Rock ‘N’ Roll Legend Chuck Berry Dead at 90


March 19, 2017

Rock ‘N’ Roll Legend Chuck Berry Dead at 90

 

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The Iconic Chuck Berry dead at 90. RIP and thanks for the memories, my soul brother Chuck.–Din Merican

Chuck Berry, a music pioneer often called “the Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” was found dead Saturday at a residence outside St. Louis, police in St. Charles County said. He was 90.

A post on the St. Charles County police Facebook page said officers responded to a medical emergency at a residence around 12:40 p.m. (1:40 p.m. ET) Saturday and found an unresponsive man inside.

Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1:26 p.m.,” the post said. “The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry.”

Berry wrote and recorded “Johnny B. Goode” and “Sweet Little Sixteen” — songs every garage band and fledgling guitarist had to learn if they wanted to enter the rock ‘n’ roll fellowship.

Berry took all-night hamburger stands, brown-eyed handsome men and V-8 Fords and turned them into the stuff of American poetry. By doing so, he gave rise to followers beyond number, bar-band disciples of the electric guitar, who carried his musical message to the far corners of the Earth.

Some of his most famous followers praised him on social media.Bruce Springsteen tweeted: “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived.”

Fond Farewell to my good friend, Phang Tat Cheam


March 9, 2017

Fond Farewell to my good friend, Phang Tat Cheam

I was shocked and saddened today to learn on Facebook of the passing of Phang Tat Cheam. He was 82. My friendship with Phang goes back a long way to the 1960s when I was with Ismail Md. Ali’s Bank Negara.

We kept in constant touch as I used to meet up with him  at the Lake Club and the Royal Selangor Golf Club. He was a keen golfer and fierce competitor on the links. He enjoyed listening songs of Fifties and Sixties. His favourite female vocalist is Joni James, who is also mine. He enjoyed Dean Martin, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Cliff Richard, and others of our generation.

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Phang, you will be missed. So today, in my tribute to your memory, I am honored to present Joni James with some of her popular tunes.

May you rest in peace,my dear friend and fellow Malaysian. You and I never let our ethnicity and religion come between us. I know how sad you are to see a divided nation as you leave this world. You and I never expected to witness our country  become a failed and corrupt nation under Prime Minister Najib Razak. That said Phang, I will never forget you for your counsel, compassion, generosity and optimism.

To his bereaved family, my wife Dr. Kamsiah Haider and I convey our heartfelt condolences on the untimely demise of Phang Tat Cheam.–Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican

The Passing of a Legendary Actor, Director and Film Maker–Tan Sri Dr. Jins Shamsuddin


March 3, 2017

The Passing of a Legendary Actor, Director and Film Maker–Tan Sri Dr. Jins Shamsuddin

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Approximately 1,000 people turned today up to bid farewell to legendary actor Jins Shamsuddin at his funeral.

According to Bernama, family members, fellow artistes and friends converged at the cemetery to pay their last respects to the Malay film hero.

The late movie veteran was buried at 10.30am at the Masjid Al Ridhuan cemetery, Hulu Kelang, after preparations at his residence in Kampung Pasir and prayers at the mosque.

Utusan Online reported that veterans in the entertainment field, such as DJ Dave, Norman Hakim, Yusof Haslam, Ahmad Nawab, Fauzi Ayob, Zaiton Sameon and M Nasir, were present. Also present at the cemetery was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri.

Jins, 81, died yesterday at a clinic in Taman Melawati, according to his son Putera Hang Jebat. Putera Hang Jebat said his father complained of difficulty breathing when having tea at home and was rushed to the clinic at 5.45pm.

Jins leaves behind a wife, Halijah Abdullah and three sons, Jefri Jins, Putera Hang Jebat and Putera Hang Nadim.

‘Strict, but also loving’

Putera Hang Jebat, 30, described his father as a strict disciplinarian when dealing with his children.

“My father was serious about matters involving our education. He was strict, but was also loving,” he told reporters when met at the cemetery, Bernama reported.

Putera Hang Jebat said Jins had always hoped that more local artistes would further their studies in the arts to take the Malaysian arts industry to a higher level.

“My father wanted local artistes to be knowledgeable,” just like him, who has a PhD degree.

Meanwhile, actor Zul Ariffin, 31, described the death of Jins Shamsuddin as a big loss to the Malaysian film industry. “I learned a lot of acting from him, although we never acted together. Jins Shamsuddin is my mentor,” Zul added.

Film hero who became politician

Mohamed Jins Shamsuddin was born on November 5, 1935, in Taiping, Perak. The Malay film hero subsequently went into politics and was a two-term senator, from 2004 to 2011.

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He was awarded the Seniman Negara (National Artiste) by the government in 2009 for his contribution to the development of the Malaysian film industry.

The late actor starred in more than 40 movies, including ‘Sarjan Hassan’, ‘Gerak Kilat’, ‘Si Tanggang’, ‘Bukan Salah Ibu Mengandung’ and ‘Sumpah Wanita’.

