THE THIRD FORCE
It was Monday, the 31st of August.
On that day, a large number of Malaysian ministers and deputy ministers were on stage with their wives right in front of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang. Together with the then Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, they were at Jalan Batu Uban to celebrate 41 years of independence from British rule in a ceremony complete with bands, speeches, processions and all the regalia that went along with it.
It was a sight to behold, as were the looks on the faces of the ministers’ wives each time Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail waved her Japanese fan. They kept a ten-foot pole distance from the then Deputy Prime Minister’s wife almost as if she was an alien that just landed from Mars. Two days later, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim was stripped off his posts as deputy premier and Minister of Finance following allegations that he was a sodomist extraordinaire.
That was in 1998.
Last Friday, Wan Azizah took to stage yet again, this time, sitting side by side Dr. Siti Hasmah, the very Siti Hasmah who refused to even look at her on the stage in front of USM. This time around, they were so intimate, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the duo was very much into the LGBT thing just as Mahathir claimed Anwar was back in 1998.
For the record, Anwar’s wife was there together with Mahathir’s to pass strictures at the President of the United States (US), Donald J Trump. The ladies were seen supporting Mahathir as the latter vilified Trump for recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Back in 1998, they took to the stage to celebrate Malaysia’s victory over British hegemony. Last Friday, they were on stage to oppose what Mahathir implied was a Trump-led hegemony over the Israeli conscience.
It’s the year 2017.
In 19 years, Wan Azizah and Siti turned from bitter rivals to bedfellows right after their husbands found warmth in each other’s arms. And we’re talking the same Wan Azizah who, on the 2nd of August 1998, went to Siti’s kitchen crying that her husband had physically abused and sodomised her. During the encounter, Siti flipped Wan Azizah the bird before telling her to go to hell. She (Siti) made it clear that she would never forgive the man who caused her son to attempt suicide.
Yes, you read right.
Unbeknown to many, Mirzan Mahathir tried to take his own life as a mountain of debt almost squeezed it out of him. The debt could have been avoided had Anwar listened to Mahathir and did as he was told. Instead, the former Minister of Finance had a mind of his own and refused to grant a complete bailout of Mirzan’s company. A furious Siti told Mahathir to incarcerate Anwar even if it were the last thing he would ever do.
Now, all of a sudden, she is not so angry with Anwar anymore, which makes the stage kindda a weird place. Yesterday, it was a place where two of the country’s top political families waged war against one another. Today, it is the place where the same families are demonstrating untold love for each other. I am beginning to fear the stage so much, I may never get on it ever again.
Yes, the stage can be a very funny place…