Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Tribute To Our Nation

I met my old friend and former colleague Zainul Arifin recently. He told me that the New Straits Times was publishing a book on Malaysia's road to nationhood, charting the years from 1941 to 1966.

I told him to tell me when it was on sale so that I'd go get a copy.

"Road To Nationhood, Malaysia 1941-1966" is already on sale and I got a copy.
It is a 247-page hard cover book that unravels our country's past from 1941-1966 through photographs and news stories that made the front pages during those years.

I found myself going on an intriguing journey through Malaysia's past -- with every flip of the page tugging at my heartstrings.
Is it my fascination with old black-and-white photos and news articles that depict our history?

You literally see history unfolding and evolving before your eyes. In fact, I told Zainul that it was like watching a documentary, with a lot of drama thrown in. Priceless.

"Road to Nationhood, Malaysia 1941 -1966" is a history book that is not your regular boring history book.
A great way to learn history, I assure you. Let your kids read it.

Why 1941 to 1966?

"Well, these are the crucial formative years -- through the war, the British and Japanese occupation and the road towards achieving independence, the formation of Malaysia and the separation of Singapore from Malaysia," he told me.

In his foreward, "History As It Was Told", Zainul wrote:
"As a chronicler of events, the newspaper undoubtedly flawed. Then again, once in a while, all those published reports seem to come together -- and tell a single, engaging story. Such is the case with news on Malaysia in 1941-1966, which combined to offer a view of the period that is unfiltered and unadulterated. It was arguably the most significant quarter-century in the country's history. In publishing reports and images of the trials and tribulations of nationhood, this book attempts to give readers a sense of what it was like for the people then -- not least, the drama, emotions and atmosphere related to the birth of a nation".

The cover is a photo of a jubilant Tunku Abdul Rahman arriving at the Selangor Club padang in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 30, 1957.
We all know the significance of this event. It was here that the Union Jack was lowered at the stroke of midnight and Malayan flag raised to mark the birth of a sovereign independent nation.
Anybody and everybody who was there and witnessed the event will tell you just how touching and emotional that moment was.
I was not there but I could always feel the stirring in my heart everytime it was related to me.

The inside cover is a photo spread of the Tunku (taken on Oct 11, 1956) posing beside his new Imperial Chrsyler.
On the back jacket cover is a photo taken on Sept 16 1963, of pupils of the Perak Chinese secondary girls performing at the Malaysia Day celebrations at the Ipoh Padang in Perak.

The book is divided into six chapters, following the progressive sequence of events: Japanese Occupation; From British Military Administration To Federation of Malaya; The Emergency Years; Road To Merdeka; Formation of Malaysia; Epilogue.

There are 203 black and white photographs in the book with the reproductions of 86 front pages of Straits Times and The Malay Mail.

The book is available at MPH, Times and Borders at RM130. It is published by the NSTP Resource Centre and sponsored by Tenaga Nasional.
It was published in conjunction with the third "Road To Nationhood" exhibition that is currently being held at the lobby of the Bangsar Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

The exhibition, in celebration of Merdeka Day, is being organised by NSTP. It ends Sept 9.

Try not to miss it. It is an incredible feeling of nostalgia when I see faces and events of the past. The glory of Malaysia's past and history. The glory of this country!

Thank you, Zainul for bringing us the book and the exhibition. Syabas and Kudos to your faithful team. I know that you played a very very large part in making it happen.


zaitgha said...


I will get this book for my sons and i, hopefully MPH here would have it...btw Happy Birthday and pray that you would have many more...

Have a great day and take care

p/s kalau u dekat boleh jugak hantar cupcakes or muffins ....

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena,
EID MILAD SAID. I hope we can meet as I have a little present, all the way from Riyadh, for you and Kak Ton. I was also born "in the most significant quarter-century in the country's history". And my birtplace Kulai is now beyond recognition.


zai, get the book. It is worth every sen, I assure you.

thank u for the birthday wishes. day kalau saya tersesat in seremban, i will text you...
i am taking the liberty of taking a rain check on the cupcakes....



you are so kind! Shukran shukran..

(aah...this is the Malay part): buat susah2 saja (tapi dalam hati berkata:"eh, best nye dapat presen").

sincerely, thank you so much. and sincerely: you shouldn't have but since you did, thanks again.
i am sure kak ton feels the same way.

I am only not free Saturday evening/night as I have to attend a wedding (of a friend's son).

anytime outside that is fine i will inform kak ton.

hope to see you..

Anonymous said...

Hey! I musn't miss wishing you a very happy birthday. Have a great birthday Aina. You deserve it. Have been following your TWB too.
Kea's mum.

Unknown said...

