Friday, April 30, 2010


It is embarassing, to say the least, just thinking about how late it was for me to know how to ride a bicycle.

My children always laugh whenever I told them that it toook me a dream and a constant mental harassment by one teacher by the name of Cikgu Rahmat Jantan to finally push me to learn to ride one.

I was in standard five and approaching standard six then. Cikgu Rahmat, I did not know why, but he just did not like me, even from the first time we met.

Imagine he placed me in standard five B instead of standard five A which I rightfully deserved. His hatred increased when I was the top class student three straight terms.

During that time I always arrived late to school, usually ten to fifteen minutes late. That was because Pok Man, the trishaw peddlar, being as old as him, pedalled ever so slowly. I could not blame him for that...there were four of us in the trishaw.

Cikgu Rahmat always said this to me: "Azahar is always late to class."

One night I had a dream. I was riding a brand new bicycle! The next morning, there I was, with the help of my two girl cousins, the late Jamilah and Zainun, helped me to learn to ride bicycle!

I later moved to standard six A under one great teacher, Cikgu Yong bin Hitam.

Recently I met my trishaw-riding mate. She is Wan Sepiah. At first I did not remember her as she was two years my junior. She then re-lived the days when we all travelled to school by a trishaw.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


We have heard about cattle farming, vegetable farming and chicken farming. But do we know what is offshore wind farming?

How can we farm the wind, someone will for sure ask me.

Yes, we people from a few countrie have farmed the wind. Not for food, but for energy, renewable form of energy.

They use windturbines strategically placed on the beach to harness the sea breeze to produce electricity.

We have a quite long beach. Why don't some entreprenaur do this here?

I have read in Yahoo that after years of court battle, finally the wind farmers win. They are building wind turbines at Cape Cod. Even the late Edward Kennedy vehemently protested against the idea.

He objected because, according to him, the turbines would spoil the seaview from his residence! How some people fight it out his right!

I don't know how much will such a project costs? Will someone expert chips in and tell us more about it?


For, I don't know how many times, again I have to miss our class reunion this coming May 1.

Yes, I know you all may think that I intentionally run away from meeting you all.

No, I swear it is not like that at all. It is just that on that day, Kamal, my brother-in-law is, finally and after going through hard times with her wife-to-be parents, getting married to the love-of-his-life!

As the host, he has been living with us since my in-laws passed away, of course I cannot leave the house. We are expecting his brothers and sisters will all congregate in our house for the occasion.

No, I have not told anyone about this, but Wan Shariff, I know you are reading this, please convey my great regret for again not being able to appear before you all.

He will perform the akad nikah on May 1 and the wedding reception will only be held on June 5 as his future in-laws wish.

Well in just a month time I will be on leave before my retirement. Then, InsyaAllah, may be I can make it more often to our gatherings.


In the midst of baby disposals and illicit sex, I think the often-abused word 'LOVE' should be redefined. LOVE should be looked at from the perspectives of Islam and our culture, not as portrayed by films and songs.

It is the phrase like 'Make love' that corrupts the minds of our people, not only our teenagers but also some adults.

Love is not only the physical act of sexual intercourse as meant by them.

Love is much more than that. It includes emotions, relationship, communication, pity, empathy, etc etc

The physical sexual conduct should, I repeat, should only be confined to married couples. Period.

Unmarried man and woman, boy and girl should never attempt to near the act, let alone get themselves entangled in illicit sex and later unwanted pregancy and abortion or baby disposal.

Our daughters or perhaps even oyr son, should always be reminded to respect their body. Never let anyone, I mean anyone, touch, caress or get near any part of their body.

Giving in your crown to someone who confesses that he loves you is plain stupid. No one who really loves someone will spoil her...what more in their first dating.

Dating has never been our culture, and I for one believes that it should not be encouraged. It is sad to see parents proudly show off their dating children.

I don't mind being labelled as being conservative and out-dated. What is the use of being modern when humanity is downgraded, lower than the animals.

Animals never perform sexual act just for the pleasure of it. They do it to propagate their genes and to enforce this, mothers will chase away their sons who have come to age from the family.

So please, erase the old definition of LOVE that you have deeply stored in your grey matter. LOVE is not that. LOVE is much more than that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I said my salam and she replied. She knew me by sight. "Come in, Har," she greeted me as I made my way into her house in Tanah Putih Baru, very near to the masjid where I performed my Friday prayers.

She is Mak Cik (Aunt) Bedah to us all. Her real name is Saodah.

With her was her son Zilkifli with her former husband, Pak Cik (Uncle) Wahab.

Mak Cik Bedah and my mother were close friends when we were in Police Filed Force Galing campa way back in 1960.

