Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Comic Treat -- Aug 5, 2008

Like many people my age, comics ruled when we were young. I hate to point fingers but Bapak has to be blamed for all this. It was Bapak who influenced us and got us started and hooked on comics.

Bapak, I think, must have broken some sacred and cardinal rules of parenting. He'd not allow us to do one thing, yet, he'd encourage us to do something that was akin to what he forbade us to do.

But, who's complaining.

BY the way, this was in the 60s. Way back when....

We know that on weekdays, we're not supposed to watch TV or do our own thing. Yet, on some (week) days, he'd call us to join him read comics/comic books he'd just bought.

This would be just after dinner.

How we looked forward to the latest Marvel comics or Tarzan Of The Apes. Or Korak, Son of Tarzan. Aaah....the little pleasures in our very young life.

After reading Tarzan on a regular basis, we picked up a few Swahili words -- Bandolo! Kreegah! Jumbo!

Bapak would also have The Twilight Zone series to add to his collection.

We'd never know when Bapak would bring those comics home. He'd not tell us until after dinner.

We'd be back at our study tables, finishing off our homework before turning in for the night.

And then, Bapak would holler from the living room ; "Siapa nak baca komik?"

I tell you, that would stop us in our tracks, so to speak. We'd drop whatever we were doing and rush into the living room.

I'd go for Tarzan or The Twilight Zone. Bapak would buy just about enough for all of us. We'd read them all in one sitting.

I'd pass to Kak Eda the one I had chosen, and she'd pass the one she had finished. I'm not sure if Kak Ton ever joined Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I. I know Abang Med did.

We had stacks of comics at a corner of our living room, including our all-time favourite of Beano and Dandy comics. These, we bought with our own pocket money. For some reason, Bapak never bought Beano and Dandy for us. Never asked him why, though.

Then, Bapak started buying for me the Princess Tina and June And Schoolfriend series. I was so hooked on them as well.

Later, in secondary school, I bought my own Archie comics. I had amassed such a huge collection that I made my own little "library" of it. Friends would "borrow" the comics from me.

In later years, I'd buy new-age comic books. And I never missed the latest Lat series.

Comics and cartoons delight me.

Bapak had no qualms about letting us loose, reading and indulging in comics.

Comics are all about imagination, inventiveness and creativity.

I supposed it's because he'd firmed us with a foundation of classics -- Robin Hood, Black Beauty, Ivanhoe, Robinson Crusoe and the likes. Later, we were given doses of Charles Dickens and Mark Twain and......

So, he must have figured that we'd be okay, we'd stay on course and if we went "astray", it couldn't be bad because it would be our imagination that would be fired up.

Old habits die hard. So, I buy comics for my children. But....oh. Not the ones that I used to buy. They don't make 'em like they used to, that's for sure.

I remember how delightfully surprised Adel was-- and maybe a little jealous -- when I told him that I used to have the original Spiderman And Ironman comics.

No big deal, I told him. Everyone had them those days.

Aah..what was common in those days are a treasure today.

Thank you, Bapak for the treasure, yesterday and today.


zaitgha said...

aahhh..Nuraina, this one i like he he....
Beano, Dandy, Archie ... and Mark Twain, Scarlett Letter, and others came later ya and of course Lat...this was one of the reasons by the time we took SRP(my time)our English was still ok...

they dont make comics like those days ...

Anonymous said...

salam nuraina, cherish all d memories.. treasure them good, during my time betty n archie d fav, but now.. no comics 4 my kids.. LAT pon dh tkde dh lgk...

GobloKing said...

I just love to read yr postings on yr father.

What you write reminds me of my time with my papa too

I think starting with reading comics is a prime reason why I still enjoy reading today

My brother & I had the same gift from our dad as yours

readers digest, Life mag, and for a short time nat geo

encyclopedias like book of knowledge & ency britania which were very little used !!

beano,dandy, superman, supergirl, wonderwoman, enid blyton, famous 5

While allowed plenty of comics and books, TV watching was limited to 3hours from 5 to 8pm for us.

Take it or leave it!

Even then I think our parents knew something about the effects of watching too much tv OR maybe it was to save electricity??!!

:) I too had a wonderful & interesting childhood because of my dad's encouragement for us to read !

thanks for making me feel all fuzzy and warm remininscing about the old days too

Anonymous said...

thanks for the post.
It was Bujal/Gila-gila for me.
duduk kampung - mana nak cari komik org putih.
arwah ayah selalu beli. berebut adik-beradik seluk raga motor bila ayah balik.
paling suka bila gila-gila ada bumper issue. tebal tu..

artic turban said...

