Wednesday, December 31, 2008


THE PROCLAMATION of the 11th Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan on 29 December 2008 brought forth the uniqueness of 'Adat Pepatih' of Negeri Sembilan, one of the states in Malaysia. Where as most other states in the country, choose their ruler hereditarily Negeri Sembilan adopted a system peculiar to itself. Those of us who had the opportunity to see the live coverage of the 'Laying in State and the Burial Ceremony' of the Yang DiPertuan Besar Tuanku Jaafar at Sri Menanti plus the proclamation of Tunku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir as the new Yang DiPertuan Besar would certainly be curious to know more of this particular tradition. Occasion like this comes once in a blue moon. True it is there all this while but only when it hits the headline, then we are shocked to realise that there are things that we do not know and there is that curiosity to know now.

I am attracted to the above picture as appeared in the media. It is a ceremonial function and uncharacteristically no one wears a headgear; not even a songkok. Intrigued. Extraordinary because it beats any other ceremonial functions. Surely all of us know about the matrimonial linkages and followings of the Negeri Sembilan people but admittedly less of the ceremonial functions and traditions. Today we know about the roles of the four chieftains of Sg Ujung, Johol, Jelebu and Rembau. Each with their respective titles and callings namely; Datuk Undang, Datuk Johan Pahlawan Lela Perkasa Setiawan, Datuk Mendika Menteri Akhiral Zaman and Datuk Lela Maharaja. They chose and proclaimed the heir to the throne of Negeri Sembilan.

We are made known that the official swearing in ceremony of the 11th Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan will take place after the 100 days 'perkabungan'. Meantime we have time to dig into the references and learn more about the state which gives many statesmen especially from the royal household who have been exemplary. Al Marhum Tuanku Jaafar's siblings namely Tunku Laksamana (Tunku Naquiddin 61), Tunku Muda Serting (Tunku Imran 58) and Tunku Panglima Besar ( Tunku Nadzaruddin ) were candidates for the post just as Tunku Besar Sri Menanti ( Tunku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, son of the 9th Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan was.

Learning experience is perhaps the best anecdote for all of us to take along as we swing into the NEW YEAR. Coincidentally the "Hijrah" 1430 and the 'Masihi' 2009 coming almost simultaneously. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL especially fellow bloggers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Kita memang suka segalanya khusus apa yang kita hargai dan inginkan. Tapi ada juga yang kadang-kadang kita marah sangat dan merunggut mengapa ia terus berlaku. Khusus dalam musim cuti ini, kita kerap ke kedai baik yang besar atau kecil. Yang saya pantang sangat malah marah sekali TIGA perkara. Mereka seolah-olah tidak bersedia atau sengaja hendak memudahkan diri sendiri tanpa mengutamakan pembeli.
1. Sudahlah kita telah mengeluarkan wang untuk menjelaskan segala yang dibeli tetapi sebaliknya terus meminta pula " Ada dak duit kecil 40 sen atau 10 sen?" Hendak kita seluk saku mencari duit bagi memudahkan dirinya? Mengapa RM100.00 yang kita hulurkan tadi tak cukupkah? Maaflah saya tak akan menunaikan kehendaknya. Dia kena buka kotak wangnya dan dapatkan pertukaran yang secukupnya. Ya penjual kita sudah jadi malas dan harap semuanya disenangkan. Pernahkah kita jumpa kes seperti ini di luar negara. Kalau di Saudi Arabia sekali pun khusus di Mekkah dan Medinah penjual disana tak pernah pula minta wang kecil.Di negara maju lain pun tak berlaku kes ini.
2. Kini ada pula 'promoter' yang merayau-rayau di pasar atau emporium. Sedang kita mencari barangan yang tetap kita hendak beli kerana sudah menggunanya berpuluh tahun, dia menghampiri kita' " Encik, dapatkan 'pencuci' ini. Bagus, menjimatkan dan serba serbi yang lain" Kita diam saja. Dia kejar kita. Rayu lagi. Baiklah. " Kalau kamu kata begitu baguslah. Kamu boleh beli sebanyaknya dan bawa balik. Saya akan ambil yang ini. Saya berpuashati dengan mutunya bertahun-tahun" Ya kalau hendak membuat tawaran atau promosi gunalah cara lain. Jangan pula paksa pembeli. Kesian mereka yang tak dapat berkata apa-apa dan terperangkap.
3. Apa pula pantang yang ke tiga? Dah dapatkan semua barang. Berat pula. Nasib baik ada bakul atau troli. Kita beratur di kaunter. Sedia dengan barang dan wang. Datang seorang pelanggan. Potong barisan dan terus membuat bayaran. Dilayan pula! Tak cukup dengan barangan yang dah dilonggokkan di atas kaunter dia masuk semula ke pasar/emporiam untuk mendapatkan barangan lain. Kita tunggu. Tak datang kembali. Kita diam juga. Penjual tak dapat tutup kira-kiranya. Tak dapat melayan pembeli lain. Kemudian kita disuruh pergi ke kaunter satu lagi. Marah padam buatnya. Dan ini berlaku kelmarin semasa membeli belah di Pulau Langkawi.
Ya itulah tiga pantang tok nenek. termasuk bagi diri sendiri. Saya harap tahun 2009 baru ini akan menyaksikan perubahan kecil dalam hal-hal seperti ini. Hendak harap pada hal-hal besar maklumlah ......
Banyak yang kita mendoakan bagi kebaikan negara kita.Kalaulah kelemahan-kelemahan yang ada dapat diatasi tentu sekali negara ini akan lebih maju dan bermanfaat.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