She was my first Quran teacher. She told me that Pak Cik Wahab always carried me on his bicycle to enjoy satay in Teluk Cempedak!

They were divorced, sadly though, when she found out that finally she was pregnant. She always wondered why Allah never fulfilled her only wish, that was to have a baby with Pak Cik Wahab. An ustaz told her that may be something unpleasant would happen before she got what she had been wanting - pregnancy. It was true, she was divorced when she was pregnant.

Pak Cik Wahab is missing. No one knows of his whereabouts. When they were still married, he had already a wife and two children somewhere in Kuala Kangsar. Even then Mak Cik Bedah, a learned lady,always made sure that her madu was equally treated by pak Cik Wahab.

My mother told me that she even went as far as buying her a radio when Pak Cik Wahab bought her one!

So please, if anyone of you know of Pak Cik Wahab, please tell me of his whereabout so that Zulkifli could find his father.

When Zulkifli was still a small boy, he befriended a young man by the name of Ariffin. They were so very close, the two of them.

One day Ariffin's mother visited him. As Ariffin's house was a small one, Mak Cik invited her to stay with her. She accepted. She was so attracted to Mak Cik Bedah so much so that she begged her to marry his son.

At first Mak Cik Bedah refused. "I was too old for him. Ariffin is just like a son to me."

But Ariffin's mother insisted and so they were married! They were blessed with a son who is now married and lived in Sepang.

So that is in a nutshell, the story of Mak Cik Bedah, my adopted mother who always cry whenever we met. She was and still is a part of our life.

In a corner of her house she still kept the old radio which I used to play with when I was a kid. That pasu naga, my mother's gift, was also still there in her bathroom. She would not part with it though someone had offered to buy from her.

May she always be healthy and prosperous.

Monday, April 26, 2010


The great Amazon river is always full of mysteries. It has always been and still is my great wish to go there one day and explore its vastness and depth and know more of its denizens, especially the strange ones, like the Candirus, Piranhas and the Piraiba.

Most of us already know about the much-exaggerated razor-teethed flesh eaters, the Piranhas. But very few know about the other more unimaginable flesh eaters of the Amazon, the Candiru.

Candiru, physically is not an eye-catching catfish like the piranhas. But never let its physique fools you. It is the most viscious flesh-eaters around the great river.

It is just around 6-8 inches in length, but it is known to eat flesh and internal organs of man and animals alike from inside out.

With its sharp teeth, it bores into man and animal's body, forming holes just like those of bullet-riddled bodies, and starts eating the meat and organs of its victims inside out leaving only a little of skin at the end of it all!

A doctor in Brazil has reported finding more than a hundred Candirus in a body she autopsied!

Then there is another small catfish species that like to enter man's body through his urethra. Can you imagine how painful that must be!

Amazon also harbours catfishes that has voracious appetite that they swallow everything they find, even preys that are mush larger than them.

Piraiba, the growling giant catfish is one example. It has been found to have swallowed a man alive!

The Amazon, just be careful whenever you have the great urge to explore and swim in it. You never know what is lurking in its murky deep water!

Friday, April 23, 2010


When asked when would the end of the world be, Prophet Muhammad indicated his two fingers, meaning that it was near. How near? Nobody, except the Creator knows. But that was some 1400 plus years ago.

Now we have seen many of the minor signs and of late also the big signs that it is coming, forever closer than we might think.

The supreme sign is of course the return of the true Jesus - the final triumph of truth over falsehood and of justice over oppression and tyranny.

The last hour would not come unless and until the Muslims fight the Jews and Muslims defeat them that the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or the tree would say: Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him, but the Gharhad tree would not say that, for it is the tree of the Jews (Sahih Muslim). From what I have read the Gharhad trees are being planted on a big scale in Israel.

Before the last hour there would be many great liars (Sahih Muslim). Great lies are abundant nowadays.

Ten signs of the end of the world: Smoke (Iceland's volcani ash clouds?), Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus, Gog and magog, landslides in 3 places - the the east, the west and one in Arabia, at the end of which fire would burn forth from Yemen.

The end of the world would not come before religious knowledge is taken away, earthquakes would be frequent, time passes quickly, diseases appear, murders would increase and money overflow amongst you (Sahih Bukhari).

Time contracts, a year is like a month, a month like a week, a week like a day, a day like an hour, an hour like a kindling of a fire (Sunan Tirmidhi).

Destruction of Arabs.

People vie for the control of Masjids.

His thigh informs him what his family have done since he left them (anticipate modern cellular phone?) (Sunan Tirmidhi)

Think about it. Have you seen the signs?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


A full-time housewife's job is never finished, that's what the saying goes.

