Monday, March 22, 2010

Defending Anwar Ibrahim - wakakaka

My letter to Malaysiakini titled Dalai Lama shakes hands, Anwar Ibrahim dances where I defended Anwar Ibrahim, yes, gasp, gawd, omigosh, kaytee defended Anwar Ibrahim – hope anwaristas don’t suffer from any heart attacks wakakaka


I refer to Malaysiakini report Anwar spars with KJ over 1Israel, tycoon's daughter.

In Parliament last Wednesday, Anwar Ibrahim excoriated BN for giving 'a whole mountain' to the late Lim Goh Tong to build the Genting Highlands casino complex, yet having the brazen double standard nerve to complain about Pakatan's land allocations for Chinese new villages in Perak.

Then Khairy Jamaluddin riposted by accusing Anwar of being the deputy prime minister who gave Lim the land, but I believe he had attacked ad hominem and irrelevantly by raising the issue of Anwar dancing with Lim's daughter.

Never an admirer of Anwar Ibrahim, I wouldn't have dreamed of defending him but I'll take the advice of my uncle who told me that one could always try something new or unusual.

Firstly, Anwar made the allusion to the BN's award of the land in Genting Highlands to Lim Goh Tong in a specific context, and not as an isolated point of attack against BN. He did so in comparing or rather contrasting the BN's double standard in criticising Perak Pakatan's assistance to the landless Chinese new villages.

Genting Highlands

But Khairy's response to the issue of Genting did not in any way explain away the BN's glaring double standard. No, Khairy failed to ameliorate the BN's unsympathetic view of the land needs of Perak's new villagers while it had supported Lim. This may be something for Pakatan to take to the voters in general, and Perakian new villagers in particular.

Secondly, by mentioning Anwar's dance with Lim's daughter, Khairy was punching his parliamentary opponent below the belt, though of course in Malaysian politics there's no Queensberry rule in political fisticuffs, where Thai boxing technique such as kicking the opposition in the groin or elbowing him in the eye are quite acceptable, and in fact the norm which would be applauded by one's own side.

Anyway, back to Anwar's dancing. Before I explain why it's not something scandalous for the opposition leader despite his Islamic stand, have you ever seen the Dalai Lama in action on his campaign trail in the West? He would shake the hands of women, any women who held out her hand. If you are not a Buddhist, you would probably ask, so what?

Initially Buddhists and some like me, who were brought up in Buddhist families and know something about what Buddhist monks can and can't do, were shocked by the Dalai Lama touching women's hands. Buddhist monks are not suppose to be ever in physical contact with anyone of the female gender, either directly like shaking hands or indirectly like receiving a tray (or book, etc) from a female regardless of her age, no, not even from a little sweetheart who's only five years old.

Dalai Lama and Hilary Clinton

Yet the Dalai Lama has done it, is doing it and undoubtedly will be doing it. Why?

Because he is not only the Dalai Lama but a Tibetan politician who depends heavily on and campaign constantly for Western support. So when someone, say, like Cindy Crawford (the former wife of Richard Gere who is one of the Dalai Lama's most devoted followers), Oprah Winfrey and Hilary Clinton extend their hands to the Dalai Lama, what do you think he as a Buddhist monk should do?

(from L to R) Richard Gere, Dalai Lama, Cindy Crawford

Of course, he would (notionally) take off his Lama hat and don his politician's toupee to shake their hands so as to not offend the Western ladies. You can bet it's not wise to appear to the Western world as a religious fundamentalist, not when one needs their support. In most cases they wouldn't know the vows of a monk nor would they care.

Eventually those 'shocked' Buddhists did the prudent thing, by keeping quiet about the embarrassing observation, that one of Buddhism's top prelates has violated his own clerical vow, unless of course they have come to understand that it was merely politics.

Dalai Lama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former 1st Lady do France

I reckon it was a similar situation for Anwar Ibrahim when he (then DPM) danced with Lim Goh Tong's daughter. I doubt it was Anwar who asked Lim's daughter for a dance; most likely it was the other way around. Then it would have been churlish for a DPM not to accept a woman's invitation to take to the floor, and probably insulting to her father. I do not believe that incident of social and chivalrous obligation had compromised Anwar's Islamic credentials.

It's known that Anwar's wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail wears a glove for hand-shaking because of her Islamic stand. And if you don't, then you have missed the news of how Zulkifli Nordin, who claimed to be a family friend of Anwar and Wan Azizah, had sneered at her for this.

a right hand gloved Wan Azizah

Obviously, as the wife of a politician and the president of a political party herself (first KeADILan, now PKR) she has prepared herself well for a bit of political campaigning where hand-shaking would be a common and virtually mandatory requirement. But I wouldn't want to recommend wearing a glove to the Dalai Lama as it would still be a form of contact with women, and thus wouldn't help a monk maintain his religious vow.

Dalai Lama with young fans

The problem is, of course, when one has a certain standard of religious observance or is subordinated to a set of do's and don'ts (like the Dalai Lama and Wan Azizah) it becomes quite tricky to maintain that standard in a different socio-cultural environment. For the Dalai Lama this would be the West and Western women, and for Wan Azizah, non Muslim men in Malaysia and overseas.

