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Of Global Anger And Corporate Bulls**t – OpEd


Karma for United Airlines – share prices down and down and down, from US$700 million loss in a day to US$1.4 billion the next. This will continue. But there is a lesson here. Capitalism and its arrogance. Corporate capitalism and its treatment towards customers, in a cut-throat airline competition.

And the good Vietnamese-born doctor dragged away bloodied will sue big-time. Bravo. The world is cheering. The Internet has won again. A General Lafayette aiding George Washington in that Revolutionary War.

In the United Airlines Corporate Bulls**t and Karma story, there is a lesson for Malaysia as well. This country is known for its politeness but of late corporate and political culture is evolving towards bulls**t.

Malaysian customers too can do it, too. Whether you’re an airline or a cable TV company or a cellular communications company, you do the dance of your corporate bulls**t, public anger, with the help of social media can bring you down.

Whether you are giants like Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, or any new airlines with strange and humiliating interview techniques, or whether you’re Astro or Celcom or Maxis or any company that takes people’s money and do not deliver quality, public anger can imitate the global reaction we are seeing with United Airlines. I hope these Malaysian companies are doing the right thing in keeping the customers happy.

So, companies must behave and refrain from exercising policies amounting to corporate bulls**t. I hope Malaysian companies such as those continue to behave well while laughing their way daily to the bank.

Even companies allying themselves with allegedly lousy and money-laundering politicians ought to be shamed and exposed of their unholy alliances, so that it is easy for the public, local and global, to also punish them for their corporate bullshit. Let the public decide the nature of karma. Corporate karma.

Lessons for politicians as well

Though BS is your ammo, the public must be appeased, especially in the age of trolls and anyone with a cellphone is a citizen journalist. It’s the age of boycotts going viral and corporations that BS should be careful with their ethics of enterprise-sustainability.

Politicians are always a target of citizen anger, because they had promised to deliver when they were begging for votes. Yet when they have won and have held power for endless number of years, they become arrogant and thieves, suing race and religion to rationalise their moves and motives.

And herein lie the power of the Internet trollers. The storm-bringers of the political world. The case of the leader of a major Islamic party getting trolled, and cartoonised, and humiliated in cyberspace is an example of public anger over a religious issue that is plagued with arrogance. The case of the tabling of the amendments to Act 355.

The case of unholy alliances that is framed in the language of religion and the need to have an Islamic state even though Islam does not require nations to have such a state. Islam is a personal religion that help develop the self into a kingdom of peace – not a cultural-religious ideology used by a party to insist on a system of demagoguery that belittles other religious beliefs. That is not Islam. That is a grand slam of a medieval ideology.

In the end, what Malaysia is seeing is a state of chaos and of double-dealings and triple lyings of Malay-Muslim political parties playing up each other. In the end the game is all the same – political bulls**t to the max.

The Internet as monster

The cybernetic world is precarious and brutal when it comes to addressing public anger. And no one controls the Internet. Technology will always be the winner. We have been seeing numerous cases in Malaysia wherein companies are brought down, politicians shredded to pieces, and issues of human right violations exposed for the world to see – all these by the power of the Internet and the ease of employment and deployment of social media.

Karl Marx, the social historian, said whoever owns the means of production, owns the means of changing social relations of production and consciousness as well. Today we are all owners of the means of production called free speech enabled by our personalising and ‘personacratic technology’ called the cellphone.

We are all part of the whole. In the case of fighting against corporate bulls**t and politicians with BS attitude, we are all members of the new resistance movement – the army of that is also raging. Rage against the machine, A new Luddite. A new force. To bring down capitalism’s glorified bullsh**ters.

And the biggest winner, still is the Internet. That Frankenstein of a monster roaming in cyberspace.

I hope the good doctor David Dao is feeling better. I hope it is not a case of racial profiling at the height of Trumpism. But fly not United Airlines until its corporate bullshit is grounded and buried!

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Dr. Azly Rahman

Dr. Azly Rahman is an academician, educator, international columnist, and author of nine books He holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in international education development and Master's degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies, communication, fiction, and non-fiction writing. He is a member of the Columbia University chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Twitter @azlyrahman. More writings here. His latest book, a memoir, is published by Penguin Books is available here.

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