Friday, November 30, 2007

Out of Work!

Pity the fella up there. Times must be so bad that he's forced to call it quits and balik kampung. Guess after this, he'll have lots of time on his hand to spin his web. that I mentioned it, I think its time I start searching too as I am just about to finish a job which had taken lots of my time for the past 2 weeks. Late this afternoon, I walked into the client's office and handed the final draft. So, unless there's some serious amendments, I too will be having lots of time on my hand soon.

Now, that's good and bad. Good, as I'll be able to put more time on another project. Bad, well, I do love writing for a client. Except that last piece was, a wee bit over my head and had me into late and sleepless nights. Er, not so true there, as there was only 1 sleepless night. Now you see where this is going to get me? I'll be able to blog more! Hehe...

Hang on, hang on! Hold the party yet! I'll only know the news - good or bad - on Monday. Bad news would be like there'll be tons of rectification, uurgh! Good news though, will be like more writing jobs from them and hence, more cheques!

Have to admit though, initially I was like having a phobia to even look at the client's reading materials. I mean, its like stepping into a whole new world, a world I am not, or was not, familiar with! And I kept postponing doing the job until, a lovely friend gave me some encouragement. Alhamdulillah, with that I was able to keep to the schedule. To that lovely friend, thank you from the very bottom of my heart, and may Allah s.w.t. bless you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Work is like that

This is another from the same friend from the previous entry:

Work is like that........ .....

There are 2 people always next to you:

1 - The (Manager), smiling pleasantly to hide evil intentions!

2 - The (Team Leader), busy figuring out what work to dump on you next.....

And, there's YOU, who struggles with it all!

The perfect picture is given below

Team leader YOU Manager


Having put this up, it does imply I have nothing better to do. Well, sort of.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No Title...

A friend sent me the below several days back, and thought I would like to share it here.

Thought of the Day

If a drop of water falls in lake there is no identity.

But if it falls on a leaf of lotus it shine like a Pearl ... so
choose the best place where You would shine..

Heck, I'm not going to break it down letter by letter or sentence by sentence. If anyone's interested to do so, perhaps it would be better to look at this, or read this.

At the same time, I also received some calls from near and afar asking whether I went to the HINDRAF march. Like I commented at kerp, even if I wanted to, I just could not; its simple as that.

On the home front, emak's back from a 2night trip to Penang with Din, my elder brother. And of all the things she brought back - you're not going to believe this - are 2 whole loaves of 'roti banggali'! It was bought fresh from the oven and even had some oven-warm in it. In such a scenario, what else could I do, but tuck in!

And what goes best with 'roti banggali', one might be tempted to ask. Well, lots of things namely: home-made kaya, serunding, sambal ikan bilis, sambal daging (not serunding ya, that's mentioned already), and a whole lot more including: well, since emak went to Penang and Penang is famous for lots of things and most especially, nasi kandar!, I did not eat the bread with nasi kandar, mind you. But I did downed the bread with the gravies of the nasi kandar. was simply perspiring-licking, oops sorry, finger-licking good!

Back when I was small, one the the best things we look forward to balik kampung, was the early morning time when the banggali man would cycle down the street with his still hot-from-the-oven roti! As if knowing already what 3 small boys and 2 girls wanted, he would grind his bicycle to a stop, push the rear stand down so that the bike would be stable, lift the hood of the monstrous looking zinc-chest where all the breads are kept, and begin slicing the roti banggali.

At the same time, the 5 children mentioned above, would stand around him with saliva almost running down their chins; the aroma of fresh bread blends deliciously with the smell of the hot kaya, which warms the inside of a body still shivering from the coolness of kampung morning draped by the morning mists. As the kind banggali hands each child his bread, I can still recall the smile on his face...the smile of satisfaction in knowing his product or services are very much in want. Hmm...but that was memory of a time when going back to Melaka meant having to drive through the treacherous snake-like climb of the Mantin hill. Now, though the road still exist, the convenience of the North-South Highway has made it almost obsolete, to be used only by the people living along it, or by people in search of memories of the past.

Mayhaps, the banggali mentioned would be a perfect example to the Thought of The Day above.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Time pass by pretty quick. Somehow, I thought it was only several days ago I did my last entry, when in reality its been 1 week! In cyber-time, that's what, a century already? Wow!

