Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Post of 2007

In a few hours 2007 will be history. What should a man fast approaching 50 look forward to in life? What should my new year resolutions be? Definitely not trying to earn more money in the new year. After all, how much longer can I expect to live in this world? Of course, I would not want to have to depend on others in my final years.

I can only wish for a healthy life, a happy family and the chance to give back to society. But that is already asking for too much, I think, so God please help me.

To all my friends, have a wonderful 2008 and thank you for the memories of 2007.


An Eventful 2007

It seemed like it was only yesterday when we ushered in 2007. I remember being caught in the jam at about midnight on 31 December 2006. I was trying to get home from office while people were going to celebrate the new year at the various sites in the city. I was driving along the MRR2 when I saw people parking their cars along the highway trying catch a glimpse of the fireworks display coming from the vicinity of KLCC. That was a year ago.

Now, it is the last day of 2007. How time flies. I've decided to take leave on the last few days of this year and stay home. I'm now trying to recollect the events of 2007.

1. The most significant event of 2007 for me must be the return to Rahmatullah of my dear father on 7 February. It was also my son, Arif's, 21st birthday.
2. A few weeks later my youngest brother got married and I had to assume the role of head of family.
3. In August, we organised a Reunion of my ex-university mates from 30 years ago. It was held in Selesa Hlllhomes and very well attended. It gave everybody a chance to rekindle old friendships.
4. In September a few friends from my High School days decided to organise a tahlil session for friends who have left us for the after world.
5. In December I organised my cousins (about 30 of them and another 30 kids) to help out with my cousin's wedding.
6. Our High School group managed to do a Qurban at our school surau.
7. Our university group organised another get together in Taiping
8. The country also saw some eventful happenings which included a few mass rallies.
9. Workwise, my company did well to complete our work well ahead of schedule.

Of course, there are other events but for this purpose maybe the above will suffice. All in all, 2007 will be remembered long after it is gone.

Syukur Alhamdullillah, Allah has blessed me and family for the year. Looking forward for 2008, I hope for Allah's continued blessing so that I can continue to be a useful member of my family and society.

Happy New Year to all.


Happy Birthday Hani

Its officially 31 December 2007 now. So its my youngest daughter, Nurhani's, birthday. She just completed her 11 years of existence in this world. Alhamdullillah. Next year she will be in Standard Six.

I do not have any complaints about her. Basically a good and obedient daughter. InsyaAllah she will continue to be like this throughout her life.

Happy Birthday Hani.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Poor Show Lads

Manchester United lost away to West Ham (yet again) tonight. Last year, MU lost both home and away games to West Ham which has become its bogey team. Despite leading by a Ronaldo 14th minute goal they ended up losing 2-1. Ronaldo even missed a penalty when MU was still leading 1-0. With Arsenal winning at Everton, it will lead the standings going into 2008.

The team did not play well at all. Almost everyone played badly, maybe their worst performance all season. They are hardly able to hold onto the ball. West Ham was all heart and they certainly deserve to win tonight.

Lets get over this one and start afresh, MU.

Just a footnote: Tottenham beat Reading in a thriller at White Hart Lane winning 6-4 with Berbatov scoring 4 goals.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Taiping Saluki Holidays

As a follow up to the successful Reunion that was held in August this year, we decided to hold another get together among the Salukis, this time in Taiping.

Taiping has always been close to my heart. This is one of the locations that I went to with my late father-in-law when I first got married. About 2 weeks after I got married, my father in law asked me to accompany him to a trip to Perak, just the 2 of us. Can you imagine traveling with your father in law whom you have not met before you got married? My father in law was brought up in Setiawan where his father was a Mufti. So he had lots of friends all over Perak and I was supposed to accompany him to meet all his friends. I was thinking to myself why is he showing off his latest son-in-law to all his friends and relatives. Sorry, I digress but that is another story, for another time.

Anyway, we managed to "force" our Saluki friends in Taiping to organise our get together. There were only 3 of them in Taiping, Ron/Midah; Asmah and Ani. Just after we decided to have it in Taiping, Ron got promoted and transferred to Seremban so I guess Asmah and Ani had to do most of the work but I guess Ron/Midah had done their share before that.

We left our house at about 11:30am though we had planned to leave by 9:00 and spend some time at the famed Taiping lake. It was a smooth drive and we arrived at Bukit Gantang R&R at around 2:00. We performed our Zohor prayers and had something to eat. We finally arrived at Sri Malaysia around 3:00 where I met Dr Rahman and family at the check-in counter. I called Anwar but he was still at the golf course apparently trying to give out some money to Sle and Shariff.

After checking in we went straight looking for Asmah's house and we found it without much trouble. Taiping is a small town after all. Almost everybody were already at Asmah's. We were supposed to have a durian feast but Asmah had lontong and capati ready for us. This was to be the start of a 24-hour food fiesta for all of us. I started opening the durian. They were good. Before we could even finished what were there, Ani and hubby, Pian, brought some more durians. It was really a feast. Apparently they were quite expensive as they are not really in season yet.

We left Asma's at about 6:00pm. A few of us decided to head for the rather small pool at Sri Malaysia. I decided to catch a few minutes of sleep. When I got up and had my bath we were about ready for dinner. I met Bistaman at the lobby who told us that Chan and a few others had just left for Casuarina Inn. My son Afiq and daughter Hani had ran to follow the group. I remembered Anwar telling me that the place is to the left of the prison but we are now heading to its right but I just followed them. How wrong I was. We had to walk almost 25 minutes to reach the place that should have taken us less than 5 minutes. Next time I must remember to be careful about following Hassan's direction. But we sure worked up a good appetite. Dinner was a relaxed affair with good food and company. We managed to give a short introduction of our family members while waiting for the food to be ready.

After dinner (around 10:00pm) a few of us decided to experience the Taiping Zoo night safari. My family decided to skip this as we had been there not too long ago. So we stayed in the room and watch tv before falling asleep.

The next morning, after breakfast, all of us headed towards Maxwell Hill. Ani's hubby, Pian had arranged for the trip up the hill. But because we were late (the first jeep left at 8:00am) we had to make 2 trips. I took the second trip after having to wait for about one hour after the first trip had left. I had expected the weather to be much cooler up the hill but apparently it is not. We completed the hill climb and reach the hotel around 12:00 noon, just in time to check out.

I checked out at 1:00pm and headed straight towards Casuarina Inn for lunch. After the hill trip we were all quite hungry. Lunch was typical Perak food which include gulai tempoyak. The food was definitely well received by all, though at the back of our minds there will be another food fest at Kak Ani's shortly after that.

After lunch the whole group decided to convoy to Masjid Taiping for Zohor prayers which was led by Sdra Ruslan Salikan. Then we proceeded to Ani's house which was just a short distance from the mosque. Upon my arrival I started with the rambutans which were good. By this time the rest had started with the variety of food available. Apparently Ani had her whole family helping out with the food. Its all a family affair. Whatever, the food were good. This was after taking into account the heavy lunch that we had hardly an hour earlier.

We stayed for about 2 hours. Sle and Anwar managed to get the rain to fall with their karaoke session. At the end, we were really full. I managed to tah pau some of Kak Ani's kueh teow power which the kids had for dinner.

The drive back was slow as traffic was heavy and rain at a few locations. Along the way, I had to pass the steering to my son as I was getting sleepy. We finally reached Shah Alam (we had taken the Guthrie highway) at about 8:30pm.

It was tiring but well worth it. Thanks to all of you guys from Taiping for the hard work and congratulations on a job very well done. Heres looking forward to the next get together.


Busy Holiday Period (2)

Saturday, 22 December 2007 was the day my cousin got married. Her father is the only uncle on my mother's side. I had arranged for all my cousins and siblings to take up responsibilities on the wedding day. Now it is more fashionable for people to cater their food and also get "outsiders" to do the work. I told my uncle that he has more than 30 nephews and nieces who in turn have about 40 to 50 children who are willing to help out, so lets just do the work ourselves.

I had earlier bought 60 T-shirts to be distributed to all the cousins and their children who were helping out. It was an inspiring sight to see our families working together for a common cause. Alhamdullillah, everything went smoothly. The tents were well manned, the water supply uninterrupted and dishes were washed promptly even though the crowd was quite big. My uncle and auntie were very pleased, not only because the work were carried out well but more so for the family members to be able to get together.

At 1:00pm, I had to sneak out of the hive of activities as I had another function to attend to. I was also part of a team which organised a Majlis Qurban for our ex-school mates from Melaka High School. We had 3 cows to distribute. The activity started in the morning but I can only join in the afternoon, almost at the end of the program.

But it was good meeting up with friends some I have not seen for more than 30 years. I also met my Art teacher who managed to fail me more times than pass me. My only wish was I had more time with them. But the 2 hours in High School were up before I could realised it. I had to go back to my cousin's wedding which was also coming to a close.

Both events went on successfully without any hitches. The only glitch was I did not have my trusted camera with me, so no photos to be posted.

I left Melaka on Sunday to prepare for my next trip, a holiday in Taiping with my university mates from Southern Illinois University during the Christmas holidays.

