Friday, June 6, 2008

Dato' Johari Salleh - My Father.

Lee Eliot Berk (right), with Lawrence Berk, student Johari Salleh, and Charlie Mariano. (Circa 1967)
Dato' Johari Salleh

While I was away on a short vacation in Cherating with my husband and teenage daughters, my father was ruthlessly "attacked" by ignorant and arrogant individuals. I was only made aware of this tonight, by my very upset brothers and family. Even my mother, who has been divorced from my dad since 1978, voiced out her opinions in defense of the truth.

We are all appalled with the way the media had twisted his words around just to sell their newspaper. We are also equally disgusted by the abysmal way certain quarters had tried to justify THEIR mistake!

Let's put things in proper perspective. My dad graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, America in 1968 and went on to become one of the most prominent maestros in Malaysia. All during that time, the insecure nobody who has been trying so hard to compensate his own inadequacies, was probably still exploring his own genitals! And now, that little nitwit is claiming that he knows more about music than my dad does!! How pompous can you get?!

I pity the fool who twisted my father's words to start a scandal just to draw attention to an insignificant talent show that does not yield real talent as their so called graduates of it's 'academy' or champions! I find it distasteful and inhumane to criticize the talent of others when most of the judges themselves have talents that are questionable. Unfortunately, the Malaysian audience represents narrow-minded and shallow people who prefer good looks to real talents. This is why my father never bothered to follow such so-called 'reality tv shows'. There's nothing real about it at all.

The younger generation of musicians must wake up and smell the coffee. Without the likes of P.Ramlee, Johar Bahar, Alfonso Soliano and my dad paving the musical way for them, they would have nothing today. No idea whatsoever! The young musicians of today don't have the right attitude towards learning. They think they know everything just because they can play a musical instrument and read a few notes. With this mindset, they learn nothing. Their skills are so technical and soulless. They chase fame and glamour. They want to be respected but they don't know how to show and give respect!

Some may say that my dad may already be a 'has-been', together with the others of his time and those who came before him. But they will never be forgotten because their names have gone down in history, etched in stone, forever. As for these wannabes, all I know for sure is that they will be forgotten like yesterday's breakfast. Yeah... old musicians of yore may be has beens now. But at least they have been here. As for the wannabes, that's all they will ever be...

Poor insignificant fools!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Golden Nuggets - Food for the Soul

"If you avoid certain situations because you're worried about the outcome, you never get to learn what would have happened if you had faced those situations. You deprive yourself of the chance to see how you would have coped. When you decide to avoid, you experience a temporary state of relief, but you're also left feeling powerless and deflated, as if you can't control your own behavior. Eventually you become discouraged and disheartened as a vague sense of feeling paralyzed sets in. This is how avoidance slowly eats away your self-confidence over time... Push yourself to feel vulnerable - this allows you to learn that you can handle whatever happens, and that even the most difficult of emotions can't destroy you. We're all capable of feeling intense fear so we can escape life-threatening situations... But usually people avoid things that simply make them feel uncomfortable."

- From Women Who Worry Too Much, by Holly Hazlett-Stevens, PhD

"Telling the truth when we feel vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do. We might fear rejection, abandonment, disapproval, disappointment, rage, hurt, or just the raw exposure that's an unavoidable part of the process. Yet almost every time we're willing to tell a hard truth, we grow and deepen in presence, no matter the response. The energy that we previously locked up to maintain a false front is now freed to uplift and enliven us."

- From How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment, by Raphael Cushnir.

Happy 43rd Birthday, Mad.

Dearest Mad,

I won't ask how you are because I already know that you are better than where I am now. I have no more questions for you. I only have wishes and hopes. I wish for Allah to keep you safely in His Most Loving arms and that you are at peace. I hope you know how much I still miss you. I hope you know how hard I have been trying to go on living without you. I hope you don't know that whenever I miss you, I will tell myself that you're too busy repairing someone's car. And that you will call me once you're done under the car.

I can still hear your voice. I can still see your face. Your laughter still peals in my ears. My heart still feels your loving and sincere friendship. All these things about you still makes me smile... and tears to roll down my cheeks.

I still remember the last time we celebrated your birthday together. Your mother had just passed away a few weeks before your birthday and you were not feeling up to welcoming your birthday. It was mid 2006. Jasmene and I had driven up to Penang to spend a few days with you because Jee, your beautiful wife, was healing from chicken pox in her parent's home in Kelantan. We had dinner eating "celor-celor" for 2 nights in a row just because I loved it so much. I remember how you would patiently peel the shell of the prawns we were eating while telling us how you enjoyed doing that for Jee.

Your last holiday with your whole family was in Cherating, end of 2007. Your sister, Fairuz, showed us the videos and photos that were taken during that trip. It was very obvious that you made everyone felt happy and loved. You always had the talent to make people laugh.... or at least bring a smile to even the saddest heart.

Just so you know, Mad, Jasmene, the girls and I had just returned from a trip to Cherating. we stopped at the R & R you and your family stopped at, looking for that old lady you convinced that your whole family was selling camel oil. And we took the same route you took 7 months earlier. And throughout the journey, every car that had a Penang number plate would remind me of you.

This is all that I can do to celebrate your birthday this year, Mad. Here's your birthday present from Jasmene, JC, Lissa and me. And yes... I still love and miss you.

Al-Fatihah for Mohammad Abdul Rahman Zubaidi
2nd June 1965

**Please play this video till the end. Thank you.