The Candidate


This is a story of fiction for your Sunday reading pleasure. The event as follows never happened and any similarities or resemblance to people already dead, still alive, or about to die, is purely coincidental.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Devil: So you would like to be the number one then, the paramount leader of your country?

The Candidate: Yes. In fact, I have been trying for the last 50 years but can’t seem to get even close to becoming the paramount leader.

The Devil: I know. We have been monitoring your career, or should I say failed career, for quite some time now and can see that you take one step forward only to take two steps backward soon after that.

The Candidate: I don’t know what is wrong. I am better, smarter, cleaner, more sincere, and so on, compared to all the others. In fact, most of the others are manipulative crooks and yet they make it while I do not.

The Devil: Maybe that is what is wrong.

The Candidate: I don’t understand what you mean.

The Devil: I mean maybe it is because you are good. You need to be bad, not good, to become the paramount leader. Have you not heard the saying ‘good girls go to heaven, bad girls have all the fun’? So, do you want to go to heaven or do you want to have all the fun?

The Candidate: I thought it was ‘good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere’, a quote by Mae West?

The Devil: I was quoting Marilyn Monroe’s version. And guess who taught her that.

The Candidate: You?

The Devil: Of course. And, boy, did she have lots of fun, and with no less than the President himself.

The Candidate: But wasn’t her life very tragic, which also ended tragically?

The Devil: Well, that is the price you pay for the deal you make with the devil, literally and figure of speech as well. So you need to enjoy the fun while it lasts and pay for it later, a heavy price indeed you need to pay.

The Candidate: I am not sure I am prepared to pay that heavy price.

The Devil: Well, then you will never become the paramount leader.

The Candidate: What will I have to do to become the paramount leader? I mean what compromises will I have to make?

The Devil: First of all, you cannot be idealistic or principled. No one who is idealistic and principled becomes a paramount leader.

The Candidate: I suppose I can compromise on my ideals and principles to become the paramount leader before I die. After all, I really do not have much time left in this world anyway and if I don’t make it now I will never make it.

The Devil: That’s the spirit. Next, we will guide you on what to do and you will need to listen to what we tell you. If not you will be heading for a nasty fall and you career, maybe even your life, will end tragically.

The Candidate: I suppose I would have no choice if that were the price I must pay to become the paramount leader.

The Devil: Exactly. Everyone who we make into a paramount leader pays this same price. Gandhi was not prepared to pay this price so he declined our offer to become the paramount leader. And see what happened to him in the end!

The Candidate: But wasn’t Gandhi a good man? He wanted to unite the Hindus and Muslims.

The Devil: We do not want to see unity. Unity does not serve our purpose. We need disunity, civil strife, chaos, turmoil, conflict, wars, and whatnot.

The Candidate: But isn’t all that bad for the country?

The Devil: Not necessarily. Sometimes it is also good for the country.

The Candidate: How can that be?

The Devil: Look at what happened to Malaysia during the Korean War. Many people may have died but Malaysia became rich because the price of tin and rubber shot up. During the political and racial turmoil in Indonesia, many people died but Singapore became rich because Indonesians shifted all their money to Singapore. Thailand became rich during the Vietnam War although many people died because the United States spent a lot of money in Thailand. We work on the concept that one person’s loss is another person’s gain. This is how disunity, civil strife, chaos, turmoil, conflict, wars, and whatnot will benefit you.

The Candidate: I see what you mean. So what you are saying is we need to prosper on the backs of the misery of others.

The Devil: Now you get it. How do you think the UK and the US prospered?

The Candidate: Because of the Industrial Revolution and the development of the railway?

The Devil: Nonsense. That is what the historians try to tell you. They are lying, of course. The UK and the US prospered because of the slave trade. The whites became rich on the misery of the blacks.

The Candidate: I see what you mean. If not the UK and the US would be nothing today.

The Devil: Exactly. So misery is not always bad. It is good when you capitalise on it and make money from the misery of others. Why do you think the West needs wars in the Middle East? It is so that the West can prosper from the misery of the people in the Middle East.

The Candidate: So, as the paramount leader, I will need to see how to create misery then. Is that what you are saying?

The Devil: That is exactly what I am saying.

The Candidate: And how would I do that in my country? Would I need to declare war on our neighbours?

The Devil: No. Your country will be wiped out in merely three days. You are not strong enough to win a war with your neighbours. Let your neighbours declare war on each other. You just get ready to make plenty of money from this war once it breaks out. And it will break out, soon, because the South China Sea is going to be the venue for the Third World War. You watch.

The Candidate: So what must I do to fulfil your, I mean, our agenda?

The Devil: All you need to do is to make sure that there is no unity in your country. The thing we fear most is unity. Unity may be good for the human race but it disrupts our agenda.

The Candidate: And what agenda would that be?

The Devil: Basically, our agenda is to give God a massive headache.

The Candidate: Oh…and what would give God a massive headache?

The Devil: God would get a massive headache when the people are divided by race and religion. Since the beginning of time, humans have been fighting over race, religion, nationalism and domination. So, whomsoever we support to become the paramount leader, he or she must perpetuate these ‘ideals’ of ours.

The Candidate: I suppose that is not too difficult in my country. Our people are already divided by race and religion with one race dominating the others.

The Devil: Yes, but there are some idealistic, principled and sincere leaders who are talking about national reconciliation and religious tolerance and all that nonsense. And this frightens us. If that happens then this will be bad news for us. This must stop. Racism and religious intolerance must not only be maintained but they must in fact be increased. And we must never end the domination of one race over the others. That is what we taught Abraham and Moses as well, in case you did not notice. I mean, just read what the ‘holy books’ say. And if we decide to make you the paramount leader this is what we will expect from you. Can you deliver that?

The Candidate: I suppose I will have to say yes if I want to become the paramount leader.

The Devil: That’s the spirit!

The Candidate: But how are you going to make it happen?

The Devil: Leave that to us. We have many ways to make it happen. In fact, if you can remember, we did make it happen many times in the past but you were just too dumb to notice. You did not grab the opportunity we gave you. So you got left behind.

The Candidate: Hmm…when was that? I was not aware that you offered me the opportunity to rise.

The Devil: No? Remember the car crash 40 years ago? If that chap had not died would you have come up so fast?

The Candidate: Oh! That incident! I see what you mean.

The Devil: Then your career shot up very fast after that and the opportunity for you to become the paramount leader offered itself when the second person died soon after that.

The Candidate: Yes, I remember that as well.

The Devil: But did you take over? No! You were too principled, dedicated and sincere. You did not want to take over because you wanted to focus on serving the country. You said you had so much unfinished business, which you cannot finish as the number two. So you forfeited your turn and allowed someone else to take over instead. Then what happened to you after that?

The Candidate: My career went downhill.

The Devil: Exactly. And the man you stepped aside for did what we wanted and see where your country is today.

The Candidate: It is in an absolute mess.

The Devil: Right! And do you think we will allow you to take over if you want to take over just so that you can address this mess?

The Candidate: I suppose not.

The Devil: Right again. So, if we allow you to take over, it has to be so that you can make this mess even worse.

The Candidate: Okay. I understand. But what if I don’t agree?

The Devil: Then you will never become the paramount leader. And we do have some other candidate in mind if you do not agree to our terms.

The Candidate: You mean…

The Devil: Yes, that is exactly who we mean. So you decide.

The Candidate: My God!

The Devil: Hey! Leave God out of this. We, and not God, decide what happens.