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Friday May 3, 2013

GE13: Scrapping to woo Indians

There is a mad scrap now for the Indian votes as all sides woo them with all their might. And when the elections are done and dusted, there will be a whole lot more scrap to deal with.

IN two days, we pick our leaders. And then, I think I will take a few days off and be a picker.

Picker? Yes, you know, the besi buruk guys who go around collecting scrap and sell them to recycling agencies.

The amount of campaign material I see around me is mind-boggling. There’s paper, there’s cloth, there’s plastic, there’s canvas, there’s all sorts of things.

I told a friend, himself a besi buruk guy, about my idea. He laughed me off.

“Don’t waste your time,” he said. “We have already locked in all the deals to clear all the campaign material.”

And what’s better, they get paid for it as well.

These guys just have to do what they always do, which is collect the scrap. This time around, not only do they get tonnes of the stuff but the political parties pay them as well.

Can a deal get any sweeter?

I am told the cloth used to make all those flags and banners aren’t worth too much, but there’s big money in the banners and the plastic-like material used for posters and buntings.

And you know the metal wire that’s used to tie down the flagpoles and the many posters? It seems these guys can collect lorryloads of that stuff. And it’s worth big bucks.

It’s a good time to be a besi buruk man. Or an Indian.

Have you guys seen the way everyone is courting the Indians?

Hindraf’s P. Waythamoorthy has got his way with the Prime Minister, born-again Datuk Zulkifli Noordin has become an Indian lover (I hope that’s not something like being an Indian giver). The streets are lined with Barisan Nasional flags with messages in Tamil, although a friend pointed out that they got the spelling wrong. But who cares, it’s the message that matters, right?

Then, there’s also Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in a traditional Indian outfit asking for nambikei.

The Pakatan Rakyat folk are wooing the Indians in all manner of ways, too.

There’s opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim doing an MGR-style song and dance on billboards with MGR’s classic song Naan Aanai Ittal (If I Were To Rule) complete with all his promises.

It’s Anwar’s second outing as a Tamil film star. The last time around, he was Rajnikanth in Sivaji the Boss.

But Anwar is not alone as MGR. An independent in Penang, Rajendra Ammasi (pic), has also gone all-MGR on his constituents.

MGR was a famous Tamil movie actor who went on to become chief minister of Tamil Nadu and is still well-loved there and remembered here.

The song-and-dance bit has really been assailing Indians here. All sorts of songs have been remixed and remade into Facebook parodies.

In cyberspace, the opposition seems to have more fodder. It started, for me at least, with a catchy song from the movie Yutham Sei.

Then, along came another parody of the Why this Kolaveri song that once went viral around the world before the coming of Oppa Gangnam Style. Yet another catchy tune, from a recent movie Kumki, was also remade to catch the attention of Indian voters.

MGR is again in the forefront, with many of the songs from his movies being posted on Facebook and YouTube.

There’s also one called the star of the Indians. It sings the praises (literally) of Najib, listing his achievements. It’s an original song that’s quite tastefully done.

MIC, meanwhile, managed a coup of sorts when it got award-winning Indian singer Deepan Chakravarty to sing a jingle for them.

Too bad they didn’t get anyone to think of some lyrics. The song goes Beribu-ribu Tahniah, MIC Berjaya.

And poor Deepan had to mouth those same lines over and over again in different pitches and keys.

Maybe they thought Deepan would not sound too good singing Malay lyrics. In that case, they could have had him sing in Tamil. He sure knows that language, as do more than a million Indians in this country.

Even MCA has its Love Is In The Air – you judge that yourself – DAP has its Ubah and the others have their own ditties.

But I still think the wooing of Indian voters in cyberspace is that much more fun.

Yes, it’s a good time to be an Indian. Or better yet, an Indian besi buruk man.

> With all these goings-on in cyberspace, the writer is left wondering if there is indeed a need for that many banners, flags and bunting. Is it all a waste of good material that can be put to better use? The writer can be contacted at raj@thestar.com.my.

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