Saturday 9 October 2010

Cakap cakap : Mahathir and Retirement.

The future is uncertain and so for most of us the familiar past seem more inviting. None is more familiar then Mahathir. Tunku, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein are icons. Mahathir is iconic! When he enters a room people will approach him with a wonder for their once Prime Minister. But increasingly the deference that should be accorded to one who is not only 85 years old but also the longest serving Prime Minister of our country seems to dissipate with time.

We are still amazed at his need to be relevant to the rapidly evolving political scenario that unfolds almost on a day-to-day basis. He has seen it all before and ought to be used to the attention around him.

But what about the man himself? What about that Mahatir who knows with certainty that his best work is past him? And yet he wants to keep himself up to speed with the goings on in UMNO, in Barisan Nasional and of course, the country? And more telling he now has to keep himself busy for the remaining years of his life – how ever long that may be? What about adjusting to being the most important man in Malaysia at one time to being an 85-year-old man who still is a wannabe? The media frenzy on everything that you do has now moved on to Najib and Anwar. The innumerable interviews have stopped and your face that once adorned many posters and placards all over Malaysia is now lined with age.

You were still standing on the stage when the spotlight went off. Now you will have to find your way off the stage all by yourself.

The fun has ended. You have some hard adjusting to do. There is no encore. There is no adequate substitute. Perkasa is not it. Perkasa is a second hand Tiara and you have been driving a Perdana! Coming down from being a Prime Minister is hard. You need to find retirement and thrive in it.   

You can pick up the paintbrush and palette and paint subjects you know best – power and the use of it –abstractly of course! Or you could find your faith and find spirituality within yourself – possibly with Perkim!

What you have done as Prime Minister is alien to most of us. Money and Machiavellian politics, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely are all not within our sphere of experience. So advice we are unable to give.

Comradeship from the other retired Prime Minister seems unlikely! You have breached the bond that should have unified the two of you in retirement. It would seem that you intend to stay in politics until you are the only one left! We all know that retirement is the time to do what you want to do at a time when you want to do it…I just wish, as it was in your case, that it was not politics......

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