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Ahmad Izham Omar

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This time, I not gonna share my story with all of you. This time I wanna share a story of a guy that inspired me to be hard working, creative... heh...dunno what to say about him actually. What I can say is... he just perfect to be my role model. I think many of you already recognize him. He now is a successful young man... 36 years old. I feel like wanna be in his shoes someday... Please read this if you pass by my blog. I just simply copy it from one of a website that contains his speech. Enjoy...
Assalamualaikum... This is where it all started. SMSS is where it all started. Di bumi SMSS ini lah saya mendapat inspirasi hidup saya. I am not saying this because I have to speak in front of all of you I am not saying this because the organizers have told me to "Izham tolong cakap bagus2 pasal SMSS and pasal macamana SMSS ni tolong Izham dalam kerjaya Izham sebab ni Homecoming Dinner". I am saying this because it is true. This is where it all started.

Hati saya sebenarnya memang berat nak buat ucapan ini. I've made hundreds of speeches: to the music industry, to the TV industry, to the legal industry, on TV, around the world, to students, tolecturers, to professors. But tonight saya rasa serba salah. I've been told that pada malam ini I must talk about "kejayaan" saya di dalam karier saya... and that makes me serba salah. Kalau siapa yang betul-betul kenal batch 86, diaorang tahu yang kitaorang ni sebenarnya tak suka menunjuk-nunjuk. Dan saya memang rasa tak sedap bila nak bercerita tentang diri saya. Ni yang saya belajar dulu kat SMSS "jangan eksyen".

And sampai sekarang saya ingat pesanan kawan2 saya tu, My friends in SMSS have kept me grounded, they have kept me humble... especially yang duduk kat situ. Tengok2 malam ni diaorang pulak yang eksyen. But the organizers, especially Kak Latifah, said "Izham, do it for SMSS. Do it for the students. Tell them what you have done. Maybe that willInspire them."

And I guess that's why I am here tonight. Not for the food. Not because of Homecoming. Not because of Kak Latifah. But because of you guys. So I hope what I am about to say, you will take it as something you can maybe learn from and maybe, in some way, can help you along your way. Maybe help you to be more confident about reaching for the impossible, to be more confident about your future, to be more confident about yourselves.

I hope you realize how much potential each and everyone of you have. And how SMSS can help you reach your potential. I hope you realize and appreciate what an amazing school SMSS can be. An amazing school, if only you know how to use it. I hope my story will help you.

This is my story.

Saya dikenali melalui syarikat rakaman Positive Tone, yang tujuannya untuk melahirkan artis2 yang memang lain dari yang lain, dan kini saya baru melancarkan stesen televisyen terbaru 8tv, juga yang menunjuk program yang lain daripada yang lain. Kedua2 usaha saya ini, alhamdulillah, telah mencapai kejayaan di mata orang ramai.

Now, before you guys think, "There's no way I can do that. It's already hard to learn about an industry. It's already hard to become an expert in one industry. It's going to be nearly impossible to become an innovator in one industry; what more TWO industries".

Before you guys think "Ah. That's tough. Let's play safe and just follow the crowd. Follow what people say. Don't be a hero. Abg Izam got lucky. He got support. Who are we? Let's just play safe".

I am telling you now. Your craziest dreams, your fantasies, your mission, IS possible. Whatever you have been dreaming about, nak jadi roket saintis ke, nak buat space station ke, nak jadi perdana menteri sekali pun.. IS possible.

And if you look around you, if you look really hard, you can find the key to your dreams right here in SMSS. Because I found my dreams in SMSS. I found the thing that started the whole thing, my music, in SMSS. That's why I said from the beginning. It all started here.

Saya tiba di tingkatan satu, Satu Usaha ya, (Hidup Perwira!) pada tahun 1982. (Colour lain tak best). Saya ditempatkan di dorm A05. Saya ni bolehlah dikategorikan dalam "budak-budak baik" sebab saya ni tak banyak cakap tapi kitaorang tak skema lah. For the old boys, skema tu sama lah dengan belia. Iwas a very small boy, very quiet tapi pernah kena penampar dengan Cikgu Sulong. Tak tau kenape dia jeles sangat.

