Archive for April 15th, 2007

Memories of the colony

Memories of the colony

Memories of the colony
Azly Rahman

En route from Amsterdam to London for the Oxford Roundtable, on board a Boeing 737 on March 25, my mind scanned memories of my childhood as the plane ascended.

Memories of my beloved grandfather who died more than 20 years ago took shape in my “mind’s eye”, as Jungian psychologists would say.

Like Irish poet James Joyce’s “stream of consciousness” these images played out like a slide-show at intervals of several minutes.

My grandfather, a bicycle-riding government messenger for the royal court of Sir Sultan Ibrahim, taught us how to make kites. Born in the British Military Hospital in Alexandra Road in Singapore and growing up in Kampong Melayu Majidee in the late 1960s, my activities included kite-making.

Grandfather would patiently and meticulously guide me through the process: how to cut bamboo, make the frame, carefully refine its shape with special paper, and finally put designs on it. He was a man, though without much material wealth, imbued with good ‘ol Johorean ethics which he passed down to his children and grandchildren.

He was a man who wept for hours beside his radio-gram the day a man named Tun Abdul Razak died. Perhaps the Bugis blood in Grandfather saw the connection between the leader and the commoner in a time when life was not yet complicated – a time when you did not hear of murder cases involving C4 explosives. This was a time when the Internet was not yet supreme. Read the rest of this entry »