Friday, October 31, 2008

Remembering Lukimala

Suddenly I remember Lukimala. No, she is not a girl as you all most probably think. She was a female trained elephant. Her job then was to coax newly-captured wild elephants to do things that the game warden asked, like going up onto the trailer or a raft.

I was involved in elephants translocation exercise together with the Wild Life and National Parks Department (Perhilitan). Our job was to capture the wild elephants from the jungle near Jerangau and move them into the National Park, Terengganu side.

What makes me suddenly remember Lukimala? Two things. First was when Abdul Rahim (he claimed that he knows Aiman). He sent me photos of the operation. Secondly when I met a co-worker in the operation at Seladang Conservation Centre in Jenderak. He told me that he had been searching for me all these years.

I did meet Lukimala many years ago in Malacca zoo. He looked bored.

Here are some of the pictures (they are old - more than 20 years old). Oops sorry could not upload images...some errors, according to my pc

Back to Lukimala then. She was so gentle and polite. Still remember how she refused to push an elderly bull elephant even when he was sedated. It was a case of a girl respecting an elderly getleman or rather gentleelephant! That was what termed as pecking order.

She was completely reversed when it came to younger elephants. A calf was at her mercy. She girlhandled the calf like it was a doll - pushed it, shoved it like anything.

But when I met her again in Malacca zoo, she was no more an active girl ( a woman by then). She was showing signs of boredom (swaying from side to side continuously).

I will try uploading the pictures again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dato' Dr Baba's surprise visit

There was a shining silver mercedes parked in my car porch.

"Oh! it must be Dato' Dr Baba" I said to myself as I drove in that evening.

Yes, Datin Fatimah had called my wife telling that they were coming to visit us.

I came in and saw Datin Fatimah sitting on the sofa. She is as beautiful and talkative as before.

"Where's Dr Baba?" I asked her.

"Dr Baba is upstairs performing maghrib prayers."

Soon Dr Baba and his daughter Anis came down. We shook hand and began our long chat about our lives.

Anis was no more a small girl that Syazwan used to play with. I specially remember how they two liked to play in the collapsible pool.

Now she is a full-grown sweet lady. She is doing international economy at MMU. I wish Syazwan is here - he must be excited to meet his childhood sweetheart!

Fariz, their eldest is now a pilot with MAS. I was surprised that despite of his petite size (5 ft 4 I was told by Dr Baba) he got the job.

Dr Baba has not changed much, saved for his receding hairline.

His famous fight-for-his-life story in Iraq was still fresh in our minds.

He and his wife told us in details what had happened that fateful moments in their lives. How their vehicle was rained by bullets and how his leg was severely injured.

His struggle to get back to his normal life was phenomenal. He vividly narrated to me his ordeal in various hospitals, from the one in Iraq, Amman, HUKM and Pantai Puteri Melaka.

Doctors told him that his chance of becoming normal was almost nil.

But through personal grit, courage and perseverence and many months of excruciating physiotherapy he could now walk again. Not only he could walk, but he also can drive, even over long distances.

Now he is as active in humanitarian works as ever. The last place he had gone to offer medical assistance was to Myanmar.

Dr Baba, may Allah give you continuous health so that you will continue be of service to fellow human beings in need. May many others will follow your step.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of Moringa and Stocking

It is just great to see how fast they grow. In no time they are already overtaking their neighbours, the galanga and the pandan, in term of height.

You would not believe it if I tell you that I could see them growing day by day with the grey wall behind them, especially when the headlamp shone on them as I parked my Naza Citra after work.

They are the Moringa oleifera that I grew more than a month ago.

After failing in my first attempt, I decided to plant Moringa from seeds instead of cuttings.

It all happened when we visited Ramli in his house in Geliga. To our surprise, there was a tall and healthy Moringa tree in his house compound. What amazed me was their massive branches - they were much bigger that what I was used to come across.

Wasted no time I collected three dried up fruit pods. There were still many young pods up there. There was only one reason for this - there were no Indians around!

It was my wife who diligently split the pods, cleaned the seeds and then soaked them in a luke-warm water in a cup.

She kept them soaked for about 24 hours. Then she planted them in polybags filled with organic matter.

The seeds germinated very well. Almost all polybags had at least one moringa seedling.

The seedlings grew exceptionally well.

I will start harvesting the nutrient-rich leaves when they reach 4 feet.

Besides that, the cuttings that I casually planted in the flower pots are also growing well - much better than the ones that I grew earlier.

Then there is that black and white-stockinged cat.

