Monday, June 29, 2009


It was raining that afternoon as we reached Karak Highway after leaving my niece at Second College, University Malaya.

As I was manoevering an S bend at Km 71 I felt my Citra was losing its grip on the slippery road. It suddenly spinned may be two or three time on the inner side of the curve, hitting the concrete divider a few times.

I did not apply the brake at all, but just tried to control the spinning car by holding on tightly to the steering wheel.

My wife was shouting "Abah! Abah!

The car stopped with its front end facing the on-coming cars!

I was numb-struck, did not react as fast as I would want to.

I just sat there in my seat for a few seconds.

Diyana leaned against the steering wheel and pushed hard on the horn, warning the on-coming cars about our stalled car.

The I woke up from the numbness. I tried to start the car but could not (later I realized why - the gear was still on the Drive mode!).

A tow-truck operator was shouting from the divider for us to get out of the car fast. That we did, but crossing the busy highway was not that easy.

My wife was sobbing near the divider. Diyana held her and tried to calm her down.

My wife and Diyana got into the MTD car. Surpsisingly the officers of MTD just sat there doing nothing. Surprising us more they just drove off the scene of the accident as if they did nit care.

Seven cars were involved in the one-by-one spinning accident. First it was a Volvo. Then it was us followed by a Wira, An Iswara, a Gen-2 and I forgot about the make of the other three cars.

All of us thought that the tow-truck operators most probably was responsible for the accidents. A spray of oil on the road could easily have done that desired effect!

With the hazard lights on I drove the car to Karak Police Station. Writing the police report was easy with the help of the attending constable. But waiting for the AIO was painful.

After more than two hours he came. All he did was to take pictues of our cars. Without further investigation, he wrote us police summons under Rule 10 - not handling the car well.

Could you imagine how I had felt!

I let my driver from Bentung to drive my car back to Bentung office. I drove home in a Nissan X-trail still feeling the phobia effect of the accident.

Thank God we were safe. So too were all the drivers of the seven ill-fated cars.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Time flies...suddenly our eldest, Noorul Diyana, is reporting for her first job.

This coming 1st July, she will be reporting at the Attorney General Chambers in Putrajaya. Of course we will be there, the whole family, may be minus Syafiq.

Finally, she made up her mind, with great difficulty at that. She had to choose between Security Commission, Petronas and AG Chambers.

She had to forget about Petronas for a while as they need the official release letter from Yayasan Telekom Malaysia - her sponsor.

No, she is not running away from YTM, it is just that there is no legal work there. She might end up doing sales if she was to go there. She doesn't want to do that after finishing the gruelling 4-year law degree!

Why AG? First, because it is a government department, may be YTM can accept it. Second, she can be called to the bar after one year working in AG - thus she could escape from the torture chamber of Chambering!

Still remember how proud I was when she was at the AG recently for her interview. In her all black dress and long coat, she stood tall among her other legal friends.

She was no more my small girl...she is soon to be a legal practitioner!

We hope and pray that she will be successful in her career. Who knows, may be she will be an state LA, Federal court judge, or even the Lord matter what, we hope that she will have a happy life doing what she likes best.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Yesterday I was at the Biodiversity Institute, Bukit Rengit, Lancang for giving a welcoming speech for Epidemiology course participants on behalf of the DG.

The Institute together with Deerland, Elephant Training School and the early-implementation-stages Stem Cell Research Centre were located in the rich Kelau Reserve - a haven for nature lovers like me.

Imagine coming across a Fire-crested pheasant casually crossing the road, just like any normal village chicken!

As there was ample time before the ceremony, I dropped by at the Kuala Gandah Elephant training school next door.

"Is Lukimala araound?" I asked a lady at the registration counter.
"You know Lukimala?" She asked me looking surprised.

"Yeah, we both knew each other. We were together in Jerangau some twenty years plus ago in an interesting elephant translocation project."

"I see...Lukimala is training right now. May be you can see her nearby."

Azlan drove me around and from far I saw five elephants grazing in the secondary jungle along the road. Lukimala was happily grazing on the wild grasses. With her were four other domesticated elephants. One was from Myanmar and the other three were elephants caught from states in Malaysia and they were being trained as denak elephants.

Lukimala must be a great grand she elephant now...maybe more than 80 years old. She still looked healthy and strong.
Wished I had time to explore Kelau Nature Reserve. Heard that there are tigers, seladang (wild cattle), rhinos and other wild animals in there just waiting to be appreciated.
After a delicious lunch I bade farewell to Hatta, the Director of IBD. He graciously presented me with posters of birds and a bottle of pure Kelau reserve honey!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


First it was the Security Commission (SC), then it the Attorney General (AG) Chambers and just before the AG interview she received an SMS from Petronas Carigali asking her to come for an interview the coming Monday!

