Thursday, January 31, 2008

...Rooftop Also Can Do.

The Y-Factor's gone. I mean, that dominant male fish in the pond is no more. Some 2,3 days back I found him floating and picked up his longer than my index finger lifeless body and buried him in one of emak's plants. Can't figure what happened to him though I do have a wild guess. With more than 20 female fishes in his harem, the poor fellow might have died from physical exhaustion. But, what a way to go!

Anwyay, I bought an assortment of young male fishes, in hope they'll grow up as friends and enjoy the neighbourhood. Seem to work out fine for now. Late yesterday afternoon, I saw one of those males chasing after an albino female molly, while another looks like getting chummy with a female swordfish. be young and in love, they must think that's heaven already. That is, if they can think to such extent. Maybe, in a way, it is better that way. I mean, look at the comic strip below.

The young kid is so lovestruck that he drove around the neighbourhood where the girl of his adoration lives. I mean, its like crazy that someone would do such things. But then again, there have been worse cases. Perhaps, the warm feeling inside a guy would put him into an overdrive which would either make or break him. I don't know. But I really really think its crazy.

I admit to having read many actual accounts where the presence of a woman in a man's life could spur him to greater heights. And I admit to feeling warm and mushy reading all about it, just as I did when reading about Cikgu's, Doc TA's, and Pak Mior's anniversary. I mean wow! Off course, there also real life stories that portray the negative side. But hey! If you chose to look at things negatively, then all you see is negative. Personally to me, I would like to see the positive in almost everybody. Perhaps, the best marriage recorded ever was the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and Siti Khadijah. It is said in many narrations of the Hadith that Siti Khadijah (r.a.) stood by the Prophet s.a.w. in hardships and was a pillar of strength to the Prophet s.a.w. up to her last breath.

When I followed my friend to JAKIM some weeks back, the Ustazah said that the bonding of a couple in marriage is meant to complement each other. Hmm...I never thought about it that way before that. And that friend I was accompanying, well, I met him several days back and he looked like he was heads over heels with a girl somewhere. He's been jabbering, smiling, laughing, and singing all by himself last I saw him. Crazy dude! I mean, if I were to be like him, I might find someone stepping, stomping and jumping all over my poor left foot just like it's a piece of wood in a ceremonial dance somewhere. Ouch!

I mean, love can be good and it can also be bad. Good, because it makes you feel all warm inside and gives you the spur to reach the greater heights you have always dreamed of. Bad, well, because it makes can make you do crazy stuff like that friend of mine did up there, and in the comic strip where the boy drove around the neighbourhood just to get a glimpse of the girl! Crazy, I tell you.

By the way, I may be experiencing some minor case of amnesia of late. There have been times I suddenly find myself driving around aimlessly. Like yesterday, perhaps after passing the same signboard somewhere in Ulu Subang Jaya for the 10th time! Then I manage to snap out of it when a car rudely honked me from behind. Only then I realise the area look familiar. Oh well, perhaps I can attribute it to a Malay saying: "Tak nampak orang, nampak genting rumah pun jadi lah."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Straight From The Heart.

UPDATE: As Cikgu mentioned, I have tagged 2 people. One of them I am not at liberty to mention now as she is rather preoccupied with her job, but the other...please do visit miqdad, he has a beautiful entry on 'Muhibah'.

At the same time, I would like to add a further 2 - just as Cikgu did; Pak Mior and Accia.


Have you seen those simple Petronas Public Message Service where they asked primary schoolchildren what they think of their friends (of different races)? I like those PMS, and the message they are trying to put across. Those children, just as we once were, are colour blind. In fact, we still are to some extent. It is only the fear we have of the unknown, or the fear that was instilled in us, have caused us to be wary and cautious of people of different skin colour. Perhaps, even that is not correct as we have dark Malay, pink Malay, fair Malay and brown Malay. The same goes for the Chinese and Indians though to much lesser degree. So what is Muhibah? Honestly, I don't know!

I have lived all my life mixing with people of different ethnic background, skin colour and beliefs, the only difference I really see is in their belief to God.

One of Turkish greatest known figures of the past is Suleyman The Great, or Suleyman The Magnificent, as some would call him. He lived in the pomposity of the royal courts but had a slave boy who became his best friend and confidant, and later his best general. Yet the boy was not a Muslim during their years of growing up. And still, they forged a bond that was stronger than a friendship - each with mutual respect for the other.

Take Kublai Khan and Marco Polo; the former almost revere the latter to such an extent Marco Polo was the only European to be allowed free passage to any parts of China. Yet, they were of different skin colour, tongue and even belief!

Where am I going? Honestly, I have no clue at all! But I do know Muhibah, for what ever the word means, is basically about understanding and respect for one another irrespective of race or belief. It is not, as the politicians would make us believe, something that exist between races. It is something, which I would like to believe, that exist between one human and another.

I don't know. I have tried writing and rewriting but still have no clue to what Muhibah is. Without wanting to sound pious, perhaps I can draw inspiration from surah Al Kafirun. Though this surah is with regards between a believer and a non-believer, it clearly outlines the difference that will always be within one human and another, and that respect should be accorded to each belief. I guess that's it as I am certainly no philosopher.

Islam, by the way, cuts through all racial barriers and skin tone. Perhaps a hadith is proper here, though you must forgive me for I have forgotten the source: A child is like a white cloth. It is you who will give colour to the cloth. As with a child, so it is with society.

A Visit to the IJN

Prior to this day, I have never stepped foot into the Institut Jantung Negara. Though before I passed by it almost daily, it never occurred to my mind of what really goes on inside. I had, then, thought IJN is a hospital for the rich and famous, catering to the needs of heart patients as its name would suggest. My visit there earlier today to ziarah pakngah has opened my eyes a wee bit wider.

I was thinking about putting a slight humour about this visit but then thought it may not be proper. Well, perhaps towards then end...maybe. Mind you, I am not even a comic nor a jester, but just a clown who goes by his daily routine and wondering when the day itself would cease to exist...for me. Afterall, the world is a temporary passage for the eternal world hereafter.

I hate going visiting people in the hospitals, I really do. Not for anything, they remind me of the suffering which at many a time, I am incapable to assist even in the smallest physical manner possible; the only recourse we as His humble servants can do is to pray to Allah s.w.t. to forgive and enlighten the burden of a brother, another human like you and I, who is incapable of anything but which He decrees and gives.

Pakngah looked healthy for someone whom I thought I would find lying helpless on the bed feeling sick and all. In fact, his bed was propped up so he may read newspaper as did his father sitting on the chair beside the bed. On my giving the salam, both faces lit up with sincere smiles radiating from their faces. But let not the smiles fool you an instant bit.

Even as I shook hands with Pakngah, I could see many plastic tubes extruding from various parts of his body as well as a thick bandage on his left arm. Both sides of his neck were punctured with one side bandaged to hold a long tube which I was later informed, used for the hemodialysis process - the veins of his left arm were left to heal and rest from past puncture wounds.

As I politely took the seat Pakngah's father offered me, I noticed a bulge under the robes of his right ribs, and 2 more long plastic tubes leading from it to 2 containers already filled with red liquid - his blood! The surgeons at IJN had inserted the tubes to drain the blood from his lungs. Within the space of 6 days Pakngah has been at IJN, he has received 6 pints of blood already to replace those lost!

The whole ordeal began when the clinic he went to tried to use the veins on his right neck for the hemodialysis process. Somehow the technician or doctor on duty had pushed the wire through a wrong entry that led straight to the lungs, puncturing a wound along the way which led to the internal bleeding.

I relayed the advice I received from Cikgu, Doc TA, kerp and Pak Zabs in the previous entry regarding making a police report and such but was informed, much to my and especially Pakngah's family relief, that IJN had waived all charges. Alhamdulilah. But that does in no way absolved what transpired. Still, the father seem to agree to make the report just to be on the safe side should any parties later have a change of mind, and the family finding themselves saddled with a bill in excess of RM5,000 which they cannot afford.

As I passed the RM150 our brother Mat Salo had given earlier for Pakngah, a nurse walked into the cubicle with a tray filled with towels and 2 basins of water. I gathered its cleaning time but just could not resist shedding the sombre mood setting in and gave a shot at the nurse: "He already has a bed and a retinue of people looking after him; why don't you clean me instead?" It did cause even the people in the next cubicle to laugh, proving yet again I do make a good clown. And like any clown, I took my leave before jade sets in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

For The Good and Bad Times.

Before I start writing on the 'Muhibah' tag from Cikgu, I thought I'd put this entry first, a nice email someone sent. (SridhaR)


Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983.
From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: "Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease"?
To this Arthur Ashe replied:
" The world over -- 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis,

500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam,

50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals,

when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD 'Why me?'.

