Friday, July 2, 2010

‘Congratulations, Datin Chom, on Your Latest Book!’

I was pleasantly surprised to see a news item in the Star datelined June 29, 2010. It featured our elder statesman YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah during the launch of Datin Kalsom’s latest book.

On the other hand I am not at all surprised that Datin Chom (as she is often affectionately known ) has now written her 3rd biography.

Extracted from the Star of June 29,2010 on the book launch of 'The Shafee Yahya Story'

The two earlier books written by Datin Chom : Taib Andak - In a Class of his Own and Zainab Ahmad - A Truly Remarkable Woman

The Two Books Individually Autographed By the Author

The Happy Family , From Left : Datin Dr Aminah, OP Datuk Yusof Ali , Datuk Shafee, the lovely bride Shaniza, Datin Kalsom and the dashing 'groom, Arif on the wedding day, April 29, 2007

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It all goes to show that once a writer has set in motion her talents in writing, the passion takes over and she continues. What makes it all the more remarkable was the fact that a biography is factual and imposed lots of efforts and discipline towards research of written materials, of verifying records and of interviewing individuals.

This was aptly captioned in the Star as ‘ A wife’s labour of love’ when Datin Chom undertook to write ‘ The Shafee Yahya Story , Estate Boy to ACA Chief ’, a biography of her beloved husband

Datin Chom had written 2 books earlier. One was on her late father , Tan Sri Taib Andak followed by one on her late mother Puan Sri Zainab Ahmad. I have the privilege of having in my possession both books personally autographed by Datin Chom. These were given to me around August last year. I have since digested both. Autographed copies from the author are of prized sentimental value and I thank Datin Chom once again.

I am fascinated with the narration. Datin Chom comes from an illustrious family from both sides of her lineage. Reading through both books one gets into the official history of Johore of that time. More than that. What Datin Chom had written came in greater details than officially available in certain aspects of Johore history. The passion and determination must have meant a lot of nights pondering over details and factual information. It should also be rightly described as ‘ A loving daughter’s labour of love for her illustrious parents.’ If Datin Chom had not painstakingly taken on the responsibility, we are all the more deprived of knowing such aspects of Johore history and likewise the literary circle is all the more richer now with her contributions ( which otherwise would have passed us by)

Interestingly enough, Datin Chom attributed a lot of credit in making things easier for her through the invaluable efforts and support of her brother the late Mod. Apparently her late brother had the foresight and the passion of collecting and keeping information of their family with him, all nicely catalogued.

We knew her brother as Allahyarham OP Mahmud Taib our contemporary in RMC. A forthright guy, who did not mince his words, expressing his opinions and getting things into line again. He exuded a certain kind of charisma that readily gained the respect of others around him who may be seniors and more so from the juniors.

He would do things that he felt needed to be done and felt right to be done. I remember one day when we came for a Bank Negara interview ( sometime in early 1966) While those around were dressed in classy long-sleeved shirts with ties the late Mahmud was dressed differently. He came in straight from work ( it was temporary vacation employment with Shell). He came in the typical Shell garb, a dark blue -one -piece overalls with the word SHELL above the top left hand pocket. ‘No time to change-lah ’ he said. Invariably he was one of the successful candidates.

The book on Datin Chom's late mother also contained a photo of the happy family with Datin Chom’s besan, my buddy OP Yusof Ali ( Datuk) and Datin Dr Aminah. I remember attending the wedding of OP Yusof’s eldest son, Arif, and Datin Chom’s darling daughter, Shariza an Accountant by profession.

(Arif belted out a rendition on his saxophone during that wedding)

Arif is an accomplished musician and a lawyer ( a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn with a Masters in Music Performance– a very rare combination ) Arif is working towards a PhD in Music Law, one of a very few known to have done so. He hopes to be an authority on royalties, intellectual properties in music, of matters of the internet, downloading music etc that are mired in uncertainties presently.

So what a small world this is!

We are not going to hear the last of Datin Chom nor Arif in their respective fields of expertise.


abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Hank,
Allahyarham OP Mahmood Taib I remember quite well and I knew Shafee only as an a former aide of Tun Razak. Shafee came into the limelight when he took the witness box on behalf of DSAI. For that he paid very dearly although he was convinced that might is right. When he was Director of Service Division of the JPA, he saw one of my ex-colleague in the PTD being dismissed. It was one of the saddest event I thought, because the offence committed hardly merited such punishment. That much somehow remained in my memory about Shafee, no offence intended here, just recollecting.

kaykuala said...

Dear Hal,
Datin Chom and Datuk Shafee were one time neighbours to us in TTDI.We've had good relations then and more so now.

Al-Manar said...

Dear Hank,

Having received a phone call followed by an invitation card I felt duty bound to attend the Chom's launch of her third book. After all I missed her first two but stilled received autographed copies. We drove all the way to and fro and it was well worth it, meeting the family and a few old friends as well.

I was never a member of the family but have known several of them very well. Chom, her late brother and I were office mates for many years. Th living ones have fond memories of the past. Tetapi yang lepas jangan dikenang. It is best to leave them with fondness.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
I want to say it again. What a small world this is! The more we write the smaller it gets.