Tuesday 27 February 2024

Malaya Merdeka - from Ash's vinyl collection


                                           Click the video twice.

A treasured part of Malay history for an octogenarian.

Seventy Five Years Ago.

 I am now an octogenarian.

This "kacang tak akan lupakan kulit" (this pea has not forgotten its pod).


So, what has infected our long beans, broad beans, stink beans, green kidney beans,  sword beans, winged beans, and wanna-beans since the 1950s?

The Chinese are proud of their 5,000 year old history/culture.  The Malays' pea-brains cannot even cope with 75 years.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Buchanan's Wife - Jottings 2. Why and When ??


Today, my dear friend  Siti and a kindred spirit, sent me this video clip, amongst many others earlier; ever since the latest assault on Palestine.  Forget about names like West Bank and Gaza Strip.  Call a spade a spade as before 1945.  It has been and will always be Palestine.

[Just like Semenanjung Tanah Melayu and not Federated Malay States, the Straits Settlements, and the Unfederated  Malay States ....  and many other 'creative'  name plates given by the British to the Malay Peninsula.]

Do give a glance at https://anaksihamid.blogspot.com/2021/10/id-love-to-turn-you-on-holey-history-of.html

Shall I go on?  

But first a CAVEAT.

Chris is Siti's other half.  He suffers from COPD ( Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).  He spent several years teaching English in the West Bank.

 Check  https://anaksihamid.blogspot.com/2021/05/remember-me-no-1.html

Here's hoping this posting will not suffer the fate of my previous posting 😓.

All I can say to dear Siti ......

Siti, I hate it, I hate it.  The hypocrisy and  double standards of the Western/Christian/Zionist Lobby is despicable.

There are people much younger than us today who will find this atrocious and unacceptable, and will dedicate themselves to giving voice to the powerless and afflicted.

But 30 to 40 years from now, I dearly hope they will not end up like me (and Iain if he is still with us today), holding their heads in their hands and crying out,  " Why? Wny? When will this end?  

You are much younger than us two - you will carry on.

Friday 20 October 2023

Buchanan's Wife - Jottings 1


5.22 am - Leicester

Autumn rain at 5.22 am from my window, Leicester.

Early morning cuppa and orange/almond cake.

In two days,  at this time, Ash will be on the M1 on her way to Heathrow for another 13-hour journey to KLIA.

I have this album by Mark Lindsay given to me by my late brother Akim when I moved to Brunei in 1978 to earn my living and escape the oppressive world of teaching in Singapore.  I remember this one song (though not my favourite) 'The Man from Houston'.

This time, on this journey which  I have been doing since 1985 with Iain (at least twice a year) I will be  treading a new frontier.  From now on this will be a solo trip, just like when I departed KLIA for LHR in August this year.  Just like some previous arrivals at LHR or KLIA I can depend on him to be waiting.

From now on, on every arrival, I will be wondering ......

  • why there ain't nobody here to meet me
  • I wonder why there's no one here to greet me with a kiss
  • tell me everything's all right
  • and boy I sure missed you
  • and please don't stay away so long next time 
  • ...  and oooh I love you .

That's as far as it goes for me.  The rest is for Shah,( my late brother Mus' son )for whenever he has to leave his wife and kids behind when he's away on Company Business.

Memories of Leicester to take back include the warmth, love  and kindness of  friends like Jackie and Julia, Jagdish and Punam, Deanna, John, at Leicester Animal Rescue, Naseema our neighbour and Mohammad and Moriom our good neighbour who live just next door, for Siti, a dear friend from Malaysia who, with her lovely daughters Sara and Hana came all the way from London to keep me company in Leicester.   And finally, some last words from our dearest and kindest of friends - Colin Brooks.

A conversation with Colin, our dear friend in Leicester

Colin - my version

Iain's view and mine as well

On Sunday 15 October .

BW - Colin, can we make it on Tuesday after 3? Am dealing with Council and the solicitors for the Will.

COLIN - Sorry, that's the day I'm in Northampton.

BW - What about Wed afternoon?

COLIN - Yes, that's fine. What time does the Queen of the Orient  command my presence?

BW - Afternoon at 2-3  says the Dowager Queen if that's okay with the Grand Vizier.

COLIN - Your wish is my command.

BW - I shall command the glass carriage to transport you, to avoid the Cycle Lane and leave a trail of horse poo for the Council to clean up for the gardens of the Green Brigade.

COLIN - I can remember ladies rushing out with buckets to collect horse poo dropped in the road by the milkman.  Well not really the milkman, his horse!  Perfect food for the rhubarb. The poo, not the milkman!