And today in pain I should not be asking GOD 'Why me?' "

Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrow keeps you Human,

Failure keeps you humble and Success keeps you glowing, but only Faith & Attitude Keeps you going...

Reading through this, it reminds of a prophet. But before that, kindly forgive me as I have half forgotten the story and perhaps, even the prophet in the story. If I am right though, it is the Prophet Ayub alaihisalam.

The Prophet Ayub a.s. was blessed by Allah s.w.t. with wealth, health, several good sons and a devoted wife. He was well known throughout the land not just a wealthy man, but also as a humble and devoted servant of Allah s.w.t. But Allah has decreed it as such, Prophet Ayub a.s. was put to severe test.

First his wealth was taken away from him leaving him as a poor man. Later all his sons died. Yet, the Prophet Ayub showed tremendous patience throughout his ordeal. But soon after, a greater test was put to him where his health deteriorated so badly, even his wife was beginning to have doubts. In fact she even asked the Prophet Ayub a.s. to ask Allah s.w.t. for mercy and an end to the trial.
In replying to his wife the Prohet Ayub a.s. asked her "How long did we have the good times of wealth, family and good health?"
The wife replied "70 years."
Prophet Ayub a.s. asked again "How long have we gone through these bad times?"
The wife replied "7 years."
Then the Prophet Ayub said "70 years of good times and only 7 years of bad times, I am ashamed to ask Allah s.w.t."

If ever there is an error in the story, it is on my part and I hope it will be corrected. Thank you.

ps. In searching for reference to the above, I came across this interesting site which has animations on the story of the prophets in Islam; do give it a look at alqaem. A word of caution though, there are lots of bogus Islamic sites on the net. If you do find any, do NOT spread the word about the site, rather just inform several trusted people.

The simple reason for this is because many of these site depends heavily on fundings from certain anti-Islam organisation. Thus these sites would need to show a strong hit - the more the hits they get, the more fundings they receive. And people being people, the more we tell them not to go to such sites, the more they will out of curiousity.

ps ps. Apologies. The picture of Arthur Ashe just would not come out right.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hospitalised Again.

Back in September 2007, I wrote about Pakngah being hospitalised in Teluk Intan. Not more than 30 minutes ago, I received a text message from him - this time he has been warded into Institute Jantung Negara. But it is not for a heart problem, rather, the clinic at Kuala Selangor made a blunder while preparing him for dialysis treatment and somehow - don't ask me how - punctured his lungs! He was then rushed to Teluk Intan Hospital, and some 4 days ago the hospital there rushed him to IJN.

Knowing the cost of treatment in hospitals these days, I asked how would he be paying for the bills, as he is, an OKU. With a sad voice he said he would be asking for leniency. That does not sound good at all to me! I mean, the blunder was made by the clinic and thus, should not the clinic be the one who is supposed to pay?

Anyway, should anyone want to visit him, kindly do so at the address below:

Abdul Malik Othman
Was Mawar, Tkingkat 2
Katil 17, IJN.

or call him at: +6019 256 6407 / 019-3463065

And should anyone would like to offer financial assistance, you may do so at:
maybank akuan 112193043861 ( Mohd Nazri Othman – Adik)

On behalf of Pakngah and his family, I thank you in advance.

ps. The 2 telephone numbers above belong to members of his family.


For the past 2 years sometime around before Chinese New Year, Giant Hypermarket has been selling this ubi-like thing which is said to be imported from China. For a food item from China, it sure does have a strange name - Arrowhead!

Initially, I was kind of reserved when I had a first look. But when I saw more and more people - mostly Chinese - scooping the Arrowheads like it was some kind of treasure, I asked one of them about the strange looking thing. The young Chinese lady smiled and was kind enough to tell me what she knows about Arrowheads, and how to eat it; peel off the skin, slice it thinly, then just fry it as you would with a keropok. And so, emak and I tried it, and indeed it does make a nice snack as it is naturally sweet and crunchy. (correction: Crispy not crunchy!)

Yesterday afternoon, after meeting Doc TA and kerp near The Curve, I went to Giant Kelana Jaya and scooped up some 2 bags of these Arrowheads. One bag, off course, was meant for emak and me. The other bag? Well, early this morning I galloped off to Ulu Subang Jaya to a friend's house. Apart from thinking she would like it too, I think it is only fair for to give her those Arrowheads. Afterall, the cupid fella shot me a couple of times with arrowheads that has her name in it. Perhaps, if he's not willing to shoot the other way, I could always try it this way...sigh.

But honestly, you've got to try the Arrowheads. I don't have any pictures to show but you can read about it here.

Now, for an out-of-topic subject but related to the KLCC incident yesterday: do visit miqdad, Anak Bapa, Elizabeth Wong, Englishsection, and KeADILan, for more videos.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Not A First Person Report

As at time I write this, Harakahdaily reports 58 Pejuang Rakyat arrested by the police at the Protes Demonstration at the KLCC. An estimated 1,500 to 3,000 Pejuang Rakyat had gathered for the demonstration that was supposed to begin at 3pm, but had the police - perhaps the term should be changed to Gestapo and SS - of the regime swooping on the leaders of Protes, including at least one journalist from Malaysiakini. Of the 58 Pejuang Rakyat arrested thus far, Suara Keadilan Online managed to identify only 11 names. They are:

1. Tian Chua
2. Dr. Hatta Ramli
3. Mohd. Sabu
4. Dr. Nasir Hashim
5. S. Arutchelvan
6. Dr. Dzulkifli Ahmad
7. Badrul Hisham
8. Jonson Chong
9. Badrul Amin
10. Ginie Lim
11. Syed Jamal (Wartawan Malaysiakini)

Bearing in mind that the freedom to assemble and voice opinion is allowed under the Constitution of Malaysia, the detainment of all the Pejuang Rakyat is unlawful and unconsitutional. For further report on this please read Roslan SMS, Englishsection, DPP Bukit Katil, and Detikdaily. By the way, in my entry previous to this, I mistakenly typed polytikus blog name and do apologise for the mistake; the blog name should read Squeak, Speak, Roar.

The audio/video report below is made available by Malaysia Kini TV.

Any webtv8 report can only be made available once the footages have been downloaded and edited. Without wanting to sound apologetic about it, please remember we are totally a volunteer news team, with very limited resources. And the culprit absentee for this event is none other but yours truly.

UPDATE 11:07pm: Alternatively, you may read 2 email news regarding the above sent by an anonymous and entered at here and here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Protes I Will Miss

They say, before a boxer or a fighter delivers his killing blow to his opponent, the boxer would first deliver a 'diversionary' punch that would

1. distract his opponent's attention,
2. weaken the opponent, or
3. cause the opponent's confidence to inflate and making him think he's indestructible.

If the diversion works and the punch lands on the desired spot, then hell, that's a bonus! If the punch is blocked and fails in its objective, then it is still considered a success as the opponent's attention is diverted and his guard drops momentarily. It is within that single time frame when this happens, is the moment when the boxer would muster all the strength he has and deliver a telling blow that ought to bring the fight to end.

This same strategy is also said to have been used by military strategist throughout the ages and perhaps was a leaf taken from Sun Szu's Art of War Doctrine which states "Should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak." To be honest, I don't know. I was never a military strategist, nor have I been a fighter. The only art of self defence I managed to learn by myself is a Malay silat called "Silat Langkah Seribu." Perhaps I will touch on this later as I do not distract you from the main issue.

Tomorrow at 3pm, Protes will be holding a protest against the oil price hike in Malaysia which has led to the increase of several essential consumer items such as flour, oil and a few more. And this in turn has led to the rising prices in flour-based items and even caused cooking oil shortage. Though the protest to be held somewhere near the KLCC tomorrow will in no way - to borrow a phrase MB likes to us - affect the price of pork belly in the market, it will nevertheless still be held as a sign of the rakyat's displeasure on the matter.

When the first protest was held sometime last year at the same place as tomorrow, webtv8 and I were able to attend and record the entire event. Perhaps, due to another protest march held at the same time and place - The Condemnation of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) Caricature in several European countries - there were no untoward incidents even though the police did try to intimidate with their helicopters flying dangerously low especially in view of the tall buildings in the vicinity. Still, the protesters held on till the end and then disbursed peacefully after that. However, tomorrow may see a different kind of ending to the protest, especially in view of the much anticipated upcoming election. And sadly, I may have to give it a miss on the accounts of my leg, though I am very sure my brothers-in-arms at webtv8 will be there in full force. I ask my friends here to pray for the safety of the protesters tomorrow. Irrespective of the outcome, I take it as a blessing already, insyAllah.

