Sunday, September 23, 2012

Worse than Baghdad Bob?

"When we were making the law, when we were writing the literature and the mathematics the grandfathers of Blair and little Bush were scratching around in caves" - Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf was better known as Baghdad Bob and sometimes as Comical Ali, a humorous play on the name of his more sinister Iraqi colleague, Chemical Ali.

Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf

Baghdad Bob was notorious for his nonsensical press releases and propaganda under the Saddam Hussein regime, so much so he actually earned several laughs from his American enemies who looked at him or rather his press releases with humorous enjoyment.

artefact of Mesopotamia

Yet what he said in the above quote about Iraqi civilization pre-dating that in the West (Britain and the USA) was correct but of course not regarded seriously and sadly, considered as a joke, as one of his outrageous nonsense.

ziggurat of Sumeria

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf had so discredited himself that no one believed him when he spoke the truth, somewhat like the boy who cried wolf too many times.

Today when I read Malaysiakini's 'Progressives must use religion to counter ulama', an advice from Dr Mahathir Mohamad for those wanting to counter or challenge the conservative ulamas on the latter's extreme values, I felt somewhat saddened by the (interactive) comments of the majority of Malaysiakini readers who failed or refused to see the value of his advice, but instead took to disparaging and abusing him, with some on totally tangential issues.

Only one correctly pointed out (perhaps grudgingly) that Dr Mahathir does at times makes sense. Please add me as another who accepted his advice, as reported in the Malaysiakini article above, as relevant.

The automatic and very lamentable feral reactions to any of his advices, without even evaluating their individual worth, is a reflection of the bitter acrimonious and extreme partisanship existing within our Malaysian political landscape, ironically in large part contributed by Dr Mahathir himself.

Like Baghdad Bob, Dr Mahathir is no longer believed by many Malaysians. Unlike Baghdad Bob, Dr Mahathir (or his pronouncement) is not viewed with humour (but instead hatred) by the same crowd.

And he only has himself to blame for his lack of credibility, diminishing each day in tandem to his more and more outlandish remarks.

Some of his ridiculous nonsense have been aired in:

(i) Malaysiakini's Dr M: Soros wants to install puppet as PM, and

The Malaysian Insider's Dr M takes a swipe at ‘ungrateful’ Malays, warns of fate under PR rule

Outlandish like Baghdad Bob's nonsense?

I would say Dr Mahathir's are worse. For example, in the latter article by The Malaysian Insider, Dr Mahathir claimed that during British colonial days "... the Malays were only allowed to take on menial labour jobs and were made into drivers and orderlies or clerks and office-boys at most. There were assumed to be incapable of holding any responsibility. The Chinese and the Indians were even brought into the country to solve this problem of the Malays being stupid and incompetent ..."

Regrettably he failed or chose not to explain that the Malays in general (a) disliked the Pommie colonialists and had no desire to work with or for them, (b) owned land to work on and saw no necessity to seek employment with the Poms, ...

Malay padi fields

... or that the Chinese came to Malaya on their own (not brought in by the Brits) to seek their fortune, while the Indians were part of the Raj (British Indian) heritage where the colonialists had both access to as well as experience in using Indian labour, either in administrative or menial jobs.

Chinese coolies

Then he provided a one-sided perspective on the the treatment by Japanese military during the Japanese occupation of Malaya, where Malays even lost their lowly office jobs (held under the British) and were forced to become petty roadside traders selling goods like bananas.

Jap invaders

Now, hasn't that been just naughty? Did the Chinese and Indians manage to keep their British provided jobs? Almost every Chinese were on the run as war refugees because they were the occupiers' bĂȘte noires, the race most disliked by the Japanese. My family ran off to Balik Pulau via (then) jungle tracks over the Ayer Itam - Balik Pulau hills and hid in a relative's chicken farm in Balik Pulau, abandoning and losing everything they owned in Georgetown.

Until the Brits reoccupied Penang, they lived for years in a shed meant for fowls, completed with chicken poo. One of my aunties, then newly born and unable to eat any solid, survived only on the fluid of rice gruel for more than a week, becoming weaker and weaker each day in front of her terrified mum's eyes. Her mum could not produce enough milk for her. I suppose her mum's daily prayers to her gods must have worked.

It must also be said that the US nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in the Jap Emperor's total capitulation (and unconditional surrender) to the Americans, saved my family from being 'collateral damage' to the naval bombardment of Penang by a mighty US-British fleet then amassing in India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) for an invasion of Malaya, Sumatra and Southern Thailand. The Japanese surrender negated the requirement for a forceful and damaging Normandy-like assault on Penang.

Additionally there was evidence that in general Malays collaborated with the Japanese invaders, not because they were quislings or traitors but because unlike the Chinese, they saw the Japanese as 'friends' for driving out the colonialist Poms - the old equation of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Bearing in mind those times were during pre-independent Malaya, the Chinese reacted differently to the Malays because of their ethnic allegiance to China and the Japanese atrocities there, explaining why the Japs were particularly cruel to Chinese in Malaya and Singapore.

Alas, Dr Mahathir wanted to monopolise Malayan sufferings under the Japanese for only Malays when the reverse was true - a totally unhumorous Baghdad-Bob-ish nonsense.