BW - We do share mind-boggling knowledge.  Iain would really approve of this!

COLIN - It's amazing how conversation seems to distil down to good honest s**t! 😀  

Yes I miss talking  to Iain.  He leaves a gap in life no one else comes close to filling.  His wife isn't a bad cook though.😃

On Thursday 19 October

BW - A confession Colin. I ate 5 pieces of your Lindt chocolate. Yummy!  

 I recall what you said Colin; of saying goodbye to someone who is not there.

To comfort me , my late brother Mus (when he was still with us) reminded me of a quote from Wordsworth.  "Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass ....... we will grieve not but rather find strength in what remains behind."   {He was a strong shoulder for me to lean on, the last of the four most loved men in my life.}

Departed in 2023 - the last two of my most and well-loved men.

The strength is something I can sustain, but the grieving is relentless.  Thank you Colin (and this I know he would repeat to you if he could) for being there and for being you.

Take care of yourself and look after your diet, England expects every man to do his duty.

See you in Spring, God be willing.

From the Oriental Queen of Leicester.

COLIN - Wordsworth's words recited by a Malaysian Malay man.  What a wonderful thought that he used English literature to describe the world.

Grieving lessens but never fades. Ironically, without its presence we would forget those we love.  So fortunately every negative event has an equal positive.

I too miss Iain. There was someting deep inside that I related too.  I hope your journey is not too daunting and remember that England and Leicester awaits to welcome its Queen once again.

PS : The Brook by Alfred, Lord Tennyson for another Brook -  the namesake Colin Brooks.

An extract from The Brook by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Our Cool Dude.

Din sent me this message yesterday.

"I wish I had more words to say for that beautiful man of yours, Ms Hamid."

Also yesterday, Dr Chandra Muzaffar kindly wrote this tribute to Iain Buchanan.

                           THE  PASSING  OF  IAIN  BUCHANAN  

Thank you very much Chandra.  He would have especially loved your reference to 'humane' and not just 'human' values.  More and more we both realise that most of the time humans cause a great deal of damage to the planet with their greed and ethos of profit and enterprise.  In being humane we include the protection and survival of our trees, rivers, oceans and 'all creatures great and small' but for Iain, especially trees.

Just a little slip.  He departed very quickly, of a heart attack on Sunday 8th January 2023 while we were on the way to hospital.

Early this morning , I sent this photograph to Bride, my sister-in-law in New Zealand. 

AsH  Dear Bride.  Here's Iain's final resting place with our favourite Banjaran Titiwangsa  in the far distance." 
Bride  That is a lovely setting. The one with the flowers all over it?  How are you doing Maz?  
AsH  Yes, that's  where my maddeningly 'beautiful' ole git is enjoying his snooze before his Malay tart arrives.  I am still expecting him to come downstairs, make me my coffee/tea.    (he 's a fabulous beverage manager) albeit after getting an earful of cussing and threats.  After that he will nestle in his rocking chair, gaze at the birds and tree-shrews and perhaps Mr Toad -  in his unkempt garden, then shuffle about in the chair to settle Comot and Socks on his lap, pick up the mobile and get the news and lovely pictures of  NZ from his crabby little sister.
Bride  You're back on form Maz.  Yeah! And I'll miss all those little calls asking odd questions I'd never have the answer to.  I hope you can find a new equilibrium and comfort space.
I just sent these to Keith he asked if I'd sent to you.  I have sent to Iain in the past (yes we have but he has tucked it away where I can't find it - because it's a handy tool for blackmail) but as he died on Elvis's birthday they are probably rocking' on down somewhere rather than getting on with the housework!

AsH  Cool man! Reel cool.
Bride  What a dude eh?
AsH  Indeed! Your lovable, wacky brother, my beloved pain-in-the-everywhere and soul-mate and Keith's loving dude of a Dad.

Rock on sweetheart!!! We miss you  but look out for bus number 104319 and keep the kettle on warm.

Al Fatehah.

Saturday 19 November 2022

Semangat 44 and a Grumpy Old Woman

For the record, I am a member of that transitional generation that could sing God Save The King/Queen, Majulah Singapura and Negara Ku with gusto and pleasure and several dashes of pride.

In 1951 I was seven years old and at Pasir Panjang English School in Singapore.    Here we were taught God Save The King (King George VI) - which, in 1953, became God Save The Queen (Queen Elizabeth II).    In 1959, when I was 15, Singapore attained self-government and Majulah Singapura took the place of the British anthem.   Came September 1963, Singapore merged with Malaysia and I added Negara Ku to my repertoire.   Then it was back to Majulah Singapura on 9 August 1965 when Singapore was expelled and became an independent Republic.

