Sunday, August 31, 2008


Several mini cars for the younger drivers at the reception while Idzfan is in the cockpit with the control tower in the background.

YES it is another annual celebration for Malaysia's year of Independence. After a mammoth celebration of a golden anniversary last year, this turns reception either by the populace or the government is lax lustre and cool. In fact sedate. The usual exuberance for flying the 'Jalur Gemilang' on buildings and on top of vehicles appear non existence. Inflation is one reason but the political 'turmoil' surely does not help the people to feel any desire to celebrate much less to depart with hard cash. In Kedah especially during August we missed out attending several events namely the 'Military Tattoo', 'River Boat Race','Decorative Vehicles Parade', ' Seven Aside International Rugby Competition' and even an 'International Tomoi Competition'. Maybe the variety and timing did put us off. Yet yesterday on the eve of Merdeka Day and on an off-day, we accepted an invitation to attend a BMW driver training program at Alor Star Airport. It was to be an exciting discovery and experience as we had the chance to test drive BMW cars on the tarmac of the Alor Star Airport Runway. The stretch that usually saw jet planes taking off and taxing, was the venue for a stint of driving skills under the auspicious of BMW Malaysia. Again the venue was just a stone's throw away from our home.

Standing on the tarmac with the instructors and their cars in the background.
I remember way back before Merdeka , a car race was once organised at the old Alor Star Airport runaway. That session seemed to rekindle a moment in time though this time the vehicles are more steady and I am here on the tarmac itself.

Reflections on the show models with the aircraft draw bridge as seen.

Their advert reads " Many things can be analysed, rationalised and argued away. What remains is the substance. And the passion and conviction that unite them at the core. ......... only one thing will probably, have to remain unanswered until your first encounter in a BMW". Intriguing. What did we discover?

Our forty-minute test drive to 'feel' BMW braking power and its ABS including sudden stops and slalom between cones on new BMW 5 and 3 Series gave good feel of the cars trusting for sure the hallmark of it's safety features.One thing for sure there are more techniques of driving that we should be familiar with especially to handle current models with new technologies. An invitation by BMW to attend its driver training program at Sepang is tempting. Only one clause however. What you get is not guaranteed on any other makes except BMW. The price of a BMW is leap and bound above our Proton of course.
That was a passing moment of acquiring some knowledge and know-how because in the next two days we will be focussing on fulfilling the full requirements of Ramadan.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


The eighth month of the year is coming to its close and it has certainly marked many happenings either at the personal level or nationwide. Very soon we’ll touch the last third part of the year. More often we failed to recognize the events that we participated in or those that rubbed us alongside its various itineraries. Soon enough whatever attachments or glimpses dissolves into oblivion. The mind crowded with other happenings would not remember or be exact and specific to what had happened. Those who keep diaries and surely very few, will happily be rewarded should they wish to lift back moments in time. The annual diaries which come in all sorts of design and sizes, freely distributed by bigger companies sadly are hardly used and if done only to record appointments and meeting schedules. Those diaries sold in the bookshops and supermarkets, likewise do not attract buyers and at mid year there are still on the racks. As an alternative the computer as a media now provides the most excellent way and that too if we are geared to make notes. Many writers find to their satisfaction this added advantage.

Recapitulating, I noted the following as hitting the headliners. Malaysia waited for the IJC to make its verdict with optimism high on our side. Friday May 23, 2008 dealt a blow with Pulau Batu Puteh going the other way though we still heard a declaration of a win-win situation even with acquiring nearly submerged rocks instead. Several days earlier at Starcity Hotel Alor Star Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared his departure from UMNO whom he had had an intimate relationship for no less than a half century. It marked a crucial schism between him and Dato Abdullah Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Blogs being a declared alternative media had its new babe when http:// Che came into space on May 1, 2008. The man who gave Cyberjaya and Multi-Media Super Corridor got hooked and declared a ‘millionaire’ with exceptional hits, a record of sort within less than a month. At Parliament House Pandikar Amin the Speaker came to grips with YB’s with one even approaching his table, unprecedented. Next Mukhriz, Zaid and Tajuddin joined in the fracas at Parliament too with all the three being referred to the disciplinary committee. It has certainly not been quiet. Then the catastrophe that hit Bangladesh, Myanmar and China added to the headline.

