Don't know how many people would remember an Australian artist cum entertainer back in the mid-1970's. Though his TV show did not last long on Malaysian airtime, I remember being glued to the set each time the show was aired, and was totally immersed - mesmerised - by the skills and artistry of this artist; by simply dabbing a wall with brushes and paints meant for buildings, he managed to produce amazing works of art. It does not matter then that our TV was still black-and-white, what mattered was that we were totally entertained and the artist's works had some influence on my eldest brother, Emi, who is more of a cultured and refined person than the writer of this blog. Oops! That's me, cakapaje!
Anyway, the artist I mentioned is Rolf Harris, had an influence on a work I completed for a client some 7 to 8 years ago. I was reminded of this several days back while rummaging through a box of my stuff, hoping to find some diamonds or gold bars which that Idris-former-MB of Ganu (several billion RM worh!) might have accidentally stashed, but instead found the below - a memorablia of the past which was influenced by Rolf Harris's style and works. Nothing much, mind you, just a T-shirt designed to be used as uniform for a small restaurant at Jejantas Air Keroh, on the North-South Espressway.
Now, the client's brief was simple enough as I per remember it, even now. All he wanted was to have a uniform to lay an impression on the highway users who stop over at his restaurant, and perhaps even the possibility of selling those uniforms, or giving them away as a memento of sorts. For that, he toyed with the idea of having a small map of sorts so users can identify and remember his restaurant well. "Hmm..."my mind went, "I would need a good graphic designer for this - not a text-book designer, but one who knows his artwork well". A point I have to emphasise here is that I was working on my own then (even now, what!).
Alhamdulillah, mentally shifting through the names of the designers, one name cropped up, a Freelance Art Director by the name of Mus. And so I approached him and he worked on the design based on the concept I gave him - and the concept is 'Rolf Harris', as I put it to him. And that's how the work below came to be.
This is the logo we came out with for the T-Shirt, purposedly enlarged to catch the eye. Since the highway concessionaire's corporate colour is green, we used it well throughout our designs for the client. In this case, it marked the highway complete with the north-south arrows at each tip. At the same time, the colour resembles 'daun pandan', which is heavily used for in Malay cookings, delicacies and drinks.
The yellow circle on the left marks the small roundabout found at the Jejantas, and at the same time it resembles a 'mata kerbau' or sunshine-up egg, which translated means food, and hence, the restaurant.
Since the restaurant was then new, we needed to come out with catchy phrases as well. The 'GWAK!!?' stands for Gulai Wangi Air Keruh, as the full name is spelled out at the bottom of the T-Shirt. However, the 'Jejantas' was missing, something which the client insist on. Thus, I told Mus to use the inverted V - as in missing aplhabets or words - and inserted it in between the full name just below the abbreviation. It worked! The client was happy, and that made us happy too!
Over time, the design became obsolete and the restaurant now uses the uniforms according to the highway authorities specifications. The work above, while exciting it was - any work which pleases a client normally is - has been thrown into the back of the mind, becoming just another portfolio in one's work; a past glory, if ever it can be said as such, that is easily forgotten like the passing of a breeze.
There is, however, another glory of the past, which we should not take lightly, nor forget easily.
A couple of days back, I received an email from a comment at my news blog, one which I have - for the moment...a very long moment - not bothered to update. The commentor, an Encik Edward Skading, had requested I bring his grievance to light. I went to his blog here, and read several of his postings - regarding a consumer product - and immediately know that there is precious little I can do to help; I am no longer, mind you, part of webtv8, not that I think they would be interested in this story too. Thus, via email I put the gentleman to a famous blogger, as well as to FOMCA. That, was last Friday. InsyAllah, by tomorrow, both may reply to Encik Skading.
Now, as I read through his blog and several comments made, it dawned upon me that Encik Skading is not a mere pensioner as he paints himself to be. My jaw dropped, and I was fully astonished to find out that Encik Edward Skading was a member of our Security Forces, and had served in Africa during the Congo War days! Part of his story - and the 7th Mechanised Rangers' history - can be read here.
To Encik Edward Skading (he does not know about this entry) and all the brave officers and men as well as women of our security force, I salute you. May Allah s.w.t. grant you hidayah and reward your unselfish contribution to the peace of this nation, and the places you served.
ps. A wishful thinking - can you make Malaysia a more peaceful and just nation by getting rid of the Sarkas?
psps. My prayers are as above. The music below, however, are for the entertainment of many an old soldier. Incidentally, it was also my kindergarten's anthem at Fatima Kindergarten, Kota Bharu, Kelantan: The Colonel Bogey March, or more famously known as the theme from Bridge Over River Kwai.