But Negara Ku was never an unfamiliar, foreign anthem in our family or in many other Malay families in Singapore.  The family of Abdul Hamid bin Jala/Jaleh never saw themselves as being Malay as defined by shifting politics - sometime Malayan, sometime Singaporean, sometime Malaysian!   No.  We were Malays defined by much more than that - by a shared history, a shared tradition and  culture, and a shared religion.  We were simply Malays, from an island and a peninsula in the one Malay world.    BUT THAT WAS THEN!

It is hard to wean myself away from all those past anthems in my head and my psyche.  In 1974 (when I was 30), my two native English companions had to pull me out of the cinema because God Save The Queen was playing at the end of the movie and I had automatically stood up to attention.  Everybody else in the theatre were scrambling out!!  How do you delete a song which which has been embedded into your head from the tender age of 7/8 years old!

In 2009, when I finally became a Rakyat Malaysia, as my Abah had wanted me to do since 1968, Negara Ku was not alien to me at all - it is like what my dear Emak would describe as familiar as "air mandi".  But when I hear Majulah Singapura, I respond to it with a respectful nostalgia - as a Malay from Singapore.  " Tempat jatuh lagi di kenang.  Ini kan lagi tempat bermain".

That is a long preamble to my posting today - Malaysia's 15th General Election.  I did my duty for GE 14.  It is a duty that I regard with great seriousness.  But I had to weigh my responsibility as a rakyat with my need to look after the health of 78-year-old AsH and her octogenarian spouse.  Four months ago both of us had a bad dose of Covid, and the ramifications of that on our health and well-being and our work were horrendous.  I looked to the spouse, to a good friend on our street, Fadzil and to Zaini a comrade-of-like-mind to help me to a decision.  So, I shall carry on with this posting knowing that I will be risk-free,  InsyaAllah, to carry on with our "vocation".

This morning, on our way to breakfast I took a few photographic souvenirs of GE 15.  I should have been snapping the election banners before today when they were all glowing and blowing in all their splendour on those bright sunny days.   There was an obvious coincidence of a predominance of blues -  UMNO/Barisan and Perikatan Nasional banners in less well-off areas and in Malay areas.   I noted more reds in the more upmarket residences.   A caveat though - this is only what I notice in and around where I live.

What would my father (1910-1974) have thought of this and all other elections and the plight of his Tanah Air today?

Abah and all his friends had such hopes for their Tanah Air .   I saw my father's tears when, on 31 August 1957,  we were all listening on the radio to Tunku Abdul Rahman calling out "Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!"    It was the declaration of independence for Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.  

Jual sayor jual keladi

Dedala api chambah di-batang

Biar-lah hanchor biar lah mati.

Ta'mahu lagi di-jajah orang.

"Why are you crying?"  I  asked my father.  "I am happy for my country but I also fear for her future."

Baju baharu kain bertekat.

Baju belah pakai kerosang;

Bersatu padu kuat sa-ikat'

Kalau berpechah di-makan orang.

Tanah merah tanah-nya liat'

Buat menimbun tambak negeri;

Antara pemerentah dengan ra'ayat,

Kebajikan umum hendak di-chari.

Looking at his Tanah Air today, Abah would once again be in tears - but now holding down his head in his hands in despair.

I have observed the political shenanigans going on in this nation for the past 13 years.  I reckoned our "Malay-led backdoor government" did a remarkable job in pulling us out of the pandemic.  We may not have been the best in the world, but we do have something to be proud of in the leadership and all the personnel that worked tirelessly for the country's salvation.  For these personnel there were no rewards of titles, high dividends, generous bonus and profits for their hard work and sacrifice - only their sense of duty to their Tanah Air.

And yet, looking at the brouhaha and the innuendoes and the sleights-of-hand during this 2022 political campaigning, it is certain we have learned nothing at all after the pandemic.

Buluh betung puchok-nya rapoh,

Kuching puteh tangkap tekukur;

Sa-puloh pun jong masok berlaboh,

Anjing maseh berchawat ekor.

Every five years, we put up our democracy for show.  We still believe in our rights and responsibilities as a rakyat of our Tanah Air.  We have to keep on believing, even though :

Turun ka-sawah memakai tudong,

Padi di-huma layu lengkesa;

Sa-ekor sawa, sa-ekor tedong,

Bersama2 mengadu bisa.

NB.  The photograph above was taken in 1952/1953.   All the pantun were taken from Kalong Bunga Buku 1, DBP 1964 - hence the old spelling.

Abah, I have not left my country.  I fear our country has left me.