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Sakmongkol ak 47

Monday, 4 August 2008

Kopi Tiam Talks

It’s amazing how much common sense can be gotten from casual conversations at the Kopi Tiam shops. In Kuantan, there are several. These are frequented by regular patrons. Hopefully they are making good business.

Kopi Tiams are the poor man’s substitute for the upmarket café bars more typically found in KL area. You know, those that dot the areas around Jalan Pinang, Ampang, Bangsar area, or places like Taman Tun in KL and so forth.

Kopi tiams confer the ordinary folks an uninhibited bonhomie atmosphere. You are free to let off steam. No one is going to judge you and even if anyone does, they can go fly kite. There are the usual doses of bragging talks by pretentious businessmen- almost invariably they are the UMNO kakis. They talk in terms of million Ringgit business deals and so forth.

Kopi tiams are also a source of political gossips. Everyone has his takes on the political going ons in this country of ours.

An old wily Chinese businessman, shot me the question. What’s your take of the politics at the moment? Before I could answer or attempt to give a respectable answer, he volunteered. He thinks by September, we shall have a new government led by the man accused of sodomy.

Mention the word sodomy, he immediately went into a tirade against the hypocrisy of our politicians. Each of the ministers of this country he says, whether they are UMNO, MCA or MIC or whether circumcised or not are all fornicators. He went on to berate Najib with unmentionables.

This Chinese businessman is especially virulent against Najib. You see, this almost 70 year old businessman has worked in Kelantan in the 80s for a long time. He knew Najib’s first wife, the niece of Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen. The old man hasn’t forgotten Najib for certifying the first wife as having gone bonkers.

This is why, said the old man, for the reason Muhyiddin doesn’t see the need to go for the deputy president’s post in UMNO. He knows UMNO will cease to control the government come this September.

When Tengku Razaleigh takes on Dato Seri Abdullah, the former is expected to win. Najib by then , would have been severely incapacitated by round after round of scandalous revelations right from the time he was the MB of Pahang to the present. At the end of the sordid reveals, Najib will be a spent force.

The new UMNO president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, will lead UMNO into the general elections. Tengku Razaleigh will win back the country for UMNO. When forming the next government, post Pakatan Rakyat’s brief intermission, Tengku Razaleigh will not be constrained to pick Najib as his deputy. He will remember it was Najib who ditched him at the last minute during his battle with Tun Mahathir. He will pick any one of the UMNO vice presidents. Muhyidin fancies his chances are better if he remains as vice president and help Tengku Razaleigh.

Do you know what’s wrong with our civil service, the old man continued. He drew closer to me as though he wanted to say something secretive. He was apologetic about it. Sorry ya brother- the main problem with our civil service is because it is dominated by Malays. You know- he continues, the smarter Malays always chose to be more adventurous striking on their own or competing in the private sector. What’s left behind? Those who are lazy and less clever.

The present crop of our civil service is dominated by these types. The old man didn’t provide a rigorous analysis on the link between quality of our civil service and productivity. He did not have too. It can be intuitively accepted. It doesn’t require the mind of a rocket scientist to acquiesce in the old man’s take on our civil service.

We parted ways. I am floored by these common sense analyses. Must be that damn bloody coffee. Damn coffee. Damn….


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