Sunday, July 24, 2011

Welcome back Malaysia

At last, they are back.

For sure this time around.

I was wondering if something was wrong somewhere and with the euphoria they were generating, I thought something was amiss. As if they were hit by a tsunami, and the Japanese nuclear radiation leaks might have affected them.

I saw some of the normal Malaysian traits in the match against Taiwan, and of course in the match against Arsenal. And I was beginning to see what I was used to see in the 90s.

One of the traits would be to play like schoolchildren; with due respect to all schoolchildren in this country. All Malaysian footballers since the very late 80s had been taught this skill and nowhere else. They were taught so well that we were top in that department then.

And now they are back.

Welcome back and welcome home, Malayan Tigers.

Normal service has resumed from FAM.

PS Can we tarik balik all the awards and rewards that they didn't deserve even the last time or do they need more since the last time tak cukup? ;-)

PS2 And we call ourselves champions of South East Asia?

PS3 I think I spoke too soon about us winning the World Cup! Huh!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Durian and the Theory of Gravity

So...the durian season is here again, eh? Stalls are sprouting out everywhere in KL like 'cendawan lepas hujan'. Good la. I love the durian but for the fact that my two kids hate the smell [1], I have not bought any for the past decade or so. As far as the durians are concerned, the car and thehouse are off limit. We are never to transport them in it, or bring one home!

Of course like many true blue Malay guys, having a durian orchard for my retirement years is something that is always on my mind. It is in the Malay guys' psyche I guess. Tranquility while waiting for the heavenly durian to fall! [2]

Many years ago, I was that close to buying a piece of land in Batu Kurau for that purpose. It didn't work out. I should have. Every durian season I am reminded of that African proverb that says "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago." [3]

Of course Batu Kurau and Bukit Gantang - make that Taiping, are well known for quality durians. I believe they hold the Pesta Durian Bukit Gantang every year - we may just missed it this year (1 July?). They are all coveted by the durian connoisseurs from all over.

I love having pulut with kuah durian (sticky or glutinous rice with durian gravy) for tea. Someone just told me of another version of this. Hers is pulut with (slightly) 'salty-ish raw santan and (raw) durian' all meshed up to make a thick gravy - uncooked mind you. The durian would still have it textures, unlike its thinner cooked durian gravy counterpart. Hmm... yummy..sounds "durilicious" to me. High cholesterol though, I was warned. 

We only live once, I retorted.

How about gulai tempoyak, and of course the tempoyak (fermented durian) itself? Perakians are supposed to love all these dishes. Dodol (durian). Lempuk. Wajik (durian). Bubur kacang durian. I can even find durian ice cream in Houston. In Jakarta, durian drink too.

I used to drive one car full of Mat Sallehs from Kuantan airport to Kerteh. We dropped by at Kijal, which is noted for its durian in Terengganu for their first initiation of the king of fruits. One guy luvs it, the others can't handle them at all. "Taste like a cement paste," one Japanese friend Oiwa-san would tell me. I doubt it that he has tasted cement paste before. I think he was saying that based on his sight and touch senses - the texture is much like a paste. He is better off not liking it though - a single (frozen) durian fruit would cost something like 10K yen in his home town Tokuyama.

I dislike Thai, no dislike is too mild. Actually I hate Thai durians. They are not durians at all with little smell and production-like sizes (I think them as mutant in term of their sheer size). Many Thai types would give a bitter after-taste compared to our mostly sweet after-taste. It is more fun with kampung durians. One can never know what to expect - it is like opening a treasure chest. Taste from one tree will differ from another, and since typically it may be of many different sizes, one can have the best of many worlds in term of taste. Give me kampung durians anytime, or give me no durian at all!

Hey, anyone remember this funny song from Mr Os? It is a catchy song in the Perak dialect released circa 1986. I thot it was very well written. I luv the part in that you have many relatives during the durian season (who would disappear as soon as the last durian falls)! Yeeah, and when it come to menebas, batang hidung pun tak nampak!....hahahaha..Os Os...sebijik deme bagi..

Click here to listen.

Oh kome durian dah berbunga
Moh kite minang anak dara
Anak dara anak dara Bota
Teman jumpa di padang tenggala

Oh kome deghoyan udah luruh
Lebih baik cepat pegi suluh
Lambat sikit kome dapat habuk
Kalau tido jawabnya tinggai pokok

Duit deghoyan yang tua nak ke Mekah
Yang muda gatai nak menikah
Musim degohyan ramai sedara mara
Bila menebas seeko tak nampak muka

[1]. I remember that Arif would scream and cry whenever he came into smelling distance of the durians. "Busuk, busuk," he would cry. He would get upset if his mom were to touch the durian flesh - he knew that's the very hand that would prepare him his meal. Akmal is less adverse to the durians, though he does not like them either.