It's true, I fully agree with the statement. Once I told her that I'm exhausted when I arrived home just before eight. Casually she reminded me that I was not alone, meaning that she too was exhausted.

Sometimes I wonder from where she gets the energy and stamina to do so many things everyday throughout her life, or may be until all her children have left the house.

I am talking about my wife and many other wives out there. I am always complaining of being tired, exhausted after arriving home at around seven during weekdays.

But, she on the other hand never complain so. I have seen how she works day in and day out.

Her daily work begins at 5.30 or when her alarm clock buzzes. She wakes up and went straight to the kitchen preparing breakfast for Amalia and me. Usually it consists of toasts, fried eggs and fruit juice, usually either green or pink guava and rarely tea or orange juice. Breakfast is usually heavier during weekends where she usually prepares things fried noodles, fried rice or grated coconut pancake specially for me.

Then she takes a bath and performs the dawn prayers. After prayers, she collected dirty clothes and wash them, luckily there is such thing called washing machine.

While the machine is doing its job, she sweeps the floor and rearranges the sofa. She really hates rubbish and disorderly.

Then she collects mugs, cups and dirty dishes left on the dining table and sometimes by the sofa usually left by my children and whoelse if not me.

Sometimes I do help washing dirty dishes, cups and mugs, but it is not that often. I often use the excuse of "I'm already dressed for work and my shirt will be wet..."

Then she sees Amalia and me off to school and work.

When she is all alone in the house her works continues. Dusting her flowers, rearranging our internal deco and so on. Sometimes she rearranges the entire living hall by herself. She is so particular how her living hall looks like.

Then only she sits on the sofa and enjoys her tv, that too for only a short period of time.

Then there are bathrooms (two of them) to clean, flowers to water and so on and so forth.

At eleven she starts preparing lunch. She is such an excellent cook that our children always miss home-cooked meals whenever they are away. This is very true, she is a very good chef, preparing so many dishes at one go. No wonder she gets things done in no time.

She always tells me that it would be good for a change if someone cooks for her instead. She said that food prepared by someone else always tastes better than those self-prepared.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It was true what Hasnan told me that after the dreadfully slow moving March April would be faster.

Indeed April is moving fast, infact too fast. Suddenly it is already 21 April today and with the busy last few days, with the State Assembly and all, April will soon give way to May.

As of today I have got only 37 working days to go and I hope I will make it healthy and wise by the time my pre-retirement and final long leave comes, that's on 16 June.

When May comes, I am sure time will fly like no one's business. With two public holidays on 7 and 28, well May too soon will be overtaken by June.

But I have still got five districts to visit before saying sayonara to my staffs. I wonder whether I have time. But try I will, for the last time.

When June comes it will be time for me to start packing my things.


Why is it that Malay girls are so very easily swept off their feet by Lombok men?

Are Lombok guys that charming or they have something extra in their sleeves that make Malay girls fall madly in love with them and dare to face the turbulent sea, the long walk home and the for-sure hardlife they have to undergo in Lombok?

They do that just for love?

Recently a girl told the press that in all her stay in Lombok, all that she ate was veges and rice and there was no chicken for her. Her children never wore shoes!

But it is still happening to our girls, despite of the sad stories told by the victims.

Why? There must be a reason...

Then there are also cases of senior ladies with good jobs too, falling in love and later being conned a lot of money by the so-called Pak Itam (Black uncles).

A 50+-year-old lady was conned RM600,000 by an African man, just like that.

Why are these women so easily cheated by irresponsible men?

I remember when I was in UPM long time ago. I have met many female students going steady with males whom everybody knew were playboys or cassanovas.

They went on with their relationship despite advice from those of us who knew.

They never heeded our advice. They only cried after their boy-friends left them for younger dames!

Nowadays, what alarms me is that many secondary school girls have the perception that there is something wrong with them if they still do not have a boyfriend! For them getting a boyfriend is everything and they have to go all out to find one. Finding and getting hooked to someone, does not matter what kind of a boy he is, is all that matters.

That is why I always ask myself why that girl goes on steady with that so-and-so boy?

Parents please take heed of your children, daughters especially. Love them aand show them that you love them physically and mentally. Give them a hug and praise them whenever they deserve it. Then only they will feel loved and do not go out looking for someone to love when it is not time for them to love somebody besides their parents and siblings!

Monday, April 19, 2010


How big can a crocodile, an arapaima, a catfish or a toman fish grow if they are released into a man-made body of water as big as Kenyir lake or a large river like Pahang river?

Our imagination of the final size of the creature is limitless. Just look at the catfish released by scientists in a river in Spain some thirty years ago. They or their descendants have grown up to more than six feet in length a few hundred kilograms in weight.

So too are catfish in Vietnem and Cambodian rivers. They are humongous!

