Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (1)

Prologue - Tuesday February 13 2006
No, I am not kidding. I am not copying Mitch Albom's "Tuesdays With Morrie".
I am reminiscing the past here.
This is for real. Tuesday was the day our family was allowed to visit my dad, after he was detained in 1976, under the Internal Security Act at the orders of (then Prime Minister) Hussein Onn.
And it would be every Tuesday off from work for me from then on, until his release in 1981.
My boss, Rejal Arbee (then at the NST), unhesitantly marked a cross in the Tuesday margin in the reporters' roster. No questions asked. I can never forget that.
But there are some things you want to forget but cannot.
And then, somehow for some unexplained reason, after living with memories that won't go away, you are glad that they have remained. Fresh and lucid. Like they just happened this morning.
How could I forget the sound of the front gate being tapped and then loudly being rapped in the early hours that fateful day in 1976?
How my elder brother, so irritated to have been awakened at such an hour, acted so macho and demanded from the four men some form of identification, only to have to grudgingly open the gate after being shown proof that they were really police officers?
How confused and angry we were when they came and demanded to go through the books in our library as well as the things in my dad's bedroom?
I remember their faces. Especially the one who confiscated books on China or anything remotely Chinese, uttering that they must be books on Communism.
How we could still laugh, though quietly to ourselves, when he menacingly extricated Pearl S Buck's "The Good Earth" from the bookshelf.
And yes the last few words bapak told mak after asking her to pack his toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste and a change of clothes.
"Don't worry. I'll be home tomorrow," he remarked as the men escorted him out of the house.
For the first time, bapak was dead wrong.


Anonymous said...

Hussein Onn was a weak man who was easily manipulated by his inner council. In fact the incarceration of Samad and his suppossedly cronies was a vindictive act. As an avid student of history, the events of 1976 make fascinating reading. I still remember Samad interviewed me for a job in the NST only a month before he was arrested. Imagine the shock when he was arrested.

fabmama said...

My dear Aina, I feel your pain. Ever so vividly I remember the helpless anguish of a young woman having to watch on telly the unfair cruel vilification of her dad. I remember your Tuesdays. I especially remember that night on the 13th floor. My utmost admiration for you and your family for having gone through that period so valiantly. I wish I had some of that strength. Love you much.

zorro said...

Can I look forward to "Our Bapa, the Patriot" co-authored by Maria & Nuraina A Samad? About time, huh?

Kak Teh said...

ena, my heart still bleeds for you that night when we were in the TV room and suddenly yr bapak appeared on TV with his 'confession' and how you ran and ran out of the room and we found you sobbing behind the bin. and there was nothing we could do to console you. Nothing. But you became very strong.
And I also remember him telling my husband through someone that he continued reading my husband's film reviews and column from the newspaper used to wrap nasi lemak.
Yes, how can you ever forget these things. And I remember your mum. Such a strong lady. Al Fatehah to her. Our salam to your bapak and my love to you. Always.

Hi&Lo said...

Pak Samad is a great man. Greatness is also measured by the number of enemies he has and the degree of hatred he provokes.

Those were the days when enemies are labelled communists at anything remotely connected.

"When I give to the poor they call me a saint. But when I asked why the poor had to be poor, they call me a communist."

Anonymous said...

puan nuraina,

saya masih ingat pertama kali bertemu pak samad ketika tugasan wawancara untuk majalah universiti 16 tahun lalu. ya, ingatan itu masih segar dan sangat jelas. kebetulan hari itu juga allahyarham keris mas datang berkunjung ke rumah pak samad (pada hari raya ke 3).

ketika pak samad memperkenalkan pak keris kepada saya dan satu rakan lain (kedua-dua kami masih betul-betul separuh masak tentang ilmu, sastera dan dunia):

pak samad: kenal siapa orang ini?

saya & rakan: err.. err.. (tersipu-sipu malu)

pak samad: tak kenal? inilah kamaluddin muhammad.

saya & rakan: err.. err.. (betul-betul rasa bodoh)

pak samad: inilah keris mas!

saya & rakan: ohh...!!! ya! ya! kenal! kenal!

keris mas cuma tersenyum panjang.

dua perkara yang saya ingat sampai sekarang, dari wawancara itu, pesanan pak samad dan pak keris mas:

i. kita kalau jadi orang yang semakin berilmu, jalannya harus semakin tunduk, bukannya membusungkan dada.

ii. orang berilmu itu seperti ikan di dalam air. hidup beribu-ribu tahun tapi isinya tetap tidak masin.

sampai kini, saya benar-benar bersyukur dengan pengalaman mewawancara pak samad dan pak keris itu.

terima kasih.

Anonymous said...

Please continue....., please

BaitiBadarudin said...

Long live, Pak Samad!

Anonymous said...

Nuraina Samad,

I want to marry you. You are intelligent, articulate and deliciously gorgeous. I saw you from afar once and remember exclaiming to myself ...wow! what a babe. And i'm just 34 years old. Your writings make me feel like i want to give you a hug and tell you...its all going to be fine. Now, will you marry me, Nuraina?

zewt said...

ISA and OSA are the 2 As that we don't really need in our lives.

