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Atchafalaya Swamp

Saturday, March 1, 2008

BN Wins But (Disgruntled) Rakyat Pays for Victory Do


BN Wins, two thirds majority - still - but the margins of victory are thinner this time. This is expected. Some PKR / DAP candidates became giant-killers; the opposition having made many in-roads in the face of a lackluster economy paired with an equally lackluster PM. . .

This,my left-of-center self says, is good.

I should be happy, right?

But no, something else is bothering me.

How would you feel if I tell you that THE PEOPLE is paying for the upcoming BN's "victory" celebrations? Yes, you heard right.

Even though you voted opposition, you may not like it if your taxpayer ringgits is going to something you might not agree to. It's like taking out money from your own pocket and giving it to your "enemy" to enjoy. A quintessential Manglish phrase comes to mind:
where can? Sure can-lah, because when it comes to your money BN gets carte blanche.

How so?

Well, a few posts back I mentioned a ToTo concert that will take stage at the Perdana Lakeview East in Putrajaya on March 15. This has nothing - I repeat - nothing to do with the upcoming BN victory celebrations that involves your money. This is just a part of Toto's Far East Tour.

Then sometime later I was shocked to hear another concert, this time a mega one, scheduled on the
very same day. Great balls-of-fire timing. The concert, dubbed K.L. International Sunburst Festival (what the hell is "Sunburst" anyway?) will feature 26 foreign and local acts. Funkadelic Parliament's (not ours, silly) George Clinton, John Legend, Incubus, Incognito, The Roots (with Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson), Raul Midon, Gigi and Tompi headlining the "international" part while Search, Pop Shuvit, Love Me Butch, Meet Uncle Hussain, Joe Flizzow are among the local performers.

Well, fine and dandy by me because I couldn't go to both concerts (nor the voting booth for that matter) since I will be away in a neighboring country foraging for food and menggarayangi ABG's (go ahead, look it up). Doing what Malaysians fondly call
cari makan.

So what, you say. Being a music fanatic, I clicked on the organizer's website only to learn that it's helmed by children of the late former Selangor MB, Tan Sri Ahmad Razali. A few google clicks later I became deeply fascinated by the delectable
Gol and Gincu star, Nur Fazura, currently embroiled in an ugly court case over a cat-fight in a bar with Geraldine Wong, the ex-wife of Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi's son, Ezra. Whoa . . . lifestyles of the rich-but-not-so-famous. And what were they fighting about? About stealing boyfriends. And the boyfriend in question is none other than Razman Ahmad Razali, MD of Pineapple Concerts, the company organizing the "Sunburst" event. Ha!

So, the children of the late Selangor MB are into concert / event / promotion business. No harm in that. And they ARE politically well-connected. No harm in that, too. Of course Mr. Harm is never far away: In court, Nur Fazura, claimed that Geraldine tore her sleeveless black-and-gold top, dislodging her bra . . . and in the process and exposing her . . . (Damn those lucky patrons at Bar Luna in Jalan Kia Peng). With Geraldine counter-claiming Fazura had hit her with a shoe. Manohlo Blahniks or Princess? Hmmm.

But then I started doing the math and it began to trouble me. I contacted a friend - let's call him AD - a veteran in Malaysia's A & R and concert promotion business.

OK, Incubus and John Legend costs at the very least something like US350,000.00 a pop. I say very least because that was the figure reported in an interview with Razlan Ahmad Razali
(Mr. Sharmine Farouk), the elder brother and honcho numero uno of Pineapple. So that's US700,000.00. (Razlan claims Pineapple paid US500,000.00 to bring in Lionel Ritchie for the F1 weekend concert last year --but don't ask how much they had to pay him to come to dinner at Mokhzani Mahathir's house (Zulhasnan Rafique and glamorous Mrs. in attendance) or George Benson and Al Jarreau to play at Pak Lah's private function in Putrajaya.

Then add Ahmir's ?uestlove's "The Roots", George Clinton, UK's Incognito and Raul Midon into the mix --not forgetting Indo supergroup Gigi featuring Dewa Budjana and Armand Maulana, and singer Tompi --and you can bet the whole artists' tab would be closer to 2 million US or perhaps more. 2 million US works out to be at least 6.6 million RM's, no?

