Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, January 07, 2005
Naval officers remember the first ship they were on as the captain as other people remember their first love and maybe, other firsts too. Broadcasters remember their first station.

Radio Malaysia Kuantan was my first "ship". The transmitting stations in Kuala Lipis and Jerantut were under Kuantan too. Kuantan, in turn, like all the stations in the East Coast was (and still is) under the watchful eye of the Regional Director in the headquarters up on Bukit Pak Apil, Kuala Terengganu. We had a 3 tier broadcasting belts. Local, regional and national all in Bahasa although when Kuala Terengganu started an English belt, Kuantan contributed materials for inserts/reports.

I had no problems with the Programme Section. I knew most of the producers and announcers when I was Head of Programmes back in Kuala Terengganu. The technicians were something else. They were forever under a Technical Assistant and not used to having anyone from Programme as the boss. After a while they came around and I had no more problems with them. When we started building our surau, the technicians joined the rest in getting donations and went all out building and painting it. Later we had an Engineer in Charge (Jurutera Yang Menjaga) to help with technical matters.

In the Admin section we had the drivers, gardeners, one clerk, a telephone operator and the jagas/security guards. The three drivers were Ghaffar, Ghazali and Rashid. All were wonderful people. Ghazali and Rashid were both guru silat. Good thing they were friends. Otherwise I would have known which silat is better. Rashid and Ghazali were in grassroots politics and they gave me insights into every political stories and political personalities in the state. Rashid is now a contractor while Ghazali became an ustaz in Beserah, his hometown. Ghaffar retired gracefully and his son, who works in the Information Department, kept me updated on his health.

The gardeners who doubled as general labourers were memorable characters. Sulaiman, a cheerful person cut the grass, watered the plants, swept the compound and emptied the wastebaskets ever so quickly because he had more important things to do. He had a side business as a wireman. He borrowed my power drill and bits set and have yet to return them. I shall regard it as my present to him now.

The other gardener was Amran. Amran was a handsome bachelor (I think he is still, bachelor that is) who asked permission not to work during normal office hours. He promised to be around during office hours though. Amran felt shy to be seen sweeping the floors or watering the plants. During normal office hours, Amran would be dressed in smart office clothes and impressed visiting school girls with his knowledge of the station. Whenever he can, he borrowed a Nagra (an expensive portable tape recorder) and passed himself off as a producer. Then he got tired of being told off by the real producers who booked the Nagra and got himself a camera instead to take pictures of the groups of visitors. He got tired of that too and began taking pictures of the pondans around Jalan Tun Ismail.

(More tomorrow, InsyaAllah)