Wednesday, December 31, 2008

KOO-OOOING of ASIAN KOEL


Top-most - The Young
Middle - Female
Down - Male

Have you heard the song, the continuous koo-oooing of the male Asian koel? You may have heard it often enough, but I am pretty sure you can't see it normally, unless you really look for it.
I like to imitiate the song as it sings out its melodious song on a tree somewhere close. Whenever I do so, it will fight back in more rapid songs.

They are the Asian koels. or Eudanamys scolapacea malayana.

Many of you may not know this. They are brooder parasites - meaning they lay their one or rarely two eggs in other bird's nest (usually a crow or mynah). First they throw away the host's eggs. The host bird will then brood their eggs and later raise their nestlings!

















IMAGES OF SDARA DINNER 2008


At the registration table in Sri Siantan Hall, Perbadanan Putrajaya


Our Motto: ONCE A SDARIAN, ALWAYS A SDARIAN






At the dinner table:
From left: Zamri, Hj Muliyono, ??, Saifullah, Hamidin
Seated : Yours truly





Receiving a hamper for a lucky draw from the Cikgu Isa, the ex-Menteri Besar NS (a rare happening indeed)









Sunday, December 28, 2008

OWNER OF AEL 4666 - ROAD LITTERER

We were driving to Jaya Jusco Ipoh. At a traffic light near the right turn to JJ suddenly an occupant of a Waja with the plate number AEL 4666 opened the door and threw a polystyrene cup onto the road. That irritated me. I immediately gave them a honk signalling the adults in the car that it was bad to litter.

Quite the opposite of what I hoped for, they immediately responded by opening the right back door and one more ccup was thrown out. Children from a car on my right pointed fingers at them showing that they also hated the littering.

Just before the light turned green, again they threw another cup out of their car, completely ignoring the honking and stare of people around them

Who were they? So insensitive and outright arrogaht. We hope that Ipoh City Council and JPJ Perak should trace the owner of the car and reprimand them for littering. If possible publish their car in Malaysian dailies.

Let them know that there are people who care about keeping the environment clean and free from litter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

THE FINAL DESTINATION

Life and death are determined by God. Nothing much we, mortals, can do about it.

A few of us have already gone there. Brother Derome was our latest dear departed.

All we could do is to live fully (in the actual sense of the word) to the best of our ability.

Suddenly we realize that our time is up. We talked about it among ourselves. Dr Abd Manaf (I take my hat off for his great patience in facing that great test of God without uttering a word of regret) said that may be he wouldn't be able to make it for our 55-year-old reunion scheduled in Perlis 1st may 2009.

Then Dr Abd Rahman Omar (aka Doc Computer among us) said for him 55 may be, but 60 most probably not.

Zainuddin (aka kangkung) quickly pointed out that it was all in our mind. He talked about people living up to the ripe age of 80 - 90 and said that it is up to us to make doa for long life.

I don't know about you all. For me all that I am praying for is to be blessed with sound mental faculty (remember things) and ability to walk around till the time for me to go.

I never want to burden anyone by being bed-ridden at the later stages of life.

Getting prepared for that ultimate and surely coming day is fast becoming my main agenda in life.

It is not that I have given up life. It is just that I am giving priority to what is certain and that I have left by the side all these whiles.

All these whiles we are just too busy meeting datelines of our jobs, our home, etc.

It is time that we look at the place we are going next. The place where money, social status, rank, property, etc means nothing. The place where your good sincere deeds are audited against your bad ones.

Just be ready for that day....

A TREE IN THE KITCHEN

Five lives were lost and fourteen bungalows were flattened in the recent landslide episode in Bukit Antarabangsa.

Fifteen years ago a condominium block of the Highland tower suffered the same fate killing 48 people and leaving permanent scars to hundreds.

What have we learnt from these two tragedies? Almost nothing!

It is true what Tun M said, we forget easily.

In our unsatiable lust for material gains in this temporary world we forget that we are created to take care of the Earth's equilibrium. We wantonly bend nature to meet this lust. Often times we overlook the consequences of our doings.

I remember a hill was shaven bald in a matter of days just to build the Governor's house on top of the hill. Why? Because of the valuable timber! What happened next? Just as I had warned and afraid of, there was a big mud-flood in the villages at the foot of the hill two three weeks after that.

Many scenic spots in the country have been and will be destroyed when majestic limestone hills were blatantly raped in the name of development or was it to increase the state's revenues?

Sensitive areas of Lojing, Cameron Highlands, etc were bulldozed to make way for high-valued crops. Laws and Guidelines are just pushed aside for the sake of money.

Meandering roads traversing beautiful forest were straightened in the pretext of reducing travelling time and road accidents. Valuable trees have to be felled in so doing.

There was this story that I think you all should read and think about it : I was visiting a professor's house in Athens, Georgia. The house was built right smack in the forest. A huge tree was left untouched and growing well in the kitchen!

"What if the branches were to break?" I asked him as I sipped the cold refreshing lemonade.

"I'll just repair the damages then!"

That was the kind of attitude that I wish all of us have towards mother nature. Respect them and tyhey will serve you in return.

