Propaganda, Contradiction & The Age Factor for Politics

By some flip of channels, I ended up on TV1, watching Berita Nasional. I have to admit I’ve never watched TV1 news (or TV1 as a whole) for years since nTV7 and 8TV came into being. But then again, can you blame me?

It is a government-owned channel, but I was taken aback, almost appalled at its blatant government propaganda and “morally-upright” messages. I noted several things.

First, that gotong-royong message that we’ve so often heard in primary school. Dapat mengeratkan hubungan silaturrahim, they say. True. But where’s the local municipality?

Then there was the issue about Keramat Mall built in 2008 at a cost of RM60 million but remains largely unoccupied. Yet another white elephant project. IKHLAS (Alliance of Small and Medium Enterprises Malaysia) President Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah said he would ensure Keramat Mall would be for the Bumiputeras only to conduct businesses, and no ‘foreigners’ would be allowed. One could take it as a racist statement. I don’t know about IKHLAS but its name speaks to me that it should be a representation of all the SMEs in Malaysia, not just the Bumiputeras.

After a poetic moment by the anchorman university students being the ‘hopes of the nation’, they took on a turn of how some university students were being ‘used’ as puppets by some people (namely the opposition) for political purposes.

Cue dramatic music. (Seriously)

They flashed some videos of the UPSI incident. Aha. The UUCA. In poetic language, they said that the government has provided many platforms for students to voice social and political concerns like through the National Youth Council and the upcoming youth parliament. Hence, students should not fret about the UUCA suppressing their voices.

National Youth Council President and the Vice Vice Chancelor (Naib Timbalan Canselor) of UPM voiced their dissent of students participating in politics. The former said that students should not membodohkan diri (stupefy themselves) by being puppets.

Does being an activist in political issues means you’re a puppet for the opposition? Hm. Being anti-government does not equal to pro-opposition.

Several students of local public varsities were interviewed (of course a Malay, a Chinese and an Indian). Naturally, they agreed that students should refrain from politics. What was that about puppets again?

One said, “Government sumbang banyak duit untuk kita belajar. Kita mesti menghargainya.”
Another said, “Belajar mestilah fokus. Yang lain mestilah tunggu.”

Wait? It brings to my memory of something said by William Pitt the Younger to William Wilberforce in the must-watch movie Amazing Grace.

[Pitt voices his plan to become Prime Minister]
William Wilberforce: No one of our age has ever taken power.
Pitt the Younger: Which is why we’re too young to realise certain things are impossible. Which is why we will do them anyway.

Pitt the Younger became the youngest Prime Minister in Britain at the age of 24 in 1783. Wilberforce, at 21 and still a student, became a Member of Parliament, was the leading abolitionist of the slave trade. The Slave Trade Act received the Royal Assent on 25 March 1807.

And they say we’re too young.

They could, why can't we?
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