[2]. I wonder why we didn't produce a great scientist who would come up with the theory of gravity while waiting for the king of fruits to fall. Then it occured to me that we might have, had he not been killed by the falling durian while sleeping under the durian tree. So that was the end of Isa Nasution (a North Sumatran) and it was then left to an Englishman named (Sir) Isaac Newton and his falling apple! Ah well...

[3]. There is a second part to the African proverb. "The second best time is today!" Now, while we can lament on the what-ifs of life, and the durian trees that we all wished we had planted a decade ago, we can still plant it right now. And that's the beauty of the African proverb as we have no one else but ourselves to blame if we didn't do it.

Nowadays economically, it may not be worth it to have a durian orchard except for the fun of it. Durian at the height of the season can be quite cheap, bordering to worthless. Especially if the season coincides with the fasting month. I do remember a few years ago, durian was so cheap, you can have a bunch of them for a ringgit!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ohh..those fragile Japanese women

Of all the countries in the world, I would not have expected them to do it. In fact, I thought they would be the last country in the world to be able to do it.

With due respect to them.

I am of course referring to Japan winning the Women's World Cup.

One of the commentators mentioned after game that Japan had the smallest team in the WC. I am not sure what he mean by that. I did not follow this world cup other than what were shown on the news daily and if there was none (on telly), than I would not know about it.

He could have meant that Japan has the smallest contingent in term of numbers, or he could have meant that Japan's team members, on average, have the smallest physical attributes in term of height and weight.

And I would not be surprised by such statistic.

I believe - and I am not backed by any statistic - that Japanese players would be the smallest physically and I don't know what possessed them to play like they did, and in the process won themselves, and their nation, the World Cup.

I have spent many months staying there - for a total of over a year, cumulatively, in their early 90s, and I must say that Japanese women, to my eyes, are the most fragile women I have seeen or met. 

Much more fragile than Malay women for sure.

They are very soft-spoken and the most well mannered persons in the whole world. I have read somewhere  - I think in the aftermath of the tsunami recently, that if you wish to see the Moslems at the height of the Islamic civilization, they should see just to see the Japanese. They are a first class society, and I would say that there is no equivalent society in the rest of the world.

Ours included.

Or should I say, ours especially!

I think we all remember how people would queue for their food rations in the aftermath of the tsunami and not like in US where there were heavy looting. We are no better, and we should remember the accident that happened on the hiway with hundreds of thousands of coins spilling on the hiway.

Many motorists had a field day then!
The end of our training at Tokuyama during one of my
visits there in 1988.
During my training days in Tokuyama, with nothing much to do after office hours, I would listen to Japanese music especially the traditional songs on the telly, obviously without knowing the lyrics or a single Japanese word.

Well, not quite, but close I guess.

And I love most of them. Typically of course they were sung by female singers, and I must say they sound so fragile as the songs would typically be so melancholic. I think the songs was probably about yearning for love or home or the country, I don't know. And coupled with the fact that the Japanese language is such a soft and melodic, they sound like they were in such much pain - not unlike our Asli songs, I must add, and that in turn made them so beautiful to my ears.

So I decided that I need to bring a couple of them home - the songs I mean (not the singers, as I was already married by then). But not knowing the singers, and the songs' titles were not a deterrent to me. All I need to do was bring the lyrics as I had phonetically spelt them, and sing them to the instructors and luckily one of them knew at least two songs; so I was able to then buy a couple of cassettes of Japanese melodies.

I know that's the very reason I love those Malay songs that were adapted from the Japanese song in 70s. There are too numerous to mention, but one stands out even today - Ku Ingin Bahagia by Rina Rahman.

I jokingly told my boss then, when I reported back for duty after my many trips there, that the announcement over the loudspeaker (presumably announcing on the day's event at the office, or safety announcement) sounded very much like the whispers of two lovers in bed!

Soft and romantic.

Hahaha, since this is PG13 site, I don't think I can divulge anything beyond that. I'll just let your imagination run wild for now!

