Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (10)

Happy 83rd Birthday, Bapak !- April 17 2007
His parents decided to call him "Comel" because he was such a tiny baby and because in those days they believed that calling a newborn by a different name would mean better health, wellbeing, or simply that the child would survive an illness and lived.
And in Abdul Samad's case, it was a matter of life and death. His parents, Haji Ismail Shirazi and Aida Majid did not want to take any chances.
Their baby son must survive because all their four older boys - Abdul Samad's older brothers - had died, either in infancy or childhood.
In those days, it was indeed a case of "survival of the fittest", in its literal sense.
The uncles and aunts I never knew died of diseases which we would, today, consider ordinary, like fever and diarrhoea.
I remember Bapak telling us that one older brother lived only a week or so. Another was about 10 years old when he developed fever and died not long after. Bapak also lost three younger sisters.
Bapak is eighth of seven boys and seven girls.
The surviving children of Haji Ismail and Aida were Fatmah, Eishon, Kamlah, Abdul Samad, Kamaruddin, Salhah and Abdul Majid.
Home was 11 Jalan Yahya, Off Jalan Eunos, Singapore 14. Until the late 70s when Kampung Melayu, earmarked for re-development, was torn down.

In Malay, they'd say that he was loved and nurtured like "di tatang bagai minyak yang penuh".
Comel was Haji Ismail's and Aida's first surviving son. He was adored like he was the prince of the house, nay, the whole kampung.
He was the pet and the jewel of the family.
But his parents did not spoil him, even if his older sisters did.
So loved, sheltered and protected was he, that his parents never allowed Comel out unaccompanied, unchaperoned through his growing years. And that was right through adolescence and the early part of his working life.
He was so precious that every year, his mother would take him to "Keramat Habib Noh" (shrine of Habib Noh, a sufi and revered holy man in Singapore) in Anson Road to have a "doa selamat" performed to seek the blessings of Allah SWT for her beloved son.
The visits to the shrine stopped when he joined Utusan Melayu.
Can you imagine that?

Haji Ismail Shirazi was a former headmaster of Rochore Malay School and later Katong Malay School in Wilkinson Road.
He was a man of great piety, a Malay scholar and a man of strict discipline,
He was tall, a six-footer, and handsome, so I was told.
Haji Ismail whose father, Harun Shirazi Murtadza came from Banyu Mas in Central Java, was also a mystic and an artisan, craftsman and artist, specifically in Islamic calligraphy (Khat).
He designed the beautiful Jalan Yahya house which he built with his own hands. Not a single nail was used to build the house.
He designed the beautiful staircase, fitted with elegant balustrade.
The living room of the house was decorated with some of Haji Ismail's beautiful "Khat" paintings which today can be found in the homes of his living relatives in Singapore and Malaysia.

Aida Majid whose family originated from the north-western Indonesian province of Cheribon (or Tjirebon), was of a more refined Javanese stock than Haji Ismail.
And she was proud of her pure, unadulterated Javanese pedigree.
I remember her sitting in her huge bed in the adjoining living area where a television set was placed against the wall in front of her bed.
All the grandchildren would be sitting around her bed while watching tv.
She was the family matriarch.


Year: 1968 in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Nuraina: Bapak, I would like to buy a swimming suit because I have joined the swimming club.

Bapak: Eh? No, no. You will drown. Withdraw your membership.

Nuraina: But, but....

Bapak: No, no... I will take you all to Changi next time we go to Singapore.


As a young boy, Bapak was deprived of many things a child should be enjoying.
He was never allowed to ride a bicycle for fear that he would bruise himself.

According to Pak Cik Melan (the late Melan Abdullah), Bapak "had never enjoyed a swim in the beaches of Katong Park, Bedok or Changi.
"He could only enjoy a picnic by the seaside or, perhaps, fish in the shallow waters of the beach."
It was, I am certain, for fear that he would drown.

Pak Cik Melan was like an older brother to Bapak. The older brother Bapak never had.
He was a family friend entrusted to take care of Bapak when Bapak got the job in Utusan Melayu.

In a biography, "A. Samad Ismail: Journalism and Politics", Pak Cik Melan was among those invited to write in tribute of Bapak.

Pak Cik Melan wrote:

"He led such a sheltered childhood. He was never allowed to leave the kampung without an elderly relative to accompany him. Even to watch a Sunday matinee at the Garrick Theatre in Geylang Serai or the Queen's Theatre in Geylang, he would be accompanied by an elderly relative or a trusted friend.
When he had to stay back in school - Victoria School in Jalan Besar - he had to go to his brother-in-law's shop in Arab Street who would then see to it that he got safely home.
His mother made all the rules. Samad played the guitar and was a member of his kampung keroncong group. But he had to stay home on Thursday nights (malam Jumaat), could only leave the house after Friday prayers, and whistling or singing in the kitchen was strictly taboo. If he missed fasting for a day, he was the last to have dinner. He was not allowed to wear anything black."

I do, however, remember a story my aunt (Bapak's older sister) told me about how Bapak came home from a fiesta at the beach.
The story was that Comel followed a group of older friends to the beach, unbeknown to his doting parents.
A boy and the sea -- what a fascinating combination! Comel was carried away, playing in the beach and in the water in abandon. Naturally, he returned home late.
Traces of his beach affair were evident and when confirmed that Comel had a fun time at the beach (because Comel did not know how to tell a lie, even a white one), mummy was hysterical.
Her darling Comel could have drowned. Mercy me!
So, to ensure that Comel never repeated that unthinkable act, he was punished. His mother "smacked" his legs and feet.

I could not quite understand why Bapak did not allow me to join my school's swimming club.
I actually disobeyed him and joined anyway. Mak was an accessory.
Although she did not explain why Bapak was adamant not to allow me to learn how to swim, she told me not to withdraw.
"Tak apa. Nanti kita cari swimsuit, ya," she said.
It was later that I found out that Abang Med was also never allowed to go swimming. Neither was Kak Ton nor Kak Olin.
In Abang Med's case, Bapak was protective of him as he was the eldest boy.
Perhaps that was why Bapak encouraged Abang Med in music and guitar-playing as that kept him home!

