Tuesday, March 31, 2009


As of today we have made the house at 2164, Taman Samudera Timur our permanent resident for 1 year 7 months.

Since then too we have brought back life to the house since it was left vacant as soon as it was completed.

It is true with what they say - a house will age faster if not lived in. Human dwellers somehow give life to any house.

I remember how neighbours referred to our house as lifeless, unkempt and uncared for. Well, that was when it was just a rest house for us - that only during school holidays and Eids.

Can't blame them for that really. Our house then would always be overgrown with Imperata cylinderica (lalang).
Everytime we came back and inhabit the house, there would be 3-4 feet of lalang in the compound! Once or twice we even saw snake's shed skin along the fence.

But now, anyone who had seen the house before, would for sure be taken aback. It is so green and alive that neighbours passing it would stop and peek in to see the bio-transformation.

From afar they could see that green grass covered the entire compound. It is no more that pesty lalang, but it is now made up of Paspalum conjugatum and Axonopus compressus.

The resident dual-variety mango tree is busy fruiting - in fact I could not remember it being fruitless for long. Its neighbour, the jambu madu tree strangely flowerless after I over-trimmed it.

If you examine closer, you will see that the soil is alive with activities. Earthworm digested soil is everywhere. They also say that their presence signifies life!

Grasshoppers, crickets and butterflies are many too in the natural garden.

Moringa trees stand tall as they provide me with instant vitamin-rich shoots and the earth with the essential nitrogen. I am still waiting for them to bear pods though.

Yam (keladi) grow well in the shade provided by the mango tree. Those under direct sunlight seem to be suffering (they used to flourish when they were first grown during the monsoon).

The two Rambutan trees given by a colleague from DOA have different fate - one is growing fast (helped by Stocking's natural fertilizer) while the other is struggling.

The durian tree is also struggling in between the moringa and the bread fruit tree.

However, the most interesting things happening in our compound are the roosting of yellow-vented bulbuls in our mango tree, the gregarious Phillipines glossy starling chasing after grubs in the mango tree, the forever serenading black and white magpie robins and the fiercely protective swallow and her family (she keeps on attacking our Stocking).

Lastly, our Stocking is pining for Syafiq. He seems lost and sulking most of the time. He misses our Syafiq a lot - can't blame it as he has been living and sleeping together, they two for almost three months! And now Syafiq is well again after that terrible neck injury that he suffered and has now gone back to KL.

Monday, March 30, 2009


It pleases me very much to see people of Chukai becoming more conscious of exercising. People of all ages come to the park to jog, brisk walk or do exercises on the open-air gymnasium.

My wife and I usually visit the park on Saturdays and Sundays for only on these two days that I am, sometimes, free.

We usually do brisk-walking - no more jogging for us two. I cannot jog because of my old knee injury. Alos, jogging is not good for my age, so they say.

We will normally brisk walk for 5-6 rounds (I am not sure exactly the distance, but I guess it suffice our exercise requirement).

I have made friends and rekindle old-friendship along the way. I have met Cikgu Aziz and Sergeant (retired) Ismail, both are in their seventies but they are still in good shape. Cikgu Azziz has a bad leg due to a fall, but Sgt Ismail, my father's colleague, looks as young if not younger than me.

Yesterday I met Hj Mohd, a distant relative of mine. He is my mother's nephew, twice removed (anak dua pupu). Actually his sister, a nurse, used to help me a lot when I was hospitalised for appendicitis in HKL way back in 1978. Sadly I did not know that she was a relative.

Zawiah, my cousin is also another frequent visitor of the park.

The brisk walking has done a lot as far as my physical fitness is concerned. I feel well afterwards.

What saddends me is to see couples walking leisurely in an attire unsuitable for exercise. The food stalls there also need some improvement, at least from the hygiene point of view. Bad odour emanating from clogged drains give a negative impression of the park.

I do hope MPK will do more to improve the scenario of the park. The jogging trail need improvement...there is still uneven surfaces that may hurt users.

Why not organise a free mass exercise programs like Tai Chee for pensioners and pensioner-to-be!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Hating other people's success and wanting to see him/her destroyed is the attitude owned by some of us. To these people, it is better that no one else gains as long as their target of seeing somebody else failed or destroyed.