Oh I just remembered that I have to complete my staff appraisal forms very soon as they are already overdue.


Busy Holiday Period (1)

Its the end of the year. As usual this is the most hectic period of the year. Everything seems to happen during this time. This year is no different.

20th December was Hari Raya Aidiladha. This year I decided to celebrate the occasion in Kelana Jaya unlike other years when I would head for kampong. It was more out of necessity rather than choice. The Nazir and Deputy Nazir of the mosque went for their Haj this year. So next in line in the mosque hierarchy is me, the Secretary. As such I had no choice but to be around for the majlis Qurban.

The mosque had always limit the number of cows for qurban at 3 a year. When we had more we always had problems distributing the portions for "fakir miskin". As in the past few years the state government donated one cow for our mosque. After the Sunat Aidiladha prayers we began our qurban. There were a good crowd who came to help out. Everyone seemed experienced and things moved on smoothly. We started with the donated cow as we wanted to cook the meat for a feast at the mosque.

By noon we were ready for our beef soup, kari daging and BBQ meat. The whole kariah were invited. We finished just before zohor prayers but the feast continued after zohor. In the afternoon I went visiting a few of my wife's relatives. By the end of the day all of us were tired and had a good sleep.

The next day, Friday 21st December I decided to go to work before taking leave for the rest of the year. I only went back to Melaka after Maghrib prayers on Friday,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Legal Eagles

I always thought I would make a good lawyer because I've always found law to be intriguing and challenging. In college, it was my course requirements that I take one Law subject, Business Law. I ended up taking 2 courses, the other being Contracts and I scored "A" for both.

I tried taking up a part time Law degree at UiTM a few years back but had to abandon it after 3 semesters as my job at the time required me to be outstation too often. I was doing real well when I quit. My CGPA was more than 3.5, much better than most of the full time students. Maybe I should have another go at it soon.

But my interest in Law keep me reading anything law related. This was sent to me by a friend. There were afew in the email but I just choose one. Apparently this is from a real transcript from where else but America.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy,
did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient
was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still
been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been
alive and practicing law.

And you know how much lawyers are paid in America?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Good Weekend

Manchester United beat Derby (as expected) 4-1
Chelsea beat Sunderland (as expected) 2-0
Reading beat Liverpool (unexpected) 3-1
Borough beat Arsenal (totally unexpected) 2-1

Now MU is just one point behind Arsenal. Come January a lot of teams will have their star players playing in the African Championships and MU will be spared. So hopefully, MU will peak during its traditional strong period and break away from the pack.

I sure can use the good news given how things have gone in some other aspects of my life.

Maybe I'm forever the optimist but InsyaAllah things will improve and people can see the good side of things for a change.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Idiotic Remarks (2)

Taken from Hindraff's badly written memo:




I would just like to quote some statistics which I gathered from the websites of the respective bodies:

1. Out of the 8 Malaysian Medical Association (MMA)EXCO Members, 5 are Indians, 2 Chinese and 1 Malay.
2. Out of 14 State MMA Chairmen, 5 are Indians
3. Out of 44 past MMA Presidents from 1959 to 2007, 20 were Indians
4. Out of 36 Council Members of the 2007/2008 Malaysian Bar Council, 15 are of Indian origin, 11 Malays and 10 Chinese.
5. Out of the 14 Members of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Council, 9 are Indians, 3 Chinese and 2 Malays
6. Out of the 11 Sub Committee Members of the Selangor Bar, 7 are Indians, 3 Chinese and 1 Malay.

Can anybody imagine the Indians in Malaysia which constitute less than 10% of the population being subject to "Ethnic Cleansing" and "Persecuted by Islamic extremists backed Government" with the above statistics?

I will be the first to admit that more need to be done for the poor Indians in Malaysia but that is also true of poor Malays and Ibans and Kadazans.

So, to the leaders of Hindraf, Stop Making Idiotic Remarks.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Short Trip to Bukit Tinggi

Over the weekend my family and a few teachers from SMK Sri Permata kad a short trip to Berjaya Hills in Bukit Tinggi. We had planned this a long time ago but had to postpone it a couple of times as every one was busy with their stuff. We finally managed to do it during the school holidays.

All the teachers except for the Penyelia Petang were part of the school's computer literature class. They have been working very hard throughout the year and I thought should be rewarded with a trip. Though the trip was short, hardly 24 hours, it was okay, I thought. After all there was nothing much to be done there. Staying any longer would have been a bore.

We discussed a bit on the plans for next year. The big issue was our inability to collect money from parents to finance the classes. For the past several years we had collected RM70 per student to pay for the materials and more importantly to continue upgrading the equipment. That is why our school have one of the best equipped computer labs, even better than some of the Smart Schools around. Now we cannot collect any money. Actually, we have had no problems collecting the money from the parents. After all, RM70 a year for a computer class that teaches introduction to computers, Word, Excel and Powerpoint is damn cheap. For students who genuinely cannot afford to pay the PIBG will subsidize or even pay the whole fees for them. We just thinking about expanding the clsses to Forms 3 and 4 and now we may have to scrap the whole thing. What a waste.

Anyway, we had a good outing and there are now plans to make this a yearly affair and the teachers want to start saving money from early of the year. That is a good idea and maybe next year we can go for a better holidays.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apa Membazir Pula?

Menteri Besar ketika diminta memberi komen berkenaan tindakan Pejabat Menteri Besar Pahang membida RM48,000 untuk nombor plat CCC 9:

Soal membazir tidak timbul, pasal duit itu kerajaan bayar kepada Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ). JPJ pula akan gunakan duit itu untuk membayar gaji.

Apa membazir pula? Duit itu pusing daripada kerajaan ke kerajaan. Bukan untuk Adnan Yaakob (tetapi) untuk kerajaan,

Saya tidak berhajat nak komen panjang. Antara justifikasi:
1. Nombor plat tersebut boleh dijual dengan harga yang mahal
2. Kereta yang akan menggunakan plat tersebut ialah milik kerajaan untuk membawa tetamu kerajaan, jadi mudah dikenal pasti.

Marilah kita renung bersama.

Idiotic Remarks (1)

"The decision to maintain toll charges at the four routes was made because these are used daily by people from all walks of life. The government does not want to burden them. That's why we agreed to pay RM242m as compensation to the concessionaires"

Samy Vellu on why toll charges on 4 major highways are not increased.

On why tolls on 7 other "minor" highways were increased, Samy reasoned that "the routes would have higher toll rates as traffic on them were less as they were not widely used compared with the other highways"

Both excerpts from New Straits Times, Thursday, 29 November 2007.

I would just like to comment as follows:

Statement No. 1 - No toll increase but government pay RM242 million.
Where does the government get the RM240m? Is it not from the rakyat? so we ended up paying also. At least if the toll is collected only those who use the roads got to pay, now everyone have got to pay. Moreover, the toll concessionaires do not have to do any extra work, just collect RM242m.

Statement No. 2 - Toll increased because traffic is low.
How come when traffic is low toll is increased but when traffic is high there is no provision for the tolls not to be increased? I'm sure traffic at the major highways have exceeded initial projections judging by the daily jams on these roads.

Does the government seriously think that those using the N-S Highway will not increase the prices of their products because the tolls were subsidized by the rakyat?

Every few years we will be talking about the toll increase and people get riled up for a while. In the end the debate will always be whether the rakyat should pay (through increase in toll charges) or the rakyat should pay (through subsidy by the government). So, the rakyat will always be in a lose-lose situation. There is absolutely no effort made to take another look at the privatisation agreement. Just because there is a provision for a rate increase we MUST do it. Why not look at the traffic volume, or their maintenance costs. Just because some idiots decided to take the rakyat for a ride when the agreements were drawn up we have to continue to be idiots for the next 30 years.

Idiots ... sometimes I'm convinced we are the bigger idiots because we continuously choose them to take us for a long ride and we are paying for it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Conversation with a Friend

A friend visited me today. We had the following conversation, among others:

Friend: Times are tough. Its hard to earn a decent living

Me: Times are not supposed to be tough. Our country is rich. We should have lots of money. All those who work hard should be able to earn a decent living.

Friend: I'm working hard but I'm struggling still.

Me: Maybe belum sampai masa Tuhan memberi kemewahan pada kamu. Maybe juga there are people who do not want to work hard but want to earn a more than a decent living. So he has to take your share.

Friend: Maybe so. That's the problem when wealth is not distributed to those who hard but to those who are chosen.

Me: You are right. So lets make noise so that the situation improves.

Friend: I do not want to get involve. Malas nak fikir pasal politik.

Me: Kawan, you tak boleh malas fikir. Tuhan dah beri kamu keupayaan berfikir, dah masuk universiti. Berapa peratus orang Malaysia masuk universiti? Kalau kamu malas berfikir, orang yang tak masuk universiti lagi malas nanti? Kamu kufur nikmat kalau tak guna apa yang telah diberi oleh Allah.

Friend: Kita terlalu kecil. Cannot make a difference.

