Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Back to Sharing the Thots

A Kadir Jasin

In the name of God, the merciful and the compassionate

AFTER debating with myself – often in the wee hour of the morning when I woke up to perform my night prayers – I came to the conclusion that I should start a second blog written entirely in the English language.

The fisrt compilation of Other Thots
I will continue with my original blog The Scribe A Kadir Jasin which celebrated its 12th anniversary on February 24.

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There are several reasons for starting this second blog. Firstly, to enable me to go back to penning my thoughts in English more regularly since my first blog has largely been devoted to writings in the Malay language.

As one grows older, it is important to make a deliberate effort to keep his or her brain going. Writing is a good way of doing that as it involves thinking, reading and researching.

Secondly, writing in two languages – Malay and English - has been my practice since I started my journalism career with Bernama back in 1969.

Thirdly, over the decades I have developed a reasonably large following. Most read me in both languages while some in either the Malay language or English. In whichever language they read, I thank them sincerely for their interest.

This second blog will be called Other Thots after my long running former column in the New Sunday Times and the Malaysian Business. In all, Other Thots ran for 23 years.

I am happy and grateful that some readers still remember that column. Occasionally, they would come up to me to say that they grew up reading it.

I had a lot of fun writing it. Of course it was not my effort alone. I was assisted and guided by fellow editors like Lim Thow Boon, the late Zainon Ahmad, Alan Rashid and Charles Raj, to name a few. The title Other Thots was suggested by Alan.

Thots was derived from thoughts. When referring to that column, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would jokingly say that I did not even know how to spell “thoughts”.

The title Other Thots was chosen to denote that I would be discussing things that would normally not be discussed in straight news writing. Along the way I would incorporate other people’s thoughts as well.

Thots can also be taken to be the misspelling of the word “thoth”, which is the ancient Egyptian god of the moon, magic and writing.

Since the title of the column predated the invention of Urban Dictionary in 1999, the meaning of “thots” has nothing to do with its contemporary definition in that online wordbook. 

I had a lot of fun penning that column although occasionally it landed me in hot soup and tight spots. But it survived because I diligently applied the cardinal rule of journalism - the right of reply.

Any reader or party who felt that his or her interest had been misrepresented or sensibility offended could write to me and I would publish their replies either in the column or in the letter-to-the-editor page of the New Straits Times.

Thus I had the ministers and their aides, government servants and lay people like “I, the joker, the extremely great teadrinker, the Wilkinson Sword” from Johor Baru writing to me with their views and thoughts.

The first subject I wrote about on January 19, 1992 was the Malays and their fascination with the hantu (ghosts). More than two decades on, the Malay penchant for seeking the assistance of the supernatural forces continues.

I heard that in their quest for power, money and worldly pleasures, some jet-setting Malays are traveling far and wide in search of the ultimate hantu and spirits, the bomoh and kiai, the soothsayers and tea leaf readers.