Another Amir: Satirical Anarchist
The New Straits Times used to run a satire column every Thursday, written by Amir Muhammad. Unfortunately, it seems to have either fallen foul of the powers that be, or flown over the heads of most Malaysians, because the NST has since stopped publishing satire.
Fortunately, I now know where to go when I need to laugh about the state of Malaysian politics — Amir Hafizi is the man. I probably sound like a bit of a fanboy, having devoted articles such as A Malay Male Slams Malaysian Malaysia and the Opposition to him. But I can't help it. The man's hilarious.
Politics is a serious business. But because we treat it with such gravitas, our righteous fury can sometimes be lost on ourselves and others. Often, it's difficult to make a point when you're getting all worked up in a hardhitting tirade against the status quo. It's also difficult to have that point understood when you're boring people with your rants.
That's why satire is such an important tool for communicating politics to the masses. Political cartoons have been in vogue for centuries, and it's not for no good reason. People understand the point you make better when they're laughing at your opponent.
Even if you're a political aficionado, satire is helpful. It's always good to be receptive to criticism, but by nature, humans are disinclined to listen to people who directly attack their beliefs. An indirect attack by means of satire is often more conducive to opening your mind and at least letting you consider the possibility that you might be wrong.
With all these benefits of satire, you might be wondering why I don't write parodies more often. Although I'd like to think that I have a bit of a flair for parodying songs, I'm quite confident that I'd be hopeless at writing real satire. The best I might have gotten is this parody of "Keranamu Malaysia", a patriotic song:
Buruh nelayan dan juga petani
Gaya hidup kini masih sama
Anak-anak terhapus mindanya
Mati generasi bijak bodoh
Pakar seksi, pakar pornografi
Kakitangan kerajaan dan jutawan
Berkereta jenama negara
Megah menyusur di dalam longkang
Kejayaan semakin jauhi
Biar di kota, ataupun desa
Kita semua pasti dibom Osama
Keranamu kami hanya fikir bangsa
Keranamu kami hidup terseksa
Keranamu kami malas berfikiran
Limpah bumi hanya hak bumiputra
Keranamu kami bertengkaran
Keranamu kami tidak belajar
Keranamu tentulah kami berbunuh-bunuhan
Demi bangsa matilah negara
Keranamu negara Malaysia
Malaysia...terima kasih Malaysia!
Maybe I'm too Malaysian to have the right mindset to properly make fun of the establishment. (Or maybe my sense of humour is too poorly developed.) At any rate, that's why it's refreshing to run into anarchists like Amir Hafizi who don't have any such qualms.
Satire may seem immature at times. But only satire is capable of breaking down our mental resistance to questioning our established thoughts and views. Only satire is capable of developing our political maturity, and making us laugh at the same time.