Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tea With The Emperor Anyone?

A Kadir Jasin

PREAMBLE: Views expressed herein are entirely mine. I am writing in my personal capacity as a blogger. It has nothing to do with whatever position I may hold.

Tea with Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in 1991
JAPANESE Emperor Akihito and I grew old together. His Majesty surely does not know this but I do. He is 84 and I am 70 going 71.

Our path first crossed in 1970 – just months into my career as a cub reporter with Bernama. I was then stationed in Penang.

Together with my “senior”, Anne Koh, I was assigned to cover his visit to Kedah and Perlis.

He was then 37 years old and the Crown Prince. He was accompanied in that official visit to Malaysia by his consort, Princess Michiko.

The Press wasn’t given an audience with him but being my first reporting on royal protocol, the assignment was exciting and memorable.

But I would finally have an audience with Emperor Akihito in 1991 in Tokyo prior to His Majesty’s official visit to Malaysia. On that trip he also visited Thailand and Indonesia.

I was then the Group Editor of the New Straits Times and together with several other editors of the Malaysian media was invited to Japan to familiarise ourselves with the upcoming imperial tour.

It was a fruitful visit. We were introduced to Japanese imperial system, the economy, the Japanese garden and the Tale of Genji. The Emperor is revered to the point of worship.

Out visit climaxed with an invitation to have with the Emperor at the “Kokyo” – the imperial residence – in the heart of Tokyo.

Yes, tea with the Emperor.

When told that we had visited the Japanese garden at old imperial palace in Kyoto, the Emperor keenly explained that the tearoom we were in represented the concept of a Japanese garden.

The monarch told us that the tearoom and the garden outside were one and the same. The room flowed out into the garden and the garden flowed in into the room.

I told him that I covered his visit to Malaysia when he was Crown Prince and he surprised everyone by asking about things he saw and places he visited 21 years earlier.

One of which was the Malayawata steel mill in Prai. He asked if the mill was still operating.

According to Wikipedia, the Japanese monarchy is the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world. The imperial house recognizes 125 monarchs beginning with the legendary Emperor Jimmu (traditionally dated to 11 February 660 BC) and continuing up to the current emperor, Akihito.

A Modest Monarch

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the royal family was allocated 6.219 billion yen or about US$56.3 million (about RM225.2 million). The amount was for personal expenses, allowance for members of the royal family and palace-related expenses.

Please bear in mind that Japan has a population of 127 million and GDP of US$4.9 trillion compared to Malaysia with 32 million people and GDP of US$296.4 billion. There's only one monarch in Japan.

I like Japan better than the UK but I had tea twice with the English Queen – in 1997 at the Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland and the following year at Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

The first was in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Edinburgh and the second the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. The Queen was in Kuala Lumpur to close the Games.

The Queen at the at Closing ceremony of KL Commonwealth Games
The Holyrood is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. But some homesick Scotsmen had taken that name and attested it to a rubber (now palm oil) plantation in Selama, Perak. Ladang Holyrood now belongs to Sime Darby.

In June last year, the Newsweek reported that the Queen was getting a boost of almost double her existing income in public money as the government diverted new funds to pay for repairs on her palace.

The Sovereign Grant, an annual payment to the monarchy to meet official costs, would rise from  £42.8 million (US$54.5 million/RM218 million) for 2016-17 to  £76.1 million (US$97 million/RM388 million ) in 2017-18, according to royal accounts.

Despite the large amount, officials in the royal household insisted that the Queen “represents excellent value for money."

The UK Sunday Express newspaper agreed. It reported that for 2016, the royal family earned 550 million pound (about RM3 billion) for the UK in tourist expenditure.

Please remember that the UK has a population of 66 million and GDP of US$2.6 trillion (about RM10.4 trillion) but only one monarch.

In the 21st century world, the UK and Japan models are probably the most acceptable for countries still keeping the system of monarchy.



Zalman A said...

