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


Anonymous said...

Selamat Hari Malaysia Pak Cik. Pengalaman yang begitu berharga dikongsi kepada kami semua.al-Fatihah kepada mereka yang telah pergi.

best regards,
Amir Hamzah

Haslina said...

Al-Fatihah. This great guy (late Datok Ahmad Badri) shared the same name with my late uncle, Dr Badri. He passed away 2 years ago.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
A treasure trove of wonderful times,of national history,wonderful families, of loving care and of a life long relationship through the generations. I care for this story. Shed a tear, a little. Your best ever from the impact it had on me. Waiting for more. Thanks so much for sharing!


Al-Manar said...


Itu cerita lama. Satu hari Amir pun akan dapat cerita masa dulu dulu; umpamanya macam mana berulang alik ke Almanar dibelakang motor ayah yang begitu gigih hantar dan jemput pulang bertahun tahun. Dan hasilnya berbaloi, kan?

Al-Manar said...


Ceritalah tentang keistimewaan Dr Badri. AlFatihah untuk nya.

Al-Manar said...


It is somewhat like your poem writing. Occasionally a bright idea comees from nowhere. That's "ilham" isn't it? If someone were to relate his experience at RMC those distant years wouldn't something stir in your mind? The sketching is improving. I must borrow one or two to bring to life these dull, faded old pictures of my blog.

DBI said...

salam Pakcik,

I feel so sad after 49 year old malaysia, people from semenanjung still feel apprehensive to go working in sabah and sarawak.

i worked in Kota Marudu Hospital in 1996-1998, and that was the happiest moment in my Dr life.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
That is true! A sudden bright spark and in double quick time everything would just pour out. I'm still trying to come to terms with the comments slot on Easel & Colours. It's the new format may be. I'll try again. And please do borrow if you may, any one of them. They're not copyrighted. I've not thought about those matters, really!


Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
My pawrents are contemplating relocating to Sabah now. There's still so much to be done there. har har har *evil laughs*

Al-Manar said...


Kota Marudu had a hospital in 1990's. In 60's we needed a four-wheeled drive to get to Kota Belud to watch buffalo racing on Sunday, and driving beyond that to Kota Marudu was untihinkable. You enjoyed the tthree years in that isolated place. We enjoyed our four years in Jesseltons, some of the best years of our life.

Al-Manar said...


Thank you for the permission.

Al-Manar said...


Sydney to KL and to Sabah - like travelling backwards in time! I admire your commitment. If you are in Kota Kinabalu please email me. I would like you to know the family of my old friend, the late Datuk Shaimi. The family has a dedicated doctor who cares for HIV patients and his wife a super cook having a cake shop in town. Makcik used to attend her cooking classes for Penisular wives in those days.

Email me please of your planned 'hijrah'. We will soon hear from Cat-in-Sabah!

Unknown said...

Dear PakChik,
I do so love to hear/read about peoples' true life experiences. My mother has a treasure trove of those, which she would relate to me from time to time.

GUiKP said...

At the interview in London in the summer of 1986, Henri Lian or the mat salleh asked me "Would you consider East Malaysia?" and my callous and firm answer was "No, it is inferior to Semenanjung". Ans so I began my formative career in Tiram Kimia. Oh what might have been, if not for the folly of youth ...

Al-Manar said...


Indeed you have now the opportunity to share some of them with your visitors.

Al-Manar said...


I can only smile to myself reading what you said 46 years ago. We think it was 'folly of youth'. It was all planned, where you would be most useful to mankind. I often talk of the 'road not taken'. That was one of yours.

I may drop you a line by de-mail.

Anonymous said...

Salam Uncle - it's me,Rina... finally - brave enough to leave you a note J Your writings remind me of Abah - the way the story is told...I have been enjoying your blog for quite a bit now and those were very kind words you said about Abah and Mummy, Uncle. Thank you. .. And that photo! J that was soooo long ago. I was probably four... Now, I am blessed with a wonderful husband and a ten year old son, Ariff.