A sign that a new year is just across the line with this tree flowering its yellow blooms. It also heralds that the dry season or 'musim timor' is back in the Kedah plain. We will enjoy cool days and nights and time to start flying the kites too.

IN A FEW DAYS TIME we will usher in two new years, Awal Muharam and 1st day of January 2009. In fact both will run concurrently with Muslims and other nationalities or religious observers practising all the special dates and occasions attached throughout the year in the calenders. We will do that as we have done in the past years,

Yet 2009 has already caste a dark cloud on the horizon with countries feeling the coming economic turmoil. In fact thousands have already had their last pay cheques and worrying what the coming months will be for them. Malaysian are still in happy mood, unperturbed because our leaders are of the opinion that we could ride the waves and we are 'economically' strong. But all that trust and optimism seems to dissolve as days go by. Now they are talking in different tones.

Be that as it may, what has 2008 given or not handed us? Yes it has thrown on our laps many: the goodies as well as the brickbats. It has yet to answer to many unresolved issues. Foremost who blew up a young pretty woman from Mongolia; next where are the kidnapped or missing children? Will we continue to deport illegal entries into the country rather than close our doors? Making Malaysia an educational hub is one thing but allowing it to be a resort for 'students' to enjoy our facilities and sun shines detrimental to safety and security is another. What next re the teaching of science and mathematics?

It may be daunting to dwell on such petty issues as we stride into a new year. Still we have to be cautious while of course plan and approach the coming months with steadfast determination. We would like to believe that it will continue to provide us all the necessities.

A latest story about Lombok an island off Bali, seemed to tell the background of 'disappearing' young women from Malaysia. On record five are known to have left their families without traces. Now it seems, Lombok has a unique 'tradition' of kidnapping or running away with pretty damsels. This seems to be natural and 'manly' , showing shades of 'kelakian' when you could graped the women you like or fall in love with from their homes and later take them as wives. But running away with women from another country, crossing the border and international waters without proper documents , much less without the knowledge of their legal parents is no game or home-grown 'adat' anymore. That our young women, with much destruction on their families are gullible to such sweet talks and ploy is a subject of immediate attention less we find them in many corners of the world and not as near as Lombok anymore. That I hope and with other issues at hand will find remedies in the very near future.

Could it be that we have to be more thoughtful of one another and adopt strictly the neighboring and community spirit of yesteryear's and put aside this 'mind your own business' phobia ?

I trust 2009 though daunting as it seems right now will still gives us the best as the other past years have provided. Insya'Allah.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It’s a Friday morning and a weekend and a continuing day in the month of Ramadan, most people in Kedah would likely be lingering snugly in their homes happily knowing that they do not have to rush to office or work. Those who normally go marketing on weekend would likely delay till later in the afternoon: a departure from the normal weekend outside Ramadan. The housewives deserved a good rest having served the household during the weekdays with all manner of dishes and concoctions, tempting the appetites for those breaking fast when the sun hits the horizon and the muezzin calls the followers to prayer.

I am dragged into slumber too. Yet in such moments, you seemed to fathom issues. Foremost I begin to seek answers to an equally simple query. What task do we performed at home? What is its scale in relation to other activities? I am inclined to believe that more contributions by male folks are due and forthcoming. Maybe I am stepping on thin ice. Six decades of living cannot be a better reason to justify this observation. Do women work more or ‘harder’ at home than men?

I am not suggesting that men have to slog and do all the house-works. The question is “What do they really do when they are at home or don’t do? Do their duties measure equally with that delivered by their other halves?

