Thursday February 28, 2013
My shopping list
Musings by MARINA MAHATHIR
Though nobody has officially announced the date of the general election, an official announcement now seems redundant as some have already been campaigning for about two years.
ONE morning, my breakfast was marred by someone with a loudhailer announcing a political ceramah in my neighbourhood.
Then I found an infestation of political party flags and banners by the roadside near my house.
For a moment I thought I must have missed the news: Had the Parliament been dissolved already?
In a few days, the flags and banners disappeared. Apparently, they were put up by one party to coincide with the ceramah by another party. How this is meant to influence votes is unclear to me.
Despite so-called rules, it is clear to anyone that there are lots of people revving up to have an election.
In fact, some of them have been campaigning already for about two years.
Yet nobody has officially announced the general election. Indeed, an official announcement now seems redundant.
So let’s just say the general election is on but only the actual polling day is unknown, a fact that is the source of quite a bit of irritation since nobody can make plans for anything.
Everyone is adopting a wait-and-see attitude because they don’t know what will happen.
Recently, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced their next general election date a full nine months ahead of time.
Her reason was that it “enables individuals, investors and consumers to plan their year. It gives shape and order to their year.”
No doubt our year has been bent out of shape because of the constant speculation. Maybe it does make sense to have a designated date for the elections like the Americans.
Then nobody can pretend that they are not campaigning when in fact they are.
Having put up with all manner of ridiculous political one-upmanship for the past year or so, now we have to tolerate even more.
There may be many who made up their minds a long time ago but for some of us, it ain’t much of a choice.
Perhaps that’s why I’m one of the few people who have not received any SMS greetings, invitations to gatherings or boxes of oranges by my local friendly potential candidates.
They all know doing any of these things is likely to raise their irritability factor with me.
If any potential government is at all interested in what this one person thinks, I will outline a few things I would tick against their box if I were comparing my choices.
You can call it my comparative shopping list.
Firstly, I am looking for leadership, a statesman or woman who is ready to make a stand about what’s right and what’s wrong, someone who’s not scared of every shadow in case shadows vote.
I’d like someone who knows how to draw the line between good behaviour and bad, and doesn’t throw up his or her hands to disclaim responsibility when other parties behave badly, obviously on his or her behalf.
I cannot possibly teach my children good manners and ethics if there are public bad examples like these.
Secondly, I am looking for bridgebuilders and peacemakers, the sort of people who know how to turn down the temperature, not raise it up for political expediency.
I’d like to see someone who reaches out and builds bridges with sincerity, and doesn’t feel the need to bring along lots of media when he or she does it.
Thirdly, I really want a politician to say out loud that he or she believes that men and women are equal. Really, is it that difficult?
Fourthly, I’d like to hear someone say that we are part of the community of nations of the world and we will stop thinking we are different and better in everything.
There are global standards that we should adhere to, and some so-called “poorer” countries are doing better than us in some areas. Otherwise, no need for participation at international forums or even study tours. What would be the point?
Fifthly, when people say they want us to be progressive, they really mean it in every way. Not just in terms of technology and hardware but also in attitudes towards education, towards women and young people, towards those in need.
And sixthly, I’d like “moderate” to mean in terms of spending, in terms of politicking, in terms of word and deed. And that moderation is not just for foreign consumption but also for us at home.
Surely that’s a shopping list that isn’t too difficult to fulfil?