14 July 2011

Pakcik reminisces ( Pt 19 ) - Truly FOREVER

( A ) The last issue

Thank you and good bye. What a simple headline for a sensational newspaper. And on Sunday 10th July 2011 the curtain fell on the News of the World an old British Sunday newspaper that had survived since 1843 - 168 years in print!

“So what ?” one might ask. Indeed it does mean something to me. It is one of those items in my life that stretch my memory back, this time, to half a century ago.

An innocent young Malay lad was transported away from home to settle in an English home with lads from five other countries but Malaya; from Iraq, South Africa, India, Peru, and a working man from North Ireland. And the landlady who looked after the house and cooked for them was an elderly lady from Scotland, Mrs Robertson, a widow. At first the Malay lad thought at least he had for company a fellow Muslim from Iraq. He had that impression when during their conversation the Iraqi stated the best Arabic text is in the Quran. At the breakfast table came the surprise. The Iraqi seemed to be enjoying his bacon and egg! He turned out to be a Christian. Nevertheless, the atmosphere in the house, called ‘digs’, was one of friendliness. In the morning they trouped out on their bicycles heading for the same college, and every evening they met at the same dining table, the early arrival trying to secure one of the chairs with coal fire burning hot at the back. Oh, what a pleasure it was to come in from the cold to warm the palms of you hands in front of the fire!

It was those early days the Malay lad began to get acquainted with English newspapers. The Times was a heavy reading. But people would steal a look at you if you carried one. The young lad settled for Manchester Guardian, politically known to lean towards the opposition party of that time.

Then on Sundays there was the News of the World. What a paper that was, concentrating and specializing in sex scandals in lurid details. The lad never had that sort of eye-opener back home in Utusan Melayu (in jawi). This was exciting beyond words. However it did not take for him to learn that people read this paper on the quiet but showed expression of distain towards people who read it. ‘Wasn’t this a form of hypocrisy?’ the boy often wondered. Half a century ago, the standard of morality in the mass media was still conservative. So, quite naturally, the lad began to learn how not to show his liking for that Sunday paper. Fold the paper and tuck it nicely in the inner pocket of your overcoat. And every few days or so, flash your copy of Manchester Guardian. That did the trick. That was, indeed, a sign of sophistication in that boy from Malaya, some of whom thought was located in Singapore!

So, on the quiet I enjoyed News of the World, making doubly sure that I showed my liking for Manchester Guardian – but I truly did enjoy both.

It is a shame the paper has to go. But nothing lives forever, I suppose. Even my Manchester Guardian has lost its Manchester.


( B ) The man I knew.

Having freshly seen the end of a ‘great’ newspaper I was saddened to read the demise of a person I used to know well. Raja Aziz Addruse, the three-time Bar Council president. He passed away on Tuesday, 12th July. I have not seen him the last twenty years. The last time we had a chit chat was at the Lake Club when my family used to frequent that very special club in KL.

Raja Aziz was in UK about the same as I was (the time I was enjoying the News of the World ). At the same time my old class-mate of ’55 was also in UK doing his law. The latter was Tan Sri Wan Adnan who showed his brilliance in breezing through his course in two years when others laboured for three. Sadly he passed away prematurely, just one short sure step to take over the topmost post of he judiciary.

In the early ’60, our bachelor days, the three of us used to share a room on top of a shop house on Jalan Traverse, KL. Imagine how close we were then. But our careers brought us adrift, though Wan Adnan, and his family, remained close right to the end.

We shared a lot in common. We enjoyed the same age and were shipped to the same country to study. Today,of the three, I am the only one left behind, to reminisce and say my prayers and AlFatihah in memory of their valued friendship. I no longer need to remind myself that nothing, no one lives FOREVER, in all its majesty and glory.

The much celebrated surah Al Rahman has this to remind me.

“All that lives on earth is doomed to die. But the Face of your Lord will abide FOREVER, in all its majesty and glory” - Dawood

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
Kata orang, bertemu dan berpisah itu adat manusia biasa. Jangan ditangisi apa yang sudah berlalu. (cewah...Brad speaks Malay...) I wish we'll meet someday... soon. Al-Fatihah to your "englandhood" friends. har har har *solemn laughs*

yohteh said...

...Abg. Hassan... a vividly penned down memory...  Al-Faatihah... let us together recite Suratul Rahman... 

Selamat bernisfu Syaaban...

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
It's not so much a time of reckoning as it is a time of remembering. For one it's the good old days and the other, personalities revolving around them. We remember what we did together and at times sharing even a loaf of bread and laughing over them now. We keep track of each other mostly when we meet at marriages or the morbid side of it, at funerals. At all times as Pak Cik had mentioned mindful of extending al-Fateha when needed and when appropriate. And in a little corner of our hearts there is always a place we reserve and treasure for those sweeties who could have been but didn't. Bless them all!

P/S I happened to scroll through my long forgotten gmail a few days ago and there snug in between Pak Cik's message sometime in April. It is now already overtaken by events. I appreciate very much your concern, Sir!

Pak Idrus said...

Pokcik Hassan, thanks for narrating this event, an episode in the lives of folks in their golden age. Like you it is always sad to get a call or heard a news of the demise of a friend especially those who had spend their childhood/youth period with us. But then that is life, for we come and they we go and it would continue on and on for eternity.

Anyway do have a nice day and take care.

sintaicharles said...

Feel so sad about the newspapers and the demise of your friend.
Life in England intrigues me and how great it would have been if I could study in England.

Al-Manar said...


Kalau masih 'mentah' apa yang hendak ditangisi. Tunggulah lima puluh tahun lagi barulah tahu.

