Monday, December 31, 2007

Oh, What a Night!...er, I Mean, Day!



Hey! Who changed part of the lyrics here? Should it not say, day? No? Oh, well. Hmm...

But it was a day...a day of mishaps, funny incidents, and unexpected meets. After taking everything into consideration, I'd say it was not bad.

The day started quite wonderfully, in fact! The sun was shining its best, and there were no more dead fishes in the pond. So I guess my theory on male dominance in it might be true after all! I mean, with all the new males Swordtails dead, that macho guy in the can have his pick of the day! It can't get any more primitive can it? Still, it might appeal to some...

Soon after I finished my personal errands for the morning, which include being a birthday delivery man to Emi, my eldest brother who is in Bukit Rimau, and who will be celebrating his 49th year on the 2nd January, I made my way to see a doctor. No, honest I did! She took a look at my leg and said:
"I will not give you a clean bill of health for the GMI Protest..."when she paused there, I took the opportunity to take out 2 larges slices of Chocolate Indulgence cake which I had bought earlier, with the very intention of giving to her as a mark of, shall we say, fondness. Oops! No, I mean gratitude! Anyway, when she saw the cakes, she smiled and continued her statement "unless you use a tandu, crutch, or better, if you are in a wheelchair!". Ok, I get the message and walked out of the treatment room.

Later, as I was walking out of the clinic, I glanced around. Through the small window opening of her room, I could see 4 figures crowding her table. It must be the cakes, I thought and smiled by myself. But as I was driving away, a thought suddenly flashes across "Hey! What's a tandu?"

Anyway, soon after Zohor, I picked up Wak Kasiran to begin our interviews; there was a miscommunication! It seems this would not be a street interview as I thought, but getting political personalities to have their year-end say. "Ok", I said then asked "who are we meeting first and what am I to ask them?"
Wak gave me the questions written on a piece of paper and said "I don't know. I have just only received their phone numbers, and have yet to be able to get anyone on line!"
"Great!" I thought! And each of us began making calls to the names. Somehow lady luck was not with us that day and our calls came to nought. Still, we decided to bulldoze our way to DSAI's office and managed to interview 3 of the people there - Nik Nazmi, Nathaniel Tan, and Din Merican; they make pretty good interviewees, I'd say. Only, the interviewer, or the reporter, was ill prepared! Hmm...

Woopsie! I do have to leave now, and I do hate leaving things hanging. Since I may be held back a while - and I do want to put this entry before midnight - I'm just going to put a picture of myself below and continue writing later when I get back.

By the way guys, I have to admit, I do not celebrate the Gregorian New Year as I do not see much in its celebration. Still, for those who does, here's wishing you the best! Happy 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Y-Factor and A Call-Up.

Disclaimer: Not being of the medical fraternity, and not good in knowledge about biology, except for...er, birds and bees, I asked a Doctor friend to refresh my knowledge on the XY Chromosomes. Having been refreshed, I now can write with confidence on a matter relating to it...er, unless she's pulling a fast one on me. Hmm...

Earlier this morning when I wanted to feed the fishes, I noticed several lifeless fish in the water. On a closer inspection which I was forced to use a small net, I found, much to my sadness, all 6 male Swordtails I recently bought are dead! I had at first thought this is due to territorial fighting, but then again, previously there were no such incidents. Further, the female Swordtails are not killed! Then it occurred to me that it must be the Y Factor or Male Dominance...but in a fish tank? Hmm...I am yet able to identify the culprit in this matter, but several suspects have already been lined up, one of which is a fast growing guppy-molly crossbreed. And he must be hiding something as of late he's been very elusive. But I can't spent much time to dwell on the matter as earlier this evening, I received a Call-up.

Ok, granted I am not in the military or para-military. The call-up I received is from webtv8. Wak Kasiran, my usual cameraman-partner, is planning a street interview tomorrow and needs my assistance in doing so. Heck, I don't mind and in fact do love street interviews! Anyway, since 10-11, I have been on a long medical leave from them. Its time to see if I can be certified fit for duty, especially with the upcoming GMI Protest scheduled for January 5. If I can leg (literally) this one out, then I might be able to make the GMI Protest later. Wish me luck guys.

Daylight Robbery?

When I inserted an update in Celebrate, with a video of Adam and The Ants, it was done with a particular purpose in mind.

2 days prior to the entry, my cousin Azman who was visiting me, had complaint of the slow connection he' been getting. Since he is a heavy user - constantly downloading movies and TV series - he finds it really irritating when the downloading time he gets sometimes reaches 20 percent of the normal speed he gets. And when he found out that I, under normal circumstances, gets about 600 to 700 kilo bytes per second, he was quite infuriated as I use my connection for news items, emails and blogging purposes. Further, as he has his own modem and pays RM66 per month for the 1MB package, he thought he was getting a raw deal. I then asked him to call Streamyx Hotline at 1-300-88-9515, and make inquiries, to which he did. What he found out was that he was not subscribed to the package he wanted; instead of the 1MB package, he has been using the 512! He then changed his subscription, and along with it an increase of RM10 per month. That made me wonder: did the fault of wrongly placed subscription lies in Azman, or the sales personnel of the company, bearing in mind that Azman is rather competent on such matters.

Then, on the day of the entry, a friend text me with almost the same problem. I then asked her to check the connection speed at tmnet. Now, for my streamyx-user friends who are not made aware of such things, well, you can check your connection speed at that site by choosing stremyx at the choice, and then selecting 'Bandwidth Test' on the right-most panel. Once in the test page, make sure of the correct criteria before clicking 'Start Test' and later 'Go". But please make sure you have no application running during the test as it may affect the result, which may take less than one minute.

What ever the package you have, the result should show a minimum of 70% of the connection speed you ought to have. For instance, if you are using the IMB package, then the result shoul be at least 700kbps (right hand most of the panel). If anything lesser, and that it is persistent, you should call the Hotline and make a complaint; TMNet should resolve your complaint withing 2 working days. Should they fail, you as a consumer have the right to lodge a complaint at Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (www.cfm.org.my) either by email or by telephone call. Perhaps it should interest you to know that in December 2004, CfM managed to register a Code of Practice which is applicable to all user and registered service providers in the Communications and Multimedia Industry. Failure by the service provider to adhere to the code (available at cfm or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission at www.mcmc.gov.my), could result in a possible action by MCMC.

Another point of interest is that CfM has also registered a sub-code (Internet Service Provider Sub-Code)with the MCMC which specifically deals with the grievance of consumer within this context.

Now, apart for the complaints by my 2 friends above, I came across Raslan Sharif's column in The Star, December 28, 2007, which I reproduce below here.



Raslan mentioned 4 million internet dial-up consumers in this country, and I remember reading Raja Petra's article that there are 6 million broadband users. Fine, I'm not going to argue with them as they are more knowledgeable on the matter. However, I do question the data by MCMC: how many of the total consumers are homes users, and how many non-home users? MCMC may have such details which I am not privy to. But let us say the ratio is 50-50, which means there are only 5 million Internet home users, of which many are still using the dial-up services, which is rather sad for a country geared for the so called speedy information-transfer age. Which brings me to this joke I was told by a top civil service officer several years back.

When a high ranking delegation of the Kementerian Tenaga, Air dan Komunikasi together with the MCMC, visited the Thai government in Bangkok, the ministry counterpart inquired on the progress of Internet penetration in Malaysia. One lady officer proudly mentioned "Oh! Last year (can't remember the year), we connected 80 schools in Sabah alone!", to which the counterpart exlaimed "Oh! That's very good!".
Then, as though (I stress the 2 words)trying to rub it in, a Malaysian officer asked his counterpart "What about your country, how is your progress (in Internet penetration)?"
The Thai officer then put out some documents and nonchalantly said "Oh! Last year we connected 1,000 schools". The Malaysian delegation then sat quietly.

