Interesting times.

‘May you live in interesting times’, as we all know, is widely alleged to be an ancient Chinese curse in which the word ‘interesting’ is ironically intended to be interpreted in the negative sense of ‘troubled’.

But apparently there is no more evidence for the contention that this saying is actually either ancient or Chinese than there is for its implied proposition that there have ever been times in human history that were other than interesting in the sense of troubled, if not outright tragic, for at least some people, somewhere.

Or, indeed, fundamentally, for all people everywhere, in light of the apparent fact that only we humans, of all living creatures, are uncomfortably aware of the interesting reality that we will all inevitably die.

Thus we struggle to sustain our life-forces for as long and greedily and powerfully as possible, ferociously competing both individually and, paradoxically, as co-operative members of competing families, clans, tribes, races, classes, clubs, ideologies, political parties, systems of government and nation-states.

And perhaps most interestingly of all, a good many if not the majority of us strive to cheat death, or at least to pretend that earthly death is not really the end, with the illusion that some imagined deity or another, and self-identification as one of his/her/its devotees, will somehow ensure us eternal survival.

Given urges, illusions and delusions as confused and conflicted as these, it is as inevitable as death itself that each of us lives in times rendered interesting as in troubling or tragic by everything from or own inner turmoil and interpersonal antipathies to outright civil, sectarian, international and even world wars.

However, this observation leads to the thought that the apocryphal ancient Chinese curse under consideration here should be extended to ‘may you live in interesting times..and places.’

Because it strikes me, as the end of my life grows more imminent, that though I have most certainly survived through some horrifically interesting times, I have been fortunate to experience most of them from a quite uninteresting and thus relatively safe distance.

In other words, I have been more of a spectator than a participant in most of the most interesting times I have lived through, and so have luckily lived long enough to see some times and places turn from extremely negatively to very positively interesting.

For example, I was born into one of the most tragically interesting of relatively recent times, the 1939-45 second world war, but as an infant I was both blithely ignorant of this horrific event, and, then located as I was in Melbourne, Australia, about as far from its ravages as it was possible to be.

Similarly, I was too young as well as too far away to participate, as many of my fellow Australian citizens were sadly fated to do, in the subsequent Korean War and Malayan Emergency; too married and too distant in Sydney to be caught-up in the woeful war in Vietnam; and too old as well as far-distant to be involved in more recent armed conflicts on such far-flung battlegrounds as East Timor, the Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan.

I have been fortunate, too, to be able to witness if not directly experience the fact that many of the places in which life has formerly seemed, and indeed actually been, about as bad-interesting as can be, have surprisingly become as good-interesting as they could possibly get.

In the 70 years or so of my lifetime, for instance, nations like Germany and Japan have transformed themselves from insufferably and fatally interesting examples of the evils of Fascism into positively fascinating case-studies in peaceful prosperity.

Somewhat similarly, the former USSR, which US President Ronald Reagan rightly dubbed ‘The Evil Empire’, long ago collapsed under the weight of its own economic ineptitude, thus freeing most of its so-called ‘satellites’ in Eastern Europe from its tentacles.

Though unfortunately Russia itself remains interesting in the alleged ancient Chinese accursed sense, thanks to its President Vladimir Putin’s apparent determination to keep the place more interesting for his oligarch and other criminal cronies, as well as for criminal client-states like al-Assad’s all-too-interesting Syria, than for Russia’s ordinary citizens.

And appropriately enough, as the (mis)attributed source of the ancient ‘may you live in interesting times’ curse, China remains as negatively interesting as ever, thanks to its fake designation as a ‘people’s’ republic despite the fact that it all-too-obviously remains a corrupt dictatorship that somehow contrives to be both communist and capitalist.

China is also apparently striving to create as ‘interesting’ times in the South-China Sea as it has previously in such ‘interesting’ locations as Tibet and Tiananmen Square.

Meanwhile, of course the Middle (Muddle?) East remains as idiotically interesting as ever, especially in Syria, Yemen and other locations ravaged by civil wars, Islamic-State terrorism or both; most of Africa seems perennially interesting in various hopelessly depressing ways; and then, as if all that wasn’t sufficiently fascinating, there are such interesting sideshows as the Trump campaign for the US presidency and the spectacle of the deranged Duterte running wild in The Philippines.

