Monday, August 29, 2005

In Vino Veritas

In vino veritas. In Latin it translate into 'there’s truth in wine'. What it means is that when a bloke is drunk he speaks out the truth or his true mind.

This was the problem for John Brogden, the Opposition Liberal Party leader of Australia’s biggest state, New South Wales (NSW). He spoke his mind after 6 beers, disastrously for his political career.

The Labour Party currently forms the NSW state government, and has been so for last decade under the leadership of Bob Carr, one of the most powerful and articulate politician in Australia. It's such a pity Carr has just retired from politics. Carr is married to Helen, a Malaysian born lady.

Carr is such an intellectual - it's rumoured he read books which first sentence has at least 5 words requiring ordinary blokes to refer to the dictionary - that he was considered to have a nerdy image. In the last election, the Labour Party was a bit worried that Bob Carr’s intellectual personality/image might alienate him from the voters. So their strategy was to focus on Helen as the principal character in their political TV campaigning.

The aim was to demonstrate Bob Carr as a normal sort of bloke, whose charming wife Helen did a good job at home, cooking and talking about what Bob liked to eat, what he did at home, that sort of touchy feely stuff. The campaign was successful.

I am not too sure whether Helen’s role in Carr's reelection victory had irritated John Brogden but last week after a few drinks in a Hilton Hotel with some journalists (how more stupid can such an Australian politician be) he referred to Helen Carr as a “mail-order bride”, a racial slur on Helen’s Malaysian background.

But the disaster for Brogden didn’t end there. During that boozing session, he also pinched the bum of a journalist and propositioned another, with any of these two acts enough to kill his political aspiration to be the next premier of NSW.

This guy in his previous incarnation must have been a kamikaze pilot or a sati, a Hindu widow who burns/kills herself together with her dead husband.

One reporter wrote sarcastically:

“Quite apart from the appalling quinella [double winner or in this case, double whammy] of sexism and racism, anyone dumb enough to make a comment like that in a room packed full of journalists deserves to be kicked out of their job for gross incompetence.”

“Then there’s the revelation that he pinched one journo on the behind and propositioned another. Gee, what were the chances that’d make the papers?”

But the racist remark on Helen Carr was absolutely unforgivable. Even his own political party distanced themselves from him. He has become a political pariah overnight.

He resigned as the Liberal Party political leader today. Whether he will one day return to the top position remains to be seen, but from TV news report it would appear that his misconduct had been dobbed in by another more conservative faction in his party. John Brogden has been a more liberal sort of politician which didn’t sit very well with the right wing elements.

A wonderful lesson for Malaysian politicians - learn how to resign honourably after a dishonourable act. We don't require you to commit sepukku, yet!

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