Tunku’s book on May 13Posted: January 7, 2009
I’ve just finished reading Tunku Abdul Rahman’s “May 13: Before and After”, and found this one excerpt quite interesting:
It is a very unusual achievement in any democratic country for any one party to hold sway for so long. Unfortunately, many of our people can only enjoy victory; they do not know how to take defeat. A verse from the Koran says: [here he includes an Arabic verse]. It means “Man does not tire of praying for good. But if evil touches him he despairs and gives up hope”.
Such an attitude shows lack of moral strength and courage. With such people victory with a little setback is looked upon as a defeat, so they get thoroughly rattled and turn around and find fault with everybody, with the Party, even though it has won. The leaders, with me as the main target of attack, are to be got rid of, and the policy, even though it has served us so well, is to be cast overboard.
This comes from page 142 of the first edition of this book, printed in September 1969. It was under Chapter 16, “Inside UMNO – Struggle for Power”.
Most of what I just quoted, seemed to me to coincide with the events that followed the general elections of March last year. And it’s interesting for me to read that almost 40 years ago, it was already considered “a very unusual achievement” that the same party – The Alliance at that time – held power for 12 years. 40 years from then, the “very unusual achievement” continues, making it even more unusual, I’m sure.
It was a good read, this book. I’ve read a couple of books now, on the May 13 events, in an attempt to understand why our country is the way it is now. No better way to start understanding by learning our history. And it’s particularly interesting to read about the events from the viewpoint of the premier himself.
I leave you with another quote from the Tunku, one which I particularly like. He said this in response to the criticisms he received about the way he lived his life – of poker and horses:
A man’s private life is his own concern, provided he does not trespass on the rights of others.