Thursday, December 19, 2013

2014, The Year of Rising Prices

The recent announcement of price increases due to the withdrawal of subsidies have taken a lot of flak from many quarters. This is what follows when people have been used to subsidies and expect it to be as a matter of right. I am not saying that subsidies are wrong, but they were mostly a quick-fix solutions to emergent problems that have outlived their terms and had taken root as part of life.
                      When our rating took a turn for the worse, the powers that be responded with a knee-jerk action that took many by surprise. Now the resultant effect is being felt by all and sundry. Thus we shall welcome 2014 as the year of rising prices. No matter how much explanation are given to rationalise the increases in electric tariff, tolls, petrol, sugar and other necessities, the majority of our people have to bear the brunt as prices rise much faster than incomes which is the right recipe for inflation.
                     The announcement of the establishment of a laboratory to deal with the larger issue of the rise in cost of living is rather too little and too late an action to solve the pain. As a responsible government, it has to anticipate this critical issue, as the signs had been rearing its ugly head for a long time when the country had been living on a deficit for far too long and our overdependence on oil for generating revenue. We have seen how even developed countries have gone almost bankrupt due to their complacency in tackling their economic problems and we seemed to be oblivious to them. Now we are faced with the stark reality of joining their ranks. The rhetoric has to stop and the pain have to be dealt with in the most urgent manner.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Remembering Mandela

On Friday 06 December 2013,  the news of the passing away of Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected  President of South Africa was announced, after a prolonged illness. His famous words of the long walk to freedom as he was freed from prison after being interned for 27 years rang loudly for the whole world to remember until posterity. He was a leader who bore no malice against the regime who locked him up for more than a quarter century and became the President who exhibited great magnanimity and embarked on a peaceful reconciliation of the black majority and the white minority whose government upheld Apartheid policy of segregation between the coloured people and the whites. 
            Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 and he died at the age of 95. In 1961 he was the leading figure in forming the armed wing of the African National Congress and in 1963 he stood for trial with 10 others and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. He was freed on February 11, 1990 by the last white President of South Africa, F.W. de  Klerk who ended the apartheid policy and lifted the ban on the ANC. In the following year Mandela became the leader of the ANC and in 1994 he became the first democratically elected President after a landslide victory in the first free elections. He handed over power to Mbeki after his tenure in 1999. Mandela shall be remembered as one of the most revered Statesman for his long struggle for freedom and against a rascist white minority government. It was our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman who agitated for the expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth in 1960 for apartheid and this resulted in its withdrawal from the body in 1961. The legacy of Mandela in the fight for truth, justice and equality against an oppressive regime shall be not only be remembered by his nation but by the whole world. Rest in peace Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
                   My first and last contact with someone who was a member of the ANC was during my short course in Hyderabad, India in 1989. He with another lady represented the ANC as participants for the short administrative course organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. They were selected in preparation for the impending independence of South Africa and when the participants came to Malaysia as part of the programme, he confided in me that Malaysia would become the model for his country's future development. And truly enough, Malaysia was one of the first nation Mandela visited in November 1990 and  he requested Malaysia's help in preparing South Africa's first free elections. Since then our close relations had evolved over the decades which led to an increase in trade and investment between the two countries.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Security Guards who should be factory workers

Last thursday on the 21 November 2013, our neighbourhood security watch had the misfortune of being raided by the enforcement team from the Home Ministry and three of the guards on duty were detained because their papers were not in order. Their permits were meant for work in the factory but they were utilised to become security guards and thus they faced deportation and the security service provider would be slapped with a compound for the offence.
             Although the other guards had their permits in order but they refused to continue the watch in protest to the security provider for not looking after their welfare. Thus our residents association security arrangement went into disarray due to their absence. By friday evening the committee had an emergency meeting to map out the course of action to plug the security lapse and a quick decision was taken to ask the committee members and volunteers to take turns to be on the security watch. It was indeed a test on the association how to deal with a crisis. Our President and the other members of the committee managed to come around and handle the crisis effectively. The present security provider is simply unable to provide the replacements because most of the guards are from Nepal and they were afraid that they would be detained as they were unsure whether their papers are genuine.
                   By now we have suspended the service of the provider for being unable to find replacements and temporary guards have been put in place to take over manning the security watch round the clock. On monday night of 25 November the committee met with the management of the company which is supplying us the temporary guards and negotiated for their continuation on a monthly basis until the association finalise its decision on the security provider.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Taiping revisited