Unknown said...

Pengalaman-pengalaman mcm ni patut dibukukan oleh seseorang yang dilihat non-partisan.

Walaupun dah tentu Puan menyertai parti yg Puan suka, tetapi sikit banyak, imej Puan adalah non-partisan.

kutu ini bersyukur kepada Allah kalau Puan membukukan cerita anak-anak yang senasib dengan Puan.


anon 7.07!
saya amat faham apa yang saudara rasakan. tapi saya harap saudara dapat bezakan mimpi dari realiti.


monsterball said...

Dear sis..Those events in a way has awakened you to better understandings of human beings. Communist is not an evil or bad word...if one understand the real meaning.The Americans and British political leaders and parties love to tell lies and brainwash people all over the world....but now more and more are educated....not easily being bulshitted.
I have Pearl S. Buck "The Good Earth" BOOK and THE BLACK AND WHITE MOVIE IN VHS!!
God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I remembered when Pak Samad appeared on TV and he spoke in Bahasa Melayu.I said to my friends "What a joke..he is reading a script".When Pak Samad speaks his mind he used Bahasa Indonesia/Bahasa Melayu Singapura, something simillar to what we know today as Bahasa Baku.So the man just wanted to get out and be with his family . But he never fails to intrigue.Until today he is a living myth.And one that I have heard was that Sukarno had mentioned, A Samad Ismail has the most intelligent mind in this part of the world.

cakapsiang said...

Pak Samad is a very great man, his only love, beside family, is his country. ISA has never reduced him into a smaller man, but instead further enhanced him as a greater man, a true nationalist.

syed syahrul zarizi b syed abdullah said...


Simply, he's one of my heroes. I read all his novels. Our old skool heroes, they live a thought life and true to their struggle.

Sampaikan salam saya kepada beliau. Saya doakan kesejahteraan beliau sekeluarga


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rockybru said...

One evening, he told me, "Nak jadi editor mesti berani melawan arus".

Those were words that became a mantra, and which got me into trouble more than a few times with the authorities, with Dr M, with Pak Lah, with so many cabinet ministers.

It would have been so much easier to go with the flow, like I see so many editors do now and then. But where's the pride, right? In the end, the "arus" was too strong for me. I was defeated and I am now left watching the river from the left bank.

But I have no regrets.

I am no longer an editor. But the mantra will not fade or go away. I am a blogger and I am still swimming against the current. Saya masih melawan arus.

Thank you, Ena, for starting this series on your dad. I join the others here in great expectations of a book on Pak Samad soon.

Anonymous said...

If man cannot learn from man then from who? (OK, women included!!)

Hi&Lo said...

You recalled the events without a trace of malice. This is strength of character in the face of adversity.

You inspire character borne out of necessity.

Great lives are usually low-key but very impactful on the lives around them.

They are universal in sympathy and outcast by nature.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Pak Samad cleverly used his intonation, body language and facial expression to radicule Ghazali Shafie. Every one knew he was reading a SB prepared script. And for all the"confession" no body believed him!!

That was one act which Ghazali Shafie made a fool of!!

Anonymous said...

Yes - the pain of seeing your father maligned and slandered can leave an indelible mark on you, on the way you think, behave and conduct your life. My sympathies Nuraina.

But the most wonderful thing you can do as a writer is to remember his legacy in writing, in a biography or memoir. Of course you can publish compilations of his works but that would be too easy.

You need to delve into your private memory and that of the people close to him to paint a picture of the man that he truly was - no more, no less.

This is the catharsis you need to cleanse yourself of those horrible memories!

Good Luck!


zewt said...

banyaknya komen komen dari blogger anonymous...

Anonymous said...

Saya baru selesai membaca enda gulingku-memoir arenawati buat kali kedua dan mendapati nama pak samad disebut berulang kali dalam memoir itu kekadang terkesan betapa 'hero'nya seorang pak samad dalam mewarnai dunia kewartawanan sekaligus mencorakkan politik tanah air.

Alhamdulillah pak samad masih sempat mengecapi- walau sedikit hasil perjuangannya- berbanding pejuang lain seperti pak sako, ahmad boestamam, dr burhanuddin helmi, harun aminurrasyid, ibrahim hj yaacob dan lain-lain. saya amat menanti memoir daripada 'Bapak' kakak dan pastinya banyak sejarah yang dilupakan akan terhidang.

Jejak-jejak yang hilang itu akan terus tersemat dihati kami, anak melayu yang cintakan sejarahnya!

erwin khairul ahmad

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina,
It is good if there is a book on the man. I will buy one at least. I suggest that we come up with a series on great literary Malaysians for our school children. Most of them never heard of Samad Ismail, Tongkat, Usman Awang, Kajai. Our varsity students have studied them but glancingly and using old texts and info. A book on Pak Samad will go long way to correct misconceptions and expose the real villains so that we can celebrate real heroes.

p.s zewt, you are also an anonymous, for all intent&purpose. i am, too. the difference is you can cherish good messages coming from anon messengers and we tend to forget/ignore the bad ones. cyberworld allows for anons like us because (well, because?). for example, datuk kadir disallows comments from anonymous but allows you to use nicknames (which equals anonymous, anyway).
not everybody can (or should) use their names.

p.s.2 i like the nicknake zewt.

thank you.


fellow bloggers/commentors,

I have decided to delete a comment from one ISA for the simple reason that I think he/she was making threats, which was exactly what he/she was doing with comments left earlier in Rocky's Bru.
My blog will not welcome ISA from now on.

