In Opposition "Country" -- Tuesday, March 11 2008
I had been covering the country's general election since 1982 as a journalist with the NST. This GE was the first I was observing and monitoring as "an outsider".
My first GE (in 1982), I was sent to Kedah where Dr Mahathir Mohamad was campaigning for the first time after becoming Prime Minister.
He was promoting the Barisan Nasional's "bersih, cekap, amanah" slogan.
Of course, I was a little nervous. And Kedah was pretty foreign to me. I'd been to the US, Europe and back but had never been to Kedah.
Those days, I'd often turn to Bapak for tips on what to look for in a political story. And he'd offer me his analyses of the situation and his "prediction" of the outcome.
In every general election, until this year's, of course.
On Sunday -- the morning after, Nina told Bapak that Parti Keadilan Rakyat had taken over Selangor.
Here's her report:
Nina: Bapak, the Opposition now rules Selangor.
Bapak: Yah kah? Siapa?
Nina: Yang banyak seats PKR.
Nina: Parti Anwar...it was called Keadilan dulu.
Bapak: Yah-kah? Barisan? Aaah...Well, you cannot be arrogant....
Nina: Mmm...I suppose.
Bapak: What about Kelantan?
Nina: Still with Pas.
Bapak: (Smile and grin).. They (BN) can't win Kelantan unless they think like the Kelantanese......
When Bapak was a journalist covering elections in the 60s and 70s, he'd be away from home for days.
I learnt later that he was travelling across the country, going down to the ground, meeting his contacts, and talking to constituents in the kampungs and towns to write his analyses and articles.
This time, I did not want to trouble him with "election talk". I did not ask him for his "prediction".
I suppose I did not have to.