On Deepavali day, 02 November 2013 was the beginning of an eventful month where my calendar is full of engagement ceremonies and wedding invitations. I have not been travelling by road northbound for many years and this time I am just a passenger seated next to the driver, where my brother was at the steering wheel. Since the day was the start of a long weekend which began on a saturday and another public holiday falling on the following tuesday, thus the highway was rather congested even though  we left at about ten o'clock in the morning from Kelana Jaya.
                      We stopped for a short break at Tapah rest area at about one o'clock and then had another stop at Kuala Kangsar for lunch. Fortunately it was not raining all the way and we checked in at hotel Seri Malaysia Taiping by 4.30 pm. Since we were quite tired after the long journey, we were contented to have dinner at the hotel's restaurant and furthermore the town was crowded with holiday makers and there was also a gathering of big motor bikers going on for the weekend.
                  The purpose of my trip to Taiping was to be the spokesperson on behalf of my brother for the bethrotal of my nephew to a girl from Changkat Jering, Taiping. So on that sunday 03 November began the hectic calendar of events for me in attending to family and friend's invitations either for engagements ceremony or weddings.The morning sun was quite bright as I looked out of the room window on the ground-floor and I had breakfast by the time the restaurant opened at 7.30 am. My brother and sister-in-law was already at their table enjoying their breakfast. Later on my sisters, brother-in-law and nephew came from their hotel in the middle of the town to join us for breakfast. We had a good tete-a-tete at the breakfast table amidst the growing number of guests streaming into the restaurant. I must say, Seri Malaysia hotel do have a reasonable spread to choose for breakfast. We checked out from the hotel at about 11.45 am, and other relatives of my sister-in-law who came from Kuala Lumpur and other places also assembled at the hotel for the group to depart to Kg. Changkat Jering, about 7 kilometres from Taiping town. We stopped at Masjid Jamek Kg. Changkat Jering to gather all the family members from my nephew's side for the engagement ceremony.
                 The negotiation for the engagement ceremony  went smoothly and without fuss because the spokesperson from the other side coincidentally is the imam of the mosque of Changkat Jering and presumably he wanted to get over it quickly in time for zohor prayer which is just slightly after 1.00 o'clock. After the function was over followed by a kenduri, there was a heavy downpour and we stopped at the Changkat Jering mosque for zohor prayer, as it is not far from the girl's house. By the time the rain began to slow down, we left for home, but as my brother needed a cup of coffee as he was feeling drowsy, we stopped at Kuala Kangsar for a break. The town seemed to be teeming with visitor's judging from the number of tour buses coming to the food-court near the riverside where the jetty for the Perak river cruise is situated. It was quite a feat to find a parking bay near the river front.
                By 5.30 pm we began to leave Kuala Kangsar and entered the North-South highway again. All throughout the drive, there was an endless stream of vehicles going back to the Federal capital and  we stopped at Ladang Bikam lay-by for a short rest. As all the other rest areas were very congested with vehicles, we decided to drive straight home and arrived in Kelana Jaya at about 9.30 pm.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Undang Luak in Adat Perpatih

I am continuing my write-up about Adat Perpatih in my home state of Negeri Sembilan this time by focussing on the Undang Luak of which there are four, viz; Sungei Ujong (now Seremban), Jelebu, Rembau, and Johol.
As the saying goes;
              Alam beraja ( The state has a ruler)
              Luak berpenghulu (Undang) (the district has a territorial chief)
              Suku berlembaga ( the clan has a clan chief )
              Anak buah berbuapak ( the sub-clan has a leader )
              Orang semenda bertempat semenda (the affine has affinal relatives)
  Before the advent of the British rule, it was the Undang (lawgiver) who held power in the 'luak' or the territory, and not even the Yamtuan can intefere in the domain of the Undang. It could be surmised in the saying below:-
             Boleh menghitam dan memutihkan
             Boleh memanjang dan memendekkan
             Boleh mengesah dan membatalkan

Translated as:
            With authority to pronounce black and white
            With authority to lengthen and shorten
            With authority to confirm and annul
            Sah batal pada Undang
            Keris penyalang pada Undang
Translated as:
           Confirmation and annulment are with the Undang
           The execution Kris is with the Undang

      In fact the Undang held more authority than the Yamtuan where matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Luak. The Yamtuan was only confined to his seat of the palace in Seri Menanti. This was the scenario then, because the Yamtuan served as the titular Head of State and he was invited from Pagar Ruyung in Sumatera upon the request of the four Undangs. Thus whenever the Ruler passed away, the Undangs will choose amongst the eligible princes, not necessarily the son of the deceased to become the new ruler. Thus the present Yang diPertuan Besar (Yamtuan for short) was chosen from amongst the three princes (the other two were the sons of the previous Yamtuan, Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman). His Highness Tuanku Mukhriz, the present ruler is the son of the former Yamtuan, Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, the brother of Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar. If I could recall correctly, when the Federation Agreement of 1947 was signed between the British and theMalay Rulers, all the four Undangs were invited and seated together with the Yamtuan during the signing ceremony. Such was the importance of the Undangs protocol wise accorded by the British and till today all royal functions at the State level must be graced by their presence.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recycling Man

Familiar jingle
Pass my house many a time
Paper lama man

Recycling business
An honest work for the day
Earning his living

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Cyber Scam

It is quite baffling
People easily be conned
And lose millions

They should remain calm
And call the bluff from caller
When no wrong is done

You must be steadfast
Not to fall to such a scam
Keep your wits around

Monday, October 07, 2013

Aidil-Adha, Day of Sacrifice.

Tenth of Zulhijjah
Is in the month of the Hajj
Day of Sacrifice

Where Mina awaits
Three symbols of satan stands
Abraham fought them

His son Ismail
Laid his neck for sacrifice
Replaced by a sheep

Muslims all over
Celebrate Aidil-Adha
To remember it

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Insurgency or Emergency

Picture of a check-point
during the Emergency.
The Emergency
Truly an Insurgency
A real war at large
Fifties were its height
Casualties were on both sides
The pain never erased
Ashes too not spared
The fallen still remembers
Turning in their graves

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The Auditor's Report

Year in and year out
Same story on public funds
Ludicrous statements

The people are numbed
Staggering figures wasted
Repeatedly done

Where is their conscience
Have they thrown it to the winds
The sin is too great

Friday, October 04, 2013

My Cats

                                       Maghry, the mother cat.

