The reply I’d dearly love to be able to give to this obviously rhetorical/ratorical question is, of course “nobody”. But sadly I seem to be the only nobody, or else one of a very small minority of nobodies who couldn’t give a the proverbial rat’s arse (British/Australian) or ass (US, Canada) about royalty.
Because, to judge by the headline-hogging hoo-har over Harry and Meghan’s recent resignations from their royal roles, millions if not billions of people around the world apparently give enough of a rat’s to be reeling at, riled-up by and even railing against what they perceive as the couple’s appalling disloyalty.
Disloyalty to the British royal family ‘firm’ or ‘brand’, as proposed by many of those professional lickers of royals’ if not rat’s arses/asses, among them some formerly respectable journalists who have sunk or rather slunk so low as to specialise in the pathetically trivial task of covering and commenting on on palace affairs.
And then there are their polar opposites, the self-styled cheeky chappies, snappers and paps of the gutter tabloids and gossip glossies who have no loyalty whatever to royalty, or indeed to anything or anybody else save themselves and the press and air-media potentates who pay them.
In fact many people blame these very media predators and scavengers for driving these young royals to revolt against their alleged duties to their adoring and thus, to my mind, psychotically sycophantic fans, just as they allegedly drove Harry’s and Williams’ sainted mater Diana to her premature death, or, if you prefer, martyrdom.
And of course chief among the proprietors of newspapers and newspapers responsible for all this persecution of British royalty was and remains that rat-cunning king or rather, given his fascist attitudes and activities, führer of fake news and flake views, and supreme media or rather merdea mogul, Rupert Murdoch.
By means of a combination of his Sun, or what I can’t help thinking of as Shun Newspaper in the UK, his pie-in-the Sky TV channel in the UK, Australia and elsewhere, Fox, which totally fux the very meaning of news in the US, and his 70 per cent dominance of Australia’s print media through his News Limited, or limited-news organisation, he’s perceived as virtual royalty by rabid right- or in other words wrong-wing politicians and the rabble who support them.
So I was delighted to learn recently that just as Harry was busy demonstrating that he no longer gives much more than a rat’s arse/ass for royalty, even to the extent of surrendering his ‘Royal Highness’ title and considering supporting Meghan and young George by earning his own money, James, one of the princelings in the Murdoch court was proving a royal pain in the arse/ass to his sire, Rupert.
Specifically by criticising the News organisation’s grossly-skewed if not criminally screwed coverage of the climate-change issue for the express purpose of supporting all, those governments, corporations and individual cretins with vested interests in denying the reality of man-made global warming and hoping to profit electorally, economically or both from doing nothing whatever to slow or stop it.
And in response to this courageous move on James’s part, I’ve had to radically revise my rating of him from about as low as you can go back when he was defending the family firm all through the course of the UK inquiry into its alleged, in fact totally proven phone-hacking and associated police-corrupting activities, to rather higher-up on the scale.
Not that I’m yet prepared, in the absence of a great deal more positive evidence in his favour, to give an entire rat’s ass for this once-heir-apparent to the Murdoch throne. But at least now that he’s demonstrated that he’s not just one of Rupert’s boys but an actual man in his own right, I’m prepared to give him at least a small portion of a part of a rodent’s posterior.
But of course, I still consider the very concept of hereditary royalty a total bummer both in the UK and everywhere else that it continues to archaically and atrociously exist, especially in association with some similarly people-oppressing religion, as in autocracies, plutocracies and kleptocracies ranging all the way from the corrupt and murderous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia.
The latter so notoriously over-supplied if not outright infested with not just one but 11 so-called ‘royal’ families, the ruling sultans of which rotate the kingship of the country between them.
But for all this excess of alleged royalty, none of its members who have ever sat on the throne of Malaysia, as far as I’ve been able to discern, have ever shown a shred of loyalty to their subject Malaysian people, or in fact given so much as a rat’s ass for anybody or anything but their own and their families’ interests.
Which, besides a seemingly endless series of ratty governments,could well be one of the reasons why, despite its deposits of oil and sundry other natural resources, and its wealth and diversity of human resources Malaysia been has languishing for so long and seemingly endlessly in a racist, religionist, socially-regressive and wreckonomic rut.
Researching my prospects for the Year of the Rat, I was somewhat rattled to discover that my own sign of the Horse is the Rat’s worst enemy, so I should bite the bit in expectation of a rough ride over the next 12 months.