To be honest, I have been online, but just too plain tired to log many things, or even update the new blog. Perhaps its due to my having to stare at the screen hours at time just to write for a client. Its horrendous! No, not the client, but my having to stare at the screen...

Worse still, I have had to go to the client's office hobbling with just a slipper on. Yup! The swell is still there and I just can't get my left foot into the shoe! And by now, even the car jockey at the office has come to recognise me after having have to use his service several times already - can't afford to park at the parking lot on the accounts of my hobbling.

Tonight I'm on a break. Had myself a good time just now singing along to my collection in Imeem. I mean, I really sang my lungs out! Hehe...hope tomorrow no enforcement officers will come knocking to serve a summon!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Blog Shelved, A Blog Born.

I had initially wanted to make a picture blog dedicated to November 10. Though I received several more pictures and links, executing the idea could not take place. This, is either I'm not too bright or the mechanism does not allow it.

What I had I mind was to dedicate a page each from the various sources. Then I i discovered that though that is possible, the titles would disappear with time, leaving only the months of each entry visible instead. It would be better than to just put the links and let anyone have a peek when they want to. Thus I decided to shelve the idea.

Now, I'm quite sure an inquisitive mind or two wonder why on earth would I want to create this said blog in the very first place. Good question!

As a moderator for several political e-groups, I have many times received requests from subscribers to have certain pictures delivered as attachment to their email addresses. The pictures they received embedded within emails, are of different system and thus, does not appear.

Next question you may be tempted to ask: why don't these people just surf the net and go to the links?

Well, you would be surprised to learn that the net is still a whole new world for many Malaysians - the inter-net penetration is still at a less than the desired figure in Malaysia! Many Malaysians still rely on their office connection. Further, many offices restrict the connection to receiving emails only and perhaps one or 2 other uses. Worse, the government-related-corporations, uses key-words to block out news which are deemed 'unhealthy'. I say this from th 3 years of experience as a moderator and many times feel compelled to oblige such request mentioned earlier. And this gave birth to the idea of a dedicated 10 November blog which sadly, has to be shelved for the moment. In lieu, another was born...

Many times I have noticed certain emails by individuals are exceptionally good but does not receive much response. Sometimes, the news are a combination of 2 sources such as 'Banding: 2 Contoh Kehidupan Rakyat Malaysia'. Another would be like the missing file for Kampung Berembang court case, which unfortunately happened during the heat of November 10. Then, there's the individual's email as I mentioned earlier. Call me a romantic fool or even by any other names, but I find them worth the effort to put in safekeeping less I forget later.

Strangely, no sooner had I put up the blog - News You May Have Missed - it received some 183 hits! Hello! How the hell did these people know about this new blog? Never mind...

By the way, whilst constructing the blog, I decided to experiment with some free widgets. Thus, if it is somewhat unsightly now, do not give it much heed. InsyAllah, in time, it will be better (I pray).

Friday, November 16, 2007


Unbelievable! It seems the trend nowadays is that whenever a film is shot, several versions are made which includes: director's cut, unedited version, uncut version, and unknown version! Wow! And only in the previous post I mentioned of it, today, I received this in an email. Happy viewing...

Unbelievable, ain't it?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Of Unkown Origins...

It was a great movie! Nope, nothing like TLOR or Star Wars or anything near, but it was a great movie! It had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and even had Emi, my eldest brother jumping with fright! Undoubtedly its old (1983), but if you've not seen it, you're missing out on a good, clean, horror movie (adaka clean horror?).

Maybe after having watched it, you might be tempted to extract a form of vengeance similar to what the film Jaws did to sharks - people were killing sharks by the thousands! Later, some businessmen were lamenting the waste of good shark fins, which could have brought in a handsome reward. Soon after, the same people who were killing sharks as an act of revenge, then began killing them for the rewards of the shark fin businessmen - a senseless massacre that led to money-sense massacre. I do have to admit guilty though, to having been treated to such gastronomic pleasure. But back to the subject matter...

