Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Disputed TM Bill

It all started when I received my bill statement from my telco provider TM last friday 25 July 2008. Immediately when I came back after friday prayer and had a quick lunch, I drove to the nearest TM Point at Kelana Parkview. I had to wait for about twenty minutes before my number was called and a timid looking lass at first politely greeted me. She must have read from my facial expression that I was not in a good mood. When I told her that my monthly bill for July shocked me because there was a debit of RM543.90 on the current charges side, I could not figure out where did I go wrong, because I by force of habit cleared my bills without fail every month. Previously it was by auto-debit but due to the cancellation of my credit cards, I decided otherwise. Just because I omitted to settle an arrears of RM1.50 due to TM for the month of May, could not have exploded the bank of TM! Thus I paid the stated balance and left in a huff. When I studied all my past bills for the year 2008, there was no single month that I did not settle my bill except for the one ending on 16 May 2008. So how come I had to pay almost double the monthly average? So I sent an e-mail to TM the following day. Then the automated reply came which angered me, and again I asked for an explanation on my latest position after having paid the latest bill. Again the answer was like a recorded one which you normally come across when you call a service provider. I thought when the govt decided to corporatise it's departmental entities it was claimed that they would be more efficient and client-oriented. But after more than two decades, things had taken for the worse and mind you, they have mostly been privatised. Some did better, but on the whole, the exercise was a futile one, where more and more complaints from the public are heard about service providers who doesn't care for the general interest of the public.Then I followed by a phone call to TM 100. This was a disaster, and I blew my top. The lady on the other end simply could not answer my query with satisfaction. Every query was answred nonchalantly and that drove me to the wall. Finally I shouted at the top of my voice and she hung up. I was fuming to say the least. The following day I decided that enough was enough. I went to the Maxis service centre in Tmn Tun Dr Ismail, KL to enquire about their services. I thought they as a leading service provider in the telco business would fare better, but alas I was again disappointed. There wasn't any fixed line service in SS3 but there's a broadband coverage. So I asked for a maxis broadband to be registered under my name. But the service was unavailable now because they had run out of the modem. Can you imagine that coming from Maxis? What is happening here, I began to ask myself, it looked like everything seems to be collapsing, or is it just my imagination? The answer seemed to be within and not without. By that I mean, we are having people who looked good on the outside but downright rotten on the inside. It's like the "Buah Bachang" which always looked smooth and succulent albeit it's abrasive 'getah' if you happen to touch it, then it can develop sores on your hands, which I found out as a small boy in my placid Kampong 16 miles from tha State capital of the nine states. My offensive on the telco provider ended in a letter to the CEO of TM which I wrote at length, outlining to him the facts and figures. I know that he would have no time to read such a trifle because he's dealing with billion ringgit deals here and overseas. But a Company who failed to attend the tiniest of details is asking for trouble. Unless the telco industry is a monopoly this will spell the doom of the leading telco provider. We have seen it happening in the world market where respectable behemoths crumbled by the wayside because they failed to attend to customer satisfaction. I am not an industry wizard, but common sense tells me that Customer is King, and unless this mentality is adopted woe betide those whom the clients are disgusted with the service provided no matter how powerful the Corporation appears to be. In this world of free markets and cut-throat competition, a giant can just fold up as easily as a "roti canai" which I am fond of, but has to cut down my intake due to its high calories. I am under medication for hyper-cholesterol and also blood sugar. My asthma seemed to be mild and hope that the appointment to consult Dr. Aziah from the Jalan Pahang Hospital next week would put me back on the normal plane again. Otherwise my fuse is getting shorter by the day and I supplicate to ALLAH S.W.T. to give me the good in this world and also in the hereafter and prevent me from being thrown into hellfire. Jazakallah Khairan.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Good Old Days

