Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Ops Sikap has ended. More than 200 motorists and road users died. Why this has to happen?

In their eagerness to go back to their kampungs to celebrate Hari Raya, they, for reasons known only to them, are willing to lose their hard-earned properties and lives just to arrive home as quick as possible.

Break as many traffic laws as possible, never mind, as long as they make it to their villages.

They will go on driving, even when their eyes and body tell them that they are sleepy and tired.

They will go on speeding even when it is raining and the road is slippery.

They will chase after a car when the passing car misbehaves slightly...more so when the passing car is of smaller power dimension than theirs.

They often drive in anger, knowing well that anger makes them lose consideration and wisdom.

What is wrong with us Malaysians when we are on the road?

We're still as a whole very polite on the street (are we still?), but as soon as we seat ourselves behind the steering wheel, invisble horns start to grow up on our heads.

We become hyperirritable and among few, almost stanic with other road users. A very slight misdemeanour, well things like cutting queues, slight honking, disrespectful overtaking, a bit slower driving, etc etc will transform many of us into road bullies or devils to be more exact!

When death figures go up we blame the police, the JPJ...we always blame others for whatever happens...the bangau or bangau (crane and frog story) syndrome...

Annually, roughly 6000 lives are lost through road accidents, almost equalling the number of deaths due to heart problems.

Eerie, isn't it?

Motorists, when they are on the road, behave as if they are driving a tank, indestructible and immortal. They swerve in and out of the traffic with little regards of their fragility. A slight knock against any part of their motorcycle will send them hurtling into the air.

I have seen a big bike breaking its front wheel as it over-manouvering a sharp bend and sending the rugged-looking biker flying metres into the air and landed heavily on the road reserve, breaking his neck in the process.

Besides speed, driving too slow on the right lane, as if they are on their honeymoon, is another big reason for accident to happen.

These drivers drive as if they were the only drivers on the road. Never for once they look into their rear mirror to see a long queue is following their cars.

They make blood boils in many who had to follow behind. Whenever there is just a slight chance, they then overtake, at a horrendous speed and taking unnecessary risk most of the time.

Not all such drivers own a BMW or a Merc or other fast moving cars. You know what will happen next.

I'm not sure for how long more we Malaysians will be involved in our festivities transmigration, rush home things. The extra-long holidays are highly correlated with the high road accident statistics.

Are these rush home things really necessary any more in this trying times?

Scenarios are already showing where people celebrate their festivals in their home. They do not move much.

This is true when the first generations are no more with us...when the call of balik kampung will become less and less, especially among the third generation members...

It has never been my intention to encourage Malaysians to forget or neglect our parents...we can easily do so by much less risky ways...we can visit them more regularly at some other times, rather than concentrating on these busy festival holidays.

The present ICT will also alleviate our longings for our parents back home...

Have more video conferences among family members, rather than involving ourselves in computer games and other what-nots that people do nowadays...

A simple hello over the hp or an sms of beautiful words to parents should take over sms after sms between boy and girl friends...

Enough is enough...let us all strive for death-free festivals in the years to come...

We ourselves have to do something about it, not the police, the government or the JP officers...



He was the sole survivor of five. His mother gate-crashed into our house a few weeks after we moved in.

She gave birth to five beautiful multi-coloured kittens right smack on our old sofa. The cushions were all soaked wet and slimy with her uterine fluid.

Out of pity perhaps, we accepted their presence. We raised them, initially they were only allowed to be on the outside the house.

Slowly however, we had soft spot for the kittens, they ventured into the house.

Kamal used the abandoned rabbit cage for keeping them out of mischiefs. The mother and kittens grew well (the mother was still growing when she got pregnant).

One day, I accidentally reversed my car and ran over the mother. She was seriously injured. Just before she breathed her last, she ran over to her kittens and gave her last look at her new generation and died.

Everybody was grieved for her death. I felt so bad that I even dreamed of the accident.

Kamal buried her in the empty lot (now overgrown with Imperata cylindrica) next to the Indah Water sewage treatment plant.

Her kittens were left to be on their own. They missed the training period other kittens normally get from their mother.

As time went by, only Stocking, was left in our care. His other siblings were either dead or went missing.

Stocking grew fast. But it became clear that he sorely missed his mother. He did not know much about life.

