We're slowly making our way to the end of August, and in less than a week, the nation once again celebrates Independence Day for the 53rd time. As usual, I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning, and to mark the celebrations, they had a new special segment interviewing powerful and influential women of Malaysia (or Malaya) from the days gone by - mostly from the time right after independence. Today, they interviewed the very first woman ambassador.
Now, I've always heard this particular radio dj interview people in the mornings, and I'd say she prepares herself quite well, in the sense that she doesn't ask stupid questions, and is able to handle any topics they're discussing about either if it's regarding business, politics or any other current issue. I do find her voice a wee bit annoying, though... just a wee bit.
The person interviewed this morning (to be known as PIM hereafter), however, was a totally different kettle of fish. I suppose growing up at a time when things were different, she had a totally different way of viewing things from the dj, from her priorities, how she viewed the nation's political system at that time,etc. She answered questions with a certain degree of vehemence, and peppered her interview with subtle sarcasm and mild intimidation and somewhat mocking, quietly making us, the listeners perceive the dj as an ignorant young woman! There was this time when the dj asked her about her opinion on the racial riots of 1969, and PIM emphasised on the importance of the Rukun Negara (loosely translated as the Nation's Tenets), and turned to ask the dj if she knew what the tenets were. (Naturally, I imagined her turning towards the dj in slow motion)
The dj, in good humour, replied that they were printed at the back of exercise books used by school kids. The silence was so thick that you could hear the radio static. PIM asked her again if she could recite them then and there. The dj gave a weak laugh, indicating defeat. Funny really, because I've always imagined that it was the dj who would be the witty/sarcastic/evil one who had the power to make the interviewee squirm in their seats.
It kind of makes me wonder how I would handle such a situation, to be put down so many times, quietly and quickly that way. It was as though PIM was a trained assassin and the dj was the unwitting victim. The request to recite the tenets was certainly not the first and definitely not the last either. I tried recalling the tenets later in the morning after listening to the show, and surprisingly, I could. I suppose all those years in school reciting the tenets during assembly really drilled them firmly into my long term memory. However, had I been in the dj's shoes at that point, I'd have forgotten them due to frayed nerves!