If you believe your reign is strong, why do you keep saying it like you doubt it is true?

AMANAH president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu a.k.a. Mat Sabu has once again come out today to reiterate that the unity government will continue to rule post the 16th General Election (GE 16). This is not the first time he has said it. A couple of weeks ago he said the same thing too.

Coincidentally, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also been saying more or less the same thing that Mat Sabu has been saying. The last time he said it was during the first anniversary of Madani government celebration at Bukit Jalil last week.

The Madani government’s roof is made out of concrete, claimed Anwar during his closing speech, to indicate that there will be no move to topple the government through internal conflicts, dissent or political maneuvering.

This, too, was not the first time that Anwar has said of his government going to reign for a full term and this is unlikely to be the last time he will say it either.

Another minister who has come out to testify about the strength of the unity government is de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said. According to her, Anwar doesn’t need the support of five opposition MPs who switched their support towards him because he already has the support of 149 MPs.

Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu

These are but the three top unity government leaders whom I can recall off the cuff repeating the mantra “we are not going to be toppled, we are strong and we shall reign for a full term”. Although I remember just these three, I have a feeling that these three are not the only ministers or politicians within the Madani government who have been repeating such mantra.

Fake reality

I dare say that all the ministers and politicians in the PH coalition have been repeating this mantra in their own capacity wherever they can.

Now there are two ways that we can look at the penchant of Madani ministers to laud the strength of their reign.

One is that they are just being descriptive of reality. The other is that they are desirous of conjuring up an illusion to create a desired reality. Of the two, my reckoning is that it is the second that is more likely true.

People say that you should always tell the people you love that you love them and don’t simply presume that they know that you love them but I disagree. I think if you love someone, they will know it even without you saying it through your action.

They will know it because it will be a part of their reality. Couples who love each other don’t express their love for each other too frequently. They only say it to each other as a gift or a medicine or for the sake of others.

(Pic credit: The Malaysian Today)

It is when you don’t actually love your spouse or if you are not sure that they love you that you will keep on saying that you love them like a mantra, even on the inanest of occasions.

You will keep saying it because you are hoping that if you say it often enough, you will be able to conjure up an illusion that you love each other to substitute the fact that you cannot experience your love for each other in reality.

If you sustain this illusion for long enough, you are hoping that both your spouse and you will believe that the illusion is true – and if all of you believe in the veracity of the illusion – then the illusion will indeed come true.

Youngsters actually have a term for this. They call it the “fake it till you make it” method. According to this method, if you fake something for long enough, it will become real.

Make belief is awful

Former Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was a believer in the concept. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” he has infamously put it.

Why do the Madani ministers keep repeating the mantra “our government is strong, our government is strong, our government is strong”?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim

It can’t be because they believe that their reign is really strong. During the old UMNO-Barisan Nasional (BN) reign, no prime minister or cabinet minister went around repeating the mantra that their government was strong enough to reign for a full term although their government was in reality strong enough to reign for more than a full term.

When you believe that something is self-evidently true, you tend not to express it outwardly because it will appear silly even to you. It is when you yourself don’t really believe in something that you will repeatedly state your belief outwardly in order to convince yourself that it will come true.

I don’t know if the Madani government realises this or not but the more that they inanely repeat the mantra “we are strong, we are strong, we are strong”, the less stable their reign will look in the eyes of the people and their opponents.

Their reign will look weak because people subconsciously realise that the only reason why they are repeating the mantra is because they themselves doubt its veracity.

In the ancient east, there is a saying that “when a house doesn’t have a painting of a Pai Che, it is like having no ghosts at all”.

In the old days in the east, if someone suspects that a house is haunted by ghosts, they will put up a painting of Pai Che to ward off the ghost. When people see the picture of Pai Che in the house, they will automatically know that the house is haunted.

If you don’t want anyone to know your house is haunted, then don’t put up a painting of Pai Che. – Dec 18, 2023


Nehru Sathiamoorthy is a roving tutor who loves politics, philosophy and psychology.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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