28 September 2012

BLOG WITHDRAWN ?? - Help needed

Pakcik was alerted by two visitors that , for reasons beyond my comprehension, Almanar blog had been 'withdrawn' for some time this morning. Luckily someone has kindly helped to reinstate it.  I am worried why this should have happened. What would I do if it is totally irrecoverable?  Can I make a duplicate of Almanar blog as a back-up in case of such an incidence? Will someone, PLEASE, advise me, by email if prefered  - almanar@pd.jaring.my

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

24 September 2012

Pakcik reminisces (Pt 27 ) – The 2nd call

The end of Pakcik’s last posting ( Pt 26 - click here ) promised a separate entry for the second phone call received on the same day. The first, as related in that posting, was from the daughter of my late friend, Datuk Ahmad Badri. The second call was from the daughter of another old friend, the late Datuk Suhaimi.

What a coincidence indeed it was that on the same day two young ladies addressing Pakcik as ‘uncle’, made two similar pleas that Almanar would accept their contributions in memory of her parents, in the first case, and her father in the second. The two families of these two ladies came into Pakcik's life when the two of us, a newly married couple, landed in the small town of Jesselton ( now Kota Kinabalu ) way back in1964. However, like us Datuk Ahmad Badri and his family were subsequently posted back to K Lumpur where our friendship continued, leaving Datuk Suhaimi and family as Sabah permanent citizens.

Special note (1):

Only very much later did  I come to know that the late Datuk Suhaimi, his wife Datin Zainun and the late Datuk Ahmad Badri were friends from their school days in early 1950’s. They came from different schools in Perak and Johore Bahru but were active in Gabungan Pelajar Mealayu Semenanjung (GPMS), during the days of the late Aminuddin Baki.

Time flew and before Pakcik and Makcik realise 
it our 40th wedding anniversary was fast approaching. It was then the sleeping memories of our good times in old Jesselton came alive. The memories of our honeymoon years were too strong to deny a revisit. In short, we decided on a visit to Sabah. To complete the picture we took along our daughter and two of her four children. She had the right to be there because it was there she was conceived, and she was the first to give us the right to be called a family.

In K Kinabalu, many of the old landmarks had gone or been replaced. Many others like the good old Jesselton Hotel were still there. Above all there was Datuk Suhaimi and his family as the icing of the cake.

In brief, it was literally a teary reunion between two long lost families.

Until the end of time

                   Parts of the two families

 Kak Zainun, as we call her, was an exceptional lady.She is an accomplished cook.  We can never forget those years in the 60’s when she used to run cooking classes for young wives from Peninsular Malaysia, and Makcik was one them. She is the owner of the cake shop in town, the Bits and Bites, where one can sit to enjoy her specialties. She has been running this for thirty years. With a number of helpers she has all her cakes and so on prepared in her house which is almost a food factory in itself.  Of our nostalgic visit she managed to wriggle out the reason behind it. True to her nature, knowing that it was our anniversary, a beautiful cake was skillfully prepared, waiting for us to arrive at their home to cut it.


With love from Bits & Bites

Sadly, just about one year after our nostalgic visit Datuk Suhaimi passed away. I will always remember this very dear friend with Al-Fatihah. He has left a family who look at others with compassion. One of his children, a doctor, makes time to take care of cancer patients apart from running her own clinics.   


Special notes (2):

Since the demise of Datuk Suhaimi many parties have approached his family for manuscripts and information on this very special man who dedicated his life unselfishly during his long service in information, radio and TV, beginning in Brunei to follow with a long service to develop radio Sabah during the colonial days to retire as the Director of radio and TV in Sabah. During his days in Brunei he had spells of service with BBC in UK and Australia in the 50’s. I would like very much to write the life story of this great person, inadequately recognised during his life time; a life of loyal public service.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan unytuk kemanusiaan

16 September 2012

Pakcik reminisces (Pt 26 ) - Sempena Hari Malaysia

 16-09-2012 ( Sempena ulang tahun Hari Malaysia)

