Friday, June 25, 2010

16 June was the beginning of my long leave prior to my official retirement on the 22 July 2010.

Unlike stories told of how pensioners felt bored with their life after retirement, I did not feel the same. In fact I felt released, you know from all those extra-curricular worries and tensions of work.

I am not all free. I have got chores to do. Take sending and fetching Amalia to and from school. The great difference is that now I have all the time to do so. I don't have to rush every morning.

My first assignment was to send my niece to UNISEL in Bestari Jaya (formerly Batang Berjuntai). For that we put up a night at PNB Darby Suites in Jalan Binjai just ten minutes walk from KLCC.

The suites was excellent, berbaloi the price I had to pay for the night. There were two rooms, a huge hall, three bathrooms and to the delight of Amalia, three televisions.

The road to UNISEL was terrible. It just felt like driving up Cameron Highlands.

UNISEL's registration process was just lousy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

All I wanted was peace and quiet on my last two days in office. No more very serious meetings and appointments, I told my PA.

Idris was the first to break my quiet morning. He told me that our old Hilux in Lepar had been stolen yesterday's afternoon. The car rustlers cut off the chain locking the front gate and got away with the old but usable Hilux.

According to the police it was the work of a syndicate. That day three similar Hilux were stolen. In one case they lifted the entire gate to get the car.

Then a lady called. She was complaining of our man giving the wrong medicine to his tom-cat. It was given an injection of medroxyprogesterone, a medicine normally given to queens to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

She was bent on making an official complain about my man's wrong-doing. I told her to come down and promised her that I would investigate and called her back.

I went down to the clinics to get the entire story of what had happened.
My man told me that male cats were also given the drug to prevent male cats spraying and over agressiveness.

I took back the brochure and googled for more info about the drug. Yes, my man was right. The drug was indeed rightfully given.

I called her back immediately and she too realized that she was wrong. I told her it was all right and my man was an experienced officer having treated many many tom cats before.

I was glad that the miscommunication was corrected, before it became another issue in the printed media.

At 1.00 I went to Annex to have a special farewell lunch organized by my men at PPV Daerah Kuantan. The asam pedas tenggiri was so fresh and delicious that I finished an entire slice on my one. The grilled tenggiri stake was not bad either.

Friday, June 11, 2010


As of today I have got just another two working days, that is next Monday and Tuesday, before I take a long leave prior to my official retirement date 22 July 2010.

There is a mixed feeling inside me now. Excited thinking now I will have all the time in the world to do what I like and more importantly, I hope it will be less stressful.

Feeling guilty as I have to leave JPV Pahang in the midst of big things - the 2011 & 2012 rolling plan, the 2010 budget and the 10th Malaysian Plan. Pity Dr Rohaya and his staffs to shoulder these challenging jobs.

But, like most things, everything has a start and an end. So is my career in JPV. It began on 16 Mei 1981 and ends on 22 July or perhaps earlier on 16 June.

Soon a new career will begin. A change may be what I need right now. Please pray for me that the change will bring happiness and prsoperity in my future life.

Dato' Dr Ibrahim called inviting me to join them, may be meet with friends for the last time in Sarawak. At least he has the decency to ask me to meet with friends before I go.

I politely decline his offer. I have another important family committment that I have made earlier.

The DG, he just texted me wishing me all the best in my future endeavour, just like that.

What do I expect? A glittering farewell party and a rolex watch? No, I never wish for all these. I just wish that somebody up there realise that in three days time I will be leaving the department. In three days time DVS will lose another of its long-serving staff.

It is true what my friends told me earlier. Who will care if you leave or die? Who are you to the department? Instead, somebody will gain from your departure - good riddance.

Well, I will pack my things and go quietly. Let someone else take over. Let someone feel how difficulty it is to take charge of a state as big as Pahang with an inadequate organizational structure.

To my fellow staffs of JPV Pahang I will forever indebted to all of you for all the help and cooperation given to me while I sit on the chair. You are always there to give helping hands whenever I need it.

For the red-carpet and jubilant farewell get-together dinner, we are forever greatful. I will never forget you all. Please feel free to call or drop by at our Teratak Syakirin for a glass of pink guava juice or lunch or dinner.

I promise I will not stay too far away from the animal industry and the department. I will not hesitate to come and give something if my service is required.

