Thursday, August 2, 2007

VISITOR EXTRAORDINARY - Half A Century Ago ( Continue)

One morning in early April 1957 a hulking, robust person walked into the room. I guessed he must be over six feet tall. It must be one of my luckiest day. 'Nay' ( as in the words of old English and often said in Shakespeare's play). It is I believe the most auspicious day in my life.

I was a patient in the 'sick bay' of Kirkby Teacher Training College Liverpool, being down with flu and fever and at a time when other students were away on vacation. I am certain of this date as I have a post card sent from Dublin by a friend to wish me a quick recovery and not to be envious of others having their holiday during spring time.

They did not know that I had a far more interesting episode to speak about for many years to come. Yes it remained so even half a century later. Today I am disclosing that on that special day royalty walked into the small room accompanied by Papa G.J Gurney the principal of the College. The principal introduced my visitor. Promptly knowing who he was I offered the familiar royal greeting " Ampun Tuanku" though unable to stand up and be more respectable while observing decorum. His Highness acknowledged and enquired how I was getting on. I believed Papa Gurney also briefed His Highness on the function of the College sick bay. After meeting other students and a brief tour of the sick bay His Highness took leave. Later I remember Papa Gurney asking if I greeted the Sultan with the proper salutation. Being from an Unfederated Malay State, I knew the right salutation. By the way Papa G.J Gurney happened to be my school principal at SAHC Alor Star back in 1950.

Yes the Sultan of Pahang was a distinguished visitor at Kirkby. He was there and I had the honor to meet him. Sultan Abu Bakar Riayatuddin al Muadzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah ( May 29, 1904 - May 7, 1974) was among the Malayan leaders and personalities that honored the College with their visits during its glorious days.

When in Malaya we had often read about His Highness paternal, friendly approach that made him an extraordinary figure in Pahang especially. He would travelled into the remote interior of Pahang and meet the rakyat in his famous friendly manner. It is also acknowledged that His Highness indiscreetly encouraged resistance movements in Pahang during the Japanese Occupation Period. Askar Wataniah and Force 136 had his support. As we celebrate the golden anniversary of Merdeka we must not forget such leaders who have contributed in no uncertain manner to the development and growth of the country. I refer my readers to an article in Time,8816,937304,00.html which speak loudly of His Highness the Fourth Sultan of Modern Pahang.

That I had the privilege to meet him at Kirkby Teacher Training College in May 1957 three months before MERDEKA DAY of August 1957 remain an indelible mark in my memory and recollection.

You too may have crossed path with some important person or event at one time or other. Think back it may have escaped your mind all these while. It would be a pleasant and rewarding look back.

His Highness Sultan Au Bakar Riayatuddin al Muadzam Shah Sultan Pahang at Kirkby Teacher Training College Liverpool April 1957

and me in the pyjama ( baju tidur) most popular in those days



The most nostalgic piece of event in the life of a student-teacher far away from home . A beloved royal visitor well-remembered .

Those were the days . Worth a life .

Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

My, oh my...that was one VIP visitor indeed. Pyjamas aside, you looked fine though Pak Non. Tak nampak sakit. that's the wonder of being with a royalty I guess.