Salam Datuk

First of all hav e to congratulate you for how young & dashing you look in the photo, ha ha! Also a reminder of how long and fruitful your journalistic career has been. Few will have the stories you have.

Most glad that Tun is beginning to Look East (or at this stage, shall we say Glance East) again? Since those days of course we have seen the rise of China as an economic superpower, but for quality and innovation Japan still leads over China, no question about it.

On the "very delicate" question of spending money on royal families - takde hal, our own royalty also represent "excellent value for money" (the phrase used in your article.)

Also especially of all concerned understand the concept of Constitutional Monarchy.

In the UK the new PM is never kept waiting for hours in a cold room.

Nor does the Queen comment too much on various appointments made by the PM.

That is where "excellent value" comes from.

We can all learn.

All the best Datuk and keep your writer's pen as keen and sharp as ever.

sukasamasuka said...


1. Datuk seorang Melayu Kedah...lahir saja...sudah ada raja...sudah ada sultan.

2. Macam mana pun Datuk mau pusing sekali pun, pandangan Datuk terlalu sempit dalam hal sebegini.

3. Sebab Datuk rasa takut untuk fikirkan "ouside the box"...sebabnya Datuk masih dalam box.

4. Aku orang Sabah Datuk...tidak ada sultan...tidak ada raja.

5. Tidak ada raja tidak apa...kalau ada pun tidak apa...tetapi lagi bagus kalau tidak ada la...ini semua auta.

6. Sebelum Malaysia, Sabah tidak ada sultan...tetapi bukan bermakna tidak pernah ada sultan...ada ba...Sultan Brunei...ini tanah takluk jajahannya pada suatu ketika dulu.

7. Selepas Malaysia ditubuh...kami orang Sabah, masih tidak ada sultan...tetapi ada Agong...berganti2...tetapi satu pun bukan asal dari Sabah...atau dari kawasan yang paling terdekat dengan Sabah.

8. Jadi Datuk mau cerita ni supaya kami orang Sabah mesti terima Agong dari kalangan orang Malaya...yang berasal beribu2 km dari sini.

9. Kenapa Datuk tidak terima Raja Thai jadi Agong?...dia kan lagi dekat...lagi pun dia pernah jajah Kedah.

10. Kalau Datuk tidak bolih terima Raja Siam sebagai Agong, kenapa kami orang Sabah kena paksa mau terima Sultan Kedah pula?

Unknown said...

We are very generous of our expenses to what can termed as "non essential" item. The malay mind is a curious wonder.

jumbeaux said...


Cari pasai lagi ka Datuk :). Tapi saya setuju dengan pandangan Datuk dalam bab ni. Dan tak salah kalau kita ingat mengingati sesama kita. Candek sikit sekali sekala.

Wawh said...

Alhamdulillah.....let's open our eyes Malaysia! If Tourism related to the monarchs could bring in such revenue, then the expenses for their upkeep can be justified!

Buah Kerdas said...

You're absolutely right Sir. Besides, the members of the two monarchs had not been reported instrumentalising themselves of any sort of economic or business manoeuvre.

Unknown said...



Many many years back I wrote in yr blog Other Thots about the issue of Monarchy.

I wrote that India, China, Indonesia, Phillipines, etc had done away with royalties and monarchies. Even some part of Europe and the Mid East has abolished this system and in Africa some countries have done away with royalties and monarchies.I did explained at length that should we still want to retain this trafition tgen it has to come from only One family like the British, Spanish, Spanish and Japanese royal house

My comment was not published and you even replied that the issue is sensitive.

Today I hope many of us Malaysians share and agreed with what u trying to make Msians understand.