We were also not allowed to ride bicycles. None of us ever had our own bicycle.
But we did learn to cycle, though. We had our ways. Not at home but in Singapore..
We had our cousins in Singapore to thank for this because everytime we were there for a holiday, learning to ride a bicycle was top priority.

You learn many things from your parents, including what not to be. That was why I made sure my children learnt swimming at a very young age and had their own bicycles to ride!

If anyone else knew Bapak intimately, it was Pak Cik Melan. Here is his story:

"I was A. Samad Ismail's chaperon and companion from the day I met his parents in Kampung Melayu after my return to Singapore from Johore. I became a chaperon under licence from his father and mother, in fact up to the day he became editor of the paper and married Hamidah.

"But what headaches I had with Samad during those days when I acted as his brother, chaperon and companion, especially when he was wooing Hamidah.
I was his chaperon in the strictest sense, his "amah", so to speak charged by his family to look after him. I was simply carrying on a family tradition.
Samad had always a chaperon to look after his whims. And I was his chaperon during the most boisterous years of his life.

"Thus, Samad grew up to be a very obedient boy with pleasant manners, like most children who are their mother's pet.
Samad had no older brothers as playmates. The only man who came close to be his elder brother was the late Haji Samon Haji Dahlan who owned a shop in Arab Street, selling caps and capals and was well-known in Singapore before the war as a social worker. But Haji Samon was too old for him.

"Haji Samon was married to Samad's eldest sister, Hajjah Fatmah before Samad was born.
.... this void in Samad's early life, his almost complete dependence on an elder person to serve as chaperon and companion, perhaps drew him to me.
His mother had wanted very much for Samad to be an ulama like his relative, the late Mas Isom, who had a large following in Singapore before the war.
his mother and sisters laid down the rules for him: Comel must never be allowed to drink..Comel must never be allowed to commit adultery... Comel must never gamble...Comel must never show any disrespect to his elders. Comel means small, or beautiful or darling.
As events later proved, he was neither small, nor beautiful nor darling to most people.

"He proved, instead, to be a veritable bundle of trouble to me. It was quite a list of do's and don'ts which Samad was supposed to observe for the sake of family honour and self-respect. But Samad flouted almost every single rule that was laid down for him."'

Bapak sure broke those rules. Emancipation? Free and unshackled?
Comel , so protected and sheltered, grew to be a non-conformist. A radical, some even say. An enigma to so many. Whatever.

April 18, Bapak celebrates his 83rd birthday. Pak Cik Melan is gone. So have many of his close friends including Pak Cik Tongkat (Usman Awang), Pak Cik Kamal (Keris Mas), Uncle Swee (Lee Siew Lee) and Pak Cik Dahari (Dahari Ali).
We are glad that Bapak still has Pak Mazlan (Mazlan Nordin), Abang Syed (Syed Husin Ali) and Uncle Rajah (Dr M Rajakumar), to name a few.

Mak died in 1990 but Bapak sometimes asks for her. He probably is not even aware that he will be 83 tomorrow.

I remember how distraught he was when Pak Cik Tongkat died some years ago.

"Kawan-kawan aku ramai dah tak ada," he remarked.

Bapak.... Happy 83rd birthday and may your remaining twilight years be wonderful, blessed always by Allah SWT!

(Caricature by LAT in tribute to A. Samad Ismail, April 1986. The words below the caricature say: "Samad telling a joke.")


Kata Tak Nak said...

Somehow while reading this particular installment I pictured one of those 50s malay movies of elite malays nicely dressed up in pressed clothes and pants right up to above the belly button, brylcreamed hair combed to the back and probably cigar smoking. I may be wrong.

I am glad he broke all the rules coz a rebel couldn't be too much of a mama's boy, they just don't jive.

Let me be amongst the earliest to wish A Samad Ismail Happy 83rd Birthday and may ALLAH grant whatever you wish for.

acciaccatura said...

Alhamdulillah, panjang umur Pak Samad. Semoga sentiasa diberkati Allah Taala.

Slimlim said...

Happy Birthday Pak Samad! I only got to know him after his release and upon his return to NST as editorial advisor. The first time I met him in person was when he returned home upon his release. I was the rookie reporter assigned to cover the event. You can just imagine my nervousness to record the event of an awesome man -- getting everything right, 'cos the man larger than life gonna read it. Oh, his reputation precedes him!

May you be blessed Pak Samad with good health, peace and happiness always.

the Razzler said...

Happy 83rd Birthday, Pak Samad & many many more... May Pak Samad be blessed with good health, peace and happiness always .. :) :)

Kak Ena .. blessed you & family, too!!

I had goose bumps while reading your posts!! It was most heart warming .. :) :)

twb compiler said...

New to TWB? Missed a couple of issues? No problemo...click here to read all the issues in one convenient location.

Athene said...

happy birthday to pak samad, may he lives longer than my grandfather who is currently 107. they don't make people like them anymore, these last of the great men.

syed syahrul zarizi said...

Kartun klasik, solid gold!

Allah Selamatkan Pak Samad! Semoga murah segala-galanya.

QueenB said...

Selamat hari jadi, pak samad. Moga-moga panjang umur dan sihat sejahtera.
Banyu mas and cheribon - interesting; must trace my family tree on my mother's side - kendal in central java, i believe

ewoon said...

Happy Birthday, Pak Samad, and many happy returns of the day!

i remember, too, that when i was young and a scout, my mother would never allow me to go camping where a large pool of water is involved. She is paranoid that i may drown because she saw my grandmother (her mother) being washed away in a flood in Kota Tinggi and suffered her fate.

But i made up for lost time when i was able to be responsible for my own well-being. i know how to swim yet i fear the sea because my over-active imagination plays trick on me.:-)

Fauziah Ismail said...

Happy Birthday to Bapak.
Thank you for "sharing" Bapak with all of us.

jorji said...

Semoga dipanjangkan umur,dimurahkan rezeki dan diberi kesihatan yang lebih baik.

My bapak is 82 and sikit-sikit sama la jugak 'control' nya.semua tak boleh! heh...dulu la..now,dia lebih rilek sikit.

shar101 said...

Happy birthday to your dad, Nuraina.

Mine hit 83 on 24/11/06. And to him, I'm still his little kid.

