With all the panda-monium over expensive furry four-legged gifts, we decided to take a peek at other weird stuff that Malaysian leaders have received over the years. (Technically the pandas aren’t really a gift because who returns a gift to the giver after 10 years? Plus there’s an annual RM3million loan fee but who’s calculating). Ruling for 22 years, Tun Dr. M wins the award for Most Stuff Received and Biggest Hoarder as majority of his stash can be viewed at the Galeria Perdana. We simplified this into 5 categories:
1. Miniature Animals
After years of receiving smaller animals, someone finally gave us real Pandas. But miniature animals are way more cost-efficient and they don’t even bite! Polar bears, hippos, rhinos, and other macabre looking beasts take up an entire section at Tun M’s Galeria. While it’s pretty common to receive animal mementos from the animal’s native land, the weird part about this is that the polar bear was a gift from Africa. Oddly enough, most of the lil’ animals featured are gifts from the many countries that make up the giant continent. Definitely from the post head-hunting era.
The Tun’s Golden Guns and AK-47s. No it’s not a title of a rap album but a summary of Tun M’s arsenal of appreciation. The AKs were gifts from Russia (insert Putin joke/meme of your choice here) and the golden guns from various Western countries where gold and guns are abundant. Interestingly enough, there’s even a chapter called The Man With The Golden Guns in a book on Mahathir, who seemed to have a 007 fetish. Questionable gifting choices but we’re just glad none of it ended in the hands of keris-wielding ministers.
An avid collector of cars, the Galeria houses some of the Tun’s personal collections as well as gifts from foreign governments. From a Pontiac, to a Lincoln, to a Daihatsu Mira (the original Perodua Kancil), to a wooden bicycle, we were told he owned over a hundred various types of transportation. But what stood out for us were a kickass Transformer-looking commando MPV from Ireland, and a Victorian horse-drawn carriage from Argentina, one that would have been used by royals during the 19th century. I wonder where he used to park his horses in the Parliament.
4. Mahathir’s Fan Club
It’s normal to personalise gifts, especially one for a veteran leader but this takes face-value to a whole new level. We can’t blame the Tun for not turning down these tokens, must save face mah! But we can’t help but imagine his reactions to it. (We won’t be surprised if there’s a Mahathir version of the Mona Lisa in some vault somewhere… The Maha Lisa or The Monathir… oh the endless possibilities).
So far the pandas were the only (real) animals given as gifts but Malaysia being the generous country that we are, may follow suit according to Zoo Negara’s Deputy Director Dr. Muhammad Danial Felix suggestion on sending Malaysian wildlife to other countries. Imagine giving Bangladesh Orangutans in return for… errm… more voters.
Bonus gift: Other weird shit
Penang UMNO’s shitty gift of human faeces to Lim Guan Eng’s ministry takes the cake for being the worst gift. Ever. Packaged in cake containers, the tokens were given as “sentimental value” for Guan Eng’s “crappy” service to the state.
Special thanks to En. Mohd. Najib, Pegawai Galeria Perdana, Langkawi for his assistance. We did reach out to the Pejabat Ketua Pengarah, Jabatan Muzium Malaysia but they hung up on us when we mentioned we were calling from Cilisos Media. Guess they have something against condiments.