|The Day Raja Nazrin Was Best Man
GOOD OLD DAYSâ€¦ Datuk Ahmad Johari Razak, a close friend of Raja Nazrin showing a picture of him together the Raja Muda of Perak. He describes the Raja Nazrin as having as "a multi-dimensional character" despite being a member of the royalty. Pix: Azman Firdaus
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 (Bernama) -- T.K. Lum gets excited when talking about his wedding 16 years ago because his best man was none other than Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the Raja Muda of Perak.
"At that time, most of my friends were married and the best man has to be single. I only had Raja Nazrin to turn to. He was a very good friend and very helpful," he told Bernama.
Besides being the best man when Lum, now 49, got married to Yulie on Nov 24 1990, Raja Nazrin also gave a speech at their wedding reception. Lum was deeply touched.
Lum, a businessman and father of two boys, Evan, 14, and Ethian, 12, had been Raja Nazrin's classmate for only a year and a half at the St John's Institution from 1970 when they were in Form One.
He said they kept in touch with each other even when Raja Nazrin was pursuing his studies in the United Kingdom, strengthening their bond of friendship.
"We always met up when Raja Nazrin came back on his yearly trips to Malaysia," he said, adding that they always spent time studying together playing badminton and chess.
"Raja Nazrin is good at badminton and athletics," he said.
Lum described Raja Nazrin as a knowledgable person who always kept abreast of what was happening around the world and in Malaysia as well. He said this was reflected in his speeches.
He also said that the Raja Muda "is down-to-earth and can communicate well with the layman. I think that with his educational and social background, he can communicate very well with all levels of the population regardless of race and status."
On Raja Nazrin's marriage, Lum said: "Finally, he has found someone. I'm glad for him. We hope he will have a happy life and wish him good luck."
Another of Raja Nazrin's schoolmates, Dr Sharifuddin Wahab, 51, described him as "a very simple person, friendly and very caring and always showing concern for close friends."
Sharifuddin, deputy managing director of property development company Naim Cendera Holdings Bhd based in Kuching, told Bernama that Raja Nazrin, who is known as "Naz" among his schoolmates, has been the same person in terms of values from the time he first came to know him when they were both in Standard Six at the St John's Primary School.
"Raja Nazrin was not all too quiet and at the same time he did not talk much but was well liked because of his concern for his friends. He was not picky about money and often gave his friends treats," he said.
Impressed with Raja Nazrin, Sharifuddin had named his son, now 18, after the Raja Muda.
He said that when his mother died two months ago, he conveyed the news to Raja Nazrin. Two hours later, the Raja Muda called at his mother's house in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, to pay his respects. "That was really touching and meaningful to me."
Sharifuddin said Raja Nazrin never placed a status gap between him and his friends who were from among the ordinary folk and from the various races.
For Hugh Robert, 51, another primary school classmate of Raja Nazrin, the good thing about the Perak prince was that "he has no hang-ups about rich or poor or Malay or non-Malay. He doesn't care about that. He is more concerned about the qualities and the values of the person. We make friends with those who have similar values."
"As far as I am concerned, he is the tremendous example for all Malaysians," he said.
Robert described Raja Nazrin as "a fantastic, considerate, friendly, generous and caring person who never likes to take advantage of other people".
"If you ask other people in (our) school, they will say that he is a very decent, polite and friendly person," he said, and added that his most memorable time with Raja Nazrin was when "we go travelling together".
On Raja Nazrin's marriage, Robert said he wished him well and "really hope that his marriage will take them to a different level".
Another close friend of Raja Nazrin's, Datuk Ahmad Johari Razak, 53, said the Raja Muda of Perak has "a multi-dimensional character" despite being a member of the royalty.
"He is an aristocrat but very humble. He can joke and have a very decisive intellectual discussion at the same time. Like everbody else, he knows how to live life to the fullest. At the same time, he is very conscious of his duty as the Raja Muda and always concerned about the role of the monarchy," he said.
Ahmad Johari, the second son of second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak and a younger brother of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib, said he met Raja Nazrin when they were studying in the United Kingdom in the early 70s.
They share the same interests -- reading and travelling, and had travelled together across Europe during their holidays while studying there.
"We went to East Berlin, crossing Checkpoint Charlie during the height of the Cold War. Last year, we went to Berlin for the World Cup football final match between Italy and France," he said.
Speaking of football, both of them are fans of the Manchester United team and had been to Old Trafford to watch the Red Devils play whenever they had the chance.
On Raja Nazrin's wedding, Ahmad Johari said: "I'm looking forward to seeing him on the `pelamin' (dais) on Saturday night (May 19) since we have been waiting for it a long ... long ... long time."