TV SMITH's Dua Sen: Tan Khir Johari
TV Smith's Dua Sen
TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...


by TV Smith

Tan Sri Mohamed Khir Johari left us this morning. Fellow blogger and journalist Rocky aptly eulogised him as one of the last real Malaysian gentlemen. Pak Khir as he was fondly known, was not only our nation's founding father but a father to all. I knew him as a kid as he was one of my Dad's Coliseum buddies.

The ever jovial Pak Khir had so many friends; he was invited to endless kenduris, wedding dinners and corporate functions, even after he had long retired. While he is frequently remembered as a former Education Minister, vice-chairman of a gaming-based establishment and BAM President, my fondest memories of him are that of an effervescent storyteller.

At almost every function he was invited to, he would rise to the occasion as everyone's favourite (impromptu) stand-up comic. He would take center stage and tell a barrage of colourful jokes and funny anecdotes that left all the guests -- including ministers and royalty -- in stitches.

One of his oft-told jokes (though adapted) was the tale of the Malaysian who visited Madrid for the first time. He went to a Spanish restaurant and ordered the house specialty which was fried bull testicles. They were big, crunchy and delicious. On the last day of his trip, he went back to the restaurant and ordered the same. This time, he was served two tiny testicles instead. He complained to the head waiter who explained: “Sometimes the Matador wins, sometimes the bull wins...”

My favourite joke from him is this one which I paraphrased (slightly) here;

Right after Merdeka, the spanking new cabinet led by The Tunku was discussing ways to localised the British reward system of handing out honorific titles. It was decided that there should be a title “Tan” (the stillborn forerunner of “Tan Sri”). Fellow cabinet member (Tun) Tan Siew Sin protested as he would become ”Tan Tan” if he was ever accorded the title. The idea was finally dropped when Khir Johari asked what would happen if an Indian named Das becomes the recipient?

For me, his most endearing legacy may be his life-long message; be able to laugh at ourselves, and to live and let live. Farewell Sir!

© 2006 TV SMITH
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