Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kerapatan Waris & Hari Keluarga BERKAT

The Rasah Clan

Last sunday 28 December 2008 happened to be the last day of Hijri 1429 and it was an auspicious day for BERKAT - Rasah, because the planned " Kerapatan Waris & Hari Keluarga BERKAT " finally materialised, Alhamdulillah.

It was significant in the sense that it was the third large gathering of the descendants of Tuanku Tambusai ever to take place. The fortunate part is that although the day before an announcement was made of the passing away of the state ruler and the hall which we were going to hold the function bore his name, there was no cancellation. Luckily the ownership of the Golf Resort has changed hands and the new team just took over the management of the Resort just two months before.

Although I had a discussion with other members of our organising committee at the venue on that saturday afternoon, little did we expect surprises, but as the saying goes, if something were to happen , it will and when we arrived on that sunday morning we found the place to be in a mess. The night before the venue hosted a function and somehow the management got the wrong facts about the timing of our function. Nevertheless since we pressed for quick action, the mess was quickly cleared up and our function started half an hour after it's scheduled time.

Since we had expected that the latecomers would still be streaming in after the scheduled opening of the function, which only involved the family members, and the only outsiders were the invited reciter of the Al-Quran and Prof. Abdullah Zakaria Ghazali from University Malaya, we somehow were spared any embarassment.

The function went on fairly smoothly after the late start of about half an hour, beginning with the recitation of the Al- Quran by Ustaz Abdullah Omar and he followed it with the Doa. My welcome speech took about ten minutes or at most about thirteen, and then followed by the talk by the good Professor. His talk was quite revealing as he had been to Rokan Hulu and visited the Benteng 7 Lapis, so he knew what he was talking about. Since he's a Professor of History, he gave a good interesting account of Tuanku Tambusai. The session was chaired by my brother Dr Mohd. Hazim Shah who was instrumental in getting him to come for the talk.

After the slide presentation and the endorsementof the new line-up of the Ahli Lembaga Waris Rasah, we had a photography session and lunch. So ended the auspicious day which had been planned well in advance and with no less than four meetings which started on the 10 August 2008.

The central focus of BERKAT's effort for the 3rd term would be the encouragement of more younger generation people to be involved and later lead the organisation. As it is now the transition is taking place where half of the new line-up consists of new faces, and it takes into consideration two additional posts which is provided for under the amended provision in the Undang Undang Tubuh of BERKAT. I wish them all the best for the future!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Riau Diary (4)

I have been procrastinating in following up my Riau diary not because of anything but got caught up with the preparation of BERKAT's "Kerapatan Waris & Hari Keluarga" which will be on this weekend 28 December 2008, InshaALLAH. Of course it's not the nitty gritty things that I am worried about, but I am rallying as many members of our large Tuanku Tambusai's descendants which originated from the "Rumpun Rasah" to attend. The younger generation who are internet savvy can be approached via their e-group in the Facebook, but for the older generation, it's by snail mail of course.

Our recent trip to Riau was an eye-opener in sorts, because we have heard from our fathers or mothers about Tok Ungku and his heroic fights with the Dutch and the missionary zeal which he carried out in various parts of Sumatra in spreading Islam was legendary. So when we heard the accounts from our Tambusai friends in Riau, it just confirmed those stories which were handed down by word of mouth. The welcome which again was unplanned and entirely at the initiative of the Rokan Hulu Dept of Culture and Tourism was a touching one. A group of well dressed schollchildren awaited us and as we arrived, they sang their National Anthem and other songs in our honour and we never expected such a welcome.

Ibu Yurikawati, Ketua Dinas Dep Kebudayaan & Pelancongan in Rokan Hulu is an absolutely wonderful host and thanks for her leadership, as well as Pak Syamsurizal and others. We cannot find the words to express our gratitude for your hospitality and welcome. It's hoped that such cordial relations with BERKAT would continue.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Riau Diary (3)

For this third instalment of my Riau diary, I had consulted my sifu, Tengku Ali Bustaman (see his blog Dibawah Rang Ikan Kering) as to how to upload photos, so here I am.

Our second day in Rokan Hulu started by checking out of the Inn after a simple breakfast of nasi goreng and bread with tea or coffee and the tour bus left at just about 0800 hrs towards Daludalu which was about 33 kilometres from Pasir Pangarayan. The road trip this time was pleasent as there were few gaping holes. We did not see anyone standing in the middle of the road putting out their arms for donations to be handed into their baskets. We only came across a good number of these volunteers when we were on the road from Pekanbaru to Pasir Pangarayan the day before. After about three quarter of an hour, we turned off the road just before the bus stopped at the archway as shown in the photo, where the words " Benteng Tujuh Lapis" was written. Somehow nobody bothered to repair the torn bits of khat on the fascia of the " Pintu Gerbang". As we got off the bus some villagers, presumably the local self appointed guides began to show us the way which was quite obvious as the road is metalled. Invariably the area where the " Fort " was once proudly standing as the mute testimony of the heroic defence by Tuanku Tambusai's soldiers have been "invaded" by the villagers who built their houses since it's fall in 1838.

As we walked towards the further end of the Benteng along the metalled road, we realised that the whole place could have been settled by the local population after it fell to the Dutch since it was a good 170 years ago where the materials used for the Fort were namely earth, water and bamboo ( a special hardy type called aur berduri where the stalks of the bamboo leaves have thorns sprouting at the base of the leaves ). Today one could hardly see where the traces of the Benteng 7 Lapis are because of erosion. The Dept of Culture and Tourism of Rokan Hulu has been given the task of looking after the place as it had been declared as a heritage site under their local laws.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Riau Diary (2)

As promised, I am continuing my diary on the experience of Riau trip on the second day of our stay which fell on a monday 24 November 2008. The night before, all on the trip were briefed to be ready by 7.00 a.m. to check-out of the hotel, leaving the heavy luggage for safekeeping because we would be checking in again on the next day 25 November perhaps by late evening. We were told that depending on the traffic,the average time to reach our destination would take about four to five hours. Uncle Dol could not share the room with me for the first night stay in Ibis Hotel because Hishmy, his eldest son who came together with him, had a running fever, so he stayed with them ( his other son Husni Zhaeem also came ) because he's concerned that he must get well before we start on the journey to Rokan Hulu. The distance from Pekanbaru to Pasir Pangarayan, the capital of Kabupaten Rokan Hulu, is about 252 kilometres and the road is metalled though riddled with crater like holes in certain stretches of the way. I came down for breakfast before anyone else and made sure I had ample time to attend to nature's call after my fill. It's always my habit to keep my bowel movement as near normal as possible even when I am away from home. It's a cardinal sin for me if I don't empty my bowels every day. I suppose it's a good habit to keep if you look forward to a healthy life apart from eating a balanced meal. A few minutes later other members of my group also came to the coffee house for breakfast, and they brought with them their luggage. I had made arrangements to bring my two pieces of luggage one a sling bag and the other a cabin-bag to Rokan Hulu, since I had no time to sort out which to bring and to leave behind. Right on the dot, the tour guide was already at the lobby a few minutes before 7.00 am and I hastened the rest to get ready and board the bus. We left the hotel a few minutes after 7.00 am and since I set the example to be punctual, the rest had to tag along without further ado. As expected, the morning rush hour saw a lot of traffic in Pekanbaru, but our tour guide knew how to keep the group entertained. Ronaldi, a Padang man knew his job well and we all liked him. Somehow even though I had forewarned Normah who's assigned as the tour leader that we might have to make a good number of pit-stops as most of us do not fall within the below half a century in age, surprisingly did not make the call after several hours. We might have been so engrossed in looking at the scenery as we pass along many places en-route to Rokan Hulu which is dotted by villages and towns like Bangkinang and others which reminded me as if we were travelling to Kuantan from KL on the old road, because we crossed a few large rivers, as big as Sungai Pahang and Sungai Kelantan. It was almost about four hours later that I decided to ask the tour guide to find a pit-stop because my bladder was almost feeling like bursting.Unfortunately the place chosen was not a presentable facility and only in desperation would one could release the bladder. But we stopped longer than necessary because there was a shop selling the SIM cards of Indonesian telephone carriers which seemed to be cheap enough for short term use while in Sumatra to call home. A few of our members only found that it did not work on their phones after making the purchase, much later. I refused to buy because I did not have much faith in their telcos, which I had read when Maxis decided to pull-out their joint venture in Indonesia sometime ago. We continued the journey to Pasir Pangarayan and when we arrived at about noon time, the bus driver could not locate the lodging house where we were supposed to check-in. I gave Ronaldi the phone number of my contact in Pasir Pangarayan and he asked for instructions. However, since he figured that it was quite difficult to locate the place, he asked for the person whom I named to wait at a spot along the main road of the town to guide us. So finally we followed a man on a motorcycle to the so-called "Rokan Permai" hotel, which was more like a motel. A group of smartly uniformed personnel from the Department of Culture and Tourism of Rokan Hulu were waiting for us at the " Hotel" and received us in warm welcome. We introduced ourselves and I spoke to Drs. Syamsurizal, the "Sekretaris" of the Dept in Rokan Hulu and also Tahirman Tambusai, the man who guided the driver to our accommodation.I was given the room on the same level as the front entrance and the rest were shown theirs behind. I had a brief conversation while at the lounge and showed Syamsurizal our family-tree chart from Tuanku Tambusai to the fourth generation and also handed him the CD on Makam Tuanku Tambusai which I brought along for record of our host, the Dept of Culture and Tourism while in Rokan Hulu ( ROHUL for short). In the confusion of leaving the " Penginapan Rokan Permai" I was left behind as everyone left in cars and the tour bus. My group thought I was in the same vehicle as Syamsurizal, but actually I went to the restroom before they left without me. So the innkeeper commented that " Komandernya ditinggalkan oleh anak buahnya!" when I requested him to send me after the tour bus. I managed to catch up as the group realised that I was left behind. It was really a funny situation. But at the "Rumah Makan Ayu" we had a tremendously tasty spread of Rokan Hulu dishes. Drs. Syamsurizal gave an elaborate account of Tuanku Tambusai's heroic deeds in Sumatra alongside Imam Bonjol and Tuanku Rao, and everyone was mesmerised by his fluent account of the past history where our "moyang" was an important player in resisting the colonial Dutch forces who were bent in subjugating the indigenous population from the north to the southern tip of Sumatra. After the sumptuous lunch, we headed back to the inn, and rested after performing our solat jamak and qasar till the next programme to Pawan Hot Springs about 7 or 8 kilometres from the Inn. One of the officials from the Dept of Culture and Tourism accompanied us on the bus to Pawan Hot Springs. We stopped by the roadside stalls in Pasir Pangarayan to buy durians and duku to bring to the hot springs. We were met again by the officials from the Dept of Culture and Tourism at the site and this time Ibu Yurika, the Kepala Dinas ( Head of Dept ) was there to greet us. She's such a graceful lady that I thought I had known her for a long time, and she told my group that she's a Tambusai person, and she said to Normah that one of the characteristic is " Gampang emosinya, tapi hati baik" and in fact Bapak Syamsurizal and many others from her Dept.are also from Kecamatan Tambusai. We had a feast of durians and dukus to the extent that it was more like a picnic because there's a clear stream passing through the hot springs and the water is crystal clear. I told her that we were much indebted to her because the treatment and the welcome from her dept officials is normally accorded to "Official Visitors" and not to a private group like us. We ended the picnic by evening and were back at the Inn by maghrib prayer time. For dinner we went to a place specialising in " Ikan Bakar " about 3kilometres from the Inn and we found it truly special because the " Rumah Makan Sasmita " is perched in the midst of several pools where the fish are bred. Our group really enjoyed the " Ikan Bakar " dinner and as we travelled back to the Inn, we were told that we had to go and ' Putar- Putar ' first as the electrical supply is being restored after a blackout. As we were already exhausted after the day's travel and the picnic at the hot springs, we just could not wait any longer to hit the sack. Cousin Ani was one of those who wanted to return to Pekanbaru as soon as possible, but after a tiring day she too was convinced that the Rokan Hulu trip would await us with better prospect of success. The group were again asked to have an early breakfast so that we would check out by 7.00 am. It was another memorable day in Riau which we could never have expected it's outcome and we were pleasently surprised with such an interesting reception. The next instalment would be an account of the visit to Daludalu where the Benteng 7 Lapis is situated and the prime reason of our trip to Riau. See you then folks!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Riau Diary

