Category Archives: Rafizi Ramli

Waaaa So Lama Tak Update!

It feels like ages since I even remember about the blog. Actually I think about it all the time, I just couldn’t discipline myself to allocate at least half an hour a week to blog.

I blame it on Twitter as whatever thoughts you have you can share instantly with others. The magic of Twitter means you interact closer with you peers and in more real time.

Anyhow, I hope I can be more disciplined to at least write a few thoughts on current issues, especially on issues relating to economic hardship faced by the people.

A discourse on whether or not we can lower down fuel price is an important debate that has not been brought to the mainstream of the society. This is one area which I hope I can contribute through this blog and I hope to engage readers out there.

(ps: Actually am testing whether blogging through iPhone is manageable, quite good ūüôā )

Reflection: There’s A Personal Side

I treasure privacy so much that I hardly mix personal life with work. I used to make a rule that as much as possible, I wouldn’t go out for lunch with officemates. My relationship with superiors has always been formal, no matter how hard the superior tried to inject some form of personal friendship. It’s not so much a question of professionalism, but more of a necessary protection for sanity.

Ever since I come to work for Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah (as a party boss), I have always been formal. Trying to start an informal conversation with me would have been useless, as I very quickly turn back to the formal self (sometimes I wonder whether people feel I was trained by a butler ha ha).

But it was very different today.

I exchanged a few updates and reports with president over BBM and somehow we veered to an area so private and personal to me – the life of the late Adlan Benan Omar.

Kak Wan had had the opportunity to work closely with Ben, during the initial years of Keadilan. Ben was an idealistic young man fresh from Cambridge, with a burden of destiny on his shoulder given his unmatched talent in oratory and history.

I had known Ben since I was 13. We were both debaters in school, so we passed the baton and promise to ensure a long line of good debaters, from one generation to another. We corresponded throughout his time in Abingdon and Cambridge. By the time I was in the UK, I devoted my life to UKEC that Ben helped to found.

Ben and I were two completely different persons at the opposite spectrum of personality, yet we were brought together by the common yearning for change (and adventure).

Since school days, it was always more honourable to live a life of a rebel with a cause. While other people were busy trying to become a head boy, I was more preoccupied with collecting signatures for a petition organised by the Students Union. Ben and I thrived in life as a rebel with a cause.

He had always taken the public face, while I provided the administrative and managerial support to complete a task.

I had contented to play that role forever as he was gifted as a public orator, until he left us prematurely in 2008. The day he died, I knew that my life would be changed forever and I would not finish my career in the corporate world as a chartered accountant. I knew that the only way to do justice to his memory was to become a part of the struggle that he had devoted his life to.

So it was awkward (and yet comforting) to dwell on Ben’s life with Kak Wan, both of us understood the gravity of his talents. There were a lot of “what ifs” questions (eg I wouldn’t have been here if Ben is alive, or I wouldn’t have taken temporary break from the party if Ben had decided to stay on back in 2003) – while it does not change anything, it feels good to dwell nevertheless.

Talking about Ben was perhaps as personal as I can get with party colleagues and activists. Some people ask why I do not drag the whole bunch of my MCKK batchmates who had always followed me in our charity work previously into politics.

Because everyone must have a secluded and private area of our life not dictated or touched by politics.

The corruption and lack of values associated with politics make people feel politicians are not human. Hence you can attack them verbally and psychologically as if they are not human (the way DS Anwar has been).

But we often forget that there’s a personal side of the public face.

And going through such a personal exchange about a friend so dear to both of us; reminds me of the great important lesson in life as a politician – do not lose the personal side of your life and character.

Somehow, I feel Kak Wan and DS Anwar withstand the onslaught directed at them all these years because essentially they retain a very personal side of their public life; that becomes so obvious when you have a common denominator in the form of a memory of Adlan Benan Omar.

Welcome 2011

Saying time really flies becomes such an understatement nowadays. It doesn’t just fly, it disappears in a blink of an eye.

2010 was intense. I said good bye to a mundane corporate job in 2009, thinking that I could take one day at a time in a new role. I remember spending some time designing the whole organisation and finalising position description, but it wasn’t long before things were overtaken by the intense events of 2010.

My official return to the party inner circle was greeted with the departure of the previous Secretary General, who by co-incidence was also an acquaintance. Not long after that, the notorious defection of the 5 MPs marred the start of 2010.

Just as we were picking things up, the protracted attacks on the party (internally and externally) as a result of our election bogged things further. I too had to go through a maturing few months as I threw the gauntlet for the AMK post.

In the midst of this, many things had to happen behind the scene to keep things together. There were a lot of frustrations, but the very little joy you gained seeing the little contribution to the struggle makes it worthwhile.

I learnt a lot in 2010. I saw the strength and burden of a group of people who genuinely wanted to change the country for the better, as they face constant attacks. I saw the personal side of the public politicians whose public persona often makes people forget that they too are human beings, just like you and me.