But the point is that a politician, whether the Dalai Lama, Dr Wan Azizah or Anwar Ibrahim, who depends also on the support of people from a different ethnic group or possess a different religion, has to be prepared to deal with these supporters' different set of values and of course their innocent ignorance about the politician's taboos.

Khairy Jamaluddin

Anyway, let's keep an eye on the ball of the parliamentary debate and ask once again, did Khairy Jamaluddin manage to explain away Anwar Ibrahim's accusation of the BN's double standard in land allocation?

The answer has to be a disappointing 'nay'.



  1. Ktemoc,
    no point defending anwar.
    see a letter from malaysiakini about the truth of PAS attitude towards Indian in Kedah.

    What is happening to Pakatan Rakyat in Kedah?Chandra K
    Mar 19, 10
    7:40pmI refer to the Malaysiakini report Gerakan to Lim: Get house in order before meeting PM.

    I read this news about Kedah Gerakan's Tan Keng Liang asking Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to settle the issue of local council Eelections within Pakatan Rakyat before meeting the prime minister to ask for the same.

    I am not from Penang, but just another ordinary Malaysian from Kedah's Sungai Petani. In the last general election, I voted for a change in our country's leadership including voting for Pakatan Rakyat (that time, it was 'Barisan Alternatif').

    Many promises were made including reforms in democracy, promises to help the Indian community, being fair to all people irrespective of race and religion, etc. PAS even used a slogan 'PAS for All'.

    After winning the last general election, Pakatan Rakyat's Kedah government (led by a PAS menteri besar) suddenly changed and began to openly break their promises. They even forgot all the promises they made in the last by-election at Bukit Selambau.

    It started with the increase in the state's bumiputera housing quota to 50%, the demolishment of a pig abattoir and of an Indian cemetery in Kuala Ketil. I want to ask - what have Pakatan Rakyat done in Kedah to help out the Indian community?

    Don't ask the people aligned to PKR or DAP or even the MIC. Just ask the ordinary Indians in Kedah what have they seen after two years with Pakatan. On local council elections, Lim Guan Eng announced he wanted to have it for Penang while Selangor has also announced plans for it. But suddenly, our Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak says 'no'.

    Again, this is another open break of a promise made by Pakatan Rakyat in Kedah. Not only is there no development in Kedah, even democracy has been sold out by Pakatan in Kedah. What is happening to Pakatan Rakyat in Kedah? Why are we so 'special' in Kedah that we don't need local council elections?

    Coming back to Tan Keng Liang, I believe what he is trying to say is that Pakatan Rakyat must keep their promise in all Pakatan states including the one regarding local council elections'. Don't just think about Penang only.

    If Pakatan feels that Kedahans are sure to vote for them in next general elections (even after Pakatan openly declaring to break their promise in Kedah), then let us see how we, Kedahans, are going to teach Pakatan a lesson at the next polls!

    View Comments (4)
    closePost comments only open to subscribers. Not a Subscriber? Please subscribe now and login to Malaysiakini.1 - 4 of 4 commentsby Chandrasekar Krishnasamy - 12 hours ago

    I said the other day and I say it again. PAS for all...(these 3 dots refer to members/muslims/or malays ) Dont get rhetoric just bcoz a few Indians (39) have been appointed MKKK with asalary of RM300.00 per month. Literally there is no FID in Kedah. The abbatoir issue is close to the heart of the Chinese. But the Indians have an attitude problem. The Grave Yard issue will not be an issue at all during GE-13. It is a waste of telling the Indians what is going wrong...
    by DC - 23 hours ago

  2. even if Anwar truly ahem move towards middle Malaysia, his demonizing of Israelis is proof Malaysia will never move beyond a backwater nation.. always stuck in the same old mindset, blaming bogeymans for support...

    most non muslim malaysians don't give a hoot about israel palestin, but there's the danger of being apathetic. today they can blame label israel as enemies of god, tomorrow, it can be anyone, chinese, yoga, whatever...

  3. For politic's sake, it's ok to shake women's hands. It's also ok to shake other parts of their bodies or even to f___ them: ask Najib, he knows. Where does religion come in all these? Religion is only a matter of swearing on your holy book that you have nothing to do with what you actually did, or even to deny any knowledge of who you did it with.

  4. Death note, you're wrong to assert that "most non muslim malaysians don't give a hoot about israel palestin".

    I do, and I've often blogged about the cruel and evil intentions, policies and conduct of the Israeli governments, chiefly those formed by the Likud and Kadima parties and their rightwing Taliban-ish allies such as the Shas party.

  5. anon of 10:57 AM, March 23, 2010

    I invite you and Tan keng liang (wakakaka) to read


  6. ktemoc, maybe you should write a letter to Malaysiakini and ask tan keng liang to read it.
    You write so many things in your blog about him. Some condemn him and some looks ok.
    But do you he visit your blog? No point writing about him if he doesn't read it.
    So, I suggest you write it to Malaysiakini so that he knows what you are thinking.
    Put all the question you want challenge him. Put all your comments openly.....

  7. I am interested to see what is tan keng liang reply to all you questions and issues you raise in your blog.