Monday, November 30, 2009


It has been thirteen years since that very nostalgic and much-talked-about pre-circumcision ceremony that I did when I was the officer-in-charge of Pusat latihan Ternakan Sungai Siput.

They still talk about that event.

Today finally my staffs in DVS Pahang finally did it. Nor Aini said that they did it as an event to remember before I retire.

For me, it was a very meaningful day where 19 boys mostly sons of my staffs and their immediate realtives in complete Baju Melayu were paraded from the old office building to the Sri Makmur Hall. With the boys were proud parents whose sons would soon be joining adulthood. They all carried with them bunga telur (flowered eggs and tumeric glutinous rice) and pulut kuning.

In the hall they were annointed with rose water and floral strips led by me and folowed by parents.

The boys did not look scared at all. They just enjoyed the even very much.

The visitors were later given a flowered egg each and I got 19 of them to bring home.

Then came the event that they all had been waiting - playing in the fire brigade rain! I officially commenced the spraying!

Nine of them will be circumcised in two days time by HTAA staffs in the hall while the rest will do so in their respective hometowns.


She was born at Athens Regional Medical Center, Athens, Georgia, US on February 17 1996. I was there in the delivery room, watching the whole process for the very first time.

Soon after she became the centre of attraction. Her long brown hair and wide dark brown eyes made her just like a Barbie doll among visitors. They all, be it grandmas, moms and sisters, they all wanted to hold and cuddle her.

Yes, she was a cute little baby indeed. In facts Asians are all like that at birth, cute, long haired and wide eyed.

She is our youngest daughter, made and born in US. It was a pity that she did not taste living in US though. She was 6 months old when we took the flight home!

When she first arrived in our hot and humid Malaysia, her first problem was of course the weather. She developed rashes easily when exposed to the sun.

When she was in kindergarten, she was always proud of her US birthplace. "I'm American," she used to say.

But that was then, now she was silent about her birth nation. Perhaps she was ashamed for what her birth nation did to some other poor countries.

Now, she is already thirteen, very tall and fair. She is, since a toddler, very conscious of how she looks. Still remember she used to say " Amenye (so beautiful)". She was referring to herself. Yes, she always look stunning in her new dress.

She has a very good flair of dressing up. Putting up her scarves has always been her forte. She always looks stunning in her own version of head gear and matching baju kurung.

Her latest head gear style is Siti Norhaliza's tudung...well, you know the one that exposes her hair...

Well, that is our Noorul Amalia, a darling to all in the family.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It is sheer magical to see how a group of non-related giants of the ocean, the hump-backed whales, choreograph their feeding frenzy over a giant living ball of herrings.

First they make a sound from below the herring ball. Then as if they have practised it well beforehand, they one by one blow air bubbles encircling the now-very-frightened herrings.

The fish were forced to swam away towards the surface of the ocean. The air bubbles form a wall preventing them from dispersing.

Then, the big creatures rise to the surface with their huge mouth wide open and gulp the energy-rich herrings down their baleens and straight into their mouths.

They have not eaten anything since migrating to the food-rich waters.

Scientists were puzzled how totally unrelated giants can synchronize their moves to gather as much herrings as possible in groups. If they do it alone, they will for sure be frustrated by the cunning herrings.

Only human so far has been proven to be successful doing such thing!


Tomorrow will be a public holiday. So, understandably today staffs taking their leaves to prepare for Eidul-Adha.

After sending Diyana's Vios for a 10,000km service, I arrived in the office and found that it was empty. My PA was at the reception counter, taking over the telephonist's duty for the day.

Just as I was beginning to sit down for a serious work, there went my hp. Iskandar from Toyota Motors called. Diyana's car was ready. So fast! I would wait if I were to have known earlier that the service would be that fast.

This is my third year where we did not have to scramble driving home on a 8-10 hour journey. We are already at home!

Except for a call from Hussein, a goat farmer from Lipis, it was quiet all the way. It was surprising that there was no call from people asking for a free slaughter permit.

It looks like I just have to continue sitting on my chair and wait for the time to go home for a three-day rest!


Last night we visited my mom and dad in Kg Bukit Kuang. It has been more than two weeks since we last visited them.

It was not that I forgotten about them, but I was just too occupied with other things to make it. First the ESQ 165 training in Pekan and then the rains.

I am not giving excuses either. It is just my weakness, that was all there was to it. Deep inside I regretted it very much. I don't want to be a disobedient son (anak derhaka).

But they understand it...she even said that it was time for me to retire...the daily commutings and the late arrivals home after works all added up to my tiredness.

She was as cheerful as ever. Most of her houses / rooms were rented and her appetite improved a lot. She told me that she finished two plates of rice in a sitting.

