Picture taken from Yasmin Ahmad's website The Storyteller, Part II
I was eating at the Loaf at Pavilion the other day when the co-owner of the bakery came into the shop with his wife. His 5 men entourage came in led by him and he was greeted by the staff of the bakery with enthuiasm. They kissed his hand and when he passed my table, he stopped when I said "Tun", but before I could put down the spoon in my hand, which was used to spoon the Italian onion into my mouth, other waiters were swarming already him and the moment passed.
To tell you the truth I didn't really intend of standing up to shake his hand. I think it was intruding as he seemed to be going into a meeting. The other co-owner, I think the name is Suzuki, was also seen walking in later. We know beforehand of Tun's imminent arrival as we were informed by the waiter who was serving us. The word that he used to described Tun's involvement in the management of the restaurant was "Fussy" meaning that he dislike untidy things and expect things to be in a tip top condition.
The Loaf, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.
Picture taken from http://www.theloaf.net/the_loaf_pavilion_kl.htm
When he walked in, people stopped what they were doing and looked like they were expecting him to make a speech. He was calm and composed and still wear his favourite Nehru jacket (so I was told). Being 80, he didn't look 80. He look around 60s and was very much different from his wife, who was there too. His presence changed the perception of the room as people seemed to know that an important person was there.
That is what I call charisma.
I may not admire all that he had done but I still admire him nonetheless. I posted a posting about his blog once which grew by leaps and bounds. You can read that here - http://kruel-legalcat.blogspot.com/2008/11/milestone-as-blogger.html. It was quite staggering the amount of traffic in his site. The issue on charisma was written in the posting by one of the respected film director I know, Yasmin Ahmad, although I don't agree with her on the person she referred to in the blog who she said had charisma. You can read it here
http://yasminthefilmmaker.blogspot.com/2008/11/that-rare-elusive-quality-they-call.html. Anyway, to each his or her own.
Nowadays, with the upcoming UMNO election in March 2009, our former Prime Minister has a new tree to shake. He even made his usual sarcastic remarks on the ISA and blogging at one swipe when he said if he reveal the name of the UMNO members who practised money politic, if he is caught under the ISA, wouldn't he be released back just like anyone else, especially that infamous blogger in Malaysia? People still jump when he says something.
I have always wanted to have a business such as that but on a smaller scale. A small restaurant which serve a speciality or two, admired for its taste and easy enough to be closed on certain days. Being the former Prime Minister, he has the advantage of bringing his name into the brand. Any other normal rakyat, would have to work from the ground up.