The Saga of the Big Slap

By Kee Thuan Chye

It all started with a slap threat.

A Muslim group took exception to a satirical video produced by an Opposition MP who also appeared as a talk show host interviewing panelists played by actors, so they held a street protest and offered a RM1,200 reward to anyone who would slap the MP and show proof of having done it.

The group alleged that through the video, the MP and her fellow party leaders had insulted the Government, the King, Islam and Malay dignity, but those who had seen the video swore there was nothing of that in it.

Political observers said the group was mad for inciting violence. They called on the police to take action against the extremists.

The home minister, however, said there was no need for that. He said offering money to slap someone was not a threat. He said, “If they had issued a death threat, then it would be a threat. Slapping is not.”

Political observers believed that he responded this way because he was probably abused a lot as a child, and likely by his mother. So he was now getting his own back at society, and especially women.

One observer said the minister needed to have his IQ tested, because any person with just an average IQ could have seen that the threat on the MP was indeed a threat.

The next day, when the minister was walking out of a five-star hotel after having been treated to a sumptuous meal there, a burly citizen with biceps bigger than Popeye’s came up to him and slapped him hard on the cheek. It made the minister do a dozen pirouettes like a ballet dancer before he swayed about like a halal drunkard and eventually slumped onto the floor like a character from Looney Tunes.

The citizen later declared to the media that he was the one responsible for slapping the minister. But he said it was not an assault and that he was not a threat to anyone. Slapping a person, he asserted, was not killing them.

He said he slapped the minister because of these reasons. First, for not respecting a woman. Second, for not respecting a fellow human being. Third, for not respecting the law against violence. Fourth, for discrediting his own office. Fifth, for discrediting the prime minister for having appointed him minister.

When asked how he managed to develop such big biceps, he said it was because he ate kangkung.

The public speculated that the minister must have suffered severely from getting such a whopping slap, but no one could verify the extent of the injury because the minister was whisked away immediately after the incident. One of his aides who declined to be identified said the minister lost consciousness for at least an entire day, and after he regained consciousness, he was scared shit of going out.

Inside sources from the dental clinic that attended to him revealed that at the moment of impact, all but one of his teeth receded totally into the gum – and the one that didn’t, flew out of his mouth. That tooth was now being preserved for when he became prime minister whereupon a memorial could be built for it, somewhat similar to the one for the Buddha’s tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

It was said that the minister had aspirations of becoming PM, which explained why he had been saying numerous stupid things of late. As the people had now come to realise, saying stupid things was a requisite for becoming PM.

One of the things he said was telling the police to “shoot to kill” gangsters. He also said there was no need to ask questions first. On numerous occasions, because of his appearance and his tough-talking stance, he came across like a gangster himself. No wonder he did not consider the threat on the MP a threat. After all, gangsters are used to punching people and fracturing their noses, among other things.

Speaking of the police, they did not hesitate to initiate investigations into the video produced by the MP. They said it might have contributed to public mischief. They even called in for questioning the actors who had participated in the video. Political observers called it an attempt at intimidation.

At the same time the actors were being interrogated, the Inspector-General of Police was giving a public talk on the integrity of the police force. He assured everyone present that the police were professionals, that they were not beholden to the ruling party, and that they were fair and colour-blind in carrying out their duties.

When he had finished, a portly, stocky woman with a huge and high hairdo carrying a Hermes bag went up to him. He smiled in recognition and with great delight, as if thoroughly pleased to see the woman. She reached out her hand and he thought she was going to shake his, but instead the woman landed a tight slap on his face that turned his smile into a permanent twist. Not only did his cheek turn red, it sustained a deep dent caused by the impact of the diamond ring the woman was wearing on her middle finger, tilted downwards to deliberately scar the IGP’s face.

The IGP sank to the floor and passed out. His twisted lip, though grotesque in appearance, seemed to fit his face perfectly. The audience in the room were too shocked to react. The woman coolly walked out.

Mouths wagged afterwards that she was an artiste who did impersonations of famous people, but no one could guess whom she was impersonating when she slapped the IGP. They also wondered if black magic had been employed in rearranging the IGP’s lip.

A note was found stapled to the IGP’s neck. The note asked why the police were so quick to investigate the MP’s video when it had done nothing on other, more serious cases, like the video in which a ruling party-backed Muslim MP had insulted Hindus. It also asked why the police had not even taken any action against the extremist group that started the idea of slapping.

The note explained that for the double standards practised by the police, their head honcho deserved to be slapped. It warned that the IGP would get slapped again and again till kingdom come if the police continued to be unfair. Its last words were: “Don’t play play. This is a real threat.”

After this incident, fear gripped the nation’s decision-makers and officers of the law. Everyone looked to the prime minister to make a statement that would help bring back sanity. But the PM said nothing.

Then one day, when he was at a function handing out envelopes containing goodness-knows-what to retired civil servants, an 88-year-old man who looked more Indian than Malay accosted him with a smirk and gave him a slap so hard that it detached his ruby-red lips from his face.

The assailant scolded the PM loudly in front of everyone for being weak, for keeping quiet all the time, for not stopping the extremist groups at home although he promoted moderation in the world whenever he spoke overseas.

All the PM could do was gape, especially now that there was nothing but a void where his lips used to be.

People wondered how the old-timer could have had so much strength to inflict so much damage on the PM’s face. Then a newspaper published an exclusive report disclosing that the man received regular injections of sheep placenta extract at a clinic in Switzerland. This was the secret to his regular rejuvenation.

When news of what had happened to the PM broke out, people in high office panicked. None of them was safe any more. They took out insurance on their facial parts, regardless of the high premiums they had to pay. The prime minister’s wife took out a policy insuring her hair.

Cabinet ministers argued over what needed to be done to stop the slapping mania. The poor PM merely sat and listened, because he had no lips and could not speak.

One minister proposed creating a law that would define slapping someone as a matter of life and death. By that token, a call to slap someone would now be legally considered a threat.

The first one to support the proposal was none other than the home minister. Who of course was now totally toothless. And, said his aides, totally gutless.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the book The Elections Bullshit, available in bookstores.