I'm going to throw in a cliche -- our country is at a crossroads.
One knock, one whack in quick succession since March, have hit high profile political leaders -- stakeholders in the power game. And the political landscape of the country is forever changed.
When political titans are locked in battle, many "pelanduk" in the midst, get the stray bullets, the kapak kecik. We, the ordinary folk - though not such innocent bystanders -- have a choice to either be spectators or, simply switch off. Ignore. Be no part of it.
The reality, however, is that in the end, we are still affected. Whether we like it or not.
Since Anwar Ibrahim gained legitimacy to contest in elections, he seemed unstoppable in his quest to wrest the premiership from Abdullah.
Whether or not it is through democratic means is still an issue thrown wide open for debate.
Right now, Anwar is on a hiatus of sorts.
Now that the issue of power transition from Abdullah to his heir-apparent, Najib Abdul Razak has been resolved, we're focussed on Umno's heirarchy because Umno's hierarchy directly affects the power structure of the country.
Yep. Anything that happens in Umno -- the backbone (yes, people, it still is and you'd better believe it) of the BN which is (still) the ruling (federal) government -- will in no uncertain terms have a bearing on the direction the country will take. For now, of course.
We have been witness to the shenanigans of players from either side of the political divide.
And then there's Anwar's passionate politics and (broken) promises, the arrest and detention under the ISA of Malaysia Today editor and popular blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin , Pak Lah's exit plan and Najib's ascension. And now, the rigmarole of Umno elections.
I wish sometimes I can say that because I'm not an Umno member, it does not affect me. I wish I can say, "who cares?".
The truth is that the decision of these 191 Umno divisions as to whom they want to be Umno president and leaders, affects me -- and you. And this bugs me.
You wonder why there is any need for Najib to obtain nominations when the exit plan is already in place. An academic exercise?
In a way it's good (for Najib) to prove real legitimacy. To know that he has support.
So, the way is clear for Najib to win the presidency unchallenged after picking up 106 nominations.
His running mate, Muhyiddin Yasin who is contesting the deputy presidency, appears to be the favourite so far. But the contest for the number 2 post is pretty keen.
Muhyiddin who is International Trade and Industry Minister, was Johor Menteri Besar.
Over the weekend, two Johor divisions nominated Mohd Ali Rustam and Muhammad Muhd Taib. This has already set tongues a-wagging because Johor is Muhyiddin's home state.
Then again, many aren't surprised knowing the intrigue of Johor politics and the intense rivalry among the warlords.
(Johor Baru picked Mohd Ali while Kota Tinggi, Muhammad. Johor Baru is headed by Shahrir Abdul Samad and Kota Tinggi, Syed Hamid Albar.)
The three-cornered contest for the Umno Youth chief post -- a post vacated by Hishammuddin Hussein -- is , without a doubt, exciting .
Leading the fray is Umno Youth exco member Mukhriz Mahathir with 67 nominations. Not far behind are incumbent Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin and former Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo, who each has picked up just about 50 nominations.
Over the weekend, Pekan nominated Mukhriz while Kepala Batas, Khairy.
In the wing's 2004 elections Khairy won the wing's number two post uncontested, much to the chagrin of some of the members.
Khairy being Pak Lah's son-in-law was a factor, coupled with his seeming arrogance.
He was booed in the begininng (of the assembly), lending him a kind of baptism of fire. But he remained unfazed throughout. But before the end of the assembly, he seemed to have warmed up to the delegates. His winding-up speech - displaying much humility -- earned him some brownie points.
Mukhriz garnered the highest number of votes in the Umno Youth exco 2004 elections.
Oh, he now has many detractors for sure -- notably among the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's critics or the anti-Mahathir group(s) in Umno, which are probably the same group supporting Umno president and PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
You know...the "sins" of the father visited on his son. That sort of thing.
Mukhriz has endeared himself to members since the last (party) election (and general election). He tirelessly went around house-to-house meeting the grassroots.
Who wins the Youth leadership will define the role, and thus, the path the wing will take.
Meanwhile, much as you want to steer clear of wanting to know about Umno elections, you can't help but have some interest.
Indeed, we are at a crossroads as changes are taking place in Umno. Of course, many will question whether these are "real changes", in the first place.
As the power-brokers are hard at work, and the major players campaign, we are hopeful that better leaders emerge from this crop.
We, as non-Umno members, are of course, helpless.
Nonetheless, I am reminded of this: we get the leaders we deserve and we deserve the leaders we vote for.
So, here's looking at you, Umno.