Two cats are my pets
Maghry the mother and Bit
Been around quite long

Straddling the driveway
Whenever I leave for mosque
As if to stand guard

When the gates open
They came rushing to welcome
Bit makes a loud noise

Thursday, October 03, 2013

TV Invitation

A call from David
Former colleague in service
Invite on TV

To speak on Budget
What to expect forthcoming
Politely decline

No publicity
Not to seek this world only
Look to Hereafter

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Safety first

Boom-gates installed
To ensure security
Lest we fall victims

Some say a nuisance
To be stopped and questioned
Why not the Police

Here comes smart alec
Criticise us for such effort
His ego too big

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Age-Old Custom

Adat Perpatih
Exists only in Nine States
Minangkabau roots

Rains did not spoil it
Nor did hot sun whither it
Held dear by Elders

Not to be displaced
Nor it to be demolished
Till Eternity

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Orang Semenda ( A man related by marriage ) in Adat Perpatih

                                     A typical Malay kampong
                                     house in Negeri Sembilan

The term 'Orang Semenda' more often than not, is portrayed to outsiders  in a negative manner due to stories from people who lack understanding of how the system operates. The picture which is always conjured is that the man who is married to a woman from Negeri Sembilan has to bade good-bye  with only his shirt on his back( keluar rumah Sehelai Sepinggang) when a divorce or demise of the wife happens, and the man packs up because the house does not belong to him but if he has a daughter, then the house is then passed to her. Nowadays, with the proliferation of nuclear families living in their own homes (no more living in ancestral house), this situation hardly arises.
                When a man marry a woman from Negeri Sembilan, he is called 'Orang Semenda' if  he stays with his wife at the ancestral house (rumah pesaka)and the village he is staying in, is called ' Pek mondo ' short for 'Tempat Semenda' or the place where he now resides and he has certain obligations to fulfill. Thus the saying below spells out  his obligations;

  Orang Semenda ini
  Disuruh pergi
  Dipanggil datang
( The Spouse when called upon must turn up
   and perform his role as expected )
This maxim is usually applicable when there is work to be allotted such as preparation for a wedding feast or any other ceremonial function involving the extended family of the wife.

Orang Semenda
Pertama beripar lamai
Kenal mengenal
Diunjuk rumah
Papan yang sebilah
Atap yang selayar
Kampong yang bersudut
Rumah yang berketak tangga
Kok ada jangan dihabis
Kok kurang ditambah
Kok pendek disambung
Kok tiada ditambah
Ikhtiar dan usaha dituntut

( Orang Semenda firstly is accepted as a family member of a large family
  consisting of in-laws and must be introduced to the kith and kins so that
  he is not a stranger anymore.
  He is given a house complete with walls and roof and has a place in the village. He must preserve or add to the property of his wife and not to diminish them . If there is a need, he must fulfill them and if something is short, he must top them up. His effort and contribution is most welcomed.)

A man who knows his place in Adat Perpatih will be given due respect,especially when he has valuable contribution in term of his ability and skill for the betterment of society. Thus a person who adds value will gain respect of the society where he now resides.
          If the Orang Semenda builds his own house away from the ancestral home and the wife stays with him, he does not have to leave the house  if a divorce or death of the wife takes place, as the house  is not inherited from his wife's mother. Therefore it is up to the Orang Semenda to make his own fortune if he wants and he does not have to leave with only the shirt on his back should the unexpected happens.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The legacy of Norhalim

In my previous posting, I paid tribute to Allahyarham Norhalim Ibrahim, a scholar well heeled in the Adat and I am going to cite his paper " Brief Introduction to Adat Perpatih". Although most Negeri Sembilan Malays have no clue on the Adat except for those who are intensely involved in carrying out their ascribed roles such the four Undangs and the chieftains under him, the Lembaga and Buapak of the respective clans, but there is no doubt that it still plays a role perhaps unconciously to many.
                 In his paper, Norhalim regard Adat Perpatih as a way of life because it encompasses a system which is matrilineal and characterised as a communal, fairly egalitarian and democratic. As a conceptual system it includes  specific rules that govern the behaviour and norms of society such as marriages, divorce, rights and obligations, domicile, property rights and kinship. The Adat was based on the precept;
              Baik dipakai dek muafakat
              Buruk dibuang dek rundingan
( If Adat is good, it will be practised by consensus; if it is bad it will be
  discarded after consultation )\
The Adat  emphasised on consensus and consultation as the basic ingredients of a harmonious and stable society. Philosophically, the Adat itself ascribes to change as reflected in the maxim;

            Yang buruk dibaharui (the old to be renewed)
            Yang usang diganti (the obsolete to be replaced)

Thus, Adat Perpatih is not a static system and it is adaptable to contemporary life without deviating from its norms and values. Another concept which is held dear is the concept of  'Muafakat' which is a reflection of solidarity. It is a rule that every important decision is discussed thoroughly during a 'Kerapatan' which is a gathering of all members of the clan involved where the specific problem would be thrashed out and solutions sought collectively. The method of problem-solving by the ' Kerapatan ' is termed as 'Muafakat' ( Agreement, as a convention or compromise to end any dispute ).
         I still remember my late father telling me that whenever in the preliminary engagement ceremony the maxim he was fond of citing ' Adat lalu dalam terang, muafakat lalu dalam gelap ' which meant that the negotiations must follow the rules of the Adat, but the agreement can override it. It just go to show that no matter how difficult the process of negotiations is, it could be overcome by discussions at the personal level between the parties involved in reaching an agreement.
         For those who are interested in getting the books written by Norhalim one of which is ; " Negeri Yang Sembilan " can always get the information from the Negeri Sembilan Museum which is a statutory body under the State Government. The Museum is situated right after the Toll Plaza on the exit to Seremban from the North-South highway southbound.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A tribute to Adat Perpatih specialist

