It’s so hard to say goodbye

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FOR many people in the entertainment industry back in the 1980s, Malay Mail was a paper that was hard to put down.

And after today, many of them said it will be difficult to let go.

Francissca Peter, a singer famous in the 1980s and 1990s, said reading the paper was very much a family affair.

Her father, Lucian Peter, was a writer and journalist who had worked with news agencies like Reuters and Bernama.

“My father worked with Reuters before Merdeka. Some of his proud moments back then was reading the articles he had written that were printed by newspapers.

“Now with the online media, we tend to get news faster but there are so many websites that carry news and some of them do not fact-check.

“Nowadays, people are glued to their handphones, laptops and tablets and that is where they get their news.

“There are so many changes in the world today and we have to move with the times,” she said.

While Francissca was sad to see the paper close down, she believed the battle will be carried on through the online version.

“Printed articles are like old photographs, lots of sentimental thoughts, feelings and expressions there.

“They should be treasured and kept for as long as we can because one day these may all be non-existent and considered antiques.

“Speaking for myself as an artiste, these articles are to be treasured as they feature all of us artistes, composers, producers, dancers, actors and all those from the creative arts from way back when who helped mould the music industry today.

“Thank you so very much dear Malay Mail and the team of writers, photographers, proof readers, editors and the entire Malay Mail family who brought the world of print onto a newspaper with interesting stories and truths to all of us for years,” she said.

President of Yayasan Kebajikan Artis Tanahair (YKAT) Datuk DJ Dave always remembered Malay Mail as the only English paper that carried news about local entertainers back then.

“Whenever an artiste does a show, there will always be coverage on it.

“As a reader of English papers, I would be one of them who would always have a copy with me.

“Apart from entertainment and sports news, I would also read up on the latest corporate news and that made Malay Mail an interesting paper to read.

“I personally feel sad that Malay Mail will not be in circulation anymore but I understand that the digital medium has taken over.

Malay Mail will still be relevant in the digital world,” he said.

Karyawan president Datuk Freddie Fernandez echoed the same sentiments and added he is sad to see the print version lose its place in the modern world.

“The paper takes me back to my youth where we used to follow sports.

“Since it was an afternoon paper, we used to get the latest news regarding foreign sports like football and golf.

“Those days, not many matches were shown live so we had to rely on Malay Mail for the latest scores.

“It is sad to know that we won’t be able to hold the paper in our hands anymore.

“It has done a great job but unfortunately the paper has lost its battle to the more popular online media,” he said.

Freddie, who used to be vocalist and keyboardist for 80s band The Revolvers, said Malay Mail helped in promoting them extensively.

“The music industry was well supported by the paper back then.

“The Revolvers’ first album received a lot of coverage and Malay Mail helped us to promote it.

“The paper was widely read those days so it helped us tremendously for the sale as well as our shows.

“We were a much sought after band due to the publicity we received. Malay Mail contributed a lot to the success of The Revolvers,” he said.

The band released its first album Perpisahan in 1980 and Freddie said Malay Mail helped The Revolvers to make a name for themselves.

“Throughout the 80s, Malay Mail was a paper that really followed the music industry.”

Another singer who owed a lot to Malay Mail was Fredo. Born Villenguez Alfredo Valentino, the singer started with Flybaits and then he formed Fredo and The Flintstones in 1984.

“I used to appear on RTM’s Hiburan Minggu Ini and Malay Mail used to highlight those shows and helped made my new band popular.

“I just left Flybaits and was trying to make a name for The Flintstones.

Malay Mail helped to give the band a good write-up,” he said.

Fredo added Malay Mail has always been his favourite English newspaper.

“Due to the size, it was easier to carry than the broadsheet newspapers and it’s very convenient.

“I especially liked Sunday Mail where the news was much more easy reading,” he added.

Apart from highlighting artistes about their work, Malay Mail also helped the industry in other ways aside from promotion.

Freddie, who became the president of the Musicians’ Union of Peninsular Malaysia in 1985, also said Malay Mail had helped in tackling piracy issues.

“The paper was the champion of the people especially the entertainment industry.

“It was a champion for all of our causes.

Apart from helping artistes with their music, Malay Mail was also instrumental in getting one of them off the streets.

On Feb 1, 2017, Malay Mail found singer Ben Nathan having tea at a restaurant in Brickfields, just 12 hours after Malay Mail highlighted his plight.

Malay Mail highlighted the plight of the singer, best known for his hits Stanza Sepi Sekeping Hati and Ilusi Satu Penantian, who was captured in video that went viral of him dressed as a vagabond the day before.

Dave was called in to help and Ben has been under YKAT’s care ever since.

Malay Mail will always be ‘the paper that cares’ to me.

“It helped us in getting Ben off the streets and it has always been there for artistes in trouble,” he said.