Most of the people like me who had retired and once had given their best part of their lives to work for the government because that's the only opportunity available then, would most probably look back to the good old days. Are we just plain sentimental fellows who just like to sit in the Kopitiam which is making a comeback amongst like minded colleagues who also served as clerks, middle-level administrative assistants known as Executive Officers and of course those in the elite service which was fondly known by it's acronym the MCS. Maybe and maybe not. But we are acutely aware that definitely we had lived through the good old days when there were still several " Mat Sallehs " who somehow remained behind because they loved the laidback pace of life compared then to the hurry burry atmosphere, say of West End London or it's greater borough say in the outskirts. When I first tasted life in the cold and uncomfortable weather of the UK, I could not understand why everybody seemed to be chasing after buses and the tube. Then only I realised that life in that Cosmopolitan City of London is where the rat race is. No wonder some of these English gentleman such as Mubin Sheppard refused to go back to his own land even if he could live very comfortably with the generous gratuity and compensation for their loyal services to then Malaya. I could still recall those days when life in Kuala Lumpur moved at a snail's pace as compared to today. I could get a bus at Foch Avenue that shows "Malaya Command" at its "forehead" and just pay a few coins to get to Kampong Baru. Those days the bus was known as the GTC or in full, the General Transport Company. I used to walk leisurely along the banks of the Gombak river opposite what is today the Wisma Yakin, where the flow of the water was a pleasure to look at, placid and unlike what we see today, laden with rubbish and worse than "kopi susu". Now talking about the good old days, my father used to walk from his uncle's quarters near Pudu Jail to V.I. where he attended school only for a short while and then the war broke out. He did not complete his Junior Cambridge because of the Japanese Occupation and thus he went back to his mother's house in Rasah, Seremban. Today even that house has been demolished recently to make way for progress where huge pylons are being laid into the ground where the beautiful house once stood. Fortunately the Dato' Bandar Mosque is spared the demolition simply because the makam of the Dato' Bandar Abdul Rahman still stood just outside the Mosque. I suppose if the bulldozer comes to exhume the grave and flatten that place, the people involved would have been turned into stone. Well what was it I was trying to convey? Sometimes the mind just got carried away and hey presto! One gets diverted from the original idea. That's why a friend of my vintage who was with me in the ICU ( not the IJN type ) of the PM's Dept. who is also a famous blogger whose title I seemed to wonder why he liked to refer to dried fish of Trengganu as the favourite food of the old retainer at the palace on the hill where the Sultan used to stay. I think it's called "Istana Maziah" even till now, where only the ghosts of the retainers wander its corridors.Tengku Ali Bustaman is one of my former associates when working under the same roof, lament about the good old days. One day when we were in Tanjong Pagar railway station in Singapore, he asked the cameraman to take the angle shots of the elaborately crafted busts which adorned the fascia of the Station. It had been the sorepoint whenever the two country's officials meet to discuss what to do with Tanjong Pagar. Until today it's an impasse. Maybe the shabby facade which is an eyesore to the S'pore Govt. is a reflection of the indolent attitude of our people who managed the Railways since time immemorial till now. But the good old days when the Sahibs used to travel like Maharajas on the special coaches provided by the then Malayan Railway for these special breed of hounds with their retainers could not be erased from the mentality of those who took over the management of Keretapi Tanah Melayu. It's really absurd they still call it the KTM Berhad even though "Tanah Melayu" had since became "Tanah Pusaka" which usually become the source of endless conflicts between siblings as why one should get more than the other. Tengku Ali and I always talked about the " Good Old Days " when my late Uncle, Allahyarham Hashim Amir Hamzah was a popular broadcaster with Radio Malaya. Pokku ( as he's fondly known ) was starting his career as a broadcaster in S'pore, my uncle was his mentor. He always had praise for Mr. Hashim Amir Hamzah, because as a former teacher at the Tuanku Muhammad School, Kuala Pilah, he was always immaculately dressed, just like the old schoolmaster described in the literature book which became a text when i was in special Malay class, entitled " Tom Brown School Days". Pokku once was choked by his tears when we were on Sentosa island, where the museum showing the diorama of how Sultan Hussein signed away the island of S'pore to the East India Company and history of Stamford Raffles became a legend and his 'Munshi' an Indian Muslim by the name of Abdullah Munshi wrote books to glorify his master. Later on I found out that the small boy seated next to the Sultan during the signing ceremony giving up his sovereignty of Singapore to the Company was his close relative. Thus sometimes the good old days turned out to be "the bad old days" just because of a paltry sum of money which today can't even buy a trishaw, what more a whole island which is now a first world facility of the little red dot known as the Republic of Singapore. Now they are declaring the principle of the Law of the Seas to ensure the island republic's future destiny. I was never fond of Singapore. Even as a small boy, whenever my father brought me to Change Alley, it always reminded me of the backstreets of Batu Road where transvetites pry their business into the wee hours of the day. I simply despised Singapore not because of it's kiasuness which people describe the attitude of the shopkeepers in Orchard Road, but because it was such a foul smelling place where the famous Indian Muslim restaurant was situated by the banks of Singapore River. Now of course the smell is no more, but the people smell even worse, due to their lack of courtesy to others and if not for Lee Kuan Yew, they would be a basket case of ASEAN today. See you next time and have a nice day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going Down Memory Lane

