Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Ten Years Ago...
On July 5th, 1997 I landed at Heathrow Airport UK, after a night long flight from Kuala Lumpur. At the airport waiting for me was Sdr Rashid Yusof, the New Straits Times correspondent in London, whom I am replacing. Rashid had been at the airport for five hours for my flight was delayed in Kuala Lumpur. I had earlier (July 4) travelled from my home town Kota Kinabalu. We took a train up to Bayswater and then to 31 Chapel Side, Moscow Road which would be my home and office for the next two years. Its was cold and my greatest regret was having cut my hair to crew look.
At home was Rashid's wife and children who warmly welcomed me. The apartment was on the first floor and one floor above was Berita Harian's correspondent Sdr Karim Sulaiman (pix above - in Scotland), wife Siti Hawa and their children. Rashid accompanied me to pay a courtest call on Karim who welcome me as if we had known for a long time. Rashid went to Cardif to study and his wife and children went back home to Kuala Lumpur.
I was living alone as my family stay put in Kota Kinabalu. My wife was and still is working while my four children then were all in `examination' year. They did visted me December (pix above - wife and daughter in London) to feel how it like to be in UK during winter. My stay in London had opened my eyes to a lot of matters/things which were, before that, been reading in magazine (playboy included). Since my tour of duty covered Europe, I travelled a lot. There was once Karim and I travelled to Shefield to cover Nicol and Beng Kee who were defending their titles at a squash championship. Karim, who drove his Mercedes, also brought his young daughters, and it was fasting month.We also cover the All England where Ong almost captured the voveted title.
Karim and I, together with Tan Kah Peng of Star (the late), Zaharah Othman, Wan Hulaimi (Bernama),Hamzah Sidek (Utusan)and Halizah (TV3) had also travelled to Belgium, Scotland, Germany and Paris in line of duty.
I also had visitors from NST Kuala Lumpur Datuk A Kadir Jasin (who sought my assistance to sent his Other Thot to newsdesk, Syed Nazri, Sharanjit, Tiger Ibrahim, Zainon Ahmad, Faezah, Shukur, Azmi Ansar to name a few.
Karim and family who had been in London earlier than me went back to Kuala Lumpur and came Azizi the replacement. Like me he also came alone. And it was my time to leave, soon after Silverani arrived to replace me. I was actually called bact to work in Kuala Lumpur but when I reported for duty, Kadir asked me to go back to Kota Kinabalu. A year later I was made News Editor for Sabah and Sarawak based in Kuching until 2004 when I was finally recalled at the newsdesk Kuala Lumpur. A year later I left New Straits Times.
NOTE: My London assignment was actually been offered by Kadir to me several years before 1997 but I rejected it which I would had regretted for life if I had not been offered again by the kind hearted Kadir.
at 9:48:00 am