I came from a very strict sikh upbringing and Comics were considered a waste of time, whereas eventhough my father was a avid reader, he frowned upon us reading novels or storybooks, (prefering us to read our school books). This came to a-head, in std 5, when one day whlist I was reading 'sindbad the sailor', and my father 'confiscated' my story book, and told me to do my studies. I got so angry and shouted at my father for the first time in my life, I shouted at him that this was my school-work as we had been school assignment in English composition based on the short story/ version of sindbad from our english schoolbook. I than went on to show him the school book, he very quietly but fiercely asked me , than why are you reading from the library story book. I told him I wanted to have extra and better points than my classmates (who were just doing the assignment whereas I wanted to go the extra mile)by writing about other facts which were not in the short version. I am not denying that I was actually loving the tales of sinbad,and was using the school excersice to justify my reading a storybook. well he told me he wanted to see my result from this particular assignment, well I did get an 'A', When I finally showed him the results he brought me to 'ANTHONIAN' BOOKSTORE and told me I could have $10.00 of any books I wanted, well knowing the little schemer I was and still am (maybe a lot older now), I bought my self comics, beano, dandy, war comics, was never too much into marvel, but I found these new " comics from INDIA called 'jataka tales" These were written in english, these were my introduction into the world of Indian, arabic, middle eastern tales of mythology and history, religion, biographies of unknown (than)important historical figures, but in the form of comic illustrations. WELL like the saying goes the rest is History, I caught my father reading those jataka tales, at first he grew quite embarassed, but as time went on, every payday my father would invest in these 'comics", we grew to have quite a huge collection of them, I inherited all the comics after my father death and my children grew up on them, pity though its practically impossible to get them today. I was introduced to the great indian classics of Ramayana & Mahabharata, Akhbar the mughal, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the punjab who ruled right up to persia, sHAH JAHAN, TANSEN, VALMIKI, GAUTAMA, GANDHI, JINNAH, THE SEPOY MUTINY, THE mughal/moghul empire, the rajputs, the british, BIRBAL, THE SIKH GURUS, the influence of Islam on India and the rest is history. Well I should say till the end of his life my father used to complain that I manipulated him and corrupted him by introducing him to those jataka tales. he never stopped reading them though, he subscribed them directly from INDIA. well that is my small tale of how reading opened up my world, the thought of the 'world is my oyster' comes to mind, well with the import of the internet we seem to be on information overload. THE ART OF READING is dying, I asked a group of youngsters in KL a couple of years ago, whether they knew who AKHBAR or Brutus was, the answer I got had me shaking my head. where has our education and way of teaching gone, ps the answer I got was 'ARE THOSE HIP-HOP ARTIST FROM THE MIDDLE EAST"!!!! LOL. BTW LAT IS MY FAVORITE, THE SIKH CHARACTER REMINDS ME OF MY DAD. god bless his soul. thank you PUAN NURAINA, for this trip down memory lane. How simple things looked when we were young.

artic turban said...

I think a great dis-servise was done to the culture of comic reading when gila2 came out , the least they could have done was use proper Malay, not gutter slang.

Nasionalis said...

Saya ingin memberitahu bahawa saya baru mewujudkan suatu blog khusus menggabung, memantau dan memudahkan melayar tulisan terkini dari wartawan-blogger tertentu, blogger2 nasionalis, dan pemimpin serta blog cawanagn/bahagian/negeri umno.

Blog anda telah dimasuk senarai.
Sila mampir. Harap kita dapat bertukar pautan.

Old Fart said...

Never bought any..but I guess I must have read all of them, including the romance ones fro girls as well as June and Friends. You forgot the soldier ones....you know especially the second world war series...Whatever happened to all of them?

Anonymous said...

Most of us who went to English medium schools in the fifties and sixties will surely remember Dandy, Beano, Beezer, Topper, Schoolgirl etc. It was a luxury those days to possess them and an even bigger luxury to have the hard cover annuals which were 'expensive' in those days at R.3.50 per book (circa. 1960s) and once lent it will not come back in one piece. There have been cases where borrowed comics are lent to the original owner unwittingly! Yes, it comes a full circle. In any case, our interest in the English language was generated by these clean comics. Ironically comic books were out of bounds in schools as it was believed that it is not in line with English grammer. Even at homes they are banned and many of us use to hide in the toilet to read them! Those were the golden days when even lending a simple comic can bring you ever lasting friendship amongst the various races of the country then.

Anonymous said...

He he, this is one area where we have very little in common. I'm so not into comics (other than Lat), although in the late 1970s, we lived next to a famous Utusan cartoonist (now, cartoonist for Harakah) in Pengkalan Chepa. Must admit this is the first time I'm reading about Princess Tina and June.

I really don't know what comic magazines or books (other than those by Lat) to buy for the kids to help them be more creative and adventurous. But I would never object whenever they handed over Shin Chan, Doraemon and Asuh (jom jadi baik) to me in the bookshops, followed by "Boleh tak beli ni?". Should I be more prudent and circumspect in the comic selection?


