Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bala, family and friends in Penang

FOR the benefit of friends who couldn't attend Bala's funeral in Penang, here are some photos I took when I was there. One of his daughters who stays in Norway couldn't make it in time but the rest of the family were there, including his brother PK who flew in from Sabah. The Scribe AKJ was there with his wife Kak Ton. Uma, an ex NST colleague was there too. Bala's two grandchildren took part in the proceedings, memories of tata (grandfather) Bala still fresh in their minds. Rest in peace, my friend.

HS: Palanivel vs a younger MIC person

WHO among the MIC leaders will be picked to contest the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat? After BN Chairman and PM Najib announced that the seat will go to the MIC, talk is now focused on who the candidate will be. Can it be G Palanivel, one time journalist with Bernama and who lost in the same contest by 198 votes in 2008? He is now MIC dep president. If Palanivel loses, will he still succeed MIC Bossman Samy Vellu as president. Will the MIC pick a guy rejected at the parliamentary level to head the party? Even if he is picked, will he be respected by fellow BN components? The BN in Hulu Selangor will now defend the selection of whoever the MIC candidate will be fielded. The choice of candidate will determine how easy or difficult it is to defend.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Msia, Spore leaders have no baggage

I MADE a dash across the causeway to see PM Najib speak at the Foreign Correspondents Association at the posh Fullerton Hotel.The PM looked relaxed and spoke for about 15-20 minutes before answering questions from the floor. He looked cool and confident. The chairperson for the evening said the PM's attendance was most awaited by association members. She said that it was 10 years ago that a Malaysian PM had dinner and took questions from members. Najib was asked about the affirmative action in Malaysia. His standard response was that affirmative action will still be part of his administration, but the implementation will be fairer. Those who deserved to be helped will be helped, he told his 200-odd audience who paid S$85 (S$75 for members) to hear him speak. One member of the floor even asked if the PM fopresee the possibility of a re-merger of Malaysia and Singapore. "I dont see that happening, since both countries have taken different paths. But I do want to see more economic integration, closer engagement and better relationship. The new leaders have no legacies (baggage)," the PM said.

Monday, April 5, 2010

K Bala is no more with us

A DEAR old friend and colleague, K Bala, has died. He must be in his 60s. Another colleague, Tony F, sent me an SMS awhile ago to inform me of the sad news. I've known Bala from the time I started my career in Bernama in 1972. Bala was based in JB then. This chain-smoking journalist had also served The Malay Mail and the NST before retiring some years ago. He's one of my fishing kakis. We did many things together. I remember the wedding of his daughter which was held in Tampin. It was a Hindu wedding but the reception was a full-scale Malay wedding with bersanding and all... His wife died a few years ago in Subang Jaya. Tony F said the body will be brought back to KL from Langkawi where he stayed. I've visited him in his Langkawi home and watched football together. Many journalists benefited from Bala's tough tutelage. He was so full of ideas. He would come in early morning and go through all the day's newspapers, with scissors in hand as he planned follow-ups and dish out assignments. Bala was one of the true journalists of my time. He writes crisply, with an economy of words acquired from years of working on the craft in Bernama. May you rest in peace, my dear brother. We will all miss you.