Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thirty Five Years of Excellence



So my primary school is celebrating its 125th year anniversary this year and last night my secondary school celebrated its 35th anniversary at the KL Convention Centre.

MRSM Kota Bharu as it was known then, is the second MRSM to be constructed, I guess amidst the misgiving then that may be - just may be, that educating the bumiputra's children was not MARA's raison d'etre. But I guess the persistence of En Wahab Alwi bore fruits for the nation years later.

It was an unknown entity in the 70's. When my Std 6 teacher announced about an MRSM entrance test, not many were interested to go. By the time I joined, the first batch had just completed the LCE/SRP exam, and the country took notice since even the MCKK had to play second fiddle to MRSM KB. For the first time an unknown school that was only recently set-up had beaten the Eaton of the East. And one could not get more East than MRSM KB!

Of course when our batch - the 4th took the SRP exams, we were by far the best school in the country.

After all, which other school would get RTM declaring that more than 90 (out of 146) of its students were studying overseas by the time SPM results were announced?

And the rests, as the saying goes, are history!

I was a bit hesitant to attend, mainly because I thought I would be lost in the sea of ex-students attending. All in all, I calculated we would have 35 batches of students, with this blogger's batch to be #4.

And my apprehension was not without basis; for a good 10 mins, this writer stood in the hallway of the Convention Centre, alone and feeling very lonely. I was scanning the hallway furiously looking for familiar faces, but being my first reunion with all the batches being there, I can't seems to find a familiar face at all. I simply could not recognize anyone and I guess many didn't recognize me either.


As KB76ers - a term of endearment for our batch - started to trickle in, my anxiety turned to the better. With some help, we were able to put names to some of the faces. The night has turned around for me.


We had a parade of former principals and teachers in the beginning. We had quickie speeches from Zahari, the president of the KB chapter and of course Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir himself. The host for the night was Aidil of TV3; and of course we had a singer by the name of Dia Faidilla.

"Dia tu sapa?" I heard myself asking Zul, a classmate seated next to me. Dia!; the pun was intentional.

He gave me a blank look. Blur, like myself.

Aiyah, what do you expect? The organizer should have invited Khadijah Ibrahim ke, or as requested by Jamil, another former classmate, Julie Remie!

I don't think so bro, I think she was done with by 1977 when she got herself a husband, though no doubt she, or Rina Rahman (Datin now), as suggested by Shema (I thought you didn't know her, maam?) would be better for us the veterans and the teachers, rather than the sexily-dressed Dia "who-is-she?" Fadilla.

Why not Jay Jay for example? The ladies would appreciate him!

While I must admit I do enjoyed the company of my friends, and the fact that I met again with my F1 Math teacher Cikgu Ghani ("Hari ini kita akan belajar mengenai Persamaan Linar!") whom I had not met perhaps since 1979 or thereabout. There is one incident involving him with the boys in our class including this blogger then that ended with us having to pay him a visit at his office.

Of course, we got quite an earful from him, and luckily not the cane. It was our fault really, but like the Doel Sumbang song in the previous entry, the fault "tidak termasuk saya!"

Cikgu Wan Raimah is another teacher I have not met since the 70s. She taught us Sains Paduan in F1 and I guess she got quite a beating from some of us in class then with the topic of human reproduction was taught.

I know who you are bro, who was so much anticipating this topic so much and could not in fact for her to delve into it. But when the time come, he was a timid as a mouse.

Anyway, many of my favourite teachers were around. Cigu Wan Nasihah upon seeing me told me that she had seen my blog with her picture singing with the late Cikgu Wan Rosli. I told her I am not guilty. It must be Cikgu Nik Faridah who told her about this blog and apparently they and their current students at the nursing college in Kota Bharu had a good laugh seeing all those pictures.