Everything on Earth has its role. Hills and mountain are natural anchors and barriers - why unnecessarily raze them?

Swamps are our natural air-conditioners and reservoirs - why fill them?

Forest and jungles are habitats for flora and fauna, rich in unknown cures for many of our ailments - why destroy them?

Take time and listen to the cry of mother nature.

Monday, December 22, 2008

DATO' AHMAD SHABERY CHEEK

They all were perplexed when I addressed him as 'Sahabat saya YB Dato' Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Menteri Penerangan Malaysia.'

The Minister himself stopped me and asked: "Kawan di mana?"

I answered that he was both my schoolmate and townmate.

He then laughed and said: "No wonder you look familiar."

So there he was, the Minister of Information, visiting our small but popular Deer Farm in Sg. Jin, Sg. Lembing.

He was on his nostalgic visit to Sg Lembing, where he grew up as a kid, besides his official visit to gather information concerning the floods in Sg Lembing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

CONGRATS SYAZWAN

Syazwan was overjoyed with his results. He has been sleepless for two nights, waiting and trying to get into the UiTM's line for the results.

It was announced that it would be in on the 17 December, but due to unknown reasons, it was not out even on the 18th morning!

Diyana was teasing Syazwan saying that UiTM was inefficient.

"Aboh, Acik gets 2.1." Amalia yelled at me as I drove in after work.

"What? 2.1? I can do it even if I didn't seat for the exam!" I answered back, knowing very well of Amalia's joke.

"It is on the lap-top. Go and see it." Syazwan reassured me.

I quickly walked to the lap-top and there it was - Syazwan was in the Dean's list, with a score of 3.62.

Syazwan has emulated his sister's achievement!

Everybody was happy. With that I hope he will now have more self-confidence in pursuing his degree in QS after completeing his Diploma.

Congrats Syazwan!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A GUCIL SELLER

My search for members of Standard Six A SK Pusat Kemaman is beginning to bear fruit.

First it was Tuan Sharipah Aminah Syed Zuber. She was introduced to my blog by Aminah Nazifah.

Then, after a long procrastination, I began tracking another friend, Sakinan Choya, whom I knew sometimes ago was working in Hospital Kemaman but did not know how to get in touch with her.

After talking to Syaripah Aminah, I called Hospital Kemaman and asked for Sakinan.

My first attempt failed - she was out praying.

The second was also a failure as the other person on the line asked me to call extension 5215.

My third try was a success. She answered the call. I introduced myself and she was surprised and asked me how I find her. I told her how my blog has done a wonderful job of uniting some of the members of Class 1966 Standard 6 A SK Pusat Kemaman.

She burst into laughter when I told her that I really liked her pickled gucil ( a wild ball-bearing size berry) that she used to bring to school.

She was also surprised at my memory when I told her that she came from Kg Pulau Tempurung.

She told me that she was also looking forward to meet all of Class 1966 SK Pusat Kemaman.

It looks like the hunt for missing members of Class 1966 SK Pusat Kemaman is on. And try I will to organize a get-together in the near future.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A FRIEND VISITED MY BLOG

Thanks to RoyalTlady, Sharifah Aminah Syed Zuber, a friend from class 1966 SK Pusat, Kemaman visited my blog. She was the second member of the class to do so.

She then e-mailed me narrating the story of her life. Like me, she too had moved a lot during her working career.

I'm happy to hear that she has 7 children and 5 grandchild! She must have been busy raising them as well as working.

I hope that she will visit us whenever she comes back to Chendor.

* I just returned her call (she called when I was in a meeting) and we talked as if we were still in 1966. She sounded happy to be able to talk to a childhood friend.

THE PASSING AWAY OF A FRIEND (ABDUL RAHMAN HALIM)

"Pak Cik, papa just passed away peacefully. Please give doa so that his roh is blessed by Allah." That was a simple and direct SMS that his son wrote and was forwarded by Sabri.

Innalillahiwainnailaihirajiun....

Al-Fatihah and may Allah place him among his beloveds.

My friend, a childhood pal has passed away, leaving us for good.

Though we have never met since leaving SDAR, I was always on track with him through other friends. I knew that he was sick lately but the physical distance between us prevented us from meeting in person.

A great chess player who had successfully trained and motivated his son to be one of the greatest Malay chess player today.

So deeply involved was he in chess that (so I was told) he did not mind spending just to follow his son around the world playing chess in chess competition.

He was also one of the pioneer house-husband in Malaysia.

Still vivid in my mind how hard he practised to speak English correctly. His thick Kelantan dialect made it difficult for him then.

To his family whom I have never met, deepest condolence from us. Please submit to the will of Allah and be patient facing such a great test of Allah.

Rest in peace my friend and our doa to you always.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

TERATAK SYAKIRIN (SYAKIRIN'S COTTAGE)

It has always been my dream to own a house on top of a hill, overlooking the sea with a few heads of cattle, horses and goats grazing in the pasture.


But that was just a dream for us government servants.

For over twenty five years we have been renting houses, each time a new house everytime I was given the transfer order.


We have moved so many times that our children can speak in so many Malay dialects - the Penang, Perak and of course our native Terengganu.


