Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Sports Commentator Honoured

I was thrilled to hear the news that Haji Hasbullah Awang the renowned sports commentator has been conferred “Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang” (DIMP) which carries the title Dato’ by DYMM Sultan Pahang on His Highness birthday on Sunday 24 October 2010.

I have known “Bol” as Hasbullah is fondly known among his close acquaintance since the late 70s when he was attached to RTM Kuantan and I was on RTM’s Sports circuit covering sports events all over the country. At that time he was a rookie broadcaster (on a part time basis) learning the trick of the trade in Kuantan. I took notice of him for his booming voice and good delivery. He was the sports’ voice at RTM Kuantan and would tag along with the crew from the headquarters Kuala Lumpur. At that point and time I happened to be the lead commentator over Radio and TV. I pass the word to my boss that he should be in KL as we were short handed of capable and quality commentators for live events.

By the time the Sports Department of RTM was inaugurated and I was appointed the pioneer Head in the early 80s Bol was already a RTM staff as Broadcasting Assistant Grade III (BA 3). Naturally he was recruited into our Radio section. By that time work load did not permit me to sit in front of the cameras and I left the scene with a tinge. Hasbullah, Rahim Razali, Aziz Ibrahim, Abdullah Hasim among others were ready to take over the mettle.

At that time the duty of a Radio broadcaster was not confine to his or her own department and the Radio staff was allowed to lend their voices on “voluntary basis” to television. TV has no such post on their pay roll but has a substantial budget for “part-timers” as it was suppose to get the best talent around for the job. The payment for the part-timers was lucrative. As it was on piece meal basis the accumulative monthly payment exceeded even the salary of a senior staff in the programme division.

A BA3 like Bol was getting an equivalent of a clerical service staff. I felt it was an irony for someone with better performance to do the job gratis (he made the normal claim for outstation duties with permission from his boss). With a growing family he was trying to make ends meet in costly KL. There were others in his position as well. I made a recommendation to the directorate and the Treasury Dept that such Radio staff be given the stipulated part-time allowances for their contribution to TV. Of course the duty has to be outside their working hours. It was strongly endorsed by the then Director-General the late Zain Mahmood.

The Treasury took a long time to make its decision and by the time they gave a positive answer our friend Bol quit his post as BA3 and straight away became our “permanent” part-time. Of course his living style changed for the better. He could even build his own bungalow in Bukit Naga, Shah Alam, on a “part-time basis” literally for a few years. When I went for his Raya Open House two months back he proudly announced that the “part-time extension” of the house has ended. Yes, he has a beautiful home fit for a Dato’.

Congratulations Dato’ Haji Hasbullah Awang.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My friend Tengku Asri sent me an intriguing e-mail that set me thinking all the time. I am in two minds, to accept it as authored and at the same time debate over it with issue close to heart.

It was a short story on the subject of “excellence”. Here is the quote of the last 2 paragraphs that bother me:

The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not. "Excellence" is a drive from inside, not outside.

Excellence is not for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction and excellence.

Whenever fellow veterans of RTM met they will somehow ended up discussing the issue of the standard of broadcasting in the country mainly focussing on RTM, their alma matter.

It is besetting to the present day staff as everyone seems to pour their dissatisfaction at the indifference of attitude and lack of quality of what is seen or heard over the air.

I am not alone in ceasing my viewing of the local TV broadcasts especially RTM that I used to oversee as its Director.

In my days as a practicing broadcaster we were meticulous in making sure our work is of the highest standard and free of misrepresentation. In short we took pride in our work. We were quick to take notice of criticism that came through various channels of the day, and made amend to rectify, making sure it will not happen again.

I had my own philosophy on criticisms from the audience: “They care and want us to improve” to their satisfaction. There were instances we overlooked certain fact or situation which the audience noticed. The feeling and attitude should be reciprocal to the benefit of both side.

Both sentences are correct in its motive but in broadcasting and similar field the audience, the intended target, has different perception. Even the obvious could be misinterpreted and eventually manipulated.

I cannot understand at all with the attitude of the present staff of the stations that just couldn’t careless to the quality of what is on the air. Mistakes keep on repeating everyday in almost all the news and local productions. The abundant criticisms seem to fall on deaf ears to the annoyance of the audience, especially the veterans. So much so they decided to retire from viewing local productions.

It is a great loss to the betterment of the stations.

