Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Almost sutured raw - saved by the title Dr

I was, as usual, arrived early at the dairy unit. Our mission was to collect blood samples from the coccygeal blood vessel for Brucellosis testing.

It was a very tough job no doubt. But for the three of us new veterinarians it was very challenging just thinking about it. Imagine pushing the wild Sahiwal Friesians along the race and stacking them in a tight row.

While doing what I liked best, that was collecting blood from the underside of the tail, a 'scrambler' (a cow with horns growing sideways) suddenly back-kicked the 2 by 4 separating plank. It was hurled up and landed right smack on my left index finger.

I thought I could still hear the 'smacking' sound as the plank landed on my finger and squashed it flat against the race.

The end of the finger was wide open and blood soon began to seep out.

I was rushed to Kluang Hospital. The attending doctor was the niece of the late Dr Nik Mahmood, our ex-deputy DG.

"Why didn't you put Dr in front of your name?" she asked as she added the title to my name on the card. Okey, you may go for stitching."

In the treatment room I saw an old Ah Pek crying in pain as his facial wound was stitched.

Cold sweat ran down my face as I waited for my turn. The HA then came to me, roughly cleaned the wound with acriflavine solution. Then he took out a curved suturing needle, put on the sutures and was ready to inflict pain onto me.

Suddenly, from the corner of my eyes, I saw his friend frantically showing something to him.

Aha! He must have noticed the word Dr in front of my name!

He stopped doing what he was planning to do.

I smiled at him and asked,"Why don't you follow procedures?"

He kept quiet. He gently re-washed the wound, took out a drape and passed my finger through the hole in the middle of the drape.

He then expertly did a ring block at the base of my left index finger. After ten minutes, he began suturing.

Of course there was no pain at all.

I left the treatment room with this question: "Why should there be a double standard? Anybody, irrespective of whom he or she is, should be treated equally.

How many times have you noticed a man suddenly cutting queue and went straight to see the doctor, whereas there were people waiting for more than two hours to see the doctor!


This is how the never-before-seen H1N1 swine influenza (flu) virus looks like.
It is a concoction of four viruses - the human, the bird and the European and Asian pigs flu viruses.
A few said that it is created in the lab and released as bio-warfare. Is it? It is not that far-fetched really. Some people will do anything to reach their goals, even to the extent of mass murder.
The classical H1N1 swine flu virus is present worldwide, causing very little damage to pigs and does not normally jump into humans. But this novel H1N1 virus, a result of reassortment process, where human, birds, and pigs gene mix, is readily transmitted from human to human.
In a short time the disease spreads to US, Europe and there is a suspect case in Thailand and Singapore.
When we think that Nipah virus was bad, this H1N1 is hundred times worse! Intercontinental air travel makes the spread of this virus very easy.
Unless you are very very desperate, please do not travel to US, Mexico and other infected countries or travel in planes that had carried passenger from and travelling from those countries.
To pork lovers, do not be scared. Pork, if cooked beyond 70 C is safe to consume.
Now is the time to stop the global transmission of the virus. Now is not the time to hunt for the origin of the virus. That can be done later, after the disease is stopped.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bleeding Piles

Here it came again. The hotel's food, the extra spicy mutton soup, etc ignited intense stomach pain, gas accumulation and you knew what after that. I was forced to visit the toilets a few times within half-an-hour.

Blood sprayed out in continuous stream for at least fifteen minutes wetting and reddening the toilet bowl. It won't stop coming out. I guessed I had ruptured an arteriole. The stream of blood was just too fast for a venule or a capillary.

Thinking that it had finally stopped, I put on my sarong and walked down the hall to watch tv. As usual I had to lie belly down down in front of the tv set with a pillow on my chest. The stomach pain was still there.

Then I felt warm fluid running down my thighs and legs. I looked down and saw blood everywhere - on the marble floor, on the newly-bought cheap carpet and on my sarong.

The bleeding had not stopped! I rushed to the toilet. Blood was still gushing out of my ruptured piles. I had to sit still while watching blood drops dripping and decorationg the toilet bowl red.

I then put on my kleenex-padded underwear and walked ever gently to the hall. Blood was still leaking.

Getting extra-large pads was the next thing to do. Putting it on I then called it a night and dozed off. I hoped that the bleeding would stop by tomorrow. Or else, the opening of the State Assembly would go without me.

Luckily the bleeding stopped. Just to be safe, I still put on the kleenex-padded under wear to the Assembly Hall!

I looked great in the number one dress with all my awards nicely pinned on it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


She has completed her Law Degree! I can feel how relieved and jubilated she must feel now.