I saw heroism and I saw betrayals. I witnessed honesty contrasted with back-stabbing.

Throughout all of this, I make new friends and comrades most of whom appear out of nowhere. I renew faith in the people of the past whose paths had strayed away temporarily.

2010 was intense, but so was the lessons it imparts. It drains us immensely yet it grounds us firmly on this path too.

A few days ago, I sat down with a young guy (barely early 20s) who is so eager to come onboard and help the party. I keep asking whether he knows what he wants in life, or whether he understands that politics in KEADILAN must come from idealism so that you stay true to that promise you made when you first decide to enter the ring.

I wanted to change the world in 1998 when I was 21. Along the way, I realise the world was not for me to change; I was just an insignificant traveller looking for Allah’s blessing. By the time I was 30, I understood the meaning of a struggle, seeing the very one person who was the biggest motivation for me to be in politics lied lifeless having forfeited everything for his idealism.

Idealism is painful. More often than not it sows a bitterness that had turned so many of the past activists of KEADILAN against the party.

For things do not change quickly. Lest we forget, everything that is worth fighting for is worth waiting, no matter how long it will take.

And this struggle will be long and outlive us. I don’t pretend to know what 2011 has in store for us – but it’s going to be more intense.

Just as BN will step up the attacks, they can be sure of our new year vow that we will return every brick they throw at us with a bigger brick.

2011 is going to be difficult, but the pain of 2010 would have made us more matured.

So bring it on, 2011 ūüôā

More Discipline With Blog (ha ha)

This blog is dilapidated for the last one month (or so). Things took the turn for the worse when one after another event came along the way, that this blog has ended in utter neglect.

But just like everything else in life, all it takes is an adjustment. I recalculate the time I spend every day on e-mails, FB, reading news and Twitter and realise that with some streamlining, all it takes is just half an hour every day to put my thoughts here.

Or when I am waiting for something or when time is idle – eg. waiting for lift, at clinics or for food to be served, I guess there is enough time to blog. After all, blog is supposed to be what is in your mind naturally.

The only trick is not to be tied to a laptop and wifi.

I have been trying to configure blogging through email but that did not work well, I messed the code quite a bit (Note 1).

But someone (a young friend – Baang) pointed out that there is already a wordpress application for Blackberry – so suddenly blogging is at our fingertips and mobile too.

So here I am, hoping that my response time to issues, comments etc will be a lot quicker after this.

For now, Pakatan Convention is next weekend and there’s plenty of work (ha ha which somehow finds its way to you last minute *wink wink*) to be done in a short time. Sigh.

Welcome back to the blog ūüôā

NOTE 1

I did Electronics & Electrical Engineering for a degree, a large portion of which involved programming (C or C++). I used to hate programming so much in uni and at one point (in my final year) went to see the Head of Faculty telling him I wanted to change from EEE to History (he laughed of course).

But at the height of reformasi, suddenly programming (via HTML at the time) became a necessity as we scrambled to find a room to contribute.

And that was how I reconnected with the technical side – while finishing my accountancy exam in London, a great portion of the free time was spent relearning programming languages, especially the ones relating to websites and databases.

The one person who first coined the term “necessity is the mother of any invention” is one of the most gifted among us ūüôā

Miscellaneous

Time moves very fast especially when all that you need most is time.

It’s been quite a while and as I desperately hope the fall-out from the fiasco of pulling out at the last minute (that one, ha ha) quietly dies off, I can’t help but revisit certain things that you subconsciously forget before.

In the midst of the fast-paced events of the last 2 months, I missed out one important date/event that I had never failed to remember before. A close friend, who was as good as a brother to me, passed away silently in his sleep due to a cardiac arrest on 22 October 2007 at the tender age of 31. I was overseas at the time and it was a race against time flying back and chasing kereta jenazah so that I could see his face before he was buried – I didn’t make it and that experience (losing somebody so important in your life) haunted me. Each year, as 22 October approaches, I usually go through a somewhat peculiar calmness, as I revisit his life and death and try my best to honour him with prayers and Quran recital.

This year, I missed it completely – didn’t even send an sms to his widow and 4 children left behind.

The budget, shuttling between one place etc quickly eclipsed the personal and spiritual journey that I carefully observed these last few years.

Now that November is around, the clock ticks again as I wait for 24 January, the date when a great mentor and friend passed away. Allahyarham Adlan Benan Omar passed away on 24 January 2008 due to various sickness. In my mind, he is irreplaceable as the most talented and brilliant intellectual giant of my generation. You can google him and you will feel how special this person was from all the tributes people made about him.

Hopefully 24 January 2011 that marks Ben’s 3-year of leaving us will not pass uneventful.

Politics, public life and everything takes a toll on us. In 2009, when I decided to walk away from the promise of corporate high-flyers life, I wanted to take a 6-month break so that I could observe Ramadhan peacefully and then write a book, maybe a memoir of my time with the late Adlan Benan Omar. It never happened as I began to receive many calls.

