A circus came to Kuala Lumpur recently.
The build-up underneath the big top was exciting enough, with the usual parade of colourful acts, freaks, oddities, and sideshows, all clamouring for attention, amid a cacophony of deafening palavering.
However, the absence of high-wire acts, trapeze artists, skilful jugglers, tightrope walkers and other spectacular attractions meant that this circus was going to be an unmitigated disappointment.
Instead, this circus was filled to the rafters with only clumsy, ageing performers, who had seen better days.
Even the jesters and their asinine antics no longer evoked unfettered laughter or admiration among those in attendance. It was clear that they were past their prime, just waiting to be put to pasture.
The tigers, lions, and other man-eaters also seemed to have lost their ferocity and ice-cold killer instincts. They no longer commanded fear or respect and seemed to be a poor shadow of their former selves. They were only there to keep this old, tired act going.
The lion tamers lacked the confidence and bravado that previously used to hold the audience captive with their derring-do and death-defying acts. No one dared to put their heads near the gaping maws of these ferocious, voracious killers.
Jugglers, clowns, the Hairy Madame, lion tamers, high-wire acts, Wolf Boy, trapeze artists, knife throwers… they all seemed to be in complete disarray, dividing themselves into several factions, aligned either by specialisation, or follicle count. Each wanting to promote their own vested interests.
The ringmaster, a socially maladjusted clown, known for his numerous defects, improprieties, and manipulative bent, was adamant in refusing to allow his youthful and energetic apprentices from taking over.
He devised ways and means to stave off their challenge. As a result, the circus is failing, perhaps in its final death throes.
It looks as though this big top will soon come crashing down, smothering to death anyone and everyone foolish enough to allow themselves to be trapped under the sheer weight of the rotting tarpaulin, beams, columns, and supports.
Most of the main and supporting players, along with some in the audience, seem lethargic and weary, the thin veneer of gullibility slowly wisping away with every pronouncement uttered by the tainted ringmaster. They have all lost their vibrancy, inquisitiveness, and critical faculties.
Others in the crowd are in a state of denial of their impending demise, choosing to side with the ringmaster to curry favour, in hopes of being rewarded with positions and material gains, just before everything goes pear-shaped.
This circus was once vibrant and energetic, with spectacular acts that drew crowds from near and far. The roar and excitement could be heard far beyond the confines of the big top, into the small towns and villages.
But now, its howl is muted, the excitement dissipated by the winds of change and a widening schism of popular public opinion.
It is now a shadow of its former glory.
Without changing the ringmaster and infusing new, vibrant acts to replace the ageing performers, and without taking a good, long, hard, objective look at its core values and returning to the fundamentals, this circus will not last long.
Indeed, it may very well be replaced by other forms of entertainment that are more relevant, more in touch with the pulse on the ground, and more honest.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.