We were companero hasta de la siempre, products of The Malay College. His place of origin was Mentakab/Temerloh. With the title Wan before his name and Pahang as his home state he exuded that free wheeling attitude to life. His facial feature was very Malay, more like a cross breed between the Pahang Malay and the tribe of Batik up the Pahang tributaries.
There were amongst our juniors who have been indoctrinated to believe that he looked like Samy Davis Junior. Looking back, yes I agree. As a matter of fact I think he is more good looking.
We were in the same class. It was a class of weirdos. We were not inhibited. The freewheelers. The Best Class was full of nerds, bookaholics, and teachers favs. The Second best Class consist of the rejects of the top class. We were the last Class, who could not care about our position in the form. That world Famous Azhari was seated at the last row on the right side.
He changed his name to WALSH and that was the name he was famous for till we forgot his real name. When he was in Government service his name tag was WALSH raising eyebrows. When I first introduced him to my wife as WALSH, the son of a Tok Batin from Temerloh he played it like real. Why not? The Green Blazer with un-matching jeans and the unconventional sneakers, unmatching socks, two watches and unkempt hairs he fitted into that Batik Royal.
A riotous of colors, was an apt description of his dress sense, his characters and his life.
England allowed him to be set loose. Whilst in England there were two things he did not waiver, his pursuit for his engineering degree and the pursuit for his love. They were married in England and remained married.
He tried to settle into the conventional Malay life in Kuala Lumpur and Subang Jaya. I remembered him driving a red five series, the first amongst us to drive a fancy car. But that was not his kind of car. It was the Range that I saw him with most of the time. The Range matched his character. Soon it became his second home and then Home. The free wheeling wanderer and nomad.
I did not know much about his wild adventures as an off-road enthusiast. The group’s name Enam Jahanam could exude the kind of devilish and wild adventures they have been indulged in.
Today as I visited him for the last time in his natural domain I could understand the wilderness, and free wheeling life that he was so natural in. The family home which I assumed he built because of the choice of colour was nestled up the hill overlooking a sizable lake. As I accompanied him in his last journey on this kampung track hugging the meandering Semantan you could understand why this son of Semantan refused to let it go. A blissful setting.
The Semantan and the wilderness was his soul.
Rest in Peace, companero. It was the life you chose.