Naturally the term ‘sacred cow’ popped up, with kind Mr Koh explaining its place in the English lexicon to his inattentive students.
Dear elderly Mr Koh – I remember him berating me “kaytee how many times have I told you not to use the word ‘get’. 'Obtain! Obtain! Obtain'”, and with each utterance of ‘obtain’ he would jab his finger in the air for emphasis, though at that time I felt as if he was trying to drill a hole in my poor skull so that he could insert the ‘obtain’ word into it (while no doubt removing the 'get' word).
The dictionary defines sacred cow as “one that is immune from criticism, often unreasonably so” as in the example (in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists): "The need for widespread secrecy has become a sacred cow".
I learn through observations that in Australia there are 3 ‘sacred cows’, namely the veterans of Gallipoli and WWI, the farmers, and sports people.
Sorry to say that the first have become extinct, with the Aussie affection now directed towards WWII veterans and even Korean and the once much despised Vietnam veterans.
The second, the farmers – well, Aussies don’t hear much from them when they are doing well such as when the crops are bountiful and fetching high prices, and Japanese and Koreans are buying Aussie beef and mutton by the mega tonnes.
But when floods and drought play havoc Downunder, oh oh oh, those national icons must be supported (through government funds of course), succoured and suckled, and don’t you dare say anything nasty about them at all, like, "Hey, what happened to those big bucks you guys earned during those 7 years of plenty?"
They sure won't appreciate you narrating to them the story of Joseph son of Jacob and his interpretation of the Pharoah's dreams.
But if you were to, say, open a sandwich shop at the airport and the airline pilots or maintenance engineers go on strike, and bugger your business into bankruptcy, or there have been 40 days and 40 nights of wild raging seas screwing the fishermen and fishmongers real good, you non-farming lot are likely to get a "Tough luck, matey, t’is the hard cruel world of commerce".
The Japs pampered their farmers (and yes, blooming whale hunters too), the Yanks subsidized their farmers heavily, the French try to beat the Yanks in the subsidization game, the Aussies, as mentioned, treat them like ‘sacred cows’.
Given this universal trend, I wonder how we Malaysians treat our farmers.
But please don’t bring up the pig farmers and the episode of the Nipah virus outbreak some years back.
As for the 3rd Aussie ‘sacred cow’ most of them are a bunch of over pampered overpaid oversexed prima donnas who won’t hesitate to bonk their mate’s wife, have ‘quiet drinks’ in a room with Indian bookies (and claimed innocence), or bash up their girlfriends – but nonetheless, at the end of the day, will still be treated by sport fans as heroes.
It's not only some Malaysians who are 'blind' - wakakaka.
So there we are – perhaps now we have an idea of what a ‘sacred cow’ is.
So … who is Malaysia's ‘sacred cow’?
I believe now it has to be Raja Petra Kamarudin or as he is popularly known, RPK. He was once also called Peter, a reference perhaps to his Malaysian-Welsh upbringing.
Leaving aside his UMNO (and perhaps some police) enemies, who would dare say anything bad about him?
Even those who wish to criticize him do so in the most oblique manner, knowing any adverse comments against RPK would be akin to stirring a hornet’s nest. ‘Stirring a hornet’s nest’? wakakaka!
Quite frankly if RPK were to stand for election today, he would probably win with a majority that would make Teresa Kok’s winning margin seem paltry. If Malaysia is a republic with a direct presidential voting system, he could easily become President of Malaysia, winning enough votes to carry over to the next five year term - such is his popularity!
But of course, RPK is under ISA detention now.
Malaysiakini columnist sweetie Helen Ang wrote in Keeping up RPK's spirit:
Whether one believes in RPK’s exposes and statutory declarations, the fact of the matter is that he has successfully provided an alternative reading diet, both in politics and philosophy, and weaned a multitude away from the official-line info sources.
RPK had been a one-man media industry, single-handedly exposing the shenanigans in the corridors of power. More than that, his writings tackled the practice of Islam here, which few dare. The fact that he is a Malay-Muslim pushing the envelope is what makes him a serious threat to the Umno hegemony, rather than if a ‘non’ were to rant and rave.
While there is a lot of truth in what sweetie has written, I beg to differ slightly (just slightly) with her second paragraph.
I reckon the issue of RPK ‘pushing the envelope’ in his exposé of UMNO or even the practice of Islam, rather than being the serious threat to the UMNO hegemony, has been the excuse to detain him under the ISA.
It has been his series of anti Najib articles culminating in the Statutory Declaration of “I have been reliably informed …” which was the last straw for the authorities, particularly RPK's target, the DPM and now PM designate.
And who knows what or who had put private investigator Balasubramaniam to follow up RPK’s Stat Dec with another almost similar anti-Najib Stat Dec, which included a ‘revelation’ of a sexual manoeuvre ‘coincidentally' similar to the one Najib's political Nemesis had been accused of.
Strangely, the principal beneficiary of RPK’s campaign and general thrust of his folk-popular articles has been relatively silent about RPK’s present predicament.
Yes, he has made the odd "free all under ISA" statements, which have been no diffferent to what other PR leaders have done.
Surely we should expect more from Anwar for RPK - like, has Anwar visited RPK in Kamunting? Maybe leaving a copy of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' for good olde Peter to read?
Or perhaps Shakespeare's other book, 'The Twelfth Night' which tells us that Viola declared:
I hate ingratitude more in a man
Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness,
Or any taint of vie whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.
But alas, we witness Anwar's greater keenness in attacking the new PM designate.
I applaud sweetie Helen Ang’s timely article where, as she so sweetly wrote, ‘Whether one believes in RPK’s exposes and statutory declarations’ or not, we must punch home the message to the government that RPK and the Hindraf leaders must be freed a.s.a.p!
Unlike Anwar Ibrahim, I am more worried about RPK’s and the Hindraf leaders’ continuing detention than Najib’s political ascendancy.
Please join me in getting our political priorities right!