Friday, November 28, 2008

Of SPM, Haj and Old Friends

The D days are over and it is now supposed to be the H days.
But only in my dreams, I guess.

Much as I would like to take the H days, my time is very limited as it is the B days nowadays at the office.

Anyway, in many ways, I am relieved that the SPM exams are over. Now, I guess, is reflection time for Arif. He needs to quickly decide what he would want to do for the rest of his life in the next couple of months. I am of course hoping that he would stick to his dream of taking up flying. Like all fathers, I would do everything that I could to make it come true.

I would, as it was my dream to be a pilot when I was in primary school.

But these eyes of mine would not allow it .

I guess he would be joining me at work to give him an idea of working life. It would do him a world of good.


I have been a hermit the past 3 weeks, not meeting anyone or traveling and totally ignoring invites. Unless of course if the invites were for Kenduri doa selamat for the haj. That I would attend to 'ambik berkat' I guess. So when Zul, a former classmate of mine, invited me for his doa selamat, I could not say no, though I told him that I would be late.

I also found out that he is now much in building conservation, and hence he is frequenting Taiping to observe buildings. "What a coincident!" I told him. "I spend a good day last Raya holiday snapping pictures of old kayu houses and istanas in Kuala Kangsar and I really think we need to take care of our heritage."

I can't wait for him to return for Haj to be talking about building conservation.


I can imagine meeting Kodeq at Zul's doa selamat. Afterall, the 3 of us were quite close in 1980. But to meet him again 3 hours later in Ulu Langat for another doa selamat was unthinkable.

I reached the doa selamat at this very nicely done bungalow on a 10,000 ft land while they were reciting the wirids, and Kodeq was just 5 mins behind. Rusman, the host was not a friend from school, so I didn't expect to see anyone I knew at the doa selamat. I was prepared to be lonely or making new friends there to be honest.

But there he was again.

The world is getting too small!


You know what a D day, but H stands for Holy as in holidays and B stands for busy.

Zul is going for the first time while Rusman is going for the second time in consecutive years. He told me that he enjoyed it so much last year that he simply have to go again this year! Haj has that effect on you, I guess.

The question that both of them posted to this blogger is when is he going.

That's a very good question, I must admit. I've been asking myself of the same thing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Peristiwa dibulan November


Found in the online NST.

Khadijah Ibrahim’s The Pearl Anniversary Concert at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas had the audience mesmerised.

SHUIB TAIB was one of them.

THIRTY years of a glittering showbiz career sallied forth in a remarkable show by Khadijah Ibrahim billed “The Pearl Anniversary Concert” at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, Kuala Lumpur.

Khadijah took her audience back to the days when her hits like Ku Sangka Siang Kiranya Malam, Ku Pendam Sebuah Duka, Tangisan Hati Yang Derita and Janji Mu dominated the airwaves.

She began the show by singing a line from Leaving on a Jetplane, the first song she sang in public. Kathy, as she was known when she started her career, also entertained the audience with anecdotes.

“To finally make it here is just great. It’s tough competing with all the new stars like Mawi, er, who is he?, she joked. When I first started touring, I went to places like Jengka, Machang, Tasik Cini... not Los Angeles, mind you!
“With my looks, height, a name like Kathy and the fact that I could speak a little English, kampung folk thought I was a mat salleh. So it was all right for me to sing in English. They found it surprising though that I could sing in Malay as well.”

Back in 1979, this writer attended a RM5 concert on a school football field in Kampung Manjoi, Ipoh.

Artistes included Khadijah’s brother Latiff and comedians A.R Badul and the late Yusni Jaafar but Khadijah was the main draw with a 40-minute slot.

Those days, anyone worth her salt would be compared to the dynamic Anita Sarawak who was already well-known in the Asian region. The local Press was predicting Kathy to be the next Anita.

Thankfully, there was no need for comparisons. Khadijah proved that she could hold her own.

And her Pearl concert was added proof. With her powerful and at times husky vocals, Khadijah had the audience in the packed hall mesmerised.

“Before I recorded my first English album, I was required to prove that I could sing in English. I was asked to sing a song of Donna Summer’s (the queen of disco at the time),” said Khadijah before giving a soulful rendition of Summer’s version of MacArthur’s Park, another song she used to sing.

Khadijah recalled how her father did not get to see the day when she released her first album in 1978.

“Mum would follow me around then but after six months, I lost her too. Ladies and gentlemen, I dedicate this next song to my mother,” she said before belting out Mama Oh Mama.

Khadijah’s following medley of numbers reflected her career journey, with the audience cheering her on: Oh Kekasih Ku (a Malay version of Wishing on a Star), Ku Gembira Di Samping Mu, Potret Kasih, Kau Timbul Kembali, Sabar Menanti and English numbers like Memories (which she dedicated to her ex-husband, Mohd Rashid Fahmi Bastaloo), Everyday Girl as well as a cover version of Autumn Leaves.

