Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mendeka!

"Mendeka! Mendeka!" cried a neighbour's 5year young girl. Waving a miniature flag, she struts the newly cemented floor of the house porch, accompanied by the song "Tanggal 31 Ogos", which was made famous by Allahyarham Sudirman; a song any self-respecting Malaysian should have known by now. Without warning, the rain poured heavily and the girl's young mother was forced to dash out of the house and bring her daughter in before she gets soaked. And I too, went into my house with my thoughts on the song.

Sometime back, I heard another version of "Tanggal 31 Ogos" on the radio and was informed that this version I heard was by the original singer whose name I have forgotten now. Thus, I googled the title and soon found quite a number of links, but none with the original singer's name. I was however, quite surprised (or perhaps shocked), to find out that the lyrics of the song was written by - according to this wikipedia entry here - an Indonesian, an Ahmad CB, to be precise. "My..."the thoughts in my head began "how merdeka can we get?". That, reminded me of Shirzad Lifeboat, and the appointment we were supposed to have last Sunday was to hash on Merdeka Day. But somehow we never did; I was down with flu and fever, perhaps he was too. I do hope though, he will mention in his article the points we discussed on the phone much prior to that.

Now, since we will be celebrating Merdaka and Ramadhan back-to-back this year, I hope this little story below might interest a reader or 2. Since rarely does anyone follow a link given, perhaps it would be better for me to copy and paste the story entitled "The Pearl Necklace". Its rather long, but its quite worth the while.

Qazi Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Abdul Baqi Ansari is an illustrious personality of Islamic History. He was the most pious person of his time. Even after the lapse of nine centuries, his exemplary life is a source of guidance to Muslims. His biographers tell a number of tales of his honesty and reliability but the one that affected his whole life is full of strange and unique events. He has narrated this story in his own words and it adorns the pages of history books.


"In the middle of the 5th century Hijri, I was a student of the Holy Quran and Hadith in Makkah. During that period, I once became jobless and my means of income came to an end. I managed, somehow, to subsist for a few days but soon it became hard to obtain even two square meals. My studies were discontinued and I had to sell a few of my books to support myself. I was at the edge of starvation but my feelings of self-respect did not allow me to borrow or beg from anybody.

One day, I was hungry, as usual. I went to the Holy Ka'bah to pray to Almighty Allah to save me from my sad plight. On my way back, I saw a velvet cloth pouch lying near the road edge. I picked it up. It was nicely sewn and neatly tied with a silk cord. I looked around to find its owner but the road was deserted and nobody was in sight. I carried the pouch to my house.

I was curious to know the contents of the small bag. As I untied the cord, a very precious necklace of pearls slipped into my hand. The luster of the spotless pearls almost lit my room. The pearls of different sizes were nicely put together in a string of crimson colored silk. It was a radiant beauty and I was thrilled to hold the valuable ornament. For a moment, I altogether forgot the hungry and pitiable state in which I was. My thoughts went to the unfortunate owner who had lost the precious jewelry. He must be unhappy and very worried due to his great loss. The course of action which I instantly decided on was to look for the owner and give him back his necklace to relieve him of this mental suffering. It never came to my mind to keep it wrongfully in my possession. So I set out to search for him. Leaving the bag behind, I went straight to the place were it was found.

A group of excited men were standing there and were busy in anxious conversation. I went close to them. Their topic of discussion was the missing pouch of pearls. An old man whose nobility and magnanimity was evident from his imposing personality, was standing amidst them. He was explaining the loss of his pearls to the attentive audience and was announcing a reward of five hundred gold coins to the person who could help him in recovering the lost necklace.

I listened to his account of the loss very carefully. When I was sure of his ownership, I held his hand gently and requested him to come along with me. He looked at me very hopefully and without asking any questions, he followed me. On the way back to my house, I was delightfully thinking that a handsome amount of five hundred dinars would be mind after a short while. The very thought of getting a reward of that much money was very pleasing. I was wondering whether my miseries would be over. I would no longer be a hungry or poor person. With such happy ideas in my mind, I entered my house and also invited the old man to come in.

When we sat down, I asked my perplexed guest about some marks of identification of his lost bad, so that his ownership could be established beyond doubt. He readily explained the shape and color of the pouch. He told me about its contents and gave an exact count of the pearls. He even described the tying cord. It convincingly proved that he was the rightful owner of the bad and the necklace of pearls. I silently rose and brought out the necklace pouch. As he saw it, his gloomy expression at once changed. His shining eyes beamed with joy and he looked at me with sincere gratefulness. His pleasant glance of thanks impressed me, and my own mode of thinking suddenly changed.

A little earlier, I was enjoying the idea of getting a good reward but now my mind was reasoning as to what I had actually done to deserve it. It was by sheer chance that the bag had came into my possession. I had exerted no efforts to obtain it. Therefore, why did I expect to get a reward for returning it to its rightful owner? But I was actually in dire need of money. My poverty and the grim realities of life were looking me in the face. Why shouldn’t I accept the reward? It was absolutely legitimate and surely there was no harm in taking it. A painful conflict of indecision was going on within me and I was in an uneasy state of double mindedness.

The noble old man was looking at the necklace again and again as to assure himself of its recovery. He then looked at me and said, "O dear me, you are a virtuous person and I thank you from the core of my heart. I am unable to express fully my feelings o fgratittude for your act of praiseworthy conduct. Nevertheless, I offer you a purse of five hundred dinars as a humble present and request you to kindly accept it."

He then placed in front of me a purse full of gold coins. A conflicting struggle of ideas was still going on in my mind. The sight of money which was within my easy reach was very tempting but I checked myself and said, "Sir, I thank you for offering me a substantial amount as a reward but it is impossible for me to accept it."

"Why not?" asked my noble guest, "You justly deserve the reward because I am giving it entirely of my own free will. I gladly give it to you as a humble token of my gratitude. Please do not dishearten me by refusing it." I replied, "Sir, I cannot even think of being rude to decline your kind offer, but iti is certainly improper for me to take it without doing anything to earn it. The necklace is yours and I happened to find it only by chance. Its restoration to you does not entitle me to take anything in return. Please do not insist on me to accept what is not morally due to me."

He was rather surprised by my firm refusal. Normally people yearn for money but I was adamantly declining it. He said, "My son! It is a virtue to be an honest person but the money is which is being offered to you is not disallowed by our faith. It is not prohibited to offer or accept such presents. Therefore, I request you to reconsider your unrealistic stand and keep that purse for the sake of my pleasure if not for anything else."

I said, "Sir, I do not at all intend to displease you, but the pleasure of Almighty Allah is more important to be reckoned with than your or my pleasure. If there is any good in my action, I will prefer to leave the matter to His Grace for compensation, which I do not wan tot risk for all the riches of this world. Kindly do not insist because I am determined not to accept any undue reward." My guest collected his pouch and purse and stood much dejectedly to leave. He patted me on the back and left without a word.

After a week or so, I got back my previous job. My days of deprivation and hunger were over. I rejoined my classes and forgot all about the incident i my busy schedule of daily routine. I exerted all of my energy to acquire knowledge of the Holy Qur'an and Hadith. My main subject of interest was Islamic Jurisprudence. I completed my studies with a distinction.

On the recommendation of my tutor, I was offered an appointment as Qazi of Qurtaba, (Cordova) the capital city of Haspaniyah (presently known as Spain). I readily accepted the post and started to prepare myself very happily for the long journey. I took leave of my colleagues and went to the port of Jeddah to embark on the ship for my destination. I boarded a merchant ship to carry me to the land of my future hopes.

For the first few days, the voyage was smooth and very enjoyable. Then suddenly a violent storm of severe intensity overtook us and the ship was engulfed by stormy waves. The mountain high waves tossed the ship around like a tiny toy. The masts were broken and the sails torn. A mighty wave crushed the ship and wrecked it completely. A few screams were heard and it was all over. I saw some floating boards and a few victims of the crash swimming around trying to save their lives. They were the only survivors of the hapless ship who were drifting over the ocean surface. When I recovered from the shock, I found myself clinging to a plan and moving with it at the mercy of the waves.

After drifting for two days, in a semi-conscious state, the waves tossed me upon the shore. I thanked Almighty Allah for saving me from the jaws of death. I was so weak that I couldn’t move. I helplessly lay there exposed to the scorching heat of the burning rays of the sun. I crawled to the dim shadows of a thorny bush. I lost track of time and was in a state between dizziness and heavy slumber.