On the 23 November 2008,Nasimah accompanied me to Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport in Subang for a sendoff to Pekanbaru. Husni, my second son drove the car as I knew that parking would be a problem as renovation works are under way at the airport. I arrived at the same time as the other members of BERKAT ( acronym of our family association) and it indicated a good start because I emphasised the importance of punctuality, especially when one is leaving by plane. I was glad that I held on the intention to fly with MAS subsidiary airline, viz; Firefly, because it's aircraft is new and the service is better. I always said that I would fly other budget carrier if given the choice, but not Air-Asia! The haste many passengers made on boarding that low-cost carrier puts me off, even though they give priority to children and senior citizens. At the airport there were many who arrived after me, those who are in our BERKAT group, 19 passengers altogether, and we were met by the travel agent's owner En. Helmi. He's a pleasant man and we got acquainted easily. When I told him that my name was incorrectly printed on the name tag for the luggage he was quick to ask his assistant to check the entry in the airline computer system and to his relief it was correct. A surprise of sorts was also discovered when my cousin Basri introduced an elderly looking person wearing a coat and a songkok to me as Prof. Suwardi from Riau also going to Pekanbaru. I have heard of him before from Basri as a historian who was on the panel that recommended Pakih Saleh @ Tuanku Tambusai as a National Hero for consideration of Jakarta. We were planning for a seminar on Tuanku Tambusai a few years ago and he was supposed to be the leading player. As fate had it, we shelved it till further notice and here's the man whom we were supposed to invite in presenting one of the papers on Tuanku Tambusai. Nasimah and Husni left before our flight which was at 1205 hrs and we proceeded to the departure gate about 1120 hrs. It was quite a walk and when we were at the departure gate, the immigration counter was yet to open.The waiting crowd were fortunately small and when the aircraft landed to take us to Pekanbaru, it was about 1145 hrs. We boarded and the flight took of at 1210 hrs and all the way the journey was smooth, thanks to the prayers of many in the group, including me of course, anxious that nothing untoward come our way on this historic journey. We landed at the Sultan Syarif Qasim II in Pekanbaru at 1210 hrs local time, as our time is ahead of Indonesia by one hour. Upon embarkation I suddenly realised that we are actually in a foreign country although everything seemed so familiar, especially the airport reminded me of Kota Bharu, Kelantan. We lined up for Immigration clearance and although it is a visit Indonesia year 2008, somehow their immigration personnel does not seem to have that ready smile or that welcoming warmth effusing from their body language. Nevertheless, we collected our luggage without hitch and went straight to the waiting travel agent's personnel already at the airport.After the introductions and a wait of about twenty minutes for the bus, we were on the road to the city. Before boarding I managed to strike a conversation with the consular official from our Malaysian Consulate based in Pekanbaru who was waiting for his plane to Jakarta for a meeting at the Embassy. As it was lunch time, we were taken to a Restaurant for lunch and it was our first taste of Riau dishes. Perhaps due to the fact that we were hungry as the on-flight refreshments only consist of a muffin and orange squash, it was a welcome change. What a noisy lot were we, and since we are mostly related by blood lineage, this is the first time such an experience of travelling in a large group as family members, the excitement was understandable. The food was good and we enjoyed the company of everyone present, which was a fine start. We then checked in at the hotel which is about two kilometres from the city centre and when we got down we were told by the tour guide, Ronaldi, that a shopping tour to Pasar Ramayana was scheduled at 1500 hrs. As I needed a rest, I stayed back with Uncle Dol before we keep up our appointment to meet Boy Dharma Subekti Tambusai at about 1630 hrs. When it was 1700 hrs and Boy DS Tambusai still did not show up, Uncle Dol and I went down to the lobby. Somehow I forgot to inform the reception that we were in the lobby in case Boy asked for us. Sure enough, we were at the lobby when he enquired at the reception for us, as I had messaged to him earlier our room number. When I decided to inform the reception, immediately I was informed that he had just left. As such the receptionist rushed out to ask the security guard to call him, since he was still in the hotel compound. We were of course elated to be able to meet in person, as I had been in correspondence with him all along since before the fasting month. He had been introduced to me by Dil Ishak, another waris Tuanku Tambusai, the grandson of Hj Tahir. His demeanour is the opposite of what I expected, because he wore a serban and jubah, but we got along as if we had known each other a long time already. As I did not bring down the family-tree chart of Tuanku Tambusai so I went up to the room to fetch it while Uncle Dol and Boy chatted. A few minutes later I came down and gave him a short brief on the chart and it showed up to only the fourth generation. I also handed him a compact disc of the video on Makam Tok Ungku. Then we invited him to the coffee-house for refreshments and continued our conversation. He told us that it was unfortunate that Dil could not come along because he first knew him through his website, but I explained that he's committed to his new job and he cannot obtain leave since he had just taken up the new appointment. After about almost maghrib time, he excused himself and invited us to visit his family's house in Pekanbaru. With a promise that we would inform him before coming, we bade him goodbye for the day. We went up to our room to perform the solat maghrib and waited for the group to return from Pasar Ramayana and dinner. We left the hotel for dinner outside and it was again another generous spread of Padang dishes. Since we would be leaving for Rokan Hulu at the following morning, the group decided to get some tidbits for the journey. So we stopped at the hypermart situated on the same road as the hotel. When Normah and others were furiously looking for " asam-boi" and I told them to ask the hypermart salespersons, the only asam they knew is "Asam-Jawa"! What a hilarious experience for many of us and I quipped that next time they should bring along packets of " Asam-boi" as part of their presents to the locals. By 2200 hrs many were already tired and had to prepare for the next day's journey to Rokan Hulu which would approximately take about five hours on our tour bus. So we returned to the hotel and that ended the first day of our arrival in Riau. I will continue the diary for the second day where we are leaving the hotel for Pasir Pangarayan, the district capital of Rokan Hulu, InshaALLAH. See you on the next instalment!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Passing of another Tuanku Tambusai's descendants.

