To rid of UMNOPosted: December 19, 2011
In this beloved country of ours, we have never been short of abbreviations, or three alphabet “words” that represent an association or other. We even have abbreviations for the multitude of government policies and agencies, growing exponentially every day. Even laws and acts are given alphabetical “short forms”, as if we have such short-term memory that we simply cannot remember them by their full names.
We have laws like the very well-known ISA, UUCA and PPPA, amongst others. We have policies like the NEP (or DEB, depending on your preferred language), the NKEA, the ETP. We have political parties like UMNO, MCA, MIC, PKR, PAS, DAP, SUPP and the list goes on. We have so many that it’s hard to keep track of which is what (or what is which).
The latest addition to this increasing long list of “initials” is the ABU, which is relevant in both English and Malay. It stands for Asalkan Bukan UMNO/BN, or Anything But UMNO/BN.
ABU’s objective is obvious from the name itself – it wants anything but UMNO/BN in power. Although it is comprised of MCLM, SAMM, PSM and PRM, which are parties that were never BN-friendly, ABU is probably the first group to be formed based on a united hatred of a third party, which in this case, is UMNO, and is not afraid of telling it straight from the naming of the group itself.
More than just form a group and preach to the converted, it appears that ABU has taken the bull by the horns – they have identified that in order to be rid of UMNO, they have to get their message across to the majority who keeps on voting UMNO back into power – the Malay heartlands. It was reported last week that ABU had produced 200,000 copies of a documentary, in DVD format, and distributed these into Malay villages. From this first distribution, it is hoped that the rural Malays would no longer be blinded by mainstream news that is controlled by the government, and instead be exposed to other views and opinions.
I’ve watched the 104-minute documentary – it is uploaded in 6 parts on YouTube. Instead of making a new documentary from scratch, ABU took bits and pieces of video from news clips and online media, and even included Fahmi Reza’s documentary “10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka” as part of a whole. Smart move.
Because of the nature of the documentary, which is a mish-mash of old and recent news, most of it was nothing new to me. But the target audience of this DVD video is not us, the internet-savvy crowd who already know of all this. We are already converted, there is no need to preach to us. It is the Malays in the rural areas with no access to news other than what is found in Utusan Malaysia and TV1 that ABU is wanting to reach out to. And I think the video is just right for that purpose.
I do have some reservations on whether the video was ‘fair’ – for me, it focused too much on Malay and Islam-centric issues. Putting aside my own feelings in this scenario, however, I also believe that this video could potentially “enlighten” at least a quarter of those who had previously only received skewed information.
This is an era where those with information is the stronger. Empowering the rakyat is about giving them information, and enabling them to make decisions based on that information. You don’t force them to follow you – you give them the facts, and let them tell right from wrong.
It’s like the NEP, which was initially formed to close the economic/financial gap between the races, and bring the poverty rate down to as near zero as possible. Put it to them, show them the riches of some, and the poverty of many. If only half of the rural Malay folk see this, ABU would have done what it set out to do.