Friday, July 16, 2010

Reminiscing the Past Grand Malay Weddings

I was invited to attend an Akad Nikah ceremony on the evening of 15 July at one of the exclusive neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur which is neighbouring the grounds of the Istana Negara which is still under construction. The card was sent to me by one of the office staff of the host whose office is situated in Bangsar, and looking from the box which is tastefully designed (it is an invitation card really) I knew that the person who is inviting me is indeed one of the " Nouveu Riche " which fellow blogger " Norzah " had written about recently. But this " Nouveu Riche " is not a sleeping partner of a Chinese towkay or a proxy of any VVIP but he worked hard to be where he is now, but of course the NEP had a hand in helping him too.

Upon receiving the invitation, I immediately could guess from whom it came from because he is a close relative. When he was still studying in Australia, his father passed away and before he died he was mumbling something which I could not comprehend but only heard he mentioned the name of this prodigal son who was also a product of the other school which was at one time catering exclusively for the Malay aristocracy and their cohorts. Probably he wanted to know how his son was doing, and a few days after that he died.

Now that prodigal son of his is a multi-millionaire if not a billionaire. I met many of my kampong relatives who were present at his newly occupied palatial mansion and the celeberation just for the Nikah just reminds me of what my grandmother used to describe as " Olek Bosa " and fit for a King. In the past Malay weddings lasted for three days and three nights and complete with all the ceremonies which reflect the social standing of the person. Last night's event was just a repeat of that "Grand Malay Weddings " which is absolutely grand and expensive. My cousin who is also an invited guest came all the way from Seremban and he was so excited that he asked me to accompany him to explore the three levels of the house and urged me like an excited child to try the lift in the house. Of course I obliged him and said how I wished I could own a palatial mansion like it, but that is just wishful thinking. I met also many old friends, and one of them was Mariah who attended the SEP 40 Course in LBS London, way back in 1997 when I was still a public servant. I also met Molly and OP Azat and he profusely apologised for not being able to attend my invitation last 19 June 2010.

There is another reception that will be held this weekend at Mandarin Oriental but I had told the host that I would not be able to attend that function. And there will also be a post wedding celeberation in the following weekend to be held also at his palatial mansion where merrymaking, movies, dancing and singing will remind us of " The Olek Bosa ". Fortunately I was not invited to that celeberation.In the yonder years of the past where the post wedding night was celeberated with "Joget Moden" and where "Joget Girls" would adorn the night in the compound of the family abode in Terachi, Kuala Pilah it would last till the wee hours of the morning. But all those had gone into the recess of my memory chip upstairs and now this grand wedding is to be repeated after more that half a century at the heart of the federal Capital neighbouring the grounds of the new " Istana" and the address is always associated with 'Gold' as a symbol of the " Nouveu Riche".

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Forum at OPA Penthouse

Last Friday evening of 09 July 2010 a Forum was held at the Old Putera Association Penthouse in Saujana Resort where the OPA Building is situated. I am not a regular visitor to the OPA Secretariat and I only made my presence felt on occasions which I deem fit to be there, such as the Annual Tahlil or events of similar nature. At the behest of my colleague OP Azudin O Fuad, I agreed to become the moderator for his so-called " Chief Raggers Convention" but I suggested that the topic should be renamed to a more palatable one, and so he changed it to, " Serve to Lead; A Tradition of Honour and Excellence ". The aim of the Forum was to provide a platform for the OP's ( Old Puteras ) to look for ways and means to make the RMC relevant in the context of the tragic incident involving the death of a New Boy, Putera Naim Mustakim at the hands of his seniors supposedly from "Ragging" which turned ugly.

The media blitz and a bold attempt by one OP to defend the image of the RMC from the barrage of attacks made many OP's feel the necessity to hear what actually happened from the horse's mouth so to speak and look at the RMC's relevancy vis-a-vis its Charter and suggest a series of action for consideration of the BOG. It appeared the problem of " Ragging " had been swept under the carpet for too long and very little effort were taken by the authorities to prevent such misadventure.

So prior to the Forum, I went to see OP Azudin in his capacity as the Executive Secretary of the Old Putera Association to discuss my role as a Moderator.When we have agreed on the modus operandi and who should sit as Panelists, then I made my exit as I had other appointments to keep. Incidentally I met the writer of the book " Kolonel Jihad" at OP Azudin's office and I took the opportunity for him to autograph 3 copies of his book.

