Radio was my first love. But let’s just say when I first flirted with radio, I didn’t have the right assets for it. I was far too shy, my voice was too, too timid and soft, even after several sessions of voice production. But I remember my first Drama Minggu Ini with Shuhaimi Baba gosh, didn’t she just drill me into talking out loud and clear.
Anyway, inspite of all the limitations, I joined the radio newsroom of RTM when I was still a student; taking down weather reports (hujan di sana sini) and typing down stories from stringers carrying loads of equipments during assignments.
I met the likes of Yahya Long Chik, Patrick Teoh, Constance Haslam, people whose voices I grew up with. I was then able to put voices to faces, so to speak. And I really admired them.
It wasn’t until London that I went into radio wholeheartedly. And for this, I must thank my friend Aziz Ibrahim who was at the BBC Malay Service in the late 70’s when we arrived. He introduced me to the big man honcho, Mr Colin Wild, a kind genial man who spoke good Indonesian Malay and trained me in the art of broadcasting. To cut the story short, BBC, I think provided the best training for radio broadcasters and for that I am most thankful. Thus my forays into the world of journalism began, speaking to the world, everyday at 1.30 London time from that big building straddling Kingsway and The Strand.
The expected announcement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to close down the Malay section came in 1990. Someone had leaked the story to the Financial Times, and I rushed to the office to be met by seven men in grey suits. They apologised about the leak to the press, expressed concern and more apologies because they couldn’t do more to save the Malay Service which had been around from before the war, if I am not mistaken. Broadcasters then had included people like Tun Suffian.
But BBC had prepared me for life ahead, I picked up the pieces and started life a new, but I still had lingering feelings, wonderful memories of life in radio.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I was asked to be a special guest for Sounds of Malaysia, (nusoundradio.com) a community radio service, where one hour every Sunday was given to broadcast for the Malaysian community.
I had butterflies in my stomach through, ……..
(I don’t know how to explain this. My writing was interrupted by a phonecall, that brought me back to those BBC days, a phone call from someone in the Indonesian service, someone I have not heard from since he retired. It was Pak Brahim, who was appointed Senior Producer of the Indonesian Service at the same time I was appointed Senior Producer of the Malay Service. He wanted to know the phone number of Ishak Nengah and Aziz Ibrahim. There must be some thing here at work, I don’t know, and it is quite eerie!)
Yes, back to the interview at the studio in Forest Gate. Like I said, I had butterflies in my stomach but Miriam, who is the DJ, promised that it was going to be very casual. And once we were in the studio, headset in place, I was transported back in time.
We were then joined by DJs from Traxx FM DJ Par and DJ Fad Da Dilly’ O and from then on we were in our own world.
We talked about the Pak Cik sailors and my life as a freelance journalist and before I knew it, Miriam said why not present the programme on 1st March (Sunday 3pm – 4pm London time , Malaysia 11pm – 2 pm ) as she is going to be away.
So, the butterflies are back flying in my stomach. I have lined up a few items, and hey, if you want to request any songs (and if we can find them), please do! You can email me here – email@example.com or leave your requests in my blog.
Please do so before Saturday – we need to see if we can find the songs. And as we have very limited time, one hour – I think we can only play a few songs. The first seven minutes are taken up by news and advertisements.
So, do tune in to www.nusoundradio.com or 92FM this Sunday.