Back to Raslan's column. Even though I am an avid user of the Internet, I wonder how the notion of a wireless city would affect the people on the street, those who can ill afford their very children's daily expenses, let alone purchasing a computer. RM60 million just to set up hotspots in Kuala Lumpur in the first phase, and more to be spent at later phases! Let me just end with this: my tyre rims have been dented several times while driving in KL, just because DBKL would not, or could not ensure the city roads are well maintained and without potholes which persist for months on end and becomes deeper with every passing day. And this is because the mayor wants KL turned into a well-connected world class city? Pardon me while I...


ps. Having read Raslan's column, would I then be right to suggest the Adam and The Ant's video far from being wrong in this issue?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Idle Time

Ok, I do believe this past few days I've had too much time on my hand. Oh well, can't do much about it as most of the people I'm supposed to be in contact are having their year-end leaves, and I really don't feel like going out much, not especially when my foot hurts like hell today.

Anyway, besides reading and er...reading, I've also been browsing the net for some new videos. But this time, I will not put any in this blog, rather have put up a new blog at Listen Only or http://listenonly.blogspot.com. And unless the music is directly related to the topic here, I'll put the music and videos I like there. Needless to say, I can only put up new post there when ever I have free time. For a start, I've put up Beautiful Maria of My Soul, and Misty as mentioned by Pak Zawi and Doc TA respectively. Happy listening.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Final Instalment

Ok, the fault at the major interchange of Talkonly.blogspot has finally been repaired. Thus, that cakapaje bloke can now resume with his normal self (hopefully lah!). But having played several numbers whilst the fault was repaired, it would be quite rude ending it without putting up another before normal screening begins. The problem now though, is what to put up?

I've put up Rare Earth, George Benson, Adam and the Ants (ada story sebenarnya), and Los Lobos. But the truth is, there's so much more to share and so little space to do it. There's still BB King, David Sanborn, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and a whole lot more! As such, I am seriously thinking about blogging any I find - any that I like, off course. Its not a bad idea and perhaps by tomorrow, I'll put up one where each entry will have at least 3 songs. In the meantime, do enjoy these 3 numbers, starting with a slow number.


And a number which Doc TA and Cikgu would surely recognise...I just love the raw unedited live music here.


Hey! I'm just in the mood for some solid yesteryears rock. And it just cannot be complete without this next video. Though the production seem quite recent, and the band regrouped perhaps just for this concert, the music is certainly discernibly Deep Purple.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lip-synching Guitar King

He never ceases to amaze me. Everytime I listen or watch him singing, I wonder if its the guitar lip-synching him, or he the guitar. Still I guess it does not matter. What does matter is that I suddenly have this video songs craze and that this man was on my list of top performing singer. Some of his videos I found may be an old production, but the songs are still fresh and unmistakably George Benson.


Rather sad that many of his videos on You Tube has the embedding turned off, otherwise, a heck lot more of his songs would be shown. Still, all is not lost as one of his best song are made available; it is, I believe his original soundtrack of a movie about Muhammad Ali, the Greatest Boxer of the 21st Century, and the song is undoubtedly, The Greatest Love of All.

Celebrate

Dear brothers and sisters, it seems we are still experiencing some technical glitch. We hope you will bear with us as we are trying our best to resolve the issue. InsyAllah, everything will be as before soon enough. We thank you for your patience and hope you will be entertained with this song, even though it is not a video.

Excerpt from the book 'Icarus' where Jack and Dom were in a conversation:

"What are you celebrating?" asked Jack.
"The fact that it's 5.30 in the morning. Always happy to see another one roll around" replied Dom.





UPDATE 5.32pm
Due to receiving 1 conmplaint from a consumer which is overwhelming all our lines, we have decided to join our counterpart and rivals joint motto in providing service, and which is evident in this video. Though it is an old video - one which we found gathering dust for 20 years now - we do not recommend any conservative to watch it. Er...mind you, by that we do not mean the Conservative Party members ye. Happy viewing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Filler

Normally, when there is an empty time on television or radio, programmers would find something...anything, to fill the empty time which could have been caused by a variety of reasons. This, is one such time. But I assure my friends, normal programming will be back soon. In the meantime, do enjoy the song :)


How Will The Wolf Survive?
Through the chill of winter
Running across the frozen lake
Hunters are out on his trail
All odds are against him
With a family to provide for
The one thing he must keep alive
Will the wolf survive?

Drifting by the roadside
Climbs each storm and aging face
Wants to make some morning's fate
Losing to the range war
He's got two strong legs to guide him
Two strong arms keep him alive
Will the wolf survive?

Standing in the pouring rain
All alone in a world that's changed
Running scared, now forced to hide
In a land where he once stood with pride
But he'll find his way by the morning light

Sounds across the nation
Coming from your hearts and minds
Battered drums and old guitars
Singing songs of passion
It's the truth that they all look for
The one thing they must keep alive
Will the wolf survive?
Will the wolf survive?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It Must Be the Moon

It must be the moon! I have not a single doubt about it, it is the moon!

Hang on! Before anyone think the full moon affect me in the way it does werewolves and all, then know you I am not one! Hmm...though there are times I was I was one. Wooo wooo wooo!

I'm just plain loco this evening...that's what I am! And when you consider the swing in emotion I was experiencing earlier today - one moment ecstatic, the other dejected - this may be quite a contrast. And I have no explanation to give at all, except for that shiny yellowish round disc seemingly floating halfway between Earth and the heavens above! But hang on again...perhaps not! That's it! Perhaps...

Earlier yesterday, I was feeling real down. Then I just blazed the internet looking for nothing in particular, but found something spectacular! Like that videos of 'Eres tu', which though the song has haunted me for ages, prior to yesterday it never clicked to my mind to google or yahoo! it. And when I found it, I just felt like crying my lungs out, which I did much to my emak's dismay. But since it was visible only her face and nothing audible, I guess she understands her son's state of affair at this time of the year. That's good for her, because I certainly don't!

Ok, before I babble on, you've got to listen to this song.

Hmm...I do love this song, and I do love Tom Jones singing it. But then, this song could have also been the culprit which caused further topsy-turvy in my emotional wellbeing yesterday! Then, out of the nowhere, I thought I heard the melodious voice of an angel. I could not have been dreaming, yet, I must have. If it indeed was a dream which I think it is not, then it must have been the best dream in my life yet. That is, off course, if it is a dream. Hey! I did say I am el-loco tonight, didn't I?

Anyway, in my dream which may not have been one, the angel and I became engaged in a conversation which I found hard to break off. Now, it is not that I did want to break off the conversation in anyway at all. I mean, I'd be doubly or triple el-loco to do that with an angel, wouldn't I? What I mean is that, just how do you wean a 44yr old man from the candy he's been longing for all his life? You can't! And there I was happily talking to the angel and wishing the moment would never end. But, sigh, end it did when she whispered, rather sweetly I must add, that she does have to fly into the neverland to recharge her vitality. Could I then, as a man, ever refuse an angel's request? I'd be 10 times loco to do that, wouldn't I? And so she flew off last night leaving me, calm and besoothed and later I just laid on my back till about 3am before closing it blissfully for the night. Sigh...such a beautiful moment.

Anyway, I wake up this morning feeling half happy for having talked to an angel, half sad as I wished she could have stayed longer, and half deranged as I don't know when she'll come around again. Hmm...that's more than 2 halves already! Oh well, lets just attribute the 3rd half to the state to being deranged.

Surprisingly later - earlier this evening, that is - I was calm again. Then, no sooner had I stepped out of the house, I saw it again! Yerp! that shiny yellowish round disc seemingly floating halfway between Earth and the heavens above! I began to shiver and the hair stood on its end somewhat like a punk's hair! Its the moon!

Blue Horizon

It was a by chance buy, one that I am grateful for. Not since reading James Mitchener's 'Centennial' and Alex Hailey's 'Roots' some more than 20 years ago, have I come across a book that's spellbinding and had me fixated. Well, there was Sidney Sheldon's 'If Tomorrow Comes', but that was set in 20th Century. This book, along with 'Centennial' and 'Roots', are epic stories set in a time where anything beyond the horizon's of one's gaze is a mystery very few dared venture, and a taboo for many who do not.

