TWO big names in politics eating the humble pie on the same day. The coincidence did not stop there – both men have a macho political style, they share the same first name and they are of the same age.
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, 67, apologised for lumping graduates of Institut Teknologi Mara (now known as UiTM or Universiti Teknologi Mara) as “slow learners” during an academic event last weekend.
The Federal Territories Minister tendered his apology alongside a delegation from the UiTM Alumni Association, admitting that he can be mulut celupar or a loose canon at times and promised to be more careful in future.
But the apology from Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob made some people’s eyes pop out.
You see, Adnan is not the sort to back off.
He rarely admits he is wrong even when everyone else seems to think so and he had sued Utusan Malaysia for a critical editorial on his handling of the Cameron Highlands issue.
The Pahang leader is normally quite unflappable but when he flies off the handle, you had better run for cover.
He lost his cool during the recent state assembly meeting and asked DAP assemblyman for Mentakab, Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, to “step outside” to settle their argument.
It was, of course, interpreted as a challenge to take things to a physical level.
But on the final day of the meeting, he surprised everyone by apologising to the House, and particularly to Tengku Zulpuri.
He also apologised for speaking harshly to the elderly DAP assemblyman for Tanah Rata, Leong Ngah Ngah, whom he is apparently quite fond of.
The two Adnans hope their apologies will put things to rest.
But said Datuk Ahirudin Attan, better known as the blogger Rocky’s Bru, the damage is done.
He said the two men were “serial offenders”.
Tengku Adnan had once dismissed bloggers as people with “nothing better to do” while the other Adnan made news for vulgar hand signs during an election campaign.
In this age of social media, any unbecoming behaviour or remark becomes instant news especially if you are a public official.
Another repeat offender is DAP politician Nga Kor Ming.
The Taiping MP is a big star on the ceramah circuit and his fans love his bare-knuckled speaking style and runaway mouth.
Unfortunately, he is known to stray into racist and vulgar territory.
He once called Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir hitam metallic (metallic black person) which was seen as a racist reference to the latter’s Indian ancestry.
There is now a video going around that shows Nga slamming Dr Zambry with a vulgar remark during a ceramah.
His accusers lodged six reports against him.
Nga has denied using the word although the video came from his TaipingKini collection and he has also lodged a police report.
Nga apologised for the metallic hitam remark but no apology appears to be forthcoming over the latest vulgarity.
Sometimes, the danger of going overboard is not only about being politically incorrect as no less than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has learnt.
His reference to the Prime Minister as a “Bugis pirate” and to balik la, a jibe asking the latter to return to where he came from, stirred a hornet’s nest.
Various Bugis personalities and groups emerged to reprimand the former premier for insulting their community.
They included Indonesian vice-president Yusof Kalla as well as the Sultans of Selangor and Johor.
In an interview with an English daily, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said: “I am of Bugis descent. The Sultan of Selangor is of Bugis descent. Many Johoreans are of Bugis descent. My ancestry can be traced to Riau-Lingga, where there are many Bugis people. What will the Bugis feel? Imagine if I say that Chinese were robbers. Won’t the Chinese feel slighted? If I say the Indians are murderers? The Indians will feel slighted.”
Dr Mahathir shot from the hips when he was in power but he was not known to be a mulut celupar.
Some think age has caught up with him and he is making mistakes that has cost his Opposition coalition valuable votes as well as dented his image as a statesman.
He could, however, do what the two Adnans did – apologise and get it over with.
And the same goes for his DAP friend in Perak.