By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
I was doing a minor in English and American literature back in my university days. This timeless quotation was authored by American writer Gertrude Stein, whose triple rendition of "is a" stirred much controversy during her time.
Rhetorics and grammar aside, Stein was in actual fact attempting to express her attitude towards contemporary literature. She was avidly against romanticism, disapproving of unnecessary metaphors and imageries implied by the word.
Take a rose for instance. A rose is not necessarily all about sweet fragrance, glamour and passion. A rose is a rose by any other name.
In other words, everything has to be established upon its fundamentals, not appraised by its name or our own imagination
Pardon me. I think I have sounded a little monotonous and abstract. But trust me. I'm not here to lecture about rose nor explore the unfathomable realms of literature. I'm just being reminded of the recent "frog phenomenon."
Three BN leaders from Sabah, Lajim Ukin, Wilfred Bumburing and Maijol Mahap have recently jumped ship. Pakatan supporters cheered in jubilation that finally someone had now hopped to their side.
Pakatan leaders said these three leaders had grown sick of BN and its incapability and corruption, claiming that more would follow suit in the days to come.
I was a little curious. In the past we used to brand those hopping from this side of the divide to the other as frogs, but all that do so in the reverse direction now are sanctified as though they were the sacred cows.
As a matter of fact, the sacred cows are no that sacred after all.
Lest we forget, the PBS defeated BN's PRM in the 1994 state elections to form the state government. Both Lajim Ukin and Wilfred Bumburing were PBS reps then.
Before long, cracks began to show up in the new state administration; many elected reps defected to BN's fold, among them Lajim and Wilfred. The PBS state government was unseated and the BN has since consolidated its grips on the Land Below the Wind.
They said they did it for the people of Sabah when they departed PBS then, and now they say the same thing again when they betray the BN to embrace Pakatan.
It's weird. The people of Sabah 18 years ago remain very much the same as they are today. I wouldn't think their political preference could be any different now from ever, but why do our politicians see them in completely opposite perspectives?
Perhaps these two gentlemen feel that their days in Sabah BN are numbered and are now pinning their hopes on Pakatan for better chances of candidacy in the next GE.
If those jumping ship back then were frogs, those doing so today should all the more be frogs, probably more senile frogs now.
Whether a party hopper is called a political frog should not lie with the BN or Pakatan colour he sports, but the very nature of being a frog.
Rephrasing Gertrude Stein's classic: "A frog is a frog is a frog is a frog."
A frog is a frog by any other name.