A Valentine’s Rendezvous with Pak Samad

I MET UP with Pak Samad on Valentine’s Day of 1990, and here’s a photo of our rendezvous… TOGETHER with my coursemates at Jabatan Penulisan, Universiti Malaya 🙂

Final lecture by Pak Samad at Studio Jabatan Penulisan, UM. (14 Feb 1990)

Final lecture by Pak Samad at Studio Jabatan Penulisan, UM. (14 Feb 1990)

We had the privilege to have renown journalist and writer A. Samad Ismail, fondly known as Pak Samad, as guest lecturer in our first year for one paper which was AK103 Mass-Media Organisation. He had retired from full-time journalism in 1988 with an illustrious background – including prison terms during British rule and later detention under the ISA – and subsequently earned numerous awards for his literary efforts.

That day he gave his final lecture, but it wasn’t the last we saw of him.  The following month, on 1st March, he invited his former students to his home in Petaling Jaya for a gathering. I am sure he had hoped some of us would go into journalism… well, some of us did, but briefly. As far as I know, only one in my batch is now still working in the press, MK in Utusan Malaysia.

(Top) Group photo with Pak Samad at his home. The perfect host, he even entertained us with a rendition of "Begawan Solo" on the guitar after dinner. (1 Mac 1990)

(Top) Group photo with Pak Samad at his home. The perfect host, he even entertained us with a rendition of “Begawan Solo” on the guitar after dinner. (1 Mac 1990)

Singapore-born Pak Samad passed away on 4th September 2008 at the age 84.

I recently found notes of one his lectures!

Pak Samad's lecture notes dated 18 January 1990.

Pak Samad’s lecture notes dated 18 January 1990.

Pak Samad Said at Pesta Buku Kebangsaan, Changkat Pavilion (17 August 1991)

Pak Samad Said at Pesta Buku Kebangsaan, Changkat Pavilion (17 August 1991)

I met another illustrious Pak Samad (A. Samad Said, 1986 National Laureate/Sasterawan Negara) on 17th August 1991 during the National Book Fair where he was promoting his latest book then, Warkah Eropah. One of my coursemates, CC had picked him as her subject for her final year AK316 Biography Writing project and Pak Samad had consented to be interviewed. I recall accompanying CC for the interview at a café in PJ and he came across as a very humble man, still is till this day.

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Are We Writers?

I suppose I could describe myself as an “author”. After all, I do have my name in a book (albeit a group publishing project in university that earned us an “A”, ahem). Titled “Bermulanya di sini…” it is an anthology of short stories, published under the group name Kumpulan Panorama.

As the project leader, I coined the group’s name (okay, I take the blame for such a lame name), came up with the title and designed the book cover. I envisioned it would launch our writing “career” and we would contribute to our nation’s literary works in the national language.

Left: Our first (and last) book… we were supposed to look back and remember this is where and how we started HAD we become successful writers;    Centre: Members of Kumpulan Panorama;          Right: Our supportive publishing lecturer En. Abdul Manaf Saad.

Hubby (then my varsity coursemate) also published an anthology of short stories titled “Suara Alam” with his group Saga. (right)

Alas, ours might as well read “Berakhirnya di sini…” for as far as I know, none of us really embarked on that writing path upon graduation.

There appeared a tinge of hope when I won the third and consolation prizes in a national level short story competition. I had my name added to another book. Alas, that was it. That was 20 years ago. I never took it further.

The Sunday Star article dated 29 Dec 1991

Perhaps our daughter will carry on our dream… no, HER own dream, after all she loves to write too. At 12, she already has her name in two books, thanks to her school’s annual project “We Are Writers” published by Scholastic Ltd.

She had her story first published in 2011 while in Year 6. In Year 7, she contributed another story to the secondary edition of “We Are Writers” and was also acknowledged as one of the Editors. Kudos to you girl!

Michelle has always been on the creative side – drawing, colouring, writing and creating things. I thought I detected signs of a writer AND a publisher in her as young as six, when she produced a booklet titled “I Love My Family, Grandparents and Cousins“. She  subsequently wrote and illustrated other booklets including “Tom’s Special Ted” and “The Magic Arrow“.

Her other attempts at writing and colouring competitions.

As for Emily, she is happiest with paints and paper in hand.

This was her “masterpiece” at the age of two plus.

I thought I had a Jackson Pollock in the making! I told hubby he could take an early retirement from his job and manage his daughter’s exhibitions worldwide.

That was two years ago, she never repeated her feat. Hubby is still slogging at work and I am still cooped up at home, counting eggs, still hoping…