Good bye Cacoethes Scribendi, Hello new Cacoethes Scribendi

Folks, the end have come for Cacoethes Scribendi. I have decided to end this blog for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, it does not mean the end of the road of my blogging. Rather, I have migrated to WordPress with a blog of the same name.

However, please note that I've decided to make some changes in the new blog. You can read the first entry there about those changes and why I decided to make those changes.

Hope to see you there. The new blog address is or just click here.

Some thoughts on the future of this blog

It has been half a year since I started this blog. When I first started, I really had no idea how it would turn out as it was my first time writing in the blogosphere. Admittedly, as with any other novice, I stumbled here and there in the course of writing this blog … trying to find a voice and direction which Cacoethes Scribendi (C.S.) should take.

I thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Anyway, half a year flies so quickly. I’m pausing here to contemplate on the future of this blog. When I first started it, C.S. was meant to be an experiment to see whether I can write to a more general public rather than just for a small group in the academia.

I really enjoyed writing here although I’ve to admit that sometimes I cheated by just copying other pieces which I find interesting, why re-invent the wheel when it is in front of you. I find that writing here with a more general public in mind, I cannot fall back on academic speak and am forced to write in a manner that is plain and intelligent to all thoughtful readers.

I hope I succeeded in this but I must apologise to my earliest readers who have to painfully endure my somewhat stilted writing in the beginning.

So what does the future have in store for C.S.? I really don’t know. For those who know me, I ‘m in the midst of finishing off my thesis which I hope to submit in a month’s time down the road. With things winding down, I have been giving some thought to C.S. and asking myself do I have anything interesting to say … I mean there are many blogs out there which is doing what I’m doing and doing it better. So should C.S. continue on? What purpose can C.S. serve? Is it even effective in trying to communicate to you dear readers?

Well, I have been giving some thought to just shut down C.S. as I feel that I’m replicating what others can do (and do it better) … anyway, the future of C.S. is not that clear. I’m still giving it some thought. 

Something different for a change ...

After so many serious and depressing news about the recent developments in our nation's politics, I thought this video might be a good change of pace. It sure brightens my day.

The good, the bad and the ugly in the Hulu Selangor by-election

Here is a piece I written in theThe Micah Mandate:

The good, the bad and the ugly in the Hulu Selangor by-election

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Christopher Chong | TinyUrl TM
The Micah Mandate needs your support.
I’m writing this piece just hours after the results of the Hulu Selangor by-election had just been announced. In the coming days, we will be seeing more commentaries in the blogosphere and the mainstream media on why BN won and its implications on Malaysian politics. I’ll leave this part to more knowledgeable heads than mine to sort it out. What I want to do here is to offer some observations on the run-up to and on the day of the by-election in terms of the trends which I believe is a precursor to the next general elections.
Let’s start with the good first. The high voter turnout in the Hulu Selangor by-election indicates that Malaysians are conscientious of their civic duty as citizens of a democratic country. More importantly, the participation of younger people in the run up to the by-election canvassing for votes is an encouraging sign. Also, the access to news on the Hulu Selangor by-election was not restricted to mainstream media where one can go to the web to find alternative sources of news demonstrated that the ruling party’s stranglehold on access to news have been broken. All these developments point toward the gains made in the last General Elections towards a more democratic political system are here to stay.
As for the bad, we are still mired within a communal political outlook. For example, race features prominently in the choice of the candidate that will contest in the by-elections. This was clearly seen on the BN side with the MIC-UMNO squabble on whose candidate should be the one contesting for the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary seat and there were the usual racial rhetoric in the run up to the by-election. We still observed the usual pork-barrel politics in action (and this time by both coalitions, i.e. BN and PR). And then, there were stories of irregularities during the voting process … all familiar stories in any election in the country.
Finally, the ugly. The amount of venom spewed by both sides on the perceived failings of both candidates could have poisoned the entire population of Hulu Selangor. What I find disturbing is the move away (and again by both parties) during the campaign from principles and issues to attack the candidates personally in all (mainstream and otherwise) the media. I fear that this will become the norm in the next General Elections.
In looking at the bad and the ugly, there is no denying that our electoral system requires urgent reforms in order to make the system work for us rather than for the benefit of a select few. In the next coming General Elections, we – the voters – must send out a strong message that we will only support the coalition that will overhaul the electoral system to make it more accountable to the people together with a level playing field for all parties involved.
We need to reject racial cat calling and personal attacks in favour of principles and issues as the pre-condition for giving even the time of day for party workers and candidates canvassing for votes. Let alone for giving them our votes.
I want to end here by saying that we should not be disheartened by the negative developments that have taken place in this by-election. The last General Elections have proven that citizens can make a difference and the old rules of politics can no longer be taken for granted. The emergence of the alternative media, the growing political awareness and participation of the previously apolitical younger generation, to name but a few, are surely signs that the nation is heading towards a working democracy that we can all be proud of. However, for that to happen, we need to play our part in supporting the call for electoral reforms and insisting that parties staked out their political principles and issues rather than just dishing our more electoral goodies and personal attacks as the means to capture electoral support.