Among his directorial efforts are the classics ‘Bukit Kepong’, ‘Ali Setan’, ‘Menanti Hari Esok’, ‘Esok Masih Ada’ and ‘Balada’. Jins career took off in 1950 and lasted until the 70s. In his early years, Jins received the support of national legend P Ramlee.

 

Tunku Abdul Rahman–What a Great Malaysian and Compassionate Leader Among Men


I, as a Foreign Service Officer, too remember Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman–What a Great Malaysian and Compassionate Leader Among Men

by Bernama

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February 8 ― Several well-known veteran figures recalled nostalgic moments with the country’s “Father of Independence” and its first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, and his endearing traits in conjunction with Tunku’s 114th birthday today.

Penang Malay Association (Pemenang) President, Tan Sri Yussof Latiff, who knew Tunku since the latter took over the UMNO leadership from Datuk Onn Jaafar in 1951, said Tunku’s integrity was his most distinct personal trait.

“Tunku’s integrity had no compromise, could not be doubted or questioned.

Tunku was honest and sincere. When he took over the UMNO leadership, the party had no money, so Tunku sold his house in Penang to fund the running of UMNO, he told Bernama.

Besides that, Yussof who is now 86, said Tunku was like a father from whom people could seek “shelter” under his leadership, and this regard for Tunku was not just among the Malays but the non-Malays as well.

He said Tunku’s family and the staff at his residence were multiracial and multireligious.

“That was typically Tunku. His cook was a Malay, his driver an Indian and his domestic helper who washed the clothes and dishes was a Chinese.

“Tunku also adopted children, especially of Chinese descent, into the family. He raised five of them from small until they became adults and got married,” added Yussof.

He also regarded Tunku, who died in 1990 at age 87, as a gift from God to this country to lead the Malays and UMNO, then obtained independence for the country and was a leader for all the races.

In remembrance of Tunku’s birthday, Yussof said he had organised a gathering of the Penang state muhbibah consultative council comprising 16 ethnic bodies since 2003, while Feb 8 was made Unity Day for Penang.

“In discussions, Tunku was very open and could accept everything that was voiced out. Tunku Abdul Rahman was irreplaceable,” he said.

Former Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar said he first got close to Tunku when he was a member of Tunku’s security detail for the protracted Maphilindo (Malaysia/Philippines/Indonesia) talks in Manila in June 1963.

“He was extremely simple, kind and warm and remained so throughout his life which was guided every day by the Quranic verses that he opened to at random every morning after Subuh prayer,” he said.

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Hanif said Tunku used to allow him the use of his beachfront home in Penang. “May Allah abundantly bless his soul and that of his late wife Tun Sharifah Rodziah,” he said.

Former director of Internal Security and Public Order, Royal Malaysian Police, Tan Sri Zaman Khan said he had fond memories of Tunku when he was the OCPD of Butterworth before the 1969 general election.

The former Prime Minister would come to Butterworth and stay at his small wooden bungalow at Telok Ayer Tawar where he used to hold meetings with Umno and the then Alliance.

Zaman Khan said when he was Penang chief police officer, his quarters was just a house away from Tunku’s.

He said he was advised by Tun Abdul Razak, who succeeded Tunku as prime minister, to keep Tunku company which he did usually after Isyak prayer. And almost every Thursday, Tunku would host local Umno heads for “chit chat sessions with lots of old stories”.

Former banker Dato’ Dr Rais Saniman said he had the honour of serving Tunku in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when Tunku was Secretary-General of the then Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) soon after he stepped down as Prime Minister in 1970.

“Tunku had an idea with King Faisal to set up the Islamic Development Bank and I was directed by Tun Razak to go and join the international team of experts to set up and get the bank going,” he said.

And Dato’ Dr. Rais had this to say of Tunku: “I started with unease with Tunku but I ended up kissing his feet. He was warm and kind. “Open the first page of the Encyclopaedia of Democracy. He is on the first page. The greatest Malaysian.” ― Bernama

 

The Passing of my friend Manan Othman


January 19, 2017

The Passing of my friend Manan Othman

by Bernama/www,malaysiakini.com

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COMMENT: Al-Fatihah. I am deeply saddened to learn this morning via Malaysiakini-– the web- paper I follow closely daily without fail for its bold, fair, accurate and timely reporting– of the passing of my friend Manan Othman  (pic above).

I am always affected when men and women of my generation die. This is because I am reminded on my own mortality.  At the same time, their passing urges me to use my remaining years in the service of humanity, in the pursuit of peace, stability and economic and intellectual development in ASEAN and Cambodia. For that, most people, especially cynics, will say that I am a dreamer. Anyway, here I am doing my bit at The Techo Sen School of Government and Internati0nal Relations, The University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

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I knew Manan in the 1970s. At that time, he was with SEDC Terengganu. He rose to prominence in Malaysian politics as a member of UMNO 1946. Manan got his chance at public office when Tun Hussein Onn was our Prime Minister. He was a loyal supporter of YBM Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and because of that he paid a heavy political price for siding with Ku Li.