I remember a story (I do not how true it is) of a soldier went missing when his boat capsized in Temenggor lake. Some said that he was eaten by a Tapah fish. Nobody knows the real story or was it true that a soldier went missing in the first place?

But, my ex-Director General used to tell me a story of an angler reeling in a big fish. Suddenly he saw another thing attacking his catch and when he finally brought the fish in, only the head of a huge toman was left on the hook.

What has consumed his fish? A huge Tapah, toman or a crocodile? No matter what, there was a huge monster in Temenggor lake, for sure.

I remember swimming on a piece of a long rope trailing in Kenyir lake water as our raft carrying the elephants from the mainland to National Parks, Terengganu side. I never dared to drop my feet in the deep and eerie deep Kenyir lake for fear of something huge coming up and took the baits of my two feet!

Now Terengganu Menteri Besar is offering RM 20,000 to anglers to catch alive the huge arapaima that is said to be swimming in Kenyir lake. He wants to put the fish in Kemaman zoo.

Unconfirmed reports said that the arapaima had attacked people who were swimming in the lake.

Well, I am not that convinced though...arapaima, despite of its size does not normally attacked its victims as such, unlike toman or tapah fish.

No matter what, creatures released in such waters, if left undisturbed and with an abundant supply of food, can without doubt, grow to their maximum size. I wonder whether they have maximum size!


Yesterday as I was raking fallen mango and water apple leaves I saw a pair of tricoloured munias transporting blades of dried grasses up our yellow palm tree.

They were building their nest in between the palm fronds. It had been quite a while since they came and build their nest there. Usually they were the noisy yellow-vented bulbul that frequently build their nest there.

The gregarious glossy philippines starlings, they were a bit classy in their preference of nesting sites. They chose our roof as their breeding sites. For that, often times I met their chicks dead, probably after falling from their nest way high up there.

The lush mango tree was busy bearing fruits like nobody's business. Actually there were two varieties on that mango tree. One was the familiar small mango (pauh) and the other was the big apple mango.

I guess my frequent burning of their dead leaves have stimulated them into fruiting. Different stages of fruits were up there and some branches, they just beginning to flower.

A pity is that many of them mangoes fall down before their time, probably disturbed by creatures of the night.

It is time to collect the green mango for making pickled mangoes!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It has been a frantic and anxious period of time for Diyana. So much incidents happened to her car that she is seriously contemplating of moving back to Putrajaya.

First incident - Raju, a taxi driver rammed her car just before she got into a parking space near Petronas twin tower and damaging her door and rim. To make things worst she could not claim from his insurance as a public transport is not mandatory to pay out in case of road accident (I'm not very sure of this fact).

As her car was still driveable she used it for a couple of days before sending it to the workshop.

Then the second incident happened - she ran over a piece of metal on the busy Ampang road causing her tyre to rupture and damage the engine cover as well.

For the first accident, her insurance company has to pay RM5000 for replacing the door and other damages and for the second one she had to dig out another RM1,300. That does not include a spare tyre which she has not bought yet.

Then this morning the third and most irritating incident happened to her car. Two of her tyres had been intentionally deflated by a very angry but irresponsible man.

An aunt told her that at 4.00 in the morning a soldier was very angry after finding that Diyana's car was blocking his car. Actually it was a normal practice for the flat's residents to doublepark at night for lack of parking space.

Adding salt to the wound, Syafiq blamed Diyana for the incident. She of course did not like it and as usual they quarrelled over the matter.

I told her to remain calm and think it over carefully before making the decision.

All in all it has been a frantic and anxious moments for Diyana in her new residence.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


They came into my life uninvited. It was raining furiously that memorable night.

It was an encounter that taught me a great deal about responsibility and love towards other creatures.

Came to think about it, it still amazed me how a small kid like me, barely seven then, managed to take care and almost single-handedly raised two baby mynahs still-in-their-downs.

The strong gust of wind brought down a nest from a coconut tree in front of our barrack. The thudding sound of fallen coconut fronds brought the curious little boy (that's me) outside to see what it was.

The sound of them two chirping helplessly in the rain attracted me to them. Picking them up I ran inside with the soaking-wet birds in my hand.

I raised them in the best way that I could. With a constant supply of grasshoppers my friends and I caught from nearby fruit orchards the birds grew fast.

One did not make it to adulthood. It was pounced upon and carried away by a tomcat. It was already dead when I caught the cat. I buried the bird in a shallow grave underneath a jackfruit tree.

The other bird grew faster as it then had a monopoly over all the food that I brought home.

Out of my special interest in Western films, I called it Johnny.

I always brought Johnny with me whenever I went. Johnny would always come back to my shoulder whenever I called.