Norhalim Hj Ibrahim
When I was staying in Rembau in 1957, one of my closest neighbour was a boy who was my age then by the name of Norhalim Ibrahim. We used to play together because his house was just next to mine where the government quarters were situated along the road known as Jalan Tambang Kuda. After I left Rembau a year later when my father was transferred back to Seremban, we lost contact altogether.
               When searching for information on the Adat, I came across many writings and books by him on Adat Perpatih, as he was a Professor at Universiti Putra Malaysia many years ago, and I am sad to learn  that he passed away in 2008. I remember him as a jovial friend, a fully bred Rembau boy from Batu Hampar clan (suku) and when I mentioned to him that I came from the Biduanda clan (suku biduanda) he commented that my clan is a privileged one,because only those from this clan can be elected as the Undang in Rembau. Little did I realise that he was so passionate about the Adat, that he became the specialist and resource person on it and was always consulted by the practitioners of the Adat whenever the need arises. Norhalim Hj Ibrahim went to the Language Institute after his secondary education and then continued his studies at University of Malaya, graduating in 1971. He did his post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom and retired as a Professor in UPM at Serdang. He was still active after his retirement from the university and before his demise, he held the post of the curator of the Muzium Adat in Kuala Kelawang in Jelebu.As I went through his writings on the Adat, it is  evident that his deep knowledge and expertise on the Adat  had been recognised by the State government of Negri Sembilan when he was made the first Curator of the Adat Muzium. Norhalim Hj Ibrahim surely will be remembered for his deserving research on Adat Perpatih by the future generations in Negri Sembilan. May Allah bestow His Forgiveness on him and place his soul amongst the pious in Jannah.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Continuation on the wisdom of Adat Perpatih

As suggested by my good friend Hank @ Kaykuala, whenever possible the wise sayings from Adat Perpatih ( Customary Law from Negri Sembilan ) should be accompanied by an English translation for the benefit of those not conversant in the Malay Language, I append below my first attempt in the translation into English:-

Tegak rumah kerana sendi
Runtuh sendi rumah binasa
Sendi bangsa adalah budi
Runtuh budi runtuhlah bangsa

( The house stands firm because of its joints
  When the joints crumble, the house tumbles
  The race is strong because of its morals
   Once it is gone the race falls )

Adat bersaudara, saudara dipertahankan
Adat berkampung, kampung dipertahankan
Adat bernegeri, negeri dipertahankan
Adat berbangsa, bangsa dipertahankan

( The custom of kinship is strong bonds
   The custom of the village is its solidarity
   The custom of a State is undivided loyalty
   The custom of the race is its integrity )

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pearls of wisdom from Adat Perpatih

In my earlier posting on the adat, the wisdom is found mostly in the sayings such as below:-

Memusat dari bumi
Perpuncak dari langit

Berjinjang naik
Bertangga turun

        The verse above is the potrayal of order in society, for everything there must be a proper way of doing it, not arbitrarily. Every person in society has a function, regardless of one's handicap as shown below:-

Yang cerdik teman berunding
Yang bodoh disuruh arah
Yang buta menghembus lesung
Yang patah menunggu jemuran
Yang pekak mencucuh meriam
Yang berani kepala lawan
Yang alim tempat bertanya
Yang kaya tempat bernaung

Things which we take for granted, such as the house where we spend most of our lives in, has a role in adat as mentioned below:-

Rumah dibuat menurut adat
Rumah berdiri kerana budi
Rumah bangun kerana santun
Rumah ditunggu dengan ilmu

          In adat perpatih, great importance is placed in proper conduct and manners in social interactions as mentioned in the sayings below:-
Kok ribut runduklah padi
Padi cupak Datuk Temenggong
Kok hidup tidak berbudi
Samalah tegak berdiri condong

Yang merah saga
Yang kurik kundi
Yang indah bahasa
Yang elok budi

Berjalan pada yang lurus
Berkata pada yang benar
Berhukum pada yang adil

Menuntut ilmu pada yang patut
Mengaji ilmu pada yang terpuji
Belajar pada yang benar
Mencontohi pada yang senonoh
Memakai pada yang sesuai

        Thus if only one goes deeper into the pearls of wisdom which have been inherited through generations and take a leaf in the lessons taught in them, adat perpatih is not just a legacy from the past, but is a guide for a lifetime.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Adat Perpatih; its significance to contemporay society

Since I began searching materials on Adat Perpatih, I came across many sources, one of which is compiled by Jabatan Warisan Negara, entitled "Adat Perpatih" which is very useful to refer to since it covers a wide range of topics and they are essays written by a few experts in their own area of specialisation such as Land law, protocol and sayings (terombo).
                 But what intrigues me most is an essay by Nordin Selat who at one time was on the teaching staff of the Arts Faculty in University of Malaya and he was responsible for introducing the module on 'Adat Perpatih' as a subject taught to students. Unfortunately when he left, there was no one who was competent enough to continue with it. The comment he made in his essay is a reflection of the state of neglect on the significance of the Adat Perpatih to contemporary society which is rather unfortunate since there are many which could be learned on the art of developing a civil society. He said we need not look at foreign element such as the 'Renaissance Man' in bringing back social stability and harmony if we can revive the 'Adat Man'. The saying below is pertinent;

Apa tanda bangsa beradat
Mewariskan adat ia ingat
Supaya hidup selamat
Adat diingat ingat
Diturunkan bercepat cepat
Diwariskan ketika ingat
Disampaikan dimana sempat

               He stressed the importance of intellectual leadership to be infused amongst the practitioners of the adat, since the mainstay of the adat stems from wisdom derived from centuries of traditions that have gone through adaptations from its place of origin in Minangkabau as it travelled through Siak and Naning. He suggested that an Institute on Adat Perpatih be formed to ensure its continuity and research its relevance to contemporary society. Alas, it still remains a dream, which he hopes will materialise in the future.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Rainbow, Contemporary Poetry and Prose