After 1987 when Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad consolidated power after beating Ku Li for the Presidency of UMNO, and formed UMNO Baru, Manan was sidelined. As a result, we lost an able UMNO Minister for good. All UMNO ministers today with the exception of Dato Seri Mustapha Mohamed, our MITI Minister, pale in comparison.

My wife Datin Dr. Kamsiah Haider and I wish to convey our deepest c0ndolences to his widow, Datin Nora Abu Hassan,  their three children and eight grandchildren on his passing. Fond farewell, Manan, and thanks for your friendship and generous counsel.–Din Merican

Bernama reports:

Former Agriculture Minister Abdul Manan Othman died while undergoing treatment for a lung infection at the Gleneagles Hospital, Ampang, at 7.12pm yesterday. He was 81.

His eldest son, Nadzrin, 53, said his father was admitted to the hospital on Monday after falling unconscious.

Speaking to Bernama when met at his residence in Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, Nadzrin said the funeral prayers would be held at Masjid Bukit Damansara before he was laid to rest at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery at 10am today.

Abdul Manan was Agriculture Minister from 1980 to 1984 and had held the posts of Deputy Primary Enterprises Minister, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister and Primary Enterprises Minister before that.

He leaves behind wife Nora Abu Hassan, 78, three children and eight grandchildren.

Bernama

 

Obama’s Legacy–Optimism


January 15, 2017

The Optimism of Barack H. Obama

Americans will miss Mr. Obama’s negotiating skills on tough issues and the dignity and character that he and his family brought to the White House.–New York Times

Barack Obama is leaving the White House with polls showing him to be one of the most popular presidents in recent decades. This makes sense. His achievements, not least pulling the nation back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, have been remarkable — all the more so because they were bitterly opposed from the outset by Republicans who made it their top priority to ensure that his presidency would fail.

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Many Americans celebrated the election of the first African-American President as a welcome milestone in the history of a nation conceived in slavery and afflicted by institutional racism. Yet the bigotry that president-elect Donald Trump capitalized on during his run for office confirmed a point that Mr. Obama himself made from the start: that simply electing a black president would not magically dispel the prejudices that have dogged the country since its inception. Even now, these stubborn biases and beliefs, amplified by a divisive and hostile campaign that appealed not to people’s better instincts but their worst, have blinded many Americans to their own good fortune, fortune that flowed from policies set in motion by this President.

That story begins on Inauguration Day in 2009. That’s when Mr. Obama inherited a ravaged economy that was rapidly shedding jobs and forcing millions of people from their homes. The Obama stimulus, which staved off a 1930s-vintage economic collapse by pumping money into infrastructure, transportation and other areas, passed the House without a single Republican vote. Republican gospel holds that government spending does not create jobs or boost employment. The stimulus did both — preserving or creating an average of 1.6 millions jobs a year for four years. (A timely federal investment in General Motors and Chrysler, both pushed to the brink during the recession, achieved similarly salutary results, preserving more than a million jobs.)

Mr. Obama’s opponents have had trouble accepting that any of this actually happened. They have not learned the simple truth — a truth clear in the New Deal and just as clear now — that timely and significant federal investment can make a real difference in people’s lives. Or accepted that compassionate and well-designed government programs can do the same. Driven by ideology or envy, or maybe both, Republican leaders have now pounced upon the demonstrably successful Affordable Care Act of 2010, a law that has improved the way medical care is delivered in the United States, providing affordable care for millions and driving the percentage of Americans without insurance to a record low 9.1 percent in 2015. Despite the law’s clear successes, Mr. Trump and Republican congressional leaders have nevertheless declared it a failure, hoping to justify a repeal that would rob an estimated 22 million people of health insurance. The point of following this destructive course can only be to destroy a central Obama legacy — even though doing so will drive up costs and cause havoc in the lives of the newly uninsured.

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With no help from Congress, Mr. Obama has also managed to make progress on issues where nobody gave him much of a chance, notably climate change, which both he and his secretary of state, John Kerry, placed very near the top of their to-do list. Against heavy odds, Mr. Obama first managed to persuade the Chinese to join the effort. This demolished the critics’ argument that he was asking America to do all the heavy lifting. It also made possible the Paris agreement in December 2015, in which 195 nations agreed on a plan that they hope will reduce greenhouse gases that are warming the atmosphere and threatening the viability of the planet itself.

Americans will miss Mr. Obama’s negotiating skills on tough issues and the dignity and character that he and his family brought to the White House. Beyond that, they will also miss an impassioned speaker whose eloquence ranks with that of Abraham Lincoln. The way he has defended the founding precepts of the United States while also arguing that those precepts have to be broadened to achieve a new inclusiveness has been especially striking, as have his remarks delivered at moments of national tragedy.

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His 2015 eulogy in Charleston, S.C., after a Confederate flag-waving white supremacist slaughtered nine African-American parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was redolent with history. As always, he viewed the horror through the prism of a seemingly innate optimism about the country’s ability to set aside hatred and move toward a more perfect union.

Mr. Obama never would have gained the office without that unflagging optimism, which inspired a generation of young voters who saw in him a new kind of leader. So it seemed fitting that he would end his farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday with them in mind:

“Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair and just and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace; you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands.”