The old adage that women stayed at home and the male went to work is dead and gone. Now husbands and wives fulfilled their obligations as career persons, leave and return homes almost simultaneously. Observably the ladies of the home change into another role almost immediately upon reaching home as housewives. Husbands: they change their garbs mostly to exercise, offer their prayers or relax; waited to be served with hot cups of coffee and maybe some delicacies that were bought on the way home. Would they leave their sofas and moved into the garden, water the plants or got hold of the hose to wash the cars? Your answer is as good as mine. The wives would be fortunate if they had helpers at home otherwise they would have to turn their attentions to the children, their needs and urgencies too. A chance to turn on the TV and hear the news broadcast at six? Not likely. Even to attend to prayers would be a matter of urgency.

It is an after thought that the equal or unequal sharing of responsibilities needed a look in. We notice that the women have a greater or heavier burden of responsibilities or duties. ( who impose them in the first place?) They seemed to have abundance energy diving into the roles of motherhood and wives etc, ready to serve the needs of the family.

Where do we start to weigh these sharing responsibilities? Could it be at the primary or secondary level education? At home itself, when children learn directly from their parents? Or wait for lessons to be included in the compulsory marriage courses (right now for Muslims only)

Yet with all that endurance and iron – women reflections, the tender genders have longer or prolonged lives and able to bear the consequences for what may come in the pipelines. Or would there be resistance as already seen in other countries when marriage becomes hard to come by?

(This is a point noted during one day in the last fasting month. Possibly my point of attention was directed at one particular sector and yet I remained to be corrected if it is untrue, biased or inconcrete)

Monday, December 8, 2008

HAJ 1429 (2008) 10 ZULHIJAH/ 08 DECEMBER

Syukur Al'hamdullilah. Perjalanan urusan Haji di Mekkah Al Mukarammah tahun ini berjalan lancar tanpa apa-apa berita buruk sehingga petang ini, hari pertama kita di Malaysia menyambut AidilAdha. 8 Disember 2008 . Sempenanya elok juga dicatatkan serba sedikit perihal Haj.Jesteru mengucapkan Selamat Menyambut AidilAdha and menyempurnakan 'korban' jika berkaitan.

Thankful that the Haj obligations have seen no major setbacks. It is always a daunting prospect for pilgrims and their families.

The Saudi authorities have taken precautions to avoid the perennial mishaps that had happened before. The previous Haj had seen incidents which claimed lives due to stampede, building and tunnel collapses, fire,uncontrolled mass movement of people and road accidents. Naturally it is easy to blame the authorities, but bearing in mind an invasion of over TWO million people at one place and time for a particular duty and obsession it must be a Herculean task for all concerned. That it comes around every year, none stop with increasing demand from Muslim pilgrims all over the world to get there is no respite for rest and good planning. Yet they have done the best to welcome the world's Muslims to Allah's home and also at the Prophet Muhammad's abode in Madinah.

Those who made their first visit would inadvertently whisper quietly within themselves for a quick return visit to the Holy land. They pray that Allah would grant them another opportunity to be there again. The clamour and the feeling surmounted all other hopes and decisions. Mind you, travelling to Mekkah from the far reaches of Asia is no bed of roses particularly with the higher cost of fuel, accommodation and other services. Pilgrims who make the trips are generally from the hard-earning wage earners or the rural folks. We understand this year 1.7 million visas were issued and 500,000 Saudi nationals gained permits to perform Haj this season. They had to restrict their own nationals to perform the Haj in respect of the magnitude envisaged annually. That construction works have been going on in Mekkah especially for a modern city with all the infrastructures and faster communication augers well for pilgrims in the future years.

On Sunday over two million Muslim pilgrims had gathered round a small hill east of Mekkah in the plain of Arafat. Here all the male pilgrims came dressed in their white 'ihram' shrouds and women in dark or white dresses, gathered in the plain for the peak of the Haj before they moved to Muzalifa and Mina for the consequent throwing of the stones. The surge of pilgrims in great numbers saw the mushrooming of tents stretching for miles especially at Arafat with all the comforts of homes. The more comfortable ones would have central air conditioning and other necessities. It would be a picture repeated once each year and at other times it beacons back to the open desert plain though inundated with hordes of piping system allowing trees to grow and afford shades very much desired by pilgrims and visitors.

Journeying to the Holy land,Mekkah and Madinah for the Haj, meant a lifetime saving for the great majority. Through Tabung Haji ( the Malaysian Pilgrimage Board), the current all-in costing for a duration of forty days would be in the range of RM9000 -RM10,000.00 per person. This would mean being accommodated in a six person-sharing room with all boards included. Should you choose to take a double room and with your spouse then it could go between RM15,000 to RM25,000 depending on the choice of hotels and closeness to the mosques. Airfare, accommodation and board fifteen years ago was RM4500.00

The number of pilgrims from Malaysia alone in the queue for the Haj is quite outstanding. Depending on the number of visas accommodated by the Saudi Government annually, a haj candidate who registers now would be expected to get his turn in the year 2022. Anyhow concessions would be given to senior persons or those with valid reasons to gain earlier dates.