Me: Kalau semua orang cakap macam tu, sapa nak kedepan? Anak cucu kita saper nak jaga? You have to get involve and also get other people involve, at least orang yang boleh berfikir. Sekarang nie kita dianggap bodoh sebab tu perkara yang dilakukan tak masuk akal.

Friend: Betul, tapi kalau kita sibuk2 pun tak jadi apa2. We will just be ignored. Dia orang dah control semua.

Me: Jangan putus asa. They assumed that we are supid. Semalam saya dengar laporan saham. "Harga saham turun berikutan penjualan oleh pelabur kerana mengambil untung". What an idiot? The market has been falling for the past few days, so what pengambilan untung are they talking about? But for those wo do not trade in the stock market thinks that the economy is well as the players can sell shares and "mengambil untung".

Friend: So, what should we do?

Me: THINK and do not let them take us for idiots.

Lets think. Then educate those who are not thinking. It is easier to convince educated people with facts than uneducated ones.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Hindraff Agenda

The past few days we have been reading so much about the Hindraff demo. Coming just a few weeks after the successful Bersih demo, I thought the organizers had also pulled off a major coup. After all, the police were better prepared. They even managed to obtain a restraining order to stop any gathering. Now that sure make it an illegal gathering because the court has determined it to be so.

To put the records straight, I fully sympathized with the Indians for being continuously neglected. But I wouldn't want a policy to help just the Indians just as I did not want a policy to favour just the Malays. The government should help the poor regardless of whether they are Indians, Malays or Chinese. Yes, there are poor Chinese too. If we have a policy just to help the Indians then we will be helping the Ananda Krishnans, Nallakaruppans, VK Lingams and their likes. These people should be doing their part in helping the poor Indians but they would rather give scholarships to the children of a Malay politician instead of an Indian rubber tapper's son.

Actually the purpose of this post is to comment on the contents of the Hindraff memo. I was sympathetic towards Hindraff until I read their memo in Rocky's blog
I cannot help but feel disappointed when I read that. If what is posted by Rocky is true then, Uthayakumar has lost my support. It seems to me, in trying to rally support among the Indians, he has alienated the majority of the Malays. He will be a hero of the Indians but sorry to say he will not achieve his objective of helping them. I'm sure he knows that Britain will not do anything about his badly written memo. Initially, I thought it was brilliant to sue the British when his actual target is the Malaysian government because it would attract global attention. But after reading it I now think otherwise.

My worry is that his memo will be used to garner support among the Malays for other causes which the Malays themselves are fighting for such as a clean and fair elections. Some of the Malays may now be willing to "sacrifice" a fair election to protect their interests and Uthayakumar has given them a common cause. And as we know, the propaganda machinery can do wonders.

Lets see how things turn out in the next few days but I think the Hindraff memo was a mistake. And it could be a costly mistake.

A website for PIBGs

A visitor to my blog (mind you I do not have many visitors as I did not promote this blog) by the name of Dr Mohamed Rafick has some things in common with me. He is a YDP of a PIBG. Though I'm just an AJK now, I used to be a YDP before and therefore can appreciate his predicament in trying to manage this important but often misunderstood NGO. I also have a good friend who has been a YDP of a school in Taman Melawati for several years and often share our thoughts on the subject.

Dr Rafick has introduced me to a site which is trying to consolidate the efforts of PIBG activities nation wide. I think this is a very good idea and would like to do my small part by promoting this site. I know it will not be much as my blog is not popular but I will also try to promote it through my other mailing lists.

If any of you are a member of any PIBG it may be worth your while to visit the site. It is still under development but do visit it from time to time to see its progress. I wish you well Dr. Rafick.

Off to Summer Camp

With Dr Hassan

Sunday, 25th November 2007, we sent off 3 off our children to Dato' Dr Hassan Ali's Summer Camp in Sungai Lui, Hulu Langat Selangor. Two of our other children, Nurlina and Ahmad Arif had the benefit of the same summer camp many years ago.

We have been wanting to send Ahmad Afiq, Ahmad Aizat and Nurhani to this camp for sometime and finally we managed to do it.

Afiq and Hani were nonchalant about the whole thing but Aizat, as usual, was trying to find excuses not to attend. He was even complaining of stomach upset the night before. I was not sure whether it was for real or just an excuse but we managed to get some medication for him.

We arrived at about 8:30 and started the registration process. At about 9:30 the opening address by Dr Hassan started and he took about one and a half hours. His introduction included a family get together session which attracted tears from all of us. There were about 280 participants in total and we left our kids at around 11:15am. We know they are in good hands.

We also know that they will be changed kids when we pick them up again on Tuesday but for how long? We, as parents need to learn the "Art of Parenting". This subject we never learn in college but we need to use them for the better part of our lives.

Have fun kids. We love you all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More Depressing PIBG Stories

The YDP and I met up with the Pengetua this morning. I had suggested to the YDP that he should not sign the Application Form. This will "create a scene" as the school will not be able to collect any fees next year (That would truly be free education !!) but the Pengetua advised us against it. After some discussions, we decided not to make life difficult for our kids. It would not be fair on them though I really wanted to show the decision makers that they have blundered.

We also discussed some steps the school should take to inform the parents about the actual situation with regards to the school fees. The PIBG will be around on the first day of school to explain to the parents that in Malaysia free education means "that the word 'yuran' does not appear anywhere. But you still have to make "bayaran tambahan" which is actually more than the previous yuran. If they are not happy please write or call the Ministers or MOE. We will provide the parents with the necessary contacts.

On another note, I received a call from one of our computer teachers that next year we will not be able to collect fees for our Computer classes. For the past 7 years the PIBG has been running computer classes for Forms 1 and 2 students. This introductory computer classes were designed to provide early exposure to all students. Not all students have PCs at homes. To run these classes and also ensure that the equipment are always in tune with the times, we collect RM70 per student per year. For the real poor students the PIBG will subsidize (either partly or fully) these yuran. For the past few years, out of the total of almost 600 students less than 1% defaulted in their payments. For the last 2 years, the collection was 100%. This is partly because of the good work of the teachers and also the fact that the parents are willing to pay for the classes. And now we cannot continue to collect the fees. How are we going to run the classes? The answer given by the MOE was to use the computers that were given by them more than 5 years ago. Out of the 20 given, currently only 5 are working. The computers do not even have USB ports. The operating systems are obsolete. I can go on. We cannot repair because the MOE has a maintenance contract with a big company. Compare this with the 40 new computers that the PIBG lab has, sufficient memory, 17" LCD monitor and much more. We upgrade the hardware every 2-3 years. The used computers are given to other users in the school such the teachers' room, library etc. So we are in another dilemma.

The more I write, the more depressed I become so I better stop. Enough of this sh...

God help us.... please

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh Hishamuddin, What have you done?

I'm pissed off ... really pissed off

Late Sunday night I received an sms from the Pengetua of Aizat's school. The message read "We need to meet (whoever can attend) tomorrow at 7:45am to discuss school fees" After sending Hani to her school I went straight to Sri Permata. The turnout from parents was really good despite the short notice and the first working day of the week. Dato' YDP, NYDP and a few other parents were there. Some teachers were not there as they were invigilating the SPM exams which started on that day.

Mr Ong told us that he received a Pekeliling (that dreaded piece of document that government servants has to treat like the Bible) about the school fees. The gist of the circular are the following:
1. The term "Yuran" will be replaced with "Pakej Bayaran Tambahan"
2. In essence the parents will have to pay more unless you take into account the fact that all students will now receive free text books. However for parents who already received free text books, they will have to pay more. So the poor parents have to pay more now while the rich parents pay less. What the heck?

The Pengetua is also complaining that he has just spent about RM8,000 to turn one empty classroom into a store to keep free textbooks for 1,500 students. Moreover his teachers would now have to keep stock of more than 10,000 books. All these for something that was not even requested by most of the parents. Normally when you do not ask for something you will not be able to value the gift.

Back to the "Yuran" issue. Now that there is no more "Yuran" but "Bayaran tambahan", the politicians can go tell the whole world that in Malaysia education is free. But how can that be so when we still have to pay "Bayaran Tambahan"? The answer is in the next instruction in the Pekeliling. The School must get the consent of the PIBG to collect the "Bayaran Tambahan". In fact the YDP has to sign the Application Form that must be submitted to the Ministry for them to approve the request from the parents that they be allowed to collect the money. See how neat it become? Legally, there is no more school fees. What is being collected from the parents now is money REQUESTED BY THE PARENTS themselves and they have the signed Application Form to prove that. So if the parents have asked for permission to collect the fees how can it be from the government? As far as the government is concerned, all money collected have been consented by the parents since they are the ones asking for it to be approved. The government has in fact been so kind so as to put a ceiling on the amount to be collected. The irony of it all is that the PIBG will not see a single sen of the money to be collected. It will go to 1. Kokurikulum, 2. Kertas Ujian, 3. Sukan Tahunan, 4. Insurans 5. MSSM and 6. Kegiatan Agama/Moral. Even Sumabangan PIBG is not included and we have to make another application for this. If we look at the purpose of the "Bayaran" all must agree that they are for the running of the school activities which is the responsibility of the government.

