What a feeling… April 1, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.
When I remember the 80s, it was usually the good stuff.
Apple IIe. Depeche Mode. Flashdance.
Just as we thought Flashdance should be the film of the decade, we thought The Star was pretty excellent too. So did the authorities, so they shut it down along with Sin Chew and Warta. And things weren’t the same any longer, even after the ban was lifted.
Once in a while, a bit of spark would return. A bit like how off-shoulder blouses find their way back on the catwalk. On occasion, the not-so-pretties rear their bunchy legwarmers and extra-frizzy curls.
The Star is a little like that. Sometimes you can find real gems in there. But it takes only an eeky pair of 80s leg-warmers to make one go – WTF(???!!!!) is wrong with the picture?
Like today’s Star column piece on Anwar.
I’m not privy to many things in the party nor am I an insider, so I can’t really comment about the politicking that goes around.
But what I do know is Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, as I’ve assisted her in Parliament since she returned from the US last year.
So imagine my shock when I read these 3 paras of very malicious and false lines.
“It is amazing how Dr Wan Azizah has remained so well-liked despite doing so poorly as party president.
“Of late, she is spending such long hours praying at night that she sometimes nods off at meetings in the day.
“Anwar understands politics and, unlike his wife, he is accepted as an equal among PAS and DAP leaders and can talk business with them.”
First of all, she doesn’t pray all night. During her free time, she spends her evenings with her school-going children, catching up with reading magazines that even I don’t read like Forbes, Economists, Financial Times etc. (and floors me frequently when she throws out the latest trivia about world politics and economic stats). She made me subscribe to The Edge so that we can discuss in more detail, finance and economics, because she got exasperated whenever I go, ‘oh I didn’t know that….’!
Otherwise she would be having party meetings, or drafting meetings for her major speeches and preparing her parliament work. I mean, I get calls at 10, 11 pm to have a few things researched and prepared for her. Even on Fridays.
Why is The Star making her sound like a religious nut and Dozey?
‘Dozing off in meetings during the day’? Huh? Hardly the case. I can think of one person who does that all that time…..hmmmm.
She’s up by 5.30 am, working, reading by 7 am (and my phone has rung as early as 6.30 am), in Parliament by 10 am, where she would be getting ready to ask questions or debate motions. There are sometimes Parliament committee meetings like PAC, Burma, Human rights. Media interviews in between.
She has one of the best attendance record in the House, as well as debating record during the time I’ve been assisting her. Just last session, she took part in all the key ministries’ budget sub-committee debates, which quite nearly killed me, some running overtime til about 9 pm.
Once, I threw my hands in the air and lamented to my friend, “I can’t keep up! She’s got more energy than my entire office!” Anyone who’s hung out with me, knew I was in fact the one trying to steal an hour’s sleep in the afternoon, and sometimes after dinner.
Like that Wednesday. Morning – Parliament. Afternoon – Pack. Evening – Political Bureau meeting 8.30-11.00 pm. Next morning first flight to Thailand. Goes to border town to meet and investigate the state of Burmese refugees. Returns Saturday. Goes to Permatang Pauh. Returns to KL Sunday evening. Next day Parliament again.
In between all that, there’s her party work, her constituency work. Family commitments etc.
Unfortunately by now, The Star’s piece would have gone to different parts of the world (syndication) and up on multiple websites. Even if and when The Star prints a retraction and a public apology, none of these other outlets would carry it. The damage is wilfully done.
Today, I realised, how precarious one’s reputation is, that a lifetime of good can be undone with a mere few words. That is the power of the pen, which cuts deeper than a sword.
And today I have re-established my appreciation for the presence of defamation laws here.
(more later. lunch!)