Monday, 31 January 2011

How Can You Not Know People Hate You?

From a psychological perspective, the on-going mass uprising in Egypt raises one puzzling question: how can President Hosni Mubarak not know Egyptians hate him? Surely, for a man who has been in power for 30 years, he must have at least some indication how Egyptians view him. Common sense should tell us that but apparently dictators past and present are unable to understand common sense.

I have for long seen and understood how some people have incredibly mind-boggling ways to justify their lofty positions and self-serving behaviour. Deep down they know they are unfairly privileged, and they know many others are suffering or not doing so well. They know it's not nice to be in power for too long, to enjoy all the comfort and riches, yet they'll say to themselves, "why not?" "I've been coming to office every day, I've brought at least some development, I've brought some positive changes, so why not I enjoy and gain some things for myself? And why should I step down? Everywhere I go people smile and greet me. That means they all love me and want me to stay as long as I want."

I'm sure Sigmund Freud would've been proud to see how true his defense mechanism theory has turned out to be. Hosni Mubarak indeed is only one out of many other world leaders who are severely out-of-touch with reality. Ben Ali of Tunisia was another, while current leaders in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are other notable examples.

Here in Malaysia, we are not short of case examples either. The recently retired MIC leader is one outstanding example. Here is a person who was the leader of his community for 30 years, who along the process became so rich he could afford to have a collection of tailor-made Italian suits and spent millions for his children's wedding ceremony. Yet the majority of Indians here remain poor, a substantial percentage in fact are living below the poverty level.

But perhaps the most interesting case is a certain chief minister in East Malaysia. Again, here's a man who has been in his position for 30 years, has become rich beyond all imaginations, and has enriched his family members too along the way. And, again it's the same story. He is rich while his people have remained poor. People don't like him but he doesn't seem to care nor realise that fact. After all, he is seeking yet another term in power.

A certain iconic figure of the opposition would fit as an example too. He seems to be so engrossed with his ultimate ambition to be the next prime minister he does not realise many in his own party and previously ardent supporters are beginning to really hate him. He talks about justice and proclaims war against nepotism and croniyism, yet he keeps his wife as president of his party, allowed his daughter to be elected vice-president while he himself remains the de facto leader (whatever that means).

How can you not know people hate you? Apparently some people are just incapable of knowing.


alfred said...

So true.. the mother of a fool is always pregnant..

Zaki Samsudin said...

thanks alfred for the cute comment :)

Flushing Jie Jie said...

the ruling class is always surrounded by fawning yes-men and yes-women, and a yes media, who make dissenters look foolish, crazy or fanatical. at least, thats how they do it here in the usa.