…but a not so wholesome Obama, Bakri seems to suggest

Posted on November 14, 2008


many-colours-114When I read Rocky’s post entitled ‘Malaysia’s Obama, according to Bakri Musa’, where Rocky quotes Bakri as saying that ‘Malaysia already has her Barack Obama in the person of Mahathir Mohamed’, the first thing that came to mind was there was someone in cyberspace impersonating that good surgeon.

Then I read Bakri’s article in full in Rocky’s other blog, laughed out loud and thought to myself, ‘Good one, Rocky’.

Yes, you must take the cue from Rocky and read Bakri’s piece in full.

I’ll just reproduce below the lines that immediately follow where Rocky left off with the above quote from Bakri.

We do not recognize him as such because unlike in America where its Obama is considered a member of the minority, Malaysia’s majority Malays warmly and quickly embrace their Obama as one of their own. Nor is Mahathir alone; earlier leaders like Datuk Onn and Tunku Abdul Rahman also had mixed ancestry.                                                                                                                             By biological heritage, Obama has equal claim to being black or white. Yet because of his unalterable physical characteristics Obama is labeled black. Even if Obama were to resort to the miracles of plastic surgery, skin-whitening cream, and hair coloring and straightening a la Michael Jackson, which Obama does not, he would still be labeled black.

For contrast, examine the group portrait of UMNO Supreme Council members. If they were to dispense with their songkok and Baju Melayu and instead put on modern attire, some of them could easily be mistaken as delegates from MCA or MIC, that is, until they open their big mouth and chant their chauvinistic slogan of Ketuanan Melayu!

Now I’ll take you to the part that was, for me, at least, telling.

…However, if we dispense with the racial label and ask the more substantive question of whether Malaysia could produce a future leader the caliber and transforming character of Barack Obama, then the answer is more complex and problematic.       Obama captures the imagination of Americans with his brilliance, eloquence, and charisma. He appeals to their finer instincts; he brings Americans together, transcending class, region, and most of all, race.

Have I misunderstood Bakri?

Posted in: Digressions