After some time, I slightly opened my eyes and saw a few strange faces staring at me. They poured a few drops of water into my mouth and I came out of my oblivion but was still unable to speak. They made up a stretcher and carried me to a nearby town. When we approached near it, the first man-made thing which caught my eye was a towering minaret of a Masjid. I thanked Allah for being among my own brethren of faith.

They took me to a house belonging to one of them and laid me on a comfortable bed. With proper care, feeding, and treatment, I soon regained my lost energy. I told my kind host all about myself and the mishap of the ship wreck. My host, whose name was Faleh Hasan, informed me that I was in Hodeida, a coastal town of Yemen. The tract where I was luckily found was a desolate region and was a less treaded part of the coast. Faleh Hasan and his friends noticed a few vultures circling over the area, so they went to investigate and found me there in an unconscious state. He introduced me to his friends and I expressed my heartful thanks for saving my life. Due to their loving concern, I was soon normal, both mentally and physically.

I began to attend Masjid to offer my regular prayers and there I came to know many persons of nobility and of high-ranking positions. They all knew my unhappy episode through my host and treated me with understanding and respect. One of them was the aged and pious Sheikh Ahmad bin Suhail who usually led the prayers. He always greeted me with fatherly affection which touched me to the heart.

One day, he was a little late to arrive to the Masjid, so the people requested me to lead the prayers. My hesitation and excuses proved to be useless before their sincere appeals. That day I performed the duties of Imam. I did my best to recite clearly the Verses of the Holy Qur'an during the prayer and afterwards delivered a brief sermon on Islamic Law. Everyone seemed to be highly impressed. Sheikh Ahmad bin Suhail came forward and congratulated me on my excellent performance. I thanked him for his appreciation and encouragement. I came back to the house of my host filled with delight and self-confidence.

But later, I had sometimes thought that I had overstayed my welcome. So after the evening prayers, I stated my intention of leaving, but my host disagreed with me. He wanted me to stay for a few more days to recoup my health fully. At night, when I was going to bed, Sheikh Ahmad bin Suhail came with a few respectable people of the town. The friends of Faleh Hasan, who were my saviors, were also with them. When the preliminary formalities of greeting each other were over and all were comfortably seated, Sheikh Ahmad turned his eyes towards me and said, "Dear Abu Bakr, I have been honored by these gentlemen to speak to you, on behalf of them, about their commendable wish. I expect, you will please assent to it."

I was perplexed by that kind of address. So I said nervously, "Sir, you are very helpful and kind to me. I cannot disregard any of your commands or wishes. You can order me to do anything and it will be an honor for me to obey it."

He said, "Dear son, we all earnestly desire you to stay here with us forever. The regular Imam of our Masjid had died last year. We still mourn his death and perhaps will do so forever. His respect is deeply rooted in our hearts. He had enlightened our lives with the torch of knowledge. We wish you to take his place and consent to be our Imam. We may not be able to offer you a better paid position than that of the Qazi in Qurtaba, but we will surely give you our love, affection, and respect."

"But Sir," I protested, "I am a fresh, inexperienced student and feel small to carry out the sacred duties of the high office of Imam." The Sheikh said, "My son, do not underestimate yourself. We all have heard your recitiation and sermon, and are fully convinced of your ability to fulfill those responsibilities."

Before I could think of any evasive answer, my host, Faleh Hasan, and his friends vehemently backed up the proposal. I was left with no other alternative but to nod in affirmative. Everybody was pleased with my decision, especially Sheikh Ahmad who thanked me and kissed my forehead. They all rose to leave and thanking me individually, departed very happy.

They left me thinking how the secret hands of fate change the course of destiny in a secret manner. Circumstances secretly take such a turn that they altogether change the plans made up by man. I had cherished the hope of being a Qazi of Qurtaba and had taken steps to attain that goal, but preordained events made me an Imam of the Masjid in Hodeida.

So a new phase in my life began. I took charge of the imposed position and shifted to the assigned house of the Imam. I restarted the primary school that had closed due to the sad demise of the former Imam. I also commenced evening classes to impart lessons to explain the meaning of the Holy Qur'an.

I completely adjusted myself to the new environment and people generally accepted me as their religious leader. I was very contented and never for a moment regretted my decision to settle there. All the people, young and old alike, were happy and respected me. The feelings of any estrangement all faded away and I became as if I was one of them for ages.

One day, Sheikh Ahmad came to me and after enquiring about my welfare, said, "Dear Abu Bakr, your services to or townsmen are praiseworthy and beyond our expectations. I am glad that you had accepted our offer of staying with us. Now have come to you to ask one more favor."

I said, "Sir, I am at your service. Please tell me and I will comply with your order."

He said, "Dear son, a man is not perfect without his partner of life. I want you to marry and take full advantage of life. Marriage is also a sacred Sunna of our Holy Prophet. The sweet marital responsibilities are a real blessing which have been conferred onto man."

I replied, "Sir, you have always advised me in my best interest. I take you as a father to me and in this matter also, I will follow you counsel."

The Sheikh said, "Your predecessor, the late Imam of this Masjid was a very close friend of mine. He had a daughter, and when he was sure of his end, he entrusted her to my protection and care. Since then she has been under my guardianship. She is a lovely and adorable girl of good manners. Allah has endowed her with physical and mental beauty. She is virtuous and is a suitable match for you. I wish to give her in marriage to you and I feel sure that it will be a marriage of true minds."

I had no objection to the proposal whatsoever. A few days later, the bonds of marriage united us. After the festive ceremonies were over, Sheikh Ahmad escorted her to my house that was in fact her old abode where she had lived with her late father. I looked at her and my gaze was concentrated steadily on her. I forgot to even say welcome to her. I was not only looking at her beautiful and charming face, and at her downcast eyes; but my glance was riveted upon her pretty neck, which was ornamented by precious pearls. I at once recognized that necklace. It was the same necklace that I once found on a deserted road of Makkah. I looked at her in silent and open-mouthed wonder.

Sheikh Ahmad noticed my confused condition and thought that her beauty and the luster of the pearls had enchanted me. He politely said, "Dear Abu Bakr, that necklace and its wearer, both are yours now and you can take all your time to behold them. It may, perhaps, interest you to know that the necklace has a strange story of its own. Five years ago, my friend went to Makkah for pilgrimage and took that necklace with him to get it re-polished. There, he lost it. But due to the goodness of an honest young man, he recovered it intact. That commendable young man refused to sell his honesty and declined the pressing offer of a handsome reward. He left a lasting impression upon my friend who always remembered and talked about him. He once confided to me that he had a mind to go to Makkah again and ask that virtuous young man to accept the hand of his daughter, but time did not allow him to do so. Anyhow, it was destined differently. His daughter was to become your wife instead of his. The decreed decisions of fate are strange and beyond the understanding of man."

An emotional storm erupted within me. The strange happenings of the fateful events which were unfolded by the hidden hands of destiny agitated me and drops of tears rolled down my cheeks; I looked towards Sheikh Ahmad through misty eyes and said, "Dear Sir, you are very right to say that insight into the unknown mysteries of fate is not possible. It would perhaps be a pleasant surprise to know that I am the same person who found the necklace and restored it to your friend. He, in return, offered me an amount of five hundred dinars. Although I was a pauper and was suffering from the agonies of hunger in those days, my conscience did not allow me to accept anything that was not my due. I pinned all my hopes and expectations of Almighty Allah for any reward. And here I am with His gracious and greatest reward of all."

Sheikh Ahmad was amazed and without saying a word, he held my hand and shook it was a passion. My newly wedded wife lifted her eyes and looked me full in the face. Her eyes were filled with enthusiastic love that any husband ever could desire for. Almighty Allah had bestowed upon me His favors by giving me a considerate and loving wife and nothing in life surpasses that bliss."


****.****

As a student Sheikh Qazi lived a life of almost a pauper. But his devotion and belief to Allah s.w.t. led him to be independant of many worldly needs and desires. In other words, Sheikh Qazi was a Professional Muslim, who put Islam first before anything else. Sheikh Qazi and many other notable Muslims lifestyle would put that cakapaje guy to shame in his pursuit of a worldly riches and desires which in the end enslave instead of making him independant. The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was, off course, the best example for a man to follow.

Born in a land without any political direction, the Prophet s.a.w. founded a nation which to this date, has grown to be more than a billion strong in population. Unfortunately, the independant mentality and spirit sown more than 1,400 years ago, have been severely tested and weakened these past few centuries; instead of being more advanced as this current age of technology should imply, we are heading back towards the dark ages where the only rule of law is the word "I".