Cikgu Dr Fatanah, my Geography teacher said of our batch "This is a unique batch" when we tried to salam with them from running both counter and clock-wise when everybody else did clockwise. Cikgu Wan Tik was there too, so was Cikgu Norbibi.
I ran out of battery to take pictures unfortunately. I managed to take a few. All in all, the main dishes were good. I like the Kuzi daging with gajus.

The desert is nothing to shout about. I know I have been cooking the sago that way since my matric days though I prefer to use evaporated milk.

Many from our batch who attended were from my classmates - Aya, Shema and Liza were always an attraction from the boys then and even now as admitted by Nor Art, and other classmate. Jamil, MatJepun, Zul and this blogger were the others. The other classes were represented by Ku "I will always be there" Hamid aka Atuk, Haris, Ramli, Zali, An, Sarina and Dr Maheran. Dahlan Zainuddin, eh bukan, Nasir came in later.

To be honest, if not for Pasteur 5 '80 - my class, we would not have been able to fill up the table. Thank you guys/gals, but if not for Aya organizing us, perhaps even this blogger would not have been there.

From my perspective, the program proper is very dull. They had celebrity couples - those of us who married each other. It went a tad too long for my liking. I thought the one who truly deserve their place in the sun is An and Liza, but somehow An told me that they asked too many questions and he didn't have the time to answer them.

Next time An, you don't have to answer it yourself. In your case, I am sure there are so many eye-witnesses around to vouch for the fact that you and Liza were a couple then, unlike many of the chosen ones that night on stage.
The singer was boring to me, the only highlight was the Dayangku Intan & Jay Jay's song, though it was the wrong song to be honest. They should have picked up the song about reunion.

Here are my takes in a nutshell:

  1. The program started nearly 45 mins late. If I were the boss, the organizer would have gotten an earful from me. But since we were there to see friends, it didn't matter in the end.
  2. No usherer for the VIP (the P is pengetua). Cikgu Wan Nasihah came, and after my chat, was wondering if she needs to register, and I didn't know either as I was not part of the committee.
  3. The thanking the teachers segment was a bit of a non-event. The presents given too are a bit funny (table lamp without any wrapping what-so-ever).
  4. The celebrity couples segments too long
  5. The singing was, ah well, forgetful.
  6. The event booklet was a second thought to be honest. There was not much in there, if at all.
Arif commented that the Cherish magazine I did five years ago for our batch reunion was much better with stories and pictures in there. (Well, I know he could be a bit biased for his dad, ehem!) And the fact we only charged RM50 per person as entrance fee and still be able to produce a colourful magazine filled to the brim with their pictures and stories as a sweet reminder of the reunion to bring home with them. I guess we were then working voluntarily and that we know we were there not to make money. It gave us great satisfaction to be able to do our parts.

This time around, with a fee of RM150, the doggie bag has nothing in there except for an ANSARA sticker and cheap promo. The reunion booklet is full of advert and no information. I guess I should not complain, as I had posted my company in the business directory of the ANSARA. With advert money, they could have done a better job.

Despite all of these shortcomings, I must say I have enjoyed it myself. Meeting with friends, some of whom I had not seen for over 20 years, teachers I have not met for more than 30 years; these are sweet memories of the night.

We had our photography session; since were the 4th batch, we didn't have to wait that long. It will be a long wait for the other batches; but I guess they are young enough to wait.

But one more thing that caught my attention, the event says 35th Anniversary of MRSM Kota Bharu, as it was known then to all of us, and not as MRSM Pengkalan Chepas. I am hoping that I would still be around for the 40th anniversary in five years' time.

Happy anniversary, my dear alma mater. Here's to another 35 years.

EPILOGUE

While I do sound like a critic, I must admit that in this case I am an armchair's critic. Thank you to the commitee members for their hardwork.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All Those Years Ago


Aaah, do I have good friends or what?

More than a year ago, I received an sms from an unknown number asking whether I am the friend he knew from his schooldays in Lenggong. Apparently he found my number after contacting ANSARA KB.

