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Anwar has appealed to his opponents to stop slandering him saying that "enough
is enough". If it does not stop Anwar will fight back. There is no doubt about
that. Via a poem which he said he penned while in detention at Kamunting in the early
seventies, and which he recited forcefully and dramatically at the end of his adjournment
speech at the just concluded Umno general assembly he said:
Bunga Kemunting di dalam pagar/ (I'm) the flower which blooms in the enclosure
Kembang mewangi semerbak sunyi/ Emitting in the stillness sweet seductive
Dengan helah pencak pendekar/ With the adroitness of a self-defence guru.
Tak kan tergugat pahlawan sejati/ A pukka warrior is never unnerved.
Need Anwar say more?
Even if I have not captured the nuance of Anwar's works perfectly, I believe Anwar
has made his stance very clear hasn't he? It was a very sick attack, unproven and
callous. In a way Anwar's accusers are perpetrating a form of sexual assault! In
my 60 years I have learned a lot more about temptation than President Kennedy's only
son John F. Kennedy Jr.
He penned this in the latest issue of George of which he is the editor-in-chief:
"I've learned a lot about temptation recently (he is 36 years old and married).
But that does not make my desire any less. If anything to be reminded of the possible
perils of succumbing to what's forbidden only makes it more alluring. But while I'm
playing Hamlet with my will power (should I or shouldn't I?), there's always the
distraction of gawking at the travails of those who simply couldn't resist. We can
all gather, like urchins at the hanging to watch those poor souls who took a chance
on fantasy and came up empty-handed - to remind ourselves to keep to the safety of
the middle path.
"If one allowed oneself to be ruled by passion and instinct as seemed in the
case of Mike Tyson who bit off his tormentor's ear he became an outcast; conform
utterly and endure a potentially dispiriting, suffocating life.
"Two members of my family chased an idealised alternative to their life. One
left an embittered wife, and another in what looked to be a hedge against mortality,
fell in love with youth and surrendered his judgment in the process. Both became
poster boys for bad behaviour. Perhaps? they deserved it. Perhaps they should have
known better. To whom much is given much is expected, right?"
No body knows exactly - but could it have been this strong editorial that made Congressman
Joseph P. Kennedy II, to withdraw from running for the Governor of Massachusetts
next fall? He will continue to be a Congressman but as Michael Shnayerson, a contributing
editor of Vanity Fair writes (Aug 29, Los Angeles Times): "Mostly,
I think I feel sentimental: for the seeming end of a political dynasty that began
nearly a century ago with the scrappy accession of "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald
to Mayor of Boston. Joe will stay in Congress, his cousin Patrick, too, but the sign
one hears in Massachusetts
today is the sound of a legacy humbled."
The moral standard of a potential prime minister in an "Islamic" nation
such as Malaysia must and should be uncompromisingly high.
Be that as it may, the real criterion should be how well Anwar can do his job. He
did a passable job as acting prime minister and although I will be maligned for this
I maintain that Anwar hitherto is the best candidate amongst the hungry and ambitious
pack of Umno politicians to lead Malaysia after Mahathir.
While Anwar can never be a mirror image of Mahathir? Anwar can, with the help of
good and mature advisers, handle the political load he shall inherit from Mahathir.
This is an incredible time at home. Those persons who are pragmatic and nimble will
overcome any crisis more quickly than those who just sit on their hands.
The political situation at home? I suppose has not changed much (except for the ringgit,
the stock market and the delay indefinitely of several mega projects), nevertheless,
it is changing - may be not fast enough. It is quite different from the time when
Anwar made "a tryst with destiny" in 1981.
Time will tell, and I believe there will emerge a fuller picture of Anwar - a consummate
and attractive man - to rescue him both from the sentimentalists and supporters and
from the debunkers and his opponents.
Dato' Abdullah Ahmad is Malaysia's Special Envoy to the United Nations
(This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Sun )