Friday, May 4, 2012

Out, Out! You Demons of Stupidity!

Touche, Dogbert.
A few days ago there was a harmless little incident in this little country I call home. Several thousand citizens gathered in the erstwhile capital city, Kuala Lumpur (Putrajaya is the new capital, but nobody cares, really), to stage a peaceful demonstration calling for freedom of speech, transparent elections, cheaper bananas, et cetera. The event was called Bersih 3.0 (Clean 3.0)- no doubt that the decimal played a great part in getting the young ones out of the house. In any case, everything started out nicely and peacefully, despite entry and exit points to and from the city being sealed off. Then things happened and it was chaos. Enough has been said about it, which is why I won't.
A friend of mine invited me. I didn't go, seeing as it was on a Saturday, and ever since I stopped having weekend lectures and picked up a five day work week instead, I really value my weekends. I am dead set on being nothing but the most consummate example of indolence to ever grace the Halls of Sloth. I would like to say that I didn't go because 'I had a bad feeling', or spout an old cliche like 'I felt storm-clouds gathering on the horizon', but I didn't, really. I was just lazy. Don't you care about how the direction the country is going in, you ask. Don't you want to do something about it? Oh, of course I do. There's just one little problem that's getting in my way, and it's nothing to do with my laziness.

You see, I fancy myself as a sort of 'romantic idealist'. The trouble with that is that it's just as easy to fall into the deep dark sea of cynicism. It's rather funny, really, since it's only in those murky depths that you really get to see the light. Of course I care about freedom and liberty and all that nonsense. No excuse to the peaceful protesters who got tear-gassed, it's just that I don't believe in the aim of your cause.

It's the nature of politics, you see. Or democracy, if you like. Many of you would (a) like the ruling coalition to clean up their act or (b) get out of the office. The problem is that I don't think much of any of the available candidates on either side. In any case, at the end of the day, politicians will be politicians. Their career is politicking. You should trust them only to get the job done that you request them to do, and even then they'll only do it if (a) you make enough noise and enough people listen; (b) doing so is in their interest; and (c) there's no harm in doing so.

The biggest problem with politicians is that it seems you can only judge them when they're safely dead. Hopefully they'll have left behind a confession of their transgressions in the form of a memoir (for their estate to benefit from). It's infinitely harder when they're alive, given that they're doing their darndest best to not get kicked out of office- never mind if it's to see that their policies aren't ditched, or if they just like the nice view and celebrity lifestyle. I suggest watching the British comedy Yes Minister. That's how politics really is. Even if they say it's for the better of the nation, you can't trust them. No matter how much you want to. Even if they really mean it.

But well- that's the system we have. There's not much point in changing the people. If you want to effect any real change- fix the system. But what alternative do we have? Communism as it is today? Oh please. Isn't it ironic? After all that cynical yapping the only practical solution I can think of, short of a radical change in human society as we know it, is to have someone else in the driver's seat. At this moment in time there's really nothing better than to raise a half-hearted cheer for the old system and hope for the best this time round.

Even so, I refuse. I refuse to vote for a candidate simply because s/he belongs to a party that I dislike less. I resent not having any viable choices to choose from. I will not deny my vote to a baboon only to grant it to a cephalopod. For the record, in an attempt to stop everyone from bugging me to register as a voter, I tried to do so twice at the nearest post office- but both times I was turned away because they didn't have any forms. So I got irritated and gave up.

Well. This has gotten a tad too grim. Time to lighten things up a bit, no? Since the only solution I could reach short of evolution of the species would be, in simple English, to put a new boss in charge and hope for the best, here's my shortlist of potential candidates, none of them being real persons having existed in the flesh, and such, easier to judge than the lot we're so used to. Be warned: possible plot spoilers ahead.
#5 Lelouch Lamperouge, aka Zero
First on the list, in no particular order: Lelouch Lamperouge from the anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. He has the looks (for PR purposes) and the brains for the job. Even without his one-use per person ability of absolute command, he will be able to manipulate the situation to fit his plans. Assuming, of course, you fit into his plans. In the anime he only took up the cause of independence for Japan to further his own goals, not because he really cared for it. What matters to him are results, nothing more.

