Keluarga 69 in Malaysian politics; P Ramlee would be pleased


PAS and DAP in love-hate relationship, Perkasa and Tun M’s apparent divorce, Daim and Najib at odds, TV3 reconciling with Anwar, what a Keluarga 69 indeed.

Hazlan Zakaria, The Ant Daily

When it comes to political and social commentary, I think two of the masters in Malaysian history are legendary artist P Ramlee and the talented cartoonist Lat.

Their ability is encapsulated not only in their incisive insight into social norms but also the subtle way they impart this into their individual art forms.

Nothing puts me in the fits of giggles like the satire cartoons of Lat lampooning local leaders or the films of P Ramlee and his not too hidden social commentary like the alif mim nun wau spells “circus” comment in Pendekar Bujang Lapuk.

Alif mim nun wau being the Jawi letters that spell out the name Umno.

While there are others who have taken their mantle so to speak, none came even close to the level of complexity and subtlety they wrought.

Speaking of those two, I recently re-watched Keluarga 69, P Ramlee’s classic comedy about upheavals in the life of key characters which led to marriages and divorces which saw families intertwined in topsy-turvy conundrum as former spouses and their children end up marrying each other in mismatch.

In a way it evoked perhaps that politics make for strange bedfellows with characters in bed with each other, if not literally then in the figurative.

Come to think of it, it is perhaps a masterful mash-up subtly talking about this reality in politics.

As my parents oft informed me, not to get entangled in the political battles fought by supporters and underlings as the higher ups in politics, after spitting at each other in speeches, can always hug each other and reconcile later.

Being contemporaries with some political leaders in their university days and observers of the political plotting, they often warned me of it.

It is the followers that lose out by being fanatically engrossed in political heated moments, my parents would explain.

“Later they can always hug each other and call each other brothers and cry,” they would remind me.

Having covered the kindergarten heated almost gangland brawl madness that is the Malaysian parliament for some years and the chill out chit chat session later with congenial MPs smiling at each other where once they were at each other’s throat give credence to my parent’s observations.