Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama for Malaysia?

Obama for President or Obama for America or Obama for USA! These slogans or battle cry or tagline must have been heard over and over again in the United States lately, especially after Barack Obama overtook Hilary Clinton in the battle to win the nomination as the Democrates' candidate for the Presidency. But Obama for Malaysia? Is he one of the candidates for the March 8 election in Malaysia, the campaign for which is going on in full swing right now?

Not exactly, but Obama's influence and fame has certainly reached Malaysia, halfway across the globe from America. So much so that Malaysia's top cartoonist, Lat, deemed it fit to mention Obama in one of his cartoons which he drew for the Malaysian election and which had appeared in the New Straits Times (NST), a local English tabloid daily, since Parliament was dissolved Feb 13.

In his latest cartoon on the frontpage in today's (Feb 27) NST, Lat depicted a scene from Nomination Day. It is typical of Malaysian politics that hundreds, if not thousands, of party members or supporters would accompany their candidates during the procession to the Nomination Center; carrying their party flags and shouting slogans along the way. However, the whole nomination process takes up to 3 hours during which the supporters patiently wait under the sun outside the nomination center; occasionally engaged in a shouting match with their opponents.

In the first part of today's Lat cartoon, a party supporter is seen dozing off, apparently due to the effect of the heat and hours of waiting and after the tiring march from the party office to the nomination center. A fellow supporter is meanwhile seen trying to wake him up, apparently in time to join his buddies in shouting or yelling "Hidup (Long Live) so and so (name of party or candidate)" as their candidate emerge from the nomination center.

2nd cartoon: However, after being jolted from his nap or day-dreaming, our friend suddenly arose and shouted at the top of his voice "Hidup Obama!" (Long Live Obama!); much to the amazement of his buddies. Obviously our friend has been following the US election and is a big fan of Obama who, if elected, would be the first black American President. Most Asians have no problem relating to Obama, whose father is African.

As I said earlier, Lat started his series of cartoon in NST since about a forth night ago, but I must say that I like this one best. I mean, the fact that the cartoonist can relate our Malaysian election to the US election! Anyway, it also goes to show that a lot of Malaysians are following the American election closely and that their favorite seems to be, who else but Obama.

And in case there are people in other parts of the world who think that Malaysians still live on trees, for your infor apart from the Internet, we can also follow the US election through both the electronic and print media; including CNN and BBC through our satellite TV, Astro.

For those interested to see the rest of Lat's cartoons for the Malaysian election, or simply find out more about Malaysia, the paper's web address is the the ear piece on the top right hand cover of the front page of today's NST. Please click on the image for a larger view.