Two phone calls a couple of days ago brought me back 48 years in time, one year after the birth of Hari Malaysia. It was known as ‘ zaman confrontasi’  ( the confrontation period when Indonesia showed displeasure over the formation of Malaysia.) Newly married Pakcik was sent over to Sabah to look after the operations of the company I worked for. In December 1964 this young couple landed in a quiet and an exceptionally peaceful town called Jesselton. No sooner we landed in the ‘negeri dibawah bayu’ than we learnt that the locals preferred to call it Api Api. The town was so peaceful that cars and houses could be left unlocked and unattended. Car theft was unheard of. But who would want to steal a car when the small town was secured having the sea on one side and jungles and hills on the other?

The process of Malaysianisation began with a systematic departure of expatriates holding senior positions in the state. The posts were initially filled by senior Malaysians officials from Peninsular, then known as West Malaysia, a name proved to be ojectionable in the process of integrating Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak – East and West gave the connotation of people from the West colonising the East.   

Unlike today, Jesselton was then such a far away place across the vast South China Sea. Flying in small aircrafts was expensive. Even making a phone call (via subterranean cable) was a luxury. Serving in Sabah was indeed very much like serving overseas. Away from home the few newcomers from Peninsular found comfort in being close together. The two of us - three a year later - were a part of them.


During our four years in Jesselton I remember Tunku Abdul Rahman’s official visit to Sabah and how the town was decorated. It was an eventful occasion.By then we were a family of three. The mother and her little daughter spent quite a while waiting by a main road junction where Tunku’s motorcade would be passing.

Waiting for Tunku's motocade

There's Tunku coming!

During the four years there we became very close with about a dozen families from Peninsular.  This friendship continued even after our return to Kuala Lumpur. It is sad to realise today that more than half of them have passed away. At this point I need to specifically mention two of them. Datuk Suhaimi, who headed Sabah Radio and Television, chose to remain Sabahan. I am glad that seven year ago we decided to revisit our Jesselton ‘home’ to meet this wonderful family. This time we arrived in Kota Kinabalu, no longer Jesselton! Little did we realise that it was to be a farewell reunion. This month six years ago Datuk Suhaimi passed away. We miss him and will always remember him and family. (Alfatihah for him).

The second family is that of late Dato’ Ahmad Badri of my posting on 14.11.2008 “Hatinya baik ( He had a wonderful heart) –Part 1 (click here). Sadly his wife followed him a year ago, my posting dated 16.09.2011 “ Hatinya baik (She had a wonderful heart) – Part 3 (click here).


Now I come back to the two phone calls I started with on top. The first call was from Rina, a daughter of the late Dato’ Ahmad Badri. The call was followed by an e-mail which she sent on the same day. Here is an excerpt from her mail. 

“ …….. Abah's passing in 2008 ….. Today marks mum's 68th birthday. The same time last year I was by her side asking her to please wake up from the minor surgery she had to remove a tiny growth from her neck. She passed away the next day….. There hasn't been a day that I don't miss Abah and Mummy, Uncle……………”

Datuk and family 

This is an old picture of the late Dato’ Ahmad Badri  and family during our holidays up Cameron Highlands

Rina, a lawyer, is a grown up lady with a family of her own. She realised that her parents did contribute something to Almanar. In memory of her parents she insisted on doing something for Almanar. Indeed she was raised in a family with eyes on certain values.

The gesture touched us both. Of course her parents are being remembered practically daily because Adibah Amin’s Grammar Builder is read in class. It is a general practice that our class begins with Al Fatihah in memory of our valued contributors and parents of orphans present in class.

"Donated by Datuk Ahmad Badri bin Mohamed Basir"

Watch the name of Dato’ Ahmad Badri on the page.


f/n  Of the second phone call, Pakcik will come up with another posting in due course, insya -Allah.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

11 September 2012

Congratulations - Poets among us

Ninotaziz  &  Kaykuala

We are often guilty for taking things for granted, neither appreciating nor giving recognition to what and who we have around us.  Kuman di seberang laut nampak, gajah di depan mata tidak nampak. To be specific I ought to have had the decency to let visitors to Almanar blog know how I appreciate for having the privilege of hosting comments from a number of people who are established in their specific fields.

