PEKAN (Bernama): Quiet and shy he may be, but praises have been aplenty for Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the newly proclaimed Pahang Sultan, from his small circle of friends, many of whom have known him from his early school years.
There's a certain calm and a soothing effect that Tuanku or Tengku Alam (as Sultan Abdullah is known among his peers) has, and that is a trait that has endeared him to his core group, said his longtime “buddy” Badaruddin Adnan, 60.
Theirs was a friendship that was built from the time they were in the same class from Standard One to Four at Sekolah Rendah Ahmad (now known as SK Ahmad) in Pekan, Pahang. And even after Tuanku left to study at SK St Thomas in Kuantan, they kept in touch.
"Our childhood was like what many other good friends enjoy. He was shy, but that didn't stop Tuanku from having a good time with boys his age, especially at the Mangga Tunggal palace where we played every evening.
“Not one to act like a prince, he had a common touch even then, often coming to my house in his chauffer-driven Holden Kingswood car to invite me to play at the palace, and what's more, I got to ride in his car!
“He also rode in the same car when he went to school, while I took a trishaw,” quipped Badaruddin.
“One of my most memorable episodes was the time when Tuanku tried pulling off a “heroic” stunt from the top of a rambutan tree by spreading out his legs and releasing his hands like a bat, instead of holding on to a branch.
“He fell and injured himself. All his friends scooted off and left him alone, so scared that his father Tengku Ahmad Shah (who was then Tengku Mahkota of Pahang) would be angry, and until today, Tuanku jokes and never fails to remind us about the incident,” said Badaruddin, who now lives in Kajang.
Football, he said, was his favourite game, and Tuanku even then displayed a knack for the game, showing his fancy footwork and talent” said Badaruddin.
These sentiments were shared by another friend and football teammate Abdul Razak Mohd A. Kirir, 60, who said that Tuanku was a skilful footballer and was chosen to represent Pahang as a state player.
“He was focused and had a systematic approach when playing the game. With so much passion for the sport, we, his friends, saw him as best person to head the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia), “ said the Chief Operating Officer at Pos Ar-Rahnu Sdn Bhd.
Sultan Abdullah was FAM president from 2013 to 2017.
“A good mix of nobility and humility” is how Allen Jeyarajasingam, 60, another friend of over five decades, described Sultan Abdullah.
“He may be shy and private, but behind that facade lies a kind, considerate and wonderful person,” said the English teacher at Sekolah Menengah Sains Alam Shah in Kuala Lumpur.
“There was never a time when Tuanku made me feel small; it was the same courteous and respectful behaviour that he displayed to our teachers and friends even then,” reminisced Jeyarajasingam, saying that some of his best memories were in Sekolah Rendah Ahmad, where the camaraderie among friends and the Tuanku was extraordinary. - Bernama