At the recent State Barisan Nasional Convention, Sarawak Chief Minister announced that his advisor Adenan Satem will be his debater-in-chief against all-comers.
In Sarawak politics, I would have to say that good orators are in short supply.
When I say good orators, I actually mean speakers who can keep you riveted and fascinated, no matter what they’re talking about.
It doesn’t really matter whether they’re in the BN or from the Malaya-based opposition parties in Sarawak, the orators here are largely not very exciting.
In Malaya, they have heaps of good orators. That’s why PAS can always pull in the crowds. And to a certain extent, even PKR. The ceramahs are always entertaining affairs. Its better than paying RM10 to watch a movie.
That’s why when Anwar comes to speak here, it is strictly standing room only! He is all charm, charisma, and eloquence and you will get your money’s worth, in terms of entertainment value.
Do note that I’m not talking about the actual work performance of the elected reps because I don’t think there is any direct correlation between being a fantastic speaker and an outstanding service-deliverer.
In fact, for Sarawak, there may even be a negative correlation. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when you really think about it. I guess if the Chief Minister had to choose between those who were able to do the work and those who are only good at talking, he probably will take the former, every time.
But that’s just my perception. The reality is, Sarawak reps are guilty of emphasizing substance over style. Function over form. Across the South China Sea, I don’t know. I only have my biased perceptions about those guys.
Adenan Satem is a perfect example of this. Forget about style and forget about form with this senior politician. My perception of him is that for most of the time, he just cannot be bothered. That’s just my perception.
However, when it comes to substance and function, to me he is the epitome. The reality is the man knows his stuff, so don’t let the sleepy, uninterested facade fool you.
I bring this up because recently the second-choice leader of Malaya-based PKR, Baru Bian, said he wants to debate on the contentious issue of Native Customary Rights land.
And yesterday, at the BN Convention, the Chief Minister of Sarawak said that if any debate is to take place regarding this issue, Adenan will be the chosen debater-in-chief.
I’ve never heard Baru Bian speak, so I can’t really promote him like I just did Adenan.
But that’s not a problem, since the opposition Sarawak Report blog or its less well-known offshoot radio show Radio Free Sarawak and the multitude of local and Malaya pro-opposition bloggers will probably act as Don King (infamous fight promoter in the USA) for him.
In any case, I will probably book a ring side seat if the oratorical showdown ever takes place.