Saturday, June 09, 2007

Reading List for Politicians

Think a certain politician is ignorant? Want to make a protest? Provide a reading list or better still send them a book or two!

Kam Raslan told me in an e-mail that he was much tickled reading about how Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul gave front-runner Rudy Giuliani a reading assignment, suggesting a list of foreign-policy books to back up his contention that attacks by Islamic militants are fueled by the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

Kam goes on to say:
And I thought, what about reading lists for people who want to do something or other? There's a great book called A Savage War of Peace by Alistair Horne about the Algerian war of independence from the French in the 1950s. The author sent a copy to Rumsfeld and was politely told to sod off. Bush apparently read the book and then drew completely the wrong conclusions. Oh well.
The book protest story I like best though is this one I came across on Nury Vittachi's blog:
Our old friend Yann Martel has started the world's smallest book club - one member. He's sending a book he likes to the Prime Minister of Canada every two weeks, to encourage more funding of the arts.
Booker prize winner Martel vows to send Stephen Harper an inscribed book every two weeks accompanied by a letter. So far there have been four books and four letters which you can read here. There is as yet no response from Harper saying how he has enjoyed Martel's choices, which range from Tolstoy to Agatha Christie.

All this of course begs the question, which books would you like to send to which politician? (Home-grown or international?)


Greenbottle said...

dear pak lah;

first of all my heartiest congratulation on your marriage. It has been said that love is blind and how true it is. Although i've never voted for umno or any BN parties and never intend to do so in the future, nevertheless as a malaysian citizen you are my prime minister and again my best wishes and may god bestow on you a blissful and a happy married life (again)...

despite your very busy schedule i'm sure your cabinet will understand and even insist that you should take some time for honeymoon and although it's not the best way to spend time reading books on this kind of ocassion it may be quite useful to bring a few, just to while away those quiet spots...and just between you and me, let me tell you my little secret. i like to read after making love. you may like to try it sometimes (if you have not already.)

and while i'm sure that you're a very well read man like your deputy (as far as i know from the recent newspaper article) i hope you don't mind me recommending a couple of books.

for light reading i suggest you read a novel by the late jerzy kosinski who killed himself a few yers ago called "being there"... it's very thin and quite simple but quite good in my opinion.

as prime minister there is no need for you to impress anybody by bringing gunther grass or borges although i would advise you not to bring da vinci code and i certainly will not recommend sophie kinsella for your wife... doris lessing would be fine though.

and for more practical stuff there is nothing more appropriate than the kamasutra of vatsyayana Trans by Sir richard f. burton. although you may have read it in your younger days, it's well worth to revisit it again.

there are a lot of useful advice there as you already know and just an example here's one which you may find very useful.

" if a man mixes the powder of of the milk hedge plant and the kantaka plant with the excrement of a monkey and the powdered root of the lanjalika plant, and throws this mixture on a woman, she will not love anybody else afterword."

although it may be tricky to find all those plants , i'm sure it is a simple matter to find monkey excrement as your cabinet is full of them ha ha (sorry it's just a joke)...

oh if you're thinking of a local place for a honey moon may i suggest genting highland... don't worry about PAS mullahs who may insinuate that you'll be going to gamble in the casinos there but who cares about these stone age mullahs...they are all sour-pus and mad to boot...

yours sincerely

a citizen

bibliobibuli said...

brilliant greenbottle! i think i would give every head of state for a country which possessed a nucleaur arsenal "the road" by cormac mccarthy because of the terrible vision is paints of a post-apocalyptic world. come to think of it, the novel should be read by all those whose decisions influence environmental policy. care for this world because it's all we have!!

Anonymous said...

Environmentalists are interesting. We're all environmentalists to a degree, it just depends on how much we care. If we really cared we'd all be living in the jungle pooping in rivers and living off the flora and fauna. But we're not.