I remember walking to the JGC office many times from the train station and I would be greeted by the ladies from the office. One morning, I stopped by a convenient store and while browsing for some stuff - I was so engrossed and was in deep thought (I think I was thinking of what I was going to have for lunch), I was greeted by one of them.

"Ohaiyo gonzaimas, Hariri-san. How are you this morning?"

My heart skipped a beat that morning. It was too melodic for my ears. May be I had been away for too long!

They were so soft-spoken that they spoke in whisper mode, and like they were singing. For a moment, I thought that some Japanese gals were trying to pick on me, but luckily I quickly recognized them and returned their greetings. Aah, well. ;-)

In Malaysia, our announcers sound like she (or he) is having a fight with herself in an empty room!

But in any case, good on them; the Japanese girls. We need to learn on how physicals are not a imitation to winning football matches and in this particular case, at the highest standard of football world, albeit one for the women.

I wonder how our Harimau Malaya would fare against the Japanese team in a match at Bukit Jalil.

The gals one, I mean.


What's my point really?

Well, football is supposed to be a physical game and there have been many analysts who pointed out the different physical between Asian players and their European counterparts, and reckon that Asian countries would not win the World Cup any time soon.

I am sure their analyses are no longer valid.

If the Japanese gals can do it, why not us?

What say you?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

MRSM Connection and the RM10,000.00 tree

This is my RM10K tree - hardwood that would be
enough for me to build my own house. Or otherwise
I was told to build a tree house here. Hmm.. mind you the root
of this tree is 40 m below this level.
If I didn't meet up with her, I am sure I would chopped down the tree and then set up a a big born fire to get rid of it. What a waste it would have been.

I did not know that it is worth at least RM10,000.00 a tree and that I could have built my own grand kampung house. Phew, no wonder some of the contractors I brought in to clear out the jungle on my land have indicated that we have nothing of value here. Vested interest, I guess.

I am sure they would be making lots of money on my behalf.

Jokingly she told me that she should have negotiated a consulting fee before agreeing to visit my jungle.

It is ok, kak, I will 'tolak' the jering and petai to you and not sell it to anyone else! You have a supply of jering for as long as you want it, and as long as the trees are bearing fruits.
My petai tree, if I am not mistaken
Actually initially I contacted another friend - a senior  from school (bro Man Bachik); another agro expert who, after giving me some pointers, promptly recommended to another friend of his who is so much into farming, for the fact that her place is only a few miles from mine. I was not sure if I should; wondering if she would remember me and after more than 30 years, how do I contact someone and seek their help and opinion.

But call her I did and then I went to her farm. Self invited, I believe.

I did not bother asking her if she remembers a junior, albeit only one year difference. For all I can remember, I may have not talked to her at all. Yes, I knew a few from her batch, but I doubt if I had talked to her.

It is of course easier for me to remember her, as she was the conductor at school, orchestrating us all to sing Maktab song during our Sunday assembly.

But as we walked into the jungle that is my land, we chatted like there was no barrier of 30 odd years that have separated us. I reminded her that most likely I last met her in 1979 - about 32 years ago. But fortunately for me, time in MRSM was precious and we just continue on where we left off. I guess despite it all, we have common bonds, sharing the first five years of MRSM KB's lives.

Kak Rusilawati and her right hand man Mas Aziz are very knowledgeable about tropical herbs and trees. He would be able to tell me if the trees there are of value or not and showed me one big tree here that would be enough for me to build myself a house.

From the number of trees that he had mentioned, I believe I have enough hardwood for me to build an istana!
Dah mengah la this old man, while she is still standing - Mas Aziz is on
the right is also standing. It was while sitting here that she told me that the big tree
in front of us (as in above pic) is worth RM10K and if I do not wish to fell it,
then i should get myself a house tree and then get Arif to play
the violin on top of the tree!
Mas Aziz also showed me that I have enough rubber trees to start 'menoreh'. For some reasons, I could not recognize rubber trees in a jungle of trees, and jokingly told kak Rusilawati that I am surprised I could not differentiate rubber trees here as I can always recognize them in a rubber tree plantation!

Everybody broke into laughter.

Well, I am glad that the MRSM bonding or rather connection is strong enough for her to respond to my request for help. Apparently she had started her Suria Helang Lui farm two years ago single handedly, and I know I don't have the strength and will power to re-do what she did, and hence I sent her an SOS.

So I visited her farm and she took me on a tour; two and half acres separated by Sg Lui.

You can read her blog here.