Many of their friends are always puzzled when they are told that they are from Terengganu. Diyana has always been thought as a Kuala Lumpur gal. Amalia surprised many when she spoke in fluent Penang dialect with her new found Penang friends at the recent sports training.


All these whiles I always thought that I would build our house later. Well my mother has given us all a piece of land for that purpose.


Actually I have even asked an architect to come up with a plan of my dream house. It looked grand. But when I asked quotation from contractors, the building cost was way too high for my budget. And so I just shelved the plan and there went my RM3,000 that I paid the architect.


I said let us forget about the house for the moment. So every school holidays or Eid we all had to fight for a room in my parents' house. Most of the time we lost. Why? Because we always arrived last between the nine of us.


This and coupled with the sad news of friends passing away one by one brought me to my senses. We just have got to find us our own house!


So, one fine afternoon just after 2000's Eid, I drove the entire family around Chukai looking for a decent house.

After failing to find what we were looking around Chukai town, we then moved inwards towards Binjai. We drove into Taman Samudera Timur, a residential area comprising of bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses.

In one corner there was this vacant double-storey bungalow with a 'House for Sale' sign hanging at the rustic gate. I immediately stopped my car and we all of us came down to have a look.

I called Mrs. Tan, the caretaker, to open the house. She came within minutes after I called - she was just next door.

The second she opened the main door and we made our way into the house, we fell in love with it - love at first sight!

The house felt spacious - I hate houses that make you feel cramped in.

The monsoon wind blowing through the windows (oh, this house had so many windows) cooled the house.

Going up the stairs (I just loved the stair-case) I found that the rooms were very spacious. The master bedroom was bigger than living halls of all the houses that I had rented so far.

Satisfied with what I saw, I then told Mrs Tan that I was going to buy the house.

"Give me a month to find the down payment money." I reassured her.

"Ok. I'll keep the house for you then."

My children, they all were flabbergasted.

"Are you serious, Aboh?" asked Diyana.

"Of course I'm serious. You know me. I'll get what I want. This house is what I really want!"

With that one thing lead to another and sooner than expected the house was finally ours.

We called her SYAKIRIN'S COTTAGE (TERATAK SYAKIRIN) in memory of our late son, KHAIRUL SYAKIRIN.

Now, the house is full of lives and no more unoccupied as previously. The chest-high Imperata cylindrica has been replaced with beautiful cow--grass and adorned with beautiful flowers and herbs.

It is now the focal point of family meetings and get-together.

It is laways my hope that the house will strengthen our family ties.




Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I remember

As I made my way into Hospital Kuala Lumpur ccompound, on my way to visit a staff who was warded for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue, my mind suddenly flashed back to one evening in 1971, in Sultan hostel SDAR Tanjung Malim.

I was awakened from my usual after-lunch siesta by loud noises from below. I got up and leaned against the window to see what the commotion was all about.

It was high jump practice! They were practising their jumps for the coming school sports day.

Being an avid high jump enthusiast and quite a good jumper myself, I immediately put on my short and sneakers and went straight to the high jump ground.

The bar was at 4 ft 10 inches. I asked it to be raised to 5 ft even. Then I jumped. As soon as my left leg pushed the ground as I tried to scissor-kicked my body over the bar I heard a loud cracking sound.

Then I fell down just short of the bar.

Still holding my fast swollen knee, I asked the crowd: "Who threw the wood?"

"What wood? There's no wood. You've broken your leg!" Mr Leonard Wee, our PE teacher explained.

He crouched besides me and asked me to push my leg against his palm. I couldn't. It was very painful even to flex it, let alone push.

The knee quickly swelled and was intensely painful.

I was brought to Tanjung Malim Hospital. From there I was rushed to KLGH early the next morning.

There was no time to prepare for personal things. I was still in the track bottom I was wearing since yesterday.

I also did not bring any cash with me.

And so began my one-month ordeal in KLGH.

That night I was trolleyed into the operation room. Everything after that was blurry, probably due to the effect of the anaesthetics they administered to me.

All that I could remember was that they syringed out blood from my knee. Then I passed out.

When I woke up I saw my entire left leg was in plaster cast - from the foot right up to the thigh!

Because of thet I was immobile throughout my stay in KLGH.

No one from the school ever visited me. It really surprised me - as if no one had realized that I was not in school.

I was realy in a sorry state. Imagine lying down on the hosspital bed almost penniless and with not even a soul visiting me.

Because of my immobility (strange that they did not provide crutches then), believe it or not, I did not go to the toilet for my entire stay in the ward - that was more than a month!

Also, it was sad to see visitors came and visitors went, no one ever took the trouble to ask what was wrong with me and if I needed any help. Only an old Chinese gentleman understood what was going on inside me then.

He befriended me and graciously shared fruits and cookies his children brought with me.

After KLGH continued my ward stay in TM hospital. My leg continued to be in plaster cast for many months.

Because of that I had to miss most of my form four.

I remember taking a train ride with Ripin from Tanjung Malim to Kuala Kerai during the second term school holidays.

It was tough as I still could not bend my knee then.

Ripin's family members were real angels. They gave me floral baths to bring back my spirits.

"Dr Azahar, we're here."