Yesterday I drove to Seremban with my father and was in adventurous mood. I was told to try the road going to Sepang Gold Coast and then turn right to go to Kg LBJ and go to Labu in order to exit to Seremban. I religiously follwed the instructions and Lo and behold! I managed to pass through down memory lane, especially upon reaching Kg Batu 9 in Labu. I remembered more than 40 years ago that I was in Kg LBJ to visit the JKKR and gave a talk to the settlers. I was then working at my first job in FELDA. Those days were really lousy. I had expected to be sent to the region as regional secretary, instead I remained in HQ in Jalan Maktab and worst, I was the only Arts graduate amongst the guys who qualified as Agricultural Officers and two of them were OP's ( Old Putras ) and though I enjoyed the short stint, I left that organization and joined the elite MCS. When I drove past the junction to Bandar Enstek, I realized how times have changed. I passed by Kg LBJ and remembered that girl, Azizah who was my clerk in FELDA HQ who took a snapshot at the Settler's house in Kg LBJ together with President Lyndon Johnson at the window's opening which perhaps the only one facing the dirt gravel road which was notoriously dirty laterite and for every passing car, you could see the mushrooming red earth flying into the air after passing through in the Scheme's Land Rover. She was a sweet lass and my colleague AK Bear was quite attracted to her.But fate had it AK Bear left to join the elite MCS too. My father had no inkling where we were until we reached Tiroi in Labu, which was a cowboy one street town with a nostalgic air of what seemed to go backwards more than 50 years ago. I was then staying in the quarters provided by the Govt in Jalan Keyser near the road from S'ban to Labu. I recalled once a classmate by the name of Saparudin from the Kampong in Labu who tricked me into believing that he would give me a macaque which he claimed to have tamed. I believed him through and through and waited forlornly at the Bus Station in S'ban hoping he would appear with the long tailed monkey. After waiting for hours and not seeing him coming down the bus from Labu, I realized that I had been had. Next day when I met him at school, I told him " Celako kau, den kau tipu yo! " in Negri Sembilan dialect which we always used when things go awry. When I told my father this he just smiled. It just showed how naive I was, and I was then in Special Malay One, the transition class for those who came from the Malay School to join KGV School in S'ban. Well after such a long period if time, it seemed I had come a full cycle. When I was in Labu Road( actually Keyser Road ) I used to collect mangoes which dropped during the early morning mist at the house on a small hillock just behind the quarters where I stayed. One morning the house owner thought there was a thief outside the house and peek through the window. To my consternation, I shone the torchlight straight onto his face and he panicked, thinking I was a Ghost appearing from nowhere. Seremban town centre now is like Khan-El-Khalilee in Cairo. It's so haphazard and disorderly. The town's stoplights seemed to have no coordination and motorists had to negotiate the roads leading to Tampin, Kuala Pilah, Jelebu and PD. My trip down memory lane is quite rewarding to say the ;east. Now I know where to avoid the perennial exodus of city-dwellers during Hari Raya causing miles of stragglers who wanted to celeberate HR in their neglected Kampongs. I told my wife, we need not "Balik Kampong" and caught in mile long congestion on the North-South Expressway. See you next posting! Bye.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

