Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Tan Sri Syed Hassan Aidid (1916-1983)

Senator Syed Hassan Aidid was born on 20 September 1916 in Singapore. He married Sharifah Rahmah Aidid and had nine children. He was educated at Penang Free School in George Town, and at Green Lane. He was a successful diamond merchant and proprietor of the New Gold Co. He was the Chairman of UMNO Penang and Province Wellesley. He was the Director of Sri Negara Ltd. He was the Chairman of Warta Negara Press. He was on the Board of Governors at the St. Xavier's Institution, Jalan Ayer Itam. He was the Manager of the Ayer Itam English School and Sekolah Kebangsaan Ayer Itam (Malay stream). He was the Vice-Patron of the Penang AAA. He was also the Patron of Sepak Raga Association.

His last known home address was 11, Mk. 1A, Ayer Itam Road, Penang. The house is still extant. His last known telephone number in the early 1970s was 23422. His last known office telephone number was 61643.

Source of the above text and portrait: Who's Who is Malaysia 1971-1972.

[Update from Nazmi Hassan Razak, 18 Dec 2013: He died on the 28th of February 1983.]
Relatives often reminded me that his house was "rumah besar sebelah Shell Air Hitam". He had passed away on 28 February 1983. His youngest daughter and I were working at the USM Medical School in Penang. His eldest daughter was the Chairman of Persatuan Wanita USM and I was the Honorary Treasurer.

I remember entering this house to pay my last respect as they performed mandi jenazah on him before burial. The ladies and I were allowed to view him. I took a long look at his face because I wanted to remember him as I had never met him when he was alive. I still remember his characteristic nose. It was from this memory that I was able to search for his portrait at the USM library in Penang.

His house photos (below) were taken by me when I visited Penang on 6 December 2015

Going towards Bukit Bendera, Jalan Bukit Bendera in Air Hitam (main road).
Shell is the landmark to locate his house.
Approaching his house. View after returning from Bukit Bendera.
There is a junction after Shell and before his house.
This is his house.  
The house was under renovation when I passed by and took photos of it on 6 December 2015.
Update from Syed Alwi Aidid, Singapore 2013:

Puan Sri Datin Sharifah Rahmah Aidid married to Tan Sri Datuk Syed Hassan bin Mohdhar Aidid (deceased 1982/1983). She is the elder sister of Sharifah Mariam bt Syed Alwi Aidid (Prof Syed Mohsin's mother). Puan Sri Datin Sharifah Rahmah Aidid passed away  on 31 May 2012 and is interred on 1 June 2012 at Masjid Perak Road cemetery in Penang. They have 9 daughters.
  1. Datin Dr Sharifah Mariam bte Tan Sri Syed Hassan Aidid married to Datuk Dr Adam Yee Abdullah @ Yee Thiam Sun. Their sons are Isa and Dr Ilias. 
  2. Sharifah Azizah Aidid married to Syed Taha bin Abdullah Sheikh Abubakar
  3. Sharifah Aminah Aidid (Singapore) married to Syed Salim Hassan Alkaff
  4. Sharifah Naemah Aidid married to Abdul Malik. They have 2 sons and a daughter.
  5. Sharifah Shipak Aidid married to Dr Razak Dali. They have 2 daughters and a son, Nazmi Hassan Razak.
  6. Sharifah Sheikhah Aidid married to Syed Ismail Al Wafa
  7. Sharifah Zahrah Aidid married to Roslie
  8. Sharifah Sakinah Aidid married to Dr Syed Mohamad Syed Sahil (Prof Syed Mohsin's brother)
  9. Sharifah Hasnah Aidid married to Prof Abu Hassan bin Abu Bakar. She had worked at the USM Medical School before, 1984-1990.
More at:

Update from me, 28 February 2015:

Prof Abu Hassan bin Abu Bakar is at the School of Biology, USM in Penang. He was known as Danker and played the guitar when he attended UC Davis in 1976-1980, along with several others - Prof Musa Abu Hassan (deceased 1954-2015), Prof Mohamed bin Daud (UNISEL), Abdul Rahman, Mohd Shahrin, Harith Harun, Prof Zairi Jaal (Biology, USM; eldest brother of Zaiton Jaal), Prof Khadijah Mohd Salleh (deceased), etc.

Update from me, 4 September 2013:

My maternal grandfather's house was at 219 Solok Pemancar. He lived there and I was there for holidays in the early 1960s, before I went to school. Immediately across the road was a big old tree, underneath which some Indian devotees prayed, shook bells and chanted. My grandfather got irritated from the 'noise beneath the big tree' and sold his house, and moved further uphill. But I still like the house, even today. I can't recall what the interior is like anymore but I remember the tiled front entrance, and perimeter walls.
Amendment received from Wan Latifah (10 Sept 2013): I would just like to correct the post regarding 219 Solok Pemancar. This house was bought not by Tan Sri Datuk Syed Hassan Aidid but by his elder brother, my grandfather, Datuk S. M. Aidid. He lived in the house until he passed away in November 2007 at the age of 105.