It is bad enough that we have been asked to pay for it. We know our country is still developing and those who can afford it should contribute towards educating our young. I'm sure a lot of people can live with that but when the government try to hoodwink us into saying that it is giving free education and at the same "tricked" us into paying for it, I'm really pissed off. Please don't take us for fools.

These past few years I've been sacrificing my time, money and efforts to do my bit to society by playing an active role in the PIBGs. And to see all these really make me sick. A government who cheats on its own people surely is not worth supporting. But will I make a difference? Maybe not, but I will sure try.

How can you get so screwed up Hisham? Go to the ground and listen more from people who are sincere in giving opinions not yes men agreeing to whatever you fancy. be continued

Monday, November 05, 2007

Another Weekend of Open Houses

It is still Syawal and therefore the open house invitations keep coming. But this week I had to reject a few of them as I was busy with the preparations for our Masjid's Hari Raya Gathering on Sunday.

Still, I managed to squeeze 3 visits on Saturday in between showing my face at the mosque. On Sunday, one of my neighbours held his open house and I had to be there. From 1:00 pm onwards I was at the mosque.

There was a very good crowd, definitely better that we had expected. Even more meaningful,some of our Chinese and Indians neighbours also managed to join us. The Muslimats, as usual, delivered what they promised and the function went very smoothly. All the food, except rojak, were finished by 4:00pm, some even earlier.

After Asar we went to Hassan's and Fuzi's in Melewati. They had invited quite a few of our friends. In fact, all my closest friends in my first few years in Carbondale were there. How I wished we could spend more time but it was getting late.

Another fruitful weekend, I must say.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oh! What a Heart Breaker

My team, Manchester United, was playing the current table toppers, Arsenal, tonight. A win for the Devils would have put us on top of the standings. I was looking forward to this game for the past week. I planned my day today around the kick-off time of this game.

We led twice but Arsenal was "lucky" to snatch the draw in extra time. It was an absorbing game without too many goal scoring chances as the battle was mostly fought in midfield. United played well but I feel Arsenal played better but this is not surprising as they are playing at home. Anyway, a draw is a fair result, I think, but that was a real chance missed for Alex Ferguson and his charges.

For the record, Rooney continued his excellent form by scoring the first goal for United and Christiano Ronaldo scored the second though he was very subdued throughout the game. Fabregas also continued his fine goal scoring form while Gallas scored the extra time equaliser for the Gunners.

Tough luck guys but lets get on with it. There is always the home game later.

Friday, November 02, 2007

How Can I Not Love This Man?

I chanced reading the speech given by the Chief Minister of Kelantan Nik Aziz Nik Mat during the launch of "Wilayah Ekonomi Pantai Timur" by the Prime Minister in Kota Baru recently. I thought the Chief Minister in not too many words succeeded to convey a strong though subtle message about the actions or inactions of the Federal government. However, I doubt if the audience which include the Prime Minister, several Ministers and Chief Ministers would take heed to the spoken words of Nik Aziz, not even the Quranic verses cited. You may want to read the full speech including his arguments why oil found in Kelantan and its shores should benefit the rakyat of Kelantan.

Excerpt 1
Saya sempat juga mengikuti senarai projek-projek raksasa yang ada terkandung di dalam pelan induk yang disebut-sebut akan menelan perbelanjaan berjumlah RM112 bilion ini. Antara lain ia akan memuatkan sebuah Universiti yang telah beberapa kali dilancarkan, Lebuh Raya Pantai Timur, Jeti di Tok Bali dan usaha untuk menaikkan taraf Lapangan Terbang Sultan Ismail Petra sebagai pusat penerbangan untuk rantau Asia Tenggara, termasuklah keinginan yang kuat untuk memunculkan satu kelas perdagangan dan perindustrian bumiputera.

Excerpt 2
Menyentuh tentang peruntukan yang mencecah RM112 bilion untuk ECER, RM177 bilion lagi untuk Koridor Utara dan RM47.6 bilion lagi di Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar, rakyat menjadi sedikit kagum dengan jumlahnya. Semakin hairan mereka apabila duit yang diisytiharkan ini boleh menjangkau Rancangan Malaysia ke 9, 10 dan boleh pergi sejauh RMK sebelas. Apapun, jika duit ini memang ada dan tidak menjadi masalah, maka kita perlu mengucapkan sebesar-besar syukur. Alhamdulillah, syabas.

Excerpt 3
Dalam banyak buku ilmiah, saya ada juga terbaca bahawa sesuatu pelan yang berkesan ialah pelan yang dapat diterima tanpa curiga oleh kumpulan sasar. Ciri pelan yang berjaya juga ialah pelan yang dapat dilaksanakan.

Saya berandaian, semua aspek ini telah diambil kira dalam segenap segi sehingga ia tidak menjadi sebuah impian dan bukan sekadar 'satu lagi pelan'. Sememangnya indah untuk berada sekadar di alam mimpi kerana ia mengasyikkan:

Anak Cina memetik selasih
Anyam rotan dibuat timba
Tiada yang indah dalam berkasih
Mimpikan bulan jatuh ke riba

Dalam banyak hal, apa yang mustahak ialah pelan yang dapat menghasilkan kenyataan.
Siapalah yang tidak bergembira untuk mendengar janji yang akan datang dalam ratusan bilion ringgit. Ini lebih-lebih lagilah apabila janji itu dipenuhi. Sudah banyak kita saksikan betapa janji yang indah kadang-kadang boleh menjadi musuh besar apabila ia gagal dipenuhi. Kebocoran, siling runtuh, rasuah dan pecah amanah, inflasi dan hipokrasi adalah antara musuh-musuh bersama yang boleh menghambat cita-cita murni.

Excerpt 4
Sudah lebih 17 tahun kita menjalin hubungan kesetiakawanan dalam ikatan konsep persekutuan. Setakat yang saya ingat, tidak pernah satu kalipun lagi terganggu sebarang projek yang diluluskan oleh Pusat di Kelantan baik kecil mahupun besar mengalami gangguan atau dihalang oleh Kerajaan Negeri.

Melalui permuafakatan dan rundingan, ia sentiasa disambut oleh kami dengan penuh keterbukaan.Bagaimanapun beradablah ketika melangkah. Bukankah ini Wilayah Timur. Setiap rumah ada tuannya. Masuk berpintu. Keluar bertangga. Kadang-kadang, ya. Terasa juga.

Makan sirih berpinang tidak
Buah keranji atas perahu
Singgah tidak kenang pun tidak
Sampai hati buat tak tahu

Hanya inilah kali pertama saya diberi kesempatan untuk berucap di majlis yang dihadiri oleh YAB Dato' Seri Perdana Menteri. Apapun jua, syukurlah. Saya mengucapkan Alhamdulillah. Segala puji bagi Allah.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quotable Quotes

I saw this from one of the blogs that I read and thought that it is quite relevant and would like to share it.

More than 2000 years ago, Plato the Greek said, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."

It does seemed true, at least in some context. But it is definitely not my cup of tea. Tried it once but it still left a bad taste in the mouth.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Open House Sakan

I've been receiving a number of Raya Open House invitations for the 27-28 Oct and was discussing with my wife how to go about attending them. After finding difficulty in deciding which house to drop, we finally decided to go to all of them instead of picking and choosing. So that was the beginning of a hectic weekend.

Early Saturday morning after a light breakfast, I went to Bangsar to meet up with a lawyer to sign some documents. Meanwhile my wife went to her friend's (of ITM days) house for a tahlil. We have earlier planned to leave the house around 11:30am so that we can reach the first open house by 12:00 noon. I returned home at 11:15 and got the kids ready but my wife only returned home at 12:20. Apparently the tahlil which involved only ladies had dragged on forever. You know ladies, once they meet it will take ages for them to get started on their program. My wife even skipped the food knowing that we are eagerly waiting at home.

So, we started on the wrong note in terms of timing. The first house on the agenda was Oon's (my staff in TARGET), located in Puncak Alam. Since this was the first house we helped ourselves to quite a bit of the healthy servings of food that was available. There was BBQ chicken and lamb besides rice, laksa and a lot more. I decided not to touch the lamb but had 4 pieces of BBQ chicken.

We left Puncak Alam at about 1:15pm, stopped at the Surau in the area for Zohor and moved to the other side of town in Taman Permata, Hulu Kelang to the house of a senior government officer whom I had many dealings in my work. The roads around Batu Caves were quite heavy with cars. This friend of mine was just awarded a "Datuk" by the Sultan of Pahang. I just has something to drink at his place as I'm still full. We stayed for about 20 minutes and left. Along the way I picked up some banners that I had made for my mosque.

It was now 3:30pm. We had spent quite a bit of time on the road. We are now heading for Haji Hamid's house in Bangi. His open house was between 2:00 to 4:00pm. Since it was almost 4:00 by the time we got to Sungai Besi toll, I called to check whether the open house is still on. We reached his house at about 4:30 and I met a few of my High School's friends. At about 5:15, we left Hj Hamid's house and headed for Hj Zahari's, another school friend who also come from my kampong. He stayed in shophouse where he conducts his curtains business. Looking at the stuff he had, he must be doing quite alright.