Teachers Day as well as Mothers Day passed by. The former earning the government’s accord for their contribution to country and society with promised galore of promotions plus rewards for those in the ulus. Civil servants likewise received their most awaited extension for service until the ripe age of fifty-eighty with extended term of thirty years for calculation of pension service. With other seemingly cost floating higher, the government expenditure looks insurmountable. Control oil subsidy and restriction now appear next in line with certainty in increased price of petrol and diesel. Shortage of rice, the staple diet became a scare too. Malaysian are encouraged to look to ‘ubi’ instead as it happened during the Japanese war years.

Those were the happenings that invariably shook us for a moment, yet passed by without much worry because we continue to be non- perplexed since Malaysia is unlike other nations in the region. No harm or calamity will come its way. At least that’s how the populace thought. Still cases of Malaysian women being apprehended in foreign countries, shocked and crying in jails and charged for illegal possession of drugs appear far too often. Have we become too gullible and unpretentious of whatever offers come our way? Malaysian women have dared to accept offers from foreigners and strangers in the most unlikely stances. Why? Are Malaysian men not accommodating enough? Or have they lost their virility

Far too many foreigners in the country, reminding us of situation in Britain in the mid 20th century is worrying but we continue to open our welcoming door policy. Foreign workers legal and otherwise moved in bring along with them multitude of problems. Already higher education has seen a huge explosion of foreign students of all complexions yet not knowing if they actually attend classes or offer other benefits to the country. We are presented with cases of babies for sale opening a Pandora box of exclusiveness because it hits hard into religious and unethical acts especially when they are transferred into foreign and racial identities.

Now the games at Beijing transfixed us to the magic box. Day and night we became enthralled by the splendid performances of the athletes and the swimmers. Imagine carrying home eight gold medals with record achievement at one game by a swimmer extraordinary and the Jamaican record breaking feat at the 100 and 200 meters dash. A Malaysian shutter added a tint of silver to the country’s quest for medals in this year Olympic. Truly the performances by the Chinese sportsperson and their organization of the world’s game will become a landmark to be studied and followed by many other nations. To rank top in medal collections, outranking the other sports nations of the world is a great feat of achievement.

Today, the 23rd of August 2008 is an auspicious day especially to see a downward reduction of petrol and diesel price at the pump stations. Petrol down 15 sen and diesel 8 sen. Here’s hoping other prices that climbed up alongside the oil hike will do likewise – plummet down. Personally the date is more striking as it will help to remember my Virgo and the touching of another birth-year of ‘Many Happy Returns’.

Man is as they say a transient creature yet as he moved hopefully he acquired strength and wisdom. Likelihood he acquires experiences and happening of all kinds throughout. Isn’t a misfortune if he failed to note down some of the happenings that have colored his life? Not so much for himself but for his siblings and his family. We have noticed how families strained to capture the past, recollect about their ancestors but sadly failed in most circumstances. Fortunate would be the family who has things to fall back on. There are circumstances where valuable documents are discarded or eaten up by the ravages of time and creatures of all sorts. Preservation would be a core factor now.

Age catches on. Meeting and talking to people added to the excitement. So would you be able to keep stock of your happenings much less the progress of the country and other peripheral sidelines unless you are on the go, in communication with all surrounding you? Tiredness surely comes our way sooner or later. We must take heed of world’s statesmen who go about doing their business daily without qualms, filling their diaries with varied appointments. Wouldn’t that put us to shame if we continue to be lackadaisical? Mind your diary.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Saudara/ Saudari


17 Ogos 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008


Two fine machines seen at a display in a neighboring city late last year. Looking at them as it was you are tempted to scout around for those in the kampong perhaps stored under the houses left to rust away.

Now whenever you fill up your car tank, do expect to pay what it is worth . A Proton Perdana or similar sized car with a 2000 cc engine or greater would hardly get a full tank of petrol unless you are willing to pay RM150.00 each time you make a visit. For just 30 odd litres you would dish out RM85.00. Those who use their vehicles frequently either for work or leisure will expect their monthly bill to rocket. You would be wise to think of another mean of transportation.