There is no such thing as win-win situation for these people. Let others lose, that's their goal. It is ok if they gain nothing from it.

Examples are many, nut here are some of my personal experience for us to share:

'A' is an excellent cook. He rented a shop and opened up a restaurant. In no time his restaurant was always full of clients wanting to taste his delicious tom-yam.

Suddenly, without warning the land-owner changed his mind. He wanted to use the land. 'A' has to stop operation and went searching for another location. 'A' did not find another spot as good as his last restaurant.

Months has passed, but the land remained vacant. All the land-owner wanted was to see 'A' failed. That he was successful.

Second case:

A piece of grazing reserve remained as it had been for years - not optimally utilized (a diplomatic way of saying secondary bushes have overtaken whatever remained of the animal rearing activities).

When an entrepreneur (especially from outside) was allowed to develop that piece of land with a viable livestock project, suddenly, out of the blues there will be protests from all quarters. Suddenly there are so many livestock farmers springing from no where!

The poor entrepreneur then gave up his idea and the land returned to the protesters....years passed but the land remained as it was...overgrown with bushes!

Third example:

The worst case: 'A' likes 'B' but 'B' rejected A's proposal of marriage as she had another man in mind. 'A' in great frustration vowed that if he could not get 'B' then nobody else could get her.

'A' then used black magic to make 'B' looked unattractive or prevent her from being asked for by no one else. Sadly, 'B' remained single till now.

Fourth example: (strange but true)

A shop next door was making more business and money than theirs. Instead of improving their services and quality of products to remain competitive, they used a bomoh to do something to their neighbour.
Normally clients would stop going to their neighbour's shop because they could not see the shop (invisible to the clients)!

Or I have seen cases where very bad odour emanating from the neighbour's shop and the odour is detectable only to the clients.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It's strange and mind-boggling how suddenly, in this new millenium, ghosts, djinns, susuk, hantu pocong, mass hysteria and what-nots become the talk of town - a hot topic indeed.

I thought in this new era of ICT and globalization people move away from superstitions and creatures of the dark.

Come on man, we are no more in the sixties, where those things are a part of life.

I had a personal experience in this matter where my brother was possessed by not one but three pelesit or hantu raya when he was still a toddler. He was inflicted with a disease (or was it a disease really?) that defied logic. His head could turn backwards and was in comatose state most of the time. The symptoms strangely disappeared when he was in the hospital. But medical tests prove nothing.

It took Pok We, the late bomoh, a few years to bring him back to normal. In between, I saw many episodes of people going into trance and telling why he was sick. Pok We told us that there were three outsiders in my brother's body.

But that was in 1965! Bukit Kuang was still without electricity.

Now in the new millenium, we hear of students experiencing mass hysteria in a school in Tg Lumpur, Pahang. Why? It was said that the piling works had killed a resident djinn! Hard to believe right, but ask those students, they willl tell you their experience.

A highway near Gua Tempurung - there were far too many road accidents there. A group of djinns had to be relocated from there by, believe it or not, bus to Lumut. The driver narrated to me how he felt the invisible passengers boarding and disembarking the bus!

Five hantu pocong like figures floating in the river caused TV3 to produce a special report on that.

There are teams investigating the ghosts featured on tv.

Tales of ladies facing the wrath of their susuk when they get old and tries to remove it, but difficult as their bomoh is already dead.

Then there was this story of people coughing blood and dying after consuming santau-contaminated food in Perak. Many restaurants had to be closed because of that. Strangely KFC joints were spared!

Stop fooling around. Start believing in God and do what He ask us to do and refrain from doing what he forbid us to do...then things will be ok.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I want to be like Johnny appleseed. Remember him? Most probably those below 50 may not know him, unless you're a great reader.

Johnny appleseed was a famous character in US. He was the one who is responsible for introducing apples to US. He used to bring apple seeds wherever he went, spreading the seeds all over US.

He was also known for his bravery. One night before going to sleep, a group of Red Indians surrounded him with the intention of killing him for intruding into their territory. They waited it out till he fell asleep. They then saw him pulled out his knife, heat it in the burning campfire and then began searing it to blisters and wounds on his feet. He 'disinfect' his feet without even a word of pain thought the act itself was a painful one. Seeing his extra-ordinary bravery they left him alone and never again disturb him.