Insya Allah we will meet in rain or in shine - but 22/7 to 25/7 will not be home - more weddings out of town. That is the price old folks will have to pay as the young ones cannot do without them!

ninotaziz said...

I can imagine(think) how this feels. I have long wondered what happens if certain dailies go out of print. I am kind of an old soul in that.

I am shocked to hear of Raja Aziz Addruse's passing. Knew him at the Lake Club. In fact he was called upon to chair one of the serious EGMs, I was the Secretary facing 1000 over members. Zafarizam was advising me with Tan Sri Zaki.

It was a difficult time but Raja Addruse steered us through the stormy ride.

I am really saddened to hear that he is gone...al-fatihah.

Al-Manar said...

Sdr Yohteh,

Begitulah kalau dah tua - diselubungi ingatan yang tak munkin kembli. Tahu dok lagu 'Tinggal Kenangan'?

I still cannot figure out the new road, part of the East Coast Highway via K Berang. I ventured into a new road and got nowhere. You will have to show me one day.

Al-Manar said...


I like that subtle reference to ' ..sweeties who could have been but didn't. '.. Oh, I often wonder, Hank, over part of the road not taken.

I notice you are doing fine with your 'Rainbow' postings. I attempted to leave comments but failed. Somehow, I simply cannot get access when the comment format is like the one you have for 'Rainbow', no broblem with the other.

Al-Manar said...

Pak Idrus,

Thank you for coming to share an old man's tale of the golden days. We all have , don't we.

Incidentally, with regard to my 'comment' problem, I am certain there is something wrong with my computer. You have seen my responses to my blog visitors how I have this access problem trying to leave comments. Kaykuala above runs two blogs. I have no problem with his 'Birdhouse' but I cannot leave comment on his 'Rainbow'. I am sure I can get this rectified somehow.
Salaam to Asmah.

Al-Manar said...


There is nothing really intriguing today about life in England, for that matter, almost anywhere else. The world has shrunk. What really intrigues is life in the olden days. If you csn even get durian in London how intriguing can it be today? We could not make phone calls those days.

As you have seen my comments elsewhere, your blog is not he only one I cannot get access into. You happen to use the comment format that my computer has failed to leave comments. Until I get this put right do not surprise to see me emailing you my comments.

Al-Manar said...


I did think of you when I said about meeting arwah Raja Aziz at Lake Club. I was sure that you knew him. On Lake Club, one right thing I did for my three children was to get them admitted as Member's children. They are members of RSGC as well. It is practically impossible to be members of these two clubs, otherwise.

The Star carried the news of Raja's demise with a long write-up about him.

Anonymous said...

learned a lot from almanar-nuri.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

..AK,Al-Faatihah to both THE LATE Raja Aziz though I did not know him but read a lot about the famous lawyer to our late Tan Sri Wan Adnan our SAHABAT KHARIB class 55 you remind me alot of fond memories about him that is why I stated above as SAHABAT because the status is higher then friend.AS you know you and I have alot of stories to relate.ZUL

Hazri Hazmi said...

Al-fatihah..even i never knew about him,but i think he is close to you from the story written.i hope, Sadness flies away on the wings of time.I hope to see you soon too.

Wan Sharif said...

Mmm.. That Malay lad sure take his learning English Language very seriously..especially on Sunday ;).
I am also experiencing departure of loved one and friends I used to know well..
May Allah have mercy and give HIS magfirah to our loved one and those we used to know well..

Al-Manar said...


I am glad you learn something here. Please give us a name or initials that Pakcik can address.

Al-Manar said...


Indeed we have a lot to talk about Wan Adnan. We know the kind of person he was. Semoga rohnya berada diantara yang disayangi Allah.

Al-Manar said...


I am glad to see you around. Hope life is treating you in the hulu there! Next time you come around Pakcik and Makcik expect to see three of you!

Al-Manar said...

Dear Ayah Wang,

Losing someone is a story without end. Our turns will come too for sure.Let's spend some of our busy time preparing for the inevitable.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
I experienced difficulties in posting once. Somehow it rights itself later. Can't think of how to help out' here though.

p3chandan said...

Seronok dengar cerita Pakcik dolu2 menjalani hidup di negeri omputih nun! Saya dolu belajar bahasa omputih ni dengan banyak membaca..tapi tak la terer macam la Pakcik ni. My first English novel I borrowed from British Council Library was Lady Chatterley's Lover! Hahaha..masa tu umor baru Form 1..Sekarang dah senja, memang sedih bila dapat berita pemergian kawan2 satu angkatan> But go we must one day! Kira Pakcik ni panjang umor diberi Allah..Alhamdulillah, mudah2an diberi kesihatan yang baik sentiasa.Amin!

Al-Manar said...

Dear Hank,

Don't worry it may happen to me as well. One day I will probably press something unknowingly that puts things right!

Al-Manar said...


You read Lady Chatterley's Lover was your first novel, was it? The book was banned in England when I was first got there. Only later, 1960,it was finally published there. It was a hit. Such was the standard of morality then. You must have enjoyed the book as I enjoyed the News of the World!

I wonder what was your second book.

Anonymous said...

Complex Post. This record helped me in my college assignment. Thanks Alot

Al-Manar said...


A comples post? I wonder. I am glad if it can help you somehow.

ARZ said...

Salam Pak Cik,

So much history in you, certainly so much to write. I've been M.I.A for such a long period from yr cyberspace. Am still amazed of your ability to recap and recall - a trait of a great lawyer like the late Raja Aziz. You would have made a great lawyer yourself!

Al-Manar said...


My goodness, Ramli. I have been in and out of your site so many times. So much so I had assumed you MIA indeed, somewhere in Ireland or trying record breaking cycling up the Everest - maybe, finishing your book Around the World on Bike

I do hope all is well with you and family.