Back to the photo, I remember those holidays we used to have with Uncle, Aunty and family at Frasers and Camerons. Life was so simple then, as a child... and now as an adult...there are so many things to cope with – and for me especially, there is no more Abah and Mummy to run to for advice and comfort... and to borrow money! hahaha... But Allah has been very kind to me, Uncle, HE has given me a good man... now it’s my poor husband that has to cope with me J.

I was very close to my parents Uncle – I guess the benefit of being the youngest girl and having lived with them for almost forty years. I knew who their friends were and who they were close to. Abah and Mummy often spoke good words of you and Aunty and how they admired the good causes that you and Aunty have been doing and still doing... they had all the intention to visit you and family in Terengganu but I guess somehow didn’t get around to doing it...Insya’Allah Uncle, I will take up that offer you made to me and will make my way to Terengganu one of these days with my family.

It was good to speak to both you and Aunty the other day :) Take good care...

...and Uncle, dont’ stop writing o.k.? you have good followers J



Al-Manar said...


Salaam to the three of you.We are very glad that you tried to contact us. We hope you, Daniel and Ariff will be part of us as your parents and their children were those years.

Driving to KT is not so difficult now except during the long holiday rush. Come any time you can make it.

Our love to you.

Unknown said...

Pakcik, Experience and memories worth sharing. Alfatihah kepada yang telah pergi meninggalkan kita. Semoga rahmat Allah sentiasa mengiringi. Ameen.

Fadhil said...

Thank you Pakcik, for this lovely memory of Sabah. I have only been to KK once before on a business trip. Didn't have the chance to stay longer and explore the country. InsyaAllah, kalau ada rezeki memang saya berniat untuk melawat negeri Sabah ini.

ninotaziz said...

I have visited three times. The first time prompted a discussion with my beloved, when shall we go to Sabah? The second visit had me sending and sms to CfS's Mama, is it true she is moving off to Sabah?

Now, I reflect, how wonderful a gift, a book makes.After we are long gone, the gift shines on - illuminating.

Al-Manar said...


Thank you, Linda. It's nice to know such a little thing is appreciated.

Al-Manar said...


It is a wonderful part of our country but many prefer lands far away. You know our East Coast where life is slower and peoople have more time for you. I take my grandchildren to places like Kuching where they can see differences of the same kind. Of course it is cheaper as ell.

kotastar said...


Thank you for yr update of Jesselton. Now it seems we were 2 yrs earlier in visiting the town flying in from Brunei by the Dakota. (as we were in service in the rich oil state)I guess there were only two main hotels in town then. We booked in at Ang Hotel.Later traveled to Kota Belud and stayed at the beautiful Rest House overlooking Mt Kinabalu. I have pix of the tamu then and will grace this blog one day. yes Tunku Abdul Rahman was busy promoting Malaysia and even was in Brunei several times. Thank you for bringing back the time.

Al-Manar said...


When you finally make the trip, the visit, especially the sight of Kinabalu peak will prompt you to do wonderful things you have not tried before. But do not forget to visit Almanar.

Al-Manar said...


You beat us. The top hotel ( we did not talk of stars for hotels then ) was of course the Jesselton. Another hotel was the Sea View which the local called ( Si biau ).
You must have been 'despatched' to Brunei about the same time Datuk Alias Shamsuddin and the late Mustapha Hj Tahir were 'exiled' to Jesselton and Tuaran (a sunday market kampong) respectively. We rememnber Mustapha (Al Fatihah for him) dearly. For need of some activity to keep himself occupied he bought himself a local breed horse. Alias' family and mine visited him every fortnight to cheer him up. That short, winding stretch took us one whole hour of driving, passing a village we can never forget. It is called 'Menggatal', what a name.

You see we can sit down all night to reminisce. I think Dr DBI above must have driven past these places en route to Kota Marudu.