This morning I woke up quite early because I wanted to make sure that I would be ready to go to the Hospital for the appointment with my father. He was supposed to come for the preview last March but owing to certain unavoidable circumstances the date was rescheduled. The helper who always came early every Wednesday was surprised to see me up very early in the morning. She did not know that I had always been up early even upon my retirement. It's a good habit and better keep it so. What troubled me most on seeing the headlines is that about the purchase of Mercedes Benz by the Trengganu State Government for their Exco Members, including ex-officios. I thought it was a straightforward purchase and the money came from the State Coffers even though there's a circular about entitlement for cars by civil servants and others. But in fact, no State Government was ever banned from purchasing non-National vehicles for official purpose. The bigger picture is that, most Proton Perdanas are just shit cars! I was told by an experienced driver during my halycon days going around interviewing candidates who applied to become public servants from the middle-rung right up to management levels, that the V6 always had gearbox problems and to fix it would cost a bomb. I am not against Proton because I had owned the first generation protons when the Japanese supplied the engines and other components and they hardly broke down by the wayside. After Mitsubishi people withdrew from the Shah Alam plant, the downward slide began to appear and non-national cars captured the market share which were once dominated by EON and PROTON. It seemed that the people who were hemming the automaker were so complacent that even if they put up rubbish, people would still remained loyal to the brand. But what they did not figure out was in the real world, competition driven mind set was the one that ensured survival. I had read Lee Iaccoca and he turned around the ailing Chrysler and returned to the black. And now it seemed that even the Cabinet was concerned about what Terengganu State Govt wanted to do. Actually I had taken over the govt Mercedes Benz E200 and at first I wanted to sell it after 2 years. But then what car would give me the least trouble in the next twenty years? Only a Merc could last a lifetime provided one maintains it in mint condition. That's what my brother-in-law Khaliludin said to me. he said, " Abang, you could never find such fine cars made by the German automaker anymore. I had been to the plant in 1994 and was told by the foreman that it took them 5 years to train a really skilled worker who assembled the best cars in the world and there's no equal to it. Even the BMW is way far below the level of efficiency all round apart that it was a machine made in the Bavarian pig country of the German republic. The moral of the story is not so much whether we should be opting for the national car or not. With rising petrol prices it made good sense to purchase vehicles which give the optimum level of service for the next 25 or 30 years, and Merecedes Benz is one such brand. The Govt should not be penny wise pound foolish! As if the Federal Cabinet had no other important matter on their agenda but to waste time on such trifles. The kitchen Cabinet could have done a much better job at making sure Proton did not fit a reconditioned engine to their V6 which is already an obsolete brand and fit for the junkyard. Biarkan SiLuncai terjun dengan labu labunya, Biarkan Biarkan! The people in the Federal Cabinet are just a bunch of Lunchai's which would make M. Nasir green with envy since they had overtaken his recording company's trade name,"SiLunchai Emas".

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hi Tea at University Garden Community Hall on 20 July

I am a member of the Qariah Masjid Al-Hidayah in Kelana Jaya. My area is blessed with so many mosques and suraus that one could hardly ignore. Though I am not a regular attendee but I always keep in touch with the other qariah members because one of these days, you'll need them to pray for you when you bid farewell. However, what I am going to tell here is not whether I am a regular qariah member or not because that's my choice and no one else can compel me where should I attend my congregational prayer. One day I saw a notice pinned on the soft board of the Masjid, inviting qariah members to join a Hi-Tea at the SS3 Community Hall in University Garden. So when I met Tuan Hj Ismail, my neighbour, I requested to buy two tickets. It was an occasion of having a chance to meet Dato Dr Hassan Ali, the Selangor State Executive Councillor who was recently returned to the State seat of Gombak in the recent General Election. Dato Dr Hassan Ali is no stranger because he used to give the friday sermon at the Mosque. It's always a pleasure to hear him speak. Furthermore he was in the MCS and he used to be a staff of INTAN which is the premier Govt Training Centre situated in Bukit Kiara. He used to repeat the fact that I was the one who sent him to Selangor when he first joined the MCS. Then I was in charge of posting of newly appointed MCS officers and a few still remembered how strict I was even though I knew them as friends. I was fully aware of the accusations of favouring friends over strangers and would not want to be accused of cronyism. Dato Dr Hassan Ali outlined the 7 point plan of making Selangor a benevolent benefactor to those who are in dire need and not just for cronies and relatives. The State Govt of Selangor is bent on ensuring justice and fairness for all. This is a tall order but I think it's not a pipe dream.Given the perseverance and dedication of the present Pakatan Rakyat Govt, I am confident the noble aims as outlined by Dr Hassan Ali could be realised. But the civil servants especially those at the top must also be committed to do their fair share of the tasks given to them. If they still continue with the attitude of being self-serving idiots of the past Toyol era, then woe betide them. The backwardness of those in the backwaters of the so-called most developed State in the Peninsular must be addressed quickly. There's no time to waste and the focus on the spiritual and intellectual development of Selangor must be given all the support. Those bastards who hoodwinked the people must be brought to book and they should face jail terms if fraud could be proven. I am no partisan to Party politics, but if the powers that be is aimed at bringing fairness and justice for all, then the government deserved all the support that they should get. I hope I could be of service if called upon. Otherwise I wished Dr Hassan Ali all the success and I intimated this to him before leaving the Community Hall just before Asar. Wabillahi Taufiq Walhidayah Wassalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarkatuh!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Tambusai Connection