Thank you


Saudara Sukasamasuka

1. Saya hargai pandangan dan hak semua pembahas di sini.

2. Saya telah pun menyiarkan komen saudara yang terdahulu.

3. Saya rasa semua orang yang membacanya faham sentimen dan pendirian saudara.

4. Jadi tidaklah perlu diulang-ulang.

5. Kita hendak berbincang secara tertib dan wajar supaya tidak memberi peluang kepada orang yang tidak demokratik membuat alasan untuk buat laporan polis.

6. Tidak perlulah diungkit-ungkit mengenai Sabah negeri tanpa raja. Itu kita faham.

Terima kasih.

Jidin said...

Assalamualaikum Datuk,fully agree with your post on this issue and feel comfortable with comments from readers & debaters here especially by Zalman A 7:47..keep on going Datuk because slowly but surely Malaysians are beginning to understand & know about the roles of the monarchy in regard to this beloved land of ours...

Unknown said...

Bro orang sabah....
Kamu jawab tidak kena dengan soalan yg ditanya. Kamu tak faham maksuk soalan.

Unknown said...

Teruskan perjuangan untuk rakyat Datuk.... ...
Sekarang tahun 2018 bukan tahun 1957. Rakyat sudah makin cerdik dan berhak tahu soal negara mereka. Rakyat tidak boleh lagi menerima apa yg disogokkan oleh umno baik belaka.
Sekali lagi saya ulang kita hidup sekarang tahun 2018 bukan tahun 1960 baru merdeka.
Terima kasih Datuk kerana berani menyuarakan suara rakyat.

Marhaen kampung said...

Lama dah aku perati mamat pembahas sorang ni. Bahasa sama tapi racist sgt. Tak habis2 menghentam. Ye la, bangsa mu dgn orang mu je yg baik,ada akal. Yg lain ni bukan ciptaan Allah kot. Bangsa dgn orang mu je yg paling terer kat bimasakti ni. ��

Check and balance said...

just a simple comparison on the population statistics of Malaysia which probably has about 32 million people compared to Japan and UK which are in hundreds of millions are mind boggling.
When specially Malaysia has to bear the burden of expenditure to maintain palaces of the rulers, expenses, and other costs incurred. The Japanese and UK govts allocation to the royal households of UK and Japan are a mere pittance.
That is why transparency to the rakyat is so important, the days of the federal govt just signing cheques blindly is no longer valid.
There is need to understand how much the federal govt is actually paying out and subsidizing the royal households and it should be available for public information.
Simple checks and balances.

insan kamil said...

Salamun alaikum.

And to boot, just look at Mother Russia with her ginormous size back when they practiced. Peninsular has 132,156 km square while Mother Russia has 17.1 million km square. Something doesn't add up.

Aku said...

Kadiag, السلام عليكم ( Assalaa / mu / 'alai / kum.),
Aku mola dgn kopipeh sikit perenggan terakiag yg hang nulih :
" In the 21st century world, the UK and Japan models are probably the most acceptable for countries still keeping the system of monarchy. "
Aku cuba tecari cari apa tujuan hang nulih macam tu, kalu pasai minum teh, secawan dua, tak munasabah kod.
Sejarah dua jaloran feudal ni sangat2 ngeri. Raja2 inggerih banyak betanggung jawab tumpahkan lautan darah sejak zaman purba,
sejak leluhog depa King John sebelom dan selepaih pejanjian 'magna carta', sampai ke perang salib di Palestin dan penhapusan
etnik di serata donia, di Amerika Utara, di Ostolia dll. dan kesannya aku jangka akan beterusan. Baru2 ni cucu ratu depa,
pengiran William buat lawatan
(diraja) ke israil, selepaih Amerika iktiraf Baitulmaqdis sebagai ibu negeri israil, dan merai'kan 100 tahun deklarasi Balfour.
("The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. Wikipedia.")
Raja2 Jepun jugak banyak betanggung jawab dgn perang saudara di Jepun, pencerobohan di Korea, Manchuria, penyembelihan beratuih ribu di Chungking, di Malaya, Indonesia dan jugak di Hiroshima dan Nagasaki.... macam di banyak tempat, depa ni jugak
kepala agama.

