Politics & government Society

[2182] Of the return of Chua Soi Lek and its potential effect on conservative mores

It is unclear what the future holds for the Malaysian Chinese Association. Popular public discourse so far is tilted to one that assumes that MCA is heading the way of Gerakan, which is one of national irrelevance. Whatever path MCA will take, Chua Soi Lek is now the President of the party.

While I myself am hostile to MCA for its position in Barisan Nasional, I celebrate this victory. There is only one reason for that: it is an assault to conservative notion of morality and the link between such morality and ability to perform public duty.

With glee if I might add. Already there is a joke running around that MCA has elected a porn star as its president. That is a cheap shot but it is still funny nonetheless. That is the fate of those who live by sex scandals.

Mr. Chua fell from power when a video of him having adulterous pleasure saw distribution in the age of the internet. The video is a very graphic depiction of his disloyalty to his wife. Malaysia’s infamous distribution network of pirated goods certainly lubricated the whole operation where the internet failed. In Malaysia at that time, the fact of such man holds public office — the Health Minister, which is an important one — is untenable. That was just over two years ago.

I hold that a person’s private life is none of our business, as long as no crime is committed. This includes the life of politicians. If Mr. Chua should be booted, it is for other reason related to very real public issues, like the health system for instance. I am adamant that the only crime in that case is the intrusion of privacy.

Notwithstanding his capability, his return is a direct rebuke to those who think otherwise. Opinion about his vision and contribution to the national health system is to be debated at other times.

Of course, Mr. Chua is not a Muslim. Some have argued that the conservative morality that conservative Muslim Malays have is irrelevant to him. True but it is still a foot in the door. Communities do not live in isolation. They interact. Development like this is akin to water acting upon rock. Enough times and the rock will give way.

Furthermore, it is not only the Muslims in Malaysia who maintain conservative world views. Mr. Chua would not have fallen from power in MCA if that was not so. The election of Mr. Chua is a proof that in MCA, the conservative opinion is being listed only at the bottom of its priority list: there are other more important things to consider.

That is encouraging.

Liberty Politics & government

[1906] Of an insidious prospect for greater moral standardization

The episode surrounding state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong is beginning to assume a new twist. Slowly subverting violation of privacy as the main issue at hand is a desire to impose one’s moral on others. For a society like ours, that is hardly surprising. Recent event indicates what many have already known: we have a long way to go before enjoying a society of free individuals but it might just get worse. If the call for the resignation of Wong is successful, we are in the prospect seeing greater standardization of moral across all communities when previously, it was only mostly visible within a particular community.

I might be beating a dead horse but for those who are truly concerned with the state of individual right to privacy should not let the issue die. In that spirit, I am only glad to repeat what others have said: Elizabeth Wong is a victim.

Unfortunately, far too many individuals with Khir Toyo possibly as flag bearer of the informal group of thought are pummeling the victim while ignoring the occurrence of crime. If it is unclear, the only crime that happened is the violation of Wong’s privacy.

The same rationale is applicable to the case of Chua Soi Lek though this is not to say that the cases of Chua and Wong are the same. Chua is married and he broke the trust of his wife. Wong on the other hand is single. The contexts differ and so too the justifications.

In Chua’s case, the betrayer of trust is him — here, trust refers to his family trust on him — while in Wong’s case, the betrayer of trust is her former boyfriend — here, trust refers to trust between Wong and her friend. Notice that the betrayer of trust in the latter case is not the victim of violation of privacy, unlike other case.

Yet, in both cases, the crime is the violation of privacy and nothing else.

When the calls for resignation for both were made, it only showed that the callers are trying to impose their morality on others. This is especially visible when Khir Toyo called for Wong’s resignation. While it is still wrong from the perspective of liberty, the imposition of morality on others has more or less occurred within a community, specifically the local Muslim community. While being mindful that a community is not monolithic, the opinion of those identified themselves as belonging to the community and taking conservative position previously only wanted to impose their morality on those who they deem as belonging to the same community, their community. They do so on the assumption that there is only one moral standard in their imagined monolithic community.

Khir Toyo’s demand is definitely one of the more prominent calls that cross into another community where the moral standards — if one use the logic of monolithic community, which is typically used by UMNO, however flawed it might be — differ.

Khir Toyo and those from his community — that is an assumed Malay community —  supporting the call for Elizabeth Wong’s resignation because of Wong’s private life wrongfully made public due to intrusion of privacy may demonstrate an increasing tendency of the cultural or religious conservatives to impose their morality on others from outside of their perceived homogeneous community.

Alternatively, if that is wrong, then the call for resignation of Wong is done out of malice, lacking honesty based not at all on moral and principally driven by excessively vicious political competition otherwise, rightly called by others, as gutter politics.

This cannot be allowed to happen because it creates an perverse opportunity to standardize morality across different communities. While effort to standardize morality within community is already a step towards tyranny if not tyranny itself, wider standardization is a step towards hell if not hell itself.

There is a direction I will oppose and that is the reason why I wish for Elizabeth Wong to continue to serve to the people of Selangor and beyond as a member of the Executive Committee of Selangor and as a assemblyperson for Bukit Lanjan.

Earthly Strip Politics & government

[1498] Of Earthly Strip: No Crisis

When I read an article relating to the resignation of Chua Soi Lek in The Star today…:

Fair use.

…I just could not resist it:

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams.

I just love the Prime Minister. He gives too many opportunities for humor. Perhaps, he aims to rival the current US President!

Liberty Politics & government

[1496] Of the only crime here is intrusion of privacy

The 42nd President of the United States of America faced impeachment because he lied about his sexual relationship with an acquaintance while 43rd President escapes any chance of impeachment in office despite misleading the public into going to war. Absurd? If that is so, then the episode surrounding Chua Soi Lek that led to his resignation is doubly absurd.

I honestly believe that the Malaysian society has quite considerable length to go if liberty is our benchmark. The treatment that Mr. Chua receives from many quarters proves just that. Instead of looking for the intruders of privacy, the victim is being crucified. It is as if people are celebrating the peeping toms for wrongfully shaming an individual.

What the former minister had was consensual sex. Despite being a public figure, he, like all of us, has a private life. His conduct may be deplorable but what he does with his private life is definitely none of our business, just as what you do with your private life is none of my business.

Perhaps, he should resign, along with other politicians that lead this country. The reason for resignation however must be something that relate to the public sphere, like failed policies, misuse of public fund or sheer incompetence.

The only crime here is the violation of privacy and the intrusion positively cannot be tolerated. The perpetrators must be apprehended and accordingly punished because that is the only right thing to do.

Politics & government

[1494] Of Mr. Chua’s Googley famous!

For some reason, the statistics of this blog is relatively filled with a particular search term from Google. The term is “Chua Soi Lek”.

I wonder why…?