Last Saturday I went for my regular haircut. I arrived at 10.30 am and was the first customer of the day. My regular Coiffeur (Barber) came in a few minutes later after his shampoo girl had served me a cup of steaming green tea.
Despite his profession, Stephen is an educated man who could engage in any topic of conversation as he cuts hair. He has two children studying in England on his earnings as a hairdresser. He has many regular clientele as he is good at his work and is always polite. He is fastidious and cuts hair rather slowly allowing you to tell him what and where to trim more or less. I like his non-hurried style.
As usual he started talking, usually of mundane subjects like new gadgets, increasing prices and the antics of new generation of Malaysians. But that day, probably there was no other customer around, he talked about the state of the country’s economy and what he thought of the present government and its poor leadership.
The conversation went on for a few minutes and he concluded that we must change the Prime Minister. When I replied that we didn’t have a good person at the moment to replace Najib, he retorted, ” Anwar Ibrahim lor”. He then went on to talk about Anwar Ibrahim, how accomplished a speaker he was, how passionate and what a fighter and the huge crowd of adoring supporters that he mustered. To cut the narration short, Stephen, my Coiffeur clearly worships Anwar Ibrahim.
I listened intently till he stopped and asked me what I thought. I told him frankly that I did not like Anwar.
Anwar Ibrahim in the seventies, was a firebrand who was the Head of an Islamic Youth organisation called ABIM. He used religion to advance himself politically. He is a charismatic orator, blessed with the gift of the gab,he would make jokes, serenade, dance and act on stage to transfix his audience. People just don’t have enough of him ( not unlike the late President Sukarno of Indonesia at one time).
In the early eighties, Anwar, to show how fervent his Islamic ideology was, set up the first boarding school for Malay girls and made it compulsory for each one of them and the female teachers to don the tudung (Islamic headscarf). That was the beginning of the Arabisation of the Malays to distinguish them from the non-Muslim: the dividing line started to take root in our Malaysian community. Who funded that school? Reports said it was the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia in relentless efforts to spread its brand of Islam to the world.
Anwar was very popular among the Malays then and he was invited by the ex-Prime Minister to join UMNO and quickly rose to become Minister of Education when he began to systematically “Islamise” all Institutions of higher learning including teachers and the impact of his religious/cultural transformation is seen and felt everywhere today in Malaysia.
Anwar was unstoppable till he was sacked in 1998 by the very person who let him into the government. But it was already too late as he had caused the greatest social division in this country leading to gradual racial tension.
And now Anwar, being on the other side, has changed his tactics to pull wool over the people’s eyes. Instead of using religion, he is now using the people to advance his political ambition as he wanted to appear multi-racial to rope in the DAP whose members are mostly disgruntled Chinese (as opposed those in MCA). On the other hand, PAS (Islam Party) gleefully embraced Anwar because they know the story of his beginning. He is what some people called a “banana”, yellow outside and white inside.
(In 1998 and 2008 the late Karpal Singh mentioned in parliament about Anwar engaging in sodomy and interestingly he and his lawyer children are defending his sodomy 2008 case in 2012. As far as KS was concerned that is just one of his legal cases in court).
The support for Anwar from Malaysians and the international community is based on his appearing a victim ( people tend to sympathise with an underdog) and the fact that The BN government has been in power for far too long, breeding cronyism, nepotism and corruption along the way: issues which lead to bad government and infringement on public interests.
In one WSJ report, the writer berated Malaysia’s attitude against gay sex. He was literally saying Anwar did commit the act but it was consensual, it’s bloody “ suka sama suka” . The writer was obviously highly ignorant of Malaysia’s culture and let alone her rule of law.
Anwar Ibrahim is a political chameleon. Those who follow him without questions are just sick of the present government which is seen to be past its expiry date. A government which is saying one thing and doing another. A government which allows elements of religious extremism to continue creeping into its belly.
Increasing number of people especially the younger generation has had enough of this government. PM Najib’s “aristocratic” character and his penchant for “leading from behind” have further cemented this public distaste. The people yearn for a new and capable leader and a new government and unfortunately Anwar Ibrahim, being the eloquent politician and a rabble – rouser that he is, is mistakenly seen as that leader who could bring about change to the country.
Just look at the videos online on Anwar’s passionate oration (some appear pathetically clownish) and the massive crowd just love him. They eat his every word to the point that the masses refused to believe that he in effect did sodomise his political Aide, the effeminate Saiful, in 2008 (sodomy 11) and is convicted by the Court Of Appeal on 7 March 2014 based on evidences and professional analyses. The conviction, as expected, is seen as politically-motivated.
Anwar fools his family,friends,colleagues, local and international and Malaysians in general as to his true character. I must say the Power up there must have loved Malaysia because his expulsion from UMNO in 1998 has protected Malaysia from having a dangerous Prime Minister.
Malaysia would have been far more Islamist today had Anwar been at the helm. So my Chinese and Indian brothers, you all never knew how “God” has intervened to save this country. All you see today is a chameleon, accomplished in the art of camouflaging, that is changing unashamedly to suit your political sentiment. You all just fail to see what he really is in your fury against the current government.
The ultimate art of camouflaging in Nature (Photo courtesy Robert Oelman)
To Stephen, you my dear Coiffeur, I hope, are now enlightened on Anwar Ibrahim.
I don’t really think that fuzzy Najib is a good PM but in the interim, I would rather settle for him than slippery Anwar and hope a better PM material from the political divide would come along soon for Malaysia’s sake.