When not to boycott and when to

We will watch with great interest how their political party treats these politicians. If the parties are backing the mischief, we will boycott the parties too and deny the vote to all their candidates everywhere.

P Gunasegaram

 These are times when reason does not prevail, not because it is difficult to see reason, but because some people deliberately don’t want to, in the misconceived notion that flogging a dead horse will make them a hero.

This sinking to insanity, obscuring and making irrelevant the reasons why such an event happened, plays little part in determining whether there is a reason to boycott or the question of who should be boycotted.

It’s easier to determine when not to boycott than when to. So, we will start with that first and then move on to who we should boycott; what, why, when, where, and how – the journalistic five “Ws” and one “H”.

Really, how much political capital does this person hope to get? I don’t even want to mention his name because he has just got too much attention, it’s better to focus on his actions. I will avoid all names altogether.

You can be sure it’s risky and a gamble, but because he is a person who is in a rush to get up there with the rest of his disreputable cohorts, he figures that it is worth it.

Most people preceding him in his current position have taken that path but, things have changed so much, he can’t be assured of success.

Poor supermarket and convenience store chain. It had no idea what was coming. In the thousands of orders for socks from China, some five pairs had the name “Allah” on them.

Clearly a mistake, not intentional at all. Which supermarket in Malaysia will dare do that deliberately?

It’s kind of difficult to go through such a huge consignment to see the mistake. However, the mistake was made and highlighted, and the apologies were made and reiterated yet again at a meeting with the king by the founder of the convenience store.

However, there was no satisfying him, the person who called for the boycott of the store. No, he will not budge an inch, he will make his stand and he will die fighting. He even posed for a social media picture of him wielding a sword.

Way over the top – nobody asked him to fight or to die, there was no need for a sword. A mistake made, admitted, profuse apologies proffered, and the matter should end. But no, the boycott will continue, he said.

And the cheek of this person, he threatened another boycott of a store which apparently sold shoes with a religiously inappropriate design. He demanded an explanation but really, who is he to demand an explanation? Can’t he leave it to the authorities?

Let’s ponder on boycotts for a second. Who suffers if there is a boycott? If the boycott is so severe that it brings the convenience store to its knees and it dies metaphorically on the sword of the one who called the boycott, who suffers?

Yes, the owners but perhaps a few thousand employees will lose their jobs too. A thriving business falls and the economy suffers from its effects and the lack of confidence that engenders. Who will want to set up another convenience store chain?

No, that’s not the concern of those calling for boycotts, their single-minded intention is for them to become heroes and to advance their sagging political career.

That’s why the misguided boycott against a coffee chain as well as a fast food chain is bad for Malaysians. Our heroes don’t give a thought to those affected. The owners are not Jewish, the workers are Malaysians. How dumb!

Imbecilic calls

And then there is the mother of stupidity – an organisation claiming to represent the interests of the majority group in Malaysia, calling for a boycott of the national oil corporation. This is a company fully owned by the country – all of us, whether red, black, brown, yellow, or shades in between.

The reason was that a relatively minor single contract was not given to a company majority-owned by the majority race when the vast majority of contracts of the oil corporation over the years went to the majority race. Truly, they were barking up the wrong tree.

Where would they buy their petrol? The government earns huge amounts from oil and gas, all of which come from the oil corporation. Are they going to boycott the government too? And will they return the petrol subsidies? Oh, the ridiculousness of it all!