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?