I've got to check with my mum on some of the names you mentioned because Kampung Melayu, Geylang, etc sounds very close to my early years. This was where my dad's mother was residing. Mum's mother's place was in Burmah road, a stone's throw from New World Park.

Lastly. Wah! You also got compiler fan ah! Like MarinaM. Saves you the trouble of doing it yourself eh.

raden galoh said...

Selamat ulangtahun yang ke 83 Pak Samad...Semoga Pak Samad sentiasa di bawah perlindunganNya.

Yayy...I'm proud to be Javanese too Kak Ena...

That mee rebus session is at what time ya?

J.T. said...

Happy Birthday Pak Samad. May God shower his abundant blessings on you.
Reading this brought back memories of my late father's stories of his childhood in Taiping.
Thanks Nuraina.

mekyam said...

Selamat Ulang Tahun, Pak Samad!

Absolutely charming entry, befitting a moniker like Comel! ;D

Love every bit of it, especially the Melan Abdullah's snippets.

LOL @ "As events later proved, he was neither small, nor beautiful nor darling to most people."


One a more mundane note, it amazes me to know that many Malaysians cannot swim, in spite of our land being surrounded by the sea. What irony if overprotectiveness is the reason since swimming should be considered a life-saving skill.

Typhoon Sue said...

Happy Birthday Pak Samad.

sang diva said...

Kak Aina, I've been reading TWB since the 1st post, but today's ones made me choked with emotion. Please tell Pak Samad, Happy Birthday from me

Kak Teh said...

Happy Birthday pak Samad . May Allah bless you and your family. I would have loved to be there and kiss yr hand on this special day. Am sure ena and kak ton and all yr loved ones will make this a memorable and happy day for you.

Jane Sunshine said...

A very Happy Birthday to Bapak!!! Love all the snapshots of Singapore in the 50s and thank you for sharing Bapak's stories.

Rocky's Bru said...


I grew up in the Singapore of the Sixties. Our kampong (yes, Singapore was kampong then!) was on the other end of the island and West Coast Road, the main coastal road linking Haw Par Villa and Jurong in the west, was more like a backlane by today's standards. I was familiar with Changi, Katong, Jalan Eunos, and Bedok. Apart from Changi, Pasir Panjang, just two miles from my kampong, was a great place for picnics. Both Changi and Pasir Panjang have been reclaimed now.

When it was high tide, parts of West Coast Road would be under water. The kampong houses were built on stilts and there were wooden walkways, also built on stilts, to make sure that you could still "walk" home if the tide was in. Kids at the kampong learnt how to swim before they could walk.

They grew up and heart stories about Pak Samad but in school (primary in late 60s and secondary till 77, in my case) we did not learn about this great man. In Sec 3, the novel we had to critically appreciate for Sastera was Samad Said's. There is a secondary school named after Yusof Ishak, the first President of the Republic and a colleague of Pak Samad's near our kampong. But as far as I know, no road in Singapore is named after your dad. No school was built as a tribute to this man once so feared by Lee Kuan Yew and Ghazalie Shafie.

Your account on Samad the mama's boy exposes another part of the man whose intrigues remain, er, intriguing. I had the same images that "Kata Tan Nak" described.

Too late for me to model my son after Pak Samad, though. The boy, who is 12, does 20 laps of free style easily and fell from his bike more times than I would care to remember.

Happy birthday Pak Samad.

The Ancient Mariner said...

Happy Birthday to Pak Samad. Semoga sihat walafiat dan ceria selalu.

My late father would only be a couple of years older, had he been alive today.


kata tak nak: thank you. hmmm. elite Malays nicely dressed-up...
i remember a photo of my datuk. he as wearing a songkok, a short-sleeve singlet in a srong kain pelekat, held snugly by a thick belt. Was it a money-belt? Yep.. it was taken in front of his house. And I'm not sure if he smoked ...
now i am curious, because bapak is smokes sampai hari ni...
can't stop him. we couldnt make a deal with him on that.

Accia: Thank you, sis. Insyallah..

the razzler: thank you so much.

Athene : thank you. wow...107 years old? that's really something. is he still strong? ok? wow!

Syed Syahrul: Terima Kasih. Ribuan terima kasih.

QueenB: Thank you. Kendal. Yes I know Kendal. and yes, you should trace your family line.
we could be related!

Ewoon: Thank you, eric. Oh dear... i am so sorry to know about your grandmother. No wonder, your mum was paranoid about you drowning.
But, good that you learnt how to swim.
Most people fear the sea, eric. I am one of them.


SlimLim: Thank you, KL. Yes...I remember you at our house to cover my dad's "homecoming". You were waiting for quite a while. We had coffee at the dining table. coffee after coffee. I was sure you wre going to be zombied after that..
Yeah.... i remember.

Fauziah : thanks. fauziah. that's what blogging is about...allowing us to share our experiences, our journey.

Jorji: Terima Kasih.
macam tu-lah orang tua kita. bila dah tua, rilek sikit... dah tu, dengan anak2 kita diorang spoilkan, manjakan.. dengan kita dulu, alahai, tegas-nya.

Shar101: Thanks, Shar. And a happy belated birthday to your dad.
please ask your mom. i am sure she'd remember the names of those places in singapore.
on the TWB compiler...i hope he is reading this...
some people feel that the "book" looks like a text-book. they like it but wish that they book looks snazzier, whatever that means.

raden galoh: thank you.. Moga2 diberkati Allah.
Yes, we should all be proud of our heritage and origin... that makes us who we are.

JT: Thank you, JT. how about sharing with us your story. it would be lovely.
You know, these days, when I look at old photographs or read stories about yesteryear, i really get all misty-eyed and nostalgic as well as melancholic. because I know that all that is in the past. but well.... we have the future.
(I think it is old age)

This comment has been removed by the author.
sesat said...

Selamat Ulang Tahun yang ke 83 Pak Samad, semoga panjang umur dan sehat walafiat.


mek yam.
thank you. you know how shocked people were to find out that bapak was called comel by his family?
"comel? Comel?... tak comel pun..." i never took offence because honestly, bapak was not comel.
ask kak teh. she remembers how the words he uttered would turn the office blue.

on your mundane note: i am amazed as well. but i think today's parents are different. they see the value of sending their children to swimming lessons. knowing how to swim can save your life....many of the drowning victims here could have saved their own lives if they had known how to swim.

zainul said...

