A banter with undertones

I was in Penang last night for a brief visit. Driving up in the afternoon with a few friends, reached around 6pm and took part in a dialogue session between the president Dr Koh and the Penang delegates. The crowd was not very big, because of the Nine Emperor God festival , which is a very big event in Penang. Nevertheless, the meeting was a fruitful one and there were many exchanges of views.

I have asked my fellow blogger Romerz to meet me after the session. We met for the first time, and I also met Veonszu, the young Gerakan blogger. The three of us chanced upon Dr Koh (actually myself and romerz  purposely seeked him out ), and we have a lively exchange of views.

I am one of the most vocal grassroots, and have been voicing out  using logic, stories, history and points to argue but never scold or use foul languages.

 In the 708 posts that i have posted for the past one year plus (almost 2 years now), I have never used scolding or foul languages to belittle anyone. As I have always mentioned before, once you scold someone, that person’s ears will be closed, a wall will be built between the two of you,  and you cannot put your views across and you can never influence him anymore. . The best strategy to influence a person is to influence that person’s mindset,  through arguments and logic. (This is the way to treat our children , too).

 But I can tell you, if I am in any other BN party, or even in some of the opposition parties, I would have been long expelled for being a ‘trouble’ maker , even though I was just voicing out on ideology . Gerakan leaders, despite my strong views and pressuring the grassroots to pressure the leaders, tolerated dissenting views well. This is the difference between Gerakan culture and the culture of many other parties, where the leaders are , to use a Mandarin phrase, “high high above”.

In any other party, eg MCA from past history, my candidacy will be viewed as a threat and all sorts of obstacles will be put in my path. But so far, in my moving around the various states, I am given the same equal chance and same equal treatment to campaign;  I get to be introduced to the same delegates in the same function. 

This culture is very different from many other parties, where one faction will hold one dinner here and another hold another dinner elsewhere, and trying all their best to put obstacles in the path of those candidates who have a mind of their own. This is happening in MCA now.

I, romerz and veonszu had a banter (with undertones as romerz has so eloquently put it in his comment) and a short debate with Dr Koh , and I likened this to 3 like-minded persons from blogosphere debating with Dr Koh about certain issues that I have written in my blog. Dr Koh  talked about half an hour with the three of us and finally because he had a plane to catch, we promise to meet again to ‘debate” again – the three of us against him, in private of course.

I also have no doubt about the story that romerz told me that Dr Koh , even when his own company (romerz was part of that company)  was going under in the 90s, never use his position to save the company, despite the fact that as CM of Penang, he could have easily saved the company with just a single project.

A leader must be big enough to accept criticism and must be humble and open his ears to differing views.. Dr Koh, for all the things that were said about him in the blogosphere, is one such leader because he has this big stomach to accommodate dissenting views and willing to meet any challenges in intellectual debate and exchange of ideas, and is humble, and always have time for those who offer different viewpoints.

 This is not the first time I have argued and debated with him and this will not be the last. The same can be said of the Perak Chairman, Chang Ko Youn (who is going for No 2), , whom I have also had many exchanges of views and ideas and who is very open to accepting differing views, once he is convinced. The point is we need to prepare our points well to convince them on issues and the direction of the party. I look forward to this exchange of views on direction of the party, the country and policy. ANd my mission , if I am voted into the CC, will be to change the mindsets of the leadership and push for the things I mentioned in my platform, which are based on our ideology.

And from the views that we had exchanged last night, I can say that despite the paths we advocate  may be different , the ultimate objective of seeing a better Malaysia is similar. I think romerz , as a Non Gerakan person, will agree with me.


31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. A true Malaysian
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 21:40:36

    To me, the issue involved Gerakan is not about personality or culture, but it is about where Gerakan can function effectively for the good of Malaysia as a whole in BN.

    Koh Tsu Koon can be a very nice and approachable person, and so does Pak Lah, but can he (KTK) lead effectively within the ambit of BN. KTK can ‘talk nicely’ to Umno about general public aspirations until last drop of his saliva, but will Umno listen? Even if Umno listened, are they convinced and changed accordingly.

    Dr. Hsu, I am not sure whether you talked to KTK about his original aim of correct BN from within, or more precisely 打入国阵, 纠正国阵. What happened to this aim? I am of the view that KTK is in fact being changed (被纠正) by Umno.

    If not, perhaps you can debate with him the next round you meet him. To me, KTK is just ineffective. Gerakan will take years for it to gain back its support, in particular from Penangites whether it pulls out of BN or not.