With SC she is just waiting for her Medical Check-up results. If it is ok (I think so) she will definitely got a post there.

With AG she did well too at her interview. Tan Sri Ghani Patael the AG and his panel of interviewers gave the answer five minutes after the interview. She came down beaming breaking the good news to me who had been waiting for ages at the lobby.

While at the AG chamber that I realized how matured she was now, in her all black dress and coat. She stood tall among many other law graduates. She talked freely and confidently with them on legal matters that they thought would be asked by the interviewers.

A lawyer at Petronas Carigali was impressed with her works when she did her practicals there during her second year. All these while she is keeping her fingers crossed waiting to be called in. That she got a few minutes before the AG interview. The lady there told her the interview would just be a formality - meaning she has already got the job!

When I asked her what would be her final decision, she confidently said that of course it will be Petronas!

Alhamdulillah. We are very happy to share her good fortune. She deserves all that is coming to her. We wish her all the success in her future working life.

Congratulation my dear, you have made us all proud. You have struggled a lot in arriving the place you are in now. Forget about the past and move on with your life.

We all always pray for your continuing success in life.

Friday, June 5, 2009


WE DON'T INHERIT THE EARTH BUT BORROW IT FROM OUR GRAND AND GREAT GRANDCHILDREN - there goes the slogan emphasizing our responsibility towards up-keeping and maintaining the world we live in.

Looking after the environment is the responsibility of each and everyone of us. No one is exempted from this duty.

Still remember how I used to get into heated debate with my late uncle about the issue of the government banning the shooting of tigers.

"Why shouldn't we shoot tigers and wild pigs? Give me proof, either Holy Quran verses or hadiths!" My late uncle asked and challenged me.

It was a challenge really for me to find the proof. Well, I didn't jump straight away into it, but it took me quite some times before I found the verse.

With the help of an ustaz I found a verse saying that humans are responsible for keeping the eath in equilibrium - a broad order indeed if you think about it seriously.

What is equilibrium? The earth is created in suach a way that it is always in equilibrium. Most of the time it is the hands of us humans that disturb this equlibrium.

Go back to the tiger and wild pigs issue. Superficially we do not see the importance of the banning tiger and wild pigs shooting.

But if you dig deeper you will see the reason. Tigers, being carnivorous, are created to keep the number of herbivores and omnivores in check. With no tigers around the number of wild pigs will increase so much that they will become pests to human agricultural activities. But if there is no wild pigs around, tigers have less food and they will then turn to domestic animals such as cattle, goats and sheep as food.

The explanation is very simple, but true no doubt.

Swamps are created as natural air-conditioners, why then we unnecessarily fill them up? Then we complain why is it that it is too hot.

Jungles are created as natural reservoir of water and to prevent flooding when there is very heavy rain. Then why we fell all the trees just for the sake of development?

Hills and mountains are created as anchor of the earth and as protectors against storms and hurricanes. Then why we easily bulldozed them just to build houses?

Rivers, seas and oceans are there for many reasons. Then why we simply turn them into our giant rubbish bin?

Wild animals have a place too on this earth. We should share the earth's bounty. Do not kill just so that we could have an exotix dish and for our libido! How many animal species have become extinct and in endangered list just because some people want to fulfill their desire.

Wake up before it is too late. The earth needs our attention. Love her and she will love you more in return.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Kerapu tikus

Groupers or in Portuguese Garoupas and in Malay Ikan Kerapu are by any standard not beautiful fish. In fact save for a few species, they are outright ugly looking.

But, they are very good to eat! Ask any sea-food lover around, for sure they will pick groupers over other fishes anytime, be it steamed, masak tiga rasa (three flavoured recipe) or just deep fried and splashed with chilli.

I remember they are not popular at all in Kemaman way back in the sixties. Malays then normally don't like groupers and for that matter it was difficult to find them in any fish market. But that was then, now they are highly priced and in Pasar Payang there was (I don't know whether she is still there now) a lady specializing in selling good sized groupers and other expensive fish species and her hands were full of gold bangles and her necklace was so thick!

Groupers are strange in their reproductive behaviour. They are what we called protogynous hermaphrodite - their youngs are predominantly female but they will transform into males as they grow larger around 10-12 kg. Usually males have a harem of 3-15 females. When there is no males around, a female, usually the largest one, will turn into a male.

Triggerfish or we Terengganu people call Ikan jebong and some Perakians prefer to call them ikan ayam-ayam is another fish I would like to talk about here.

They are equipped with razor sharp teeth and very thick jacket-like skin. In the sea, divers will tell that they are very territorial and will not hesitate to attack you when it feel threatened.