Hey Nuraina

One of the first things that came out of your dad's mouth when he saw me, then a rookie on my first day at NST, was a four letter word.

Great, I said. I can work with his man. He does not stand on ceremonies.

At 83, it is too late to tell him to quit cigarettes. Let him enjoy what he likes.

Happy birthday, Pak Samad, and God Bless.


typhoon sue: thank you, sue..

sang diva: thank you.. Insyallah, Insyallah, Kak Ena akan sampaikan kepada Bapak.

Jane Sunshine : Thank you. Thanks for visiting and dropping a line. Oh, the 50s..I remember so many things..

Kak Teh : Ah... thank u, Ah. Nanti kalau ada rezeki, kita boleh happening lagi..

Ancient Mariner: Thank you, Captain.
Sorry to know about your dad. Dah lama arwah meninngal?


you know so much more about singapore than I do...you're a malaysian who grew up in singapore. I was singapore-born but lived (nearly) my entire life in Malaysia. But, of course, we are both Malaysian. I got my citizenship in 1971.

Hey, bro. No way you would want to model your son after my dad in that department... hahahaa.

one thing all Bapak's children learnt --- was never to be overprotective when it comes to swimming and riding bicycles.. although I must say that, i forget sometimes.



Ordinary Superhero said...

Salam ulang tahun kelahiran untuk Pak Samad. Semoga sentiasa diberkati Allah sentiasa.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Give the man a break. Instead of coaxing him to stop smoking (what an evil thought) why not buy him a cigar once in a while.

My wife and children tried many times but now they realise that nicotine and also cafeine is an intergrated part of me. I need my nicotine and cafeine fix to keep me going.

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

"But Samad flouted almost every single rule that was laid down for him."

If Bapak flouted the rules laid down for him, I guess I too flouted the rules he laid down for me. Well, at least some of them anyway.

Rule #1:
No swimming!

This was probably one of the most frequent rules that I broke. Our cousins were often my partners in crime - when we went down to S'pore for the holidays, I'd go with my cousins to Changi and spend a good part of the day there - swimming and smoking (though smoking never really caught on with me - and I never was a real smoker).

Some years later, when PJ had its first public swimming pool (near the A&W drive-in) in '64 (I think), I became a regular patron. Swimming is one of the few physical exercises that I enjoy.

Rule #2:
No bikes!

Yeah, sure. There was no way Bapak could have prevented us from riding a bike. All the kids in Jalan Yahya could ride. And our relatives had houses with big compounds beckoning us. However, riding a motorbike was a big no-no for me. I didn't break this rule, but Kamal did.

Rule #3:
Stay at home!
"...Bapak encouraged Abang Med in music and guitar-playing as that kept him home!"

Actually, it had quite the opposite effect. I regularly sneaked out to play with my band at parties and concerts. Everyone in the family, except Bapak, knew...Mak, Kak Ton, Kak Piah - they all covered for me. It was a conspiracy, if ever there was one. Kak Ton should remember.

One time in 1964 (I was 14), my band was to play for a concert at the Chinese Recreation Club in Seremban. In those days, travelling to Seremban wasn't a 45-minute affair, so the Seremban gig meant I was going to be home really late. Big problem. So we (Mak and I) had to rope in Mak Busu, who happened to be visiting that day. To avoid telling Bapak that I had a gig in Seremban, Mak had to say that I was staying with Mak Busu in Sect 11 that night.

Yup, it was a conspiracy, and everyone was in it except Bapak. The conspiracy worked well most of the time. Except on one occassion, when I was caught. Here's a blow-by-blow account of what transpired.

(This was sometime in 1966. I had just returned home from playing at a house party. I went to my room, which was separated from the rest of the house by the kitchen. The lights were on, which I thought was odd. I opened the door...and there was Bapak waiting for me.)

Bapak: Where have you been?
Me: House party, just down the road. Petaling Garden. My band was playing.
Bapak: Do you know what time it is?
Me (looking at my watch): Umm, 2 something.
Bapak: Why are you so late?
Me: We had to return the amplifiers to Section 12 and drum set to Section 6.
Bapak: In the first place, why didn't ask me for permission?
Me: Because permission wouldn't have been granted.


Is there a moral to this story?

Dunno. There probably isn't. But if there is, it's quite likely this: those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Or maybe, this: the errors of the father is oft reflected in the triumphs of his offspring. Whatever.

Happy birthday, Bapak.

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

I wrote: "This was probably one of the most frequent rules that I broke."

Should have been:
"This was probably one of the rules I broke most frequently."

elviza said...

Kak Ena,

Happy birthday to Bapak. Thanks for sharing him with us

GOod bless your family


Thank you, my dear.


abu Rabu (Abang Med),

Hahahaaa... now that you've mentioned it. I REMEMBER those times you sneaked out to play in gigs. You were always wearing a coat or something like that. at least that's how i remember it.

Was your band The Dynamite, Time and Tide or, er, er Strollers (heheheh)?


zainul: Alamak. How can I forget? You know him. He did that to shock you. Thanks.

Sesat: Thank you.

ordinary superhero" super thank u

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...


Different times, different bands:

- The Dynamites (with the Dynamite Dancers, can you believe it? However, the dancers (girls) were older and more experienced in the ways of the world than I was)
- Beat Syndicate
- Time and Tide
- Tidewater Blues

I was never with the Strollers.

kak ton said...

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

Actually, it had quite the opposite effect. I regularly sneaked out to play with my band at parties and concerts. Everyone in the family, except Bapak, knew…

It was a conspiracy, if ever there was one. Kak Ton should remember...


Yeah, how we threw the blanket over your “bantal peluk” to make it looked as if you were sleeping in case Bapak peep in to check you out. You were lucky it worked most of the time except for that one occasion.

But we believe in this code of honour: A Good turn deserves another.

We covered for each other (at least you & I because the rest, Olin, Edah & Ena, were too small then).

A couple of times you covered for me when I was supposed to be attending tuition on a Saturday night, but actually went to a party.

But Med, PLEASE leave out the details - don’t have to tell the whole world about it here.

And how old was I? A mere teenager of 15. Lol! We, well to be more precise, I started young, didn’t I?