Last night her class celebrated their graduation dinner at Prince Hotel. S. Muhd Alwi CEO of FIDAF graciously accepted to be their main sponsor and after a gruelling Melbourne-KL-Kuantan travel still made it to the dinner.

Fate has it that she was just like her dad in as far as tertiary education was concerned. Imagine having to undergo a Diploma course not to her liking (but she still did very well - attaining Dean's list every semester!).

She spent 2.5 years doing her Diploma and 4 years for her degree = 6.5 years.

Compared to her dad, I had to undergo 2 years in Form six, 1 year in first year Diploma fishery and 5 years doing DVM = 8 years.

Thanks God she is on her way to achieve her dreams. Congratulation Diyana, you make us, parents and siblings alike, very proud.

Be patient, knowing you, we're very sure soon you'll be employed. In the mean time, please enjoy and make full use of your free time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Do you know that one of the earliest disposable item to be sold was our razor blade? At that time it was laughable when someone buy something that was thrown out after a short usage.

Before the introduction of disposable razor blade, men and women were using knives, swords or even an axe (as in the case of the shaving of the boy who saved Singapore from the attack of Todak).

Engineers worked extra hard to come up with something practical and profitable. Producing thin metals in bulk was no easy feat.

Finally a disposable razor blade came into being. Then the rest was history and most of us who shaves takes thing for granted, changing blades all the time without realizing how two razor balde giants - Gilette and Schick were and still are fighting over them.

Both companies have shaving labs and call volunteers to come in and shave in their own way. Hidden cameras were there to record all the details of the shaving process. Some used only a few continuous strokes while others used so many short strokes.

First there was the single blade razor...then came the twin blade, threee blades, four blades and the latest is the five blade version.

Though electric shaving machine has been introduced in the market, men and women still prefer the razor blades to shave off either their facial hairs or hairs from other parts of the body!


Albatross chicks died with stomach full of plastic beads, fishing lines, plastic bags and even plastic lighters!

Can you imagine how frustrated it is for the chicks when their mothers bring back plastics instead of fish? In the ocean, plastics look just like fish!

Oceanographers were startled when their sieve nets (normally used for studying planktons) captured plastics instead of planktons.

Our oceans are turning into a huge bowl of plastic soup!

Polymers of plastics are not bio-degradable. Where do these plastics come from? Not from the sky I presume. Humans (selfish and irresponsible at that) are the real culprits.

These people practise : "Out of sight out of mind for plastics". They throw plastic wastes into oceans when people are not watching!

One of the toxic chemicals from plastics is Bisphenol A. In oceans they act as estrogen, causing endocrine disturbances in aquatic animals.

A word of caution: Clear baby bottle also releases Bisphenol A when it is used to store water for 24 hours. In fact, plastic fluid containers should never be reused for storing water...I have to stop this at once, for it has been our common practice to do that with empty fruit juice bottles!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


After a lapse of about five years, finally the Recreation Centre and Mini Zoo Kemaman was officially opened by YAB Menteri Besar Terengganu on 11 April 2009.

I gate-crashed the function - I felt that I just had to be there to share the moment that our future generations may thank us for the Mini Zoo.

According to MB the mini zoo was actually the biggest zoo in Malaysia, in term of size...about 160 plus hectares...bigger than Zoo Melaka, Zoo Taiping or even Zoo Negara.

As for the number of animal exhibits, well it was just beginning. It still had a long way to go in term of animal species. I have to fore-warn MPK that it should take care that all animals brought in should be done so in the correct way. Do not repeat what had happened in the case od Zoo Negara's chimpanzees!

Though I still do not have the time to walk around the entire zoo's compound, I cannot but say that I was awed at their planning. I love their attitude of not disturbing mother nature too much. Their well-planned canopy walkways for sure will attract many.

During the opening ceremony MB did touch a lot about the history of the site, Kg Bukit Takal. It was where my late uncle was killed by tigers, that was way back in the fifties or was it late forties?


The farm looked serene even from the outside. Tyres had to be sprayed (forgot to ask what they used for disinfection). They could not use chemical disinfection if they were serious about their organic label.

An Indonesian caretaker led us into the farm and pre-briefed us while waiting for their bosses, Norhana Pettire and Mr Wong, to arrive.

Norhana and Mr Yap arrived in less than 30 minutes from their office in KL.

First we were shown their own Effective Microbes (EM) and
their special Chickens' tonic. For the EM, they used locally available Lactobacillus using among other ingredients their own goat's milk.