Yesterday 12 November 2008, wednesday morning I received a message on my mobile phone, the passing away of a relative who suffered a stroke more than 24 months ago and since then was bedridden and could not speak a word nor could she do things on her own. She had to depend on a maid to look after her for everything and fortunately her son and daughter-in-law, both working stayed with her. So I drove to Seremban accompanied by Nasimah straight to the Makam at Bukit To' Ungku in Rasah because I was told that she would be buried at 10.30 am. Luckily I did that because the normal route which I am familiar in going to the makam was closed and I had to detour twice in order to find the entrance to the Makam. The steep incline to the top of the small hill caused me to change to low gear because the drive mode could not bear the strain. As I reached the hilltop, I knew that I was the first relative to arrive because only the grave diggers and the supervisor from the Majlis Perbandaran Seremban were the only people present. I greeted them with the normal salutation and told them that I am the waris of the deceased. Since the jenazah still had not arrived, I read the Yasin and " sedekah" it for the soul of Tuanku Tambusai, my ancestor whose last stand against the Dutch in Daludalu earned him the National Hero status conferred on him in 1995 by the Indonesian Govt. It was timely since I would be visiting Daludalu on 24 November 2008 with my BERKAT group of 19 people. After I completed reciting the Yasin, I then went to read the names on the gravestones of several very old graves. I showed Nasimah some of the names who are familiar to me since I remembered them when small. It's a family graveyard actually where most of Tuanku Tambusai's descendants were buried. I was more or less transported back to several decades in memory of those whom I came to know before. Of course I sedekah fatihah in rememberance of them when they were alive. A visit to a graveyard is actually a reminder that one day your turn will come to leave this mundane life. All that stands witness to your existence before would be the good name you leave behind.There were some gravestones which were inscribed with the word " Fakih" in front of their names or their fathers. Obviously the descendants of Tuanku Tambusai had quite a number of those learned in the Fiqh. Perhaps this poignant moment is the time for me to reflect while waiting for the burial of Mak Lang Nor to take place. It was about less than an hour after my arrival that the jenazah arrived for the burial. After the recitation of the Talqin by the Imam and the Doa was read, the people who are familiar to me greeted each other. I also met Datin Zuraidah, the mother of Sheikh Muzaphar, the first Malaysian spaceman who docked at the space station and of course she could not recall me, till I reminded her that we were in the Malay class in form one in KGV with our teacher En. Yahya,only then she said she remembered him. Uncle Dol also said she could not remember him, so the Makam was the place where not only the memory of the dead was brought to bear, even the living ones where more than four decades of attending school were revived. Such was the event accompanying the burial of a relative which brought back old memories of the living and the dead became resurrected yesterday morning. Even Thuraiyah, my second cousin's spouse had a hard time to recognise me at first till I told her who I am. He told me that Aziz Sheikh Kadir( her husband ) had to keep an appointment which he could not cancel, thus her presence accompanied by Amrah and Sheikah, her sisters-in-law.I was also surprised to see a member of my Class of '64 Mohamad Akbar Baba at the burial too. Apparently his wife's family were neighbours to Allahyarham Hj Tahir's family before. No wonder it's always said that nowadays, we only revive our family and old ties at weddings or funerals, such is the way of the world in this century! See you for the next posting.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Hajj, a never ending journey.

The Tabung Haji Complex in Kelana Jaya which is about a kilometere from my house is again abuzz with departure of Hajj pilgrims from the central states of Peninsular Malaysia, namely Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Pahang. One morning as my wife and I passed in front of the complex, there were many traffic policeman stationed at the junctions leading to the Complex. Only later I saw on the evening news that the Yang diPertuan Agong was there seeing off the first batch of pilgrims leaving in buses for KLIA. My wife is very nostalgic about Makkah and she gets quite emotional whenever she saw groups of pilgrims being driven by the busloads to the journey of their life, in answering the call of ALLAH S.W.T. to perform the last pillar of Islam. To hundreds of thousands or even millions of pilgrims from all over the world, the Hajj is a never ending journey of not only the physical bodies, but their souls as well. The Hajj could only be performed in the last month of the muslim lunar calendar which is Zulhijjah and not in any other month and due to the movement of the lunar years, the Hajj season now falls in the winter period. When I first went for my Hajj in 1986 it was at the height of the summer and the heat then was ranging in the high forties centigrade, just like what I experienced when I went for my Umrah in July 2008. In comparison, the Hajj season beginning this year is marked by the absence of affordable accommodation within the walking time of about 15-20 minutes to the Al-Haram. The majority of Tabung Haji pilgrims, even those going through approved travel agencies will be travelling quite a distance from the Al-Haram because the old familiar places have been demolished to make way for the expansion of the Al-Haram. Unlike most pilgrims before, they have to take buses to and fro the Al-Haram from their lodging places and this means they have to almost camp in and around the Al-Haram from morning till dusk if they want to have the benefit of praying at the Al-Haram during the prayer times. Even the place for the Sa'ei has been added to the third and fourth levels now, when previously only two levels, one on the same level as the Al-Haram and the other on the first floor. All these additions are to cater for the rapid increase in the number of pilgrims performing the Hajj every year. Apart from the renovations in Makkah, the place in Mina where the throwing of the devil symbolised by the the three Jamrahs have also undergone tremendous changes where another two levels are added to the previous two and the round pillar signifying the small, medium and large familiar round structure is now a flat wall. So the Hajj is actually more a journey of the heart and soul rather than the physical body and it's a never ending journey to cleanse all and when has gone through it should feel the difference, otherwise they shall crave for more worldly affairs. In finding one's direction in this world and the hereafter, the Hajj is the most important journey which must be performed by the able, in order to find salvation in the next world. So to those who are fortunate to be called as the " Guests of ALLAH S.W.T." be Blessed and may you all find the journey fulfilling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sungai Ujong

One of my friend's blog adopted the above name although he's a Kolopilah born son of Negri Sembilan who served in the largest land development agency in the country and became the GM of it's subsidiary dealing with haulage. Now his comments are largely directed at the current administration and the political scenario in UMNO. Another friend whose blog is connected to that feathered kind who's going to bring in the $$ bills with his partner was afraid that one day Sungai Ujong might find himself in the troubled waters of the polluted Sungai passing through the Luak of " Semujong " as it was known in the 18th Century before Negri Sembilan became a full-fledged State complete with Martin Lister as it's first British Adviser of the merger of 9 small "states" thus giving it the modern name. Nowadays not many cared how it all began to be known as Negri Sembilan because most of the available land except for the gazetted forest reserves had been alienated to people who did not even claim to have any relationship to the 9 States, but were nevertheless given huge tracts of the Jelebu jungle fringing Selangor's border hoping that with the road connection coming out through Ulu Langat, the value would one day sky rocket to dizzying heights and even though they already have billions, they wanted to make trillions or quadrillions. As the son of the Adat Perpateh State of N9, I had never dreamt of owning any piece of land, simply because I am no land grabber and I just do not want to answer too many questions come the Day of Judgement because a second's delay in crossing that hairline bridge to Paradise can cost you thousand of years measured not in our "time" but in the space and time of the hereafter, which is in the word's of the religious scholars or Ulamaks " Wallahu wa'lam" meaning only ALLAH is the Know-All. Sungai Ujong had always a chequered history and even till today the issue of whether the present Undang Luak of Sungai Ujong has the legitimate approval of his fiefdom chief's is a question mark although his Balai Undang is there in Ampangan. The issue of legitimacy is a very complicated one for those ignorant about the customary law of Adat Perpateh. The history of who precedes whom in Negri 9 have always the bone of contention of many writers and so-called "experts" of which almost every Tom Dick and Harry claimed to be one. One of my waris who died several years ago was one of the Dato' Dagang of Paroi, who died almost a pauper, but he was supposed to be one of those who determine who should be the Dato' Klana Sungai Ujong. The post till today is still not filled since he died, just the way the previous Dato' Klana was only appointed after more than a 10 year vacancy. So for those who wants to fill in the shoes of the Dato' Tiang Balai ( the 4 minor chiefs in Sungai Ujong who elects the Dato' Klana) will be fraught with controversies and this signals the irrelevance of the Adat in modern times. I do hope that the blogger of Sungai Ujong can become a resurrected politician and solve the many "crisis" of the election to the Luak of Sungai Ujong and also the Yamtuan for the next decade. Over to you Sungai Ujong!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Uneasy lies the Head

I heard it during the 8.00 p.m. news bulletin when a senator said that he's going to bring to the attention of the PM about the residents woes facing them because of unserviceable lifts in their high rise flats. It's one of the problems that seemed so urgent that only the PM is the only person who could do wonders, as if he's an expert at solving mechanical faults instead of the relevant party who's responsible to ensure that the residents problems are attended to expeditiously.Once a Proton car buyer complained to the PM that his new car is giving him a headache because there seemed to be numerous complaints since he bought it, and the PM purportedly said that why tell him and the buyer was urged to deal with the national car company direct. Actually this state of affairs is a reflection of the lack of commitment on the part of those who's supposed to deliver their promise, whether as suppliers or service providers and this is compounded by the lack of action by people who's supposed to enforce whatever legislation either at the local, state or federal level. With the prevailing mentality which characterise the third world, it's rather normal for the people at the apex of the government having to attend to trifling matters which could easily be solved by their underlings. But the perception of people seemed to be more dominant than rational thought and reality. So when my cousin told me of his daughter's plight when I was attending the wedding function on the weekend, I reminded him to deal with the desk officer concerned rather than going through the Minister's office for matters which could be solved at the officer's level. No wonder after more than five months there seemed to be no solution in sight. Just imagine if a simple case of getting a release from the bond of an earlier agreement where there's enough justification had to be attended to by the Minister himself, he would be less likely to tackle issues that plagued the policy or implementation of policy. But this trend is also due to the politician's own doing whereby the people who surrounded him gives the signal to people that every trifling matter is also being handled by the Minister and no less. This perception is being fed by people in the administrative system too, especially those who had axes to grind and they hide their hands after throwing the stones on the glass houses where they are also occupying.Unless we get rid of this third world mentality amongst the public and the officials themselves then we could never rise above mediocrity in our service delivery system,as much as being touted by the PM himself.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Elusive Journey, Searching One's Roots.