"We've arrived?" I asked Azlan breaking my daydream.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I HAVE DECIDED

I have decided. I am opting for an early retirement!


Well, actually it is not early retirement at all. It is just that I choose to retire at the age of 56, that's all.


Why? There's no specific reason...it is just because I'm tired, dead tired.


Tired of work, tired of the apathy and uncaring bosses, tired of what's going on in the country.

Perhaps it is time for me to relax and enjoy the world as I like it.

Perhaps it is time for me to devote my life (fuller than before) to Allah.

Perhaps it is time for me to make preparation for the final destination.

Material life is forever wanting. Never for once we are contented with what we are blessed with. That's why life is always a never ending chase after material things - money, more money and still more money!

Still remember 27 years + ago where my salary was just RM1,240.00. We still survive. But then I yearned for a promotion. From G41 to G48; from G48 to G52 and now at the end of my career finally I get my G54.

Tlady asked me recently whether I've got my JUSA. I said no, may be I will never git it. Never mind, I never regret it.

Retirement from DVS doesn't mean I retire permanently. I'll start work as long as I'm still needed by somebody, some institution, some farm...

I think I still have the energy to continue living for a long time coming.

I think I still have the knowledge, the skill that not many have and I don't want this gift of Allah to just fade away like that in this aging mind.

I want it to be transferred to as many young minds as possible. Let the skill that I have gathered all these whiles be useful to others.

I want to write. Write things that have been playing in my mind. Write things that I am opposed to but too scared to voice out just because I'm a government servant.

I still have two novels to complete. Hope I still have the drive to finish them.

I want to do service to my parents. I feel that I have not been that good a son all these whiles. Not for anything, it is just because I am too tied to the job. There are datelines to meet, papers to prepare, money to spend and projects to complete.

The date of my retirement? It will be on the 22 July 2010. I have got only about 19 months to that date.

Reaching that magical date means I will be working for DVS for 29 years and 2 months - more than half of my life is spent in the department.

I don't know about you all, but as far as I am concerned, InsyaAllah I am going.

SCARRY PREDICTION

Below is a write-up that I received from a friend that I think is worth reading. It may be true and if it happens in US it may happen here too!

Latest prediction is really scarry !

The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions - all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

Gerald Celente (http://en.wikipedi a.org/wiki/ Gerald Celente) , the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week.

Celente says that by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts.

"We're going to see the end of the retail Christmas... .we're going to see a fundamental shift take place....putting food on the table is going to be more important that putting gifts under the Christmas tree," said Celente, adding that the situation would be "worse than the great depression".

"America 's going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for," said Celente, noting that people's refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial isin being ready for the true scale of the crisis.

Celente, who successfully predicted the 1997 Asian Currency Crisis, the subprime mortgage collapse and the massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar, told UPI in November last year that the following year would be known as "The Panic of 2008," adding that "giants (would) tumble to their deaths, "which is exactly what we have witnessed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and others.

He also said that the dollar would eventually be devalued by as much as 90 percent. The consequence of what we have seen unfold this year would lead to a lowering in living standards, Celente predicted a year ago, which is also being borne out by plummeting retail sales figures.

The prospect of revolution was a concept echoed by a British Ministry of Defense report last year, which predicted that within 30 years, the growing gap between the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean, "The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest," and that, "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class."

In a separate recent interview, Celente went further on the subject of revolution in America . "There will be a revolution in this country," he said. "It's not going to come yet, but it's going to come down the line and we're going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington , D.C., in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen."

"The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That's going to be the big one because people can't afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You're going to start seeing those kinds of protests start to develop."

"It's going to be very bleak. Very sad. And there is going to be a lot of homeless, the likes of which we have never seen before. Tent cities are already sprouting up around the country and we're going to see many more."

"We're going to start seeing huge areas of vacant real estate and squatters living in them as well. It's going to be a picture the likes of which Americans are not going to be used to.

It's going to come as a shock and with it, there's going to be a lot of crime. And the crime is going to be a lot worse than it was before because in the last 1929 Depression, people's minds weren't wrecked on all these modern drugs - over-the-counter drugs, or crystal meth or whatever it might be.

So, you have a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension.

" The George Washington blog has compiled a list of quotes attesting to Celente's accuracy as a trend forecaster.

"When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente." - CNN Headline News

"A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties." - The Economist

"Gerald Celente has a knack for getting the zeitgeist right." - USA Today

"There's not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he's talk

Thursday, December 4, 2008

VISITORS FROM PENANG

They were coming - our ex-neighbours from Taman Pauh, Penang.

As if it has been planned to the minute details, I arrived in front of my house gate at almost the same time when their car stopped.

He was still as young as ever. He looked many manay years younger than his real age. He was 58, but looked even younger than me.

His wife was as talkative as ever. Their youngest daughter, Fairuz, was also very talkative.

We had a lot of stories to tell. Mak Cik Putih was still around. She has really been an angel to her husband who was paralysed for almost a decade. So too were their children - everyone took turn looking after their father. Kamal outshone the others - he took the trouble to put on and replace his father's urethral catheter, manually removing his father's stool, etc

A sad but rather common story nowadays happened to our next-door neighbour - divorce. I guessed it is their fate. I wonder where is their only daughter now? Hope that she is ok facing the great test of Allah.