One evening I forgot to close its cage. The next morning I could not find it anywhere. My call was not answered. I missed school that day.

Then it dawned on me that Johnny was gone. I cried till my eyes were swollen. So sad to lose a very close friend.

Now, whenever I see mynahs around, I will remember my Johnny.


"Here it goes again. Lecturers are talking bad about me skipping classes despite of the letter from Perak Sports Council telling them that I'm on Perak's Sukma rugby team," lamented Syazwan, our rugby-playing son.

"I'm treated just like a school boy..." Syazwan continued.

That is what happening to sports in schools and even in Institutions of higher learning. Not many appreciated students who are busy with sports. They give so much emphasis on academics that they only see the bad things about sports.

Syazwan and his gang were treated badly when they were in school and from the way things are going, he is also receiving the same treatment in UITM.

If this negative things is allowed to continue, never expect sports to progress much in Malaysia. The great hope of seeing our nation becoming a world power in rugby, football, etc will just be a dream.

What teachers and lecturers should do instead, is give all the support they can give to students who are busy with their training session. Excuse them from some of the lecture sessions and instead, give them all the support to get back all the missed lectures.

Students' performance in exams and in life, is never correlated with the amount of lectures missed or attended. I have personally met a university student who never attended his first two years but yet scored so well in the final exams!

I have also met school children who have never attended school at all but still scored so many A's in SPM!

SDAR, my alma mater, is one school that I know of, that never treat her students who are active in sports like above. School sportsman are treated in the way they food and ample encouragement from teachers and students alike.

Monday, April 12, 2010


How could a big brother (just came back from doing his Umrah) loathed his kid brother so much that he abruptly walked away from a food joint when his kid brother walked in as if he was scared of catching something from him.

Everybody noticed his incorrigible act, even his kid's brother's friend, the lorry driver.

We all knew that his kid brother had once made a big mistake with his life, but now he is a much-changed man. He had taken care of their mother and father very well. I guess nobody else woould be able to do what he had done to his parents!

When his eldest daughter chose a man as her husband, he declared war with both of them. Everybody that had anything to do with them two were taken as his enemies, even his very own father!

The man his daughter had chosen was ok from every aspect. It was just that his parent's house was a bit small and he too looked very simple. Actually who did he thinks he was to rule out the man like that?

Now, after two beautiful babies later, he still could not forgive his son-in-law for marrying his daughter. His anger even metastasise to his grandchildren. They never experienced a grandfather's touch, let alone his love!

He is so short sighted, enveloped in his own world and never exposed to the real world. Well, I never blame him alone for wht he has done. His wife is to blame for her continuous lighting of the fire through her twists and turns.

Imagine, an incident where they came charging to my house near dusk prayer's time trying to prove a point that she was not the one distributing the stories. They came in just like that, not even giving salam to the hosts.

Syazwan, trying his very best not to be rude, said," I'm not trying to be rude, but why coming to people's house at maghrib, without even a salam. Why not sit down calmly and let's discuss things properly, instead of shouting..."

She, as usual, turned the story around telling people that my family did not even invite them in and our children were so rude to them. Who came charging to our house?

Luckily Syafiq was not in. If not, they would know what being rude was like.

We never taught our children to be rude, but don't tell me that they will just sit there doing nothing when their mother was attacked like that!

One of their daughters had once referred to her aunties (my wife including) as mad. Many heard her words and since then never forgave her for uttering the word.

Please, for goodness sake, look into you, your wife and your children for once. Do not just look and only see bad in other people.

Your kid brother is now a part of our family. When you do something unfit for a big brother to do onto him, you are hurting us to.

Your bragging words of not wanting any of your kid brothers and sisters to know of your demise were just unacceptable. They were outright boastful and arrogant, man.

Nobody can survive alone in this world. Your present health also is not that robust any more....You may one day fall and who is going to look after you then? I will not be surprised if your kid brother who you hate so much will do it!

Please forgive and forget and move on with the remaining years of our life.

Friday, April 9, 2010


It is true what they say: You long for something that you don't have and become bored easily with it once you get it.

No, I am not talking about my wife.

They are the beards, moustaches and other facial hair that I am talking about.

Remember Bon hair cream? Yes, that brownish hair cream that was supposed to propagate facial hair growth.

I remember almost every night, just before going to sleep, I shave all my children's facial hair (bulu roma) on my cheeks, on my chin and up my upper lip and then applied a lavish more-than-enough Bon hair cream.

Back then we all were impressed and attracted to Jason King's bell-bottom side burns.

It worked, at lest for me. My facial began to become more dense and the individual hair also thickened and lengthened.

Not long after that I had a reasonable side burn.