To me, the protest tomorrow may be likened to the strategy mentioned above. Though it may have never been planned to be such, the opportunity of striking such blow came our way when the blundering DPM said the opposition and the rakyat should use places such as Bukit Jalil to hold our gathering. We will be holding to his words even if the police once again deny the permit for a gathering, as they had for the November 10, ISA Virgil, and even the protest tomorrow.

For tomorrow, if the protesters succeed to the end without police provocation, then they would have made their voice heard again to the world, especially to the people in KL. And should there be police provocation and blood is drawn as it was in Batu Buruk, it would be the spark for a bigger turnout on February 23, insyAllah. The momentum built hopefully would carry through to the General Election which many say will be in March. Which ever way you look at it, it is the rakyat who will win in the end.

As for me, my leg should heal sufficiently to run around for the event on February 23, as I did on November 10, and the first Protes march earlier.

Now, back to the 'Silat Seribu Langkah', should anyone not be aware of such art, then I will gladly impart my knowledge for a nominal fee of...shall we put it at RM,500? Hey! Its a one in a lifetime deal! No? Well, ok, you don't know what you are missing.

UPDATE 9pm: For further info on the protest, please visit squeak, squeak, squeak and Roslan SMS.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gaza Red Alert! Immediate Action Needed!

I received an email from Cikgu on the latest situation in Gaza, Palestine.

My friends, and those of you who have not, please go to Gaza Red Alert and signed the petition.

Thank you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Have The Right To Be...Stupid!

In an earlier entry, I mentioned about keeping quiet while attending meetings, less I be taken for a fool. I still hold to that. Off course, unless I am no longer a stranger to the group in the meeting, or it is a very small group and I find the need to keep the meeting alive before everyone falls asleep. Still, that does not make me no better than a fool.

Took on a new portfolio. I mean, I have decided to pursue a new opportunity in sales, joining the growing business of mutual fund. Not as a fund manager, mind you. But as I mentioned, selling the opportunity to invest to the public. Though I was made aware of the opportunity several years ago, it was only after reading a stranger's email last week that I decided to have a look into it. Thus I called the stranger and we met where he briefed me on the matter. It looks good to me plus the fact that I need something flexible enough to allow me continue my work on the net.

Earlier yesterday, I went to the Agency Manager's office where I began learning about Mutual Fund. The guy seem to be a good in sales and have accumulated an impressive portfolio. But as usual, when you have a guy who's skull is as thick as they come, things can bog down a little. And I certainly do not mean the Manager having the thick skull here, rather, its that cakapaje bloke whose blog you are reading now.

I mean, get real! I have not been in a classroom situation for a very long time. And no matter how good the tutor can be, things can get somewhat...sleepy? Thus, I said to myself: I want to be a fool now, or later? After a short while, I decided its better to be a fool now and presented a host of questions to the Manager. Poor guy, he looked somewhat drained by the end of the session. But hey! I do have right to be stupid...for now!

ps. I nearly forgot to add this: The main reason why I decided to be a stupid fool...for now, is because of this lady's blog I have been reading. Undoubtedly she's a brainer while I'm not. But her tenacity to pursue her studies makes me feel so small. I have come to admire her greatly not only for this, but for several other reasons as well. If by chance she drops over to my blog, I have no shame to admit my admiration for her.

Another Day, Another Doctor.

I just hate having to go and see Doctors. Oops! That does not sound quite right, does it? I mean, with several friends in the profession, it would be almost impossible for me to do so especially... So let me rephrase that: I just hate going to Clinics! It is not for anything but, somehow some people gets the whiff of your intention so that every time I step into one, there's already a long queue! Take last night for instance...

These past few days I have been doing a heck of a lot of walking that I have have put strain on my left foot so much that the pain can be a killer at times. Thus I decided to see this orthopedic doctor, who also happens to be the owner - he and his wife, that is - of the clinic. And as I suspected, someone must have alerted the people because by the time I got there, which was about 8pm, there were already more than 20 people ahead. But, a guy has got to do what a guy has to do. And so I went to the reception, gave my clinic card and asked to see the Orthopedic Doctor by the name of Doctor Bezam. As it so happens, one of the loccum doctors was at the reception and she remembered me when I suffered from poisoning some months back.

The doctor took my card from the clinic assistant and then remarked "Oooh! Sihatnya dia...Apart from the food poisoning and the foot problem, you have not been sick! Oooh!" I was near blushing then, what with the other waiting patients looking and I was made to feel like an 8yr old. Still, my mind was going like "Oooh! Yes, I am sihat, thank you. But please, don't stop there! Aren't you supposed to be pulling my cheeks and like give me a nice big hug?" But tough luck, she did not hear my thoughts. Oh well, maybe next time.

So I took my number and waited and waited and waited. It was close to 9 when my name was finally called and I had my first meeting with an Orthopedic Doctor since a very long time ago. After mere speculations about the condition of my foot by several doctor friends apart from Doc TA and a young Doctor who is fast becoming a heart specialist, this time I want to be certain.

The kindly Doctor took a look at my leg even as I was lying on the examination bed. And as he does so he began pressing and poking at various points of my foot which had me doing something like the video below...twisting and shouting. But I off course, was doing it in pain.

Anyway, very much later after he had a look at the x-ray which was taken in the clinic itself, he admitted that his first opinion was not right and that mine was a case that affected the soft tissues. But what puzzled him is that soft tissues cases are not prolonged. Still, he gave me some painkillers and a medication to further reduce the swelling. Hmm...with due respect to him, I think I'll go visiting the heart specialist again. Who knows, may be a miracle might be in store?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Election Year Movie: Man of The Year.

Its a seasonal thing. Something like Raya or Christmas movies but never quite like it. Something like a seasonal sport movie, but again, nothing like it too. Unlike the sport or Raya or Christmas movies, election year movies are never a seasonal affair. Or, for the matter, they never come annually. But they are, however, more anticipated, and much like the Soccer World Cup which comes around every 4 years. And boy, when they come, they sure do come!

As much as I hate US politics, I sure do love their election year movies(EYM). Maybe, its because they are free. Maybe not. For I remember the first EYM I ever saw was Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Hang on! I think that was an EYM. It could have been anything else but I'm pretty sure it was an EYM. But I was too small to remember anything but James Stewart and several scenes especially when Mr. Stewart stood on the speaker's stand of the senate complete with a thermos flask and an apple, simply because he wanted to win his case against the US Senate. It is a beautiful movie about standing for a principal one believes in. Ok, it was near to a tear-jerker and somewhat of a modern day fairy tale. But you have to understand the movie was made in 1939 when most films of the era carry some sort of message. You may disagree with me, but I sure do love the film...and the actor, Mr James Stewart. You might, if you wish to, catch a glimpse of the movie here as embedding has been disabled.

Another EYM I love is a movie I just cannot recall the title nor of the cast except for Dana Delaney. You, ahem, do have to excuse me here but she simply looked fabulous in the movie. And just when I thought I've forgotten all about EYM, especially in view of the upcoming General Election here in Malaysia, HBO presented a surprise!

On the stroke of midnight just now, HBO played the movie Man of The Year with Robbin Williams as the lead actor, and boy you going to love this, Christopher Plummer in a supporting role! Mama mia, what a pair they make! One was crazy as a loony tune and the other with almost an iron cast expression! Who would thought they would click together in an EYM which is almost a satire as it is a comedy in itself? Er...yeah, I do know the two words means almost the same. And you have to blame it on Robbin Williams if ever I am confused.

Sadly, as much as I enjoyed watching it I did not see it to the end, as I was beginning to feel sleepy and had not performed my Isyak. And since I do hate missing parts of a movie, I decided not to continue afterwards. However, I have marked the next most convenient time slot and would like to recommend my friends to watch it. That is, off course, if you have not. DocTA, Cikgu, Kerp, MS, Mior, MB, Lin, Pak Zabs, Pak Zawi, The Doctor, Fatin, and somehow, I get the feeling Accia would most especially love the movie. It will be on air again at 3pm on Sunday. how do I sign off. Oh ok! There are several adorable lines I love in this movie and I'm going to end this entry with just one from Robin Willilams: "We are going to have an adventure. And you are all in it."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2nd Penang Bridge: The Real Story Behind It!

As per my normal routine 6 nights a week, I surf the net for news which may be beneficial to Malaysians. Tonight, was no exception. And one news item that caught my attention most was the Penang Global City Project which will cost a whooping RM25 billion! It is a mega city project which the government has now asked the developers to scale down, but only after the public made complaints. And what, you may ask, would the complaint be about?