I have stopped watching RTM for the same reasons. I do watch the news at times just to keep abreast with the latest, ignoring the weak standard of productions and presentations that I was so particular about when I was in service as the “supremo" of TV 1 and TV 2.

I heard lately RTM has a new leader, a career journalist (newsman) as its Director-General. I have not met the gentleman and don’t know much of his background. I assume a newsman as a leader would revolutionise RTM’s news for the better. I regret to say the news has been regressive under the new leadership. One wonder at what level of news production the new leadership has in his previous career in different places and medium. I suppose this is a time to “pause and ponder”, a time of adjustment and a time to “get use to”. I am sure after all these times are over, we shall see the “revolution” and improvement.

I have been told in the local TV production sector there seem to be improvement in quality except the presenters who seem to lack the punch and vigour of modern day broadcasting. I was told they seem to be stereotype moulded in the “old way”. RTM must be in difficulty looking for the right talents in that field. Could it be the real talented people just bypass and ignore RTM for some reason or other that RTM staff are grumbling in the Face Book. I don’t think low payment is the result. Previously there are talented people who make used of RTM as a stepping stone to “stardom”. I may be sued if I mention names.

So kindly have a second look at the two paragraphs mentioned and be reminded that there are many out there watching (viewing) looking for “excellence” in their personal perspective, or lose them according to your whims and fancies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


By 17 December 2010 it will be a year that I dabble as a Blogger. It was at the persuasion of my good friend Tengku Mohd Ali Bostaman.

The computer is not a new thing to me as I remember having bought the Apple PC way back in the early 1970s. As work schedule was tight then, it was left to the whim and fancies of my growing up children at home.

Later I bought the latest model of the day to assist me in my office assignment. It was short live as I have to give that up. Izad was pursuing his tertiary education and needed a PC to complete his assignment. When he finished it was niece Diyana turn to inherit when she was pursuing her Bio Science degree at University Malaya.

By the time they graduated I was getting use to life without the computer and as a retired person I don’t need one. As it turn out Tengku Ali was encouraging members of Persatuan Veteran RTM to be computer savvy to fill in the long hours available in life. He conducted a computer course at IPTAR which was well attended and I was one of the participants.

That was the time I learn the development of the New Media that everyone was talking about. I was easily taken up by the latest communication technology development. Blog, Face Book, Twitter, Spyke etc really impressed me. With a little nudge from T.Ali I was easily taken in. I went round window shopping for a good PC or laptop. Then at the spur of the moment I decided “if you want to go big, look for safety and comfort, get among the best in the market”. Without blinking an eye lids I became the owner of a Sony VAIO laptop to the surprise of my computer kakis, especially our Sifu. I have no regret for the price paid. So far it has not given any serious problem.

Then it was choosing the so called broadband. None of the brands impress me. They have their defects but I just pick one. I could not go to TM to continue with my old account that was defunct. Streamyx was in the house but Izad took the modem and the account with him to his workplace in Segamat. I was biding time to get the latest fibre optic connection which has been well publicise by TM. It came in April 2010 to Subang Jaya and I was among the first to take up the offer around the housing estate. I enjoyed 2 months of free usage (May and June) compliment of TM while waiting for UniFi to be fully utilised officially. I have no regret. All who came to the house with their laptops was impressed with the speed of the connection, and they came in drove to download materials which seem to take ages on the broad bands and Streamyx.

Now I am in full gear. I had this particular blog that I step in once in a while.

Two months ago I had a look at the Face Book and like it. My “friends” are growing in numbers but I have to be selective as there are the few who seem to hog our link as if it belongs to them. As usual you meet all sorts of characters as in everyday life. For the sake of ‘friendship’ we have to be patience.

I am happy to renew acquaintances all round especially old friends and relatives who I have not been in contact for ages. Best of all is the positive response from the younger set of the family who were willing to come forward and produce ‘gems’ and ‘treasures’ in the form of photographs that revive poignant memories. Thank you ‘guys’. What I like most about these kids whom I have known since the days they were in the cradles is they were so shy in real life but in FB they are so open and articulate. They find it much easier to communicate with elders like me which is a good sign for FB, especially its ‘chat’ and ‘message’ areas.

Due to time constrain I have not venture into other areas of the internet except to update myself with the latest news and events globally.

Waiting eagerly for further development.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


We are still celebrating the end of Ramadan the fasting month of the Hijriah year 1431. Syawal is a joyous month of forgive and forgave. It is synonymous with the culture of Open Houses.