Yesterday while I was seated on a bench at One Utama waiting for my daughter's violin class finishing, I came across a friend who recently had retired as one of the Sec-Gen of a big Ministry and he immediately recognised me. Somehow I always bumped into him at this place. So as always we entered into a conversation always beginning with the days when he was in University of Pittsburgh in the 1980's when I went there for a three month's course at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. At that time my brother Hazim was also doing his PhD in philosophy and history of science. I was quite surprised upon learning that he visited my blog and mentioned about Tuanku Tambusai, the icon hero of our family association, BERKAT. I wondered what that had got to do with him? So as we talked, it dawned upon me that he had some enquiries on how his family is somewhat connected to the story of Tuanku Tambusai, not as "keturunan" but associated in the place of origin in Riau Province of Eastern Sumatra. I also told him that I came to know that TT followers could also be found in Perak and Pahang where they settled and somehow got involved in the past history of the locals there. In 2005 when we had one of the largest gathering ever in Pusat Dakwah in Paroi, Seremban, my cousin presented a running commentary of the involvement of the followers of Tuanku Tambusai in the local intrigues of ruling successions in Perak and Selangor as well as Pahang. But I was sceptical, simply because we had no way of corroborating the evidence in solid research supported by written records. I am still the cold rational being not wanting to jump blindly into the black hole of the past. It had always been the weakness of past Malay historians to rely so much on oral traditions that they distorted the truth and lived on legends which capture the imaginations of the unschooled and the untutored. I wanted nothing of that sort and as ever wanted scientific truth to prevail. But when I mentioned to this friend of mine as some of the place names in Rokan Hulu about 3 hours from Pekanbaru, which I had never set before in my life and just came to know of it from the Internet, he seemed to know too. Thus he could not be further from the truth. When I told him that the former Governor of the Riau Province also had the name of "Tambusai" after his real name of Bapak Saleh Djasit Tambusai, then I took it that in line with the practice of some people, they like to add the name of their birthplace after their given names. For example we had one of the Ambassador resident in Kuala Lumpur more than 50 years ago where he had the name "Al-Fatany" following his name because he was born and bred in the Southern part of neighbouring Pattani not far from the Kelantan Border. So I told him that when we had the ceremony of handing over of the key to the newly upgraded Tuanku Tambusai Complex in 2002, there were some fellows who claimed to have some connection with the iconic hero, Fakeh Muhamad Saleh, our ancestor from Tambusai. But I told my uncle, let them claim whatever they wished as we had been plagued with impostors who claimed to be the fourth generation descendants of Fakeh Muhamad Saleh who by right should have been six feet underneath the ground. The most unfortunate part of this episode of impostors were how the Negri Sembilan Museum Board got themselves taken for a ride despite the fact that we had explained at length who were the true descendants of Tuanku Tambusai. But as fate had it, they are still being hoodwinked by these pretenders who perhaps had nothing better to do and slowly a few of them had already been called to meet their Creator, ALLAH ALMIGHTY. Now, my only wish is to see that the bastards who still are bent on these spurious claims will see their folly and seek forgiveness from us, the true descendants and refrain from repeating their unfounded claims. If they insist on holding on to their beliefs there's nothing much we can do, but the stupid people on the Museum Board should not entertain such people and strayed further from the truth. Biarkan Biarkan, biarkan Pak Pandir terjun dengan labu labunya, biarkan biarkan.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bloody Idiots