Masterfully crafted words lined the pages of events that were beautifully twisted leaving me to wonder what the next turn of page would lead to. There were times though, I was disappointed - not due to the weakness of the plot - rather due to my anticipation of it. But that, I reckon, is the teasing part leaving me wanting to continue reading until I reach the last page.

Unlike the 2 aforementioned books which were historically-linked, Wilbur Smith draws his own story line in a land once called The Dark Continent. Perhaps due to the continent's stinginess in revealing its history, there were chapters which I would term as murky, especially when the writer tried - perhaps due his own ignorance - to portray Muslims and Islam in a somewhat shady manner. The writer could argue though, that one of the good characters in his book is a Muslim. True. But he also happens to be a Caucasian - a case of white superiority? You draw your own conclusion.

In reading, you may find one or 2 more setbacks which might suggest the writer is an armchair writer - one who writes from knowledge gained from other reads, and not by experience. Still, how can one experience life of a century prior to one? Ironically and coming back to his depiction of Muslims and Islam, were this book written in the 19th century, I would understand it perfectly well. But Wilbur Smith was born in 1933, at the age where instead of war between civilisations, the many people of the world have lost track of their very roots either due to mixed marriage or migration. Hence, a truer picture of Muslims and Islam could perhaps have been written.

Glancing at his biography, he was born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), which was once considered a buffer state for the then apartheid regime in South Africa, and hence his knowledge of a land that can be as violent as it is beautiful.

Make no mistake though, I love his narration and I do recommend this book to book lovers, as much as I intend to purchase more Wilbur Smith's other titles. What makes his writing appealing to me was that I was moved - transported - to another time and place without any visual corruption as when one watch a movie or mini-series based on a novel. What saddens me however, if ever this title is made into a movie, the production may not stick faithfully to the writing, as was the case of Frederick Forsythe's 'Icon' and many others. So my suggestion to my friends, get the book first; 777 pages of pure reading pleasure.



Just in case there is a mind or two wondering why I am writing this, well, I will soon be parting with the book. InsyAllah, by tomorrow afternoon, it would have been wrapped nicely to be given as a present to someone I hold very dear to me. As a Muslim, I do hold to the belief that when one want to give something (sedekah or hadiah), then it is best to give that one holds dear, insyAllah.

By the way Doc TA, should you ever read this book, I could imagine a young you in Dorian Courtney, one of the central figure of this book. I, would off course be Jim, the nephew and, in spirit, Louisa as the recipient of this book gift tomorrow, insyAllah.

UPDATE 8.06pm
Woopsie! Ter-mistake! Doc, Dorian Courtney is supposed to be about the age you are now - that's young and good looking :)

Touch The Wind.

When I first heard this song in the mid '70s, I fell in love with it immediately. It's melody was haunting and tugs at the heart. And its lyrics were strangely, foreign. Perhaps, that strangeness lend an aura of mystery and awe to the whole matter and kept me captivated for a long spell.

There were no videos then. And I had not an inkling to who the singer or group was. But the lead voice enthralled me...as I sit quietly, often basking under a full moon, and imagining myself sitting on a plateau high up in the mountains.

I am so high up yet I want to touch the very grass at the plains below. I feel so detached, yet I am looking at the reality of life. I am alive, yet I feel...dead. No soul can hear me, nor see me, let alone touch.

Around me, the moonlight shine to illuminate the beauty of the surrounding landscape, and the creatures that darts from one shadow to another, as though frightened by the very light of the full moon. And I weep at the beauty Allah s.w.t. created. But the beauty...this beauty, is only temporary. Perhaps even shorter than this song itself...Eres tu.





Como una promesa, eres t, eres t.
Como una maana de verano.
Como una sonrisa, eres t, eres t.
As, as, eres t.

Toda mi esperanza, eres t, eres t.
Como lluvia fresca en mis manos
como fuerte brisa, eres t, eres t.
As, as, eres t.

Eres t como el agua de mi fuente
Eres t el fuego de mi hogar
Eres t (algo as eres t) como el fuego de mi hoguera
Eres t el trigo de mi pan.

Como mi poema, eres t, eres t.
Como una guitarra en la noche,
todo mi horizonte eres t, eres t.
As, as, eres t.

Eres t como el agua de mi fuente
Eres t el fuego de mi hogar
Eres t(algo as eres t) como el fuego de mi hoguera
Eres t el trigo de mi pan.

Eres t...

***.***

I woke up this morning and my mind fell away
and looking back sadly from tomorrow
as I heard an echo from the past softly say
come back, come back, won't you stay?
I wanted to reach you, let you know I still care
and lost in the silence of my sorrow
I put a promise in the wind, on the air, to fly away to you there

Touch the wind. Catch my love as it goes sailing
Touch the wind and I'll be close to you
I'll be easy to find
on the winds of the morning I'll come sailing
I'll be easy to find
and, baby, I'll be close to you

And only forever can I say I love you
and only forever have I lost you
but only a dreamer could wake up as I do and hope it's still yesterday

Touch the wind. Catch my love as it goes sailing
Touch the wind and I'll be close to you
I'll be easy to find
on the winds of the morning I'll come sailing
I'll be easy to find
and, baby, I'll be close to you

Touch the wind...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

To Sir, With Love...To Cikgu Nazir

When Cikgu made his comment in my last posting, making a remark about him wanting to act as a bad guy in a movie - supposedly to be based on that entry - I was reminded about this book I read and how I had pictured Cikgu Nazir as one of the characters in the book.

Icarus, written by Russel Andrews, is a 2001 publication and is a who-done-it story. Though the story itself is nothing outstanding, the narration by Andrews is! Since the book involves several characters, some with intimate ties, I found Andrews narration of the bond between Jack Keller (main character) and Dominick Bertolini or Dom for short, rather heartwarming as far as the relationship between a man and his adopted son goes by. But I'm not going to write about this chapter. Rather, let you read it yourself as I've scanned it and hopefully, the text-picture will come out nice enough to read. But to give you a better understanding the relation between the two, I have briefly outlined the story below.

Jack Demeter is a successful Restaurateur, married and devoted to his wife. But he has a phobia of heights which sort of became the theme for this story, though as a child of about 10, he loves to visit his mother's office in a high rise building and flatten himself against the huge window panes in the office. As he does so, he would imagine himself flying, similar to Icarus, a legendary Greek figure.

On this particular day of this story, Dom took Jack to see his mother's office while Dom himself stayed below to give the 2 a private moment. Though it was not mentioned, the writer hinted the possibility of Dom marrying Jack's mother, and hence, the private moment for Jack's mother to break the news to Jack. Unfortunately at the very same time, a deranged ex-con went up to the same office - where everyone else had gone home for the day - seeking blind revenge.

As the story goes, Jack's mother was killed when she was thrown out of the 30storey window. Jack too nearly suffered the same fate but somehow managed to break free from the ex-con. With the mother dead, Dom took Jack into his life, perhaps out of sheer love and devotion to Jack's mother.

The rest of the story, well, you have to buy and read it for yourself :)





Ok, so you may not find much in this chapter and I am a romantic fool who thinks the writer managed to show the bond between the 2 - the soft side of each - amid the tough exterior each man portray. Mind you, this is not a love affair between a guy and a girl, nor is it a gay-thing; it is though, the natural love between 2 matured man, a camaraderie bonded by the hard time both faced when they lost the woman they loved. Needless to say, this is my favourite chapter.

Now, if you've read the chapter, then perhaps this would make sense: if ever amongst my friends and blogging brothers there is a guy who came to my mind when reading about Dom, then surely it has to be you, Cikgu Nazir; if not physically, then surely, I would think, in character. Forgive me if I am wrong, but that is what I think. Er, it is a compliment ya :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Of Local and Foreign Connivers

When I wrote about befriending foreigners some entry back, several friends remarked their apprehension regarding the foreigners in Malaysia, and how a growing number of cases have been reported about the scams these foreigner pulled or attempt to in Malaysia. I hear their advice but would still embrace a foreigner as I would a local. Perhaps it may be because I am naive, or perhaps its just that I do not want to think bad of a person - any person - whom I have just met, though personal encounters have shown that I may be a bad judge of character.

