Monday, 2 April 2012

Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin

I had interviewed Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin on 11 May 2007. I will abbreviate his long name to Tan Sri RAN. I received this e-mail below from a contributor. It explains the relationship of the contributor to Tan Sri RAN. The contributor is a related nephew. I have not met this nephew who holds a lot of knowledge and information about the Siak Sultanate. Tan Sri RAN is a descendant of the Siak Sultanate.

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from: Tengku Iskandar Tengku Baharudin
reply-to: Faridah Abdul Rashid
date: Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 10:41 AM
subject: Maklumat Y. Bhg. Mulia Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Raja Hj. Ahmad Noordin bin Tok Seri Indera Jaya Raja Shahbuddin

Assalammualaikum Dr. Faridah.

Nama saya YM Raja Adley Paris Ishkandar Shah bin Raja Baharudin dan merupakan cucu saudara kepada Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Raja Hj. Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin. Saya telah membaca web site yang ditulis oleh Dr. Faridah berkenaan The Early Malay Doctors di bawah kelolaan Universiti Sains Malaysia Kubang Kerian (Fakulti Perubatan) dan salah satu maklumat berkenaan doktor Melayu terawal yang disebut oleh Dr. Faridah ialah Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Hj. Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin. Kebetulan saya mempunyai sedikit maklumat berkenaan beliau kerana saya merupakan penyusun salasilah keluarga kami. Antara maklumatnya ialah:

Y. Bhg. M Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Raja Hj. Ahmad Noordin b. Raja Shahbudin “Che Lan”, PSM, DSMP, JSM, PJK. Beliau dilahirkan pada 11 Julai 1925 di Bagan Serai, Perak Darul Ridzuan. Beliau mendapat pendidikan awal di Maktab Melayu Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) pada tahun 1936 hingga 1940 dan kemudiannya menyambung pengajian kedoktoran di King Edward VII School of Medicine di Universiti Malaya, Singapura pada tahun 1946 hingga 1956. Beliau juga merupakan doktor Melayu yang terawal di Malaysia. Jawatan tertinggi yang disandang olehnya ialah Ketua Pengarah Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia dan Pengerusi Eksekutif Koperasi Doktor Malaysia Berhad atau Malaysian Doctors Cooperative Limited. Beliau telah berkahwin dengan Y. Bhg. Puan Sri Datin Seri Hjh. Saliah bt Hj. Abdul Wahab b. Hj. Abdul Hamid (15.01.1935) pada 28 November 1957.

Bapa kepada Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Raja Hj. Ahmad Noordin ialah YM Raja Shahbuddin bin Raja Dagang bin Tengku Busu yang merupakan Orang Besar 16, Negeri Perak yang bergelar Tok Seri Indera Jaya. Beliau pernah dilantik menjadi Penghulu Batu Kurau (1908-1910) dan Penghulu Bagan Serai (m. 26 November 1959). Ibu beliau bernama YM Raja Aisyah bt. Raja Makah (m. 1938).

Itulah sahaja maklumat yang ingin saya kongsikan dengan Dr. Faridah. Sekiranya ada sebarang kesalahan maklumat, saya memohon maaf.

Sekian, terima kasih.

Yang benar,

YM Raja Adley Paris Ishkandar Shah bin Raja Baharudin
Sekolah Menengah Teknik Pendang
Pokok Tai, 06720 Pendang,
Kedah Darul Aman
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Raja Adley Paris is in Facebook:

Raja Adley Paris has a lot of photos in Facebook of the recent royal burial of Raja Ashman Shah.
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Raja Ahmad Noordin is seated (MCKK 1940s?)
Photo from Raja Adley Paris' Facebook album
Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin weds Saliah bt Abdul Wahab 1956
Photo from Raja Adley Paris' Facebook album
Tan Sri RAN related the story of the Japanese war and also what they were studying at the time. It was not serious studying at all and just to pass the time and they were taught a lot of propaganda. Then when he met his future wife-to-be did he put in a lot of serious effort to study hard and make the final exams. He graduated in 1956 (however, an NUS publication in 2005 gave 1957 as his graduation date). I clarified with him and he and also his wife confirmed he had graduated in 1956 and they got married after graduation. He was doing Housemanship in Johor in 1957 (year of Merdeka).

Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin and wife Saliah, circa 1956.
Photo from Raja Adley Paris' Facebook album

Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin did Housemanship in Johor and then moved to District Hospital Kuala Krai in Ulu Kelantan. Hospital Kuala Krai is up on a hill to avoid the annual floods that will cut off the town of Kuala Krai from the rest of Kelantan when the flood is serious. Kuala Krai also has Tangga Krai (Bradley Steps) which is used to monitor flood water level. Tan Sri RAN worked in Kelantan mainly to eradicate yaws (puru) and did was involved in filming for the yaws campaign. He did enjoy the Main Puteri from one of his patients. There were other stories he shared which I have included in my book.

View from old entrance of Hospital Kuala Krai, Kuala Krai, Ulu Kelantan.
Photo by me.
Old building becomes the maternity reception
Photo by me.
New entrance to Hospital Kuala Krai. The old entrance has been closed.
Photo by me.
New A&E and hospital wards (new tower).
Photo by me.

Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin moved to work at the Rural Health Training Centre (RHTC) in Jitra, Kedah. When I visited Kedah on 25-27 March 2010 to see the place where he had worked in Kedah, I also visited Hospital Jitra and a mosque in Jitra. At the mosque, I talked to a lady who enquired why I had come to Kedah. I informed her that I was looking for the place of work of an early Malay doctor named Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin who worked in Jitra in early 1960s. Then she said she remembers the name and the doctor! Imagine that was her encounter more than 40 years ago! She remembers having gone to his clinic and being seen to by him. She recalls him as a kind doctor, a friendly person. It's a pity that I didn't take her details. She was on the way for Umrah and she had stopped at the mosque to perform her last pray before departing for KL and onward to Makkah. Later, I informed Tan Sri RAN's son (Norman) of the encounter at Jitra.

It was in Jitra that Tan Sri made his first and major contribution to the nation. It was in Jitra that he experimented and later came up with the design for the Jitra Bowl, a flush latrine for kampung use. At the time the flush system was unknown in Malaysia. The flush toilets only came in the early 1970s. Tan Sri RAN drew for me his idea of the Jitra Bowl and I then went over to make a printable softcopy with proper diagram and annotations. But I still think the original drawings are better. Tan Sri RAN is very good at drawing. His hands were still firm and surprisingly he drew the illustrations very well at age 82.

Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin (seated) and Encik Ismail bin Abu Sittee at the RHTC in Jitra, Kedah. Tan Sri RAN had asked me if I could find out for him where Encik Ismail is today. I could not do that for him as I don't know where to locate Encik Ismail. Photo from Tan Sri RAN.
Kompleks Kesihatan Jitra, Kedah. I believe this is the RHTC today. It is by the main road in Jitra.
Photo by me.
Original drawing of the Jitra Bowl by Tan Sri RAN at age 82. Scanned by me. This original drawing was returned to the surviving family members in a bound red hardcover book.

Tan Sri RAN had gone to University of California, Berkeley to do his Masters degree in Public Health. His Academic Advisor was Professor Beryl Roberts, a lady renowned with knowledge of Asian communities and livelihood, having worked with Asian communities before Tan Sri RAN's arrival. He had a good time at Berkeley and related his story with a lot of fondness and happiness. He said "my life begins at 40" when he celebrated his 40th birthday in California! Of course I laughed when he said this but I included that tag line in my book. Every time I read that tag line I would laugh or at least smile!

Tan Sri RAN's Academic Advisor during his MSc at University of California, Berkeley campus, USA. I had cropped this photo for my book. The larger photo is a group photo from Tan Sri RAN.