  2. romerz
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 22:55:07

    Dr Hsu,

    I agree with you.

    Since Tan Sri has given me this opportunity to influence his thinking, I’m preparing for the debate with earnest.

    I’m reading as much as I can for the facts and also listing out systematically all the reasons why Gerakan should leave the BN vs the reasons for staying.

    A true Malaysian, I also sense that he currently believes the propaganda that some UMNO leaders are feeding him and I hope to be able to show him that it is only propaganda, nothing more.

    If they had serious intentions of reforms, it would have happened years ago.

    My mission is clear. Convince him that he has to show leadership and bring Gerakan out of Penang. Hopefully, with Dr Hsu and Veonszu, we may convince him to reconsider.

    Doc, it was nice to have finally met you. 🙂


  3. veonszu
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 23:29:35

    Dr Hsu & Romerz,

    Beware! If past experience can be of any indication, with “One-to-One” debate, I don’t think any one of us stand a chance to out-wit or out-argue Dr. Koh.

    May be with Three-to-One (three of us combined against him) we could at the very least out-number him!


  4. Dr Hsu
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 00:10:44

    Romerz, veonszu and A True Malaysian, I look forward to the debate. It would be interesting to see how we fare, 3 against 1.


  5. VoiceOfPolitics
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 02:21:05

    Arghh.. I miss the session.

    I shall meet you again, Dr Hsu, after the party election, since you probably busy during the campaigning period.


  6. Justin Choo
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:03:24


    “My mission is clear. Convince him that he has to show leadership and bring Gerakan out of Penang. Hopefully, with Dr Hsu and Veonszu, we may convince him to reconsider.”

    Aiyoooh! What kind of leader is this? Waiting for people to convince him, after all this while?

    A leader is to lead, no other way. Otherwise just be like me. Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Vincent Ho
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:12:31

    What kind of leader do you perceived yourself to be? If you choose to be LED n follow or LEAD and let others follow.

    A good leader also listen to his supporters, grassroots and friends to make his decisions…perhaps that what our Sdr Tan Sri is doing. A decision that is based on our own thinking is not much good if it doesnt bring any positive feedback from all those around. Consultation is much important.

    Hope to see you at the Malam Gerakan Dr.


  8. klm
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:22:12

    The issue with Gerakan is business and not whether the president is nice or will listen.
    KTK, like Badawi is simply ineffectual. They are nice people, but this do not change the fact.

    The stake is too high for personality to come into the picture.


  9. A true Malaysian
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:27:08


    You got the point here. A leader is to lead.

    So far, we can see those parties in BN are having the culture of making decision ‘by consensus’ or ‘collectively’.

    This type of culture has resulting in ‘no accountability’ on its leaders. A leader need to lead, and if anything gone wrong, should be graceful enough to admit responsibility.


  10. sing lau
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 16:52:59

    Dr Hsu,

    Dr Koh has big stomach indeed, but that stomach is full of hot air only [I wanted to say, full of sh’t] A big stomach with some GUT would be of some use to the body, the rakyat.

    Dr Koh’s big stomach served as punching bag for the UMNO during his long years as CM of Penang.

    You are a man with bigger stomach… and believe full of GUT! Gutless sissy cannot be leaders. They are only good as tea-ladies to the UNMO-putras.

    Penang lad


  11. gerakan watcher
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 17:25:24

    Don’t judge a book by it cover. That is KTK to someone out there. KTK have play his role since 1982. Maybe too long for Penang to accept him. Gerakan need extra omph..om to get back Penang. With the changing scenario, political in Malaysia is like a circus.
    What the people want is performance, abilitities to govern and not talk..talk only? We want action


  12. alpine108
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 22:56:37

    I found that there are quite some gloom views pertaining the Gerakan’s survival in the responses. But, I would like to beg to be different on this.

    Gerakan is not in that bad shape as it is being looked at in the blogosphere. Try to make a few calls to some of your old friends in Penang, and ask them regarding the views of their patients on Gerakan. You may be surprised to find that there are still almost an equal no. of supporters for Gerakan and for the DAP and PKR.

    The strong distrust against the UMNO was built through the past 30 years and it may take at least 10 years or more for the people to forget that(as history shows, people are always forgetful). Similarly, the sentiment of the Penang people for the Gerakan was built through these years and it too will take another 10 years or so before people forget about Gerakan.

    So, Gerakan wouldn’t pack up whether it is in or out of BN in the next 10 years or so. But, after this grace period, it will depend on the members of Gerakan.

