Thursday, 16 August 2007

A Frog In Their Throats

You probably have never heard of the common coqui. It's a small Puerto Rican frog that is considered an invasive species in places like Hawaii. At night, the males make such a din, nobody can get a good night's sleep.

A similar kind of noise being made by a 50 Cent-wannabe is also keeping government officials up at night.

Namewee is the handle for a university student from home who was smart enough to be in Taiwan when he recorded the six-minute diatribe about police corruption, lazy civil servants and racial tension in the country - far from the reach of those over-zealous Constitution-thumping government officials.

But he was not smart enough to leave the national flag and anthem out of it, and instead, carelessly marketed the ditty as a "gift to the country" and an "expression of his patriotism".

No matter how insignificant or redundant you think it is, or how much disdain you feel for them, you simply do not "pimp up" your nation's symbols or use them as props.

Only the government can do that.

Well, of course they can! Not long ago they messed around with the tempo of the national anthem. And how many times was the "national language" renamed and tinkered with? I was - and still am - quite happy with the Johor-Riau dialect, thank you so very much. And the old Negaraku has a much more soothing effect, especially when played during Monday mornings.

And the flags - oh, the flags! Come National Day, they're everywhere, stretched across buildings and lamp-posts, flown from rooftops of all kinds, exposed to the elements and pollution until they're nothing more than rags. The end effect is more garish, rather than festive or "tastefully patriotic".

I also remember a spot of kris-waving and a blood-curdling call to arms to "defend the sanctity of religion, ethnicity and country" during some political party's annual general assembly. But that's their symbol, and they can do whatever they want with it.

Way too many people have defended his actions; I think he screwed up. He became a godsend for politicians desperate for red herrings and easy prey, while others out there - the muggers, snatch thieves and assorted hoodlums, not to mention loons like Nordin Top - who could do (and have done) much worse, are still free to do as they please.

Snakes, rats, weasels and foxes are raiding the chicken coops while the farmers go after singing frogs, which are nothing more than a mere annoyance.

Time for the public to act smart, so the authorities will have no choice but to pick on someone their own size.


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