By Paul Chong Sunday 30 August 2015
As I sat at our little breakfast table having my late dinner of rice porridge, fish & some vegetables, I listened to the speaker on the ABC addressing an enthusiastic audience over the question of Australia becoming a Republic. For as long as I have lived in Perth since 1982, I have heard for countless times the word “Republic” but to no end.
Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Australians will ever change. I am a Chinese by Descent . . . an Australian by Consent. I have lived here longer than I have ever lived elsewhere. If I may compare myself (certainly not in the same status) to Warren Buffett, the American self-made billionaire, who has lived in the same modest home he first bought over 30 years ago, I have dwelled in our little holiday home sitting on the escarpment of Perth Hills for nearly 30 years. This is my own paradise with vista vision to the valley, the City of Perth & beyond.
To-night as I walked down the slope of our home to throw away the garbage, it was foggy, rainy, cold with a light wind & the city lights were shrouded by fog. It was dark & wet.
In 1984 I wrote a little book entitled “How to Have Motivation Unlimited” predicting that Australia would become a poor cousin to its neighbouring Asian nations. True enough. Just take a look at Singapore, a little city state without any natural resources & impoverished as compared to the great “Down Under”. Singapore however is not lacking in the wealth of people resources with the drive, courage & determination to make it work under the great leadership of the late Lee Kuan Yew.
WHEN I first arrived in Perth (1982) solely focussed on giving our three children a brighter future, some friends were telling me that I would find the Australians as “White Malays”. You all know at this stage what’s happening in Malaysia. Today (Saturday 29 August 2015) people globally joined hands in mass BERSIH 4 rallies (Bersih means clean). The Malaysian government UMNO/BN has been milking the country clean through its catchword of CCN practice of corruption, cronyism & nepotism over a period of more than 50 years since its independence from Britain. Now the catchword is changed to CNN (confused not with the famous media CNN) which stands for Corruption, Nepotism & “Najibism”. This time BERSIH 4 movement has been the result of recent WSJ revelation that MR2.6 billion (US$700 million) went missing from the funds of 1MDB, proclaimed investment front for the Malaysians under his chairmanship, into the personal bank account of Najib,chairman & the incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister.
In a quick flashback, I have witnessed in Australia the economic downturn of the early 1980s – the “Bottom of the Harbour” scheme, the achievement of late Alan Bond, the flamboyant house painter who became infamous as a rich oil painting collector with his ponzi business schemes. He was the hero for first winning the America Cup in 1984.
Politically, the scenario was one of in-fighting, incessant rivalry between Andrew Peacock and John Howard, the likes of Paul Keating, reputably proclaimed by his predecessor Bob Hawke as the best Finance Minister in the world, back-stabbing leadership between Julia Gillard & Kevin Rudd . . . the fast changing of guards like changing daily clothing. Hope that things would be different now under the reign of Tony Abbot. Yes, Anthony John “Tony” Abbott MP is the 28th and current Prime Minister of Australia. He has held this position since 2013, and been Leader of the Liberal Party since 2009. We pray, hope & trust for a hero he be in returning Australia to its former glory.
All these years that I live in Australia, I have known but one good leader in the person of Robert Menzies. He was like John Howard inclined looking towards England – the helpless far-off motherland. That tie is still strong among the Aussies, and until such time the umbilical cord is severed, Australia will forever drift along.
“No worries. She’ll be right mate” attitude is deeply ingrained in the mind & hearts of the Australians. They will never see that to grow to progress is to change. Change will be hard to come by. What we need is not a BERSIH movement but a mental revolution. “Life isn’t a bed of roses” so said Malcolm Frazer, the has been prime minister. Roses are beautiful but their thorns are prickly.
Perhaps, OBAMA could come over to Australia to inculcate the change concept among the Australians. However, I reserve my comments . . . certainly not the way the president is dragging the nation down economically & politically.
As for Malaysia, Najib Razak, who scored 5 straight A’s in his term as Prime Minister of Malaysia. This is in reference to his follies with the murder of Mongolian beauty queen Altantuya, Anwar Ibrahim, a former Deputy PM, with sodomy charges, the forbidden use of the word Allah by non-Muslims, trying to block Azizah, wife of Anwar from being the chief minister of Selangor and last but least the recent Aircraft crash of MH 17. The end of his era is nearing its end!
It is the kind of leader at the helm of the nation that will prove the positive outcome of the nation. A country must be able to decide its own fate & that will demand a good strong man – a man with the vision, courage & the right focus to steer the nation through the roughest oceans.
During tough times, the overjoyed concept of “sun, sand,sea & surf” must be forfeited. Australia’s economic future is tied to its Asian neighbours – the very people at our doorstep . . . not motherland England nor the far-off American shores.
Be a republic, a change is refreshing & rejuvenating. Let’s turn on a new page in the economic & social life of the Aussies. Find the right leader!