Sunday, January 24, 2010

Speaking Directly to the People

Obama lost Massachusetts to the Republicans and admitted his mistake: he had neglected his direct connection to the American people. He said: "If there's one thing that I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people."(NST Jan.22.p.28)

Our leaders in the Barisan (UMNO, MCA, MIC etc) should take this admission very seriously if they do not want to make the same mistake. I remember at one time Tun Dr Mahathir being so busy with policy matters and development strategies that he sort of alienated himself from the people at the grasroots level. Hence the launching of the SEMARAK program ( Pemimpin Bersama Rakyat) to get him to join the crowd in the padi field, take part in village sports and celebration, and physically spend time and be with the crowds IN PERSON to remove the "feeling of remorteness and detachment" that dominated the thinking and feeling of the rakyat. Tun Mahathir began talking to them directly and in person, to the farmers, the small contractors, the fishermen etc.

History proves that it's not enough for the NO.1 man to just appear on TV everyday, attend big functions and meetings, visit world leaders for discussions and caused many MOUs to be singned ( with full Press coverage) , make important policy announcements every week without waiting to see whether the earlier once had been effective implemented or not, and give away millions to get still-born projects moving again. These are important but NOT MORE MEANINGFUL than visiting a family struck bymisfortune, intervening in a heart-rending drama when the homes of people are being destroyed to make way for development(Tun Razak used to visit an old lady who refused to relocate her house which stood in the way of a road development project),and personnally be with families struct by flood, fire or lanslide to console them. A few minutes spent with the unfortunates and those suffering from some disaster may keep a leader from making important policy decision. But once people feel neglected and ignored, hours of TV exposure and promo would not palliate their regrets - "hilangkan rasa terkilan."

Obama faced the truth about people's feeling just after a year in office. He is man enough to admit his mistake. Shouln't our leaders in Barisan take heed before causing more "alienation" of the crowd at the grassroots level?


rambomadonna said...

I have so much respect for President Obama. He has too much on his shoulder when he took office. But nonetheless ... I don't know u Norzah ... coz though I subscribe to News Weekly and Times, I was too tired to read it sometimes. So I kinda lost track on his activities.

But even so, I feel like he seldom appear on TV unlike the former President Bush .... or it is just my ignorance? Hmmm

Anyway, I don't blame Obama. U know, if he didn't deal with all the crisis in the States he will loose all the other states to the Republican. Not everyone in his office is his "friends" or "in" the office to support him.

Before he can speak to the People, he still need to speak to the People who is suppose to work for and with him. Gain their trust first because they will be the People who will later also speak to the People on his behalf. Empowerment maaa ...

Not easy to speak to the People when u know there other People want and waiting for your downfall.

Anyway, I am speaking based on experience here.

norzah said...

He is a great man, J, made greater by his willingness to admit a mistake - losing contact with the public - which I'm sure he will rectify in time. I'm asking our leaders to avoid the same mstake- doing everything in Putrajaya and KL but not joining the rakyat on the ground and in the fields.

Those drawing up the work agenda for the leaders must make sure that enough time is allowed for the leaders to meet people-in-the-street, talk to them.
have teh tarik with them, solve some of their problems there-n-then. Talking to them thru the TV all the time will make them turn off the TV.

This was the findings of research behind the SEMARAK program. Barisan leaders have to do a lot of SEMARAK to regain the confidence of the people.
Again, don't worry your head off. J. Am just talking to the mountains. But the GE is coming and the tsunami of 2008 might happen again if Barisan leaders don't buck up.

rambomadonna said...

U know wat Norzah, as I am more aware and know who's who in the Peninsular Malaysia political scenario ... I began to respect this one person political game. Wat I am seeing now is someone else efforts but to someone else benefit.

Kinda remind me of my Palapes training. The instructor said ... Retreat (pengunduran) doesn't mean we loose. Sometimes it provide clean break before we strike back.

Hebat ...

norzah said...

In politics and admin for someone else to benefit from
someone else's efforts, ia a common thing. The Malay
proverb for that is: Lembu punya susu yang sapi dapat nama. I experienced a lot of those when in the government before. It's one of the drawbacks of the concept: joint responsibility. Individual talents tend to get lost in the final output.
Apa yang u alami dalam Palapas training dulu tu pun sudah dijadikan peribahasa: loose a battle to win a war. It's an acceptable war strategy. Break clear or withdraw, reconcile your effortrs and energy, then strike back.
Wahhh, you sound like a seasoned strategist - I'm sure u akan menang dlm apa-apa perjuangan pun. Undur sedikit belum bererti kalah, kan? Cuma lying low in order to strike back, Jaga-jagalah sesiapa yg menjadikan u musuh....