Gong Xi Fa Cai to All around the World


February 5, 2016

Gong Xi Fa Cai 2016 to All

To Men and Women of Goodwill around the world, friends and associates in Malaysia, Cambodia, China (and Diaspora), ASEAN,and Australia.

Dr. Kamsiah and I wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai 2016. May you be safely united with family for your traditional dinner tonight. Drive and travel carefully.

Greetings from Us at The University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh

It is a great tradition, and may you continue this practice since the family is an important institution, particularly in today’s troubled world. It is home where we learn to respect our elders, acquire and reinforce our ethical values, engage in civilised discourse, and celebrate the dignity of difference. May we live in peace.

Traditional values are, therefore, not out of date. Why? Because peace and goodwill are what will be needed now as we face serious threats to our survival from global terrorism and our wanton disregard of our environment.

For this occasion, we have chosen to bring back music of 1950s. It was my teenage  years (Dr. Kamsiah was born 13 years later). Wow, that was decades ago.The songs you hear remind me of those years of innocence and bliss.

Growing up in Alor Setar, Kedah Darul Aman  in the ’50s together with Daim Zainuddin, Kassim Ahmad, Kamil Jaffar,  Col. Ismail, Razali Ismail, Yusof Bakar, Halim Rejab,  Mansor Ahmad, Martin Lim, S. Perumal, Veeriah, Muniandy, Rahman Rahim,  et.al, was wonderful because colour, race and religion did not matter to us. We were Malayans (and Malaysians) First.

We were 1People. We lived in peace and enjoyed all festivals–Ramadan, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Cambodian New Year, Wesak Day and others. But today, as Malaysians, we have become a divided people, conscious of our differences because our irresponsible political leaders and ulamas have chosen to use race and religion to separate us for power and influence.

There is no doubt that we made enormous economic progress. But that has led to an erosion of our rich cultural heritage and well grounded values. If that is progress, Dr. Kamsiah and I will have none of it.

So my friends,let  us work for peace and love our planet. Like it or not, we have no place else to go, at least until we can find  a livable alternative (s) in the galaxy. We wish you and family Cong xi Fai Cai and God Bless.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Your Weekend Entertainment: Back to ’60s


January 30, 2016

Your Entertainment: Back to 1960’s

Malaysia-Land of Beauty and Harmony but Destroyed By Corruption and Inept  Najib’s UMNO Governance

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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Dr. Dave Brubeck@ The George Washington University–Simply The Best

Dr. Kamsiah who is now in Sarawak on a volunteer mission and Din Merican in Phnom Penh bring back memories of the music of the Golden Sixties. It was a period when we Malaysians were living harmoniously with  one and another, despite the Cold War which was raging in Southeast Asia. That changed when some politicians in our country decided that it was time to play politics with race; and that culminated in the May 13, 1969 riots.

Today, we seem to have forgotten that tragic episode. Our besieged Prime Minister is allowing Malay extremists in UMNO, and mullahs and bigots to play with race and religion, leaving us in a state of tension. We hope he knows what he is doing by engaging in this politics of divide and rule. We should show him and UMNO that we are not going to be drawn into his game and destroy our country.

Let us take good care of our Malaysia. Enjoy the weekend with the music of the Sixties. Let us do the peppermint twist under the Blue Moon .  –Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican

Your Weekend Entertainment: Our respects to the late Natalie Cole


January 9, 2015

Weekend Entertainment: Our Respects to the Late Ms. Natalie Cole

Dr. Kamsiah and I have decided that for this weekend’s entertainment, our first for 2016, we should pay our respects to the late Ms Natalie Cole who passed away at the closing of 2015. What a great voice and a special entertainer she was.

The multiple Grammy Award winner will no doubt be sadly missed, but  she will never forgotten by her fans around the world. A talent like Natalie comes our way, but once. Please join us in sending our condolences to the surviving members of the Cole Family. –Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

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The Passing of the Incomparable Natalie Cole


January 2, 2016

The Passing of the Incomparable Natalie Cole

by Bill Trott

http://www.reuters.com/article/people-nataliecole-idUSKBN0UF1ZY20160102

poses in the press room during the 51st Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center on February 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

The Incomparable Natalie Cole-Grammy Award Winner who sang “Unforgettable” in virtual duet with her  late father Nat King Cole.–Din Merican

Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, whose biggest hit came in a virtual duet with her late father, pop legend Nat King Cole, of his decades-old hit “Unforgettable,” has died at the age of 65, her family said on Friday (January 1, 2016).