    But, just like Boon Siew motor, it survives irrespective of whether they have the Honda dealership or the Hyundai dealership. It’s their management and their sales forces that determine their survival.

    If Gerakan members work hard enough, they will survive. Don’t worry about the DAP or PKR. Just look at the recent Kedah new ruling on the 50% quota for bumiputra on new housing project. Is this ruling really fair? Do we hear any objection from those who have been campaigning for equality?

    As Joceline Tan pointed in her column in The Star, Gerakan is at the rock bottom now, the only way it can go is only one direction i.e. Up!

    So, don’t worry, and be cheerful a bit!


  13. sing lau
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 23:02:52

    “As Joceline Tan pointed in her column in The Star, Gerakan is at the rock bottom now, the only way it can go is only one direction i.e. Up!”

    Gerakan at rock bottom will start to FOSSILIZE – that may be the other direction it may go, unless Gerakan frees itself with haste from the dead load of UMNO.


  14. petestop
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 02:07:30

    It is good for Gerakan to practise such culture internally.

    However, the problem is that your other partners in BN practises a totally different culture.

    It is too frequent to hear one ministry ran by UMNO to tell another ministry ran by UMNO and other BN component party to “shut up” and mind your own business.

    The same way they think they can shout down US.

    Can Koh Tsu Koon practising Gerakan culture able to play effective role in BN ???

    This is one of the reason why voters said “Enough is Enough” and we would rather try the more aggressive approach of Pakatan Rakyat.

    The past years under Badawi have but proven that the “BN consensus” method does not work, as it only works according to what UMNO says. UMNO tells Gerakan to jump, Gerakan says how high.

    What is the point ?

    Recently even MCA promises to be “more vocal”, whatever that means.

    We want more Action, not Vocalisation.

    Enough of NATO (No Action Talk Only).

    Gerakan keep talking about reviewing or repealing ISA…. WHAT THE HECK HAVE PROGRESS SINCE THEN ? RPK IS STILL IN ISA DETENTION ?

    At least Lim Guan Eng have a plan to table a motion to repeal ISA in next parliament sitting.

    And we will get to see who is NATO and who really can ACT and GET THINGS DONE !!


  15. CYC
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:09:59

    A leader must be visionary, command respect and inspire confidence among his followers. Those who lack of these characteristics should bow out gracefully. No doubt KTK is a gentleman but he is definitely ineffectual. Forgive me if i may be rude, KTK should go for a month long serious retreat to rediscover whether he should stay to lead. Seek truth not from outside but within oneself, KTK should easily understand what i meant as he is a Buddhist.

    Members of Gerakan and MCA should be daring to let go of old mentality. Detachment not necessarily means you have loss everything you possessed but merely a process revolving into something new. I personally think Gerakan shouldn’t blindly chasing after something unreal and fantasy such as hoping UMNO to give up its race supremacy.

    Finally, i wish to conclude that people with high qualification not necessary to be good leader and strategists, KTK and Gerakan has proved it beyond doubt.


  16. A true Malaysian
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:02:31

    alphine 108,

    May I know whether Gerakan still can ‘go up’ if it is still remains in BN?

    May I have your frank opinion on this?


  17. langchiapek
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:02:35

    Dr Hsu,

    I can not help it to share this with you.

    Your party president has yet again made an idiot out of himself.



    Koh: BN can become single multiracial party
    By Debra Chong

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon today urged Barisan Nasional parties to decide once and for all whether to turn the ruling coalition into a single multiracial party.

    As it stands now, he said, all component party members can start turning their own parties multiracial by changing their names.

    The -Malay- in Umno can become -Malaysian-, he said.

    Similarly, MCA can become the Malaysian Citizens Alliance and MIC can be known as the Malaysian Integrated Congress.


    I think he should just shutup and stop giving moronic statements like this to the public.

    He stand a better chance as a lecturer in Wawasan Open University.

    Lang Chia Pek.


  18. pohwatchdog
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:10:29

    Gerakan will remain in BN. Gerakan can be the conscience of BN. Is Gerakan still relevant in today politic scenario? Do Gerakan will not suffer the same fate as PEKEMAS after the 1969 political tsunami if the party leave BN? Do we learn from history?

    Gerakan still have the management, marketing and sales personnel that is the members to move the party. What the party need is proper marketing strategies to convince Gerakan still relevant?

    What have DAP done for the people even after 7 months in government? Have they really give constructive policies to better the qualities of life in their led government states? Have the people realise that any real changes happen in Penang? Who is doing their work or not? A lot yet to be seen by us.

