Darn! I so wanted to attend the DAP dinner at the St Anne's Church hall in Bukit Mertajam a few days ago but nobody informed me about it. I would have been more than willing to pay the RM30 for a seat at this dinner, not so much as to listen to the tiresome speeches in Mandarin (which I wouldn't understand, anyway) but to give support to the underdogs in this general elections.
Living on the mainland means that I have had to forego attending all the interesting election talks on the island. I would have been more than eager to soak in the atmosphere and yet .... here I am, also missing the DAP dinner. And the St Anne's Church hall is practically in my own backyard!
Anyway, at 7.30pm yesterday, I got a call from my ex-colleague asking me whether I would like to attend another dinner. But this time, it would be a Barisan Nasional dinner at the same place.
Why not, I told him. I wouldn't mind going to eat. There's some of my tax payer's money in there somewhere. But he warned me, you'll have to endure the endless speeches. So he reserved a seat for me.
As expected, there were speeches upon speeches ... all in Mandarin. If not for my friends at the same table - I bumped into an old school friend and his wife - I would have been downright bored to tears. The hall was filled to full capacity. I would estimate 120 tables, meaning about 1200 people were there to enjoy the free food, an eight-course dinner with unlimited flow of beer.
This is how the stage looked like from my point at the back of the hall:
Unfortunately, I couldn't stay until the end of the dinner. Can you imagine? The dinner started at about 7.45pm and when I left at 10.30pm, only four courses had been served. You could almost die from hunger. I'm hungry but not that hungry as to wait until the end of the function.
Just some observations. The evening clearly belonged to Lau Chiek Tuan, the state candidate from the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) who's running in the Berapit state constituency. It's puzzling that I'm staying in his constituency but I did not receive any notice or invitation from him to attend this function. I don't suppose the people of Taman Jernih mean much to him?
There was also a speech by Machang Bubuk candidate Lee Kah Choon (Gerakan) and one by what's-his-name from the MCA who is contesting the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary seat. Good luck to him. He's up against the DAP's formidable Chong Eng.
Will the success of this dinner translate to votes for Barisan this Saturday? I wonder how many in the crowd are Barisan supporters? Without a doubt, many are like me, only wanting to go there to eat. And by 10.30pm, there were a lot of empty tables because people's patience had run dry.
Finally, here's a photograph to rile up one of my friends, a staunch supporter of the other side. Alamak...I can feel the heat already. Hey, buddy, it's only a photo, okay? I'm still apolitical....