When I was in school, my history subject teacher was not happy that the historical society had a non-Malay president. She was Kelantanese, obviously female, graduated from Universiti Malaya and was a huge fan of the prime minister then, Mahathir Mohamad.
She confided, it’s always better for a Malay to lead.
She’s now retired, more KL folk than east coast these days I suppose, female still, not sure if she attends UM alumni events, and I’m guessing remains passionate about Mahathir.
I wonder how she feels about her idol proposing Tommy Thomas as the attorney-general.
Is she mixed about it? After all, proposing the Malayalee is her old ultra Malay leader, the one who inspired her to tell my class that “when we own a home, we should not mistake our diligent, hardworking and maybe even brilliant servant for the owner. We own, and a servant is still a servant.”
[When I say Malayalee, I mean the lawyer dude, not Mahathir. The former is also a congregant of the Mar Thoma Church, built by the apostle Thomas in India two thousand years ago. Mahathir is all Kedah, all ori.]
Or perhaps she is convinced the old man has gone senile, and therefore my old teacher now prefers the factions inside Pakatan Harapan, Umno and PAS who demand the continuing unspoken principle of always a Malay at the head, whether it is a central bank, GLC, military wing, football association or knitting club.
What strange days we live in.
They say with the world is only 4.5 billion years old, with human civilisation ongoing for less than 200,000 years, or if you want to be condescending, humans have existed only for 0.004% of our planet’s lifespan.
I say that, because it’s only about 50 years since Mahathir accused the first prime minister of being too chummy with non-Malays and asked for his removal. Is that in relative terms a long time ago?
Here we are in surreal Malaysia.
At the heart of the matter is asking ourselves collectively, where is Malaysia’s heart?
There is zero factoring of his qualifications, or the prime minister’s preference. There is nothing out of the ordinary with the PM choosing who he wants to deliver.
There are elections to oust PMs who fail, like the one we just dropped.
Today, holding back are the ghosts of our own fears.
Humans are at times guilty of thinking traditions, which in comparison to our long journey as a species is new, trump everything, and conveniently forget the nature of the traditions. To help us to be better.
Yet, I can’t help asking myself, would my ex-teacher changed her way of thinking.
About Mr Thomas, and maybe even about me.
Is she a member of #MalaysiaBaru?