Friday, January 30, 2009

A total Eclipse of the Heart

No lah, it is not.

It was a partial eclipse of the sun, as seen at Hussein Onn. Taken by Akmal at 4.50 pm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I used to live in Paradise II

Kuala Abang, in between Rantau Abang and Teluk Bidara/Tanjung Jara.

I wrote in my blog, more than a year ago (July 8, 2007), about the two East Coast states that I used to live and work in, many years ago in my entry "I used to live in Paradise".

While I do frequent Kerteh in the course of my work, I seldom bother to venture further up North.

But I did this this CNY holidays at the request of Mak who wants to visit KT.

It was a good holiday albeit one with worry about the hotel since we didn't plan it what-so-ever. We could be left out with a place to stay on Sunday as all the hotels in KT were fully booked.

Recession? What recession?

Anyway, the kids and I now have a new toy - a Nikon D90, and here are our latest view about the paradise we left behind to be at earthly KL .

I am not sure how did I make the choice in the early 90s.

This is view of Seberang Pintasan, over looking Dungun, taken from Teluk Bidara.
This is Marang, taken from our moving car. I like the coconut trees framing the picture. All pictures were taken by Arif.

Friday, January 23, 2009

They do care for their children, don't they?

This would be a boring video actually. Nothing much happening; but fact the fact that not much was happening happening is the very reason I want to highlight it in my blog.

I do wish we could follow their civility. Here in Houston, when you see a school bus with a blinking light stop, every single car on both sides would stop! No two ways about it. You are talking about both sides of the road. It does not matter if the children is not crossing the road to the other side as in this video. You have to stop. It does not matter if you have an urgent appointment (with the Prime Minister) or if the bus is going to take 5 minutes for the kids to disembark.

You will have to wait until they are all done.

All in the name of safety of their children. The Americans do care.

Unlike us Malaysians!

In Malaysia, they are only schoolchildren. They have no right crossing the road. Bring on the lori-lori hantu and let's have their brains splattered all over the road.

Nevermind, we are in Malaysia. Supposedly better than the Mat Sallehs.

This was taken at NASA Road 1, facing West, so I got the sun in my eyes, so to speak. Once at League City, coming in late to the office, I was doing 40 in 20-km school zone, I was stopped by a policeman. Honestly after late night at the office, I was more like Zombie driving that morning. He let me off after my explanation, especially after seeing my (then) Malaysian driving license and since that day, I am always wary of the school zone. You better be driving 20 mph or else!

Friday, January 16, 2009

(Nearly) Frozen on the tarmac

I thought I am a savvy traveler, but then again, may be I am not.

How else would one explain that my trip has 3 transit points for the supposedly simple returning journey? And each transit would practically double the journey time as the plane headed East when I should be heading West. And how about a 12 hour transit at Incheon sitting on the wooden floor just to make sure the computer battery is fed continuously while he typed these very words?


Even with the Arctic Air coming to the North East of US, I never thought I should be bothered with winter clothing. After all, I should be nice and warm inside the terminal building in Cincinnati and JFK New York.

Little did I realize, the CFJ150 plane that I took from Houston would be parked at a gate that would require us to be on the tarmac at Cincinnati, and JFK. The wind blowing at Cincinnati must have a wind chill factor of at least 10 minus and he tarmac is paved with with the whitish powder albeit very thinly. I had to be out there for at least 3 mins waiting for my carry on bag to be handed back to me at the plane side; it was too big to be stored at the overhead compartment.

I was nearly frozen there in my track top, and normal tropical trouser, while the mat sallehs were all dressed up like they are going skiing.

And at JFK, I had to walk in the bitter cold midnight weather just to go from the Delta terminal to Terminal 1. Can't they make a internal building connecting the different terminals?

But it is now snowing here in Incheon this Friday morning. The white water crystals seems to float like feathers; each one of them trying to defy gravity in a windless Incheon. It is white as far as the eyes can see. I can spend the next 10 hours watching it, while my Apple streaming Winter Sonata on Youtube using the free broadband at Incheon.


EPILOGUE (Updated 17 Jan)

I arrived safely at KLIA but my luggage didn't make it. It was stuck at Cincinnati. Come to think of it, it was understandable. It was choatic out there. Arriving at Gate B5 (and having to weather the freezing temp on the tarmac, I was asked to go to A2 which is on the other side of the airport. We were then taken to Gate C7 which by the way is on another side of the airport; no wonder my luggage didn't make it with me to KLIA!

But I am not complaining. I woke up this morning to the news of the plane crashed at La Guardia Airport New York in the freezing water of Hudson River and I am glad my 3 minute ordeal at Cincinnati and JFK are nothing like those folks went through.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Driving down memory lane

(HOuston downtown seen while I was driving on I45 South)

In the freezing Houston winter - which is really rare, I drove to League City where we used to call home.

It was a drive down memory lane, if I may phrase it that way.

It is freezing this morning in Houston. In fact the whole of America has been hit with the bitterly cold Arctic Air coming from the North. Minnesota -36, and you are talking about Fahrenheit here. It would be dangerous to stay out at all. The front is moving to the North East, and I certainly hope that that would not jeopardize my travel schedule. I am supposed to take a connecting flight from New York at midnight tonight.

This is our fav souvenir shop at NASA Road 1. Cheaper than what you can get at NASA Sapce Centre Gift Shop. Of course the kids' fav is Astronout's Ice Cream - freeze dry one. (the packet in red below)

Blizzard has disrupted my partner Peter's flight to Chicago yesterday. He had to stay overnight and missed his jury duty on Tuesday. I am really sure he didn't miss that jury duty, if you know what I mean. :-)
Anyway, seeing the suburbs where a very young Arif (7 years old) and Akmal (4) used to roam certainly brings back the memories of the good old days. And of course, then this blogger was not as old!

