Sunday, August 29, 2010

Attracting more people to Islam

Last Friday, for the first since I bought it, I drove our E200K to KL. It was our annual Eid's family shopping trip.

True to her manufacturer, she performed as expected. Even our Amalia noticed the smooth acceleration and corner-taking.

We put up a night at The Zone, Ampang. The two-room suite was a bit stale and not-so-properly-looked-after. But, it was spacious enough for the six of us.

So far we have tried both PNB suites and The Zone. We preferred PNB suites better, but this time around it was fully booked.

I joined the big crowd at Al-Syakirin's mosque for Friday prayers. The congregation of prayers was so huge that it overflowed the mosque into the park.

I was so jubilant seeing so many KLites performing their prayers so earnestly. I saw a few Whites tourist clearly awed by the huge crowd. They must have been surprised to see Muslims so obedient despite of living in a busy city like KL.

I still remember how an American embraced Islam a week after after accepting my invitation for a dinner in our house.

I still remember vividly how he was so impressed with the way I brought up my family. He even went as far as asking us who we really were! I told him that we were Muslims and that was how Muslims should live.

A few things that he was impressed with our family. One was how our eldest had to get my permission to go on a school's field trip. "You mean your daughter has to get your approval for a filed trip?" "Yes! As long as she is still living with us, she must get our permission, even when she is already above eighteen!"

Two, he looked at my wife and asked," Your wife cook everyday?" "Yes, she cooks four times a day! Cooking for her family is what she loves most."

He was one of the many Americans who unashamedly joined us in our weekened barbecues. He knew that my wife's barbecue was far more delicious than their normal salt-and-black-pepper bbq.

We even invited him to see how we perform our jumaah prayers, with me as the Imam.

After all that, one fine afternoon he came to see me and said that he was ready to embrace Islam. So, one equally fine day I brought him to the Islamic centre and he said his shahadah there, clearly and with full of sincerity and humbleness.

IN our short two-year stay in Athens, Georgia, we had, in one way or another, influenced seven Americans, both Whites and Blacks, to become Muslims. They all did it on their own will.

To me US is a land full of potentials for attracting more people to Islam. All we have to do is to show how Islam really is - the way of life, and not just over emphasizing on what to eat and what not to eat, this is haram and that is haram, at least initially.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I thought that it is Thursday today!

After the subuh prayer there I was busy packing dirty clothes into the small blue bag and collecting some still-clean-and-neatly-ironed shirts from the cupboard. I then casually put the bag on the front seat and hanged the shirts on the right back seat's hanger. I was all ready to rush home after office, that was at 4.00 pm.

Then something caught my eyes. It was a white A4 piece of paper tucked in at the chain-linked fence. I picked it up and read it. It was an invitation letter to iftar at the nearby surau. The date was Friday 27.

I quickly glanced at my newly bought Seiko and saw that it was 25, Wednesday.

Oh no, it was only Wednesday! I am supposed to go home on Thursday! I innnocently picked all the shirts and the bag and quickly brought them in again.

Wow! How did I mistaken today as Thursday? It is Wednesday man. I still have another day to go before driving back to Kemaman.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


As Ramadhan progresses towards Syawal, more and more cases of children hurting themselves in firecrackers-related accidents. Some lost their fingers, a few ruined their eyesight, many sustained injuries and very few even lost their lives because of firecrackers.

Paradoxically, we do have quite a stringent law banning the manufacture, import and sale of these damaging and good-for-nothing contrabands. Where is our enforcement?

Yes, there are cases of smuggled firecrackers confiscated, but I am sure many more seep through our borders.

What about parents? Why can't they have a better control of their children coming into contact with the supplier of these noisy firecrackers?

I for one really hate it when suddenly a big firecracker exploded in front of my house deafening as well as near killing me, if I were to have a weak heart!

Please let us take this issue as a national rather than the on-off thing. Enforce the banning of firecrackers hard. Instead of trying to boycott Israel related goods why don't we boycott anything to do with firecrackers instead.

Instead of wasting our time and energy trying to stop people buying products that are said to be associated with Israel (but knowing very well it is almost impossible thing to do, at least now), we better put our energy and time on making people stop buying firecrackers, no matter how slow and harmless they are as claimed by the sellers.

Let us make the few remaining days of Ramadhan and the Syawal month completely free of firecrackers.

Monday, August 23, 2010


This morning as I opened the door to give my Citra a wash I saw a black and white rabbit nibbling away at tender newly emerged Imperata cylindrica shoots in my 4 by 6 courtyard.

It has walked in for the past three consecutive mornings. I am not sure whose rabbit it is, but I guess it must be the one who owns a black C200K in front of my house.

