You might say Fearless Leader was back.
Or maybe he never left. For a former leader with a 12-year prison sentence hanging like the kris of Hang Lekiu over his greying head, Fearless seemed remarkably cheerful as he tramped the hills and dales of Sabah campaigning for the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Indefatigable was the word to describe Fearless and, watching from his safe haven not in China, Felonious aka Jho the Low, an erstwhile aide-de-camp and not-so-trusty sidekick, whistled admiringly.
While not safely ensconced in China, Felonious was also rich beyond the dreams of avarice. The fact that Fearless wasn’t safe at all was what elicited the whistle of admiration in the first place but Felonious was nothing if not philosophical. One out of two was still good, shrugged the ample artist.
“You can’t have everything,” concluded the round robber before turning his attention to more weightier matters of state like how much he had to pay the authorities for another year of not staying in China. It brought a proud smile to Papa Low’s face: that’s my boy, he thought affectionately, always a stickler for detail.
And it was true too. Detail had been one of the comely girls Felonious had dated in Hollywood but that, grumbled Fearless, was neither “here nor there”.
“What about me?” grumbled Fearless Leader and it was a good, if loaded, question.
It was good because its right answer was invariably bad where Fearless was concerned and it was loaded because it looked like he might soon be shot into that place where, without collecting $200, one goes directly to.
How had it come to this?
The kindly kleptocrat had followed all the right measures, listened to the right people, even read Lloyd George: “To be a successful politician, you have to learn to bury your conscience.”
Felonious didn’t know about the former but he knew quite a bit about consciences. A pleasantly piquant 1976 Dom Ruinart Blanc would bury it pretty deep, agreed the beefy bandit cheerfully.
And yet, Fearless remained cool under pressure. This was unlike Mrs Fearless who no longer had anything to say and was saying it so loudly that her silence was deafening.
It was seriously out of character and it put to the lie the so-called wisdom that she had been the real power behind the throne.
Nope, it had been Fearless all along. He remained calm, however, by dint of blame: he blamed everyone from Felonious and the bankers to Goldman Sachs and the lawyers.
In between, he blamed the takers as well, arguing that “if they did not take, he would not have had to give.” It was a compelling argument which, unfortunately, had no takers.
Fearless even contemplated blaming it on the bossa-nova and had to be talked out of it by his lawyer, the eminent Scruffy A who took time off his tax-dodging troubles to remonstrate with his client.
Blame was all right but what Fearless really needed was a good, old-fashioned miracle. He was optimistic and was nothing, if not religious, which was unlike his not-so-trusty sidekick, Felonious, whose faith was such that the church he did not attend was Christian on its off-days.
You could not say the same about Fearless. Historians will attest that he whispered a mumbled prayer immediately after being sworn in in 2009.
It was soft but it was clear. “Let us prey,” was the humble entreaty. And the rest, as they say, is history.