Thursday, 6 February 2014
The Cunning Manipulation of Political Satire
As a MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok must realize that as an elected leader, she has the responsibility of upholding values and ethics that sow the seeds for unity and not dissension. In the hullabaloo arising from her controversial Chinese New Year video clip, Teresa Kok clearly used satire to bypass political censorship in her most distasteful rendition of political criticism. Those in the video clip not only insult via subtle innuendos, alluding representations, and passing comments, she and the others in the clip brazenly run down the country distastefully.
Right-thinking viewers are appalled by the sick and warped humor and the fact that the arrogant culprits brazenly refuse to acknowledge that the whole production smacks with malicious intent. That she had the gumption to be in the video and yet lack the grace to acknowledge the fact that she had overstepped boundaries is outrageously disgusting.
Teresa Kok claimed the video clip was produced with humor and fun for her audience among the Chinese community who speak Mandarin and Cantonese. If that were the case, why did she include English subtitles for those who cannot understand those dialects? Far beyond her claims, there is clearly a mischievous motive behind the production as evidenced by the script and characteristics/names of the other three characters. For example, the Feng Sui lady is Master Yan Yan alluding to Ng Yen Yen.
The well-endowed woman, Mrs. Jit, resembles the PM’s wife in terms of hairstyle and other statements that echo Rosmah’s statements on saving money for diamond rings, Birkin handbags, and other sickening innuendos. The man has an uncanny resemblance to Wee Ka Siong in appearance and crying episode.
In a most revealing, abominable and audacious revelation, Teresa Kok was arrogant and resorted to revolting name-calling retaliation showing her lack of respect for fellow leaders and her warped malevolent side. Here are some of the labels she used in her press statement:
• She called critics of her video “racial bigots” and “stupid” for failing to appreciate the concept of satire.
• She singled out Umno minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and MCA’s Koh Nai Kwong for apologies, saying the duo had falsely accused her of mocking local security forces who fought during the Lahad Datu intrusion last year.
• She lashed out at MCA for being “political parrots,” accusing the party’s leaders of repeating the comments and actions of “racial bigots and extremists.”
• Kok is reported to have said Wanita MCA chief Heng Seai Kie as an example of a leader who could not accept political satire... and has shown her stupidity by calling on MCMC and police to intervene and stop my video for the nation’s stability and unity.
Is such behavior becoming of a Christian (Catholic) MP? While on one hand she has the gall to make such an offensive video and on the other hand, has no guts to apologize or to admit her video clip of political satire is most inappropriate and out of line for the CNY celebrations . Neither does she dare to admit it was produced to reframe the representation of current issues to her advantage, through her lens, her perspective and that of DAP. Impressive?
By definition, satirical literature is different from pure comedy, as it is “not meant to elicit laughter just for the sake of laughing, for that is called clowning. It is a form of black comedy that reflects the political and social pains of every citizen.” Granted that for a long time, satire has long been used for political criticism with a specific target and an ideal for comparison description of a folly or vice. However, Teresa Kok and her DAP partners-in-satire must realize that whilst there is freedom in using satire, we should exercise responsibility in how we use it and not abuse others verbally after that!
THE COLUMBIA ENCYCLOPEDIA states:
From ancient times, satirists have shared a common aim: to expose foolishness in all its guises — vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, sentimentality — and to effect reform through such exposure. The many diverse forms their statements have taken reflect the origin of the word satire, which is derived from the Latin satura, meaning "dish of mixed fruits," hence a medley.
Certainly, that video clip does not effect reform; rather it stirs unrest and a host of negative sentiments. To hide behind the mask of innocent tomfoolery or comedy in the name of fun is nothing short of being hypocritical. If she really had the intention of using political satire, why couldn’t she have used it in a non-offensive, non-divisive manner so that everyone can laugh at it in good fun because it is well-written, entertaining and everyone, including the satirist, clearly knows and admits who/what is the target.
Unfortunately, the political landscape in Malaysia is diving downwards as there is so much filth being spewed by irresponsible netizens to the extent that democratic space is filled with malice, hatred, and spins. It has almost become second nature for many to criticize insensitively, irresponsibly and bluntly rather than responsibly choosing the appropriate responses, analogy, words, or message with an entertaining allusion to some ongoing controversy, which can breed more understanding of core issues rather than inciting anger and hatred.
Life is filled with choices. Obviously, Teresa Kok has a knack of making the wrong choices. Her detention under the ISA for one week in 2008 did not teach her precious lessons of responsibility in what she says publicly. Then, her claim that the quality of food served to her during her incarceration was so bad that it was similar to dog food was carried by Utusan Malaysia which reported her statement. Kok claimed Utusan was manipulating her words, denied making that statement, and instead insisted that she had said that the food was only slightly better than dog food. Later, she admitted to making contradictory statements. (Wikipedia)
Finally, many Malaysians mudah lupa that Teresa Kok triggered a controversy when she aired a clip that showed a female police officer ordering a female detainee to do nude squats in the nude. Kok claimed the victim is a Chinese national when in reality, she is a Malaysian now identified as Hemy Hamisa Abu Hassan Saari. So, judge for yourself whether Teresa Kok has been consistently inconsistent in her responsibility as a MP.
By Datuk Huan Cheng Guan
President, Centre for Political Awareness