9 August 1998

Frazer's Hill, August, 1987: That was the last time I played rounds of golf with several friends and ever since I have not been on a golf course anywhere.

When I arrived in New York in the summer of 1996, colleagues at the Malaysian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Chris Wong Yuen Ming, the Second Secretary in particular, who plays golf every weekend, during holidays or whenever time permitting, persuaded me to restart playing golf.

He took me to an excellent golf shop, World of Golf at 47 Street between Third Avenue and Lexington. However, it never took off.

I gave the expensive golf set and all its trappings and accessories I bought to my son Adhha, who, like Wong, is a keen golfer. Adhha, most people I know claim, resembles Tiger Wood especially when he smiles. He is known among his golf fraternity as "Tiger" though his golf is anything like Tiger's even on his worst day, if that were possible.

Two years after I became his political secretary, Tun Razak (then Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Minister of Rural Development), in early 1965, advised me to take up golf. He was a good golfer and always made a point to have a game or two with police and armed forces officers, friends, the private sector, district officers and other civil servants during his tours of the districts which had Padang Golf.

He told me: "I want you to join me and engage with the officials on the level playing field. You will like it ... a rather light exercise; a relaxing sport, a good social and political asset: an equalizer."

That was how I began my golf. My early golfing friends were the late Raslan Abdullah (first chairman and CEO of Bank Bumiputra), Musa Hitam,
Ahmad Mustapha (then political and press secretary to the Ministry of Information), James Puthucharry (a lawyer) and several from MCKK days one of whom was Razak's younger brother, Dato' Latiff Hussein and one or two others.

Musa and Latiff are still playing, James has stopped. Ahmad Mustapha has found a new past time: he rides and plays polo regularly at the Royal Selangor Polo Club in Ampang Hilir, not far from where I live. I see him often indulging in the "sport of the kings" whenever he is not overseas.