Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Late Tuesday With Bapak

My apologies to everyone for not posting "Tuesdays With Bapak". I was not well -- fever plus medication -- and was unable to write. I was knocked out, slept through the entire time that I should have been writing an instalment of TWB.
I hardly get sick so when I do fall ill, I'm really out.
So, here's a little something. I hope it is not too late.

Que Sera Sera - July 24 2007

If Bapak had his way, he would want a doctor, an engineer, an architect and a lawyer, or two or three of each, among his children.
Not because of the prestige or whatever. But I think perhaps he thought it'd be good to have a doctor in the house to take care of the family's health, a lawyer to take care of any legal problems, an engineer.....
Bapak never counted journalists among them. He reckoned none of us would want to endear ourselves to long and irregular hours. And for that kind of pay.
He was quite wrong.
Two of his children -- Kak Ton and I -- chose to be journalists. Bapak had nothing to do with our decision.
For Kak Ton however, journalism was not the first path she took. Fresh out of university and newly-married in 1971, she followed her husband, Roslani to Kuala Kubu Bharu. Roslani had assumed the position of Magistrate in this small town.
Being a teacher seemed to be her only option.
So when Roslani returned to Petaling Jaya not long after, for another judicial position, she happily applied to be a journalist with Bernama.
Bapak who was then managing editor of the New Straits Times, told her not to apply to the newspaper.
As for me, my first choice was to join the NST in 1978. Bapak was in detention then.
In fact, I underwent practical training with the NST twice to fulfil my academic requirement before I applied for the job. This was also during Bapak's incarceration.

I remember being interviewed by (managing editor) the late Dr Noordin Sopiee who was on the three-member panel. I think the other two were either (news editor) Philip Mathews or (chief news editor) the late Dahari Ali , and Anselm Rozario (editorial training).
It was purely formality but he had to ask the routine questions.

In my application form I had stated that if I were given options (besides KL), Penang or Johor Baru would be where I'd like to work.
Noordin asked why. I said because Penang reminded me of Singapore where I was born and Johor Baru was next door to Singapore.
I didn't think they were clever answers but I was being honest.
Throughout my working life in NST, I was never transferred out.
I used to wonder about that.
I'll tell you one thing, I quite envied my colleagues who were posted to the states.
To me, being a state correspondent offered a wealth of experience which was so valuable to a journalist.

When I was a little girl, I had an autograph book. In those days it was de rigeur for schoolchildren to have autograph books for their friends and schoolmates to sign at the end of the year for remembrance.
I remember such sweet things: "meeting is a pleasure, parting is a pain, keep this as a treasure, till we meet again" or "F R A N C E -- Friendship Remains And Never Can End" or yet another gem "I T A L Y -- I Trust And Love You".
One day, Roslani or Abang Ani as I called him (and still do), was at our old house in Section 5, Petaling Jaya.
It was at the end of the year and school had ended.
I asked him to sign my autograph book.
He asked me what I wanted to be and I unhesitantly said "ballerina" or "scientist".
I loved ballet and was a ballet student and I loved "science" which was to me anything to do with Earth, the galaxy, the milky way...oh... outer space. And in the 60s, it was outer space. I would devour books on these subjects and the "Tell Me Why" range.
So Abang Ani wrote: "To my ballerina-scientist, study hard and may your dreams come true".

So what happened to my dream of becoming a ballerina or a scientist?
Oh... things happened. I suppose what I wanted to be when I was nine was not what I wanted to be when I got to be 17.

By the time I was in secondary school I knew I wanted to write, not necessarily for a newspaper.
Bapak recognised the fact that I was very playful. I was not your regular studious type.
It was ok in the first four years of secondary school. But came my fifth form, he felt I was not doing enough studying and needed "encouragement" .
So, nearing my MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education, equivalent to the present SPM), Bapak decided that I needed to be serious.
So for a week I spent the day in a room at the NST, studying, with only lunch and tea breaks.
I'm not too sure whether that was effective. But I know one thing, I so liked the environment there.
The people seemed to be "on the move". They seemed to be doing something all the time. There seemed to be activity all day long.
It was so exciting. That did not escape me. I was gone.

