How a Tsunami Ebbs

By batsman 

The power of a tsunami is contained in the original undersea upheaval. Unless there are subsequent upheavals, as far as the seabed is concerned, it has received a NFA chop. What power the tsunami contains is now totally encapsulated in the giant wave created. The tsunami therefore has a natural ebb because it receives no further push. 

So it is that it is not only the government and in particular the MACC that has a monopoly on NFA chops. Each and every individual also has an inherent and active NFA chop hidden in his mind – the originator of all human energy and action.

Just ask yourself this – After at least 2 years of reading MT  since 2008 was there any follow up action except more reading at a slowly reducing frequency? The following therefore has a natural ebb because it receives no further push. I am not saying it is anybody’s fault. Peoples’ Power has this very natural inherent weakness. 

Fortunately human minds are always ticking and at any moment, the inherent NFA chop may be suspended and a resulting release of energy and action takes place. The only problem is, like natural tsunamis, the momentum has to be built up again. The suspension of internal NFA chops has to occur in more and more individuals until a critical mass is reached again. 

I submit that the tsunami of 2008 ebbed because there were too many NFA chops used all over the place including inside peoples’ minds. 

To those familiar with management theories, the whole thing is like an “S” curve. The momentum builds up slowly and then rises rapidly only to slow down at the top of the curve at which point, if NFA chops continue to be indiscriminately used, it collapses into a bell shaped curve. 

Actually it is unfair to MT to say that there is no further push since 2008. As far as MT is concerned, there is plenty of push, but most of that push is in the form of searching for articles and reports for publishing and digging up scoops. So RPK is doing an excellent job, but his need for action is driving him to start the MCLM with other activists. 

This is apparently a new effort and tries to fill an organisational gap. RPK is not only continuing with his critiques, exposés  and publishing work, he is branching into organisational work. I for one wish him well. 

Without organization, I am afraid NFA chops will rule the roost. The biggest weakness of the reform movement is that it lacks adequate organization. This may be the result of inadequate leadership, but let us leave this difficult topic out for the moment and concentrate on organizational weakness first. 

At the peak of the tsunami, people were all fired up and willing to take risks and then the politicians took over. For all their enthusiasm, people were rewarded with motivational speeches after motivational speeches. There were even quite a few amateur politicians and professional windbags who crept into any niche they could find. Blogging became the standard activity of the day. 

Transparency became a catchword and it was thought exposure of corruption and abuse of power was adequate to push the reform movement forward. Unfortunately the greatest enemy of transparency is precisely the NFA chop. 

Those who joined political parties in the hope that their energy and enthusiasm may find expression found that what mostly happened was that their membership fees were collected and there was a few cursory meetings. 

I am also not saying this is anybody’s fault. The political parties themselves were taken by surprise with the strength and energy of the tsunami. Unfortunately the reaction was a scramble for leadership positions and the leaders just gave speeches. This is an extremely cheap way of gaining leadership positions. Momentum was lost because organizational work was neglected. 

On the other side, the reactionary forces were also surprised by the power and energy of the tsunami and fell into disarray. Some individuals openly and shamelessly engaged in abuse of power to try and stem the tide thus earning odium for themselves. But to their credit, the reactionaries regained composure and using the organisational power of RTM, the bureaucracy, GLCs and cronies who were terrifed that their favoured positions may be lost as well as throwing in huge sums of money (in the manner of pouring oil on storm waters), they regained the upper hand. 

I think it is time for a re-grouping. The political parties must get their organizations into shape and civil society must organize themselves into NGOs like MCLM. There is no conflict in these actions and if people are wise enough and sacrificing enough, may be mutually supporting. The fear of 3 cornered elections is over done and masks the need for hard nosed organisational work. If organization is strong, there is no need to fear 3 cornered fights. 

The argument for a 2 party political system is a good one but remains a false one if the rakyat is forced to depend on the top for leadership, action and goodies, merely using their vote once every 5 years. This is a top down approach and is not what characterizes a Peoples’ Movement. 

A healthy 2 party political system can only work well if the people are empowered, organised and willing top use that power and organization to overcome NFA chops. This means they have to be well organized, not merely well motivated. 

The opposition in a 2 part political system must be capable and able to take power for a 2 party system to make sense.. For this to happen it must have a groundswell of support which is empowered, organised and able to take action. This bottom up movement is critical. 

The reactionary status quo must also has its base of support to maintain itself in power. This base must be able to take effective action since power is the ability to take action to achieve an objective. Such ability to take action is now vested in the partisan bureaucracy, crony institutions and crony businesses. These people further control the purse strings of the nation which is diverted for party political purposes rather than purely for non-partisan development of the nation. This is a force to be reckoned with and cannot be challenge effectively with motivational speeches alone. 

The opposition badly needs to re-group and bring its own organisational effectiveness up to shape. Good leaders empower their followers. Without powerful followers, leaders are just generals without armies. It takes both to be strong to make a successfu