Now, in certain parts of the world, this creature is considered by few, as being more tender than chicken, but slightly raunchy and bitter on the taste. In fact, several governments even had a campaign or two to encourage their good citizens to partake on such newly found treat. This is off course, one of the several methods used to lessen the number of such creatures and the economic nuisance they became. Sadly, it did not catch on and although some people do still eat them, it is more out of necessity of due to lack of proper food. As a means to control the numbers? For every one creature a person eat, 10 more are born!

And should you go back several centuries, perhaps it is justified for humans to extract vengeance on these creatures, remembering that they are dirty and have been known to cause a plague or two here and there! And if you are to take my own personal encounter with just one of this creature, then do I have a tale to tell.

It began yesterday afternoon when emak complained about the mess on her cupboard. Then before early evening, there was a noise from the kitchen where upon investigating, we found quite a few items fallen out of place. Emak and I just exchange glances and I instinctively knew what to do.

Less than an hour later, I placed a thick wood measuring some one foot by one foot on the kitchen floor just next to the refrigerator. As I was doing so, my eyes caught the strange slow movement of a snake-like object behind a small cupboard. The thing, was slowly sweeping the floor as it was slowly being retracted was eerie! The first thing that crossed my mind was the film 'Alien', when Yaphet Kotto witnessed the creature for the first time! I, ahem, recoiled defensively and landed on my left foot which still swelled from last Saturday's 'Open House' at Istana Negara. Needless to say, I screamed with pain and hobbled out of the kitchen pulling the door shut behind me. I knew there was no sense in waiting out the creature, and thus drove to the nearest clinic for treatment.

When the doctor's assistant called my name at the clinic, I had no choice but to hobble in. And when the doctor saw the swell of my left foot, she exclaimed "Good God! Did you break it?". And my mind went "Good God! This must be the most *.@#^$% unlearned doctor I have come across!" I mean, if she is a good doctor, she should have known that no certain ways could I have come to the clinic by myself with a broken leg! But... Anyway, when she came to her senses, she bandaged my leg gently and gave me medicines to reduce the swelling and for the pain as well.

Early this morning, emak woke me with almost a glee on her face. I got up, went to the kitchen, and there was the culprit that caused a bigger swell on my foot! That's him, the blighter down there. No, not the guy, the rat!

Squeaking like the rat it is, it was lying flat on the piece of wood I laid, and with every ounce of energy it has, was trying to break free from the gum I pasted on the wood. I stood by the door looking at the rat and felt nothing but pity. Still, I could not find it in me to finish him off. Rather, I put the rat with the wood and all, into a trash bag and later into the bin outside. Today luckily, is one of the 3 days of the week where the trashmen comes along.

Later, as the trashmen rolled by, I watched with a mixed feeling of sadness and joy. Could this be what the director of 'Of Unknown Origin' was trying to convey?

Ps. Just received news from Doc Tokasid. It seems the 3 ministers appointed to look into the matter of the VK Lingam recording are: Nazri, Rais and Radzi! Knowing already the outcome of their findings, what I'd give to do to them what I did to the rat!

ps ps. It just occurred to me: What I would also give to receive treatment from a certain radiologist! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A New Blog

Just a short one here.

I'm in the midst of collecting pictures of 10-Eleven, that's the new name for November 10, coined by several bloggers already! Anyway, if you have pictures - other than those blogs at my main page and readscentral - kindly send them to my friend at . If the pictures are already on a blog, then just send the url or leave a note at my comment box. Thanks.

* This one below just came in via email of an egroup. Feast your eyes! :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Best Syawal - Another Hero!

Like any major battle, there are numerous heroes who's contribution and dedication towards the realisation of a common struggle or belief are sometimes not known to the public; here's another one I found at Haris.

"Amri, it was an honour to walk with you." - Haris

* If the picture does not appear, click on Haris.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Best Syawal, Yet!

[Update below]

I thought when I left high school, I left behind my days as a military cadet brandishing a weapon on my shoulder. But no, that was not to be. Though the weight of the new weapon I use is not as heavy as the m16, or the HK33, or even the SLR, it can be an unnecessary burden especially when one has to march double quick time over a distance of what, 2-3 kilometers? Except now, instead of shooting blanks or live bullets, I shoot footages of film with a video camera that is as large and cumbersome as holding a baby hippopotamus. And with the rain that drops at its own fancy - sometimes heavy, sometimes a drizzle - I have very little choice but to shoulder it like in a real military drill. Hmm...I definitely need to learn how to be an armchair general after this. But for now...