We left Bangi at about 6:30 and headed for Melaka. We have another open house in Air Keroh Melaka which starts at 8:00pm. We stopped in Air Keroh rest area for Maghrib prayers before proceeding to Tiara Resort. The house of Nor Ismail was full of people when we arrived. Nor is an architect, so you can expect his bungalow in Tiara Resort to be something special. Apparently, he took one and a half year off from work to supervise the building of his dream home. I pity the contractor, it must have been a nightmare building a house for an architect who does his own supervision :-). I met a few of my High School friends there, Hj. Ir A. Rahman Said, Ahmad Jamal, Zamani, KM Yaakob, A. Malek Abdullah. Jaffri came earlier and left before we arrived. We wanted to drop by Malek's house before calling it a day but the kids were too tired after a long day. We finally made our way to my sister-in-law's house in Serkam. Before going to bed I managed to catch Manchester United's game with Boro which they won 4-1. So all in all it was a glorious day capped by my team winning big.

Sunday started very early as we had planned to go to a few houses. We left Serkam around 10:30am after breakfast at my sis-in-law's. We headed towards Melaka town. I had planned to stop at 2 houses, Hj Rahman Said and Malek. First up we went to Rahman's house. I just called him to check whether he was in. I've been to his house once before with my late father for Hari Raya (must be 2 years ago). I had trouble finding his house and wasted a few precious minutes. We finally found his house and his DO wife managed to cook up mee goreng for us rather quickly. I initially thought his wife was a DO knowing Rahman is not known to joke much but he later told me his wife was a Dapur Officer.

I left Rahman's slightly after 12:00 noon. I had initially planned to be in Tampin by then. So I had to sms Malek telling him that I had to skip his house this time around. Sorry Dole, I promise I will visit you next time. We reached Tampin (Bob's house) around 12:40. Ghafar Baba (Bob) is marrying off his new daughter (another story for another time) and I thought I should be there to share his happy occasion. Slightly after 1:00pm we left Bob's house.

Nor, Bob and me

By the time we reached Simpang Ampat toll it was 1:30pm and I'm supposed to reach Bangsar (Razip's and Awie's house) by 2:00pm. An impossible task, definitely not in my Naza Ria with my wife and 4 kids, so I sms Razip that I'll be at his house around 2:30pm. Still a daunting task but at least doable, give an take a few minutes. You see, Razip had delayed his lunch invitation from 1:00pm to 2:00pm to accommodate my trip from Tampin, so I must at least make a genuine effort to be on time. Anyway, we reached Bangsar around 2:45pm. My kids had not been to Razip's and Awie's in a few years. We used to visit them for Hari Raya without fail. My daughter was looking forward to see for herself Auntie Awie's new house. We met Shariff, Syed and Umie, Maimah and of course Awie's siblings and their spouses. Sle couldn't make it as he was outstation while Ruslan Ghani was overseas.

We stayed for a while and left around 5:00pm and headed for Kota Damansara, the last house for the day although I had planned to visit my cousin in Subang Jaya later in the night. The last house was Azlan's, my colleague from HeiTech Padu. For the last few years Azlan and wife kept inviting us for their open house and we managed to find them for them. After all his son is a school mate of my 4th son, Aizat.

When we reached home it was time for Maghrib. The whole family was spent. I managed to take a nap just after Maghrib and also woke up around 11:30 in time to see the Liverpool-Arsenal game which ended in a draw. I was hoping for Liverpool to win so that Man Utd will remain top of the table. However, considering Arsenal hit the post twice and their players missed open goals on another two occasions, I guess I should be grateful for the result.

Oh what a weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10 tahun sebelum Merdeka

I would like to share this video that provides another perspective of the events that happened before Merdeka. Some may even say it shows some of the REAL Pejuang Merdeka.

For best viewing let the video play out once and press "Replay" so that you will not experience the interruptions.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ziarah Sahabat

At Rahim Ani's house (Rahim at far left)

At Rosli Md Tan's house

Sempena bulan Syawal yang mulia tahun ini, beberapa orang sahabat dari MHS telah meluangkan masa untuk melawat rakan-rakan yang kurang bernasib baik kerana menghadapi masaalah kesihatan. Kami telah merancang untuk bertemu di rumah Rosly Sanusi di Seksyen 20 Shah Alam sebelum bertolak kerumah Rahim Ani di Seksyen 27 dan seterusnya kerumah Rosli Md Tan di Seksyen 16.

Rosly Sanusi
Kami menggunakan rumah Rosli Sanusi sebagai tempat berkumpul sebelum berkonvoi kerumah Rahim. Lagipun beliau tahu dimana letaknya rumah Rahim. Rosly Sanusi telah hampir 20 tahun tinggal dirumahnya di Jalan 20/2 Shah Alam. Semasa kami sampai beliau sedang sibuk membuat persiapan untuk memasak untuk kenduri kahwin jiran beliau. Rosly ialah seorang kontraktor kecil yang membuat prasarana untuk Telekom. Selain itu beliau juga banyak membuat kuih untuk hari raya dan hari perayaan lain. Beliau juga mengambil kontrak catering disekitar Shah Alam. Pendek kata beliau memang "all rounder".

Saya sampai agak lewat juga (sekitar pukul 2:45 ptg). Semasa saya sampai, Mokhlis, Ghafar danHj. Hamid telah pun sampai. Selepas itu beberapa orang lagi sampai termasuk Azhar Haron, Syed, Mazlan Md Zin dan Nurjihad. Sekitar pukul 4:00 ptg kita berangkat ke rumah Rahim Ani di Seksyen 27. Setibanya kami di sana, Sdra Wilmie menunggu dalam kereta sementara Sdra Mazlan Minhat dan Jeffri Jabbar telah pun berada dalam rumah Rahim.

Rahim Ani
Rahim Ani bertugas di JPJ Padang Jawa. Beberapa bulan yang lepas, tahap kesihatan beliau telah merosot. Walaupun tidak terasa sakit, beliau mengalami pandangan berganda dan lemah otot sehingga tidak berupaya menampung berat badan sendiri. Dengan bantuan seorang jiran, beliau telah menjalani peperiksaan doktor di Hospital KL pada awal September 2007. Beliau disahkan mempunyai ketumbuhan di bahagian otak. Pada 26 Sep 2007 beliau telah menjalani pembedahan dikepala untuk mengeluarkan ketubuhan tersebut. Alhamdullillah, pembedahan tersebut berjaya. Semasa pertemuan kami beliau nampak ceria dan tidak dalam kesakitan. Cuma otot masih terasa lemah, kata beliau. Pandangan telah pulih. Memori beliau juga masih baik, malah banyak cerita-cerita lama terutama semasa beliau "membantu dan menemani" Norjihad masih dapat beliau ingati. Cuma ada perkara-perkara yang berlaku baru-baru ini agak samar buat beliau.

Satu perkara yang saya agak terkilan ialah apabila Rahim memberitahu kami bahawa beliau telah mengambil keputusan untuk berhenti kerja. Saya kurang bersetuju kerana saya rasa beliau patut teruskan bersama Kerajaan yang mempunyai banyak kemudahan jika beliau terus berkhidmat. Saya pasti beliau akan diberi tugas ringan sekembalinya beliau ke pejabat. Pada pendapat saya, semasa beliau mendapat tahu beliau mempunyai ketumbuhan tersebut beliau merasa yang beliau tidak lagi mampu bertugas lalu membuat keputusan berhenti. Saya berharap ada sahabat atau saudara beliau yang dapat menasihat supaya Rahim memikirkan kembali keputusan yang telah diambil. Kita yang telah lazim bekerja, jika tiba-tiba duduk dirumah akan mudah ditimpa kemurungan dan tahap kesihatan kita akan terus merosot.

Walau apa pun, saya dapat lihat, lawatan sahabat-sahabt pada hari baik dan bulan yang baik ini telah memberi kecerian kepada Rahim. Malah isteri beliau menyatakan kepada saya bahawa memang Rahim nampak gembira dengan kehadiran kami. Beliau berharap kami akan kerap datang untuk menziarah Rahim dimasa akan datang. Walaupun saya tidak berkesempatan untuk berkawan rapat dengan Rahim dengan lebih lama semasa di MHS (sebab beliau dan ramai sahabat lain berpindah ke ABC) saya mempunyai beberapa episod menarik bersama beliau yang saya rasa ada antara sahabat yang juga masih ingat dengan jelas. Tetapi cerita ini tidak patut dinukilkan disini. Takut nanti menjadi bahan bukti :-)

Rosli Md Tan
Rosli Md Tan tinggal di pangsapuri kerajaan seksyen 16 Shah Alam bersama isteri dan 4 orang anak. Isteri beliau bekerja dengan kerajaan negeri Selangor (kalau tak silap saya). Rosli sebenarnya telah menghadapi berbagai masaalah kesihatan sejak beberapa tahun yang lepas. Malah menurut beliau, dia telah tidak bekerja sejak 10 tahun yang lepas. Tetapi Rosli yang kita kenali memang mempunyai hati yang sangat cekal dalam setiap perkara yang beliau lakukan. Beliau memulakan persekolahan di sekolah Melayu Air Pak Abbas, Alor Gajah dan datang ke MHS (memasuki kelas Peralihan, Remove) cuma berbekalkan satu ungkapan bahasa Inggeris iaitu "Thank You", kata beliau sendiri. Tetapi berkat ketabahan, beliau telah berjaya melanjutkan pelajaran hingga ke UK.