For all the circumstances that faced pilgrims on the Haj journey, it is reasonable to expect that they would attempt to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam when they are strong and not when they reach their senior years. Our daughter and her husband are currently on this year's pilgrimage. At thirty years plus, they would be in a position to bear all the circumstances as well as assist others as need be. We hear that they are in that frame and we wish for them the state of mind to obtain 'haji mabrur' and happy home coming.

A Haji or Hajah returns home cleansed like a new born baby and ready to tread on a new life-style. InsyaAllah. We wish all friends who have taken this year's journey to Mekkah a happy return and may Allah gives you all the blessings and future undertakings as you would wish for.

As they stepped out with their right feet from the home attended by prayers from those who loved them just as many before them have done before.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I am SURPRISED but much more aggrieved that such a revelation, whatever it may mean does not get the attention of those responsible to highlight the city for what it is worth.

An fDi report recently accorded ALOR STAR, this city in KOTA STAR KEDAH in the following term:

" Of Asia's major cities, Tokyo scores top for infrastructures, while Melbourne comes out top for quality of life. Alor Star the state capital of Kedah in Malaysia is fDi's small Asian City of the Future, scoring well across several categories, including economic potential, cost effectiveness and business friendliness."

Now with such a laurel, what are we waiting for. Now that the city tops even others in the counting such as Newcastle ( Australia), Jeju City ( South Korea). Taoyuan City ( Taiwan) and Ipswich(Australia) over many categories too, it can be a big reward and even a major investment if it need be. But do we (State Government, Officials, Industrialist and Business people) are awake to this declaration? It is all quiet in the northern front except for a small extract in Utusan Malaysia, the Malay Newspaper recently. Given such an advantage and honor, Dato Bandar ( Lord Mayor) especially would grasp the opportunity and together with the tourist development authority bring about greater participation and increased flow of tourist and visitors into the state and city especially. Maybe it needs a wakeup call.

The report is available: html

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Of all places I ended being at Banggol Derom, a small village near Bongor in Baling Kedah today. It was by chance that I came here and I suppose I would never have known about this kampong which lies parallel to the Baling - Siong main road had I not decided to take two young grandchildren for a dip in a ‘charok’ as opposed to a ‘sungai’ or river while the grandmother attended to some project works nearby. We are by choice their caretakers or nannies for the next forty days or so since their parents have left for Mekkah on this year’s Haj.

It would not be safe to take them to the fast flowing Baling River and with the water quite coffee-colored after a heavy downpour the previous night. So the stream was suggested. It was a marvelous suggestion as we found the place extraordinarily peaceful, tempting and delightful for the children as well as anybody who have been in the maddening cities for sometimes. The cool, light forested corner with gentle flowing mountain stream dashing against pebbles and sand that have barricaded one piece of its bank is indeed a good respite for the juniors and seniors alike. Not likely to impress anybody with descriptions however flowery and imaginative it may be, what excellent way is to take a look at the photos accompanying. I am assured you will be tempted to seek similar corners if possible. I came home with a basketful of polished eroded pebbles fit for the fish aquariums too among other things.

It is fortunate that such corners of serenity are still available

The young brother and his sister having the best time frolicking in the mountain stream. Notice the pebbles strown on the side.

It was not the delightful spot that really struck me so much, but the peripheral activities just close by which invariably I perceived escaped the attention of many including those who came regularly to share the splendor that was there.

Remember Shahnon Ahmad and you will of course linked him to one of his great novels namely ‘Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan’ translated it meant “No Harvest but A Torn” It was to be my close apprehension of Lahuma.

Today perhaps I came face to face with ‘Lahuma’. The elderly person tending to his small plot of land was busy moving around doing the necessaries, aided by his wife and relatives. His plot of hill padi was ready for harvesting and he had to reap them as fast as possible. Already, just as Lahuma had dreaded, the small tiny birds have come in groves, chirping away and their resonance echoed in the quite afternoon sun. Any man would panic. Our man Pak Daud by name was in no rush but tended as calmly as possible.

I quote abstracts from the novel Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan:

Lahuma dijemput menghadapi ILAHI”

“Hidup mesti diteruskan. Tugas Lahuma perlu dipikul oleh Jeha dan anak-anaknya. Mereka tidak harus mati kelaparan, sawah padi perlu menguning. Hujan lebat, banjir besar dan kedatangan ketam serta burung tiak yang menjahanamkan padi perlu ditentang.

