Sunday, July 27, 2008

HBO's Place is one year old

I and 18 of my staff are in PD from yesterday until tomorrow. We are conducting a Maintenance Course for my technical staff over the period. The course is now ongoing but I'm at the Api-Api Coffee Terrace checking my mails. I'm also not well. Since yesterday I've been having running nose and a slight fever. Quite a few of us are caught by this bug making the session less bearable for me.

I was going through my blog a few days ago and realised that it has been one year since I started this. I've made almost 100 posts, not bad if I must say so myself. Of course, I could have done better but there were times in the past few months when I thought this blog would have died a natural death.

Reading back my earlier postings, it made me realized that I must continue with the blog. How I wished blogging has been around since many years ago. So, if there are any young ones reading this, please go ahead and start your own blog. No need to make daily postings, weekly would suffice. Many years later you will be glad that you have the blog as you will be able to go back in life which I am sure you will find interesting.

I am hopeful that I will be able to continue for many years more.

Happy Birthday Aizat

Today, 27 July is Aizat's, my fourth child, 15th birthday. I'm now in Port Dickson with my staff having a course. I'm sure Aizat must not be thrilled that I'm not home on his birthday. He would have asked for a sushi dinner tonight. How on earth he caught this expensive taste for Japanese food I don't know.

Aizat is the engineer at home. I can count on him to fix things up, be it the TV, Astro, some appliances we can depend on him. He is also the easiest to ask for help, so much so, sometimes I feel we took advantage of him.

But, Aizat is also the moodiest of all my children. He can get riled up for the simplest of things though he will snap out of it as easily. I've warned him to take things easy failing which he is a prime candidate for a heart attack. Lately he has improved in this area but there is still room for improvement.

As for his studies, well, I know he can improve. He definitely has the capability to do well. But it is so difficult to get him to sit down and study. If you force him to do anything he can finish a chapter in just five minutes. Me and wife always wonder what he achieve in the 5 minutes.

Sorry Aizat, I'm not able to be with you on your birthday this year.

Happy Birthday son.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In dire need of leaders of calibre

Both UMNO and MCA will be having their party elections in the coming months. While MCA will be seeing a new President and Deputy being elected, UMNO will be stuck with their "passed their used by date" leaders. It is a pity that the largest party in the country is in such a predicament after its worst election performance in its history.

One would have thought that after such a dismal performance the party would take steps to rejuvenate itself, the leaders would mend their ways and things will improve. But sad to say it is a case of things remaining status quo despite all the rhetoric. The leaders still in power continue to plunder the country's wealth, newly elected leaders jumping on the band wagon and would be leaders (or leaders in-waiting) preparing themselves to join in the fray. Such a sad state of affairs.

Lets take a look at the list of names that have been bandied around as potential candidates for the UMNO Vice President's post. The holders of these 3 positions are supposed to be next in line for the national leadership. How can names like Muhamad Muhamad Taib, Rahim Tamby Chik, Rais Yatim, Adnan Yaakob, and Isa Samad et al instill confidence in the rakyats who are facing tough times ahead?

God help us.

Muzakarah, Muqabalah dan Munawarah

Heboh semua menceritakan pasal muzakarah. Tapi belum ada pihak yang ingin memberi makna sebenar istilah muzakarah. Belum sempat saya faham apa itu muzakarah keluar pula istilah lain termasuk muqabalah dan munawarah, antaranya. Tetapi dalam pada ramai yang saya pasti tidak tahu apa sebenarnya muzakarah semua ingin bercakap tentang baik buruknya muzakarah. Surat khabar bercerita, tv dan radio juga sama, orang UMNO bercerita, orang PAS apa tah lagi. Sampai Karpal Singh dan Lim Kit Siang pun dan pandai bermuzakarah. Alhamdullillah, istilah Arab ini semakin popular.

Walau apa pun makna muzakarah, saya amat musykil mengapa ramai orang (terutamanya ahli PAS) yang tidak suka ia diadakan. Saya mengsyaki mereka tidak suka muzakarah ini kerana ia melibatkan UMNO. Kalau itu sebabnya, maka ia amat tidak menasabah. Apa salahnya dua golongan rakyat Malaysia bermuzakarah? Bukan kah kita dituntut untuk berbincang untuk menyelesaikan masaalah? Mana mungkin kita tahu pandangan orang lain jika kita tidak duduk berbincang?

