From my TOI blog : Freeze Frame
It all happened within thirty odd seconds or perhaps a minute. On July 19th, Rupert Murdoch was almost done with his ‘answers’ at the ‘News Corp-Hack Gate’ hearing, at the House of Commons’ Select Committee in the UK, when Jonathan May-Bowles aka Joanie Marbles almost thrust a pie of shaving foam at Murdoch Sr. What followed has now gone down in history as the ‘prowess of the tiger wife’, Wendi Deng. The third wife of octogenarian Rupert Murdoch lunged at the comedian and showered punches on his ‘unsuspecting assailant’. “Some attributed Deng’s “slam dunk”, half-jokingly perhaps, to her volleyball skills that date back to her high-school years in Jiangsu province”.
So, was this attack by Wendi ‘Tiger’ Deng a manifestation of her fierce feline protectiveness?
Well, two self-proclaimed aantels (‘intellectuals’-for the non-Bengali reader) were engaged in a virtual adda on the social media, with Wendi pinned under a microscope, awaiting dissection – hidden from prying eyes, in the privacy of off the record direct messages….
-“…did you see that? She pounced, slapped the joker and got all the flash bulbs in her face. She has stolen the show! Poor Murdoch! Isn’t China simply proud of its ‘exported’ trophy wife?”
-“But she did what she thought was right, to protect her husband. What’s there to doubt that? She comes across as quite determined.”
-“Determined? You haven’t Googled her yet, have you? Two marriages, a string of affairs, a would-be husband who was almost twice her age…and then a steep climb within News Corp! Do you know that she is already being referred to as the “de-facto diplomat” of NewsCorp, in China? She has also made sure that the two daughters she had with Murdoch get a unknown, but a generous share of this pie!”
-“And you mean to say that ‘whack-in-time at the Pie-cide assailant’ was completely staged as well? To take the attention off Murdoch? To soften the degree of public scrutiny?”
-“Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise me…”
– “What else could possibly be the reason?”
– “There could be several…..loyalty or protectiveness perhaps?’
– “Loyalty? That’s an emotion of the past!”
– “You have obviously forgotten our very own ‘Rajmata’ who guards her husband’s throne as her son graduates through the Gurukul of life, having mastered the art of taking on his harshest critic before he takes hold of the nation’s reins.”
-“Isn’t that loyalty? In her own way, hasn’t she proven her loyalty to the family, to the predecessors and the dead King? She is a Tiger widow, madam, looking out for her cubs’ future.”
-“Now that’s another fine example of a Tiger Wife! She didn’t let the ‘Lewinsky’ episode deter her from fulfilling her political aspirations. She steadily forged ahead, from being an acclaimed lawyer to a highly respected senator; from being the Democratic Party Presidential candidate to now becoming the revered Secretary of State for one of the largest democracies in the world. Here’s what she had to say about herself, “I’ve done the best I can to lead my life … You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life” – that kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?”
-“Right! Both of them are great examples of Tiger Wives, dear. The ‘Tiger’ trait rides high on women who wear the pants. Read this, TIME’s take on the real “Tiger” Wives. Then talk to me.”
A brief pause later, the thread comes alive.
-“Exactly! And that is what makes them stand out and makes them the real Tiger Wives.They are fiercely independent, strong women who simply cannot be put down, be it by a cheating spouse or death.”
The upheaval that the Tiger Wife’s resounding left hook caused will take a long time to die down or be forgotten. The ripples will reach far and wide, resulting in more such conversations, that discuss her life, her nature and the exact ‘reason’ behind her act. Was it loyalty? The knowledge that she would secure a place in his will? Whether the whole ‘show’ was staged to buy public sympathy or was an act of genuine kindness will never be known, nor is important.
The fact is that there has always been and will always be (today, increasingly so) a growing, though grudging respect for strong, courageous women in the world; women who step beyond the role of a consort and take on the role of a fiercely protective partner when times are hard with equal aplomb as the progressive partner when times are good. One who is increasingly a protagonist in her own right; not scared to seek out or eke out her place in the sun, even as she turns to the world and says, ‘C’mon, give me your best shot and then watch when I give you mine!’