Thursday, 21 September 2023

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The untold power of public image amidst Ridout Road controversy

by Rudy Irawan Kadjairi

What a waste of time.

Who cares about WHY you wanted to rent a place? Nobody should question why you preferred one place to another; it’s your own choice. That you need a place to live in, must be without question.

No matter how clever some may think the questions are framed, queries as to HOW a transaction goes through a process will uncover nothing suspicious nor dubious; if they say they’ve done everything according to the books, then there’s absolutely no reason to doubt them.

What is at stake, however, is the OPTICS. The image and perception that, despite all the evidence and I-said-he-said-we-said-they-said, the indelible image of privilege and everything else related to it, remain stamped onto the visual cortex of anyone with even half a brain.

An opinion of what the entire saga means, is exactly what a perception produces; whether you believe everything that was said, or, if you don’t.

Your opinion, therefore, remains yours. But you cannot enforce your opinion on anyone, even if you think you’ve produced evidence to support it.

How a sequence of events is perceived, whether you have explained it all away, is not controlled, determined or influenced by a showcase of evidence. Perception is rarely derived out from facts and evidence; it is simply how people see things as are presented to them. It forms at the very moment they see it – that’s just the way the human brain processes what the eyes see.

And that’s why it is important for people to understand why the code of conduct was meticulous in its use of the word “perceived”, in spite of the obvious ability and opportunity to provide evidence to prove one way or the other.

As with that oft-used phrase about justice, the integrity of public office must not just be upheld, it must also be seen to be upheld. Read those words again. Understand what they mean.

And that’s where the word “perception” plays an integral part in this whole sordid affair.
You can use the everything-was-done-by-the-book strategy in your game plan. But you will never be able to hoodwink the holy-Cinderella-Batman-but-this-looks-decidedly-more-unpalatable-than-a-meal-at-Popeye’s-spinach-and-onion-Saturday-brunch-do.

You cannot control the narrative of a perception. You cannot enforce the way you see it on someone else who sees it entirely different.

The fact that the saga had to be taken to an august hall for discussion and debate, suggests that a certain type of perception already exists. And that time, money and attention were used to correct perception which many knew have been floating around since this saga was exposed.

And mind you, no one knew anything of this until it was exposed publicly.

And all of that, has been nothing but detrimental to an image that’s supposed to be upheld.
In this sense, and this alone, one should be able to ascertain that a code of conduct was already breached.

Produce all the evidence you want to prove to the contrary, but that’s how this episode is perceived.

The irony is that it’s not just an opinion from one.

This was first published on Rudy Irawan Kadjairi’s Facebook page, and reproduced with permission

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