Rosli sebenarnya cuma berada di MHS sehingga Tingkatan 3. Selepas LCE beliau telah pergi ke RMC untuk pelajaran menengah atas. Saya ingat Rosli sebagai orang yang membaca doa dan Yaasin semasa ramai orang yang "terasuk" di asrama lama dulu. Saya juga ingat beliau sebagai orang yang cuba mengalahkan saya dan Azhar Haron dalam permainan pingpong, tetapi sehingga hari ini masih belum berjaya. Menurut Azhar, semasa mereka bertemu di UK pun Rosli mengajak beliau bermain pingpong, tetapi Azhar masih menang seingga Azhar menghadiahkan bat pingpong beliau kepada Rosli.

Kalau nak cerita pasal masaalah kesihatan Rosli, saya rasa satu hari pun tak habis. Boleh buat buku. Tetapi buat mereka yang tahu, saya rasa, ada beberapa perkara yang kita boleh buat iktibar. Diantaranya:
  1. Bantuan oleh sahabat beliau Sdra Ajmal (juga bekas pelajar MHS) sehingga membolehkan Rosli berjalan kembali setelah hampir 3 tahun terlantar
  2. Sokongan guru kita, Cikgu Rejab
  3. Sokongan yang tidak terhingga dari keluarga terutama isteri dan anak-anak sehingga sekarang. Isteri beliau patut diberi penghargaan dalam hal ini.
  4. Semangat juang yang kuat dari Rosli sendiri sehingga sanggup belajar matematik Tambahan dalam bahasa Melayu untuk membolehkan beliau mengajar tuition dalam matapelajaran ini
Walau pun demikian, saya rasa, secara psikologinya Rosli masih belum berjaya keluar dari kemelut kesihatannya. Kalau ada sahabat yang rapat dengan beliau mungkin boleh memberi bantuan untuk memulihkan semangat beliau dalam hal ini. Beliau telah mengalami beberapa perkara yang cukup mencabar dan untuk kembali seperti sedia kala memerlukan masa yang lama. Bantuan dari kawan2 pasti diperlukan.

Demikian sedikit sebanyak coretan aktiviti ziarah pada Syawal kali ini. Untuk kawan2 yang turut serta, saya ucapkan terima kasih yang tak terhingga. Seperti biasa Sdra Mokhlis menjadi koordinator dan kali ini dibantu oleh Sdra Rosly Sanusi. Diharap dimasa akan datang aktiviti sebegini dapat diteruskan. Untuk sahabat2 kita Rahim dan Rosli kita doakan mereka cepat sembuh seperti sediakala.

Hussin Othman

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A quiet Eid

It was a quiet Eid for me by all counts. We left Kelana Jaya at about 6:30pm on Friday, the eve of Eid. We had brought along some dates and drinks so that we can buka puasa in the car. I thought that by driving during iftar we would escape the expected jam as most people would stop at the rest areas for buka puasa. I may be right or maybe most people have already reached home by the time we hit the highway. There were a lot of cars but the traffic was moving. However all the rest areas were full to the brink when we passed them. We finally reached my kampong at about 8:15pm, not bad at all.

All my siblings and their families have reached home. Two have even left for their in-laws after sleeping one night at the house. One of them is just about 2km away while the other is in Gemas. But the kids who were left behind were having a ball of a time. Apparently, I now have 36 nephews and nieces. Add that to my 5 children, my late father now have 41 grand children and one great grandchild.

I woke up very early on Saturday, gathered about 10 nephews, got in my Naza Ria and visited the graves of my parents. A few of my nephews attended religious schools so we had no problems looking for people to recite the doa. I had my Eid prayers at the usual place, the kampong's PAS centre. I've been doing this for several years now, ever since my late father left UMNO and joined PAS at the height of the Reformasi years. While waiting for the prayer to start, I cannot help but felt sad that my father is no longer around. He would be one of those who would recite the takbir.

After prayers, I went home straight to sallam and seek forgiveness from my Makcik. I sat by her side all the time as I know she will feel very alone receiving the sallams from her children, in-laws and grand children (almost 50 of them) without her husband for the first time. Sure enough she cried. I cannot help but feel sad myself.

After that I took my family to visit a few relatives who are closed to me. My siblings grew up in Singapore while I was brought up by my grandfather in kampong so I had a different set of people to visit from my siblings. To cut a long story short, I just got to know that two of the people whom I addressed as Mak Long and Mak Ngah passed away very recently, one just before Ramadhan and the other 10 days before Shawal. I was quite close to Mak Long and I did not visit her last Eid. I can still remember the look of her granddaughter when I asked her "Mak Long mana?" when I visited her house. Apparently everybody forgot to inform me about Mak Long's demise. I realised that a lot of my uncles and aunties are indeed getting a lot older. I have to take time to visit them more often, lest I'll be missing them forever before I know it. I managed a few houses before all my kids started complaining about being tired and wanting to go home. At night I went to visit my sister-in-law (my wife's sister) in Serkam. She has been very helpful to our family since the day I got married. By the time I got home it was almost midnight and I'm almost half dead.

The next day, it was another round of house visiting. This time I brought my Mak Cik back to her kampong in Batu Berendam and then visited a few of my late father's old friends. I also managed to squeeze in a visit to Cikgu Rejab's house in the afternoon. He was one of the hostel master's who took care of me when I was in High School. As usual he was so happy whenever I managed to visit him. Without fail he will remind my children to "belajar rajin2, jadi macam ayah". My children must have been fed up with this reminder. But I feel we should take more time to visit our ex-teachers who have done so much for us but got back so little in return. Their only satisfaction, in my opinion, is seeing their students succeed and showing their gratitude towards their teachers.

The night of second Shawal, we had planned to gather at the local warung. We did not expect too many people as we know many will be busy with their own plans. But I was pleasantly surprised as we had Rahman Ali, Shafie Ibrahim, Hisham Daud, Mokhlis Maizan, Juwara Abdullah, Md Nor Johan, Sanusi Jalil, Ibrahim Jagung, Azman (I did not recognise him) and Azhar Haron. Even Capt Dato Rahim Aziz and his brother dropped by for a while but did not managed to stay as they had a family gathering at the time. Rahman Ali had postponed his trip to his in-laws in Batu Pahat just to be with us. Md Nor had to leave early as his wife kept calling. Juwara also had to leave early as his father in law is waiting for him to return before he locked the house. But early means 12:00 midnight. By 1:00am I had to leave too as I began to receive repeated smses from my wife. You see I promised her that we will leave "very early" the next morning for Kuala Lumpur to avoid the jam. But it was a worthwhile night. Juwara took a lot of pictures which I hope he will post to our e-group.

As promised, I leave early by (8:00am) the next morning and headed for Banting to visit my wife's auntie.

So it was a quiet Syawal. I had planned to visit more houses but there just wasn't enough time. I wonder when there will be enough time if we do not make the extra efforts.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eid Mubarak

How time flies. It seemed it was just yesterday we started fasting and in less than 24 hours it is already Syawal. This is my first Syawal without my father. When my mother passed away in 1981, I just returned from the States and started working. Now, my daughter just started working and I lost my father. Its going to be a lonely Hari Raya for me but being the eldest I'm expected to be home in Melaka. I don't know what it will be like but... life must go on.

At the beginning of Ramadhan this year, I resolved not to break fast outside the house too often. At the end of it I realised I was at home maybe about a week in total. The rest was at the hotels and in the office. Breaking fast in the office was okay. Our caretaker prepares his Bangladeshi fare every day. It consists of basically peas and rice. I started trying this dish 3 Ramadhans ago and have now gotten used to it. In fact I've begun to like it. But breaking fast at the hotels I think is a real waste of money. The average hotel Ramadhan fare this year is RM80 per pax. How can we eat this much worth of food after a full day of fasting? But our clients seemed to relish breaking fast at hotels and we are sort of forced into it. The other reason why I hate breaking fast at hotels is I'm most likely going to miss my tarawikh prayers.

Whatever, first Syawal will be on Saturday. I planned to drive back to Melaka after iftar on Friday. I'll take a slow drive, maybe we will stop in Banting before proceeding to Melaka. Hopefully we can have a taste of rendang Cik (my wife's auntie) in Banting.

In Melaka besides the normal visits to relatives (many are already elderly, so we need to visit them now) I plan to visit some ex-MHS friends. Maybe even hold a small gathering on 2nd Hari Raya. The plans are grand and I hope I can execute them.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I've got Asthma!

I've not been in the best of health in the last few weeks. At first I thought it must have been the heavier than usual workload both in the office and with my Alumni groups. However, when I started having breathing problems and started feeling tired too easily, I decided to see the doctor.