So that's how I met again my best friend from my Standard 2 and 3 way back in the early 70s in the capital city of the Perak Man; that's Lenggong, to the uninitiated.

Lokman and I are now back in touch; and we have made a couple of courtesy visits to each other's home, though I am yet to meet up with my other classmates. I would love to meet up with them soon.

So I was pleasantly surprised when another friend from my Standard 4, 5 and 6 managed to get hold of my blog and left a comment recently. Apparently a couple of them had been reading my rantings and rambling for the past months without me knowing it.

Somehow Zaki told me that he could not leave a message earlier.

He pointed out to another of our classmate's blog who apparently had taken up blogging after reading mine. Ok, so I have another blogger friend in Zulkifli Zabidin. His blog is here.


I guess that's Zaki on the front row on the extreme right. Hmmm, when we were kids, though I was a bapak budak by then due to my size.

We were at the same school until 1975. With King Edward celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, it should be a good year for us the Class of 1975 to meet up again. Zaki was a bit apprehensive since he didn't complete his secondary education at KE. But I reminded him, that as the saying goes, Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.

(In my case, I guess I was privileged to start my secondary education at KE Menengah, since the registration date of MRSM KB at that point was on 24th January 1976.)

Zaki, on the other hand, left King Edward for Izzuddin Shah boarding school and went to Canada to study microbiology and now works at FRIM.

Never thought you were so interested on the microbes, Zaki.

We were the Aulong kids in the 70s which has a Malay settlement in the midst of a Chinese settlement originally meant to resettle those communist sympathisers. I guess - correct me if I am wrong, Zaki - there were the three of us close friends living in Aulong then, the other one was Zulkapri.

So many names were mentioned in the 15 min chat; we need to have our teh tarik session though according to him he does not drink teh tarik. Never mind, I said, you can have you Cappuchino while I have my teh tarik! ;-)

Since he was waiting for his 7th children - due any time, that session would have to wait.

Apparently, according to Zaki, I have changed. Hmmm, really? Mengembang, yes, can't deny that; the horizontal expansion is difficult to reverse. But since he said it is not physical, I guess he must have arrived at the conclusion from reading all my entries here. I am not sure in what sense though to be honest.

Ah, but you don't have to believe everything I wrote here, bro. Not everything is true! Sometimes I made things up to make it more interesting. After all, my life and views are pretty mundane!

But sincerely I thought it would be interesting to hear from Zaki on this topic. He is someone from my childhood and would know me as I was then. People do change, I must admit. I certainly would like to get a third party view on my ownself.

I need a couple more brains to reminisce about the primary schooldays. Hopefully the stories would start flowing after meeting you and the others again.

After all these years!

Itulah Lelaki...tapi tidak termasuk saya

I was doing my driving chore this morning with Klasik Nasional blaring on the radio when a song I have not heard before caught my attention. It is seldom they would air such (new) song at Klasik Nasional, but that's not the main reason why it caught my attention.

It was the lyric of the song actual. It is damn witty.

I seldom pay much attention to the lyric. To me, the melody is more important, irrespective of what the late PRamlee had said about lagu and irama.

Anyway, the song tells about all the bad traits of men. Anything and everything that you can think of. Nothing new there I guess, but the way the singer categorically denied that he was one put a smile back on my face, despite the mundane driving I had to make on my little Kelisa.

Apparently according to the singer, for each of the bad trait he mentioned, somehow he is not one of them!

"Tapi tidak termasuk saya," he said, straight-faced. I can imagine him saying that with a straight face! And non-chalantly.

That put a smile on my face.

I am sure you have heard of that before. Everybody is bad, I am the nice guy, so to speak. Typical men, huh?

But there are traits that the singer would readily admit that he is one of them. "Kadang-kadang termasuk saya," admitted Hang Mokhtar. So I guess he was not a hypocrite.