Below, I recount 3 tales of encounter with some shady people. 2 of the encounters happened while I was employed with an organisation in Kelana Jaya, and often had to travel the 4 corners of Malaysia in its Education and Awareness campaigns. The other though, happened much earlier during my days in Subang Jaya.

The Mediterranean.
It was sometime in 2004 and I was on my way back from Kuantan to KL, traveling alone as I normally would when ever my office participate in events related to its function. Just before entering the then new KL-Kuantan Highway, I stopped by a petrol station to refill. As I was queuing to pay at the counter, I felt a strange presence behind me. Having long not had strange encounters, I let my guard down and took my wallet out to pay for the petrol. Having done so, I walked out and was only a few steps away from my car when suddenly from behind, I heard a loud voice. I turned around and this burly foreigner rushed towards my direction and which had me in a state of half shocked.

In his hands were some foreign notes and a single RM50, and he kept repeating "Change! Change! I want that!", pointing to the wallet I was still holding in my hand. He then grabbed my wallet and took out several RM50 notes which were the newer Bank Negara issue than the one he was holding. "I want this! I want this!" he then kept repeating. I was like dazzled perhaps by his physique and slow to react. By the time I grabbed my wallet back, he had already made a quick change of the notes giving me his old notes while taking the newer B.N. issues. He then mumbled something with a smile and walked off towards a car and got into the driver side and drove off, leaving me in a state of daze.

I came around a few seconds later, filled the car, and drove off towards the highway and later KL. The time difference between each car leaving the petrol station could not have been more than 2 minutes. And since I do drive fast on the highway, and the guy being a foreigner and driving an old 1.3 liter Proton Saga, he could not have gone far ahead. Still, all along the way, I could not make him out. It was like he vanished into thin air. Then halfway through the highway, realisation got into me and I checked my cash. True enough, I was literally shortchanged by RM150! Nothing I could do but shrug it off and say istighfar all the way back.


The Lure.
Of the many cities in Malaysia, I rank Kota Kinabalu as the most romantic, with Kuching a distant 2nd. Though I now have a dislike for air travel, I have always looked forward to my former office visits to these 2 towns. Unfortunately, personal encounters with locals there were limited as the days are normally packed, leaving the nights as the only time to rest. And a chance encounter during a break, had me messaging the local office staff for some assistance.

It was my turn to break off for lunch. As the pavilion where we were did not have any meal counters, I headed out towards the nearest fast food available. It was either that, or an expensive meal at one of the restaurants within that area of Kuching. Unknown to me then, that same area is also known as a haunt for some, let us say, dishonest people (DP). And as I was walking down the hill from the pavilion, I bumped into one.

DP hailed me from afar. Thinking he was one of those people I had met in the pavilion, I greeted him back. He asked whether I'm looking to buy some souvenirs, something which I normally do, he asked me to follow him, saying that a dayak had just arrived from the inner region with some very nice handicraft. Heck, I thought, why not, and was soon following him between the back lanes. When we reached a half empty building, he called me in and brought me into a room of the small hotel there. By that time my senses were already tingling, and I was figuring a way out without having some people chasing after me.

When I walked into the room, I was mildly surprised that there was a man who could pass off as a dayak rummaging through a large trunk. DP introduced me to the dayak and then began talking in a dialect I could not make out. But when he looked at me and then asked whether I would like a girl for company, my mind went "Oh, oh! You stupid bugger! This is a con game you had yourself led into!". So I said no while my finger slowly began messaging the local office staff to call me immediately. And soon as the call came in - I made sure volume was at its maximum - I pretended the reception was bad and made my way out of the room. DP tried to follow and I waived him back saying my friend too wanted to purchase some stuff and I made my way downstairs and out of the building. Without looking back, I just kept on walking all the way back to the pavilion.

When told of the experience I just had, the office staff at the pavilion apologised profusely as though they were responsible for what could have transpired. Perhaps, they were, for it was only then I was told that similar cases that led to robbery have been reported. Alhamdulillah, I managed to get myself out of it. But I guess it served me right too for not thinking. I did, however, managed to get some nice table mats later.


The Nigerian Black Money.
This happened way back around the year 2000, and cases of such scam appeared almost by routine in the papers then. Thus, when I was approached, I was sort of prepared for it. Unfortunately, it seems the Police were not.

When I was approached by 3 youths - 2 guys and 1 girl - I initially thought nothing about it. But when they mentioned that they want to give a business proposal, one involving 2 huge bags of money purportedly held by a United Nations officer in Damansara, my mind immediately went "Oh, oh! Black Money!". But I decided to play along and listened to them.

One guy then took out a blackened rectangular piece of paper and asked me to hold it while he took out a small plastic bottle filled with some form of liquid which he unscrewed the cover. He then took the paper and began pouring the liquid slowly onto the paper. Slowly, the dark colour began to wear off and soon revealed a US100 Dollar note. The guy did the same on the back of the note to show it was genuine. He then asked me to keep the note for verification purposes, but then request to exchange contact number. I complied and as soon as they were off, I headed off to my foreign exchange friend and asked him to check the authenticity of the note. All he could say was "It does look genuine. But if its a forgery, it must be a good one!". Akhbar, my friend, has been in the business for umpteen years. If he has reasons to even suspect the note, that's good enough for me to call my cousin Jeff, who was in the Special Branch.

Now, Jeff does not deal with this stuff, but instead put me to an ASP Someone who does. And soon ASP Someone and I met at he agreed to handle the matter and asked me to set up the next meet. "Hullo!", this is not what I expected, I said, in my mind off course. But then I agreed to assist.

The next meet with the Africans who claimed to be political refugees from Nigeria, was held several days later in Suband Parade under the watchful eyes of several plainclothes detectives. Nothing grand happened as the Nigerians explained their terms which include: the rental of a house for their use so they can wash their money discreetly, and a sum of US2,000 to pay the U.N. officer for the release for their luggage which contains such Black Money. So I said OK, and asked for 3 days to get back to them. Later, I passed the info to ASP Someone who mulled over the matter for a week before getting back to me to set up a new meet. Hmm...I was getting somewhat uneasy already. First, the ASP took longer than should to get back to me, and now, he wants me to set a new meet soonest. How about the money and house, I asked. He said not to worry, everything is being arranged, and asked the meet to be at De Palma Hotel, Ampang.

On the day of the meet, the ASP picked me up in Subang Jaya and drove to the Ampang Police Station. There, I was introduced to the team of about 10 male officers and 2 ladies and the team was then briefed about the plan. Just before I got into the car to go to the hotel, 2 of the police officers came up to me and shook my hand and said "Terima kasih Encik, tak ramai orang luar mau bantu kami". My mind then went "Hullo! I did not volunteer to be a hero! In fact, how the heck did I get into this!".

So there we were at the hotel entrance. As we walked in, I recognise the officers of the team either sitting or standing ideally in teams of 2. The ASP took me into a room which has an inner door to the next room, where 2 officers stand ready. The time was 11.30 am and the meet was to be at the lobby at 1. With nothing to read and nothing to watch, I decided to doze off and so did the ASP.

At 12.45, my phone rang and the Nigerians told me they were in the lobby. I spruced up and the ASP handed me a was of US notes neatly folded in 2. I opened the fold and gasped in wonder. "That," said the ASP,"was the only thing they had"...a wad of US notes with each note stamped with 'spesimen', or something like that! And instead of the house as promised, it was the room where we dozed off! The ASP must have noticed my eyes rolling up because he patted my shoulder and gave me an apologetic smile. Hmm...

When we met the Nigerians downstairs, the girl was not around. Either they were being cautious or must have smelt something fishy especially with the ASP beside me. So I introduced him as my driver and asked where's the girl. Instead of replying, they asked where's the money. I showed the wad of folded US notes but did not allow them a closer look. They nodded and said the girl was with the UN officer, and asked to bring them there. The ASP agreed, and we got into the car with me sitting in the rear passenger seat (looking back, that's just about the part I relish in the whole episode). But halfway through to our mysterious destination, we had an argument when the Nigerians insisted on a house instead of the hotel room. When the ASP stopped the car at some place obscure to calm the Nigerians, they bolted out before anyone could do anything, putting the whole matter to an end.

