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SAGE V RAPIER: Sunday's discussion also showed more of Guan Eng's grudges as a big chip on his shoulder
ERASE the testosterone burning, pontificating and cheap shots, the Lim Guan Eng-Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek televised debate on Sunday should just be seen as that: an entertaining political sideshow that adds no real value to the national conversation, but continues to expose long-term resentments, facades and character flaws.
While the 65-year-old Dr Chua was all sagely poise (the old fox is a trained shrink), the 51-year-old Lim (an accountant by training) was tenaciously combative, a loose cannon fencing a rapier with a blunt edge.
Naturally, partisans inside the hall have stoutly claimed that their man won the debate with ease. Naturally, too, the packages of issues both politicians hurled and repelled were more cogent and persuasive. Naturally undoubtedly, the points each man egged to the other will prove impactful to influence voter psyche.
Oh well, to each their own: victory is biasedly redeemed because this was a debate for bragging rights, possibly for referrals in the coming election campaign where Chinese votes, many still undecided, are regarded as swing votes, a premise speciously rejected by DAP.
The huffing and puffing aside, Lim and Dr Chua actually were a kind of yin and yang tag team, where they complemented each other in many minute ways: hard and soft, rough and smooth, negative and positive.
That stated, becoming chief minister hasn't mollified in the slightest Lim's pugnacious persona, but merely aggravated it to the levels of authoritarianism last seen in the likes of the late Tun Ghazalie Shafie, who'd heckle reporters who dared cross him. So, Lim's default bellicosity invariably set the tone, where he parroted attacks against enemies perceived, real or imaginary.
If Dr Chua wanted to take the initiative to outline what the MCA has achieved since Merdeka, he did so by articulating his ideas in the form of a solvent defence: Dr Chua enunciated about the MCA's vital input in securing Merdeka, the safety net of citizenship for the Chinese wanting to make Malaysia a permanent home and the myriad of education, socioeconomic and welfare programmes that the party inaugurated.
In pressing this dictum, Dr Chua put it to Lim that his DAP, in professing to be multi-racial by misappropriating the sobriquet Anak Malaysia, was a party that somehow managed to win many Chinese hearts and minds and yet, failed them at the same time.
In all the issues that were played out, this most recoiling upshot was whipped up by Lim, the first in this rhetorical question: why must we be divided by race and religion?
At the same time, he glibly structured this situation as Umno's "biggest success".
Lim accentuates the pretension that when a Malaysian child is born, it must be officially recognised as Anak Malaysia, not as a Malay, Chinese or Indian, when the ideal has been elusive and impractical.
No Malaysian can ever escape their ancestry or lineage, so to elude it is futile and schizophrenic. Every community, even from Sabah and Sarawak, has the supreme right to fight for their well-being without the risk of being dismissed as racists.
It is how you bring the contentious issues to the table and negotiate an amicable solution is the key. This has been the successful Malaysian way for so long that it is a given.
However, following the intoxicating smell of election victory in Putrajaya, the sacred negotiations have been demonised as "racism".
In reality, it is Lim's fertile imagination that any one outside DAP who takes a whack at him or the party is simply a racist, in the same manner his salute to press freedom and free speech is hogwash when he bars the newspapers that he hates and vilifies critics over the phone for writing unflattering things about his authoritarianism.
When Umno, MCA or MIC raises socio-economic issues of their respective communities, he and his ilk quickly sneer at them as racism, but when the DAP sides with an obviously pro-Chinese outfit, it's a Malaysian multiracial thing.
Obviously, Lim's outlandish tirades were deemed as entertaining: it has been burnished into his supplicants' minds and people who track him, so he thinks he wins points on that.
But his rants also exposed a breathless lack of strategic thinking, and more so to his tendency to wear the persecution complex when he gets cornered in a trap of his own making.
It's understandable: this drivel has been brainwashed into him for decades. The schizophrenic belly-aching is repulsively hypocritical. Ask Tunku Aziz Ibrahim or S.M. Idris. They know Lim too well.