Berbekalkan doa dan usaha, mereka tekad – tiada apa yang dapat menghalang perjalanan hidup ini”

I knew Pak Daud was as cautious as possible. He had ascertained the birds ‘burung tiak’ were eliminated as far as possible. But these little creatures can come in squadrons and make light works of the rice stalks. Pak Daud held a pair of the small creatures in his hand, cursing them for continuing to invade his plot although he has taken the necessary steps. So these were the tiny crop destroyers. Just like the grasshoppers, ‘burung tiak’ are just as vociferous. He offered the little creatures if I cared to keep them. They are small. The one he held was the size of Pak Daud’s thumb but in numbers they are disastrous. Still the crabs have not been taken into account yet.

He and his family went about harvesting the crop in the traditional ways and hopefully pray that all would go well. In their moments of exuberance, they ascertained that they would reap a gainful harvest; thankful that they had worked hard. Unlike Lahuma, Pak Daud was still the core member of his family. I looked at him, a man who must have crossed seventy years plus, maybe nearing eighty but still agile, strong and focused at making the best of his toils. No not many would be that exemplary as shown by many hillside plots in the neighborhood left vacant, unattended and overgrown with ‘lalang’ and bushes.

They had built a frail hut on the plot of land, temporarily giving them shelter day or night if necessary. Perhaps the main tarmac road, supply of electricity and closeness to the neighbors and the ‘cherok’ added to give some comfort and security. Lahuma and Jeha of Banggol Derdap in the district of Sik, no more than an hour drive from this village, had no such luxuries forty years ago when Shahnon wrote his novel.

I am thankful that either ordained or by chance I had the opportunity to come across a live situation much discussed by Shahnon Ahmad in his epic novel, read, discussed even crucified at secondary, college and tertiary levels. That it has been made into a film ‘Rice People’ produced in Cambodia in 1994, directed and co-written by Rithy Panh speaks highly of the intrinsic value of the peasants and their livelihood. (The film premiered in the main competition at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and was submitted to the 67th Academy Award, the first time a Cambodian film had been submitted as a possible nominee for Best Foreign Language Film) See https//

I have read ‘Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan’ before; imagined the hardship and landscape as described by Shahnon but sincerely have not seen its true self. Today I did even though at a neighboring kampong site and thankful for understanding all that are worth. Maybe the children’s thrill and frolicking in the mountain stream put off what would have been a much deeper recollection of time past when hardship knocked on most peoples’ doors irrespective where they were.

3 December 2008

"Lahuma tending to his small plot of 'hill padi' which has taken six months to give him the substance"

Notice the special traditional instrument used to reap the rice stalk. This is the 'ketam padi'
He is a happy man. Thankful that his hard work has given him the wealth of hard toiling and the richness of the earth

Tiny tots but the plague of the farmers especially when they come in squadrons

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


SCHOOLS are not as they were before. It’s understandable with the changing time and the priority as defined by educationists and the administrators. Still some commonality stands as they were. There are teachers as well as there are pupils or students. There are classrooms and school buildings too, though they differ now in terms of size and facilities.

For those when schoolings started half a century or more ago, present trends are a far cry from the practices then. Only the ‘lucky’ one would get places as the number of good secondary schools in each state in Malaya would not exceed the number of fingers on your right or left hand. To qualify for a certificate that was a license to higher education or the work place you had to sit for an oversea conducted examination. It was known as the Cambridge Oversea School Certificate with awards in three grades besides distinguishing in the particular subjects and the necessary passes or credits rating in certain subjects.

The students were caught up with subjects ranging from Malay, English, English Literature, General Science, Geography, History, Mathematics and Art. Students in the Science’s stream would go for Physic, Chemistry and Biology instead of General Science.

Physical Education meant exercises in the morning just after the first bell rang. It meant male students had to take off their shirts, lined up at some open spaces in the school compound in regimented rows and performed stationery exercises as conducted by the teacher. Variably the teacher would choose a student to be the ‘conductor’ as it would be quite strenuous for him, perspiring and uncomfortable for his next class lesson. Exercise would include arm, neck, leg, and spot running exercises to keep us lively and supposedly awake for the whole day. Of course the daily chore meant that some of the boys could show off their muscular bodies while some would work hard to make up for their lesser biceps etc come the next school sessions. If the teacher was to leave the session and return to the common room even for a while, then it would certainly be a complete stationery physical exercise till the bell rang. I believe such morning exercise has been discontinued for quite sometime replaced with a more rigorous physical education classes in the school gym or hall where applicable.

