Spinning out of control

I have never fully understood the term ‘spin’ in media, until today.

NST Editorial:

HINDRAF has finally been outlawed. For an organisation that has deliberately agitated and exploited the sentiments of the Indian community, capitalising on their disenchantment via provocative means, it has rightly been proscribed for its words and deeds. The movement, which sought to highlight the plight of poor Tamils, unfortunately chose ruinous methods to do so.

This is only the first paragraph of the editorial.

NST says: HINDRAF has finally been outlawed.
That would suggest and put into people’s minds that this is something that they had been waiting for.

NST says: deliberately agitated; exploited sentiments; capitalised disenchantment; using provocation; choosing ruinous methods.
This is a big splash of strong negative adjectives, all crammed into one paragraph (the first one at that), to give the reader a negative impression of Hindraf, right from the beginning.

Another excerpt:

Manipulating a community and convincing them that they have been deliberately disenfranchised is unacceptable, especially in multiracial, multi-religious Malaysia. Amid its fire and brimstone, it was also ironic that Hindraf had not made concrete pleas or suggestions to uplift the welfare of underprivileged Indians. Instead, it cunningly took advantage of the community’s underlying sense of being marginalised and used it as a means to wreak further discord and enmity.

Basically, the entire editorial is more of the same. More adjectives painting them in bad light.

It is not difficult to get swayed by this, especially if a fence-sitter were to read this. It started with all the correct ingredients to prepare the readers to generally accept that Hindraf is bad news. The continuous use of negatives further strengthens their viewpoint.

Now, if we were to highlight this one sentence in another way:

Instead, it cunningly took advantage of the community’s underlying sense of being marginalised and used it as a means to wreak further discord and enmity.

The question has to be asked. Why does the community have the underlying sense of being marginalised? The entire editorial, no matter how many times I read it, does not go there.

Instead, it says this:

Voters sent out a strong signal in the March general election that they wanted the MIC to be more proactive on their issues. An Indian vote swing was obvious and post-election surveys confirmed that the community was not happy about social, economic and education issues.

The community is definitely not happy. That I can agree. But what this article does is paints MIC to be synonym with the Indian community. It makes it so that MIC and Indians are seen as inseparable.

The vote swing confirmed that they were not happy, and they want to see something done about it. But it was a vote swing, not a survey. The conclusion drawn here that they want MIC to be more proactive is one big leap of imagination, and much too big a gap to make that leap of faith.

The ending is simply magnificent:

For while other component parties within the Barisan Nasional have undertaken sweeping reforms since the watershed of March 8, the push for change in the MIC has been glacial. It is imperative that the party plays a more assertive and aggressive role, but in the BN spirit of give-and-take.

If change of leadership with basically nothing new can be taken to be the equivalent of ‘sweeping reforms’, then yes, the other component parties have had those reforms. Even Malaysia is on its way to ‘sweeping reforms’.

But the last time I checked, reform means:

(1) to improve or remove faults from (a person, behaviour, etc.)

(2) to give up bad habits, to improve one’s behaviour, etc.

(3) to stop or abolish (misconduct, an abuse, etc.)

Hence it means that to reform, one must first find and recognise the fault, misconduct, mistake etc, and then either change it, or stop and abolish it.

Sweeping reforms?


I have not agreed with Hindraf fully. But they have not done ‘enough’ to deserve an editorial as such, which not only takes a snipe at them, but also in the same article tries to make MIC look like a saint.

Activism is NOT terrorism. Know the difference.

10 Comments on “Spinning out of control”

  1. bangmalaysia says:

    I agree Su that some of Hindraf’s approach is a bit bizarre. But for what its worth, they did speak out on behalf of the economic marginalisation and oppression of Malaysian Indians ( I personally feel that they should have made it a Malaysian struggle, though. )

    The Indians indeed are much more politically aware of their situation and why they are so badly oppressed after 51 years of Merdeka because of the efforts of Hindraf.

    See “Well Done, Macha” – A Tribute to Hindraf


  2. Drachen says:

    The NST is full of crap.

  3. bangmalaysia says:

    NST went beyond ‘spinning’. They are trying to demonise and villify Hindraf so bad to convince and justify the Government’s actions.