I brought up the story of Sharifah Aminah being a relative of Syed Noh. She said yes and mentioned Sharifah's mother's and father's name. She knew them all very well. In fact she told me that she knew most of the Banggol folks then.

Yes, she agreed that Sharifah is related to me. You hear that Sharifah, we are indeed related. I wonder if you can ask your elderly relatives whether they could still recall my grandmother (her name was Mek Chik bin Musa and her mother's name was Sharifah Fatimah Zaharah).

Dad too was cheerful. As usual he stressed that he missed me. I gave him a hug and told him that I was sorry for not visiting him for the past two weeks. He also understood.

They are my mom and dad. My mom is all alone for all her siblings have passed on. For my dad, he has only a brother and a sister in Rembau, but they rarely meet each other.

My mom is physically healthy whereas my dad has been bed ridden for the past four years. I always pray that they will always be happy and blessed by Allah in their twilight years.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Have you ever wondered why animals destined to be slaughtered for sacrifice in Mecca seemed to be so willing? In fact, according to many who had been there, there waited impatiently for their turn to be slaughtered.

There was no struggle or cattle jumping here and there trying to avoid being slaughtered as the case in many of our animals here.


Animal sacrifice is something that requires sincerity. Something that is performed just to obey Allah's order, and not for other worldly purposes.

Purposes like to get one's favour, to show off how well-to-do one is and how generous one is to the poor and so on and so forth.

Worst still, there are cases where animals are slaughtered using the money not from his own pocket, but from others with special interests!

Then there will be much hurrahs in the media about his generosity and people talked much about it. What a good and generous man he is.

Then there is the thing about the animal itself. How pure it is. What kind of animal management has the animal been through? What kind of money is used to buy the animals? Is the money 100% halal?

These are the questions we all need to ask ourselves before we sacrifice animals. When all the answers are according to our teachings, then go on sacrifice as many animals as you can afford and also do it properly.

Happy Aidil Adha!


In a Veterinary Anatomy class Dr Menon, the lecturer, announced that there would be short quiz. The question was as follows.

" A brand new car was speeding at a speed of 140 km/hour on a straight road. Suddenly an old cow casually crossed the road. The car's driver tried to stop but the distance was too short for that. The car rammed into the cow hitting the mouth directly. How many of the top incisors the cow lost?"

"You all have ten minutes to answer and at 2.45 I want all answer papers."

Everybody was scratching his or her head. What a question it was.

I passed on an empty paper and so many others. Of course there were a few smart students who gave a well calculated answer.

"Dr Menon, what a difficult question!"

"Really? You wan to know the answer?"


"No teeth was lost. Cattle has no upper incisors!"


I was driving along a busy town road. The driver of the car in front me was driving so slow as if he was the only driver around town.

I was in a hurry. I drove up very close to his car's bumper signalling to him that I wanted to pass. I saw his eyes looking at the mirror and I was sure that he also saw me and knew my intention.

Losing patience, I flashed him the high beam. Nothing changed. He still drove ever so slowly.

I then moved to the left and tried to pass. I knew that it was wrong, but I had no choice.

Suddenly, as if just awakened from a long slumber, he pushed hard on his gas pedal and the car sped and he then swerved in and out from right to left and right again. He clearly did not want me to pass.

I pushed harder on my gas pedal and managed to hold on. He then passed me and stopped. Of course I too stopped in a hurry to prevent a collision.

He got out of his car and menacingly walked towards my car. Then, as sudden as he had stopped his car, he stopped right in his track.

He raised his right hand and mumbled something. I lip-read him as saying that he was sorry.

You must be surprised why a young and strong man like him behaved in such a humuliating way towards an old man that had pestered him all the way.

No, there was nothing in me that made him scared of me. I was just a 55-year old man trying to reach my destination fast.

You wanna know the real reason?

He saw two big fellows, one sitting next to me and the other in the back seat. Their mere physique were too much for him and his puny friend.

They were my sons, both above six-foot tall and 85 kg in weight!

I could not imagine what might have happened if they were not around.


Diyana just 'sms'ed telling that she has arrived safely in Kemaman. I have been worried when she has to drive all alone from Putrajaya this morning.

It is not that I did not trust her driving skill. It is just because of the rain...the road, especially the KL-Karak highway and the East Coast highway, can be very treacherous if one is not careful.

She has finished her one-month notice at JAKIM yesterday and is looking forward to start work in MNLG Petronas. She has got 5 days to rest at home.

At home, Amalia is also looking forward for her sister to come home. She just cannot wait to get into the front seat of her sister's Toyota Vios.

So, now our Syakirin's villa is full - all 6 of its dwellers are already here. For the next five days at least, it will be full of activities, especially at night.

