Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad turns 95 today (10 July). Love him or hate him, he sure has had a long and illustrious life.
We dug up some interesting tidbits about the man who became the oldest prime minister in the world at 93 only two years ago.
Here are some of the things we found out about the two-time prime minister.
#1 He had to stop schooling for almost four years
Dr Mahathir has always been a bright student, but he had to stop schooling at 16 years old because of World War II.
In 1941, during the Japanese Occupation, many schools in Malaya were closed including the one Dr Mahathir was studying in. He resorted to opening a small shop selling rice during this time before resuming his education a little more than three years later at the age of 20.
He only graduated in 1946 after completing the Senior Cambridge Exams.
#2 He used to write for a Singapore-based newspaper
We all know that Dr Mahathir is very witty and sharp. If you've read the content in his blog
, you'll also know that he has a way with written words as well.
When he was in college, he used to contribute articles to nationally distributed, Singapore-based newspaper The Straits Times
and Sunday Times
. (Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times
He even took correspondence course in journalism before writing for the paper.
Dr Mahathir's family wasn't well-off, so the income from his work came in handy.
He used the pen name C.H.E Det, the name his family called the youngest of nine siblings at home.
#3 His love affair with his wife started with him tutoring her
Everyone knows that Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah are #CoupleGoals. They have been married for more than 60 years!
Dr Mahathir met Dr Siti Hasmah when they were both studying medicine at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore.
His excellent grades attracted the attention of his now wife, who he later tutored. Their love blossomed and they eventually got married and had seven children together.
For more sweetness, click here:
#4 He was kicked out of UMNO in 1969
Dr Mahathir joined the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO
) when he was just 21, and was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1964.
In 1969, he got kicked out of the party after he wrote an open letter criticising the then party leader and Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Not that that stopped him from continuing to speak his mind. Guess the man has always had b*alls of steel and it wasn't something that came with power.
He wrote the book 'Malay Dilemma', which spoke about the economic struggles of the Bumiputra, especially the Malays, in the country. The book was very controversial and was banned but resonated with many young Malays, prompting his rejoining of UMNO around 1971.
By this time Tunku Abdul Rahman has resigned from his posts and replaced by Tun Abdul Razak.
#5 There were plans to make a Bollywood movie on him
Dr Mahathir has always been a popular figure in the global arena for all he had achieved during his first tenure as the Prime Minister.
His popularity shot up again when he came out of retirement and reconciled with his former enemies to lead an opposition party to topple the Barisan Nasional government for the first time in 60 years in 2018.
It didn't last long, of course, but within months of the win, many wanted to make movies about Dr Mahathir, including Bollywood
producer Raman Kumar.
The movie was supposed to have been made in Hindi but dubbed in Malay and English.
We're not sure if the movie is still in the works considering all that has happened since, but it sure would have been interesting to see how the world views Dr Mahathir.
If you want to know more about our former Prime Minister, check out this 'Now You Know Lah' video we did for his birthday.
Oh, and before we forget: