Sunday, May 26, 2019

Maybe he was in awe.

In the movie 'UNFORGIVEN' there is a character called Engish Bob played by the late Richard Harris. In a scene, he is discussing the assassination of an American President. He compares the American President to English royalty. 

He says when someone comes face to face with royalty, he will be in awe. That feeling will diminish any urge of killing that royalty. But when the same person comes face to face with a President, English Bob hesitates and then says "Why not kill the President?".

A few days ago a member of the Malaysian royalty died or 'mangkat', the Malay royal word for it. Many of the Malaysian royalties came for the funeral, in a royal palace of course. So did many members of the Malaysian executives, including state Chief Ministers, federal Ministers and the Prime Minister himself.

Many hands shook that day. But somehow a state Chief Minister who happens to be the son of the Prime Minister did not offer to shake hands with a member of the royalty. This incident which happened to be broadcast live on national television was made an issue. The theory was that particular executive did not respect that particular royalty.

A few seconds snippet of the incident was made viral on social media with every viewer free to make his or her comments. One viewer even made a comment about etiquette in the royal palace, something which I never know before.

It seems that during a funeral of royalty,  members of the royalty wear white and the others or commoners wear black. The white and the black do not shake hands with each other unless the white makes the first move or 'hulurkan tangan dahulu' as the Malay saying goes. This rule sort of vindicated the Chief Minister who was wearing black. But as I saw it everybody was shaking hands, be they in white or black.

Due mostly to public outrage and due to the fact that a son of the Prime Minister was involved, the Chief minister apologised or 'mohon ampun' for his action or inaction. He said his action was not intentional.

Maybe he was in awe when he faced that particular royalty. Of course, murder or assassination was never in his mind. But that feeling also froze him from doing anything else, including 'hulurkan tangan'.

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