I don't know why, the boys tend to stay up almost the entire night getting hooked on their lap-top and spend the day sleeping! The rain does not help much either.

I don't care what they do, as long as they don't wander around and get into problems.


Lukimala is a domestic Asian elephant in Kuala Gandar Elephant Training school. A day before yesterday her picture came out in the newspaper. She was involved in rounding up wild elephants that have caused some damage to local agriculture in Jerantut.

It is always nice and refreshing to me to know that our grand ole lady is still active in her works.

She is very professional in her works.

I have known Lukimala since the successful elephant translocation operation in Jerangau Terengganu in the early eighties.

Since then I have kept a track on her whereabout and her activities.

I have even visited her in Kuala Gandar recently. From her facial expression and body language, I think she still remembers me!

Who or what can forget those days - the leeches, the frustrations, the prayers and the success stories.

I cannot forget the moment when a full grown bull elephants trumpetting his thanks to us as he left the ferry for dry land to join his friends in the National Parks Terengganu side.

I also cannot forget the agony of having to do a necropsy on a dead she elephant(out of wanting to understand more about elephant)in the middle of the night in the middle of the jungle with only a parang and later to find a fetus in her womb.

But best of all was it was during the operation that I got to know dear ole grand lady Lukimala.

Our relationship continued when I was in Malacca and she too was in Zoo Malacca.

To dear ole grandlady Lukimala, continue your life well and serve the human as well as your own kind!

P.S She is more than seventy years old now (if I were not mistaken)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Everything changes, including our hair style. I remember first it was combed from right to left. This style remained throughout primary school life.

The hair cream? No, it was not was Jameela hair cream. It was the green oild in long-necked bottle.

When I went to SDAR, the hair cream changed for a couple of times. I forgot which one came first, but among them were Brylcreem and Tancho (the super thick cream).

It was in Form three that the hair style began to change from being combed from right to left and sometimes right in the middle.

The left to right style did not last long. It was soon replaced by the midline style. This lasted well into my university days.

Towards the end of my university days, once again my hair style changed. This time the hair was combed towards the back, no line at all.

It seemed the easiest and the most fashionable style that time. This style remained till now, but of course the hair is no more jet black as it used to be. Now, not only the hairline is receding and it was adorned with more grey than black hair. The hair itself is getting thinner now.

Monday, November 23, 2009


He was always in batik sarong worn from just below his navel to slightly above his knees. He wore no shirt whatsoever, come rain or shine.

When we first met him, he was always serious looking with no sign of impending smile.

Now, as we knew each other better (at least after so many times exchanging looks), he always smiles whenever we met.

Once in a while he even answered us when we asked him simple questions.

"Gi mana? (Where are you going?)"

"Keda (To the shop)"

Unlike others in similar condition that we met, he was very different. He never begged for things, instead he bought them with the money he had with him.

We always see him walking barefoot, shirtless and in the same batik sarong. He does not care much about time and weather.

There was something mysterious in his facial expression. I feel that whenever he looks at me, there are something hidden I sense he wants to tell, but cannot.

Yesterday I saw him sweeping fallen leaves from the compound of a stall busily selling tapioca.

He is Pok Su. We do not know much about him, except seeing him walking around.

I wish someone, may be his relatives, will be kind enough to let us know who he really is. What has happened to him before? What kind of life he has been through before?

There are many persons like him or in worst condition wandering around without us really know what was wrong with them. It will be good if we could wander into the secrets of their lives so that we could understand them better.

Once, very long time ago, there was this man, walking around in tattered clothings carrying all sorts of things on his back and when it was time for prayers, he would stop and gave the Muezzin's call to prayers (azan).

Stories had it that once he was a bilal. Out of greed he grabbed hold of all his siblings' properties...only God knows whether that was true...

Friday, November 20, 2009


Rainy season brings back many sweet memories. Memories of childhood days are much sweeter than even the refined Prai sugar.

One such memory was swimming in a natural pool in the field just behind the present Sultan Ahmad mosque. The field was used by fishermen nearby mainly to dry their fishing nets (pukat tangkul).

In other times it is also used to be the venue for activities like a circus, a funfair, etc.

When it is dry, Hazis Khalid (aka Aziz Wali by Kemaman folks and believe it or not, my best friend then) and I used to wander around looking for beautiful sea shells.

During rainy season, the field was something else. It would be turned into a huge pond. The water was, most of the time especially after a dozen or more children played in it, would be black in colour as the soil was bris.

My cousins (all girls) and I used to go swimming in these ponds. The water, even at the deepest part, was only around three feet. We would play our hearts out once we were there, even forgetting our lunch time.

Back to my friend Hazis, he was blessed with a special gift even then. He somehow was very good in finding gemstones from nature. After school he used to come to my house and he carried me on his bicycle and we went around Kampung Besut. Our favourite place was the kemunting bush in front of my aunt's house.