But “whoa,” I quickly told myself before my terror got out of hand, and started reining-in my fears with thoughts of the positive role that rats – if not Rats – have played in my life so far.
For a start, one of my all-time favourite characters in one of my all-time favourite tales, ‘The wind in the willows’, is Mr. Rat aka Ratty, best friend and faithful companion of Mr. Mole.
A further factor inspiring my affection for the humble and industrious rat is how richly its name has contributed to the colour and range of the English – and even more so to the Australian – language.
For example, if it weren’t for this unjustly-reviled rodent, I wouldn’t be able to invoke its name to say that I “smell a rat” every time a member of Australia’s current right- or rather rat-wing government says or pretends to do anything.
Nor could I characterize such sly and slippery customers more aptly than “as cunning as shit-house rats”. Or more vividly convey the speed and urgency with which these people are capable of acting in their own or their cronies’ special interests than with the classic simile “like a rat up a drainpipe”.
Their ratting-out of the Australian people with the support of the rotten Ruprat-Murdoch-owned media on ever issue from taxation and press-freedom to the climate-change-exacerbated current bushfires is a disgrace to all good, honest rodents.
Which, of course many if not most people who were born in a Rat year surely are.
As even a matsalleh/ratsalleh like me is aware, the Rat, like all the other 11 animals of the Chinese zodiac, has both its positives and negatives, virtues and vices.
On the plus side, according to my Googling of the subject, Rat people are supposedly clever, quick-thinking, optimistic, energetic, creative and popular.
But on the other hand, or, if you prefer, paw, negative rats can allegedly be stubborn, rude, stingy, cowardly and unhealthy.
And of course an added negative for me personally and my fellows born under the equine sign is, as I mentioned earlier, that a Rat year is very bad bucking news indeed for Horse people.
Thank goodness, then, that I couldn’t give a rat’s ass for horoscopes/horrorscopes,or indeed for any other species of superstitions/stuporstitions, be they pious or profane, ‘sacred’ or secular.
Especially in light of the fact that most of them, both occidental and oriental, were originally dreamed-up in the Northern Hemisphere, and thus have little or no relevance here, Down-Under.
Indeed only two of the Chinese lunar-year animals, the Snake and the Dog, the latter locally known as the dingo, are indigenous to Australia, while the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, Sheep, Money and Pig have all been imported here from elsewhere, and the Dragon, as far as I’m aware, has yet to make it through quarantine.
So that, while the coming Lunar New Year is that of the Rat in the Chinese zoological tradition, it could well, for all anybody knows, the New Year of the Bandicoot, Bunyip or Fruit Bat down here in Terra Australis.
Though, on second thoughts, it’s been so much more Terror Australis here lately for all of our indigenous flora and fauna that future predictions for a great many of them appear far from propitious.
The carelessness and callousness of our right/rat-wing Liberal-National Party government when it comes to caring for the country’s environment has been so catastrophic, of, if you like, ratastrophic, for every native-Australian animal that this regime rates as not just a coal-ition but an anti-Koalition.
In other words, it’s totally ratshit. But let me hasten to remind myself, my Asian and especially Chinese friends, that, with the exception of a certain immigrant rat-wing electoral fraudster named Gladys Liu, the current rule of Australia by a pack of plutoc-rats rather than true democ-rats is neither your fault or your problem.
And in any case you have quite enough problems with autoc-rats, kleptoc-rats and would-be theoc-rats in your own countries, some of whom, I’ve been disgusted to learn, are against Lunar New Year celebrations on ‘religious’ grounds.
In short, it’s high time I stopped all my wranting on here against all the rats in our ranks, and wished you, my dear readers, a happy, healthy, wealthy and altogether rattling good Chinese New Year.
When I fired-up my trusty laptop this morning, I was really hot to trot, or rather to write some of my customary rot, but then the hotter and more humid the weather got, and the hazier the air, and the more drops of sweat started dripping from my brow onto the keyboard, the colder I got about keeping working.
But, as you see, I’ve warmed to the task again, thanks to a flash of inspiration sparked by the word ‘fire’, which, in one or another of its meanings or metaphorical contexts, seems literally or figuratively fitting to to apply to many of both the word’s and my own current affairs.
