web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: Aftermath
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The typical first reaction I get from people who have seen my helming of the National Budget Coverage last Friday, are as follows :

“My God! Who did your make-up?”
“My God! Why did they make you wear that?”
“My God! Why did you look like that?”

Or this classic one :

“My God! What did they do to my daughter?”

That was my dad, of course. Thank God my mother thought the whole Budget thing was so boring she flipped channels to some Latino telenovela.

Yes, yes, I get it, I was a fashion disaster. After the airing of any show, the last question I would ask people, if ever, is whether I looked good on-screen. Unfortunately, that’s the first answer they’ll give me. (And the answer is : no). Listen, I’ll bet you nobody will ever tell Larry King they saw him on CNN, and they thought he resembled a turkey. I’m just hoping the subtext to all this is that people think I actually look better than I do on TV.

For the benefit of the curious, let me explain : when I go on air, representing a TV station, what I wear and what gunk is put on my face, is beyond my jurisdiction. The outfit -- a Zang Toi (yes, really) -- was the subject of such office political debate, but I wore it anyway to appease those signing my cheque. (The alternative was a sleek Edmund Ser, which I’m purchasing for myself, but if I had worn that, I would have caused Inter-Departmental World War III. Right now it’s just skirmishes.) On top of that, the Woman In Charge insisted I wore that serkup thing, which I normally don’t; and it gave me a splitting migraine all throughout the broadcast. Plus, for some reason, the inane Pussycats song was playing over and over in my head : Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don’t you wish your girlfriend was freak like me? Dontcha? So you see, I was done for, right from the beginning.

Nevertheless, the fact that everyone was distracted by my looks (heh), gave me a modicum of comfort, because my genuine concern was that I would be killed for the rather critical stance I took during the show. It would have been much worse if everyone’s first reaction was like Kamarul’s :

“Congrats”, came his text message, “U singlehandedly overturned d spin of powers that be. Lock car”.

It was not my complete intention to run down the National Budget. In all fairness, it wasn't totally bad, even if somewhat dissapointing. It did not help that I had two guests who were old enough not to care about the ramifications of straight talk, who shredded the document to pieces with their analysis. I swear the Director of News was ashen faced after the whole thing was over. I heard that he did get a terse phone call from the aforementioned "powers that be".

Now, I did agree with several measures, which regrettably I did not stress upon during the show, like the tax cuts for developers to build low cost houses, and the various tax relief to encourage tertiary education. I just felt more could have been done. True, I did say we shouldn't expect the government to be Santa Claus on Budget Day; but it would have been good even if they had been the Grim Reaper -- have the courage to say, look we'll have to do this painful thing or cut back spending on that -- so that at least I know where the economy's supposed to go.

Raising taxes is not always a bad thing. In the late 1800's, when Japan was building her capacity in manufacturing, much of that industry was funded by hefty land taxes. Far from hurting Japanese farmers, the taxes spurred them to innovate, and thereafter pushed the country's agricultural sector far ahead from others in the region. But such a decision would need a government with an iron-cast stomach, one that would look people straight in the eye and say, do this and I'll get you out of here.

If I had said that on air, I would have gotten into trouble for sure. But then again, maybe not, because everyone would be so fixated on the colour of my eyeshadow to notice whatever I said.


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