Impressive! Within two years this farm is nearly self sustaining with all kind of herbal plants, and other tropical plants, and mineral-watered fish pond! This is organic farming with no pesticide, and everything here use mineral water from drinking water to shower and fish pond and watering the plants!

She even sold them at a pasar tani in Penchala.

Well thank you Maam, thank you very much. I am hoping she would be willing to be part of my project scheduled to be started after Raya. But irrespective, she has helped a lot, and has given me the idea and strength on how to get going and tame the jungle.

Come to think of it, I should be contacting my forrest expert from my Edwardian group too. He is at FRIM and at one time I had taken the tour of FRIM with him.

Mind Mapping

In this particular case, even though he was my senior of three years - the first batch of MRSM KB, while I was the fourth, I am sure I would have spoken to him during those years and significantly we crossed path again when we met in Perth for our tertiary education. Later on in life, we worked for the same company - the black gold company.

Knowing his credentials and background, I asked Abang Zahari aka Zahari Mohamed to do a one-day training on Mind Mapping (or as he calls it, VisiMind, or Visualizing the Mind) at our small company and to complete the attendees list, I asked my sons and siblings to join us.
Catching up on old times, while polishing my mind
and filling up the stomachs
He had wanted to do chemical engineering, but MARA refused to let him do it, so instead he took up Chemistry at U Western Australia. Three years later, I was sent to Perth to do Chemical Engineering, but I left Perth after one year of matriculation, since there was no established course in Chemical Engineering there.

Instead I went to Melbourne's Monash Uni.

But funny how things changed within a few years.

So we chatted about our career path at a national oil organization. Interestingly, he was into marketing and corporate planning, and of course later on at Eagle Aircraft and Putrajaya, while I was so into refining and simulation and everything technical.

He spent twelve of his best years there while my tour of duty there lasted 8 years.

Bro Zahari explaning a point during his course
on visualizing our mind.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the training he did for us. It was enlightening for us, as this is the first time we did some management/personal development training for the staff.

Thanks again, big bro Zahari.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bersih 2.0 - The Tung Shin Incident


I have passed by Tung Shin Maternity Hospital many times in the past.

The building is not something I would bat an eye-lid. The hospital, from the outside, look non-descript, if not unkempt. It is not eye-pleasing to my eyes at all.

It is not a hospital I would consider or recommend if we were looking for one.

And I thought it was meant mainly for the Chinese.

So when Tung Shin was caught in the cross-fire, I was amazed that there is still a private entity that would stand up to the excesses of the government, and not be afraid of the repercussion - real or imaginary. I have to salute the Hospital, especially the doctors for standing up to the truth. Initially the board did a good job, but later on retracted their statement about the tear gas.

Ah well, no one can be perfect in face of an irrational country like ours.

Here are what The Hariri Photographer saw that Saturday. This is a pictorial entry, and all pictures were taken by the Hariri Photographers - MFH. Thanks bro.

Tabik Tung Shin.


I have been asked by someone close to me not to write or show police brutality. Even if it had happened, he wanted me to keep it to myself. This is not the first time I have been asked to keep quiet about incidents that I had seen or experienced. The same thing happened to me last year when I was in Mekah. After an ugly incident with the Arabs there, I told the ustaz that I will be writing about it in my blog since I am writer.

"Sometimes there are things that are best left unsaid," he said. And with it, I decided to keep my point of view to myself, as a marked of respect for our prophet.

But with the police (read: FRU) personally cursing "Melayu Bodoh" and "Pengkhianat" from behind their masks to the participants of Bersih 2.0, his request is not be something that I can easily abide. The sight of a Rela officer near Masjid Jame threatening four Malay girls in tudung taking shelter on the kaki lima in front of a shelter hostel at the junction on Jalan Tun Perak, "Berambus dari sini. Jangan nak tunjuk berani kat sini. Pergi la tunjuk berani kat sana," pointing to a troop of police FRU.

As if that he owned Kuala Lumpur from his dad.

I was boiling inside. But I was alone and I had reached my limit in term of leg power, and my camera memory has reached its capacity. I just want to lay down at this stage (read: sleep), and hence did not do anything to defend the girls.

I am a Malaysian first and a writer/blogger second, an (amateur) photographer a distant third, and as such I would like to show the world what we saw. Sure I have my sentiment, but the again, you be you own judge. I can't force my view upon you, but we can show the pics that were taken.

The FRU getting into their now familar formation in front
of Tung Shin.
The FRU truck and the people watching them near Tung Shin.

