25 February 2013

Pakcik reminisces ( Pt 29 ) – A very special family

A belated posting

When I passed my Cambridge School Certificate in Terengganu in 1955 and had a chance to join the Higher School Certificate in 1956 I thought I was quite good. At the same time another boy in Perak did the same and had a similar chance. He and I were born in the month of September, the same month but not of the same year. He was born TWO YEARS  later – making him two years younger, a plus point. Adding to his credit he beat me by two years in getting married.

That was where the comparison ended. The rest is history as the divergence in the rate of achievement between us has simply been phenomenal. Today, nevertheless, members of my family enjoy the pleasure of the privilege of having known this very man and his family for forty years. 

He was then an MCS (Malaysian Civil Service, now the PTD) officer, and I an employee in the private sector; our wives were full time domestic managers. I do not remember how exactly we came to know each other. I suspect the normal ladies’ network brought us together. Living in the same vicinity of Damansara Heights/Bukit Damansara area and frequenting the same mosque could be a factor that brought us closer. At one point our homes were on the same road and were separated by a mere couple of houses. That was long before they moved to their new home perched on a cliff overlooking the residential area. Our home was also on a cliff, but half the height.

This gentleman has built a successful family - charity begins at home. That is probably one of the secrets that have enabled him to contribute towards nation building. Over the years we have seen how they raise their children. Their first daughter, for instance, has her own family and is herself a respected medical professor at a premier university. For knowing her since her childhood days we still address her simply ‘Yong’, leaving aside her Datinship, Dr,  professor etc.

Thirty years ago, when we were having a holiday in UK and our Yong had just sat for her SPM examination, we took her along driving around the country, including a trip into the depth of a slate mine in North Wales.

Yong on holiday with us in North Wales (1981)

Yong waiting with us for the memorable ' Journey to the Center of the Earth' -
A slate mine in North Wales ( i981 )

Our visit to see the 'Royal Family' in London ( 1981 )
Two years after their first, the couple had another two daughters, a pair of twins. Only then we had our first, a girl as well - but our one and the only one, Ainun. Naturally, being girls of the same age, they became friends. Making the bond be tween us closer was the years when one of the twins, called Nana, and our daughter attended the same A-Level school in UK. As chance would have it, I was posted to work in London, allowing the two of us to keep an eye on whatever mischief the two girls were up to during their A-Level years. Nana did law and is now a very successful lawyer with her own practice. And now she has a daughter who is studying law in UK, following her foot-steps.

Nana (reclining in front) with housemates of A-level Malaysian students
( 1982/3 )

Nana smiling broadly on her father's , and  housemates in Bletchley
On far left is our Ainun 

Nana’s twin sister, just ‘Jaja’ to us, is the principle, of a well-established private school in KL, and she herself has successful children, one of whom has just graduated in Australia.

                                                                 Jaja with Ainun and Makcik
Lake Toba (1981)

Their fourth daughter, ‘Opi’ to us, is a capable business lady.

Opi with Ainun and Makcik-
Hyde Park Speakers' Corner (1983)

Opi ushered the arrival of the only boy in the family, Ariff, a handsome and very eligible bachelor businessman, and also an accomplished golfer. The talent he showed during his young days earned him a trip overseas, sponsored by his father, for a short golfing course. I would not challenge the father and son even at my best golfing days. I lost many a drink and golf ball to the father. And the son Ariff is in the Professional Golfers' class, one up on his father.

Ariff (sitting) with Amran, our third

Family outing - Mimaland (Gombak) during its hey-day

Ariff and mother (last) and Makcik and Amran
Mimaland ( 1975 )

. __________________________________  

Who among us has not heard of Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid?

That is the head of the family I have very briefly outlined above. His contributions and achievements are public knowledge and have been very well documented. I remember the challenge he faced when he was made to organise and head Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang by the then our Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak.  That was way back in 1973. To me that was where he began to stamp his footmarks. Thence it was leaps and bounds.

Who would not associate this very special personality with the growth of such important bodies as IKIM and PNB?
The greatest privilege for me and my family is that we know every member of his family and have had the opportunity, as friends, to offer our congratulations for his numerous awards, from his first Datukship to Tan Sri and Tun.  

8th December 1962 - 8th December 2012
In December, 2012, the wonderful and successful couple celebrated their GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY, yet again beating me to it with no gurantee for us. An exclusive surprise party awaited the celebrating couple on their arrival from an overseas trip. It was amazing to see what the enlarged members of this family could come up with to entertain the special couple and close friends; playing the role of the Master of Ceremony, giving speeches, handling of musical instruments and rendering of songs, with emphasis onTun’s personal P Ramlee’s favourites. I know it too well the time when Tun started collecting P Ramlee’s tapes from the era of VHS and Betamex taping machines in the eighties. It was not a surprise to med when he began to write his book on P Ramlee.
That evening, while we watched the couple being congratulated by relatives and close friends, we were proud to be among them.

Tun - Pakcik  &  Toh Puan - Makcik
So far and yet so close

To me there is no greater value in a man than his uncompromised integrity and dedication. Perhaps, here, in a very small way, I can hope to detect some room for me to share his values.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Sazilah Ahmad Sarji said...

Uncle Hassan and Auntie Salmah
(Pakcik and Makcik) - you are both VERY special to us. Thank you for this beautiful write up. May Allah bless you and family !

Al-Manar said...


Forty years is more than just a whole life time to many. Do we take lightly a relationship of that length? We value the gives-and takes over the years. What better speciality in life do we expect?

MamaTim said...

wow what a wonderful tribute to a precious friendship. Happy 50th to Tun and wife..