And as long as this column is for Malaysiakini and thus must at least mention Malaysia, it has to be said that life there continues to be interesting in the same old, same old dreary way as it has been for five centuries or so under a series of colonisers including the Portuguese, Dutch, British, Japanese, then British again and now the self-styled putras of Umno/BN.

Interesting, in other words, only by virtue of the fact that the powers-that-be have so long and so comprehensively stacked the nation’s institutions in their favour as to get away with stealing not just the principal of the people’s cash and publicly-owned resources, but the interest into the bargain.

Though I have to confess I also find it somewhat interesting to wonder how much longer it will take the majority of Malaysians to finally lose all interest in tolerating, let alone supporting and voting for this accursed regime, and start living in more enlightened times.




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‘Gunna’ Turnbull shoots self in foot.

Again. Having triggered a double-dissolution election to try and bag himself a bigger parliamentary majority and had it backfire on him in a very big way, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull now finds himself even more clearly in the cross-hairs of ‘crossbench’ crackpots in the Senate.

So that everything he’s been vowing he’s gunna do, from reforming the nation’s deformed tax system and whatever alleged ‘plan’ he and his colleagues claim they have for achieving their endlessly-promised ‘jobs n growth’ to a move to marriage-equality can be held-up by these crazies.

Crazies like anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism and anti-Muslim warrior Pauline Hanson and so-called Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, a former member of the Shooters Party and now a lock, stock and barrel ‘libertarian’ devoted to the cause of seeing government ‘wound back to a minimal role in society.’

Leyonhjelm is an outspoken advocate of lifting the current ban on the importation of one of the world’s most lethal shotguns, the rapid-fire Adler A110, into Australia.

And is currently putting his advocacy of this gun to Malcolm Turnbull’s head in return for contemplating support of the Coalition’s latest attempt to bring fire to bear on the unions and the Labor Party by means of an Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Whether Turnbull’s gunna throw his hands up and surrender to this threat to put yet another deadly weapon into the hands of those idiots who consider the shooting of wildlife to be a ‘sport’, or those contemplating acts of terrorism, or those Australians so deranged as to consider going on Port-Arthur-style killing-sprees, is anybody’s guess so far.

But one thing’s for sure. As long as he allows himself to remain hostage to the right, or in other words wrong wing of his Party and Coalition, and an easy target for pot-shots from low-calibre senators like Leyonhjelm, he’s gunna continue to be seen as a dead-set goner as prime minister.


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Nobel and Nobble Prizes.

The awarding of a richly-deserved Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan has shocked and dismayed some non-musical literary figures around the world.

Though it is hard to think of any other writer in recent times whose work has so poetically and powerfully, let alone so memorably and enjoyably, inspired and encouraged the causes of peace, love, freedom and justice.

In fact there was a time when those of us who grew up with early Dylan classics as Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin’ were so naive as to believe that they were compelling enough to help us literally change the world.

We were completely kidding ourselves, of course, as subsequent events have all-too-clearly revealed. But the spirit of the sentiments that Dylan expressed lives on, and continues to give us heart and hope.

Thus by extension his anthems remain anathema to the war-mongers, whore-mongers and just plain mongrels who still misrule so many countries and rob and miserably mislead their citizens.

So I see Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize as not just a fitting reward for him personally, and for the common people everywhere, but also as a poke in the eye for the members and accomplices of every rotten ruling regime on the planet, from China and Russia to Syria and Zimbabwe.

And, of course, along with almost countless others, Malaysia, for whose Islamic-supremacist and viciously anti-semitic Umno/BN regime the Swedish Academy’s honouring of Bob Dylan must be an especially bitter pill to swallow, as Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman of Jewish parents.

Then there’s the jealousy factor. Dylan has been actually given his Prize, whereas the members and cronies of Umno/BN have to buy their awards and titles either by selling their souls in the service of royalty or the regime, or else by handing-over wads of hard cash.

But of course they’ll try and ignore Dylan’s achievement, or else try and diminish or outright dismiss it among themselves with such typically self-serving sentiments as ‘Dylan may well be an icon, but Umno/BN is a far bigger “I con”,’ or ‘he might have more gold albums than us, but we’ve got far more actual gold.’

Or else, ‘one single, solitary Nobel Prize is nothing compared with the numerous ignoble prizes we’ve awarded ourselves in all our decades of nobbling Malaysia and fobbing the Malaysian people off with a pack of lies.’