The title is that of a book which is shown in the picture above, and the author, who is a very dear friend from the Class of '64 (Higher School Certificate year) in the former FMC (now RMC) whom we all called 'Hank' during College days and he was my housemate during my second year as an undergraduate at the University of Malaya.
                          Little did we all expect him to be an accomplished poet and writer at this stage of our lives, as we received the envelopes containing the complimentary copy during a dinner function for the Class of '64 on thursday 05 September 2013, hosted by one of our classmates. Today as I talked to Hamzah Pilus@ Hank over the phone, I congratulated him on the very well written poetry and prose which is a compilation of his writings and poems which appear on his blog entitled 'Rainbow'. As a fellow blogger, I have been constantly goaded by Hank to keep on writing 'haiku' as my interest in it went up and down. I am ever thankful for his companionship as a long time friend and keeping him company in blogosphere. If only Mr.P.D. Bond and Mr. Micheal Loh, our teachers who taught as poetry and English were still around, they would be extremely happy to see this book too, kudos to you, Hank. And May Allah bestow His Grace and Compassion as well as Blessings always. For those who are interested to read this well written piece can just get in touch with him through his blog by the same title, 'Rainbow'.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Adat Perpatih Continues...

                                The Malay model house in Seremban

The origin of the Adat Perpatih was from West Sumatera, and the story goes that there were two brothers named Datuk Perpateh nan Sebatang and Datuk Temenggong who started the two customs which differ in system, one matrilineal and the other patrilineal. Between the two brothers, Datuk Perpatih was the cleverer one, and the democratic election of leaders was attributed to him. The popular notion is that migrants from Minangkabau brought the custom to Malaya sometime in the 15th Century,when they came from Siak across the Straits of Malacca and entered upstream the Linggi river  in Negeri Sembilan. They were welcomed by the local chiefs and  settled inland because they were mainly farmers from agrarian societies in their Minagkabau homeland.
                Many seemed to be perplexed how the term Negeri Sembilan came about. It came from the original districts or small jurisdictions of the chiefs as below:-
1. Sungai Ujong
2. Jelebu
4. Gunong Pasir
5. Terachi
6. Inas
7. Ulu Muar
8. Jempol

    The social structure consists of 12 clans or 'suku' as explained in the saying below:-

Raja beralam
Penghulu berluak
Lembaga berlingkungan
Buapak beranak buah
Anak buah duduk bersuku suku
Berapa sukunya?
Dua belas

The 12 suku consist of the following;

1. Biduanda
2.Batu Hampar
3.Paya kumbuh
4. Mungkal
5. Tiga nenek
6. Seri melenggang
7. Seri Lemak
8. Batu belang
9.Tanah datar
10. Anak acheh
11. Anak melaka
12.Tiga batu

Each suku is divided into 'perut','ruang' and 'rumpun'. Each perut is headed by a 'Buapak' elected by members of the perut and the suku is headed by the ' Lembaga ' who is responsible for everything that happens in the perut that form the suku.
             Adat Perpatih encompasses wholly the political and economic life of its members form the cradle to the grave in the past. Each 'luak' or district is headed by a Penghulu or Undang. Currently there are four Undangs, namely for Jelebu, Johol, Rembau and Sungei Ujung. Sungei Ujung is now the district of Seremban. The position of the Undangs are rotated amongst the members of the Biduanda or waris suku, the most potent power of the Undangs is the election of the Ruler, known as the Yam-Tuan.
             The appointment of the lembaga is for life and the selection is done by the buapak on a rotational basis according to the perut in the particular suku. The appointment of the buapak is with the approval of the Lembaga and he deals with matters pertaining to family laws of the adat such as marriages,division of property and small conflicts within the perut. Appeals on his decision is forwarded to the lembaga. The hierarchy of positions in the system is bottom-up,where elected leaders are subject to dismissals from the members below. This is depicted in the saying below;

Anak buah yang mengangkat buapak
Buapak yang mengangkat lembaga
Lembaga yang mengangkat Penghulu

Essentially Adat Perpatih is made up of four parts, viz;

Adat yang sebenar adat
Adat nan diadatkan
Adat nan teradat
Adat istiadat

The first covers the customs that are codified into laws, the second from local practices, the third compiled from adages and sayings and the fourth on etiquette and protocols.

Thus for those from Negeri Sembilan, bear in mind that the adat is much alive today and still held dear by the people as the saying goes;

Tak lekang dek panas
Tak lapuk dek hujan
Gemuk berpupuk
Dianjak layu,dicabut mati.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Adat Perpatih, the unique custom of Negeri Sembilan

I have been prompted by Pakcik Hasan of Al-Manar, a friend from Trengganu to write something on Adat Perpatih which is the custom practiced by the Malays largely in Negeri Sembilan which had its origins from "Tanah Mengandung" which is the term denoting to the region settled by the Minangkabaus in West Sumatera.
                       Having been born in Negeri Sembilan, I suppose people presume that I ought to know  about the custom compared to those from outside who are normally referred to as practisisng the "Adat Temenggong". In fact, from the day I was born, I became a member of the "suku"  which is a term describing to which clan one belongs as there are twelve clans altogether  or "suku" indicating one's roots. I am from the 'suku biduanda' which means that I come from the ancestors who were regarded as the original inhabitants of Negeri Sembilan traced from the mother's roots as is practised in the matriarchial society of the "Adat Perpatih". That means my descendants from my mother's side were not immigrants from Minangkabau, although by marriage the man's side might have been from ' Tanah Mengandung '. Thus when my late grandmother said that her roots were from the original inhabitants, she added that it could be adduced that we had a close blood ties with the Jakuns and the Semangs (negritos) who first populated the Peninsula when I learned from the history books of Malaya during my schooldays on the Proto-Malays.
                         The most significant part of the 'adat ' is the well-defined system of 'kinship' as traced from the matrilineal system and it follows the rights and obligations of the members of the society therefrom. The most popular perception of outsiders from the "Adat" is that if a man who marries a woman from a certain suku, (marrying a woman from the same suku is taboo) is widowed owing to separation by divorce or death of the woman, he leaves home and goes back to his clan only with the shirt on his back,so to speak. This is somewhat untrue, because if the man and the wife had lived separately from the woman's customary home (inherited through the mother's customary property) and acquired the house by his sweat and tears, that property does not fall within the customary property and he has the right to continue staying, provided the land on which the house was built belongs to him.
                    Another popular saying which has quoted on the adat is "Biar mati anak jangan mati adat " which to many from outside Negeri Sembilan as being cruel. That saying is a way of impressing upon the followers of the adat, that if the society does not hold fast to it, than the society will disintegrate, as it is the adat that binds them together through good and bad times. It is a figure of speech and not to be taken literally. There are many more sayings that denote the social cohesiveness of the adat as follows;

