History tends to repeat itself – a quote that is frequently used although nobody knows exactly who started using it or when it was first being used. Stock investors, analysts, traders and writers especially in the technical analysis field will tell you people still tend to repeat their own mistakes in both bullish and bearish cycles simply because they were not taught on how to react in order not to repeat their past mistake again. Interestingly, even if they were taught so, they tend to repeat the (same) past mistake by not taking the appropriate action being taught in the first place. Human is indeed an interesting emotional creature worth a study by Extra-Terrestrial.
An average-Joes can be forgiven for making the same mistake because, well, they’re average people. But to have highly intelligent groups of peoples to repeat their past mistakes despite the history being a mere 3-year-old-plus, that’s unforgivable. Who can forget how the ruling Malaysian Government led by UMNO lost their two-thirds majority trophy less than four years ago because they were brutal on the 2007 Bersih (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) Rally which ultimately contributed to their worst defeat in general election since independence?
While many were excited about the coming Bersih 2.0 (Part 2) scheduled on July 9th 2011, I believed the event would be a tame one. Ever wonder why the sequel to the first part of box-office movies tend to flop most of the time? That was because people tend to have higher expectation and the movies production, in their rush to present the part 2 to the audience, generally will produce inferior storylines. In their greed for profits, they tend to ride on the success of the first part of the movie and do less on how to creatively make the second part a better movie.
Jurassic Park was one of the greatest movie making close to $1,000 million in revenue. Yet the second part (Lost World) sucks although it still made about $600 million, thanks to big-name director Steven Spielberg. If Part 2 had better storylines, Steven Spielberg would have make the Part 3 and so on. For the same reason, I think Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his army of advisors are stupid enough to assume the coming Bersih 2.0 will be any better than the Bersih 1.0 rally. Maybe PM Najib is a coward after all, just like how most politicians including those who rub his shoulders perceive him to be.
Najib has to understand that his predecessor, Abdullah Badawi, was an extremely weak and inefficient leader so he shouldn’t let the past Bersih 1.0 haunts him. This second round of Bersih will be *yawn* just another rally that has little impact whatsoever to his government simply because Badawi’s administration had already absorbed or taken all the damages from the first round Bersih 1.0. If Najib can’t understand such a simple logic he’s indeed an indecisive leader, not to mention a coward who fold his cards instantly on the poker table the moment opposition scream of mobilizing 100,000 demonstrators.
On the contrary, tactically, the premier should demonstrates statemanship not shown by any other permiers including the longest serving dictator Mahathir Mohamad, by allowing the rally to proceed. That would keep Mahathir, deputy PM Muhyiddin, the oppositions, international observers and most importantly the voters drop their jaws – what an awesome sight. As I’ve blogged, Najib administration will definitely win the coming snap election so why give the opposition free and valuable publisity? But no, Najib is still shivering that what happened to Badawi post-Bersih 1.0 rally will happen to him post-Bersih 2.0.
History tends to repeat itself and Najib should spend a day or two attending some crash courses about history. When Corazon Aquino, a “plain housewife” became the 11th President of the Philippine’s and the first woman to do so, it was because she could mobilized the infamous 1986 People Power Revolution. But after she left office and tried to call for the same revolution against other corrupted and inefficient presidents, very few participates. People got tired and naturally the sequel to the first People Power Revolution didn’t take off as expected. Hence, Najib should relax and treat the Bersih 2.0 with a pinch of salt.
To issue warnings and threats to Bersih 2.0 over its proposed rally on July 9 was bad enough because it was not only illegal but unconstitutional as well. Malaysia is perhaps one of the countries that claims democracy but deny all the citizens the right to assemble peacefully. But the arrest on Sunday of over 30 Socialist Party members, using seized 28 T-shirts, eight of which bore pictures of figures such as the long-dead Argentine revolutionary figure Che Guevara, and instantly accused them of intending to wage war against the country’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or King, appears to be the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
As much as the latest crackdown was laughable domestically as well as internationally, PM Najib’s own cousin, Home Minister Hishammuddin, was adamant in leaving no stone unturned. If you think Najib administration has gone incredibly insane with the latest crackdown, you may wish to stock up more snacks and soft drinks at home as the Malaysian Government is about to unleash its lethal weapon – ISA or detention without trial. From comical accusation of trying to revive communism because of Che Guevara T-shirts to draconian ISA tool, Najib administration appears to be doing the opposition a great favour.
If the Bersih 2.0 would garner only a fraction of the first version’s 50,000 demonstrators, it will now attracts more than the Part 1’s number. If the Bersih 2.0 plan would fail in attracting the multiple folds of voters for opposition seen in Bersih 1.0, it will now attracts more young fence-sitter voters. If the Bersih 2.0 would eventually die a natural death, it is now fully charged ready to be used or hijacked by opposition parties for the coming snap election. If Bersih 2.0, compared to Bersih 1.0, would lose its support, it will now be seen as Najib’s unthinkable brutality compared to Badawi’s crackdown. Just like the Romance of Three Kingdom, Najib seems to be giving away thousands of free arrows to the enemy who gladly accumulate it for the coming war.
Actually, Najib may be able to shrug off the influence of the dictator Mahathir and the threat of his deputy if Bersih 2.0 is allowed under watchful eys of police. With a stroke of genius tactical game plan, he may be able to win over many voters over to his side, not to mention praises from international leaders. As the saying goes, the damage to his government was beyond repair after the Mar 2008 general election so the opposition cannot do any more damage. Ability to demonstrate a new statesmanship quality is something that not even his mentor Mahathir can do during his 22-year-rule.
It was perfectly safe to allow Bersih 2.0 rally simply because the rally won’t affect the rural voters who are still blindly supporting Najib’s government. Since Bersih 2.0 rally focuses in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur where most of the educated voters tend to support the opposition anyway, it was foolish to say no and in the process triggers unnecessary attentions that would point to Najib administration’s brutality. All the hard work in marketing his mountains of transformation programmes to foreign investors would go to drains.
To think he would lose power if Bersih 2.0 is allowed and to plan for the sequel or part 2 of infamous 1987 “Operasi Lalang” are short-sighted and foolish. The opposition parties are now laughing all the way home because while initially they were cracking their heads on how to maintain their sudden victory after Mar 2008 general election, the present federal government has given them free momentum and tickets to continue the slaughter from Mar 2008. The crackdowns definitely makes opposition journey to Putrajaya much easier.
Maybe it’s true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, what more when this is not only an old dog but an arrogant old dog. Time will tell if history tends to repeat itself again. For now, Bersih 2.0 will Rock, thanks to Najib’s stupidity. The prime minister may have just triggered the biggest rally in the nation’s history, without him realizing it. Unfortunately we may have to do without the priceless Al-Jazeera interview with former Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin. Don’t you miss Zainuddin? I know I do (*grin*).
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