DBI said...

amazing life pakcik..i envy u..

Temuk said...

Semoga jalinan persahabatan antara dua keluarga yang mulia ini berterusan dimuliakan Allah. Memang menakjubkan, sehingga kini Tun Ahmad Sarji, insyaAllah, masih terus menyumbangkan khidmat bakti cemerlangnya kepada masyarakat dan negara.

Al-Manar said...

Mama Tim,

Each and every one of us acquire true friends in life time. That is what life is all about apart from own family, isn't it?

Al-Manar said...


You patients can be your true friends. You are the one I would envy because, in your profession, you are in a unique position.

Al-Manar said...


Some people can rise way above others in their contributions. Isn't that one of the duties expected of us all as Muslims? It is often that we do not equip ourselves enough to perform that. We live to admire others and wonder why we are unable to do that.

Unknown said...

Dear Uncle Hassan & Auntie Salmah,
Thank you for the wonderful write-up! Deeply touched and our prayers are always with your family. Salam & God Bless.

Al-Manar said...

Farah Salizah,

You have featured in our life as one of us and we wish you well.

idris said...

Pak Cik,

It's Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang, not Persatuan.

I admire Tan Sri for his performance as the Chief Secretary to the Govt (KSN). The fact that he bypassed at least 2 officers more senior than him on the way to being appointed as KSN speaks volume of his quality and ability. He was the Secretary General of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (now renamed MITI) prior to becoming KSN. Those officers above him were the Director General of Public Services Dept and Secretary General of the Treasury.

asnah58 said...

Salam ziarah ke blog pak cik

idris said...

Pak Cik,

Sorry, I made a mistake of referring to him as a Tan Sri, when in fact he is now a Tun.

Al-Manar said...

Thank you for pointing out. We make mistake, don't we all?

Al-Manar said...


Terima kasih. Harapnya dapat berkongsi pengalaman hidup.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pak Cik Hassan,

The venues of the first two photos are quite familiar to me. The background of the first photo is the Caernarfon Castle and I guess the second photo is taken at the National Slate Muzeum in LLanberis. Both are within 15 minutes drive from my house. It's amazing after more than 30 years the place still looks very much the same.
On a more important point, semuga Pak Cik, Tun and families senantiasa dirahmatiNya.


Al-Manar said...


Of course you are familiar with those two pictures. Now you will believe that we took Tun's eldest daughter, the Medical professor, to those places long before you!

Thirty years hence you will remember and write about these places.

Many thanks for the wishes,AJ

KotaStar said...

Sdr Al Manar,

Thank you for the recollections.
Yes surely everyone who is anyone must know the contribution of the great man you have come to know closely. Yes we admire his strength and forthright sacrifice to the nation.You are blessed to know the family. Will post nanti several photos of him which I happened to have. Thanks again.

Al-Manar said...


I am not surprised your path and his did cross at one time or another. Thank you for the thought.

Abam Kie said...

I am definitely touched by the friendship shown by both families...till death do us apart!

Al-Manar said...


We all have close family friends. It is nice to sit back and reminisce of the past occasions we enjoyed ourselves together. What is life without friends and relatives?

kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
A friendship so endearing when it transcends generations. It lingers on when the younger ones continue the relationship. Congrats to Tun and Toh Puan on their 50th Anniversary.

PS I'm fascinated with the nostalgic black/white pics

Al-Manar said...


I wish I had your haiko skill to compose something in my posting. You seem to have gone international.

Indeed balack/white photos have that special nostalgic feel. In fact they turn irreversible yellowish after a stage. On the other hand modern techniques can do wonders, the way you have done with your sketches.

Hjh Yun bte Abdul Rahman said...

Pak Hassan,

If I can squeeze in a bit, allow me to say here that Tun Ahmad Sarji was my Anderson School Hostel captain circa 1955.At the hostel I was nicknamed "boomerang" owing to my bowlegged leg. Yes, even at school Tun has shown his leadership properties in him. May GOD bless him and family. Sorry for this late entry.

Khalik Hasan

Anonymous said...

Salam my beloved Pak cik:)

Pak cik, I have not sent you email for a long time, not even leaving comment on your post.
I miss you and Mak cik a a lot. How are you now Pak cik?

I am so busy right now as you know I am now in third year in Medical Course and this year will be the toughest and hardest of all. So many things have to be learned and I have to struggle harder to achieve what I want..hahaha; the killer subjects now are Pharmacology and Internal Disease.

I miss learning English and also other subjects with you Pak cik..I wish you are happy with your new students. In sha Allah I will be returning on 26th of June 2013 and my family will come to Kuala Lumpur to take me home... miss you so much Pak cik..
Moscow is having Winter season now Pak cik and snow is everywhere.. It was so cold to live here Pak cik..haha..the temperature now is around -13. Iwish I were in Malaysia now..haha..

from Moscow with love:


Al-Manar said...


I was very sure you would know Tun during your Anderson School days. Thank you for comfirming this.

Al-Manar said...


It is nice to hear from you. Time sure flies and you are in your third year. I am sure you are just like you were, aiming for the top.

Do not forget to call on us when you are home.

zafi said...

A vintage album with so many wonderful life stories to share! Nice reading and knowing you... I don't know what am I suppose to address you. :D

Al-Manar said...



Work hard today for a future when you will find pleasure to look back.

I am pleased to see you here. Most people address me simply 'Pakcik', sometimes adding Hassan.

zafi said...

Salamz ukhwah pakcik. As requested my email zafi2407@gmail.com.

Yeah hopefully everything goes well with me here. Insyaallah.

Al-Manar said...

Thank you for the address.