Kamaralzaman Tambu was always immaculately dressed. Clad in a three-strip suit along with tie and loafer shoes with heels, he would stand out from the crowd.
Tall witty and seemingly effortlessly elegant, Zaman had successfully broken through the barriers of class and age and successfully established his name in the field of Communications in Malaysia.
He was a blue-blooded public relations man and a consummate communication resource that was ready to handle any issues with his clients.
No problem was too big for him, but he held firmly to the belief that the trick of the trade was to identify the one or at the most two most important issues.
He believed in brevity and clarity and made sure that his written documents were not any longer than one page to spare the client the tedium of reading long pieces and to demonstrate to them that he had a game plan.
They would not only be impressed with his ideas and remain spellbound as he unveils the lines of action that would suggest that the crisis looming over their heads would all soon be “dry and dusted”
I had pleasant recollection of working for Zaman and many other colleagues at his firm. I know the clients had the benefit of Zaman’s acute searching and disciplined mind.
Again and again, he would discern in the problem at hand, an aspect nobody else had noticed, an aspect of the matter that could change and often did change a desperate situation into one that could and often did turn the tables in our favour.
Zaman had a formidable memory and such an ordered mind that he could handle the most complicated of the client’s need without even with the aid of notes, although he made it a part of discipline to do so throughout his career and demanded nothing less from those who worked with him.
In the field of communications, he was second to none as he dedicated to his job and spent countless hours and days in turning that which was impossible to the “art of making it possible”. When corporates got into a tricky situation that required a steady hand, his name would often crop up.
Zaman had a way with words and often at a drop of a hat could craft succinct and eloquent pieces that would get people enthralled. His verbal and written skills were superb and had the ability to articulate them with such relative ease.
To those who sought his counsel, he gave his advice and to those who sought his friendship, he was their comrade. But soon his clients would become lifelong friends and he would extend his assistance to them even in his personal capacity.
Aside from words, he had a way with people. While he walked along the corridors of power and among corporate chieftains and members of the royalty, he never lost the common touch.
He was a good and kind-hearted man who had time for all, irrespective of their station in life. A sociable and witty man, he was always an inspiration and showed enthusiasm even in the simplest of things such as how to shine the shoes, a skill which he turned into art and would freely dispense to all his friends.
Zaman had an interesting past as he was the son of the former Indonesian Permanent Representative to the UN who was expelled from Indonesia by President Suharto.
He in fact arrived in Malaysia along with Prabowo Subianto who contested for the Indonesian Presidency recently as Prabowo’s father too was expelled by Sukarno at about the same time.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia then, Tun Abdul Razak allowed both families to become Malaysian citizens and continue their life here. Prabowo chose to return to Indonesia while Kamaralzaman decided to stay on here and continue his life.
I had the pleasure of knowing Zaman initially as boss and eventually as my mentor and good friend. I drew a lot of inspiration from him and he guided me along the way on how to craft good pieces either for publication in the newspapers or to craft a communication proposal .
We were to meet on the second week of May to discuss an idea that I had and wanted his valuable insight. I never did.
Zaman passed away on May 9 at his residence due to lung cancer, leaving behind his wife, Zeenat Hamid and two children Johan and Shakira.
The news that came in the early morning of May 9th hit me like a ton of bricks, that the mentor and friend that I could take counsel and share by camaraderie was no longer around.
The same feeling must have been felt by the many that gathered at the Nurul Islam Mosque in Kampung Desa Pahlawan to bid him farewell. The atmosphere was heavy with many crying inconsolably while others trying to resist their tears.
Among those who attended his wake were newspaper barons, corporate chieftains and lastly , people from all walks of life that felt Zaman had in some way touched their lives.
He was one of our best communications practitioners in the country and led a full and useful life leaving good memories. I had benefited immensely from his guidance, counsel, and friendship to which I would always be eternally grateful.
While we may not be able to see him again, may we be consoled by the fact that the “souls of the righteous would return to the hands of the lord where no evil would come and peace be there. Farewell my friend.