Most obviously for me and for my fellow Australians, especially those in the bush, fire is a fearsome fact of life, loss, devastation and death. And even those of us living in some bushfire-proof city, for which the traditional jokose slang term ‘big smoke’ has lately assumed choking reality, are in a fever of sadness for and sympathy with the victims of the fires, both human and animal, and even warmer than ever in our admiration for those out fighting the flames and their effects.
Every smoke-cloud has a silver lining, however, and in the case of the current bushfires, as I must apologise for having mentioned so many times as to have surely bored my non-Australian readers to tears, many of us down here are hoping that there’s far more than a sliver of a chance that they’ll prove to be the corrupt and incompetent Morrison government’s political funeral-pyre.
Out in the wider world the heat is on fire-wise too, of course, with US President Trump desperately striving to resist being impeached, or in other words fired from the presidency, by putting the heat on Iran and thus seek safety by in Dr Johnson’s declared ‘last resort of the scoundrel’, patriotism.
This move has proven a sure-fire success many times previously, of course, most notoriously in living memory when then UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, heated-up previously fast-cooling electoral support for herself and her Tory government by means of the so-called ‘Falklands War’.
But, as hard and hot-headedly as Trump is trying to turn a largely-hostile Washington into a Warshington of his own, and thus possibly prevent being fired, the Iranian theocrats have avoided meeting his fire with hellfire, even to the extent of ensuring that the missiles with which they responded either misfired or were intentionally misdirected.
Though they have found themselves under fire from Canada and many other countries that hotly suspect that they either deliberately or accidentally fired on and shot-down a civilian airliner as it departed Teheran Airport, killing all if its passengers and crew.
To turn from political heat to the more private, two female Facebook friends have both separately told me of their burning desires to write their life-stories.
Or rather one of them, inflamed with anger at her husband for abandoning her and her children in favour of another woman he got the hots for, tells me she’s keen to write her own story, and I’ve been encouraging her in this project as warmly as possible.
The other, much younger woman, has, from what little of it she’s told me, a far more searing life-history, as by all accounts she still bears the emotional scars of it in the form of PTSD, one of the symptoms of which is that she freezes with fear at the thought of sitting down to write about the experiences that caused it.
So what she was actually asking was whether I would write her story for her, or, in other words, be her ghost-writer.
Regretfully, however, I had to tell her that I was lukewarm at best about this prospect, for several red-hot reasons. Firstly, back during the three decades during which I was a self-perceived firebrand in advertising, I ghost-wrote so many ads and commercials on behalf of companies and their goods and services that the very thought of doing any more of it is so ghastly as to give me heartburn.
And secondly and even more chillingly, the fire in my belly, or brain, or some other part of my body may be on the point of burning-out
As my family doctor started suspecting some time ago, and as the thoracic surgeon she referred me to has agreed after seeing a series of scans, I have a lesion on my lung that may very well – or rather not at all well – be a tumor.
And, having spent the past 57 years of my life smoking cigarettes in defiance of all health warnings and doctors’ advice, I wouldn’t be at all surprised, and nor would I, or indeed could I, have anybody to get hot under the collar about but myself if it turns out to be lung cancer.
At the end of January I’m booked-in for a biopsy that should settle this most burning of my personal questions. But meanwhile, only yesterday, I had to go to the hospital for lung-function tests.
After a great deal of computer-monitored inhaling and exhaling, I was personally inspired by the evident fact that I’d at least passed the test for whether or not I’m at the point of expiring.But the technician very properly and professionally didn’t reveal any more specific results, and so I came away no wiser.
But nor was I then, or here and now, today, feeling particularly het-up about the situation. After all, as I’ve been consoling myself in an effort to keep my cool, I’ve had 77 years in which to live my life, and if I haven’t managed to do a half-way decent or thorough job of it by now, I really deserve to be terminated, or, if you prefer,fired.
Of course, despite my best efforts not to sweat about this event, I have to admit to feeling at least some degree of heat as to where and when it will happen, and of course how, be it by means of lung cancer or whatever else.
But at least I’m mercifully free of that most foolish, fatuous and outright flaming futile of burning questions facing the so-called ‘faithful’ at this time of life, which is whether they can look forward to an eternal stay in the presumably air-conned comfort of some non-existent ‘heaven’; or else an infinity in the blazing heat of some equally imaginary ‘hell’.