We would played and ran across the bushes the whole day.

There was no more bush there now. The bushes had been replaced by low cost houses now.

Next to the bushes was the airstrip. People would run there just to catch a glimpse of airplanes whenever one landed there.

In rainy season, again the airstrip was something else too - my favourite bird hunting gtround. Snipes and quails were plenty, ready to be caught by adventurous kids like me. Using a net on a long wooden handle I would run after the shivering and totally rainwater-soaked birds.

But all these are just memories now. Memories to be kept in a special corner of my mind and once in a while will be shared with you all.


Meeting schoolmates, collegemates and whatever-mates is sure fun to many people. Being gregarious and social creatures, we all just love to reminisce, talk about those wonderful years that we spent together.

But for me, meeting, at last, my birthdaymate was an extraordinary, out of this world experience.

I did not mean meeting someone who was born on the same day and month. What I meant was meeting someone who was born exactly the same day, month and the year - 22 July 1954!

We were on the same table in one agricultural function in one Felda scheme in Pahang. We were talking about our age. Both of us said that we were 54 (it was last year). I asked him what month. He answered July. He asked what date. I said 22. Both os us were equally flabbergasted.

At last we met our birthdaymate! Both of us strangely enough were frantically searching for our birthdaymate.

If that was still not enough, he was also the son of a policemen.The only thing different was the state where we were born. I was born in Terengganu and he Negeri Sembilan.

The other is that I am planning to retire at 56 and he at 58!

He is non other than En. Mohd Dan, a senior FELDA officer.


For the past few weeks Malaysians were busy talking about the 'cut' advertisement. "Have you cut?"

It may be innocent to many, but to some it was vulgar or may be even obscene.

What do you think?

It depends on how we perceive things. The word 'cut' conjures pictures of the foreskin being removed.

Still remember how our new Principal banned the phrase "pecah dara" when he first set foot on SDAR's soil.

We then said that we 'pecah dara' doing something...meaning doing any thing for the first time...but to him the phrase was obscene and may be too blue to be used by students. He took it too literally.

We are living in a world full of words that have double meanings. No matter what the word is, some people will twist and turn the word and finally it is made to be related to nothing else, but that thing.

Our mind must have been corrupted, so corrupted that even words that do not have any relation to that particular organ will be so.

Once I met an old lady professor who was having the same problem with her students. She told me that there are certain words that should not be used at all in lectures. Words like triangle, hole, rod, cock, pink, etc etc

Even my biology lecturer was perplexed when her students giggled when she said that the fungal hyphae resembled 'rods' or 'batang'.

"What's so funny?" She just could not understand why.Only later she found out why and since then she would be careful to choose what words to use!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Within this year alone I discovered that three of my childhood friends, namely Shamsiah Abu Bakar (SK Pusat and STF), Sharifah Aminah (SK Pusat) and Shuib Samah (SDAR) are distant relatives of mine.

How wonderful to know that we had been friends all these years and yet did not have the slightest and faintest idea that we were somehow related.

Shamsiah Abu Bakar, we were together in Standard six A in SK Pusat in 1966 and together we followed Chikgu Yong Bin Hitam, the best teacher that I had ever had, wherever he organized after school tuition class just to get the nine of us ready for that special exam for boarding school.Come to think of it, my mother knows Shamsiah's late father even then.

Sharifah Aminah told me that she is related to Syed Noh, and when her Tok Cik Hawa was still alive she used to tell me that my grandmother was realted to her. That means somehow or someway, we were related too.

Shuib Samah told me that he hailed from Senamo Kilir too. Same suku with my father, Mungka Bukit...that automatically makes us relatives, or at least one clan!

So, I now have 3 more relatives in my directory!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The first time (that I could still remember) I set foot in Kampung Bukit Kuang was way back in the early sixties (1963-1964). It was a visit to my grandfather, Ibrahim bin Long or better known as Pok Heng Dekor (Pendekar) and his wife, my step-grandmother.

My grandfather was a famous silat guru of his time. Some said that even Mat Kilau used to spar with him whenever he passed that way on his usual walkabout.

Actually he was Wan Ibrahim bin Wan Long, but due to reasons known only to him, he dropped the Wan part of his name. I only knew this fact long after he passed away.

The little that I knew was that he ran away from his village in Kelantan and stayed put in Kemaman for much of his life. He married my grandmother, had a few children, divorce her and later remarried and had another few children. Finally he divorced her again and remarried my step-grandmother who was more known as Mek 'ndo (for jendol).

First there were only three families living in Kg Bukit Kuang - My grandfather, Syed Noh and Pok Man (the trishaw peddler). As the village was still considered ulu and covered by forest, they made a deal between the three of them.