Some weeks later, the ASP called to inform that the girl and one of the boys were apprehended in Klang. What happens to them after that I do not know, and neither do I care. For a spell after that, the ASP and I did get in touch. But about 2 years back I changed my number and decided not to inform him. Personally, he's a nice soft spoken chap. But when I'm reminded of the whole thing, my blood just boils at the...Perhaps, he was not at fault for there are matters beyond his authority. Hmm...

Addendum 23.01
Well, not exactly an addendum but something I forgot to add:
People being people, there are bound to be con-men everywhere and from all races too. Just because I've met several, that does not mean others I will be meeting, insyAllah, are of the same breed. Perhaps, the worst of the whole lot are the ones who plunder (especially from their own people) while at the same time portray themselves as the saviour.

Looking back at the 2 earlier mentioned incidents, I guess I was cursed (na'uzubillah) by the Nigerians. Oh well...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Need Some Advice?

"When you go into a meeting for the first time - and you are the only person who is new to such a meeting - all eyes will fall on you to hear what you have to say. But you prefer to keep quiet, wanting to absorb matters. Still, you can feel it in the minds of several saying: this new guy must be dumb; he has not uttered a single word!

So you keep quiet and continue on giving attention to matters that count most. All of a sudden, you feel someone nudged you from the side and thought you heard your name mentioned. Almost by reflex you raised your hand slightly and said something incoherent. All eyes again fall on you and suddenly you feel like the very earth opening and swallowing you. At the same time, you hear the horrible unspoken words which says: Confirmed! This new guy is dumb!"

- slightly altered version of part of a speech by a very wise man, who's name I prefer not to put here for fear it may be viewed in the wrong context.



Hehe...judging from my 'talkative' mood on the blog these past few days, I fault no one if ever I am viewed as such. But heck, I'm on leave...from what ever. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I don't want to do anything relating to work, most especially my online political activities! I mean activist too needs a break every now and then! 6 days a week, 4-5 weeks a month, 12 months a year, even the hardy can go cuckoo!

Earlier today after Jumaat, I went to Giants at Kelana Jaya to get some electrical stuff. While I was there, I bought one of those new black casing Sunsilk shampoo. Reading the label, I thought "Ah! If it can do that, perhaps it can hide the sprinklings of white I now have". So I ask the promoter there and was disappointed when she said "No sir, I'm sorry it can't! All it can do is make your hair darker and shinier, but not the white hair". Sheesh! What good is it then? Still, I took it with high hopes that it might just do the trick. I mean, hopefully with darker hair, the white will be camouflaged somewhat. Fat hopes, a voice said in my mind. Later, I paid for the whole stuff I took, partly using 2 vouchers given to me by the Management of Giant.

Several months back, one of Giant's stores prohibited anyone from purchasing more than 5 tins of condensed milk. I made a fuss about it then called FOMCA's Sec-Gen as well as an officer of KPDN & HEP. Since they know me personally, they in turn gave advice and the FOMCA Sec-Gen personally got in touch with one of Giant's higher management. Less than 15 minutes later, their PR Manager called me and humbly apologised for the matter and asked for my full name and address. I asked why, and he said he will be sending me a gift as a sign of appreciation for my loyalty. And true to his words, he did. Not much though, just 2 RM10 vouchers. But my advice to my friends now, if ever any of the hypermarket gives you unwarranted trouble, do make noise about it. Not for the voucher, mind you. But to keep them on their toes.


Back to the story, I was feeling somewhat hungry and thought of getting myself a Soaking Ted from the 1901 Hotdog stall below. I do love their hotdogs and sometimes could eat 2. But as I approached the stall, I saw a large handwritten note saying "Gone to the toilet". Hullo! That's not really a welcoming sign, no matter which way you look at it! I mean, even when the attendant do come back, I would not purchase anything from him, no matter how hungry I am. Think their management needs to teach their people how to be more tactful in such matters. Perhaps the guy who advertise his service on the rear of his van here makes more sense. Yup, the 1901 managers do need some good advice. But then, not from the kind below.


Now, I really do not know who's to be blamed here. But let's start with the dear Miriam herself. But then, reading through it, I seriously think dear old Miriam was on leave and in her stead was a young trainee who has no experience of what so ever in matters relating to marriage. Or perhaps, the trainee was in fact a car mechanic moonlighting as a substitute to Miriam? Hmm...

What ever the case, then the print blooper must then be the fault of the editors for approving it. Would have been nice though, to know the reaction of the readers of the column. But one thing for certain, I would definitely not ask Dear Miriam to help me out if ever I experience a love problem :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Keluarga 69...A Mixed-up Family

When I wrote about my late grandfather in October last year, I only had my mother as the source of his history in the military service. And when she relates the story, it is based on what she knew or thought she knew. Lately, I found some of the 'facts' were slightly distorted. I could not blame emak for the distortion for what she related were what she and her family perceived at the point of time. Further, she could not have been more than 13 years of age, where reality is perceived as what is seen through the eyes, and not what it should be.

When my arwah uncle passed away less than a fortnight ago, curiousity got the better of my s-i-l and she made a google search for my arwah grandfather's records, and found 2 related sites at KIPSAS and Regimen 502. From these 2 sites, it seems my arwah grandfather did not serve with the British Military during the 2nd World War, but was part of the Volunteer Corps formed by the British Military.

When the Japanese over ran all defending forces in the peninsular on their way to Singapore, Lt Jetti Ahmad and his fellow officers decided to hide their uniforms and resume their village life. But the Japanese, in their pursuit of territory, were short of people and began ferreting the VC officers. Initially, they guiled several officers into submission,including a Captain Abu Bakar, who's son I had pleasure of meeting as he was staying in Subang Jaya. Captain Abu Bakar and several officers who thought the Japanese were sincere in their offer, surrendered, were never seen again; they were believed to have been killed by the Japanese Army in a fit of revenge for the resolute stand of the VC. Lt Jetti and a few other officers on the other hand, were later ferreted out and forced to serve the Japanese Army.

Now, at this juncture of history, there seem to be some blanks which could not be filled. All we do know now is that my arwah grandfather, along with several other officers, were awarded medals for bravery by the British Army at the end of the war. How these officers served the British during their capture remains a mystery. Perhaps one day, someone will come up with the proper records, insyAllah.

But one of the most interesting thing I found about my arwah grandfather, was that he was sought for marriage by a man who later became his brother-in-law. When you look back at the custom of the Malays then, this is considered a rarity. Still, the marriage lasted a lifetime and the couple had 9 children of which 4 died in childhood.

As the children grew older, they each got married and have children of their own. But it was when 2 of the sisters got married which had the family kind of mixed up. Without wanting to go into further details, my mother off course, married my father, who is actually a distant nephew to her. Then, my father's uncle married my mother's younger sister. Thus my father became the elder b-i-l to his uncle, while at the same time a husband to a distant aunt. Hmm...

Now, my mother's sister, Makcik Yam, has a son by the name of Azman, who is younger to me. As a mark of respect, he calls me abang. But is that proper? For if we were to accept family lineage according to the male of the family, then Azman should be my uncle. Yet, he's the son to my mother's younger sister. Another hmm...

Granted, to outsiders, this thing matters not. But to the younger generation of the family who only recently know about this, they do find it amusing as well as perplexing. Ismail, a nephew, has even remarked it as Keluarga 69, the P Ramlee film he loved to watch when he was small, but is actually a reality in his family.

But anyway, to all my blogging brothers and sisters, and anyone who reads this, here's wishing you a "Selamat Menyambut Aidil Adha". May we become better Muslims with each passing day, insyAllah.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kena Tag da...

Thanks to Pak Mior, now I have been tagged! Ok, I don't mind that. But before doing it, I thought I should put here a message I just received from Raja Petra this morning. It reads:

"Fwd msg: Komen kes Batu Buruk dan 31 Hindraf oleh pengerusi Suhakam pada 20hb Dis.07 jam 11 pagi di Surau al-Falah, Jln Desa Pandan, depan Polo Desa Pandan. Tlg sebarkan pada semua press."

