Much has been said about our First Lady and our opinions are primarily formed by hearsay. But to be honest, does any one of us know her personally to even begin judging her as such?
Rosmah Mansor was born in 1951 to two teachers. My personal observation is that children of educators are usually very smart. Thats true in Rosmah's case. She has a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from University Malaya and an MSc in Sociology and Agriculture from Louisiana State University, USA.
She later worked as an executive with Bank Pertanian and subsequently as a business development manager with Island and Peninsular Bhd, a property developer company.
She married Najib Abdul Razak in 1987 and the couple is blessed with two children - Nooriyana Najwa and Norashman Razak together. Rosmah also has two children from her previous marriage.
Without going into juicy and scandalous details as to why both Rosmah and Najib are divorcees (usually quite taboo among Malaysian politicians), an initial search of the history of her first marriage and former husband drew naught from Google. Hence, any recorded history and persona of Rosmah only existed after marrying Najib.
Well, like most women, Rosmah was an unknown until her fateful union with Najib that now places her as the country's mother figure and the queen of our hearts.
The Mongolian connection
It is interesting how much shared destiny Rosmah and Najib has. To begin with, they both came into power on the wrong foot.
We all know about Najib's baggage - the murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu and the alleged corruption surrounding exorbitant defence purchases.
While Rosmah's reputation took a blow when popular blogger Raja Petra ! Kamarudd in claimed he was reliably informed that Rosmah was involved in Altantuya's murder and to the extent that Rosmah was at the crime scene herself!
rosmah.jpgSensational news has its pulling factor and we all love juicy, sexy stories. But I cannot imagine Rosmah at that secondary forest clearing in the middle of the night ordering special action police officers to shoot Altantuya in the head and blow her up with military grade C4 explosives based on sole consideration.
Why on earth would Rosmah want to get her hands dirty or worse, ruin her heels that would dig into the mud near a water catchment area?
She's an educated lady with some class. Just look her every day in the papers. She looks flawless in every picture. From programme launches to hospital visits, look at her perfectly fluffed hair, smooth complexion and those eyes. Such a cheeky, devilish glare she has!
An outspoken First Lady
Most recently, a series of videos have been making its round about Rosmah and how she has forsaken her family members and her kampung. The video carried interviews with her adopted brother, neighbours and family friends. They said rather unsavoury words about Rosmah from being ungrateful to being downright evil.
Rosmah could dignify all these allegations with a law suit or she can ignore it. She has denied RPKs allegations and did not even lodge a police report. What did I tell you about class?
Perhaps Malaysians aren't ready for an outspoken, sharp shooting First Lady. The ones we previously had kept themselves in the background mostly, never upfront about what they thought about a political issue. That is after all, their husband's duty.
However, like Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said, Najib and Rosmah work as a team. If so, Rosmah's actions, thoughts and words should carry as much weight as her husband's.
This means the social cause of her choice will be given priority by the government. Her forte is on issues affecting children and this includes e! arly chi ldhood education, welfare and safety.
We should be thankful that she gives a damn about our children. Most politicians are too busy thinking about making money that they don't care how screwed up our education system is and even worse, how bad security has become for our children. Her desire to uplift the lives for children across the country is like Najibs quest to resolve our economic woes. What more could we ask for?
rosmah-mansor-with-people.pngImagine this: in her capacity, she can tell Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to focus on providing a better curriculum for our kids. She can even tell the Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan to buck up and ensure our schools are safe and make sure child-murder cases like Nurin Jazlin Jazimins does not ever happen again.
So much potential
Najibs unity call for 1Malaysia surely must begin at home before being extended to the cabinet, the government, the civil service and to Malaysians in general. Therefore, she is not just a First Lady for Malays but a First Lady for all Malaysians regardless of race or creed.
I for one would love to see her embrace the 1Malaysia side of her. She would look absolutely radiant in a cheongsam or a saree when she attends the festive celebrations. She can be the first since I dont recall any of our previous First Ladies ever doing so.
That would be a very bold move. It will capture the imagination of the entire nation to see Rosmah, an Umno member on all accounts, wearing a non-Malay cultural dress. It might not necessary translate to concrete reforms that Umno aspires to do but it is symbolic at least to prove Umno can reach out to non-Malays.
She does not even need to swear on the Quran for anything. In fact, she can thumb her nose at Umno haters and opposition supporters to show that 1Malaysia runs in her very blood. Najib will be so proud. I would be too.
With that said, Rosmah has so much potential and much freedom to make lives and futures of ! Malaysia ns better. All she needs is a little encouragement from the rest of us Malaysians.
Who knows if one day, comparisons are drawn between her and the late Lady Diana Spencer, famous for her grace and generosity? While Diana has been immortalised in song as Englands Rose, Rosmah can be remembered as an ever blooming flower.
There is already an orchid in Singapore named in her honour, after all.
This article was firs published on June 27, 2009. Click here to read more
Letter & Opinion From Joe Public