I first went to see my GP. I've been with him for the past almost 10 years. When I described my problems to him, he referred me to see Prof. Azman, a cardiologist at UH. I kept the referral letter but ultimately did not find my way to UH. Finally, when my health did not improve significantly after about 2 weeks, I decided to see Dato' Dr. George Ananda, a physician at Assunta Hospital. He did a full medical on me sometimes last year so I thought it is best to see him again. He was in fact highly recommended by my boss who is a personal friend of his.

So last Friday, 21 Sep, I took an appointment to see Dato' Dr George. He checked me up and gave me a very good rating on my blood pressure, 120/80. I have been very diligent with taking my medicine, Norvasc. But he told me that I had asthma as I was wheezing. What? At this age? I was told that if you get asthma at a late age, it will be bad. Anyway, I went through the whole full medical tests, except the stress test as I was fasting. I had my ECG, Echo and even MRI on my kidneys and liver. I did not wait for the test results but told the nurse that I'll come again at a later date to see the Dr for my results.

In the meantime, he prescribed some asthma medications for me. I know the medication very well because my dear wife is asthmatic. When I got home, I decided not to take the medication as I was confident I will be okay and I'll wait after seeing the Dr again. However, over the weekend, I was persistently coughing and I knew it was not the "normal" cough. I had no choice but to take the nebulizers. And sure enough, I felt a lot better better after taking them. But I had to take them 3 times a day and one of them contains steroids.

So, here I am having to carry my nebulizers every where I go. Previously I kept nagging my wife for not taking her medication. Now she can do the same to me:-) God is very fair. I hope I will be able to control my asthma so that it will not affect my life too much.

Keep healthy.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oh Nurin Jazlin

I'm sure all of you must have heard about the sad fate of adik Nurin Jazlin. It has been hogging the news the past few days. However way you look at it, it is indeed tragic. To the parents, to her friends and relatives but most importantly to society as a whole. Which civilised society allows one of its young members to be subjected to that barbaric act? To the perpetrator of that act, you are worse than the lowest of animals. I wanted to say that I'll pray you will rot in hell but I don't think that is necessary. God, is all His Wisdom shall bestow upon you just reward for your act. There is no need for us humans to pray for anything extra. What we could do is pray that Nurin Jazlin is accorded a better place than what has been deprived of her in this world.

Now lets look at us. What has caused us to come to this state of affairs? We are no longer safe in this land of ours. Where have the protection accorded to us gone to? Where are the police? Are they busy shooting "rioters" who are trying to topple the government through illegal means? Or are they busy escorting VIPs through the KL jams so that they do not have to endure the agony of getting stuck in traffic like us mere rakyats? What turned otherwise sane people into sex monsters? Some may say, the fault is with the ladies who wore pakaian yang menjolok mata dan mendedah aurat. Surely Nurin Jazlin did not flaunt her assets to this scum of society. Even if she did, what right has anybody got to attack someone just because she is not decently dressed. I know our religion has stipulated a certain dress code for us to follow. But that stipulation does not mean anyone not adhering to it can be subjected to abuse. Are we so weak mentally and spiritually that we cannot see anyone yang tak menutup aurat without wanting to sexually abuse them. Maybe, just maybe, we have kept this subject too much under wraps and taboo that we do not know how to control our urges. To those who are religiously well endowed please do not assume that everyone is like you. There are many others who are not fortunate enough to be as enlightened as you are. And it is also your responsibility to "take care" of these unenlightened souls. Don't just blame them, guide them for heaven's sake.

Now, I just read somewhere that the police intends to charge the parents of Nurin Jazlin for failing to take care of their children. Why do they want to do this? Because there is a law that have been enacted for this but has not been imposed all this while. Maybe the police hopes by doing this parents who have their children raped or molested will no longer make a report lest they will be charged with negligence themselves. This reminds me of a story that I've wrote before about our hostel warden, Cikgu Tahir. He once caned a student who made a report that he lost money twice while he caned the rest of us only once. Since then nobody dare to make a report about losing money. Why not just make making police reports a crime? Then we can proudly announce to the whole world that Malaysia is the safest country in the world because there is no police report about any crime. Just allow police report for rioters destroying public property or people having illegal gathering trying to listen to opposition parties making speeches against the government.

I can continue writing this but it will just make me sick and for a day in Ramadhan, it is definitely not good.

So lets end it here. Al-Fatihah for Nurin Jazlin. Semoga rohnya ditempatkan bersama roh mereka yang diberi perlindungan oleh Allah swt.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Its Going to be a busy Ramadhan

It is already the 2nd Ramadhan and I had not managed to either berbuka at home or sembahyang tarawikh in my mosque. The first tarawikh was at Masjid Al-Syakirin, KLCC, second one at home on my own, the third at Masjid Ar-Rahman, Taman TAR. Both berbukas were at the office.

I was planning a quiet Ramadhan where I can concentrate on my ibadahs but it looks like it is not going to be. First, there was a major presentation to the Ministry and now we have visitors from Dubai and Japan. Luckily these people are not that fussy. They even agreed to fast (skip lunch) while working so as not to bother our staff. But, it is already 10:20pm and all my staff and our guests are still in the office, working.

Next week we need to prepare for our final presentation to the KSU. When will this stop? I think I should seriously consider my priorities especially about continuously trying to make more money for the shareholders.

I hope the later part of Ramadhan will be more tranquil for me.

Sallam Ramadhan untuk semua. Semoga ibadat kita sekeluarga diterima Allah swt dan mendapat keberkatan yang berkekalan.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al-Mubarak

Masjid Nurul Yaqin hari ini mengadakan gotong royong mengemas masjid sempena kedatangan bulan Ramadhan. We had a good turnout. Penyelia sekolah KAFA made sure that students came in to help with the cleaning of classrooms and the Muslimat had quite a big team. Biro Pemuda also had a good number of attendees and they helped clean up the Futsal court.

There is actually not much to be cleaned as we have 2 Siaks taking care of the masjid but it was more of an annual social gathering. We did managed to prune the mango trees which had not been fruiting for sometime.

In the evening my family had dinner with my sister in law's family at Kelana Seafood to celebrate the birthday of her eldest daughter. The place was full of people. Everyone must be trying to fill up before the puasa month. We only had our food at around 9:20, about an hour after we arrived.

So in tune with the times, I just want to wish all of you "SELAMAT BERPUASA" semoga kita mendapat hidayah Allah untuk beribadat dalam bulan yang mulia ini.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Remembering Friends

It was an impromptu program by any standards, conceived, planned and executed all in less than 2 weeks. But as far as I'm concerned, it was a runaway success. It could have been better, no doubt, but everything "could have been something else" if we want to nitpick.

Thanks to the efforts of the prime movers Wilmie, Alim and Rosman, the ever helpful Mokhlis and of course the willing hosts Zahari and Nor Ismail, all went well. Of course without the attendance of and support of friends, all the planning would have come to nought. So thank you all.

The event started on Saturday, 1st September in Zahari's place in Bangi. It was a pity I was not able to be there as I had left for Melaka a day earlier. My biggest regret was not able to meet up with Cikgu Tahir. I have not not met him since I left school, more than 30 years ago. Who can forget Cikgu Tahir? Over the 2 years that he was the hostel warden, he must have caned me more than 30 times and I'm supposed to be one of the "good boys". You can imagined how many "the bad boys" would have got. Every time he blows the whistle 3 times all of us must assemble in front of his house. We know someone is going to be caned. Most times, most of us will be caned.

I can still vividly remember one night when the whistle was blown 3 times. We would rushed to wear at least 2 pairs of trousers and then our sarong to soften the expected blow. Cikgu Tahir told us that someone just reported to him that he had lost his money (I think it is 20 ringgit, big money to us then). Cikgu asked all of us to go upstairs and search for the money. If in 10 minutes we cannot find the money all of us would be caned. Sure enough 10 minutes passed and we came back down with no money. So all of us got caned. I think our Captain, the late Nor Zahari, was the first to be caned. One by one all of us got caned. All this while the boy who reported losing the money was standing besides Cikgu. All of us stared at him of course. After all of us had been caned, the boy who lost the money was caned twice for not taking good care of his money. Since that day nobody lost any money in the hostel.

Sorry but I digress.

On Sunday, a few friends including Wilmie, Alim and Rosman met the family of the late Anuar Johari and visited his grave in Cheras. They handed a small contribution that was collected earlier. Thereafter they drove to Melaka. Mokhlis drove alone from KL to Melaka.

I decided to fetch Cikgu Rejab from his house since I know he is not too well after a heart operation some time back. We were actually quite early and so decided to go to the grave of Tan Sri Rafie. He was the first Malay principal of Melaka High School and later became the Director General of the Education Ministry. Therefater, we went straight to Nor Ismail's place in Tiara Golf Resort.

Nor just moved in to his new abode two weeks ago. According to him, he had spent the last 15 months supervising the construction of his house. Knowing architects, his contractor must have had a nightmare :-). As expected, it was a very nice house. Soon enough everybody started arriving. The wife of the late Yusof Sulaiman and their 3 children were also present. We were busy reminiscing and almost forgot about our initial objective. A few minutes after 1:00pm we started the tahlil. Mokhlis gave a short introduction and mentioned the names of our friends who had left us. There was quite a number and some that I did not know have passed on. Cikgu Rejab led the tahlil and also recited the doa thereafter.