The deal was that they all should come back and spend the night in the village, come what may. They never broken their deal, not for any reason eventhough they left the village during daytime to work.

Bukit Kuang got its name from a kind of pheasant (kuang) that roamed the hill (bukit kuang). Back then we can hear these birds singing.

I used to climb the hill with my friends in search of the berangan (Malaysian version of chestnut). They were much smaller than the present day Chinese variety of chestnut and they for sure were a lot harder to chew on.

A few times we even came across wild boars at the top of the hill. It is sad to see the hill now. It is no more green as it used to be.

Those days, there was no bridge across the Kemaman river. WE used ferry to cross the river.

The river was full of fish species like rays, sea bass, garupas, trevally, scads, cat fish and of course the crabs and shrimps. There were crocsdiles too, but as far as I could remember, they never disturb us. Probably they had plenty of their normal food to care about us.


I think I know how Diyana is feeling right now. I had gone through the same predicament when I first started work some twenty more years ago.

The work and responsibility burden that she has to handle and manage right now are just too big for a newcomer like her.

She is all alone in the Legal section of JAKIM. Her boss was transferred within such a short notice. Her immediate boss was on maternal leave, or rather was given a bed-rest order before that big day. To cap it all, Diyana did not receive any handing over notes from the two.

Yesterday she was at the parliament representing her department. There are meetings to attend, agreements to read and legal opinion to give. A daunting responsibility for one so green in working life.

But knowing her, I am confident she can do it very well. This trying period is teaching her how to deal with the stress of working life she has to face later on. She is just too responsible to leave her work unfinished. Imagine she has only six more working days before moving to PETRONAS and yet she is still worried about not being able to give her best in her remaining job!

Even for me, I will just do whatever I could in her situation. Why worry about it? But that is not our Diyana. She still strongly feels that it is her responsibility to finish all her jobs in whatever time remaining.

As a father I just told her that this is the experience that she could not find anywhere. To work with no supervision, no boss to guide and to do the job well.

Good luck Diyana, don't overstress yourself in doing others' jobs. May Allah guide you to a better future in PETRONAS and in your life.

Monday, November 16, 2009


It felt nice to hear so much being said about DVS in the 2010 budget speech. I could not believe that they took almost the entire write-up that we sent, almost four pages of the written speech, with all the nitty gritty such the number of cattle and goats distributed to so and so many farmers.

Talking to an officer from the SFO during tea break he told me that there was substance in our report. That was why they included it in the speech.

At least somebody appreciated what we were doing!


Syafiq was the first to arrive, at 3.24 am to be exact. Taking my time, I woke up and drove to Centre point to get him.

I stayed in the car to wait it out for syazwan.

Less than an hour later, Syazwan called. He was already in Geliga. At 4.15 the bus arrived. Syazwan, with that huge military=like bag of his, casually strolled to the car.

In the house, both of them appeared very hungry. They were asking their mom for food, at 4.30 in the morning!

Soon, they were busry finishing whatever food left on the table.

I did not have time to sleep after that. We had a lot to talk about, from the incident where Syafiq caught a drunk lady right to Syazwan's post-mortem on his QS Family day.


I did not know where the extra energy came from. After coming back from a Sunday official duty in Jengka and a staff's son's wedding ceremony in Jerantut, I put on my track bottom and an old t-shirt and went straigh to my garden to do some cleaning up.

Well, it had been quite some time since I last did any work on the garden. The past few weekends were all filled with activities. The weekdays too did not help much either. Almost everyday I arrived home well past seven in the evening.

My first duty was to cut down the stunted and seemingly-not-growing-as-expected coconut tree. It was the supposedly fragrant coconut that a friend over in Agriculture department gave.

The tree fell in less than twenty minutes and fifteen minutes later, I reached the soft, sweet and crunchy edible part of the tree - the umbut. Both my wife and I enjoyed the crunchy white umbut as the evening snack. My wife used a chili vinegar dip to enhance the umbut's flavour.

Next were my Moringa. They had not been well taken care of and because of that, they were very tall and without much leaves at all. I had to chop them down with the hope of them producing new branches and leaves.

Then came the cleaning chore that I did not like much. I had to ferry, little by little, all the garden refuse by hand using an empty polystyrene box from inside to the big waste basket in the form of a vacant land in front of the house.

Burning was impossible with so much rain everyday.

It was five past seven when I finished. My wife, as understanding as ever, was waiting for me with a mug full of orange juice to quench my thirst. I had been sweating real heavy after the work.

That was what I had been missing for the past few weeks - exercise!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Our house will soon be lively and noisy again. It is so quiet with only three of us around, especially for my wife who has to bear it, living by herself when I'm at work and Amalia in school.