When you decide to buy them at the market please make sure that you ask the fishseller to clean them up first. It is very difficult to remove its skin if you don't know how. If you want to roast it then you better leave the skin alone.

Triggerfish has a thick, rough but quite good to eat flesh. I normally make it into a fish curry. My children will all fight over it.

But, like other things, they are quite expensive now and not very commonly found in the market. A good sized triggerfish may cost you RM 12-15. It was given free most often when I was in the primary school!

There are two species of tuna commonly found in Terengganu fish markets. They are the Eastern little tuna (Euthynnus affinis) or also called kawakawa or Aya kurik in Terengganu Malay dialect and Aya hitam, the Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol).

Aya kurik has a tougher meat with a larger proportion of black flesh. They are more popular but cheaper compared to Aya hitam.

Aya kurik

Aya hitam has a whiter and finer flesh and I love aya hitam more.
I think Yellow fin tuna is still the best tuna around, but it is not available in Terengganu. I had tasted it once in Labuan.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


"Ma, why is it that Grandma next door always cursing?" A child next door asked het mother after all the time hearing my grandmother uttering the word "patak" (Tereangganu dialect for the word 'pantat' .

Her mother did not know the answer and had to ask my mother.

My mother explained. Actually Terengganu people referred the bottom part of thing such as bottom part of a sarong, a wok, a pan, etc as 'patak'. eg patak kaing, patak kuali, patak belanga

Then they all laughed at my mother's explanation.

Another Terengganu word that normally makes other people to raise their eye-brows is the word 'berahi'. We say 'Saya berahi sangak cerita hindustan' (I really love hindustani films).

'Berahi' brings the meaning of sexually aroused instead of like when we Terengganu people speak!

Certain words have totally opposite meanings. Take for example the words 'burit' and 'pantat'. For the Sabahans 'burit' means buttock and 'pantat' means 'burit'. So don't go crazy when a Sabahan says 'burit' to you as he slapped your buttock! By the way 'Burit' is the female private parts.

In Indonesia it is worst. Imagine this scenario: "Ke mana Pak?" (Where are you going uncle?) you asked an elderly man one evening at the beach. "Mencari burit." he answered casually.

What the heck? A pious man looking for girls? Hold on for a second. That was not what he meant. What he meant was that he was waiting for sunset! He was waiting to enjoy the beautiful sunset by the beach. "Burit' in Indonesia means sunset or the bottom part of a ship!

Now we go to Kelantan. In Kelantan we never ask a livestock farmer this: "Pak cik ada bela lembu?" (Do you keep cattle?"
The word 'bela' brings the meaning of keeping women for immoral purposes. That's why he will frown on you when you asked that question. Instead, you should have used the word 'pelihara'.

Sorry, I am not being vulgar but just trying to illustrate how damaging it can be if you used wrong words in places that you visit. Same words can have totally different meaning altogether in different places. So be careful.


Still remember how startled was my father when he heard a son referring to his father as 'you' in a programme over the television when Malaysian TV made its debut in the early sixties.

He just could not tolerate it any longer when a son calling his father "John" (by his name)! "Biadap" (rude) he shouted.

It was and still is not the way we Malays refer to our elders, be it a father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, brother or sister.

It is a taboo for a Malay youngster to refer to his/her elders by name. It is just unaccepted.

It is our culture that we respect our elders, even if they were not our relatives.

That is why we refer our elders as:

Father - ayah, abah, papa, abu, walid
Mother - Mak, Umi
Grandmother - Nenek, Tok wan, Opah, Nek
Granfather - Tok Ki, Aki, Tok
Elder brother - abang, bang
Elder sister - Kakak, kak, akak
Elder man
(even unrelated)- Pak Cik, Uncle + his name
Elder woman
(even unrelated)- Mak Cik, Auntie + her name
Older man - Abang, bang + his name (nickname)
Younger man - Adik, Dik
Younger woman - Be careful! Don't refer her as Adik/Dik
if she was already married. Just called
her Puan
Older woman - Kakak, kak
Old man - Tok, Tok Ki, Atok
Old woman - Wan, Tok wan, Tok
Married women - Puan
Single women - Cik

I hope this will be useful fo foreigners coming to Malaysia

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I was first introduced to the world of fighting fish when I was in standard five (1965).

I forgot who was the one responsible for it, but all I remember was I was so attracted to the bright colours of the fish when it saw itself in a mirror or when another male was placed near.

I was not keen in fish fighting. It was very cruel. Unlike spider fighting, which is often very short and non-damaging to both parties, fish fighting often results in serious bodily damage to one or both gladiators and most often the winner would not stop the fight without human intervention.

It was the search or the hunt for good fighting fish that was far more interesting to me.

