Monday, April 7, 2008

Pak Idrus and Sisuahlai: the sky and earth connected by blogosphere


When NST ran a series of articles on senior bloggers not too long ago, one name caught my attention. I have always been an advocate of blogging, but when you read about a 68-year old embracing this new media and strongly recommending it to the young and old, I just have to meet the man.

His name is Pak Idrus (of

It started with an e-mail, saying how I'd like to meet him if he was free. I was not that hopeful; why would an accomplished retired civil servant want to meet a kid that goes by the blog-name Sisuahlai?

I was wrong. He e-mailed the very next day, gave me his mobile number and suggested we meet. So we did, on the historical date: election day, 8 March 2008.

Our very first phone conversation went something like this...

SSL: (just got up, picked up the ringing phone) Hello?
PI: Hello Allan, this is Pak Idrus.
SSL: Yes, yes. (looked at the clock: almost noon!) Hi. Hi. Hello Pak Idrus.
PI: Have you voted?
SSL: (sudden overwhelming guilt and shame) No, my hometown in Kuching. Not going back remember (half-truth, I wasn't even registered!).
PI: Oh, you didn't vote? I think there is going to be a big change. I have not missed a single election since our Independence, and I have never seen anything like today. There is going to be change.
SSL: Is it? Really?
PI: Yes. Are you free later? I'll be at home all day today.
SSL: Yes Pak Idrus. Shall I come to see you later?
PI: Ok.

That was really how the meeting was set-up - between a responsible, voting citizen and a half-asleep kid.

The car journey to his place was very interesting. I honked delightfully at every PAS/Keadilan booths. My wife gave me this puzzled look each time I did that. I guess it was just a normal feel-good reaction.

honk! honk!

We arrived at his Ampang residence in less than 15 mins (thanks to GPS). I could smell fresh tarmac being laid on the road as I stepped out of the car; that was definitely and positively the smell of election season.

"worried my tyres might melt in the newly laid tarmac"

Pak Idrus is an exceptional man. I don't know if this entry can do justice to his many accomplishments as a husband, father, grandfather, blogger and retired senior civil servant.

Pak Idrus sees himself as a social scientist who is ever curious about the world and more recently, the internet and the blogosphere. He has been blogging for 4 years and there is no sign he is giving up this pastime anytime soon. (Btw, his blog does not need plugging from a small-timer like Sisuahlai- even RockyBru reads his blog!)

Our blogging style could not be anymore different, but what we had in common is a need to write, inform, (occasionally) amuse and to reach out to friends and strangers through internet and the blogging medium.

We are also connected by one important Sarawakian statesman, the late Datuk Muhd Taha Arrifin. Pak Idrus had worked alongside Datuk during his posting in Sarawak, whereas for me, I just played and waited in Datuk's office after primary school hours (my mother was the Housing Ministry secretary then). Datuk Taha had given me one of the best advices before my uni years in the UK - whatever you do, never forget home. Like a good boy, I didn't.

Pak Idrus and wife were great hosts. We had so much to talk about - good eating places in KL, blogging, doctor's career, travels, living in Ampang, Sarawak, etc. They were such lovely couple, and I just wished we had more time to talk about their passions - orchids, gardening and the assortment of handicrafts acquired in their travels.

a blogger is not complete without a cam

fridge magnet collectibles of the well-travelled

Pak Idrus' Volvo

two bloggers, one ambition: getting everyone to blog!

Since our meeting, Pak Idrus had met up with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Idrus had subtly suggested that Pak Lah should start blogging!); his eldest granddaughter scored 9A1s in her SPM; and I think Pak Idrus and wife may be planning a trip abroad soon.

I really cannot see this wonderful man running out of blog materials.

Happy blogging Pak Idrus!

pic from

"I thought that after I retired I would just lie low and enjoy life as it is but with blogging everything changes for the better. It is just like starting a new adventure into the unknown. This time in cybersphere where most of us have never been before. With blogging I began to get into the limelight again and with that getting to know more people of all ages which I never thought possible." -Pak Idrus


curryegg said...

haha... I think the suggestion is not bad for pak lah.. it's good to blog honeslty..

Hello there~

Anonymous said...

yea..pak lah should start blogging..

Zawi said...

Did you visit his rest room? Its a five star restroom to complement a beautiful home though small but definitely cozy. You are definitely a lucky man to have met him in person as I found out myself earlier.

mutalib saifuddin said...

yeah, steven, it's kind of good to know this kind of person, VERY thoughtful and tak rugi to know this person.

as for the restroom, as zawi said, indeed it IS like one in a hotel. Or did you wash your hands with that Marks and Spencer Rose handwash?

and agree with it too, his house might be small, but "that's the luxury to be indulged for", i was told by PI.

svllee said...

Hello Allan, you have indeed been honoured to have met Pak Idrus, he did mention your meeting to me and was very impressed with you and your wife. Perhaps we will get the chance to meet the next time I am in KL. Nice interesting blog, by the way.

Your dilemma of choosing to come home or stay away is being faced by many, especially now that the nation has a credible opposition in government. Best wishes.

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