8 June 1997
Of our four Prime Ministers, three of them were lawyers. The new British Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, is a lawyer. Of the 42 American presidents, 26 were lawyers including
the incumbent, Bill Clinton, who attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C.,
Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (he did not graduate though), and Yale Law
School as did his wife, Hillary. They met at Yale and they became Yale's distinguished
pair of lawyer-politicians.
I am always curious about lawyers and the legal system, whether it is ours, British
or American. Even more so now as my curiosity about the law peaks, the public opinion
in the United States about attorneys keeps plummeting, and I believe the same is
true in Malaysia.
Not long ago it was the O.J. Simpson proceedings which dominated the American media,
then the Oklahoma trial of the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, who was found
guilty on all charges, and the jury is weighing whether to sentence him to death.
Soon it will be the Bill and Paula scandal, may be even Whitewater involving First
Lady Hillary Clinton. An American law professor I discussed this with, notes without
a trace of irony, that both Bill and Hillary are attorneys.
Briefly this was what had happened: when Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas (something
like being simultaneously Mentri Besar and Sultan of a Malay state),
he was alleged to have, on the afternoon of May 8, 1991, during an official conference
held at the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, sent State Trooper
Danny Ferguson, one of his guards, to persuade Paula Jones, who was an Arkansas state
employee manning the registration desk at the conference where Clinton was the keynote
speaker, to leave her task and go to the governor's suite at the hotel, where he
made unwelcome sexual advances. Unprepared and shocked, she rejected him.
Paula Jones sued Clinton for sexual harassment. Legal and presidential tactics stonewalled
The trouble began when Paula said no, and apparently she said it vehemently. Other
women in Clinton's life did not create trouble, including Gennifer Flowers because
they not only said yes, but said yes enthusiastically. In the case of Flowers, I
learnt from newspapers that she had sex with Clinton for twelve years.
The same American professor said to me the late President John Kennedy (Clinton's
mentor) was a worse womaniser. However, he only slept with women who wanted him.
It was also a question of class: Kennedy was an elitist whilst Clinton is a commoner,
and an elitist, as a rule, is more fascinating and women find him hard to resist.
John Kennedy was a sophisticate: his life was a fascinating combination of idealism,
of public service, and of fun and sex. As were Sukarno and several of our early leaders.