Several of the participants agreed that this has to be one of the best Syawal! No, really! I mean, for many of us there, we've never been to the Istana's open house. Suddenly today, there we were by the thousands in a sea of yellow that drowned the assortment of other colours worn by several. This, despite the threats of action by the Police and Paklah himself; despite the sms and email fabrication of either the postponement or change of venue sent by quarters wanting to fail this march! And let's not forget the truly frightening presence of the Police all dressed in battle fatigues and (the FRUs' especially) looking like a legion of time-warped samurais! Brrr...I suddenly shiver not with the cold of the persistent rain, but the thoughts of unwanted incidents that could have developed.

By 2.30 pm when the march reached Masjid Negara, Wak - my newspartner and the livewire of webtv8 - had handed to me one of the 2 large video cameras. And so off we went our separate ways with him covering the front section of the march and me, being the a regular Tail-end Charlie that I am, the middle to rear.

The song 'Malaysia Ku Berjaya', would have been most apt were it to be adapted to honour this march - the participants having come from every state in Malaysia, with a particular Cikgu Bard making a trip all the way from South Korea! And the march itself, it did not start from one particular venue as planned, but from several places which include The Sogo, Central Market, Masjid Jamek, and off course, Masjid Negara. When they converged, they measured nearly a kilometer long body of people marching for the democratic rights of a fair and open election! A truly magnificent sight of unity and bravery moulded into place by men, women and even children of different race, belief, and walk of life; one that was forged not out any rewards but the want of a truly fair and free election as promised under the constitution, and not tarnished as it has been for the many elections prior.

Rocky reported the event was covered by many local and international media houses including AlJazeera. Many bloggers such as Sheih, alkerohi, DSAI, Elizabeth Wong, Jeff Ooi, Ust Nash Tantawi who looked like a rocker yesterday, Ancient Mariner too joined the march and have already blogged it, while many others will follow suit soon (blogger and activist bakaq suffered minor injuries resulting from the chemical-laced water canon). Apart from the provoke fracas at the Masjid Jamek, the march went on peacefully right up to the Istana where the petition was handed over to an official there. Thus, in many ways, it was a resounding successful march, one that was served only as an appetiser...leaving me with littles else to report. The main meal, has yet to be decided upon!

In a way it was rather disappointing. I, for one, had thought this day would mark my first experience in a police lock-up. A frightening thought it may sound to some, but hey, I was thinking, with the extra weight I put up during Raya-ing, the meager food ration of the police lock-up would trim my body to a somewhat impressive physique by December 10! But it was not to be, and now I have to start some light workouts so that by that date, this important person I would dearly like to meet will not think I am an overstuffed potato jacket! Hmm....but I can't get to working out as yet.

In my subconscious mind, I still think I am teen-ager. Thus yesterday, I was like running, walking double quick time, jumping and clambering all over to get to vantage spots for the video shots...until we started to make our way back to Masjid Negara, that is. Only then I realised I must have sprained my left ankle(again!) and could only hobble back like a wounded soldier limping back from a battle where the distance must have been over one thousand thousand agonising steps! This morning, that very same left ankle is swollen and my right shoulder blades is aching no end. What, juggling between the camera and an umbrella, I must have looked like a bloody jester in a royal court! If by chance you notice from the many pictures and video-shots of the march, a video cameraman shooting with one hand and holding a blue Celcom umbrella with the other, well, that's the cakapaje jester guy :)

Like I mentioned in the previous posting, sorry no pics guys! But there'll a heck lot of videos, I'm pretty sure. Just scroll down the list in readscentral, and I'm sure you'll some.