Bulat air kerana pembetung
Bulat manusia kerana muafakat
Kegunung sama didaki
kelurah sama dituruni
Hati gajah sama dilapah
Hati kuman sama dicecah

Another misconception that is normally attributed to the adat is that the customary land law governing the property passed on through the women's family side is against Islamic law. The origins of this special provision only apply to land which had been inherited by the woman's side through generations and does not apply to land which had been acquired through the efforts of the man and the woman which is regarded as 'harta sepencarian' or property acquired through the work and savings of both. Thus the saying from the adat is thus quoted here;

Patah tumbuh hilang berganti
Pusaka bergilir,soko berwaris
Adat bersendi hukum,hukum bersendi
Syara' mengata adat mengikut
Adat dan syara' sandar menyandar

                I hope my short write-up here, dispels the myths which by and large been held by those outside the adat and most probably by those from Negeri Sembilan who are completely ignorant of the Adat and thus not bothered to correct them whenever such misconceptions arise during small talk at wedding functions and other social gatherings. As there other aspects of the adat which I have not covered, I will do so in future.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

KGV Class of '62 Reunion

Although I did my form five and thus my School Certificate in FMC (now RMC ) but I still got invited to the above reunion because most of those who attended it last year were my classmates in Form Three in King George V School in 1960.
                  Thus when David Lim Kim Kee reminded me of the gathering on Sunday 25 August at a hotel in Seremban for high tea between 12 noon and 4.30 p.m., I messaged back saying God willing, I would attend. Hence I found my way to the place by 12.15 p.m. and found David was busy distributing the flyers to a group of attendees just outside the restaurant. Victor Lee Wee Kah who made his annual sojourn back to his hometown from Australia came and greeted me. Last year, he distributed my write-up on the forthcoming reunion which I could not attend due to an earlier commitment.
                    Upon paying for the buffet at the counter just before entering the restaurant, we headed straight for the table and began our conversation. But earlier we had a friendly banter when we were assembling at the area near the entrance of the restaurant, and I met my best friend Muthukumar whom I had never met since leaving KGV in 1960. He is now a surgoen at Tong Shin Hospital in Kuala Lumpur and he too was happy to meet me. Jeyasingham S, who was in the PWD also attended the reunion this time and I told him that I did meet him somewhere during his tenure of service, but I could not recall where and I told him that I was serving in the Ministry of Works from 1988 till 1992.
                   At my table during the high tea apart from Victor Lee Wee Kah were Siti Saroja, Muslamah Asli, Rohani Yusof, Shaari and Mohd. Ariff Latiff. We had a lot to talk about of the school days and the different paths that we had taken in our careers. Lee Wee Kah gave some useful tips on the health side, as at our age, it is the most important asset to look after seriously. I am very thankful to him for sharing his knowledge. I told him that I had informed another classmate Malek Yasin about this reunion when I met him at Harith Takiman's house on the evening before. Harith is indisposed and could not attend. Later on Razali Yaacob and Juhari Samidi joined us. I hope to post the pictures that we had taken this reunion once they are uploaded on the facebook. I left them for home by 2.30 p.m. and thank Allah Almighty for this rare opportunity of meeting old friends after 53 years.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Aidilfitri 2013

                                 Aidilfitri 2013/ 1434 H

It is almost a week now since the first of Syawal 1434 is celeberated to mark to end of Ramadhan 1434 H, but the plethora of TV shows does not allow the Muslim viewers to forget counting which Hari Raya it is today, as if reinforcing the practice of  the month long Raya.
          Last Friday which falls on the second day of Hari Raya, I went to the Kota Damansara mosque which is popularly known as Masjid Kuning due to its color seen on its exterior, the khutbah reminded the congregation that it is the Malay penchant to celeberate Raya for the whole month which ought to be discontinued, albeit difficult owing to long standing practice which had not been commented by ulamas openly. And the khutbah focussed on the six day non-obligatory fast in the month of Syawal instead, whereby by doing so, it is deemed that an individual would have fasted for the whole year. Hopefully the reminder does not go into the right ear and go out by the left ear for those who were present that day.
            I gather that in Kelantan particularly, Raya is only celeberated at the most for a week and it is Aidiladha which is reckoned to be more important to many. I suppose it all depends on the practice of the society around our place and the more significant issue is the full understanding of the "ibadat" sorrounding the celeberation.
            Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir Batin.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ramadhan's Miracle

