Remembering Rehman Rashid

by ZB Othman

Rehman Rashid passed away at 6.30am today. He was 62.

I first heard Rehman speak when he came to MCKK on Old Boys weekend in 1974 and gave a speech. I can’t remember what he said after all these years so it wasn’t the Gettysburg Address or something.

But I do remember that the words, in English, flowed off his tongue like water.

He loved his English. He was the nuclear option of the school debating team.

Even if the school lost a debate, he’d still be voted the best speaker I was told. When the opposing team are from a girls school, he’d get them in a swoon and we’d invariably walk away with the win.

Tall, dark and handsome he was. At our school, debates carry the same aura as rugby and football and good debaters were held in the same esteem as the best sportsmen so Rehman must have been a rockstar.

In The New Straits Times where I joined as stringer some 30 years later, our paths crossed again and we became fast friends.

In the years in between he’d been up to many things. Writer. Rebel. And mildly notorious, he’d become famous.

But I always remember Rehman as a gentle man.

He liked his words and now we’ll not hear them anymore.

May Allah keep you among the blessed my friend.