Tuesday, April 21, 2009
...my friend and former colleague -- Aishah Ali or, as friends and family call her, Kudu.
"Tuesdays With Bapak" was slowly weaned off this blog after Bapak passed away last September.
It was difficult to reminisce. Perhaps, the heart and mind just refuse to, or has simply stopped functioning to do that.
I'm not sure if I want to revive it. To resume posting my reflections and reminiscences of my childhood and adulthood when Bapak was (somehow still is) so pivotal in my life, is a bit unsettling for me at the moment, as I am convinced that it will be an emotional journey which I'm not so sure I want to get on.
So, I decided that I'll just post little happenings for Tuesdays.
Like this little birthday gathering we had for Kudu at Treats (a cafe/restaurant) in Taman Tun Dr Ismail last Friday.
Kudu was three years my senior when I enrolled at ITM's School of Mass Communications in 1975.
But we got really close when I joined the NST after graduation in 1978. We have remained so.
I remember her as the tyrannical senior lady who told me off the first day I stepped into the 13th floor of the School Of Mass Comm for not attending the school's induction week.
(Induction week was when first-year students get to know the school and the seniors and this came after the college's orientation week.)
I was at the 13th floor lift lobby of ITM's multi-storey building when Kudu appeared and asked me, in a stern headmistress-ish voice : "Freshie, why were you not at the induction?"
Me: "I am not a Freshie" ( because I attended Pre-University at the college, so I was technically not a Freshie).
Kudu: (Looking so not amused) "The School Of Mass Comm has not declared you a junior!"
(I think that translated to -- "waah...kau ingat kau terror, eh?")
Then, miraculously, the lift door opened in front of me and I was saved from further verbal assault.
I decided I did not like this senior lady.
So, I turned to her and uttered, quite softly: "Too bad".
Suddenly it hit me that I was going to be in that place for the next three years.
"Alamak....I hope she did not hear that...", I thought.
But she must have heard.
Bapak who had helped establish the School Of Mass Comm and was lecturing part-time there, was also not amused by my "attitude". as I discovered.
Someone or more, without wasting time, must have happily reported to Bapak about my convenient absence from "induction week" and that brief exchange with Kudu.
You see, Bapak -- if you knew him -- had a way with young people. He was managing editor of NST at that time and he had developed close ties with the school and even better relations with the students who were my seniors.
Word got round, I suspect, that "anak Pak Samad" was enrolled at the school, did not attend induction and, when encountered was "mengada-ngada". Such exaggeration!
The following morning, I was summoned to the office of the head of the School of Mass Comm - Marina Samad (no relations).
There, waiting for me was Bapak, cigarette in hand, smiling. Aaah...that smile was deceptive.
"I hear you've been arrogant to your seniors......", he remarked.
To cut the story short, Bapak was not pleased with the way I conducted myself, insisted I made up for the bad behaviour by treating the seniors I had offended, to lunch. So, he gave me some money. And yes, I did give them a treat, as instructed.
So...a lesson learnt and remembered.
Back to Kudu's birthday tea last Friday.
The little birthday gathering was organised by a few of Kudu's former classmates with whom she is still in touch. It was kind of impromptu.
The only non-classmates there were my own former classmate Hamidah Yusoff and me.
I got her a mixed bouquet, including roses. She got a beautiful piece of fabric from her former classmate, Nik (nicknamed Teo).
The tea was compliments of Datuk Zainul Azman, otherwise known to his former classmates as ZA.
Making a nostalgic evening for Kudu were (also): Baharuddin, Rose, Molina, Dee Basariah, Zohara (Lola), and Datuk Poziah (Jee).
The food was good -- mee siam Singapore, spaghetti (Olio). popiah, karipap, chicken wings (masala) and of course, the sangat sedap birhday cake.
Notice I have left out Kudu's age.
Oh....she is still 35 as far as I can tell.
Happy Birthday, Kudu!
Thank you for an enduring friendship these past 30-plus years...
*By the way, Kudu was NST women's editor and The Sunday Mail editor. She left the NST group in 2006. She is now a media consultant (Ali & Ali) and is a free-lance writer. She is married to former NST and BBC journalist Ishak Nengah, mum to Jo Flizow of Too Phat, Ashraf and Iman, and sister to Datuk Zainun, Mustapha, Saleha (former NST features editor and now editor of Prestige magazine), Othman Hisham and Abdul Rahman..
CAPTION: (from left) - Jee, Kudu, Molina, Dee, Hamidah, Nuraina and Lola....