Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
We were all excited to be there, at Lembah Bidong Equestrian Centre. Just to be there to witness the great sporting event.
Squeezing my tight schedule, I drove up there after Maghrib Prayers. Reaching there at almost 11.00 we had to explore the entire facilities just to find a decent place to sit and watch the horses. The tiredness and the drizzling night made us somewhat lost bearing of the whereabouts of things.
I was looking for the Veterinarian centre, but just could not find it.
Finally, we did find a place. At least we were free from the drizzle. So the five of us, My wife, Amalia, Kak Long (my wife's niece) and were mesmerized by the magnificient horses and the riders too.
The Arabians were something else to see. They, with their concave face, slim body and beatifully raised tail walked or canter proudly as they left the starting point.
It was very close to the hub of the race - the starting and ending place.
It was already the end of the third loop when we arrived. We saw riders from UAE and Spain coming in. We also saw riders starting their fourth loop.
We waited for almost two hours, just to catch a glimpse of His Majesty Sultan Mizan riding his horse. According to the Policeman that joined us in the seating area, he was still resting.
Amalia was also excited with the horses. She kept on snapping pictures of the horses as they made their way (some seemed to have lost the desire to win) and also as they started the new loop.
My wife and I planned to wait it out till say 4 o'clock in the morning. But Amalia was sneezing continuously...perhaps the drizzle had triggered her rhinitis. Amirul was dozing on the empty seats.
So, we gave in. We left Lembah Bidong Equestrian Centre at around two in the morning.
We put up in Mahani's house for the night.
She did not believe it at first. She thought that another friend of hers deserved it more. Then the teachers explained that she was the only student who had represented both the school and the district.
This afternoon at three, she will attend the graduation ceremony at Majlis Perbandaran Kemaman Hall. My wife and I will not miss that for anything. I just cannot wait to see her walking up the stage to receive the certificate.
Many years ago, her sister Diyana made us all proud when she, in her white dress, walked up the stage of Chase Street Elementary School, Athens, Georgia, US, to receive her Best All-Rounder and Straight A's certificate from the Principal.
God willing, tomorrow morning she will get her UPSR results. She was one of the students expected by teachers to get 5 A's.
She has improved a lot while in SK Pusat Kemaman. The teachers really made them work hard to get the best results. We have to thank the class teacher, the science teacher, and all who have sacrificed their valuable time organizing extra classes and camps just to improve their students.
Amalia, being the youngest in the family, have decided not to go to a boarding school. All she wants is to get 5 A's and to receive the offer letter!
We do not mind. For me, a product of a boarding school, it was different scenario now. Now the house is a much better place for students compared to any school hostel.
Though in my heart I still want her to go to a boarding school, I will let her to decide. Who knows after getting 5 A's she will change her heart.
No matter what, we love you very much Amalia. May Allah guide you to the right path and may you be a solehah daughter.
The race was flagged off at around five thirty in the evening of Friday 7 November 2008. I was still in the office at that time.
Amalia kept on sending sms asking me whethet I was going or not.
I told her to get ready as we were going there after Maghrib.
We arrived at Lembah Bidong Equestrian Centre, Setiu at 10.40, after dropping at Mahani's house in Seberang Takir for a simple dinner and a rest.
It was drizzling then. We went around the sprawling complex in search of a covered place to sit.
At first I thought of searching for fellow Vets just to say hello. I didn't find the veterinarian centre. We were also not allowed to enter the holding centre.
At last we found ourselves the common seating place. It was covered and there were still many vacant seats. At last we were free from the wet drizzle and as it was just next to the starting and ending horse route, we could see the horses and the riders.
Amalia was soon busy snapping pictures of the horses. She was so excited seeing so many horses at a time.
The Arabian horses, they were just mesmerizing. With their concave face, slim body and raised tail they walked or canter proudly as they made their way in front of us.
From the announcer, I knew that the riders had just completed their third loop.
After each loop (there were six loops in all) of around 26 km, the horses were evaluated by veterinarians to see thet they were still fit for the next loop. Things that were checked included the heart rate, the degree of dehydration, the physical well being, etc.
The women riders, in particular one from Spain named Mercedes, amazed us all. Later we were told that she won the championship!
We waited impatiently to see our beloved Sultan Mizan, but he was no where to be seen. A policeman told me that he was still in the resting area.