Two pictures of an NSU Prima Scooter. Notice that it carries a spare tyre which solves any problem of a puncture if on the highway. It also provides a carrier for small luggage.

You may have heard that there is a long waiting time for new purchases of motor-bikes, though there appear to be even people waiting for new motor cars too. Obviously Malaysians do not pay heed to world's inflation or are they loaded? Or maybe they are happy to receive RM 625.00 per motorcar as a subsidy collected at the post office.

I would love to ride motor-bikes again. However though the spirit is willing, I believe time is not at hand for many of us to climb on the seats with our legs astride. Now the bikes are really BIG with some having engine the size as mounted on motorcars. They swooped and moved on the highway just like the wind. Now you see and now you done.

Maybe we can take to riding scooters again as they had become popular in 1950's. Now two brands, namely Vespa and Lambreta were the vogue of the decade. Even now the machines are still on the road with many of them refurnished and in good running condition. With the fairer one riding side-saddle it may bring back the good old days and femininity on the road.

Back in 1959 when Norton, BSA and Triumph motor-cycles were popular and became every young man's dream is to possess one, the alternative would be to get hold of a scooter instead. It is a two-wheeler, moving on the road just like the bikes with the wind brushing your face just the same. The only exception it does not give that big booming sound from its exhaust. The price was good with the starting salary of a teacher. It was not an Italian model but a German product. The 'NSU' PRIMA model produced at Neckarsulm bought in 1959 had an 'electronic starter' besides a 'kick-starter'; not available on the Italian models. The "NSU' brand has ceased production and it is therefore a much seek-after-bike being a classic and of course an antique now. Remembering it, remind us not to part easily with things we possessed because you never know what it is worth a half century later. However hard you try you will never get it back once it is gone.

The light blue NSU Prima at Raub Pahang in May 1959. I rode the bike to Raub via the Gap and later proceeded to Kuala Lumpur and back to Alor Star. It had a windscreen fixed at the front then and much like the traffic police man you see on the road. It attracted a good crowd where it was parked. I must have forgotten that the Gap zone near Fraser's Hill was a hot bed during the emergency.

Luckily an old photograph found recently manage to bring the nostalgia and therefore this article. My brush with a two wheeler in fact began much earlier. In 1954 I had already possessed a class 'A' driving license meaning I could ride a 500cc above motorbike including the 750cc 'Norton' comparable to the present US-made Harley Davidson. At home my father owned a 500cc BSA. Surely it would be sneaked out when dad had his siesta. While in 1957 I made a tour of Europe on a Vespa visiting all the countries in western Europe excepting Portugal. The 'beetle' that moved in around early 1960's made people switched into a more comfortable and safe ride. VW and other cars from Europe captured the market and many of the older bikers too took to riding in automobiles.

Yet modern bikes introduced into the market sparked once again the interest and Malaysia is one country where motorcycles and scooters vie for places on the highways and state roads.

So this recapitulation is itself refreshing while in a way bringing back the days when we would dare turn the trottle revving the engine and brushing against the wind with the face smeared by dirt, insects and raindrops. Who cares! We had excitement and speed. Still no 'Mat Rampit'.

Vespa and Lambaretta refurnished and a gem as a collection piece while an envy of many as you ride on it in the evening in your kampong. Also seen at Chengmai

Saturday, August 9, 2008


KBDYMM Tuanku Sultan Kedah walked along the 'Angsana' lined pathway of the College
aside the 'padang' to launch the space capsule while receiving warm greetings from the guests that attended the grand opening of the celebration

They are ready to hoist the school flag.The school main facade is seen in the background with 1908 enblazoned high on its wall.

A strong motorcade made its way from KL to Alor Star. Cars driven by Collegian returning to pasture for a grand do. I understand partipants of the motorcade had cost of petrol and toll paid for one way only..