Why not we follow him? Let us plant fodder trees on our idle land. We have plenty of idle land around. Forget about economic size. Just plant something.

For fodder, anything edible to ruminants is fine with me. But, plant it seriously and in an amount sufficient for animal feed.

What I suggest is to plant them in hedges. That way it will be easy for users to harvest or animals to browse.

Trees that we could plant include (not exhaustive) : Hibiscus, Leucaena (petai belalang), Glyricidia, Moringa, Calliandra, Mulberry, Tembusu, Mengkudu, Tamarind, Acacia, etc etc

Let us green our countryside with fodder trees for our animals...

Let us reduce the number of stray animals criss-crossing our road system....

10 things that I hate most today

Below are things, or human actions or inactions that I meet daily , that I hate most (not necessarily in order of importance):

1. Drivers that never put on on their headlights when it is still / already dark - I wonder why, may be they think that they will save power by doing that!

2. People who take too long a time at ATM doing whatever they are doing, oblivious to the long line of people waiting behind them.

3. Drivers who flash their high beam whenever they want to overtake other car. I'll normally voluntarily go to the left whenever I saw a high-powered cars looming behind me (out of respect perhaps), but will stay on the right if the car behind me is flashing!

4. Drivers who drive ever so slowly as if they have all the time in this world for himself and no one else is driving on the road or makan angin. I would not mind if the car is twenty years old...but a brand new Volvo 240S or other cars in the same class or better doing just that ?????

5. Smokers who proudly and arrogantly puffing away in public places blowing away polluting-smoke into my face and messing up places with cigarette butts and ashes!

6. Public outcry when price of chicken goes up by 50 sen a kilo, but silent as a graveyard when fish prices go up by leaps and bound.

7. Looking at people wrongly-dressed or overly-dressed, like wearing revealing dresses in religious occassions or wearing T-shirts in formal meetings or worst still wearing fancy dresses to night markets!

8. Being overly-charged for food that is under par in taste, presentation and slow in preparing.

9. Visitors who come visiting unannounced at very odd hours such as very late at nights, when I just arrived home from work.

10. Drivers or passengers wantonly throwing rubbish out of their cars onto the highways!

Monday, March 23, 2009


In a few months time I'll be 55. By then I 'll only have another year to go before calling it a day in DVS.

The question is (as asked and speculated by many) am I really going to retire after getting my DIMP. A few has simply told people that I'm going to change my mind.

For me, I'm sticking to my plan. I'm going to retire from my present career on July 22 2010 at the age of 56. Getting the DIMP is a bonus for me...well at least I have fulfilled one of the top level of Maslow's Theory of Needs...

My exit plan? Well I still have a year over to plan what to do.

Actually I've been contacted by a University...they want me to start now as a temporary lecturer and not to wait till I retire...I've told them I agree to do it. I'll do it initially on Sundays...

Am I doing the right thing in this global economic turmoil? Well, I'm retiring from my present work in DVS, but I won't retire from doing what I like best...

May be, I'll try get a contract work with DVS as a veterinary pathologist - developing histologic slide reading to all budding pathologist in DVS labs...

What is important is to take a break, escape the routine non-productive but mentally-tiring non-veterinary works...

I'll continue working at my own pace, no pressure of meeting deadlines, KPIs, etc...doing whatever interest me...

Well, I would like very much to complete my novels...who knows may be I'll be good at it...and become a rich novelist before I close my eyes...

The first is my autobiography...the second will be a fiction-plus-real story...and the third is a real-life drama that I happen to be part of...

I also would like it very much to transfer all I have as far as skills and knowledge to others...hate to think that all that I was blessed with are allowed to rot away just like that...

Getting ready for the ultimate destination...still feel very inadequate for the long journey...Too much time spent on something very insignificant (the world) and Too little time spent on the real world (the hereafter)...

Please Allah lead me to your right path and bless me with the energy and mental facility to continue serving you and filling the seemingly unsurmountable gap...

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The hunt for primary school ex-classmates slowly but surely brings in results.

At a snail-pace I found them one by one. Much to my surprise, they are well spread, many choose to reside in Klang valley.