During my pre-university (sixth form), I had already decided that I wanted to be a journalist.
My forced week-long studying stint at the NST was not the only time I got familiar with the newspaper world.
I had met many reporters and had been to the NST (during times we sent Bapak to or fetched him from work).
So many factors helped form my perspective of what working in the newspaper was about.

So when I had to decide what I wanted to take up after my sixth form, I chose Mass Communications (journalism). Imagine, my second choice was Law. And my third? Advertising.

I did not seek Bapak's approval when I enrolled at UiTM. But he did not object.

There is no doctor in the house. No architect nor engineer.
But, oh, just a couple of lawyers, journalists, a bio-chemist .............


zaitgha said...

aahh...at last, was wondering what happened to my tuesday readings...Hope you get well soon. i wanted to be an engineer when i was young but ended up as a banker...but i am proudly calling myself domestic engineer now though..
take care

Anonymous said...

ahh...i thought it was the case of 'kuah tumpah ke nasi' all along when I first learned u were a journalist.

have a good rest and get well the soonest, Pn Nuraina.



great name domestic engineer!

thanks for the concern.
i feel much better... good rest, medication, a nice not-so-cold shower.

take care!

Anonymous said...

salam kak ena,
dreamt of you last night. it was like we were having this bloggers meet.
i assume something was wrong when until after asar still tak ada TWB.
tak pe, take good care. inshaAllah cepat sembuh.



i suppose, in the final analysis, it is a case of "kuah tumpah ke nasi".

thank you.

and I will be visiting you soon.

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Ena,
Hope you are better now. Get well soon! Take care. My wife kirim salam

KH Lim Blogs said...

Dear Aina
Get well soon!
I had always known I'd be a journalist. And I had to earn my own money (15 cents) to pay for a copy of the Straits Times back in 1967 when I was in Std 3. So, I could only afford to read it like twice or thrice a week.
Come to think of it, I've been reading it for 40 years now. Without a break, believe me. Broadsheet, junior broadsheet and now compact! Not even when I was consorting with the Germans & Americans for 4 years in 1992-1996.

Take care and regards to Pak Samad.



thank you,
i am much much better.

and salam to your wife.

take care.



that's really something!
imagine newspapers cost 15 cents? those were the days.

and old journalists never die..

take care and I will certainly kirim your regards to Pak Samad.

Anonymous said...

Glad to know you are getting better. As you may notice the time of my comment here, this is to prove to you that I had been waiting for your TWK.

By the way I was also not a journalist first, was a teacher fresh from college.

I must say `thank you'to you for all the encouragement to me for the 20 years I was under your charge in NST.

Yes, I had many times met your Bapak. At one of his talks, he told me that he would not be surprised if one day he can smell the coffee (shown on TV commercial) from the TV screen.


Joseph Bingkasan (JayBee),

thank you, brother, for your patience and your "support".
what are friends for, bah.
I say, brother, you are most welcomed, although i think that you were very much your own man. i feel so humbled-lah.
you're our big man in Sabah.

so, bila mau turun semenanjung?

Anonymous said...

Poor Ballerina-Scientist! Hope you're feeling better, dear.

Please tell Bapak that he got himself a bunch of his own chips - i.e wonderful word-crafters (as their many comments in TWB have shown) - regardless what sidelines those chips choose to dabble in. ;D

Btw, my ambition when young was to be telepathic. Then after I found out about auras I wanted to be clairvoyant also. But I quickly binned that when I realized it'd mean I'd be able to "see" all kinds of elementals too. Nah, I'd rather be "blind".

Today alas I'm still 3rd-eyeless and barely able to read physical expressions, never mind minds. But I have a scientist at home to whom I occasionally pretend that I'm telepathic and clairvoyant. It bugs his empirically-stuck self no end because I insist that some puddings just need to be eaten. Yeah!


Mekyam, you are priceless!

Telepathic? How cool is that?
Hey, I wouldn't rule out anything. Telepathy, clairvoyance, the third eye...

Take care and thank you!

J.T. said...

I was wondering what happened to TWB when I checked this morning. Happy to know you are feeling better.

I wanted to be a teacher, then a lawyer, then a fashion designer. I ended up doing human resource/administration work. Now, domestic engineer, like Zaitgha. :)

Rockybru said...