Tan Sri RAN then joined the Ministry of Health in KL and was based at Institut Kesihatan Umum (IKU) or Public Health Institute (PHI). Tan Sri RAN said PHI is at Jalan Bangsar. It was formerly the Bangsar Hospital (or European Hospital that Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail told me about). At the time Tan Sri Mohamed Din was the (first) Director-General of Health (DG), Ministry of Health, Malaysia and Sardon Jubir was Minister of Health

Tan Sri RAN loved to talk about this mural at PHI. I read the text at Arkib that this mural was donated by Nestle Malaysia. Above photo: Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad (1st DG), Nestle men and Tan Sri RAN (the one in white shirt with his back facing the camera). Photo from Arkib Negara Malaysia.

The PHI mural today. This was re-painted and the then Director gave a photo to Tan Sri RAN who passed it on to me to be included in my book. Photo by PHI.
Tan Sri RAN loved this photo very much. He is accompanying US Vice-President Mr Humphrey uphill to the PHI where he is in charge. Tan Sri RAN is 2nd from right and facing Mr Humphrey as they walked uphill. Photo from Tan Sri RAN.
Tan Sri RAN explaining to Mr Humphrey at PHI.
Photo from Arkib Negara Malaysia.

It was in Petaling Jaya/Kuala Lumpur that Tan Sri RAN made another great hit to the nation's health status. This time he proposed the ANP Tree for overcoming the problems of poverty of the rural populace. The ANP Tree became a pilot project and Ulu Langat was chosen as a test-bed. The details are in my book. Later the ANP Tree became a successful project for poverty eradication and it was adopted my many other nations, after the WHO took it as a measurable model for overcoming poverty. It made Tan Sri RAN really happy that his ideas worked and I really enjoyed talking to him on the phone about his ANP Tree. Of course I didn't record our conversation or else I can upload it in YouTube.

Original drawing of the ANP Tree by Tan Sri RAN at age 82.

Later Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin became the 3rd DG (after Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail). Tan Sri had performed his Hajj while still with the Ministry of Health, before he retired.

I had interviewed Tan Sri RAN on 11 May 2007 in the evening at his home in Kg Tengku, PJ. It was a brief interview as I had arrived very late as I lost my way to his house! But he got on the phone and directed me till I reached his main gate safely. He came out to greet me at the gate. Wasn't that nice and kind of him? He was very happy indeed to see me. I was relieved to meet him. He died a year later, while waiting for my book to materialise. And I have a lot of regret that I can't get this book printed in time before he died.

The first and last interview with Tan Sri RAN in 2007.  He passed away in December 2008 before a planned second meeting.
Tan Sri RAN telling his life stories to me
Datin Saliah came to join us
From left: Tan Sri RAN, wife Saliah, myself and my husband Affandi.

Everybody got interested with the other biographies I had prepared and then it was difficult to control the interview. The dark photos above are by one of my kids; maybe the flash was not turned on? There is a video clip of this interview but it is just a tiny bit as the same videocam was used to record an earlier interview with Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail. I didn't have time to clear the video-tape or change the SD card because my husband had borrowed the SONY videocam from HUSM. So I wasn't in charge of video recording nor did I know anything about it. But I am thankful my family (kids included) helped to record that interview

A red hardcover I made for his family after Tan Sri RAN passed away. I also wrote a poem in it. The title of this red hardcover is Communications with Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin (January 2009).
Tan Sri RAN's jottings
Tan Sri RAN's jottings
Father and son, Tan Sri RAN and Norman.
Photo from Norman's Picassa album
Photo from Norman's Picassa album
Aidilfitri 2008. Tan Sri RAN, Norman and Datin Saliah
Photo from Norman's Picassa album
Father and daughter, Tan Sri RAN and Marhaini with baby. Marhaini lives in Adelaide.
Photo from Norman
Tan Sri mentioned the Pilates program. There is also  a video of him at the Pilates website.
Norman informed me of this video
His obituary was in The Star on 23 December 2008 and also in Metro.

Norman lived with Datin Saliah. I last met them in December 2008 at their home, a week after Tan Sri RAN passed away.

Datin Saliah has also passed away.

Tan Sri RAN's residence in Kg Tunku has been sold.

Norman is on Twitter and Facebook:

Marhaini is in Facebook: