Monday, June 26, 2006

Politicians Say the Darndest Things

I don’t quite agree with blogger Lam Chun See who said that children say the darndest things. I say politicians say the darndest things; especially Malaysian politicians.

Do you remember the famous ‘We will shoot them’ threat uttered by one Malaysian politician (or official) during the time when many Vietnamese boat people tried to land their boats in the east coast of Malaysia. This was in the 70’s. Unfortunately, blogging hadn’t been invented then, and so I did not take note of his exact words. Anyway, the following day, the Malaysian government clarified that what he meant to say was, “We will shoo them away.”

How about the classic “Bangladeshi men are good lovers” remark made by the bubbly trade minister Rafidah in parliament a few years ago? I believe she was trying to figure out why many Malaysian families broke up because local ladies have fallen for Bangladeshi men.

As if not to be outdone, the opposition Islamic party PAS member of parliament said recently, also in parliament, that “single mothers were “gatal” or horny. - Straits Times, 27/04/2006

Finally, of course, there is my favourite Malaysian politician: the anti-Singapore (“There are many ways to skin a cat”), anti-Semitic (“Jews rule the world by proxy”) Dr Mahathir Mohammed. Just when I thought I have run out Mahathir gems to share with you, the feisty ex-prime minister comes to my rescue with a torrent of classics during his latest quarrel with his successor, Abdullah Badawi.

"We made the mistake of giving Singapore to the British. You want to give some more?" – Straits Times, 9/04/2006

“I think this is a half-past-six country with no guts.” – TODAY, 03/05/2006

“Treat your opponents like insects. Knock them down and crush them with your feet.” – Mahathir’s advice to Malaysian Thomas Cup Badminton Team; as quoted by Tawfik bin Tun Dr Ismail on 24/06/2006

“But with Singapore, you cannot smile or negotiate. For 22 years, I have tried, but trying to be friendly with Singapore, it is not possible. They won’t be friendly with us, they think of themselves only. … They are calculative, even one cent they count.” 24 June 2006

But on a more serious note, Singaporeans may just have to agree with the learned doctor’s last observation about our unfriendliness.
In the latest survey on courtesy carried out by the Reader's Digest, Singapore was ranked 30 out of 35 cities surveyed. As if not convinced, the Straits Times had to go a do its own survey only to come up with something I have already said long ago; we are a rude people.

If it is any consolation, we are still slightly better than Dr Mahathir’s countrymen in the Malaysian capital, who scored a miserable 33. But if you were to ask him, his likely reply would be; “We are generally courteous; except when it comes to dealing with Singaporeans.”

But not to worry. Our ever-efficient government is going to do something about it. I heard they want to collect 4 million smiles to welcome visitors to Singapore. In fact, last week I was asked to contribute one.

I say we should extend a warm invitation to Dr Mahathir to come and visit us. He said last week that he has not visited Singapore since retiring. Perhaps he is afraid that we will bear a grudge against him for his frequent swipes at us. I think his fears are unnecessary. After all, Singaporeans know that he loves us. We remember, even if he doesn’t, his remarks of a few years ago:

“Come over, we welcome them and love them . …. We love you. On Valentine's Day, we love you. Please come. Please come. I am just jesting. When you meet Singaporeans, tell them: Don't take the Malaysian PM seriously. He likes to talk like that. He doesn't mean it, he has a good heart.”

PS - Thanks to Mr Miyagi for another Mahathir gem here - Mari kita bomb dia!

1 comment:

Sleepless in Singapore said...

Thanks to the power of the internet, I just discovered that the 'we will shoot them (the Vietnamese boat people)" remark was made by no other than the 'loose cannon' himself. See this article. Facing a "Liquid Auschwitz" -- Jul 2, 1979 -- Page 1