Malaysians love festivals, to the point of even turning by-elections into one. But it is not just all about flags and buntings – the mechanisms are much more complicated than that.
In the true style of festive Malaysian élan, the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign that went on from the end of April through to early May this year painted the town in a state of high energy, noise and colour, with constituent busts on billboards and horns, chants and microphones preaching the true political way. Roads were bridged with buntings of small triangles decorated in blues, whites and reds, and roadsides lined with swaying crowds holding long banners and singing political jingle-jangles.
A fair, a carnival, a true festival conducted in the Malaysian style. High energy, yes, but with high purpose: a full-on desire expressed through high-octane resolve in a clash between BN and Pakatan.
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