Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why Politics?

When I introduce myself as a journalism student, the subject inevitably veers towards politics sooner or later. I’m not sure if this is my own doing without realising it, or just the residual effect from the heightened socio-political awareness after last year’s general election. Nonetheless, people whom I have spoken to are also often quick to point out that they hate politics.

“Politicians are jerks!” I was told. Even when I acknowledged that as fact he’d just go on and say “Seriously! Just wait until you meet one”, as if I needed anymore convincing. Given the recent politicking and… much much more, their sentiments are quite understandable. Yet, we can’t afford to simply shut down and cave in, sheltering from the disgusting political intrigue. On the contrary, the more politicians treat their voters trivially, the more we should be aware of what they are up to.

Politics - as so eloquently described by my political science textbook - is all about “who gets what, and how”. When someone claims to represent your interests, it is vital that you keep him on a tight rein. If you are not controlling the agenda, someone else will (including the politician himself), and you’d better pray that he’s doing it for charity. Don’t complain when you wake up one morning and to find the road near your house is blocked and you have to use the tolled highway to get to work.

Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist of Stanford Prison infamy and author of the book Lucifer Effect: The Science of Good and Evil, said that “Power without oversight is a prescription for abuse.” While I doubt even the highest level of socio-political activism will put an end to self-serving politicians, I believe politicians will continue to ignore their public as long as they believe they can get away with it. Although every country, democracy or not, has its share of political intrigue, what we have here in Malaysia is uncommon. Hence, I believe our politicians should have a lot more eyes on their actions, and make sure they feel the heat at the polls.

Do this now, while we still have some semblance of democracy. Before it turns into a case of two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

-- Pastor Martin Niemöller

Politics is none of your business?
Think again.


PS: Politicians disgust me too.


Anonymous Titus said...

Well said

March 15, 2009 4:15 PM  
Blogger Ju said...

I like that poem :) Its a pity though, that in M'sia, even speaking out is hard to do.

March 17, 2009 5:05 PM  
Blogger Sun Tzu II said...

True, although I doubt its any easier under Hitler.

March 17, 2009 5:23 PM  
Blogger Reen Fozi said...

Sun Tzu's Art of War? Impressive....

March 18, 2009 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those devoted themselves for benefits and triumphs whirlpool, which they were entrapped and cursed by devils, and shall called their souls, to be forsaken and eternally enslaved. This is politics.

July 13, 2009 11:51 AM  

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