Well, if you are not a Penangite, it would be understandable if you do not understand. And its not that I do myself since I too am not one. But then logic would simply point out towards the traffic congestion which sadly, the Pearl of The Orient is now more famous for. If you want to know more about this, there is none better to ask but Cikgu Nazir. However, since you are still reading this, it just simply mean I have to continue on rambling. Where were we...? Oh, the traffic problem!

Right. As logic would simply point out, the more residential or office complexes one build without improving the traffic system which would include the widening of new roads or building new ones, the roads would be crammed with vehicles that even a snail may go sailing by. That is, off course, an exaggeration. What I'm trying to say is, why does the government need to have the public make a complaint before deciding on such matters? I mean, they have town planners, state planners, national planners, but sadly it seems, all without any plans.

To be fair, I think those civil servants are doing a good job. Its just that...well, you have those politicians in powers who are not! And that is a fact I think many Malaysians can agree to. And I'm quite sure if you were to ask the civil servants on the matter, they will reply with a resounding aye.

The last time I drove to Penang Island, crossing over the narrow straits on what used to be the 3rd longest bridge in the world, I had a mixed feeling about it. The first, was my patriotic pride feeling awe about the bridge that may one day equal the fame of The Golden Gate in San Francisco. The other feeling was that of...claustrophobia and acrophobia; being crammed in a car that was not so literally inching its way across the bridge. The acrophobia? Well, the bridge is rather high for the liking of someone who is afraid of heights.

Anyway, when the news came that the 2nd bridge is in the offing, I was one non-Penangite who was very happy about it. Seriously! And I was pinning for a bridge with lower heights and perhaps this time, built by Malaysians, and for Malaysians, much unlike the first bridge. But then woe me when I was told by a certain someone about the real story behind the 2nd bridge. And like it or not, since you are already reading this, my best bet is that your curious mind will force you to read on.

It was sometime after Isyak, some 10 years ago. I had attended a small kenduri Du'a Selamat in Taman Tun Dr Ismail when I was introduced to a gentleman of quite reasonable stature. As per normal in many Du'a Selamat I have been to, the guests were offered a light refreshment while the host lay the dinner. And it was during that time I was fortunate to be within the earshot of a conversation between the gentleman I mentioned was having with some other guests. And to save you time you may already wasted reading this entry, we shall dispense of all non-necessary part of the conversation, and I will quote the gentleman verbatim. You must understand though, the gentleman being who he was, the conversation was more like a monologue.

"Aaah, the Penang Bridge! It is true, what you've read...the Malaysian government will be building the 2nd bridge soon. But it is not as what you may think, I fear. For I was one of the people involved at the highest stage of planning. Mind you, it was not that I am or was an important figure on such matters, merely being a stand in for some people whom I dare not mention here.

I believe most of you might have been made aware of the announcement by the government on the cost of the 2nd bridge. Well, baloney! Do not for a second believe them! The 2nd bridge is being built free of charge, courtesy of a mistake made by the contractors of the first bridge. Shocked, are you? Well, don't be as I do have a secret to share with you.

Back when the first bridge was in the initial planning stage, foreign contractors and designers were invited to submit their proposals in a very hush-hush open tender. The Works Minister then who still is now, asked the bigots - that's us on the 2nd echelon of decision making and planning - to pick 5 of the best offer in terms of design and off course, the cost. And so we narrowed it to contractors with designers from South Korea, Japan, the US, Germany, and India. Each of these contractors were chosen to hand in their final proposal based on their unique capabilities and standings. And these are:

South Korea - for the Engineering expertise they have in construction.

Japan - for the innovations they have produced in almost all the fields they stick their nose into.

the US - for the grandeur planning they always come up with.

Germany - considered the masters of technology breakthrough and designs.

India - now, this is a rising star in the world of construction and engineering. Almost a dark horse in the race, but for their connections know who.

And so it was on the day of presentation, each company were given no more than 30 minutes to present. Since I was lucky enough to be one of the few bigots present during the day, I was privy to the information I am passing to you now.

All the companies were alloted time in accordance to the order I mentioned earlier, and each presented their case to their best of efforts. Why, if you were there, you might have shed a tear yourself, looking at the almost desperate presentation they each gave, which is almost akin to some final year physics students who really have not a single clue at what they were doing.

Anyway, when the day was nearly halfway through, the company from India came into the room. Though I was informed, I was nevertheless quite surprised as instead of a single company, there were 2 from India; both companies were related by blood it seems - one the father, the other the son. And in they came and presented to the Works Minister.

The Minister, when India presented the plan, gave a shocked look initially. But somehow, the Indians pulled out their Ace that sent the Minister into a...shall we say, euphoric reaction? And almost as suddenly, he came back to his normal state of mind, grabbed both the Indians and began walking out of the room while at the same time asking us bigots to follow. We had no idea where he was going, but follow him we did.

When we finally reached to Minister's destination, he asked us to open the huge door, revealing a large room, a very large room in fact, where we found the Prime Minister then was waiting rather patiently for us. He was, after all, enjoying himself to a bowl of freshly fried masalode, or something of such equivalent; not being a connoisseur of food, I failed to observe entirely.

The Minister showed the Indians to a small conference table and then called on the PM to join. Upon joining, the Ministers then asked to Indians to give a brief presentation to the PM.

'Your excellency' said the senior of the Indian, 'we are 2 companies here, one father, one son. If we get this project, we will begin works simultaneously from both ends of the bridge - my son will begin works on the island and I from the mainland.' At this stage, the PM was already rubbing his chin.

'Our companies are well known for revolutionary construction works, and while we may have not built a single bridge before, we are confident we will halved the construction time," said the father. Without waiting for reply, he continued "You see, if we both work from both ends, we will then meet in the middle and complete the project in record time," with almost a look of glee on his face.

But the PM being a person well endowed with many knowledge including some about physics, pulled the Minister one side and asked "Sam, I really don't know about this. What if, just what if they begin building and something go wrong?"

The Minister, being a man not short of words, replied almost immediately "But what could go wrong my friend? You asked me to pick the best, and I think these Indians here are the best!"

"Well," the PM then said "what if the two ends don't meet?"

The Indians who were creeping to hear the PM and the Minister's discussion quickly interrupted "Your excellency, do not worry. My son hold a Masters in Physics and I in Engineering! We THINK, we will join both ends together in the middle of the straits."

"And what if you don't...?"the PM shot back.

"Well...," the senior Indian tried to reply while looking at his son.
"We will!" shouted the son. "If we do not, then you will have 2 bridges for the price of one!"

"As you know gentleman, the first bridge did have a serious construction flaw, one which was foreseen by the PM, but was well hidden from the public. And that is precisely how we got the building of the 2nd bridge going! Oh! I must be going now," said the gentleman.

As the gentleman got up from his chair, he gave a look around before walking off to his car. The other guests who were listening intently, each had a strange look on their face. It was as though they were in a state of shock. And I could swear, even as the gentleman walked off, I heard something like a snicker from him...almost humorous yet evil in nature.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Friend In Need

Earlier today a friend informed me of the problems she and several of her colleagues have at their working place. In replying to her, I have bcc'ed the email to several other friends in hope of getting a response. Alhamdulillah, I received a reply from one, who seem sincere in wanting to assist. Though I am not at liberty to reproduce the earlier original transactions, I think it is fairly safe for me to reproduce this email I received from Encik Mohd Sha'ani Abdullah, the Chief Executive for FOMCA, the Federation of Malaysia Consumer Association. The reply, reads as below:

I'm full time with FOMCA from this month. How can I help? Their
attitude and apathy can not be solved by condeming publicly.
We need to engage them to educate & change them.
We need to develop strategies. Form a group/NGO to articulate and
impress the power to be.
Plse contact me.
Thank you.
Muhammad Sha'ani b. Abdullah
Ketua Eksekutif

As evident from the email reply, it shows FOMCA by itself is not in position to help. But I believe they would be able to assist direct the problem to the proper channel, insyAllah. At the same time, I have also relayed the same email to Puan Mastura of Nisa' where they may just take on the matter.

Reason why I'm putting this up is in hope that anyone who might be interested to assist on the matter, or perhaps even make a complaint regarding consumer matters, they may do so by writing to Encik Sha'ani at "Muhammad Sha'ani b. Abdullah" On my part, I will wait further development before deciding how best to assist. For certain though, I do not think any of them would be able to assist on matters relating to the heart.

Mayhaps, just mayhaps, anyone with such a problem should visit one of those Aztecs or Mayan pyramids where they once pull out the heart of their victims while still alive. Still, last I heard such a practice is now in Malaysia. Hmm...