Anyway, I could not find the Hang Mokhtar's version that was aired around 7.30 am this morning, but I found out that it is actually an Indonesian song written by Doel Sumbang, quite a well known song-writer in Indonesia. You can't beat the Indonesians, when it comes to witty song.

I paste for you here the Indonesian version.

AKU LELAKI

Umumnya lelaki punya sipat bajingan
Tak pernah puas dengan satu perempuan
Itulah lelaki..

Tapi tidak termasuk saya

Kalau ditolak cinta oleh seorang wanita
Banyak yang pergi kedukun main guna-guna
Itulah lelaki..

Tapi tidak termasuk saya

Kalau merayu bilang cinta pake sumpah
Diajak nikah alasan sekarung sampah
Itulah lelaki..

Tapi tidak termasuk saya

Jarang sadar kalau diri sendiri bekas
Selalu ingin punya pacar yang bukan bekas
Itulah lelaki..

Ini baru termasuk saya

Kalau pacar pergi sendiri cemburuan
Dia sendiri tak mau dicemburui
Itulah lelaki..

Tapi tidak termasuk saya

Malam minggu menggandeng pacar jalan-jalan
Lihat yang molek mata aktif jelalatan
Itulah lelaki..

Tapi tidak termasuk saya

Didepan mertua seperti Malaikat
Dibelakang moral bejad busuk berkarat
Itulah lelaki..

Tapi tidak termasuk saya

Benci pada gadis yang berpacar lebih satu
Dia sendiri punya pacar sampai tiga
Itulah lelaki..

Ini juga termasuk saya

Sebulan dua bulan pacar dibaikin
Bulan ketiga disergap dan dikerjain

Itulah lelaki..

Jelas… termasuk saya
Ini jelas termasuk saya
Jelas ini termasuk saya

Cipt: Doel Sumbang

EPILOGUE

Hmm, this blog is fast becoming a blog about songs. I guess it is by chance, it was not meant to be. And err, my dear sis, please do not misinterpret this entry. You were off target there the last time! :-)

You should listen to the song the way it is supposed to be enjoyed. If the previous ones are so depressing, this song is witty.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Imbauan at the Philharmonic with Khadijah Ibrahim

Tonight is the night Khadijah Ibrahim overwhelmes the orchestra at the Philharmonic!

Seriously I thought she would not be able to carry many of the songs especially on the high notes, but carry it she could and more actually.

I love her rendition of Jimmy Boyle's Jauh Jauh. Actually I like the elegant arrangement of that song. To me, I have heard many versions of this beautiful song, but this arrangement tops it all. Khadijah is as always soulful. She is so classy.

She is good too with her rendition of Cemburu and Tanah Pusaka, among others.

The PETRONAS Performing Group come out great, to my opinion. Much better arrangement, much better display from the orchestra than say at Istana Budaya. The instrument are more subtle, the different sections of the orchestra tend to complement each other, rather than competing with one another, like always at Istana Budaya. Hiburkan lah Hati ku, Mohon Kasih, Resam Dunia are some of the songs being showcased tonight.

I have really enjoyed my night at the MPO.

But it is not without shortcoming, and I guess at times it may sound petty. But I would say my piece here and I didn't like the initial arrangement of the traditional song Mas Merah. I believe that you cannot get more Malay than this song. This song epitomize the very essence of the Malays and yet it was led by the "Chinese Violin" (I don't know the its real name), and for a good part of the song, it sounds Chinese to me, and the irony of it all, that this song to my mind, is Andre Goh's.

Until the singer with full traditional gear starts singing it that is. May be I am too much a traditionalist, I don't know.

It is a beautiful traditional piece.

I would like to see more of the traditional instrument like the gambus and accordian being featured as solo instrument rather than as back-up and perhaps putting these musicians at the front rather than the back.

Any kudos to PETRONAS Performing Art Group and PETRONAS in general. Tan Sri Hassan Merican, the PETRONAS' President was a guest tonight and I saw Adibah Nor in the audience and I must say Khadijah Ibrahim's rendition of Jauh Jauh is far superior to Adibah's.

