Ever wondered what wonders a 1Malaysia free buffet holds? A Penang resident finds out what it is like and comes away a couple of kilos heavier.
On the 1 May 2013, from 8.00pm to 11.00pm, t’was a time of feasting at a ‘Jom Erat Perpaduan’ dinner at Kawasan Rukun Tetangga Krystal Heights in Penang. The type where you eat all you can and cast your vote elsewhere.
At about half-past six, a crowd turned up to fill the seats. The national anthem, Negaraku and the 1Malaysia songs were blasted at us, presumably to whip up some kind of glib patriotism that would hypnotise us into choosing BN as the next government. How exciting!
Santa Claus was in town, and free goodies were in store. Hence, we awaited our happy hour and rubbed our hands and smacked our lips Malaysian-style. Some 800 delirious participants had registered their names for the lucky draw, and free BN T-shirts were waiting to be claimed by patrons with questionable, I mean, undying loyalties.
It was a huge turnout – because we were all looking forward to the chicken curry. Sorry, an unfortunate slip of the tongue. I meant to say, we were looking forward to showing our support for the BN, a corrupt-free, transparent government that advocates transparent, invisible, phantom voters. Such respect for them cannot be expressed in mere words. The need to attend their free buffet to show our deepest appreciation for ethno-centric policies is warranted.
Registration started at 5.00pm and ended at about 7.00. I chatted with some neighbours who refused to register themselves because this would mean giving out their identification card numbers. They were afraid that their names would be used by phantom voters or they would be transferred to another constituency. They said they came mainly for the free dinner, as the dinner was sponsored by the rakyat’s money.
What an ungrateful lot. A sudden, overwhelming tenderness for the BN’s money politics rose in my throat and I almost burst into tears at the moving thought.
The queue for food started as early as 7.30pm, even though food was served at 8.00pm sharp. By this time, we were thoroughly convinced that the BN was our first choice because we wanted a government with magical powers. Who would have thought that phantom voters are invisible?
After almost everyone had finished, or rather wolfed down their dinners, the chairman of KRT Kyrstal Heights made a welcome speech and introduced the two BN candidates for the Sri Delima state seat and the Bukit Gelugor Parliament seat.
Low Joo Hiap (BN candidate for Sri Delima) spoke first and urged the people to vote for BN. He posed the question: what has the present Penang government done for the last five years?
Nobody responded. It was a most profound question.
He told them that BN could do more for them. He ended the speech by prompting the crowd to shout “1Malaysia!”
Most remained silent, except for the organisers who were seated in front. The concept of 1Malaysia is, indeed, a complex one that necessitates deep, quiet meditation and serious unravelling.
Wait. Technically, there can only be one, not two, Malaysias, right? How pathetic and sad. I prefer things in pairs. Especially them goody bags.
This was followed by a speech by Teh Beng Yeam (BN parlimentary candidate for Bukit Gelugor). Again he urged the people to vote for the BN. The BN is transforming in order to fulfil Vision 2020. Hence we should vote for BN. Then there will be better things to come! The crowd just listened, and did not seem responsive. It seemed like the words that came to their ears were like those of a foreign language that they could not fathom.
What is that buzzing in my ears? The clapping and shouting of “1Malaysia!” slogans came only from the organisers.
Those who did not register for the lucky draw actually did not even stay back for the speeches. They had more urgent matters at hand, like feeding the goldfish and watering the plants.
After the speech ended, the lucky draw results were released. The lucky draw prizes ranged from the humble iron, some stand fans, electric jugs, and blenders, to the final prize, which was a huge TV.
Lastly, they gave out some BN goody bags, which contained amazing products that had the 1Malaysia slogan (car shade, hand-held fan) stamped on them like an ugly wound. I mean, like a grand emblem that signifies true equality for all. And even more equality for Umno-affiliated elite businessmen.
There were many negative remarks I heard from the crowd, but this stood out: “We take the T-shirts and use as floor mats.” Booyah!
And the crowd dispersed.
A Penang resident is the pseudonym of an observer who is fired up for 1Malaysia … free dinners, that is.