Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 27th, 2008
“A Malaysian Laugh” is a regular column by The Malaysian Insider humorist Jerome Martin. As the newspaper says: “If you don’t find it funny, we are happy to get your feedback so we can pay him less.”
Today, they published a new column on how the forthcoming elections in Malaysia look through the eyes of their Johor Bigfoot. I’m not sure if the humor translates well to the Western ear, but nevertheless, here’s what was said, in part, regarding:
…the status of Bigfoot in the upcoming elections.
Presumably, since they are said to be surviving fragments of a prehistoric ape, they qualify as Orang Asli and Bumiputera and, most certainly, are of voting age.
The question of their constituency would be a tough one. While they have been spotted most often of late in Kota Tinggi, according to Bigfoot expert Vincent Chow, their habitat range stretches across the forests of Tanjung Piai, Mersing, Kahang, the Endau Rompin National Park and Kota Tinggi, meaning basically, everywhere in Johor.
Would this give rise to worries of phantom votes or, in this case, votes that would be able to move and take advantage of the first-past-the-post system? We find out in an interview with state Bigfoot youth chief Sang Garang Gigi Jarang.
So, exactly where is your constituency?
“Oh, you see, in the first place, it would be unfair to say that we’re only found in Johor as we’ve been living across the entire rainforest here until highways and man-made lakes were erected on our land.
“Therefore, to overcome the problem of constituencies for us, the most Bumi of Bumiputeras, we have sent a proposal for electoral reforms to the Election Commission, calling for the abolishment of the first-past-the-post system.
“We feel that to truly be united as Bangsa Malaysia, we must vote as one, rather than be divided up by states or trees.”
You mean… branches?
“No, trees. As in pokok.”
OK. Well, who will you be voting for in the coming elections?
“Oh, that’s a tough one. I think most of us, to begin with, were disappointed that BN could not allocate us Bigfeet some seats to stand for. We wondered why until PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat revealed that Umno MPs were all orang utans.
“This all makes sense now because they are an endangered species and most people feel it would be politically incorrect to do anything disadvantageous to minority communities.”
But then, aren’t Bigfeet also endangered?
“Oh, yes, we are nearly extinct, are we not? Which brings to rise the fact that maybe BN is a speciesist party! It only serves the interests of humans and orang utans. But the point is, we could not throw our lot with them and instead have decided that we will support any party that will tackle environmental issues.”
Ah, a very worthy cause indeed.
“Yes, so far the only green party seems to be Pas. And that’s just the flag. Most of these parties are not interested in saving the environment. But maybe we will support Pas anyway.”
Why is that?
“Because of their welfare state ideology. After all, we aren’t called Hantu Gigi Jarang (Snaggle-Toothed Ghost) for nothing. It would be good if the government could provide free dental care for us.”
What do you have to say to those who say you are animals and have no right to vote? In fact, foreign media like the BBC insinuate that you don’t exist. They said Malaysians only believe in you because you’re big.
“You know, the same might be said of the Western media. They only seem to believe Asia and Africa exist because they’ve read some exotic fiction about us. And so, for them to continue to believe in our two continents, their correspondents must continue to portray us as backward and uncivilised. Malaysians have as much right to believe that big is good as Westerners have in thinking that no access to clean drinking water and the spread of AIDS is exotic.”
My, for someone who lives in the jungle and eats leaves, you sure know a lot about global affairs.
“Well, if Umno MPs can do it…”