In the afternoon, twice a week after our lunch, we returned to the school to attend Islamic Religious Class. Our teacher came from an Islamic College in town. If we attended the morning sessions in school uniform, here we came dressed quite freely. Some even came in their sarong. I believed the camaraderie was much stronger among those who attended the afternoon classes, made more interesting by stories told by our teacher of his experiences while attending college in Cairo Egypt. Our mode of travel was of course the two - wheeler. Not the motorcycles but bicycles of course. Believe me, as students we cycled to and from schools daily. A fifteen kilometer ride one way was no exception. Public transportation much less school buses did not come our way at all.

More often than not we would stay back after the class. We would not lose the opportunity to run about on the large school field and joined in the activities. We would either get to play football, hockey, and rugby according to the season or participate in athletics. After an enjoyable afternoon, it meant cycling home. Not necessarily alone but normally abreast with colleagues from the same kampong too. No doubt the distance was of no consequence at all; more interesting if we were to cycle abreast with the fairer sex from the same school or otherwise.

Now I am quite appalled that ‘GEOGRAPHY” of all subjects is not taught in the upper secondary schools now. Without doubt it was my favorite subject. I can only imagine that present students would miss many things related to the world, physically and intrinsically. Many geographical terms would be beyond their comprehension and many of these terminologies are related to the work-place or career positions too. Could they make good sailors, navigators or astronomers? Already in the daily communication, they loose out on directions and place names. ‘House Hash Harers’ or ‘Motor-Cross” participations would not be their piece of cake as gradients, steep slopes, precipice, marshes, out-crops, contours etc become unfamiliar words. As much as we could count and name the series of towns stringing the drive from Bukit Kayu Hitam to Johore Bharu, it is much to expect present youth to do like wise and much so to define the physical, economical, human aspects of the townships and their surroundings. No way for them to pick up such values without a good grounding in ‘geography’. It would be your guess as good as mine, if our youth now can approach the school blackboard, hold a chalk and randomly draw the map of the country, extending to the whole of Asia and the whole world if possible, unless he or she has taken additional classes. Seriously I believe the subject has held back much knowledge to the detriment of our youth and certainly not of their making.

Present motor vehicles with their own navigation system is an answer to map reading, another adventure our youth has missed. Is it a wonder that many now complained that they can get lost in the concrete jungle?

It has come to light now that serious flaws in the teaching of Malaysian History too has caused an erosion in the fuller understanding of the early heritage and the tangent rights and contributions of the Bumiputras. Who knows now of the 'black hole of Calcutta', 'Saracen and Richard the Lion Heart' or 'Boer War'. World history has become a subject of the past too.

Of course present disciples of our schools can vouch that they learn much more than their grandfathers, grandmothers or the senior dads or mums. Do they?

These 12+ students came to school in their best attires to have a picture taken with their class teacher.It is a most memorable keepsake in my album, Imagine them participating in the physical education class as described above Recognize the boy third from right first row?

Six years later they turn up as young men ready to hit the job market, do service to the country or continue on the rung of scholarships. The blogger sitting next to the class teacher fourth from left. Besides him Dato Ishak Ariff former Director General Town Planning and on the left side of the teacher Tun Mohd Zaiddin Abdullah former Chief Justice.

Young teachers with their Principal ready for a 'Times Magazine" posing session.These brand of teachers have been taken over by a new generation equipped with skills in modern technologies.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


More often than not, when we visit places either in the country or outside, we are hit by ideas varying many shades, of course pertaining to our experiences and training. We look at things through many scented eyes.You and I may gaze with the same adoration but the intensity may differ in terms of degrees. One may zoom right to the apex but the other may be at its lowest ebb. More fervently, it is the question of registration. What does it connect you with? Does it arouse you to do something or hopefully put you on high-drive to get the best for yourself too, immediately or in the future?

So it is with masterpieces of art. A few may fathom their intrinsic inherent beauties. Others may be floundering in the abyss of nothingness, declaring 'What do you see in it?' People who make their way to the zoo may not necessarily trot to the museum which stores dead, lifeless antiquities and even mummies. Each has their own preferences. For those that even in the thinness of shades have congruent with one another, it is a blessing. That of all things call for semblance of unity, comradeship, willingness to share each others interest and love.

The pictures following capturing scenes and moments at home, Perth and Kota Kinabalu caught the eyes of the photographer for reasons peculiar to himself. Could it be the beauty of the scenery, ideas for future planning, sweet temptation or people's artistry or craftsmanship with natural objects made him click the shutter? Your guess is good as mine. Truly the pictures that we focused upon reflect in no simple way our inherent interest and simply our character too.

