Home TA Online Anwar and the Mars ‘opposition’ – Do the planets tell us anything?

Anwar and the Mars ‘opposition’ – Do the planets tell us anything?

A view of Mars during the opposition - Image: Nasa

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Anwar Ibrahim’s audience with the Agong fell on the same date as the Mars’ opposition. Carol Yong reflects.

On 13 or 14 October, depending on where on Earth you were, Mars appeared at its biggest and brightest. That is when the red planet lined up with Earth on the same side of the sun – a phenomenon astronomers call “opposition”.

Responses from family and friends, with whom I shared the date of the opposition, reflected different moods.

Most were generally just happy to learn something ‘new’ about the planets.

One was “not bothered”.

Another said, “I’m more worried about Covid hotspots now!’

Three young persons were more spirited: “Wow that’s cool”, “Ooo … I hope we can see it” and “Wow, I’m excited”.

After a long wait in anticipation, the sky on the day of the opposition date was not perfect for Mars-watching. It was raining in many places. I was utterly disappointed, and probably other enthusiasts too. No sight of the ‘brilliant orange star’ in the sky all night.

This anecdote made me think about our current political situation. Anyone who looked at the date of the Mars opposition carefully would notice it fell on the same day as Anwar Ibrahim’s audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Anwar claimed he had a majority – “over 120” MPs in the 222-seat Parliament on his side – to form a new government.

Until today, I, like my fellow Malaysians, don’t know if there will be a change of government. But clearly, Anwar’s move has drawn mixed reactions.

Let me first return to Mars. The next date for this planetary opposition is on 8 December 2022. I hope the sky will be especially good for viewing Mars then.

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Unlike Mars and other planets that are more or less ‘fixed’, political leaders come and go. It remains to be seen who our ninth prime minister will be – and when!

As for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, well, as YT Chia wrote, he is “so near yet so far“.

Carol Yong is an activist and independent writer

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