Posted on September 6, 2008


Some people seem to have a serious problem of saying sorry. But I have no qualms in saying sorry for indulging in my habit as a former English Language teacher to define two words which is essential vocabulary for followers of Malaysian politics.  Admittedly, to some this is bothersome. But here goes: “Coincidental” means “happening by or resulting from coincidence; by chance such as a coincidental meeting.” On the other hand, “purposely” means “intentionally; deliberately as in He tripped me purposely; with the particular purpose specified; expressly as in I wore that suit purposely to make a good impression.”

Put these two words together and we have PURPOSELY COINCIDENTAL which is another example of an “oxymoron” which means “an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect.” That is, the coincidence is purposely planned!

Many such examples of purposely coincidental events are found in Malaysian politics of late. One such case is when the accuser of the opposition candidate swore by the Quran that his allegation is nothing but the truth one day before Nomination Day of the recent by-election. But of course, said he, it was planned without thought of the by-election. The timing was purely coincidental.  

So was the sudden drop of fifteen sen in petrol price during the by-election campaign despite no less a national leader than the PM saying that such a drop should not be expected.

So was the DNA Bill swiftly passed in the recent parliament session when many MPs were campaigning at the site of the by-election.   

And now, the Back Benchers MP trip which coincides (that is, is coincidental) with the fasting month and the commemoration of the 45th year of the birth of Malaysia.

So if you are an MP from Sabah and Sarawak, this most important study trip will take precedence over your presence in marking September 16 in your respective state capitals and/or constituencies.

So if you are a Muslim MP, the fasting month is the best time for overseas travel and will not pose special problems for religious duties to be performed. Besides the constituents with whom you have been scheduled to break fast with will understand the sudden cancellation and loyally wait for you next year.

Please be sure to hand your international passports for the purpose of making your travel bookings.  (Strangely, for all the countless travels I have made to all five continents never once was I required to submit my international passport  as a requirement for making my travel bookings. But then of course I am after all just a small-fry and have no knowledge what the big people like our YBs have to do to get their travel bookings done.)

These are minor coincidences, I beg your pardon, I mean inconveniences which the average MP should be well able to cope with. Duty calls and to the study tour you must go. “It is an agricultural study trip. We are looking at how technology is being used to increase farm output. When we return, we can use knowledge we gained for our budget debates,” said the chief organiser.

However, for a purposeful trip such as “agriculture study”, it seems rather strange that as of September 4th the destination has yet to be ascertained when the travel itself will take place no later than mid-September. Up to four different destinations have been variously mentioned: New Zealand, Australia, China and Taiwan. Well I guess the gracious hosts in any number of countries will no doubt be able to make the necessary arrangements in a jiffy and ensure a truly educational tour.

Well then, here’s wishing our YBs a happy and fruitful journey! Now and again leaving the country and seeing other people’s country can be refreshing and eventful. Here’s to purposely coincidental happenings! It is the way to go. For the organisers, that’s better than leaving things to chance, I beg your pardon, I mean change.


Posted in: Perspective