Among the few I managed to get in contact are mainly ladies, still very pretty despite of their age. They are all very successful in their own way. Cikgu Yong will be proud to know that his pupils have made it in life.

Here is a list of them:

Aminah Nazifah - Petaling Jaya - a great mother

Tuan Sharipah Aminah - Successful business woman
& a great mother
- Kota Damansara

Rohani Mohd - Assistant Headmaster,
SK Binjai, Kemaman

Sakinan Choya - A staff nurse Hospital

Shamsiah Abu Bakar - On holiday in Kemaman
Works in Nursing school in

Dato' Azam - A successful corporate man
Residing in Klang Valley

Wan Esah Harun - A RISDA officer in KL

Azizah Harun - A medical doctor in KL

Abu Bakar Kassim - A land surveyor in KT

Wan Azlan - A banker in KL

Ahmad Zaidan - A physiotherapist in USM KB

Zakaria Osman - Works in Klang Valley

Though I still have not met some of them in person, at least I have talked to them over the phone and know where they are. It will be good if a reunion and a visit to our alma mater, SK Pusat can be organized in the near future.


When much debates are going on about the teaching of science and maths in English, I have been keeping quiet all these while.

I am neither totally for nor totally against the policy.

It is just that the policy will never reach its objective - that is to improve English among Malaysians.

I love English, so too all all my children. I do not know how and why I do so. I was good in English from the primary school.

I remember exchanging English novels or English comic books with Normah, a secondary school student a few years older than me when I was in standard six.

I remember reading many many English story books from the school library when I was in SDAR. Most English books would for sure have my name recorded on the card.

I remember watching and enjoying most English TV programmes, even comedies like All In The Family. Many a time the TV set would go on till morning when I dozed off in the middle of good movies.

I was lucky to have a VSO English teacher and a Peace Corp English teacher ---so I was exposed to both the Queen's English as well as American English.

I was lucky too to be when the policy was to teach everything in English...even Bahasa Malaysia was once taught in English by a Chinese teacher by the name of Mr Wong Seng Tong!

Still remember how I looked forward to get back essay homeworks...why? Words like these from teachers motivated me a lot: "Nobody except Azahar did a good essay on the subject!"

Also still fresh in my mind how I memorise words from the dictionary. That was why I know words like scurry, scuttle besides run; huge, mammoth, gargantuan, large besides the plain and widely used big; flabbergasted, nonplussed for surprised...

That's why many Professors and lecturers over in UGA were asking me where did I learn English...not to boast or anything like that, my thesis was so flawless that there was nothing to correct!

To be good in English, first students must love English, second expose them to books, movies and tv programmes early in life, thirdly get them to write more essays, involve in story-telling, debates, etc

To love English does not mean you are less patriotic...Be bilingual, trilingual...don't be an American (know only English..that too with haywire grammer!)


Personal Safety is something still not taken seriously by the majority of Malaysians.

We still take things for granted when come to our own or our family members' safety.

We have to take pro-active steps to safe-guard ourselves and our family members every minute we are outside.

Do not depend on others, not even the police in as far as safety is concerned.

Teach our children these three basic things:

1. Do not talk to strangers
2. Do not take things from strangers
3. Do not get near or into a stranger's car

UNLESS in the presence of their parents or trustworthy known adults (I stress the word trustworthy)

NOTES at Parking areas:

1. Select parking areas that are well-lighted and not very isolated

2. Never park in areas you see 'suspicious characters' around

3. After doing your things and before you go back to your car - make sure there are no 'suspicious characters' in and around your car. Be sure!

4. Get security guards to escort you if you're unsure or scared

5. Get you car key ready in your hand (not in your purse somewhere)

6. Open the door and get in as fast as possible (applying make-up, combing your hair can be done later) and straight away lock the doors.


When at home, be sure to lock all your doors everytime!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Slit-throat Chicken

I had this strange feeling as soon as I entered the restaurant and saw the decor. Its ambience somewhat disturbed me.

Its Balinese decor gave me the feeling that I was in a Hindu temple.

"It's ok my dear, give it a try..." I said to myself as I sat on the chair.

The waiteress quickly filled the table with a variety of dishes - there were grilled fish, salads, sambal belacan, fried chicken, tempe and fruits.