Dari kecil lagi saya memang minat muzik. Anything to do with music. Pada tahun 1982 abang2 form 5 ada buat band. Ada gitar, ada drum, ada bass. Seronok..Tapi saya tak berani nak dekat. Zaman tu budak2 Form 5 semua memang ganaslah. Kalau junior2 kita ingat batch 86 ni ganas, batch 82 lagi ganas. Tapi saya memang minat nak masuk band tu. Saya nak main bass.

Sebenarnya tujuan utama saya nak masuk dalam band tu bukan apa; the main reason why I wanted to play music was simple: I wanted to impress the girls. Saya sekolah rendah semua lelaki, jadi bila masuk sekolah menengah dapat duduk sebelah awek, terus jadi tak betul. Menggelatar. Macam jakun. Disebabkan kekurangan pengalaman untuk menarik perhatian kaum hawa, maka saya membuat kesimpulan "hey, if I'm the bass player, the girls will be so impressed".

Jadi saya pun berharaplah dapat main dalam band tu bila saya Form 2 dan bukan freshie lagi. Tapi malangnya bila saya Form 2, Gurubesar yang baru masuk dan telah mengharamkan kugiran atau pun band tu. Jadi tak dapatlah saya pegang bass tu sebab saya rasa semuanya dibuang atau dibakar.

So I did the next best thing. I turned to the school piano yang buruk tu. Ya, dulu pun buruk jugak. Saya tau saya boleh main sikit2 piano ni. Tapi dalam keghairahan saya untuk mendapat perhatian from the girls, saya betul2 practice piano ni. Masa prep, masa main sukan, masa weekend, masa ada kelas, I keep going back to the piano. Everytime the girls walk by, ceh, I will play as best that I can.

Disebabkan selalu sangat practice, I got pretty good at it lah. Ada satu hari tu, saya dapat macam mesej muzik dan rahsia muzik tu (dari jin muzik kot). Tu hah, kat piano buruk kat dewan tu, kat situlah saya mendapat ilham muzik ni. Kononnya dah terer lah tu.

Fuh, lagilah saya buang tebiat. Saya start main piano untuk apa jenis function, orang jemput ke tak jemput. And tiba2 saya dapat beberapa kakak angkat. "oooh best lah adek main piano" terangkat saya. Terangkat sampai dapat kakak angkat. Tapi malangnya, tujuan utama saya untuk mencari awek masih tak kesampaian. Awek masih tak datang. Kakak angkat pulak yang datang. Salah skrip. I guess the girls were looking for more macho people. That's why orang macho macam Zalizan, macam Maryus, banyak girlfriend. Saya pulak dapat kakak angkat.

I tell you this story because of a very important lesson. It was a fun story but what a lesson: Dedikasi, komitmen, visi dan wawasan, dengan satu misi: to impress the girls; made me work hard, so hard, that I became really good on it. Saya rasa ini boleh apply kat apa2 bidang pun, tak semestinya muzik. If we work on something really hard, suddenly you become very very good at it.

Masa Form 2 tu lah yang the music really flowed. Saya mengambil kelas flute. Saya memasuki pancaragam dan bermain trumpet. Masa tu saya pun dalam pengakap dan ketua pengakap memang bengang dengan saya sebab saya masuk pancaragam jugak. Mana boleh. Jadi saya tak pernahlah pandai dalam bidang pengakapan ini. Buat khemah pun roboh. Masa buat ujian Pengembara, kitaorang naik teksi. Tanya Abg Yunis tu, dia pun naik teksi jugak. Tapi dapat jugak batch pengembara.

Dalam pancaragam, saya main trumpet tak lama. Sebab rakan2 batch 86, especially kawan2 saya kat dua usaha tu, Bulat, Yunis, Rosdeen, Azlin diaorang ejek saya kat kelas, katanya semua orang yang main trumpet ni.... macamana nak cakap ni..., semua yang main trumpet ni… akan menjadi lanjut. Lanjut macamana, you all tekalah. Saya tak boleh cakap, nanti ustaz marah. Tiba2, nickname saya jadi Lanjut. Saya pun bengang lah. Saya pun tukar dan belajar main saxophone: alto dan juga tenor. Ingatkan diaorang tak panggil lanjut lah lepas tu. Hmmm.tak jugak. Apa2 instrumen baru yang saya pick up sebab nak try nak elakkan nickname yang kurang ajar tu tak berkesan. Form 3 saya start main gitar. Lanjut jugak dipanggil. Nama Lanjut tu berkekalan... SAMPAI HARI INI.