This week had been very eventful, starting from monday morning of 14 July 2008 when I got stuck for more than a hour along the Federal highway leading to the City centre. Tn Hj Jamil, my regular cab driver was late in picking me up from the house, because he was also caught up in the traffic on his way back from KLIA after sending a passenger and he thought he could pick me at the appointed time of 7.30 am on that fateful monday. When he arrived about twenty minutes late, I knew we were going into one of the worst gridlock ever experienced in this blasted city of mad hatters and endless traffic congestion which the City fathers are at a loss as how to solve this perennial problem. Some city councillors had been going all over the world trying to find solutions on the ever-growing increase in vehicles belching smoke and carbon monoxide into the city-dwellers lungs for more than half a century. The City bums who could never see the elephants just across the causeway but they could notice the germs thousands of miles in Scandanavia and the Benelux countries. These plain stupid city councillors are nothing better than parasites who just sucked the treasury dry and continue to bask in ignorance and they had nt the slightest compunction in wasting away public funds. The worst idiot who's supposed to offer the respite to KL Lites seemed totally oblivious to what's happening because he's more interested to show off his model concious wife to city socialites appearing in glossy magazines adorning the likes of " The Tatler " where princes, princess and robber barons proudly show their filthy rich lifestyles. Now with the escalating prices of petrol, the public transport vehicles are bursting to the seams, but these bloody idiots could not care less, because their ill-gotten gains will last them till Doomsday. May they turn in their graves when they go six feet under, because city slickers would most probably piss on their gravestones which are adorning the likes of Nilai Memorial Park where the State ruler used to own part of their shares when his bloody runner came to me when I was in the Ministry asking for special access from the North-South expressway without having to put up a toll-booth in what then had been turned into a closed toll system. Btw, the name of the company bears the name of a magic dragon whose land banks stretch from the Nilai memorial Park right up to the pig farms which at one time were blighted with Japanese Encaphilitis. Long live the 9 States who now had almost become bankrupt due the pirates who treated the state lands like a piece of Blackbeard the Pirates Davy Jone's locker!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Great Expectations

We all waited with bated breaths for the Great Debate between the de facto PKR leader, DSAI and the erstwhile Information Minister, Shabbery Chik and true to his name it was a shabby performance which placed the program aired on TV9 and not on the prime channel which the government media is beamed upon. It goes on to prove that even the Government Minister is no match for the foxy and wily former DPM who's now the PM in-waiting. Even though all sorts of harassment is heaped upon Anwar Ibrahim, but being battle-scarred, I think he'll be the proverbial phoenix who would rise from the ashes and spring into life perhaps taking the centre stage of the National political scene unless he's incarcated once more either in Kamunting or Sungei Buloh. But that's not my focus here, but more on the subject matter of the Great Debate between David and Goliath. What's most interesting to see is that both individuals stood on stage not facing directly each other but slanted sideways, perhaps someone had worked the feng-shui so that they would not have to come to blows. Obviously the erstwhile Information Minister is a pale shadow of himself, bigger than life who seemed rather nervous and unable to focus his arguments cogently and instead went on a personal attack rather than putting across convincing arguments to demolish the points raised by Dato Anwar Ibrahim. The latter though wearing an oversized coat which could have been hurriedly lent to him by one of his supporters obviously delivered his piece with ease and confidence. The moderator, being one of former Anwarites and now a columnist in one of the mainstream media was nervously trying to control the highly charged atmosphere of the DBP Auditorium which was perhaps ringed with truckloads of the FRU and the GP force on the roads leading to the Agency. I noticed the bum Nordin Kadri who always spoke for the Government was mumbling facts and figures which he culled from one of his kangkong Professors up north which nobody paid much attention. His presence was irrelevant and totally unnecessary. So was the other guy Zukifli Sulong who was trying to shore up his intellectual stance in his newly cut black suit and he was trying to adjust the buttons around his waist so that he would not appear so portly. In my estimation, Dato Seri Anwar's arguments on how he could bring about the price of petrol by 50 sen initially and then gradually bring it down further seemed rather simplistic. I could not see how the utilisation of the IPP's excess capacity could be related to bringing down the price of petrol. If he says that we should buy over Pulau Bukom from Singapore and turn it into one of the largest oil processing centre of the world and flood Singapore with the refined oil, then perhaps it would spill over the narrow Straits of Johore and transfer it by the water pipes reversing the flow instead going up to the Isthmus of Kra, then we could bring the price of petrol by 70 sen per litre. Shabby Chik err..pardon me...Shabbery Chik is a completely pathetic figure who had nothing better to offer the viewers except that his mouths needed constant wiping of his saliva which formed on the sides of his big mouth. He's the poor choice to debate with his opponent who's very much adept at putting across his points with alacrity and much poise.

