“Wong is not in a good mood this morning,” Ah Nen, who serves wonderful laksa warned me: “He is cursing at all the newspapers.”
It is customary for out-of-town (outskirts of Kuching) coffeeshops to subscribe a copy each of all the local newspapers and leave them on the tables for customers to read as they enjoy their breakfast, lunch or tea.
Pensioners like Wong habitually travels a few kilometers to have their coffee in one of these shops. He spends an hour or two reading all the newspapers and starts the coffeeshop debates with his buddies for another two hours before they all make their way home, contented with the knowledge earned and shared that day.
Before I sat down at his table, he showed me his sour face and exclaimed: “All these Taib Sandiwara! Why aren’t the papers tired with publishing the same PBB rhetoric for the last 3 days?”
“Look at Borneo Post, page 3, a Deputy Minister and MP together with State Assembly woman. No more than 30 people turned up to show their support. Big deal? The onlookers in the mall looked puzzled. If I am Taib, I will not be impressed,” he said.
Wong and others readers may be angry with those reports of PBB gatherings occupying all the spaces, but as long as any PBB branch, a YB or a local councilor organizes a gathering which has a crowd of 10 persons to voice support for Taib, the local newspaper will give it a prominent coverage. Which newspaper dares not publish it?
A “Sandiwara”? Many of HU readers are also using the term which obviously is another one adopted from the Indonesian language, as the term is interpreted: “Sandiwara adalah sebuah pertunjukan pentasan sebuah cerita atau disebut pula lakon dalam bahasa Jawa. Sebuah sandiwara bisa berdasarkan skenario atau tidak. Apabila tidak, maka semuanya dipentaskan secara spontan dengan banyak improvisasi.”
And another reader, Wayang Street, found a more local term: Wayang kulit.
It is comical and demeaning to write the long translation of sandiwara and wayang kulit. Fabian was helpful and he gave me an appropriate English equivalent: theatrical act.
And why is there “Taib’s Sandiwara”?
HU readers ventured to suggest that Taib is just “testing the waters” 2 days ago, before this Bernama report:
We will leave it to you to watch (the Sandiwara) and judge (testing the waters) for yourself. What we want to share with you here are some photographs sent to us by the “Eye of the Truth”, an amused eyewitness at one of the most important PBB theatres, the community hall of Kota Samarahan last Saturday.
Taib was a 3-term MP for Kota Samarahan before his son Sulaiman Taib succeeded him as the current MP. His brother Ali Mahmud serves as the State Assemblyman for Muara Tuang, one of the two state constituencies within the Kota Samarahan parliamentary constituency. Taib’s chief political secretary, Abdul Karim Hamzah, is the state assemblyman for the other constituency, Asajaya.
At any other time (previously), no one would have doubted that PBB would stage a great rallying show in this BN stronghold.
But to the surprise of “Eye of the Truth” and surely many other, fewer than 300 people turned up for the gathering, despite the free transportation.
“The gathering had to be delayed for 2 hours to wait for the buses to make another trip to all the kampungs and what have you? Innocent and ignorant youths were dragged to make up the numbers. Yet, the number couldn’t be more than 600,” said the eyewitness.
Didn’t the Borneo Post say there were more than 1,000 people?
Well, that’s Borneo Post. What do you expect?
We will let the pictures speak for themselves:
This is the email by Eye of the Truth which HU admin received together with the photo,
” On the 28th of August 2010, a signature campaign to appeal for the stay of Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud as the chief minister and their president was held at the Kota Samarahan Civic Centre. Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Taib’s chief political secretary had shamelessly claimed in the Star papers that there had been “an out-pouring of popular support”. However, the papers can seldom acknowledge the truth due to the pressure from the current government and thus articles had to be censored to favour the government.
The organizers were targeting an ambitious number of 2000 people and the rally was scheduled to commence at 2.30 p.m. However, the number of participants barely reached the target. At 2.30 p.m. there were less than 200 people and this worried the organizers.
The event’s emcee repeatedly urged the attendees to enter the hall but even when everyone was gathered, the hall was almost empty and the atmosphere was cold.
Seeing the pathetic number, the organizers could not begin the event and requested for the people to sit on the floor. The organizers then played music to kill time.
Reporters were seen waiting anxiously and some were seen walking in and out of the hall, not sure when the event will start and checking the crowd.
At 3.15, the number of attendees was still not ideal- less than 400. Out of desperation, people were sent to ferry people from nearby areas to fill up the number. At last they were able to gather a crowd of around 600 people to fill up the auditorium.
It was a Saturday-a non-schooling day. Thus, there were many boys and girls or juveniles under age of 18 that were ferried to attend the event. The person in charge also mentioned to the crowd that no identity cards were required for signatures and the crowd was continuously addressed to give their signatures and this scenario contradicted what was lamented by Karim , “the support must be genuine.” as quoted in the STAR papers yesterday.
To add to that, there were many who were not eligible to vote in the crowd.
Despite the discouraging scenario, the organizer obstinately claimed that there are thousands of people who would like the CM to stay on.
The next day, the mainstream media exaggerated about the number of turn ups and success of the event. However what was reported was far from truth and any one who were at the scene yesterday cannot deny the embarrassing circumstances with quite an empty hall and later the underage youths turning up to help fill up the numbers !
By The Eye of Truth “