Another message followed:
"For futher info contact Ishak at (those wants Ishak's hp number kindly email me). Pet"
/end. Er. That me is as in cakapaje ya.

Now, for the tag...

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.
A guy by the name of Mat Rock. Don't know him at all, but his email contains a video which you should watch here. The second video I added just for fun too :)

2. What were you doing at 0800?
Hmm...as the yankees would say "ah was doing muh conshtitutional right!" In other words, I was in the loo.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
You mean before bloghopping? Ok, I bumped into my s-i-l at a bank. We were literally standing beside each other filling out forms without realising it until, she spoke to quietly to herself and I glanced at her. Then we laughed and she shoved me. Ouch!

4. What happened to you in 2006?
Last year? Hmm...nothing significant to note.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
"ouch!" as in number 3 above.

6. How many beverages did you have today?
2 lor. I normally need 2 good cups of hot beverage every morning.

7. What colour is your hairbrush?
Well, if fingers count as one, then its got to be dark brown. Or perhaps, as I would prefer to say, tanned? :)

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
You've got to be kidding me! Living in Klang Valley, the toll ticket, what else?

9. Where were you last night?
Depends at what time...Other than that, I was at home.

10. What colour is your front door?
Mahogany.

11. Where do you keep your change?
Loose change, you mean? Ok. If its not in my pocket, then in a plastic bag in my room.

12. What's the weather like today?
Happily sunny.

13. What's the best ice-cream flavour?
By itself, vanilla. Otherwise, vanilla, strawberry and double chocolate.

14. What excites you?
You've got to be crazy to ask a bachelor that! On accounts of self preservation, I exercise my Miranda! "I have the right to remain silent..." :)

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
Well, if I do, I'll be a Kojak! But, I am seriously contemplating that.

16. Are you over the age of 25?
When a girl ask me that, I'll say yes, but below 40...with a serious look. But in reality, yes, I am.

17. Do you talk a lot?
Nope. Unless the subject matter riles or excites me. And that, I assure you, is quite rare...I think.

18. Do you watch the O.C?
I think I know what it is, but no, I don't.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Personally? Nope.

20. Do you make your own words?
Once only. And that was when I was reacquainted with a dear friend by the name of MB. The word is, or was "F*****g s***t!".

21. Are you a jealous person?
I can be.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter 'A'.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi? Er..no, he can't qualify as a friend. Ok, Aiman, my nephew. Hey, I treat him as a friend ok.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter 'K'.
Hmm...kerp?

24. Who's the first person on your received call list?
Er...my brother?

25. What does the last text message you received say?
That's easy. Read at the beginning of this entry.

26. Do you chew on the straw?
Must I? Hmm...no.

27. Do you have curly hair?
Not when its short - Number 1 haircut. Easier for the barber, easier for me too.

28. What's the next place you're going to?
Bed. Does that count? Otherwise, nowhere lor...

29. Who's the rudest person in your life?
MB, can I put you here or not?

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Mee Maggi perisa kari.

31. Will you get married in the future?
I intend to.

32. What was the best movie you've seen in past 2 weeks?
If reruns count, then its "DOOM"; mindless blood orgy and violence. Goes to show there's not much of anything else on air, huh.

33. Is there anyone I like right now?
Gottt! But got malu also to put here la.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
Earlier this morning.

35. Are you currently depressed?
Not when I think about number 33.

36. Did you cry today?
Should I?

37. Why did you answer and post this?
For fun lor...

38. Tag 5 people who would do this.
Hmm...that's kind of difficult seeing this thing has been going around and many have done it.
a. Kerp
b. Cikgu
c. Doc TA
d. Waterlilly
e. Fatin.


Ok. That's my part done. Happy tagging, guys.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cafe Blogging

Here I am sitting snugly in a corner of a cyber-cafe looking for words to fill up the almost blank spaces of the screen in front of me. Not a word comes to my mind now. Well, not a word of what I had planned to jot, that is. Somehow, while driving to this CC here from my house - a mere kilometer or so - I received a call from a foreign student, one whom I met and befriended last week somewhere near KLCC. He called just to say hello and ask of my wellbeing. That's very nice of him. But now, I've lost what I wanted to put down here. Hmm...

Anyway, he goes by the name of Khaleed and is a Saudi but does not look like any Arab I've met; most Arabs I've met are big, burly and of fair complexion. This guy is thin, with slightly curly hair and trying to sport sideburns. Our meeting was rather strange, as I recall.

I was waiting for Azman outside the entrance of the KL Convention Center, and Khaleed was standing opposite from where I stood. Suddenly, a guy whom I initially cannot make out his origin, approached Khaleed and started talking to him in Arabic. Their exchange took several short seconds and then Khaleed took out his cell phone and dialed a number while at the same time he walked towards me.

Watching Khaleed's approach, my mind went like "Oh oh! I'm a stranger here." I mean, with KLCC filled to the brim with foreigners, I might as well be! And even as he steps nearer to me, he was already talking to the other end, with the other guy in tow behind me. When he stopped right in front of me, he put his hand out towards me - the one holding the cell phone. And you have to forgive me if, just for that single moment, I thought Khaleed was a Santa Claus in disguise! I mean, with Christmas around the corner, could this be my gift?

I took the phone from Khaleed's hand. Even as I did, he said "speak! speak!". Then I get the clue: he wanted me to speak to who ever is on the other end. Ok, and I so I said "hello!"

To cut the story short, Khaleed, the stranger behind him, and the stranger on the other end of the call, were all Arabs. Of the 3, only Bukhari, the guy on the phone, could speak English well enough. And the stanger...? Well, it appears he's an Arab too, but from Morocco, and was looking for the Moroccan Embassy. Heck! I don't where that is! But since they keep repeating something like 'arm-peng, arm-peng!', I gather they mean Jalan Ampang. Further initiatives by me to get the location or name of building avails to none...they could not understand. So, I just showed the general direction of Jalan Ampang, and off went the Moroccan with the confident look that he'll find what he wants by walking towards the direction where my hand was pointing. I know its sort of cruel to let him do so, but as the Negeri Sembilan people would say "tak dapak den nak tolong".

Anyway, I managed to get Khaleed into a conversation after that and found out his English was not as bad as he think it is. Perhaps, he was lacking the confidence to say it out. That's quite understandable. He is, after all, a student of that language in a college somewhere in KL. And as per normal, the incident had me thinking about the difference of life in foreign land compared to ours. Perhaps its also because Doc TA just came back from Egypt, or that I've long not set foot outside the country.

Then I found these picture/signs below that sum things pretty well. See if you can recognise or understand each meaning. I have provided clues on top of each and the answers are at the bottom of this entry. No peeking, please.

1. Intake.


2. Place of Intake.


3. Character.


4. Civil Custom.



Now, before I start jotting the answers, as were given to me in the text that accompanied the pictures, I would like to reply to a wondering mind or two on why I'm spending long hours in this CC.

First, this CC is not bad. Like all CC, you cannot escape having kids around for company. But, compared to the one I had use when I first moved into this area, this CC is almost like heaven.

Ok, the other is that emak's away for the night and that leaves me free to roam the night. Hah! That will be the day. Oops, I mean night. I've stopped such activities a long time ago, but it is kind of nice to do it once in a while. And no, I'm not taking a poll on this matter, please :) Though it would be nice if you could (click on 'poll' back there. Read it, then vote).

Ok. The answers to the picture/signs are:
1. Food, or what we have for during our mealtime. The picture on the left is supposed to represent Western culture of different kind of food at each meal time, while the picture on the right is supposed to represent Eastern culture of almost the same kind of food at each meal time. Basically, I guess its rice, rice and rice.

2. Eastern's noisy culture in a restaurang on the right, compared to Western's on the left. Hmm...don't quite agree here. But generally its true with mamak's shouting of "teh tarik, milo ais, mee goreng basah".