InsyAllah, this Ramadhan will allow cakapaje to look deep into himself and hopefully, come out a better person.

Happy Malaysia Day and have a Blessed Ramadhan. And do listen to this song here taken from Eskapisminda's blog.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Award

Truth is, my mind is blank tonight and am not fully up...body and soul. Thus maybe this is the best time to pay a debt. But heavens...since when does an award becomes a debt? Well, since the award is actually a tag in disguise. Being a gentleman and partly barbarian, I guess I do have to comply. Hey! Reramasalju is a lady, mind you! And a pretty nice one, it seems. That, and the fact that we may have at least one common link, one which I intend to pry more information. But that will be later on, off course.

Anyway, this award is called BRILLIANTE WEBLOG, and the rules are as below.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design.The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogspere.Here are the rules to follow:

1.Put the logo on your blog

2.Add link to the person who awarded you

3.Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4.Add links to those blogs on yours

5.Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.


Now, I will be nominating a few blogs as stated above, but do not expect the nominees to follow through as I know quite a number of people are plain tired of tags. However, I would certainly like to see the first few (marked with asterisks) names comply. So...(drumrolls) the nominees are:

***1. Muha - My adpoted brother is one heck of a guy, one that I truly admire and respect. He was diagnosed with brain cancer and though have had surgery to remove the affected parts, it seem to also have left him without sight and wheelchair-bound. Yet, he takes everything in good stride and is a very patient and brave man. He still blogs using a software to read out the text, and types by memorising the keyboard. I have much to learn from this young and good-looking guy. Problem is, he is seldom online of late. May Allah s.w.t. bless you, Muha.

***2. Alina - Now, I don't know how this young lecturer take to awards and what not, as her blog is pretty serious. I am, however, impressed with her manner of putting things in words. Can't say much else about her as I do not know her personally, having missed the opportunity to meet (Young People's Corner) some weeks back. InsyAllah, we will, one day.

***3. ydiana - This talented young lady is more than a yearling in blogging though we've come to know one another rather recent. As the days passed, she seem to be more than just mere words - with more than 5 blogs of her own! And her nimble fingers, they seem to be dancing more fluidly on the piano now, which makes that cakapaje guy more 'malu' to make comments there.

Nos 4, 5, 6 & 7 - Just about anyone who would like to receive this award. I would have named more, but fear many may not be too kind to the idea.


There, in a half-sleepy mode, I managed to put some sentences together.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Down

Been having this fever since the JB trip. What, with it raining all the way and back, and getting caught in torrid downpours, even a superhero would surely fall sick, what else that cakapaje guy who's looking down a gorge hanging head down with a thread as thin as a strand of hair. Hmm...hang on, think I should reserved that for those clowns in the sarkas.

To snowflake and reramasalju, I owe both of you an entry each...sabar ye. InsyAllah, I will put it up soon after another entry, one which I am waiting a picture to go with.

By the way, for anyone who can't access Malaysia Today, try this link http://mt.harapanmalaysia.com/2008/; got it from the man himself yesterday. Could not put it up as not only was I down, but so was my connection for the better part of yesterday and this morning. Thought of going mad already, but am happy to note its the sarkas who are.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Take A Hike, Sarkas!

Foremost, this posting has nothing of whatsoever to do with Permatang Pauh by-election. I feel I just to have to put it on record as the Suruhanjaya Pemikiran Rendah might just be tempted to declare the polls tomorrow null and void, simply because of a jackass like cakapaje feels like blogging after midnight, and it be construed as part of campaign there. Though I'm no political blogger, the sarkas and the hounds at their heels may be tempted to do just about anything and everything in their desperation - not to win - but to make sure they do not lose. So, to them I only have to say this "Go take a hike!". Incidentally, that, is related to this post.

Last Thursday afternoon, I heard news on the radio about FOMCA objecting the sarkas decision to lower the fuel price. The reason cited is because they want the public to use either public transportation or carpool. Fine with me. But about the same time too, Palah was recorded riding the train from somewhere to somewhere, trying to show his concern to the commuters and issuing a statement "I am not satisfied with the public transporation. The operators need to improve on their services".

Now, if I were a Standard 4 kid, the word that would cross my mind is "Wow!". I mean to a kid, words spoken by the elderly and echoed by the fools around him, may sound like magic. Unfortunately though, the words rang hollow not only to the commuters, but even to the operators themselves. Year in and out, PM in and out, almost the same words were spoken and nothing came through. Well, almost nothing, as we now have LRT and Monorail which was planned decades ago but executed only sometime back.

On my way back from JB, a scene which I captured on camera actually triggered me to write this entry, which is related to the above. It was a short one-night trip. But throughout almost the entire stretch of up and down it was raining, and I was driving to the highway limits when I saw this bus infront put out its indicator on the right. I judged the distance and decided to let the bus through. The below was what I captured.
Now, I was speeding at 110 only, or thereabout, and did not even have to apply the brakes nor depress the accelerator pedal; I wonder at what speed the bus is going as it pulled away from me. Were one to take a closer look at the bus, its body tilts to the left. And when I observed it at that moment, I noticed that it was not moving forward in a manner one would expect from a vehicle. Rather, it was slewing its way though, perhaps all along the highway! I wonder how Palah and FOMCA would have reacted had they been on that bus?

There's very little point for an official to board a public transportation - and a railcar at that - with his entourage in tow. All those present in such a view would automatically put their best foot forward, and certainly not pressing on the accelerator pedal as the bus driver above did. In the end, what Palah saw was just a minuscule of the real thing that goes on everyday, much to the dismay of the public who have to put up with these forms of dangerous liaisons. In fact, FOMCA reps too, need to have a taste of REAL public transporation in Malaysia before encouraging the public to use it. Only then, either FOMCA or Palah, would know why the public would rather drive rather then risk their life away. In other words, FOMCA and Palah, go take a hike! (Oops, I mean bus).


As for the oil price reduction recently, I received an interesting text which I would like to share; it reads "Anda mungkin tak percaya Sarkas akan turunkan harga minyak. Percayalah. Sarkas juga boleh diturunkan".

Interestingly, a friend who works in Singapore informs that the non-producing country has twice reduced its domestic oil price.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Explosive Sunday!

The crowd was there in earnest. Every single space in the makeshift tent had either people, or table and chairs occupying it, making it look more like an open air discotheque with the patrons dancing to a slow tune. But the accompanying music was loud...too loud for many to hear the words spoken by others, and many had to shout to make themselves heard, but still many were close to being deaf, their eardrum pummeled endlessly by the music of rainwater falling heavily on the zinc roof that afforded them some respite, for whatever good it does actually. For when the wind blows - which sometimes can be with the force of a small gale - the people seeking shelter under a roof build some 8feet high, has no protection from the cold water swept into it, and many if not most, are left soaked to the skin and soon, trembling cold. Still, the very nature of the day adds to the gaiety of the small gathering.

Some of those invited, had even brought boxes of gifts which the host thoughtfully arranged in a corner of a long table table, opposite to another pile of boxes, which perhaps were gifts by the host, either in exchange of the gifts they receive, or simply for the want to give. But somehow, amidst the ceaseless chattering, hugs, and what not which is a normal thing in a packed crowd where everyone is busy with someone or something, one person - must have been a well trained, perhaps something like a hound - noticed a strange looking pack, and informed the host about it.

The host, stunned by the news, quickly informed the doraemons, who happened to brought along a trust metal sniffer, and was soon able to identify that the contents of the pack was of explosive in nature and a threat to the crowd. Almost immediately, the threat was removed by detonation, and soon everyone was safe and sound.

Phew! I dread to think what would have happened otherwise. Perhaps had that 'someone' not noticed the pack, Malaysia would have suffered the loss of some princesses, and our bro kerpie would have cursed 'Shoot! What a bloody waste of princesses!' But boy, what a way to go. That is, off course, had the story above been real.

Back in 2004 when I was staying in a hotel in Kota Kinabalu, which is part of an international chain, a house detective informed me no to pick up any strange looking object, or any objects lying around. He said that the hotel had received threats from unknown individuals and they hotel security has been placed on full alert. After a day of search, no potential threats were found, and everyone went back to what they were doing.

With thousand of doraemons dragged into a small enclave (the size being smaller than the state of Perlis) to protects a bunch of clowns of the Sarkas, it took a 'someone' - unidentifed yet - to discover a potential threat. Somehow, it reminds me of 'Barnaby Jones', where the hero of this shortlived TV series was able to pick up clues even after the police had combed the crime area many times. No wonder our crime rates are soaring high.