Khadijah was playful enough in her performance quite often teasing the orchestra members and the conductor, and apparently even Tan Sri Hassan was not spared when she noted that a medly of the songs from the 50s she is singing perhaps suits him more than it suits her!

I have a guest, Kak Yus, a former principal of the Ambacang Primary School in Padang. I am sure she had enjoyed it as much as I do. I met her while I was tracking the foot steps and life of Sitti Nurbaya during one of my trip to the land of the Minang more than 10 years ago.
My guest Kak Yus (2nd from left) and the family with the MPO CEO Puan Juniwati (sixth from left) and her husband En Harun (third from left). All three of us used to work in the same section, in the department that the good datuk who signed the contract in the previous entry, headed. And I used to report to her at one time at the oil refinery in the East Coast.

I am now a fan of the PPAG and I am saying goodbye to Istana Budaya (in principle). For sure I would be coming back for the 30th Anniversary Concert of Khadijah Ibrahim. I am praying hard that she would be singing Janjimu. Of course I have many favourites like Ku Sangka Siang kiranya Malam, Tangisan Hati yang Derita, Ku Pendam Sebuah Duka, but this song from 1980, Janjimu is special. Just way too special for me.

I wonder if I could ask the MPO CEO to do me a favour and convey it to Kathy. Hmmm...

I would melt, if she sings that song in November, I know I would.

And of course my SPM 1980 will always be remembered by her song "Peristiwa dibulan November."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The "Talk talk, sing sing" Songs



As one would have probably noticed, I do enjoy relaxation by listening to music, especially those of the yesteryears. I could just seat on my sofa, and immersed myself with good music.

But today's music is really lousy. The local music scene is dead as far as I am concerned. It is burried deep with the proliferation of oldies radio stations in the country. First it was Rima, which is the predecessor of Klasik Nasional, and Sinar, and Light and Easy.

Anyone can tell me a song worth mentioning hitting our airwaves at this moment? No?

I remember in the late 80s (and early 90s) when I was living in Dungun (pronounced Dungeon by outsider like me), in the era of rock music, some of them beautiful ballad to be honest. One song that caught my attention then was this English song that I don't know the name of the singer nor the title of the song.

A sister of mine went looking for it in the CD shop and described it to the sales girl as the "talk talk, sing, sing" song. I am not sure if she managed to locate it.

A Malay song from 1977 also fits the bill as the "talk talk sing sing" song. Then again may be they should be "Talk Sing Talk Sing" song!

To me both of them are beautiful songs that I have memorized the lyric of the song, even the talking part, even being able to mimic the intonation of the voice.

Here I present to you; from 1977, a song from the debut EP of Sudirman, Suratku Yang Ini, and from the late 80s (I understand it was released in 1986 but hit the Malaysian market much later though), from Viktor Lazlo, Stories.



Stories - Viktor Lazlo

I remember quite clearly now when this story happened.
The autumn leaves were floating and measured down to the ground
Recovering the lake where we use to swim like children
On the sun would dare to shine.
That time, we used to be happy
Well, I thought we were,
But the truth was that you had been longing to leave me,
Not daring to tell me
On that precious night watching the lake, vaguely conscious
You said: Our story was ending.

Now I'm standing here
No one to wipe away my tears,
No one to keep me warm
And no one to walk along with,
No one to make me feel
No one to make me while,
OH! What am I to do?
I'm standing here alone,
It doesn't seem so clear to me
What am I supposed to do about this burning, heart of mine
OH! What am I to do?
Or how should I react?
OH! Tell me please!

