I believe many of you will agree when I state here that we normally pay scant or no attention to what unknown politicians like defeated electoral candidates say or do.
We are more likely to listen attentively to selected speeches and statements of ministers and elected representatives and dissect their words too, if they are of interest to us. They are constantly on our radar, for good or bad.
This week, however, the statement of a political unknown outside of Sabah caught my attention.
Sabah Wanita MCA chief Dr Pamela Yong, who contested the Luyang seat in Kota Kinabalu during GE14, said she would toe the party line in the selection of candidates in the coming state elections.
“If I’m not selected, I will help out in the campaigning,” she was quoted by The Star as saying on Aug 7.
Little known Dr Yong said if there were new faces capable of leading and winning, there should not be a reason why they could not be given the chance to contest.
“Many people use politics as their bread and butter but we need professionals and people who do not need politics to survive,” Dr Yong said.
What honourable words from a noble lady! I do not know Dr Yong nor have I met her but she has made a very pertinent statement, the narrative of which clearly resonates with me.
I have felt the same way about politics and politicians for as long as I can remember. But I guess career politicians will find it difficult to share our views.
Politicians should not use politics as their bread and butter and they should be people who do not need politics to survive — this was what Dr Yong articulated and this is also the first time I’ve heard a politician (even if she is lesser known) stressing that distinctive point publicly.
Look at the political turmoil and upheavals in the country today. We do know the causes and reasons why things are so messy and disruptive in the political arena, don’t we?
We know why politicians are jostling for position and power and fighting tooth and nail for their political lives, don’t we?
To them, politics is their bread and butter and they need politics to survive. They eat, sleep and dream politics. It’s as simple as that.
We only know too well what politicians will tell us — that they are fighting for the betterment of the people and for a more prosperous future for the nation. I think we have heard enough of such rhetoric.
When politicians consider politics as their sole means of survival, they would be prepared to lie to the people through their teeth or come up with all kinds of excuses for not fulfilling their promises.
Worse, they would have no qualms about getting involved in dirty and treacherous deals to get the better of their opponents. Their personal survival is their top priority.
Many of us must have wished that those in politics today had, from the start, considered their career a vocation — an honourable profession dedicated to the total service of their fellowmen.
A vocation, as I wish it to be understood in the political context too, is all about giving and expecting little or nothing in return.
If politics is considered a vocation by all serving politicians today, what a peaceful, joyous and wonderful world this would be.
Pope Francis said: “Politics is a noble activity. We should revalue it, practise it with vocation and a dedication that requires testimony and a martyrdom – that is to die for the common good.”
The message from the Vicar of Christ has a similar ring — Politics should be a vocation and all politicians should keep that in mid if they aspire to be honest, sincere and genuine servants of the people.
Now, enjoy this cracker from Ronald Reagan: “It is said that politics is the world’s second oldest profession. But I came to the conclusion that it has much more in common with the first one.”
Between the pontiff’s appeal and the late US President’s jab, it is quite clear where most politicians find themselves more aligned with.
Sadly, the egomaniacs, power mongers and elitists are never ashamed of themselves! Don’t expect them to be.
Finally, I say kudos to Dr Pamela Yong for stating publicly and with vigour what real politics and politicians should really be.
It’s okay if no one pays attention to you, Dr Yong.
I did and I agree with you totally.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.
Feedback can reach him at email@example.com