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SHELF LIVES: Footballers know when they are past their prime, but the same can't be said of politicians
STORIES about longevity and comebacks can have a lasting effect and tend to leave a strong aftertaste, as the latest cases involving Paul McCartney, Dallas and some Malaysian politicians have shown.
It is hard to believe, for instance, that McCartney, the former Beatle we know so well, turned 70 last week, showing no signs of old age, despite a hectic and extraordinary past.
According to news reports, he wowed huge crowds at Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee concert earlier this month and with another show at the London Olympics opening ceremony booked for next month, retirement looks a way off for the British legend.
"If I'm really enjoying this, why retire?" McCartney told British music magazine Mojo last year.
"People say to me that I work so hard. We don't work hard, we play music."
It has been 50 years now since the Beatles broke into the world music scene and McCartney is still going strong, so there's no reason for him to retire, a fate that is so different from two star football players in Euro 2012, who are calling it quits following their team's elimination in the preliminaries.
Although they were considered pillars of strength in their teams, Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko, 35, and Czech Republic's Milan Baros, 30, knew their time was up.
They have accepted the fact that retirement was inevitable and we should take our hats off to them, unlike certain politicians in Malaysia who are said to be hellbent on becoming candidates again for the next general election, regardless of the fact that many people think they are past their shelf lives.
It is understood that one who is way past his prime is staking a claim to be a candidate in a parliamentary seat that had already been taken away from him in the last round, saying he is now a winnable candidate.
Another who is fast approaching 70 is going around doing the same.
A certain politician thinks he is a godsend and just because he runs a state, he is devoid of humility, claiming credit for everything that's right and blaming his predecessors for everything wrong. Everyone who is critical must be evil and, to him, should be banished.
The Shevchenko and Baros spirit of righteousness is not only totally missing, but the examples above go against the grain of transformation being sought all around.
There are yet some politicians seeking longevity through a fresh return.
This sort of comeback, however, can be quite tricky. Look at the Beach Boys, that American group who popularised the upbeat surfing music in the 1960s. It is trying to do just that by launching a new album, its first in a long while.
But I think the revival attempt won't go far, judging from their performance on a TV talkshow recently. Somehow, they have outlived their brand of music, which does not gel with their latest image of past middle-aged, pot-bellied and balding singers.
The same can be said of Dallas, the hit series that set the benchmark for all TV soap operas from the late 1970s. The producers of the series think they can fire up a revival just by bringing it back to the screens.
But TV culture has changed tremendously since the Ewings ruled the airwaves.
Satellite and cable TV providing reality shows and up-to-date newsbreaks are now the norm and soaps have come to be dominated by the Koreans.
Even so, the characters in the original Dallas were quite special.
And I think they can be matched up with real-life personalities, especially the political ones among us today. For instance:
Jock Ewing: the founder of Ewing Oil and the patriarch of the Ewing family. He built Ewing Oil into one of the most powerful independent oil companies in Texas and became a very successful rancher, but had problems instilling harmony in the family.
Miss Ellie Ewing: As the matriarch of the Ewing family, she is portrayed as a strong and loving mother to her family. Miss Ellie's marriage to oil baron Jock was central to the Dallas series.
Southfork: The ranch that is the central point of the Ewing estate. Or it could be a portrayal of Malaysia, the country.
J.R. Ewing: The covetous, egocentric and amoral oil baron, who is constantly plotting subterfuges to defeat his foes and plunder their wealth.
Sue Ellen Ewing: J.R.'s wife. Always having deep troubles coping with her husband's scheming. Turned out to be an alcoholic.
Bobby Ewing: The younger brother. Always playing fair and that was why he couldn't go far.
I leave it to readers to pin parallel local personalities to these TV characters. It's quite effortless, I guess. After all, Dallas is fictional, Malaysian politics is real.