After reading all the accolades, features, interviews and anecdotes in the special tribute pullouts of today's New Straits Times, I became more and more contrite of my choice of words to describe Dr. M in my most recent post (see below). Loved (by many)? Beyond doubt. But despised (also by many) seems to me now as perhaps too strong an expression for THE MAN.
Call me easily-influenced, call me incredibly susceptible to suggestions, call me gullible (again, strong words?); but hey, he has done many many good things for this country that Malaysians call home. Yes, he may have taken actions that were deemed less-than-favorable and even downright stupid by certain groups of people, but then, try to name one country leader at any point in history who had managed to satisfy each and every quarter of his nation. There would be none. And how are we to know if another was in his place during those years, we would be better off? IF is a big word portraying the unknown. IF is a thing that could have happened, but has not happened, as yet. Anyone can describe all the IFs they want, but it's the factual that has taken place.
It humbles me as I read his answer on the question of whether he was satisfied with what he has achieved during his term as the Prime Minister: "I know I have failed in many ways, but I know that I have succeeded in doing something. It is not for me to determine, but up to the people".
To Dato' Seri, thank you for your time, your energy, your ideas, all in the name of taking on the daunting task of building and fostering this nation towards the way we are today. For everything that it's worth, I am proud that you were our Prime Minister during your day. All the best to you, may your retirement brings your peace and happiness especially with the family that we have taken you away from so much.
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A couple of things from the New Strait Times special tribute pullouts:
- In 1987, Dr. M placed a special message for Malaysian people in a time capsule at the opening of The Mall. The time capsule will only be opened after 100 years.
I wonder what is in that message, considering it was 'buried' at the opening of a shopping mall. Buy Malaysian always, perhaps? What with all the advances in medicine, I sure hope I would still be around in 2087 (as a tottering old lady of 108), and still in a good shape of mind to remember today, God willing. That's not entirely impossible, no?
- The good doctor can't swim
What? Really? Hmm…. Is it too late now to learn? And yet he professes of loving the sea so much. Again, is this true?