Mak must have heaved a sigh of relief when I finally met Abang Ani - which meant no more parties & I was more focused on my studies.

Poor Mak! What a responsibility ...having to handle a handful of teenagers (two at the time)and many more later!

Fauziah Ismail said...

Congratulations! You have won a Thinking Blogger Award. Please collect your blog-sticker and list of rules at my blog!'

samado said...

Pak Samad deserves a Tun more than all the Tuns except Mahathir. Really. I say, give him the Tun-ship. Not for his sake but for the sake of the title "Tun".

And can we have something collosal and significant named after this great man, please.

I suggest we re-name Menara KL as Menara Pak Samad.

KL Tower is such a silly name, anyway.

Or re-name the New Pantai Expressway as Samad Expressway. I'll be happier to pay the extortionate toll rate if it's named after this man.



i almost didnt want to publish your comment. but just becos i had ambivalent feelings about your comment does not mean that i should reject your comment...
so i published it in the name of freedom of expression.

why ambivalent -- becos you used a nickname. honestly, i didnt want readers and other bloggers to misunderstand and misconstrue.

titles...never important to Bapak. even we, his kids forget that he is a tan sri. which suits us fine. at this point in his life, Bapak too.
... KL Tower sounds good to me.
so too new pantai expressway.

but samado, thank you.

Cheryl said...

Well, no crying or sobbing for this installment.

But what a revelation. There's a lot about your father and your family that's quite rivetting to read.

However, I feel short-changed...you left a cliff-hanger last week, and you skipped a chapter for this week!

Anyway, Happy Birthday Pak Samad

MARIANI said...

Kak Aina,

Thank you for sort of reminding me of your Bapak's birthday. I completely forgotten. Very bad of me, right?

Kak Aina,

Nak action sikit... Kalau your, TWB. Mine will have to be TWyB. I pun pernah spent Tuesdays with your Bapak. Seronok macam attend History class (walaupun masa sekolah dulu tak minat History). During the short period that I spent with him, Tuesday was the day to prepare for his column - Bila Sauh di Labuh. Siap ada Q&A session between the two of us. Of course the questions were from me.

Anyway, please send by best wishes to him on his birthday. Hope that this birthday is the best he ever had and many more to come.

Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong said...

Dear Miss NAS,
Salam dan Ucapan Happy Birthday to Bapak.
I saw Metro yesterday of A Russian Lady who won best Orator in BM oration contest ,when was asked to name her fav malaysian author ,gave Mr Samad Said.
His thoughts trangressed borders ...such a great man.
Thanks for sharing him with us,He is a Bapak to a Nation!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,
Please wish Bapak a happy birthday, with many more to come, good health, more cucu and cicit. Semoga di berkati dan dirahmati ALLAH. Give "Comel" a peck on the check from all of us (if makcik doesnt mind). Muah muah

Rubiah Ariff

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena

Salam untuk Pak Samad dan semoga Allah panjangkan umurnya.

To you, thanks again for this beautiful piece semoga Allah panjangkan umur you, so that you can tell us more about you TWB.

Take care

Nani-Big Apple

Anonymous said...

Dear Madam

Our Happy Birthday to your Comel. May Allah bless your Comel and the rest of the family.

Michael and Nani
Big Apple

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Sis Ena
To love Pak Samad is to know the man. We now know more of this legendary/iconic figure. Thanks to you and others for sharing the insightful stories which paint a vivid picture (albeit, still incomplete) of him. By all accounts, he is certainly larger than life. To Tan Sri A. Samad Ismail, we Malaysians love you and wish you long life. Semoga kehidupan Tan Sri terus diberkati Allah SWT.


Semoga Pak Samad diberkati Allah SWT.

Anonymous said...

clark gable of pulau duyung,

A correction here.

I think you are confused over the two names.

Samad Said, the novelist, is NOT Samad Ismail, the journalist.

Samad Said, however, DID work under Pak Samad (Ismail) who was his boss in Berita Harian in the 60s and early 70s before the Malaysianisation of the NST.

Pi Bani said...

Happy Birthday to Pak Samad. May Allah bless him always!

samado said...

My apologies if I seemed uncouth to you, suggesting the Tun-ship and that monuments are named after Pak Samad. I made them - the suggestions - out of the deepest respect for the man and out of fear that he would be forgotten.
Look at another great man in my books - Dr Mahathir.

Look at what they are trying to do to bury him before his death.


A M Ubaidah S said...

I hope you don't mind my own tribute to your dad, which I shamelessly plug...


Anonymous said...

Nuraina wrote in episode TWP (9)...

"Next time, we follow Bapak's car, ok?"

No, it was not a question.

Please dont keep us in suspense.

What happened? Did your brother Hamed trail the car?

Agree with Cheryl. You left a cliff-hanger last week.

Your kak ton, how old was she when she met her Abang Ani. From what I've read in TWB, he is her husband. Right?


kak ton: hahaahaa... i remember, i remember.. and don't you remember that i was the reporter tak bergaji?

cheyl & anon at 6.15am: Thank You. And on the cliff hanger. Acutally I wanted to continue and end the suspense. but seeing that it coincided with Bapak's birthday, i decided to give a different take. But rest assured that i have not forgotten that. Thanks again.
Also on Kak Ton and Abang Ani -- they met while both were in secondary school. Lama, kan?

Mariani: Thank you, Mariani for still remembering Bapak. And Insyallah I will sampaikan salam mesra you.

aMiR: Thank you for visiting Jalan Sudin... And for the best wishes to Bapak. And for the little "tribute". Thank u.

Michael & Nani (Big Apple) : First of, I am deducing that Nani is the same solo Nani of Big Apple. SO therefore Michael is with the same Nani who I now know is not solo. Thank you, both of you.

Indur: Thank you, Rosli.

Clark Gable: Thank you. Only thing is Bapak is not Samad Said. He is Samad Ismail.

Rubiah: Thank You! Oh.. boleh sangat. Mak Cik tak marah.

Pi Bani : Thank you, Pi.


Samado : Oh dear...i didnt think you uncouth for suggesting that. not at all.
In fact, I thank you.
I know your intention is sincere.
I know what you mean, about people forgetting the contribution of leaders like Dr Mahathir.
That's ok, you know, as far as my father is concerned.
Like Dr Mahathir -- those who have forgotten him are those who really don't matter to him or the rest of us who remember him.