    Gerakan can move on to further height with the new team with their promise to give new hope, new aspiration and new dream for the people . Different strategies to engage every level of people to support Gerakan. We shall return to serve the people after all the people is the deciding voice.


  19. petestop
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:27:29

    Enough of Gerakan “sales” talk.

    langchiapek, indeed KTK continue to make fool of himself being the “conscience” of BN…. whatever that means.

    He is more like “joker” of BN at the rate he is going.

    Only today Najib is calling out “Hidup Melayu” as reported in the Chinese press.

    Soon to be PM, can only call out for one race.
    It is only UMNO PM, not Malaysia PM.



  20. A true Malaysian
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:36:25

    So far, I thing DAP is doing pretty well in Penang. For example, Penang will have free wifi soon. I can’t imagine this to happen if Gerakan still in control of Penang now.

    Furthermore, the government is adopting the CAT concept of administration. Given time, we will see more improvements for sure. DAP only took over Penang for 7 months. Please give them more time to prove their worth.

    Lim Guan Eng so far is much better than Koh Tsu Koon. Guan Eng has leadership quality that Tsu Koon is lacking.

    Now, Tsu Koon is harping on BN becomes a single multiracial party. What a joke, this thing can never happen so long as it involves Umno. No way, Tsu Koon, you better bring Gerakan out of BN and be remembered next time as ‘Gorbachev of Gerakan’.


  21. A true Malaysian
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:48:13

    Dr. Hsu,

    Frankly, with the rate Koh Tsu Koon goes, I think it is a waste of your time and efforts to ‘talk nicely’ or debate with Koh Tsu Koon.

    You can be a member of CC, but with the bunch of the same ‘calibre’ members in it, you will get fed-up very soon when you are in it.

    My view is that, you better lead an exodus for Gerakan members to be out of BN. It will be better that way.


  22. Dr Hsu
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:29:01

    A True Malaysian, I do not know hwehter i will be elected firstly.

    But if I am, and i fail to change their mindset, at least I can tell myself i have tried my best. Then i probably will just fade away. Old soldier never die, they just fade away, so said General McArthur.


  23. Dr Hsu
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:39:08

    A True Malaysian, I will quote the Malaysiakini article on today’s youth and wanita meeting of gerakan here. The youth chief is pushing for a EGM and the wanita chief is pushing for an exit if BN does not become multiracial.

    I am hoping to go in to help bolster these forces trying to call a EGM to decide for the direction. There are many like minded leaders in the CC. The Head alone does not decide everything

    The article is as followed:

    Outgoing Gerakan Youth chief Mah Siew Keong has urged the party leadership to hold a special meeting to discuss the party’s future in Barisan Nasional.

    MCPX”This suggestion (to pull out of Barisan Nasional) comes from a portion of the grassroots and as responsible leaders, we must face this sentiment,” said Mah, in his opening address at the Gerakan national delegates conference today.

    Mah said a thorough discussion was necessary to avoid making emotional decisions that did not take into account the long term implications to the party.

    Drawing upon history, Mah said in 1971, when Gerakan became a founding member of BN, many party leaders such as Syed Hussien Alatas, Dr Tan Chee Koon and V David disagreed with the move and left the party.

    He cited the example of Sabah Progressive Party which saw several leaders leaving the party because they disagreed with the party pulling out of BN.

    “We don’t want a similar situation to happen and split our party,” said Mah.

    Gerakan Women’s chief Tan Lian Hoe also broached the subject and suggested that the party only stay with BN should the coalition adopt a more multiracial approach.

    “Are Barisan leaders, particularly from Umno, ready to change their struggle for a multiracial society (through) fairness, without any prejudice, extremism and communalism?” she asked.

    “If Barisan components are ready to change, leaving aside their self interests and prioritising a multiracial struggle, Gerakan will be loyal and stay with BN.”

    ISA condemned

    Meanwhile, both leaders also criticised the government for the recent use of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

    Mah urged the government to amend the Act to limit its powers to detaining “subversive and terrorist elements”.

    He said an immediate measure the government could take to show it was sincere in reforming was to release ISA detainees who have been in detention for a long time and those with health problems.

    He said the recent arrests of DAP politician Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng was unnecessary and had tarnished the image of the government.

    Tan said the party’s women’s wing is strongly against the use of ISA and wants the immediate release of all ISA detainees.

    “The ISA has been abused to silence the voices of the people for the political interest of a handful of (political) leaders,” she said.


  24. A true Malaysian
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:58:25

    Dr. Hsu,

    The key is still with Umno. Anyone in Gerakan can scream and shout to their last breath, so what if Umno still plays dominance and arrogance as ‘taikoh’ in BN.