The chicken, the whole of it, with legs and head attracted me. I pull the head towards me and flipped the neck. The first thing I saw was a hole - too small for a halal cut that I was used to.

"It is slaughtered not according to the halal way!" I whispered to Hj. Ismail.

"Don't investigate, Dato'..just eat."

"I'm not investigating...it is right in front of me...the chicken is not halal!"

My appetite quickly vanished. Not even the seemingly tasty sup buntut (ox-tail soup) could re-open my appetite.

I was no longer hungry as I had felt ten minutes before. I just nibbled on the grilled gourami - that too did not help. Its taste was weird...too herbalic.

Others felt the same. They too chose not to eat.

"Izzah, make sure we have Nasi Padang for our next meals!" Dato' Manaf reminded Izzah, our tourist guide.

That night, I silently went down to the Cafe and ordered grilled tuna and pink guava. Both grilled tuna and guava juice tasted different, kind of weird.

Then only I realized that my taste was not for Indonesian (Javanese in particular) food.

It was different with Nasi Padang. The ox's skin and the brain were something else. Both Dato' Manaf and I really enjoyed the food. The skin, taken next to the hoof, was cooked in large chunks. Back home, I was more used to it being sliced and cubed and made into soup or rojok kateh.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


From Malang it took the old almost-without-aircondition bus almost three hours to reach the Dusun. Along the way I saw cute little brick houses parading by the side of the narrow road.

Most houses have genting roofing - a benchmark for Indonesian houses. Those houses without genting roof are considered poorer than the rest of the community.

The houses were cute (they were small to our standard) but most have concrete gutter and beautiful doors.

And, every house had evidence of business activities. In other words, every household was involved in business, no matter how small it is.

It was just fascinating to see how they made use of their resources. Every inch of their scarce land was planted with something, from rice, corn, vegetables and even napier grass.

They were blessed with very fertile volcanic soil. So fertile was their soil that they did not need to use any inorganic fertilizer. They have not inches, but feet of organic layer in their soil.

Finally, we reached the Dusun. There was a goat shed in every single house in the Dusun. The average number of goats owned was fifteen.

They used Calliandra leaves as the main feed source for the goats. Calliandra was grown every where in the Dusun. The trees looked like Leucaena at the first glance, but on closer look it was different.

The leftover branches and stems were used as firewood for cooking.

The goats, Etawah (Indonseian name for Jamnapari) were well reared. The shed was made of bamboos and so practical and there was no odour! They used EM too.

In the Dusun there were 30 houses and the number of goats reared was around 5,000 heads and there were 70,000 goats in the sub-district!

The most important discovery - they don't receive any subsidy from the government and they preferred that way.

When asked what was the contribution of the goats: One farmer said that his house was built with money obtained from selling the goats! He said that a goat for Aqiqah could fetch 2-3 million Rupiahs - a teacher earns less than a million Rupiah a month!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


We arrived at Juanda Airports, Surabaya at 12.40 Malaysian time or 11.40 am Indonesian time. Both Immigration and Custom procedures were brief and fast.

The karyawan (officer) at the immigration counter even had time to smile and ask whether I came to play golf (pronounced as golef).

We were greeted by Mr Kamto and Mr Haris representative from Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri Johor (PPNJ) tourism.

According to Pak Haris, the name Surabaya was really Suroboyo, meaning suro- fish and boyo - of course crocodile. Myths have it that long ago there was a big fight between a shark and two crocodiles.

From the airports, we were driven in a bus for lunch. Lunch was not to our taste. It consisted of grilled gourami (kalui) and fried spring chicken.

Then Dato' Manaf suggested to Pak Haris that we should have Nasi Padang for lunch and dinner.

A little Java Geography (from Pak Haris): Java island is divided into three regions - Jawa Timur (Jatim), Jawa Tengah (Jateng) and Jawa Barat (Jabar). Surabaya is the capital of Jatim; Semarang for Jateng and Jakarta for Jabar.

On the way to Malang we stopped at Tanggulangin town - a craft home industry. A banner welcoming our Minister of Agriculture visit was still proudly up there in front of the centre.

At first we all thought that we just stop for a quick see, but as usual with us Malaysian, the see visit soon turned into a frantic buying spree. All leather bags, belts and purses were quickly bought by almost all of us.

...to be continued