It is the sole survivor from a family of six who came uninvited into our lives (their story is in my previous post).

It is a pity to see him behaving as if he is still a kitten - chasing anything that moves, be it a fly or a butterfly. Lizards are his favourites.

I know that he prefers to live free in and around the house. He is already more than a year old.

But, there was this very senior gentleman (tomcat) next door who feels that his reign is challenged.

He used to barge in and whenever this happened, our cat (whim we call Stocking) will scream loudly. A couple of times he was injured in such a scruffle.

More often, it was just a protest against an intruder, nothing more than that.

It is a pity seeing him locked in his rather cramped cage. He will always beg us to release him whenever he sees us passing by.

Stocking is big in size, but he clearly lacks experience. Once, he even did not know how to pass motion, except did it in the cage.

Now I caught him many times doing his thing among my moringa - no wonder they grow well!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Have you ever been mistakenly thought as someone else by a stranger, or have you yourself mistook someone else as your friend, or have you met someone who was 'saling tak tumpah macam you'?

This is often referred as 'pelanduk dua serupa' or literally speaking mirror image mousedeer.

Elderlies would say that for everyone of us there will be seven people with similar facial features.

I don't know how far this belief is true, but there were a few incidences that I think worth telling to you all.

First incidence: (Similar names)

I was in Remove class in SDAR. The year was 1967. The school's PA system suddenly called my name, Azahar Idris, telling me that a relative was looking for me. I quickly put on a t-shirt and a short and ran to the office. At the office I met a stranger.
"Yes." I answered.
Oops sorry! I'm looking for another Azahar.
So, there was another Azahar Idris in the school. Strangely though, I have never met that another Azahar Idris all throughout my study in SDAR. Have anyone?

Second incidence:

We were enjoying our Satay Kajang at Sungai Buluh R&R. We were on our way home to Kemaman from Penang. A middle aged man (he had been walking about my table and watching me for sometimes) approached our table and asked:

"Are you Rahman?"
"No, I'm Azahar"
"Are you sure? You look so similar to Rahman, my friend from Jinjang."

We chatted for a while and before we parted we agreed that it was a clear case of Pelanduk dua serupa.

Third incidence:

I was in a Restaurant enjoying dinner in Khon Kaen, Northern Thailand. We were attending a bilateral border meeting with our Thai counterparts. The band was playing. I forgot what song it was.

Suddenly my eyes were glued to the guitarist. I thought it was only me who realized it. I was wrong. Dr Kamrulzaman kept on looking at him and then at me.

"Azahar, have your father ever lived in Kong Kaen?"

We all were amazed at the resemblance. He was exactly my carbon copy, with the moustache and goatie, except that his were free from grey hair of course.

He also realized it and kept on glancing at me.

It was a pity that I lost him as we were too engrossed in our dinner. He quickly left the hotel as his band finsihed playing.

There is also a man, quite a celebrity, an artist, whose name is very very close to mine. His name is Raja Azhar Idris.

Will I meet my other four twins?

Friday, October 10, 2008


All in the family minus Khairul Syafiq who couldn't get leave. He only came back on the 4th day of Raya

From Left - Right:Khairul Syazwan, Me, My wife, Noorul Amalia and Noorul Diyana

What a loving couple...

Dr Azahar & Pn. Zainab

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sheikh Razif

After more than a year searching for him, finally, yesterday, we met. Actually I had passed around the words that I was searching for him among ex-Sdarians in Kuantan since I first reported duty in Kuantan.

It was only a few weeks back that he came to my office, but I was out. He did leave his hp no with my PA. Then I called him and asked for a meeting.

Sheikh Razif is kind of special to me. We were classmates in standard one in SK Galing, Kuantan. We were separated at the end of 1966 when my father was transferred to Teluk Intan. Strangely also, Ismail Ahmad was also in SK Galing - he came in later and both of them went to SDAR from SK Galing.

When both of us registered in SDAR in 1967, it was him who, strangely enough, still recognised me!

After more than 30 years separated I was not very sure that I could still pick him out of the crowd. In the phone he told me that he was still the same.

I was standing on the corridor of Maybank looking at the crowd in front. Then I saw a man, small, wearing white kupiah and sporting white beard walking towards the bank. He was a bit bongkok and it was his gait, or the way he walked that exposed his identity.

I knew that small bearded man must be Sheikh Razif! He came towards me and we shook hands and talked.

At last I found him, my long lost pal!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I forgot. Yesterday, 7 October, was the day that Khairul Syakirin, our beloved son and our children's brother, was called by the Almighty.

