Sunday, February 10, 2019


This was in December 2016 when I had the pleasure and honour of meeting this Iconic man for the first time.…

We all have those metamorphic moments that spin our lives around and send us in completely new directions. I've had several, but perhaps the most transformative was a newspaper cutting from the 'Malay Mail' newspaper in distant Kuala Lumpur. A thoughtful aunt had dispatched this to me in England when I was desperately seeking new horizons.
That cutting sent me on an overland journey from London to India by bus, and then on by sea from Calcutta to Penang. It also led me to eight of the happiest years of my life as a roving correspondent in what was then Malaya but has subsequently become Malaysia.
Ong Hohin, who had had been recruited to the 'Malay Mail' library in August 1957, was just seventeen years old. When I arrived two months later, to join the newspaper's editorial team, I was 22.
This month the 'Malay Mail' will be celebrating its 120th anniversary. Which provided a good excuse for Ong (now 78) and his former 'Malay Mail' colleague Tony Mariadass (a great deal younger) to visit me for an afternoon of reminiscence. They were accompanied by photographer Azneal Ishak.

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