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What a feeling… April 1, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.

When I remember the 80s, it was usually the good stuff.

Apple IIe. Depeche Mode. Flashdance.

Just as we thought Flashdance should be the film of the decade, we thought The Star was pretty excellent too. So did the authorities, so they shut it down along with Sin Chew and Warta. And things weren’t the same any longer, even after the ban was lifted.

Once in a while, a bit of spark would return. A bit like how off-shoulder blouses find their way back on the catwalk. On occasion, the not-so-pretties rear their bunchy legwarmers and extra-frizzy curls.

The Star is a little like that. Sometimes you can find real gems in there. But it takes only an eeky pair of 80s leg-warmers to make one go – WTF(???!!!!) is wrong with the picture?

Like today’s Star column piece on Anwar.

I’m not privy to many things in the party nor am I an insider, so I can’t really comment about the politicking that goes around.

But what I do know is Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, as I’ve assisted her in Parliament since she returned from the US last year.

So imagine my shock when I read these 3 paras of very malicious and false lines.

“It is amazing how Dr Wan Azizah has remained so well-liked despite doing so poorly as party president.

“Of late, she is spending such long hours praying at night that she sometimes nods off at meetings in the day.

“Anwar understands politics and, unlike his wife, he is accepted as an equal among PAS and DAP leaders and can talk business with them.”


First of all, she doesn’t pray all night. During her free time, she spends her evenings with her school-going children, catching up with reading magazines that even I don’t read like Forbes, Economists, Financial Times etc. (and floors me frequently when she throws out the latest trivia about world politics and economic stats). She made me subscribe to The Edge so that we can discuss in more detail, finance and economics, because she got exasperated whenever I go, ‘oh I didn’t know that….’!

Otherwise she would be having party meetings, or drafting meetings for her major speeches and preparing her parliament work. I mean, I get calls at 10, 11 pm to have a few things researched and prepared for her. Even on Fridays.

Why is The Star making her sound like a religious nut and Dozey?

‘Dozing off in meetings during the day’? Huh? Hardly the case. I can think of one person who does that all that time…..hmmmm.

She’s up by 5.30 am, working, reading by 7 am (and my phone has rung as early as 6.30 am), in Parliament by 10 am, where she would be getting ready to ask questions or debate motions. There are sometimes Parliament committee meetings like PAC, Burma, Human rights. Media interviews in between.

She has one of the best attendance record in the House, as well as debating record during the time I’ve been assisting her. Just last session, she took part in all the key ministries’ budget sub-committee debates, which quite nearly killed me, some running overtime til about 9 pm.

Once, I threw my hands in the air and lamented to my friend, “I can’t keep up! She’s got more energy than my entire office!” Anyone who’s hung out with me, knew I was in fact the one trying to steal an hour’s sleep in the afternoon, and sometimes after dinner.

Like that Wednesday. Morning – Parliament. Afternoon – Pack. Evening – Political Bureau meeting 8.30-11.00 pm. Next morning first flight to Thailand. Goes to border town to meet and investigate the state of Burmese refugees. Returns Saturday. Goes to Permatang Pauh. Returns to KL Sunday evening. Next day Parliament again.

In between all that, there’s her party work, her constituency work. Family commitments etc.

Unfortunately by now, The Star’s piece would have gone to different parts of the world (syndication) and up on multiple websites. Even if and when The Star prints a retraction and a public apology, none of these other outlets would carry it. The damage is wilfully done.

Today, I realised, how precarious one’s reputation is, that a lifetime of good can be undone with a mere few words. That is the power of the pen, which cuts deeper than a sword.

And today I have re-established my appreciation for the presence of defamation laws here.

(more later. lunch!)



1. monsterball - April 1, 2007

What do you expect from papers Liz. Nothing to write….create sensational news to attract readers.
Actually our two main papers are not worthy to be call main papers at all. No such qualities nor intelligent write ups.They are tilted heavily to serve their purposes and respective political owners. This has gone on more than 30 years. I recalled…..Star and few papers were banned…thus giving no choice to readers to read ONE…and thus catch up with circulations. But nowadays..this method cannot work anymore with internet bloggings…so I am waiting for those smart cunning blokes to come out what method to let ST come up again…like with a football referee…favouring one side..but then STAR and ST are brothers in arms …in politics..and what big brother do to Star in the future…you can bec sure…no perotest. So lets see how they bring STimes up.

2. kittykat46 - April 1, 2007

Hi Elizabeth,
I used to think Joceline Tan was a pretty good writer, even though she is obviously a Mainstream media employee.

After reading her article in today’s Star, I simply lost whatever respect for her as a journalist. No pretence at balance or factual accuracy. Yeah, she can write well, but she’s nothing more than an advertising copywriter for the UMNO/BN/MCA whatever.

In the US, the term they use for such journalists is even more rude – media w***e or media p**p depending on the person’s gender.

3. yh - April 1, 2007

and having ministers calling bloggers liars. look whos lying now? any more credibility for mainstream media?
wish more citizens will access blogs for alternatives. that will be the day when there will be real changes for a better Malaysia..

4. rocky's bru - April 1, 2007

i know who zzzs all the time too. he is the pm.

5. mediarakyat - April 2, 2007

There are hell lot of STAR generation in Malaysia now. Those who are reading The Star daily, believe me, is getting confused by the days. Confused, confused till they can’t even able to distinguish what is right & what is wrong.

6. nat - April 2, 2007

i know who zzzs all the time too. he is the pm.

for some reason, i found that really really funny 🙂

my own response to the article before too long i hope… but thanks for this – it was really good to have an authoritative alternate (read: truthful) account.