Its worth the wait, of course. A case of better late than never.
I remember my short stint in the Star. Maria Samad was already a senior journo and a very well respected one. Very beautiful, too. One day some a colleague saw me gawking at her and promptly told me that Maria chauffeur-driven to assignments in case I didn't know my station in life. And when I left the Star to join NST, you were one of the "Angels".

Pak Samad told Kak Ton not to apply with NST? Wah, he didn't believe in nepotism kah?

Pi Bani said...

After my sixth form, I actually applied for mass comm and law. They didn't offer me mass comm, so I'm doing my own mass communication via blogging... and they didn't offer me law, so I had no choice but to be a loyar buruk. Que sera sera...

Anonymous said...

Good to know that you are back.

I enjoy reading your story today. I always like journalism but am not good at writing. So I studied advertising at UITM. But now I have a television production company supplying TV programs to local broadcasters. But I always enjoy what I do, that is important.

Mat Salo said...

Yer lah Kak Ena,

I was worried sick, too. Sorry to hear you demam, and glad you're feeling better now.

I have a personal theory. Great writers and artists (to me, they're one and the same), in general, have it in the genes, therefore it can be passed on. So, consider yourself gifted, because really, it's a "gift" from your ancestors. Try as we might, sometimes we can't escape "nature"...

So this is exception where nature wins in the "nature vs nurture" debate! Yeah, but you had some nurturing as well...

So.. you see it in your kids yet? :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Ena

Lamanya tak "BERSUA" dalam blog ni kan.. Sorry I'm around just busy with work and travelling, tapi setiap malam Isnin, mesti kena cari Jalan Sudin...:)

Baca blog you and baca all the comments saja la....

Jangan lupa rest banyak2 ok and makan ubat sekali... Tak sabar nak makan mee rebus your sister la, wish can go back to Msia.... hehehehe! Sekali lagi, leka bila baca blog ni...

Take care and jangan lupa rehat banyak2

Nani-Big Apple

wanshana said...

K. Ena,

Hope you're getting the rest you need. Get well soon!

It's amazing that you could still come up with a gem of a posting even when you were down flat with fever and all.

Teringatlah pulak cerita P.Ramlee - "Majistret?!! Loyar?!! Engineer?!" :D

Jorji said...

get well soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nuraina,

was worried for a while. Glad to know everything is ok with u. Hey this TWB must dibukukan, ok? heheh...I'll proofrea if u need me to.

Been a while since I found the time for mee rebus get togethers. Miss u and the rest a lot.

I'm also incensed with wot's going on in this country, and my ire is spilling over. Heheh...if they ever decide to beat me up for being a bitch n put me away (macam la aku ni penting sangat) can u pls get Kak Maria to bring mee rebus? LOL! Thanks for the love and friendship sis.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Nuraina,

Like zaitgha & acciaccatura, I too was alarmed by TWB(24) delay. Guess we, your readers, are so used to your punctuality in posting TWB that a mere deferment worries us.

Hope you're feeling much better now. Someone once said, "Sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted." Anyway, here's sending good thoughts & good vibes your way...

Hi&Lo said...


You have given your die-hard fans a good reason to look forward to Tue. My heart missed a beat, too when TWB was not up until late last night.

Rest is the best therapy. Take it easy until your energy is fully charged.

This anecdote reminded me of a bygone era when principles preceded personal interest. We don't take advantage of familial ties to get a job.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kak Ena, m glad you have recovered. I almost called your sister just to find out what happened to the author of TWB!
take care and thanks for sharing Bapak with us.

flaminglambo said...

Hope you get better.

Take care.

Nora aka Anon Fm Miri said...

Get well soon kak Aina.


mutalib saifuddin said...

oh dear, mdm ena. get well soon.

REALLY get your point. My Bapak used to tell me on his experience with the NST before, especially with your Bapak.

he (your bapak) used to be SO garang towards his 'orang bawah' (this was during the early 80's, 1981-1983, in Circulations Dept). It was enjoyable when he narrated about his experience with your Bapak to me.

whatever that is, Berita and NST's circulation rose during his time. The 'garang' thing is well paid off.

so it was when Almarhum Tan Sri Noordin came into office. The ATEX system, i know it.