Nadirah's mother enjoyed the gnetum crackers (kerepek meninaj) that my wife served them.

For dinner, we went to Teratak, our favourite food joint in Kampung Besut.

THANKS GOD IT WAS A FALSE ALARM

For a couple of days now, or was it longer?, there was this throbbing headaches, giddiness and feeling like wanting to faint.

"What's up with me? Am I having a hypertension? Or was it just because I have eaten too much red meat of late?"

Those were questions that have been playing in my mind.

"Or is it just because I am too tired?"

It was true that I have been consuming too much red meat lately. The last occassion was during the recent Animal carnival. The yearling Kedah Kelantan bull barbecue was just too enticing for me. In no time I gobbled down almost half a kilo of tender, juicy and delicious tender loin.

That was my weakness - tender beef or chevon or lamb!

So, on last Sunday I went to Kemaman Hospital for a check-up.

My blood pressure was, believe it or not, was 120/75. Just like that of a youngster's! That was what the young doctor told me.

My blood sugar level was 5.3. I was free of diabetes too. I was suspicious at first, thinking that all the general chronic fatigue I was experiencing lately was due to this dreaded disease.

The fact that my dad was first diagnosed with diabetes when he was 54 added to my fear.

Now I know that I am ok as far as diabetes and hypertension go.

It is not a case of luck or what. It is because I take care of what I eat and how much I eat. Actually I don't eat that much. I am just too choosy in what I take.

I do walk a lot. I prefer to park my car far away from the place I want to go.

I hope and pray I will able to continue walking for a long time to come.

Magnificient Nines


These were the Magnificient Nines that made SK Pusat Kemaman proud. They were Standard 6 students selected to boarding schools (SBP).
I remember this picture was published in one Chinese newspaper. My father's colleague saw me in the picture and it was him who told my father about my achievement.
Allow me to introduce them. Standing from left:
Abu Bakar Kassim (STAR) now a Land surveyor in Kuala Terengganu
Zakaria Osman (SDAR)
Yours truly (Azahar Idris) (SDAR) now at JPV Pahang
Ahmad zaidan Hussein (SDAR) now a Physiotherapist in USM Kota Bharu
Wan Azlan (STAR) now in Finance Klang Valley
Sitting from left:
Shamsiah Abu Bakar (STF) now in a Nursing School in the Middle East somewhere
Aminah Nazifah aka RoyalTlady (STF)
Cikgu Yong Hitam (our dedicated class teacher) now residing in Kg Bukit Kuang
Dr Azizah Harun (STF) a Medical doctor
Wan Esah Harun (STF) now with RISDA HQ
It was true the dedicated work of Chikgu Yong that we are who we are now. He gave us free tuitions and extra classes. He motivated us all to succeed in exam and life.
There was no UPSR then. There was just this special examination to select candidates for entrance to SBP.
Surprising them all, all the nine of us were successful. All of us went to SBP. All of us were successful in life, in their own way.
Thank you SK Pusat Kemaman!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It breaks again

Dark rain clouds blanketted the morning sky. Then it rained - nothing strange and unexpected about it - it was monsoon at its early stages.

I was at Kemaman Workshop, Ambank Panel, getting my Citra's cracked windshield replaced.

It was cracked quite sometimes ago when a stone from a lorry that I was following hurtled fast towards my car and landed causing a nasty 1-inch dent in my newly replaced windshield.

At first the crack was just barely visible from afar. Then it began to lengthen both ways. When it almost reached both ends of the windshiled and I could feel the rough edges from inside, then I knew that it was time for a new one.

Luckily and once beaten twice shy, I included the windshield cover in the new car insurance.

The workshop was very simple in design. It only had a container as the office and the floor, in most parts were plain earth.

Two mangy mongrels scouted the workshop compound, pausing as they passed by mechanics as if they were saying hello to them.

As there were no chairs or stools to sit while waiting for the windshield to be replaced, I had to stand for almost 3 hours.

They offered me a ride back to my house while they fixed it, but I preferred to see how they did it.

IT involved a lot of skilled works. First they loosen the glass inch by inch trying their best to prevent it from breaking into pieces.

The cracks lengthened in many ways as they did so.

After they finally removed it from the car, they began scraping off the dried up 'glue' from the metal parts. Then they place new glue onto the metal before finally replacing the new windshield.

