Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Leader Who Earn My Respect: When I Think of Tok Nan (1944 - 2017) I Think of King Cyrus

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Adenan bin Satem (27 January 1944 – 11 January 2017) or as the people called him, Tok Nan, was the fifth Chief Minister of Sarawak. He officially took the oath of office in a ceremony held at Astana on 28 February 2014. He was born in Kuching, Sarawak during its occupation by Japan in World War II. He received his early education at St. Joseph's Primary School, and later at St. Joseph's Secondary School. He once worked as a journalist and teacher before pursuing his studies in law at the University of Adelaide, Australia. I like what The Coverage writes about him, “Talk about Malaysia’s Barisan National (BN) political party and most will reply with an endless barrage of hate and disapproval. In Sarawak however, one BN man is apparently doing all the right things to capture the heart of Sarawakians.” Yes, I wish Tok Nan doesn’t represent BN at all, but like it or not, we all love him as a person and leader of Sarawak!

When I think of Tok Nan, I think of King Cyrus the Great (600 or 576 – 530 BC). This pagan king is important in Jewish history because it was under his rule that Jews were first allowed to return to Israel after 70 years of captivity. Before Cyrus issued a decree to free the Jews, prophet Isaiah already prophesied about him 150 years before Cyrus lived (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 4; see also 41:2-25; 42:6). King Cyrus also very active in assisting the Jews in rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem under Ezra and Zerubbabel. Cyrus restored the temple treasures to Jerusalem and allowed building expenses to be paid from the royal treasury (Ezra 1:4–11; 6:4–5). Besides his dealings with the Jews, Cyrus is known for his advancement of human rights, his brilliant military strategy, and his bridging of Eastern and Western cultures. He was a king of tremendous influence and God used him mightily.

Tok Nan was a Malay and a devoted Muslim as far as I know. These facts don’t stop us from respecting and loving him as a person and leader. Sarawakians' love for him doesn’t affect by his race or religion, we love him because he genuinely loves the people. As YB Baru Bian writes in his Facebook account: “We have lost a CM (chief minister) who truly cared about Sarawak and Sarawakians of all races, ethnicity, and religions. He chose to carry on with his role as CM even though his health was declining. He did his best for Sarawak and I had the greatest respect for him.” That’s why when I think of Tok Nan I think of King Cyrus.

Let me explain. The Jews honored Cyrus as a dignified and righteous king even though he was a pagan king; people from different races and religious honored Tok Nan as caring and chief minister berjiwa rakyat even though he was a devoted Muslim. In history, King Cyrus was thought of as a ‘messiah’ and liberator; Tok Nan was our answered prayer when we asked for a leader who fears God and ruled people justly. King Cyrus unites his conquered nations; Tok Nan represents the true spirit of 1Malaysia. God’s use of Cyrus as a “shepherd” (Isaiah 44:28) for His people illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1, “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases”; no doubt God raised up godly leaders such as Tok Nan in the midst of our corrupt government. I personally believe Tok Nan’s heart is in the hand of the Lord too.

When I think of Tok Nan I think of King Cyrus. But then again, they are totally different. Tok Nan doesn’t rule on his ‘throne’ like Cyrus. Tok Nan loves to be with the people. He walks among us. He eats moderately and he speaks our language. He was not a power-hungry leader like many leaders today (read 10 Reasons Why Adenan Satem Is Winning The Hearts Of Sarawakians). I don’t know much about politics or about his personal life, but what I do know is that Tok Nan has my respect. I will remember him as a champion of Sarawak rights and a model for a righteous leader. Thank you Tok Nan for everything and may God have mercy on Sarawak. Lord, raise up leaders like him! Amen.

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