Rockybru said...

Ah, your Bapak and comics!

Pak Samad and his comics!

When I was Malay Mail editor and Pak Lah was not the PM and Kali was not put there yet by Pak Lah to destroy that institution, I was formally called in twice to your dad's room. He was the advisor to the NSTP then. And "formally" means he asked his secretary to call my secretary to ask him to see him.

The first time he called me in was over a dinner invitation to Daim Zainuddin's house. My name was on the list of editors to be invited to that dinner. At the end of my name, someone made two crosses (XX).

"What did you do? Why doesn't Daim like you?", Pak Samad asked me.

"I don't know. I didn't do anything," I told him.

"Hahahaha," Pak Samad said.

He was later told why Daim didn't want me to at his home for his dinner. But he didn't formally call me to discuss that.

The second time he formally called me in was to screw me up.

"P...mak!!! Where are my comics?" he demanded.

"Eh, they are there, Pak Samad. Tak nampak ke?", I said, cheesed off at being screwed even in private.

"Mana ada? Show me."

"Eh, they moved the comics to another page. But they are still there, only different page."

"Pu..mak! Next time don't move my comics. Don't underestimate your reader."

Pak Samad and his comics.

We never moved the comics to another page of Malay Mail after that.

Of course, after Pak Lah became PM and Kali ruled NSTP, they turned Malay Mail into a college paper and scrapped the comics.

The paper failed miserably. They should have listened to Pak Samad. Comics are important.

Bung Karno said...


Beano and Dandy. Ahhhh that Scott guy and Denis the Menace.

But then along came Lat.. at least there was something good at NSTP.

Anonymous said...

hahaha... I like this : " p...mak"
& " pu ..mak" !! ( rocky has cleverly put the 3 & 2 dots respectively for the 'p.....k' !)
men are cute even at old age, i wonder how kak aina 'scolds' in her gentle heart !?

Saya... said...

Rocky, I was laughing at the "Pu..mak! Where are my comics?" part the most...heh heh...the vision of a big man being cussed at by Pak Samad missing his daily comics...(did you want to burst into tears then, Rocky? haha)

Nuraina, Casette,

I remember Beano, Dandy, Topper, Archies and ones like the Road Runner, Donald Duck (Disney series I think)and yes,the hardcover editions, were the thrilling ones.

These comics i associated with my most favorite time of all...naik keretapi senandung malam from butterworth to KL to visit my auntie at 50, jalan riong during school holidays with my mum and my sisters. We would stock up on comics at the KL station news stands and eagerly got into our bunks and stayed up half the night reading them.( and i always loved when the train pulled into KL in the morning...like being in some glamorous, fast-paced city...compared to Penang then..thrill giler...)

Gila2 and MAD were also fun, and i actually liked the "gutter " language Artic referred to...tu yang makes it funny..but now its all not the same anymore, or maybe my tastebuds just can't appreciate the newer comics on the block.

Anonymous said...

Nuraina, if you still have these comics, take care of them well. As for me, they are all gone...'friends' pinjam and dont return, the rest became termite food. I had a lot of Dell, Golden Key and Marvel titles. All gone, all gone. Sigh.

Raison D'etre said...

Kak Aini,

Surprise, surprise. Just like Bapak, it was my grandfather who introduced me to the wonderful world of comics with a copy of Marvel's Howard the Duck a long, long time ago.

Then came the children books - Enid Blyton's Secret Seven, Famous Five. No Beano, though. I got Dandy instead. :)

And to think that Tok Wan was just a Hospital Attendant, and only knew how the ride the bicycle..

God bless his soul.

artic turban said...

when we were growing up, every sunday there was the sunday mail and sunday times comics bonanza, so we got up early to read the comics and try to do the crosswords and other quizes, well it used to totally cheese off my dad as my eldest brother (working already) used to use a pen to do the quizes, we used pencils, and after we had finished we erasered the answers off, wheras mr smart alec eldar brother used pen, my father got his revenge by glueing with industrial epoxy, my abang's best shoes to the cement floor. padam muka, we were rolling on the ground when we saw our abang trying to untangle his shoes, after that peace was restored. Don't mess with bapaji's sunday newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Ya, the age of innocence. Why does it have to change?

IBU said...

I'll vote with my eyes closed for COMICs - anytime!!!

Tapi... yelah, Ibu pun dulu mostly bujal & gila-gila only. But hey... the daily dosage of comics was a key motivator for me to "read" newspaper(s) from as early as four, I was told. Everyone in the house, whoever in sight, would be my victim to read aloud (& interpret) the dialogue bubbles for me (but this didn't stop me to counter argue with my own interpretations ..hehehh..)

Sometimes my elder brothers would bring home 'bonus' for me - Spiderman, Archie & Scooby Doo - old ones which their 'rich' classmates nak buang dah.... they all knew I was (still am) hantu comics.