If I am not mistaken, the Afro-American who wrote his family odyssey with the title " Roots" became the title of a box-office movie , and also there was a cartoon by Lat depicting the same with the dialogue way back in the eighties. Of course the writer became rich and he even went back to trace his village in the Western part of Africa to see for himself the birthplace of his ancestors. He was also generous enough to contribute towards the mosque fund of the village. The roaring success of the book and the movie then started a frenzy of sorts whereby people began to trace who were their ancestors with the hope that it would unearth some surprising discovery, albeit even unsavoury past for some such as the former US President Jimmy Carter who found out that his ancestors died after a fight in a tavern because he had one too many and landed himself in a brawl. So the search was terminated prematurely because it could save a further embarassment if it did not show up a better pedigree. So when I had the meeting yesterday, Sunday 19 October 2008 of BERKAT-Rasah at 16 A Jalan Rasah, Seremban, and this time with improved attendance compared to the last, we had a hilarious time when we discussed the design of the crest to be adopted for the family association. The motto which I proposed at first was " Keberanian-Kebenaran " below the shield in the centre of the Coat of Arms. But remembering that the motto for the Federation is " Unity is Strength ", I suggested a change to " Berani kerana Benar " to denote our ancestor's struggle to uphold the Faith and his fight against the Dutch in the province of what is today known as Riau in Indonesia. The elders in the larger family circle known as Tambusai were fond of telling the younger people ( my generation then )that we possess a not so admirable trait of being " quick-tempered " or in Malay the tendency to become " Panas Baran". For so long this description of the blood relatives on my father's side seemed to go unchallenged. But I have been saying to the now younger generation that this " stereotyping" got to be erased from our dictionary because the character of our ancestor as depicted in the drama shown on TV way back in 1992 was the opposite from what we believed it to be. So now I aim to find out the real version if I can say so when I travel the path of the " Benteng 7 Lapis " in the village of Dalu Dalu in the Kabupaten Rokan Hulu on the 24 November 2008, InshaALLAH! I look forward to meet the descendants of Tuanku Tambusai who still reside in Dalu Dalu and reestablish the " Silaturrahim " from the other side of the Straits of Malacca. Once our roots are rediscovered from the feeling of being at his birthplace, the aura perhaps would be transferred to our spirit as the man of honour and dignity who fought not for personal glory but in service of mankind and ultimately his Creator, ALLAH Azzawajalla. Let this journey bring back the memory of his heroic last stand even though defeated and beat the retreat. I want to seek my roots in Riau in particular Dalu Dalu.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Rambutan Tree

I planted a rambutan tree in my house compound when my first grandchild was born on 04 October 2000 and when it flowered profusely I prayed that it would bear a lot of fruits. My prayer is answered and when we celebrated Muhammad Haziq Shah's birthday recently, I said to him that his rambutan tree is generous this time around and he smiled broadly indicating a sense of pride and satisfaction that he would be tasting the fruit of his grandfather's labour. My neighbour's rambutan tree near his front fence also is fruiting well and it seemed all the houses having rambutan trees are harvesting ALLAH's bounty if they cared to pluck them. There's the house at the end of the road where my house is, where there are two rambutan trees of different species and no one seemed to have the time to pluck them. Perhaps it's because the house is accommodating a group of Nepalese working as security guards and true to their nature of trustworthiness, they did not touch the rambutans or they probably had no liking for the fruit. I just came back from my late father-in-law's house in Section 11 of Petaling Jaya and the lone rambutan tree in the garden is also fruiting. But when I started to pluck them, soon I was bitten by red ants or "kerengga" and it was a nuisance. But I continued with the help of Nasimah and managed to get a plastic bag filled by rambutans. When I came back home, Nasimah immediately gave some to our next door neighbour Poh Ling and Aik Jong. She also plucked some of the fruits from our rambutan tree and added it to the "imported" ones from section 11. When Sheo Aik Jong commented recently that he was waiting for the rambutan to ripen, I told him by all means he could take from the overhanging branch into his garden as it's his territory but he declined and preferred my giving him whatever bunch I want to. So good is our neighbour on my left and right, that it's a blessing for us and I thank ALLAH ALMIGHTY for giving me such considerate people despite my earlier misgivings when I first moved into my present house. The rambutan tree carries not only a reminder of sorts connected to my first grandson but it does contribute to good neighbourliness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Gloom of Doom.

Today I went to my usual photo shop near my house to get the prints of the film roll which Nasimah asked me to collect. But what surprised me wasn't the beautiful snapshots taken during First Raya, but it was the conversation between the shop owner and me. Coincidentally there was a group of Filipinos which I presumed waiting for a photo shoot as entertainers because they did not look like they were maids. One of them was proudly showing a frame from his phone taken recently with Anwar Ibrahim at his house. The chap who showed me the snapshot said Anwar was extremely easy to talk to as compared to AB, since as PM he is always surrounded by tight security and no one can just strike a conversation with him. But what struck me most was the question he posed to the shop owner. He asked whether AI would be the PM and the reply was in the affirmative. I almost wanted to chip in but restrained myself because it was not a proper place to have a debate. But it's the sign of the times, where it's not the truth which is believed anymore but it's what people want to believe that matters most and the ordinary man-in-the street thinks they knew better. As for me, whether AI becomes the PM is immaterial, because I am listening to my conscience and hopes that it will not become a reality, because I cannot reconcile that a person who had been found guilty of a criminal offence especially for corruption and his appeal was not allowed by the Federal Court showed he's stigmatised. I just won't accept such an individual to determine the fate of the Nation. Well we have to brace for the coming recession and whether one likes it or not, it will hit us hard. The struggle for power seemed to have put the pending economic gloom to the sideline, but come the New Year we might not be smiling or having a grand usual celebration at the Padang opposite the Secretariat Building along Jalan Sultan Hishamudin.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Annual Grand Logjam

Without fail the highways in Peninsula Malaysia are the equivalent of the logjam in the temperate country's timber industry where rivers are filled with round lumber which have been felled and allowed to flow with the current to the timber depot. Come Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Chinese New Year our toll operator, PLUS will be coming out with their travel advisory urging motorists to depart to their destinations in accordance with the recommended travel times. It seemed it worked during last year's long weekend after Chinese New Year, but somehow it didn't happen to work this year's Hari Raya Balik Kampong rush. So true to form, Malaysian drivers are the rudest, most ill-disciplined and inconsiderate people in the world. Well, we should also go down in the Guinness Book of Record that we have amongst the highest fatalities due to road accidents in the world. One particular year I remember that the PM himself bemoaned the fact that we have the infamous world record and he's at a loss what needed to be done. Despite the fact that a Road Safety Department had been established with branches in every State, but there had been no marked improvement in Safety on all roads, especially during festivities. My way of finding a solution is rather simple. Just reverse the flow. Instead of city-folks emptying their abode come the festival days, why not just stay put and let those from the Kampongs come to the cities and towns. After all there are not many who have old folks in their Kampongs anymore, and soon even the Kampongs would not carry the nostalgic landmarks which reminded many city dwellers of their roots. It's not necessary to feed their psychological attachment to their birthplace because we have become nerds and geeks especially with the rise of cybercities which makes life just a few clicks away. The problem is that we are told that we should revive the ties that bind us to our relatives in the Kampongs. So be it, but can't we transport them to come to the cities. How we should do it is to be worked out, but the change in mental attitude must be embedded in our psyche first. The adverts depicting that we could only be filial sons or daughters by making the drive back to our ancestral villages got to stop forthwith. Otherwise people tend to believe what is bandied about on TV and other medium. I do hope change can be carried out imperceptibly without fanfare, and it must start first with our penchant for "Balik Kampong" and it should be replaced by " Pergi Bandar ". I don't think the reverse flow is as big a logjam compared to the rush to the kampongs.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Malacca to PD via Sg. Udang

For such a long time, my wish to go on the coastal road from Malacca city to Port Dickson via the coastal road at long last is fulfilled. I left the hotel around 11.45 am and took the road to Tengkera and Klebang in the direction of Tg. Kling. The only familiar sight I used to see is the Riviera Beach Resort in Tg. Kling where I used to attend meetings when I was still serving the Govt. After that I begin to find myself in new territory. But knowing that travelling on country roads can be hazardous as evidenced by the statistics of fatalities especially during festivities, I drove with great care and at a speed which is on average a slow drive. Though I went on a slow drive, but it was pleasant because I could see that the sights along the way are a lot better if one were to travel on the coastal road in Selangor. In fact, Malacca has a better claim than Selangor as developed State in terms of infrastructure. After a few kilometres out of Sg. Udang, I took a left turning when I saw the signboard leading to Tanjong Bidara. When I came to a T-Junction showing left to Pantai Tanjong Bidara and right to Kuala Sg. Baru, I took a left turn trying to figure out where Tanjong Bidara Resort is, but alas I was disappointed, as I only found Samudera Beach Resort after going through a winding narrow kampong road. It was a dismal sight. So I left and went towards Kuala Sg. Baru, and I found it a much better drive along the beach where from far I saw the Independent Power Producing Station standing out prominently. I proceeded past the Maritime Training Academy or ALAM and arrived before Kuala Linggi where I took a right turn towards Port Dickson. Once I crossed the bridge over Linggi river, I knew at once that I was in Negri Sembilan. The next town is Pasir Panjang and it looked somewhat bigger that what I could recall before.What I thought as the Federal Govt bungalows turned out to be the Negri State Govt bungalow for state public officials. I tried to stop at Blue Lagoon, but I was once again disappointed to see that the access to the public beach wasn't clear, and so I made a u-turn out to the main road. How sad I was to see that instead of getting a better view, only to be disappointed. So I made a quick drive towards Teluk Kemang and to the Hotel on the 5th mile. What a way to see how our assets which are graciously endowed being destroyed by so-called " Development " of imposing high rise buildings all along the coast. It might as well be called the " destructive tourist mile" than the " golden mile" which we used to describe the seventh mile of Port Dickson.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Eidh 1429 Hijrah