I will not fade away and disappear for a long long time to come. I will be there, somewhere reachable, accessible.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


"Dr. Azahar, this is Mat Nor..."
"Mat Nor? Which Mat Nor?"
"Mat NOr...the one who prepared food for you and Kluang."

Yes, now I know the surprise caller. He is non-other than Mat Nor from my bachelor days in Kluang.

In fact his wife is my distant relative from Serkam, Melaka.

Those days I stayed in Johari Jemain's house in Kluang. He was the Kluang Agriculture Officer then and I was in Institut Veterinar Kluang.

Mat Nor, his wife and children, ah we were so very close then. Regretfully we have not met for a very long time.

They came all the way, by bus from Kluanf to my wedding in Kemaman. They were real friends indeed!

We are going to meet today, this evening. They are on the way from Kemaman now.


WWF today asks Malaysians, I in particular, who relish seafood to be selective in what kind of fish we have for our meals.

Do not go for those in endangered list. Go for the more abundant ones instead.

From the list I saw Kerisi (bream), pomfret both the black and white varieties (I am not worried about these fish as they are far too expensive for us), sotong katak (cuttlefish), etc

Instead it asks us to change to Mullets (belanak), Mackerel (both Indian and Spanish), tuna, kerapu (grouper),lala, etc

I hope WWF will publicise the list of fishes and other seafood that Malaysian should refrain from eating,

But this has one major drawback. The more you want people to stop eating it, the more people will try to gat their hands and mouths on to that fish.

The more restricted the fish is the more expensive they will be. The more expensive the fish is the more it will be hunted. It is just a sort of vicious cycle.

Supply will stop once the demand is not there. Wasteful use of dragnets should be totally prohibited.


Our residence, Teratak Syakirin, amazingly does not have too much concrete wall really. Much of the wall is replaced by glass windows. It is good for aeration and ventilation.

However, there is one setback - there is not enough space to hang framed souvenirs.

Of late I have been receiving many wonderful framed items, Quranic verses mostly, from district veterinary offices and others in conjunction with my retirement.

One district, I forget which one, has even presented me with a framed pistol and bulets. What does it signifies? I don't know, but it is just cute and Syafiq wants it for his room.

Well I guess I have to hang them somewhere. They are very meaningful to me now and maybe nostalgic as years gone by.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I used to have a fantastic memory power as far as numbers is concerned. I can even remember my birth certificate number!

But with the advent of mobile phones and the contact number database, memorizing hp numbers becomes redundant, unproductive.

I become very dependent on the hp for all the numbers.

When suddenly my hp went caput recently, my life went haywire. I could not contact anybody, not even my wife or my children. I did not remember their hp numbers!

I was then in a seminar in Shah Alam. I had to go to a suddenly-organized meeting in Ministry of Agriculture. It was outright embarassing when Dr Idris asked me to call my office to see whether there was a letter for me about the meeting.

I could not contact my PA as I did not know her number, the office number or any number for that matter!

This resulted in me not going to the meeting.

Then how was I to contact my driver? There was no way except to do the traditional way - that was to walk up and down the conference area and look for Hasnan.

After more than an hour, finally I met him and off I ran away from the workshop and headed straight home.

Those two days were just plain hell. I could not contact anybody. I just had to wait for somebody to call and ask the caller who he/she was!


It is sad to see how relationship between a brother and his siblings gone sour. It is sadder though how a brother declared that the blood-relationship was over between them just because of a misunderstanding or was it because he was influenced too much by his wife.

How can a brother, who had declared that his siblings had forgotten about his good deeds when they were still children, reminded his children not to tell his siblings when he passes away?

How arrogant can a man be? No man is an island. No man can survive and lives on his own, no matter how much money and power he has.

He is neither rich nor powerful, but frail just to say the least. Has he ever thought who will take care of him if he ever fell seriously sick? I will not be surprised if the brother whom he hated most will be the one.

Has he forgotten how he had looked after his mother and father when they were sick? It is not exaggerating to say here that he was and still is one very good man despite of his not-so-glorious past.

It all began when his daughter decided to marry her chosen one despite of his disagreement. Seeing that they were really serious to get married and there was nothing wrong with the man she had chosen, we all gave our full support to the relationship.