Friday, August 22, 2008

While The Sarkas Are At It

While the Sarkas are sending unabated reinforcements up north, pouring millions of ringgit, a large portion which comes from the public kitty, I'm heading south to JB. Though the battle is raging hot, Kid said that unless they change ballot boxes, then insyAllah, the Sarkas clowns will be running back to KL with their tails chopped off, and their nose dirtied.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tidbits (Updated!)

Had to call an old friend yesterday, one I had not called for close to a year. Off course, when I called him, I had to be diplomatic seeing the length of period we have not gotten in touch or meet (he lives some 10kms away only), especially so when the matter needed to be spoken was on the accounts of another person related to him. But since this person was more afraid of my friend - the guy is his distant grand uncle! - I was chosen to be sort of the messenger, and I really do hate being one!

Now, my friend goes by the name of 'Kid' amongst the circle of people he mix around. He is one of those unknown heroes in Malaysian political arena and has grown to be a bit of a legend to those who know him. Having known him for quite some time, I have learnt that there are taboo words not to be mentioned, and one of the words is 'ameno'; Kid, is a staunch anti-sarkas guy from day 1 I know him. The problem was, or is, his grand-nephew is a member of Sarkas. (This, is one of the reasons I hate being a messenger.)

Anyway, soon as he came to know that the guy is a sarkas, the words that came out from him could translate to "Ask him to go jump into the deepest, foulest lake!". End of that story.

As it was, Kid was present during the nomination day at Permatang Pauh, and recounted several events which the media could not have mentioned. One of the 'happenings' there, involved a fistfight between 2 top sarkas goons in the area. It seems the 2 were really slinging out their best shots when one of the sarkas supporters shouted "Najis! Najis' datang!". Almost immediately, quite like 2 small school kids who put a stop to their fight on the mere presence of a teacher, the 2 goons put up a charade of being good buddies instead. Guess, it really show how childish the sarkas goons are. Oops! A small error: Najis is no teacher! To even refer him as one is an insult to the people in the teaching profession. My apologies to all teachers, especially Cikgu Nazir and Alina.

As for the media news that the opposition beat up some newspeople and made some trouble during and after nomination day, it seem this piece of news is so very true! This, is a true reflection of these opposition parties there and one that cannot be denied by anyone! Even in Parliament yesterday, one deputy minister admitted that the fracas was the works of the opposition. How truly disgusting to have people such as them moving around freely and frightening people, especially the residents of Permatang Pauh. But I guess, when one's mentality is reduced in size to smaller than a pea, this is the outcome of the same said people who have lost political control in Penang. After all, the opposition parties comprised of the Sarkas and their goons.

Anyway, Doc TA sent a text this morning "IMAM yang terima sumpah Sifool bernama Ramlang Porigi, ahli Sarkas cawanganSri Machang, Bukit Mertajam, dalam parlimen Permatang Pauh. Nombor keahlian 03405843".

Then, he sent another "Aku dah kata dah. Sifool pun nanti ceramah juga. Big screen pulak tu. Polis tak nampak. AG pun tak tau. Court dah lupa. Kes dah masuk. No contempt of court. News in the star n31 by joceline tan."

On the homefront though, there is a piece of good news! The Sultana cookies which Emak has not baked for too many long years until last week, well, she now has found her touch again and the new batches she's baking are truly marvelous! They, make the perfect tidbits for snacks between meals. Er...not that I usually do that but, one always has to make exceptions now and then.

UPDATE1: Got this from a comment at Alin's Biarkan Roti Kacang Merah, who got it from No2Umno and Tranungkite - check out the picture of the imam and his sarkas membership number. Go Malaysiabiz-Aloha.

UPDATE2: Read how Alin's cartoonist husband, Zunar, went through a surgery to remove his stones without anaesthestics; go here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just Another Day

Sitting at home trying to decide whether to sleep off the pain or just log about anything that comes to mind, I think the choice to that is pretty clear now. One thing though, please note that my blogging about it is not in asking for sympathy, but just to...well, blog lah!

A few years back, I could have easily called a number and asked whether a particular man is coming up to KL. Having been introduced to him by my arwah uncle, this man was a former Red Cross official (and a Hospital Dresser, I think), who practiced alternative medicine using only the humble cucumber to assist his patients. I never did know his full name, calling him abang Fuad only. He passed away in his sleep some 2 years ago at his away 'clinic' in Bandar Sri Damansara. His home clinic was in Parit Kurma, Muar, Johor; he was, a very gentle soul and loved to joke around, but he also posses knowledge, perhaps gained from his experience abroad whilst with the International Red Cross.

Whenever a patient seeks treatment from him, he would ask the patient to take his wudhu' first, if he is a Muslim. Then, he would ask the patient to lie on the treatment bed and normally, he would not even ask the problem, preferring to treat what he termed as 'the main cause of many illnesses' - the kidney. Off course, the kidney is not the cause, rather the foreign effluents that clog or mess it is.

Then, he would cut off both ends of a cucumber and ask the patient to recite surah Al-Fatehah. He would then alternate both tips of the cucumber, placing them on the kidney (and other areas as requested by the patients, including those with heart problems). After reciting several short verses, he would then cut open the used cucumber to reveal the effluents 'sucked out'. Sometimes, there's nothing at all but cucumber seedlings. Sometimes, there's a whitish substance. But most of the times, the substance is dark in colour. Often too, there would be small, black stones, somewhat like a coral. Those, Arwah Fuad said, are the kidney stones. And I witnessed several including 3 stones which he took out from the cucumber he used to treat me.
His advice to kidney stone patients: avoid commercially-raised chicken as the booster used leads to human health problems, and to drink lots of freshly-boiled barley juice. The barley, he said, helps to break down the stones. Perhaps, this goes along well together with Jaflam's and Alina's advice in their comment to the previous posting.

Anyway, with Arwah Fuad no longer able to assist now, I may have to find some other alternative treatment as I am not to keen on being hospitalised again. Not for anything though, the cost of hospital treatment can cause another form of bodily ailment.

So, sitting at home doing nothing but blogging and blog hopping, my emak decided to whip up one of my favourite dishes. Now, its been more than a year since she does any cooking. But I guess baking the sultana cookies recently, sort of put some enthusiasm back into her.
Its one of the few Melaka dish not well known to outsiders and is called 'Masak Cincuan'. Emak herself does not know the origin of the dish but its been with the family for several generations now. One just need some carrots, onions, chili, fresh tumeric, and fry them with oil. Off course, one would need to fry the fish first before frying it again with all those ingredients. For the fish itself, it would best to use either Ikan Tengiri or Merah.

Looking at the name of the dish (Cincuan), I would think it is Chinese in origin, perhaps, Szechuan. I wouldn't know, I have never tried that Chinese dish before.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Real Pain

Soon after logging my entry last night, the pain I had been feeling in my private part escalated and then shifted from there, to my back. The pain, confirmed my earlier suspicion (had been feeling it the whole day Saturday, and some on Friday night) but nothing much I can do but bite the pill. It, is a recurrent of kidney stone which I first had sometime in 1993.

I was awaken by the feeling of a sharp pain somewhere in my back. Looking at the clock which showed 4.20 something in the morning, I tried to shrug the pain off thinking it was just one of the 'paranormal' things which used to attack me during my late teens and early 20's. But it was not, and it persisted and grew in intensity. Reciting several verses of the Quran, then followed by several selawats, the pain subsided for a moment, long enough for me to sit up and wonder the cause of it. But that moment was only a few seconds long and the pain came back, sharper and more painful, which had me writhing on the bed in the upstairs bedroom. I was alone at home then, with emak visiting her 'besan' in Permatang Pauh. Yes, the same place where a small war is being waged on right now.

With the pain growing in intensity, I tried to stand up, thinking that a walk-around would somewhat help. But no sooner had I stood, my legs buckled and I was sent sprawling on the floor, again writhing. Knowing that I needed some help, I tried to move towards the upstairs telephone, but my body could not budge at all, and I lay on the floor for a long while trying to fight the pain. My body was getting tired as it contracts and stiffened according to the attacks and soon I lay helpless.
I must have blacked out then for when I opened my eyes, I could see morning light getting brighter by the minute; it was then 6.45am. The pain was had reduced from excruciating to dull, with intermittent sharpness every few minutes. I took the moment to crawl down the staircase one step at a time, inching my body down head first.