They are considering to enter Tung Shin. I think
by now they have decided they are going to enter this sanctuary
and a private entity.

Here they come. Slow moving in the beginning

And suddenly things becomes very urgent
The photographer was not sure if these two were going to crash onto
him on purpose. I guess his heart must have skipped a beat
or two at this stage. But they decided at the last minute to split
It is clearly they are entering a private property. You'd
wonder why the need for the mask if they are just entering to catch
those at the rally.
Looking and chasing those who attended the rally
Storming the hospital

A View of the Hospital, supposedly a santuary
Caught ya
I am sure the police weren't telling him, "Come, my dear, we'll give
you buffet dinner tonight."
And these people were trapped at the compound of the Tung Shin Hispital.
It was a dead end, and there was no escaping the police at this stage, so
they decided to arm-locked themselves, while doing takbir. If I were here.
my heart would skipped many beats for sure.
So they read quranic verses and prayed (doa), You can see them just about
to finish the doa, hoping that the police would let them off the hook and not
apprehend them. The guy in glasses seem to be crying. Honestly I think they fear
for what's going to happen next.

It is a pity that we have came to this. This is a screwed up country.

Are they all criminals?
Now the vultures are coming for the kill. Some may be wondering on why
didn't they just go voluntarily. Well, my dear, we all live in a independent
country and as free people we should be able to go anywhere within this country
of ours. Why should we not allowed to rally peacefully within it is allowed
within the constitution.
Here they come. Once the doa is done, the police moved in.
Oh no. They have no choice now but to leave it to Him.

Going for the kill
Commotion, commotion, everywhere. Tangkap, tangkap!
One down, one thousand more to go

So they decided to beat him
Let me give you my flying kick! Is it really necessary?
Two are down here.

Like their fellow citizens are criminals. He is not fighting back, that's
for sure.
We want more detainees. Our KPI for the day has not been met.
The young Malaysian not going to go easily. They did not wrong,
and they should not be apprhended.
We'll not rest until all are in Black Maria. We want all of you.
POlice going all out to apprehend the public

Testing my kung fu skill. What a privilege to become police

Police tying up young Malaysians who want to let their view known
to the government. Listen to them, listen to us. Lsten to Malaysians.
The policemen doing all their best to apprehend the public.
After all the struggle, the determined young Malaysian are all entagled
amongst themselves.
They are not resisting arrest. There is no reason in the first place
on why they should be arrested. This is a free country and
we are all free people, walking in peace.

Way to go, young men
One down -and the triumphant police. Go and cari Nurin's killer(s),
go and cari the real murderers of Altantuya, go and cari all the PATI,
those who smuggled diesel and LPG, all the tonto who monitors polices
and customs' movement, those mat rempits and those snatch thieves.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bersih 2.0 - The Beautiful Faces

Let's forget about the police for the time being, and focus on the people; 50,000 of them at Bersih 2.0. Only some samples, tak larat nk sieve through the hundreds of pictures. This may be updated from time to time, so far from the archives taken by the Hariri Photographers - ARH/MFH/MGH.

These two ladies were standing on the pavement with
the Malaysian flag, and many had a field day taking their picture
including yours truly. Good on you ladies. Somewhere near petaling Street
Chatting during a lull moment at Dayabumi
Err you know who at Dayabumi before the first face off
at Leboh Pasar Besar.
Doing brisk business. Sapa kata business rugi that day?
Rugi kalau tutup!

And the matsallehs and minah sallehs also walk with their Malaysian
counterparts. Malaysians at Bersih are violent? You ask them.
And another matsalleh with his daughter
Pix by MFH

These chinese ladies are part of Bersih 2.0 This is
1Malaysia. Pix by MFH
Tabik to this family. Enjoying the day in KL and supporting
a noble cause. Good job. Come come belaka ;))
Pix by MFH
Solat lah kamu walau di mana berada. They
closed Masjid Jamek and would not allow us to go
and pray there. So they did their prayer on the side of this
building. Macam kenal je tempat ni. Pic by MFH
The grandlady of Bersih 2.0 at Puduraya, defying
the police and saluting those who were captured by the police. know who at Dayabumi. Acknowledging
his bro on the other side of the Klang River
Even in wheelchair
Pix by MGH
Happy days. Young Malaysians
Pix by MGH
BERSIHkan jalan, BERSIHkan pilihanraya

Even Metro TV was there. Hmm...
Pix by MGH
NO kutuking the police this time around. Well done Malaysians.