The Persatuan Anak Melayu Johor (PMAJ) had it's annual dinner on Saturday night, March 31st recently at the Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur.
Gracing the event was the Sultan of Johor, DYMM Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah. It was truly nostalgic to hear the Johor state anthem played upon the arrival of Tuanku.
Present together was Deputy Prime Minister, YAB Tan Sri Dato Haji Muhyiddin Bin Haji Mohd Yassin, Menteri Besar of Johor and former President, YAB Dato Haji Abdul Ghani bin Othman, Minister for Higher Education, Dato Khaled Nordin, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Dato Ahmad Maslan and other political personalities from Johor.
Seen present is Shell Chairman and fellow Alumni, En Mohd Anuar Taib, Chairman of Apex Communications Sdn Bhd, Tan Sri Abdullah Ali and others not within sight of the filled to the brim Dewan Merdeka hall.
Also present from Apex Communication is ADUN Bukit Naning, Dato Abdullah Ali or Abang Dolah as we would address.
The Johorean bloggers Bigdogdotcom, Kuda Kepang and yours truly made our presence felt too.
Chairman for the Organising Committee and former Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Dato Syed Hussein Alhabshee made the welcoming speech and explained the theme of the night.
The night's theme was Johor Di Hati Ku and those present were asked to come in Baju Melayu Telok Belanga.
Sometimes we wonder if the young Johoreans know that Telok Belanga is in Singapore. Our late father used to serve at the Johor Sultan Mosque and Mausoleum, Masjid Telok Belanga.
Syed Hussein had also expressed the general sentiment of the attendees who were pleased with the presence of Tuanku and had come amassed. There must have been at least 1,000 present.
Someone in our table jokingly complained that a Syed should not be delivering the welcome speech since he can't be Menteri Besar in Johor.
However, there are others that realistically can't make Menteri Besar of Johor that night.
There was former Deputy President of Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN), Abdul Rahman Othman from Muar, who had his family in the adjacent table. He quit the later PKR in June 21st 2007 and is now a member of PAS Subang Jaya. It's been many years since we last saw of him.
Perhaps, my father's cousin, 77 year old Haji Ismail, an avid Anwar supporter and living in Kg Tunku, present that night would not realistically make Menteri Besar in Johor too.
Have to hold back the identity of his son.
Before Tuanku delivered his speech, Association President and former Deputy Minister, YBhg Siti Zainab binti Dato Sheikh Abu Bakar delivered her speech to represent the members of Johoreans residing in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
In his speech, Tuanku expressed his happiness to be able to meet the Johorean dispora in the Klang Valley.
Tuanku believed Johoreans are proud and have strong affinity towards their home state despite seeking a living for many years outside Johor and established themselves here.
He asked Johoreans to maintain the good name of the state and preserve their Johorean Malay identity.
Tuanku acknowledged the many national leaders from the state of Johor and reminded them not to forget to bring development to the state.
On a lighter note, Tuanku quipped about if there are projects, give it to companies from or owned by Johoreans. Who else will help Johor, if not orang kita.
That way it could help to create job and grow the economy of Johor. Tuanku have expressed concern with projects in Johor that has not benefited the state, including Iskandar Malaysia.
Tuanku reminded members of PAMJ not to use the association for personal benefit but to help fellow Johoreans. Members should come forward to help and contribute to the association.
Johoreans, who have made it and are successful, should contribute their knowledge and experience to help the state of Johor grow and prosper.
On a serious note, Tuanku reminded those present that the power to award medals lies with the ruler. He will decide according to his observation and foresight. There should be no attempt to lobby and not to believe in any medal brokers.
Those qualified will have to be patience and continue their good work. Tuanku quipped that his vision is not dim yet.
In his final words, Tuanku asked all to pray for the safety and prosperity of Johor.
Those present were treated with a sumptous nasi beryani and entertained by recording artistes from Johor, Ayai, Syura and another one we can't recall.
There was an inspiring performance by a University Teknologi MARA student from Johor rendering the P Ramlee classic, Getaran Jiwa on a Chinese traditional musical instrument, the Erhu.
Johor is never short of talents in music. This blog here claimed there are more than 100 active ones.
The most prominent has to be Datuk Shake from Kluang Johor who made his name in France at an early age.
There are no shortage of Johoreans who travelled to Europe and played as sessionists with some big named rock bands in the 70s.
With the presence of Ghani Osman, the Zapin dance can only be expected. He has devoted time, money and effort to preserve and popularise Johor Zapin.
The night ended with the Johor state anthem replayed again at 10:30. Many took the opportunity to meet up old friends and resume their stately bonding.
Other than existing welfare and social events, many more events and programs to improve cooperation and networking could be done by PAMJ to help elevate Johoreans in their respective fields.
Let PAMJ not be just limited to those whose made it and trying to improve further but an association all Johoreans can have a sense of belonging to.
"Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy if possible."
Thomas J. Jackson
Satu Bahasa, Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara,
"From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage." - Alexander Fraser Tytler