By the time I reached dowstairs, a neighbour had woken and was washing his car. Tried to call him, but my voice was barely audible. So I continued the crawl to the telephone, some 10feet away from the base of the staircase and dialled 999 for ambulance. With quivering voice, I spoke as best I can, and alhamdulillah, the operator soon had the ambulance on its way. But it was not to be that easy.

With the front front door and grill locked, I had to crawl back the way I came and managed to unlock the door and threw the keys just outside the grill. The gates, the paramedics would have to climb over. And I lay there waiting in pain.


The paramedics arrived later and did climbed over the gate when the heard me groaning loudly. They made their way in and soon had me on the stretcher while still in sarong and all. The 2 gentlemen who attended to me, were not fully trained paramedics and hence, they were unable to assist at all except to send me to the nearest hospital. Still, I am grateful to them and their gentleness in handling the situation. By the time I reached a hospital in Subang Jaya, the pain had grown alarmingly more and the doctor at the Emergency Room seem to know immediately of my problem. He gave me a sedative and soon I fell asleep. Perhaps, it was not due to the sedatives itself, rather, with the pain numbed, my tired body and mind was able to relax sufficiently.


Back to the present, when the pain begin to persist though in much lesser intensity than the incident above, I was somehow reminded of a name now quite forgotten by many. In fact, had I not been feeling the pain, perhaps I too would not have remembered him.

It was sometime in 1972 or 73, when I heard on the news that a literature giant by the name of Pendita Za'aba, had passed away in a hospital in Petaling Jaya. Allahyarham Za'aba, was a prolific writer and was well known amongst the literature circle locally as well as abroad. To be honest, since hearing the news of his passing away, I never did looked up his works; I could not have then for I was only 9 or 10 of age, and was too busy in a world of my own. InsyAllah, soon after this pain which is more of a nag today, I will begin reading more about him and his works. Just that, its rather sad I have to be reminded of him in such a manner, for if I remember it correctly, Allahyarham passed away due to stones in his private part. And that, I assure you, can be a real pain. Perhaps even more than the pain in the lyings of events in Permatang Pauh now.

Perhaps they learnt it from that foolish guy, but as far as I remember, the Sarkas grassroots have always been like the picture above - mindless, rude, pretentious, and have long lost their morality. Someone, perhaps amongst those in the picture above (courtesy of Harakahdaily), had lodged a police report of being fondled by members of the opposing parties. Truly, were I there and looking at their conduct, I don't think I would have even the appetite to do so. But then, were the case true, would you blame anyone doing so, looking at their slutty behaviour? Carrions, after all, attract carrion eaters. But who the latter really is, your guess is as good as mine.

No, perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps, the Sarkas and the events they whip up in Permatang Pauh is a greater pain.

ps. Check out this Permatang Pauh by-election website here, or www. permatangpauh.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Night Walks

Just came back from a night walk; the night's too beautiful to let it go to waste! Some years back, night walks was almost a routine until my leg developed some problems due to the uneven terrain. Between then and just now, I hardly walk at nights. But I found myself an incentive to do so now.

There's a new 7-11 store, roughly 50 meters or so from my place. Prior to its opening, I had to drive to another 7-11 a distance away for any unexpected needs at night. And the mamak coffee shop nearby, sometimes just do not have my needs. Besides, there's always a crowd there and I just don't like crowded places. It is, also, quite a distance to walk to, and too short for a drive. Thus, this new 7-11 gives me plenty of excuses to do a leisure night walk.

As I was coming out of the 7-11 just now, the counter girl called me as I had forgotten to pick up the change. Nice and honest girl, she was. Perhaps, had it been another person, I would have been left cursing myself for 'misplacing' the change. As it was, alhamdulillah, I was not made RM41 poorer. As a courtesy, I offered to buy her a 'teh tarik' at the mamak shop, one which she politely turned down. Quite expected, I should say. And that, caused me to have a higher degree of respect for her. Off course, had she accepted the offer, I would not have thought any lesser of her. In fact, I would have been smitten myself.

As I reached home, I received a text from Doc Lo'Lo', who requested the message to be forwarded to other people. I did as requested but ran out of credit. Thus, I'm putting it below as it is an amanah from here. The text message, by the way, is more or less the same as found in harakahdaily.

"Dr. Haron Din sifatkan sumpah dibuat Saiful sehari sebelum penamaan calun bermotif politik; tidak ikut syara' sebab dia yang menuduh jadi dia mesti kemukakan bukti untuk sokong tuduhan. Yang kena tuduh lawang dengan bukti jika ada. Jika takde; untuk bela diri dia boleh bersumpah. Ini semua proses dibuat dalam mahkamah bukan dalam masjid pegang Al-Quran. Sebarkan kepada 10 orang".

Oh! While walking away from the store, I heard some loud voices coming from behind and turned around to see. Some 3 or 4 lots away from the 7-11, the crowd in the mamak shop I mentioned earlier, was watching a game on the TV there and was either cheering or jeering the game. I did thought of checking out the game there, but nah, its plain too far to walk.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Bodyguard

A friend text me today: "Baby rabbits for sale! xxx specie (can't remember the name she wrote). Selling for RM50 each, only! Pet shop sell for RM130! Very cute!"

Now, I don't about anyone else, but to me, a rabbit is only good for one thing - makan! Rabbit meat, is so tender and nice, they taste quite like chicken. But off course, don't tell Teratai(the friend) or any rabbit lovers about this. Otherwise, one might just find me making a statutory declaration somewhere about something no one in his right mind would want to make nor read. Further, it would ruin a reputation I earned, having been a bodyguard to Teratai for a whole day. Since then, she calls me Kevin (as in Costner), and I her, Whitney (as in Houston).

It was several years back when she and her friend were operating a Launderette in a hotel/apartment block somewhere in Subang. A tenant, middle-eastern by his looks, was so smitten with Teratai's looks and would drop in daily just to talk to her. This, had Teratai in fear and confided in her husband, who then confided in a mutual friend of the couple. Who else, but that ex-army cadet who earned himself the name 'Wounded Soldier' whilst in school (the only limping cadet!), and who is now forced to see himself as the modern day version of Don Quixote; yup, that cakapaje fella!

Being a bodyguard, even for a day, I don't mind telling you, can be quite boring. But being a bodyguard without pay, even for a day, I don't mind telling you, can be worse! However, being a friend to a lovely lady, I had very little choice but to comply. And so there I was, an overweight ex-cadet, limping his way up and down the car and later, the shop, quite like Quixote would with his trusty steed. Only difference is that Quixote had a 12foot lance with him, while I...

In between wanting to doze off and wanting to doze off, cakapaje had to grab and read whatever materials on hand which unfortunately, was not many. And all of a sudden, the door to the launderette swung open, rather forcefully, I might add. Maybe it was instincts, but even before he looked up, cakapaje knew it was the ME guy.

As soon as he stepped in, the ME stopped in his tracks. OK, it was not exactly like High Noon at OK Corral, but this guy, he was huge, and could have easily been a 6footer plus, with a body quite like a body builder but with more fat than muscles! Cakapaje, was like a dwarf compared to him. "Man", cakapaje thought "am I going to be sleeping in a hospital bed tonight?"

Now, luck, as it happened, was on cakapaje's side that day. The stool he was sitting on, had a legrest which is a foot or two above ground level. But since he was sitting behind the counter, the ME could not see anything behind it. So, cakapaje stood on the legrest, praying hard deep inside that the stool would not overturn throwing him onto the floor. OK, the floor was carpeted. But the ME might just take opportunity to step on cakapaje's head, and wallah! "Look ma!, no heads!" the ME might be tempted to gloat! Alhamdulillah, he did not have the chance to.

Cakapaje was now all fired and ready. His hands resting on his waist, maybe somewhat like what Wyatt Earp at OK Corral, and he gave the ME a gaze. The ME in turn, was looking at Teratai, who in turn, was smiling ever so sweetly and putting on her PR self. After a very tense few minutes, the ME suddenly said "Never mind, I'll come back later!". It seems, according to Teratai, he never showed up again.

Back to the rabbits, after paying her some complimentary text, and she after that, admitting to be on Cloud 9, has promised cakapaje a lovely dinner, compliments, off course, from her husband, Shuhaizan. Aiyai yai!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sucaba-NabyaM: A Fiction Come True?

Been wanting to write this since last week itself. Somehow, I keep forgetting about it and was reminded only just now on reading a particular blogger.


One of the best thriller novels I ever read has to be 'If Tomorrow Comes' by Sidney Sheldon. Published some in 1986, it later on was produced as a TV mini-series. However, it has to be said that watching a movie or mini-series, is only half exciting as reading the book itself - any book which TV/Movie producers think is worthy of investment. To me its simply because when one read the book, one is transported into a different era, different world altogether, and that sometimes leave one grasping for air as though it is one himself either chasing or on the run.