S.A.H.C stands for SULTAN ABDUL HAMID COLLEGE. This is the premier school in Kedah and also the oldest secondary school having been established in 1908. It takes the name of Sultan Abdul Hamid, the grand father of Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, the present Sultan of Kedah who on the 15 of July 2008 celebrates his Golden Jubilee having been on the throne since 1958. Fittingly the 100 years grand celebration of the College comes as part of the Golden Jubilee as a tribute to His Highness who began his earlier education here. Both him and his brother Tunku Abdul Malik were even school-borders at the insistent of their father Al Marhum Sultan Badlishah. Hostel life with all its untold stories and unexpectedness were quite familiar with both of them. In short they struck good and lasting friendship with their classmates; characteristic of their friendly nature with the rakyat before and presently.

The College also saw Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Mohd Zahir Ismail amongst others as its students in days before the Second World War.

The College is also our Alma Mater though our group came much later: still quite far back in time as we began schooling in Special Malay 1 in 1948. At a time the Emergency had just started and Kedah was an Un-Federated State with the British administration in force alongside the State Civil Service.
Our group of students ranging from those graduating between 1950 and 1958 who met at the Centenary Celebration would literally bring the ceiling down with all the raucous and noise of meeting old buddies again. We are fortunate to have got places in the school when in 1948 and earlier only two classes were available for those who had completed Standard IV in Malay medium primary schools. Meaning only 80 places were available. Beside SAHC only two other English medium secondary schools existed in Kedah. Even pupils from Perlis were offered schooling here. Tun Dr Mahathir in his Blog wrote that students then and now should be grateful that they have acquired education remembering that one billion people in the world are illiterate.

I am thankful for getting a good start in life that on this auspicious date I am able to record in pictures some of the happenings during a Centenary Celebration.

Collegian Khalid Yahya and Wife greeting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed Centurion of SAHC

A senior Collegian Dato Baha and wife with us at the Celebration. Baha was a classmate of Tunku Abdul Halim when they started their early education at the College. He was awarded the Datoship 15 July on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebration

Perhaps the most senior Collegian to attend the gathering. This gentleman aged 95 yrs came from Singapore and was introduced to the Sultan who in return was presented with a golden coin. Will try to get his name and more about him.

At the Centenary Celebration on the 26 July 2008, three person were recognised as centurions: namely Tunku Abdul Halim, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Seen here on the left is Tunku Ahmad Nerang representing his father Bapa Malaysia and next to him Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

An Old Collegian given the honor to speak at the Royal Banquet. His love for the Alma mater brought him back from a holiday in Croatia and the following day flew out again to another destination outside the country. It was a must- visit for a special reason because Tun's father was the first Principal of the College.

Tuanku Sultan Kedah breaking the ice to launch three publications in conjunction with the Celebration

A true blue Collegian who came attired in the SAHC neck-tie. Shame to many others who forgot to do the same on such an occasion

A RR that brought His Highness The Sultan of Kedah who also celebrated his Golden Jubilee in July 2008

Khalid Yahya's wife at our table. Her hubby ex police officer was my classmate since we first started our early education at SAHC in 1948. Pretty long ago. It was really marvelous to meet the old friends again and relive whatever memories of our childhood days. I am sure somebody in UK will be glad to see this pic of her sister. Khalid was one of the many students who cycled to and fro home to school every school day. 8 to 12 miles each way was normal even for girls during those days.

These senior Collegians or Citizens had time for a sumptuous lunch. Sitting down with friends over kampong styled cooking plus fruits of the season from the orchards made them forgot some of the restrictions.

Time for a group photo. It was no easy matter to get all the 'datos' to sit down for the session. Seen here Saad Endut, Malik Aziz, Zainal Abidin, Hashim Endut and Azizan Pagoda. By the way both Saad and Hashim are not related. A mistake long committed for no mistake of anybody. Yes what a day when everyone present is a Datuk.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Guests are welcomed and escorted to the school hall by school girls in their best finery bearing 'bunga mangga' adding color to the day.

YES we have observed many personalities being accorded VIP status. Surely it could come in many ways. Five-Star hotels or establishment will throw out hospitality to bewilder their guests and hope for continued return visits. Red carpet welcome, flowered garlands, musical fanfare and roses scattered on the tarmac are all instances of special salutations thrown in to guests of honor. The higher the hierarchy the taller the call for the planning, rehearsal and execution.

