Monday, August 24, 2015
Dato Najib was reported by Bernama as saying Malays will become "bangsat" (destitute) if UMNO loses power. TMI translated the "b" word as outcast.
The 1977 published Kamus Lengkap by Pustaka Zaman translate as crook; poor, destitute (person); bed-bugs; travel, roam". In the light of Penang's demolishing more Malay villages, the translation outcast has similar meaning to the word pariah if that is the message from the Edge group.
Big Dog pun a common motto into "Bersatu teguh, bercerai bangsat" to mean disunity will lead to disaster for the Malays. Life of Annie discuss her earlier posting which refers to crooks that lead other Malays to destitute.
The other part of Najib's statement on power is interesting to explore. It refers to power from the perspective of political power.
In the midst of conspiracy to topple the Prime Minister, the arguments evolved around legitimacy.
According to the Westminister system, the leader of the winning party or coalition leads the nation. He will no more be legitimate should majority of the member of Parliament vote nay in a vote of no confidence.
Politics is not the only source of power. So it is legitimate to ponder whether UMNO do has control and applies power well.
Physics defined power as the rate of doing work. The simplest definition of work is force multiplied by distance.
From the political or social science definition, it also means the ability to get work done but via others.
Power is the ability to influence or control the behavior of people. It is a means to a certain action, usually social action and it could be positive or negative action.
An earlier work by social psychologists John R. P. French and Bertram Raven in 1959, divide power into five distinct forms - coercive, reward, legitimate, referent, and expert.
Referent power refers power based on charisma or interpersonal skill to attract others and build loyalty.
Expert power are the power to get others to listen and respect from the knowledge and skills to understand situation, suggest solutions, and make good judgment.
Subsequently, informational power was added as the sixth source of power.
The reknown Harvard Economist, John Kenneth Galbraith classified power in his 1983 book, The Anatomy of Power [read Wikipedia here].
"It sought to classify three types of power: compensatory power in which submission is bought, condign power in which submission is won by making the alternative sufficiently painful, and conditioned power in which submission is gained by persuasion."
"It further divided power by source: power either stems from personality or leadership, property or wealth, or organisation."
Power has many interesting dimensions.
For instance, some people may have the knowledge and skills but have trouble influencing others. Some applies power and be seen as powerful. Some could influence but without applying power.
Power could be associated with the struggle over resources. The more scarce and valued resources are the more intense and protracted are power struggles.
The process of power involves a variety of power tactics to push or prompt people into particular action.
There are plenty of examples of power tactics that are quite common and employed every day. The power tactics can soft or hard, rational or non rational, and unilateral or bilateral.
These tactics would include criticising, demanding, complaining, negotiating, collaboration, inspiring, socialising, humor, bullying, disengaging, evading, manipulating, and supplicating.
Something to ponder over what constitute UMNO power. There is legitimacy power but was it built or on that referent or expert power? Maybe it could be rephrase as is it still standing on referent or expert power?
These are positive types of power.
UMNO power have much to do with Malay feudelism. Part of feudelism is negative as in coercive power and positive as in reward power.
In Galbraith clasification, Najib's statement is the application of condign power. If UMNO is no more powerful, the argument goes that Malays will face a life like what is happening in Singapore and Penang.
Tun Mahathir claimed Najib failed in his application of compensatory power approach.
Looking at the coercive power elements at work, has the conditioned power through persuasion and openness been exhausted?
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