Saturday, January 21, 2012


By Mansor Puteh

Maybe it is good for the Malaysian government to invite all the former ambassadors to Malaysia for a conference, once in a while so they can reminiscence on the years they had spent in the country.

I don’t think there are many of them who had served their countries in Malaysia who had returned to take advantage of the Malaysia, My Second Home plan.

There may be some junior diplomats in the missions who had got married to local women and who might have returned to Malaysia to live here with their families.

Many of the former ambassadors had died but there are still many more who are still very much alive.

Won’t it be good also for them to form the association of former ambassadors to Malaysia or AFAM.

I don’t think there is any country in the world has such an association.

And at the same time, former ambassadors of Malaysia to other countries, too, can have their own association or who can be aligned to AFAM as extended members so they can continue to sound and behave more diplomatic in their retirement years.

Former American ambassador, to Malaysia, John R Mallot indeed does not sound diplomatic these days.

Of all the former American ambassadors to Malaysia and those from the other countries, he seems to be the only one who is still showing keen and critical interests in the goings-on in the country which he had lived in for three years and left for more than a decade.

And he also does not sound American anymore especially when he starts to insinuate how he could seriously consider filing defamatory suits against certain newspapers and individuals in Malaysia.

He sounds like some people in a neighboring country and not like an American at all, who could take and stomach in whatever views his adversaries have.

Worse comments have been leveled at the earlier American presidents, senators and other more prominent persons in America, but they did not care.

Maybe a local university should appoint Mallott, Professor Emeritus so he can share his experiences living in Malaysia as ambassador so the students can benefit from him, so that his views may not be misunderstood, so he may not go astray and sound like a politician without a cause.

Or how he had ‘spied’ for his country working not only as an ambassador but more than that, as an ambassador extraordinaire.

People who are in retirement can often say a lot of things because they know they are not young anymore to be careful, so they can become brave, when in the past they had to toe the official line of their governments, especially if they were ambassadors.

His processors and successors have not behaved like him. And this is indeed strange, even compared to the former ambassadors of the other countries who also do not behave as he does.

Aren't ambassadors and especially former ambassadors supposed to be diplomatic?

Mallot says he has been in the American public service for 40 years and had been seconded to Malaysia and other countries, too, but he seems to be too focused on Malaysia, using his short tenure as their ambassador in Malaysia to continue harping on old issues which are already dead now.

Malaysia has gone on to achieve wonders in all areas including those of human rights, etc.

But it was still not right for Mallot, it seems.

Does he still think he is still the de facto ambassador of America to Malaysia?

His behavior may seem rude, considering how America has an ambassador in Kuala Lumpur.

But what many now want to wonder is, was Mallot really am ambassador for America – or a spy!

One could not tell the differences between an ambassador or diplomat and a spy because they do pretty much the same things.

However, spies can be revealed if they are no more in office and start to talk about things which are private in nature, and in public.

Or, maybe Mallot still does not think he had done a good job as ambassador for his country and has to continue to do it now.

No one knows for sure what his intentions are for writing and commenting and even criticizing Malaysia today when he does not have the ‘full information’ which he admitted he did, on anything in Malaysia, as ambassador.

That may be true; but being a mere ambassador of a foreign country in Malaysia, his and the other ambassadors’ movements are strictly limited.

They do not really get to meet everybody; they socialize with the high society and hardly ever walkabout on their own, unless if they are ambassadors of small and insignificant countries so they can come to Malaysia playing tourists most of the time, since they do not have a public profile that anyone here knows.

But it is not the case with the ambassadors of ‘hot’ countries such as America, Britain and some other western countries, who have to be well-guarded and who cannot anywhere they like as they could become the target of attention from certain shady people.

The American embassy staff does not organize artistic and cultural function in the embassy premises anymore like they did before when even their cultural officer invited artists to his official residence for poetry readings, etc.

I used to know them very well before, but I do not know who their cultural officer is today.

And I used to have strong rapport with some of the senior American embassy officials because they could relate to me as I did to them, having studied and lived in America for a considerable period of time and studying at one of their most prestigious universities in New York City which no one of them had ever studied at.

And I could have known Mallot more personally then if he and his embassy continued to organize activities in their embassy, but didn’t. 

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