Another interesting analysis of the Hulu Selangor by-election

Winning Hulu Selangor

26 Apr 10 : 1.17AM
By Deborah Loh and Ding Jo-Ann,

A victorious Kamalanathan with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (left)
and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak
THE Barisan Nasional (BN) has wrested back Hulu Selangor from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), but who is the real winner — MIC candidate P Kamalanathan, or Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak?
Kamalanathan polled 24,997 votes against Datuk Zaid Ibrahim's 23,272 in a closely fought race. There were 731 spoilt ballots. Voter turnout was 75.87%, compared with 75.24% in the 2008 general election. In the 2008 polls, PKR won the federal seat by a slim 198-vote margin. This time round, it lost by 1,725 votes.
Kamalanathan's campaign was run not on what his principles would be as a parliamentarian, but on what the Najib administration wanted to sell. Hence, the MIC information chief was labelled a "1Malaysia candidate". Indeed, even his name was adapted to suit his audience — Kamal to Malay Malaysians, Nathan to Indian Malaysians, and Alan to Chinese Malaysians.
For certain, the results reflect some degree of support for Najib's initiatives. Beyond that, however, what do the results mean for both the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)?
Read more here.

Hulu Selangor by-election

With the Hulu Selangor by-election over ... we are now seeing a slew of articles from the blogosphere dissecting the whys and hows of PR defeat. I selected three articles here because I find them to be the most thoughtful ...

So why did PKR lose in Hulu Selangor?

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid | The Malaysian Insider
APRIL 26 — It was rather anticipated that Barisan Nasional would snatch the Hulu Selangor seat yesterday from right under Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) nose and without giving too much credit to the former, two factors contributed to this somewhat predestined outcome.
First, the notoriously poor and inefficient machinery. The second is the candidate factor itself. PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim lost to MIC information chief P. Kamalananthan by a 1,725-vote majority. The former law minister garnered 23,272 votes while his opponent, a public relations practitioner whose qualifications were subject to tactical scrutiny by Zaid and Co, bagged 24,997 votes.
Read more here.

 Monday, April 26, 2010

What I learned from the HS buy-election

Okay guys. The by-erection is over.
As many of you might notice, I am a history freak. I just love history. I don't know why. But one thing for sure, I like to look at how people behaved or acted before so that I could learn a lesson or two from them in order to enable me to predict how people will behave in the future. I think that's part of the reason why I love history.
What can I learn from the Hulu Selangor buy-election?
Read more here.

Hulu Selangor by-election afterthoughts

For the BN, nothing to be proud about winning in this way. The means are just as important as the ends.
It was always going to be close, either way. In the end, it was 52:48 in the BN’s favour. A political economist friend of mine was right when he told me to listen to the Pas campaigner I referred to a number of times in this blog (even though I did get a bit swayed by the large turnout at the PKR ceramah on the eve of polling).
This Pas campaigner was accurate in his prediction of a 54:46 outcome (plus/minus 2 per cent margin of error) in favour of the BN, which he consistently stuck to throughout the campaign and polling day itself. He had campaigned for Pakatan across Hulu Selangor and developed a gut feel for the area, especially the kampungs and Felda settlements. He felt Pakatan could have received around 35 per cent support (“not more than 40 per cent”) in these areas. This seems consistent with a Pas MP who predicted 36 per cent support in these areas.
Read more here.