As I am writing this posting, it's the third day of Eidh of 1429 H and here in a hotel room looking out at the Straits of Malacca, near the estuary of Sungai Melaka. How surprised I am when I tried to manoeuvre the way towards Mahkota Parade, thinking that it was the same as before and found that I could not enter it from the Melaka Raya row of shop houses near the Equatorial Hotel where I used to stay whenever I had an interview here. How things have changed near the surroundings of Padang Merdeka where the Tunku announced the date of Independence for the new nation called Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Now it's only a shadow of what used to be an expansive Padang facing the Straits of Malacca and the strong breeze which came with the changing monsoons coming from across it. It's not often that we can recall these past events which took place more than fifty years ago. But now it all went down past memory lane, just like my childhood days spent at the government quarters in Labu Road where the Terminal One now stands. I suppose that's the way progress is charted in our beautiful land that it was at one time in the past. I saw the wide open spaces before, now only cluttered with ugly structures in the name of progress. In reality, progress is nothing more than a term which spells destruction of the past. People think that progress is inevitable and the past has to make way for the future. But from what I saw today, many of the historic past almost in every State within the Peninsula have been destroyed in the name of progress. What is defined as progress is nothing more than profits. As long as people are laughing as they go to the banks all the way, that's the only benchmark of progress which they understand. The authorities proudly announced that Malacca received the recognition by the world's body as a world's heritage city. But what was the evidence received by the UN in order to qualify such an honour then? Most probably all the landmarks and sites which were submitted for that consideration, now have almost disappeared if not all, but the majority of it. Alas, who the heck cares anyway, as long as we can trumpet it to the universe that this is a world heritage city. As I drove last night to a small village about an hour's drive from the city centre of Malacca, I was astounded to see grand visions of structures mushrooming along the country roads to replace the quaint, placid and slow moving pace of village life of the district of Jasin. Jasin used to be the backwater of the state, but no more. I saw the prominent signboards announcing the nearing to Al-Ghaffarrudin mosque, an imposing building but I wonder who forms the congregation for it's daily call to prayer. Perhaps the numbers could not even fill half of the first row, just like it is in the mosque near my house. I recounted how visitors to Istanbul lamenting that the grand Blue Mosque hardly had anybody to pray there on a daily basis. I could never imagine such a thing would be repeated here, but how wrong I was. It's the reality now for me in my beloved country which provides Islam as the religion of the Federation!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Blessed Lailatul-Qadr

Since I was a child, I heard of many stories either oral or written about " Malam Lailatul-Qadar " which is deemed to be that special gift from ALLAH Almighty where His Mercies are bestowed during the holy month of Ramadhan worth a thousand month in the Hijrah Calendar to those who keep the vigil in the last ten nights of Ramadhan by performing voluntary prayers and supplication for the well being of the family and for parents who had passed away or are still alive. To me it's not so much whether one is fortunate to see the tree in front of your house bends it trunks as if in the position of prostration to ALLAH S.W.T. as what one can derive from the act of fasting of all the critical functions as sight, hearing, speech and movements of your limbs. The " Puasa Umum " as what I used to hear the religious teacher as saying is the most basic of all, merely refraining from consuming food and drink during the prohibited time of the day.But the more important aspect which touches on your wagging tongue spitting out profanity or watching what had been prohibited or listening to useless talk are given a Carter Blanche, without let up. In such circumstances,we are still in the dark about achieving the desired impact of the fast in the month of Ramadhan, and light years away from discovering " Lailatul- Qadr ", that precious night worth a thousand months of blessed rewards. According to the Ulamas, our Prophet Muhammad (PBU) will wake up all the members of his immediate family during the last ten nights of Ramadhan in order to follow his prayer together so that they will not miss that precious night full of blessings worth a thousand months. Those who merely think that it falls on the 27 night of the holy month would probably find it anyway, as long as we know that only ALLAH knows best. It's the quality of Muslims in the whole world which should be on the top of the World's Muslim hierarchy of values and this would be reflected on our conduct and ethics which separate the barbarians from the civilised society.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trip to Dalu Dalu

Our meeting last Sunday came up with the idea of reviving the previously proposed trip to Dalu Dalu as a way to enable the descendants of Tuanku Tambusai see with their own eyes the very ground where the Fort which withstood the Dutch onslaught by the courageous and committed defenders who had been holding it for months. When the ceremony to hand over the key to the Kompleks Makam Tuanku Tambusai in 2002 , I met the Governor at a dinner and he told me that I ought to visit the " Benteng Tujuh Lapis " in the district of Tambusai, about 4 hours from Pekanbaru. However due to constraints on resources and other commitments, that desire to visit Dalu Dalu had been put on hold for several years. The idea is now being floated again, and it's one way to arouse interest for the Waris of Tuanku Tambusai from the Rasah Clan and keep the association BERKAT alive. I asked for the views of those who were at the meeting, what's their views on BERKAT, whether we should just exist without purpose or let it die a natural death, since not many seemed to be interested anymore. However the general feeling is that we must not let it fade away because it's noble aim of bringing together the descendants of Tuanku Tambusai especially from the Rasah side must be continued without fail. So I have been asking my cousin Normah who has some background on getting a group to tour China a few occasions last year, to get it organised using the services of a travel agency which is owned by her friend in Shah Alam. I told my fellow committee members on Sunday that hopefully there's an adequate response to our proposal from the Waris. Last year the idea could not take off due to some doubts about the safety of visiting Riau since there could be incidences of earthquake in the southern part of Sumatra. Not wanting to take an unnecessary risk and also due to our lethargy in moving forward in activities we just shelved it. This time around I am expecting a reasonably favourable response from the Waris because the natural calamities seemed to have abated in our neighbouring Sumatra after a devastating Tsunami in 2004. May ALLAH bestow His Guidance on the members of BERKAT and make us more committed to bring together our relatives who are associated either in terms of blood or through marriage. Ameen!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Confused Minister

I am surprised by the news report which quoted Zaid Ibrahim, the Minister in PM's Dept. in expressing his opinion contrary to the principle of collective responsibility of Members of the Cabinet. If I am still not being absent-minded, it's untenable for a Member of the Federal Cabinet in the Govt of Malaysia to criticise another Minister under whose portfolio is not within his jurisdiction, because it means discipline of a Cabinet code of ethic is now being breached. What I cannot fathom is the fact that when a Minister of the Cabinet disagreed with the others in our esteemed Govt. of Malaysia, he should by right tender his resignation or reprimanded( by the PM )and stop confusing the public! If he still ignores the dire consequences, than he should not be a Member of the Cabinet, period. It seemed that there's a host of other Ministers who joined him in showing their support on what is termed as an unjust law being perpetrated. Now this is getting out of hand, and if the PM and DPM is doing nothing about this, it means a rebellion is taking place and all those who did it should be sacked! Now the so-called collapse of the ruling Coalition looks imminent if the signs are not a mere illusion or a mirage. This compounded the magic cut off date of September 16 being much bandied about as trying to confuse the public. Now the tables seemed to have been turned and it's the Minister who is being confused! Whatever is going to happen next is everybody's guess, and one of my e-lister of the old Putras yahoogroups predict the collapse of the Empire and probably it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless of course there's a sequel entitled " The Empire Strikes Back " and perhaps more are going under "Operation Musang" or whatever it's going to be called, where Bukit Aman Police Officers will be very busy this few weeks to come. So let us pray that nothing of the sort is going to happen because the confused Minister Zaid Ibrahim should be going back to his practice and wait for VIP's coming to him to represent them in portracted legal actions against the Govt. Now I know why they say sweet September. The fun is watching the consternation of people who should be governing but turned litigatious because of a simple mistake in detaining a newspaper reporter who reported on what is deemed to be seditious but he got away with just a three year suspension from the party. The confusion seemed to have spread all round the table in PWTC when they arrived at the decision. So Old Putra Jimmy, you are vindicated!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Too Little, Too Late

This morning I came across the headlines of a leading daily where the PM warned all parties of the dangers in stoking racial conflict through the broadcast or print media, followed by a stern warning from the Deputy IGP. All this while I would have thought the Police and the authorities were and should have been monitoring this transgression for quite some time, and rather than issuing further warnings, action to detain the persons who had violated the law should have been taken not now but a long time ago. When people thought that raising sensitive issues were being tolerated, especially after the March 08 General Election results in several State Govt being lost by the BN, the sword of Damocles which was usually hanging over the heads of those who dared to incite racial feelings was completely absent. If the PM had been more circumspect about the Sedition Act, the blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin should have been detained and kept in Kamunting months ago, even before the GE! I have warned RPK about this possibility, but he was emboldened by being merely asked to appear at the Dang Wangi Police Station to get his statement recorded. If Dr M was in the driver's seat, RPK would have no chance in causing a lot of uneasiness not only amongst the Malays but also between the major ethnic groups in this country. It's high time that the authorities begin to flex it's muscle and show the people that race relations is not something that you can meddle with, especially when blatant remarks and racist statements are being made in public. The force of law should have been brought to bear on those who clearly violated the Sedition Act, and if needs be invoke the Internal Security Act. Please do not wait for the Chief of the Armed Forces to make a statement as if he's the IGP who's responsible for maintenance of Public Order.It would have been appropriate for the Police to make such a statement, and when people began to step outside their boundary it spells confusion for the people. Let this be a lesson in not letting a situation to escalate because of the lack of sensitivity by the powers that be, and perhaps the warning is too little too late for people to take it seriously!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pensiangan, Nabawan, Sabah's Frontier.

