[Disclaimer: Any resemblances in this story to situations or persons in real life or in fiction are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as insinuations, insults, criticism or sarcasm, satirical or otherwise. This disclaimer officially renders it invalid and unacceptable to sue the author on grounds of libel or/and slander. This blog, as its address already suggests, is written by a mentally incompetent patient currently staying in a mental asylum - a very high-quality asylum, he/she might add, equipped with computers and other hi-tech stuff, where patients are educated in using electronic gadgets - and thus he/she is not legally responsible for his/her actions or/and speeches or/and writings. Nothing should be taken seriously and should be treated with a sense of humour. Any offence taken is not the fault of the author for he/she has adequately reminded his/her readers to read with a light heart.]
Chipmunks, as astute readers have probably already inferred from the wise comments of the famous Chipmunk philosopher Chippie Xoddo which were generously quoted in the previous chapter (also read Chapter 1 here), are exceedingly intelligent creatures. They are also highly diligent. Possessing these two extremely important qualities, they have managed to transform their backward village, Chipmunkspore, into a prosperous cosmopolitan metropolis within the short span of four decades, under the impressive leadership of their former Prime Minister - who has now resigned and taken on a new position as a Minister Shi-fu (the first time any democracy has such an irrelevant post) - whose name literally translates into Brilliant Light. Brilliant Lee was - take note of the use of past tense here - a man of imposing stature and astonishing intellect who exhibited great foresight and the rare ability to lucidly express his thoughts with accessible eloquence. Everyone thus pinned his hopes on this astounding man, unquestioningly following his lead because everyone believed that he would bring the country to greater heights. And he did. Brilliant Lee combated communism vigorously and fiercely promoted democracy, and these two actions have successfully elevated Chipmunkspore's international status.
Brilliant Lee also understands the importance of diplomacy only too well, and thus strives to foster friendly relations with other countries. Indeed, Chipmunkspore now has allies all over the world and enjoys many lucrative business deals with other nations. For example, only a few days ago, Chipmunkspore signed a profitable agreement with Dragonland; an agreement which includes allowing each other's aircraft to travel to and from both countries without hindrance, among several other economic benefits. However, despite sharing amicable ties with various countries, Chipmunkspore often incurs the wrath of others as well - sometimes for apparently no acceptable reason. A former president of the neighbouring country Cockroachesia once condescendingly nicknamed Chipmunkspore "a red dot", calling it "puny, insignificant and unnoticeable". A politician in another country - TaiSwan - dismissed the island as "one disgusting blob of mucus". As one can guess, Chipmunkspore's detractors are all gifted with a huge bank of vocabulary as well as a boundless stream of creativity - how else were they able to come up with such vivid and original descriptions?
The Chipmunks, while clever, have unfortunately become too subservient, a result of their bad habit to obey Brilliant Lee's orders uncomplainingly. And Brilliant Lee, while genuinely having the country's interests at heart when he first became a politician, gradually began to place his own welfare above that of his nation. Chipmunkspore did not evolve into a true democracy as envisioned, but has become a pseudo-democracy. It is essentially an oligarchical society which masks itself under the veneer of democracy. Currently, Chipmunkspore's Prime Minister is Prominent Dragon Lee, who is Brilliant Lee's son, named after one of Chipmunkspore's favourite allies, Dragonland. Brilliant Lee has two sons and one daughter, and all three are very successful individuals, though whether or not their success depends mainly on their powerful father's political influence is debatable. The other son, Prominent Sheep Lee, who is named after another ally of Chipmunkspore, Sheepland, used to be the Chief Executive Officer of the largest state-owned telecommunications company in the nation, but his reasons for resigning remain unknown till today. Hushed rumours speculate that his hurried decision to resign had to do with a colossal scandal concerning the largest charity organisation - which faciliates the donation of kidneys and provides necessary treatment for patients afflicted with kidney-related illnesses - in Chipmunkspore which erupted the previous year, though no one dares to openly interrogate him for fear of being sued for slander (yes, you get sued in this country for merely asking harmless questions - questions which you have an absolute right to ask, especially if you have donated money to the aforementioned charity organisation before). Brilliant Lee's only daughter, who is simply known as Feminine Lee, runs the National Brain-ology Association, and is also a very important figure in Chipmunkspore's medical field. Prominent Dragon Lee's wife, Shiny River, has been occupying the position as the Chief Executive Officer of the largest national investment firm for many years, probably because she enjoys her husband's political clout. Honestly, she is only a university graduate like many other Chipmunks in the country, so do you seriously think that she would have been able to enjoy so many privileges if not for her husband? True, undeniably, she does embody invaluable qualities which have earned her a spot in the prestigious list of the most influential females in the whole world, but without her spouse, she would have had to climb the corporate ladder slowly like everyone else, instead of having power and authority concentrated in her hands right from the very minute she entered the company. In sum, both the public and private sectors are controlled by people who are affiliated to Brilliant Lee, and therefore it is not entirely wrong to say that Chipmunkspore is basically a monarchy as much as an oligarchy. France had the Bourbon monarchy. Chipmunkspore now has its very own FamiLee monarchy.
Recently, the atmosphere in the vast continent in which Chipmunkspore resides has been far from quiescent. Why is that so? Let me now explain.