We are thankful that digital photography has made communication a bliss with the ability to record and retrieve at a moment's notice.

I thought I saw the same picture in a friend's blog recently. It turned out his was on the east coast of the country while the above was at a seaside resort in Kota Kinabalu.

The ingenuity of people sometimes beat you. Here the indigenous bamboo is put to good use. It makes you think of one thousand and one ways of using many other things including the discarded items if we want to.

No it is not only for 'angklung' or the 'bamboo cannon' but more so as a decorative feature - a room divider

Once at Perth, I noticed the hedges in the background of this picture. A gathering of dry branches, neatly arranged no doubt with some skill make a spectacular divider at a park outside the city. Imagine the range of natural products we have and yet we do not make use of them.

Of course timber is abundant in Sabah and its luxury stands out in one of the resort on the beautiful beach just outside Kota Kinabalu. Here thick solid woods stand upright in the foyer giving the guests feeling of solidarity and closeness to nature

It's a road layout with cycling and pedestrian roadway too. Safety and cleanliness however become the guiding factor. Why can't we enjoy such simple basic facilities?

Hard standing surfaces alright but the combination of soft landscaping and the utilization of marine equipments in the form of anchors etc make us feel that we are in the heart of a sea-side harbor. A big question come flashing by "Would it escape being carted away with the high cost of iron in the market?

The Railway Station at Perth Australia with a large bouquet of wild flowers in the tub.
It caught me having a good look. Maybe our 'anuk' and other push carts amidst a clean surrounding would be a crowd puller. Simplicity in arrangement seems to pay.

Fish and Crab dishes cooked in the most tantalizing style would make us repeatedly come back to the same place. Certainly not many would attempt to cook such delicacies. A return visit would be about the best approach. Maybe it's a way to tell the Mrs let's get some cooking classes.

A casual walk by the shore may surprise you . This common plant growing wild against the blue sky presented a beautiful picture. Notice the curves of the leaves as they are hit by the wind

A most welcoming feature at the front foyer of a hotel. Notice the giant drift wood and the combination of flowers. If you have the space at home wouldn't you like to have such a decorative item too?

Another 'wood power' . The scene at the entrance of a restaurant and the other the huge carving above the check- in counter of a Malaysian Resort Hotel

I leave you pondering what you have seen recently that set you thinking, ways that would tempt you to make the better of things. Or would you just abandon all feelings and be contented with what is there around you for it is already blissful?

I can only feel flabbergasted alongside you when confronted with a scene like this. Obviously the owner has all the discarded tiles at his disposal to turn into a wonderful comfort room.

A definition of travel quoted as " Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living" by Mariam Beard is a likely proponent to the thoughts above.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


After a brief respite from an exciting weekend, what more welcoming than to write about a hobby that can be lucrative as well as challenging but pain staking. Cast aside the professional photographers, you and I can also qualify to have a move at capturing such momentum and record as long as we are awake to the realities of things. In the case of President Elect Obama, initially not many dare to give him a chance and so the personality that was to become the 'numero uno' may escape attention.The few that hogged him through his campaign period now breathe with sigh of relieve and thankfulness. They have what others throughout history will envy: moments caught for perpetual identity and record.

Indeed a beautiful homecoming scene and being greeted by the loving family. They may have hoped for his success but it it is the wildest dream come true. We have been at the airport many times. Do we ever think of getting a shot as this?

On a hot humid day, nothing like ice cream. Being a careful man he took time to wipe the desk of some spilt-over.

I am sure many of us would have sets of photographs but do not have any inkling of what to do with them. These photos taken through time would set back memories, if presented, arranged and captioned in a most popular way. Lately I have seen web pages and adverts of photo books now in the market which would readily sort out these collection of memories and bring back alive the nostalgia of old times as much as the present. If we have been viewing them, mostly in standard post card or 4R sizes glued or fixed to the old type albums, now they come resplendent in odd sizes and printed on beautiful glossy hard paper with a particular title if need be. Its greatest attraction is of course able to pull in newly weds, presenting them a much desired souvenir. Wedding photographers now have a harvest to reap of course.

It's waiting time till you get your cue. Whom do you expect to greet you? So have a breather and gather all your strength and wits before facing the crowd.

Goodness! It's not a classroom but this huge collection of people. Is the p.a system all in order?. Hopefully it won't rain. Otherwise where do they run to.
Thank you one and all for coming. Sorry I can't shake hands

Right now, President Elect Obama has his pictures in all the media and memorabilia of his days before 7 November 2008 is a hit. I happened to come across a collection of Obama photos and they certainly would be treasured items and more so a recognition of the photographer's prowess and challenge to record history which was in the making. You see them here. It remind us that such transition do occur anywhere and at any time and the person at the moment has the opportunity to be part of that happening. What more if he has a media that can record it. A good camera is exceptional but now even your hand phone can spring surprises. A video and a sound track would certainly add spice.

