Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Tokoh Bapak - January 8 2008

This Saturday, Bapak will receive the Tokoh Wartawan Dunia Melayu 2008.
I'm always amazed at how titles (of awards) are coined.
Whatever will they think of next?

The award was conceived and is presented by the Former Berita Harian Journalists' Association (Persatuan Bekas Wartawan Berita Harian Malaysia).

For Bapak, it is a gesture of appreciation by his "boys and girls". some of whom had worked with him those early years in Berita Harian when he was helming the fledgling (but rapidly growing) Malay newspaper.

For Bapak, receiving awards and titles, especially at this stage in his life, is unimportant. Not that he never appreciated those given to him. It's just that titles and awards are not something he craved for. But those that were bestowed on him, he graciously accepted. Of course. That is our "adat".

The award from the association --being given to him now -- is an exception because it is by people who had worked with him and who have known him for a very long time.

That means they were intimate with Bapak's eccentricities and idiosyncracies which had assumed legendary proportion over the years. Of course, only to be softened in old age.

For having endured Bapak's temperament all those years, his boys and girls should be awarded, don't you think?

I have often told this story about why I had chosen to work as a journalist at the NST.
I could honestly say: "It was personal". In a big way it was.

I could have chosen another better-paying profession given the truth that journalism (then) did not pay as well as, say advertising or PR. But really, there was no choice for me. Rather, it was a natural choice. Besides, I did not want it any other way.

The world of newspapers (and the Straits Times was the world of newspapers back then) had become familiar to me by the time I reached maturity and was ready to make a career choice.

As a little girl in the 60s, I (and Kak Eda) would accompany Mak as she drove our Opel to Pudu Road to fetch Bapak from work, usually about 9 or 10pm.
Then called the StraitsTimes, it was housed in quite an imposing building along Pudu Road near the Chinese Maternity Hospital.

Mak would take the federal highway (then just two-laned) and through Jalan Lornie (I think) and on to Foch Avenue in KL town before reaching Pudu.

It was a pretty long ride because I remember (sometimes) falling asleep throughout the trip to Pudu.

Bapak would take us to his office on weekends, usually before our visits to the Federal Book Store (in Brickfields, I think) to buy our story books.

I remember insisting on having something to eat at the canteen everytime he took us to his office.
No matter how full I was, I would ask for my favourite noodle dish --hailam mee.

The journalists -- reporters and subs -- became familiar faces to me over the years. In my teens, I'd be serving them coffee or whatever, whenever they came over our house to hold discussions with Bapak, or during Hari Raya.

I know I liked going to the Straits Times in Pudu and later, at Jalan Riong, because the office "never sleeps".
There were always people at work, anytime of the day and night. The office was never ever dark. There was life 24/7. I remember thinking I would never have to worry about working late, alone.

Journalists would understand Bapak's passion and love for journalism, for the newspaper world. It was his world.

Bapak has expressed his appreciation in being given the Tokoh Wartawan Dunia Melayu 2008.
But Bapak will not be able to receive the award at Armada Hotel in Petaling Jaya as he is too frail to be there.

A daughter will accept the award on his behalf.

But really, if you ask him why he cannot be there, he'll tell you that it is because the event will be held in a no-smoking room.

"Aku nak rokok susah..." But don't you believe him!


Actually, Bapak is one of 8 individuals to be named Tokoh Wartawan Dunia Melayu 2008. The association named 2 from Malaysia, 2 from Singapore, 2 from Brunei and 2 from Indonesia.
The other Malaysian recipient is Mazlan Nordin.


Salt N Turmeric said...

Congrats to ur dad Kak Ena! so r u the daughter whos going to accept the award on his behalf? ;)

Mat Salo said...

Ya, Kak Ena, congrats are in order. It is a mark of respect to your Bapak who has touched legions of BH journalists. It is always good to be remembered when one is still around. Posthumous awards are marks of a Nation's guilt. So let Bapak savor these moments, because he deserves it!

Err.. Foch Avenue yang mana satu aar?

Anonymous said...

Hey Nuraina

Remember at one of the Press Award nights a few years ago, when Pak Samad was at the main table with ministers and corporate big wigs, and he decided that he wanted to have a smoke, he did not ask permission, he just took out his cigarette and lighter and lighted up.

everyone was not sure what to do, except him, when he called the head waiter serving the VIP table and asked for an ashtray. I do not believe any of the ministers or corporate bigwigs said anything, or dared to.

And I do believe many of us journalists then who were still smoking, rocky included, took it as the cue to light up. Since if the tokoh wartawan said so, it must be okay, right?


zainul arifin

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Ena

TAHNIAH from both of us to your dad! Ya la! siapa agaknya yang akan ambik award tu?:)

Nani & Michael
Big Apple

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

COngratulations to Bapak.

And you wrote: For having endured Bapak's temperament all those years, his boys and girls should be awarded, don't you think?

I can only imagine what they went through...

Srikanth Siva said...

Conngratulations to Bapak

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Pak Samad.

I hope we will get to see some pictures from the awards night.

Rockybru said...

You should go up there and accept the award on behalf of your dad, Ena.

You are known to probably all the members of the Former BH Journalists Association and you probably know all of them, too.

The award won't do anything to add to what Pak Samad is as a journalist, a writer, an editor. In fact, giving this award to Pak Samad should lift the standing of this association that was set up by the ex-BH guys.

I would like to thank the ex-BH guys for not forgetting the grand old man of Malaysian journalism.