Tapi saya ingin berterimakasihlah kepada kawan2 saya yang tak senonoh tu, terutama Azlin dan Bulat. Kalau tak pasal ejekan diaorang, saya mesti tak pick up saxaphone, gitar, flute, dan bermacam lagi alat muzik untuk mengelakkan diri saya dari digelar lanjut seumur hidup.

Beri tepukan kepada Bulat!

Saya tak banyak nak cerita pasal dalam kelas sebab saya kat sekolah sebenarnya malas belajar. Bukan apa, saya tak minat sangat subjek2 kat sekolah. Saya tak suka bedah katak, potong lipas, buat ash-tray. Yang saya paling suka ialah Geografi tu pun sebab saya suka tengok map. Sesiapa librarian sekarang: Ada buku pasal Hawaii kat library tu yang takde map Hawaii. Map tu kat rumah saya. Terimakasih. Jangan marah.

Tapi ni tak bermakna saya tak belajar apa2 di SMSS. Memang banyak yang saya belajar daripada cikgu. Dan banyak jugak yang saya belajar di luar kelas. Apa yang saya belajar di SMSS, yang paling berharga saya rasa, is 'experimentation and independence and creativity".

Saya tak belajar ni kat kelas. Mana ada kelas 'experimentation and independence and creativity" Saya belajar ni kat luar kelas. You see, Batch 86 is known to be one of the most notorious batches. Just ask batch 87, 88, 89, 90. In fact we were so bad, you can also ask batch 85. Even they were scared of us. Daredevils, crazy guys, break boundaries, creative in naughty ways, naughty in creative ways. If there was a way to break a rule without getting caught, Batch 86 is the most creative.

Kalau ada apa2 yang boleh membuat cikgu2 jadi pening, batch 86 paling kreatif. But don't think that I was such a good boy. Dengan persepsi cikgu dan semua orang bahawa Ahmad Izham Omar ni budak baik, I manage to get away with a LOT of naughty things. I guess I cannot explain too much or I get into trouble but here's a little tip to the teachers and pengawas: budak2 yang perlu diberi perhatian ialah bukan mereka yang nakal tapi mereka yang nampak baik.

Whatever it is, Batch 86, these friends of mine, taught to me to explore, to be creative, to go beyond what is accepted and what is normal. Because they were abnormal. I learnt not to be scared. To be independent. To be crazy but to be smart about it. And at the same time "jangan eksyen bro": To be humble. 70% of what I learnt in SMSS I learnt out of the class. The friends you make, the things you do, the way you handle people; from the teachers, the pak guard, the lady in the dewan makan, the girl that you like from a far, the boy you like from afar: all these things teach you about life. All these things are so useful when you start your real life, when you start work. There's so much to learn and the lessons are all around you.

Jadi, with the lessons I learnt from SMSS, dengan penuh konfiden saya beritahu pihak JPA to sponsor me to study music dan music business di US. JPA said OK. Kita tolong kamu. Nah, scholarship study law in the UK. Pada masa tu, mana ada agensi nak sponsor music. Sponsor law, medicine, accountancy, business, engineering semua boleh. Music, sorry brother. Tak penting dalam membina Malaysia. Iye ke?

Pernah pegawai kerajaan beritahu saya "Masyaallah, takde kerja lain ke?" But Batch 86 taught me to be strong. Saya percaya music is an industry, macam industry lain. Medicine ke, software ke, music is also an industry and a very powerful industry. And kalau takde orang nak masuk industri tu, sebab tak digalakkan oleh kerajaan dan juga tak diberi sokongan financial, maksudnya lagi banyak peluang saya in the music industry.

Saya pun beritahu ibubapa saya, saya nak tolak scholarship law JPA tu dan saya nak belajar penerbitan muzik di Berklee College of Music di Boston.

Mak saya hampir pengsan. Yelah, bukannya murah nak pergi Amerika sendiri. But they believed in me. They said "Izam, go for it. Kalau you nak jadi tukang sapu sampah pun, do what your heart tells you, but be the BESTtukangsapu sampah in the world".