Nuraina Samad

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Nuraina,

You and/or your sister ought to give Zorro's suggestion some serious consideration. Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, "The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone." So do it, Ms. Nuraina, just do it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina
Your telling opening preamble to that eagerly-awaited book about Pak Samad has obvously left footprints in people's hearts. Way to go, sis.

Anonymous said...

I will always Samad for one thing. he accepted me as a journalist in the NST without so much as asking even my qualifications or my credentials. This happened in 1976. I was shocked. Maybe he thought i would be a first class journalist. You know what? I think he was wrong. I became a third rate journalist who went nowhere.


I decided to post something on bapak because I wanted to see if I really could.
Also because I felt that I should before, well... before it is too late.
Each time I visit him, he seems to, sometimes, be losing a little bit of himself. Of course, sometimes, he remembers the past like a ribbon of film.
I will dedicate every Tuesday to anecdotes of our past.

Fabmama (Fati) and Kak Teh (Ah) --i didnt think you remembered those moments so vividly.
I thank Allah SWT that I had you guys, as well as Mia, Ina, Riza, Tini, Kat and Natlrah throughout those years.

so zorro, bon nini, penarik beca, rocky, kl sentral and malaysian in riyadh, no book yet but if you're interested, visit me on Tuesdays.

(anonymous 7.07pm -- er er...what can I say, except that I can't marry a 34 year-old. You're way too young-lah)

Anonymous said...


There's only one Pak Samad. Now and forever. HIDUP PAK SAMAD!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you Nuraina for, very gently, breaking Anon 7:07's heart... although, I, personally, believe the guy deserved something sterner.

while he is nursing his broken heart, amid this very soppy violin concerto in the background, please allow me to rub some salt into his wound... after all, heartless is my middle name!

I would have thought this excuse would have been more appropriate:

"sorry Anon 7:07pm but I can't marry you for the very simple reason that I don't want our children to have a father called Anon 7:07pm... think of what the neighbours might say!"

the moral of this story is... well, errr... hmmm... don't ride bicycles while eating fish burgers?

or, was that riding trishaws and fish fingers...

Anonymous said...

Remember the little girl who ran home crying, seeking comfort in Mak's arms, because the kids in school had teased and taunted her as "anak komunis"? How she learnt and understood, at a tender age of 9, what the word "special branch" meant? I will always remember kak ena, because I can never forget...


Lan: my dear lalin... how can I forget? how can kak ton, abang med, kak olin, kak eda, kak azah and abang kamal forget what you and Nina went through at that very young age. You were 9 and Nina, 7.
How Nina, a little later, had to fight those bullies in the schoolbus who called her "anak Komunis"? And she didnt want to go on the school bus any more,too tired to be fighting them off?
How Arwah mak had to suddenly take on bapak's role?
Fresh, Lalin. So fresh, right here and right there.
We all turned out alright, kan?
We can all reflect on those dark days, kan? Now without any bitterness...

Anonymous said...

kakak no:2

Dear lalin,

I know it must have been hard for you & Nina as it had been for all of us.

But what we had gone through had made us strong & what we are today.

And we learned it from Arwah mak. She was our pillar of strength.

Do remember her typing articles into the late night for Berita Harian and Majallah Jelita just to earn that extra income to support her seven children, three of whom were in college, two in secondary and the two youngest still in primary school?

Did you ever see her cry in front of us? Only after each solat - crying softly before Him, seeking His Blessings & Guidance in facing the “dugaan” before her.

But we managed somehow. Yes, Ena we all turned out alright kan?

Three law graduates, two journalists, a chemical engineer, a bank manager-turned- businessman, a beautician and an interior designer.

Kira, ok-lah tu!


How did I miss your comment the first time round? Yes, indeed, Hussein Onn was a weak prime minister. He was manipulated by a very ambitious senior minister who is still alive today and who survived a plane crash. this minister turns out to be a no-hero and i know will not be remembered as one.
I had high hopes that Hishammuddin Hussein would turn out to be a stronger politician. He started off promisingly. When he was deputy minister to Rafidah, I discovered that he smoked and did not play golf (the minister, his boss, disliked smokers and was crazy about golf). I asked him why and he said he was a non-conformist. Well, I was naive.
Today, as politician, minister and KJ's boss, he has displayed many weaknesses and proved to be easily manipulated by those who are supposed to serve him.

Anonymous said...

Aina, Pak Samad akan terpatri dalam sejarah sepertimana terpatrinya institusi bernama Utusan dalam dunia kewartawanan. Buat Pak Samad, jasa tuan akan dikenang oleh sejarah dan adalah menjadi penghormatan buat saya untuk mencatat tinta ini. Semoga sihat walafiat serta dipanjangkan usia