In short, the members and accomplices of Umno/BN can console themselves in the face of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature with the thought that each and every one of them deserves the Nobble Prize for Lieterature.

They can take heart too, if they like, from the fact that, to judge from the titles of many of the songs for which Bob Dylan has been so highly honoured for writing, he could well have created them for Umno/BN.

I’m joking, of course, as there’s no evidence in Bob Dylan’s life or work, as far as I know, that he’s ever so much as heard of Malaysia or its malevolent ruling regime.

However, it is tempting to observe that such titles as Blowin’ in the Wind, Idiot Wind and Talkin’ Devil could well be intended as descriptions of any of the public speeches or press-statements made by Umno/BN ministers or minions in the past half-century or so.

Similarly, titles like Blowin’ in the Wind, Rattled, Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence, Wanted Man and Wiggle Wiggle seem to be uncannily apt descriptions of how Prime (but let’s be honest here) Crime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must be feeling and doing as he anxiously awaits the results of international investigations into his 1MDB embezzlement and money-laundering project.

Certainly the 2006 Dylan title Ain’t Talkin’ pretty accurately sums-up Najib’s attitude in face of all the allegations he and his accomplices and accessories in this and many other scams are facing, and Disease of Conceit aptly describes the attitude that got them into this fix in the first place.

No matter what he does to try and take Shelter from the Storm, however, let’s hope that other Dylan titles like Seven Curses, Pay in Blood, End of the Line, Everything is Broken, Going Going Gone and above all Steel Bars are accurate predictors of what’s in store for him and his entire Umno/BN band of blunderers, plunderers and pathological liars.

So that, after so many decades of Long and Wasted Years in which The Devil’s Been Busy despite Umno/BN’s false mantra of With God On Our Side, Malaysians will finally get to hear the Chimes of Freedom.



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Senior sex?

Before proceeding with this piece I feel I must, in all political correctness, warn that it contains subject-matter that may be distressing to some readers.

Especially young readers, who in my experience find it distressing if not disgusting to contemplate the possibility that people of their parents’ not to mention grandparents’ ages might be capable of getting down and dirty with each other.

Or, indeed, with themselves, given that the great unmentionable, masturbation, or in other words same-person or single-handed sex, is probably as prevalent in the elderly as same- and other-sex sex with partners, as it almost certainly is for individuals in other demographics.

I use tentative terms like ‘probably’ and ‘almost certainly’ in this context because I have no statistics of my own to support my contentions in this context, and no trust in others’ statistics either.

Any study that relies not on scientific observation but self-reporting, as sexual matters inevitably do, must, with all due respect to the well-intended likes of Alfred Kinsey, be highly questionable.

Hence the question raised on the ABC News site recently, ‘How old is too old to have sex?’

As I’m sure you can well imagine, I read the ensuing story avidly, as this is an issue of increasingly vital personal interest to me at my age of 73 going on 74.

Going on 74 physically, that is, whereas mentally or at least imaginatively, like I assume that most of my fellow males of all ages are, I’m stuck at somewhere around 17.

Unfortunately, however, most of the women I find myself attracted to, be they 17 or indeed almost any number of years older, clearly perceive me as impossibly past it or just another dirty old man, if indeed they perceive me at all.

Thank goodness, then, for my 44-year-old wife, who generously insists that she still sees me as the 50-something sex-object that she, to my surprise if not astonishment, for some reason seemed to consider me when we met 22 years ago.

But lately it has become increasingly questionable to me whether she can sustain this illusion/delusion indefinitely, and how much longer I can keep up my own end of the bargain.

In this regard I was somewhat relieved to read in the ABC News item that inspired me to write this article that a certain Dr Catherine Barrett, founder of an organisation called the Older People and Sexuality Institute, claims that ‘many seniors continue to have a very active sex life.’

Reportedly urging older people to ‘talk openly about sex and relationships,’ Dr Barrett, whose own age was unspecified in the article, was quoted as expressing the hope that ‘our age is never a factor (when it comes to sex) and that the decision is never taken away from us.’

Another expert cited in the story, sex therapist Bettina Arndt, seconded Dr Barrett’s remarks, saying that sex continues to be important for many people in their 70s or 80s, as it can be a ‘life-affirming force’ for them.