One of us went to see him in person to discuss about the marriage. In the meeting he openly declared that he would never agree with the marriage. He said that for his daughter's sake, he agreed that his father and his brother to be the witness to the marriage.

So the marriage was arranged with the Kadi's office. Then he went against his words. He swore that the blood-tie would be severed with all those responsible for the marriage!

He was a very hard man. I have never seen a harder man. Till now he never accept the man his daughter had chosen as one of his family members! He never even cuddled his own grandson, so I was told.

They say there is a good wife that behind a succesful man. In his case the wife does not contribute to his success but she was more of a fire, flaming an already hot situation into a flaming one.

He never likes his youngest brother. I know his youngest brother had made mistakes in his life before, but people do change. With our encouragement his kid brother does change and now is happily married.

His hatred for his kid brother never ceased. I told his kid brother not to bother. Do your best and continue living.

Once he and his family charged in my house minutes after my wife asked his wife not to spread old stories about his kid brother to his future in-laws.

That dusk there they were coming in without even a salam and instead, yelling and shouting trying to straighten wet string (as our proverb says it).

Syazwan, as quiet as he could be throughout the commotion, as gentleman as he could possibly be, said: "I don't mean to be rude, but coming in other people's house without even a salam and yelling and shouting at maghrib prayers time is not good. Why not come in and we discuss things over."

His message was crystal clear. Diyana's cheeky remarks were just like rubbing salt to the already gaping wound.

They just left after saying their anger. Bt just before they left, again they uttered the same words: "It is over between us."

Being a very good spin doctors, the story was turned up-side down. Our children were accused of being rude and we did not even invite them in!

Whose children are rude really? Whose children openly referred their aunts as crazy people? Remember, you all often forgot what you have said and done, but we remember them as clear as crystal.

Enough is enough. Let it be. I do hope and pray that one day they will open up, look into themselves for a change instead of just looking into other people and think that they are the only ones right and everybody else is wrong.

Just remember that your kid brother is now a part of our family. You hurt him you also hurt us. I don't want anybody, I mean anybody, to hurt his feelings, let alone hurt him physically. I want him to be happy with his life after all that he has been through.

Monday, June 7, 2010


For quite sometimes now I cannot find freshly caught fish in the market, be it in Chukai or Binjai fish markets.

All there are being sold are the so-called boxed-in fishes imported from across the border.

These fish normally will look reasonably ok at the market but will immediately turned mush once they reach home!

The only reasonably fresh fish varieties found in both markets are the selar kuning (yellow striped trevally), bonito (aya kurik) and may be kembung (Indian mackerel) and also selayang (sardines).

Where have all the fish gone? Well as far as I know, many of the deep-sea fishing fleets have stopped operating because of lack of fish.

How far is this true I hope the Fisheries department will give the answer. But I know for a fact that a fish tycoon whom I know personally told me that he has stopped operation because catch is normally well below the economic level.

Friday, June 4, 2010


It all began when I was offered a place in a degree course after obtaining a quite decent result in the first year of Diploma Fisheries.

At first I turned down the offer and instead continued the second year programme.

The trauma brought about my HSC results was still there. Physics and additional mathematics were subjects that I dreaded most. May be some of you knew that I missed almost the entire Form four thus did not get any intro to both subjects.

After about two weeks in the second year Dip. Fisheries, many things jolted me from dream to real world.

First the behaviour of some students who had accepted the offer. They acted as if they were the oly ones with good results. They looked at me with only one eye whenever we passed each other.

Second there was this TKC girl. We knew one another when we were in Form six. She point-blankly told me that doing a degree course was my goal when I joined sixth form and declined UPM's offer back then.

Third the Registrar gave me a whopping lecture on why I should accept the challenge, blah blah...

SO, finally I registered for the DVM course!

The first year was a real torture. I just managed to scrape through the mathematics and physics while others did very well. Till now I still wonder why we should take the two subjects in the first place!

Came second year, gone was the fright and I began liking most subjects and began scoring.

After graduating, Prof. Sheikh Omar offered or rather begged me to join the faculty. He sent two telegrams for me to reconsider. Even my mom, she advised me to take the offer.

I was adamant of working. Fourteen years on nasi kawah was just too much for me. And the lure of good post in the department was too great that I lied to myself.

