BY DOMINIC G. JOSEPH
Metaphorically, it can represent ministerial code of conduct and the other fingers may reflect high cost of living, corruption, nepotism and a weak economy
7 June, 2016. KUALA LUMPUR: Lately, there have been lots of buzz and hullabaloo over the use of the middle finger. Activist and artist Fahmi Reza used the middle finger as a metaphor in his colouring book – the ‘Malaysian Politikus ABC Colouring Book’ . This colouring book mocks politicians from both sides of the divide.
“This colouring book is especially for youths who are interested in politics but do not like politicians (politikus),” said Fahmi Reza.
The prime minister was described as ‘corruptor’ and another Umno man Ahmad Maslan as a clown’ in the book.
The others include Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, depicted showing two middle fingers with the word ‘hypocrite’. Another image depicted PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang putting a finger to his lips with the word ‘God’.
PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was also not spared. She was featured as a ‘nepotist’.
It is certainly considered obscene or rude to show your middle finger.
In 2005, Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, the chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, used the middle finger as an analogy in her speech to graduates of Columbia Business School in New York.
“I’m going to take a look at how the United States is perceived in global business,” Nooyi told the audience, saying she’d use the human hand as a model.
Nooyi then went on to say the five major continents in the world can each be represented by a finger on the hand.
She said Africa was the pinkie, because of its place on the world’s stage, having yet to catch up to her sister continents.
“And yet, when our little finger hurts, it affects the whole hand,” Nooyi stated.
She said our thumb is Asia, “strong, powerful, and ready to assert herself as a major player on the world’s economic stage.”
Europe was compared to the index finger, the cradle of democracy which “pointed the way for Western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business.”
South America, including Latin America, was likened to the ring finger, symbolising love and commitment to another person.
She said her analogy “leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and in particular, the United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively.
“This is a really good thing and has given the US a leg up in global business since the end of World War 1.
“However, if used inappropriately – just like the US itself, the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble,” Nooyi had said.
In the Malaysian context, I’m sure the middle finger could be used as an analogy in various forms.
For example, the middle finger could represent ministerial code of conduct and the other fingers could represent high cost of living, corruption, nepotism and a weak economy.
The ‘clowns’ involved in politics can now proudly explain to the rakyat, what their middle finger represents.