And for the information of anyone out there who is as interested in this issue as I am, the articles’ tips for a enjoying a healthy sex life as you get older, sourced from the Aging Well site, included: ‘talk about sex, be playful and honest; take your time, relax and don’t be shy; expand your definition of sex, find new ways to enjoy sexual contact and intimacy; find what works for you, change your routine; understand roadblocks, body image and low self-esteem; jumpstart your sex drive, increase your activity level and just “do it”; (and) know when to seek help.’

All of which seems good, sound advice, at least in light of my own experience, for not just us seniors but for sexually-active citizens of any age, and indeed of any sex or gender.

In retrospect I see that my wife and I have long been conducting our relationship according to these principles, and have even managed to come up with some ploys of our own.

What precisely these are, however, I must regretfully avoid identifying here, for fear of not only intruding on others’ privacy, but also of risking offending the sensibilities of religious or otherwise straight-laced readers.

Suffice to say, perhaps, that I’m all in favour of whatever it takes to encourage more of my fellow seniors who crave to continue or even make late starts on their sex-lives to, as the old Nike slogan famously exhorted, just do it.

And, given that life’s far too short and getting even shorter by the day for us oldies, to do it as often and as orgasmically or even orgiastically as anybody of any age could possibly desire.



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Tax attacks.

The right, or in other words wrong, wing of the so-called ‘Liberal’ Party seems hell-bent on a mission to keep the ‘con’ in ‘conservative’.

I say ‘so-called Liberal’ here to highlight the fact their alleged liberality is confined to economics, and so far at odds with the principles of such true liberals as, for example, the great J.S. Mill, as to be ludicrous.

In fact they espouse and encourage the evil most strongly decried by Mill in his masterwork On Liberty, the ‘tyranny of the majority’.

The badge of a true democracy, as Mill and many other true liberals have since pointed-out, is how much it respects and employs its power and prosperity in support and protection of minorities and otherwise disadvantaged members of its populace.

Yet the treasurer in the late, unlamented Abbott government, Joe Hockey, privileged the interests of the presumably majority of citizens who perceive themselves as ‘lifters’ against those he decried as ‘leaners’.

And Hockey’s even less-loveable successor, Scott Morrison, has been singing precisely the same song with his attempts to harness the antipathy of the ‘taxed’ against what he’s at pains to demonise as ‘taxed-nots’.

Both attempts to appeal to majority sentiment were, of course, cons, considering that a good many of the heaviest leaners and most notoriously costly taxed-nots are major local and global corporations and filthy-rich individuals.

And also in light of the all-too-evident reality that far too many billions of the revenues extracted from the lifters and the taxed are squandered by the government itself on such ridiculously futile projects as the progressive privatisation of tertiary education and offshore detention of refugees.

Two examples of wanton waste that are actually linked, in that many lavishly-funded private ‘colleges’ have been exposed as not just financial and educational scams, but also illegal-immigration rackets.

But never mind. As long as the ‘lifters’ can be given even more of a lift and the already slim pickings for the ‘leaners’ can be rendered even leaner, and the poorer ‘taxed-nots’ can be forced to pay for the avoidances and evasions of the rich ‘taxed-nots’, the Liberal-National federal government is laughing.

Or would be if it was getting away with it. But fortunately for Australian agriculture, the two elements of the Coalition fell-out over the preposterous plan to tax backpackers an outrageous 36 per cent of the paltry wages they can earn in already poorly-paid and seasonal work such as fruit-picking.

Presumably the plot was that these foreign itinerants were fair game because they can’t vote in Australian elections. But backpackers can and do vote with their feet, so to speak, and give Australia a miss in favour of more welcoming economies.

By the time the Nationals woke up to this, and were left with egg on their faces when their constituents started complaining that this summer’s crops would be left to rot for want of pickers, the drop of the projected backpacker tax rate was too late.

And when the government tried to take-up the revenue slack by upping the passenger departure tax, it outraged the tourist industry.

Despite its having given backpackers a break, however, albeit after too many of these workhorses have bolted, and in the process done its bit to try and send the tourism industry broke, the Turnbull government shows no sign of slackening its attacks on ‘leaners’ and the alleged ‘taxed-nots’.

For example, as an age pensioner and thus the hardest of hard-core leaners, every dollar I and my student wife earn in part-time work over some measly permissible amount is docked – or in other words taxed – around 50c, some fortnights leaving me with a nett nothing.

And as we’re both smokers, and thus not only dead-set leaners but slow-learners into the bargain, we pay tax of around 70c for every dollar we spend on cigarettes.

