And So It Begins : Malaysia’s Search For The Bogeyman


By: B Goode

Like day follows night; like spring follows winter; like a retiree follows the Batam ferry; like PM Lee’s selfies; like me going to church on Sundays (so true); some things in life are as predictable as Kim Kardashian’s hoe game.

If you have lived as long as me my friends, you too will notice a trend in Singapore-Malaysia relations. And if you are as good as whatshisname who got sacked from TTSH because of malingering, you will be able to tabulate a graph of peaks and troughs and see that the troughs lined perfectly with the Malaysian General Elections.

The Malaysian GE is expected to be held sooner rather than later. And as per tradition, the Malaysian politicians will be seeking something to distract the electorates from the real issues of the day. For UMNO, the biggest party in the ruling coalition, that will mean finding a `hantu’ (bogeyman) to scare their predominantly simple-minded support base; the FELDA settlers.

And of course what is scarier than the `toyol’ (little black devil) just south of the causeway?

In elections gone by, there were bound to be issues raised by the Malaysian politicians against Singapore. From the water issue, to the crooked bridge, to Pedra Branca, to anything that Lee Kuan Yew might have said, to the Malays in the SAF; anything under the sun to make Malaysian villagers and fishermen forget about how miserable their lives are, because a hantu is much scarier than a leaking roof and a blocked waterway that also acts as the sewerage system.

And having convinced them of the existence of a hantu, UMNO leaders could then paint themselves as the bomohs who could dispel the nightmare from their lives.

*Note: The joke about the coconut bomoh with his bamboo binoculars is old already, guys. Just let it slide…

The Malaysian election is around the corner. This time, they tried to find a different bogeyman. They targeted Myanmar and the Rohingyas. But apparently this didn’t scare the villagers because most probably they didn’t know wtf is the rohingyas or for that matter, where the hell is Myanmar. So they reverted back to the tried and tested; the toyol that is Singapore.

And so they have decided to re-ignite their claims to Pedra Branca. This is not going to be end of it. As the election nears, this issue will somehow degenerate into name-calling and UMNO latchkeys threatening to block the causeway.

So what can Singapore do? Just go with the flow and participate in their wayang; perhaps PM Lee may want to pop over to KL to take another selfie with Najib. Only this time, just remember to include Rosmah Mansor in the picture. What a scary thought.

Whatever it is, stay calm because when the election is over, everything will be back to normal until the next election, of course.

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