All that are experienced by people on the higher echelon. Sultan, Ministers and Heads of States on official visits accept that as norm and naturally the fringes are thrown in when they appear. Protocol officers in their line of duty, will also not agree to lesser structures. So when a VVIP comes to officiate a function, you will not expect the barest but the maximum according to the occasion. Actually the guest of honor is comfortable with simple decorum, punctuality and hospitality at its proper and respectable level. It is people behind the scene; supposedly linked to the guest of honor who unwittingly but surely demanded for the show to be at its best.

A proud father receiving a prize on behalf of his son who is away at a local university.
Standing on the left is
En. Zulkipli the Principal of SMKB

Today of all days I became a VVIP. Well, that was stated on my car sticker which I was supposed to attach to the vehicle's front windscreen. That would allow receptionists to direct me or the vehicle to the right place as I entered the premise. This took place in the town of Baling, on the south-eastern corner of Kedah, a town which once made history back in 1955 when the Baling Talk was held here. It then saw the meeting of Tunku Abdul Rahman with the communist leader and set the path for the Independence of Malaya ( Malaysia).

"We must realise that Baling is already known internationally, having been visited by many Commonwealth soldiers who spent days in the thick forest near the border and in 1955 the Baling Talk was held proving the way to 'Merdeka' We are already part of the international factor. The school should go forth to inculcate a conducive and international atmosphere of teaching and learning as spelt in its vision"

It was a come-home sort of invitation. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Baling had kindly invited me to officially open the Annual School Speech and Prize Giving Day. I would of course not turn down the invitation especially it meant a golden opportunity for me to return to a former school which I had once been the Principal or the 'Pengetua'. Again it was a reason to look back at December 1967 when I was first appointed as the Principal of a secondary school. My young family then accompanied me to Baling though our family home was still in Alor Star. It would be glorious to meet some of the members of the staff and people whom I knew then again. At a time when Kedah is celebrating its Golden Jubilee of the Sultan's reign and my Alma mater its 100 yrs celebration as the oldest school in the state now to be linked to another historical agenda is a coincidence. Not that I regretted but surely thankful for.

If you have been a spectator before, today you take the main role. This morning sharp at 9.00 a,m having arrived with my wife, we were met by the welcoming committee. After the customary 'salam' and greeting I was invited to take the salute and inspect the school's uniformed group which stood smartly in their varied uniform on the parade ground. The announcement came loud and clear over the public address system , helping perhaps to signal to others in the school hall that the guest of honor had arrived.

Next, with the beating of the 'kompang' and flanked by 'bunga mangga' carrying students we walked to the school hall together with the Principal, Representative of District Education Office Baling/Sik, Yang Di Pertua PIBG and others. It felt good to be greeted by familiar faces and realising that the school had made a great effort to get former school principals , teachers and members of the staff to attend besides the current parents and students of the school. It was an official function but made intimate and family structured by excellent organization.

Two youthful master of ceremony, a boy and a girl performed the task very efficiently throughout and began by inviting a colleague to start the ceremony by reading a prayer. That over Zulkipli b Yusof the Principal gave a brief speech welcoming all to the function and grateful that his invitation had received warm support. Several references to the guest of honor of course hit you like never before.

The students giving their best show and certainly delighting their parents, teachers and guests who attended the school Speech and Prize Giving Day. Those who got the opportunity to be on stage must be the envy of the rest of their schoolmates

School Speech and Prize Giving Day would of course not be complete if it does not fulfill three main elements i.e a speech from the guest of honor, prizes to be given out and performances by the students on stage. All three were executed and the stage performances by the students added color and pride.

The warm welcome, meeting old friends and a delightful kampong cooked lunch served with fruits in season ended the glorious day. The school has progressed with leaps and bounds, achieving many laurels and prizes academically and co-curricular wise. We were reminded that in 2012 it too would touch the golden jubilee year. Hopefully it will be time for all to rejoice again. Teachers and students alike.

We are grateful at this time in the evenings of our life to be accorded such warm feelings and honor.

A token of appreciation with a basket full of local fruits currently in season.'Dukong' especially from Baling is of excellent quality

"Syukur" indeed because we are blessed to meet old friends again after years of lapse.

Thursday 7 August 2008