The rain was killing the last days of Summer
You had been killing my last breath of love
Since a long time ago
I still don't think I am gonna make it through another love story
You took it all away from me
And there I stand,
I knew I was gonna be the .....The one left behind.
But still I'm watching the lake, vaguely conscious
And I know....
My life is ending

Suratku Yang Ini (Sudirman/1977)
(Din Osman/Habsah Hassan)

sayang suratku yang ini
bukanlah untuk memujuk engkau kepangkuanku
cuma sekadar melahirkan kebingunganku
terhadap fasafah cintamu yang hanya agung dibibir
oh sampai menusuk kesudut hati
sungguh sayang janjimu bak lautan yang dalam
tapi tiada bertepi
dan aku hairan mengapa aku saja yang derita akhirnya
Hingga ke saaat ini
kata-kata manismu masih bermain ditelingaku

hati kasih sayang rindu
terhimpun seluruhnya bagi mu sayang
ingatlah janjiku inipanas hujan angin ribut
tak mungkin memisahkan kau dari ku
inilah sumpah setiaku

sayang diriku ini
mengapalah tanpa ujudnya cinta mu amat lemah dan resah
Tapi kau usah bimbang
bukan simpati yang ku pinta dari mu
diam sendiri membawa satu cerita
bahasanya hanya aku saja yang mengerti
aku catitkan dia atasa suratku yang ini
kenangan manis kita dalam restuku



EPILOGUE (Updated July 20)

Errr, I think I need to put a disqualifier here. The Sudir song was written in 1977 by Habsah Hassan, and I have read it somewhere that the poem was read by his childhood sweetheart and future wife. I have nothing to do with it, and it is not a reflection of my life story lah! I just enjoy this song; she sounds so fragile.

On the other hand, driving across part of Terengganu from Dungun to Kerteh, I have enjoyed this song Stories. Just like the Sudir song, I love the composition of the song. But it is slightly flawed in the sense that the change in tempo and instrument (from piano to keyboard) didn't sync with the storyline.

In fact, both sound so fragile.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"You only have each other"

Prologue

I thought this time around with their birthdays looming (both were born in the month of July), I thought I would pay a tribute to them with this entry. Arif is now 17 and Akmal 14 on the 25th, and growing up. I could not ask for better kids than them, for that I am thankful to Him.

And with only the two of them around, I always told them that they only have each other. I know, I know, they do have cousins from both sides of the family, and they are close to many of them or more like big brothers to the rests, but I guess they know what I mean.

Oh by the way, as noted in the blog windows on the right, selamat pengantin baru to my bro-in-law and his wife. Here you have both Arif and Akmal serenading the pengantin baru.

This year we have had two weddings and in some ways I am glad that there will not be one in the next years, right, my unmarried siblings? ;-)

Anyway, even if you do, with Arif hopefully shipped somewhere for his tertiary education, it won't be easy to assemble the two brothers again for a duet.

The kis entertaining the guests prior to the pengantin arrival. Arif was mistaken as the pengantin when he appeared at the tent in his full songket baju Melayu. No, he is too young to be one, and even too young to have a girlfriend.

The last wedding we had was for my brother in law at Rawang, just after the Users' Conference, and again this blogger was in charge of music for the day, and again the kids were his victims. Like for their auntie's wedding in June, they had to serenade the couple; this time their uncle.

Arif went a step ahead this time around with his solo rendition of 'Direnjis-renjis dipilis' violin solo during the Menepung Tawar ceremony.

Now, I think it is time to get them beyond the PRamlee and keroncong repertoire, and so during the last trip to Jakarta I have gotten some more music notes on Indonesians and more English songs.

But we are waiting for someone's wedding eh?

Arif with his piano solo rendition of the lovely love song 'Winter Sonata' on the keyboard. We can't be carrying the piano everywhere, unfortunately. It would have been great if we could.

While Akmal did a guitar solo on Romance

OK, so whose wedding is next?

The sound recorded from the wedding performances weren't that great with the high noise background. So I thought I post here the practice session at home.
video
Tunggu sekejap guys; please don't grow up too fast!