In between her three costume changes, Khadijah introduced her guests, Datuk Ahmad Nawab and Ramli Sarip.

Ahmad was the man who was instrumental in Khadijah’s success, her mentor of sorts, having penned more than 2,000 songs and so many of her hits. The 75-year-old saxman hit the right notes with the audience when he played Spanish number Besame Mucho and his self-composed winner, Kali Terakhir Ku Lihat Wajah Mu.

Khadijah and Ramli did a beautiful duet with Doa Buat Kekasih, one of their evergreen hits. It also turned out to be the favourite number of Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah, who was also present.

Others in the audience included singers Syafinaz Selamat, Halil Chik, politician Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and several corporate figures.

She ended her show with Peristiwa Di Bulan November, and from her performance that day, November 2008 will be hard to forget.

If you haven’t caught any of her shows, you should not miss any of her performances. For here is one entertainer who can lift up your spirit as high as her immitable vocals can soar!


AAH, it has been thirty long years and how I wish I had been able to see her perform during her heyday. Not that I was anywhere near Jengka or Cini the past 30 years. Then again I was not near New Zealand at any stage of my life either.

Kampung New Zealand I may have passed on the way to the East Coast though!

Like Shuib and many others in the sold out concert, I was mesmerized.

Mak thought she looks younger and smaller when she first appeared on stage. May be. She had to ask if she was my age which is not! She is older than me, but of definitely she looks younger than this blogger. But smaller?

I guess she didn't see her at Imbauan recently.

All in all, I have enjoyed her performance. She was cheeky with the glitters of the diamonds that she wore that night - I guess she was not unlike Madonna. She was funny and no one would be in doubt of her stature in the Malaysian entertainment scene.

Many song I seems to have forgotten but were rekindled in my mind. Memories - one song that caused this blogger to quiver in his seat. It has been so long. Everyday Girl too. I thought the best performance was Salam dari Benua. The composition was excellent, beside the singer of course.

All her songs from Ku Gembira disampingmu, Tangisan Hati, Ku sangka Siang, Potret Kasih would cause to writer to jog down memory lane. In fact those songs would have him running out breath, just to keep himself up. Her songs were great, so was she. You would have read the review in Mingguan last week beyond the excerpt above.

But to be honest, at one stage I was disappointed. In fact I was disappointed the moment I stepped into the hall, still smiling in anticipation of Janjimu for which this blogger would be ever so grateful to her. (I mentioned to Datuk Ahmad Jais that I have not heard of Nak Dara Rindu, an asli-laced song not to be confused with PRamlee's. But he didn't perform it when he did the concert at Istana budaya.)

I was expecting a full philharmonic orchestra to complement the DFP but instead we had a 'normal' band (3 guitars, keyboard, and a piano).

To say I am a bit disappointed would be an understatement to be honest. I guess I am now old enough to be wanting to listen to a bit more sophistication in musical presentation than say a 3-guitar and a keyboard band. Nevermind if Jenny Chin was on keyboard. To me, keyboard cheapen the sound especially if it was trying to imitate the wonderful sound of violins in an orchestra.

Especially when the DFP has a full size pipe organ adorning the wall of the stage!

Hence I thought highly of the arrangement of Salam dari Benua with violin, acoustic guitar and I guess a piano. Excellent!

I was hoping that she would not do medley of her major songs. Unfortunately Tangisan Hatiku Yang Derita, and Ku sangka Siang (not to mention Janjimu) were sung in shorter version of a medley.

I wonder how she would sound in the full splendour of a phiharmonic orchestra.

My other dislike would be all the names of the politicians and corporate figures mentioned over and over again by her. I never thought highly of them, and wonder what they had done to her career anyway. But I guess it is her show and not for me to decide how she wants to thank anyone for their support

Anyway, Dear Khatijah Ibrahim, I grew up listening to many of your songs especially the ones in 1980. Your songs remain high on my list of songs I would listen to, but please don't take what I am saying here in negativity.

I am giving you my honest opinion. I hope you would do another concert, this time with the back up of a full orchestra.

I would be the first to buy the ticket.


I thought there is no need for me to be waxing lyrically about her performance. It had been published by NST and Utusan. She is that good, I must admit. In fact I think she is great!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanks for Janji mu, Kathy

Kini tinggal kenangan saja
Kau berdusta
Hidup ku kini jadi sengsara

Berlinangan airmata
mengenangkan kembali
segala kisah asmara
suka duka ku harungi

Kini ku sendiri
Tiada lagi kau bersama
kurasa sepi
Hidup ku kini jadi sengsara

Ku mengerti
Kita tidak bersua lagi
kini ku sendiri

Aah, Janjimu. What a song! Sad, and melancholic; just the way I'd like my songs to be.

