THE SINGER NOT THE SONG

Posted on March 20, 2012

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Of late the nation is hit by a flurry of sight, sound and smell. To a certain extent, this phenomenon is familiar to many of us who follow updates and reports about what the country’s politicians are doing and saying. But in quite another way, in these days of sound and fury, while the sound seems vaguely familiar to us, the surprise is in who are the ones singing them!

For samples: “I Gave Media More Freedom”; “Be Our Eyes and Ears”; “Don’t repeat 2008 mistake”; “Good Ties Between Public and Govt Servants Vital for Growth”; “We Hope to Better Engage the Public in this Year to Better Deliver on the Rakyat Wants and Needs in the Future”; “Guidelines for Safety of Media Personnel Launched”…

We could be excused for thinking that such sounds would be coming from the nation’s loyal opposition. But not this time. It would seem that these standard opposition songs have such catchy tunes and lyrics that the other side of the parliamentary divide, that is, the ruling party, has soon caught themselves humming the tunes that has been so catchy to many Malaysians’ ears and hearts.

Principally because many in the nation genuinely yearn for genuine change, that is, for the better.

Well, better late than never! Yes indeed. But the new (or rather, old) singers of these reform songs have come rather late. It is one thing to hear about this overdue change that a bleeding country desperately needs from the loyal opposition who have yet to take Centre Stage. It is another thing altogether to hear songs about change from singers who have been on Centre Stage not 10, not 20, but for 55 long years.

So if these new-old singers want to sound the urgency, the necessity, the desirability of change across the board now then we voters must not be faulted should we ask these “Johnny come lately”singers, “Why after 55 years you are still singing for big changes? When you could have done so with 10 or 20 years during your 55-year reign? When all opportunity had been solely yours and yours alone even at state level? Why are we seeing these flurry and protestations and vocabularies of CHANGE only when elections comes along and very especially the coming elections? Whose handy work are you seeking to change for the better? What needs changing? Why are these changes necessary after your 55-year reign?

Yes, it is good for the soul and people and country that long overdue changes are now suddenly becoming the priorities of the coming general elections campaign. Yes, it is good and even timely that leaders can see their mistakes and admit that after 55 years, some big things must changed. Syabas (congrations)! Everybody should be given a chance- elections candidates and voters alike- to say sorry and make good.

Only problem with this sort of argument is that the lyrics of CHANGE that have since be put into force for all to see, such as, “1”This and “1”That , Peaceful Assembly Act, MaCC, and the like have tended to sound like CHANGE but come rather short of what the songs have promised. While we hear you sing, “Guidelines for Safety of Media Personnel”, at the same time you are also singing,” PSC will not decide fate of Lynas” even before PSC starts its work!

Yes, some change has indeed come about over the last two or three elections cycle. Yes, the original singers of these songs of reform are no longer the only ones doing the singing of such songs. Yes, the CDs of the new-old singers of these songs do have a certain following and a regular market. Yes, the new-old singers are also supported by their own media and marketing arms and indeed, the marketing campaigns have been rather loud and expensive in terms of numerous special events. And a lot of free promotional gifts have been handed out of late, by the millions.

As an Abba fan, however, I don’t like to hear Abba songs sung by Adbacadabra, or Bjorn Again. They say imitation is the highest compliment but as long as the original singers are around, why go for the imitation? When I do hear the tribute groups sing the songs I am even more convinced that Abba does it so much better! Those who wrote both lyrics and melodies of the songs know them intimately and no imitators could ever perform them as well or as originally intended.

Ultimately, for elections purposes, IT’S THE SINGER NOT THE SONG that will matter. If for 55 long years these current singers who have monopoly of Centre Stage for ever so long could not bring about such reforms as they seem only now to be singing about, then as far as I am concerned, I will vote for the original singers who through smaller stages (at state level) have shown themselves worthy of at least one chance to take Centre Stage to bring about CHANGE. For thanks to them, even the other side caught the lyrics and tune trying now to imitate the songs they have popularised.

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Posted in: Elections