1 Signature Point League City, TX. Our home while in Houston. This is the place the kids would wait for their yellow bus that would take them to their school - all for free. We didn't for anything for them to go to school. No school fees, not bus fare, no books to buy.

Just when I am about to acclimatize -- both in term of time zones and weather, the journey starts all over again, this time in reverse order.

1110 NASA Road 1 - This was my office in 1998, and from the office I can see the Johnson Space Centre and Saturn V rocket. And I was not a rocket scientist then, and I am not now.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tempat Jatuh Lagi Dikenang

I guess it goes without saying, and there is no need for me to complete the above saying.

Welcome friends from SRJK(I) Lenggong, and thank you for having a space for this blogger even when he didn't complete his childhood education at Lenggong. I guess as I have said in the 'rumah', I have been reminiscing alone in my blog on the many aspects of my life; and I must admit stories from Lenggong have been quite significant in my walking down memory lane albeit alone.

I guess with the creation of a "rumah" for batch 70-75, he is not walking alone anymore(much as I hate using the slogan from the arch enemy of Man U)! ;-)

Let me summarized some entries related to our school, Lenggong, our teachers. I have to say too that I have not included many stories that involved us all. It is tough trying to remember those years on my own - alone. Just click on the entry below.

BTW if you don't remember me , read the following entry on the subject - not that it will make any difference, anyway!

Feel free to browse the mind and thought of RahmanHariri through this blog - not that it would have any bearing on anyone, or anything.

Dunia tetap berputar, with or without his blog!

Oh and please, take what I say in those entries with a pinch of salts. I tend to look at those years with myopic eyes and views.


Anyone has the pic of Class 3A (1972)? I remember us taking the photo, and I remember coming back during schoolholidays in 1973 to pick up the pic from Cikgu Faridah at her house in Kampung Sira. But that pic is long gone.

The Eagle has landed - in Houston

Well actually it was the Big Bird (and not the eagle), and it was summer yesterday in mid-winter Houston.

Nonetheless Houston, we don't have a problem with the weather. It is no different from evening weather in Kuala Lumpur. But being crammed in the small seat with over 400 other passenger in a Big Bird (a 747) like herd of cows was something I don't really enjoy at this age. But I don't have a choice I guess. I am not willing to pay for over the nose business class seat as I don't have a super rich parents to pay for the tickets.

Today's high is 73, at least 120 F higher than Alaska - according to the news, and it feels like summer while driving from Bush Intercontinental through Beltway to NASA Parkway (right in front of NASA Space Centre). I thought my winter clothing in my bag would be useless, taking up precious space and weight, especially when returning.

But the cold front from North is coming tonight and this weekend it will be low 40s as the high. 

Now we are talking!

Should I be heading to Conroe Factory Outlets tomorrow?

In the meantime, I nearly did not find the NASA souvenier shop, the half price bookstore; but Putt Putt car racing is still around. But no NASA ice cream, Arif, Akmal; they ran out of stock. I think it has been out of stock since our Malaysian space tourist Sheikh Muszaphar went to space! :-)

I have the pics, but no cable to upload. Internet at this cheap Microtel is FREE, and damn fast. Much faster than what I had seen in Malaysia. What ever money can buy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blast from the past - SRJK(I) Lenggong

I would never have thought that I would see some of them again in the full glory of childhood, if only in pictures.

Unfortunately this blogger was not in the picture. He presumes that the pic was taken after he had left this school for King Edward. As far as he is concerned, there is only one picture that he is aware that would have him in the pic; the one in 1972 which he had lost.

Lokman, my best friend from those years invited me to join the batch of 1970-75 SRJK(I) Lenggong and he downloaded the above pic from their yahoogroup chatroom (without approval, he must add). No, he is still awaiting approval to be a member and he doesn't believe it would be a problem as he was a full fledged member of the batch for 3 years.

(Mind you, young readers, the I in SRJK(I) does not stand for India, and no, he didn't attend a Tamil school!)

Except for Cikgu Hizam, and perhaps Ng Kok Ngai (now Dr), and Lokman, he would have difficulty recognizing the faces, but he remembers all the names that were mentioned by Lokman three years ago when he met him.

He is anxiously waiting for another time travel to the early 70s. How he wish for a digital camera then.


I am traveling tonight to Houston for a quickie meeting. Houston was a city we used to call home in the late 90s, and the kids remember their time in school there much as I remember my time in this small town of Lenggong.

The idea of 20 odd hours cramming at the back of the plane is not too appealing to be honest. I am bringing in Hamka's Di Dalam Lembah Kehidupan, Memoir Abdullah CD and a book on Umrah and Haj. Then again, who knows, I might spent my time watching tons of movies on the small screen.

God knows what I will do.

Hope to return safely to KL in one week's time.

She is 70 years old

Today Mak celebrates her 70th birthday.

She had just returned from a holiday in Hong Kong with a sister of mine, so I guess it would be a quiet birthday for her today.

I guess I am also running out of time to write another entry on her as I am heading to a place we (the family and I) used to call home. It is home coming of sort; the difference this time is I am heading there alone.

Anyway, Mak, I know you deserved better after bringing up 13 children, and I will do my part to ensure that you get what you deserve, if only from me.

Unfortunately I can't speak for all others.