Much later I began to have more beard, moustaches and facial hair. Now, when I shave in the morning they all will grow back in the afternoon. So much fuss.

Sometimes it bleeds, especially up my chin below my lower lip. That area is somewhat more delicate and more prone to cuts.

All black facial hair is fine, but now it is becoming more grey than black. That's what they say a sign of age and wisdom.

But, I do not know whether it is only just my perseption or not, people tend to relate keeping of beards with some group of people or some political party.

Aha! He keeps a beard, he is a PAS member. That was the thing with some people. That is why I noticed that not many senior government official sport a beard.

It is unfair. Keeping beard is a sunnah. Prophet Muhammad pbuh himself sported a beard. Of course you have to keep it well trimmed and combed at all times.

I have a thick facial hair, so I want to keep it. Others who have a one-mile-apart telephole-line-like beard or moustache, it will be best if they just shave it off. They will look handsome without the three.

But for us with heavy facial hair growth, just keep it. You will look more matured with them around. And don't forget the bidadari hanging on to your beard!


The Swiftlet nest industry has been here since a very long time ago. But only a handful of people are involved in harvesting the nests, mostly from caves found deep in our jungle.

Then, due to some reasons,the swiftlets began migrating. They migrated to cities and towns. They were enticed or coaxed into left-idle buildings by their own melodies in the form of swiftlet calls.

They later found that buildings are more comfortable to nest in and food is plentiful within a short flying distance.

The useless nobody-wanted old buildings then suddenly turned into gold or money to be more accurate!

Why? The bird nests fetch prices few people could imagine.

Yesterday I went around Rompin and neighbouring Pekan to actually see what is going on with the industry.

Swiftlet houses were sprouting everywhere. Many were large either two or three storey high buildings. These I was not very interested. They were very expensive to build and they were owned by rich people.

What I was more interested was in the smaller version of swiftlet houses built to the existing human houses. In Merchong, there were around twenty such houses.

In one entreprenaur (soon to be a silent millionaire I presume) he was giving up his house to the swiftlets. His small room has been converted into a swiftlet house and entering the room I was surprised. Surprised to see so many swiftlets flying in and out of the house. Equally suprised to see so many nests on the meranti planks and even on the unplastered bricks!

He told me that 118 - 120 nests made a kilogram and a kilogram of nests could readily be sold for RM4700!

Another entreprenaur was more interesting. He said he regretted renovating his house. He should instead spend more money on his swiftlet house.

His swiftlet house was his old wooden house near the South China Sea. By just building an entry chimney like structure and slight modification to the old house, birds had come in and made it their house!

In Nenasi, another very successful Malay entreprenaur told me that he had started the busines in 1987. That time everybody thought that he was crazy. He had singlehandedly increase the value of the land around Nenasi with his swiftlet house.

Now he has a 20 X 80 swiftlet house that had costed him RM 160,000 and his harvest was around 500 nests per harvest.

He was not stingy with his knowledge and skill. He showed us into his house (no other entreprenaur will do this). He sowed us that young birds tend to build their nests around corners. These corner nests are smaller and usually fall into grade B nest and fetch a significantly lower price of RM 3500/kg.

To overcome this he placed corner pieces bought at RM1.20/piece to prevent formation of these smaller nests.

All in all the visit was very useful and informative. It is true as what they all said: The nests are indeed BOUNTIES FROM THE SKY presented to them by ALLAH!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Despite of our residence being a favourite singing ground for Magpie robins, nestling sites for Philippines glossy starlings and sleeping tree for Yellow vented bulbuls and happy nectar hunting for Olive backed sunbird, I still miss the Munias.

Munias or pipit as we Malays call them come in a variety of plumage pattern and of course standard common English names.

I have not seen munias flocking in large numbers any more, not like in the sixties where they were so common that nobody bothered to disturb them, except may be me.

I used to catch them when they were still in their downs in their ball-shaped nests. They were then placed in a very simple self-made bird cage.
An uncle taught me to build the cage using stems of reeds found nearby my house.

The munias that I used to know and fell in love with included the striking White headed munias (pipit uban), Scaly breasted munias (pipit tuli) and the elegant Tricoloured (black, brown and white) munias.

I still find rarely a few scaly breasted munias harvesting love grass seeds by the roadsides, but I have never come across Tricoloured and White headed munias anymore.

Where have you been my sweet munias?


Human beings are very fond of bending nature to suit his never-ending wants.
In so doing, they sometimes go overboard and nature is bent beyond repair or almost so.

This is what happening to Aral sea, one of the world's largest lake. The lake has shrunk 90% since 1960's.

Why? Hands of human beings have diverted much of its water to the neighbouring dry land for planting cotton!

