Woke up this morning to tangible evidence (finally) that the case against Anwar Ibrahim is a politically motivated smear campaign. Much has been made about the what, why and how of this ugly drawn out affair which started 10 years ago. It is fair to say that the general perception is in favor of the accused barring some evidence to support this view. Long live Raja Petra!
Being summoned by the cops to a mortuary to identify a dead body is never going to be a walk in the park. More so when the deceased is your son whom you have not seen for the past 10 years. A blank expression hung uncomfortably on his face. His eyes watered and turned red.
With clinical detachment, the doctor explained to him the cause of death, pointing out various blemishes and scars on cold dead skin. He nodded and asked a question in a quiet voice as if it was expected of him. Not doing so was tantamount to confessing to the crime of infanticide.
Yes he killed him. He killed him by not being there. By putting off picking up that phone. By always finding something else to do that was more important than looking him up. By pushing away his mother and breaking the family into pieces all those years ago. He killed his own son by closing the door to their house for the very last time 10 years ago.
How far does a hero fall? The new Batman movie “The Dark Knight” ponders this question amongst many others in one of the most intense cinematic experience in 2008 so far. More than another screen adaptation of a much beloved comic book character, it is a heady, full-fledged epic and elaborate crime drama. Its greatness lies in the fact that it augments the existing folklore surrounding the caped crusader. Rather than sticking to the conventional “hero-saves-the-day” formula, director Christopher Nolan turns everything inside out and exposes the humanity within one of the darkest protagonist the comic book genre has ever seen.
In Heath Ledger, Nolan has the definitive sliver screen manifestation of Batman’s arch enemy. With every lip smack, he resigns Jack Nicholson’s version in the 1st Batman movie to the hall of shame where it shall remain for all eternity. He is a twitching bag of putrefying genius with a penchant for creepy face paint and sharp objects. The scene with him in a nurse outfit and an exploding hospital in the background has already been assured a place in the annals of iconic movie imagery.
Cristian Bale reprises his role as the brooding Bruce Wayne and elevates melancholy to a whole new level. When confronting a scumbag accountant who tries to extort money from Wayne enterprise, Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox puts him in his place with perfectly arched eyebrows and a bemused expression nary missing a beat. This man is cool personified. As before Michael Caine is Wayne’s rock in a raging sea of existential angst as dependable butler, Alfred. Unfortunately the jarring change in choice of actress to play Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal instead of Katie Holmes) throws a spanner in the otherwise perfect ensemble cast.
After a string of disappointments in the latest run of superhero movies, “The Dark Knight” restores my fate in the power of film making. If there is a Nobel prize for mega budget movies, Christopher Nolan would beat everyone to it. It’s that good!
The local police force is corrupt. The incident that happened to me only strengthens my conviction in this infallible truth. My personal experience is of course trivial compared to what some of our politicians are going through right now but I submit that although small, it is symptomatic of a bigger disease that has a stranglehold on our law-enforcers. Rather than protect and serve, they steal and plunder from the common man. I wonder how they sleep at night and what they teach their children.
I was driving home along the highway when my car was pulled over by a few cops at a speed trap. I observed that absolutely all the cars were similarly stopped. This can only mean that all the cars on the highway that day were speeding. A coincidence? Seconds later an overweight policeman swaggered over and informed us that we were caught on camera driving over the speed limit. I protested that we had the car on auto cruise set at 110 km/H. He smirked and said that everyone had said the same thing. He then turned into a Physics professor and gave us an unconvincing theory about how the car will try to speed up when driving up an inclination even though it was on auto cruise. What really got my goat was this.
“Do you want to see the picture, since you TALK SO MUCH?” he said in a huff.
It seems that I have offended him by asking for an explanation. He was obviously in a hurry to get to his next victim and I was delaying him. Realizing that this whole conversation was going no where, I asked him about the price of the fine. He told me that he can either send the summon to my home address which will set me back RM (Malaysian ringgit) 300 or he can settle it on the spot with RM 50. Which option do you think I took?
I admit that I was not paying much attention to my speedometer but I did in all honesty set the auto cruise to the maximum permitted speed limit. I am even willing to say that I may have exceeded the limit at some juncture although I do not remember doing so. Was I wrong in abetting his demand for money? Yes I was but what other options do I have? Demanding to see the picture would have irked him more and he may decide to just send me the bill for RM 300. That’s 6 times more than what he was willing to settle for. Since I do not have access to the billions that Petronas (local oil company) is reported to have raked in since the astronomical rise of petrol, I took the easy and economical way out. So sue me!
What effect will this experience have on my perception of local law enforcement? To put it mildly, negative to the extreme. And since I am not in a charitable mood today, I will go on to say that they are a bunch of incompetent, greedy, dishonest, unprofessional human beings who are beneath even pond scum in the scheme of living things.
Penangites rejoice! Our beloved Georgetown has been newly inscribed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Hopefully more funds will now be poured into its upkeep to maintain this honor.