Last night Khadijah Ibrahim belted this song at the Philharmonic. I have not heard this song for years, beyond the fact that the song has been playing in my mind for years. Not many knew this song; it was not one of her most popular song.

But for some reason - and I remember it vividly, this song song seems to the class anthem for Pasteur 5. I mean, Kathy has so many great songs by 1980 - Ku sangka siang kiranya malam, Tangisan hati yang derita; all those sad and melancholic songs that were our cultural standard in the late 70s and 80s, but nothing beat Janjimu to many of my classmates then.

I remember it well, as I had the lyric of this song on the cover of my file; written in beautiful hand-written font by him that a few of my classmates asked me to write the lyric for them which I did on a Pejabat Tanah Taiping's letter head that I took from bapak's possession.

It puzzles me to this day on the reason why song were not popular on the airwaves but left an indelible mark on many of us in that class high up in the then new building of MRSM in Pengkalan Chepa then.

One thing for sure, it is a beautiful sad, melancholic song.

And Kathy last night renders it beautifully at the MPO that left me in awe in my seat.

I wanted to give her a standing ovation for that song, but the crowd was too timid. Most likely they didn't know as no one applause at all when she completed the rendition, and I was not extrovert enough to stand up on my own and gave her the respect that was due.

I guess I was the only one taken back to 1980.

I was surprised that she sang the song last night. I would like to think that it was due my request a couple of months ago at this blog and apparently she was alerted of my review of her performance at the Imbauan concert at the MPO.

(to be continued - my say on her Pearl Anniversary at the MPO)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The D Day today

Raden Adjeng Kartini, says the history book. An article in the The Sunday Star named her as Raden Ayu Kartini.

She's Javanese for sure. The latter is probably easier to our Malaysian tongue and hence it was used in the article. May be, I dont know. Apparently she played an important role in the birth of nationalism in South East Asia, or Indonesia in particular. She reckoned in order for Indonesians to get out of the poverty cycle, education is the keyword.

However, she died at 24 while giving birth.

But her effort would not go unnoticed or unremembered. She is considered as Srikandi in Indonesia and would be fondly remembered for her effort.

And why, you would ask, that I would be talking about this Indonesian lady who died in the 1900s in Indonesia?

The truth is I am sitting for my SPM and the history paper today (Tuesday).

Eh, I mean, my son Arif is sitting for SPM and his first paper is today.

But of course in this age, it goes without saying that the parent – in this case, it is this blogger, would be sitting for the same paper too. So I had been in the past week reading along his text on history, which is not really this blogger's cup of tea.

I mean years ago – 28 years ago to be exact, when he was sitting for his SPM, we had the choice to choose geography over history and I believe over 90% of us chosed geography which resembles more to science than history.

Nevermind that this blogger during F1 would want to be a archaelogist! So Add Math, Physics and Chemistry; these were difficult subjects to him then. But now, they are a piece of cake.

Sort of. With the benefit of hindsight, of course.

But Biology is still not my cup of tea, just like history or Bahasa Melayu.

To be honest, I am taking it easy this time around. Que Sera sera, so they say, what will be will be.

Sure, I would do anything for him to get good results. But life is a marathon and not a sprint. My regret in life was treating it like a 100 m sprint when it is really is a 42km run. By the time one reaches 100 m mark, one was almost dead if one were to sprint ala Carl Lewis.

So Arif (and Akmal of course), good luck and all the best for tomorrow. I do wish I have one more month to prepare you for the exam. But then again, it would still be one month short and it would never end.

In the end, what is more important is how you lead you life in the future.


I don't remember my SPM that well in 1980 beyond the fact that we were all expected to breeze through. The expectation were high but so were the confidence then. To be honest, at that point, we didn't really care much. Many of us were already visualizing ourselves in Australia or England, or in this blogger's case America.

Someone with his dad in Dewan Bahasa was putting out spot questions for BM on the Dewan Makan notice board. Hampeh, to be honest; we should know better though.

I don't recall much of the other papers. Add math and physics – we were quite nervous then. After all half of the us failed our first add math exam in F4 with getting the egg. This blogger was lucky he was not in that esteemed group. He probably score a 6 (out of 100 of course!).

Aah TY! Where would we be without you?

Honestly in hindsight, except for may be Rashid and Rozhan and a few others, I am not sure if many of us cared that much that year for our SPM.

If at least in reflection.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tanam Pinang rapat-rapat

I saw these pinang trees while visiting Batu Kurau in Taiping last Raya and suddenly the Malay pantun came to my mind; so I asked Arif to snap the picture.

I did not see any puyuh though ;-)