Thanks again, Samado. I appreciate your thoughts.



Of course, I don't mind. In fact, I thank you so much. That was nice of you.
I have gone to your blog and left a little "thank you" note.

I made a print-out of your posting to show to my dad.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena

Tu la sapa suruh Michael kahwin dengan journalist so sekarang ni kena la tempiasnya. I yang introduce TWB dekat dia so sekarang both of us ada date setiap Monday nite dengan you.

So I am not alone berdating dengan you tau, bersama partner now.

I recommended a few books and blogs so that he can understand more about our people, history, culture and whats going on in Malaysia so that nanti bila kita dah bersedia nak balik Malaysia, at least dia dah tau serba sedikit.

Take care Kak Ena, and cant wait for next Monday nite.

Nani-Big Apple


Untunglah Pak Samad, anak2 beliau kuat agama, bahkan mengamalkan agama.

Saya suka Pak Samad ni, sebab dia ada pendirian.

Sekarang faham2 sajalah.

Everything is about money.

Semoga Pak Samad sentiasa mendapat petunjuk dari Allah SWT.

A M Ubaidah S said...

Thanks for feedback Kak. So amended on my blog.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Sis Ena
In his tribute to Pak Samad, a m ubaidah s concluded:
Memang penuh ilmu dan teladan Pak Samad
I trust you will include this episode - Pak Samad's timely reminder to Pemuda UMNO - in TWB. With or without sex, TWB is sexy.

BigDogDotCom said...

Happy Birthday Tan Sri and great story, Nuraina.

Now, when you think of swimming, think of me, BigDog! I have amassed so much weight, I am so unsinkable!


Story time. In 1994, I took a scuba diving short course and I dived. In a few places. I loved it. Then I got married in 1995 and that was that.

In 2001, I wanted to dive again. So I went to a refresher course in Kelana Jaya. In the pool, the instructors gave me ALL the weights they got with them. Almost 80lbs of lead was strapped all over my body. So went I went underwater, I just only managed to hover 5 feet below the water line. I can't go any deeper, despite the weights because I am so buoyant!


No wonder my darling daughter calls me, an aircraft carrier, when I lie floating on my back in the pool!


People, folks, sisters and brothers,
I am sorry three caricatures of Bapak have appeared. that is because something strange happened earlier. The original caricature DISAPPEARED. I panicked. I thought my blog has been hacked. I tried to reload it three times. Nothing happened. Got help from Abang Med. Then, after going through the processes --- my three attempts had actually been coded. ANd then the 3 images appeared. Now I am working out a way to remove two of the images. Abang Med is not familiar with windows vista. But he said he'd help me.

Sorry, again. Don't mean to scare y'all with these images of bapak.


Hey BigDog,

Hi and thanks for the wishes.

Hahahaaa...Next time i need help staying afloat i will call you!

prufrock said...

Anon said: "Samad Said, the novelist, is NOT Samad Ismail, the journalist."

Samad Said he may not be; but a literary figure he certainly is. Samad is revered as such within the Malay literary circle and is spoken about in the same breath as Usman Awang, et al. Those who offered Malay Lit in the Cambridge School Cert circa 1961/62 will remember grappling with Samad's short stories in Mekar dan Segar, an anthology of short stories which formed one of the texts for the exam.

But students of politics will remember Samad as the one who gave PAP its Malay acronym, Petir (Partai Tindakan Rakyat). Thus the bolt of lightning that makes PAP's symbol. And of course legend has it that LKY owes his impeccable command of Malay and his prowess with Jawi to a certain Utusan Melayu editor by the name of Samad Ismail. Personally, I was told (by Samani Amin who was then Berita Hairan news ed after Mazlan Nordin went to Bernama to be its Chief Ed) that Samad would have been named the first President of Singapore (no disrespect to Yusof Ishak) had he not fallen out with Harry (as far as I could recall, Samad had always referred to Kuan Yew by his Christian name; a throwback to the time when LKY was Samad's counsel when the whites nabbed the intrepid nationalist and stuffed him into Changi without trial).

But of course his persona as the journalist par excellence is the more familiar one with the younger Malay crowd. The old boys and girls of NST would look upon the Siew Yee/Samad combination as one master complementing the other. And it was an open secret that Samad was Razak's confidante whose second opinion was very much respected by the then DPM when the latter made the rounds in Africa to counter Soekarno's anti Malaya diatribe in the light of the international acceptance of Malaysia as a sound and viable proposition. And his analyses of the hustings during the 1974 gen elections were, I have no doubt, useful to Razak who was facing his first big test after having coerced all the poli parties that matter into the Barisan.

So, let us leave Seri Lanang, Perak, Mutahir and their ilk to enjoy playing Tuns. Let us recognise Samad for what he really is -- a towering Malaysian.

(If any of this has already found light in Nuraina's earlier postings, I offer my apologies for the repetition. You see, I have only just found out about her blog and when I chanced upon her the other day I asked her about it. And today is the first time I read 3540 JS.)

Many happy returns of the day to you, sir.

Anonymous said...


It was not my intention to show any disrespect to either Samad Said or Pak Samd when I wrote: Samad Said, the novelist, is NOT Samad Ismail the journalist.

Just wanna say that they are not the same person & those who are not in the know often get confused over the personalities they are referring to.

prufrock said...


I'm sure you did not show disrespect to my sifu, our sifu if I may be so bold as to be presumptuous. Neither was I trying to be clever by half! I was merely trying to make the point that Samad Ismail means many things to many people; what with his three public persona apart from being an absolutely fabulous father (as I understand it from Maria.) And one hell of a great boss, his p word notwithstanding as he sauntered around the newsroom in his signature cardigan.

If I sounded judgemental, I apologise. It was not meant to be because I do not judge people as Allah SWT made me (as He did and as He does of humans) less than perfect. So take it easy old chap, cheers.

prufrock said...