Admittedly I don’t pay tax for the dubious pleasures of alcohol or gambling, because I’m not the slightest interested in either.

I do lean back and enjoy the odd large cappuccino at times, however, so I confidently expect the imposition of a coffee tax soon, in addition to the sugar tax that health authorities and other social police forces have been strenuously advocating for some time.

But why all this fiddling around with taxing allegedly undesirable substances and behaviours when it’s so obviously easy to target people directly by dividing them into categories like, say desirable/undesirable or even affluent/effluent?

Thus there can be tax breaks as mooted for small business for all those who rate as affluent, influential, slim, sexy, property-owning and other similarly admirable traits, and savage taxes as currently for smokers on the effluent: the poor, overweight, plain, property-renting, homeless and so on.

And as for such small-‘l’ liberal concerns like marriage equality, forget them. Just slap a tax on sex in general, with a concession, of course, for reproductive sex, a premium rate on recreational sex, and an absolutely prohibitive premium rate on that bane of oxymoronically and Aussiemoronically conservative Liberals, same-sex sex.


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Go, grrrls!

I’ve been distressed and disappointed to see that a survey released to coincide with the International Day of the Girl has revealed that only 8 per cent of Australian girls and young women perceive themselves as treated equally with males, and a mere 14 per cent believe they enjoy equal opportunities in life to their male counterparts.

Distressed to be confronted by the fact that half of our young people feel so disempowered by virtue of their sex and gender, and disappointed that 50 or 60 years of so-called ‘women’s lib’ has made so little difference to an age-old disgrace to the human race.

I have to admit that I feel not a little guilty, too, for this deplorable state of affairs. Because, as extensive involvement in Gender Studies has revealed to me, the feminist sympathies I formerly prided myself on having attained were and in many ways remain undermined by my seemingly ineradicable cultural conditioning as a male.

In other words, as strongly as I try to reject my allegedly superior and thus privileged position as a member of the patriarchy, I’m incapable of ever doing so entirely.

However hard I consciously strive to shed every vestige of sexism and genderism, even the very language in which I think and speak and write conspires to undermine and ultimately defeat my efforts.

In English, as doubtless in countless other languages, the female is not only linguistically a modification of or adjunct of, but also, as free association reveals, by clear implication inferior to the male, as in fie-male, fee-male, foe-male and flee-male.

And similarly the word ‘woman’ evokes such associations as woe-man, woo-man, war-man and whore-man.

Even ‘girl’ has its obvious downsides compared with ‘boy’, given that ‘girly’ has connotations of ‘silly’ or ‘flighty’, while ‘boyish’ is commonly associated with a positive quality like ‘charm’.

Faced with obstacles as fundamental as these, what on earth, I keep wondering, can I possibly do to help empower my wife, daughter and grand-daughter in their efforts to assert themselves as free-males?

Stop calling them ‘my’ wife, daughter and grand-daughter for a start, I guess, in a way that implies some kind of ownership despite the fact that I cringe at the thought of being taken to mean it that way.

At least I can console or perhaps kid myself that I’ve tried to do a few things right. When (with apologies for the possessive word) my now 21-year-old daughter Sammie was little, I did everything I could think of to exert my parental power for and with rather than over her by endlessly repeating the mantra ‘Sammie can’.

And, as childish as it might appear on my part, I made sure that one of the TV shows we regularly watched together was the Japanese cartoon series Power Puff Girls, with its trio of superheroines Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup.

Perhaps most importantly, though, I tried to show her how much I appreciated her good fortune in having been born to such a ballsy and free-spirited mother.

A mother, who now that Sammie is an adult and a fully paid-up person in her own right, is also at pains to avoid smothering.

As I am even more so, and even possibly to a fault. Perhaps I go too far, as I suspect Sammie’s mother sometimes feels, in my project to empower my darling daughter by deliberately and concertedly abdicating the parental and inevitably patriarchal power I tried to exert with and for her during her childhood and teens, the better to foster her confidence in her own grown-up power.

Her unique combination of physical, intellectual, emotional, sexual and self-sustaining power that makes her at least the equal in principle and potential of any other person on earth, male, female or any other sex or gender.

Plus, for all those occasions in which she feels weakened, discouraged or even temporarily overwhelmed, as all of us do at times, by any of countless negative forces ranging from physical and mental weariness to emotional stresses arising from confusions, conflicts or even outright abuse, she has the support, thank goodness, of a stalwart group of free-male friends that collectively calls itself the V-Team.