EPILOGUE

I remember when I was 17. It was great. I know the pressure of SPM was just around the corner, but I don't remember much of that now. I guess we were then expected to breeze through, though in the end we didn't. But we didn't know any better then, so I guess 1980 was a very enjoyable year indeed, if only in hindsight!

Huh? What I am talking about here?

Never mind.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The day I get to use a Mont Blanc pen


I didn't plan for this when I resigned from the North American software company that I have worked for for 11 years, more than 3 years ago. I thought I would try my luck at business after working for other people all my life.

When the company I partnered with ran out of cash (within six months), I decided to cut my losses and do things on my own, from my garage. I relied on small consulting jobs to keep the next meal coming. In the meantime, I kept on pounding, hoping that someone would see what I saw in the products and services I am carrying.

But they never seems to be forthcoming.

I lost one project - "We have a preferred vendor," so I am told. Then lost another.

I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right choice. May be I am suited to being just another employee in a small organization. May be I m not good enough. Doubt was beginning to creep in into my mind.

But I guess, it is third time lucky, though I would like to believe that it is more than just being lucky. I think this is rezeki from Allah for persevering so long. Rezeki memang ditangan Illahi. Beyond that, I believe in the product I am selling, and I would like to think that I am passionate about it.

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours.

So, here I was yesterday at a signing ceremony with my biggest client thus far. I didn't expect them to be wanting to have it so official with a signing ceremony at a five-star hotel, but the customer is always right, right?

I could use some of the publicity myself; that's for sure!

Serious business - this job is the last defence of billions dollars worth of assets for this client of ours. So much is at stake with the strokes of two pens, especially when they are Mont Blanc. Unfortunately I didn't get to keep the pen!

I used to work under him in my previous life (he was my department manager) more than twenty years ago when I was a rookie process (chemical) engineer in Terengganu. Now he is a datuk and a vice president of a Fortune Global 500 company. So it is an honour to be accepting this contract from him. I am in cloud nine to be honest. But I do realize the heavy responsibility that comes with it.

And I guess there was no favour what-so-ever since I had to undergo two bidding processes over a one year period! I guess it is more satisfying this way.


Yours truly with his five minutes worth of fame addressing very senior executives of this Fortune Global 500 company. Of course many in the audience were ex-colleagues from the late 80s who have themselves risen up the rank.

10th of July 2008 - that's going to be high up there in my small universe.

PS Thanks to Bro Zali for the fine pictures.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Protes, jangan tak protes


Prologue

So I got a phone called at 7 am last Sunday from my bro Zali. He was about to go to Kelana Jaya to take photo of the protest, and asked me if I am joining. Unfortunately I have a 8 am breakfast meeting with a former boss of mine to see if he could join forces with me to complete some projects, and at 10 am I was to see a piece of land in Langat.

So I had to say no. I know I don't have weekends anymore, but while I didn't plan it that way, I guess it does look like they were just excuses. I guess I don't want to be hit with the tear gas again.

I do agree that the price rise is inevitable; that I am myself more prudent in using the car after the gasoline price increase. But I guess the government could do a bit more for the ordinary rakyat and help them cope with the inflation.

So here are some pictures taken by my aircraft technician bro. As usual, excellent photo bro. You captured it quite well. And I am quite glad he is still in one piece as I want to him to take pictures of signing ceremony on Thursday.

PS I am waiting for my red shirt! Got the yellow already in the cupboard.





Where is my Lady in Red (Chris de Burgh)? Here only the guys are wearing red!

Apa pun, solat Maghrib jangan lupa

A very serious looking gentleman in red

Hey you! Yeah, you!

Uncle Kit in his normal style giving a speech. May be he is trying to challenge Karam Singh Walia.

Dr Lo Lo

Aah, priceless I guess to have taken the picture with the Blog King, RPK.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Taiping in 1959



So, in the many things scattered on the floor for us to salvage was this photo of Bapak taken in 1959 with the rest of the staff of the Land and District office of Taiping. Bapak was 23 at the time and I guess in the prime of his life. Initially I was looking for someone with the songkok, but I guess he was not wearing one then.