It began with the identification of most probable site or the location where they are available. Normally it was the swampy area where there were nooks and corners with very shallow water.

Fighting fish pairs normally choose isolated and shallow spots to build their nests. Only discerning eyes could detect the most probable sites.

Sometimes I had to bend over and lift overhanging leaves in order to be able to detect the nests. The more experienced the couple the more concealed the nest. Sometimes there was only one or two inches of water making up the nest.

The firs evidence of a nest was the presence of bubbles on the water surface.

Finding one cluster of bubbles, I gently scooped (using both my hands) below the bubbles making sure the fish underneath did not escape.

The male fish was then placed in a bottle. The female was let loose.

The colour of the bubbles would determine the age and ferocity of the fish. From my personal observation I noticed that rustic bubbles produced matured and ferocious fish and clean white bubbles were usually made by young and inexperienced fish.

The sensation of the fish knocking against your hand as you tried to surround it with your hands also determined its ferocity.

A fish with a downward curving mouth-parts was usually a good fighter compared to the straight-mouthed.

The hunt was said to be incomplete without catching one or more leeches on our feet!

The newly caught male fish were placed in separate bottles to prevent fighting. They were placed next to each other in transparent glass bottles so that the sight of another male around would trigger them into fighting frenzy, complete with colour changes and wild body, tail and mouth movements!

I also placed the fish in dark places, such as, believe it or not, in stumps of banana stems just so that the fish develop the colour intensity needed.

As for fish food I normally used mosquito larvae and small insects.

My most memorable experience was when a MARA officer offered to buy my entire catch for the day for RM5.oo.


Very early every morning and without fail he will be there, atop the roof of either my house or my next-door neighbour's, singing melodiously for two to three minutes.

"Hi Mr Magpie Robin, what is is it that you're trying to tell us? Hope that you're telling us some good news!" there goes my wife the minute she hears him singing.

I'm not sure whether the bird is trying to tell us something, but it for sure is a very good alarm clock!

At least it awakens us early so that we could be ready for dawn prayers.

At least it tells us to wake up and get ready for the challenges of the new day.

At least it reminds us that there is more to life than sleeping.

Thank you and Good Morning Mr Magpie Robin!


The debate is hotting up - to allow or disallow one very old man, Chin Peng to come back to his home in Malaysia.

Off the cuff I'm sure most of us are against the idea. He had done far too many brutalities in his lifetime to be forgiven.

I still remember seeing with my own eyes how his followers butchered many of my father's colleague in an ambush along the Malaysia-Thai border in the sixties. Still can vividly recalled the bullet-riddled bodies and the crying widows and children.

When I asked my father about the issue he immediately said that he was totally against the idea. I knew why. He was a Police Field Force (as they were called then) sergeant once.

He had lost friends and had seen friends maimed and crippled by the communists. So it is just futile to explain to him the rationale of allowing him back.

We his children had also suffered a lot because of them, the communists.

We had to celebrate many Hari Raya Aidilfitri on our own without my father around. Worse still, he had to leave for the border one or two nights before the big day!

Once I had to make my way to the school on my own. We just moved to Tanjong Rambutan Police Field Force and for the first time I had to go back to school by train from Tg Rambutan to Tg Malim. I was just thirteen then and it was my first train ride!

Coming back to the issue of Chin Peng I think it is of everyone's interest to just let him stay outside of Malaysia. His presence here will benefit no one. His return will bring more harm to him and his haters here in Malaysia.

To you Chin Peng, stay put where you are now and reflex on what you had done and what you had ordered your people to do onto those who opposed your ideas.

Try count how many dead bodies you had directly or indirectly produced. Remember Balai Polis Bukit Kepong? I am sure you can imagine how they had died defending the Balai.

Though many of those who had fought him and his followers had passed away, the small number that still survive and their children and grandchildren still remember what you had done to them.

So, just stay where you are now and be thankful that you're still alive. Delete any idea of ever coming back to Malaysia. People here just don't want you!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Passing of a brother-in-law

Nordin, my brother-in-law, passed away at 7.30 Saturday's morning after being comatose for about three months.

He left a widow (my sister) and eight children.

He suffered a second attack of stroke. The doctor asked us to bring him home for there was nothing much more that they could do to him.

He was in coma ever since. Only his right hand and leg moved involuntarily from time to time.

What amazed me was his sons. They really looked after their father very well.

His good deeds when he was still alive brought many to visit him, both when he was still in coma and when he passed away.

It was strange that his passing brought many distant relatives, friends and even teachers that I had not met for years to me.

He was put to rest in a grave beneath a canopy of two large cashew nut trees. May Allah blessed him and placed him among His beloveds.