Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Day Before Polling Day

 By Howl Pillai

The campaign period has ended. At last the political guns have fallen silent except for the few that deem themselves above the election laws of this land. It is now the day before the polls.
Here I am at home. A modest terrace house in the suburbs of this wealthy capital city. It had taken me all of twenty five years to settle the mortgage on it. That is a lot of sweat and tears. And much effort and even more of toil.
Five years ago I concocted a name for this city which I still think is entirely justifiable: “Aku-curi Lu-apa-hal”. It had a nice ring to it and besides it reflected the political ethos of the land. “Kuala Lumpur”, or Muddy River Mouth does not compare well to “I Steal, What’s Your Problem”.
I have decided not to switch on the TV today, on the eve of the polls, or tomorrow. Likewise I will skip the newspapers which some of you may recall, predicted a landslide the last time around in 2008. They missed out on the  political Tsunami that followed. And besides, we may commit political suicide because of a deliberate misprint on their part.
Instead I have before me a few sheets of plain white A4 paper and a pencil.  And I am sober, unemotional. I can see clearly. I can hear even better. I can remember all the yesterdays as if they were todays. And I am now in a reflective mood. Meditative even. Polling day can wait for now.
And now, by the clear light of the new day I begin the task of putting together a list. A list of the hundred most vile and obnoxious politicians of the land. The time passes quickly and I am almost done!  It is a surprisingly easy thing to do!  I have before me now the names of the infamous Centurions of this land!
I study it carefully. There is a method to my madness. I must now break this list up into five sub-lists for even the vile and obnoxious can be categorised and classified. My! My! Now comes the difficult task!  But I am up to it. The key is to be magnanimous, to be fair in my judgement. I must not be influenced by fear or favour. Like some judges.
On the first sub-list are the names of the twenty politicians who should be sent to Jail  after the elections for stealing the wealth of the nation. They will surely rave and rant that the trial was not impartial. And then we the Rakyat will respond with one voice:  You were the ones who wielded the knives that emasculated the judiciary!
On the second sub-list are the twenty politicians who should be sent to the Zoo after the elections.  And they will plead that they were merely mouthing the party ideology.  And then we the Rakyat will respond with one voice:  You were the political animals whose emotions and reason were dominated by the most base and wild instincts!
On the third sub-list are the twenty who should be sent to work in the Circus after the elections. And they will wail and cry out loud that they were merely court jesters. And then we the Rakyat will respond with one voice:  You were the political clowns who put the nation to shame with your childish antics!
On the fourth sub-list are the twenty who should be sent to the city’s Brothels after the elections. And in high indignation they will say they were only politicking. And then we the Rakyat will respond with one voice: You were the political prostitutes who besmirched the good name of this land!
And of the last remaining twenty names on the master list, I see again the name that keeps appearing on every other sub-list. That was no surprise to me for his character is as stubborn as his name. Now I must devise the punishment to fit the crime of this last lot, still unrepentant, still obnoxious, still vile.
I can think of no better punishment than to paint this last lot white and send them on a one way ticket to Zimbabwe to be dealt with by Robert Mugabe. And the Chef-de-Mission of this delegation is the politician whose name stubbornly appears on every sub-list. On overdrive now, he will scream his lungs out that he was not a rabid racist but a raving nationalist.
And we the Rakyat will respond with one voice: It is you who made racism, nationalism, stealing, clowning, political demagoguery and prostitution interchangeable in this land, damn you!
I will be extra careful who I vote for this time around! Won’t you?

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