The cost? The insurance company had to let go RM 700 for it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Class of 1966 SK Pusat Kemaman


This is the picture of Class 1966 SK Pusat Kemaman. I was standing in the last row no. 7 from the left. Tlady was sitting no. 2 from the left.
If there is anyone in the picture or anyone out there who knows anyone from the picture (may be the son or daughter or friends) please tell me where he or she is now.
I just want to meet them all, just to say hello and talk about the past.
Those that I still remember the names are:
Last row:
From the left:
1. Shamsiah Abu Bakar (heard that she is in a nursing school in middle east somewhere)
2. Zaleha
3. Syareh
4. Banun
5. Sakinan bt Choya (a nurse in Hospital Kemaman)
6. Rohani Rahman
7. Me
8. ??
9. Abd Rahman Koyakuti aka Deraman (sells clothes in Chukai)
10. ??
11. Nawayi (formerly a Phamacy Assistant in Hospital Kemaman - now retired)
12. Zainal
13. Ayub
14. Muhammad
Middle row
From left:
1. Khadijah
2. Wan Esah Harun (RISDA officer in KL)
3. Aisah
4. Maimunah
5. Fatimah
6. Ramlah
7. Mohad Azam
8. Abdul Ghani
9. Abdul Rahman
10. Mat Deris (presently Pengetua SMK Binjai)
11. Omar
12. Sharifuddin
13. Anas Roslan
14. Abu Bakar Kassim (land surveyor in KT)
15. Zakaria Osman
Sitting
From Left:
1. Rohani M
2. Aminah Nazifah (Tlady)
3. Sharifah
4. Azizah Harun (Medical Doctor)
5. Pn Zalina
6. Chikgu Yong (residing in Kg Bukit Kuang)
7. Arwah C. Wan Ibrahim Guru Besar
8. Ustaz Razak
9. Ariffin
10. Ahmad Zaidan Hussin ( a physiotherapist in USM KB hospital)
11. Wan Azlan
12. Ibrahim Jusuh?
13. Hamzah
Aminah Nazifah has graciously filled in the names of most of the members of Class 66 SK Pusat Kemaman.
I am seriously searching for all of them, may be we can meet over a cup of teh tarik reminiscing about those days, before we are called to HIM.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Here they came

Once again our house comes back to its normal state - full of activities, noises of full-grown children and young adults shouting and yelling at one another (friendly quarrels of course).

One by one they came back. Diyana was the first to do so. Her second last semester was really nerve-wrecking for her. At least that was what she told me.

I don't know much about law, but according to her she had to do things that practising lawyers take a week to complete within 45 minutes!

She will have a long vacation to relax at home and enjoying good food. She likes to cook spaghetti - you know the Prego sauce, mayonnaise, etc. Amalia and Amirul (her cousin) really enjoy the spaghetti, both the red and white sauce versions.

Then Syazwan came home, two weeks earlier than he first told us. He was supposed to play rugby for UITM Perak's team in the Inter UITM sports carnival. But he suddenly suffered an akle injury, of all the places, while playing futsal!

His ankle once again was swollen. So, I asked him to just forget about rugby and come home to get it healed. He was so frustrated for having to miss the games.

Three days at home, he was confident that the ankle had healed and he was very eagre to go back to Ipoh and play.

He tried jogging around the housing complex. The pain was still there and it got worse - all purplish in colour. Then it finally dawned on him that he had to miss the games.

I told him it was ok. He still has all the time in the world to play again later.

A few days later he got a call from Ali telling that there will be a 7-aside rugby tournament in a few weeks times in Ipoh. This time they (the old SMKGR team) will be representing a private IPT in Ipoh.

Once again his rugby spirit was up. He is so addictive to rugby. Still remember how it all began.

It was in Bukit Mertajam High School that he was first exposed to rugby. He was a chubby boy then. At first he told me that he was very slow and wondered whether rugby was his game.

His first rugby coach advised him to be patient and train hard. So there he was on the field almost every afternoon. From there he never looked back.

By playing rugby he had reduced his body weight significantly.

So, it is true what Diyana said in her blog - he could not live without her loud family!

KARNIVAL HAIWAN PAHANG 2008

All are invited to our Karnival Haiwan Pahang 2008 to be held at Taman Pertanian Jubli Perak Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Kuantan, Pahang starting from 28 to 30 November 2008.

Among the activities are:

Livestock Auctioning in our Mobile Auction Centre - the first in the country after its debut in MAHA - 29.11.2008 starting 11.00 am after Perasmian

Cattle and Goat breeds exhibition - throughout

Demonstration - ET, meat cuts, animal showing, handling, grooming and identification

Goat ribs cooking contests - 10 hotel chefs will take part

Sales of agricultural products

Children's rodeo - Sunday 30 November

A tribute to SMKGR 2005 Under 15 Rugby team

And then there was this school's rugby team. Besides the coach, I was basically the team's protector, supporter or to most players, even an adopted father or an uncle.

It was SMK Gunung Rapat's under-15 rugby team I am talking about. It was the school's greatest rugby achievement - Perak's 2005 champions. They comfortably beat STAR and KE on their way to the championship.

My son, Syazwan aka Besor to his team mates, was one of the players. He surprised the team, including the coaches and made us all proud by making the winning try against the mighty STAR in Kinta district finals.

Sorry to say this, meaning no disrespect to SMKGR, the school's reception towards the players was far from expectation.

They were not only unappreciated, unsupported in many ways, but worst of all often labelled as troublemakers, hooligans, crooks and all other negative things.

I knew that some of them were a bit boisterous, but they were boys, boys would always be boys. Coming from the 'last class' they were almost left out by most teachers. It only took my letter to the editor of NST to make teachers realized that they too needed attention and care! (they were hunting for the writer of that letter - the players and many students knew that it was me who wrote that letter).

