Monday, April 11, 2011

Tokcik's Tale #2

A Simple Touch

It was at the Clifford, Kuala Kangsar, a prestigious school in Perak that Rosman became pally with classmate Arshad better known as Pak Yat. Now they meet at the stall enjoying their tea while talking old time.

“What happened Man? You got very good result at the Cambridge .. Grade One with five As. I just got Grade Two with all Credits.. well I went to Form Sixth and manage to get my Full HSC”.

“As you know Pak Yat I went to Technical College. I found the technical subjects not to my liking but I slogged on – repeat my Final and had to leave without the diploma”.

“What a pity. Its good we are now at this Department”

“You are doing fine in the Programme Section .. here I am tinkering with technical stuff”.

“Never mind .. opportunity will arise”.

Getting a job in the public sector was easy in the days when the country just gained its Merdeka. Rosman opted as a Technician in Radio Malaya at the Federal House. Being technically minded he found the job to his liking but working in shift and doing the same thing was mundane.

“Tell me what sort of job you got to do being a technical man”.

“It is normal for us technicians to be placed at various sections - the MCR, Conties, and Recoding Rooms, Maintenance, the OB and recordings as well as other chores. I don’t enjoy working at the OB as the boss Haji Mahir was always picking on me for the entire little thing that went wrong there.”

Rosman paused for a sip of tea, “I had rather be in the Conties and the Studios”

“ You mean that’s where the glamour is.. you can rub shoulders with well known personalities on the air”. “No la.. but I enjoyed their company and learn new things”. “Yes I notice they appreciate your talent especially in the creative aspect of writing with pantun”. “Some composers and singers got me to write lyrics for their songs”. “Good for you as some of your work are now hit on the local chart”. “OK, I belanja you lah today”.

On the way back to office their subject change to their vehicles, “I spent $50 a month to get my car clean by Nor twice a week”. “Ah, you can afford it”. “You must be cleaning yours on your own”. “No lah wasting time, I never clean my car at all, just let it be”. “Oh, no wonder it’s so dusty”. “Hey, Pak Yat after Hari Raya you can see my car spanking new”. “I didn’t notice that”. “Once a year I sent my car to be painted, it cost $150 only. I save a lot for a new coat of paint”. Both of them had a good laugh.

When Television came to town, Rosman like most technical and creative minded person naturally fit into the bill, ending as an Assistant Producer. It was an interesting post which gave him job satisfaction though the working hours were inconsistent.

The Department was expanding rapidly to fulfil the need of the developing country in disseminating information and provide entertainment of local nature. Rosman found himself in the pilot seat of a producer. He also naturally found himself a family.

The two friends became acquainted again after several years apart. “Wah, Man, you are typical Malay civil service officer la”. “What do you mean?”. “Now you own a Volvo like the rest of them”. “Pak Yat this an old car la”. “Tak kira la, still a Volvo”. “Typical of me, no time to wash. There is a hole on the floor board under you seat, so be careful with your legs.” “All the same it’s a Volvo” followed by laughter.

Fate has it Rosman reported to Pak Yat as a Producer all of a sudden. They had a chat over the matter in the boss’ office, “I notice you seem to be on regular MC a couple of days a week in the old place. Are you sick Man?”. “No, I just don’t enjoy working under Haji Mahir who use to picked on me while a technician at OB. Remember he was my boss at the old place”. “Ah, I see. You know this place here is hectic, we have job to be done to be on the air daily. You think you can cope with the others?”. “Well, I can try”. “You don’t mind working odd hours”, silence, “What sort of working hours you would like to have?”. “Pak Yat you are the boss, you decide”

“I have a simple philosophy, if you don’t feel like to be in the office during working hours you don’t have to be here”. “You are joking”. “I am serious. Only under certain conditions”. “Really?”. “You have to let me know where you are and how you can be contacted at all time”. Rosman contemplate, “What give boss?”. “Simple, we work round the clock and I need people who can be easily contacted and be available on call”. “OK, I like your style, boss. Agree”. Rosman also accepted the other working schedule laid for him.

The next day and subsequent days he was in the office well before 7.30 am and would leave for home well after working hours.

A month later Pak Yat was curious for the change in attitude of his old friend and invited him for a chat. “You seem to be making the office your home, Man?”. “I enjoyed working in your department. I come early after sending my kids to schools. The Mrs picked them up after school”.

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