We have Awang Goneng whom I did refer to on a number of occasions. His two books, Growing Up In Trengganu (GUIT) and A Map of Trengganu are available even in bookshops outside Malaysia. Those who read NST would be very familiar with his column every Sunday. 

And we have Ninotaziz who frequents Almanar. Many already know her as a writer and poet. She specialises in ancient Malay legends. Among her works are Naga – A Legend of Tasek Cini, Srikandi and Hikayat; and is forever busy working on more. I spotted her for the first time when I stumbled on more than half a dozen blogs run by a single lady, an amazing feat. I try to read them all leaving aside the one in French. 
I discovered Ninotaziz

Coming along as a poet writer is one known as Kaykuala whom I address as Hank. This gentleman, who looks for every opportunity to talk of his wonderful days at the famed Royal Military College (RMC), is beginning to show his many talents, one of which is poetry. Hank’s comments are seen against every posting in Almanar, forever generous in giving compliments.


I like poetry but I find it extremely hard to understand how a poet’s mind works. I often say so in my comments against Ninot’s and Kaykuala’s postings whenever their works sound fascinating ; and poor Pakcik cracking his old and overr-workedgrey mattter trying to grasp the meaning in full.

Poets United blog

 Ninot and Hanks have both been interviewed by Poets United  blog (http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/) . Ninot was interviewed on 29th Sept 2010  and Hank on 22nd August 2012 .  Do visit that website to read some highlights of these two poets. Typical of Hank, probably running short of what to say, he tried to pass some credits to Almanar.

I have mentioned three names. I am now beginning to spot a couple of Almanar’s visitors with special talents in Malay poetry. I love reading those poems in their blogs but I can never get anywhere trying as well as they do .

Well done Ninot and Hanks.

        In good time we will highlight our other specialists esprcially in education and medicine - not forgetting accountancy.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

02 September 2012

End of the tunnel ( Pt 18 ) – To hold the fort

2nd Sept – my day, with a humbling thought

I was happy to see Ahmad (not real name). He turned up with a small group of ex Almanar pupils on the second day of Hari Raya. Like his elder sister he attended tuition classes at Almanar.for three years and is now in Form 5 at a technical college.

Before Ahmad left our house I asked how his father was. I had met the latter on a number of occasions. According to Ahmad his father had not been well for some time, but seemed to have recovered somewhat from a life-threatening illness. On hearing that, Pakcik responded that he would drop by on the following day to see the father whom I had not seen for quite a while. Of his sister Ahmad was happy to say that she had just graduated and was beginning to apply for a job.

Has she got a steady someone?” I asked jokingly. The answer was a yes with a gleam across his face.

Kalau begitu tak lama lagi Pakcik dan Makcik terima lah kad jemputan! (In that case it wouldn’t be long before we get a wedding card!)” I quipped.

 Ayah kata kenalah tolong adik adik dahulu sebelum kahwin.( But my father said she should assist her younger siblings first financially before  marriage.)”  

Early the following morning Pakcik was ready to pay a quick visit to Ahmad’s father before the day’s visitors began to arrive. Just as I was stepping out came a short SMS message to say that Ahmad’s father had passed away. I proceeded to his house, nevertheless; but it was no longer a visit to see a sick person.

To see Ahmad and sister crying was hard for me to bear that morning. Looking at his sister I could imagine the words uttered by her father. She had graduated no doubt, but that was not quite the end of the tunnel. Now she has to help her mother hold the fort. Her father’s pension might not be quite enough for the need of the family.

C’est la vie! ( That’s life! )
I had done what I could and now I pray that all would be well for them with Alfatihah for the departed father; and, insya Allah hopefully we would, in due course, receive the invitation card, signifying the end of the tunnel.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan