Lat, a popular series of graphic novels drawn by Malaysian cartoonist Mohammad Nor Mohammad Khalid, is making the rounds online after people noticed a certain similarity between events that occurred in the past to the present.
Facebook user Jolene Lai uploaded a photo of a page from a Lat graphic novel on Dec. 26, which received more than 2,800 likes and was shared more than 3,800 times.The comic, titled "VIP in the Flood", showed a scene of a flooding incident and a VIP (very important person) visiting the area.
The first panel on the left showed the VIP being escorted to the area affected by the flood.
Subsequent panels showed the VIP in a boat, specifically, a sampan, pushed by a man believed to be a resident in the affected site, looking around the area, and waving to victims.
There was also a cameraman on another boat recording the VIP's visit.
"Some things never change"
Netizens pointed out the apparent similarities between the comic, which was believed to be drawn in 1977, to the recent severe floods in Malaysia.
Some highlighted that the attitudes of the VIP reflected in the comic did not change over time.
The comic was possibly drawn in response to the 1971 Kuala Lumpur flooding incident.
VIPs drew flak
During the flood recovery efforts, several VIPs were called out for their allegedly entitled behaviour.
A video posted on Twitter by Syazwan Shah, showed that an ambulance had to stop and make way for what seemed to be a VIP entourage passing through the flood-stricken area.
He wrote: "Life can wait, VIP can go first", along with a slogan linked to former prime minister Najib Razak.
In his subsequent tweets, Syazwan, who was a member with Arus Anak Muda, a non-government organisation that was helping flood victims, said that they left for the area at 9am, but they were only able to reach the area at 11am, allegedly due to the roads being cleared up for the VIP to pass through.
Malaysian police then clarified that they had to stop the vehicles, including the ambulance, as "there is a risk of an accident and danger" to other road users, Bernama reported.
Bernama added that it is believed to be Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's convoy, on its way to inspect the flood-affected areas.
The police added that the officers did an assessment and decided to give priority to the convoy to avoid any accident.
Help the victims, not being flood tourists: volunteer
In an interview with The Vibes, Syazwan said that in times of crisis, it would be helpful if everyone could come together and help the victims, rather than being "flood tourists".
"If 20 people visited and only came to see (the affected areas), I think this is not right. It is better to open the roads to those who really want to help," Syazwan said, as quoted by The Vibes.
He added that he was shocked that the ambulance with its siren turned on, indicating an emergency situation, had to be held up.
A lecturer from one of Malaysia's universities, Raudah Yunus, wrote to Malaysiakini criticising the "VIP culture" in the country and how it could endanger the nation.
"We have no choice but to speak loudly against this unjust privilege held by some politicians, celebrities, business tycoons and the so-called upper-class groups who see themselves as deserving of special treatment in times of national crises, often at the expense of other people," she wrote.
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Top images via Jolene Lai/Facebook and syzwnrose/Twitter