What keeps him ticking
THE serious business of running a ministry means that Senator P. Waytha Moorthy is a busy man these days. But for him, it’s been like that for quite some time. In fact, he considers his personal life to have played a secondary role ever since his Hindraf days.
“I have forgotten what I am like when I relax and have fun! It’s been too long! I am into antiques.
“Before my activism that’s what I did. I collect clocks in particular, I liked to wind them up and see their movement and listen to their ticking, and since the antiques are obviously quite old, they would need cleaning.”
Another passion of his was travelling off the beaten track. Not for him the bustling metropolis. “I used to like to just take off on long train journeys with no particular destination, but it’s been more than 12 years since I last did that.”
For most of our interview, Waytha Moorthy is businesslike and full of determination, but our conversation suddenly takes a sur- prisingly emotional tone when I ask him about family time.
“I lost that quality time. I only have one child, one daughter, and to be very honest, I have neglected her from the age of three,” he says. “She’s 16 now and well, she grew up with her mother. It’s sad.”
He feels that as his commitment to the cause grew, he paid a heavy toll by sacrificing vital aspects of his personal life.
“Sometimes, it’s a price we have to pay. It used to be my dream that when she stepped into school at the age of seven that I would hold her hand and take her into school with a bunch of roses for her teacher. But I never got the chance. I was in exile then. There are many things that I have not been able to do for her.”
He takes comfort in the possibility that his activism and subsequent political career could help bring about a better country Malaysia for his daughter and future generations.
“That’s what I keep telling her during the little time that I spent with her. That I do things so that many other children will benefit. I have told her that I would love to see her continue my work but I have always left it to her to decide what she wants to do. At the same time, I am exposing her to the
work that I am doing.”
He remains optimistic that the new administration will make his life’s sacrifice worthwhile. “I am confident that this government is serious and there is a clear commitment to assisting the Indian community. I will do my part,” he says.
Personal sacrifice: Waytha Moorthy regrets not spending more time with his family, especially his daughter Vaisnavi, who is now already 16 years old.