Most times you can tell a man by the company he keeps, and sometimes you can tell by the things he says or writes or likes. I have been meaning to write about Anwar Ibrahim’s likings he had expressed in a couple of interviews he gave.
In an interview with Malaysiakini’s Andrew Ong, recorded in a Rentakini article titled Anything but politics: Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy Prime Minister revealed his preference and opinions on non-political issues.
Ong did a great job because his write-up tells us a lot about Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s much anticipated political Messiah. Let’s examine a few questions that had elicited some telling answers from Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar Ibrahim was asked about his childhood ambition, and guess what answer he provided Ong?
He said his ambition was to marry a Hollywood movie star, and not just any Hollywood star but America’s sweetheart then, the sweet and very curvaceous Natalie Wood.
On reading this I was rather startled by an Anwar Ibrahim having a childhood crush on Natalie Wood, and even more shocked by his public revelation.
That made me pondered for a while and thought to myself: hey man, here’s a bloke who was the leader of ABIM, a Malaysian Islamic Youth movement, and he's an Islamic leader and intellectual on very close terms with his American & Indonesian Muslim intellectual peers, blokes like Sheik Tahar, Faruqi, Amien Rais and former Indonesian President Habibie.
He has very powerful connections with even the Wahhabi Saudi government and I heard he occupies a Saudi 'chair' at an American university. Look, here’s a man whose female members of his family adorn the tudung (Islamic headdress) indicating their strict adherence to the Islamic code of dressing. And indeed, here's a man who was at one stage or other, even touted as a possible leader for PAS, Malaysia's Islamic political party.
All the above Islamic credentials and status seem incongrous with him ever admitting to a childhood crush on an American actress, beautiful as she was. Would he be the sort of bloke who would confess to be ‘in love’ with American Natalie Wood to the extent his 'ambition' was marrying her?
Mind you, it’s just his childhood dream, though I wonder why he would mention that at all?
And Natalie Wood, man, do you realise who’s Natalie? America and Americans just adore her. Come to think of it, don’t you think it’s rather sweet of Anwar Ibrahim. What a great guy, falling in love with and wanting to marry America’s sweetheart. Why! He’s just like a great red blooded typical American man. Hey buddies, give the man a high-five!
Ong then asked him to name 3 CDs in his car, and the answer came swiftly - Elvis Presley - Love me tender, Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the night - didn’t I say he’s a great guy, just like an American man with very American or Western taste. And then, perhaps as a concession to Malaysiakini being read by Malaysians, he also has P Ramlee CDs in his car.
Now, if we go back just a wee way, in his interview with Lorraine Hahn of CNN after he was released by the Badawi government, Hahn asked him how he coped in prison especially as he didn’t have anyone to talk to?
Anwar replied that he sang a lot in the morning to keep himself occupied, and those songs he sang were the 60’s songs from Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, and Cliff Richard. Awesome, what a rocker, man! And then seemingly, as an afterthought he said that he of course crooned some Malay songs too.
Though in the interview with Hahn he didn't mention P Ramlee, maybe those Malay songs Anwar sang were some of the Master's delightful tunes like Jikalau Ku Tahu (If only I had known) and Sedangkan Lidah Lagi Tergigit (If you can accidentally bite your own tongue).
Mind you, I doubt he would have enjoyed singing tunes like Barang Yang Lepas Jangan Dikenang (What’s done is done) or Maafkan Kami (Forgive us) or Jangan Tinggal Daku (Don’t leave me).
I wonder whether he would consider singing Dimana Kan Ku Cari Ganti (Where can I find another) or Aci-Aci Buka Pintu (Open the door UM … eh sorry … Aci).
We all know that the late Master P Ramlee was a crooner, smooth as silk. I also believe Anwar would be equally, if not more, slick in his crooning. Afterall, today Anwar Ibrahim has a wider audience than P Ramlee.