The United States received tremendous sympathy after the September 11 attack. Yet, not too long after that, the US squandered all the goodwill it enjoyed at a dramatic rate. Teresa Kok is fast repeating that pattern.

These days, it seems the fastest way to gain credibility is to be arrested under the anti-liberty ISA. Once the person is put into the cell under the act, one can be sure of gaining hero status among the civil liberty-conscious members of the society.

Ms. Kok is one of those heroes. Or at this rate, was.

Her first mistake was at a press conference where she claimed to be served with something similar to dog food while under a week-long detention.[0] It was clearly a hyperbole to demonstrate the quality of the food she had to suffer[1] but in politics, especially in the extraordinary environment Malaysia is in, one plays with hyperbole at his or her own peril.

Immediately the government set to investigate the matter, taking the matter too seriously that hilarity ensued.[2] And this comedy, unfortunately for Ms. Kok, is unraveling at her expense.

Utusan Malaysia, the daily which published an article which helped sent Ms. Kok into the altar of heroes, reported Ms. Kok’s hyperbole in a very literal manner.[3] That got Ms. Kok doubly upset.

If V.K. Lingam’s slogan is “looks like me, sounds like me”, then Ms. Kok’s rallying call for the next election could possibly be “looks like dog food, tastes like dog food”.

In response to that literal report, Ms. Kok made a u-turn to her earlier statement, saying that she did not say she was served with something similar to dog food but rather, she was served with something slightly better than dog food. The UMNO-connected TV3 handled the matter in the most elegant way: they aired Ms. Kok’s second statement and then air that statement with the first statement she made earlier.

That juxtaposition does not look good for Ms. Kok because Ms. Kok said exactly as Utusan reported.

At this juncture, odd as it sounds, Ms. Kok should really apologize for the hyperbole she committed before this balloons into a larger comedy which could take Ms. Kok out of the picture if indeed Pakatan Rakyat is forming a new federal government soon.

The second mistake which she committed is arrogance.

In an interview with Guang Ming Daily, she had the audacity to say that “she would then become their boss”, if Pakatan Rakyat rose to power to her interrogators.[4] Not only it was arrogant of her to say a such thing and then made it public, the arrogance is very much premature, even if Pakatan Rakyat is really set for Putrajaya. More menacingly, the idea that Ms. Kok would make a public institution as her private playground does not differentiate Ms. Kok from the incumbent government.

Ms. Kok may do well to stop all the nonsense and concentrate on abolishing the ISA instead. This is an issue larger than her, or dog food. It is the ISA which should be at the center stage and not dog food.

The manner at which the issue is being played out at the moment, it only shows the shallowness of those involved, including Ms. Kok. Worse for Ms. Kok, she is on track to trivialize herself by making “dog food” the highlight of her experience, handing victory to the other side.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

[0] — “The food was similar to dog food, there was one day that I was only given two hard-boiled eggs with gravy and cucumber for my lunch and dinner,”. [Teresa Kok. Accessed September 2008]

[1] — IPOH: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator T. Murugiah was aghast when told yesterday that suspects in police lock-ups were only allocated RM5.80 a day for meals. [RM5.80 for food in lock-ups ‘unreasonable’ . New Straits Times. September 22 2008]

[2] — KLANG: The government will conduct a serious investigation into claims by Seputeh MP Teresa Kok that she was served food that was ”almost like dog food” while detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). [Govt to investigate Teresa Kok’s ”˜dog food’ claim. Dharmender Singh. The Star. September 22 2008]

[3] — KUALA LUMPUR 21 Sept. – Dakwaan Ahli Parlimen Seputeh, Teresa Kok kononnya makanan yang diberikan kepadanya semasa ditahan di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) sama seperti makanan anjing adalah merupakan dakwaan yang tidak benar dan keterlaluan. [Makanan anjing: Bekas tahanan ISA sangkal Teresa Kok. Utusan Malaysia. September 22 2008]

[4] — (Teresa later said she even told the investigating officer that she was sleeping and eating well, and would take care of herself properly. She added that if the Pakatan successfully seizes power, she would then become their boss! She said the officer was dumbfounded upon hearing this.) [Teresa Kok: Not in vain. Dominic Loh. Sinchew. September 22 2008]

5 Responses to “[1786] Of Teresa Kok might as well eat dog food”

  1. […] Hafiz Noor Shams: […]

  2. on 23 Sep 2008 at 09:47 Jed Yoong

    Well said.
    Too many heroes in Malaysia. And not many of ’em are doing much about the economy.
    Hope to hear your views on Dr M’s recent suggestion to peg the RM to the USD.
    Any thots on how the meltdown + the US minting money to bail the banks out will affect us?

  3. […] Of Teresa Kok might as well eat dog food […]

  4. on 27 Sep 2008 at 19:28 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Who says the US will be printing money? The US is more likely to borrow instead. Brazen seigniorage won’t happen.

  5. […] case of Teresa Kok claiming she was intentionally maliciously misattributed by Utusan Malaysia when in fact she did […]

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