Don't you just love the TV series 'Lost!'. They keep building the characters and story leading you to a climax...which never come. Still, you hang on in hope of understanding the entire big picture although deep inside you know it is you who is lost! And it did not help matters when AXN shows each series at least twice a week, and then run the previous seasons, do a back-to-back thing...which does not really help you get your bearings. Then, all of a sudden, ntv7 started to run the series! Oh boy! You really do get lost in 'Lost'! Well, can't say much about everyone else, but I know I did.

It was like being stranded in the middle of a rain forest with your eyes blinded by your own sweat and your mind clouded by your fears of the unknown. So you stumble around hoping to get to a clearing if any, just to rest your tired body, but the sun shines it best at you and you are forced to get under the canopy again where unseen predators lurks...some in your mind, some real. Then the darkness of the night creeps in and there are no moon, no stars, to give you that little ray of hope of companion you need. Still, you fight to stay on the upper hand, to stay stay sane.

Fire! That's right! Light a fire! It will brighten the area and keep the nasty beasts away. Those in your mind, and those real ugly beasts just waiting to sink their not so razor sharp fangs into your measly flesh. Start a fire...and you unwittingly starts a forest fire! Run! Run! Run! But where? Which direction? Into a pool of water filled with months long hungry crocodiles?

The fire that was supposed to give you hope, is now your own undoing.../-

Haha! That folks, is a piece of stupid copywriting I just wrote for this lovely thing I just found! Kindly click here - its a Qiblat Direction for your pc. The map it use might be pretty old as I cannot even find the street I am in, but it ought to suffice. Amd while you are at it, thought this song might entertain you.

LA's fine, sunshine most of the time
The feeling is laid back
Palm trees grow and the rents are low
But you know I keep thinking about
Making my way back

Well, I'm New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I'm lost between two shores
LA's fine, but it ain't home
New York's home but it ain't mine no more

I am, I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
I am, I cried
I am, said I
And I am lost, and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still

Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of being a king
And then became one
Well, except for the names and a few other changes
If you talk about me, the story's the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I've tried but it won't let me go
And I'm not a man who likes to swear
But I've never cared for the sound of being alone

I am, I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
I am, I cried
I am, said I
And I am lost, and I can't even say why

Leavin' me lonely still

I am, I said
I am, I cried
I am...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Story

When I read Cikgu's entry about Raden Galoh, I immediately visited her blog and found many other already have and giving their comments wishing her well and so forth. As a first timer there, I was lost for words. But then I remembered a real life story I read - apologies if I bore anyone with the so many stories I read at a real young age. The story was published in a Readers Digest issue before the time almarhum Tunku's Abdul Rahman's Dwi Bahasa was published in the same said magazine; RD was, at that point of time, still a US issue worldwide. As such, the stories and articles there were mainly of US origin, as this story was.

A well known man(Henry) in a small town had passed away and the whole community was saddened by the news and came to visit the widow and pay their respects. The deceased, though not a wealthy man, was well liked and respected by the community and was helpful especially towards the small non-white residents there. And perhaps customary during such visit, visitors would offer their condolences to the family. Except - in this story - for one man.

He was a non-white, one of those whom the deceased hardly knew but not vice versa. This non-white - we shall name him Jim, as I have forgotten the names in the actual story - makes his living as a cobbler of which Henry had very little need of service for he shines his own.

On the day of the service, Jim arrived to a house that is almost full and saw the widow already has her hands full receiving wishes and condolences. Still, Jim approached the widow. But instead of offering his condolence, he asked for the shoe closet and later took all the shoes outside where he began polishing each, including those of the widow's. By the time the hearse arrive and the family and friends began to make their way for the burial ceremony, every single shoe had been polished and looked brand new. The widow was caught by surprise and thanked Jim for his simple act of kindness but meant a whole lot to her. The widow then changed shoes into a pair that was shined and wore it to the burial ceremony in respect of the man she had loved.

I guess each and everyone of us would like to do something similar to what Jim did. It is at times similar to the story that we, as friends, or be it even as strangers, do feel so helpless and not know what to do. But alhamdulillah, as Muslims, we are taught to give prayers for those in distraught or those that have passed away. Only Allah knows best.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Of Spooks and the ISA

Honestly, I do not know how to begin this entry. Perhaps, we shall begin with the only TV series I bother to watch for quite sometime now; Spooks.

A word of caution though for TV fans who may think this spy series is full of action - it is not! Its pure drama with very well written script and set in situations which at times, mirror real life crisis of the world, particularly those affecting the UK.

I don't how and exactly when I got hooked to this show, but for the past 12 months or so, there has been nothing but reruns of the 2nd season. Finally a week or 2 ago, Hallmark channel began screening the 3rd season which is what the scanned section of The Star is all about. Its a wonderful series, one that thus far I've watched, does not stereotype non-whites or most importantly, Muslims, as the big bad wolf. In fact, I was told the series once faced flaks from Christians in UK for showing the ugly side of Christian Evangelism and Militants! No, not that I applaud such a thing but it perhaps underline the producers want to put on a show which is based on real life and much unlike Hollywood gungho or Bollywood fantasy movies and series.

Now, to the more serious part, one which I still have no idea how to begin. Perhaps, I should begin with the meet I had with bro Mat Salo when he was last in town. We met in a coffee shop nearby my house and our conversation soon touched on the ISA and how the government will soon use it against some bloggers. I then confided in him that if such thing is true, then I too may face the same thing. No, not for my blog, which is not worth anyone's spit, but for my activities on the net. And no, I do not think I am crying wolf, though I pray I am.

Over the past 3-4 years, I have been sending out political news to various e-groups in Malaysia. Per night, I found out recently while preparing a paper for a certain person, the potential readership I send to is in the range of 100,000 people. It got to such, that I've had 2 email addresses hijacked and later deleted by Yahoo! It was that same email which I received brickbats and so on, including threats by people whom I can only think as the SB. In a way, alhamdulillah, I am happy to begin with a newer email address. But that also meant starting from scratch again, having to rejoin the various e-groups, and several other hassles.

My reason for writing this is because I think my emails have been touching nerves again. Now, here's what I normally do each night: I would go through all the political blogs especially those at readscentral, and combine 2 piece of news together for a desired effect - sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. And it was this particular email which may land me somewhere near Taiping, when I combined a piece of news from and Blackinkorea. Now, normally its not that I do not, but simply I just could not care what happen to the news I send so long as I know it reach and may be read by at least 10% or 10,000 people - I have no way of knowing. But this particular email, it seem to do the trick as it was reported in the Sun and was reproduced in BERSIH (para 4). Still, there is now way of saying whether the particular email is the one I sent. I am however, taking precautions.

It may seem silly to put up my precautionary matters here on this blog for I am quite sure those goons do give it a look-see every now and then, more especially with the News You May Have Missed now somehow linked to several major news websites. And I am not crying "Hey! Bring them on!", as that would be a pretty foolish dare to do. To the readers of my blog, especially my friends who are kind enough to entertain me with their comments, what I want to say is just this:

"Should you ever find my blog not updated for a period longer than a week, than there is a very great possibility that you may find me cringing in a dirty cell somewhere in Malaysia, subjected to various humiliating punishment and torture methods such as those written from personal experience by Abu Urwah, the present Ketua Penerangan PAS Selangor. If this which I do fear happen, please take it upon yourself to contact and inform Abu Urwah and Ahmad Lutfi of Harakah. And do have a heart to call upon my emak and ask of her wellbeing.

I know I sound like an utterly bloody fool putting this down here for everyone to read, most especially if nothing ever happens. But I'll be a bigger fool not to do so! For certain it is not fame that I do what I do, insyAllah, for the names that I use are not even mine. I do it in the name of Allah s.w.t., and that if ever I do disappear, than know too that my action is just another voice fighting for justice and freedom, which the authorities fear."

Hmm...having written that and feeling every inch the fool I must be even right now, I feel sort of relieved. Maybe, with the grace of Allah, this entry would act something like a purloined letter, preventing that which I dread, insyAllah.

The Excuse.

I used to not buy daily papers except for emak's reading pleasure. Then I found I keep missing on news which affect me and now buy The Star 3 days a week - Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Today being a Thursday, I bought the paper and I would like to share a real-life funny incident quite like the comic strip I scanned from The Star today. The incident happened sometime in 1989, yet till today I cannot help but remember it with a small laugh.