Anonymous said...

Comics2 they are indeed treasure esp d older version. Sis Nuraina thxs for d nostalgic posting and bro rocky...ur story kinda funny...


Anonymous said...

My Papa bought me comics in my younger days, too namely; Beano and Dandy; were weekly regulars.
Not to mention Cor.
I waited and Enjoyed them all.
REally love him for buying them.
He also bought me the Look & Learn magazine. (I still have these.)
My interest in general knowledge bloomed from this.
Budding Papa's should learn from this sporting/smart act of earlier papa's.

Anonymous said...

I love your comics. They are better than the comics running Malaysia!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Adoii Rocky & Aina.. when Rocky goes pu...mak, I am sooo reminded of dear Pak Samad, that incorrigible man.

Being a budak kampung from Terengganu who just started work in the city, and in a newspaper office pulak tu where the language was so 'colourful', I winced each time I heard Pak Samad mencarut..hehehe.. maklumlah belum biasa..

I remember Kak Adib geleng kepala each time Pak Samad mula his carut tirade.. This was in 1973 and all the papers in the NST group were sharing the same floor then..

What a memory.. Salam takzim to Pak Samad, Aina..semoga dia sihat..

Anonymous said...

since 1962, i starded reading ( not buying & collecting, no m lah)
'old master Q' from HK, very amusing ! aina, have you !?

Anonymous said...

great entry, ena.

astute, pak samad!

my parents brought us up on comics too. i dare say i probably owe a chunk of my education to those wonderful line drawings talking and thinking in balloons...

till today, comics [include graphic novels and manga in there] is one of my vices.

bayi said...

All these comics were my favourites when I was in primary school. I didn't have the money to buy them and would try by any means to borrow them from my better-to-do friends. Fantastic fond memories....


zai: ya-lah...
i still have such a weakness for comics. sometimes i think i'm such a juvenile.
nice to "see" u, zai.

hanitha: oh...how can i forget betty and veronica.
then, they all made cartoons on TV about Archie and his friends.
thanks for visiiting.

gobloking: hello, ma'am...nice to see you here.
i think fathers are made in this world to spoil their kids with comics and/or toys!
hope to see you back home soon!

alkaha: Aaah.. Gila-Gila. I think the creators must have been inspired by Mad magazine. Memang gila-lah.

arctic turban: Thank you for a very interesting blast from your past. Your father learnt as much from you as you did from him.
Wonderful story. Thank you so much!

nasionalis: terima kasih


old fart: those war comics?? you know, i haven't seen them in a long time! i suppose some products don't have staying power. though i maybe wrong.

cassette: tell me about it. i love the exchange of comics among friends....

aMiR: that's ok.. in the 60s and 70s, things were different, i reckon.
these days, you get all sorts of comics. some masquerade as comics but are really trashy.
i can't quite give you an assessment in order to help you pick the right ones for the kids.
however, if you go to a very good book store, you'd find under the comics section, a good selection...
i'd look at the language and content and how interesting the comics are.


Bung Karno: haha...i know i know.

Anon@12:43AM: i hate to disappoint you.but i'm not as gentle as you might think., and when i am angry---let's see...depends on how angry but in my old age, i try to stay calm and swear in my heart.

Me... Only Better: And that p.....k is milder than his other expletives.
Tehsin...50 jalan riong. Isn't that near the NST?
I can imagine the fun reading comics from Penang to KL!
See u tomorrow at MRT.

Halim: I don't have them anynmore. I'm not sure what happened to them.
Thanks for visiting.

My Raison D'etre: Wonderful, isn't it.
Comics and reading them was an important part of my childhoood. As was reading books.
thanks for visiting.

artic turban: Haha...your dad was really something else.

aiyomanaboleh: that's life, i guess.

Ibu: You were quite a child, Ibu!
And what a childhood too!

Jajanjohor: thank you for visiting! :D

Suresh: Glad to know that!

Anon@12:37PM: Haha...you're funny.

Puteri Kamaliah At-Tarawis: Oh... those were the days.
And you remember them too!
He is incorrigible. Even in frail health he is! thank u for the salam, Inshallah I will kirim your salam.
thanks for visiting. Take care!

Anon@5:30pm: No...I have not read this one. I shall find out more about it.

mekyam: I knew it! I knew it!
you too?
and i still make my way to the comics section in the bookstore....

bayi: looks like so many of us share something in common....

Anonymous said...

aina, i have counted : 5 dots .....
between p & k = ukima , you are really serious in your response .. ..hahaha, thanks !
you were 12 in 68, by any chance were you schooling in p.rengas, pk?
i was a teacher there, 63 now !

Anonymous said...

aina, sweetie, you have not responded yet ! were you schooling in perak in 68 onwards ?