I'm sure you weren't being disrespectful to either of the two. I was merely trying to bring to focus the many persona of Samad Ismail. He means many things to many people. My late brother thought of him as a great guru who taught him the rudiments of prose and poetry. I think of him as a sifu without any peer as he tried to drum into my thick head how to write crisp inverted pyramid stories with scintillating intros.
His 'p' word notwithstanding as he sauntered around the newsroom in his signature cardigan, Samad was on all counts a great and sensitive boss as is he a wonderful and fabulous father, from the stories that I heard from Maria.

But, if I sounded judgemental I apologise from the bottom of my heart. It is not me to be so; for I know that Allah swt created me far from perfect. If truth be told, I'm very well aware of my warts!

So Anon, in the words of today's youth, chill out man. Go forth in peace, old chap. Cheers.

J.T. said...

Nuraina, it is no scare to me. In fact, the three pictures makes a statement as to who Pak Samad really was in his day.
In any case, Pat and I also had some problems with our the pictures on our blogs this morning. They disappeared and Pat asked me what happened. I could not figure out why. I did not do anything and waited. The graphics came back later. Very strange. I thought that someone had hacked the blogger system or something.

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

Ena wrote:

"kak ton: hahaahaa... i remember, i remember.. and don't you remember that i was the reporter tak bergaji?"

What Ena meant was that she was a snitch who ratted on her elder sisters...totally in character and well on her way - at the tender age of 6 or 7 - to being a professional reporter.

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

I read your article to papa this afternoon while he was relaxing and having his "rokok". He had a good laugh and agreed to the story of his childhood (he went on to say "betullah tu, betullah tu")

After I read the comments and of those who wished him happy birthday, he was elated and said "Bilang kat dia-orang aku kirim salam and thank you".

Then he went to bed to have his afternoon nap.




That is the most detailed and intimate account of Bapak so far. I gather you must have been a journalist during his time.
Thank you for the touching tribute.


Au Rabu (Abang Med),

Alamak... i wasnt a snitch. i was honing my reporting skills-lah.
i only ratted on Kak Ton. She made good subject because she was always on the phone, always bergaya infront of the mirror, always looking out the window for Abang Ani to past by on his scooter.

ok ok.... enuf. nanti kak Ton marah.


J.T : Really? It happened to you and Lady patsy? I wonder whether there were others whose blogs were affected.

Anyway,I managed to remove th other two with Abang Med's help.

Thanks, JT.



I'm glad you got to read the print-out I made of this TWB segment and told him of the people who wished him well on his burthday.



I'm glad you got to read the print-out I made of this TWB segment and told him of the people who wished him well on his burthday.

mekyam said...

nas: Alamak... i wasnt a snitch. i was honing my reporting skills-lah.


I feel almost embarrassed to admit this (like admitting to the guilty pleasure of eavesdropping), but I love reading the eloquent banter of Pak Samad's progeny in Jln Sudin's comment boxes as much as following the TWB. :D


To Prufrock,

Lovely comments and awesome writing. But more than that, your nick will surely get me rummaging for my TSE when I get home today. Aaaah... mems!

kak ton said...

Ena said...
i only ratted on Kak Ton. She made good subject because she was always on the phone, always bergaya infront of the mirror, always looking out the window for Abang Ani to past by on his scooter.

ok ok.... enuf. nanti kak Ton marah.


Woi! Jangan basuh linen kotor di khalayak ramai-lah! Lol!

Sekarang tak marahlah. Tapi masa tu macam nak cekik-cekik awak every time you threatened me with “nanti Ena cakap pada Bapak budak naik skuter merah tu lalu depan rumah!” (that boy on the red scooter, by the way, was Abang Ani).

Hey, but I got my revenge, sweet revenge, (unfortunately Olin and arwah Edah got hit too) a few years later.

Remember I caught the three of you having a party (some party it was)in the house while Bapak & Mak were away in Singapore?

Of course I had to tell Bapak what you all had been up to while he was gone.

Padan dengan muka korang!

As a punishment you guys were exiled to Kuala Kubu Bahru to stay with me (ha ha ha...WITH me in MY house) the following weekend for holding a party without his consent.

Med, you werent around. You were still studying in Australia.

Mat Salo said...

Kak Ena, I know it's belated, silly and insensitive of me - but please include me in your birthday tribute to your wonderful BAPAK.

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena

This is getting interesting.

What sort of party did you & your two other sisters have? Was it at nite?

Why did Pak Samad punish you and your sisters by sending all of you to stay with Kak Ton?

And why to Kuala Kubu?

I'm kinda curious.


anon 1:38am:

Alamak...That one very old story. that was the first and last time we held a party without my parents' permission. I think it was 1970.

Kak Ton was so not sporting then.
She ratted on us after she came to our house at about 8.30pm and saw some boys there and the party was in full swing -- music and all. But, you know, quite innocent, actually.

Bapak and Mak were in Singapore. We didnt expect Kak Ton and Abang Ani to drop by.

She was very angry. She told us the party was over. So everyone had to go home. Abang Ani was very nice, told her to not get so angry.
When Bapak came back, she dutifully reported to bapak.
Actually, looking back, I think Bapak was quite amused by it, but had to act tough to make Kak Ton look good.

He told us not to do it again and as punishment, told us to spend the weekend with Kak Ton and Abang Ani in Kuala Kubu Baru. Abang Ani was magistrate there and Kak Ton was teaching there.

Some punishment! Kak Ton thought it was a fitting punishment. A weekend in KKB. How boring was that? But, we define what is boring and what is not. so, a weekend in KKB can NOT be boring if we so define it.
Yep. We had a great time because abang ani got his brothers arwah Teh, Din and Pin over. We explored KKB.

(PS: we are very close to Abang Ani's brothers until today -with the exception of Teh who passed away a few years back. Din and Pin are running Kafe 4-Teen.)


Mekyam : Must tell myself not to get too carried away.
Thanks again, Mekyam.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

At 3.40am (10.40pm in riyadh), am still cruising for new developments in TWB, and I was not let down. I hope I'm not the first of your insatiable readers to suggest that once-a-week of TWB is perhaps insufficient.

alliedmartster said...

Kak Ena,
Enjoyed reading TWB as usual..
Reminds me of my younger days when my dad would take us to his friends house and hang out for the day.
Uncle Che Kin (which does sound very chinese is actually Malay), so spending some time with his children and around the kampung was quite fun!

