Remember Andre Goh, the 'Baba Melaka' with the golden keroncong voice? He topped the charts in the 60s and 70s, and still looked great after all these years. "You still have it, Andre!" And in case you are wondering, the sweet smiling lady in brown standing next to Andre is blogger Kak Teh.
Toh Puan Rosita, a member of Terengganu royalty, getting her copy signed by AG. Toh Puan Rosita's own maiden effort, a hefty tome called "Kulit Manis - A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage" featuring the East Coast state's culinary delights, was launched just over a year ago and recently received international recognition.
Emcee extraordinaire Ishak Nengah, a former colleague (we were together in the Malay Mail in the mid 70s), was also there. Ishak is on the mend after a terrifying bout with cancer. My prayers are with you Syak; hope you'll recover fully. That's Dr Lee Su Kim, author of "Malaysian Flavours" and "Kebaya Tales" sitting next to him.
This group of young musicians is called "Dewangga Sakti" and played beautiful traditional music. They accompanied Andre Goh, who sportingly crooned Asli number "Tudung Periuk" upon Kak Teh's special request.
AMoT Again, Naturally..
The invitation said "a small group of friends." The event: a get-together of sorts, specially organised to celebrate the publication of Awang Goneng's (AG) second book, "A Map of Terengganu" (AMoT).
The place: R A Fine Arts, an exclusive consultancy art gallery located in Solaris Dutamas, Sri Hartamas, within sight of both Masjid Wilayah and the Agung's new palace now being built.
I had earlier decided to turn up a little later than other guests. After all, Pak Abu and I had already met up with AG, his charming wife Zaharah Othman (blogger Kak Teh) and their two lovely daughters at the official book launch & signing in MPH MidValley the day before.
But if I had thought I could get away that easily, I was mistaken. A flurry of text messages, from fellow bloggers, beeped through soon after 3pm. "Where are you?" asked one pointedly. "Kak Puteri datang tak?" asked another. And the phone calls... "We have arrived, where are you?"...
Stepping off the escalator, I was confronted with a sight that truly warmed my heart; the gallery was chock-a-block with folks coming to honour the author. Perhaps 100 of them, packing the limited space; This was no small group of friends!
I am glad I went. Lots of media old timers were amongst the invitees (not surprising, since both AG and Kak Teh were with the NST in the mid '70s) and I got to meet old friends I had not seen for decades.
There was Leung Thong Ping, once my senior in the Malay Mail before she left to set up Mayfair Design and went fulltime into fashion designing, with a popular boutique in Sg Wang Plaza. Her range of batik cheongsam was among my favourite wear those days. We had not seen each other for almost 30 years.
So many people from my past it was almost like stepping into a time tunnel. Pak Non (Zainon Ahmad) from The Sun, filmmaker Anwardi Jamil, 70s singer Adnan Othman, NST Group supremo Datuk Manja Ismail and wife Norzita (now with Petronas)..
Another media head honcho Datuk Rejal Arbee and wife Noraini, sisters and one-time fellow scribes Aishah & Saleha Ali (now running their own consultancy), Malaysiana author Dr Lee Su Kim, the university lecturer whose book "Malaysian Flavours" remains one of my favourites, and a few others whose names had escaped me totally...
Then there were my fellow bloggers, commenters and FB friends in the form of Pok Ku, Zendra, Kay Leeda, Hafsah a.k.a. Cat-in-Sydney, Elviza, Ollie Khalid, Kak Nasirah, Uncle Som... some with their respective spouses in tow.
I missed out a few people though; Raja Bahrain and his (new) wife, Tengku Ismail Su (both from Terengganu royal house), author and former journalist Dina Zaman, artiste Noryn Aziz, my fellow blogger/social worker Iskandar...
"Meriah" was the word. Yet another successful outing for AG and co. Congratulations!