Congratulations -- both to Pak Samad and the association.

p.s. I hope those guys who "stole" the Tokoh Wartawan Negara award form Pak Samad (by giving the same title to Zam the Info Minister) won't think of doing the same. There is no way -- I say it again: NO WAY -- you guys can try increase the height of a pygmy by giving him high heels or giving him a ladder. A minnow can't pretent to be a giant, whatever awards you bestow on him.

BaitiBadarudin said...

Congratulations to both the 'awardee' and 'awarder'!

Bailey said...

congratulation to Pak Samad.

i wish i had a boss like him.

Faten Rafie said...

Tahniah to your Bapak!

Rockybru said...


Thanks for reminding me of that moment, Zainul.
Pak Samad has always been a non-conformist (penentang arus) but smoking in a designated non-smoking zone was not one of his habits.
I think he was probably bored with a big-wig on the VIP table who was a non-smoker, so he must have lit up to blow smokes in the fella's face.
I've been to some functions where he was a guest. He would usually excuse himself and light up outside the hall, where he would spend a long time and invariably worry the hosts.

Accia said...

salam kak ena,
syukur alhmadulillah.
tahniah Pak Samad!

zaitgha said...

congratulation to Pak Samad...

Anonymous said...

Ohh Pak Samad...
The man stands above all the titles, awards,'tokoh's, accolades bestowed upon him.
From the days of a young Utusan reporter/anti-Colonial activist/founder of PAP.. to being instrumental in nationalising the NST/PM advisor/ISA detainee..( and the list goes on)...the history of Pak Samad speaks for himself.
Others may share the same awards the same 'tokoh' have the same title but noone has the same history.A history of true nationalism, struggle and integrity...
"Tiada Perjuangan Tanpa Pengorbanan"....

Anonymous said...

An award that should have given a very long time ago. However, it is still a proud moment to savour.

the Razzler said...

Kak Ena...

Congrats to Pak Samad!! :) :)

Anonymous said...

Foch Avenue is Jalan Cheng Lock now, I think. And Straits Times office on Pudu Road later became Petronas' office and then Magnum. Magnum later moved across the road, in front of Tung Shin hospital.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Bapak!

Love Rocky's take on why he lighted up at the other award gig. From all that we've heard about him, it sounded like a vintage action. :D


farina: I will be there. We belum decide which daughter....thanks, farina.

matsalo: thank u, bro! and oh...foch avenue is along where the Kotaraya shopping complex is now. that was a bus stop where buses would wait along the stretch...

zainul: how can i forget-lah! I was at the other table, just across...he got me quite worried but then...i thought "oh well..."

nani&michael: thank you, both of you.
haha...siapa agak nya?

elviza:thank you. they say that if you work under pak samad, you sure can tahan anybody, anyone.

srikanth: thank you.

sesat: thank you...thanks for reminding us on the photos...

baiti: thank you. and yes. ditto..syabas to the ex-BH journalists!

bailey: thank you...but i don;t know about wishing for a boss like him...can be quite er, dahshat..

athene: thank you.

accia: terima kasih!

zai: thank you..

waksegen: adoi...thank you..i just dunno what to say....so sweet.

bigdog: thank you.

razzler: thank you.

anon@6:23: thanks.... but about Petronas occupying the NST Pudu office....not too sure about that. I thought it was the building adjacent to the hospital.


rocky: havent decided who to accept the award-lah.
thanks for the suggestion..

yep...i know your strong sentiments about the Tokoh Wartawan award being given to a non-journalist, a Cabinet minister to boot!
Journalists (real journos) feel the same.

And that night Bapak lit up in the hotel ballroom where the Press night was held...yeah, that was something...
suspense jugak takut someone sound kat dia and then dia sound balik!



Hi there....so glad you are back. Good to know that you had a wonderful break!

thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Ena,

Please convey my congratulations to your Bapak. He really deserved it. Glad to know that the other person getting the award is Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin. Dua-dua my "fairy" God Fathers. Masa nak start working for them, ingatkan they would be my "fiery" God Fathers.

Who is going up to take the award??? Rasanya kena one-two-som (betul ke perkataan ni)between you and your sister, Kak Ton. Dua-dua journalists, kan? Atau pun tenguk CV, siapa yang telah dapat bertahan dekat NSTP lebih lama. Or may be get Nina to accept it. Dia terlepas banyak peluang untuk bersama Pak Samad masa kecil2 dulu.

Or apa kata, present the award to Pak Samad himself at home and then ask him to give a speech and tayangkan masa Award Night tu. May be Pak Samad boleh bagi amanat kepada journalists di Malaysia. Tapi rasanya dah kesuntukan masa, kan?

Tak kira le anak mana yang naik terima award tu, I envy you... Mesti the proudest moment tu.

mutalib saifuddin said...


i believe that with the award, at least people of younger generation have not forget him. They salute his as a journalist, and people who brought up journalism from nothing to EVERYthing.



tu-lah... mula nak kak ton tapi adam (cucu dia) tak sihat so she kena jaga hero tu.

we wanted abang med but he is in new zealand nak register anak dia sekolah.

so -- one-two-som Kak Ena and NIna-lah..

thanks, mariani..

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina,
Been missing your blog for more than a week - went back home to Malaya for my dad's operation... (but got cut off the blog world at Ampang Putri) good to hear Pak Samad getting the award by his fellow journalists - Congratulations! I'm sure it means a lot to him; its like having a surgeon getting a recognition by other fellow surgeons... who else could have a better evaluation than the pros from the fraternity? Salam. Ps: Good to see your photo on the blog.



good to hear from you. i hope your dad is ok.
thanks for visiting..
take care!