It was already almost two in the morning. Amalia was sneezing badly, perhaps the drizzle and the cool morning air had triggered her rhinitis. Amirul was dozing on the empty seats.
Finally at around 2.15 we called it a day. We drove back to Mahani's house and slept soundly till seven!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Like always, planned visits seldom take place. Unplanned ones normally do!
So it was decided that three families would go in two cars, mine and Apandi's. We decided to go to Abdullah's (my wife eldest brother) house first.
The day before the trip, Rohana, Aishah and my wife, they were busy preparing food and buying things for their two brothers' families.
We left home at just after eight. Apandi followed us much later; they had to attend Arham's kindergarten convocation that morning.
In Bandar Jengka Pusat, we were frustrated when we found that Abdullah was not in. He had gone somewhere to do some house painting job. His mother-in-law was there, but at first she was scared to open the door. Only after we introduced ourselves that she was brave enough to answer our call and open the door.
After a short chat we left the house and continued our journey towards Kuala Lipis.
Amalia hated the snaking road. It made her giddy. Luckily she did not vomit.
As we were approaching Kuala Lipis we gave Sheila (Ali's eldest daughter) a call telling her that we were on the way.
"Betul ke Cik Nab nak datang rumah?"
"Betul! Kami dah nak sampai Kuala Lipis dah ni."
She did not believe us. We had on so many occassions before this promised to come, but all were just empty promises.
Luckily I remember exactly where their house was. I drove straight into Kg Tempoyang and took a right as I approached the village mosque.
I passed YB En Abdul Rahman's house, ADUN Padang Tengku, on the way to Ali's house.
Passing through their old wooden house atop the hillock, Cik Mek (Aisah) and my wife reminisced those days when they had visited it very long ago with their late mother.
The new house was impressive. It was a single storey house situated next to Tempoyang river and right smack in a fruit orchard (it was not looked after well though). Imperata cylindrica or lalang was everywhere.
There were 11 of them in the house. Strangely, despite of the distance between us and some of us had never meet one another, their children were very close to us.
Pie was especially close to me. I shared some tricks with him.
Surprisingly too, Sheila looked strangely very similar to our own Diyana. My wife and Amalia whispered this to me.
From what I saw I knew that they were living a hard life. Luckily Abang Long, Sheila and two more sons (including the one involved in the road accident) had started working.
Thanks to God, Andak (the one involved in accident) defied doctors' prediction. He was almost normal, but he still had that dazed look.
A barrel of KFC was busily shared between them. Nothing was allowed to go to waste.
That night we all slept very soundly - the women folks in the room and the rest in the spacious living hall. Apandi and family decided to put up a night in a hotel in Kuala Lipis.
That night I heard sounds of wild boars (I guessed) from the back of the house.
Everybody was sad as we left for home. We left with ample supply of tempoyak (fermented durian flesh) and cili padi.
We all promised to ourselves that this would not be the last time. We would come back again to Kg Tempoyang soon.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
They were some of the active participants of MOH's Methadone programme at the clinic.
As usual, on Sundays I was there as a care-taker guardian of a participant. As a regular visitor, most of them knew me by sight.
"What more can you ask of an in-law?" One of the more garrulous of them remarked when he saw me coming there without fail.
Yes, I would always try to be there every Sunday. That is among other things that I could do to help.
Talking to them made me understand them better - these often neglected and forgotten drug addicts. Knowing that I cared, they unashamedly and frankly divulged their feelings whenever we were together.
It was sad to know that some of them were rejected by their own family. I knew that they had strayed, but when they realized that they had to change, they should be given a second chance.
I was glad that not all parents were like that. I had seen a mother coming all the way from Air Putih to collect his son's methadone supply. I also had witnessed wives following their husbands without fail.
Many of them were improving. Their methadone dose was decreasing by the week.
I had peered into their record book - the daily doses ranged from as high as 110 mg to as low as 20 mg per day.
Very few that I knew had successfully completed the course and I sincerely hoped that they would be forever free from the drugs.
I also wish that the public, including close family members, show more caring attitude towards them. They are people too, people with emotion and feelings. Please do not neglect them and brand them as the earth's scum.
No, they made mistakes. Forgive them and see that they cure themselves of the addiction and give them hope that they will succeed in overcoming their disease and becoming, once again, useful citizens.