Back then, I was a Life Insurance agent and was based in Brickfields, KL. Back then too, most of my colleagues and I did not have our own transportation and either rely on public or the car belonging to the agency's Assistant Manager(AAM). On the particular day of this incident, a lady colleague by the name Nina (arwah), needed assistance to go to a client's office in Damansara which then did not have any reliable public transportation. Then again, tell me, which parts of KL do have...even now? Anyway, she asked for my assistance to drive her there in the AAM's car which is a beat-up Ford Cortina. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Ford Cortina and Escort, but this car was, believe me, real beat-up!

To cut the story short, so there we were in the car and I began driving. At the main intersection - the car being a manual shift - I stopped to wait for a break in traffic while engaging the car in the 1st gear. Then, when a break appeared, I press the accelerator and steered the car onto the main road. In less than 2 seconds later, I tried to shift to 2nd gear - hey, this car is beat-up and certainly could not have taken the rev of a long 1st gear being engaged! I pressed the clutch and with my left hand and tried to engage the 2nd gear. Suddenly I felt my left hand in a position higher than it should be and I turned my face to see why it is so. What I saw, left my mouth gaping a short while and I called to arwah Nina to look - the entire length of the gear stick had come out of its socket! Well, arwah Nina did have a look but then said "Shahrir, stop playing games! I'm late already!" Her reply, made me laughed out loud!

Anyway, the AAM later had the car towed away to his mechanic in Sungei Way and arwah Nina called her client to postpone the appointment to another day. I can't exactly remember when, but Nina passed away some years after that due to asthmatic complications. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atas rohnya.

Arwah Nina is, by the way, a first cousin to my friend MB, who drops by occasionally to make a comment or two.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just An Old Fashion Love Story

OK, foremost a confession: As Cikgu had noticed it, I had put up a posting last night about a story I MAY enter into a competition, but decided to take it down to give it more work. Further, the only part I have written was the ending and the entire story was without a title yet...then.

All entries for this competition is to be based on the development of Kuala Lumpur for the past 20 years, and though I have a sketch in my mind, I have yet to work out the on exact matter. I mean, it was only after maghrib last night I decided to begin on it. Then somehow this morning, I woke up with a song in my head which somehow tie in to the sketch I have. Hmm...maybe that's what all the senimans call 'ilham', huh? If so, then I may have found 2 already! Oops! Sigh...then again, I am not a seni-man.

Anyway, I was reminded about this song when I replied to a comment from Cikgu and have put it here for everyone's listening pleasure. An original presentation it may not be, but it is nonetheless, still as good. But mind you, for those who may not know the song already, there's 2 songs in the video and we are only concerned with the first.

ps. By the way, there's some new Oldies, Jazz and Rock songs up at Listenonly, do have a listen. Er...look, I mean do have a look :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One Way Commotion

For a spell of several long months, the street where I live was a one way direction, with the entrance way on the other side and the exit just several houses away from mine. Though it was quite inconvenient, I have come to live with it and found it quite peaceful with less traffic criss-crossing especially right in front of my house. My only grouse then was that it rightly should have the direction changed with the entrance near my house and the exit on the other end; the reason being as one of the 3 mains streets that surround this area runs perpendicular to my street, and both streets runs the same direction - it does not make sense! But then, you can't have the cake and eat it.

Then, some wise guys who just moved into the back areas made a complaint to the local DUN and almost of a sudden, this street where I am is a 2-way street again. And the noisy traffic, they come a flowing in again. Now, I don't have a cake and I certainly can't eat it too! Boo!

As though that's not bad enough, another piece of news came a knocking.

For about a year and half now, some of the residents here have formed a committee to build a surau on a vacant piece of land some 7 houses away. They've gone up and down the Arlington Street of Bureaucrats, held several gatherings with the Muslims residents, and was at one stage, prepared to receive donations! Then the crunching news came: a speech made by the Sultan of Selangor a year back has been gazetted! - there will be no new surau built within a distance of 2 kilometers of another! And as the nearest surau is about 1.6 kilometers away, the authorities would not or could not entertain any appeals. It does not matter to them that the residents of this area would like one for the convenience of their children to learn the Quran, or that the vacant land was already gazetted to be one! Ok, yours truly don't have any children but that does not he does not empathise. Perhaps the one thing he can find solace is that there were rumours that several residents wanted him to be the bilal there! I mean, hello...Sure, a bilal gets a special mention in the hereafter, but that I would reckon that cakapaje bloke to be more like a hermit or and ostrich! Ha ha! Just a personal joke. Anyway, there goes the surau, and along with it the committee.

If its not this, then its that! Hmm...just when you thought you can settle down for a quiet nap, a back door neighbour kicks a ruffus!

The other day when a kind neighbour dropped in to confide his disappointment regarding the surau, we got into a conversation about my back door neighbour. I don't mean to backbite here, but since I'm pretty sure no one who reads this know of him, I guess its pretty safe to ramble on.

For the past 3 years we've been here, the bdn's wife has been littering the small street between our house. There were times when she simply throw her dirty cotton buds which landed within the compound of ours! Emak has been complaining to me and I've been deliberating on ways to settle the small issue. But the thing is, trouble comes in two fold. First, the husband is, or was, one of the committee members of the surau. Though seemingly quiet, he is quite a hothead who don't mind picking fights, and this is from a previous neighbour's experience.

Sometime back, a neighbour had made a complaint to the local authority of a flow of dirty water on the backstreet. On investigation, the MPPJ found out that the dirty water was in fact flowing from the gutter pipes which the backdoor neighbour use as an outflow for his washing machine. And so, he was given a small fine, but that got him into a fit of anger and he confronted the neighbour who made the complaint! The neighbour, being a lady, off course did not come out and in fact threatened to call the police. So the guy walked away with further bruise to his ego. Seeing his actions and reactions to matters which could have been settled amicably but is not, I decided to just wait for a more suitable moment as I certainly do not want him to come running to my house when I am not around.

Now, while I wait for that suitable moment, I thought I might as well take a nap. I mean, these couple of days, the sun has been blistering hot and perhaps a siesta is called for. But heck no! Now, I hear several neighbours are making noise about the 2way street, and want it reverted back! Hmm...this certainly would be another one way commotion. Sigh.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Changing of The Guards

In almost all societies of the world, the eldest male normally assume the role of the head of a family; making decisions which especially affect the family as a whole, acting as the peacemaker in disputes between members; and sometimes putting their life or honour at stake for the sake of a family member who may have gone a wee bit out of line. Occasionally, a decision may come into disfavour of several and leads to a rift where the head has to stand his ground either for the good of many or the unity of the family itself; this very decision or act may see one or 2 members leaving the family for a new life elsewhere. But the practice of Head of family is coming to a past due to many reasons mainly due to migration for the want of a greener pasture.

By the way, I should stress that the term family here refers to extended large families living cohesively in a certain area. Though such living may be rare now, it still exist in many areas of the world where an entire community are blood-related. Perhaps, the longhouses in Sarawak and Sabah may still practice this. Closer to home, or perhaps I should say 'yours truly', such was the practice albeit in smaller units some very many years ago in the state of Melaka. Though there are gaps which need to be filled or verified, I will try to stay true to the knowledge that has been passed to me by the elder generation of the family.

A certain Abdul Rahman and his wife lived Melaka Pindah, a small village some several kilometers from the town of Alor Gajah. They had several children of which one son became a teacher and was posted to Ulu Bendol, Negeri Sembilan, where the son married a pretty woman by the name of Zainun. At the around the same time, one of his daughters married a teacher by the name of Jetti Ahmad from Pantai Belimbing, Melaka, where the couple then bought and made their house opposite Abdul Rahman's. A son of Abdul Rahman, Yassin, then moved to Kuala Lumpur and became a teacher as well as one of the leading members of the Scout Movement in Malaysia. 2 other sons, perhaps lured by stories of sea adventures, moved to Singapore and joined the sea merchants. But even with the family members far flung, the family members would still keep in constant touch, affirming their family bond and Abdul Rahman as the Head of the family. All matters of family concerned were left to Abdul Rahman's wisdom to make.

As the years rolled by, so do human age; Abdul Rahman and his wife passed away long before I was born - he was my great grandfather, on my mother's mother side. With his passing away, the role of patriarch was left to his son-in-law, Jetti Ahmad - my grandfather. And when my grandfather passed away some 20 years back, there were no real figures to step in. Without a patriarch acting as an anchor, the family drifts apart ever futher. The only senior member of the family who might have been able to fill the vacuum is a lady by the name of Zainun, the once pretty young lady in Ulu Bendol who married a son of Abdul Rahman. But at 90 and with failing eyesight and hearing, plus a deteriorating health, she is in no condition to be a matriarch commanding respect from the younger generations. Still, she commands our affection.