Actually it was my ambition to go for a higher degree overseas. Forgetting momentarily (a long one at that) my ambition, I grabbed the departments offer and off I went to Kluang to report duty at Institut Haiwan Kluang.

With that began my work in DVS, moving from one state to another. Then suddenly I realized that I just had to go for my ambition - to go overseas for a MSc or Phd.

My application failed after a few tries. Finally, in the nick of time, that was when I was fourty (the age limit for a MSc student) I got it.

I was offered a PSD scholarship to do a MSc in Veterinary Pathology in the States.

When I went back to my alma mater, UPM, to get a referral letter, Prof. Sheikh Omar told me: "If only you have taken my offer then, you'll be a Professor by now!"

I just laughed at him and replied: "Well sir, that's what life is all about."

I was accepted by Dept. of Vet. Path, UGA to do my MSc there, much to the surprise of many, even by the then Director of Training, Dr Hawari.

Yes, it was not that easy to secure a place in the highly competitive course.

Life as a MSC student was full of joy and happiness for my family and me. I am not exaggerating if I say that the two-year period was the best part of my working life!

I came back with pathology prowess a few people in the department had. Besides that my children were exposed to US way of education. And also we were blessed with another child, a daughter by the name of Amalia.

Fourteen years later now, I am very close to my retirement day. My boss asked me why I wanted to opt out. I said I just want to do what I liked, with as little stress as possible.

I wanted to pass on whatever I have collected all these 29 years to the younger generation. What better option to do that other than to be a lecturer.

Friends asked me whether I wanted to do business. I said no. Business was never in my blood.

So, finally I chose UDM as my post-retirement career. I hope I can still contribute significantly to the society through my lectures.

And also I want to write.


Cassius Clay or later Muhammad Ali, who does not know about him? WEll, I don't know about you, but to me he is a legend, the best boxer ever born!

Yeah, I know somebody does not like him very much. They say he did not have that killer knock-out punch like George Foreman or Mike Tyson.

Well, to me his way of boxing was like a poetry in motion. He did not go in there and walloped his opponent mercilessly like Mike Tyson and George Foreman did.

He did it beautifully, dancing and jabbing and only ocassionally knocked day-light of somebody.

I remember only one time he really hurt his opponent badly. That was when he fought one giant 6 feet plus Ernie Terrel. He jabbed and boxed mercilessly until Terrel's face was so bloodied that celebrity spectators had to close their eyes in horror.

Actually there was bad blood between them two. Ali was jailed for not going to Vietneam but Terrel was excused just because he was too tall.

Joe Frazier was another opponent that Ali, on three ocassions, had to fight hard. In a tv series I recently watched, Joe Frazier proudly claimed that he was the one responsible for Ali's condition. They were never friends, them two.

Waht I want to stress about Ali is that Ali managed to draw crowds to his fights. Imagine, schools and offices allowed students and staffs to witness his fights!

Now boxing has lost its lustre. Nobody remembers who is the present-day champion. Nobody cares anymore.

Going now to wrestling who can forget the likes of Hulk Hogan, Killer Kowalski, Pat Barret, Ric Flair, Super Fly Snuka, Harley Race etc etc

Hulk Hogan and his hulkamania...


Like Colonel Matrix (if I was not mistaken that was his name) said to a stewardess : "Don't disturb my friend, he is dead tired!" after he snapped 'his friend's' neck killing him instantly.

That was a scene well remembered by many, including my children and I, where Arnold Schwazenegger (am I right about the spelling?) was a hard core Commando.

I am feeling 'dead tired' too after the hectic last few days in office.

I don't know why, but I just feel that I still have to do many things in such a short time I have left. I still have two districts that I have not visited, Raub and Temerloh. Well, CH is out of consideration for now too.

Yesterday I spent the entire day visiting Bentong. Arriving home well after 8.00 pm I continued my house chore with the cutting of a goat carcass. Ill-equipped, I nicked my fingers using just a golok bong to cut up the bones, joints and meat!

Imagine, I have not taken a single day leave in 2010. I have done so just to have enough leave for my long pre-retirement leave starting 16 June.

There is one more big job that needs to be finished before I call it a day. That was the 2011 budget. The deadline is 9 June. I give that responsibility to Dr Rohaya and her gang and my EO to get it done.