Syazwan is coming home for a long vacation Sunday (15/11) night. He had just finished his third semester and thought that he could achieve the Dean's list this semester. He has been working hard and deserves the break.

Syafiq will soon follow, a few days before AidulAdha that is happening on 27 November. He will quit working at Picolo Hotel and come December 15 he will move on to a brand new 5-star hotel in Ampang.

Diyana too will drive back home on the 25 November morning, that is after her farewell party at JAKIM one day earlier. She will have a few days break before attending a two-week induction training at PETRONAS Training Institute, Bangi beginning Ist december.

After training she will be reporting in the 80th floor PETRONAS tower for a briefing. She will be posted to L&G division...that was what I heard.

When everybody is at home, our home, the Syakirin's villa be transformed to a boisterous, forever full of activities and I'm sure my wife will have her hands full cooking all the favourite food of her darling children. And of course, you can never stop hearing her motherly naggings...

When everybody, especially Syazwan, is at home, relatives are sure to come a visiting our house. Amirul, the eleven-year old Syazwan's cousin will for sure be the first to arrive and will remain in the house till Syazwan leave!

Nieces from Seberang Takir most probably will follow soon after Amirul...

Our quiet house will soon be boisterous and full of lives again!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Diyana was furious. She could not believe it. How could the villagers did it.

The ten bags of high quality rice that her department supplied mysteriously changed into the much lower quality rice when the cooked rice was presented to the guests for dinner.

Worst was when the guests did not have the chance for a refill, there was inadequate beef curry around. Pity the guests coming all the way and did not have enough food.

The high quality rice had been swapped with a lower grade rice. That was certain, but by whom?

The bull and five goats would have supplied enough beef and chevon for the number of guests invited. Where have the beef and chevon disappeared to? They could not just vanish into thin air.

It was embarassing, to say the least. They had been robbed in broad daylight, robbed by the people they wanted to be closer with.


I can't help but laugh whenever the subject of 'when I know how to ride a bicycle' is brought by my children.

Yes, I only knew how to ride a bicycle when I was twelve! Children nowadays are already experts when they are barely six!

I was scared of falling down. Well, may be that was a reason I could come up with. But was it really? Actually the most important reason was there was no bicycle around for me to play with.

The triggering factors that finally made me learn how to ride a bicycle included: feeling belittled when the class teacher always make joke of me arriving in class 15-30 minutes late, great embarassment when I realized that all my girl cousins already knew how to ride bicycle and that dream, the dream that I was happily riding a bicycle!

When we first moved to Kg Bukit Kuang, I went to Sekolah Kebangsaan Chukai for grade 4.

Then when I was in grade 5, like others, I went to SK Pusat. The distance from home to school was 6 miles. I went to school by the late Pok Man's trishaw. There were at least four of us on the trishaw and Pok Man had to really struggle pedalling the thing to reach school on time. Most of the times he failed.

Recently I met Was Sepiah, a fellow rider and a friend on the trishaw. She was a year junior but she remembered well our ride to school.

When I was in grade six I went to school by bus. For that I had to walk halfway and then took the bus.

Halfway through the year I realized that I just had to ride a bicycle. There was tuition class after school. Finally, after that dream, with the help of Zainun and arwah Jamilah, there I was learning how to ride a bicycle.

After a day, I knew how to ride the thing. And so began my cycling to school and to anywhere.

I had to cover a distance of more than 12 miles everyday, without any complaint whatsoever. Mind you those days the road surface was not as smooth as nowadays and there was not many vehicles, saved for timber trucks on the road.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Rainy or monsoon season is at its peak now. States of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis are experiencing flood. More than 3000 people have been evacuated from Kelantan alone.

With rain comes tapioca. Stalls selling them sprouting every where in Kemaman.Near my house there are not less than three stalls selling freshly harvested tapioca.

I do not know why, but it is just good to have steaming boiled tapioca with grated coconut in rainy season like now.

Before the rain, it is difficult to find tapioca anywhere. But now, Tapioca is every where but it is not cheap. I have to pay RM1.20 for a kilo of tapioca.

All we have to do is to remove its skin, both the thin outer and the thucker pink inner skin, cut them pieces, wash them of dirt and sand and then boil them with a pinch of salt.

Less than 30 minutes later, there you have it, steaming, appetizing (at least to senior citizens like me) and luscious (empuk) white tapioca ready to be consumed.

Some people eat it with salted fish and sambal. For me, grated coconut sprinkled with sugar is all that I need to finish a plateful of tapioca.

Hot black coffee goes very well with it.


Fish, fish and more fish. There are red snapper, sea bass, garupas, trevallies, leatherjackets, trigger fish, etc etc

Which fish parts are your favourite?

