Tun Dr Mahathir and Winston Churchill are my heroes but …

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and Heroism and Nationalism is a thing purely depend on beholder’s eyes and perception.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

One nation’s hero is another’s criminal

One nation’s martyr or hero may be another’s murderer.

You see, Maha Bandoola was regarded by some as a tyrant murderer of millions of Ahong Shans from Manipur.

General Aung San collaborated with Japan to drive out British and later revolted the Japanese and coordinated with British. All Myanmars never see him as a flip-flop traitor but regarded as the highly revered Greatest National Hero.

Let us look at the facts that made Winston Churchill my idol / hero _

  1. He attempted three times, without giving up after two failures, and passed the entrance exam to attend the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
  2. He did not intend to follow a conventional career of promotion through army ranks, to earn more.
  3. He acted as a war correspondent for several London newspapers and earned him significant additional income.
  4. In 1910, he was promoted to Home Secretary
  5. On 15 November 1915 he resigned from the government, although he was still an MP.
  6. He enlisted in to army again and once his former PA even cried seeing him digging trench.
  7. Because of his ability, personal and family contacts within few months he was promoted few times and even became a Colonel on the Western Front commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
  8. He served as prime minister  (1940–45)
  9. and  he was defeated in the 1945 election but after the General Election of 1951, Churchill again held the office of Minister of Defence between October 1951
  10. and January 1952 and became prime minister in October 1951–55.
  11. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature,
  12. and the first person to be recognized as an honorary citizen of the United States.

Bad thing about Churchill if look from our Burmese political side_

  1. Churchill opposed the independent movements of Burma and India.
  2. He opposed Mohandas Gandhi‘s peaceful disobedience revolt and the Indian Independence movement in the 1930s,
  3. arguing that the Round Table Conference “was a frightful prospect”.
  4. Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on a hunger strike.
  5. During the first half of the 1930s, Churchill was outspoken in his opposition to granting Dominion status to India.
  6. Churchill said, “It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle-Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace…to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.” 
  7. He called the Indian Congress leaders “Brahmins who mouth and patter principles of Western Liberalism”.
  8. Churchill’s wartime government was partly responsible for the excessive mortality of up to 3 million people in the Bengal famine of 1943.
  9. Churchill opposed diverting food supplies and transports from other theatres to India to cover the shortfall because of the fall of Burma to the Japanese, which cut off India’s main supply of rice imports when domestic sources fell short.
  10. In response to an urgent request by the Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery, and Viceroy of India, Wavell, to release food stocks for India, Churchill responded with a telegram to Wavell asking, if food was so scarce, “why Gandhi hadn’t died yet.”
  11. In July 1940, newly in office, he welcomed reports of the emerging conflict between the Muslim League and the Indian Congress, hoping “it would be bitter and bloody”.

My memory about him from the books I read when I was young and extracts from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Now let us look at TDM. 

My perceptions about TDM is at first really like a flip-flop and changing like a pendulum_

A. Once I decided to come to Malaysia, I admired and loved him.

B. But after arriving here I start to hate him_

  1. because of the various government officers’  behaviours on foreigners,
  2. government’s anti-foreigner attitude especially on all the Burmese including Burmese Muslims and Burmese Rohingya Muslims
  3. although giving the obvious favours on their cousins with Indonesian-Malay related races only
  4. I was forced to leave Malaysia although I had already got the job with PERKIM.
  5. I have to wait for six months, going in and out of Malaysia frequently to get the green-light from MMC which was using a lot of RED TAPES.
  6. And Malaysian Immigration not only refused to give extension
  7. but chopped the “To leave” stamp on my passport. 
  8. And although I was told to deposit RM 500.00 with them for the visa application,
  9. Malaysian High Commissioner in Singapore refused to issue a visa giving the excuse that they could not issue me the visa within six months.
  10. They could not consider that in 1986 I had to approach repeatedly even up to the Burmese Home Minister, Education Minister to get the Passport and another time again to them again because my PP’s was allowed to go to Thailand, Singapore and New Zealand only and not allowed to come to Malaysia. If I went back to Burma, I have to surrender my PP at the one and only official entry point, Mingaladon airport.
  11. And I witness the Operation Lalang (Weeding Operation) was carried out on October 27, 1987 by the Malaysian police to crack down on opposition leaders and social activists. They arrested of 106 persons under the Internal Security Act (ISA)
  12. and the revoking of the publishing licenses of two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan.

C. After I got all the approvals and started work,

  1. I could see the beauty of PM Datuk Sri Mahathir assisted by his ministers esp. Ed. Minister and later DPM DSAI.
  2. I was shocked and awed by that team.
  3. Everything was bright and beautiful and could see the tremendous progress and prosperity everywhere.
  4. They were loved by most of the people including me. 

Then I was shocked by the two’s sudden fall out and near total annihilation of DSAI and the birth of reformasi movement. My heart was full of regret, remorse, pity for DSAI and hatred. Popped up online opposition web pages fuel my hatred.

But after his resignation,

when I read TDM’s interview in Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini, I understand him, love him and respect him again.

Especially after I got a chance to see him,

  1. I looked up to him as a GREAT POLITICIAN and even my heart and brain (mind) automatically accepted him as a father figure, even before I could understand or realized.
  2. His word, calling our country Burma and explained that he used to call Myanmar when he was the PM of Malaysia as he needed to safeguard the economic and political interest of his Malaysians but nowadays he could call the way which most of the Burmese like…
  3. You see this words cleaned off the dirty slate in my heart about his allegedly unfair treatments on Burmese in Malaysia.
  4. His views and ideas for the reconciliation, democratization and redevelopment of Myanmar or Burma is quite unique and awesome.
  5. He was even willing to act as a Peace maker if all the parties including the Myanmar Junta agrees.
  6. People may think that because Tun came to my daughter’s wedding and because my eldest is closely working for him had changed my perceptions. That may contribute to some extent but the main reason is ….
  7. When the military junta extended the DASSK’s detention, there was a very strong reaction from US, EU and even from ASEAN leaders to take strong action or expel Myanmar from ASEAN. I sent an urgent request letter to TDM’s personal e-mail address to appeal him to persuade the ASEAN leaders through Malaysian leaders, PM and DPM, not to punish Myanmar as it may be useless but to act as the ASEAN representative to try to negotiate between Myanmar government and opposition.
  8. The beauty of TDM is, next day when my son was in his office, preparing for the, “Through my lens”, Tun came out of his room with few papers. He called his personal assistants, give the documents, told them that those were from Zin’s father, to brainstorm and search ways to act on that and told them that he will do whatever he could.

I hope all the Myanmars would love TDM if they know about his love and cetana on our country and people.

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