As I’ve lamented here many times before, being too much of an old zero to join the heroes who’ve volunteered to fight the bushfires that are still blazing here in Australia, and too dead-broke to donate enough dollars to be worth a damn to any of the many funds founded to aid those fighting or suffering from the fires aiding fighters, let alone donate as generously as countless celebrities, both local and foreign, are doing, I’ve got nothing to contribute to the situation but a woefully inadequate supply of words, words and more words.
Not that my torrents of verbiage have so much as a prayer of quenching the fires that are consuming billions of hectares of herbage, along with homes, farm-houses, crops, livestock and wildlife and livestock and human lives, any more than the prayers of the pious have, however well-intentioned they may be.
But at least I can console or at least kid myself that, as literally useless as they may be for fighting bushfires, my words, if sufficiently fiery themselves, may well prove at least somewhat effective in beating-back the blasts of hot air and flaming bullshit with which Australia’s dire federal government is striving to fight public ire.
Though admittedly the Liberal-National Coal-ition regime seems so dazed by the heat it’s been getting from pretty well every direction that it’s attempts to quench burning public anger and the blaze of bad media coverage it’s copping have been so foolish and fraudulent as to add even more fuel to the fire.
Pathological liar-in chief, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is frantically and of course falsely striving to re-write history in his desperate attempts to demonstrate the he and his government are arguably guilty of arson by arsin’ around.
But the problem for Morrison and his similarly mendacious minions and Murdoch-media mouthieces is that the history they’re in the process of re-writing is so recent that everybody remembers, and thus their blatantly blazing lies turn to self-barbecuing embers.
Morrison’s disgracefully-delayed provision of bushfire aid from the armed forces; his lamentably-late funding of additional water-bombing aircraft; his refusal and then grudging agreement to compensate at least some volunteer firefighters for financial sacrifices they’d made; and perhaps above all his cursory photo-op pretences to show sympathy for victims following his return from his sneaky Hawaiian holiday, have, individually and collectively got him nothing but a roasting.
As have those well-remembered boo-boos by him and his apology for a government that he’s conveniently chosen to coolly ignore, like gross and even corrupt mismanagement of the nation’s water resources; enthusiastic support for such environmental atrocities as the monster new Adani coalmine and unrestricted gas fracking; approval of the further clearing of already-direly-denuded land; and of course, on the international scene, the barefaced faking of statistics in ‘demonstration’ of compliance with global targets for the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.
A matter that leads us to the sole true admission that Morrison has made since his post-Hawaiian resurrection, which is that he and his accomplices in the current administration still stick to their traditional denial that Australia’s steadily-soaring temperatures, ever-diminishing rainfall and ever-more severe droughts and catastrophic bushfires have anything whatever to do with so-called climate change.
Unfortunately for Morrison and his fellow politricksters who remain self-interestedly devoted to the myth that there’s no such thing as human-activity-exacerbated climate change, their denial has been exposed as a fairy- or rather fiery-story.
But they still remain in office and thus as dangerous and potentially disastrous as ever to Australia’s increasingly uncertain future, so as far as I’m concerned my and my words’ work will never be done until these bullshitters and liars are, like the bushfires will surely eventually someday be, put out.
..and the horse he rode in on. Or, more accurately, the whores he rode in to the prime-ministership on.
The presstitutes of the Murdoch ‘newspapers’ and their fellow media strumpets trumpeting their mendacities on talkback radio and pie-in-the-Sky television; the pimps and professional liars peddling falsehoods in favour of the profiteers of the fossil-fuel industries; and of course all those citizens who were happy to sell their votes for rebates on taxes they hadn’t paid, or for the preposterous lurks and perks purpose-designed to further enrich the already prosperous at the expense of unfortunate first-home buyers, the negative gearing and discounts on capital-gains tax for property investors.
That so many of our fellow Australians were so eager to stomach the barefaced lies, and blatant corruptions and incompetencies of Scott ‘ScamMo/ScumMo’ Morrison/Morriscon and his minions in the Liberal/Fiberal/Lieberal Party and its National/Nazional Party accomplices in the Coalition/Coal-ition government was a disgrace to even the creed of greed.
And also, of course, to all those allegedly ‘Christian’ creeds that have so totally forgotten and forsaken the fundamental edict and example of their ‘saviour’ to extend sympathy and charity to the poor and otherwise underprivileged and powerless, and thus to execrate that root of all evil, the love of money, as to positively and even Pentecostally revere riches.
The sole shred of personal consolation I and I imagine all the surviving victims of the current bushfires can find in all this is that the’s no more need to wait for Morrison/Morriscon and all his varlets and harlots to die and be doomed to the fires of some imaginary hell, as long as we can all witness their credibility going up in earthly smoke and flames.