Fish head curries, anyone? Many Malaysians and increasing number of other nationalities love fish heads. They make curries, sweet and sour, tripple taste and even soup out of fish heads.

We all love fish heads very much. When we were in the US, we had plenty of free fish heads from Kroger. They just simply rubbished the fish heads. Only after I told them that I would like to have them, they then reserved them for me everytime they cleaned the fish.

Imagine having huge red snapper, salmon and garupas heads for free! They only use the fillet and steaks.

In the fish heads, my favourite parts are the cheek muscles, the lips and the eyes!

Once I even heard two women quarrelling over fish lips in Kemaman wet market!

Fish Swimming bladders are also favourite dish for the Chinese. I learnt enjoying them when I was in Penang.Now, fish swimming bladders or simply called fish maws are in my list of good food.

Fish belly is also good. Try tuna's belly. You will love the soft and tender texture.

My youngest love, believe it or not, the fish fins deep fried to perfection. Do not be surprised to see fried trevally, scads and Indian mackerels served minus the fins whenever you come for lunch in my house. They have not been nibbled by some cat, but our Amalia just love to have them as snack.


In Terengganu we have pulut lepa (glutinous rice rod with fish and grated coconut wrapped in banana leaf and grilled to perfection) whereas Pera folks have their own pulut udang (glutinous rice rod with pounced prawn and grated coconut wrapped in banana leaf and grilled to perfection).

Having tasted the two variants, by far I prefer pulut lepa by miles over pulut udang.

Why? Pulut lepa has that distinctive original fishy taste compared to pulut udang's usually bland and that feeling of grated coconut that had been pressed for its milk.

Pulut lepa too comes in two variants and with two different names - the normal pulut lepa and the almost diamond-or-heart-shaped pulut jantung.

Pulut jantung is crispier than pulut lepa.

However, the present pulut lepa (I hate the stapples used to prevent the wrapper becoming loose) does not have that crispy texture as that of the yesteryears when I grew up. At best, only the banan leaf wrapper is well done whereas the glutinous rice is still soft.

I remember to always run to restaurant in front of the Kemaman bus station everytime I came back from school...just to taste their crispy and tasty pulut lepa!


My father was surprised when I told him that I had just had two very appetizing wok-hot coconut pancake for breakfast.

You want to know why he was surprised?

Because to him Coconut pancake was a delicacy from my past. Yes, I was really hooked to it as I was growing up. The day would not be complete without it, either for breakfast or evening tea.

My wife is already a seasoned cook as far as preparing delicious coconut pancake.

The secret is the quality of the grated coconut. It should be freshly grated, preferrably the coconut should be a bit young and it should not include the brownish materials from the shell.

It should be consumed while still warm...the warmer the better. A dip in plain white sugar is good enough for me.

I can easily finish two pieces in one go!

I love wok-hot coconut pancake. Try it will you.

Monday, November 9, 2009


"What do you want?"

"Money, power, big house, pretty wife/handsome husband, high ranking job, wonderful and smart children and the list goes on and on."
"What do you want?"

"Money, power, big house, pretty wife/handsome husband, high ranking job, wonderful and smart children and the list goes on and on."
"Don't lie, what do you want?"

"Money, power, big house, pretty wife/handsome husband, high ranking job, wonderful and smart children and the list goes on and on."

Money, no matter how much you have, will never be enough and they will be finished...Look at Lehman brothers...

Power will also be lost. It is just temporary...

Big house does not always bring happiness and it can be destroyed in no time, by fire, earthquake, etc

Pretty wife, well her beauty does not last very long either...age will soon catch up...her loyalty too...

High ranking will lose it as soon as you retire...nobody hold a post forever...

Children, they all will grow up and soon have their own lives to live and you will be left on your own...

Those are all physical happiness...they will not last long..

What we really want is spiritual happiness (kebahagian spiritual)...

What we really want is to receive Allah's approval (keredhoan Allah)...

When we have achieved this pinnacle of love, nothing else matters...

Go back to the basics...don't cheat yourself...we all love peace, happiness, truth, fairness, and all the good values...

All these values, whose are they?

They are Allah's...

When we all long for them, we really long for Allah...

When was the last time we say to Allah that we love Him?

When we pray, we just pray for physical, long life, rezeki, good children...but we never pray so that Allah help us to love Him...

We just use Allah to get what we want - all the material things...

Know yourself, know Allah...and then only you will love Allah...

Love Allah..more than you love other things, your children, your wealth, your power and even yourself...


Thursday, November 5, 2009


He is my second son. He was born one year less 23 days after our eldest daughter. As a baby he was very frail and he only walked when he was 18 months old, that only very wobbly kind of walk.