Somewhat like the Old World’s fatalistic Jews who believed in their divine-ordained sufferings, Dr Mahathir continued with his attempt to corner all sufferings during Japanese occupation for Malays, narrating that when Malays “… failed to bow their heads low when walking by a Japanese soldier they would be forced to balance large chunks of rocks on their heads and shoulders until they would collapse from dizziness, or that they (the Malays) would be ordered to climb tall coconut trees to get the fruits for these Japanese soldiers, where on failing to achieve that, would be slapped and would have to crouch to seek forgiveness …”.

Ask any Chinese from that time or those who have or had parents or grandparents living under Japanese occupation to appreciate (only an iota of) their fears, sufferings and tormented lives in those dark days. Being slapped by the Japs would by comparison be like a Sunday school picnic.

It's sad that despite 22 years as Malaysia's PM, Dr Mahathir has today totally discredited himself in the eyes of many Malaysians principally because of his recent outrageous political comments, because what he had said in Malaysiakini's 'Progressives must use religion to counter ulama' has been really sound advice but alas, now automatically disregarded with scorn and derision by many.

Not quite Baghdad Bob but perhaps in some ways even worse.


  1. Hiding under the fat ass of RPK.

  2. this kerala indian forgot he asked malaysians to look east to Japan. you listen to this indian, you wan to vomit.

  3. baghdad bob kissing teresa.

  4. Factually stated by you.
    The young nons should understand how their forebears had suffered in the hands of the Japs, and also to appreciate their early contributions to make what Malaysia is today, only to be too docile and incapable to stop the wealth of the countries to be milked by the UMNO Malays.
    This Mamak clown is twisting the truth to create a fictitious history fo the country.

  5. Ktemoc,
    Just a bit of supplementary info from a history buff.

    There was certainly an armada being massed in (then) Ceylon for retaking Malaya and Singapore at the closing stages of WWII. Codenamed Operation Zipper.

    If not for the atomic bombs on Aug 6-9 , 1945, and the subsequent Japanese surrender, there would have been a bloody battle for Malaya indeed. At that point in the war, the Allies had overwhelming firepower, but the Japanese still had substantial ground forces. The Japanese Army would have fought a nasty battle before its inevitable final defeat, just like in the Philippines.

    There was an unfortunate unintended effect from the swift Japanese surrender.
    From 15 August 1945 - cessation of hostilities - to British retaking possession in Malaya September 12 1945, there was effectively no governing authority in Malaya.

    Some fairly nasty events occurred in that one month, which would have an impact on race relations in Malaysia/Malaysia for decades.

  6. Dr. Mahathir's 22 years as PM encompassed my entire life from birth to adulthood. Much of the country 's development that you see around was his brainchild.
    I still consider him a Malaysian hero.
    Banzai !

  7. Baghdad Bob was loyally disseminating nonsensical propaganda in what he himself probably understood was the last days of the Saddam Hussein regime.
    There was no real malice in his messages, which is why there was no clamour for him to be silenced or punished.
    Dr. Mahathir is a different matter. He was and is obviously a very intelligent person, and occasionally makes insightful pronouncements.
    However, his efforts to instigate fear, suspicion, xenophobia as a strategy to cement UMNO's conservative rural support base is odious and revolting.
    He is doing a very effective job demolishing his own legacy even while alive.

  8. Mahathir's propensity to manipulate the facts have led to what Barry Wain called "faction" - mix of fact & fiction - when commenting on his memoirs.

    And when confronted in court, he just says he cannot remember.

    His diatribe against Soros stands in contrast to his cordial meeting with the latter in Dec 2006 where both absolved each other of blame.

    His diatribe against George Bush also contrasts with the much coveted meeting in the White House in 2002, said to be brokered by lobbyist Jack Abramoff at great expense.

    For his recent criticisms of the Japs, someone pointed out on his look East policy. I remember Mahathir even advised that the Japanese government should stop apologising for wartime atrocities in Asia.

  9. Anon 4:20 of the above have very succinctly and accurately illustrates how Dr M always do the very opposite of his first original stand, time and time again.....and only in our kangaroo courts that he could get away with such 'saya tak berapa ingat' statements. He himself brought it upon himself earning the people's wrath whose hatred for him degenerated into such name callings like mahataik, mamak kutty, kerela mamboo, double headed snake, twisted-tongue keling, mr 40 percent......

    " I remember Mahathir even advised that the Japanese government should stop apologising for wartime atrocities in Asia ".........yes, he did advise the Japanese govt such, especially when the 'comforts' women from China and Korea and other SEA countries pressed for justice for their sufferings, when the activists demanded that their school syllabus to stop whitewashing their WW2 atrocities and when their PMs still pay yearly respect to those japanese criminal soldiers at their shrines.

    It is simply wrong for people to label Dr M as 'nyanyok' and knows not what he is rambling about......when he is in fact in full control of his faculty and very much alertly alive with his vicious and malicious 'faction-ing'.

  10. Dr. M is not too bad.
    The real evil one is his former deputy, Anwar Ibrahim. He will be the ruin of Malaysia if gets into power.

  11. I recalled Dr.M saying that he is a devil and Anwar is an angel.
    Put that aside, I guess stealing by the billions and losing billions in gambling with tax payers money, lying in court, all are "not too bad".