That’s ‘V’ for not only ‘vagina’, of course, but also and most tellingly for ‘victory’.

Go, grrrls!


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Budgies, boobies and booty.

The mind boggles at what a balls-up the boobies of the Umno/BN regime are making of so-called ‘justice’ in Malaysia.

Nine Australians that made grand pricks of themselves at the Grand Prix by stripping down to ‘budgie smugglers’ or in other words swimmers, cossies or Speedos emblazoned with the Malaysian flag escaped conviction for any offence, though in the meantime spent four days in jail.

But apparently the same people who objected to the sight of these skimpily-clad bodies didn’t have the same problem with the way the Petronas bimbos flaunted their boobies and booties.

Personally, of course, I take no offence whatever at the sight of beautiful, bootiful, boobiful or otherwise bountiful bodies of any sex or gender.

But I do object to behaviour by fellow Australians that offends if not insults the cultural sensitivities of people in foreign countries of which they are guests.

And I shudder at the sight and sound of bunches of oinks arrogantly shouting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi’ anywhere, either at home or abroad.

Especially when the offenders are not only of what should be mature age, but also of privileged family and educational backgrounds, as in the case of what the Australian media are calling either the ‘Budgy Nine’ or ‘Budgie Nine’.

Alternative spellings that bring me to what no media in Australia or elsewhere appear to have noticed: an apparently commercial motivation for this group’s antics.

Swimsuits of the kind they flaunted in Malaysia, and reportedly previously in locations as diverse as Croatia, The Netherlands, Italy and Greece, and which are worn by male competitive swimmers virtually everywhere, have been traditionally known as Speedos.

Only comparatively recently have Speedo-brand and other Speedo-style swimsuits become known in Australian slang as ‘budgie smugglers’, a term defined by the online Urban Dictionary as ‘any item of male bathing costume that encloses the wearer’s genitalia in a manner that resembles the concealment of a budgerigar’.

In other words, ‘budgie smugglers’ is a generic slang term, but ‘Budgy smugglers’, as close scrutiny of the nine flaunters of this garment in Malaysia reveals, is a registered brand.

Thus there could clearly be a good deal of marketing method in these exhibitionists’ apparent madness, and presumably a great deal for some or all of them to gain from the glare of global exposure they are achieving for the Budgy smugglers brand through such stunts as they have pulled in Malaysia and elsewhere.

In short, I strongly suspect that the Budgy Nine are in it not just for laughs but for also for loot. Or, if you like, into semi-baring their booties for booty.

If this is the case, then it’s no wonder they were treated so leniently by the Malaysian court before which they appeared.

Because apparently, as far as Malaysian ‘justice’ is concerned, the more privileged the suspect and the more booty involved, the better.

Petty offences by the poor and powerless are mercilessly punished, as in the case of illegal immigrant Abu Huraira Razak, who was recently sentenced to three years in jail, a RM5000 fine or additional 12 months in jail and deportation after serving his sentence for breaking into a restaurant and stealing RM1.

Yet, to cite just a few of countless examples of cases of the connected getting away with the booty, the principals involved in the RM250-million National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal were found to have no case to answer; as far as I know nobody has been penalised or repaid a penny for involvement in the RM12-billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fraud; billionaire timber-stealing suspect Abdul Taib ‘The Termite’ Taib apparently remains untouchable; and of course Malaysian Official 1 and his accomplices in the RM42-billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco are at least so far still uncharged and at large.

Furthermore, in an outrageous instance of the pot’s calling the kettle black, the man most largely responsible for enabling if not engineering this bootyful but far from beautiful state of affairs, Mahathir Mohamad, despite his own wealth and that of his filthy-rich sons, remains free to criticise his successors for continuing his legacy.

In the face of such massive crime and corruption, not to mention politically-connected killings, it seems obscene to me that so many Malaysians can get their knickers in knots about such a miniscule matter as the sight of a bunch of beer-swilling mat sallehs in Budgy smugglers.

But I suppose that at least it serves to divert their attention for a moment from the fact that they’re forever the butts of a far more serious if not outright fatal joke: a ruling regime that sees them as nothing but a source of booty, and complete with institutions as the police, judiciary and media that utterly fail to perform their sworn duty.





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