Mar 9, 2011

Autobiography or My Story: To believe or Not to believe

It is very common or rather a norm for leaders, from the corporate to politics and from the greats to the dictators to write their memoirs so that they can be remembered as they want us to remember them.

In the home front, we have the ex-premier of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohd. who has just launched his latest autobiography: The Doctor in The House. I have to admit that I did not read the book but from what I have gathered, his book depicts him as a great leader: a leader who for the sake of the country, dare to take risks and make unpopular decisions and also who seems to do no wrong.

When we read an autobiography, we need to understand that most biographies are usually written a few years after they have retired. Thus, the situation at that time and a few years later can be very different and thereby providing the writer a 'loophole' to change the reader's perception.

A classic example is the latest autobiography by Mahathir Mohd. In his book, he coyly blamed the Ops Lalang in 1987 on the IGP when as PM he seemed powerless to stop the action of the police force. Can you believe it? The invoked of the ISA to arrest the opposition members during the Ops Lalang has always been a thorn in Mahathir's administration.

The fact that he has devoted a chapter on his justification to arrest and subsequently jailed Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy, showed his fear towards Anwar who is politically strong enough to dethrone him as the PM of Malaysia. And suddenly it seems out of the blue in his memoir, he accused Anwar of having a sexual tryst with four prostitutes, when during the sodomy trial of more than 10 years ago, this was never mentioned. Can you believe it?

He accused Tengku Razaleigh of money politics during Umno's presidential election in1987 where both parties fought tooth and nail for the seat. And Umno was divided into Team A and Team B was because of Tengku Razaleigh. He also accused Daim of corruptions and Musa Hitam of back stabbing him.

And hey presto, through this autobiography, Mahathir seems to be a 'clean' man.

But what about the massive plundering of wealth from Petronas and EPF to bail out his children business and his cronies during the Asian financial crisis? How can his son become a billionaire and is one of the richest in Malaysia? And what about the deterioration of the judiciary system since the sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim? What about the squandered RM100 billion of the nation's wealth? Can someone pinpoint to me where are the truths in his book?

If George Bush is to admit in his autobiography that he had erred in his decision by sending the American soldiers to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, he would be 'castrated' by the thousands of Americans whose sons and husbands have died in the war. And maybe he should learn from Mahathir by blaming the CIA for providing inaccurate or false information on Saddam Hussein's so call catchment of weapons of mass destruction.

And if Bill Clinton is to admit in his autobiography that he had sex with the White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, he would be castrated by Hilary Clinton, literally speaking. And maybe he can also learn from Mahathir by twisting facts like he was drugged by the intern and therefore, he did not remember what he was doing.

So, if you are going to write your own autobiography, are you going to write the truth, nothing but the truth?

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