Hang besa dengag kod... ?
Maghap no.

Jojo said...

Datuk Kadir,

What do the royals think of PH government recognising UEC ?

I am just alerting PH government that they may lose Sungai Kandis by-election due to recognising UEC.

Why is it one race is so special ? They can have their own education system & exam and be accepted to local universities.

sukasamasuka said...


"In the 21st century world, the UK and Japan models are probably the most acceptable for countries still keeping the system of monarchy."

- aku setuju cadangan Datuk.

- Datuk akan pilih siapa?...mesti la Sultan Kedah jadi Agong dan keturunan nya untuk seribu tahun.

- itu Cina si Kit Siang, mau pilih siapa pula?

- aku tetap sokong Sultan yang berdarah 100% Melayu...tidak mau yang ada campur2...macam juga Ratu England, 100% orang putih dan Emperor Jepun yang 100% darah Jepun.

- Jadi siapa saja Sultan Melayu yang berdarah Melayu 100%, maka dia la jadi Emperor Malaysia untuk 1,000 tahun ini.

- kita buat REFERENDUM untuk tentukan Emperor Malaysia...Daulat Tuanku!

sukasamasuka said...


- rasa2nya senang ke mau pass exam UEC ini?

- kalau budak Melayu masih struggling SPM, jangan la cerita pasal exam UEC...terlalu susah.

- UEC ini di iktiraf seluruh dunia dan olih universiti2 dunia seperti Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Harvard, NUS dsbnya.

- pada suatu ketika kita ada Senior Cambridge Examination yang diiktiraf seluruh dunia...macam UEC juga la.

- aku sampai darjah 6 skol Melayu sebab kemiskinan...mungkin Datuk pergi SC Exam.

- antara dapat pelajaran yang di iktiraf dunia dengan menang atau kalah undi di Sungai Kandis by election...I go for UEC anytime.

- UEC itu system pelajaran...tidak ada halangan kalau budak Melayu atau India atau Kadazan mau duduk ambil itu exam.

- UEC bukan pakai duit cukai rakyat.

- kalau sekolah tahfiz bolih, kenapa UEC tak bolih pula?

panglimo potaseh said...

Tok Kadir.

Tulisan TK kali ini seakan ngajak kita mendongak ke langit.. ngira bintang.. kagum dgn keindahannye dan akhirnye dibebani dgn keinginan untuk menjejak dimana batu sempadan alamraya itu.

Saya pernah bertanya prihal letaknye sempadan alamraya pada usTaT. Jawab usTaT tu.. kita sebagai Islam yang beriman amat dilarang bertanya soalan sebegitu.. ia adalah rahsia tuhan.

Bila saya teringat rahsia tuhan ini.. saya teringat sistem monarki di negara kita.. ia terkawal dengan peraturan dan ketaatan yang berat sebelah.. dan banyak perkara yang perlu dirahsiakan.

Apa pun tulisan TK ini telah dapat memberi gambaran perbandingan akan bagaimana perbelanjaan untuk menternak monarki di dua buah negara maju, kaya, moden dan terkuat didunia.. sangat menarik sekali data yang TK lampirkan.

Saya telah membuat sedikit analisa.. membandingkan perbelajaan mengurus monarki di Jepun dan UK dengan ngurus DYMM Agong yang kita sayange.

Secara perbandingan dari data GDP dan jumlah bilangan penduduk Jepun, UK dan Malaysia yang TK bekalkan.

Saya dapati..kita telah berbelanja lebih 14 kali ganda, berbandingkan Jepun dan..lebih 30 kali ganda berbanding UK untuk ngurus DYMM Agong kita.

Tapi barang diingat.. ini baru pada DYMM Agong sahaja.. kita punye 9 lagi Yang Amat Mulia. Ampoon Tuanku, beribu ampoon.. maap kan Patek harap di ampoon.

