The dictionary tells us that the word ‘grandstanding’ may be used as a noun, adjective or verb. Let’s have a look at its verb form.
One dictionary is quite pithy in its definition: To perform ostentatiously so as to impress an audience – I like this one.
Another says: To conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in an attempt to impress onlookers – eg. The senator doesn't hesitate to grandstand if it makes her point – basically the same point but a bit wordy.
In other words, the motive or objective of 'grandstanding' would be to impress an audience - basically all put-on show to promote oneself more than with the intention of following through with the issue raised.
Now, look at the headline for a malaysiakini article, which screamed: 'Probe May 13 riots, police told'.
And who told the police to investigate into an event that occurred some 38 years ago?
'Twas lawyer N Surendran who was accompanied by none other than a PKR supreme council member, S Manikavasagam!
Surendan was the one who lodged the report with the Brickfields police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He wanted the police to probe into the alleged criminal actions that were revealed by Dr Kua Kia Soong’s book 'May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969'.
In the book, Dr Kua had extracted information from recently declassified British documents that indicated that UMNO, the police, military and the government, including the late former premier Tun Abdul Razak all played a major role in condoning, allowing or even instigating the riots.
Surendan (naturally accompanied by PKR supreme council member Manikavasagam) stated firmly: "The parties must be implicated, brought to court and charged, no matter how old they are."
Fortunately he didn’t say “... no matter how dead they are ...” because quite a few of those he’s after, including Tun Razak, are no longer with us, and if guilty and believers in God, probably had already faced a ‘Higher’ court.
Mind you, don’t mess around with Surendran, no, not when he was accompanied by none other than a PKR supreme council member (‘supreme council’ – wow, powerful title), because he warned that should the police fail to act, he would take the matter to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia or even obtain a court order.
Now, this is the most prized portion of the entire article - PKR’s Manikavasagam averred: "Since the book is not banned, the contents must be true."
Yes, malaysiakini reported that the said opposition politician also called for a police investigation.
Hmmm, I suspect he may be a Catholic though I have to admit he doesn’t seem to be one because, as been reported by malaysiakini his name is S Manikavasagan. But what do I know, because the 'S' in his name perhaps stands for Sebastian or Sergio or Saturnino, all good Catholic names.
I only make this little digression about his possible Catholic faith purely based on his assertion that "... since the book is not banned, the contents must be true."
You see, many Catholics around the world actually believe that the story in Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ was true, so much so that it had the Vatican worried. Many Catholic churches (overseas) condemned the book as sinful to read – kid you not. And that’s why I did wonder whether S Manikavasagam, a believer of 'truth' to be found in books, could be one.
Wonder what my good friend Lucia Lai would say? adoi Luce, mai sakai wah ay tau k'ak hoe boe
So, back to Surendran - he said the new information in Dr Kua’s book was the reason behind his decision to file the police report. He declared:
"For the first time, Malaysians are looking at these documents. Now it is time for the truth to come out.”
I thought the ‘truth’ had already emerged because of Dr Kua’s book.
Now, this is really touching - Surendran also urged the government not to be frightened by the documents. He calls for the government to uphold transparency since it is a matter that affects all Malaysian citizens.
'... affects all Malaysian citizens ...'? How?
Then he claimed: "People have been speaking in whispers since 1969. This is important for nation-building. We cannot be an united nation until things like this are brought to light."
No, people haven’t been speaking about it in whisper because, just as a humble example, I had blogged on it in The Real Cause of the May 13 Riots on 09 January 2006 – that’s last year.
It’s not quite up to Dr Kua’s standard but I wasn’t far off.
But most certainly it’s hardly "People have been speaking in whispers since 1969.”
That same year, on the anniversary of the ill fated day I also posted May 13th - Best Forgotten!
Maybe Surendran should reconsider his digging up an old wound. I don’t see what value could be derived from that other than for academic interests.
Besides, any objective probing should be done by qualified researchers rather than the world famous Malaysian Police who, apart from being beholden to the UMNO-led government, are struggling (and really failing miserably) to contain the everyday crimes occurring in our country.
Oh, what about my opening mumbling about ‘grandstanding’?
Now, what was that bloke’s name again, the guy who believes in ... er ... was it the ‘Da Vinci Code’?
The PKR must be truly desperate to try to extract every little bit of attention from stale news and such useless action - if that was not 'grandstanding', then what should I describe that report to the police demanding for an unlikely probe into the alleged complicity of certain players, including the late Tun Razak, in a 38-year old event.
Hmmm, just like a chip of the old dazzling dancing de facto deacon of dodgy democracy, who titillated us with salacious tales but never completing same, escaping with a unfulfilled promise of 'man man'.