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NCM: or, how one flew over the cuckoo’s nest!

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 6 December 2018 00:10


MIND OVER MATTER: Are our leading politicos a sad bunch, or what! Or merely mad, bad and dangerous to know? It’s a matter of the mind… if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
– Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

I’m not a psychologist. Despite three years spent studying the subject and a diploma on my wall. Perhaps if I had invested the time, money, energy, effort, in a degree – I wouldn’t be at a loss these days. To understand the mentality and mindset of our mischief-making mandarins!

Oh, well. There are still some consolations to being an armchair shrink and amateur psychoanalyst. But one must admit that some patients (I should really say ‘clients’, even if they look and act more like ‘client-kings’) test one’s patience a tad more than other ‘kingly’ subjects.

So here, in the spirit of a little levity, is my personal take on the state of sanity in our nation-state today. Trust me: you don’t have to read this to understand how the mind works. And even after you do; you might as well essay that ‘the mind doesn’t work like that’. But it’s your loss.


The man who’s evidently the most nuts about our nation-state is our head of state. Although to hear him speak, one could convince oneself that he is mad about something – or someone else. In fact, he’s mad about the boy. That stripling lad, not quite unlike Marc Antony, who offered him – certainly no Julius Caesar – a crown. But there has been a rather noticeable rift in the lute of late. And everything that the presidential psyche focuses on these days is about that boy.

First, he talked about the lad’s proclivities on a public stage where his party – and the supporters of his favoured prime minister – had gathered in large numbers. There would have been a riot (against the prez, not either of his premiers) if the vulgar mob had actually been paying attention. But they let it pass. That, and the other dropped brick about their mad prez offering the mantle of prime minister to their political enemy’s no. 2 and 3 personages.

Then, he went on and on about the boy and his behaviour at a blue party confab. How he has no mores fit for our ancient civilisation or manners befitting our exalted political culture. Blah blah blah. As a psychologist – amateur, I admit – I listened to the silences in-between the tirade. To see or hear if I could discern the real casus belli.

And, here’s my theory. Prez wanted to be head of state, government, and cabinet a second time round. No surprise there. Far better politicos than he had been there, done that, bought the T-saatakaya. But boy was probably obstinate. Worse, most likely dismissive in that manner Royalists fake to appear more Olympian – or, well, Thomian. So prez, like Oliver Twist, asked the Supreme Court if he could please, sir, have more. But court said NO, five not six of the best for you!

It fits rather neatly into my theory, don’t you think?


Enter the king. And his client-kings, scions and sycophants. Or, as the poet expressed it so powerfully: “The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold / his cohorts all gleaming in purple and gold.”

While the prez’s countenance remained puce at the thought of the treatment meted out to him by the ‘butterfly brigade’, the wolf inveigled his former lieutenant turned adversary overnight some four years ago to pull a reverse stunt.

“Join me,” he probably growled hoarsely like some latter-day Darth Vader but clad in gleaming white rather than the customary drab black, “and we can rule the galaxy like… well, like father of the nation and son of the soil.”

(You’ve got to hand it to our would-be villains, to be up to date on space cowboy soap operas where the baddies have all the best lines.)

Sadly daddy fell for it. He bought the farm hook, line and sinker. Rejected by his alliance partner and snubbed by the Supreme Court, our prez firmly set his mind (that’s where the psychiatrist in me comes in) – and feet (I’m no podiatrist, but I try) – on treading the primrose path to dalliance.

And that’s most likely what set us on the high road to perdition. For the path to democratic-republican hell is paved with the ‘good intentions’ of do no-gooders and good no-doers.

(Note to the slow-on-the-uptake: The do no-gooders are self-evident – just think Vader in white with a red cravat-like thing round his neck… And the good no-doers? Well, if I have to tell you all about a boy, it’ll take away some of the fun – as the wolf said to the lamb!)

Dangerous to know

All of which led us to ten thousand types of thundering tarnation we’ve witnessed in our nation-state of late. 

Let me paraphrase: perversely sacked a sitting prime minister, arbitrarily appointed another premier, waspishly prorogued parliament, unilaterally appointed new ministers, wickedly dissolved parliament, unpredictably called an election, unexpectedly reconvened parliament, inexplicably refused to accept the results of two floor tests in the august assembly named after a fall month, watched with trembling as his new boy’s hooligans trashed the House, wantonly seized portfolios and ministries, ad nauseam ad infinitum. 

And since we’re doing Latin, let me add this… ‘non compos mentis’ (NCM) – a new acronym to provide interim relief for those driven round the bend by No-Confidence Motions!

And now, while the good sit and do nothing but twiddle their thumbs and tweet inanities on Twitter, the bad rally their troops on Facebook. And the ugliest mugs are possibly off in a corner playing Chinese checkers and planning that military coup, which most of us would do well to fear.

Fear? What’s that, you ask! You unwashed hordes who hallooed in the high street – that the Olympian was selling the family silver to Western nations – but omitted to mention that the mad, bad and dangerous to know were mortgaging ports and airports to foreign states farther afield?

I’m a shrink, for heaven’s sake… Not a savvy economist or savant columnist; so I wouldn’t know tuppence about the high cost of debt-trap diplomacy! Just leave that to the New York Times – or the South China Morning Post. 

Thanks and all the best, but your ‘fifty minutes’ of my ‘time on the couch’ (as much as the ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ of the good, bad and ugly shrunk above) are just about up.

(Journalist | Editor-at-large of LMD | Writer #SpeakingTruthToPower) 

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