Thin and frail looking, she still bear semblance to the pretty lady she once must have been. Of fair complexion and standing a mere 5 feet tall or so, she has a soft melodious voice and would always greet her family members with a smile and a big hug. Perhaps, once of the most memorable thing I remember when visiting her many years ago in Ulu Bendol, was her signature dish of (a fish) masak lemak cili padi - though I sweat profusely from the hot dish, I took a liking for it as it had a sweet flavour unlike most masak lemak cili padi and it appealed to my taste buds. Off course, I was only what, 10 or 11 then? A mere child who had yet to experience the bitter sweet taste of life. But the memory of the dish and the visit to her house in the small village came rushing to my mind when emak, makcik yam, Azman and I went to see her in her son's house in Bangi, Selangor.

Zainun, or Nek Besar as those of my generation would call her, was recently discharged from the hospital. Earlier, she had some indigestion problem and was also suffering from dehydration. When we visited her then, and as we did this morning, her memory too seem to fail her, as it would anyone of her age. Still, she was cheery as any could be.

When I took into consideration of the visitors Nek Besar had at the hospital, and before or after our presence in the house, I was numbed for a moment. When I totaled the relatives that came a visiting, there were 5 generations in all still living from the family Abdul Rahman had built! Abdul Rahman's wife, Nek Besar, is the eldest member at 90. The generation below her, where my emak is, about 70-80; my generation is between 35-50; the generation below me, 25-35; and the youngest generation of the family is between 3-7 years old. Now, while this does make me feel old - being a granduncle at 45 - I am also comforted in thought that my youngest brother is only 15, and can also be called a granduncle! In other words then, I am still spirit and mind, at least.

While my writing this is of little significance to anyone outside the family, it would, I hope, be a small guide for any member of this family who would like to trace the family tree.

Back to Nek Besar, though I do not pray it so, perhaps the time for Changing of The Guards looms nearer. But life and death is a matter only Allah s.w.t. knows. As mortals, our life is not defined by age, rather the circumstances of it. Death, has no respect for age; it comes at the precise time anointed - not a moment too soon, nor a moment too late. Young or old, is not within the dictionary of death.

I bear witness there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (s.a.w.) is His Messenger.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Badan Amal Kami Prihatin

Last night I was able to attend the Kelab Kami Prihatin meeting in KL. After missing 2 consecutive meetings, it was great to do so. And alhamdulillah, it was most certainly great to meet familiar faces there; we exchanged greetings and hugged. The lady members were especially concerned when they had a look at my left foot and soon many, the men included as well, began giving their 'medical opinions' on how it should be treated. With so many caring people around, there was nothing I could do but smile and nod to each advice. Then the ladies began hugging my dreams, off course. But it certainly is nice to be back in action, and most certainly great to know that you are missed.

The meeting which was scheduled at 8.30pm could only begin at 10pm due to the weather causing several latecomers, and ended at 12.45am. Hmm...well, at least it ended early.

Anyway, one of the good news for the night is that Kelab Kami Prihatin is now officially a Non-Government Organisation and is now named Badan Amal Kami Prihatin. I have put the logo and some information on the left banner, which was scanned from our newly published calender for 2008. InsyAllah, once we have finalised the Corporate Image, I will put it up. Though some may not think much about Corporate Image, it is an important feature, one that would give a distinct identity for the public to recognise. Without the identity, some may even say they do not know us, even though they may see the logo every day. It would then be a cause for consternation whenever our members need to liaise with officials of other organisations, especially the administrators of such who rarely venture out of their office, save to go home. The identity would also make it easier for the public to remember and respond to any call for volunteers at a later stage, insyAllah.

Talking of volunteers, several members of KP, along with a few volunteers, responded to the flood situation in Pekan, Pahang, quite recently. There, they distributed some RM10,000 worth of foodstuff and daily needs to the victims. It may be of interest to note that this area is the Parliamentary seat for a certain elected official in the Parliament. However, the the condition there leaves much to be desired. And in certain offices of the official, at least 2 large stacks of supplies meant for the people sits ideal, and perhaps will never be distributed. This, off course, was never highlighted by the media.

Back to the meeting, KP is reviving a plan to hold a concert meant for all the mat-mat in the Klang Valley - those mat rocks, mat rempits, mat jiwangs and all other mats, along with their minahs as well. We have discussed it thoroughly and understand it will be a rather controversial project but are quite adamant - and confident - to pull it off. Our objective here is to try and put some senses into these youngsters and invite them back to the right path. The performing artistes have all been briefed with regards to our intention, and they seem excited about it and have even lowered their appearance fees considerably as a token of their contribution for this project. InsyAllah, if everything goes as plan, the concert will take place on the 1st of March. Kindly do give us your moral support.

Apart from that, we will also continue giving our support to the needy and the visits to the various hospitals. But for these and other humanitarian projects we have, we do need the public to give either in kind or cash.

For those who wish to give in kind - which include school/reference/story books and of its nature - kindly do write to me of your intention. It would be preferable if the quantity is justifiably large for us to collect; perhaps you could get your neighbours to contribute as well. Your contribution here will be given to the children of the flood victims throughout the nation.

As for the cash donation, the bank account number for Badan Amal Kami Prihatin is at the top of the left banner. Kindly do note however, the name Kelab Kami Prihatin may still be used by the bank for the moment.

For those who are unable to contribute any, kindly spread the word to your friends and family members. As for the website, you might experience some difficulty for the moment as it is still new and some changes are being made presently.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Give Till It Hurts.

While emak and I were having lunch today, I noticed TV3 1.30pm Buletin was airing the 'Tokoh Ma'al Hijrah' for 2008. Apparently, Tan Sri Syed Mukhtar Bukhary was named as the recipient of the award for this year. My heartiest congratulations to the man as I've heard from quite a number of people that Tan Sri is a philanthropist and deserving of the award. I have no qualms there at all. However, it reminded me of a story I read as a young boy of 10, and if I remember it well, is with regards to a remote village somewhere in either China or Taiwan. Though names of the characters and even places are completely forgotten now, the gist is not.

In a place where modern medical science was still viewed suspiciously and even thought to be a spawn of witchcraft, many children and elderlies succumbed to various ailments and many die to lack of medical treatment. The Village Elders, held a meeting and realise the need to build a hospital catering to the village need. But realising on the matter and the want to build can be 2 different things altogether as the huge majority of the people there are poor and live on day to day sustenance. Though there were several well-off families, and a particularly rich man, this was a community project and needs the contribution of everyone, be it large or small. Thus, the Village Elders later announced of their intention to collect funds from everyone for the purpose of this hospital. This, was received well by the people of the village.

As the VE went around each house, the contributions they received began to grow. Many gave without thought, while few were calculative either to the use of the fund or the benefit it would bring. Still, they gave. Despite collecting a large amount, the VE found it still insufficient and continued on collecting until only 2 houses remain.

They went to the first of the last 2 house which belongs to the richest man in the village and were greeted kindly. When asked by the rich man on the amount collected, the VE said it was still insufficient and needed at least double of what they already have. The VE reply had the rich man thinking a long while and then asking "What or after who will this hospital be named?"
The VE were stunned by the question which in the very first place, had never crossed their minds. Then the eldest of the VE replied "We will name the hospital after the best donor," to which the rich man gave the amount needed without further thoughts. Jubilated by the generous act of the rich man, the VE made their way back to the Town Hall. But on their way there, they pass by the only house which they have yet to collect donation from.

Looking at the condition of the house, the VE initially thought of not asking any. But then as it is a community project, they decided it should involve the occupants as well. The head of the poor family greeted the VE with a thin smile. As soon as he was told by the VE of their intention, he immediately the rickety wooden steps up to his house and disappeared behind the thin walls made of flimsy plywood. The poor man reappeared a short while later and without further question gave them an old leather bag containing his life savings. Without a word, he then turn back to his task of chopping firewood meant to be sold later.

Back at the Town Hall, the VE began recounting their collection and were very happy to note that it in fact, had exceeded the amount needed. Then they were reminded of the donation by the poor man in the leather bag and opened it only to find the amount contained within was a mere fraction when compared to the rich man. Yet, this was the poor man's life saving and he gave from his heart. The VE felt humbled and decided to include it to the collection.

The building of the hospital did not take long as it was small 2storey building suffice for the village need. And when it was completed, the whole town gathered for the official opening ceremony. The rich man, befitting as the main contributor, was invited as the Guest-of-Honour, and was seated on the dais together with the VE. When the time came to unveil the name of the hospital, the rich man was given the honour. And he stood proudly beside the unveiled name as the villagers, including the poor man, gathered around. And when the shoving and the noise died down, the rich man pulled the small curtain to unveil...the poor man's name.