Or, in other words, witness their hashes reduced to ashes by the very disaster for which their climate-change denialism and preference for profiteering mining corporations, would-be water monopolists and the rest of the filthy rich over the wellbeing of the rest of us and our living environment are so unquestionably and unforgivably to blame.
Any reader who was paying attention to my many past Malaysiakini columns nay-saying and flaying predators piously pretending to be praying can happily skip this post, as it contains absolutely nothing new.
Except for the news, in case you hadn’t noticed, that, far from slaying the old praying/preying ploy in Malaysia, I find that it’s not only as prominent there as it ever was, but is also becoming almost as dismayingly evident down here in Australia.
Admittedly it has yet to achieve the dizzy heights, or, in other words, depressing lows of hypocrisy as in those theocracies run by theocrazies like Iran, for example, or like that very Mecca of praying, Saudi Arabia, that paradoxically persists in its pernicious practices of preying on women and infidels, not to mention on the credulity of the millions of innocent people indoctrinated into making the Haj.
And also, of course, on its critics like the murdered, dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, like all the people judged guilty of and thus brutally executed for capital crimes by its ridiculous legal system, and, of course, the military mass-murder of Shia Muslims in Yemen and elsewhere.
Praying is also, thank goodness, apparently not yet as popular in Australia as in ‘God’s Own Country’, the US of A, where the ‘faithful’ are paying billions of dollars every year to the countless evangelists professionally engaged in preying on people’s fear, greed and above all gullibility.
And speaking of money, the Australian dollar, unlike the US one, has yet to be accorded ‘almighty’ status, let alone branded with the wishfully worshipful words ‘In God We Trust’.
Though the old 1980’s Regan/Thatcher-era adage that ‘Greed is Good’ has all-too-evidently, in Australia as in the US and almost everywhere else, been promoted to ‘Greed is God’.
Down here this is in large part is due to the election of a Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who happens to be member of the Pentecostal Church, whose Christinane, Christinsane, indeed outright anti-Christian beliefs include the self-serving fantasy that earthly prosperity both promises and purchases heavenly preference.
In other words, if you pray Pentecostally, or so this sordid story goes, you’re justified in preying on the poor, the unemployed and the otherwise un-rich on the ludicrous alleged grounds that such unfortunates and undesirables are divinely defined as unredeemable.
And such losers are also apparently deemed fair game to have their gullibility preyed on by a pathologically lying Prime Minister, his pack of similarly-mendacious ministers and minions, and the ruthlessly truthless News-Limited, or, more accurately Limited-News media that serve as mouthpieces for the messianically and malevolently megalomanic Rupert Murdoch.
Everything these people say or write about the nation’s affairs, from its economy, inequitable tax system, pensions and other forms of welfare, to its environment, water resources, and climate-change-exacerbated bushfires, is a farrago of spin, falsehood and fraud.
But on the grounds that, as the discerning reader will have realised, I’m starting to get carried-away here, in fact almost frothing at the mouth with fury at all the preying on the rest of us by those it pays to pretend to be praying, it’s time I paused to apologise to, or at least register my appreciation of, the many good people I know, like and love who pray sincerely.
Although it pains me a little that, at least in my personal opinion, they’re doing so in vain, I have every regard and respect for these friends and acquaintances. In fact I have every sympathy for them, as their belief in prayer is a sign that their innocence was preyed-on from infancy and through childhood, as mine was, by ‘religious’ parents and pedagogues.
Many if not all of these people, however misguided, were probably well-meaning, as, in their turn, are many of those now adults that they were responsible for misleading.
A remark that prompts me to propose that the very people who are truly well-intentioned towards others are those who have least need to be taught to pray to some so-called ‘higher power’ to prevent themselves from preying on their fellows.
But, whether through ingrained habit, or honest if erroneous conviction, or pressure on the part of peers or other aspects of the faux-pious societies in which they’ve been fated to live, many of the good people I know have chosen to continue to see religion as a blessing rather than the curse I’ve come to consider it to be.
So by all means continue praying for me if it pleases you, my friends. Though frankly I’d vastly prefer your practical support in my efforts to prey on the baying packs of praying political and other predators that so loudly claim to be heaven-sent, but are actually hypocritically intent on making life a living and above all lying hell for the rest of us.