I was watching the evening news when the familiar name of Pensiangan in the interior of Sabah was mentioned. The by-election for that Parliamentary Constituency will be on soon, which is going to be an interesting one to watch in the midst of the flurry expected by mid-September when Anwar Ibrahim is touted to get an avalanche of crossovers on the floor of the hallowed Dewan Rakyat to enable him to enter Block A in Putrajaya by the back-door. If entry by the backdoor is as legitimate as any entry to any opening from the back is allowed in politics too, then if the impossible shall happen, we would be the first to have a PM who came in from the back door rather than from the front. In short, Anwar would earn a double whammy, for his fondness of the backside. It should also be given the honour in the Guinness Book of Records whereby the PM of a modern Parliamentary Democracy is born out of the rear swing-door rather than the type where the swaggering John Wayne films always depict the hero as he swings open the Bar entrance and draws his six-shooter before his adversary could even blink an eye. Pensiangan is an ulu place in the district of Nabawan where a confluence of two rivers meet and it was a beautiful sight when I visited it during my days in the Education Ministry. The only access to the actual village would be on foot and crossing the treacherous "jeram" or rapids for those who love the rafting over the waters. I stayed a night in a resthouse in Nabawan before embarking towards Pensiangan, and it was real challenge to the driver of the new Range-Rover which was unfortunately not yet fitted with the correct tyres for going over the logging trails of interior Sabah then. I was on a mission to have a first-hand look at the conditions of our Peninsular teachers who were posted in rural Sabah to serve their 5-year contracts, and to make recommendations as how to make them continue after their bonded service was over. That night my group comprising of Sabah Education Dept Director and his retinue were entertained to drinking the tuak which was in abundance in the Murut country and dancing the Sumazau with the local girls who were hardly in their teens. I did not take to drinking but I obliged them just to put my mouth to the long thin bamboo which was stuck to the top of the jar containing the fermented rice tuak. The group also enjoyed eating venison which the staff managed to secure from those who illegally set traps for the wild-game which abounds the logging camps. To me it tasted no different than beef and it was tough meat, perhaps the rest house cook just had no idea of how to tenderize it. When I woke up the next morning and continued our journey, the lady accountant a talkative Peninsular Malaysian told me in her typical mandarin accent that life in Sabah is fun for a bachelor even in the interior because of the varied interests which one could dwell on despite it's wilderness if one knows how to beat the boredom. The rain made the road treacherous and when on a slope, the Range-Rover almost went careering into the ravine because the driver could not control the vehicle which lost it's grip over the slippery mud an we landed on a grass verge, hanging precariously being held by a large boulder.Perhaps it was a warning to those who got drunk by the tuak that they should pay some respects to the dead whose graves we passed by along the route. Although Pensiangan in the early 80's looks like part of the "Lost World" but it's innocence and beauty was a pleasure to behold in front of our eyes. I took several snapshots which I used in my report about how challenging and daunting the environment of the wild frontier of Sabah was and no wonder most decided to make a beeline to fly back to the Peninsula and never regretted it despite the romance of the wilderness of the Sabah Frontier. I was told by the teachers who stayed in the interior they did not mind he loneliness and the far-flung posting but what they could not bear was the difficulty of connecting o the outside world where they was no telephone and absolute lack of electricity amd piped water. Perhaps now the situation had much improved, and the name even became the boundary which marked a Parliamentary Constituency!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Farewell to a Friend

Early in the morning of 6 September 2008, it's the unpleasant news of a friend who passed away unexpectedly due to his leukaemia which was very recently diagnosed by his doctor. The last I met him was during the wedding of one of his children at his house in Kampong Raja Uda, Port Kelang, and he appeared his usual self, full of life though he had retired from his government job in the Royal Customs for more than six years. I remembered him well as he was Nasimah's office colleague and he was the typical highly energetic and confident person whose ways could be bordering on the unorthodox and rather outlandish, which is rather uncommon for his departmental norm and practice. But still as long as he doesn't break the law, he would be quite adventurous with his antics. I also recalled that he has a daughter who is handicapped, but somehow he did not send her for any special school for the handicapped perhaps due to the fact that he wanted her to be with the family throughout and I learned that she became a teacher to the local kids in reciting the Al-Quran. I have been fond of telling Nasimah that in life, we must be prepared to accept death as a matter of course because our Faith teaches us so, that when your time comes it will not be a second too early or too late, you will be called to meet your Creator. The word " Redha " shall only be well understood when such things happen to us, especially when death happens to loved ones. Recently I have appointed the as-Salihin Trustee Berhad as the administrator of my will upon my passing away, and Nasimah too signed the same. Before signing the Will, we had all members of the family gathered together to listen to the explanation of the executive from the trustee company of the contents of the Will and what it means when the inevitable thing happens to both of us, Nasimah and I. We want to be prepared for such an event, so that it would not be such a hassle to our beneficiaries to settle the question of inheritance later on. Most Muslim families regard talking about death as taboo which in Islam is the opposite, because there is a Hadith which conveys the meaning that one must work hard as if one is going to live forever and must perform the Ibadah as if one is going to die tomorrow. It is a wonder why many refuse or ignore this al-Hadith which is one of the legacy of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). We went together with Nasimah's former office-mates Connie and Zarah in the rainy weather pretty early, at about twenty past nine in the morning and arrived at about ten o'clock. There were already a sizable crowd, and I joined the Tahlil being recited by an Imam. I only knew one of his close colleague at the house and he was seated next to the wall in the living room. The body of my late friend was on the bed facing the Qiblat in the Hall. There was hardly any room then, but somehow I squeezed in between the others because I want to be together with those who came to pay their last respects to Allahyarham Mohd. Zan b. Ali. After the Tahlil, I sat outside the house because the rain gathered it's strength as if to weep his passing away too! He was wise to choose that neighbourhood to build his home, because the old spirit of the Kampong is still portrayed by the people. His burial was after the Zuhur prayer and many of his former colleagues in the Royal Customs were there to pay their respects. Farewell my friend! your journey to Hereafter is just beginning and every person will also past that way when his time is up, perhaps tomorrow, day after or many many more years ahead, only ALLAH S.W.T. Knows all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Buka Puasa Do

This is only the first week of the Ramadhan and although one comes across so many "Buka Puasa Specials" advertised in the dailies and other print as well as electronic media, I am yet to see how the crowd goes this year. Tomorrow I am making a reservation for that " Ramadhan Special" at one of the outlets not far from my house, for all my sons and their families ( except for Haniff who's now back in Cork, Ireland ) Nasimah, Nurul and I. I made an early reservation so that there's a space for us because of it's limited capacity. Most important there's a Surau sited just outside the shopping centre, next to a food court, so that we would be able to perform the Maghrib prayer. In the past from what I saw, people would fill up their plates and be ready with their dates and drinks just before the time to break fast. And once the Adhan is sounded, you could see how quickly they gulp down their drinks and start eating whatever had been put on their plates. Sometimes I just wonder how commercialised the Ramadhan had been made into, by the offerings from scores of eateries and restaurants of 5-star Hotels which is mildly speaking mind boggling. I have no qualms about the array of spread being lined up for the "Buka Puasa" but what is most galling is the wastage. I have seen so many plates with unfinished food left on the tables and I am sure it would be thrown away as leftovers, whereas the Blessed month of Ramadhan is training the Believers to be modest and restrained in everything they consumed so that could not be regarded as "Membazir". Although it's their money and their choice whether to be a glutton or not, one must not lose sight of the significance of the true meaning of fasting in the Blessed month of Ramadhan. It's significance lies in the " Taqwa " which should be the objective and how could one achieve it by being wasteful and inconsiderate as every plate of rice and whatever goes with it is a blessing from ALLAH S.W.T. and should one be grateful for HIS Bounty, it should not be wasted unwittingly. One must be conscious that not all are so fortunate as to "Buka Puasa" in 5-star hotels and other eateries, and how would a beggar feel that unwonted waste could have been his food for the whole week! This "Buka Puasa Do" have reached it's climax already, because of the economic gloom that will befall many who relied on others to survive. Perhaps I might be wrong to say that for this year, the fashionable " Buka Puasa Buffet " is not so rampant as the previous years, or it's just a mirage on my part! So to those of you contemplating to reserve a table for the " Buka Puasa " there's plenty of choice and probably you could have " double rations " due to the glut in the market for those who have money still to spare, before the curtains are down and I wish everyone who reads this posting, Wa Sahlan Ramadhan Al-Mubarak!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ramadhan and I

Now I am into the 64 Ramadhan of my life from the day I was born and if it has any bearing on my worldview, the question I would like to ask is how much it had impacted upon my soul and my being. In fact,I am treading on "soft" ground because I cannot claim to be an "Ulama" but perhaps some might label me as "Banyak Lemak" if I begin even to question the axiomatic truth. No, I am not undermining my faith or anybody's faith for that matter if I reflect upon such an issue. When we were small, we were told to fast because it's simply what Islam requires every believer to abide by it's Pillars of which there are five, and " Saum" or "Puasa" is one of them. But if I am not mistaken, the verse in the Al-Quran says that one is made to fast as it's obligatory in order to make you be "Pious" or "Takwa". It's literary meaning of " Takwa" is to have the Fear of ALLAH in your soul and in your being by doing what is commanded and refrain from what's prohibited. So, the month of Ramadhan is said to be the Blessed time where all the Syaitans and the Iblis ( Devils or Devils Incarnate) are being shackled so that we the mortals can perform our obligations without inteference from these unseen beings. But what about we ourselves as the " Syaitans" who folowed our " Nafs" by laying the table during the " Berbuka Puasa" with such fare that one could hardly finish and most probably will be thrown away the next day because they are perishables and the refrigerator could not be overflowing with leftovers of the previous nights. I am still unable to reconcile this inclination to overfeed ourselves come Ramadhan. Whereas in point of fact it should be the reverse, whereby our food bill should be less than the other months in the Muslim Calendar. I might be guilty of committing the same behaviour just like the others and people might think that I am a hypocrite. But this is only one small example of how our "Niat" and our behaviour does not seem to be in harmony with one another, and this is one of the most difficult bad habit to overcome. Apart from that is the other sunnah which should be parctised such as Terawih prayers and the reciting of the Al- Quran during the night or day depending on one's preference. Frankly speaking, I am a delinquent where Terawih is concerned, and with age I have become increasingly erratic in doing this sunnah. But I do recite the Al-Quran almost every morning now. My wife says I am not consistent in my Terawih prayers as I could do it by myself. That's true but I choose to read the Al-Quran instead, because it's much easier for me. The Terawih seemed to make more demands on myself and I am guilty of skipping it more often than not. But that's the way I want to be and I have the freedom to choose which one I want to be. Whether this Ramadhan is going to make me more God Fearing, I am not so sure. But I do always blurt out " Astaghafirullah" when something upsets me, which means I beg to be forgiven by ALLAH for my impatience and wrongs which I committed whenever my temper is tested. So the month of Ramadhan has a quality which no other month in the Muslim Calendar carries, because for whatever good turn one does is more than amply rewarded by seven times than in other months, and that's the reason why some people seemed to be overgenerous in Ramadhan. At least that's what appeared to me and I could be not far from misconception if I could say " Astaghafirullah Al-Azim" and followed by " La Hawlawala Quataillahbillahil Azim" which means I have no strength but only ALLAH could be my saviour!. Wallahuwa'lam.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Merdeka and Merdeka!!