Excited as well overwhelmed by the vivid and personal photo shots of the President Elect, it struck me that the very collection that each one of us have must certainly be preserved and presented in a more exciting way. More so we must take pain to make the pictures more exciting and naturally able to tell their own stories even without any captions. For all purposes don't fail to go for candid shots. It could become perhaps the best in the country if not for the century.

A shut eye is necessary and no choice for a place

After that delightful rest he is at his best again

Our Malaysian Political Party is on the verge of choosing its candidates for the whole set up. If we struck on any particular candidate, we may be lucky enough to get the best photo stories of the year. Go for it. Do check out on the photo-album too .

p.s compliments to photographers of pix above

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I remember mentioning earlier, that at any time we can be a part of history. Today is one. Though we are miles and hours away from where the historic happening took place, yet we follow with candid interest, caught up with either the Internet or the television the winning moments of the American presidential election. Maybe the long campaigning was not our piece of cake but certainly the euphoria of the national casting of votes in choosing a new President of the United States between two candidates respectively from the Republican and the Democrats must struck some measure of interest. After all it marked the very wishes of Martin Luther King, activist and civil right icon, that a 'black' as opposite to 'white' could seek the highest office in the United States and become the Field Marshall as well as the President. The result as announced today was a stunning blow to the Republican but sweet success to the Democrats and especially its candidate - Barack Hussein Obama. His acceptance speech " If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all thing are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer" was truly in response to the millions who want change. He promises that 'Change is here".

Neither Obama or the United States of America is our friendly neighbor. Yet daily we hear about them and from now on Obama the President will appear more often either in the prints or the electronic media. We shall be following the conclusions hopefully of the skirmishes in Afghanistan, Iraq and other warring nations where Bush and his Republican government had had their hands in earlier. We hope to see the world economic standing propped up again and America play a more constructive role.

One thing for sure, watch out for in the split of an eye, Obama the youthful President elect, son of a Kenyan and schooled in Jakarta when he was a child and later at the University in Honolulu will get transformed image wise . I have always noticed that world leaders will definitely be transformed. After all they need to present themselves publicly at all time. Just like beauty queens they have to be at their best image wise. Their composure and confidence throughout must be at the apex at all time. Imagine the roles of the image builder on the onset of the President being elected.Security wise, the mechanism must be at its full blown throttle too.

We must be grateful that we have been witnesses to all that has happened today. How much we see and remember is left to our discretion. At least I make an effort to record its happening.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


  1. A late nocturnal excursion in town helped to reveal some aspects of the city which we seldom see in the course of the normal visit.The hues and colors as captured by the lenses and the steady adjustment of the camera and the tripod stand added a new dimension. One particular thing that came to mind was the variety of street lamps in the city that either decorate or illuminate the streets and its surroundings.That naturally will become a subject for review.

The State Museum at Bakar Bata mystifies as if its own collections helped to add to the magic of the night with the shrouded cloud above its roof.

These lights stand as sentinels alongside the Anak Bukit Road giving spirited confidence to those who pass by and guaranteeing safety to those behind its walls.

The new gate to the istana. A facade that appeared with the celebration of the Sultan of Kedah golden anniversary recently.

Light at the courtyard of Wisma DarulAman, the State Administrative building.

Wisma Darul Aman

No visitor to the city will miss viewing the magnificent Balai Besar right in the centre of the City

Another view of the wall fronting Istana Anak Bukit

Perhaps the brightest section of the City even late in the night

This is the Rukun Negara Fountain at the round- about along Jalan Teluk WanJah and Jalan Sultan Badlishah in the city

Wisma Negeri in the centre of the City, was at one time the seat of the government

Soon enough before dawn the devout will approach Zahir Mosque, one of the most beautiful mosque in the country

Two pictures taken at Titi Gajah with the lights of the airport in the background. The padifield in the foreground and the darkening sky remind us of the threatening seasonal flood that comes far too often A new park built at Jalan SukaMenanti with the characteristic kris as one of its symbol perhaps lent a strong sense of confidence to those who wish to wonder around in the dead of the night.

For the photographer crazy enough to hit the street and whereabout of the city at the dead of the night, it was not surprising that those who met him wonder if he was a 'seeker' or a 'ghostbuster' moving around with his SLR Nikon and a steady tripod stand.