Political leaders having affairs: Should we forgive them?

I HAVE a little blog which is updated daily with news and stories I think may  be of interest to visitors. The stories and reports are sourced from various  media publications, printed and online, and both local and foreign.

Over the past two years, I have grown familiar with the type of stories that  drive traffic to my blog. Although several items are only uploaded into the blog  daily, they suffice to gauge the traffic flow and growth over time.

It’s somewhat interesting for me that I’ve actually used the traffic feedback  and record from the blog to pick up ideas and subjects to write about from time  to time.

As writers, it’s only fair to the publications we are attached with to pen  articles of interest to the majority of readers and not only choose subjects we  ourselves are keen about. After all, we’re paid too. So, it’s a job that we have  to do well.

Running out of ideas this week to pen for this column, I turned to the stats  in my blog again for a little inspiration.

Aha, guess what. Sex always sells. For the past week, out of a total of some  20 articles, two sex-related stories scored the most number of hits.

‘Guan Eng’s alleged affair hogs the headlines’ and ‘The truth about Gandhi’s  sex life’ came out tops in that order way, ahead of the rest.

If you ask me why sex always sells, my immediate answer would be “it’s  something which everyone can relate to”. Would it be too way out to also say “everyone likes sex”. Hey, let those who disagree (the hypocrites) step  forward.

Isn’t it true that nature has a way of ensuring we become addicted to things  that we need and desire? Sex falls into that category, doesn’t it? Why should  anyone pretend that it does not.

Well, over the past week at least, few people were interested in the  allegations on the LRT project — the one against the former Chief Secretary’s  daughter; that PKR president Dr Wan Azizah was keen to contest a state seat; or  the National Harmony Act proposed by the Prime Minister. Everyone was clicking  on the story about the alleged affair involving the Penang Chief Minister and  his former aide. And aha, even Gandhi’s sex life (real or fantasy) was more  interesting and appealing too.

Okay, I will not delve into the story of Gandhi’s sex life here. It was taken  from a report in The Independent, UK, which were excerpts from a new book about  India’s iconic father of independence. Those keen to follow the story can read  it up in the British newspaper or better still, get a copy of the book.

Let’s take a good look at Guan Eng’s alleged affair for what it is worth. I  was also taken aback when the story first surfaced in the Melaka State Assembly  last week. Initially, I didn’t realise it was an attack on the Penang Chief  Minister’s private life. Why should anyone question a man’s wife about what her  husband has been doing if not for a sinister motive. Hey, be man enough to go  and confront the husband lah! Why pick on the poor wife?

Understandably, Betty Chew was lost for words at that instance. We cannot  fault her. However, that she was somewhat evasive over the matter triggered the  wagging of more tongues. Hey, Malaysians just love juicy gossip, you know,  particularly those of a sexual nature.

Admittedly, I was also curious about the purported affair. Hey, this was Lim  Guan Eng, man! If it was another sex tale involving Anwar Ibrahim or another ‘bathroom action’ video linked to Azmin Ali, that would be ‘biasa’ lah. What?  Another one, no big deal!

But this story was linked to someone seen as ‘clean’ in every way and highly  respected as the chief executive of a state. Hey, imagine Karpal Singh, Dr Chen  Man Hin or Nik Aziz being implicated in extramarital affairs. That would be  unthinkable.

Seriously, should we be surprised if the unthinkable happens? Are we not all  mortal beings created by God and put to the test to face the same temptation?  What’s so special about us?

In that light, I would not blame Lim Guan Eng if the affair is true. Let it  be clear here that I’m not saying the CM has had an affair. I merely said that  even he did have an affair, we should not blame him. He is a mere mortal, a man  after all.

Of course a political leader should be exemplary — in his private life as  well. But should he fall by the wayside, could we forgive him?

The BN and MCA seem to have forgiven Dr Chua Soi Lek. His was the worst case  of its kind. Dr Chua was virtually caught with his pants down. He has paid the  price for his folly. His party forgave him and even saw it fit to elect him as  president.

Assuming that Guan Eng is guilty, shouldn’t he be accorded the same  treatment? It’s not fair for us to crucify him. It’s not for us to condemn him  and cause further suffering. The man who is guilty will be tortured by his own  conscience and that is punishment enough.

Here I am reminded of the words of a friend who is also a former Chief  Minister.

Last month, I popped by the Kuala Lumpur residence of an old friend, a Datuk  from Sarawak. It was an impromptu visit. Another Datuk was also visiting our  mutual friend at that time. Twenty minutes later, this former CM also turned up  and I was in the company of three Datuks (ha, not the Datuk Trio of Anwar’s  fame).

As expected, our teatime chat delved into politics and the coming elections.  Then the Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Zahida Rafik scandal crept into our  conversation.

At this time, our former CM remarked, “Not right for Shafie’s enemies to gun  him down that way. We are not saints either.”

Well, I must say I like this honesty coming from the former Chief Minister.  Even though it was an ordinary statement, the person who said it gave it more  weight and made it more meaningful.

So, when a political leader gets entangled in an extramarital relationship,  should we forgive him?

I would say ‘yes’, but he must be honest about it right from the beginning  and come out clean from the start. President Bill Clinton lied initially. Yet,  his fellow Americans forgave him although he admitted his guilt much later.

Then again, I’m a man. Betty Chew and other women would probably disagree  with me. And they have my total respect for that. – Borneo Post

Comments can reach the writer via paulsir99@hotmail.com

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