    So many of us have totally boycott the mainstream media (MSMs) as they are merely spinning lap dogs.

  4. Patricia says:

    Hi Michelle,

    In this country, activism IS terrorism. You either agree with the government, or you are against them. It is too simple. And so for years and years that is what we did – we agreed, cos to disagree meant that we were terrorists and would be locked up under the ISA.

    Ah Hindraf lagi! I too have not agreed with much of what HINDRAF stands for and is about. They may be sincere, but I have my doubts, because I think it is more like political ambition that I see. But what do I know, ya?

    So the nst (they don’t deserve caps! hahaha how childish!) thinks the Indians aren’t disenfranchised? That that is what HINDRAF wants us to think, but actually things are hunky-dory are they? Cool. And the mic are angels and moving and leaping over buildings in a single bound eh? Cool. And all led by mr wiggy himself, I’ll bet! Cooler!

    Morons. That’s what they are. Morons. They take something white, and tell us it’s black, and we say, “ya, it’s black!”. Well, we used to. But try another one now, nst.


  5. Antares says:

    It’s very easy. All we have to do is visualize pulling the plug on the NaSTy and its political masters, UmmmNo. Do it several times daily. Do it with calm, clear, focused intention. When enough minds pull the plug on a specific reality, it becomes unreal, and eventually fades away.

  6. Anti-BN says:


    It is very disheartening to read about the wrongs that are happening in our beloved country.

    Why are our beloved Rulers keeping silent over the oppression by the evil BN.

    Aren’t they supposed to be protectors of the rakyat or are they only interested to protect their own ricebowls.

    So sad!!!

    Makes me wonder about their role and what they stand for???


    If we are neutral in situations of injustice, we have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. – Desmond Tutu

  7. Paul Warren says:

    So well dissected. The incisiveness of how you dissected that piece must surely put to shame whoever who wrote that shameful piece. It is good that those shameful creatures who write shameful crap be hung to dry like what you have done. Good work Michelle.

    As for HINDRAF, some of you need to understand that for almost 10 years they were operating as orphans who nobody wanted to know. So they quite obviously settled for having to get their agenda going by themselves. They only came into most of our radar after 25th November 2007. And quite obviously for all those who have fought their cause for so long it will be difficult not have misgivings about broadening their cause to embrace everyone. The marginalisation that they talk about is not just those concerning socio-economic matters. There is also the matter of ingrained prejudices, fears and behaviourial differences that impinge on their psyche that keeps this particular group distant from the rest.

    So, I would urge that you not diminish their efforts if you see them continue on their present course of action. And view their past actions from within the context of their perspectives. You have to realise that the case filed in the British courts for compensation of some ridiculous amount was really no more than a gimmick that has helped to bring their concerns to the international stage.

  8. cendana287 says:

    MIC once upon a time was synonymous with the Indians of Malaysia. Unfortunately, the party had failed to do enough for the Indians.

    Maybe it’s because many of its leaders were too busy promoting their self-interests rather than to care for the lot of the urban and rural poor among the Indians.

    It’s the same with Umno. Since some years ago, it has been under the control of the upper-cream of the Malays, with the majority given thought to only during the elections and when there is the need “to show strength in numbers”.

  9. bow says:

    Activism equal to terrorism in Malaysia if you are trying to rally for the “truth” and “justice”, “equality”, and “liberty”, according to the ruling elites.

  10. truemalaysian57 says:

    Hindraf is no more than an extremist movement that is sowing seeds of hatred…
    if u sincerely look at the memorandum, u will know what i mean… even Ghandi would have distanced himself from Hindraf if he were to be alive today. Non of the govts in the world have voiced their support for Hindraf with exception to the DMK party in Tamil Nadu…

    now… do u see the truth…. at the end the real poor indians will suffer because they will be oppresed and marginalised by middle class and rich indians…

    Hindraf has not even any plans for the real poor indians.. I only can hear them barking….

    we criticise the govt only, why do we fail to criticise Hindraf… why did hindraf need to bring hundreds of indian from other states for the november rally… why most KL indians shunned the rally….

    see the deception and expose it…
    the govt is not up to the standard and so is this so-called Hindraf and its leaders.

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