Unknown said...

You are off the mark Org Sabah@sukasamasuka. Kamu tidak faham maksud tersirat DKJ. Cuba baca semula. Kalau masih tidak faham tanya kawan2. Kalau tak faham lagi then cannot help lah. Stupidity has no cure and at times higher education only makes it worse.

Zed-85 said...

Sallam Dato'

Dalam alam serangga, seperti semut dan lebah, Raja atau Permaisuri Raja sangat penting. Matinya permaisuri raja, habislah semua rakyat serangga.

Kalau semut putih, kaedah baru untuk hapuskan adalah dengan sasarkan sarang Permaisuri. Kalau Permaisuri terkorban, habis semua semut putih mati.

Dalam alam manusia, berbeza pulak.

Mengikut sejarah, asal-usul raja adalah ketua dalam satu kumpulan manusia.

Umpamanya dalam sejarah Melaka. Parameswara yang beragama Hindu lari dari Singapura dan membuka Melaka.

Pada ketika itu, rakyat melaka termasuk dengan pendatang dari China, India, Jawa dan Burma cuma 2000 orang sahaja.

Akhirnya, keturunan Parameswara menjadi Sultan Melaka.

Kalau sejarah Arab, pemerintahan Uthmaniah adalah dari keturunan Sayidina Uthman yang dipilih sebagai ketua Islam di ketika itu.

Ada juga cerita dongeng yang mengatakan Raja-raja asal usulnya adalah dari berasal dari kayangan. Sebagai orang Islam, kita tidak boleh terima cerita karut.

Apabila peradaban tamaddun manusia semakin maju, kaedah baru dicipta untuk memilih ketua seperti demokrasi.

Dalam sistem demokrasi, Rakyat pilih ketua. Itulah yang kita amalkan sekarang ini dan juga banyak negara di dalam dunia di zaman ini.

Oleh itu, siapakah ketua kita sekarang ini? ketua kita adalah PM kita iaitu Tun M yang dilantik melalui sistem demokrasi.

Saya rasa ramai orang yang keliru , apa dia Raja dan apa dia PM dalam Malaysia.

Yang penting adalah tahap pelajaran.

Negara Jepun dan Britain berbeza Raja mereka. Antara sebabnya adalah kerana tahap pendidikan kedua-dua rakyat negara itu lebih tinggi.

Di Malaysia, tahap pendidikan masih lagi tidak setara dengna rakyat UK dan Jepun.

Umpamanya, Datuk Shahidan Kassim tidak tahu apa makna Murka. Pelik juga.

Comedy hour said...

cannot contain my mirth at the circus regarding the appointment of the former AG Apandi to the UMNO Supreme Council by the new President of UMNO Zahid.
I couldn't help laughing out loud when Apandi was reported to have likened his appointment to a fish returning to its spawning grounds. Not one hour (?) later when it became clear that his appointment was greeted with boos and derision from his UMNO colleagues, he turned it down.

"After poring over it and thinking about it deeply, I feel it is unreasonable to accept the appointment as Supreme Council member."
“What plays out in my mind is that the appointment will open the floodgates to a variety of negative perceptions linked to my actions and decisions back when I worked as a judge and attorney-general,” he said in a statement today.

Khairy referred to these events truly disappointing, and now simply embarrassing, welcome to amateur hour.

Really and truly stupendously stupid. This has cost them the Sungei Kandis by-election.
What was Zahid (and by extension his big bro Bijan) thinking of? Payback time for past favours ? GE14 opened the floodgates for umno to criticise its leaders, when will these outdated and outclassed people at the top learn their lesson. Still want Annuar, Adnan, TAjuddin and the old guard on your team?

KhazanahMelayu said...

I feel the best way to settle this issue on the monarchy is to hold a referendum and let the rakyat decide. Perhaps a single reigning monarch is sufficient.

About Me

My photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).