NST old fogies getting together

Reunion gathering
8pm June 26
Tropicana Golf & Country Club
Petaling Jaya

Contact person
Ayesha Harben
More information
» Google Groups or » Facebook group
(Both are private groups)

A bunch of Balai Berita old fogies are gathering for a reunion dinner next month at Tropicana golf and country club in Petaling Jaya. It’s organised by former Malay Mail-NST journalist Ayesha Harben and a circle of friends. The dinner is hosted by an anonymous benefactor. Ayesha won’t say who.

Many former NST journalists have gone on to successful careers in business, among the most prominent of whom are Munir Majid and A Kadir Jasin. Other NST alumni from the business and operations sides, such as Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah, Cyril Pereira and Jauhari Yahya, have gone on to successful careers in publishing, power generation and conglomerate building.

Munir, now chairman of Malaysia Airlines, became editor of the paper after Noordin Sopiee was removed by Mahathir Mohamad for some inoffensive slight. Munir was removed in turn after Mahathir got upset about some other small thing. Kadir Jasin became group editor in the mid-1980s and was the longest-serving since the company was Malaysianised. One of the Gang of Four in the management buyout of NST on behalf of Anwar Ibrahim, he was later eased out into Berita Publishing, which he bought from NSTP for RM1.

Other Balai Berita journalists, like Ayesha herself who runs her own PR outfit, have found success mostly in public relations, media relations, event management or publishing. Rose Ismail, who was managing editor, founded Salt Media. Monica Voon, a pioneer Business Times journalist, went on to run Burson-Marstellar, before setting up on her own. Former women’s editor Leong Thong Ping left for the family business and founded the successful Mayfair boutique and Mayfair line of clothing. Another women’s editor, Millicent Danker, set up her own PR outfit after a career in Petronas. Hannah Abisheganaden, daughter of news editor Felix, runs a foodie event management firm, KH Lim set up his own PR outfit, Joe Carlos does golf event management, Yamin Vong turned publisher with motoring publications, Ishak Nengah is a sought-after MC and PR man, and the two Ali sisters Aishah and Saleha provide publishing and other media services. And Lat of course stands on his own, without or without a newspaper.

There’s no money to be made in journalism proper, but it can lead to successful careers outside journalism. Critics who howl for blood and demand that journalists leave the press should ponder on the loss of talent.


20 thoughts on “NST old fogies getting together

  1. One last hurrah, a meeting of old gunfighters who changed and shaped the face of journalism. You can never see the likes of the golden generation again. The end of an era. The end of innocence.

  2. This post sounds more like apple polishing. Some of those mentioned are not even journalists. Whoever is sponsoring this dinner probably has a PR agenda behind it. It’s a kind of nostalgic writeup that stinks to high heaven.

    • You’re jealous. The only ones not ex journos are Wan Azmi, Cyril and Jo, who are in the paragraph that says “those in the business and operations side”.

  3. A gathering of NST alumni such as this will not be complete and the dinner not so appetising without the presence of ‘ illustrious’ journos such as Ahmad Talib and Rocky Bru. Have they been overlooked? Did someone overlook the invitation list?

    Sad isn’t it that ‘top’ journos like them did not warrant a mention in this post. Who knows, they would have given more business to the PR agency when you kow tow to them. They are powerful and could make things happen like nobody else could.

    • The names mentioned are not from any invitation list. They are, as the posting says, examples of people who found success outside journalism. It’s funny how people choose to interpret what is plainly stated.

    • If you’re talking about guys who found success ‘outside journalism’, many of us still think Ahmad Talib has got his big dough as one of the top guns in Media Prima and Samurai Rocky is also doing remarkably well with some huge funds from Umno, as some had suggested, to manage a brigade of cybertroopers. After turning his blog into a magnet that draws more than a million visitors, that something to shout about. If that ain’t success, what is? Ha Ha.

  4. There’s no money to be made in journalism? Maybe not in serious, professional journalism – the one they say seeks the truth. But heck there are lots of pseudos, in old and new media, kept sufficiently affluent for writing trash.
    About Munir and the late Noordin, you are right Mahathir removed them, but not for “inoffensive slight” or some “small thing”. They were sacrificial pawns in his political power game – which in some oblique way attests to their professional calibre, and conversely why some stayed longer than others in that dark era.

  5. Not a comment, just curious. I was at NST 1972-76 — No 3 in pecking order editorially, prime mover is setting up computerised publishing system; fond memories of samad and noordin sopiee (also his dad mohd sopiee) and Lat and adibah amin and junus sudin and nik ibrahim (and his dad Datuk Nik kamil) and the late zakuan arif. You intro tells me you are an old newspaperman. I should know you. Privately, of course… You do good work.

    • Hi Ambrose. 🙂 Mr Khaw is too modest. He has a distinguished record in newspapering on both sides of the Causeway, as deputy managing editor in KL in the late 60s, and launching the late much-lamented Singapore Herald and later the Singapore Monitor.

    • Dear uppercaise/Sir,

      Your are too kind. in a lifetime we meet all kinds of people — for me, Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (and his father Tengku Sri Mah), Tuangku Jaafar, in London when he was High Commissioner, talking cricket, Azlan Shah, no cricket, but hockey, .Ghazali Shafiee, athletics track and field.(close friend advised me never to accept his offer to fly back in his private plane with him at the controls to KL because he was known to dive suddenly below cloud cover, saying let’s go see if we can find any railway tracks to guide us) .. like ships passing in the night, we send out morse signals (as in days of yore) but remember notable clues, as in your intro “facetious and irreverent stuff”… I said to myself: “There’s a man after my own heart.”

      I am 83, going on 84, ambulant, alert, even a little frisky still, never quite lost my impish sense of humour. I admired both Siew Yee and Samad Ismail (bilingual) for their ability to use English with precision, as did my own partner-in-crime Francis Wong. Reading your blog, I ask myself: “Who can this writer be?” I would like to know or meet the man behined the uppercaise words, privately, via email. Can promise to regale you with details of how two distinguished Malay ladies who entered the Cosmo Club accompanying Deputy P.M. Tun Ismail and retinue were persuaded by me to leave the party for some fresh air (what else?) How? The heck with mock modesty… I dazzled them with my towering intellect, of course, what did you think? Hmm… salad days… ambrose.

      P.S. Ghazali did crash and was lost for a day or two, so LKY sent him this message: “You have used up one of your nine lives…. take care.”

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