My ideal politician

Farish A. Noor

THE historian’s lament is that he or she is often witness to mistakes of the past, and yet is unable to prevent them from recurring. In the end, the historian is cursed with the Cassandra complex and accused of being a tiresome doom sayer.

At the risk of being black-balled from dinner parties, I would like to restate that our country’s current state of affairs should remind us of our collective errors in the not-too-distant past. For example, just when we thought that talk of a unity government was dead and buried, this wearisome poltergeist has been resurrected to spook all and sundry.

One is forced to raise, yet again, the most obvious of questions: How can we work towards national unity as long as there remain politicians who continue to harp on and on about the myth of racial-ethnic unity?


How can we ever dream of a Malaysian nation that is Malaysian in character as long as we cannot make that simple leap beyond communitarian and sectarian politics?

With age, I have begun to feel that the fight is lost and that our efforts are akin to the absurd labours of Sisyphus. But let us entertain a glimmer of hope at least, and in that spirit I would like to state my own preferences for what I would like to see in Malaysia.