He does not know how to look for food, except wait for food to be given to him.

He clearly lacks self confidence especially in protecting his territory, that is our housing compound.

He is so scared of the wandering tomcat who frequently gets into his territory and bullies him around.

Many a times I saw him scrambling up the metal railing just to escape form the bully, urinating all over the car porch along the way.

He is more than two years now, but he behaves just like he is still a kitten - meowing for food when he is hungry.

He also lacks motor skill. Things as easy, for a cat at least, as climbing up and down the metal railing, will be so troublesome for him. He has many times injured his hind legs while climbing down the house sliding door.

By his physical structure he could easily beat the bully, but no, not Stocking. He let the bully to continuously harass him.

Pity Stocking, the orphaned cat. He seemed alone in the cat world. Once he was romantically involved in an under-aged female. More than once he tried to seduce her, but it was him who was shelved around.

But, as they say, sexual desire does not have to be taught. He managed to perform when we were not looking (our guess). For not very long after that, she showed signs of being pregnant.

Soon after she gave birth to three kittens, two of them resembled Stocking in many ways.

Not to repeat the previous mistake we gave them away soon after the kittens opened their eyes.

We wonder what will happen next to Stocking? Will he survive the challenges of being a full grown tomcat? Only time will tell. The signs are positive. Now once in a while he braves himself and wanders out of his unforced prison - outside our housing compund that is.

Monday, September 28, 2009


First there was the ferry. Buses, cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles and people were brought across the Kemaman river. It took sometime for them to get across as they had to wait for the ferry to unload its passengers and then make the return trip.

I don't think many of the younger generations could imagine how many ferries we had to get in to reach Kuala Terengganu from Chukai. First the ferry at Chukai river in town, then at Bukit Kuang, Kertih, Paka, Dungun....

Then in 1964 (if my memory is right) the Bukit Kuang Bridge was built. What a fine bridge it was, for that time there was a very light traffic using it.

I remember I did a lot of fishing on the bridge. Garupas were really biting those days. There were lots of fishes back then. When gerpuh season came there would be hordes of fishing enthusiasts on the bridge trying their luck. Rarely they would go home empty handed.

During high tide, species like sole, mackerel, red snapper, rays and even the shark swam in. One time I even caught myself a giant ray using a bait of entire squid!

But now, after more than 40 years since it first carried its passengers across the river, it is an old bridge by any standard. The heavy traffic causes massive traffic jam at peak hours.

Meaning no disrespect to it, the ole Bukit Kuang bridge has just got to be upgraded...a new bridge has to be built to take off half of the load it had to carry now.

Bukit Kuang folks have got to be prepared for their land to be acquired for the construction of the bridge and the connecting road. Houses have got to give way for the new bridge.

May be the original Kampung Bukit Kuang, the village where I grew up, will soon be no more. The kampung where my late grandfather, Ibrahim Long, Pok Mang and Syed Noh (the pioneers), they all agreed to come home and stay for the night every night. They did so to make sure that the ladies and the children were safe. Bukit Kuang then was unlike the present kampung.

Now, only the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the three pioneers live in the village. My mother was the sole surviving child of Ibrahim Long. Pok Mang is survived by a few daughters & sons and many grandchildren....


Last Sunday for the third time I lectured some 24 students, mostly females, of Bachelor of Animal Science Programme over in University Darul Iman, Kuala Terengganu (just in front of Hospital Kuala Terengganu) on Animal Anatomy.

There was a change in schedule that morning. I was supposed to conduct practical sessions on Endocrine system in the morning and Cardiovascular system in the afternoon.

As there was nothing very much of endocrine tissues were left intact in the goat cadavers, Dr Aziz suggested that I gave a lecture on Blood, Lymphatics and Immune system in the morning and Cardiovascular system for the afternoon practical.

Luckily I was ready for the lecture. The lecture went as planned. Students seemed interested and to my surprise many of them do not know what a lymph node and a spleen was.

There was a Hari Raya party organized by the new cafetaria operator, so I was informed and invited to join in. I did join in for a nasi minyak treat.

After lunch I visited Pok Su Mat over in Lorong Budiman. He and Mok Su Joh were both excited for my visit. They were Diyana's and Syakirin's caretakers when we rented their house next door.

