PEKAN, Pahang: It is common knowledge that the new Malaysian king is a huge football fan and a current council member of football's world governing body, FIFA.
What many don't know is that Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is a Gooner, a term of endearment for fans of English Premier League club Arsenal.
He even watched them live in action a few times when he studied in London.
This was one of the nuggets of information shared by Sultan Abdullah’s protocol and special officer Abd Rahman Endut, 65, who has served the sixth Sultan of Pahang since 1974.
“The team is Arsenal. If you talk about (favourite) players, it is French striker Thierry Henry, who used to play for Arsenal, as well as the Gunners’ former goalkeeper Pat Jennings because he likes their style of play,” said the protocol officer.
“Although Arsenal’s colour is red, Sultan Abdullah actually likes blue,” he said as he shared the interests of the new king when interviewed by Bernama recently.
Sultan Abdullah was officially proclaimed as the 16th Malaysian king on Thursday (Jan 31) after taking his oath of office and signing the instrument of office at Istana Negara.
Mr Abd Rahman added that Sultan Abdullah, who is a skilful midfielder in football, is just as adept at hockey, tennis, golf, horse riding, scuba diving, squash and polo.
The king also has a licence to fly a helicopter and light aircraft.
He said Sultan Abdullah’s sporting spirit was evident since his younger days, adding that the king never liked to be handed easy wins as he wanted to be treated as an equal on the field.
“The many leg injuries he has endured were also a result of an old injury he suffered about 30 years ago after being tackled in a football match.
“Everyone panicked when His Majesty fell to the ground, but he was not angry at all, saying it was normal in sports,” Mr Abd Rahman recounted.
“I was worried because Tuanku was advised to get treatment at the hospital, but he did not want to, saying he feared he would be bored if he had to stay too long in the hospital.”
He said the king will never get upset if he failed to win any event he competed in because that proved the competition was held on a level playing field.
PASSION FOR BALLADS
Commenting on the king’s choice of music, Mr Abd Rahman said he likes listening to ballads.
The king’s favourite Malaysian artiste is Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin. His favourite Malaysian band is Spring, especially their song Pesanan Buat Kekasih.
“Tuanku loves listening to songs like Hello by Lionel Richie, How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees) and You’ve Got a Friend,” he said.
The king is also fond of Permata Untuk Isteri (Kopratasa) and Kenangan Lalu (Flybaits).
The protocol officer said that Sultan Abdullah used to watch movies at two cinemas in Kuantan which have since been converted into a furniture shop and hotel.
The king, he said, watched the Hindustani block-buster Haathi Mere Saathi, starring Rajesh Khanna, in 1971 and popular Indonesian movie Cinta Pertama in 1973.