The family’s statement said Cole died on Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from “ongoing health issues.”

Cole’s career spanned five decades in the R&B, soul, jazz and pop genres. In 2015, she had canceled appearances citing medical reasons.

“It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister’s passing,” the Cole family statement said. “Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived – with dignity, strength and honor. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.”

The statement was signed by Cole’s only child, Robert Yancey, and her twin sisters, Timolin and Casey Cole.

Tributes quickly poured in for Cole, with singer Tony Bennett saying on Instagram he was “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Natalie Cole, as I have cherished the long friendship I had with her, her father Nat, and the family over the years.”

Bennett added: “Natalie was an exceptional jazz singer and it was an honor to have recorded and performed with her on several occasions.”

“Unforgettable” Comeback

Cole broke out in 1975 with the hit “This Will Be,” which won the Grammy for best R&B female performance and also earned her the Grammy for best new artist. Critics compared her to Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin but her career floundered in the 1980s when she ran into problems with heroin.

She bounced back, and her career reached the superstar level in 1991 when she recorded “Unforgettable … With Love.” The album contained songs associated with her father, the silky-voiced baritone who was one of the most popular performers of the 1940s and ’50s but died before his daughter began her solo career.

Using technology that was cutting edge at the time, studio engineers merged her voice with her father’s in the song “Unforgettable,” which had been a hit for Nat King Cole in 1951. The result was a moving, sentimental No. 1 hit 40 years later, that actually sounded as if the two were singing a duet.

The song and the album it came from earned Cole three Grammy Awards.”I thank my dad for leaving me such a wonderful, wonderful heritage,” Cole said in accepting her awards.

Cole’s other hits included “Everlasting,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “I’ve Got love on My Mind,” and “Good to Be Back.” In all, she won nine Grammys.

The success of “Unforgettable” capped her comeback after a dark period of heroin, crack and alcohol abuse. In “Angel on My Shoulder,” her 2000 memoir, Cole said she turned to drugs because of unresolved issues in her life, including being molested as a child and her father’s death when she was 15.

She spent six months in a rehabilitation program at the Hazelden Clinic in Minnesota and told CBS in 2006 that “those people gave me my life back one day at a time.”

Cole was diagnosed with hepatitis in 2008 from sharing needles with drug addicts, and underwent kidney transplant surgery in 2009. This past autumn, she canceled several concerts scheduled for November and December, citing a recent medical procedure.

Her 2008 album of pop standards, “Still Unforgettable,” included another duet with her father, “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.” Her most recent work was 2013’s “Natalie Cole en Espanol.”

Cole was only 11 when she first sang professionally, with her father. But she went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with no plans of an entertainment career. While in college, she performed with bands and set aside plans for being a child psychologist.

Cole’s mother, Maria Cole, also had been a singer with the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands.

Cole portrayed herself in “Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story,” a 2000 television movie that depicted her drug addiction. She was married three times.

“We’ve lost a wonderful, highly cherished artist and our heartfelt condolences go out to Natalie’s family, friends, her many collaborators, as well as to all who have been entertained by her exceptional talent,” Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Singer Patti LaBelle tweeted “Sending prayers and condolences to all the loved ones of my friend #NatalieCole! She will be truly missed but her light will shine forever!”

Singer Lenny Kravitz posted on Instagram: “As the new year was ushered in, an angelic instrument moved on. Natalie Cole’s voice was perfection. And what a lady… You will be missed my dear. Love.”

(Reporting by Sandra Maler and Bill Trott in Washington and Barbara Goldberg in New York; Writing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney; Editing by David Gregorio)

This is how I wish to remember Natalie Cole in Jazz. It is always sad when a talent like her, although haunted by the emotional presence of her Dad, the Late Nat King Cole, dies suddenly. –Din Merican ( I am just back in Phnom Penh after spending Christmas and New Year in Kuala Lumpur with my wife Dr. Kamsiah. Which Islamic nut in UMNO and in Mullahdom can say to me that I cannot spend Xmas and New Year with my beloved wife and our Christian friends and associates.)