It was the morning of Chinese New Year 2010. The year of the Tiger. It was very quiet, perhaps many were still in bed.
Then I smelled smoke. It was from my closest neighbour's house. I saw black smoke coming out of the living hall. Within minutes I saw something caught fire - I guessed it must be the curtain.
Diyana called the Fire Department. She was irritated at the way the people there received her call. So many questions asked - her name, the address, so on and so forth and they also asked her to repeat the facts that she had already given.
Minutes, very precious minutes, passed but there was still no fire department's engines showing up.
The fire was getting bigger. I could now hear the sound of glass popping and electrical sparks from the house.
I then called again the fire department. Again they elaborately took my facts. Again I gave them what they wanted. Losing my temper, I introduced myself: " Well, I'm Dato' Dr Azahar bin Idris reporting...what more do you want from me?"
The man on the line seemed startled and said," Ok Dato', we're coming...."
I said," Yes, please hurry up...the house is burning..."
After more than twenty minutes, the first engine came. They looked a bit clumsy at first. I did not blame them. Perhaps the long holidays, you know.
Big crowds began forming. They came as soon as they saw black smoke. Children of the houses next door were called to vacate their houses.
Then the Electrical satff came. They cut off the house electric supply.
A few minutes later, two more engines arrived. They managed to douse off the fire. The living hall was completely razed down to pieces.
The Fire Department then took over the house and staffs took turn guarding the house till a full fire investigation was carried out.
The owner, after the fire was completely put out, said," Well, I think the house needs renovation. Five years were long enough for another renovation."