Happy birthday, Kak Ena! I missed you by a minute yesterday. :)

Had seen the book a day before it was launched and now waiting for my signed copy.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday


faikha: thank you.... bila nak organise reunion?

norzu: i'm so sorry we missed each half a minute.
if it weren't for the need to get home before 4.30pm to send my son for his literature classes (his school does not offer literature as a subject, so Adel has to take classes outside for his SPM), and having to give Husna a ride to Shah Alam first, I would have alighted and joined you guys back at Kak Ton's.
Thanks for coming, Norzu.
We must meet week before Ramadhan.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

assalammalaikum sis,off topic sikit,bolih ya..?as i comment in rocky's blog semalam,do u think possible ke someone/body spt non profit ngo's to lobby for the making of a single cd of the iklan2 perayaan2 d malaysia yg funny/sindir/have a special meaning spt yang iklan deepavali d mana some young guys berlagak americanised tapi amat malu jumpa nenek mrk yang so called kuno ingat? or the raya iklan d mana a mak minta anak2 dia gi beli daging and the kids bawa blk se ekor lembu...?

The Ancient Mariner said...

Dear Ena,

Happy birthday and heres to more birthdays to come.

J.T. said...

Happy Birthday, Nuraina. May you have many more wonderful years filled with love, joy, health and wealth. :)

Dancy said...


I've been waiting for the sale of this book . Thanks .

Oh ya . Congratulations to you and me and all the Malaysians ......Happy 50th Merdeka Day .

Am proud to be a Malaysian .

Salam Muhibbah .

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Am still waiting for your contact number. Can we meet petang Friday or Saturday? Looking forward ...

Hi&Lo said...


Happy Birthday! May your days be filled with good health, wisdom and joy.

You have a rich and blessed life which you magnimously share with every one who meets you in the path.

We are so enthralled, esp TWB.

Thank you and peace.

Anonymous said...


We celebrate at the same time the memory of our Bapak Malaysia, our first Prime Minister, who led the fight for independence, while the present heap of UMNO leaders are trying to erase his memory after 50 years.

A tribute to Tunku Abdul Rahman on the 50th Anniversary of Merdeka is posted on Malaysian Unplug:

with "Jalur Gemilang" music in the background. How nice !!

Anonymous said...

hey nuraina

the book, the exhibition and the special newspaper supplements are results of teamwork. i should not, and cannot, take personal credit.

anyway, your pujian don't count, since you are my friend. regards to pak samad.

selamat merdeka


koboi: thank you/

ancient mariner" thank you, Captain.

JT: Thanks, JT.

H&L: thank you.

aMir: actually, i have replied to your email and given my contact number. i hve emailed you again. Saturday petang (but not too petang becos I have a wedding to attend) maybe around 4pm, sounds good?



ya ya... teamwork, ya ya.

Anonymous said...
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This comment has been removed by the author.
Rockybru said...

I love this reminds me of what NST was made of. it tells you why NST was once a great and very relevant newspaper. And the credits are so simple dan tak berjela-jela. Congrats, Zainul. You are GEIC material, man. But as this book goes to show, you just don't know how to gosok.

Editor said...

Hi Nuraina,

Many Happy Returns of the Day.

You know with so many things to do I do not read all the blogs daily.
And hence almost missed out on wishing you. What's the actual date? :)

Cheers and God Bless You.


rocky (ahirudin):

i agree with you. and i am sure that many former and present NST journalists agree.

perhaps the very new onesemployed in the last 2 or 3 years may not even know of NST's contributions to the nation.

well, people can try as much as they csn to discredit experience in journalism and trivialise the history of the newspaper... they should know that they cannot change or rewrite history.

or perhaps they can?



thank you..

it's Aug 29.

Bailey said...

i bought the book last thursday and belum find a good time to read it. haih...

A Voice said...

Journalist are good at chronicling the events but after 50 years of independence, I'd think the historian perspective is much more relevent.

Many important aspect of the social, political and economical perspective begins with the British treatised colonisation of the states of Malaya. After Pangkor 1786, one after another of the Malay states fall under British administration.

Then, there was the open immigration policy of British from 1830s, which although is meant to meet its labour shortage, is also a deliberate attempt to deny the local from the mainstream of development. This phenomenon of locals being denied economic opportunity in favour of immigrants is not merely a Malaya phenomenon.

The road to independence was partly helped by the Japanese for they provided the Malays exposu to administration. This brought about the confidence to apsire for independence among early Malay nationalist group like PKMM.

I hope that book has those perspective inside. Not to forget the february 10th incidence in Batu Pahat where 15,000 malays gathered to demonstrate agst malayan union. Dato Onn was the DO then.

zaitgha said...


Just bought the book in the afternoon and my 2nd boy was so excited when he saw old pictures of soldiers and all...will start reading with him soon....could not start tonight as he was more excited with the carom board that the father bought for him at the same time....

have a good Sunday and take care

Anonymous said...

It is curious that details of the lead compiler/s or editor/s of the book are not provided on the front cover. I hope something of that nature is provided on the inside.

Elly said...

Dear Nuraina,

Zainul was my boss when I was in BT. When I was at NSTP recently, he showed me a copy of the book prior to its launching. Definitely a great job, I must say!:-)