Till the next event whatever it may be, this is cakapaje reporting from talkonly :)

Update 5.45pm: After reading Roslan_S and harakahdaily,
I fully agree that the real heroes for the are the members of Unit Amal. They were amongst the first to arrive and were the last to leave. Apart from forming human chain and even barriers between the Police and participants, they directed pedestrians and traffic to ensure a smooth flow of both, assisted any one in distress, and last but not least, made a sweep of the meet points as well as along the whole stretch of the streets used, to collect any rubbish that might have been unwittingly thrown by the participants. Kudos to them, the volunteers of Unit Amal! May Allah s.w.t. bless and guide them to the righteous path.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Best Syawal - Appetiser

Picures, courtesy of Harakahdaily and Suara Keadilan Online. Sorry guy, I did not have a still camera with me. Wish I had though...Anyway, if the editor at webtv8 do find the time, they'll edit and add my video shots to their news. You should have been there :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Only The Mountain Stands Forever

Only The Mountain Stands Forever
- Old Native American

I believe it was James Michener who borrowed the saying for his book 'Centenial', which later became a hit mini-series in the 1980's. But like most adapted play, watching the series was not half exciting as reading the story itself. With vision, one is imprisoned with the images that float in front of one's eyes; with words, the vision conjured in one's mind is free from any visual corruption, limited only by the ability of one's mind to perceive the literature, and perhaps the words spoken. I, was one of those mesmerised by the words of Michener.

But strangely, it was not any of his best selling novels that capture my heart most, but a short story published in a Readers Digest publication of the late 1960's with the title I vaguely remember as "The Carpet Seller from Kandahar". Forgive me, its been so long ago since I read it that the copy itself is now lost through not only the ravages of time, but life itself as well.

Its a wonderful true life story of how Michener, whilst traveling in Afghanistan, became captivated by the persistence and humbleness of a traveling Afghan carpet seller. The courtship of selling took both, Michener and the Afghan, several days to conclude with the latter narrating tales of wonder which had Michener, a master of words, bedazzled. Toward the end, based on Michener's fame and the Afghan trust in him, they parted company each with a memento of their own - for Michener, the tales woven by the Afghan, while the Afghan carried a hand-drawn check by Michener, promising the amount agreed for the carpet; the carpet itself, Michener had taken as a forlorn item which the Afghan had promised to ship to his address.

Not long after his return to the US, Michener took delievery of the very same carpet he had purchased above, which prompted him to check with his bank manager regarding the hand-drawn check, but was told nothing of such matter arise as yet. A year or 2 down the line with Michener himself having forgotten about the check, the bank manager called on the very matter itself and seek instructions. Michener smiled to himself and asked the bank to approve the check.

"The old man," Michener thought "must have used the check - and Michener's name - to strengthen the tales of his sales to countless other people!". Still the point remains, that the trust given in the transaction was kept in earnest; an amanah that was kept by both parties from extreme ends - one a non-muslim and a master of literature, and the other, a semi literate muslim who lives the rugged life of the Afghan countryside. Yet, each honour the other as demanded in the teachings of Islam.

Tomorrow, the 10 November, the people of Malaysia will meet in Dataran Merdeka and walk to the Palace to seek amends for the broken amanat of a truly fair and free general election that has been reneged by the ruling party! For too long many quarters in Malaysia has suffered from the arrogance and corrupt practice found not only in the elections, but also in the administration of the country. The people has lost faith and now seek the King's intervention.

People of Malaysia, come and join us. If it is not for your own, then for your future generation's sake! Do not let corruption be our way of life for you too hold an amanah from Allah to hold true to your belief, and the teachings contain within!

Only the mountains stand forever? Nay! For all will crumble at a time Allah decree it to be so! Including the regime of the Barisan Nasional!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Highwayman.

[Updated notes at end.]

The word 'highwayman' was coined sometime in the 17th century in Great Britain. Who started it I have no idea at all. All I know is that the word refers to bandits or robbers on horses, who waylay travelers on the road. But I suspect now, there are less people traveling on horse or horse-carriages which makes the highwayman's job less easier than it was before. Still, they persists with new modus operandi.

There have been reports about motorist being robbed in bright daylight not only in on the highways, but within city centers as well. These new breed of highwayman - working in pairs - would purposely hit a car from the rear, forcing the front car driver to stop in his tracks. The highwayman driver would then engage his victim in an argument while his partner would get into the victim's car and drive away. If not that, then they would relieve the victim off his valuables. Ladies, have been reported to be the highwayman's favourite target. So ladies, please beware.