The Cardiovascular system practical went well with the students. To my surprise I was very successful in opening up the heart and show them the way the blood flow through the heart, the pericardium, epicardium, myocardium, endocardium, the atrio-ventricular valves, the semi-lunar valves, the aorta, the vena cava, etc etc

Hj Alias had managed to get me an entire entrails of cattle lung, heart, kidneys, liver and spleen and three hearts for the practicals.

So, I managed to show them what a spleen, a lymph node and a thymus looked like. Strangely I could not find the adrenals.

My last assignment for the semester would be on the 11 October. There will be a test in the morning and practical sessions on Lymphatics, may be Endocrine system in chickens and Avian Digestive and Respiratory systems in the afternoon.

For the test I had passed the questions to Dr Aziz in the morning.

Well, I guessed I'm beginning to like it...may be this will be what I'll do after retirement next year...


1 - L-R : Noorul Amalia, Datin Zainab (Wife), Noorul Diyana
2 - With Dad (Sgt (R) Idris Hussain)
3 - Darling Children L- R : Khairul Syazwan, Noorul Amaliam, Noorul Diyana, Khairul Syafiq
4 - All in the family
5 - Loving couple

Friday, September 18, 2009


Diyana and Syazwan arrived earlier than expected. They even had time to fetch their youngest sister from school (much to the delight of Amalia).

Syazwan had to rendezvous with his sister at Putrajaya. He had to take a Ipoh-KLIA bus. Arriving in KLIA at midnight he had to wait it out till 5.45 when ERL started its service. He had his sahur at Burger King that morning.

Syafiq called to report of his motor accident. A kancil suddenly made a turn and he on his motorbike had to brake...he skidded and injured his butt. For that he received seven stiches (that was according to him).

For that he took an earlier bus...that is at 9.30 19 September instead of on the 22 September as earlier planned.

For us, we are ready for the big day. As for food, there are organic chickens, sultan fish (three huge ones freshly caught from a river in Raub) and two freshly slaughtered Anglo nubian-crosses goats.

We are going to have chevon beriyani, chevin bbq (for the night among family members), chicken satay, etc etc..

It looks like a grand Eid for us this year...

Our house is always open to all...just make sure you call first just to make sure that we are in....we will do a lot of visiting...well may be on the second, third day...

Just drop in...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Eid (Hari Raya) is approaching fast. In 4 or 5 days time Muslims the world over will celebrate Eid, marking their successful Ramadhan fasting.

This is the time of joy. Everybody is busy preparing for that day. Shopping is the name of the game for my wife and children, daughters in particular. My wife and Amalia did it with style. They shopped for new dresses at Alamanda, Putrajaya.

Being the youngest in the family, Amalia is very lucky. She bought dresses and shoes worth almost six hundreds! "Raya sakan Iya tahun ini," she told her brothers. Yes, indeed this year is her best year in term of Hari Raya shopping. It is understandable as Diyana is doing her own shopping for the first time...she is now a lawyer.

Amalia is fast becoming brand conscious...just like her sister. Nicole, Esprit and Bum, just to name a few, are her favourites. We enjoy secretly watching her trying her new baju kurung and shirt.

Syazwan in Ipoh was also busy shopping for his shirts...boys being boys, he just chose t-shirts and jeans.

Syafiq on the other hand, complained that he has not bought anything so far.

My wife has no qualms...she has bought a few pairs of baju kurung already.

As for our house, soon it will get its new bathroom door. The old wooden door is going to be replaced by a new modern looking fibre door.

The old rusty green gate has already been painted with fresh antique ICI paint. The three of us, that is my wife, Amalia and I were responsible for rejuvenating our old gate.

Two goats, a few organic chickens and jelawat fish are coming soon. They are for our Eid feast. We are planning to have chevon beriyani for Hari Raya.

Diayan and Syazwan are coming home tomorrow in Diyana's new Toyota Vios.

Syafiq is coming back only on the second Hari Raya.

Soon, our house will be full of lives again!

We are looking forward for this year's Hari Raya.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This morning as I was waiting for the green light at Chukai's only digital traffic light, my mind suddenly flashed back to arwah Tok Ngah. He was the elder brother of arwah Tok Wan, my grandma.

Most probably, I was sitting right smack on the site of Tok Ngah's house. Actually, long time ago, in the sixties to be more exact, there stood a rather big wooden house at the traffic light.