We were then treated to a sumptuous lunch. While we were having lunch "Edward" arrived with his wife. This is one friend whom I have the utmost respect for. He is staying in JB, more than 200kms away from Melaka, but he took the effort to join his friends in Melaka. When I invited him for my brother's wedding earlier in the year, he also made the effort to come. Thanks Edward, you are a gem of a friend. You definitely put others to shame. When some even considers Bangi to be too far away from KL, you are always your jovial self coming all the way from JB. But for all your efforts I still cannot remember your real name, Edward. Please forgive me.

Dato' Dr. Baba was also present. I did not had the opportunity to know him while in school but I surely have heard about him. After all, how many Malaysian doctors got shot while doing voluntary work in a foreign country? Syabas, Dato'. Keep up the good work. I'm proud just to know that you are a High School Alumni.

Later, we had our Zohor prayers, led by Cikgu Rejab. I had long chats with KM Yaakob. Frankly, I can not recall him from my High School days. I'm quite sure he also cannot remember me but we had something in common. Both of us worked for MISC, the national shipping line in the 80's and early 90's. Both of could have spent the whole day talking about shipping. After all, I know quite a bit about the exploits of seamen. Though KM is supposed to be an "old High School friend", I left the gathering thinking that I have just met a new friend. He is also the guy who painted the roof of his house into the Jalur Gemilang to celebrate Merdeka. What a guy.

Before long we had to continue with our program. Mokhlis handed some contribution to the eldest son of the late Yusof Sulaiman before we proceeded to ziarah his grave in Bacang. Before that all of us were handed a new pair of kain sarong. Thanks for the gift. It must be Wilmie, Alim and Rosman.

We spent only a short while at Yusof's grave as it was getting dark. We then drove to Selandar, quite a distance from Melaka, to meet the parents of the late Mazlan Yaasin (John). His mother is such a jovial lady. Even though Selandar is only a few kilometers from my kampong I have never been to this house while John was still alive. What a pity I only managed to be there after he was no longer around. I had to leave early as I promised dinner for my family as it was my daughter's birthday. The others proceeded to ziarah the pusara of John. I had to ask Malik to help send Cikgu Rejab home as I left the group. Thanks Malik for your help.

I was a full day for me. After dinner we headed back to KL and the highway was jammed packed with cars. I left Melaka round 8:45pm and reached Kelana Jaya about 30 minutes before midnight. I was real tired but the whole trip was worth it.

Thanks my friends. I will refrain from naming you all again but EVERYONE is special. Let us hope this is a signal of more to come. This past few months have been an experience for me. First, I was part of the team that organized our university Reunion. We had more time and the program was more elaborate. This time around we hardly had 2 weeks and the program was more sombre as we were remembering friends who were no longer with us. But isn't it ironic, it took friends who are no longer with us to get us to meet. Lets us not wait until someone leaves us before we meet again.

Sallam semua.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Going Back in Time to 1957

The New Straits Times had a novel idea of republishing (or was it photostating) The Straits Times of 1957. I do not know how long this has been going on but I caught the first one in yesterday's (28 August) issue which carried the old ST issue of 28 August 1957. It was an eye opener to say the least.

Most of the news were about the impending Merdeka celebration. But among the other items that caught my eyes were the following:

1. The advertisement for "Craven A' cigarettes with the tag line of "Kind to Your Throat". How can smoking be kind to your throat one would wonder?
2. There were advertisements for products which are still around today such as: Listerine, Brand's Essence of Chicken, Parker pens, Nespray Milk, F&N, and Bata and products that have ceased to be around such as BOAC airlines, Whiteaways Stores, Verkade biscuits.
3. There was a report that goes like this - "A Singapore judge, Mr. Choor Singh, yesterday told K. Suppiah, A National Serviceman, not to tell him a "cock and bull" story". The judge sure is telling it straight to the accused.
4. The first prize for the "Social Welfare Lottery" was $350,000.00, a lot of of money in those days.

There are of course other news items worth reading such as the make up of the first Malayan Cabinet which comprise 12 ministers.

A commendable effort by the NST.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Great Idea

A group of friends from my High School community came up with the idea of visiting the graves of our friends who have left us. I thought that was fantastic idea, so did a few of our other friends. So they are now taking the necessary steps to get this going. Doing this sort of work is never easy. We need enthusiastic people to work with. My recent experience of organising a Reunion for my college mates was pleasant only because the group were all equally committed to make it a success. That made it fun, despite the hard work.

On Sunday, 2 September we planned to meet in Cheras and visit the grave of the late Sdra. Anuar Johari. I think he had leukemia. Then we will convoy to Melaka to meet up with friends in Melaka and also visit the graves of the late Sdra Yusof Sulaiman and the late Mazlan Yassin. Both died of heart attacks.

I will only join them in Melaka as I plan to visit the graves of my parents that same weekend. Hopefully as many people as possible will join us. More important I am hopeful all will contribute generously to the collection which we are having so that we can pass the money to the families of our late friends.

I am looking forward to meeting up with old friends and also doing something worthwhile.

Kudos to Hj Wilmie and friends.

A Week to 50th Birthday

In exactly one week Malaysia will celebrating its 50th birthday. Technically, this may not be correct as Malaysia was only born in 1963, before that it was Malaya, but lets not be picky.

For a person, 50 years is "old". In one year, I'll be 50 and most people will consider that old and they may not be too far off. After all, how many of us will live up to 100 years old. Muslims consider 63 as the age of man. The Prophet s.a.w. lived up to that age. So reaching 50 for a man would mean he would have lived more than half of his expected life.

Not so for a nation though. A nation of 50 years of age is considered an infant still. So, how has infant Malaysia performed? To me, viewed from any perspective, Malaysia has performed rather well. Given the peculiar nature of its populace, with its diverse racial, religious and cultural backgrounds, Malaysia still managed to steer itself clear of inter groups tensions, except once. For this alone, everyone deserves a pat on the back. Arising from this success, other successes followed. Eradication (or rather drastic reduction) of poverty, better health service, access to education, higher quality of life and the likes were the rewards to the population.

God's Kindness is also in abundance. There are lots of natural resources, fertile land, sufficient rain, enough sunshine. As if tin was not enough God gave us oil. And more importantly, we were not subjected to major disasters. The annual floods in the East Coast cannot be considered a disaster since the people will go out in their best dresses during the flood season as if to celebrate the floods. It is now not uncommon to hear people "complain" about the absence of the annual floods.

With all going for Malaysia, why should people complain? Is it just for the sake of complaining? After all, people are never satisfied and will never be fully satisfied. That's the nature of Man. "They are forever ungrateful", some would say. But, feeling grateful should not preclude me from criticising, I would say. If I know things can be better why should I be satisfied with whatever I have now?. If I see wasteful activities, why should I keep quiet? Is not wastage a sign of ungratefulness in the eyes of God? How can I pretend as if everything is alright when I know for a fact they are not?

How do I reconcile the following?
> There are still many poor people working hard trying to make ends meet while the rich are fighting to get richer, sometimes at the expense of the powerless poor.
> Subsidies are given to the rich just because they are of a particular race or with a particular political leaning. Shouldn't help be given to the needy regardless of race or political preference? Why should a Bumiputra buying a RM2 million bungalow be entitled to a subsidy? All housing subsidies should be given to purchasers of low cost houses only so that these houses are really low cost but of certain quality. Just imagine, a 10% discount on a RM2 million bungalow is equal to 4 free low cost houses. The 10% saved by the multi millionaire Bumiputra will be used to buy Italian furniture while the 4 low cost houses can protect 4 needy families from the perils of nature. Who do you think will value the subsidy more?
> The government is spending lots of money on development but are the amount paid justified? Nobody will complain about expenses for as long as they are "value for money". How else do you explain the project subsidies and bail outs. Most of the time, the intention of the projects are noble indeed. It is only the implementation stinks. It is only the contractors that benefits. Once the project fails, the government (meaning all of us) takes over the burden. Examples, too many to enumerate.
> Contracts are given to specific groups. Quite okay as long as they are not over priced and everyone is given a fair chance. More importantly, those given the contracts should be capable of delivering what they promised.
> Have a fair election. Fair in all respects. Lets give everyone a shot at leading the nation. Not that we want to change the government unnecessarily, after all, we need some kind of stability and continuity. We just want to ensure those in power know that their positions are only safe if they perform and they do not deviate from their oaths. Is that too much to ask?

There are a few more but lets not dampen the achievements with too much complaints. As I said earlier, we have done well by almost any standards but it could have been better, much better, in fact.

As we approach 50 (both Malaysia and me) let us strive to better ourselves. Let us offer our thanks to God Almighty for all that have been blessed upon us. Let us thank our forefathers for their foresights and forgive them for their shortcomings. Let us be true to ourselves, correct our mistakes and work together as Malaysians. A man's life is too short for us to destroy a Nation.

Happy 50th birthday Malaysia.