If ever you are hit from behind, do not get out of the car or open your windows wide. Yell to the other driver to follow you to a police station. And before you drive off, take down the car's plate number. But, having said that, there is another form of highway robbery that most drivers are not able to elude - the Toll Men!

I was reading bro Ahirudin's blog yesterday and it dawned on me that we Malaysians - especially Klang Valley folks - face legalised robbery daily without much of a whimper. At almost every avenue in and out of the city the Toll Men awaits us gleefully (not the workers, mind you, but their bosses!), and we are forced to give our money while being polite and saying 'thank you'. (Well, at least one guy I know does that - that oxymoron cakapaje guy!) Now, Klang Valley folks face the possibility of another highwayman in the making.

Looking on the bright side of it - if there's actually any, i.e - this new toll will bring a new form of employment. Serious! I mean, when I was sent to Jakarta some many years ago, the company rented a house in Kelapa Gading, a suburb of Jakarta. As the job entails lots of traveling within every nook and corner of the city, we had to pay lots and lots of money to toll gate operators. And sometimes when we need to rush downtown Jakarta for early morning meetings, we face a dilemma - several roads impose a heavy fine for single or double occupancy vehicles! To travel these roads, you have to have a full load of 4 people! Now, I ask you, how in the world are we supposed to drive with a full load when most of the time there's only 2 of us? Well, the answer my friend, is literally blowing in the wind!

Some of these full occupancy roads runs several kilometers short and are mainly single direction. At the entry of such roads, you'd find a queue of people by the roadside. Initially I thought, they were waiting for buses and what not. Thus I had a shock when my colleague stopped the car and gave a 2-finger sign to the people! A greater shock was when exactly 2 people walked to the car and got in the backseat! I mean, hello!, are we into some business I don't know, or have we suddenly become public vehicles! But, soon later my colleague explained it to me. And when we reached the end of the street, the passengers were paid and got off to walk back to their 'terminal'. Now, that is the new employment or business I mentioned earlier. Any takers? :) Perhaps the government can shift the duties of the 'jaga kereta' boys here, heheh.

Still in Kelapa Gading area, they found a way to ease the parking problems there. But before I continue, kindly look at the picture below which was taken from 'The Star'.

Now, in Kelapa Gading, or at least when I was there, they faced no such problem. All one have to do is drive into the secure parking area of the mall there and search for a parking spot. If there's none, no problemo! Just double park your car with the wheels pointing straight and do not engage the hand brakes! Then lock the doors and go about with your fun in the mall. If the vehicles you blocked wants to move out, they'll simply push your car out of the way. No hassle at all! What say you Dato' Bandar KL?

UPDATE 8/11/07: Doc Tokasid's last comment prompt this update. Back in 2001-03 when I was running myself flat to the ground, I rented rear half of an office, in Section 15, Subang Jaya. The front half tenant then, were my friends who were in the Design/Colour-Separation/Printing-Agent business.

The parking space in Section 15 is horrendous, leaving many without choice but to double park their vehicles. And soon, the MPPJ at first, then the MBSJ, would come around putting parking fines on the vehicles. Later, they resorted to towing those double-parked vehicles to the yard. Owners, apart from having to pay the compound, had also to pay the towing charges. This had the local people up-in-arms against the council and the latter eased down on their operation. But before that happened double-parked car owners would leave their business cards on the dashboard so that owners of blocked cars can call them. Later, the situation paved way for a new small business.

This particular street we were in, had hundreds of offices. While the business owners would normally rent a reserved lot from the council, workers and visitors to these offices had to fight for parking space. Soon, some of the freelance dispatch riders took a business initiatives and privately proposed to it to the people there.

What they had going, even for the short while it survived, was simple: the people chipped in a small amount each for these dispatch riders to give alerts to each office on the arrival of the enforcement officers and tow-vehicles. The business ended when the local people had a showdown with the council about those tow-trucks. Call it business ingenuity or plain opportunist, they served a purpose then.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Choice Is Yours!



After failing to find the original version of the song on Imeem, I've decided to put 2 renditions of it for your listening pleasure. To me, its decidedly tricky; though I love BJ, somehow he does not seem to connect here. Then, there's the piano instrumental which have me craving - and I mean like clawing my desk and crying deep inside me for an upright now!