If you happen to visit the area, you will see many fishing boats lying idle on vast area of sand. Economic activities, especially fishing, in the lake completely stopped.

It is said that the sand dust has been reported to have travelled over long distances to far-away places as far as Scandinavia and Japan.

See what power, greed and gross lack of understanding how nature works will lead to disaster.

Still remember my late grandma's words: "Swamps are natural air-conditioners; Hills and mountains anchor the world and protect us from strong wind...Why then should we destroy them in pursuit of development?"

Driving up Bukit Kijal hill was something that I looked forward back then. The fantastic picture-frame scene of the azure sea lined by swaying coconut trees as we reached the top could not be found anywhere else.

But then came the idea to move the road to the present site so that heavy lorries did not have to crawl up the steep road to pass the hill. Many thought that the crawl was nothing compared to the pleasure of the scenery.

As the result, the newly resort built on the way up the hill suffered its untimely demise. So too were memories of the hanging picture!

Now Kemaman folks were busy talking about the new high curving bridge over the river near Bukit Kuang. It is supposed to start from the traffic light near SMKSI and ends near Bukit Kuang Petronas station, so I was told.

With the new bridge, may be, much of the original Bukit Kuang will disappear from the map. I am not sure, but I guess my parents' as well as my sisters' houses will have to move too. Where to? I don't know.

Back to the bridge, it is indeed high time for a new bridge, but why the design? Will it not be too costly for just a bridge? The curve is said to allow yachts and ships to pass underneath it. What yachts? What ships?


Just walk to any place where people gather, be it picnic spots, night markets, empty spaces where functions were held the night before, beaches, islands and even all the way up to the mountains, we will see garbage strewn everywhere by Malaysians.

Most of these garbage, most often than not, is made up of non-biodegradeable materials, plastics mostly.

Most shops, from small food stalls right up to Hypermarkets, they all use the multi-coloured plastic bag (plastik sosek as we call them) or polystyrene packages to place goods sold.

These plastics and polystyrene materials will not only remain as an eyesore when they are left lying around places, but more important than that, they will pollute the earth and they will take a very very long time to decompose (or will they ever decompose unaided?).

Why not all of us emulate the Westerners who usually use the familiar brown paper bag to carry things in?

Paper should come from paper recycling or made from other fibres and never from timber!

Last night I saw milk processing joint in UK using the very eco-friendly bio-degradeable material as their milk bottles.

Why not we do the same? Use more bio-degradeable materials for packing our things!


Have you tasted Caviar?

Or do you have any idea what caviar is in the first place?

Caviar is fish roes harvested from fish species such as the famous sturgeon and sold at very high, if not exhorbitant prices in the market.

One very famous species of fish that is the source of caviar is the Kootenai river White sturgeon.

White sturgeons are prehistoric or dinosaur kind of fish that live up to 60 years old and can attain 6 metres in length and reach 850 kg.

They are believed to have evolved nearly 400 million years ago.

They are found in Kootenai river that flows through the states of Idaho, Montana and British Columbia.

The construction of a dam resulted in the very serious decline in the fish population. It is believed that the dam causes serious siltation which kills most of the eggs laid at the bottom of the river.

Normally, in normal flowing river, the bed is lined with stones and cobbles which provide a good egg depositing site. The eggs will get hooked on to the stones and when they hatch, the youngs will find cover in between the stones.

But with siltation, the eggs will be covered by so much silt that they suffocate and die.

NGO's in the States have tried their best to bring back the number of these wonderful fish.

Wild fish brood stocks are caught and viable eggs are recovered and hatched in the lab. Only when they are about 8 inches they are released back into the river hoping that they live to maturity and start to breed again.

The dam authority is also finding ways to recreate the river flow to prevent excessive siltation of the river bed.

It is the people's interest that fascinates me. They go all out to save the majestic creature - the White sturgeon of Kootenai river!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


One Very High Impact Project of tunelling raw water from Pahang to Selangor today sees its ground breaking ceremony by His Majesty Sultan of Pahang.

It, when completed, will tunnel about 1,890 milllion litres of raw water a day from Semantan River to Selangor for fulfilling water needs of people in Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

It will also be the biggest and longest water chanelling tunnel in South East asia and the sixth largest in the world.

The tunnel will be 44.6 km long and 5.2 m diameter and will pass through Lentang Forest reserve, Bentong district and Hulu Langat Forest reserve. It will traverse the Titiwangsa range and pass through the bottom of several granite-bottomed rivers such as Congkak river, Predak river, Semungkis river and Gahal river in Selangor.

The regulating dam, Kelau dam will cover an area of 331 sq km.

This project will be the best to satisfy the water need of Selangor, Klang valley, and Putrajaya up to year 2025. It is made up of two components, the water tunnelling costing RM3.9 billion and water treatment in Langat costing around RM4.13 billion.