It was the tonic that attracted me most. It was a big glass jar filled with a concoction of galanga, tumeric, garlic and other what-nots. Its sweetish smelling aroma made it really appetizing for the chickens. It was said to boost the chickens' immune system.

From the lush staghorn ferns Mr Wong told us that at first he was wondering why durian trees with staghorn ferns did better. Then he discovered that they were the photosenthesizing bacteria and some forms of fungus at the base of the ferns that were responsible for making the durian trees more productive.

He then brought us to his lazy-man's garden. It was a small plot of organic vegetables and herbs. The earth was covered with opened-up paper boxes and compost materials are put on the paper boxes. So, the workers did not have to do weeding any more - there was no weeds growing!

The purple lady's finger was something else. Despite of myself not being a vege lover, it was sweet to taste when I was forced to chew on it.

As for herbs, the male chekor, mas cotek, etc grew very well on the moist and fertile compost.

Then we went to the composting site. Dead chickens, snakes, goat and chicken droppings were all collected, EM added and covered so as to produce the best compost I had ever seen. They also used compost worms to hasten the process.

Finally, we were brought to the paddocks where chickens were allowed to roam free. Each paddock housed maximum 1,000 chickens. They used guinea grass as the pasture species (I first thought that it was Napier grass - it was very tall for guniea).

In each paddock they placed a tunnel-shaped shelter specially designed so that the internal temperature was always 4 degrees lower than the ambient temperature.

Chickens were first reared in houses till they were 2 months old. Then only they were moved to the paddocks where they were kept until they were 80 days old.

No vaccine, antibiotics and chemicals were used. They used a lot of galanga, garlic, tumeric and even bakawali in their chicken feed. Corn was boiled in large kawah using firewood.
Crickets were also given to the chickens as protein source.

These organic chickens were sold mainly in KL at RM12/kg. Tun Jean was one of the patron of these special chickens.

Tilapis thrived on chickens' guts. The fingerlings were used as food for the expensive gobies (Ketutu).

The farm disproved people's belief that poultry farm caused pollution. There were no flies around the farm. All they used were containers with holes at the top for the adult female flies to come in and lay their eggs and holes at the bottom for the larvae to crawl out. They crawl out right into the ketutu ponds!

There was also no bad smell emanating from the chicken house. They used EM and charcoals to remove most of the ammonia.
I had dug up a seven year old chicken litter that had been treated - there was no smell at all!

We were treated with delicious young coconuts. For straw we used the stem of papaya leaf!

Finally, Mr Yap told me that the 6-acre farm yielded RM1.5 million annually.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Last Saturday, that was 11 April, my wife and I went to the official opening of Kemaman's Recreation and Mini Zoo, Bukit Takal by YAB Menteri Besar Terengganu.

I will tell more about the mini zoo in another entry, may be later. For now what I want to tell was what happened after the ceremony.

After an invigorating canopy walk in the mini zoo, we decide to have lunch at the famous chicken rice joint in Kg mak Chili.

We ordered four chicken rice - one for me to be eaten there, and three for take-away. The rice was delicious.

A newly wed couple, with still fresh hennaed fingers, sat next to our table. Once in a while she glanced at me, perhaps she recognised me frrom somewhere.

Then came a family. They pulled out tables to seat their family members. Then I heard the mother calling a family member's name - Aiman.

Aiman? Is she my blogger friend? I looked at the children's faces - yes, they looked familiar.

We left the chicken rice shop with the question still hanging unanswered.

Next morning Kak Moon sent me an sms asking me whether I was going for my brisk walk. I said no as I was going for health screening in Hospital Kemaman.

I asked her whether Aiman's family had dropped by her house yesterday. She said yes.

Then it was true what we had thought. It was indeed Aiman Amani and her family at the chicken food joint yesterday!

Aiman, if you read this entry, please accept my apology for not 'tegur'ing you. I knew it was you, but I was afraid that it was another Aiman. Please forgive me.

The moral of the story: When you think you have met someone you know, tegur je...or otherwise you will regret it later

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I hope you all know what cicadas are. Cicadas are noisy insects that normally make forests their home, but sometimes they occasionally foray into our homes, even in the cities.

They come in various shape and colours. The ones that normally frequent our homes are the black ones. They are quite big. Next in size is the green ones - I adore them for their singing and grace.

The smallest one that I have seen is those that live on durian and forest trees that I have mentioned before. They are just about 1-1.5 cm long, but their voice is the loudest and of the highest pitch!

They are riang-riang in Bahasa Melayu. I remember darting them on durian trees when I was in Kampung Gajah. The dart did not actually hurt them as it normally pierced their empty abdomen.