Apa yang kita takutkan sangat? Dulu semasa PAS lemah (sekarang PAS kuat, tetapi belum tentu apa yang menyebabkan PAS kuat; mungkin cuma sebab UMNO lemah), PAS ajak UMNO muzakarah tetapi UMNO menolak. Sekarang UMNO lemah dan dia ajak muzakarah, tapi PAS tolak. Jadi, dalam hal ini, PAS dan UMNO sama saja, tak ada beza. Apa kah penyokong PAS tidak yakin dengan pemimpin mereka? Kalau muzakarah dengan UMNO nanti akan bawa PAS masuk BN. Kalau begitu dengkel pemikiran penyokong PAS atau begitu lemah semangat pemimpin mereka, sememang patut mereka tidak memerintah.

Muzakarah, muqabalah atau Munawarah? Saya masih tidak tahu apa makna istilah-istilah tersebut, tetapi buat lah apa yang patut. Nak muzakarah dengan UMNO ker atau PKR ker atau DAP, MIC, MCA, SUPP dan sebagainya teruskan. Tetapi pemimpin mesti pergi dengan mata dan hati yang terbuka dan penyokonmg mesti punyai keyakinan penuh pada mereka. Kita sekarang kuat (kalau betul kita kuat) jadi kita kena tunjuk keyakinan diri kita. Jangan layan provokasi media arus perdana atau mereka yang berkepentingan. Jangan jadikan isu kecil mengganggu perlaksanan program yang besar dan penting untuk rakyat.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An evening with Ros

Rosinah Ismail was a colleague of mine in Southern Illinois University way back in 1976. We were part of 16 students who were sent by MARA to Carbondale, Illinois, an American "kampung" where the university is located. (I'll need to write a book or even a series of books to cover that part of my life)

Anyway, I left Carbondale in 1980 upon my graduation to start work while Ros furthered her studies. We met once in KL in the early 80's and that was the last time I saw her. Many years past and whenever I met up with my friends from that era, we would often talk about Ros or her whereabouts. Nobody seemed to know about her, only the fact that she is no longer in Malaysia.

Last year when we wanted to have a Reunion, we started looking for Ros in earnest and we finally located her in Sweden. We started communicating again and when she was back in town recently organizing a seminar for the United Nations on some government related matters, we finally managed to meet up again, after all these years. It was a pity we were not able to gather too many people as Ros was exceptionally busy and so was everyone else. But we had a good time reminiscing about the good old days.

Ros is now married to a British working for a French company in Sweden. She is working for United Nations agency. They have a 13 year old daughter. She left for Sweden on Saturday, 19 July 2008. Take care dear. Till we meet again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Open Letter


Dear Sir/Ma’am,

My name is Hussin Othman. I studied in Melaka High School from 1971 to 1975 (Forms 1 to 5). My last “real” class was Form 5 Science 1, though I was in Lower Six Science 3 for a few months in 1976. First of all, on behalf of everyone who was at the Reunion I would like to thank all of you for your presence. By the Grace of God all of you looked healthy and cheerful that night. Some of you, notably Mr Chin, Mr Poh and Mr. Chye Boon didn’t seem to age. You must share your secrets with us now that we have just reached the half century milestone ourselves.
I’m terribly sorry that I can’t meet all of you personally as I was busy catching up with friends whom I have not met for more than 30 years. I can see that you were also busy catching up with your old colleagues. We must thank the Organizing Committee for giving us the platform to do this.

When I met some of you, most did not recognize me and some looked a bit disappointed. Not to worry Sirs/Ma’ams as I did not expect any of you to remember me. You see, I was not a super sportsman like Syed Abu Bakar or Amardas. Neither was I a super student like Wong Fung Chu or Leow Sien Beng. I was also not cuddly and likeable such as Edmund Tay. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was also not one of the “class rascals” like Alan Neo, Raymond Ho, Tong Kahm Chee, Yeo Kok Seng, Asorkar or Ibrahim Omar (sorry guys, I’m forced to name names). These guys have “special qualities” that made them stood out and be remembered. As for me, I’m just the average guy who will pass through life without being noticed. Unfortunately, those in my category form the largest segment of the student population so it makes it even more difficult for you teachers to remember us. But I was not slighted at all. On the contrary, some of you should be the ones who are disappointed as I was not able to recognize you. How can I forget teachers who have helped make a man out of me?