I have been asked a number of times what MERDEKA means to many of us, not it's literal meaning but what does it invoke in your psyche because we are on the eve of it's 51st Anniversary and yet many seemed not to care about it's connotation to our freedom and harmony. Once upon a time, the brash and abrasive leader across the Causeway sarcastically passed a remark which pointed a picture in not so palatable term that our Independence was given on a silver platter. He was looking from the context of other Nations who were born after a revolution of sorts either in the physical sense or otherwise. India and Pakistan were born out of a struggle by freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Indonesia fought for it's Independence from the Dutch when the Japanese Occupation ended. The Republic of the Philippines saw the famous Jose Rizal fighting the Spaniards and later the Americans for it to be free, and there's a score of examples in Asia and Africa to support such a view. How did we achieve our Independence? Was it true that we never had to fight the British? I think LKY was upping the ante when he said that, we got it for a song! Flash back to the British Intervention with the signing of Pangkor Treaty whereby the State of Perak was the first to be invaded without the British having to go to War, albeit it's their gunboat policy of going up the Sungai Perak and firing a few salvos to frighten the daylights out of people like Tok Sagor and Dato' Paduka Maharaja Lela and Co. How did the Ghee Hin and Hai Sans could be so strong as to defy the Sultan of Perak by going to War with each other? Was there a conspiracy between the Secret Societies and the ordinary tin-miners to sabotage the Sultan so that they could be the reason for the British to send their gunboat perhaps only to find that they could not go further than Sitiawan because the river silted so badly owing to the tin mining tailing's that were thrown into the river. In fact LKY said the history of the Malays is nothing more than that of Piracy. How does the Malays could simply swallow the machinations of the Secret Societies and brought anarchy in Larut. What happened to Dato' Panglima Bukit Gantang and Long Jaafar who collected the taxes on behalf of the Sultan. Did they become "Pirates" as well and pocketed the money and left the Sultan not only speechless but hopelessly vulnerable to the skirmishes that dotted Kinta Valley, surrounding Ipoh and Taiping. Not only in Perak the miners fomented trouble, but also in Selangor and Negri Sembilan and to a certain extent its fallout in Pahang where the war of succession was also fought by rival groups of Bendahara Wan Ahmad and Gang. Now it seemed that Malayan History was full of Wars but not fighting for Independence, but Wars over who could have control over the rich resources and power to command war materials such as man and weaponry. So when the nascent movement that was sporadically found in various parts of the Peninsula, it was just a repetition of those tribal and clan Wars in the Malay States which led to the British Occupation, neatly referred diplomatically as " British Intervention" so that the picture would look as if it was the Malay Sultans who requested the British to come and thus sold their rights of becoming an absolute ruler under the pretext of bringing peace and order to the people. When did we start to demand Independence from the British? Looking at past history, written records seemed to point out only to Dato' Onn Jaafar who managed to abort the Malayan Union in 1946. In point of fact it started before the Second World War, when the Malay Left started it's campaign to demand self-rule but they were ignored by the British and later detained as collaborators to the would be invaders from the Land of the Rising Sun. I think we ought to rewrite our history, so that our future generations are aware how the twist and turns made us look so silly and we just swallowed everything with what was written by historians who were schooled by the British and strengthened their influence by brainwashing the Malay Elite in the so-called elitist institution known as "The Malay College" who boasted to have been the Alma mater of our distinguished Rulers and National leaders such as Tun Abdul Razak and Co. The silver platter which was referred to by LKY was in fact a myth and it was meant to belittle our people of the Malayan race. Malaysians must be proud that the Independence which we received from the British in 1957 were not fought by guns and bullets, but nevertheless we had gone through thick and thin and it was through the wisdom of our forefathers such as the Tunku and his counterparts in the Alliance Party and also those who agitated for freedom from the colonial yoke whom the British looked upon with suspicion such as Pak Sako ( Allahyarham Ishak Hj Mohamad ), the late Ahmad Boestamam, the late Burhanuddin Al-Helmy and many others who suffered internment whom I had forgotten to mention here were also responsible to bring to bear the call for freedom and Independence. So when the crowd on Dataran Merdeka shouted hoarse Merdeka! we know that many had given their lives in order to secure our Independence or Merdeka but they never for once asked for anything in return, except to be remembered that they too contributed a lot to what we enjoy today. May ALLAH bestow upon their souls Peace and Blessings so that they are contented because we the latter generation could live in Peace and Harmony with ourselves and with others. Merdeka and Merdeka should go deep into our souls and let it bloom into a united Nation with a common goal and direction so that we could be counted upon as one of those who not only achieved independence but had to struggle for it, albeit thorugh our brains and not just brawns. MERDEKA!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Failed Nation

If I am not mistaken that's the title of the book written by Allahyarham Rustam Sani, the son of Allahyarham Ahmad Boestamam, that venerable opposition politician who thrived on the failings of the first PM whenever there were slip ups of the former in Parliament. Of course the world knew that the Tunku was a Cambridge educated Prince from Kedah who in his own ways won the hearts of all people irrespective of race. But this condescending attitude were taken advantage of by unscrupulous rascals and this led to his political down slide after the May 13 Riots which shook the world because he was always known as the happiest PM. The greatest tragedy that could happen to this beloved Nation of ours is that we did not learn anything from history. The tragic event which took place more than three decades ago must be a lesson that must be learnt by all, irrespective of their ethnic origin or political affiliation. The main cause as portrayed by the official account which was tabled as a white paper in the Parliament was basically hostilities between races which was fanned by racist statements by politicians of all hues and colours, beginning with tension being stoked up when Singapore was still part of the Federation of Malaysia. Going by some accounts which could be believed, if not all, at least some, it was the fire that was started by certain individuals who were inciting a certain ethnic group to rise up against what was then intepreted as a discriminatory action by the PAP Govt. This group of people who were affected by the urban renewal programme in Singapore happened to be not only Malays but also Chinese who were Singaporeans. But somehow, the Malays from Singapore felt they were the only group that was discriminated. And with the oil being poured into the angered community from across the Johor Straits, it became a dangerous and ugly conflict between the Malays and the Chinese who were largely the supporters of PAP Govt led by Lee Kuan Yew. The opposite personalities of LKY and the Tunku overflow into politics and it became fodder for opportunists who were looking for a battleground and they were as the Malay proverb call it, " Orang Mengantuk disorongkan bantal". And thus perceptions became reality and truth was of no significance to everyone in Singapore and the Peninsula. When trouble broke out in Singapore between the Malays and Chinese, the Tunku was away and Tun Razak had to deal with it firmly. LKY and Tun Razak had an uneasy relationship, because there was no trust between the two, unlike Haryy lee and the Tunku. If these lessons from the past were to be of any benefit to present day generation, one of the most important ingredient that fueled a failed State is distrust of one another either on the personal level or at the National level. Trust had to be earned and it's not a commodity which can packaged and sent by post. Trust between the races in this country had it ups and downs but we have been able to stay on even keel for as many decades we want it to be. Racial tension could easily become explosive,like a tinder-box with a lighted match, just waiting for it to catch fire! One way to defuse such a tension is to go back to basics whereby our schools must represent the racial composition of the country and so does the private sector of Malaysia must represent the distribution. Unfortunately we have heard of racial discrimination amongst those who work in aChinese dominated PLc's, whereby however good a Malay is, he'll be assigned one of the most insignificant positions in the firm. Therefore I am not all surprised after reading Rustam's book and compare the scenario around me, that we have failed as a Nation in the psychological and realpolitik sense, simply because we think of ourselves first not as Malaysians but Malays, Chinese and Indians. Even when you make a police report, say of a burglary, the first question asked by the I.O. would be, whether one suspects that it was a Malay, Chinese or Indian, and mind you we had been an independent nation since 1957!! In many forms which we use to apply for things like passports and other similar documents, we are still being asked for our ethnic origin, and this mentality also prevailed when filling up forms to register your phone with private companies! When I was still a student in the then FMC, I had an article written about the establishment of a Malaysian literature as a prelude to a Malaysian Nation, because a Nation without a mind of it's own through it's literary tradition using Malay as the main medium and English as a second language would be doomed right from the start. I had in fact moved much further whereby if we still think in terms of Malays, Chinese and Indians, then we would be like a bunch of Lunchai's paddling hard in a round dnghy without a rudder and not moving from the spot where it began. It just moves around aimlessly no matter how hard one paddles. Of course we can't shed our colour overnight by being Malaysians, but the least we could do is to mould our minds first and followed by our hearts. Our future leaders must be forthright on this score and no matter how much slogans are being bandied about, a successful Nation is one with it's own identity and our destiny as well as our dreams must be the same. Otherwise a united Nation of a plural society like in Malaysia is just a pipe dream.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul.