It looked tame enough but it hopped away as I tried to stroke his velvetty fur. It smartly hopped through the space in the metal gate, casually and taking its sweet time.

Talking about rabbit, do you know that rabbits practise coprophagy? It is the practice of consuming your own faeces. They do that to get at the rich nutrients found in the first faeces. They do it right from the anus, usually at night time.

Rabbit meat anyone? My children, they all, like me, love rabbit meat especially when I cook them 'Wok with Yan's' style.

The trick is never show the whole rabbit carcass to new rabbit meat consumers. And of course never show them how rabbits are slaughtered.

Even I do not have the heart to slaughter them, especially with the clever eyes looking right into yours!


Last Saturday's evening, as I was walking around Taman Samudera Timur, I came across a tree that looked very familiar among the overgrown Imperata cylindrica (lalang)in the vacant lot next to Indahwater sewage treatment area.

I went closer and touch its leaves. It was a Gucil tree! It had been ages since I last met a Gucil tree.

Do you know what a Gucil is? I am not sure what its botanical name is (I will loook it up later) but it is the tree that was a part of my childhood days.

It was the tree that brought me deep into Kampung Pulau Tempurung, Sakinan Choya's village, just to enjoy Gucil berries, either freshly plucked from the tree or pickled by her parents.

The berries, almost of the same size as Chee Kit Teck Aun stomach disorder pills, bunched up like a grape.

They are green when young and the colour changes from green to yellow, orange, red and finally black when fully ripened. The taste varies from sourish to sweet.

Sakinan was a smart girl. She brought Gucil berries to school and sold them to us. She got good money from the gift of nature.

A few feet away from the tree my eyes caught sight of a crawling plant, again looking very familiar.

It was the Ulat bulu berry plant. Unluckily all the berries were still young. The berries are usually encased in a special net to protect them from birds who just love to pluck them. When ripe, the berries change from green to bright yellow. When opened, there are seeds covered with jelly like material on the outside.

When I was small I used to go around the village looking for them, these ulat bulu berries.

Well some may not appreciate these gifts from mother nature, but I know I do. They are there not just for the birds, but also for us if we are inquisitive enough to look for them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who between us is more arrogant?

I have been called by a few negative names by a very selective few who just do not know me before. Names like relationship looking stupid,(fiance) disruptor, academic failure (for being away from the village too long) and the latest being opposite of humble and paying too much attention to myself.

When I was in standard six an ustaz said that he was surprised a 'stupid looking' boy could be that good to be selected to go to a boarding school. I was furious, to say the least. I told my mother that never judge a book by its cover. But later when the temper was gone I told myself that it was ok. I looked terrible sometimes, especially when I was walking on the bris soil barefoot - my feet would be blackened by the dust.

I was called a relationship disruptor by a man who was engaged to a second cousin of mine. He wrote a very nasty long letter accusing me of trying to take away his fiance from him.

Actually I first met her when I for the first time visited Tumpat to see my mother's cousin. Her father asked me to motivate her to study harder for her future. So, I sincerely talked to her (in a brotherly fashion) about the importance of getting a proper education. After the meeting we exchanged letters.

Somehow he got hold of my letters and suddenly felt threatened by my existence. He then wrote a letter full of accusations etc. At first I felt like writing him back in a similar if not worst. I knew how to do it, it was a piece of cake, but I refrained.

Then there were some people in Bukit Kuang who said that the reason why I took so long to finish my education (13 years in all - 8 in school and 5 doing my DVM) was that I failed exams. I paid no attention to the accusation for I know myself better than anyone else.

But the latest was the worst of them all. Someone who hid by the name of Anonymous tried to be good when he said that I should practise being humble and not to give too much attention to myself.

Come on man, stop hiding and come face to face with me. Let us see who is the more arrogant between the two of us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It is beginning to be fun teaching animal anatomy

As of today it has been a month since I first taught anatomy this year to the second year students, both as a part-time and full time contract-basis lecturer.

What surprised me most is that I think I know more about anatomy now than when I was a DVM students even with the experienced anatomy lecturer, Dr Menon.

I guess it is the mental thing. Then, it was stressful just trying to remember all the latin words. But now, with all the working experience, especially in pathology, things seem not to be so greek to me.

Well, in reality I am a pathologist, not an anatomist. But I am an anatomic pathologist, so anatomy is nothing new to me.

I try as much as possible to integrate plain anatomy with histology, pathology and even some diseases. By this I hope students will appreciate more the subject that many think as being dry and dead.

I want my students to be appreciative of anatomy so that they can become excellent animal scientist later on.