All of you can be proud that a significant number of your students are now very successful. We have got among us doctors such as Wong Fung Chu, Archuna, Ghazali Othman and Fong Kam Weng. There are pilots like Alex Chan; engineers like Sien Beng, Idris and Razak; accountants like Lim Bin Hoe, Ho Whye Yong and Radhuan; architects like Nor Ismail; lawyers like Armadas; Professors like Ramlan Aziz, Dianne and Ahmad Jamal. There also successful businessmen like Dato’ Halim, Asorkar, Ibrahim and Fong Ngan Teng; property valuers like Ahamad Latib; computer specialists like Henry Chan, Basir Bachik and Tong Kahm Chee; bankers like Mokhlis and Ismail; senior administrators like Syed Bakar, Leslie and Sim Say Kiong; optometrists like Lee Toong Fah; pharmacists like Koo Tsu Koon. Quite a number have also followed your footsteps in joining the noble profession of teaching such as Edmund Tay, Wong Chee Yin, Ali Manap and Shafie Ibrahim. (I am sure there are a lot more successful ones that I do not know of). As you can see, all of these ex-students of yours are very successful. Even for the rest like me, we have been doing okay and have not been a burden to society. You may also be glad to know that none of us have been in the wrong side of the law (at least not that I know of).

It has been more than 30 years since you last helped me and my friends prepare ourselves to face life’s many challenges. In the process, we may have either intentionally or otherwise misbehaved. For these, we seek your forgiveness. Being young, one would have expected us to make these mistakes. Your understanding in dealing with us will always be cherished. Of course, some of the actions taken by some of you may seem harsh by today’s standards but I’m sure those have long been forgiven even though these incidences still make good conversation pieces during gatherings like the Reunion.
I think I have taken too much of your time so I better stop here. Please forgive my writing. It may not reach the standards set by my English teacher, Ms Alice Chia. It may in fact disappoints her but let me assure you that even if it contains grammatical or structural mistakes it comes from the heart. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a healthy life. May God give us the opportunity to meet up again in five years time, at the latest. We may even try to meet up again before that.
Again, thank you for all that you have done for me for which I’ll be forever grateful.

Yours sincerely,

Hussin Othman
Your ex-student, 5 Science 1, 1975
23 Jalan SS7/14, Kelana Jaya
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
013-369 4373;

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Muak, Mual dan Jelak

Sejak akhir-akhir ini terlalu banyak berita sensasi melibatkan ahli politik negara kita. Saya sudah rasa muak dengan kerenah mereka yang sepatutnya memikirkan kaedah yang terbaik untuk menyelesaikan masalah rakyat. Baik dari pihak yang telah diberi mandat untuk memerintah mahupun pihak yang bercita-cita untuk memerintah dengan apa cara sekali pun.

Tidak cukup dengan janji-janji yang tidak nampak bila akan ditepati ditambah pula dengan tuduhan-tuduhan yang dibalas balik dengan tuduhan lebih dasyat semuanya menyebabkan jentera pemerintah kini jadi lesu. Akhirnya rakyat bawahan yang menderita. Mereka yang berebut kuasa sudah cukup selesa dengan harta bertimbun entah dari mana datangnya.

Saya sudah muak, mual dan jelak dengan apa yang berlaku. Mulai semalam saya sudah tidak ambil peduli tentang cerita politik tanah air. TV sudah disimpan dalam bilik; surat khabar telah lama tidak dibaca; blog politik pun sekarang sudah saya tidak buka.

Sekarang pun telah masuk bulan Rejab, tak lama lagi Ramadhan akan muncul kembali. Semoga diberi Allah umur yang panjang untuk kita sampai ke Ramadhan selepas itu diberi kesihatan yang baik untuk kita mengerjakan ibadat Puasa dengan sempurna. Ini pasti jauh lebih baik dari memikirkan tentang perkembangan politik tanah air.


The Protes event at the Kelana Jaya Stadium near my house took place as planned over the weekend. I was not there and I did not even bother to ask anyone close to me if they went. But I did read reports about it.

My take on it:
1. I do not think it achieved the objectives the Organizers had in mind.
2. It was more of a carnival than a protest
3. It was an avenue for politicians to speak. Mind you, politicians love to speak, more so when there is a crowd.
4. It created unnecessary problems to the People's Coalition (Pakatan Rakyat)
5. PAS members and supporters which normally form the bulk of these types of programs were clearly "pissed off" with the way the program was organized. I'm sure Dr. Hatta will have an earful from the other PAS leaders.