A Profound Blessing
Holy month of Ramadhan
Multiple Rewards

It comes once a year
In it a night of miracle
Quest of a lifetime

Invoke His Pleasure
Not to waste such a great offer
Worth a thousand months

             It is only found in one of the last ten nights of Ramadhan, known as "Laylatul- Qadar" one of Ramadhan's miracles which is better than a thousand months. Blessed are those who are able to stay up in prayer and be endowed with the equivalent reward of a thousand months.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Final Phase of Ramadhan, 1434 Hijriah

How time flies! Now we have come to the final phase of Ramadhan in 1434 Hijriah. This last leg of Ramadhan is the most significant for Believers, where we are promised the reward that we are saved from Hellfire. The first ten nights if we perform the obligatory and voluntary prayers diligently, we are promised Allah's "Rahmah" ( Blessings), the second ten nights we are promised the granting of Allah's Mercy by pardoning our sins and lastly saving the faithfuls from the worst dwelling place in Hereafter.
                       For those who have fulfilled their Ramadhan with the performance of their obligations of not just refraining from eating and drinking but from committing sins conciously  or otherwise and doing things which are forbidden or neglecting the obligatory performance of prayers in the daily life of a Believer then how they wished the whole year is bestowed with the likes of Ramadhan and the end of Ramadhan is most regretted. The "pahala" from doing good such as giving alms and contributing to charity and in service of mankind particularly the needy and the poor is multiplied by 700 times more than in other months. Above all is the meeting of "Lailatul Qadar " or the night which occurs in one of the nights during the last ten nights of Ramadhan. There had been accounts of those who were able to meet that special night which is better than a thousand months, such as being able to see the tops of trees kissing the ground as if in prayer to Allah or coming across water drawn from the well which turned into ice.
          Whatever stories that have been told about "Lailatul Qadar", the most significant thing to do is be consistent in performing the nightly prayers or "Terawih" and reciting the Al-Quran or doing the "Iktikaf" (meditation in the Mosque for most of the day after the dawn prayer) for the last ten days of Ramadhan. Then Allah will confer upon the faithfuls what is due to each and everyone who does all the prayers and other good things purely for the sake of Allah, Amin. Last but not least, pray that another Ramadhan shall await the faithfuls in 1435 H.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ramadhan's Blessing for me.

It is common knowledge that Ramadhan is the most Blessed month in the Muslim calendar as evidenced by the extraordinary rewards and bounty promised by Allah for the faithfuls in the Hereafter. But for me the proof of that Blessing is that I am able to regain my sleeping pattern which had been upset for a couple of months.
                       This is not my first bout of insomnia, but if my memory is correct, this is my third. But somehow I had been able to recover from it not by medication but more on the supplication to Allah's Mercies and Compassion through prayers and consistently reciting the verses which the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) taught to the Companions who suffered from the same problem. Thus it my living experience of welcoming Ramadhan by being back on track and now to do the utmost for the Qiam (night prayers) which should gain momentum at the last ten nights of Ramadhan where the faithfuls look forward to meet the night of Al-Qadar which is better than a thousand months or its equivalent of approximately 82 years.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yaasin Recital and Tahlil

                                       Recital of Yaasin and Tahlil

On Sunday 23 June 2013, I hosted the session on recital of the Surah Yaasin and Tahlil for my late parents and parents-in-law at my house  at 11.00 a.m. and it is fortunate that the haze was only at the early stage. I prayed hard so that the day would just be just nice for my guests to enable them to have their makan outside the house where I have put up the tents for the buffet. Indeed Allah answered my prayers because the days after, the haze became worse and schools in Selangor had to close.
                        I thank Allah that the occasion went smoothly and the recital and tahlil hopefully achieved its objective.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

London's pull

This is the time when many Malaysians flock to London as the weather is getting more bearable for those who are used to the hot and wet weather of the equatorial climate. My dear friend Azudin has been in London for two months, spending his time cycling from his apartment in Finchley to West End whenever the weather permits. I have been following his whereabouts which he dutifully posted on his Facebook with all the pictures. He seemed to want to stay longer in London.
           My cousin Suhaimi who has been living in London for many many years seemed to be reluctant to return,perhaps the pull of London is much more stronger than home. My cousin's son, Azrai Abdullah Azizi too is holidaying with his family in London now, and he used to work there before, where his daughter Portia was born. It seemed London is a second home to most Malaysians who can afford it. After all, it is not that bad to have been a colony of Great Britain.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Education, everyone's cup of tea

One portfolio which has been looked upon as highly important is Education, because it involve's the interest of every citizen. On the latest Cabinet line-up, it has been merged with Higher Education, probably to make it more streamlined with all levels from pre-education to tertiary education.
                       However, in terms of effectiveness, it remains to be seen. The rationale for the creation of the Ministry of Higher Education was to have a better focus on the development of tertiary education,especially with the increase of private tertiary institutions which mushroomed to proportions never imagined by the country before. It was in line with the goal of making the country the hub for tertiary education. I suppose now the emphasis is now less, because the multiplication of tertiary institutions without effective control on quality and type of students which they try to attract have not seen the desired results.
                      Now with the merger, we hope that our aim to upgrade the quality and make our tertiary institutions amongst the best in the world will remain steadfast and not be relegated to something less important.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Post GE 13

It is all over
The result is loud and clear
Change is what they want

For now close all rank
We must accept the outcome
Nation must survive

Winners must not gloat
Losers must be gentlemen
Harmony prevail

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GE 13

A deluge of flags
All along the divider
Festive mood in air

Promises abound
Slogans and manifesto
To draw the voters

We shall cast our vote
According to our choice
To rule for five years

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tampin, the border town.