Why he's not the one you want giving orders: Sure, he's a tactical genius and could totally take over the world if needed, and he'll bring victory to your cause (of course, if he picked your cause to use) as a little bonus. At the end of Season 2 he was Emperor of Earth, but everyone hated him, which was his plan for a better future, to burn into the human consciousness an instinctual fear of war and dictatorship. Even if it was for a good cause I'm sure you wouldn't want to get caught up in it.
#4: Leto Atreides II from Children of Dune (Pre Shai-Hulud)
Next up, Leto Atreides II, from the novels Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune. The picture above is from the movie starring James MacAvoy. The Leto I'll be focusing on is the Leto from God Emperor of Dune. In that book, Leto was well into the three thousandth something year of his reign over the human universe. He was as close enough to omniscience as you could possibly get, along with side-benefits such as almost total invulnerability, near immortality, and prescience. He was humanity's first and only 'long term planner', and immediately upon ascending to the throne set about to righting the mistakes of millenniums of foolishness to ensure the survival of humanity by enforcing his 'Golden Path'.

Why you wouldn't want him in charge: Yes, he's the closest you'll ever get to a living god. Of course, you wouldn't dare think so, because he's 99% omniscient, and the 1% is only there because his eugenics program allowed bred you to fall outside of his omniscient scope. Yes you got three millennium of peace, but he denied you a place in history- never mind that under normal circumstances you wouldn't even qualify to be a footnote.
#3: Gandalf Greyhame
And then we have Gandalf Greyhame, from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (which I've probably read more than ten times now, appendix included), and the soon to come silver-screen prequel, The Hobbit. Gandalf is great leader material- he shows up when he's most needed, like when you badly need advice on how to steal gold from a dragon without getting yourself blown to bits, or bringing reinforcements to save you from being gang-raped by an orcish army. Oh, did I mention that he's a actually a sort of celestial being in human form, sent from a higher realm to guide you puny souls?

Why he's not cut out for the job: Oh he'll show up in the nick of time, alright, but what about the rest of the time? Who's going to mediate over your petty squabbles? China claiming the entire South China Sea? Petrol prices soaring? Not his problem. He's only here for the big picture, and it's all your responsibility once the Big Bad is dealt with.
#2: Onizuka Eikichi-sensei.
Bet you weren't expecting this one. Onizuka Eikichi, from the manga Great Teacher Onizuka. A 22 year old delinquent who ends up becoming a teacher. Some of his more radical achievements: Attempted to swim from mainland Japan to Okinawa, but got swept by strong currents to Taiwan; arm wrestled 100 delinquents in a row, some of them more monster than human; surfing on a dolphin; healing the rift in a student's family by kidnapping her... the list goes on and on.

Never a moment of boredom with Onizuka in charge. Why wouldn't you want him in charge? Here's a man who embodies the very spirit of Nike's Yoda-ish motto "Impossible is Nothing". Here's why: You wouldn't get anything done because you'd either be too caught up in his antics or be too stressed out from dealing with the aftermath; and nobody would take you seriously. Nuff' said.
#1 Lord Havelock Vetinari
And here's my final candidate. Lord Havelock Vetinari, Patrician of the City of Ankh-Morpork. Despite coming from the absolutely ridiculous Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, he's probably the most suitable candidate for our current political system, for a simple reason. He recognizes that what most people want is stability, and so he gives us stability. He does not have any apparent vices, with the exception that everything he does is for his own good, which strangely enough equates to the good of the city. Here's a description of how it's like under him: "It's like being a puppet, only he gets you to pull your own strings".

Why you wouldn't want him: But what about democracy? Well everything's working right, isn't it? The city's prospering? Unemployment is low? You have food to eat? The occasional adventure? Democracy? I'm sorry, I seem to have forgotten, what does that word mean again? I haven't heard it since before Vetinari came into office- times were really bad then, I'll tell you... and there you have it.

P.s. So ends my little pseudo-political diatribe. Even if you haven't noticed it, I have. There's a serious problem with this post. Where are all the women? I'm sure they make pretty good leaders too. The fictional ones at least. All I can think of is Joan of Arc, and she doesn't qualify, because she's real. Oh, and the English had her burned at the stake. Phooey. Recommendations, please, if only for my entertainment.


  1. The Political spectrum worldwide is becoming quite's depressing :(

    1. It's always been chaotic, I think. The lines were different, of course, and things might have seemed neater, but the people involved were as messed up as ever.