7. R.V.David - April 2, 2007

Whatever she may want to say, one thing is very clear, she wants the readers to be reminded our great PM sleeps on duty. Congrats.

Do you have local terms for “w***e or media p**p”?

8. Crankshaft - April 2, 2007

I think we ALL know who zzzs all the time. You’d think the cameras would have been warned off catching *ahem* someone in a less-than-stellar moment. But no. 🙂

Joceline Tan is just trying to be the savvy, witty writer that bloggers happen to be. The mainstream media is deluded into thinking that it’s our entertaining wit that has readers following our stories.

I’m flattered to think that, but the truth is, we just have the truth and the MSM has the … censored leftovers.

9. Goodman - April 2, 2007

I’m glad I left Malaysia for Australia where I can vote and vote out the bastards. What will happen when the oil runs out? Or when global warming increases tropical temperature by 5-10 degrees? And that is not too faraway – well within our lifespan! Anyone can do a two year (evening) course in Sydney and qualify to migrate if they speak English and are preferably under 30. You can even work 20 hours a week during the daytime to pay for your course. No discrimination, first world country, mentality and medical and health service. No UMNO, MCA, MIC, PPP,BN or bullshit. Send an email about yourself, education, etc for a free assessment on your prospects, costs etc to “easymigration@iprimus.com.au” . No obligation on you but it may change your life.

10. Completing an imperfect picture - Joceline Tan on PKR, 1/4/07 at jelas.info - April 2, 2007

[…] ?!?! I beg your pardon?? Eli Wong – one of Kak Wan’s PA’s – rightfully threw a proper fit on reading this. I strongly encourage you to read her account on just how hard the party president works. […]

11. Jonathan - April 2, 2007

I suspect there is a photo somewhere of Elizabeth Wong in legwarmers with a dodgy perm. I certainly hope there is. If it exists we, your readers, have a right to know. Publish! Publish! Publish!

As for that tosh about Wan Azizah I’ve met a few Malaysian politicians in my time. One of the truest compliments one can pay Azizah is to point out that she’s not a politician. She’s a woman making a very creditable job of a role she did not choose.

And while there are some creditably intelligent people in most Malaysian parties – there are some dimbos too – and I’ve met them. Wan Azizah is no dimbo. Whether one agrees with her politics or not one would have to be very churlish to say that she’s not a decent intelligent woman doing her best to do what she believes is her duty.

12. Bob K - April 2, 2007

A bit out of topic here but just referring to the previous comment, one can’t help but wonder how living in a “first world country” still hasn’t shaken the habit of some people in the disgusting habit of “third world” spamming 😀

Good retort to Joceline Tan’s op-ed, Eli 🙂

13. elizabethwong - April 2, 2007

Yikes, Jon. You found me!
No, there isn’t any such photos. I think.

Will finish the post later. The *lunch* went on til past midnight! Now overwhelmed with a million things.

14. monsterball - April 2, 2007

Concerning Machap by-election..in the last one.DAP candidate secured some 1300 votes as against Barisan 5000 votes. DAP Iis fielding same candidate…. not really hoping to win ..but to see how many votes they can get . Ofcourse…they will be most happy if winning.
I put this out…so that Barisan will not start celebrating by winning with a huge swing of votes to DAP.

15. freelunch2020 - April 3, 2007

“Yeah, she can write well, but she’s nothing more than an advertising copywriter for the UMNO/BN/MCA whatever.”

yeah man, JT’s credibility is at an all time low…esp since Buletin Rakyat frontpaged a similar piece mid/end of March………


16. shag - April 3, 2007

Wan Azizah should sue The Star & force the reporter to show her accusation is factual.

In the absence of contrary evidence, what Joceline claims must be true, or told to her by a PKR insider who she considers a reliable source.

17. wits0 - April 3, 2007

Writing well is just another human talent but for that to be praiseworthy, that form needs substance.

Among the substance that’s sorely expected and desired would imclude well founded honesty and fairness, not just cleverness and levity.

How is one expected to be whole while serving a propaganda machinery of disinformation for largesse?

18. JerryWho - April 3, 2007

R.V. David: I think the local version should be Media S**t (no, it’s the one with the “l” and the “u”).

19. warrior2 - April 3, 2007

Ahhh I see how this work. If the mainstream newspaper writes something about the Government/BN of its member, everybody will believe the report. Even this is followed by a rebuttal from “somebody”, nobody will believe him or her. How could one not because the mainstream paper is controlled by the GOVT so they say.

If the mainstream newspaper writes something about the opposition or an opposition member and that is followed by a complete rebuttal by “somebody”, the newspaper report gets bumped and the reporter loses all credibility. EVERYBODY believes what this “somebody” says!


20. politikus - April 4, 2007


when i read it with nat (yes, we were reading it together) and i told nat, “tell me when you read the part on wan azizah”.

when he got there and read that few sentences, he looked at me. and i look at him. and i burst out, “isn’t that terrible? how can she write that?”

lol. if that was my exclamation, imagine party members and those close to wawi!

you said it best being her aide, eli. is anybody asking JT for an explanation?

EW: That would be ‘sai hou soi” (wasting saliva). She knows why and so do we. Certain things, including questions, are dishes best served cold.

21. art chan - April 4, 2007

Joceline Tan needs to get paid…so she writes to please her boss. Truth is secondary.

22. arifabdull - September 18, 2007

anyone knew what happen to our Susan? 😦

EW: She is starting a new job

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