Also, strangely there are people out there who are scared of cicadas!

What I want to share with you all is their strange metamorphosis - life-cycle from eggs to adults.

After mating, the female lays her eggs inside a tree twigs. There the eggs hatch and after hatching the young cicadas (larvae) fall to the forest floor. They then dig hole in the ground searching for roots where they feed on.

Inside the ground they will stay for, believe it or not, as long as 17 years! Only after this long period that they emerge from the ground as nymphs.

The nymphs then will climb trees, shed their insect exoskeleton and become adults.

Their adults life is sadly very short - just for two weeks. That's why they make so much noise - just to attract members of opposite sex to breed and propagate their species.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The edible swiftlet nest industry is easily a multi-million ringgit industry.

In Bahasa Melayu, there is no word for a result many people confuse swiftlets for swallows...Swallows are burung layang-layang

In Indonesian language, swiftlets are walet...

So, we adopt the word walet...

Swiftlets are not swallows. Swiftlets are small, have rudimentary feet. They do almost everything (I mean it) while flying...eating, drinking, copulating while flying...

If you saw a bird perching on electric lines, then it is not a swiftlet...

If you see bird droppings on a car parked overnight underneath electric lines, then rest assured swiftlets are not at fault...

If you hear loud noises, they too are not made by swiftlets, but most probably by the gregarious mynahs, starlings or calling machines by swiftlet farmers!

These are why swiftlets are often blamed for something they are not responsible for.

Their nests are made largely of their saliva...their medicinal values? Well, I don't believe such craps...I will not pay that kind of money for their dried-up saliva!

Well, some people are willing to risk their lives and limbs just to collect the nests from high-up caves...

In Pahang and everywhere in Malaysia, dull blocks mushroom here and there to entice swiftlets to build their nests in there...

Many will be able to collect just a few nests after 2-3 years...

It is a matter of luck players are trying their best to attract the youngs...for the olds they are stuck to their old nesting area...

I don't see any reason why old buildings in towns not be used for swiftlets rearing...

Friday, April 3, 2009



this morning we could still take our bath instead of being bathed by someone else...

today we still could wear beautiful clothes instead of being forced to wear the all-white...

today we still drive a car and carrying passengers instead of being the sole passenger and driven by many...

today we still live in a big house sharing with the ones we love instead of living in one that is small and only fit for us alone...

today we still can enjoy eating meat instead of we being the meat for lowly creepers and creatures down there...

I do hope we all (me included) understand what I am trying to say...they are words I heard from a young Ustaz during our weekly tazkirah just now...

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Suddenly I remember Dusty Fogg, Mark Counter, Yzebel Kid and Waco - members of the Floating Outfit.

They are heroes of the Western era created by prolific author J.T Edson.

It was in Seremban, that public library and second hand book store, that I was first introduced to Western novels.

It sort of became a part of me then. Remember the way we carried our hands - close to the imaginary guns ready for a .42 second draw, just like Clint Eastwood in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Dusty Fogg was portrayed as a tough no-nonsense respected leader of the gang - the floating outfit. Though small in built, he possessed a strenght close to that of his giant friend, Mark Counter and a lightning draw, faster than any other western hombre, some said even faster and more accurate then Billy the Kid himself.

Mark Counter was a hulking hombre whose drawing capability is very close to Dusty. Once he wrestled a full grown grizzly bear which Dusty had mistakenly shot and missed.

Yzebel Kid or just the Kid to his friends, was a half-bred and was always in all-black leather uniform. He was extremely good with his knife and short-gun.

Very little was known about Waco. He was a very loyal and good friend to all members of the Floating outfit.

Though it has been many many years since I last read Western novels, there was this one episode I think worth making a movie. It was an episode where a group of crooks tried to swindle a piece of land owned by an old lady.

The lady was in fact the adopted mother of Mark Counter (if I am not mistaken). Realizing that she was no match for the marauding land-grabbers, she immediatel telegraphed Mark.

Mark was alone then. He was on a mission somewhere. He immediately contacted Dusty Fogg. Dusty then telegraphed all his top-gun friends to rescue the old lady.

In the nick of time when the crooks were on the verge of burning down the old lady's house, there they were - Dusty Foff, Mark Counter, Billy the Kid, Yzabel Kid, Waco and many more - all ready to shoot.

These words were heard coming frrom the gang of land robbers:

"Look at that! Those are the fastest gun we are dealing with. I'm not waiting...."

They were all dead before they could even start to ride off.