I read quite a few comments from readers of various blogs that touched on the "performance" of Carburetor Dung (what a name) and would like to state my opinion.

Quite a few people commented that PAS members look at things with a blinkered view and was intolerant to the acts of others. While I can agree to the view that one can do anything as long as they are not illegal, people must also remember that PAS members also have their "rights" of not listening to thrash. After all, the event is supposed to be a protest on the increase in fuel prices. That is why they brought their families, including children, to the event to show the government that the whole family is affected. Can any one blame them if they did not expect their children to listen to vulgar words being uttered by singers who also believe that showing their butts to the crowd is entertainment?

I know some of the PAS supporters came all the way from Kedah to support the Pakatan in voicing their disgust at the increase in fuel prices and what they saw was some long haired singers showing their butts at them and uttering foul language. Do you expect them to just keep quiet and show their tolerance?

While we are considering the rights of the singers please do not forget the rights of the PAS supporters? When we ban smoking in certain places are we not depriving smokers of their rights? But we still do it because we know there is more good than bad to our actions.

But I still think there is some good out of this. For sure there will not be another rally or protest for a while.

Monday, July 07, 2008

No more TV

This year two of my kids are sitting for major exams. Hani will be sitting for her UPSR in September and Aizat his PMR in October. My wife and I have had difficulty in controlling the TV watching times.

I have many times threatened the kids that I will put the TV in my room if they failed to control their TV watching habits. My threats have failed miserably. Finally, we decided to pull the plug off the TV once and for all. The TV is now in my room, not even connected to its power source and the Astro card is in my wallet. So, no more TV for everyone in the house for the next few months. I wonder how life would be like. So much the better, I presumed.

The first casualty was that I missed the classic Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer last night. I do not know how I will take it when the BPL season starts. I may have to go out to the neighbourhood mamak stall for my dose of BPL football.

Things we have to do for our kids..

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Another Reunion

In August last year I was part of a group of friends that managed to organize a Reunion among our university mates who graduated around 1980, about 28 years before. In fact, this group of friends first met in 1975. We had a great time meeting up after all these years.

Next Saturday, 12 July 2008, I'm attending another Reunion, God Willing. This time I'm not involved in the organizing, just coming as a participant. This is more challenging for me because it involves friends I first met in 1971 when I first stepped into my secondary school, Melaka High School. A group of us decided that we should meet up in conjunction with our 50th birthdays in 2008. I thought it was a very good idea. There were more than 250 of us in Form 5 in 1975. So far, about 100 old friends have confirmed joining the Reunion. But what makes me more excited is that about 30 of our old teachers are also joining us. That would be something to look forward to.

It would be a challenge for us to recognize our old friends after more than 30 years but I can't wait for the challenge. If only more of my friends share my enthusiasm

Saturday, July 05, 2008


There is going to be a BIG protest near my house tomorrow. That is what has been planned anyway. Its called Protes Sejuta Rakyat or something to that effect.

It is supposed to show the government that the rakyat is not keeping quiet about the government's decision to increase the price of petrol by 40% last month. As I wrote earlier, I'm not against the increase in petrol prices per se. In fact I support the government's efforts to reduce the subsidy on fuel prices as it creates an artificial economic scenario. Moreover, those not deserving to get the subsidy benefit the most.

So, I'm not too supportive of the protest. Anyway, I've got plans in the morning, our company is having a futsal carnival. I feel protests are only effective if they are done once in a long while. It is going to cause a lot of discomfort to bystanders and neighbourhood residents. It is also going to cost the participants of the protests dearly. It open opportunities for provocateurs to cause trouble. I know this because I attended the rallies of the Reformasi days.

Despite not attending, I'm hoping that the event will be well attended and pray that no untoward things happen to the participants and residents.

Good luck, rakyats.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What is happening to my country?

I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were both in agreement that what we need is a stable government to help the country get through the expected world economic downturn. It does not matter who the government is, BN, PR, PAS, DAP or what have you, as long as it is stable. I initially said we need a stable and non-corrupt government but then I said, after what we had for 50 years, we cannot get any worse as long as it is stable.

And today another bombshell of a Statutory Declaration. What is it with SDs nowadays? Everyone seemed to be wanting to make one. There must be money to be made. After all, it only costs a few Ringgits to make one. With such low production costs the return on investment must be tremendous. Maybe I'm in the wrong business.

By the end of the day, I was thinking maybe we need the army's help to secure a stable government. What a thought.

May Allah swt have Mercy on us.