Work is work, but at this stage of my service work has to be given to someone elses. I just feel that I need some time to pack up things and take a breather before that much-awaited 16 June!

As of today I have just got another 7 working days!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


There are so many events happening this coming 5 June. Kamal's wedding reception will be on that day, and so too invitation to wedding receptions that I have lost count of, be it in Kemaman or in Kuantan.

That night too there will be my office's family day cum my farewell dinner in a resort in Kuantan.

For these two important occassions, my children are all coming home and so too are my in-laws and with them of course my nieces too.

We are planning to have a barbecue party for that night. Two goats have been ordered for that!


Though unannounced the boat ride to and around Lake Chini yesterday afternoon was something memorable, to say the least.

For most of the Pekan DVS staffs (surprising) and me the trip was our very first.

We all eagerly climbed onto three fibre-glass boats parked at the floating jetty on the still Chini river.

Chini river, a tributary of the mighty Pahang river (if my geography was right) flowed direct to lake Chini. The very informative boat operator told me that the river was dammed up-river, the reason why the river was so still and its water level was constant most of the time.

The ride through the meandering river with the forest canopy on both sides was something mesmerizing. I just loved every moment of it. Once in a while the boat operator made a sharp bend just to scare me. I was not scared but rather enjoyed it very much.

On a branch high above a tree I saw a lonely silver eared leaf monkey resting. A beautiful bright blue kingfisher sudenly dashed just inches above the water, probably returning to its nest somewhere in the tree.

Then the boat stopped at a river bank, just before it touched a curving liana root. Up the bank there was a sign board saying "Lubang ular (Snake hole)".

The boat driver then narrated the story of why the place was called Snake hole.

Once upon a time long time ago, an Orang Asli decided to rest on a fallen log. He sat down and began pulling leeches from his legs. He then cut the blood-engorged leeches with his machette.

He was taken aback seeing too much blood coming out of such tiny leeches. He then scraped the surface of the log removing some of the moss and lichens covering the log.

To his surprise he saw scales, big ones on the surface of the log. "Ah a snake!".

Indeed it was a snake, a humongous reticulated phyton that all this while he was sitting on.

For that incident the place was called Snake hole.

The boat moved on to the lake proper. From afar I was amazed at its natural beauty.

Water crescents with their beautiful pink flower adorned the surface of the lake. Further into the lake pandan trees ( a kind of mengkuang) marched in unison adding colour to the already fantastic view.

We stopped in between water crescents just to enjoy their delicious seeds. They brought memories of my childhood.

On one lake bank I saw a resort, beautiful but yet to be completed. It was nestled in trees - something I really wanted to see.

We then stopped at an Orang Asli of the Jakun tribe small village called Kg. Chendahan. Children greeted us as they sat smiling cheekily on a wooden bench. They were Mek Intan, Mek Labu and Rosham.

It surprised me to know that they went to school. The smallest girl, Mek Hitam even knew how to spell words that I asked.

The blow-pipe darting event was something else. At first not many dared try it. Then after the boat driver showed how easy it was to hit the bulls-eye, everyone rushed in to try.

The boat driver was again at his antics when he manouvred the boat left and right over the sunken palace area.

The trip was both memorable and useful for me. I think I will come back later to fully explore its beauty, maybe with my boys after my retirement.

I promise to write something on it on my blog and here it is for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Not so very long ago most shops, eateries or other wise, were closed by the latest 8.00 pm in the sleepy town called Chukai.

People just did not go out to eat at night. My father, a native of Negeri Sembilan, was surprised to see satay served as breakfast item when he first arrived in Chukai.

They could not sell satay at night as all food joints were close at night!

There was no night town bus service or even taxi operating beyond six then and people did not have cars or even motorcycle then. As far as I could remember there were only two privately owned cars - one owned by Syed Noh and the other one a Morris Minor on which I used once or twice hitched a ride to town in Chukai back in the early sixties.

Now things are very different in Chukai. The town is bustling with night activities. Night markets are everywhere and the latest craze is the kopitiam.

These kopitiams are mushrooming. People, young and old flock to these kopitiams to eat out with family and friends. Some are equipped with wireless internet facilities and so sights of teenagers hooked on their laptops are nothing new.

Chukai people are eating out more at night these days!