Thursday, April 24, 2008
Clash of the titans
TWO giants in the Malaysian sportswriting world may lock horns in the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) elections scheduled in May.
Abu Bakar Atan, the TV3 assignment editor, is not about to give up his post.
The man most likely to challenge him for the presidency is Bakar's former protege, Ahmad Khawari Isa of Berita Harian.
Khawari, a graduate of the pre-Editorial Training Scheme (PETS) 3, is the otai of the sportswriting fraternity known for his hard-hitting comments and stinging questions as well.
Many a time I was privileged enough to see him in action, putting Director-Generals, Secretary Generals and politicians to the sword, not literally of course.
Bakar, Khawari and I used to be under the same roof. While Khawari and I were still learning the ropes under the tutelage of former Berita Harian sports editor, Mohd Zian Johari, Bakar was a senior reporter at the Harian Metro sports desk shortly before he was transferred to TV3.
The three of us always differ, not only in terms of looks and physique but also in opinions.
SAM is of course a prestigious body that has lost its direction in recent times. The founding members include Norman Siebel, Datuk Rahim Razali, the late Mansoor Rahman, Ian Augustine Pereira and S.L.E Maran.
One individual who brought SAM to greater heights was the late Zainuddin Bendahara (pic), Zian's predecessor at BH. Only later I discovered Zainuddin was married to Zubaidah Abdul Rahman or Zar, who was BH women's editor for a long time. Like my late mum, Zubaidah was a member of the pioneering batch of Sekolah Tengku Fatimah (STF) in 1956.
Datuk Fauzi Omar, the sports critic with a huge following, presided over the association in the 90s, with two of his buddies, Lazarus Rokk as an exco member and Johnson Fernandez as the secretary.
Fauzi was MM editor and Johnson was my immediate superior between 1999 and 2003.
I believe SAM's fortunes took a downward spiral after the split between its exco members in the mid 90s.