Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Inspiring journalists


I remember reading Adibah Amin's Sri Delima column when I was a kid and thinking: "It's so nice to reach out to so many people through a newspaper." She was one of those who inspired me to put words down on paper. Another is Pak Sako of Utusan Pelajar. He was good-naturedly encouraging and kept on publishing my silly essays and poems. A few times, he awarded me RM10 to RM30 for my efforts.

There was also a column in The Malay Mail which catered for youngsters' prose and poetry. Eagerly I would scan the page every week to see if mine was published. If I remember correctly, the daily also gave away little cash prizes, which was so gratifying to an impecunious child. It was solid proof that one had achieved something, no matter how small.

And then there were Fats, a pseudonym used by Thor Kah Hoong for his hilarious and rambunctious 'makan' reviews, and Rehman Rashid's witty and incisive Scorpion Tales.

Who were the columnists and journalists you read and remember? Who gave you that shiver of delight over shared thoughts and illumination on an unfamiliar subject? And who simply entertained you with their writing?

22 comments:

Kak Teh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kak Teh said...

argus, I remember adibah's as I was passing as well and it was such a great honour that when MPH launched the books again, and i was then in KL, i was asked to say a few words. We worked in the same office in the late seventies. and we were in awe of her, of course.

Journalists and columnists? well, you wouldnt remember my column - so forgettable. I had a column in the nst 2000 - 2004 and stopped when i did my MA.
and guess what I did a paper on Monstrous feminine in SEA cinemas.

can i link you in sentraalstation.blogspot.com?

sorry that was me earlier - typos!

Argus Lou said...

Hullo, Kak Teh. Thanks for dropping by this semi-abandoned site haunted by a sweet former Resident Chief of Security.

I don't know your byline name or else I'd remember your column.

I'd be honoured to be linked by you. I've yet to learn how to do that (my brontosaurushood reveals my age, ya?).

Mmm... Monstrous feminine in SEA cinemas - how interesting! Would you have a copy of it on your website?

When you next see or talk to Tan Twan Eng, pls tell him his book is the bee's knees.

Xeus said...

I remember reading bylines from someone by the name of _________ (real name of Argus Lou) and getting inspired. Really! She did the capsule reviews for films.

My mother was a regular contributor to the Malay Mail as well. She used to get paid RM 20 as a kid. She always urged me to write. I guess I've decided to take it 1 step further.

Kak Teh said...

okaylah, I will tell you the name of my column, but if you cannot remember malu only. I wrote London Buzz from London of course for four years for the NST - name: Zaharah Othman. and stopped when i did my MA. Then I did for Sunday Mail until it closed down. Sad,sad. Now I have a column in Berita Minggu.

I dont have a copy of the paper in my blog, but I did publish a shorter version in Sunday Mail.

Xeus, who is yr mum? maybe from my era.

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Xeus. That was a fun job - putting together two sentences for a synopsis and another sentence or two telling readers whether the film was any good and why (and trying to make the capsule entertaining as well). A lesson in economical writing.

And isn't it wonderful that you've been getting more than RM20 for each of your efforts in the past 12 years?

Kak Teh, yes, I remember London Buzz, of course. But by then I was working for The Star and could only stand at a counter to flip thru the dailies every day, so didn't get a chance to sit down and take time to savour your column. Sayang.

gRaCe said...

Just to let you know that i'm back.. havent got the time to go to other blogs yet..but i figured i'll drop by urs..=D

Argus Lou said...

Hi Grace. Much appreciate it. Glad you came back safely.

gRaCe said...

yep...came back in one piece.. but am 1-2 shades darker now..haha..

Kenny Mah said...

Hmm. Let me think.

I guess it was Kevin Cowherd's regular column in The Star every Monday, and Amir Muhammad back when he wrote Perforated Sheets for NST.

Was it the content or the sheer bravado of the writers? I don't know, but they certainly made me wanna be smart and funny.

Of course, wanting and actually becoming is two completely different things. *sighs*

;)

Argus Lou said...

Yes, Kenny, Kevin Cowherd on a good day is pretty funny; so is Jerry Zezima. I hadn't had much chance of reading Amir's columns but what I've read I liked.

You'll develop your own style and personality in your pieces with your brand of humour and intelligence. Do you send articles to The Star's StarTwo editor?

The Angry Medic said...

Ooh, what a hub of activity your blog has become! Aww, everyone else here's a bigshot columnist...it's been a long-held dream of mine to write a column, and I've written one for the local Cambridge University paper, but in the company of such greats I feel even more like a gnat than I usually do (reinforced by my Senior Tutor's gentle admonitions every time he sees me; usually along the lines of "Angry! You failed a test AGAIN? Stop writing and start working, jackass!"

But hey, I can dream, can't I?

The Angry Medic said...

Ooh, and Argus, I met Tan Twan Eng last week. I think I went all giggly schoolgirl on him and freaked him out. But you're right - his book is AWESOME. I grabbed a signed copy. How much do you think I can get for it in 10 years or so? :)

Argus Lou said...

Ah, Angry M! Nice of you to drop by despite your worker-bee schedule.

Hey, you're a bigshot columnist yourself with Medscape and all that. As a spring onion (I mean chicken), I had silly columns in the now-defunct (actually same licence as The Sun) Malaysian Post called 'Aunt Polly's Pet Place' (don't ask) and 'Glad to Be Back'. OK, this reveals my age and I'll zip up right here.

Argus Lou said...

Wow, Angry, did you bat your long eyelashes at Tan Twan Eng?
Hang on to your signed first-edition paperback (or are you not an impecunious student and obtained a hardback copy? *jealous*) - who knows how much it'll be worth in ten years' time, mm?

Tunku Halim said...

So Argus, what name did you used to write under? Maybe you could put up some of your old stuff?

I used to enjoy Marina Mahathir's column and a few more others but can't remember their names!

Argus Lou said...

It was mostly terribly embarrassing, TH. Nothing I'd really like to own up to. I feel a need to remain semi-anonymous here -- until I get a book published perhaps. ^_^

Tunku Halim said...

Hopefully that day isn't too far away. You're working on a novel, right?

Argus Lou said...

Er, ah, er, ah, it looks more like an anthology of short stories - of a gentler ilk than Dark City. ^_^

Hope one of the shorts will develop into a novel. (Is my Muse listening?)

Tunku Halim said...

Argus - Muse is too busy blogging. Just super glue bum on seat!

Eric Forbes said...

In the 1970s I enjoyed Adibah Amin's and S.H. Tan's columns in the New Straits Times and the Malay Mail. I was also an avid follower of Kee Thuan Chye's Cinemagoing column in the NST. In the '70s there were lots of interesting magazines as well: Fanfare, Movie News, New Thrill, Saturday Weekly, etc. In the 1980s it was Rehman Rashid's columns. In the 1990s it was Amir Muhammad's Perforated Sheets. I also enjoy Mary Schneider's columns in the Star as well.

Argus Lou said...

TH, I'm all out of SupaGlu.

Eric, nice of you to drop by and thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a spring chicken, I worked for Malaysian Post (the former New Thrill) for a few months and S.H. Tan would show us the naughty letters he received from readers with so-called problems, which he responded to in the 'Dear Eskay' agony uncle column.

I remember all those mags you mentioned, especially Movie News (and also Fanfare?) with the pencil sketches of actors/singers that readers sent in.

Yes, Mary Schneider is most times funny and entertaining.

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)

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