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Coca-Cola politics

  • Disenchanted with both BN and PH, many decide to stay away from polling stations. Can anyone blame them for doing this?

Sin Chew Daily

The rotten apple metaphor has left an indelible mark in people's hearts, but for me, I would prefer to avoid using it as far as possible.

There are now people who would prefer to compare the BN-PH rivalry with that between Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

This latter analogy appeals much more to me!

Coca-Cola boasts a very long history, having been invented by a retired military officer during the American Civil War.

It was intended to help relieve flu but later became a fashionable drink as people found it irresistibly tasty and refreshingly thirst-quenching.

Pepsi was later created to mimic the Coke in an attempt to steal a chunk of its market.

Someone did the experiment, bringing in fans of both drinks for a blind test. It was found that most people could not tell one from another in the blind test. Ironically, the Coke fans picked the wrong cola; so did the Pepsi supporters.

In the Malaysian politics, BN and PH are very similar in terms of organization and nature, and their leaders, indeed, have come from the same place.

In essence, the two colas are nothing more than carbonated syrupy waters reigning on the human lust for anything sugary and thirst-quenching pleasure imparted by CO2 from the gassy drinks.

Look at the labels on the bottles: 10.8g of sugar per 100ml or 38g in a 355ml can, equivalent to six teaspoonfuls of sugar. The supersize Coke bought at the cinema candy bar is 44 teaspoonfuls of sugar, an entire week's recommended intake!

Since the first taste of Coke at very young age, many kids have grown to become die-hard fans of the beverage. A friend of mine insists to gulp down three to four cans a day, his mouth full of decayed teeth and his body weight a whopping 100kg before he reaches the middle age. The first advice his doctor gave him was to cut back on Coke.

Malaysian politics, similarly, is a sugar-rich human activity where politicians cajole their voters with sweet lies and sugar-coated hollow promises. The more candies they hand out, the more they are going to demand a payback later.

We call this high-sugar politics "populism".

During the early years, Coca-Cola, the self-proclaimed taste innovator, monopolized the beverage market until Pepsi came on stream and sold at more competitive prices to conquer young taste buds through heavy advertising.

The aggressive marketing onslaught allowed Pepsi to bite into the market of old-timer Coke, which, unhappy with the diluted market, looked to healthier versions and oversea expansion to square off the challenge, a strategy that was soon duplicated by the Pepsi guys.

Before long, human beings were divided into two groups based on their favorite drinks. They were indeed powerful defenders of their own drinks so much so they would outright despise their rivals.

The same thing happens to our ruling and opposition parties today where their supporters are dead loyal, non-compromising, non-accommodating and mutually antagonistic.

With health awareness gaining more momentum in recent decades, many have begun to distance themselves from sugared soft drinks. We can't blame them for making the decisions. Can we?

Disenchanted with both BN and PH, many decide to stay away from polling stations. Again, can we blame them for doing this?



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