As for your fear of the sea?
Embrace it...not too late to learn to swim! I took up swimming after an uncle of mine threw me in the pool, and as I almost drowned, he picked me up from the water...I swesr I must have drank gallons!
But assuring that that willbe the worse, he thought me my first few strokes...
Now I can swim pretty well, and I do enjoy it quite a bit, except that..no time ler!
WHen I take my kids to the pool, I am extra careful about them....I guess thats why Pak Samad never allowed you near water...



aMiR: Tsk, tsk, aMiR....musn't get you so addicted. And we havent even got to the real sexy part.... hahaaa, kidding, kidding, kidding.
And oh... TWB more than once a week? Perhaps not. But then, anything is possible.

Mat Salo : Thanks Mat Salo..My dad was told about the wishes and salam from everyone here. he was very touched and quite amazed by it all.

Alliedmarster (Tony) : Thanks, tony.
Aaah... the good old days. when the streets were not so busy, when we were colour-blind, when people were less materialistic...
yes, you are probably right. I am glad we decided that learning to swim is good. Although I must say, I can't swim very well. Maybe just to save myself.

Anonymous said...

Tante Ena,

Please tell me more about mommy! I never knew that side of her. Understandably she would never reveal to me whatever she did, or what she was like, especially during those happening times! Pray tell so I can usik her nanti!


prufrock fan said...


if you start a blog, pls tell me!

by the way, why "prufrock". i looked up answers.com and only came up with this http://www.answers.com/prufrock, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

care to share? is prufrock anyway related to pak samad?

and happy birthday pak samad! how malaysianjournalism has deteriorated since you left it.

Rajahram said...

Nuraina, how careless of me. Please wish Bapak a belated "Happy Birthday" and I am sure he had a wonderful birthday celebration with family and friends. Wishing the grand old man many more birthdays to come.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Ena,

What a beautiful and touching account.

Wishing a wonderful, 83rd 'Happy Birthday' to your father. May he be blessed with good health insy.


jay: oh dear.... i can tell you many things, but i, you know, Jay, we can ask her to tell you. After all you are not 12 anymore. You are a mummy yourself.

rajahram : thank you for the best wishes,

ruby : hi ruby... thank you. will kirim your best wishes.

Another prufrock fan said...

I googled prufrock & I got this.


Cant be you prufrock, can it?

Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong said...

Dearest Ms NAS,
I humbly apologise for my ignorance...

prufrock said...

Prufrock fan/another prufrock fan,

(Nuraina, I apologise for hijacking your blog by conducting this private aside; but I thought it fair that I cleared up on this prufrock thing.)

Mekyam and those who read English at the tertiary level will tell you that The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, together with Ash Wednesday - that's right Hamid's, Nuraina's elder brother, Abu Rabu on this blog - Portrait of a Lady, Gerontion and several others are required reading if you offered T S Eliot as one of the poets you wanted to study for your 20th Century Poetry Paper.

Why Prufrock? Well, this middle aged, skinny and balding protagonist is fatally divided between his amorous ways and his morals! At least that's my understanding of the poem, given my limited command of the language in which it was written. But for all intents and purposes the description of Prufrock could as well be me - an old fart in the autumn of his years. And therefore the nom de plume.

If by Prufrock, you mean this chap , no I am not related to Pak Samad. I'm just a self-confessed Samadophlie; an unashamed admirer of Samad as a political strategist and a journalist.

And no, I won't be blogging for the reason that I'm slightly daft, with a 286 brain that is hardly good for single tasking, let alone thinking along layers of sophistication as has often been shown by the generation e people.

prufrock said...

Prufrock fan/another prufrock fan,

(Nuraina, I apologise for hijacking your blog by conducting this private aside; but I thought it fair that I cleared up on this prufrock thing.)

Mekyam and those who read English at the tertiary level will tell you that The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, together with Ash Wednesday - that's right Hamid's, Nuraina's elder brother, Abu Rabu on this blog - Portrait of a Lady, Gerontion and several others are required reading if you offered T S Eliot as one of the poets you wanted to study for your 20th Century Poetry Paper.

Why Prufrock? Well, this middle aged, skinny and balding protagonist is fatally divided between his amorous ways and his morals! At least that's my understanding of the poem, given my limited command of the language in which it was written. But for all intents and purposes the description of Prufrock could as well be me - an old fart in the autumn of his years. And therefore the nom de plume.

If by Prufrock, you mean this chap , no I am not related to Pak Samad. I'm just a self-confessed Samadophlie; an unashamed admirer of Samad as a political strategist and a journalist.

And no, I won't be blogging for the reason that I'm slightly daft, with a 286 brain that is hardly good for single tasking, let alone thinking along layers of sophistication as has often been shown by the generation e people.

Class Monitor said...

salam Kak,

A confession by Lee Kuan Yu in his autobio written some years ago
'Samad is one of the smartest Malay I has come about.'
and history yet to be rewritten again.

So do the dismiss of Allahyarham Ma'roff a prominent name we pass the lane almost everyday.The very least the BMA of Malaya admit their predicament.

We are celeberating our 50th Mederka annevesery.Let held a solituted Amen to the great lost soul to the socio political awareness to the following generation namely Allahyarham Ahmad Bostamam,Allahyarham Dr.Burhanuddin Al'Helmi,Allahyarhama Kahtijah Sidek,late Dr.Tan Su Koon,Allahyarham Dato Ibrahim the late Father of Allahyarham Dato Hassan Ibrahim the prominient civil servant dare to wipe out the corruptted civil servant during his tenure at JPJ,RISDA,etc.Allahyarham Said Azahari etc.and many more unsong heros not mention.
Probably someone could develop a blog to commorate those names a 'Contributor To Nation Awareness'
As Arwah Pak Tongkat Warrant famous poem recite 'Bunga Poppy'ku taburkan di pusara mu.

Wassalam kak.Tumpang lalu ya.....

Anonymous said...


ibu saya berhajat benar nak menghubungi ibu saudari. Katanya, dulu mereka berkawan, saya tak pasti bila dan di mana.

Besarlah hajat saya kiranya cik Aina sudi tanyakan perihal ibu saya kepada ibu saudari.

Nama ibu: Arsili Daud
Umur:61 tahun
Asal: Padang Rengas, Perak.

Terima KAsih.