While Malaysia is still reeling from new Prime Minister Mahathir’s upset victory over Barisan Nasional (BN), we’re reeling over something just as stunning: his ability to make a successful comeback at age 92 to be elected as PM once more.
With hectic campaigning schedules, fiscal debts and the weight of a nation on his shoulders, it is one demanding job that would put most men his age out of commission – but not Mahathir, who continues to stay sharp, keep his feet on the ground and field media interviews with memorable, quick-witted quotes.
“I’m here guys. Say it to my face,” he once published on his official Facebook page, when he showed up at a forum called ‘Is Tun M too old to be PM?’
Are we ever too old, or is it just a state of mind? This is how a 92-year-old PM defies age and time.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Dr Mahathir took the proverb rather literally. During an exclusive with Straits Times, he revealed that his habit of not overeating is one of the factors that propelled him to nonagenarian status. He had referenced a study whereby monkeys were fed a low-calorie diet, which led to a longer lifespan.
You could lay off the buffets for one, and you might live well into your golden years with neurons still firing on all cylinders.
Retiring The Retirement Mindset
Dr Mahathir proves that weathering the effects of age is all in the mind. While people half his age here are slapping on the brakes and wait to collect CPF monies, he said what he meant and meant what he said years after stepping down as prime minister back in 2003. “I’ve never actually retired.”
So 15 years later at 92, you can’t really say he ‘came out of retirement’ to ‘right the wrongs’ of Najib and his coalition.
Straight Edge Lifestyle
In a manner of speech, that is. Dr Mahathir and the hardcore punk subculture could not be any more different. There is but one overlap: he makes sure he does not stain his health with tobacco and alcohol consumption.
Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day
…for as long as you live. Dr Mahathir is known to rise at 6.30am every morning and goes to work every single day, since day 1 of his medical career. He’s a huge advocate for mental workouts like reading and writing. Physically, he is also known to engage in walking, lifting, cycling and horse riding.
As for you, you might want to start getting out of the ‘repay sleep debt on weekends’ funk and go to bed at the same time every night.
You know how the saying goes. There are two certainties in life: death and taxes. The grim reaper sure does pose a greater fear over IRAS for most people; but based on the repeated references to the afterlife in Dr Mahathir’s witty quick-fires, the new Malaysian PM seemed to have taken the inevitability of death in stride.
“For me, to say I want to sleep and retire and prepare for my afterlife, I think that is very selfish,” he once remarked.
More notably, he also said he does not care for people remembering him. “If people remember, well and good. If they don’t remember, it’s alright, I’m dead anyway.”
Whatever greatness it is you’re trying to achieve, keep your head in the game. Worry about everything else, including death itself, when you’re six feet under.