3. This, however, is sadly true for 6-7 out of every 10 Malaysians...punctuality!

4. This one? Hmm...to get the correct answer, all one have to do is look at any busy bus stops or terimal. Yup, our infamous queuing public, which leads to so many incidences of pickpockets and the itchy male thing. For the latter, you'd have to experience the queue to know what I mean. And to do that, you'd have to be a woman too! I guess, you know what I mean. You do, don't you? :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mohd Noor Jetti

It was only last week on a Saturday night like tonight that I picked up the house telephone and called Melaka. On the other end, the phone rang 5 times before it was picked up. As he sounded panting for breath, I asked about his health which he said he was alright but slightly winded. Not thinking anything different, I then passed the call to emak to whom he admitted having a mild asthma attack. Though emak was concerned, we thought it was nothing too great to be worried about.

Early next morning, emak and I made our way to her youngest sister's house. Mariam, or Makcik Yam as we the younger generation call her, had invited us for lunch. We went there early as Azman, my cousin, and I wanted to go to the Pikom's PC Fair in KLCC, and wanted to avoid the Sunday afternoon crowd. Though my left foot was still slightly swollen and in pain, I felt obligated to go as he had asked me more than a month before.

It was about 11.45am and we were still moving through the crowd looking for the best deal we could get for the printer Azman wanted. While I was bargaining with one stall personnel, Azman received a call which ended rather abruptly. He later pulled me aside and said we needed to go back as Pak Besar, my uncle, was just admitted to the Melaka General Hospital. Along the way out however, Azman did manage to purchase his printer.

Later at Azman's house, we received another call from Melaka saying that Pak Besar had been released from the I.C.U and is now in a normal ward. That, I thought, took the urgency out of the matter. As my left foot was still in pain, especially from the walkabout at the KLCC, I asked to be excused from the drive to Melaka - having my leg almost locked in position for the 2hour to and fro trip might just aggravate my leg further, I explained.

Emak, Makcik Yam and Azman later left from my house at around 3.30pm. I put my feet up to rest and soon fell asleep, only to be awakened by another call at 4.18pm. The call had me choking in tears as I was informed that Pak Besar had just passed away - I felt a deep stab of pain and regret for not following emak earlier. Pushing aside the tears, I called Azman and asked him to break the news gently to emak and Makcik Yam, and then began making callings and sending text messages to family and friends.

The next morning, I arrived in Melaka along with Din, my elder brother and his family. Not soon later, Encik Rusli Ibrahim arrived on what I thought was DSAI's behalf. Lim Guan Eng and DAP Melaka too arrived about the same time. And I later learned that the PAS Alor Gajah people were at the house the previous evening itself.

Encik Mohd Noor Jetti, my arwah uncle, was a rather controversial figure when he was young. Having spent his college days in Singapore, he joined the People's Action Party sometime around late 1950's. Later, when he was a teacher in Ulu Choh Reservoir in Johor, he joined the DAP, where he became close to Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng.

To be honest, I know precious little of Allahyarham's history except for what was told to me by emak. But it certainly must have been interesting as my arwah grandfather was a PAS sympathiser since before Independence, and he has a son-in-law who became a prominent UMNO member. Surprisingly though, the difference in ideology did not erupt into hostilities though some harsh words may have been spoken; I really cannot say for certain. But as if to add more spice, my uncle's eldest son joined the Police Force, and was drafted into the Special Branch.

Allahyarham Mohd Noor Jetti's name may have never been heard outside the family and his associates. But he was a fighter, proud and even fiery at times. Around the age of 50, he and his wife moved back into Alor Gajah after my grandmother passed away. As the only surviving son out of 4 boys and 5 girls, he felt it was his responsibility to look after my arwah grandfather who was almost crippled in a road accident sometime in the mid 70's.

It was then my arwah uncle became knowledgeable about religion as he learned from his very own father, and a pious man from Singapore by the name of Almarhum Sidi Abdul Rashid, and later Sheikh Murtaza, the Mufti of Negeri Sembilan. By the time my grandfather passed away, Allahyarham Mohd Noor was no longer the fiery and secular politician he was, but a man with a deeper understanding of Islam and its spiritual values.

There's not much more I can add, but from the recent years of really knowing him, my arwah uncle was a loving man who, apart from looking after his father, also lovingly tended his youngest daughter who was suffering from Down Syndrome, and who had passed away earlier in March 2007. For nearly 25 years since his wife passed away, my arwah uncle faithfully performed his duty, both as a son and a father, and was assisted by another daughter by the name of Cikgu Anisah.

To my dear brothers and sisters of the blogging community, and for anyone who haps upon this, please forgive me if ever this entry is seen as vain on my part. But I felt compelled to write, especially by my guilt of not going back earlier. I know that in no certain ways would this entry atone me from the guilt, but it is, the very least I can do.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

S.A.A.B.

The Saab 9.3


Trust the Swedes, they know how to make a car. Having driven one for a few hours too short some very many years ago, I fell in love with the Saab almost instantly. It was, and in all probability still is, a superb car. And if my memory still serve me right, it was the first mass-manufactured car fitted with a turbo engine - one hard press on the accelerator pedal, and the car would go flying even from a dead stop position.

As mentioned above, I did not fell in love with the Saab instantly. Rather, it took me almost 10 very long minutes (smile)!. Then, at first glance, I thought the car look too much like the old Citroen, which it too, took me some time to appreciate.


After looking at the exterior from several angles while my friend - the prospective buyer - sat in the driver's seat, I opened the front passenger's door and dumped myself into the seat. It could not have been then that I fell in love. Though the fragrance of the leather and rubber upholstery was distinctly fresh and succumbing, the dashboard was not exactly enticing as one would have thought for a highly priced automobile. Until...

The moment my friend stepped out of the car, I went around and took the driver's seat. It was then that I fell in love; the sheer holding of the steering wheel sent electricity up within me. My left hand caressed the almost stout shift-stick as my right hand did with the steering wheel, and even then, I was imagining myself driving on the open roads at full throttle. It was beautiful, the imagination that is. It was electrifying, the feeling that was. But like all dreams, it had to end. And it ended when my friend decided not to purchase the car. Still, while it lasted, the moments were almost magical.

What triggered this entry was when I read Raja Petra's 'Heal Thyself' earlier this morning, and continued on with several of the comments. Having read the posting and understanding it as I think it should be, I was half expecting some nasty remarks from the readers; I was disappointed! My disappointment though was not on the negative side, rather it was positively disappointing, if ever there are such things I should add. But, it had me laughing quietly in the hours after dawn. The comment that caught me off guard was sent by an indianputra and reads:

"indianputra wrote:
S A A B ... that should be the rallying cry during the next street march. A memo stating S A A B should be forwarded to the King..

S A A B - Sack Ahmad Abdullah Badawi

(The Car manufacturer SAAB may sponsor!!!) Just a wild thought
15/12 07:42:45"



I wonder, should Saab the manufacturing company take this as an honour, or an insult?

ps. Out-of-topic (oot): kindly watch a superb video here, and be mesmerised by what it has to say.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blank.

Blank. That's the state of my mind now. There were several things I wanted to jot down here, foremost regarding my arwah uncle whom the younger generations call Pak Besar. But I guess it will have to wait till my mind sort of settle down somewhat.



Oh, its really nothing big, and nothing that noticeably big like trying to hide an elephant. But just cannot put my finger on it. InsyAllah, it will pass. Unless...

I really don't know how to put it. Perhaps its just my itchy fingers that wants to do the wandering on the keyboard. Or that the mind wants to express a soul tortured in silence for what may have been an eternity. No, not mine, mind you. But of a soul that I hold dear to me. But I have no right to be saying on behalf, so I'll give that part a rest here.



See that bloke there? He has his work cut out for him. I mean cutting a chunk of that big fish is no laughing matter. But if you think that's a real difficult task, do give a mind about the fella who will have to cook such monstrous piece whole! I mean, finding the wok or pan to fit it in alone can take weeks! And by that time, I'll bet not one person would want to have it for a meal.

Yup! My mind are fingers are wandering by themselves alright. Perhaps, I should take on Doc TA's advice and visit the below. Oh, by the way, our dear Doc just flew in today. By tonight, I would expect him to start blogging about his trip to Egypt.


