From the Selangor Times 12 April 2013. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!
Lord Bobo, whose manifesto do you think is better – Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat? (JP Quek, via email)
Who cares? A manifesto is just a list of promises. What’s more important is whether those promises are fulfilled or not.
So the question is, who is going to keep a “report card” and hold these parties accountable?
Lord Bobo is also of the view that BN presenting a manifesto is fairly odd. If the party which has been in power for more than 50 years can do what they say they can do in their manifesto, why have they not done it yet?
But it’s good that they have, and it is yet another example of the benefit of having two competitors vying for your votes come 5 May.
What defines an activist? Is it possible to be a real activist if I drive an Audi? (Va Va Vroom, via email)
There is a grave misconception that being reasonably well to do is incompatible with having a need to serve those that find themselves in the margins of society.
What defines “an activist” is that his undeniable indefinability. An example of an activist is one who devotes their efforts and resources to campaign, advocate, and work for those oppressed, marginalised and victimised by the government or society.
But really, activism can take many forms, and is generally an effort to promote, direct, or affect social, political, or economic change.Activists do what they do this because they feel strongly about it and think it important.
They do not do it because they inherited a gene from their parents, or lost badly at Monopoly when they were six, or because they are poor or have been victimised before.
If a person devotes himself to a cause sincerely and meaningfully, does it really matter what car he drives, the clothes he wears or the people he sleeps with? An activist is defined by his commitment to the social cause he devotes himself to.
But yes, of course, Lord Bobo has heard many questions of whether so-and-so is a “real activist” or merely a “champagne activist”, “armchair activist”, “Bangsar activist”, “keyboard activist”, “Facebook activist” and so on.
There are those who say “he can’t be a real activist, he’s never been to an Orang Asli village” (most often said by those who go to Orang Asli settlements).
Or “she’s a part-time activist lah, only talks about activism in newspaper interviews” (usually repeated by those who don’t get asked for interviews).
Or “what kind of activist lawyer is he, he doesn’t even serve on any of the Bar committees” (often uttered grumpily by those who serve on Bar committees”).
Or “please lah, she’s obviously not a real activist, she only wears Karen Millen dresses to work” (commonly said by those with no fashion sense).
Anyway, His Supreme Eminenceness really has no time for petty labelling. What is more important is their personal, sincere and noble contribution to the cause. Any cause. Just because someone doesn’t show active concern about your cause of choice doesn’t make him any less of an activist.
But we don’t care. If you are rich (and Lord Bobo thinks you are), feel free to make frequent donations to the work of LoyarBurok, the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, LoyarBarang and UndiMsia! by clicking on the “Make A Donation” button on the top right hand corner of LoyarBurok.com.
As a direct response to your question, to say that a person is not an activist just because he drives a sexy, sporty Audi is a classic example of inverted arrogance and pettiness.
It, of course, is admitted that those who possess such sexy vehicles are less likely to engage in activism, but to paint all owners of such vehicles with the same broad, dirty, and perverse brush does a great disservice to genuine activists, the cause they serve, and Vorsprung Durch Teknik. Ja.
Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected]com, stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!
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