For this he was raised by his late grandmother. He grew up with her until he was seven when we finally decided to bring him back into the family.

Now he is 24 years old. Very tall, over six feet, fair and handsome (at least to his many girl friends).

Unlike others, he has a very good flair of finding jobs. He has worked in many hotels in Genting Highlands, Penang, Ipoh and now in Kuala Lumpur. Once he worked in Madam Kwan restaurant.

Despite of his cool look, he is hot tempered at times. Once while working at Madam Kwan restaurant, he accidentally bumped into an very important man. As usual he apologised to the man for the unintentional accident.

The man did not accept his sincere apology but instead threw insulting and arrogant words to him. Words like: "Do you know who I am? I am a Dato', you know?"

Losing his temper this was what he answered:" So what? Like I care. My dad is also a Dato' you know?"

For that he was immediately fired by the management. He quickly walked to the brand new hotel and asked for a job. Barely 24 hours later there he was, working with Picolo boutique hotel!


This morning as I was driving in the rain I heard a speaker talked about how we should look at sickness in a positive way.

Normally we moan and complain whenever we fall sick. Little that we know that there are blessings (in disguise of course) for every sickness or misfortunes that happen to us.

Sickness or misfortunes are tests from our Creator to bring us closer to Him and to make us realize that may be we have strayed from the righteous path.

Sickness, from as simple as a prick from a tiny thorn or a miskicking a loose pebble, will clean us of sins that we had done in the past.

That was why great religious men of the past golden era will accept sickness, hardships and misfortunes with open hearts and minds.

Life without any form of hardships, smooth sailing as they say nowadays, will often make us forget the real reasons why we are here, to fear Allah and abide by His orders.

So, let us take stock of ourselves. How far have we accepted sickness, misfortunes and hardship with open heart and minds?

Yesterday I suffered a slight belly pain...I moaned and sighed whenever the pain came...I rushed to the nearest was just an attack of gas.. the pain is still here...need to be more patient..

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


For the past two days I have been listening and involved in the discussion over the matter over lite FM radio.

When someone did something bad to you, can you or will you forgive that someone? And can you forget that incident?

I'm no psychologist, but to forgive is surely a lot easier than to forget!

But, there's a big but here, even to forgive is a hard thing to do. It may takes a very long time for those forgiving types.

It may be impossible for those with vengeance in mind, the hard-to-forgive ones.

It depends a lot on the nature of the bad things done to you or rather us.

What about women and men? Who are better forgivers and forgetters?

This is another hot topic for discussion.

As Muslims, we are asked to forgive everybody every night just before we go to sleep. Forgive without being asked is a noble thing to do. Forgive your spouse, your children, your relatives, your neighbours and your friends and even your enemies, competitors, etc.

To forget an act/acts inflicted upon you, well it is easier said than done.
I often heard people saying, "I'll forgive him/her but I won't forget the thing/s that he/she done to me!"

Not forgetting is pardonable if it is not followed with the feeling of vengeance, wanting to give back what has been done to us.

But in most instances, people will not forget just because they are waiting for the right time to pay back - a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye!

There is a saying commonly said by us Malays, "Sedangkan nabi ampunkan ummat (Even the Prophet forgives his followers)...but some will add," But we're no prophet, but just ordinary human beings with feelings."

A story worth following: An old Jewish lady was very fond of throwing rubbish on the path normally taken by our Prophet (pbuh). One day the Prophet was surprised when he did not see that old lady doing the thing that she had been doing. He then asked the people of her whereabout. They told him that the lady was sick. He then, surprising many, paid her a visit at her house. The old lady was so taken by the Prophet's kind act despite of her doing bad things to him, embraced Islam soon after.

Remember Hindun, the lady who speared Hamzah and later removed his heart, the Prophet's uncle ? She was very worried about her fate when Mecca was captured by the Prophet. The Prophet forgave everybody, even Hindun!

Once, the villagers threw stones and dung to the Proophet when he was trying to preach the villagers. The prophet was bleeding as he walked away from the village. An angel came and asked his permission to destroy the villagers for what they had done. The Prophet said no and let the people be.

That's how easy for our Prophet to forgive people. What about us then?

Monday, November 2, 2009


Yesterday morning a turtle walked into our house compound. It seemed to be somewhat lost in the fenced in compound.

As I was busy with some other works, it suddenly disappeared, no where to be seen.
There was no way that he could get out of the compound. May be he just hid somewhere among our unkempt flower bushes.

In the afternoon, there it was again, almost at the same spot. It looked nervous as I approached it. I saw a 3-inch old cut on its carapace. Some cruel human being must have caused the injury sometimes ago.

I let it be. Then it disappeared again. Let it be. Perhaps it found our place a nice hiding place.