New King an Arsenal football fan

Royal family: Sultan Abdullah flanked by Tengku Mahkota Pahang who is also Pahang Ruler Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah (left) and Tengku Arif Temenggong Pahang Tengku Fahd Mua’adzam Ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah at Istana Negara. —Bernama

PEKAN: Everyone knows that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah is a huge football fan.

What many don’t know is that he is a Gooner, a nickname for Arsenal fans, and he even watched them live when he studied in London.

This was one of the many nuggets of information shared by Sultan Abdullah’s protocol and special officer Datuk Abd Rahman Endut, 65, who has served the sixth Sultan of Pahang since 1974.

“... the team is Arsenal. If you talk about (favourite) players, it is French striker Thierry Henry, who used to play for Arsenal, as well as the Gunners’ former goalkeeper Pat Jennings because he likes their style of play.

“Although Arsenal’s colour is red, Sultan Abdullah actually likes blue,” said Abd Rahman as he shared the interests of the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Sultan Abdullah, who is quite a skilful midfielder in football, is just as adept at hockey, tennis, golf, horse riding, scuba diving, squash and polo,” he said.

In fact, Abd Rahman pointed out that the King also has a licence to fly a helicopter and light aircraft.

He said Sultan Abdullah’s sporting spirit had been evident long ago, adding that His Majesty never liked to be “handed” easy wins as he wants to be treated as an equal on the field.

“The many leg injuries he has endured were also a result of an old injury he suffered about 30 years ago after being tackled in a football match.

“Everyone panicked when His Majesty fell to the ground, but he was not angry at all, saying it was normal in sports.

“I was worried because Tuanku was advised to get treatment at the hospital, but he did not want to, saying he feared he would be bored if he had to stay too long in the hospital,” said Abd Rahman.

He also pointed to the deeply entrenched sporting spirit in Sultan Abdullah as the reason why His Majesty would never get upset if he fails to win any event he competes in because that proves the competition was held on a level playing field.

There was a distinct smile etched on Abd Rahman’s face when talking about Sultan Abdullah’s choice of music, saying His Majesty likes listening to ballads and his favourite local artiste is Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza while his favourite local band is Spring, especially their song Pesanan Buat Kekasih.

“Tuanku loves listening to songs like Hello by Lionel Richie, How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees) and You’ve Got a Friend as well as Permata Untuk Isteri (Kopratasa) and Kenangan Lalu (Flybaits),” he said, adding that Sultan Abdullah also used to watch movies at two cinemas in Kuantan which have since been converted into a furniture shop and hotel.

“Tuanku watched Hindustani blockbuster Haathi Mere Saathi, starring Rajesh Khanna, in 1971 and popular Indonesian movie Cinta Pertama in 1973,” he said. — Bernama

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