Thorns and thorny issues
Writer: Lord Bobo
Published: Fri, 22 Jul 2011
Dear Lord Bobo, my nose is falling apart. It’s been suffering so much lately. First there was the teargas. After that, acrid haze. When that cleared, all I smell is durians everywhere! Are you a fan of durians? @I Smell, Therefore I Am, via email
THIS may surprise many minions, but His Supreme Eminenceness is indeed a fan of durians. It is one of Lord Bobo’s favourite fruits!
It is quite surprising that durians are not absolutely adored by a majority of Malaysians. Applying simple logic to it, anything that is worth hacking through a thick thorny skin for must be absolutely delicious!
But Lord Bobo is not perturbed by the durian-haters out there. If anything, their negativity only adds to the exclusivity and exquisiteness of the fruit. Like the best blue cheeses, it’s only for connoisseurs, you see?
Many celebrity chefs have been trying out durian recently in their international restaurants, to mixed acclaim. These chefs are forced to try out different ingredients year on year, in a bid to remain “innovative”. Even television chefs are getting in on the act.
Lord Bobo recalls watching an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern from a hotel suite in the Swiss Alps last year. In that episode, Zimmern – who prides himself in being able to eat the most, well, bizarre foods in the world – was hosting an hour-long special going around the world.
He ate all sorts of strange, appalling things – from rotting, maggoty meat, to the still-beating recently-removed heart of a frog. He didn’t blink.
Until he came to Penang, that is. There, deep in an orchard, he met the durian. The smell itself sent him into convulsions, and he vomited out some fish maw he had eaten earlier elsewhere in Penang.
After some coaxing by the irritated local, he did manage to put some in his mouth, but spat it out.
His challenge had ended. He was greatly disappointed – of all things, he did not expect to be defeated by a fruit.
But not all these ang moh chefs hate the durian. His Supreme Eminenceness was in a bar in Timbuktu just last month, and saw a rerun of a show where Anthony Bourdain was scoffing down some durian. He loved the stuff.
He quite rightly said it is something that people will either hate or despise. Bourdain pointed out that he didn’t understand the arrogance of Europeans who complained about the smell of durian, yet are able to stomach the smelliest blue cheeses.
Bourdain is a man after Lord Bobo’s own heart – a true connoisseur.
Of course, Lord Bobo has been known to be quite fussy (how do you think the blawg maintains such high standards?) – and even a love for durian comes with conditions.
His Supreme Eminenceness would never be caught eating those imported, saran-wrapped Thai durians in the supermarkets, or those frozen and shipped durians available in European mini-markets like contraband. No way.
Durians must be eaten while squatting down (or at least on flimsy plastic stools) on an unpaved embankment by the side of the road, and fresh from a just-hacked-open fruit itself. Bliss.
Lord Bobo, is the Royal Malaysian Police under the power of the Home Ministry or the King? Where’s the separation of powers here? @jofanpang, via Twitter
MANY have been misled by the concept of separation of powers (look up Montesquieu and the like) and its unique application in Malaysia, but that’s another story.
The word “Royal” in the Royal Malaysian Police (“Polis Raja Di Malaysia” or is it “Polis Di-Raja Malaysia”? Oh yes, even Lord Bobo gets confused from time-to-time.) doesn’t actually mean the police force belongs to the King.
Schedule 9 of the Federal Constitution lists down various areas which are under federal or state government control. The Royal Malaysian Police force, for the purposes of maintaining peace and security in the country, is placed under the control of the federal government control (which is why we don’t have state police or local sheriffs like the USA).
So, the Royal Malaysian Police is under the power of the federal government – more specifically the Home Affairs Ministry – and not the King.
What about the separation of powers? Contrary to popular belief, the Malaysian practice of “separation of powers” is not as strictly separated as compared to presidential democracies.
Instead, it leans towards the application of the fusion of power, because of the intermingled functions and membership of the Executive and the Legislative in parliamentary democracies, where the Prime Minister and members of the administration in the Executive body are also elected representatives in the Legislative body.
This blurring of the lines between the various bodies under the separation of powers doctrine has been exacerbated through time by various high-handed amendments to the Federal Constitution. The concept is then often completely sidelined in practice.
So, the next time you’re reading an explanation of the concept of “separation of powers” and wonder why it doesn’t seem to fit the situation in Malaysia, it’s because, well, it doesn’t.