This morning,on a Friday 22 August 2008 I had a breakfast appointment with Hank, my class of '64 organiser who told our former classmate who now owns Westport that we would like to have a proton each as door gifts ( sic ). I had been fascinated by his partner Jodie's latest proposal to start a birdhouse and if you have read his blog at then you might want to know more about the project.So I arranged this appointment so that I can get a clearer and bigger picture of it. It seemed to be a viable proposal, but I told him to be cautious because I knew that Hank is a well meaning person and could get easily carried away by money spinners who abound the business fly by night world, and when the chips are down, they just disappear into thin air. I do not claim to be any wiser than him, because he ought to know better after being in the money spinning business for more than three decades! But as a friend it's my duty to remind him of the pitfalls of such a venture, but he assured me that he shall not be disbursing hard cash, as he only provides the land where the birdhouse will be sited. Two years ago he signed an agreement with Jodie so that he and him could see a housing area coming out on Pasir Ambor road, wherever that place may be, near Juasseh, Kolopilah! But owing to the slow progress of his partner's project being completed in Rompin, Pahang, the project is not off the ground yet.So in order to get things moving faster, apart from bridging finance, he's looking for faster method of improving his cash-flow, so to speak.So that's how the idea came about, and it started with the duress test. As always, being a former bureaucrat that was, I was looking at the downside first, before that money which does not grow on trees vanish with the dream of becoming rich! It's a natural desire wanting to be rich, except for weirdo's like me who looks at money as a means rather as an end in itself. I am always reminded by Mdm Connie Chang, a family friend who once worked in the same office as Nasimah, that whatever money you have is not yours until you spend it. So, after an exhaustive question and answer session with him over breakfast ( he only had coffee and a burger, plus a hash brown which I insisted that he try), it finally dawned upon him that he needed an independent input from outside his Jodie's circle for a more informed decision. I said to him, what if the birds suddenly refuse to roost in the birdhouse due to some inexplicable reasons, what would become of the investment which could be another white elephant. Now his grandchildren would be reminded of that phrase in the rhyme, two little Dicky birds sat on the wall, one named Peter the other named Paul, fly away Peter fly away Paul, come back Peter, come back Paul! But once the investment goes down the drain, it just flow into the Muar river which starts from the Sungai Muar Dam near Talang, Tanjong Ipoh, Kuala Pilah district of Negri Sembilan

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Down Sepang Way

Yesterday I decided to travel back to PJ from Seremban after sending my Dad back to my sister's house in Paroi where he's residing now, via the Labu and KLIA road. But no, it was an impulsive decision while suggesting to Nasimah, why not we divert to Sepang instead of going to F1 circuit way, and lo and behold ! what a journey it turned out to be. As we passed Sepang, that out of the way sleepy hollow, we found that things had not changed much about the place. That sharp corner (just like the one in Rawang town) is still there, inclusive of the cowboy town ambience. So we continued our way to Bagan Lalang looking for the Seri Malaysia Hotel, but alas we must have missed the notoriously absent signage showing it's location. Instead we had our refreshments at the public beach of Bagan Lalang where we could see the "Sepang Gold Coast" being under construction. I had the sights before on what the heck was it all about whenever I read the adverts on it. Now it unfolded right in front of our eyes! I just wonder whether the State Government was aware what untold damage the project would bring to the pristine beach of Bagan Lalang and those fishermen who depended on the harvest from the Straits of Malacca. The catch from the seas seemed to have fallen very low as testified by the Fisheries Dept., particularly on the west coast of the Peninsula. Now what with the behemoth of the so-called " Sepang Gold Coast" would bring? For whose benefit are those ugly structures stretching for half a mile into the ocean, which reminds us of the Palmyra project in the United Arab Emirates? ( or is it Abu Dhabi). We don't need such luxuries meant for those who wanted the sea for themselves, the selfish few who wants to flaunt their wealth by reclaiming what is not their right and deprive many of their meagre livelihood, by destroying the environs which supported the marine life within the neighbourhood. I think the previous State Administration must be taken to task for approving the project and when I saw the state of affairs in the villages along the road towards Klang, then I knew that the spurrious claims made by the former MB was actually a sham! If one only looked at Shah Alam where the MB has his office in that impressive building, of course it might make him to think that Selangor is a already a developed State. But what about Jenjarom, Beranang, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Sabak Bernam and Kancong Darat? All this godforsaken rural areas are still much the same as 50 years ago, and this was vouched by an Exco member who gave us his perception as the " State of the Union" sometime last month during a high tea arranged by BAKIKJ or Badan kebajikan Islam Kelana Jaya. As I cruised down the road to Klang, then it dawned upon me if this is what's happening in Selangor, it could well be the same as in N9, my home state. The present MB of N9 is much touted as a corporate man who would lift the people and N9 out of the doldrums, but he only managed to destroy my ancestral home in Rasah due to the midddle ring road project which traversed Rasah and completely wiped out it's rich history as the base of the Sungei Ujong Wars in the 1880's. We thought development was the only way to happiness, alas we are sadly mistaken. We should have sustainable development as our battle-cry and not indiscriminate development which destroyed the environment and it's rich history. Our leaders have a lot to learn and time is not on their side. We might as well travel the way the past civilisations of Babylonia and Mesopotamia where the only heritage we could salvage is the desert. Maybe the world would end before our rain forests become desertified. Malaysia Boleh!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Modern Florence Nightingale

My friends from HNP ( Home Nursing Providers ) or rather who were serving there before caem to my house last sunday. I was really happy to see Yacob who had been away in Germany and he looked teutonic as before! But it's Mona, that venerable modern day Florence Nightingale who suggested to me about writing about this subject. I had been through quite a few Hospitals, public and private and could say with confidence that 9 out of 10 are unfriendly. The reason I say that, is simply attributable to the lack of friendliness of the people who are in the business of dealing with the sick and suffering, as well as their families. I have a father who is in his late 80's and had been in and out of hospitals many a times and I had the occasion to talk about this matter. Why did I find the people in the profession unfriendly? Perhaps I was expecting too much. Oh no! All I was looking for was that professionalism which is declared to be one of the Health Ministry's corporate culture. When I was interviewing those who had just completed their training in the nursing colleges, they have not heard of the so-called " Corporate Culture ". Little wonder they could not comprehend my question. No, I am not exaggerating, only very few could answer the question well. Have you ever seen those posters pasted on the walls of the General Hospitals? The answer would be in the negative, because I think they had thrown it into the garbage bin. Now let me recall. If I am not mistaken there are 3 slogans, first is Professionalism, second is Caring and I have forgotten the last, but it had to do with helping out one another. Now, if there's a score card, they would fail in all quarters! And do the Hon. Minister brifed on this, the first day he assumed office? Not for the light of day. The modern day nurses might not have heard of Florence Nightingale. No, she's not a bird, but a human being and she was associated with that symbol which nurses wear on their badges, the lamp. It was during the War in Italy that she won the colours of a caring lady who went from patient to patient, assuring them and comforting them. That's basically the duty of the lady with the lamp. The word is CARING, and how many in the profession really internalise this into their bones? Hardly any I think, except for people like Mona and those in her category. To top it all, for people like us, going to hospitals are like going to war. The Hospital is a battleground right from the start, where to park your jalopy! I rather use public transport, but that would mean I had to walk home after visiting hours, and that means I have to put on my rollerblades, which I have thrown away. Apart from being in a war zone, having to fight inconsidertae vehicle owners who blocked others, I had to contend with indifferent security guards. Now this is only the few examples of how traumatic one could become when you enter a public hospital, mind you, and you have not reached the registration counter as yet or worse, the hospital ward. Now we must go back to basics, as I was fond of saying when I was the Head of Dept where we must become human beings again and not simply being machines or robots. This dehumanizing process had taken the most out of our people and this spells disaster for the Country. We would join the club of Primitive Africa or the Mongol hordes of Jenghiz Khan and his marauders if this state of affairs is not put right. My apologies to those Nightingales who had done a great service to patients, but this is being addressed to the Hospital Director right down to the security guard who had no care whatsoever in the welfare of the patients and their families. The Minister of Health was right when he said he was enetring the Ministry of Hell.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Rasah Clan

People thought only the Malaysian Chinese are fond of forming Clan Associations in order to look after the welfare of their members. The Malays at one time thought UMNO was their saviour until of late. Actually PAS was a breakaway branch of disgruntled ex-UMNO members who felt that those from the Sekolah Pondok were being sidelined by the Tunku. Well, I am proud of my heritage from both sides of the divide, namely my father's roots from Riau and my mother's side from the original tribe of " Biduanda" suku in the Nine States. When I asked my venerable late Grandma of a loud lady, she unwittingly said that her "biduanda" clan originated from original tribe who inhabited the Nine States before the entry of the waris suku Minagkabau from Sumatra came on our shores. So in fact, the other suku or clan were actually "Pendatang" so to speak.No wonder when I lived in Pekan Rembau in 1957, my neighbour who later became an academic told me that my suku qualify me to be an "Undang" or the Four Lawgivers, who in turn elect the Yam-Tuan or the Ruler. Unlike other states in Peninsular M'sia, only N9 practice the true meaning of democracy since time immemorial. Well, my Rasah roots is more colorful because Fakeh Muhammad Saleh a.k.a. Tuanku Tambusai is Indonesia's Nationa Hero. It was only conferred to him at the turn of the last century by the Govt of The Indonesian republic. Now my Rasah Clan forms the backbone of BERKAT which stands for " Badan Rumpun Keturunan Tuanku Tambusai". Recently we had a meeting on 10 August and for me it was truly satisfying. If only the Central Governing Body or the Majlis Lembaga Rumpun could be conducted in the same manner, I would still continue as President. But once I have made up my mind, I shall not backtrack unless it's a matter of life and death. My Rasah Clan of which I am the "Ketua Waris" is of the opinion that we could go it alone if needs be, but for the time being we have not reached that point yet. We still abide by the kindred spirit. But if I think to carry on as of today for the Governing Council, we shall be dragged to the centre of the whirlpool and be drowned altogether. I don't think that's wise. So before we could disintegrate, we might as part ways, for a temporary period say for three terms of twelve years. If and when the Setapak Branch can pull themselves together, we just continue without their participation, and be rid of the bad rubbish.Well, my Waris Rasah, what say you?