There are those who worry about Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In fact, they dislike everything about the former prime minister and blame him for all the ills plaguing Malaysia today.
To them, Mahathir had done nothing good in his 22 years as prime minister. They refuse to acknowledge even his most minute achievement. To them, Mahathir is vindictive, corrupt, a dictator and racist.
They are worried about Mahathir returning to helm the nation again, especially now that he is leading the opposition Pakatan Harapan.
Yes, there are Mahathir haters around who just loathe the sight of him. Some even fear him, so much so that the mere mention of his name will send shivers down their weak, hollow spines.
Say what you like, with Mahathir leading the opposition pact, GE14 will be a different ball game altogether.
That is why some quarters are worried about him.
But I am not worried about Mahathir. In fact, I worry for him.
Mahathir is 92 going on 93. He was born on July 25, 1925. No one will deny that is old; very old.
Of course, for those of us who have loved ones in their sunset years, we would rejoice when they say that they are still young at heart. When their spirit remains high, we are somewhat consoled.
But reality must set in.
According to a health report, at age 90, life expectancy varies due to many factors including current age, gender, race, and geographic location.
“The average life expectancy for a 90-year-old is 4.4 years. The top three causes of death among people this age are heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
“Despite advanced age, eating healthy and proper exercise can contribute to living a significantly longer, more healthy life”, a Health Grove report said.
Salute him for his indomitable spirit
A nonagenarian is a very blessed man indeed. Seriously, how many of us think we will make it to 90 or even wish to live up to that age?
For those who believe the One Above blesses each one differently, He must have good reasons to bless Mahathir with such long life.
Death is a subject which not many want to talk about but I don’t feel uncomfortable writing about it here because Mahathir himself spoke about death openly on several occasions.
I recall the former premier said at one event: “At my age, I could die tomorrow, next week or next month. But while I’m breathing, I must continue the struggle and try to right what is wrong in our beloved nation.”
Many of us, even those who still cannot forgive Mahathir for whatever reason, will have to salute him for his indomitable spirit, resilience, determination and true grit for doing what he is doing today.
At his age, who wants to be in active politics and go through the menacing pace of speaking at several functions a week, with three or four ceramah a day at times?
Then there are the punishing treks through Felda settlements, long journeys on the road and hectic flight schedules to follow – activities a doctor would probably advise against for a nonagenarian with two previous heart surgeries.
If I were nearer Mahathir’s age and a close friend, I would probably “tick him off” by whispering in his ears, “What the heck do you think you are doing, sir? Haven’t you had enough of this sh*t known as politics? Get the hell out of there. Go home, enjoy some good music and movies with Siti”.
For many who retire at 60, life is about taking it easy – relaxing at home with the grandkids, a time to catch up on hobbies like reading, swimming and gardening and taking the occasional holidays abroad.
But this grand old man, who has been prime minister for 22 long years, is still prepared to come back and lead the nation as PM again.
Even if Harapan fails in GE14, what Mahathir has achieved up to now in leading the opposition is truly amazing; mesmerising even. We will probably never see such a feat again in this country, not in a hundred or even five hundred years.
He is no idiot to come out of retirement
Mahathir deserves respect from all of us, even if we don’t like him. Bash him all you like if you disagree with him politically but surely, a 92-year-old man, even if he were a homeless beggar on the street, deserves some degree of respect.
The recent statement on Mahathir by celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan (photo), is a good reminder to all politicians.
“When the old man dies, they (critics) will all come back to apologise, pay their respects and everything. But it is too late.
“Of course everyone has their political differences, but why is everyone so vicious with hatred and vengeance?
“I find such behaviour so disgusting. The hypocrisy of people. Some don’t even have principles.”
Chef Wan is right. Politicians should do well to chew on his words. Don’t pretend to cry and shed tears should something happen to Mahathir.
As for me, I am aware that if a former prime minister who is already 92 still has to return to active politics and fight the current leadership, then something must be very wrong in the country.
Surely, Mahathir is no idiot to come out of retirement and be involved the way he is now.
Needless to say, I hold Mahathir in high esteem today and pray that he will succeed in his final political lap even though I’m aware that a Mahathir/Pakatan Harapan victory will not change my life in any way.
I am sure there are many Malaysians too who do not depend on politicians or hang around them for a living. We get by doing an honest day’s work.
It’s a matter of trusting the old devil you know who is prepared to change rather than the new devil who refuses to make amends.
Dear Mahathir, may the Heavenly One bless you with one last political success and I pray that you will live up to 100 and beyond.