Back to Doc's advice, but before that, I can imagine Kerp laughing his head silly with the picture above. So would I under normal circumstances, as I did when I saw it for the first at Doc's blog. Now, I did try to pursue his advice mind you. But along the way, I saw this, I decided to make a u-turn.


But on the way back, I keep thinking saying to myself "hey, look here chum. For certain you do not want to grow old looking after pets which are far from adorable!" And when I saw the picture below, I guess wouldn't want to.




So I guess I better start looking for the real thing. But its got to be something mutual, don't you think? I mean, grabbing one like the way the guy does in the picture on right does not seem quite right. To me, its almost neanderthal...like hitting the head with a club and dragging home by the hair. That's totally brutal, that's what it is. I want to do it right. Well, at least this is the first time where I really do want to do it right. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot figure how to. Hmm...


Oh, never mind. Tell you what, let me sleep over it tonight. Perhaps by breaking of dawn tomorrow, I'll have a better idea of what's really on my head.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Al-Fatihah...

Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullah hi wabarakatuh,


To my dear friends, brothers and sisters, and those who visits my humble blog. Foremost kindly forgive me as I have never done this before and honestly, do not know how to put it in words.

Innalillah wa innalillah hi rojiun.
Encik Mat Nor Jetti, kekanda kepada ibu ku, telah pulang ke rahmatullah pada jam 4.30 petang tadi di Hospital Melaka. Jenazah Allahyarham kini sedang diuruskan oleh anak anak dan akan dibawa pulang ke rumah di Melaka Pindah. Saya telah difahamkan bahawa Allahyarham akan dikebumikan di Tanah Perkuburan Islam, Melaka Pindah, pagi esok, hari Isnin, 10hb Disember.

Saya memohon kepada mereka yang mengenali Allahyarham untuk mengampunkan segala kesilapan dan kesalahan yang ada. Jika keperluan untuk menghubungi keluarga Allahyarham, sila hantar email kepada saya (seperti di profile) dan insyAllah saya akan sampaikan kepada keluarga Allahyarham.

Kepada semua, sudi kiranya dihadiahkan bacaan Al-Fatihah kepada Allahyarham. Semoga roh Allahyarham dicucuri rahmat.

Al-Fatihah...

Thank you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Salam, From Doc Tokasid

Ok. Our dear Doc Tokasid has safely arrived in Egypt. He texted me a message earlier this evening saying he just discovered a new pyramid and is about to enter it just like that Indy Jones. He also mentioned that soon after discovering untold wealth there, he'll climb up the Sphinx and challenge it to a new riddle.

Supposedly, the Sphinx is all too confident that no one can answer the old riddle like: What goes on 4 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 3 in the evening? But the Sphinx fella did not count on our dear Doc being able to answer it. In fact, Doc will even challenge the Sphinx to another riddle which off course, the fella may not find the answer to. Well, what can you expect from a half lion and half what ever, who has been doing nothing but sit all day long for centuries! Padan muka Sphinx! Doc will be cutting off the fella's nose as a trophy for us all soon! Very kind of our Doc, eh?

So now, for the record, the new Riddle of the Sphinx reads as below:


Hehe...sorry all. But I just could not help making up the story above. Please excuse my feeling good and jovial :)

But honestly, Doc did text me and it is as below:

Salam bro. Apa Khabar? Aku tengah cruise river nile dari Aswan 2 luxor. Pg tadi ke abu simbel. Lagi 10min stop komombo. My salam 2 our felo bloggers. Tokasid al misri :)

/end

Yup! Our dear Doc is having a swell time there. Hmm...I thoughy Luxor is the name of the jelly gamat and...did not know the egyptians eat sambal (ok lah they wrongly spelled it as simbel). And, thought komombo is the capitol of Sri Lanka. No? Hmm...:)


Anyway, regarding my last posting, Farina from Princess Journals tried to help us out with the Bari-Bari, but could not get definite answers. So, I too then tried searching under Urban Legends as stuff such as these would normally be listed, and found nothing too. But not finding anything does not mean they are not there (Ok, now I pecah tembelang that I am an X-Filer). So, the best thing is to just be careful.

The one thing I do find rather skeptical about the whole matter is that there were no reference made to the farm or laboratory where those Bari-Bari are.

Ok, time for me to hit the sack now. Take care all :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

R.I.P. - A Fishy Story

Whether as a pet or as a serving, some people like them, some don't. Those who do, like the taste and the proteins found which is supposedly food for our brains. I don't know about the last part, but I do admit loving them as pets as well as a dish. But those who don't, would swear the only reason they do not like fish is because of the taste and smell of it. I guess they mean the 'hanyir' or fishy taste or smell. Ok, I can buy that; to each, their own.

Anyway, sometime back in 2005, I wrote slightly about the fishes I keep in the fish tank in the garden. Nothing really great as they are of the small varieties such as swordtails, mollies, guppies and even shrimps (for variety purposes). Over time, they have...how should I put this - intermarried? - and produced hybrids which are rather beautiful and unique. I now have within that confined space, guppy-swordtails, guppy-mollies, molly-swordtails, and even several which I cannot identify. Perhaps, if I were to send them to a forensic lab, their identification would be made easier via DNA testing. But then, who cares? I mean, so long as they are good to look at and fun to observe, cukuplah, right?

Earlier this morning when I wanted to feed them, I found several of those strikingly beautiful hybrids afloat and lifeless. I picked them gently and found that since rigor mortis has yet to take place, their death must have been within recent hours. Nothing I could do but bury them beside emak's plants in hope that the nutrients from their body would act as fertiliser.

Er...no, that's not my fish up there. As I mentioned, I keep the small varieties only. The whopper up there is of the catfish strain and one of the best of its kind is found in Mekong River where they can grow up to twice of what those blokes up there carry. The most favoured part of the Mekong catfish are the eyes where purportedly, the money from the sale of a pair is good enough to last several long months for the lucky villagers. Oops, back to my story.

I guess the death of those fish is largely due to my neglect. Up to this date, my left foot still has some swell from the 10-11 Open House at Istana Negara. Though the swell has subsided a whole lot now, it has caused problem for me to clean the fish tank and its water pump; I am unable to bend or move fluidly without feeling pain. Anyway, the water pump has malfunctioned some 2 days ago and I have not been able to get a new one yet. The deaths could have been due to unregulated water which cause quite a significant increase in water temperature. InsyAllah, tomorrow, I'll go get one from a fish shop. Rest-In-Peace, my dear friends.

Hybrids can be very beautiful. But since human cannot control their DNA structure to perfection, the product of inter-marriage can never be certain, even in DNA cloning. Yet, scientist keep on researching to produce the best yield and are even willing to go beyond ethical science as has been proven in several cases. The most infamous of one such case was when meat-cows were given feed made from butchers' refuse such as bones , teeth and even fat. In doing so, the scientist either forget, or refuse to take into consideration that cows are herbivores; feeding them the butchers' refuse is almost like forcing the cows into cannibalism. The result of this is none other than Mad Cow's disease, which can have deadly effect on humans too were the meat of afflicted cows consumed. Still, they learn not from it.


Er...again no. That's not a picture of a cow ridden with the disease, though I would not blame anyone for thinking so. I would think that is a buffalo. Hey! I'm not a mad scientist who keeps a journal or photo-journal of such experiments, mind you. In fact, I'm not even a scientist. Just thought of teasing you there :)

Anyway - back to serious stuff, especially for muslims - these scientist are having a go at it again. The latest news I received is that they are trying to create a hybrid of Bari-Bari. This especially goes to lamb-chop lovers such as yours truly, Bari-Bari is the product of cross breeding between sheep and pigs! Yup, that's right! All the goodness of the sheep and all the diseases of the pig! Catch it here.


Yup! That's a picture of one of those Bari-Bari. Oops, 2 of them, sorry.

Personally, I don't think they have reached a mass production stage yet. But one can never tell, can one? So do be careful when you intend to buy lamb-chops from places which are suspiciously non-halal. I assure you, their looks alone can be more than fishy.