I had missed the launching of his book, "The Malays - Their Problems and Future" sometime in the middle of the year.
I was out-of-town and regretted that I was not able to be there.
Syed Husin -- or Pak Cik Syed, Pak Tuan or Abang Syed as I call him -- would always call or text me if there was any event -- private (family) or otherwise (PKR).
Syed Husin and his wife, Kak Sabariah are my family's long-time friends.
I remember Syed Husin when he and several Universiti of Malaya undergraduates and student activists back in the 60s, would converge at our house in Jalan Sentosa (Section 3, Petaling Jaya), later in Jalan Lembah (Section 5, Petaling Jaya).
Bapak and these students would discuss and debate politics, current affairs and well, everything under the sun....
And later on, when we moved to Section 16, Syed Husin would visit Bapak for their intellectual discourse and would not miss the Hari Raya visits.
I wept when he was detained under the Internal Security Act, just as Kak Sabariah did when Bapak was detained.
We kept close contact with Kak Sabariah when he was in detention. We would always meet up at Pak Cik Tongkat's (Usman Awang's) home for makan or any other family gathering.
All through the years, Syed Husin has remained close to Bapak and our family.
When I became a journalist, he was one of the people I would regularly call for input on anything.
So when he texted me two weeks ago inviting me to the launch of his four books at Carlton Holiday Hotel in Shah Alam on Sunday, I told myself that I must not miss it. In fact, he asked that my siblings come as well.
My youngest sister, Nina told me we MUST not miss the event. We absolutely must go. No excuses.
She reminded me that he visited Bapak at the hospital twice, and came to pay respects twice -- the evening Bapak' was brought back home and at the funeral.
Besides, Bapak's old friend and compatriot since Utusan Melayu days - Pak Cik Said Zahari would also be there.
And of course, another pull factor -- Saudara Anwar Ibrahim would also be there to deliver his keynote address.
So last Sunday (Nov 9), we all went to the event -- launch and review of his books -- with our children in tow.
Although we were not able to stay to the end because of a pressing family engagement, we were glad we were able to be there.
Besides, I met some old friends from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
And we all made sure we got the books (although we've already got "The Malays...." and "Two Faces..."):
"Orang Melayu: Masalah dan Masa Depanya". "Ethnic Relations in Malaysia: Harmony & Conflict" and the Malay and English editions of "Dua Wajah: Tahanan Tanpa Bicara/Two Faces: Detention without Trial".
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim reviewed "Orang Melayu", Director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives Lim Teck Ghee reviewed "Ethnic Relations in Malaysia" and Pak Cik Said reviewed "Dua Wajah/Two Faces".
The books are available at book stores.
*Syed Husin is deputy president of PKR. He was for a long time president of Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia. He was detained for six years under the ISA in the 70s.
*Pak Cik Said was editor-in-chief of Utusan Melayu and an advocate of unbiased press freedom. He was detained by the Singapore government and subsequently held for 17 years without trial. Allegations against him included being a "Communist". He was released a few years ago and holds the distinction of having been Singapore's second longest-serving political detainee after Chia Thye Poh. (from Wikipedia)
He now resides (with his children) in Subang Jaya, Selangor.