So where's the problem?

The problem lies, my esteemed voters, is how in the hell are the promoters going to make money?

Well, my inside source says, at RM200.00 a ticket and assuming 10,000 people show up, that works out to only RM 2,000,000.00. OK-
lah, let's be generous and assume 20,000 - that's 4 million - you're still short of the 2 million to break even. Don't forget, ToTo too is playing across town that very same night!

So if you were the organizer, would you go to such lengths to lose money?

Of course not.

Then my inside source, AD, whispered, "
Abang, the event is already paid for laa . . . by the government, but don't quote me. The organizers only organize but take no risks . . . [the money is] from the budget to promote Malaysia. . . flower festival, Tourism Malaysia and all that --taxpayer's money lah!"

The budget, according to AD, is reputedly to be around RM80 million a year for these "promotional purposes".

Actually promoting Malaysia is a good thing, but to finance a BN victory celebration?

And coming out of the people's pocket?

Adds AD, "B
ang, the best part is they [the organizers] make their money anyway because the government pays them up front so they can already do their mark up. . . logistics, event fees, etcetera".

And here comes the killer.
"Ada lagi best ni 'Bang . . .they also get to keep the gate receipts!".

"So the monies from the sales of the tickets they also sapu?" I asked. Stupid question, of course.

"
Yup".

As much as a lover of music and a concert fanatic (I paid close to a thousand singies to watch Sting & Co play with the reunited Police at Singapore's Indoor Stadium
last month), this bloody "Sunburst" thing stinks to the fourth floor!

I seethed, "This is outrageous, man! A sheer waste of public funds!
Let me get this straight, you mean to tell me that not only are my tax dollars being used for BN's victory celebrations BUT also making some young punk rich in the process?" I also meant to add, so they can go gallivanting with all these cun-cun artistes? But that last sentence was just the vain, jealous Mat Salo speaking.

"Yup."

Bloody hell, this must be a good business, eh? BN wins, artiste wins , the promoter wins but the poor rakyat loses.

No wonder Datuk Siti Nurhaliza is campaigning hard for Khairy.

The concert is a done deal. They can't back out. My advice is, boycott the damn thing, Ahmir ?uestlove or no Ahmir ?uestlove. Better yet, go to Putrajaya and see ToTo. Or you can go south
on polling day to L-KY Jelly's Repubic and catch Lee Ritenuor and Friends - Patrice Rushen(keyboards), Yellowjackets' Will Kennedy (drums) and Melvin Davis (bass) . Seriously.

Also, how the hell can they cook something like this at the last minute? Is there some fourth-floorer who goes, "Hey, we still got 10, 20 mill left in the peruntukan, can you guys organize a mega concert? This will be after the election. . . sure to make money and good for the country's image lah."

So that's how it is in Malaysia. The outcome is a done deal.

The rakyat, sadly, will continue to pay for the next five years.

21 comments:

zorro said...

real or not Swampman? but coming from you, I have to believe. Never the mind. The next round, Barisan Rakyat will be a force to reckon. We start the Barisan Rakyat machinery on the 9 March. I have already conscripted you! In a conscription exercise there is no choice...this you know, mon ami YES? We take no prisoners brudder.

Anonymous said...

marcelo,

wiv dis pos u da man!
but watch ur backside when ur home coz sipoot barbie will be keeping tabs on u.

oredinon

Mat Salo said...

Unker Zoe -- Aiyoo unker is this a forced conscription? Alaamak.. ok lah with pleasure. I will be your Tonto! Only I need to water my horse every now and then.. no problem Sir?

Mr. Oredinon --wad umin I'm da man? u mean u thot I was woman? bro (I assume you're a bro, right?) I'll hv u know I am allergic to sipoot barbie. Even barbie dolls.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I have this inkling, not supported by facts or scientific studies, just gut feeling that come 9 mac, the BN fellas though victorious would not be in much of a mood to celebrate. I am usually right when it comes to this.

Mat Salo said...

Amen to that, Chegu! And I do believe you're right, Sir...

