First, he sacked him. Then the one he sacked got charged for sodomy. And for twenty years, he battled for his freedom with his wife taking the helm of the party they have formed.
Second, Mahathir came out of retirement, rebuilt old bridges he had burned down during the dizzying height of self-wielding power. And the culmination of that was his extended handshake with his protege-turned-foe-turned-friend-turned-partner.
Thirdly, he fought against his former party, the one he led with a firm fist for 22 years before he stood down in 2003.
In the process, he lost his titles, positions and privileges because politics in some countries is sadly all about unquestioned and blind support that Mahathir at his age does not want to be a part of.
Lastly, he actually won. No joke, his party won the Malaysia GE14 this morning. He won by a simple majority enough to form the government, sending Najib packing.
And this is the serendipitous part: one of his electoral promises is to hand the rein of government over to Anwar in due course. His age just does not permit him to run the full course.
And if this comes true, that will be his ultimate succession plan - that is, back to the one he first chosen. Back to square one.
Talk about coming back full circle!
He said: "It would seem that we have practically achieved that figure of 112 and the figure for BN is very much less than that. This isn't fake news. They are left far behind. The likelihood is that they (BN) would not be forming the government. It's quite obvious from the showing by the people that they want Najib out."
This is the second coming of Mahathir, and his coalition party has won fair and square. This would be his second time - after stepping down - to be PM; once Malaysia's 4th PM, and now their 7th PM.
It is like he had passed the baton to Badawi and Najib, then ran ahead of them even at his age because something's not right, and snatched back the greasy baton for some hands-on house cleaning.
At 92, and unless he lives beyond 100, Mahathir is surely coming out of the political tunnel into the light, but it would not be for long term.
Health would restrain him, but his spirit is undaunted. Despite his tainted past, one should give credit where credit is due.
Mahathir is a fighter, and coming out of comfort, security and safety to turn the country around, which is headed towards a certain dimmed and ossified future, you would be hardpressed to say that he is doing it all for himself.
Mahathir will always have his critics, past and present. But one thing you can't deny him, that is his willingness to stand up to be counted.
Maybe that is the wisdom of age and experience, especially when one is running the last lap of his mortal life.
And the lesson here for me is to live a life of significance, not just scrapping by and running after the next dollar or title or material goal.
Regardless of age, I can learn to always stand for what is right, stick to it come rain or shine, even if I have to stand alone, and always have hope and faith that doing and sticking to what is right is a reward in itself; you don't need any public endorsement of it.
There is a saying that external force breaks an egg from the outside and kills it. But internal force, from the inside, nurtures and grows the egg and saves it.
Ultimately, what counts is our character, the anchorage of meaning, and our courage to stand for what is right.
Personally, after Trump won the election, it was a surreal moment for me. I was dumbstruck. My faith in democracy took a serious beating.
But the Malaysian GE14 won some of it back. It was a victory not just for the underdog represented by a party of about one year old, but led by an old dog whose bite, with gums and all, just does not want to let go.
Democracy was supposed to be for, with and by the people. And now, with the victory, it is also "to the people". It has in other words returned to the people and their collective effort deserves a standing ovation.
Malaysians, the people across the causeway are proud of your spirit of unity, courage and renewed hope.
Today, you have shown us what it means when one say: "Don't play play with democracy because one vote is merely a drop but millions voting together is an ocean, and the oceanic force of the people's will cannot be ignored."
3) The People.
I have a colleague who left on Tuesday to return to her home country to vote. She told me that it is important to make the trip to be counted.
Then, in her Facebook today, she wrote:-
"It feels like Hari Raya, Deepavali, CNY and Christmas rolling in at the same time."
I share her buoyant spirit.
Mr Khairy, from the BN camp, said this: "Malaysians have spoken. And the people's voice is sacred. Good luck, Malaysia and thank you to all voters for carrying out your responsibility to the nation."
And my colleague formed one of that sacred voice of the nation.
Surely, the sacredness of the voice is that you guys did not let cronyism get away. You did not let greed get away. You did not let corruption get away. You did not let lies get away. You did not let bots get away.
Neither phantom voters got away. No hypocrisy goes unpunished under your watch.
As John Adams once said: "Is there such rage for Profit and Commerce that we no longer have public Virtue enough to support a Republic"?
Today, or last night, you have shown that there is enough public Virtue in the will of the people to support a democratic Republic based on the oceanic unity of the nation. Kudos! Cheerz.