This time around Jun wanted to go back to her hometown Tanjung, better known officially as the City of George Town, Penang. I will not call it “kampong” because her ancestral home is not in a kampong. It is smack in the middle of the city itself.

She got a lift from Noni, a sister-in-law of her nephew, a town planner by qualification and has her own business in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. They left on Saturday morning 2nd October 2010.

Two big questions I have to answer from all. First, why I didn’t tag along. Second, how am I going to survive in her absence, food wise. Answer to the former concern logistic on my part. As age advance I have to take care of nature at least once a night that disturb my sleep. Being an old house with its ancient bathroom and facilities the whole house would be disturbed. Hence the decision to stay put at home sweet home.

The second is interesting. The Open Houses was helpful in my survival.

On the first day we had breakfast together before she left for Penang. Lunch was on Dr. Kamy’s invitation to his daughter’s engagement across the road in SS 18 Subang Jaya. My good friend Tengku Ali (Pok Ku) fetch me. After the ceremony we were treated to a sumptuous spread of “nasi minyak”. Thanks for having us on your invitation list Doc. Congratulation to you, the Mrs and the couple.

For tea Datin Ramlah, wife of my good Arwah Dato’ Salleh Pateh Akhir was having a farewell do for her daughter Sabariah who is continuing her PhD in Vienna, Austria. On reaching home my neighbour Haji Adnan came over to invite me to his open house. That solved my dinner problem that Saturday. I had “Yong Tau Foo” manufactured by a Malay entrepreneur whose factory is in Batu Caves Industrial area.

Sunday started with a sad message on the demise of an old friend Haji Naburi of Ipoh. Without breakfast I hurried to his son’s house. “Carl” lives in Kota Damansara. Going there on Sunday morning via the newly built roads beside the old airport at Subang was breeze. Looking for Section 5 K.D. was problematic. As usual I have an issue to pick on signage. The authority concern never gives thought to the predicament of total strangers to the place. The overgrown greens multiple the situation. It could not be the holiday season that causes the overgrown.

Anyway after getting the information from the local police base I found the section. The roads were narrow due to the greedy developer who wanted to sell more houses. So negotiating them was a nightmare. To make it worst is the vain of modern living. The area seems to be like a fortress, well guarded by security companies. Every head junction has gate. The one without the guard is lock. Having said that I reached Carl’s house in time to witness the jenazah being placed in the hearse to be taken to the “Yellow Mosque” for further rites. So off I went to the mosques and met relatives and former schoolmates at Anderson, Ipoh, some of whom I have not met for half a century. After the prayer I left for home.

It was straight to Surau Al-Ikhlas of SS 19 for its Open House. I was among the early birds and we enjoyed the conversation. It was lunch of barbecued lamb and of course the normal buffet. The lamb was well marinated and prepared. Sumptuous. I caught with loss of sleep on reaching home later.

Dinner was at another neighbour’s house, Zul and Maria. Both hail from Kijal, Trengganu. The LAKSAM was truly original Trengganu with the correct ingredients, sambal and belacan bakar. I had a second helping at the host behest. I did not have a second look at the other fare on the table, including lemang, ketupat, mee rebus etc. My target at their house has always been LAKSAM.

Monday was lunch at Cikgu Murni @ Food Court of Danau Kota with the gang of Tengku Ali, Zulkarnain Hassan and Azharuddin. The usual petai and tempoyak was there in abundance. So were Gulai Kawah and Ikan Bakar. Tengku missed his Pucok Gajus and my favourite Kerang was absent. In its place Azharuddin picked Siput Sedut. We did not miss anyone who did not want to tag along.

Dinner was a simple oat with milk and bread with cheese.

I missed breakfast on Tuesday and went to Carrefour Food Court for my favourite hotplate Ginger Beef Kueteow for lunch. When the blackout cut short my surfing on the internet, I just went to sleep under the cool weather. Jun woke me up and asked to be fetched at the Jalan Duta Terminal. Her bus arrived at 7.30 p.m.

That was a bad period to move out from Subang Jaya to Jalan Duta as the roads were always clogged with people going home after work, compounded by movement of heavily laden lorries and containers. It is the normal boring story that I won’t dwell on.

Dinner was “Gulai Kaki Kambing” a great delicacy imported from the city of Georgetown, manufactured by “Restoran Tajudin Husin” of King Street. That concludes the story of “Life without a Wife”.