For better or worse, we are all Mahathir’s children

I hope he will have the presence of mind, to realise that for better or worse, Mahathir is a part of our past, and if we tear apart our past without restraint, we will also be tearing apart ourselves.

Nehru Sathiamoorthy

Relationships are an entangled affair.

Not all that is said is meant, many of what is meant is not said.

Expectations are often placed but not expressed.

Genuine  love, kindness ,generosity and appreciation do exist  in a relationship, but a relationship is also often the home of deep seated animosity, contempt, pettiness and meanness .

Though in a relationship, we often intend to act selflessly on the behalf of others, we will often act selfishly on behalf of ourselves.

Relationships are also subjected to change. When you are a child, your father will appear perfect and infallible. As an adult, you will start to see that he is just a man, filled with all the shortcomings and flaws that afflict every man.

The ledgers that mark the transactions of long relationships are often longer than what the memory can remember. When you measure all that we have done for others against what they have done for us, we won’t be able to remember it all, and we are almost always biased in our favour.

Mahathir and Malaysians go a long way back. Mahathir has been a part of our national consciousness for not only as long as most of us have been alive, he has been a part of the national consciousness of our father’s and grandfather’s and maybe even our great grandfather’s generation too.

We have had a long and complicated relationship with Mahathir.

He has been our hero and role model as well as a pain in our neck and a thorn in our flesh. He is the one we have pinned all our hopes on and also the one that has betrayed our trust.He has done so much for us but he has also hurt us very much. He has built us up as well as tear us down. We have loved him and we have despised him. Though it is difficult to imagine not having him around, at times you also wish that he will just disappear without a trace.

Mahathir, whether we like it or not, whether he deserves it or not, is a father of our nation.

All of us would of course love to have a wonderful relationship with our parents, but the reality is that our relationship with our parents is not always a smooth sailing affair.

If you are a  person who can in all honesty say that your relationship with your parents is a 100 percent positive affair, you are a lucky person, who has has the experience of one in a thousand.

Whatever our grievances with our parents are, it is also the case that at a time when we were too young to be our own person, it is by using the example of our parents that we constructed our idea of ourselves.

Even those who came from an abusive household constructed their idea of themselves using the examples set by their abusive parents.

Even Anwar, for all his trouble with Mahathir, is likely more like Mahathir than he imagines. He himself has on many occasions, publicly stated that he sees Mahathir as a father figure.

  In a way, we are all Mahathir’s children.

For better or worse, we have all probably constructed our idea of ourselves from the example set by Mahathir.

At present, Anwar is going after Mahathir.

It is the way of the world that the new order can only be brought about by eviscerating the old one. Even the Greeks knew this over 3000 years ago. Cronus only emerged as the leader of the Titans after castrating his father Uranus. Cronus himself was castrated by his son Zeus, before Zeus could be proclaimed as the father of the Olympian gods.

The feud between Anwar and Mahathir might be both necessary and inevitable. As even the Greeks knew it even 3000 years ago, the birth of the world to come depends on it.

But if I could give a word of caution to PMX Anwar, it would be that he should reflect on how much of himself and Malaysia is made up by the example of Mahathir and the Ancien regime.

We might rue our past, but we are also made by our past.

When he goes down the warpath with the old order, the passion of war and the trauma of past experiences might prod him to give in to his anger and fear.

At that time, I hope he will have the presence of mind, to realise that for better or worse, Mahathir is a part of our past, and if we tear apart our past without restraint, we will also be tearing apart ourselves. This is true not only for Malaysians, but for Anwar Ibrahim personally as well.