Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rocky, Rais and Gum Infection

Last weekend I did what I do on weekends. I turn into the garden variety Malaysian. I become a foodie.

It was a scorching Malaysian Saturday afternoon. The sun was in full glory. Roads were melting. Even the flies were having their unplanned siesta. My car rolled into one of the ex-New Villages that was created by one of Gerald Templar's boys. New villages created by the Briggs Plan to combat the communist insurgency in the old days have turned into a great success story. Almost every one of them. This one was no different.

By the main road of this new village there was an array of metal-roofed stalls. The sight, smell and sound was pitched at maximum. The heat of the day did not deter any of the patrons. Fried food, kueh, popiah, kuay teow - you name it, they had it. And, the thirst-busting sugarcane machine was an inviting sight.

So, I ordered an assortment of delicacies. When the food was served I tucked in with gusto.

To perform my usual after-meal oral ablution, being a typical Malaysian, I searched in vain for a toothpick. Not a single stick was to be found. I was undeterred because I knew I had a pack of Jordan toothpicks in the car.

As I drove off, I reached for the Jordan pack and extracted a toothpick. The toothpick has an promising triangular design that is as pointy as a needle at one end and stubby at the other. I happily picked at my teeth. At one particular gap there was a stubborn bit of fibre. I stabbed at it. Nothing budged. I stabbed further. Still, nothing. I stabbed harder. The toothpick broke. Now I had a splinter lodged in my upper pre-molars.

A part of it is still lodged there. The salivary enzymes have worked hard to break it down. It has taken some days now. It's a lousy way to find out how complex the cellulose of tree trunks are.

So, I have a localised gum infection. It will go away. Gargling with Listerine has helped reduce the terrible throbbing that occurs from time to time. But, it is not a comfortable feeling. In fact, it hurts. It hurts when I chew. It is annoying.

What has this business of gum infection got to do with Rocky and Rais? I'm not quite sure.

Rocky is the doyen of Malaysian bloggers. He's got a sly glint in his eye whenever the journo in him sniffs something. Sometimes its nothing. At other times there's something.

It appears to me that in a recent post on the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture's plans to disburse an RM1 billion allocation in relation to the Wimax and 3G (or, 4G) spectrums, Rocky's post appears to have become the aforementioned splintered Jordan toothpick in the Minister's gums. And, like my oral travails, that posting has had a similar effect on the Minister as the annoying splintered toothpick has had on my gums. For some reason, it has hurt.

Now, I think I know enough basics of writing to know not to stretch a metaphor too far. But, I am tempted to say that instead of rushing to the dentist (an incredibly stupid metaphor for the Police or multimedia enforcers), perhaps going into the privacy of one's bathroom to do a bit of gargling or popping some Ponstans may be a better alternative to lessen the hurt. And, it will be less costly.

For some unfathomable reason, this episode has reminded me of the Wilde vs Queensberry defamation case. In a fit of anger over a perceived defamatory note left by the Marquis of Queensberry that suggested that Oscar Wilde was a "sodomite", Wilde sued the Marquis for defamation with disastrous consequences.

To mix up a bit of canine metaphor, it may be said that sometimes it is better to let sleeping dogs lie since some people's bark can be worse than their bite.

That said, some barking bloggers travel with rabid blogger friends. And, in spite of modern medicine, a series of rabid bites may hurt even more than a splintered toothpick lodged in the gums - if you get my meaning. If not, then, c'est la vie.


walla said...

I am a slow reader but i think i have finally connected all the dots of the blogger's piquantly exotic post despite their being annotated in invisible ink.

Essentially, and in my imperial tone, i submit that the post contains three hidden messages:

one, wireless internet causes gum decay.

two, oxymorons have intrinsic value, for example - gastronomic abstinence.

and, the most pungent of all,

three, prosecutions must be able to mount defence.

In the case so cited, it was the complainant who had had to escape in the end; unfortunately he didn't have the correct train schedule. In fact if he, Wilde, had only appreciated the deprecations of a fellow member of the literati, namely George Bernard Shaw, he would not have put himself at the receiving end of a cross-examination by the defence itself strengthened by an inadvisable contretemps from him when he blurted out 'danger is half the excitement'. In retrospect, given the turn of events, the prosecution should have asked for the case to be thrown out of court on account of a plea of temporary insanity of the complainant, evidence being no one in his right mind should cause distress to the pugnacious-looking president of a boxing federation.

However, the case itself, metaphorically speaking, cannot apply here, and for assorted reasons.

One, our trains don't run on schedule; two, our buses are unsafe, three, all flights out from Klia allow only one hand luggage of a miserly size as if that would deter brain drains, four, the duty on tobacco has been raised to an obscene level and literati live on that essential otherwise they can't write, five, the dentist acting in the Marathon Man is unavailable to remove toothpick shafts lodged between teeth by the simple teutonic method of yanking both teeth out, removing the troublesome bamboo, and then putting them back again, and six, here it doesn't matter whether one is in the prosecution or the defence. Guilt will be proven in keeping with political expediency, the highest rationale for everything.

Otherwise, how does one explain the deletion of immigration records, disappearance of state files, recycling of criminal items like seized contraband, and an enforcement arm whose primary KPI seems to be to receive an endless series of police reports filed by lawmakers, the very people who should be creating a better state where such reports are a last resort for the citizenry.

But then again, if here we can charge a social-minded cartoonist for lampooning immoderate abuse of state power while the head of administration can wax about moderation on a hallowed world stage, what should one dare to expect?

And that is why a handy strip of ponstan is a basic necessity these days. We get more than gum decay witnessing the political antics and madness going around.

Even Mr Wilde will be bewildered.

yezdi said...

We seem to have an epidemic of hydrophobia here, something beyond the capabilities of the Ministry of Health.

In fact, in what I consider a classic, the latter was just quoted as saying that it is WHO that must act firmly on dengue.

de minimis said...

bro walla

You bring laughter into my life with this commentary of yours. I enjoy the way you weave the commentary into a socio-political context of your choosing not unlike the sex addict who went to see a psychiatrist that I wrote about in a previous post about "breast fixation" :D