A Matter of Trust

Today after my quick breakfast, as I had been not too well to have a hearty breakfast since coming down with wheezing and coughing, I went straight to the Hj. Baree Car Wash about less than 5 minutes from my house. I met the driver of the Sikh Chettiar at the place and he greeted me and was wondering where I had been for the past three weeks. Since I came back from Umrah, I was recuperating at home and seldom seen at the car-wash because I took the monthly package of RM 50.00 and I can have my car washed any number of times I wish. When he knew that I just returned from Makkah about a week ago, he seemed quite hurriedly excused himself and left me by myself. Seeing his quick gateway, I was wondering why. Then it dawned upon me that he's the driver of the Chettiar (the modern type now known as collection agency, licensed to collect debts from debtors of utilities and banks as well as finance houses). The Chettiar was once perhaps a policeman and now he regularly contributes to the Police Mess fund. At the same time he gets an indirect protection from the nearby Police patrol beats. After the car-wash boys finished their job on my car, I handed the person-in-charge a paper bag containing some dates which I bought in Medina for the car-wash owner, Hj Baree. Since the last one I gave him disappeared into the stomach of his car-wash worker, all Indonesians, I told the workers whoever ate this new supply will go down with stomachache. The person-in-charge quickly warned his boys not to take anything from the paper bag before Hj Baree "naik steam" and be prepared for his wrath.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Crazy City

Today as much as I expected, KL lites began to curse on their way to work as the whole of the City almost came to a standstill because of the gridlocked owing to the 20 point road-blocks manned by the City Police and Bukit Aman Traffic HQ. Although I was in no hurry to clock in, but the regular cab which I always travel when I had to keep an appointment at the Govt. Dental Specialist Clinic near Mydin superstore in downtown KL was also caught along the Federal Highway because he thought since Jalan Parlimen was impassable, he thought the best alternative was the Federal Highway. It seemed everyone did the same and possibly the Sprint Highway could have been better. What I failed to understand why did the authorities had to turn the KL lites victims of the gridlock every time a court order is pinned on the very premise where the rally is supposed to take place. How could they be so scared that the Parliament House would be brought down when the court order had declared a germ free zone within 5 kilometres radius? Is the disease so much worse than the black plague brought by someone who got his eyes blackened by an enraged Top Cop who also had the taste of Sungei Buloh's most sophisticated corrective centre which adopted the open concept but where RPK feared for his life when he refused bail. I just wonder how many hundreds of thousands of barrels of petrol must have been burned by the vehicles caught in the massive jams leading to the city notwithstanding the emissions of carbon monoxide that goes into the morning air which made the whole of KL Lites turning into zombies because they had seen this crazy repeats since March 08 this year. The culprit for this never seemed to learn a lesson and equally disappointing is the lack of will by the authorities in putting on their thinking caps so that others should not fall victim to this idiotic court orders which had to be pasted on to glasses and walls where the would be marchers had no chance at all to see. It should have been dropped from the sky by the ageing Nuris which fly low over their heads where I am sure that would make the protesters run helter skelter for cover because these flying coffins would drop any time on their numbskulls.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lair or Liar

A fellow Old Putera (that's the term used to describe members of the RMC Old Boys Association) commented after reading my blog that some might misread "Lair" as "Liar" because of their less than proficient command of the English Language. He also added that if my blog touch upon the political scenario of the moment, then I would attract more visitors.Incidentally, I replied to him that I started the blog because I was suffering from a bout of insomnia and my daughter gave the title so I just continued with it. Furthermore I said, I do not relish being associated with politics because I am no admirer of politicians after having been in public service for 38 years and knew their tendencies to become perfect "liars" when it served their interest. You could count with your fingers how many would remain truthful till they take their exits. Short of bragging, I have served a few who later became PM and also an Ex-DPM who resigned because of "Irreconcilable differences" in styles of governance with his supremo. I found to my consternation that they would buckle under threat from minions who had clout at the grassroots. At one meeting with a registered association, their President blatantly blackmail the then Minister who later became DPM by saying that if the Minister doesn't accede to their demands for their retention at the State level offices due to the proposed reorganisation then they would against him in his fight for the top post of the leading political party in the ruling coalition. He then sheepishly relented and promised not to remove their posts from their current positions when the reorganisation took place. From there I had no respect for politicians because their political interest superseded their sworn duty to uphold the Federal Constitution by sacrificing public good to safeguard his political interest. My stand as a public servant who carried out my duties without fear or favour made me unpopular with politicians because almost all and without exception were charlatans and public interest is not in their vocabulary. I could not be pressurised to do things which were irregular and desisted demands which were unlawful and ask them to put their dhoby mark should they insisted. So, when you have such a reputation it was in their interests to avoid having me as their top civil servant. It's sheer pity that the calibre of people manning the upper echelons of the civil service nowadays is really wanting because mostly serve with fear hoping for favour. So, my OP friend is right, you must be a liar in order to be popular and if you are honest and upright, you have no place in politics or the administration. My apologies to those who are unduly offended by my tone of writing since I am fond of calling a spade a spade.

