Election carrots, at nation’s expense
Posted on July 20th, 2019

Laksiri Warnakula

…….Everybody knew that it was a carrot, for it was orange with a green top” – Rowan Atkinson aka Mr Bean in one of his stage presentations

Another season of carrots has dawned. And the above regarding carrots came to my mind, of Rev. Bean reading a passage from his gospel to his congregation.

Now they are just beginning to pop up once again from various plots belonging to various owners. However, does everybody know as Rev. Bean says that they are just carrots? 

On offer are or will be few varieties and you may also see some dangling in front of you, just beyond your reach though. Some carrots are quite nice with a healthy orange tan and equally healthy tops of several colours and you can actually eat and taste them with relish. Some perhaps are not fresh, yet still edible. And some are but well and truly rotten and you can smell them from miles away with their givers in company.

Since we have had a few of these carrot seasons come and go through the political ‘farmland’ (I opted for this word instead of the clichéd ‘landscape’) of our country over a period of not so short seven decades, one would expect that our people now are quite capable of recognising a carrot for a carrot, whether it is with a green top, blue top or a red top etc., fresh or old and rotten.

Alas. No. They or the majority still seem to fall for it and run for it until they realise as has happened before that it was indeed a carrot and nothing else. And once the carrot season is over and the carrots disappear, it will be once again back to the same old and barren farmland with people yearning for at least the sight of a carrot dangling in front of them.

For the sake of brevity, I will give you just two examples of carrots that you may have seen and heard about already, these days. 

One carrot in the form of ‘tabs to school children’ has already been given, with perhaps more to come. This is while we have school children, who are still short of even the very basic needs at their impoverished rural schools. So before the tabs, there is a lot more to be done such as improving their health, hygiene and other amenities at their schools. If the learned Minister thinks that the tab is a must, let it be so, by all means. However, please do not forget the rest. The other day I saw a photo on Facebook with some rural school children wearing helmets for the fear that the roof above them in their classroom may come crashing down on them. Perhaps it was made up. However, the message that it gives to us is clear and I am sure that such scenarios are not far from reality, nowadays.

And the other is a classic. This particular ‘carrot-giver’ is preparing/proposing to give free electricity to religious places of worship. This is a very big carrot indeed and the ‘donor’ is acting as if the electricity for this seemingly benevolent project, a carrot of benevolence, is going to be generated in the backyard of his home and distributed at his own expense.

Aren’t they spending money on election gimmicks as if they own the treasury and also aiming to boost their ego too at the same time? And another comes to my mind; ‘make a name while you can, by hook or by crook’, which is a supplement to the familiar ‘make hay, while the sun shines’

Let us not fall for the carrots any more, like we have done many times before!

Laksiri Warnakula

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