Tan Sri Syed Hassan Aidid is a relative of my father. They are descended from the Sumatran Achehnese Arab people, Keturunan Aceh Peranakan Arab. They are related to the Sumatran Minangkabau people who opened the earliest Malay settlement in Penang at Kg Batu Uban, some distance from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). This settlement was opened by Nakhoda nan Intan @ Muhammad Saleh, an imam and sufi prince from Pagaruyuyng Palace. 

Nakhoda nan Intan's brother, Nakhoda Kecil and his people developed Tanjong Penaga, growing paddy (tanam padi), sugar-cane, coconut among other plants. Nakhoda Kecil went to greet and meet Captain Francis Light on the marshy shores of Tanjong Penaga (Cape Penaigre). Captain Francis Light and his people, and the first batch of Indian convicts developed the paddy fields, etc to become a city that we have today. This area became George Town, named after King George V or VI?

Penang did not lag behind in business and trade as in 1925, there was Dr Ali Othman Merican (Dr A.O. Merican) who helped founded the Penang Malay Association (PMA) which looked into Malay businesses, commerce, trade and industry. Dr A.O. Merican left Penang shortly after, in 1927, to go to Kelantan. He became a successful doctor in Kelantan.

At the time of Merdeka, there were few wealthy Malays in Penang, including those who had businesses going. The Malays were doing well on the island in the 1960s even though many Malays in the villages were poor - they were living at subsistence level (kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang). It should not surprise us because the Malays preferred a simple life and not run after worldly riches. We must accept this fact and not simply accuse the Malays of being lazy and unable to compete - they are living at their best and they are comfortable with life. It is us who are terrified by their simple way of life and want them to change. In the Malay style of living, rich Malays helped the poor Malays, even among siblings and friends. We actually do not have to change them. What we must worry about is the business-hungry people who want the poor Malays to give up their lands and lives. This we must prevent and put a stop to. Let the poor Penang Malays live as they wish - their landed kampung houses are worth millions today but all they want is a simple life in a wooden house - so just leave them alone, and let them be happy. If we want to help, we can, but by making good roads and drainage where the Malay kampungs are. Just don't force them to change. They are an extinct breed already. Tourists also want to see the real Malays in true Malay settings. Don't change anything but improve on the landscape and facilities.

The PMA is still managing well alongside many other bodies. The Malays must come together and work hard together if they are to remain on Penang island. They cannot just sit back and live. It will be sad if all the Malays on the island have to leave. I will be very sad, just sad as what happened to Singapore where many of my relatives still reside. Singapore is a rather sad story but we must try and save Penang while it is still ours.

The Penang Malays at Kg Sg Gelugor have an active cooperative and the poor villagers in the village get to own houses via this cooperative. So, there are means to help the poor Malays in Penang but the Malays themselves must learn about such existing opportunities and be actively involved in the developmental projects around or near them. They stand to benefit if they do things right and have a positive attitude. My mother benefited from the cooperative at Kg Sg Gelugor - she obtained a double-storey wooden house from the subscription money she paid to the cooperative. I don't know about other cooperatives in Penang. There is also now another active cooperative established by the historic Dato' Jenaton Group - this is a rapidly developing cooperative and worth investing in for the Malays.

Update from Nazmi Hassan Razak, 18 Dec 2013:

Nazmi Hassan Razak said...

Just would like to correct the year of death of my grandfather. He died on the 28th of February 1983 iso 1982.

18 December 2013 at 17:47  

Update: 28 Feb 2014
King's Birthday Honours for 505

Inche CM Hashim, Penang - Panglima Setia Mahkota
Syed Hassan Aidid, Penang - Johan Mangku Negara
Dr Abu Bakar bin Ibrahim, KL - Johan Setia Mahkota
Dr Ibrahim bin Haji Mohamed Yassin, Ipoh  - Johan Setia Mahkota
Syed Kabeer bin Syed Ahmad, Penang - Ahli Mangku Negara

Update from Syed Hazzwarri, 31 Jan 2015:

Syed Hazzwarri has left a new comment on your post "Tan Sri Syed Hassan Aidid":

Hope will have gathering of tok lid generation's a.k.a S.M Aidid. At solok pemancar for this coming aidilfitri. Look like rumah usang ready.. Aunty Latifah hope u can make it become true. Already celebrates 4 year Ami aidid house. This years year we celebrated over there. 

Posted by Syed Hazzwarri to The Early Malay Doctors at 31 January 2015 at 19:25

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