Tuesday, October 4, 2011

MCA: Get the emotional connection going

The MCA almost lost its underpants in the General Elections of 2008.

With GE13 looming its luminaries are attempting (belatedly) to enter into cyberspace more aggressively.

The MCA has also offered to buy Menara Multi-Purpose in KL as a long-term investment.

What do these two disparate actions mean?

Let's not forget the cat-calling and trading of barbs between the ex-President and the sitting President.

I'm not about to psychoanalyse the MCA. That would be the stuff of serious academic analysis. I will not presume to trivialise a political institution as important as the MCA.

Yes, the MCA is a political institution. It has a long and distinguished history. Hell, "renegade" MCA guys like Ong Yoke Lin in the KL Branch went against Tan Cheng Lock in 1951 to tie-up with UMNO at a time when Onn Jaafar's Independence of Malaya Party was the preferred flavour of the British colonial administration. Historical records confirm this.

So, how the heck did MCA's leaders lose the plot? How did they get the party so emasculated that it is now a mere eunuch? 

During the 1974 General Elections (yes, the one where all Chinese Malaysians were entreated to the photo-op of Tun Razak shaking hands with Chairman Mao), my father's car was festooned with mini BN flags. My father was an MCA Branch Chairman.

Where is this leading to?

I think I read somewhere that the MCA has a net asset worth in excess of RM2 billion (or, maybe more).

With that kind of deep pockets, the MCA can spend on some serious marketing and advertising campaign.

This is no time to be parsimonious. 

Come GE13, the MCA will be fighting for its political life.

It's time to sprinkle some magic dust.

My humble suggestion to the great egos at the MCA (yes, I've met some of them. And, yes, I did have to look up to the heavens for some of them. Though, to be fair, many MCA leaders were suitably modest...which is one of the minor reasons why I'm even bothering to write this.) is to consider an advertising and public relations campaign.

MCA has the financial resources. It has deep enough pockets to execute a good pre-GE13 campaign.

Whatever MCA has been doing to-date is too little and too lost in the cacophony of Malaysian politics.

And, by the way, getting nubile young Wanita MCA lasses to do tweets won't be enough. They'll either be too cheesy and effusive or, worse, become tweet-bitches if they are too aggressive. 

What the MCA needs is to tell its story.

The MCA story needs to be told at several levels.

To the mature demographic, the emotional connection is to MCA's role in the founding of the nation. Hearken back to the days when the MCA had Ministers holding substantive portfolios such as Trade and Commerce and Finance. Apart from the populace, there's no harm reminding big brother UMNO that when there was an MCA guy in charge, the Finance portfolio was well-run.

To the middle-class demographic, the MCA needs to create an emotional connection.

To the entry-level voting demographic, the MCA needs to provide an edgy message beyond just whacking the DAP and whacking hudud. The MCA has to go beyond making lame appeals to UMNO. The MCA has to realise that saying that there will be no MCA Ministerial representation if it gets less than the number of seats it currently has won't cut it with the voters.

The entry-level voting demographic needs to get an emotional connection with the MCA. They need to get beyond the cynical view that everyone who joins the MCA is in it for the money alone and, everything else are platitudes.

I don't have the answers as to what emotional messages need to be created. Nobody is paying me to think that hard about the MCA! 

I can only give clues. 

By the way, although my father was an MCA Branch Chairman many, many moons ago, I don't have any emotional connection to the MCA. I felt something momentarily in the late 1980s. But, since then I've lost it. Nada. Nothing.

But, wait a minute, the fact that I constantly write about the MCA, UMNO and BN, less about the DAP and Pakatan, should give you a clue.

Needless to say, I am jaded with BN as a whole because of Perkasa and PPSMI. Both matters reek of manipulative opportunism by a desperate BN machinery. The rakyat can see through the ruse and, they ain't buyin.

My humble view is that there was never any need for BN "to go there" - to the darkest recesses of the Malaysian psyche.

So, back to the MCA.

The MCA needs to ratchet up its emotional connection to Malaysians, Chinese or otherwise.

That's the key...the emotional connection.

Get the message right and Malaysians like me may give it a real, hard look.


walla said...

I guess if sons of MCA branch chairmen can write such thoughtful blogs, there's still hope for the MCA.....

The emotions swirling around today are not those of yesteryear.

When the country was formed, everyone was excited by a common vision and mission.

But because capabilities were not the same, some progressed faster than others so that to close the gap, policies were made to help the more under-served get up, unfortunately without any antidote against policy abuses which today are seen as the causal root of all present evils.

And you can admit this is true because CSL's New Deal contains the same elements in spirit as those of the original policies.

Why the need for a new deal if the old one had worked which would have naturally led to doing things for all the rakyat that should have been done honestly and wholeheartedly to the sustainable benefit of the entire nation?

All this means the intent of the original policies has been deviously deviated until today the rakyat of the Peoples Republic of Malaysia can but only see some cat-and-mouse game between the present government and the peoples it is supposed to serve without personal motives benefiting specific power-mongers in the guise of communal interests.

Against that backdrop, we can thus understand the dilemma of parties like the MCA.

It was supposed to be an equal formation partner of Barisan, not perceived today as some shy chambermaid standing outside the room while the new brown Tuan romps away on some napure mattress with his latest toy.

And that has come about because Umno has crimped the role of the MCA.

Its reps get the minor ministerial roles and the ministries concerned are run by Umno KSUs.

There are layers of political bureaucracy, armies of little napoleons, double standards in recruitment and deployment, and chasms of budget allocations based on only one criterion - race.

There are slants in policy interpretation, archives of trickster excuses, pistons of suppression against nation-conscious support for the natural development and activation of the real contributors to national progress.

At some of the negotiations going on between MCA projects and Umno-run bodies, the latter have absolutely no historical perspective of what was involved and no wisdom of what is going to hit Barisan on the whole next should they continue to adopt their racial mindset cloaked behind rarefied airs of officialdom presaging conditionalities to be used in the same cat-and-mouse zero-sum game that Umno has become so adept in; some may add they weren't even born when those projects had started, running till today with more international success than those defended but in name by those Umno-run bodies.

walla said...


The bottom-line is this:

Umno crimps the MCA and its other non-Malay political partners from doing what will be good for the nation, foremost providing the checks-and-balances necessary to prevent elements in Umno from benefiting themselves to the exclusion of the rakyat, a bone of contention incidentally shared by the Opposition.

If Umno is for 1Malaysia, end the crap from top to bottom. Zero-sum games should only be played by people who have superior capabilities and concern for the universal values upon which great nations and economies are built.

From what one has seen at every corner of this country until the last general elections in the past thirty years, those universal values have been tampered and defaced until today even the Umno general membership is ashamed to be associated with their party.

So how can the MCA deliver if this is the situation it faces?

People may additionally say it is just a business party. If the roles were switched with Umno as MCA and MCA as Umno, would complainants in today's Umno camps blunt their barbs instead?

(jejeje i can't believe i am writing this ;P)

I can comment for another hour and lift you off your chair but there is a later post by the blogger which also tantalizes.

So, to end on a positive note, CSL is an ok man. He was just working overtime when he was in health to test some of those pharma samples in the interest of the general public. Who's to disagree, and on what credentials?

Looking at the b-s-ters in the present Barisan setup, people should mind their own personal business, especially when public ones are already going to test every neuron, if there is still any left, in the running of this country.

If it is possible for me to be in the MCA, CSL will get my vote for a presidential ministerial post no lower than that of Muhyiddin or even Najib, both of whose capabilities remain as suspect as ninety-day DNA samples.

But all this will automatically rescind the moment Umno raises tobacco duty.

How else can one haze oneself to oblivion in the midst of such craven stupidity and chauvinism?

Betul, no?