Do not get me wrong, I have not a single doubt that should I find an upright now, the sounds emanating would very much be like an orangutan banging away at the keys! That's how long I've not touched one! Anyway, the choice is yours. And while you're listening, perhaps you'd like to sing to it too.

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land

I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing the blues

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down your plane
It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain't got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground


Like it? I sincerely hope you do, because I'm dreaming. I am dreaming that this song is being sung by those macaques currently helming Malaysia. Yes, those guys calling themselves the government! Oh! Except for the first 2 and the last 2 lines, which we - the rakyat - will sing to them.

Maybe it is a dream that will happen. But right now, I'm hyping myself for the day, the 10 November! And I hope I am not alone in this dream. And I pray that you too will be there when it happens...10 November! Its very much like the songs above, the choice is yours.

Make the right one!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

With You I'm Born Again

It does not come even close; this rendition by a Philippine duet that is. The deep male voice of Billy Preston and haunting siren of Syreeta, struck deep into me when I first heard some 26 years ago in a place so far away from here.

With the passage of time, it too, was swept away like a flotsam in a swift flowing river of life. And all of a sudden, the song - this song - came rushing back into my mind, and with it, memories of the past.

No, this rendition does not even come close. But it is, the best amongst the choice made available at Imeem.

Come bring me your softness
Comfort me through all this madness
Woman, don't you know, with you I'm born again

Come give me your sweetness
Now there's you, there is no weakness
Lying safe within your arms, I'm born again

I was half, not whole
In step with none
Reaching through this world
In need of one

Come show me your kindness
In your arms I know I'll find this
Woman, don't you know, with you I'm born again
Lying safe with you I'm born again

Come bring me your softness
Comfort me through all this madness
Woman, don't you know, with you I'm born again

Come give me your sweetness
Now there's you, there is no weakness
Lying safe within your arms, I'm born again
Woman, don't you know, with you I'm born again

I was half, not whole
In step with none
Reaching through this world
In need of one

Come show me your kindness
In your arms I know I'll find this
Woman, don't you know, with you I'm born again
Lying safe with you I'm born again


This song played here is a dedication.

I have no doubt that some may think it is to a particular woman. Though my heart longs for it to be so, sadly no, it is not. This song, is a dedication to November 10 - the day of reckoning for Malaysia. Perhaps, should I live pass this date, may Allah s.w.t. grant me that which my heart longs for.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Conversation With A 'Squatter' Colony.

Since my visit first visit to Kampung Rimba Jaya, I have taken too long a time to write down the conversations I had with several of the residents there. The delay is not due to any reasons but that I really do not know how to; I do not want to paint the wrong picture.

My aim here is to highlight the predicament of many low-income Malaysians living within the boundaries of the Klang Valley, and why they chose to live in a 'squatter' colony.

InsyAllah, I will try to keep the transcript true to the conversations which was transacted in Malay. For reasons obvious, the names given here are not their true names and the introduction formalities are not included here.


cakapaje: How long have you been living here?
Azid: I've been here for 6 years. But pakcik Alang here have been here for 19 years!
Hazim: That makes me one of the longest then as I have been here close to 30!

cakapaje: "Do you think the authorities will come today (to demolish the houses)?"
Hazim: "I don't know, but I do not think so. Had they wanted to, they would have arrived early in the morning. Besides, today being Friday, they too would need to go for Jumaat Prayers."
Azid: "Does not matter whether they come today or not, but we should all be packing. I would not want the villagers to be caught off guard and later blame you (Hazim) for thinking you've mislead them."
Hazim: "I have not! I have told them the truth and the fact that my house is being dismantled even now should be the cue for them to follow suit."

As Azid and Hazim got into a small quarrel, my eyes caught the sight of an old man walking very slowly some 200 meters away. He was walking neither towards nor away from us, but moving around some small bushes and his head slightly bent and looking at the ground as though he was searching for something. I pointed a finger towards the old man and forced a question to Azid, cutting their quarrel short.