Friday, July 11, 2008


No, no , I am not going to write about my experiences in the Holy land. This is something related the unholy alliance of people who got together with the noble intention of reviving the " Silaturrahim" of people who descended from one of the national heroes recognised by the Govt. of Indonesia, known popularly as Tuanku Tambusai and his real name is Fakeh Muhammad Saleh who died incognito sometime in late 1800's and buried in Rasah, a place near Seremban. I became the first President of this family association registered duly in 2002 and simply known as BERKAT which is the acronym of "Badan Rumpun Keturunan Tuanku Tambusai". It's Constitution is staggering to say the least, even till today I cannot comprehend the inner structure of the society, though I am President for the second term. Others might say I am a fool for not bothering to ask. But it was my uncle who drafted it and without much ado adopted by all the members. Yesterday I decided to do the unthinkable, I tendered my resignation with immediate effect. In fact I was no more interested to continue as President at the last AGM but no one else wanted the job. Reluctantly I acceded. After having observed the lack of commitment from the Setapak chapter I decided that enough is enough. I do not wish to be heading an organisation which the malay proverb says" Hidup segan mati tak mau". So that's how BERKAT going to end up most probably unless new blood is infused and the rotten appendage be removed. May ALLAH Bless BERKAT with "Barakah" so that the descendants of Tuanku Tambusai will not be forgotten by succeeding generations.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Arabian Summer

I had anticipated correctly that the day's temperature would be within the 40 degrees celcius during my trip for the lesser Hajj. As early as 7.00 am the sun was shining brightly and not a single cloud could be discerned both in Medina and Makkah. What surprised me most was the flood of pilgrims who descended upon the two holiest places in the Muslim world.After being told that the unusual crowd was due to the summer holidays in Arab countries, then only I began to accept the rush to the mosque at every prayer time. But the hot Arabian summer brought with it the most unruly behaviour of the people there and threw to the winds simple courtesies and respect for the rights of others. After friday prayers in the Masjid Nabawi, I could not find my sandals, presumably taken intentionally or otherwise, and the person who did it perhaps was fond of depriving others of their important apparel when walking on the burning earth beneath their feet. However I managed to get a pair of japanese thong given by the security guard who always sits on the wooden chair at the entrance of the mosque. Not only that, the most sacred of all in the mosque known as the Raudhah seemed to perpetually occupied by many pilgrims who selfishly refused to budge after getting a place and deprive others. I could not understand why the system adopted for the women's pilgrims could be extended to the male pilgrims. One just cannot lay blame for everything to the Arabian summer. What shocked me most during my sojourn in the holy land was the presence of construction equipment at almost every nook and corner of the Al-Haram or the Grand Mosque where the Kaa'bah is situated. The maddening crowd plus the slew of construction works at the Al-Haram took away the serene and sublime atmosphere ot the Holy site. If not for the much restrained effort on my part, probably I would have come to blows with the devilish behaviour of the pilgrims especially when Friday payer came. The last day before departing was a friday and I purposely entered the mosque about two hours before the call to prayer was transmitted via the most sophisticated PA system to my estimation. After the prayer I took a different exit and to my utmost disgust, the stampede at the entrance almost crush my ribs due to the crush of people trying to get out as if the Al-Haram was trying to get rid of the assembly out as fast as one would imagine. In conclusion all the good that people expected from their supplication at the Kaa'bah was upturned by the hot Arabian summer. Wallahuwa'lam.

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