In 1998 both vice-presidents of Umno, Abdullah Badawi and Najib would have seen the developments and events leading to the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim with great curiousity.
They were party to the fact a great opportunity opening up, but based on the Anwar immediate response and knowing the ex-ABIM man is average street fighter, they would have been cautiously optimistic.
Today in their hallow offices in the administrative capital built by their political benefactor Mahathir – they might be holding out cautious optimism of winning Permatang Pauh, or throwing hysterics about their fading chances of holding on to power. I am overly optimistic it is the latter.
The day would have started with jokes about Anwar, and the staff on the fourth floor would be smirking about things. I am not sure they would be in the same gay euphoria by the end of the day.
The return of Anwar to power is real. Anwar the guy who was their education minister while they wore green uniforms and prepared for their bahas baku oral test. Whether they would admit it, from Abdullah to the youngest UKEC recruit serving as the latest special officer to any officer, is worried sick.
Change is confidence
In my first year in secondary school my sports-house was in the doldrums. Out of the eight in the school, we have not won an overall title in 46 years. We won one just before the second world war – and it seemed that the Japanese stole our mojo.
And having the only sports house with an awkward Indian name, there is the usual snipes at us for our name and our performances. And in my first three years in school, those who smeared us when we walked past were proven right.
In my fourth year, someone came up and said, ok boys let’s go for the win. The look on most of the lads face was one of incredulity.
You don’t finish last all the time, and go up just like that.
Actually you. And we did, why a whopping margin. We had wrapped the title way before sports day.
It changed the way we looked at sports. More importantly it changed the way we looked at ourselves.
The real point to be learnt, more so than an obscure competition in an equally obscure school is that we cannot play with fear in our hearts. We go and play with the can do belief, and push as hard as we can – and surely, surely if our cause has merit – we will get through.
Not provincial at all
The voters of Permatang Pauh are not simpletons as we city folks would like to label them. They may not share the same thinking, but that is not to say there is no thinking. They think just as much as we do. It is time for us to step back and allow them to express their judgement.
You cannot beat Umno by being scared. And we must stop thinking we are small – and yes, I have to remind myself that too. All matches are about a sense of purpose and confidence, everything is there to win.
Umno have never ever in their history faced a challenge on equal terms and beat it. They have always taken liberties in their battles and planned the success before trying.
That has changed, and not to their liking. They will have to compete just like every other person. And that makes them real novices.
Those who fear the result tomorrow, are walking into the battle-plans of Putrajaya.
I think we should let the evening die out, then kick our shoes off and just take it easy – and let them for a change sweat it out.
I can’t stop grinning, for I have spent years listening to a bunch of upper middle-class and soon to be millionaires chumps (if the Umno principle stays) talk about how Malaysians have to be managed and that patronage is a necessary evil in Malaysia. Those days are drawing to a close.
I might have a drink tonight.