How could I have forgotten that day?

Too busy with mundane worldly affairs?

Am I getting old and forgetful?

Only a reminder from Diyana made me remember that day. Thank you Diyana.

I know that you were very close to arwah. I understand how difficult it must have been for you at that tender age (you were six then) to have lost him.

You had bravely undergone what many adults could not do any better.

Remember how we had to sleep in our volvo for two (or was it three) weeks just to see that Mama was doing ok?

Remember how arwah was so happy knowing that we were very close to him and Mama when both of them needed us badly?

Rest in peace beloved son. We always pray that you will be forever blessed by Allah. Remember us.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The trip was unbelievably easy. I was somewhat guided as I drove into KL and straight to PPUM.

Traffic was rather light that day. Perhaps KLites were still either resting after a long drive back or they were still making their way back from the long holidays.

Parking was also easy.

From the paid public parking we went straight to Menara Utama building. The building was quiet and empty, almost eerie like in many horror films. A nurse directed us to fifth floor to Neroscience wards.

I liked the electronially controlled ward's door. I just have to call someone from inside to open the door for us. Only two are allowed per visit.

Shamsul was in bed 4. Tracheostomy was done to help him breath. His hands and legs were secured to prevent him hurting himself and pulling all the wires.

He showed signs of uncontrolled violent movement - seizures???

His eyes were open but there were no response. He did not respon when I called his name.

My wife was all tears when she saw her nephew like that.

One on-duty doctor told me that Shamsul suffered a severe head injury. There were multiple intracerebral hemorrhages. He had passed the acute stage and now they are doing their best to rehabilitate him.

"Can he walk again, Doctor?"

"We just have to wait. It will take time."

We all pray for him to be well again.

My Garden

The leafy two-in-one mango tree is a haven for the yellow-vented bulbuls and the glossy starlings. The tree provide both food and bed for the birds.

At dusk and the time just before the sun rises, the tree will be full of activities, from birds chasing one another probably fighting over insects to birds singing merrily on top of the highest foliage.

As for us, the tree provides two varieties of mangoes - the small indigenous but rather sweer pauh and the extra-large mempelam epal.

It was already full-grown when we bought the house. All we did was prune the foliage so that it did not dirty neighbours' compound with their fallen dried leaves.

Despite of the very little that we did to it, we are now blessed with almost non-stop supply of fresh organic mangoes. What more could we ask from the humble tree?

Next to it is the jambu madu (water apple) tree that I planted. I bought the seedling from a fruit stall near Karak. Like its neighbour, it too fruits almost non-stop. At any time you could see different stages of fruiting - from flowers, fruit buds and to ripening fruits.

The fruits are sweet when ripe. I have to compete with ants that bore into the fruits as well as with birds, fruit bats and even hornets. In the morning either my wife or I will have to remove the fallen fruits so that the smell of rotting fruits does not fill the air.

Next to Tan's house are two papaya trees. Though they are not the selected variety, they provide us with a constant supply of fresh papaya. Besides having them as fresh papaya, my wife sometimes prepare the semi-ripe papaya into a rojak betik with sadine sauce.

A metre away from the papaya trees are my favourites. They are my one-month old Moringa oleifera. They are thriving well after I replaced the original soil with plenty of organic matter in the form of peat soil bought from a nursery nearby, lots of powdered goat droppings and sand that I removed from the drain in front of the house.

I found matured Moringa oleifera pods at Ramli's house in Geliga. My wife separated the seeds from the pods and soaked them in luke-warm water for 24 hours. Then she planted the seeds in poly-bags. Two days later, ho and behold the seeds germinated well!

With them growing so well I hope that soon we will have a constant supply of fresh moringa leaves and pods to enrich our dietary needs!

The cherry tree is also beginning to show off its new leaves. Pretty soon I am sure it will attract many frugivorous and nectar-drinking birds. I have seen beautiful crimson-backed and olive-backed sunbirds on my mother's cherry trees in Bukit Kuang.

The recently bought sukun tree does not seem to grow as fast as the Moringa oleifera. Only a pair of new leaves indicates that it is growing.

Moving to the front of the house, the bed of mixed flowers my wife and her brother prepared seems to do well too. In no time I presume they will provide a fascinating break from the monotonous green that we already had.

Our house compound is slowly transforming into a beautiful garden. It brings life to our house,Teratak Syakirin. That is the name that we give to our house - in memory of our late son, Khairul Syakirin.