Anonymous said...

cello,

by allergic u mean u will deprive AMF
the pleasures of ascociating wiv the Klang made Mattel bimbos?

uranos

tokasid said...

Salam bro MS:

When Pineapple announced about the mega concert and the list of acts involved,I wondered where these guys got their financing to bring in the acts.And I'm sure they themselve knew they won't break even.Not in Malaysia.So I assumed that the gomen had chipped in coz the pineapple guys are Ahmad Razali's son( hasmah's nephews)and I too thought that its gonna be a BN victory celebration concert.

But knowing that is not 'duit bapak depa' pineapple is fine with the arrangement. What the f*ck they will make tonnes of ringgit.As far as they are concern its legitimate. And do you think they give a f*uck about us poor souls. Nah...they are me interested which celebrity wear what type of undies.

The criminal in this case is the guys who approved or forced some officials to approve it.

I too feel BN is not gonna be that happy with their performance this Saturday, but celebrate they will even if they win by a single seat.And you'll see their leaders forcing a wide smile to the media.
And as far as pineapple is concern they don't care if BN win big or small. They already had their coffer full.

ps- I have to make some adjustment due to the election date, a kenduri in Paka I am unable to go.So maybe kena ganti by going to Kolo Pilah. But hopefully the Trengganu chap doesn't need me...then ToTo here I come.

Hantu Laut said...

Mat Salo,

Based on your calculation it may be true the money could have come from somewhere else.

I don't know whether you know or not I got whacked with foul language for asking people to vote individual candidates instead of party and deny the BN 2/3 majority and warned them that the oppositions boat may be also be leaking.I also rebuked Anwar for his unimpressive PKR manifesto.

Some bigots read my blog and put the two together and accused me of being a cybertrooper.

Some overzealous opposition supporters think they can just topple the BN easily.

With the kind of war chest,machinery,gerrymandered boundaries and unfair play, to deny them 2/3 majority would be a big achievement.

I believe the oppositions are not cohesive enough to form a stable government and a less than 2/3 majority for BN would be a good start.They will be short of breath to do whatever they like if they don't have 2/3.

Now, I realize what you have always said, they will get 2/3, by hook or by crook.

Raden Galoh said...

Salam bro...

Eeeeiiiioouuuu..so sickeningnya they all...

Yuck! Yuck!

tokasid said...

Pak MS:

Re-LR: Apparently LKY island is bringing in many talented 'old-timer'. Last month it was Police and come March 8th Lee Rit.
But compared to Incubus,Legend and what pineapple is bringing in, I think in Malaysia Lee Rit's market is small. In fact I am not sure is those in their 20's ever heard of Lee Rit. Maybe if the bring the over publicised soapy Kenny G they might get a bigger crowd.
You've been to John Mclaughlin's concert last year and the crowd that you get is comparatively small, but that was a crowd who knew good music and good musicianship.
But if Lee Rit were to go to Jakarta or Tokyo I am sure its gonna be big.

As to Hantulaut's comment I think he is being realistic.And we should be realistic. Of course most of us wants to change the gomen.That will be a dream come true to many. But at the moment we need to be realistic. We as seeing how the mainstream media is doing the hype on BN and how they are cutting and pasting at midsentences of what the opposition leaders are talking about.
And to make it worse the SPR is the ever loyal slave of the present gomen and will change whatever rules that is necessary to make sure BN win again. We still remember in 2004 suddenly all over Selangot the ballots were allowed till 7pm.(Shah had a posting on that,his personal experience in 2004).

For now, we'll have to use the rugby principle.Aim high tackle low.
Reduce the majority.Get a strong opposition.

Hantlaut also mentioned in his blog that he yhought corruption might get worse if opposition wins.On this I beg to differ, but one will never know.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

whoaa...real digging this. no wonder that sunburst gig promo gets all the exposure needed. I trust you on this, my swamp brother. how could i not when we have a certain monsoon drain cup,...an exclusive sport for the rich-kid bastards, all in the name of tourism Malaysia. Rakyat marhain macam aku ni gigit jari je lah.

oh, and that little tale about a certain celeb's boobies being exposed like the gig mentioned above, err...aiyahhh...gigit jari again!

kbguy said...