Meowmar, a poor country which lies not extremely far from Chipmunkspore, is now experiencing peaceful uprisings staged by its Catizens and Venerables. Venerables are highly respected and revered in Meowmar, whose population comprises an overwhelming majority of Cats, which endorse the religion Catism (more on Catism in the next chapter). Venerables distinguish themselves by wearing burgundy robes, and thus are also known as The Burgundy Ones. They are of unsurpassable noble and admirable character; they have unassuming and pleasant dispositions; they speak in gentle voices, often soothing troubled minds with wonderful words of wisdom; they are freed from desires, which they believe to be the root of all woes that besiege mortal souls; and most important, they are always at peace with themselves and with the world around them. Images of Venerables in their signature dark red clothes often bring to heart a placid feeling. They are selfless and altruistic, and they love the Catizens as much as they love themselves.
Meowmar is a country whose government ruthlessly oppresses any form of opposition and imposes a relentlessly autocratic and authoritarian regime. It practises martial law and Catizens do not get to enjoy basic rights and privileges. The Burgundy Ones, who are overwhelmed after decades of accumulating suppressed righteous anger, have lately decided that the time has come to fight for the welfare of Catizens. Quietly, they began marching tirelessly along the roads. Their melancholic silence begets the support of Catizens, and soon many of them begin to join the Venerables in their courageous march for democracy and for the emancipation of Catizens. The sight of the endless stretch of a beautiful river of maroon enchants viewers and touches their souls - the silence seems to be calling out to them, "You do not have to speak a word. Join us, and do what is right. It doesn't matter if blood will deepen the colour of our robes. We are so lucky that in this life we have a cause worth fighting and dying for. We will fight to the end, even if it costs us our lives, for we'd rather die than to suffer." It is an unspeakably moving sight that has prompted Catizens as well as millions of members in other countries witnessing their plight to stand up and rebel against the system of injustice in Meowmar.
Meowmar's reactionary government, seeing that The Burgundy Ones have no intention to call off their demonstration, has decided to mobilise its armies to shoot at the crowds, hoping to intimidate them into submission. The soldiers shoot indiscriminately, killing Venerables who are only quietly praying and reciting chants in soundless murmurs. The use of violence has enraged the Catizens even more, and has sparked international furore. Other nations begin to sign petitions advancing the Catizens' cause. Their peoples request their rulers to aid Meowmar's Catizens. They prompt their leaders to try to introduce democracy into Meowmar through political intervention. They organise marches to display their full support for The Burgundy Ones. They protest outside embassies to show their dissatisfaction with Meowmar's government and pity for the Catizens. While peoples of other countries are all enthusiastically involving themselves in Meowmar's political issues, all Chipmunks have to offer is dead silence.
Well, not exactly. There are several Chipmunks who are concerned enough to have gathered outside the Meowmarese embassy in Chipmunkspore to voice their support for the Catizens of Meowmar. However, their conspicuous presence immediately alerted the police, and they were issued a warning. They were instructed to either leave the embassy without lingering or to risk being arrested by cops. This unreasonable action taken by the police infuriated the Chipmunks. A petition against Chipmunkspore's dealings in Meowmar was started - for it is widely suspected that Chipmunkspore's government is guilty of channeling investments to cut business dealings with narco-trafficking mobsters in Meowmar - but has been mysteriously blacked out. Chipmunkspore has also turned down the request made by the Aksantian Union - a union consisting of all countries in the Aksant continent, including Dragonland - to relax its bank secrecy laws in order to allow checks on Meowmarese leaders' savings in Chipmunkspore's banks accounts, thus potentially jeopardising a proposed pact with the Aksantian Union. A new petition is now trying to garner more signatures from the Chipmunks, but sadly there has been little response.
Brilliant Lee, in all his remarkable brilliance, has failed to nurture Chipmunks into righteous and vocal advocates of justice, and instead has taught them how to be spineless, apathetic, self-centered, obsequious, gullible, compliant, pandering to the powerful, indifferent and unsympathetic to victims of injustice, devoid of the passion to fight for their ideals and to articulate dissent in the face of wrongdoing. All aspiring monarchies should learn from Brilliant Lee. How has he managed to accomplish such an incredible feat?
Answer: By constructing pseudo-democratic political and legal infrastructures in the country, denying people of the freedom of speech, randomly suing critics for libel or slander without valid reasons so as to frighten others into reticence, while keeping the citizens sufficiently happy by maintaining a vibrant capitalist economy and offering global opportunities for career advancements so that they will not find it cost-effective to rebel. At the same time, they constantly change policies to work to their advantage and to the people's disadvantage, and they carefully observe their people's reactions - if there is not much unhappiness, then they will just keep amending rules to take even more advantage of the citizens, until the time comes when they finally notice that their people are already on the verge of rebellion. That is when they will eventually stop.
Is there a reason why Chipmunkspore's government has refused to comment on the quagmire in Meowmar? The author hereby hazards an educated guess. You cannot possibly blame someone for a crime you think you may also commit when the need arises. You cannot fault others for mistakes which you are, or in future may be, guilty of. You cannot chastise others for taking a path on which you know perfectly well that you may also embark on when you are trapped in a similar situation. There is a sneaking suspicion that the very reason behind the silence of Chipmunkspore's government is this: When the Chipmunks themselves one day finally marshal enough courage and determination to oppose their leaders, the government may also impose martial law on them, and do to them what the Meowmarese's government is doing to the Catizens.
We can't even fight for ourselves. How do we fight for the Meowmarese?
- a Chipmunk who requested for anonymity