Now, since the last time I read the book is almost 20years ago, I have forgotten quite a bit about the story. However, recent events brought the story, or a portion of it, to mind. I tried to google the portion, but found it rather cumbersome and hence, my own narration is as below. Perhaps, after reading it, one might find some uncanny semblance to the event mentioned.

Jeff, is a conman on the run from the Feds as well as the mob.

A professional thief, the Feds want him for pulling high stake heist on prominent people across the globe. He turned to the mob for protection, who in turn, wants something lucrative to come their way. Thus, Jeff promised them a gadget of sorts which would make them millions, if they provide him with the protection as well as a huge sum. The mob agreed, and Jeff played with time until he can figure out what the gadget would be. It did not take him long to make a story and named the gadget as Sucaba.

Running out of patience, the mob put pressure on Jeff and he decided to ask for a portion of the money upfront. The mob agrees but gave the dateline for the next day. That very night Jeff made a daring escape while leaving a box in his room marked as 'Sucaba'. The mob, while enraged by his absence, gleefully open the box only to find that the content is an ancient Chinese calculator!

Sucaba, when spelt backwards gives Abacus. To find out what NabyaM means, do read Tehsin here.

Fiction come true? You decide yourself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Light My Fire

Don't know what the brouhaha is all about. I mean, one bloody witch invoked a magic wordl or something somewhere, and immediately it received responses from almost all corner of the world. Was it magic, or sorcery? I really wouldn't know. But I do know this, I do not want to be left behind. So, being one who is unschooled in this science, the only response I have is the video below which have been reverberating in my ears all day long, and thought it's only fair I get it out of my system. Think its befitting and I really hope my friends will like it.

ps. If the video does not work, kindly do tell.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lu Pikiaq La Sendiri

I was with an old friend the other day, and we were talking nonsense and just having a good time for old time sake. Our conversation led from one thing to another, touching on almost every issue and everyone we know from the past. The friend, Arif, now lives by himself as his beloved wife passed away several years back, and their 3 children are all grown-up, married, and having their own place. When I asked him whether he intends to remarry - he's about 51 now - he tells me a story when he did have thoughts of marrying another, way back when he was much younger and his wife was still alive then.

"I frequent a small surau somewhere in PJ", he says. "Some 20 years ago when I was crazy for this girl, my position in office became shaky and my friends began to shun me simply because they know my wife personally, and do not want to be dragged into a domestic affair".

"Things between the girl and I were getting real hot and we were seriously thinking of eloping. At the same time, a pious man was invited to the surau for a series of ceramah. The man was soft spoken with a radiant face, and a smile that would always put me at ease".

"About 2 weeks or so before the girl and I were to elope, the old man mentioned about polygamy and the responsibilities of a husband to his family. Though most of the matter touched I have already known, what he mentioned towards the end had me thinking and doing it exactly - I went home late at night when my family were already asleep. Then I crept into the children's bedroom and looked at their faces, and thinking how their lives would be messed up on the accounts of my 'lust'. Next, I went to my wife and did the same, thinking how her life would be crushed - she has been a loving and loyal wife; why, would I need to put her through a period of turmoil? With that, I scuttled my plans and have remain faithful ever since".

Hmm...I don't know whether I would be able to do that as I have never been in such situation. Sometimes, it would be easier to judge another person for the acts we deem as wrong without looking at the real reasons leading to such act. However, in this case, alhamdulillah, his act does seem to be the right one. Whoever the pious man was, may Allah s.w.t. bless him - where religious talks failed, he used humanity and and compassion. Without my friend realising it, humanity and compassion falls within Islam, and its way of life. Perhaps, it is these aspects of Islam which we should bring forward more into this life we are living in.

Reading harakahdaily today regarding a case involving Perkeso, I just could help but feel disgust in which a man's claim was dismissed easily even though he does seem to have a valid reason. The man, Roslan Mohd Ali, was working as a lorry driver, and has had the lower part of his left leg amputated due to diabetic problem. But Perkeso seems to insist that he is not eligible for the claim as they find him still an able person. True, that he MAY well be...but later!. Does Perkeso understand the problems he face between now, and later when he is able to?

For one, the man has run out of his leaves and is now on unpaid leave. The fact that his employer should look more compassionately into the matter, is another case which should be looked into by the authorities concerned. Tell me, in between now and later on when he has adjusted to his condition, how would he be able to feed his family?

The man, Roslan, is now 45 years old, and was working as a lorry driver. Now, I do not want to sound like I am belittling his educaton background or his job, but seriously, can one really expect Roslan to be able to find a suitable job in his current condition? Have Perkeso, his employers, and all concerned, taken into consideration other factors such as the number of jobless grads in this country looking for a job, the ever increasing prices of basic goods, and most importantly, Roslan's health? Somehow, I do not think so. Where, I ask, is the compassion of a nation that declares itself Islam Hadhari? (Hadhari, is supposed to imply civilisation, by the way).

A couple of weeks back when I visited a friend at a government's hospital, I was quite aghast that they now charge a parking fee. Quite rightly then, another friend pointed out the 3 categories of people who frequent government hospitals:
1. The poor or not-well-off who happen to be sick.
2. The family or friends of the above who sends him for treatment, or come a visiting.
3. The poor or not-well-off who needs outpatient treatment.

Why then, does the government, namely Ministry of Health, need to burden the poor who are already physically sick, with parking charges? Forget the excuse of using public transportation if you - the government - have not been using it yourself. I, for one, can point out a hundred and one reasons why the poor and the sick should NOT use it at all, but I'll just give 2 for now:
1. Most government medical appointments are in the morning and patients have to come in very early.
2. Have any top officials ever tried using public transport during early morning rush hour? Try it when you are sick or have only one leg to stand on then.

Back to Encik Roslan's case, it would be nice of Malaysians to help him (and others in similar situation) with his plight. But it would be better if the authorities take another look into their set of archaic rulings and whatnot, and add humanitarian values into it. For what good is a set of rules and laws when the human aspects are absent from it?

ps. Have called harakahdaily and requested them to highlight the Tabung Bantuan Harakah account number, especially for Encik Roslan's case.

*****
While I was driving around PJ today, the traffic policemen seem to be serious about handling traffic violations, especially those beating the red light; that's awfully good of them. But (hopefully a cop or 2 is reading this), its been the talk of town why the middle of the month has become a favourite time for the traffic cops to do so; why, can't it be every week?

Another thing which is also the talk of the town: what, is the actual duty of a cop (in this case, the traffic officers)? Are they to nab and fine traffic offenders, or are they there to ensure that the law is not broken? If its the first, fine, then I'll just shut up. But if its the latter...? As another blogger recently like to use "Lu pikiaq la sendiri!".

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rimbun Seni

Elviza text me yesterday and earlier this morning about visiting Raden at the hospital. Though I did not say it to her, I do apologise for not being able to make it as there was already a prior engagement - a family lunch ado at my eldest brother's house in Kota Kemuning.

Now Suhaimi, or Emi, as he is called by friends and family circle, is the brother I referred to in an entry or two previous, as a more refined and cultured person compared to me. Bestowed with the finer aspects of life, which perhaps was inherited from Emak, Emi was always into arts and design since young, and his first job was a draughtsman in KL was back in the early late 1970's. Later on, he moved on as an Art Director to an advertising agency, and from there climbed the ranks to become a Creative Director at several agencies, local and international. One of his best works in the industry was the Proton Ad featuring several horsemen at a beach.

Several years back, he quit the industry and started his own Landscaping & Design company named Rimbunseni Sdn Bhd. Building the company from scratch, his house has been featured several time in the print media and TV, as a showcase of his artistic design. And there we were earlier today, the few family members here in KL, for a delicious but hot Mee Udang.
Clockwise: Din (the brains of the family), Emak, Emi, Zaini (Emi's wife) and Yasmin (Din's wife).

The younger generation in KL, minus one: Hanan, Hanin, and Norsara.

Emi has a love for real large pots such as the one above.

Running out of space within his compound, he utilised the open space beside it.
The local authorities does not seem to mind as Emi has turned the space
into a beautiful garden while maintaining it at the same time.