"Hensem jugak bapak aku masa muda hehehe," was what I was thinking when I managed to locate him.

He was just a junior officer then I guess. The picture was taken to commemorate the departure of the District Officer, Mr Fowle as part of the Malayanisation of the civil service on Aug 27, 1959. That was the caption that was written on the picture, and Malayanisation is not a word we would use now.

I don't know the exact location of this building to be honest. In Taiping, there are hundreds of this type of building and some of them may still stand. I like the vertical swing window, it's great for ventilation and lighting and this is how a tropical building should be, and perhaps they were designed by the British, taking into account how the Malays built their kampung houses, especially on a stilt.

No worries about banjir I guess. But I do wonder about mosquito then.

Another point worth commenting, I guess the Malayanisation of the civil service started soon after Merdeka, though it took another two years for Taiping to replace the British officer. But the picture didn't tell us as to who took over as District Officer.

EPILOGUE

Well, the photo is now safe with me. I am going to scan them and store them where it is safe. At least I told mak I am taking this picture with me and told her I would return it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Taiping banjir - The Aftermath


The view of Taman Sri Kota Taiping with Bukit Larut in the background. It is going to rain again! So what's new?
The flood - that's what's new!

Luckily I have my two brothers Ata and Fadhil, and my sis Aishah to help out. Without them, the cleaning would not have been done. If one were to rely on me alone, I don't think the creaking bones of mine would be able to handle it! ;-)
We were lucky as we didn't lose much except the old carpets. Most of the photo albums were untouched by the water. Thank God.
The view of the kitchen area. It was in a mess. We had to get rid of the carpet. After all some of the carpets may be older than the house or many of our siblings!
The view of the backlane a couple of days after the flash flood. Note the brownish mud layer on the street. Even that has been cleaned up by the continual rain that pours in Taiping daily.
A view of the shop area where they are still busy cleaning. Our neighbour MC Cum was telling me about how it rained heavily for nearly 3 hours at around 1 pm. The water started to rise and there was little the residents could do except close the doors to avoid snakes and the likes from entering.


The river about 50 m away from our home. Not much of a river I guess. It did swell over that afternoon I guess.

We have been staying there since 1984 (the week before bapak died), and had never experienced anything close to this.

In fact we were all born in Taiping in the 1960s, went to school there and never heard such thing as bah, banjir, flood or flash flood. As I have said earlier, it rains daily in Taiping. In fact a favourite past time of some Taiping Chinese (more like punters I guess) is to bet on when it will rain ( and not whether it will rain or not!).

The punters would always be looking towards the sky - groups on them. You can't miss them and they are normally located near the market right in the middle of town.

But Taiping is always blessed with good absorbent earth with plenty of forest and fields and of course good river and drainage system that would take all the water to Port Weld aka Kuala Sepetang. But as pointed out my friend Bro Zawi, development in surrounding area, albeit in this sleepy hollow called Taiping, the inevitable has to happen.

And it did that day.

I would call it a 50-year flood!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taiping banjir?


Now these two words do not go together especially in a sentence.

Taiping may be the wettest town in Malaysia, but unlike Kota Bharu or Johor Bahru, this is not a town that will be flooded because of rains. Let it rain all night long, may it rains cats and dog, but the greenery of Taiping would be able to absorb any amount of rain.

At least I have never experienced it in the nearly half century of my life.

Until I returned home yesterday afternoon and was greeted by news that our family home in Sri Kota, Taiping was flooded to about knee high.

There goes our family heirloom - whatever remaining of the family pics until it was syphoned out of home by a certain sister(s) thinking that they, and only them, owned the right to the family pictures. Now even that may be gone.

Aah, well. Lotsa clean up to do tomorrow.

Will update once I reach Taiping tomorrow.