Alhamdulillah, my parents believed in my mission but it was tough, masa tu recession, my parents dua2 entrepreneur, bisnes sendiri, jadi duit memang tak banyak. But the two of them kumpul all the money they can get, jual kereta, mortgage the house and sent me to the US to pursue my dream. I am thankful for that.

But I had to work for extra money, Boston tu mahal. Saya bekerja di sekolah, saya bermain muzik di mana2 untuk mendapatkan wang, saya pernah bermain di majlis2 perkahwinan orang Vietnam, semualah saya dah cuba. It was tough. But I was very happy - cos I loved it. I experienced everything: Underground gigs, rave clubs, I absorbed as many things as possible and became friends with as many different kinds of people as possible.

Alhamdulillah, I graduated with flying colours dan sijil saya dianugerahkan kepada saya sendiri dari Phil Collins dan juga Sting.

After Berklee, I got an MBA, Masters in Business Administration, from Suffolk University in Boston. That was fun. I had friends from Japan, The Dominican Republic, the US, India, etc. I even went to Barcelona to study. Saya balik ke Malaysia pada tahun 1994 dan menubuhkan syarikat Positive Tone.

I was 24 years old. Positive Tone tujuan dia is to produce artist and albums that nobody else was doing. Ni typical Batch 86 punya thinking. Suatu hari tu saya terdapat demo dari sekumpulan budak remaja. Saya suka demo tu sebab ia mengingatkan saya masa saya bekerja di punk record label di US. Saya mainkan lagu2 demo mereka tu to all the industry people. Semuaorang tak suka.

"Mana boleh buat album macam ni, mana ada market. Kalau nak buat album, kena panggil M Nasir, Saari Amri buat lagu, kena carik artis cantik2. Mana boleh budak2 ni buat album. Diaorang baru umur 16 tahun. Lagu Inggeris pulak tu. Tak boleh jual".

Tapi saya tak setuju. So, in December 1994, saya pun terbitkan album kumpulan budak remaja ni. Alhamdulillah, album tersebut menjual lebih 75,000 unit, mencapai triple platinum. Dan bermulalah karier kumpulan OAG.

Dari itu Positive Tone terus berjaya, menerbitkan album Poetic Ammo, Innuendo (yang mendapat 6 anugerah AIM - suatu rekod), Ferhad, Too Phat, VE, Ruffedge, dan ramai lagi.

Positive Tone memperkenalkan banyak jenis muzik ke Malaysia: alternatif, hip-hop, R&B, dance. Saya bergiat cergas dalam industri muzik, memegang beberapa jawatan dalam industri, memenangi beberapa anugerah AIM, menjadi Pengerusi Jawatankuasa AIM, mengajar di universiti, menulis dan menggubah lagu untuk pelbagai artis.

Positive Tone mendapat perhatian dari beberapa syarikat gergasi dan pada tahun 1998, saya menjual Positive Tone kepada EMI. I was 28 then. Saya pun bekerja untuk EMI untuk manage Positive Tone, syarikat saya sendiri. Saya juga manage EMI artists termasuklah Sharifah Aini, Ziana Zain, Jee, KRU, Amuk. Saya juga kesempatan menerbitkan lagu untuk Siti Nurhaliza.

Saya juga dijemput ke Eropah untuk menulis lagu untuk artis2 EMI di Eropah. I think I have done so much in the music industry in Asia and Europe and other industries was noticing.

Pada tahun 2003, saya dijemput untuk melancarkan stesen TV baru yang lain dari yang lain. Saya tanya org2 yang berkenaan, kenapa saya dipilih untuk menerajui projek stesen TV baru ni? Jawab diaorang: Because you have the creativity and you dare to explore and break boundaries. These things I learnt in SMSS!

What I did in Positive Tone, they want me to do with the new TV station; 8tv. They saw me as an innovator in the music industry and they wanted me to become an innovator in the TV industry too. And for the last 6 months, funnily enough, everybody seems to think so. With 8tv, I combine technology and content to create something new for Malaysia and to help Malaysians compete in the world stage! And right now I am in charge of Malaysian Idol.

Recently too, I've been invited by the Ministry of Science & Technology to be a judge on their Malaysian Creativity Awards. I've also been recognised by the Asian Business Forum in Korea as a New Asian Leader. New Asian Leader? Kelakar betul.