Hi mat salo. U engineer in what ? Sorry, I am diverting from ur blog topic abit. I want to know from an engineer's point of view what's the prospect for mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering in future. Bukan apa, anak nak ambil foundation courses lepas keputusan SPM. What do you think of Petronas University and tenaga National Uni ?

kbguy said...

cont..
he's is interested in aeronautical engineering, tapi belum jumpa private Uni yg menawarkan kursus tu. Aeronautical is part of mekanikal, right ?

Mat Salo said...

Uranos - I presume u r one and the same with oredinon? As for Mattel bimbos -whether Klang or Ghuanzhou made - I think AMF doesn't give a hoot. She's more into Hot Wheels, also made by El-Segundo, CA based Mattel but produced in Lumut or Sitiawan. I think the Klang plant only makes bimbos -sorry - barbies.

Tokasid MD - Appreciate your lucid commentary. I think down the line we all know BN is going to get two-thirds anyway. We just hope the opposition can make an impact so BN will be more prudent next time - check and balance, that sort of thing. But you're right, even if you win by one seat, you still win. Hopefully they won't celebrate too much, because it's the rakyat's money they're using anyway.

Doc, sure laa got market for Lee Rit. That Shakti thing was full house at PWTC!

Hope you make it for ToTo, DoC.

D of RG - Yes, but what I'm talking here is peanuts - what's a few millions of the rakyat's money? What about the PKFTZ scandal? That one runs into billions? Maybe I should just focus on the big picture...

H-L - Sir, I've actually already read that accusatory comment on your blog and I thought, is this guy for real or hat - accusing YOU of being a cybertrooper? I think the reality is to deny 2/3rds is a bit if a stretch as BN (SPR is also a party to this) will pull ALL STOPS to ensure that that doesn't happen. The hope is the oppo can make a very serious chink in BN's armor... and serve notice that the rakyat will not tolerate a shoddy administration no more, that's all.

Bro kerpie - damn .. whaddyathink? I sit on a floating prison with 100 + male inmates --everyday gigit jari lah! He.. Dun worry bro, I got plenty of "expose" stories.. one day, one day...

Kbguy - thanks for dropping by, Sir. Cjeck your gmail, I've posted a reply there.

elviza said...

yup we will keep paying - thats me and you. Oh hang on, not you, you dont pay taxes! Sheeesssh! :-)

p/s: Manolo Blahnik... a pair to die for. To trot around town just like the adorable Ms. Carrie Bradshaw. Sigh... RM3000 tt for shoes? Nahhhhh...

jaflam said...

MS,
We don't need any Concert to attract tourist in this country ... they got better concert in their countries and certainly the Rakyat don't need the concert either ...... what more paying for it in million dollars. Unfortunately by voting the corrupt leaders they are paying a very high price for it.......

Hope the voter’s maturity level this time will be higher and they will really exercise their power by voting out the corrupt and useless leaders from any fronts.

Mat Salo said...

Mish: Manolos or Jimmy Choos would look VERY good on you hehe...

Bang DJ: Yes Bang, hope the good leaders will be elected - and that includes BN candidates! Hopefully can cause a chink in BN's armor so noticed will be served - the rakyat would not tolerate bad governance and mismanagement anymore. OUT with the incompetent YB's!

Zabs said...

Salam MS,
Sorry to note that you are unable to vote this time.
We will try to get them out this time, then we can save that RM80m, and maybe cancelled the conceerts as well. After all you are away to even miss the show.
Will be thinking of you while casting my vote today.

Mat Salo said...

Thanks Pak Zabs.. kalau boleh can cast vote on my behalf tak? Ha-ha.

Zawi said...

MS,
It is that easy to make money with this agency. Only recently the same agency was involved in another scandal involving a smaller amount (less than a million). Ahhh when will it ever end?

Mat Salo said...

Pak Zawi, Indeed it will never end as thus is human nature -but perhaps it can be minimized? Now that we have more "eyes" in the Parliament and DUN? Let's hope so for the sake of Malaysia...