The Forum that Friday evening comprised of 4 Panelists each representing the Generation of the 60's, 70's, 80's and the 90's. The attendance of OP's initially was small but as time increased a few more turned up. This was expected as the past trend had shown that few OP's turned up at such gatherings. But those who attended were very attentive and participated actively when the Forum was opened to the Floor. There were a few startling revelations as how mild the "Ragging" practice was in PD which I went through until it became unthinkably violent. Nevertheless most kept their cool, as OP's we were quite accustomed in facing adversity with stoic calmness and with that training of the mind and matter which saw most of us able to weather any 'cyclones' or 'hurricanes' in our chosen field or profession.

The conclusion of the Forum was that RMC should remain relevant BUT with the proviso that a thorough and comprehensive reform must be carried out Pronto! There should not be any dilly dally as what transpired in the past when the "Way Forward" was mooted but did not see the light of day, perhaps there were more important issues that require greater attention and on merit probably the problem was conveniently overlooked. Now the death of Allahyarham OP Naim Mustakim has changed the RMC's BOG priority and if this matter is not resolved, they all should resign en bloc. The photos above were the few taken that night just for rememberance.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Mind Over Matter

This phrase cropped up in my fellow blogger's comment when I posted my remarks about his recent posting about the "Nouveau Riche" or the "New Rich". It reminds me of my cousin's private company which goes by the name " I.M. Rich " which signified his quest to repeat his late father's nickname when I heard people calling him in Kuala Pilah, "Manaf Kayo".

In the pursuit of wealth and riches "Manaf Kayo" had gone from "Boom" to "Bust" in his fortunes and my late grandmother used to ramble about who were his friends when he was loaded and when he was completely down all of them just abandoned him. But that is all history.

What my blogger friend is focusing on is how and what this group of lucky creatures managed to be where they are today.

It is pretty obvious that we have come across how some fortunate felda settlers from Kg. LBJ in Negri Sembilan became overnight millionaires and also how they ended having to work as security guards once the money were gone. Never mind, they do not mind and money did not matter. Insofar as many of the New Rich amongst the Malays, there is a glaring leap in their numbers amongst politicians who yesterday were either country bumpkins in their dress and lifestyle, suddenly flaunted their new found wealth by having palatial mansions, savile row tailored suits and a fleet of Mercedes-Benz and BMW's in their garage and probably more than one wife.

The question that goes a begging is how could they acquired such immense wealth and riches without even lifting a finger so to speak? The explanation is quite plain and simple. Just do it in any manner deemed to be expedient,and if the Bosses do not mind how you came about to be rich, it does not matter from where you could have obtained the bundle, whether at the sweepstakes or at the Genting casino, even though Believers are not allowed there, but if you know some 'Tengku Wongs' up in the trees, he could help you out with money derived from timber licenses all in the name of his patron who lives in Pekan.

Many looked at this phenomena rather nonchalantly about how lucrative it is for people to join Politics in order to put their hands into the public till without any feeling of guilt and take out the money hoping that he could put it back the next day but were never accounted for. This is how many robber barons in this country operated unashamedly all because their political bosses do not mind and it does not matter if you become rich overnight because they expect you to contribute to their special fund and their privy purse.

I used to take pride that we were not in the same category of countries in the ASEAN region where corruption is a way of life. Once when I was in Jakarta, a very long time ago, before Habibie became President, the official driver of our entourage lamented how difficult it was to make ends meet and life more of a constant struggle for survival,especially " Orang Kerdil" like him, whereas their Pak Mentris and their cronies owned a swathe of factories and businesses as well as monopolies which enabled them to live in grandeur and splendour . Alas, that picture can now be found in our Nation and these are the very people who shouted at the top of their voices that KKK ( Corruption, Cronyism and Collusion ) is the myth of the Opposition.They easily forget that such enormous wealth and riches wre acquired through ill-gotten methods which are wrong in life and in Law. This is evidently clear as what Lord Acton said, "Power Corrupts and absolute Power corrupts Absolutely". But it is a question of mind over matter, that is if you do not mind, then all the crooked ways do not matter. Many said that our country is going to the dogs, but to me, every dog has its day, maybe tomorrow is mine, but I am no dog, because it is unclean, at least to the Believers.