All I did all the while was to apply what I learnt in SMSS. Creativity and exploration. Thanks to my buddies. Thanks to the teachers. Thanks to SMSS, now I have the influence to bring Malaysian creativity to a global level. And I think there's so much more to do and discover.

Apa-apa kejayaan yang telah saya nikmati setakat ini memang senang untuk dianalisa:

1) I love what I do: You have to love what you do. AND You have to know what you love. And it's quite simple. What gets you out of bed? What makes you excited? Listen to your heart. If you don't know what makes you excited, go out there and try everything until you find out and do it fast. Before you get out of SMSS. A lot of people I meet, in their 30s and even 40s STILL don't know what they want to do with their lives. A lot of people tell me that their goal in life is to make money. I always ask them; so what are you going to do with money? Money is just a means for you to go somewhere. Where are you going to go? What is your goal? Only you can tell yourself what your goal is. For me, my goal is to always find new ways of doing things, to always break new ground, to always innovate.

2) And when you know what you love to do, when you know what your goal is: go do it 100%. Do it day and night. Don't be afraid to experiment and to explore. If you love what you do, you will become very good at it. One day you might even discover the magic behind what it is you do. Don't listen to other people. Listen to yourself. Have faith in yourself.

3) I keep my feet firmly grounded and my head on straight. And it all started here. Right here in SMSS. And if I can all these things, if I could start a record company, bring something new to Malaysia, sell the record company, start a TV station, if I can do it, you definitely can. Because you know why? We come from the same place. We come from SMSS. If you think you can't and if nothing else inspires you and you don't know what your mission in life is, remember, do it for the girls.

Thank you.

Name: Ahmad Izham Omar

Music instruments played: Piano & other keys, guitar (a bit), saxophone, flute recorder,harmonica, ukelele, haaahaaahaaahahaaaa.

Achievements: AIM '98 for Best Arranger + 5 other AIM awards for Innuendo...also S.U.D.

Influences: Beatles, Billy Joel, Sting, Prince, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, my mum, my dad, my wife.

Ideas or philosophies or any messages: Be all that you can be.

3 comments:

szakif said...

wah... ade kemungkinan gambar2 yang ko attaach ko besar saiz byte nye, walaupun gambar tu ko kecil saiz width dan height nye... pasal tu PF usage naik mendadak... tapi tak jugak... aku pi blog yang gile camwhoring, lagi banyak gambar, tak plak ade pape masalah. blog aku pun banyak gambar jai! hehe... anyway, sori la kalau komen aku menyusahkan kau, kena edit balik... kesian ko... tapi... er.. aku tak suruh edit ye.. hehe...

tapi memang pelik, masuk je blog ko sebelum ni, terus PF naik. pastu trojan plak menyerang, tapi nasib baik aku always update norton antivrus aku... hm.. selamat...

anyway, back to the posting. i'm quite shock actully knowing that you take this guy to be your role model but you must have your own point, dont you? hm... what ever la jai... yang penting kite mengambil iktibar atas ape yang si ahmad izham omar ni dah lalui dan mengadaptasi perjalanan kehidupan dia dalam hidup kita..

Anonymous said...

Nak share ni boleh eh? Thanks! (:

Siti Aisyah said...

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sesuai untuk :
# pelajar IPT. Sebab apa ?. saya juga pernah menjadi seorang student IPT. Duit PTPTN memang tak cukup. Kita sebagai student juga mempunya keinginan untuk berbelanja . BETUL ATAU TIDAK ?
# peniaga kedai runcit(TAK PERLU CHARGE RM 0.50 KEPADA PELANGGAN SEBAB DARI TOPUP YANG ANDA RELOADKAN KEPADA PELANGGAN ANDA SUDAH DIBERI KOMISYEN) disini anda mungkin mempunyai kelebihan. sebab apa ?. dari apa yang saya perhati dan telah saya survey. kebanyakkan penjual topup dari kedai2 runcit mengenakan charge tambahan 0.40/0.50 dan sebagainya kepada setiap pelanggan yang membeli topup sedangkan anda tidak.
# penjawat sektor kerajaan dan swasta yang menginginkan income tambahan
# penganggur terhormat yang tidak mempunyai sebarang income/pendapatan

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