Little that they knew the boys gave their best to make the school great in rugby. They day in and day out sweated it out in the field, came rain or shine, in practices and in tough matches, breaking bones and dislocating shoulders along the way.

But what they got for their perseverence and hard work? Almost nothing! Not even a word of praise or a proper transport to the games.

I remember in SDAR, rugby players, or any sportsmen for that matter, they were treated like kings, received the best food in the school's dining hall.

Only Cikgu Faizi's understanding, encouraging words, besides his gruelling workouts of course, moved them forwards.

I helped them by offering them lift in my Unser, once in a while bringing them cookies my wife, also a great fan of the team, prepared.

Things got worse when Faizi left. Cikgu Mazlan took over as the coach. He too was a great help to the team. Sadly he passed away so suddenly. I remember seeing so many students giving him the last respect at the hospital. Many of them cried and said that they regretted for not being able to be with him during his last moments.

Now three years have passed that joyful moments. My son is now doing his Dip. QS in UITM Perak and if not for his injured ankle suffered during a futsal match would have played rugby for his IPTS, Acap doing his Dip. Sports Science in UITM Sarawak...

All I hope that all of them will be successful in life in their own way and the sweet moments of winning will always be in the nook of their memories and may the school remember them for what they have done to bring their school's name as one of the great rugby school.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MY MOTHER

She was so skinny. I could clearly feel all her bones as I hugged her. I always made it a point to give her a gentle hug whenever we met.

She did not eat anything much these days. "Things get lodged in my throat." That was her topmost complain everytime I told her to eat something.

She was also very fussy at how her food was cooked. It should not be too salty, too tasteless, too oily and too undercooked (especially veges). For this reason her daughters and daughter-in-laws all were very jittery when it came to cooking for her.

Currently she practically survives on half a plate of plain white rice (she normally uses Thai rice) and a deep-fried chicken or Indian mackerel. Baulu Kuala Kemaman was also one of her favourites. I always make it a point to get her supply whenever I go to Kuala Kemaman. She told me she could finish RM5 baulu in a sitting - there is nothing much as it is very light these Kuala Kemaman baulu!

Banana and mangoes are two fruits that she likes. She could no longer take oranges as the fibres would usually get stuck to her throat.

Talking and story telling were her favourites. Whenever we visited her it always end up in us having to hear her many stories - normally revolving around her personal experience and jumping from one story to another without comma or full stop. All we have to do is just to listen and listen we do, without much interruption in between.

Last Sunday we paid her a visit after Zuhur. She was wearing my old blue surgery outfit. My name was still well preserved, right above the pocket. She told me that the shirt suited her well and she still keeps the pant and the head gear.

She is my mother, Siti Aishah bt Ibrahim @ Putih bt Ibrahim. She is 70++ now. She is blessed with 12 children (from two marriages and three of them had passed away - all from her first marriage) and 40+ grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pahang Cat Competition

There were 75 of them hairy and not so hairy creatures that day.

They came with wide-ranging names, from as simple as Comot to as fancy as Abu Gabang, Azora, Rimba Kencana and Yamba.

They were the contestants of this year's Cat Competition Pahang. It was held at Kuantan Parade.

Cats were divided into three categories - Domestic long hair, Domestic short hair and Exotic cat.

It was a sussessful competition. Cat lovers from as far as Bentung came down with their beautiful cats.

It was just delightful to see children casually holding their cats during picture taking sessions after they were announced winners.

It was a promising sight, children at that age were already accustomed to proper handling and management of cats.



Friday, November 21, 2008

While flipping through a very very old diary of mine (found it in an old wooden box together with old pictures of Ripin and I from way back in 1967) I found these strange sentences. Please read them and give your comments.

THE MORE YOU STUDY, THE MORE YOU FORGET
THE MORE YOU FORGET, THE LESS YOU KNOW
THE LESS YOU KNOW, THE LESS YOU FORGET
THE LESS YOU FORGET, THE MORE YOU KNOW

SO, STUDY MORE!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

OF BROKEN PIPES, MONKEYS AND RM22/KG CARABEEF

I have been sitting and listening to Pahang's Budget speech by YAB. Menteri Besar and Budget debates by the Members of State Legislative Assembly for the past four days; continuosly and without any change-over like many of counterpart departments.

The reason? There is no one senior and experience enough to do so. It would be grossly unfair for me to send very junior officers as they would for sure feel out of place.

The Honourable Speaker at the end of the second day reminded the Assembly members that the debate so far had been monotonous and hoped that it would be more colourful in the next speakers.

One hot topic that never fail to be debated is the problem of frequent breaks in water supply that are caused by old pipes breaking. The member from Triang, after a long winded speech or rather lecture on the History of America, from slavery, freedom and equality fights right up to Barrack Obama that was often interrupted by BN members after seeing where he was bringing the debate to, spent much time on the issue of broken pipes, interrupted water supply and sloppy workmanship involved in the repair works of the broken pipes.

Pahang still has a very long water pipes (some are even 30-50 years old). Replacing them with new pipes requires a lot of money. These AC pipes would burst whenever water pressure is increased.

