It’s so tough becoming a non-VIP again


PETALING JAYA: It’s a tough life being a non-VIP. It’s probably even tougher to readjust to ordinary life after having actually been a VIP.

“Some failed politicians complain about having to answer their own telephones, or open the gate to their own homes when receiving visitors.

These and other hard luck stories are really quite hilarious,” says former deputy premier Musa Hitam in his recently-published memoirs Frankly Speaking.

As a VIP, there was little to do but show up at events. “Doors would be held open for me, and cars and chauffeurs would be on standby.

There were always people to carry my files or luggage.”

But after stepping down from the deputy premiership in 1986, in a spat with then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he found few friends around to help whenever he was in a rough spot, and former friends would disappear, all the while saying they would “catch up” later.

He had to learn how to drive again, “an exciting affair”, he said. “The only real challenge was the task of filling up petrol.

I had to call my wife to ask her what to do.”

Getting around at airports was a challenge, learning how to find trolleys and to check-in by himself.

Nowadays he pushes his own trolley, at airports or supermarkets.

It’s a form of exercise – and “a salutary reminder that I was just an ordinary person.”