With this, also, i got to know some reporters, even pixmens, and even that Anselm (but we call him Anslem), which we 'berselisih' in pasar or anywhere in Subang Jaya.

my interest in JOU came when my SPM results came out. Math was sucks.

All articles or supplements, including some of your articles i keep till today. (I became so interested in newspaper since form 2).

For that, i chose the same course as you did, but for a Diploma (learning EVERYTHING in mass media, in essential). This semester, we're studying JOU, an interesting subject.

Somehow i am becoming 'que sera sera' too, but in different subject. Father used to be in management subject, but me, in journalism, god knows.

have a good day.


JT: wonder what inpsired you to be all those that you wanted to be?

thanks for patience and take care.

PI: there is always a reason for something to turn out the way it did!
You're amazing in what you're doing now.

basree: good for you! thanks for dropping by.

Nani: i've been wondering about you. i'm glad you dropped by.
adoi...lama tak dengar orang use the word "bersua".
Nani, please make a date with mee rebus when u're home for the holidays.
take care

wanshana: thank you. i am much better. dah pergi the Curve and back.

jorji: thank you so.

galadriel: hey there. thanks. yeah...we missed you at mee rebus.
no sweat, sister, anytime.
take care

zhmi: thank you. that is really very sweet.


hi&lo: you waited? thanks for the patience.
God bless!

mama's girl: oh dear. macam red alert! thank you.

flaminglambo: thank you. I am better. much much better

nora: thank you.


Accai (E): really? of all the people you know -- it's me that you dreamt. that is so sweet.
macam ada sign, kan?
take care.

Mutalib: What asmall world we live in. goodness, you do know many people whom I know as well.
i ma glad you;re dooing what you like.
take care


mat salo: when i did not post early, i was thinking about you because you are almost always the first to comment in TWB.
thank you, brother. you are too kind, and generous...

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena,
Glad to know you are getting better, and kicking.
You experienced career-switching quite early in life, in your teens. Some people studied accountancy and later realized that it is not their cup of tea or they are more talented in other areas like Chef Wan, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza (He he he, guess what? We shared the same stage just a few hours ago. No, I certainly was not doing a duet with her. She makes a good impression on our youth. Hubby is so very proud of her, as far as I can see). My wife is also an accounting graduate but due to a simple twist of fate, she never got the opportunity to practice accountancy. Instead she has been an English teacher at a primary school for a few years now. This week we got the good news that they have posted her to a dream school in Alor Setar with the tagline “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader”. We are now both working full time, when we were supposed to be on our annual holiday from June until August. Here where I work, a few key senior staff had left for greener pastures or for a more agreeable work place. So as not to overburden the existing staff due to the exodus (and no replacement in sight), I had no choice but to cut short my holiday. I shall return to Riyadh in Sept/Oct, and the family will join me during the long school holidays in Nov-Dec. Due to our unexpected work commitment, the mee rebus date has to wait a little longer. Tunggu ya…



nice to hear from you.
good to know that your wife has been posted to Alor Star.

Hmmm.... dengan THE Siti, eh? I suppose she remains a lot of young ladies' role model.

it's ok, aMiR.. anytime you can make it, do come over for mee rebus.

now..try not to stress yourself out at work.

take care.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

Hope you are feeling better and resting well.

When I was young, I had not the faintest idea what I wanted to be and I cannot remember having any aspirations or inspirations. My poor mother, in her determination to “unfold” the talents she believed lay latent in me, got me enrolled in ballet classes and piano lessons. A few lessons later, it was painfully obvious to everyone that I had 2 left feet and was all thumbs. Things my mother made me do, sigh…

To this day, it remains a complete mystery to me as to how I ended up being a bean-counter, by accident I would say.

Take good care of yourself.


thank you for the concern.
i am much better now.

you took ballet and piano lessons when you were young? cool.
and you've no idea how and why you came to be a bean counter?
may a hazard a guess? you love maths.

Anonymous said...

Nuraina a samad:
"you took ballet and piano lessons when you were young? cool."

I only had a few lessons. To my great relief and delight, my anatomical peculiarities put paid to that insane idea, next... Ballerina & concert pianist, me?