It looks to me that the Federal government has to chip in with adequate money to all states to have all these pipes replaced once and for all!

Then a member raised a problem of monkeys, just like in the case of RoyalTlady in her stories. He claimed that Perhilitan released the monkeys in a village; the accusation that was quickly denied by the EXCO member responsible.

Then YAB Menteri Besar reminded members that the monkeys can be just like us and vice versa if we were not careful. He narrated the story of a gang of monkeys raiding a ripening banana on a banana tree. The chief at first just looks at his members taking the bananas (trying to show the world that he cares after his subject), but soon after that, he starts grabbing the bananas in all his hands and feet and his mouth!

Another member then raised an issue of carabeef (beef from buffalo) being sold at RM22/kg instead of the usual RM18/kg during the recent festivities.

"Actually fresh beef is not listed in the price control item. Only frozen imported Indian Buffalo meat is." - Explained the EXCO.

The consumers should use their power in this. Why should they buy expensive carabeef when they could choose say, frozen Indian carabeef or chicken? When consumers boycott a product, the sellers would then have no choice but to lower their price!

But this has never been the case among Malaysian consumers. Personal experience tells me that while I am negotiating for a cheaper fish price there will surely be another guy offering to buy the fish at the price offered!

Today and tomorrow the Assembly will see the winding up speeches by the EXCO members and the YAB MB. The 2009 Budget will then be passed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

KULAK SISIR

Kulak sisir, despite of its dull looking features, has been and still is my favourite dish.

Finding it in the wet market is getting more difficult, if not almost impossible at times.

It is a local edible mushroom normally found on dead rubber trees. It normally thrives well after rain.

Because of its small size, gathering it requires some effort. Effort is something not many people nowadays have.

Last Saturday, as usual, I went to Chukai wet market trying to find something extra-ordinary.

On a piece of plastic my eyes met four clumps of very familiar thing - kulak sisir. They were still wet, unlike many other occassions I found them.

Wasting no time, I bought them all for RM8.00 dollars.

"Sedak wak masok ngang sayur capo" ("It is good to be cooked with veges")

"Dok, saya suka masuk goreng belada...."

At home, my wife cooked a delicious chilli kulak sisir. Amalia just loved it, so much so that she ate it just like that.

OUR HOUSE

I was somewhat addicted to tear-jerking films, be it English, Hindustani and even Malay.

I always love films where the underdogs, after grit, determination and perseverence, win.

Tears will normally flow freely whenever I give full attention to watching such films.

The latest such film was OUR HOUSE. A lonely rich mother who was saved from a suicide attempt by a homeless lady. In gratitude, she went out looking for her saver.

Found her. From her she learnt a lot about life itself. About living to help others less fortunate, instead of too busy with herself.

She brought her saver to share her spacious-but-empty house. As the story went on, more homeless people were brought in.

She was later diagnosed with terminal cancer - her cancer has spread all over.

With the help of her lawyer daughter (who was awakened from her selfish life by the saver) she won the court case filed by her neighbours.

How? She listed all her friends as co-owner of the house.

In her dying moments, she asked her saver to read her book entitled OUR HOUSE....

A house has four walls and a roof to shelter us...but a home is where love is shared between the occupants....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Animal Trivia


1. Chicken eggs

A high-ranking GLC CEO friend recently asked me why layer chickens lay eggs even without male chickens around.

As a Veterinarian I explained the facts. An adult female chicken (or any bird for that matter) will continue laying eggs even without males. The ovum (many say that it is the largest cell around) is shed by the ovary. It then passes down the reproductive tract where different things are added on to it until it finally becomes an egg! If mating occurs the ovum will be fertilized. If not, it will not be fertilized (just like in the case of layer chickens).

So, our normal table eggs are eggs that have not been fertilized - they will not hatch!

Even among ayam kampung, sometimes some of the eggs are not fertilized - that is one of the reason why a few of the hen-set eggs will not hatch.


2. Elephants

Do you know that elephant's testicles are intra-abdominal? Yes they are inside the abdomen, just like the male chickens. How do the sperms remain viable in all those heat?

Where are elephant's udder (mammary gland)? No, it is not like the cows and goats! They are located at the breast, between the front legs, just like in horses!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

DOUBLE BONUS

We were there at Dewan Seri Geliga MPK to witness the Graduation ceremony of Year 6 students of SK Pusat Kemaman.

Amalia was the best dressed student that day - that was what I overheard teachers whispering. Indeed, she was so elegant in her sister's turqoise baju kurung and blue floral head scarf.

One by one the students walked up the stage to receive their school certificate.

Then I met Mohd Fezul Atan, a junior Sdara that I have been searching for all these while - my first bonus.

He is the school's PTA chairman. His daughter is in the same class as Amalia. As usual, we chatted as if we knew each other long. Actually he is very much junior. He was from the 80-84 batch.

My second bonus came 16 hours than it was supposed to be announced - Amalia's UPSR results.

At 6.30 12 November Rohana, my sister called me breaking the happy news - Amalia scored 5 A's in UPSR!

Amalia was so upset when everybody knew her results earlier than her. She had planned it beforehand that she would suprise us all.

Never mind Amalia, you have made it. Congratulation!