The first anatomy test is looming in the horizon. It is set to be on the coming Wednesday. I hope the students are well prepared for the test and will do well in it.

On the 18th day as a full time Associate Professor I think I am now in the right gear to continue my second working life as an academician. I am sure I will be able to achieve what I have set my mind to do to fill whatever remaining years of my life in this world.

So here I come as a full-fledged academician trying my best to pass on knowledge and experience to our younger generation. To Allah I pray that all the knowledge gathered all these while remain in my mind and not lost to forgetfulness that comes with age.

Let me be useful to the students and society in general. There are still lots of things to do.

Italian food at Papadelli

A salute to Ramli, my brother in-law the owner of Chukai's latest and fanciest restaurant, Papadelli (I'm not sure about the spelling).

Actually he has two branches - one in KSB (more of an open cafe) and his second one is next to the Bomba on a shop lot facing the river.

You just wouldn't like to miss this one, believe me.

The service is akin to a 5-star hotel's restaurant but the price, much lower.

The ambience is what comfy is all about and it is just outright appetizing - bon appetite!

What I love there? You mean the food?

WEll first of all I love her grilled salmon. It is done to perfection and the salmon just melt on your tongue man.

Next is the BBQ spring chicken. It is superdelicious. Ask my son Syafiq if you don't believe me.

I love the sharkfin soup too. In fact everybody in the family love it.

Even the humble french fry is superb here.

I am not talking about the spaghetti and pasta yet.

The ala Ramli style fried rice is Amirul's favourite.

Well Lee, come over for dinner at Pappadelli.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Food stalls, little and big, were mushrooming everywhere with the advent of Ramadhan. In almost every corner and available spaces by the road-sides you could see them selling cookies, lauk and juices.

Like always, Malaysians are in too deep thinking about what to relish during breakfast after their long dawn-to-dusk 'starvation & thirst'.

This time around as you know I spent 5 days in a week observing fasting alone. You also probably would have known by now that I am just too plain lazy to go out and buy food and drinks for iftar.

I would rather rely on bread dipped in hot plain tea if I have to. Hj Sanadi, my landlord, was generous and caring enough to provide a rice cooker, a stove and a gas cylinder on the eve of Ramadhan so that I could cook something.

Last weekend my wife bought me a non-stick pan and some plastic laddle and spatulas with it.

So for the last three evenings there I was preparing simple but just as equally nutritious if not delicious food for breakfast and syahur. Food like fish & chips, steamed white rice, canned beef, tuna and chicken curry and for drink I rely on my favourite guava juice.

Disliking any sort of sauce, fish & chips are consumed just like that, bland and tasteless, but that is what I like.

Heated canned food is kind of appetizing when taken in steaming hot.

With that kind of arrangement I know that I won't face much difficulty observing Ramadhan as usual.

It is a bit lonely though having to prepare, serve and eat alone! Anyone care to join me?

Monday, August 16, 2010


Amalia told me that I tend to be more restless, uneasy and did things in a panicky sort of way of late and according to her this such was more pronounced after I bought the E200 Kompressor.

Well, she might be right in certain points.

Others will be driving such a car proudly. No, not me. I felt uneasy and almost too undeserving to finally own one and be driving it.

Well it was not cheap. I bought it not to show off or anything like that. I bought it just to fulfill one of the last of my childhood dream, that was to own a Mercedes!

It is kind of strange to see my childhood wish being fulfilled after my retirement. People might be wondering why.

To me it is sort of paying or is it rewarding me for all the trouble I have been through, from a child to a man of my age now. I have struggled you know to be where I was and also to bring up my family through thick and thin.

Come to think of it I think I deserve it. Let me spend the rest of my life driving one.

Recalling back all the years I was in the service, I think I have not done much to me personally as I have done to each and everyone in my family.

Just have a look at my wardrobe (I don't even have a good wardrobe). The number of shirts and trousers that I have can easily be counted using my fingers.

My father once said'" You have only a pair of working shoes? I have three when I was working."

Well of course I have to depart with lots of dough in getting it. But who can deny my wish?

We have been searching for used E200K for quite sometimes now. We have been to KL just looking around but found none.

Then one day as I was driving into Kuantan the coastal road, there it was. My wife first saw it and we decided to stop to have a look at it on our way home.

Stop we did and we fell in love with the car as soon as we laid eyes on it. It was Obsidian black and with one owner, a company director.

I called a friend and he promised to bring a JKR technician to scrutinize and test drive the car the next day/

The next day Syafiq and I arrived early at the car shop. They came and after checking the car physically, we test drove the car around town.