His website www.rimbunseni.com.my seem to be down for the moment, but one can always google rimbunseni to find several entries on it, including one by that cakapaje bloke way back in 2006.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Young People's Corner

Hyde Park has its Speaker's Corner; New York, its Central Park. This, was nothing like at all. But given time and due attention, it may well rise to prominence. At least, for the people of Shah Alam and surrounding areas. Only setback as I understand it, it is held once a year. And today, was its second year coming into being.

I didn't know what to make of it, nor do I want to judge. But when I arrived there, I felt totally out of place, perhaps, quite like the Malay proverb 'Seperti Rusa Masuk Kampung'. Still, were I a journalist or reporter, I would have given it due attention and media space. Sadly, I'm not. Without credentials, I felt like a total fool moving around, trying to strike conversation and extract information from the many young people there. Noticing the glances thrown my way, I guess one or two of them must have thought "What's this Jurrusaic thing doing here?"; all around me were nothing but groups of young people who were attending - either as visitors or participants - to a Merdeka Month festivity entitled Layar Tanchap.

3 young lovely ladies manning a booth.
They are, as they inform me, students of UiTM,
and currently studying Creative Writing and Film Production.

Another UiTM student's booth selling their own DVD production entitled "Kopitiam".
Didn't buy it though as I don't have DVD player.

A Mahmeri presentation on stage. Earlier when I arrived,
there was another group of young people on stage with some nice jazzy numbers.

On the way out, I noticed this group who were perhaps, practicing for their gig.
The girl, does seem to have a nice vocal.

InsyAllah, should this event be held again next year, I will do more exploring.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Intelligent in Communication


The above is a picture quite similar to a seminar folder which an agency I worked for designed for a corporate client in the IT business. Alhamdulillah, then, I had just joined the advertising industry and was given the job to come out with a concept, fitting for such a big client. I was never shown the client's brief and had to take the word of the agency's Managing Director, and that was what I did.
That, was sometime in 1997 when the Internet was relatively new in Malaysia and even I was not connected yet. But like everyone else then, I too was excited about it and was looking forward to when the whole of Malaysia would be connected.

Shifting through piles of books from many stock photography agencies looking for 'when I see it, I'll know what it is', I found a picture similar to the above and almost immediately a tag line came to my mind - Intelligent in Communication. My rationale was simple and as below:
'Human and Dolphins posses the highest intelligence quotient amongst all living beings on Earth. Though of different specie, the picture shows how the 2 tries to communicate, with each trying to find a common platform.
Similarly with the IT company and the participants(potential clients) they had invited for the seminar - each are intelligent in their respective fields, and are looking for a common platform for communication purposes."

"Damn good idea!" said my boss. "You have a very bright future in this industry!" Off course, the above sentence was just my wish as he said nothing of such sort to me, while making tons of money charging the client who was extremely happy to see the mock-up of their folder.

6 years later, I found myself in an organisation which was totally new to me. No names need to be mentioned, but being in the org meant I had to liaise very closely with many government departments, organisations, and their officers - from the clerical level right up to the top honcho, as well as meeting the public in events throughout Malaysia. It was quite fun then, but also very tiring. The fun part was meeting the public, and handling press conferences involving some top officials. Now, the fun part about the latter is not in the PC itself, rather meeting and getting some information not found in the media. Some, I put them aside as mere gossips, no matter how juicy they were. While others, were quite shocking like the one below.

It seem, when the government offices began moving into their respective buildings in Putrajaya, many had to make do without any IT hardwares for quite a duration. This, caused quite a setback for our good officers to accomplish their tasks and day-to-day operation. But over time, things soon improved for the better and we can now quite lay claim to have the cutting edge in the world of IT, at least for this region. Or so I thought.

Last Tuesday, Star InTech had a story of how a MAS Employee without any IT background, had saved the airline a whopping RM70 million, simply because the airline does not have an online system for the maintenance of its aircrafts! Hello!
Foremost, one would think for any company in the travel industry would need a reliable top-of-the-mark system which encompass their entire operation, and most especially the maintenance division. Now, one would also think that not only is the division vital for the company in ensuring the safety of passengers and staff, but the fleet itself - for an airline without a plane or a good safety record, might as well cease to exist.

Futher, I may not be entirely correct here, but isn't MAS the maintenance contractor for several other airlines in this region as well? How, could this matter of (quite fair to say 'absolute') importance, be overlooked by the top people in the division? How could the IT and top goons in the airline not even have given thought to it when considering my earlier statement - without a plane or....- they would not have jobs to hold on to? Intelligent in Communication? I think they, are not.

To Shahrul Isahak, kudos to you and your friends for having produced a system and saved your employer a huge sum of money. They - MAS - should give you and your buddies at least 10% of the money saved as a show of gratitude. The government should also laud people similar to them with incentives and protect them as an interest to the nation. I, for one, would certainly hate to see them being turned into a modern day Hang Nadim, as recent events in Malaysia might imply.

And oh! I can also imagine should a PR MP bring this matter up to Parliament; one or the entire Sarkas MPs would reply "Don't believe in the newspaper! Like bloggers, they too like to make up stories!".

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Master Comes Out Of Retirement

Read somewhere that there are 4 types of man:

He who does not know he does not know

He who knows he does not know

He who does not know he know

He who knows he know.

With full humility, I claim the first sentence.



Its been more than 12 years now. The trays that had been wrapped in old newspapers and kept in one of the boxes marked as 'kitchenware', were brought out and unwrapped. They are then washed lovingly and left to dry in the sun, neatly arranged as only a woman can. After a full day soak, they are then brought in to be washed again. Only this time, a cloth was used to wipe them dry.

I stood transfixed, lost for words, as she moved about preparing the necessary items for the session early this morning. This, was the day I had eagerly waited for...a day that has not been one like it for more than 12 years. Due to her age and sometimes aching body, she had to postpone her coming out of retirement from a fortnight ago to today. And it was only when she felt her body was up to the occasion, did she began issuing orders to buy the necessities - she had, in fact, forced her body to do so as tomorrow, on the 5th of August, is an occasion she had marked to give something special to a lady whom she have yet to meet, but seem to have already like.

The recipe she has in hand might not be recognised by many of the younger generation today. Yet, apart from the green fingers she posses, some of her cooking and delicacies are much sought after by friends and relatives; not to mention her children, that cakapaje bloke, most especially. Interestingly, in this case, her Sultana cookies are not grabbed quickly by her children. Rather, like children, they go for the crust first, leaving the cookies for a later date.

As the sun rose higher, cakapaje volunteered to assist in any manner he can. Knowing his emak well, that she would never delegate any task which she can manage herself, he left the day free from any schedules so he could 'force' her into accepting his helping hand - using the excuse of wanting to learn which melted her resolute. And thus, an apprentice was that cakapaje...for a brief while.

No sooner had he baked a tray of which the results can be seen below, he received a call and had to rush down to Bangsar, leaving emak by herself.
The Apprentice's Work! An art, it certainly is not.

And by the time cakapaje return, the Master had completed several trays already.

Before, and...
After.

Sealed, but yet to be wrapped.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Past Glory

Don't know how many people would remember an Australian artist cum entertainer back in the mid-1970's. Though his TV show did not last long on Malaysian airtime, I remember being glued to the set each time the show was aired, and was totally immersed - mesmerised - by the skills and artistry of this artist; by simply dabbing a wall with brushes and paints meant for buildings, he managed to produce amazing works of art. It does not matter then that our TV was still black-and-white, what mattered was that we were totally entertained and the artist's works had some influence on my eldest brother, Emi, who is more of a cultured and refined person than the writer of this blog. Oops! That's me, cakapaje!

Anyway, the artist I mentioned is Rolf Harris, had an influence on a work I completed for a client some 7 to 8 years ago. I was reminded of this several days back while rummaging through a box of my stuff, hoping to find some diamonds or gold bars which that Idris-former-MB of Ganu (several billion RM worh!) might have accidentally stashed, but instead found the below - a memorablia of the past which was influenced by Rolf Harris's style and works. Nothing much, mind you, just a T-shirt designed to be used as uniform for a small restaurant at Jejantas Air Keroh, on the North-South Espressway.

Now, the client's brief was simple enough as I per remember it, even now. All he wanted was to have a uniform to lay an impression on the highway users who stop over at his restaurant, and perhaps even the possibility of selling those uniforms, or giving them away as a memento of sorts. For that, he toyed with the idea of having a small map of sorts so users can identify and remember his restaurant well. "Hmm..."my mind went, "I would need a good graphic designer for this - not a text-book designer, but one who knows his artwork well". A point I have to emphasise here is that I was working on my own then (even now, what!).

