I have criticised my hero, Karpal Singh, twice in my blog:
... once for calling for the death penalty for a demented Indian school bus driver who stopped his bus full of small little girls by the road side in an attempt at raping one of his wee passengers in broad daylight and in the presence of the other girls. Horrendous as the crime was, Karpal Singh shocked me with his demand for capital punishment for the culprit. For more read my last year’s post Overcompensating publicly for personal trials & tribulations, and ...
... a second time when he said (words to the effect) that Zaid Ibrahim cannot be trusted because of Zaid's looks – which to me was a bloody stupid statement.
I was wondering whether to criticise him a 3rd time for chewing Dr Rama up in public, but after assessing the whole situation* I decided Karpal has been absolutely right to do so.
* I trust those who have been criticising me for remaining silent in the issue of DAP’s warlords versus godfathers would appreciate that 2 factors have delayed this post, (a) lack of sufficient information previously for me to make an informed comment and, (b) there were other more interesting topics like a PAS wannabe Kemo Sabe wakakaka.
Now, why won’t I criticise Karpal a 3rd time?
* Note: I have commented adversely against Lim GE (for his opposition to use of nuclear power), Hannah Yeoh (for supporting 916), Perak DAP (for stepping on picture-poster of the frogs), Lim KS (for opening the royal Pandora box in Perak immediately after the 2008 election), etc. Only notable DAP bloke I haven’t criticised is former member Lee Lam Thye (another of my heros), wakakaka.
Initially I thought Karpal Singh was suffering from an idealistic affliction known as ‘fatal purity’, the title of a book by Ruth Scurr brought to my attention by my fellow Penang-lang and erudite writer, Dr Neil Khor, who in a letter to Malaysiakini used that title to describe Ong Tee Keat when he (OTK) was ousted by Chua Soi Lek.
Ruth Scurr’s book was on Maximilien Robespierre, known as 'The Incorruptible' during the French Revolution. Robespierre was such an idealist and frightening zealot during a most repressive period of the Revolution that he sent not only the French nobility to the guillotine but also many of his closest friends and associates, such was his fanaticism to democratic ideals.
Okay, there were far more complex issues affecting Maximilien Robespierre but in my brief and very simplified summary of Scurr’s story, I have made an attempt to draw parallels with Karpal Singh’s behaviour.
As I mentioned many times over, Karpal is the spiritual leader of the DAP, its secular equivalent to PAS’ Mursyidul Am.
He has never hesitated to chew the bottom out of violators of, or deviators from DAP’s ideology of democratic socialism. Some of the pelts hanging on his fence (ignoring BN people) were those of Anwar Ibrahim, Nga, and various other DAP leaders. His latest has been Dr Rama.
At the start I was annoyed with him for dressing down Dr Rama in public, but I soon understand that Karpal wanted to demolish any hubristic (and very damgerous) inclinations of some DAP leaders (not just Dr Rama) from becoming the type of warlords seen in MIC, MCA, UMNO and wakakaka PKR. They won’t be allowed to personally nominate their preferred candidates for elections, more so by unilateral public announcements (via the media), and assume that the party has to accept such fait accompli.
Karpal had to, was forced to publicly reprimand Dr Rama because the object lesson would send a clear message to all DAP regional and sectional leaders that the CEC is the only party body authorised to nominate party candidates for any election, nor would the DAP countenance (BN, PKR-type) 'warlords' telling some poor chaps or lassies to 'stand aside' from election to party posts so that the warlords' blue-eyed boys and gals could be guaranteed ascendancy to the party's upper echelon wakakaka. Like me, my hero is a 'process' person.
And that’s why in my eyes, Karpal Singh is the spiritual leader of DAP, a man who demands, ensures and safeguards party adherence to the ideals of democratic socialism. Otherwise, the party will become just another version of MCA, MIC or PKR.
As for ‘fatal purity’, certainly Karpal upholds ideological 'purity' but he hasn’t sent thousands 'fatally' to the political guillotine. Perhaps Dr Rama might be the first one wakakaka.
Dr Rama made a (excuse the pun) 'fatal' mistake in announcing (like a warlord) the names of some members whom he believed should stand as candidates in the coming election. What he ought to have done was to recommend those names to the CEC, but alas, he is relatively new in DAP and hasn’t quite understand the party can only remain true to and clean in its ideological pursuit if every member complies faithfully with party policies, procedures and process.
But having made a 'fatal' mistake (by party standards), he 'fatally' lacks the ability to swiftly address it. Instead he reacted with a pungent jab at Karpal as being a godfather.
Once the sh*t hits the fan, he made a feeble attempt to ‘half’ apologise to Karpal through vague acknowledgment of his admiration and thanks for his mentor (yes, Karpal was his mentor, having sponsored him into the leadership of the DAP), but like Erich Segal in his book ‘Love Story’, Dr Rama believes ‘love means never having to say sorry’ wakakaka, so he tap-danced around the ‘apology’ word, even defiantly saying he didn’t understand that word.
In defending himself he stated (words to the effect) that he wasn’t just an ordinary person (presumably meaning he is Penang's DCM II, and therefore shouldn't be required to apologise), a pompous declaration testifying to his underlying hubris. I believe such an overly proud man won’t be able to survive any loss of face, despite and in spite of the fact he was wrong to act like a BN/PKR-type of warlord in the first place.
I won’t go into the psychology of upper class Indians here but suffice to say that Dr Rama is probably a bloke who would rather ‘die’ than be humiliated as he believes he will be if he has to apologise for his 'godfather' insult to Karpal (and other senior DAP leaders like Chen Man Hin and Lim KS) and the improper and inappropriate announcement of his supporters’ names as candidates for the next election. Aiyoyo, how can he ever face his machais (acolytes) then?
And that’s why he has stated he is prepared to leave (be expelled from) the DAP (rather than apologise).
In many ways, Dr Rama is like his nemesis, Uthayakumar of Hindraf, both growing much bigger ‘heads’ than they had possessed when they started in the political business.
It’s a sad case of Karpal Singh’s ‘Fatal Purity’ versus Dr Rama’s ‘Fatal Pomposity’.
I hope the party’s committee handling the imbroglio can come up with a happy solution.