The technician told me that the engine was very good, especially the transmission system.

The price first quoted was steep, but after haggling we managed to reach at a price slightly cheaper than the others that we have seen.

The one in KL had a fabric seat, quite worn out as far as we could see. The engine too was not as well kept.

So we finally agree to buy the car. The bank too surprised us a lot. No guarantor was required as first mentioned. The process took a mere three days for final approval. It took Syafiq longer to get his scrambler approved!

For the time being the car sits in our garage waiting for me to come home on Thursday evening. It too is a weekend passenger car, just like me a weekend husband!


Yesterday as I was hurriedly leaving for Kuala Terengganu, I put on two different sandals - one my newly bought Bonia and the other belonged to Syafiq. I only realised this as I stopped at Rantau Abang mosque for subuh prayer!

I am beginning to get myself acquainted with living as a married bachelor or rather a weekend husband now. It has been more than two weeks now that I have started joining the academia.

I usually travel to KT Sunday morning, at around 5.00 and reach UNISZA's City Campus at just after 7.00.

From Sunday to Thursday I stay at a homestay-turned-rented house in PERMINT PERDANA Seberang Takir. Well it is kind of steep, I mean the rental. I have to fish out RM700 for the RM64,000 medium cost house.

I could not complain much though for the house is fully furnished and air-conditioned. The owner, Hj. Sanadi, a famous optometrist in Terengganu was too generous when he bought me a new set of sofa, a cupboard and a stove for me to have a go at cooking during Ramadhan fasting.

The house is also strategically located, in the middle between City campus and also to the main campus, where we would be transferred after Aidilfitri.

Yesterday, I cooked for breakfast and syahur! Well, nothing much but straight from the can - canned tuna curry, beef curry and roasted chicken I bought from a stall nearby.

It was very filling all right!

With a room and a computer I now can sit down and plan what to do to be an effective academic staff. One thing at a time yesterday I filled my time preparing lecture notes on animal digestive system.

With my newly bought Mercedes Benz E200 Kompressor left idle back home I started to miss the car. But I have no choice, cannot bring it now as parking space is woefully limited. May be I will drive it when we have moved to the new faculty building later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here I am scribing again

Yesterday I brought the second year Animal Science students on an exhumation exercise in Kg Tok Jembal, in Zuki's horse farm.

It was not what you are expecting. There was no one murdered or anything like that. It was the digging up and collection of skeleton of a horse buried there almost one year ago.

The exercise was painstaking and exhaustive, to say the least. Students had to take turns in digging up the horse's grave.

The sandy grave made the work more difficult as it kept on falling as mini avalanches as we got deeper.

Blisters started forming on students' hands and fingers as they zealously worked their way down.

Reaching four, five feet and there was still no signs of the dead horse. We almost gave up.

Then a few flies flew in - a sure sign of something rotten.

The students kept on going. Then there was a tarpaulin and a piece of long rope unearthed. Opening up the material covering the dead horse, they slowly and painstakingly began collecting the bones.

The frustration and despair were suddenly transformed into joy and jubilation. Everybody was excited collecting and identifying the bones.

The first bone unearthed was the humerus. Then came the carpals, the radius and ulna, the scapula.

Finally, at five something I called it a day. We had collected 98% of the bones, even the hyoid bone. WE missed the fourth third phalange though.

Exhausted and sweaty, I left the city campus at 6.20 and went straight to the Yunnan's rice chicken shop at Batu Buruk for a rather late lunch.

After lunch I continued to Maidin for some juice and canned fruits and tuna for the first Ramadhan's syahur.

Tired, I called it a day at 9.00.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Yesterday, 1 August, I reported duty at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, City Campus.
That was after securing a Home-stay-turned rented house in PERMINT Perdana in Kg Batin. The rental was horribly high for such a house. It was RM700, but having no other alternative, I just said yes. It was fully furnished and air-conditioned though.

There were still incomplete forms to be returned to the Registrar office. For that I had to drive around KT looking for Commissioner of Oath office, getting my photographs taken and getting the Duty stamp marked at LHDN office.

It took me almost three long sweating hours to get all of them completed. Why? Finding a parking space in KT was almost impossible and walking in all new long-sleeved shirt and very tight brand new Bonia leather shoes was killing my feet!

Only at 12.30 I went and see the Dean. He then invited us for lunch.

Then I received a call from the Motorcycle store in Kemaman telling that Syafiq's scrambler was ready. It could only be let out with my presence as there were papers to be signed.

So, I rushed home and got there just half an hour before the store closed for the day.

Syafiq was excited to have a brand new Scrambler.