Azid replied that the old man is known as Pak Suhaimi. He lives with his son, but forages the ground of Kampung Rimba Jaya looking for any discarded objects which he can sell off - bottles, tins, old boxes, in fact any recyclable items he can find. The meager ringgit he gets, he contributes to the household needs; his son works as a lorry attendant, has 5 children and his wife not working. With their relocation, the old man may no longer be able to contribute to the family.

At 80, he should not have to!

Another man walked towards us and introduced himself to me as Zain. He lives 2 lots away and work as a driver and has this to add to the conversation:
"The government said I could take a housing loan. I asked them back 'what loan?'. I'm already 55 and earning about RM500 a month, which bank will consider me?"

"So, where will you go to?" cakapaje quipped in.
"Oh! To (some kampung which I could not catch the name)", he quickly replied.
"What's the rental there?" asked Azid.
"RM600! A bloody RM600 when I earn RM500!" he replied with his voice slightly raised.
The shock look on my face must be apparent as he added "2 of my sons are already working and they chip in what they can. But they already have their own family, and we do not want to burden them" glancing back at his house where his wife and 16year old daughter are standing at the door.

I was trying to make sense of everything as this is the first time I face a situation like this. Though there were many childhood schoolmates who lived in squatter colonies, it, never became part of our conversation. What does one need to do? How can one even begin offering assistance when one does not even understand the problems these people face?

I turn my body towards Zain and boldly asked him a question, half expecting a stern reply or a balking "Why did you not move out earlier when the first order of eviction was given?"

Instead of Zain, it was Azid who answered "we did not want to because we were told by the village headman that this is pioneer land - tanah teroka. By that, it means we will be given the title to this land".

I nodded my head, but my nods must have been unconvincing.

"I was living in Gombak and was in the Used Car business. Then the recession came in 1997-98, and the business went down the drain. In 2000, I was able to sell off my house and with some cash there, I opened a Big Bike Service center on the main street here. Later, I bought a piece of land in this kampung and built a small house for RM30,000 - with the assurance from the village headman regarding the land title - which I could not have done anywhere" Azid said.

"Why didn't you buy a proper house?" asked Zain.

"My business was still new", said Azid. "Besides, like many of us here with a blacklisted credit rating, you just can't get a loan for anything, anywhere! Thus, this was the only choice I had".

Adli, who was sitting quietly all this while, suddenly chipped in. "To your earlier question" he said, "The Member of Parliament then told us that we will be given sufficient time to move to those new low-cost apartments (pointing towards the direction of some 3 blocks of high rise buildings). But those apartments are only about 90% completed and still without their Certificate of Fitness, how can we - those who qualified - move in?".

"Adli, you seem to have forgotten" Zain cuts in, "after a fracas with the authorities 2 years back, our case was brought into the courts. Then, the judge asked the local authorities 'why are they intervening in a dispute between the developer (a private party) and the residents? This is a private dispute between these 2 parties. And should not the authorities (including the Member of Parliament) be intervening on behalf of the people instead of against them?'".

"We won the case then," Zaid added "but lost it in an appeal. We counter-appealed. But lost it last week and are given a week's notice to move out or face eviction. How can we find accommodations within 7 days? Could they not have given us a little bit more time, especially some of the children here will be facing their SRP and year-end school examinations? And the Indian resident too, they will be or should be celebrating their Deepavali; have the authorities no heart at all?".

It was then approximately 12 noon then. Since there were no signs of the enforcement officers, I took beg of leave. Still, I could not help myself asking a final question, "These zincs and planks you've dismantled, what are you going to do with them?"

"Some of us will try to use it anyway we can for our new homes" Zain replied.
"You mark my words! Most, will be sold off for scrap. But its better that than having them demolished!" added Azid.

With that I got into my car and drove off and called Dr. L, and later the local Lajnah Kebajikan. After that, I made a mental note of the problems the residents of Kampung Rimba Jaya, and in probability most of the squatter colonies:

* Low household income force them to find alternative housing.
* Some do not qualify for a loan due to bad credit rating.
* The promised housing by the local authorities are not yet completed.
* The land promise was reneged by the local authorities.

Kindly refer to links below for more articles on Kampung Rimba Jaya:

Tumpang sekoleh...?
E Contrario
DPP Bukit Katil - Fracas at the Temple
Rasuah Semakin Parah - 4 video reports
The Star Online: Video