What You Think

Different, different but same! — Daniel Abishegam

OCTOBER  6 — One becomes a little jaded and overwhelmed in this era of instant news and information overload and sometimes major news events just whiz by; one only gives nothing more than a glance at the headlines and a sigh at the sheer ignorance and/or folly of some of the things that are happening in the country.

However, when one such controversy involved something close to my heart I could not just sit by and let it slide.

I felt that I had to say something. I am talking about the recent brouhaha about beer festivals being held in our country.

So much has been said about it, in the newspapers and online portals but mostly over a couple of beers in bars and restaurants all over the country.

Nothing more of value can be said about the silliness of the selective banning of beer festivals especially since the particular beer festival in concern, the Better Beer Festival, was supposed to be in its 6th edition this year.

The blatant afterthought of a reason given by the authorities — security reasons — is also not worth talking about as it will just add fuel to the anger felt by many Malaysians on this matter.

What did strike me though was that this beer festival saga betrayed a point that does not augur well for the state of our political parties in the country and may drive many to find solace in a pint of beer.

It was disappointing that the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan was behaving the same way that the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional behaves on many issues. It resulted in me questioning if there really is a difference between the two coalitions at all.

The youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia apparently managed to collect more than 10,000 signatures opposing a separate beer festival that was supposed to be held in Selangor.

Parti Amanah Nasional also has come out to support the ban on beer festivals as well. This came as an absolute surprise to me especially since there were other component parties in Pakatan Rakyat that were saying the absolute opposite.

It does seem to me that Pakatan Harapan has learnt well from Barisan Nasional and has become proficient in the art of disseminating different naratives on the same issue to different segments of society.

Barisan Nasional has employed this technique to great success previously employing the various vernacular newspapers under their control and race based parties that form the coalition.

Pakatan Harapan needs to understand that in today’s world of instant communication, this does not work anymore.

By Bersatu and Amanah vociferously denouncing beer festivals and at the same time DAP and some members of PKR supporting it equally loudly, the result is just white noise that overpowers any message of real value that they may have to put out there.

I hear some of you saying but Barisan Nasional is also doing the same and that is political reality in Malaysia and Pakatan Harapan must do what it takes to win.

This is exactly the point of this piece.

If Pakatan Harapan is exactly the same as Barisan Nasional then what really is the differentiating factor.

If the difference between the two is merely akin to the difference between German Pilsner and Czech Pilsner then what’s the point? If you don’t know the difference between those two variants of beer, don’t worry, that’s the point!

I probably will still be casting my vote in the upcoming elections for Pakatan Harapan. Barisan Nasional has done far too much damage to this country, in my opinion, for me to cast my vote for them at this point.

However, if Pakatan Harapan continues to morph into Barisan Nasional, then I might seriously be tempted to enjoy a beer the whole day at future general elections.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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