Alhamdulillah, mentally shifting through the names of the designers, one name cropped up, a Freelance Art Director by the name of Mus. And so I approached him and he worked on the design based on the concept I gave him - and the concept is 'Rolf Harris', as I put it to him. And that's how the work below came to be.

Do pardon the blurred image, but...no excuses.

This is the logo we came out with for the T-Shirt, purposedly enlarged to catch the eye. Since the highway concessionaire's corporate colour is green, we used it well throughout our designs for the client. In this case, it marked the highway complete with the north-south arrows at each tip. At the same time, the colour resembles 'daun pandan', which is heavily used for in Malay cookings, delicacies and drinks.
The yellow circle on the left marks the small roundabout found at the Jejantas, and at the same time it resembles a 'mata kerbau' or sunshine-up egg, which translated means food, and hence, the restaurant.
Since the restaurant was then new, we needed to come out with catchy phrases as well. The 'GWAK!!?' stands for Gulai Wangi Air Keruh, as the full name is spelled out at the bottom of the T-Shirt. However, the 'Jejantas' was missing, something which the client insist on. Thus, I told Mus to use the inverted V - as in missing aplhabets or words - and inserted it in between the full name just below the abbreviation. It worked! The client was happy, and that made us happy too!
The T-Shirt uniform in full size.

The stripes on the right breast and sleeves was Mus's idea, one which I felt went well with the logo.
The greenery rear design which represents the landscape of the area.

Over time, the design became obsolete and the restaurant now uses the uniforms according to the highway authorities specifications. The work above, while exciting it was - any work which pleases a client normally is - has been thrown into the back of the mind, becoming just another portfolio in one's work; a past glory, if ever it can be said as such, that is easily forgotten like the passing of a breeze.

There is, however, another glory of the past, which we should not take lightly, nor forget easily.

A couple of days back, I received an email from a comment at my news blog, one which I have - for the moment...a very long moment - not bothered to update. The commentor, an Encik Edward Skading, had requested I bring his grievance to light. I went to his blog here, and read several of his postings - regarding a consumer product - and immediately know that there is precious little I can do to help; I am no longer, mind you, part of webtv8, not that I think they would be interested in this story too. Thus, via email I put the gentleman to a famous blogger, as well as to FOMCA. That, was last Friday. InsyAllah, by tomorrow, both may reply to Encik Skading.

Now, as I read through his blog and several comments made, it dawned upon me that Encik Skading is not a mere pensioner as he paints himself to be. My jaw dropped, and I was fully astonished to find out that Encik Edward Skading was a member of our Security Forces, and had served in Africa during the Congo War days! Part of his story - and the 7th Mechanised Rangers' history - can be read here.

To Encik Edward Skading (he does not know about this entry) and all the brave officers and men as well as women of our security force, I salute you. May Allah s.w.t. grant you hidayah and reward your unselfish contribution to the peace of this nation, and the places you served.

ps. A wishful thinking - can you make Malaysia a more peaceful and just nation by getting rid of the Sarkas?

psps. My prayers are as above. The music below, however, are for the entertainment of many an old soldier. Incidentally, it was also my kindergarten's anthem at Fatima Kindergarten, Kota Bharu, Kelantan: The Colonel Bogey March, or more famously known as the theme from Bridge Over River Kwai.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Desert Rose

Recently, quite soon after bro kerpie had virus infection on his laptop, I too suffered an attack which prompted me to call my nephew to reformat and upload a new OS. He did just that in a matter of a couple of hours and soon, I was back online. However, I had to download quite a number of softwares which were erased. Doing so, reminded me of the first time I went online sometime in 2001, and was later introduced to the world of chatting via icq and YM. Though now I have abandoned icq and hardly use YM, I still remember experiencing culture-shock during the initial months of chatting.

Chatters, I learned then, like to use abbreviations of sentences which I too soon learn to use as well, where short sentences were abbreviated to brb, rofl, ic, and quite a number more. Much later on, I then developed my own to be used as a reply; whenever someone use 'oic', I would reply PLO, then later Hamas. This, had them stumped. Off course, PLO and Hamas had nothing to do with chat abbreviations, but I sort of use it as a payback tool for being baffled by people using abbreviations; in the initial stage of chatting, I had the impression that there were many rude people. This came about everytime I crack a joke and the other party would reply with 'lol'. Not knowing what it meant then, I thought they were calling me 'bahlol' in shortform. Surely - in Malay usage of the word - that is rather insulting. But as time pass by, I found out not only the meaning of 'lol', but the true meaning of 'Bahlol'.

The true Bahlol, is actually a pious man living in the times of Khalifah Harun Rashid. As the stories I have read about him points out, Bahlol was quite a wealthy but honest man. His honesty was such that, it sometimes put him in dangerous position. Yet, he continued on with his way, much to the chagrin of several people. Below, is one of the many stories of Bahlool I picked up from here.

Bohlool Sits on Haroun Rashid's Throne

One day Bohlool arrived at Haroun's palace and saw that the throne was empty. There was no one to stop him, so he unhesitatingly and fearlessly went and sat in Haroun's place. When the court slaves saw this, they immediately started whipping him and took him off the throne. Bohlool started crying. Haroun came and saw this; he asked those nearby why Bohlool was crying. A slave told him the whole story. Haroun scolded them and tried to cheer Bohlool up.

Bohlool said he wasn't crying at his condition, but at Haroun's condition. "I sat on the seat of Khalifate wrongfully for a few seconds and received such a beating and endured such misfortune; but you have been sitting on this throne all your life! What troubles you must receive, yet you still don't fear the consequence."

end/-


Reading the short story, I can't help but equating the last para to the fools running this country. Perhaps, we need more people like Bahlool to remind them of their sacred duties. Unfortunately, we only have too many bahluls - of the corrupted Malay usage - sitting together with those fools. InsyAllah, begining with the Permatang Pauh by-election, we will be able to cleanse our land of them.

Do listen to the video below.

The main problem we have for now, is the entity using the scales of justice as the Dajjal would in later times; they also go by another name which is now widely known as the accursed Sarkas.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Under The Hood - A Soviet Joke Made Local?

Jokes can be very funny at time, especially if its ethnic jokes made by the people of the same ethnicity. There have been English, Irish, Welsh, Polish, Russian, Indian and even Malay jokes, cracked from time to time, with some leaving you in guffaws - by yourself - and having onlookers thinking you are already off your rockers. I personally have experienced such an incident, which is why now, I prefer not to have reading materials whilst in public places. I certainly would hate - while enjoying a good laugh - to find myself helplessly being carted away to a mental institution. That, would be quite like a scene from an old British sitcom, 'Only When I laugh' - the best jokes it seems, would be to have the laugh on oneself.

Sending my car for some works just now, reminded me of an old Russian joke.

During the time of the Russian Empire of USSR, the citizens wanting to purchase an electronic or electrical item would check on the date the item was made. This was done to avoid to avoid any defective items which the store would sell, regardless the defects, and the non-existent After Sales Service of the manufacturer. The dates the citizens look for are as below along with their rationale:
Early of the Month: The worst manufacturing period. Workers put on a shoddy job just meet their quota of the month.
Middle of the Month: Products are better as workers near completion of their quota.
End of Month: Best manufacturing date! Products are made after completion of quota. Hence, workers put quality finish to their job.

As mentioned, I sent my car to a workshop. Since the car's warranty period has expired, I chose a workshop nearby as from a previous lube-change experience, I found their service to be satisfactory. The work needed for my car was a relatively easy shock-absorber change. Noting I am using a 1.5liter car, the foreman brought out 2 boxes of new shock-absorbers while his charges worked on getting the old pair out. Things looked easy enough when they were dismantling, but soon they faced the problem of getting the absorber into the spring. After about 15 minutes of futile trying, they reported the matter to their superior. And when the superior came to take a look, he soon shook his head - my 1.5liter car came factory fitted with a pair of 1.6liter shock absorbers! Apart from the width of the rod being different, they cost a bit more too - an extra RM60 each!

Now, I don't know if this is standard for Proton cars to be fitted components not meant for the makes, but it does make me feel like being shoved with the soviet joke above. Honestly, why would a 1.5liter car use a 1.6liter component? Anyone?

Jokes aside, Alina gave a link to a beautiful song which I have embedded below. I think the title is Einsamer Hirte, but am unable to confirm it, nor the origin. Looking at the name and the spelling of the song, I think it is from the Balkans; would appreciate anyone giving more info on the song. The song does, sound pretty much like Biddhu's 'Aria', which I am unable to find on the net. And, thanks Alina.