After the tumultuous events of the last 2 months (which was private and personal to me despite the whole campaign being public), I learnt one important lesson, which I hope to share with the young and budding politicians out there, wherever you are.

A public life does not mean you have to lose your originality. Being a public figure and a leader is about being transparent – the moment you change who you are because you want to suit to what you think the public wants, then you are a politician; often will be viewed with disdain in the future for the fork-tongued image often associated with politicians.

The public does not want more politicians, they want statesmen and leaders. A statesman and a leader leads even if he/she is not in synch with what the society’s trend and opinion is at a particular time. But that’s why he/she is a leader – because the task entrusted upon him is to lead towards change; not to propagate what is already accepted or popular with society.

As I revisited Gandhi or Naidu (Sarojini Naidu, to those who may not know), I am reminded that they never lose their humanity in spite of living their life in a glass. Gandhi was more remembered for his kindness and thoughts, more than his open defiance of the British rule. Naidu was not remembered for her genius (she was considered a child prodigy and a genius) but for her words and exemplary choices she made to defy the norms of her society.

So let us remember that one should not lose oneself in search for a place in the public life.

With the reminder, I re-post one of Arwah Adlan Benan’s many writings on history (which I am sure he typed over a plate of goreng pisang in 10 minutes!) so that I can be reminded of the great people before us, whom we seek to follow on this path.

Al-Fatihah.

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera Dr Aman et al,

Re: Dr Aman’s previous e-mail. Thank you for the¬†notes.

The role of the Bendahara in a succession was so important not only because he was the most senior noble and officer of state, but also because often he held the largest fiefdoms.

On the death of Mahmud Riayat Shah III of Johor in 1813, a unique situation occured. Except for Tengku Long (later Sultan Hussein Muhammad Shah) and Tengku Komeng (later Sultan Abdul Rahman Muadzam Shah I), sons of the deceased Sultan, no other blood princes of the line of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah I (1722-1760) were alive.

The Johor monarchy had no settled system of¬†succession. Before 1699, only three of nine¬†successions were of sons succeeding fathers. The¬†eldest son, or a porphyrogenitus (“anak gahara”) did¬†not necessarily have a better claim than his brothers¬†unless nominated so by their father during his¬†lifetime. The bearer of the title Tengku Besar was
usually considered to be the heir apparent. Neither Tengku Long or Tengku Komeng was so named.

The Bendahara, the senior member of the Royal Family (being a direct descendant of Tun Abbas, ELDEST son of Sultan Abdul Jalil Riayat Shah IV d. 1720) could have proclaimed Tengku Long as Sultan. In fact he did not do so, though Tengku Long was in Pekan getting married to his daughter. Probably the Bendahara was unsure what to do. As was Tengku Puteri Hamidah, the dowager queen of Mahmud III but mother of neither princes. Obviously, Mahmud III had not named his successor.

A precedent existed. When Sultan Sulaiman died in¬†1760, he also left two sons. The eldest, Tengku Abdul¬†Jalil, was away in Selangor at the time of his¬†father’s death. The younger prince was in Riau. But¬†as Tengku Abdul Jalil was Tengku Besar, he was¬†proclaimed Sultan Abdul Jalil Muadzam Shah V, even¬†while he was at sea. Sultan Abdul Jalil in fact died¬†at sea, before reaching Riau, to be succeeded by a six¬†year old boy as Sultan Ahmad Riayat Shah, reigning for¬†less than a year. In turn, his only surviving brother,¬†Mahmud, aged less than two years, duly became Mahmud¬†Riayat Shah III.

But Tengku Long was not the “Tengku Besar”, and as¬†such may not have been considered his father’s choice.¬†The precedent was not followed and the rest, as they¬†say, is history.

Several Bendaharas have determined the succession in the Melaka-Johor dynasty. Bendahara Seriwa Raja Tun Perpatih Sedang gave his consent to the coup which placed Sultan Muzaffar Shah (1446-1456) as Sultan instead of the boy ruler Sultan Abu Shahid (1444-1446). Bendahara Paduka Raja Tun Perak insisted that the murderous Crown Prince Raja Muhammad of Melaka (d 1475) be replaced and exiled. He was also instrumental in replacing the next eldest prince Raja Ahmad with his younger brother Raja Hussein/Radin. One of the Bendaharas of Johor, either Paduka Raja Tun Isap or Seri Maharaja Tun Khoja Ahmad was instrumental in placing a Pahang-Kelantanese prince Raja Umar as Sultan Ali Jalla Abdul Jalil Riayat Shah II of Johor in 1571, the only case in Malay hisory of a father succeeding his own son as Sultan, and thereby supplanting the Melaka dynasty with a rival ruling house.

Thanks,

Adlan Benan Omar