The house was more of a half-way house or free hotel for relatives as well as wayfarers from Kelantan and Besut back then. I remember seeing so many strangers sleeping in the spacious hall.

They not only slept there, but actually lived there for the duration of their stay in Chukai. They cooked, they had their meals and chatted right into the night there.

The famous Hai Peng Kopitiam was already there, but it was just a small coffee shop then.

I remember going there to buy coffee for Tok Ngah. Back then coffee was just placed in bottles or more often in used condensed milk container - nothing fancy like the present day plastic cups.

In front of Tok Ngah's house, the present day Public Bank perhaps, there stood a bakery. It made wonderful crispy Bengali bread that everybody loved.

I used to bring spoilt Nipah cigarette wrappers there in exchange for free bread, They used it as rope for securing the bread which was wrapped in old newspapers.

According to the late Pak Su Rahman (my mother's younger brother), dignitaries like Dato' Abu Samah, Tan Sri Hamzah AbuSamah's father, used to stop at the house. They were somehow related in some way, that was what he told me.

That means that I have somehow got to dig up from him how and in what way we were related. Searching for my roots has always been my favourite pastime, but things get difficult to find the connection now.

According to arwah Tok Wan (Mek Cik was his name), her mother was Sharifah Fatimah Zahrah from Beserah. She married a non-Syed man by the name of Daud and lived in Besut, thus she did not get the Sharifah name!

Tok Wan was rather low profile and did not want to meet relatives who were all Syeds, Syarifahs and Tuans. She was so humble.

To anybody from Beserah who happens to know Sharifah Fatimah Zaharah or her relatives, please call me. I just want to meet them.

According to my mother, many of Tuans and Syeds in Kemaman back then offered her to bring her to meet with rerlatives in Beserah, but she declined. "I'm a poor lady." That was always her excuse.

Tok Wan and Tok Ngah were very close. I remember very well how they looked after each other. Tok Ngah used to walk all the way from his house to Bukit Kuang, just to visit his sick sister, and vise versa.

A few hours before he passed away, he called his sister close to him to teach him the verses that their mother taught them. The verses that would make the passing away easier...

I always pray that they both were blessed by Allah. They had been very good people - good to everybody.


Suddenly, and without telling his friends of his illness, Sdara Razak Ismail passed away at 4.15 pm 09/09/09.

Nobody knew that he was suffering from chronic diabetes. In fact he was on insulin jab for so long.

What saddened us more was that nobody knew about his hospitaliztion. He was hospitalized for two weeks and he was in ICU all that period.

He was so secretive about his sickness. I guess he did want to burden his friends with his health problems.

During our 55 reunion in Kangar recently, he appeared smiling as usual. He was so very close to me and others.

He was laid to rest after terawih prayers last night with about 200 people in attendance. 7 of us attended his funeral.

With his demise, there will be one more of our childhood friends leaving us for good. One after another will be going to our final destination.

We pray that your soul will be blessed by Allah and be placed among His beloveds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I am searching for English novel publishers who are interested in publishing novels from first-time novel writers like me. I know that there are not many such publishers around, but I am pretty sure that what I have just finished are materials that are worth reading.

I am an English writer by interest. I have been writing since my school days. First they were Short stories in magazines like the now-stopped Movie news. I remember receiving monetary rewards for each short story published.

Then I started writing to New Straits Times...many of my letters were that created a lot of waves was the letter I wrote complaining of the very low housing allowance for police officers like my father.

That letter was read by top police brass in Bukit Aman. It was very effective...soon after the allowance was increased, much to the delight of my father.

Then I wrote the story of my son who bravely faced leukemia. It came out in a four-series features. I am not exaggerating if I say that I was one of the first to write to the public about the suffering that a child had to face with childhood cancers.

Then I began writing for a few years, recalling what I did when I was growing up. As the result, a 350-page memoir was written. This itself, if published may become the best seller.

Then I began writing a part real and a part fiction story of an outbreak of a disease that killed more than 100 people...this I am sure will be a best seller if it gets published.

The problem is - Malaysia is not a serious English reading publishers will publish from someone new like me - that I was told by a few publishers that I have contacted.

I would try my level best to publish it here in Malaysia. If I fail to get any offer, then only I will try foreign publishers.