On Saturday 27 April, I drove to Tampin, a town on the border between Negri Sembilan and Melaka, to attend a wedding invitation of my cousin's daughter. I passed by that town last Christmas Day on my way to Melaka, also to attend a wedding invitation. I used to go to Tampin when I was staying in Rembau during my days in Standard Six at the Lower School of King George V in Seremban. Every month I had to go to Tampin to buy a monthly bus pass since I had to travel from Rembau to Seremban during the week days to go to school.
                     It was then in 1957, the year when Malaya became Independent. Compared to now, Tampin is almost unrecognizable, due to the rapid growth , thus benefitting the townsfolk of Tampin. Tampin used to have its share of padi-fields and my late uncle used to operate a small rice-mill  because there was a demand for it. Nowadays you can hardly see any padi field around Tampin, and the spread of the town is filled up mainly by housing projects or shop-houses.
                   The road leading to my cousin's house is so narrow that on my way back, I had to back-track because there were many cars coming in the opposite direction, and the Rela guys simply had no idea of controlling the traffic coming in. I had to take detour and just managed to get out in time before the traffic got worse. I realised that the housing project which was developed by my cousin was on the fringe of what was a New Village. I suppose even Tampin had a traffic jam in town, especially during week-ends. That goes to show the unanticipated growth of a border town.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seeing the future

I met an old friend at the mall on Tuesday 23 April after a long time and as expected he was updating me on the current goings on with regard to the election campaign. He goes back to Kota Bharu almost every week, because he is busy looking after his eight horses.
          He told me how childish the election campaigns were in Kelantan and I could well guess what he was talking about. But so far I have not been to any political rally because there is none around my area as yet. However the outcome of the coming election for my constituency is almost predictable and thus one can figure out who is going to win since the demographics is very clear. But the most important thing for me is that whichever side is going to form the next government, the political future cannot be regarded as a gamble. There is simply too much at stake. We must ensure that the future must be a better one than now. We cannot afford to throw money as if they grow on trees. What we need is a growing economy to sustain the growing population and the distributive growth must be shared equally by all.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


It was one evening
When tranquility shattered
A looming dark cloud

Like a ton of bricks
Descending on my senses
A painful feeling

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Land of Nine States

                                      Map of Negeri Sembilan

Land of the Adat
Let children die not adat
That famous maxim

A unique system
Where women has the last say
Custom rules the men

From Minangkabau
The Yamtuan beckons
On invitation

The Four Lawgivers
Hold the power to appoint
The Ruler to reign

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Tuesday twenty six
We were at KLIA
To send off Nurul

Nurul and Ayra
Moving across the causeway
New experience

Jalil takes new job
Covers Asean region
More challenge and scope

May Allah protect
We shall miss you all so much
Take care and be safe

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lost in PJ

                                    With Bakar who is in Black Songkok

Bakar, a cousin
Went out on Tuesday morning
And he went missing

The search was mounted
The police with their k9
The scent fade away

Then on Wednesday
He was seen near Assunta
They rushed to the place

But he was not there
They scoured the nearby area
Found him near the mosque

That  is dementia
The memory is like blank
Allah protect him

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Enigmatic Suhaimi

                                     Suhaimi Jaafar @ Sam
                                    Suhaimi Jaafar @ Sam last Hari Raya
                                    function at Mara House, London.
Suhaimi Jaafar @ Sam with Dr.Asri Zainal Abidin
                                    Suhaimi Jaafar @ Sam with Azudin O Fuad
                                   at Malaysia Hall London in 2012.

                 The enigmatic
                 Cousin Suhaimi@ Sam
                 Long lost in London

                With Azudin's help
                 Rendezvous on a Friday
                 At Malaysia Hall

               He looked fine and well
               May Allah opens his heart
               To settle his dues

Monday, March 18, 2013

Zaharin,Zariff and Nissa

                                    Top picture: Zaharin, Nissa and Zariff
                                    Below: Maghry

My three grandchildren
Zaharin, Nissa,Zariff
My loveable three

Nissa phoned today
While on her way to the school
In her Dad's car

Is Maghry inside
She enquired about the cat
An amusing start


                    Author:Thomas Bresson

  Source: Wikimedia Commons

                      It was last Tuesday
              When thunder and lightning struck
              The electric trips
              With deafening sound
              Followed by power outage
              Then the count begins
              The appliances
              The surge has taken its toll
              Repairs punched a hole

Saturday, March 16, 2013

General Election

                                              2008 General Election

It is in the air
Election fever is brewing
With buntings and flags

Most of the people
Are busy with life's struggle
For bread and butter

To govern means trust
Not self-serving or glory
But justice for all

The fight will be keen
Candidates must keep their cool
Or else go fly kite

Cast your vote wisely
Be guided by your conscience
Not by dollars sense

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Flag

                                         Malaysian Flag

Our honour, the flag

Testy times on eastern front

Defend our border

Too lax in the past

They came in and out easy

Now it exploded

It is rather sad

Precious lives put on the line

Wake up call is now

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


         Ayra, six months old

         Much like the mother, Nurul

         A close reflection

        Ayra is lucky

       Nurul is able to care

       With loving tender

       When Nurul was baby

        We left her to Kak Mus hands

        The trusted helper

        She too came that day

        To wish them the best of luck

        On their island move

In response to my friend's request, I am posting this in the hope that I would not hibernate too many a time.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ayra is Six months old today

                                            Ayra and her dad, Abdul Jalil

Today, which is a Monday 11 March, my grand-daughter Ayra is six-months old. On Saturday, 02 March 2012 a " Doa Selamat " (Thanksgiving prayer) was done at my home to supplicate for Allah's Blessings on the pending relocation of my daughter Nurul, my grand-daughter Ayra and Jalil my son-in-law to Singapore upon Jalil's moving to a new job there. This week they are there having a look at the apartments where they are going to move in by next month. Insha Allah they will have a good place to stay.