Talking to the DOE Director during lunch, he told me that this is the best from environemental point of view as water is in the pipe and no river is forced to change its course in the process.

The raw water will be sold at 10 sen per cubic metre and this rate will be reviewed every five years.

With the completion of this project, which will be in 2014, water woes in Klang valley and Putrajaya will be solved.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Let's do some simple arithmetics:

I year has:

12 months

52 weeks

365 days

8760 hours

525600 minutes

315360000 seconds

How long do we live? Many say between 60-70

How old are we now? Let's say 50 years old.

Let's see what have we done with our 50 years:

SLEEP - 18250 X 8 hours = 1460000 hours or 16 years 7 months...round it to 17 years

DAY ACTIVITIES - 18250 X 12 hours = 219,000 hours = 25 years

REST - 18250 X 4 hours = 73,000 hours = 8 years

Are we ready for the DAY? The DAY where everything will be counted...the DAY where our mouth do not say anything...instead, our eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc etc will do the talking in front of ALLAH...

OUR LIFE, what have we filled it with?

OUR MONEY & PROPERTIES, what have we spent them on?

OUR KNOWLEDGE, what have we done with it?

Have we been worth all the blessings that we have received from HIM?

Are we worth the HEAVEN?

Why should we be spared from HELL?

Let us all think about this very serious issue.

Our life is never meant to be wasted just like that.

We have to live as we are expected of. We are here for a reason.


There is something special that attracts people to stop and enjoy self-made coffee and toasted bread with kaya spread, among others, at the Hai Peng Kopitiam Kemaman.

Though crowded most of the time, people still come to the joint, to while away time with the family and friends.

We also love to patronize the Kopitiam. Amalia is hooked to the Moca while I just love the toasted bun with telur mata (fried eggs).

Hai Peng Kopitiam and me goes a long long way. I knew the joint since I was in the Primary school, that was way back in the early sixties.

Back then it was just a small wooden coffee shop in its present location. My grand-uncle's house was just a stone's throw away, most probably right smack on the road on the present Chukai's digital t-junction.

That time my grand-uncle's (Tok Ngah Osman) house was a sort of half-way house for the travellers. I remember going to the coffee shop to buy coffee for him. Coffee was normally placed in bottles or just simply ex-condensed-milk-cans then.

Not far from the coffee shop there was a traditional bread-making factory. I remember going there to buy freshly baked or doing barter trading - exchanging nipah ropes with bread!

These nipah ropes were spoilt dried nipah shoot that failed to make it to the standard that was required for making nipah cigarettes wrappers.


It is always irritating and sometimes annoying for me to see rubbish (mostly man-made) appearing after each grass-mowing exercise along roadways.

One particular stretch of road that I am talking about is the Cherating-Kuantan road in front of MARDI Station.

Plastic bottles, plastic wrappers and other what-nots are seen strewn along the roadsides after the grass was mown. "Where did all these rubbish come from? Surely they do not just appear on their own!"

There is no night market on that stretch of road as far as I know. The rubbish must have come from somewhere. Where from? They must have been thrown from vehicles passing along the road!

Some irresponsible drivers or passengers must have simply thrown away their rubbish through their vehicles' windows.

The workers given the responsibility to cut the grass are also to blame for letting this problem continue. They could have easily plastic-bagged the rubbish together with the mown grass after each grass mowing session. But they chose to let the rubbish remained where they were, along the roadsides.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Dog and cat lovers please take heed. Deworm your pets regularly as prescribed by your veterinarian.

Worm infested cats and dogs may get you and your family members (especially your children) into a big trouble.

They may get what the doctors term as Visceral larval migrans or toxocariasis.

Embryonated worm eggs may contaminate your house or your house compound if your dogs and cats harbour either Toxoacara canis (dog) or Toxocara cati(cat).

If these eggs get into your digestive system, they will hatch into larvae. These larvae will then bore their way through your intestines and get into the blood and go straight to your liver.

Some may get trapped in your liver while others may continue their journey to the lungs and circulatory system.

Finally they may reach virtually all organs such as liver, lung, eye, herat and brain!

The problem is that these larvae will never become adults but continue roaming inside you causing much damage and you may be killed if the dose is high enough!

That is why I am terribly angry with dog owners who while walking their dogs, just casually see their dogs doing their things on the roadsides, on the field and on public places without any feeling of guilt.

They are actually polluting the soil with these worm eggs! What they should do is carry a plastic bad with them and scoop up their dog's poops and drop it into rubbish bins.

By doing so the life cycle of the worm is broken off and other innocent people are spared from the very painful if not fatal disease!