The Village Elders, it seems, had not lied about naming the hospital after the best donor. For in their eyes, the poor man had given his best - his entire life savings - towards the success of building a hospital for the village. His unselfish act had humbled the VE, and in their eyes, he was the best donor.

Now, before anyone even think that this story have anything to do with Tan Sri Syed Mukhtar, know that it does not. As mentioned earlier, I was reminded of this story when I saw the news and thought of sharing it. Perhaps I should have written about Saidina Ali r.a. and the mango fruit. But it is a story I believe most Muslims are well aware of. Both stories anyhow, are with regards to the unselfish deeds of individuals towards their society, no matter how small one may think of them otherwise. And perhaps that very act of looking down on a contribution by others is one of the flaws of our society today; both the poor and the rich have their roles to play.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Salam Ma'al Hijrah 1429

Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullah hi wabarakatuh,

To all my Muslim brothers and sisters, tomorrow, January 10, Muslims worldwide will usher in the New Year according to the Hijrah Calender. I am not a scholar to give speeches or write sermons, but even if I am, I do not think I would. However, you are welcome to read 2 interesting postings entitled 'Hijrah Sebelum Hijrah' and 'Fasa Perjuangan Baru 1429H' which I received and have posted at respective blogs.

With regards to a New Year Resolution, I only have one: To be a better Muslim, insyAllah.

Again, I wish you Salam Ma'al Hijrah 1429.

ps. Do not forget to read the year-end and year-beginning do'as. Er, believe Doc TA would be a better person to ask about the do'a :)

Wassalamu'alaikum warahmatullah hi wabarakatuh
Your brother in Islam

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Hero That Sucks!

Most honest to goodness heroes go beyond expectations of human norms and leaves profound memories in our hearts and minds. Seldom, if ever, a hero sucks. One that does however, was caught in this dramatic video. Watch, and brace yourself as the drama unfolds unexpectedly.

UPDATE 12:08
Lin has just commented that she is unable to view the video. If anyone experience it as well, then do try this link here. However, kindly do not let this video rain down on you.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Nasi Lemak, Kueh Koci

Every morning around 7.30ish, a young chap of 15 would make his way around the streets of Kampung Tunku on a bicycle that perhaps by now, is as antiquated as his way of doing business. It would not be a point of exaggeration if I were to say his rounds were eagerly waited for by the residents of the area, who would rush out of their house on hearing his calling tune which now resonates in my ear.

Somehow, over the 5 years or so the young chap plied his trade in the area, very few knew or bothered to ask of his name and he was constantly referred to as the Nasi Lemak boy. Strangely though, it was not his nasi lemak most craved for, but the kueh koci which was freshly made every morning and was as soft and sweet as any good kueh koci should be. It was over this same period that he, with his sometimes hoarse voice - perhaps due to sore throat or simply being unwell - he may have witnessed more changes to the housing area than the residents themselves did.

There was an empty piece of land that stretched perhaps 200 meters, hemmed in between a road and a large monsoon drain - the length between the two reaching no more than 50 meters. The elder of the children in the area grouped together to pull out the overgrown grass and weeds, then trampled on the ground in hope to make it decently flat. When they were done, a large portion of the empty land became a barren field of coarse reddish earth which sufficed as a small soccer field. And many more children started to join in the fun; "Who will help me bake a cake?" asked the hen.

As more and more people began taking a greater liking to the nasi lemak and kueh koci, the boy responded by adding more to his inventory in a new basket, in addition to the old one which he still use then. There were now kueh bom, pulut panggang, and kueh ketayap - long and greenish with coconut fillings mixed with gula melaka. Still, the kueh koci remained as the choice of pick.

Time flew by quickly, and with it, the children began to grow. An 8year old became 13, and the nasi lemak boy an adult. I cannot remember when he stopped plying his route, only to suddenly realise he no longer did. Between morning school and extra-curriculum activities, his soothing nasi lemak singing faded away for a very long spell, and of late reverberates again in my ears:

Na(3beats) - Si(staccato) - Le(2beats) - Mak(3beats),
Ku(2beats) - eh(3beats) - Ko(3beats) - ci(3beats).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Petal Falls

Its early in the morning. A gentle mist still clings close to the grounds, and the air is still damp and cold. The sun has just awakened and slowly climbs out of the horizon; its shine, creating shadows on a land that only moments ago was itself a shadow. And all creatures great and small begins to stir, save for the nocturnals.

In a small patch of garden, the plants awake, dripping tiny droplets of dew that settled during the cold night, and the flowers begins it bloom, spreading its petals wide, lending more colours to the land and in the process, making it more beautiful with each touch of the sun's ray.

Nearby, a mother sits with her child, soaking in the warmth of the sun as well as the splendour of this world God Almighty has created. In between the sun's rise on the horizon and several notches above, this garden is a heavenly place for the mother and her child.

I was just browsing the net looking for nothing in particular and suddenly, something triggered my memory of a story I once read as a primary school kid. Somehow, the story fascinated me then. But as the years roll by with life unfurling new events, a child tried to grow beyond his age. And the story that once fascinated him, is pushed to the back of his mind, only to be triggered later by other events that are not even remotely attached to the story - The Purloined Letter.

As I hate reading long materials on line, I just skimmed through the story and found it disturbingly different than the one in memory. Could it have been an entirely different literature I was reading then, or the circumstance I read as a child were? For if the memory is right, then the settings of the story I read then was in London, and not in France as the one I just read.

With the sun climbing ever nearer to its peak, a petal falls to the ground below, revealing a sight that is less in beauty, of small insects scurrying within the flower trying to feed on the nectar or other edibles within. The child cries at such a sight, unknowing that such very acts of the insects allowed the flower to bloom in the very first place.

Forgive me if I am unable to expand on this.

Love On The Rocks.

I'm just feeling down somewhat since last yesterday evening. A friend came over to bunk for the night which was not a problem at all. Trouble is, we hardly spoke at all. There's nothing brewing between us but he just do not wish to say anything. I supposed I could understand as 2 day earlier, I followed him to Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor.

When we walked into the room, both of us were rather taken aback as the Ustazah whom my friend was supposed to meet is a young lady of around 27 years old. Granted she has the knowledge and may have been well trained for purposes such as this, but somehow both of us were expecting a more senior person with wider exposure and experience. Still...we sat ourselves as comfortably as we could.

I cannot imagine the emotional turmoil my friend must have been going through. Though he has been confiding the matter with me...put it this way, as the Malay saying goes: Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu yang memikul. Thus, when he asked me to accompany him to JAIS on this matter, I wholeheartedly said yes!

My friend kept looking at me, as though searching for moral support. All I could do was nod and pat his shoulder. Then he began narrating the events to the Ustazah so she would would have a clearer picture.

After slightly more than 20 years of being separated, my friend's mother has decided to file a divorce from her husband. At the age where most couples look with pride and joy at the family they have managed to bring up, this couple now could not reconcile the difference between them. But to be fair, it is my friend's mother who could not.

When the Ustazah tried to console my friend who talked rather haltingly, he posed a question to her, which caught me in a shock as well "Tell me, have you ever had your mother cry profusely on your shoulder?" Neither the Ustazah nor I could reply initially. Then, perhaps in a show of her inexperience, she replied "No, alhamdulillah, I have not...but". She stopped there, perhaps realising she was supposed to listen more and talk less.

I have known my friend's mother for quite sometime now. Though I did manage to meet his father when ever he's in town, I never did get to know him. But his mother is one of the most gentle lady I have ever met. She's around my emak's age of 75, but could easily pass off as 50 odd and lives with her daughter somewhere in Subang Jaya.

"Well, I have..."my friend continued. "Believe me, it is something you do not want to experience, and neither do I...ever again." He continued relating the state of affairs. At the same time, I know he was also trying to find an amicable solution, one which would not lead to the Syariah Courts. At that point of time, he looked at me and I caught his message - I left the room to give my friend the privacy needed.

All the way back to his house, neither of us said a single word. I left him at his place and I began driving, to nowhere in particular. I was and am worried for him as he lives a solitary life, never trusting anyone in particular. For the years I have come to know him, he hardly spoke of his family. But I do suspect they have gone through quite a lot.

This morning after breakfast, he thanked me before driving off. His face was glum and not the cheery look he normally have when in company of friends. And the one thing a mutual used to dislike about him is that he seemed to have a carefree attitude, as though not bothered about the world around him. Now when I think about it, perhaps that was just a charade he puts on so the world would not think any different of him.

Later this afternoon, he called saying he's off to his dad's place somewhere in Perlis and has taken the week off. I think I know why, but just wished him the best. InsyAllah, knowing the fighter in him, he will get over it and help his mother through.