    The question that Gerakan must ask themselves is, will Umno change? Many leaders like Tan Chee Koon, Ali Alatas and V David left Gerakan as they have the foresight that Gerakan won’t be able to practise true multiracial ideology.

    I commented before that Gerakan actually should not join BN in the first place. This opinion still hold until now as I write this comment. 😉


  25. A true Malaysian
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 21:13:56

    The fact that Teng Hock Nam withdrew to contest deputy president post so that a Malay have a higher chance of winning only showed us that mentality in Gerakan still very far from the true multiracial ideology.

    Teng still stick to BN mentality of Malay represents Malay, Chinese represents Chinese, Indian represents Indian. We do not want to see such kind of ‘superficial’ or ‘window dressing’ racial harmony.

    Many in HINDRAF have such kind of mentality also irrespective of whether they admit or not. (no offence ya, HINDRAF)

    The true brand of multiracial mentality does not require such ‘representations’. Those who elected to office must have the interest of all races at heart.

    I can see such mentality in Lim Guan Eng, Perak MB Nizar, Tian Chua, Zaid Ibrahim, Teresa Kok.


  26. Damocles
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 23:18:41

    “This type of culture has resulting in ‘no accountability’ on its leaders. A leader need to lead, and if anything gone wrong, should be graceful enough to admit responsibility.” – A true Malaysian

    Well said!
    I think we all know that when any minister is questioned when things go wrong, the answer is that it is not his ministry that made the decision, it was the cabinet.
    And the matter ends there!
    Where’s the responsibility?
    What sort of weak, vague government is that?
    Does Gerakan want to emulate that?
    Or perhaps KTK doesn’t know that?
    In fact, by the time you got through to him, UMNO/BN will be history.


  27. alpine108
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 11:17:28

    A true Malaysian,

    Just like what a DAP supporter would do after the “Tanjung 3 “. Remenber those members who cried hugging Lim Kit Siang after the devastating defeat? Remember the vow of never to return to Penang by Lim Kit Siang? What happened now to DAP in Penang? Ever at that time they knew what would happen today?

    Just like Republicans know that Bush will go and they will still remain as Republicans continuing to fight their cause. Bush is only a part of the history of Republic party.

    Same as for Gerakan, I wish that they will continue their fight for their cause. If ever the Gerakan members decide to give up their party just because of some of the present leaders, then may be the party will fold up but life will still go on in Malaysia, some disappointment though but not end of life.

    As for DAP, I also would like to wish them to perform well in Penang. Since it is ultimately the people who will benefit if all political parties are doing well in Malaysia.

    And what is my opinion for the future of Gerakan? I have mentioned that the future of Gerakan will be decided by her members collectively, no one can decide for them. For me, as a supporter of Gerakan, I will always wish them well.


  28. goldenscreen
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 21:39:07

    The problem with KTK and Pak Lah too is that both of them are not good at playing politics at all. Gerakan also has been made to look naive and childish like Tengku Razaleigh. In the end, Tun Mahathir out maneuvered all of you even though he was suffering from heart problems. That is because no one dares to directly stand toe to toe to Mahathir. Everyone chicken out at the last minute. Hussein Onn, Pak Lah.

    If you don’t have the stomach to fight with the big boys, why bother joining politics at all. Remember how Mahathir skilfully turned public opinion against Pak Lah, demonized the 4th Floor, Khairy, NST, how he courted Jeff Ooi and Malaysiakini, how he sneakingly asked people to vote against BN, how he lambasted the mainstream media. Now everything is back in the place where it should be, we will see whether Mahathir gives a hoot to bloggers now.

    In a way all of us fell hook, line and sinker to Mahathir’s master plan to oust Pak Lah. The reason he succeeded is because he took risks and damn the consequences while his opponents were jumping at mere mention of shadows.


  29. chinseng
    Oct 12, 2008 @ 19:12:20

    Dear romerz,

    You been reading as much as you can for the facts and also listing out systematically all the reasons why Gerakan should leave the BN vs the reasons for staying.

    Why not share we us all the pro and con reasons in you listing.




  30. hoe hong seng
    Oct 12, 2008 @ 20:29:17

    congratulation to U as CC now, my vote to U is to test whether U can maintain yr stand or will follow OTHERS later……..


  31. tuanyong
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 11:16:22

    Do you think that Gerakan should also consider lowering the age limit of the youth section to 40 years old? ……so many old people in the Gerakan youth


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