By this reckoning Hosni Mubarak  is daft. We have smart leaders don’t you think!
Seventh, Egypt’s industrial sector is largely state owned. In all likelihood they have many more GLCs than us. Imagine the bailouts. Think of many Sand Darbys running around in Egypt. And if they hide behind a pyramid of losses who will know? Remember there are many pyramids there. And don’t forget pyramids have four sides. So Egypt simply needs Jews, Chinese and other entrepreneurs and risk takers like the desert thirsts for water. 

We made our choices a few hundred years ago. For the Egyptians this is a tough call. The last time they got Moses and his gang over, they left in haste after throwing some pox around and fled to no-man’s land after parting the waters of the Red Sea. If the waters are parted again,  Sharm el- Sheikh will lose its charm and chic and tourists will never return to “-el-”, if you know what I mean!
Eighth, notice that they are masters at religious hypocrisy. How else can you explain them getting away with stealing from their co-religionists? They have the Islamic Brotherhood and we have PAS. The former is banned and many of its membership jailed  whilst PAS sits proudly in our Parliament.  Why do you think we put them there in the tsunami of 2008? Thank God for that! 
Ninth, they don’t have oil to get their hands all greasy.  Not only do we have oil but it is “off budget” as well. As I said we are very clever. Now no one knows how much money we make from oil barring a select few. And these poor Egyptians, they even chose the wrong palms.....they get the date and we get the oil palm. With these two oils around our power elites don’t have to pick the Rakyat’s pockets all the time for now. They just pick Petronas’ pockets!
Tenth, they have a bloated civil service that does nothing. We have a bloated civil service that does something. And that makes all the difference! 

As a reward, ours is over-paid and as punishment  theirs is underpaid. Their civil servants are  out on the streets demonstrating whilst ours is out on ‘kursus’, meetings, seminars, ‘attending to officials’ or having the fourth coffee break of the working day.

Eleventh, they have only the Suez Canal as testament to their involvement in global trade. But we have Singapore linked to us via a causeway that narrowly escaped becoming a crooked bridge. Notice Singapore’s GDP just overtook ours this year. Do Egyptians have neighbours like ours ? Israel, Libya, Sudan..... Clearly we live in a better neighbourhood. And the important lesson to learn from all this is that with regard to neighbours, never let your leaders get away with  building crooked bridges of friendship. It will come back to haunt us all.
Twelfth, their education system produces graduates like the desert needs sand. Many are from non-technical disciplines like religious studies. And by law every Egyptian graduate must be given employment. We ? We don’t need the law to force our hand. Like the Nike advert, our politicians  just do it ! Now we have an  800,000 strong civil service!
There! I told you there are a dozen reasons for it ! The real question to ask is not whether Egypt will happen here but to ask, “Why the fear if they are not coming here ?
I think the fear is, we are going there!

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