Who knows may be the book I am writing now become best sellers and movies are made from them.

So publishers out there, please give me a chance.

With my retirement next July, I will write more with the free time I have then...


Anuar has been Syazwan's roomate for more than a year. They are classmates in UITM Seri Iskandar, Perak. Both are doing Diploma in Quantity Surveying. Both are from Kemaman.

One day last month Syazwan showed him the pictures of Shapawi's (his cousin) wedding.

"He's my uncle," Anuar said as he pointed the man in the picture to Syazwan.

"Strange, he's my uncle too!" said Syazwan.

"How's that?"

They were flabbergasted! How could that man be their uncles.

Then they both explained to each other their relationship to that man who they called uncle.

The man in question is no other than Syazwan's mother's brother and Anuar's father's sister's husband.

Strange indeed was it. They have been close friends for so long and only now that they know they are somewhat related!

It is a small world indeed.

Lokan soup for breakfast

Do you know what Lokan is?

It is a mollusc (Polymesoda expansa) commonly found in the mangrove swamp of Malaysia. Normally they live buried in stiff mud of the landward fringe of mangrove swamp.

Finding and harvesting them in the sand-fly infested mangrove swamp is something no faint-hearted harvester should try. I know, because I was involved in many such activities when I was in the primary school.

Now, I don't go to the mangrove anymore if I want to have a taste of its tough-but- nice flesh. All I have to do is to visit Binjai Souq (new market). If I was lucky, there will be plastic bags full of them being sold for RM5/bag.

A few days ago we happened to be at the market and they were there. I bought two bags of lokan flesh.

My wife made simple but delicious lokan soup that day. We all enjoyed it very much. It was really an appetizer for breakfast and sahur!

Besides soup, lokan's flesh could also be made into hot but delicious Chili lokan. They could also be baked un-opened (with their shell on).

Friday, September 4, 2009


Healthwise I am not that good these couple of weeks. First there was this irritating, voice-stealing and persistent dry hacking cough. I went to the hospital thinking that I might have been infected with H1N1.

The temperature was 38.4 and the blood pressure was 165/90. Hypertension? The doctor was unsure. She retook it using the manual equipment. It was 140/90.

I was just given a one-day MC, paracetamol, chlorphenaramine (I'm not sure of the spelling) and thymol gargle. I went home and continue the leave for the entire week.

I was tired, very very tired. There was no energy in me that time. Was my daily 70-km commuting exhausted me? I didn't think has been two years now that I went through my daily commuting.

Then there was a breakfast invitation from Felda farm products. I thought that it would be just that - only eating, but I was wrong.

There was a discussion together with MARDI, DVS, FELDA and a few free lance consultants about the future of Pekan agropolitan - sheep project. The meeting lasted till 12.40 am!

Manaf invited me to put up a night in MS Garden, but I did not bring any spare shirt. So, I drove home that very night.

I reached home at 1.30. Couldn't sleep because of the cough. I only fell asleep at around 2.30.

At 5.30 my biological clocked woke me up. Still feeling groggy, I took my morning shower. Then I went down the stairs to get my shirt.

Reaching the half-way point I slipped and stretched my left knee. There was this snapping sound in the knee.

"Ah don't tell me that it breaks again!" I asked myself as I braced myself.

The pain was terrible. My wife came running to me. Like always she panicked, thinking that my old injury recurred. Actually I injured my left knee when I was in form four. The doctor told me that I had suffered from a disease called Osgood-Schlatter Disease.

I went to see a doctor for my knee. The x-ray did not show any fracture. I already knew that. It was just soft tissue injury - the young doctor said. My BP was still high. She asked me to repeat it for three consecutive days.

Because of the knee injury, I missed terawih prayers. I couldn't bend my knee!

Then came 31 August. I was supposed to attend the Independence Ceremony in Kuantan. Azlan was already on his way. I was in the toilet. Suddenly the water beneath me in the toilet bowl turned red.

Dark red Blood was shooting freely into the bowl. I had a severe hemorrhoid bleeding!

I decided not to attend the function. I sent an sms to SS telling him that I would not make it that morning. Azlan had to turn back to Kuantan when I told him that I could not come.

Now it is already 4 September. My knee still hurts and my cough persists despite of me taking in antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pills.

I pray that my health will improve before Hari Raya.