Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ketupat Galore - When the boys took over the kitchen

You know, I had given up cooking since coming back from my undergraduate study in the mid-80s.

I seldom, nowadays, be in the kitchen, unless I need to fry egg or - what else - french fries. Beyond that, I leave the kitchen pretty much to the wife. I am the controlling type, so for a non-cook, that's not advisable.

Especially if one were preparing for Raya meals.

In Taiping, it is a non-issue. I would almost always not be welcome in the kitchen. No, nothing wrong with me per se, but since we have big families - 13 to be precise, even if half of the siblings and spouse were to turn up, the kitchen would be filled up to the brim with the sisters, and the wives. So I would not have my day in the kitchen, even if I wanted to.

The only thing I would dictate is for us to have is the ketupat. You dont have to have anything else. Just have ketupats.

That's all. I am that easy to please, right? ;)

Beyond buying the pouch, or the leaves for someone to weave them, I would normally be sitting on the couch in the living room.

Or if I have my way, sleeping. :)

So this year in 2012, with mak not in the best of health, we had no choice but celebrate Raya in KL, which is what I have been planning or wanting to do for years. With her being discharged only at about 3 pm on Raya eve, we were not going to be celebrating it the normal sumptuous way.

So I volunteered that I will make the ketupats as I am the hantu ketupat in the family. The rest of the sisters have been busy taking care of Mak and I was sure they would not have the time to cook much. And not at home either since wifey would be busy with the rendangs. 

I had no choice but to summon the boys to help me out.

I had bought the pouch the day before near the mosque at Bandar Tun Razak, so weaving the pouch was a non-issue. The question is to get someone to fill up the pouch, and that someone would have to be Arif and Akmal.

It is no big deal, or so I thought.

So how much do we fill the pouch (with rice)?

So I sent a quick message to my sister.  "More than half,"came her reply.

Half? Hmmm, somehow I have the impression that it should be three quarter. So not satisfied with her answer since it contradicted what I have in mind, I quickly google for help.

"How much rice does one put in the ketupat pouch?" I asked Lebai Google.

This is a very important question. Put too much, and it will be hard, or even undercook. Put too little, and it will be too soft. The texture has to be right - soft but kenyal. It should be elastic if one were to press against it. Anything else, it would be out of order.

Looking at two blogs, they were contradictory. One agrees with me - three quarter full, another with my sis - more than half. But 3/4 is also more than half, and even filling it up to the brim is still correct then. 

So I decided to follow my instinct - my cooking instinct!

Akmal, looking very hungry,
filling up the pouch on his dad's order
"OK Akmal, so fill it up up to three quarter full," I directed Akmal. I was decisive, I thought I should be appointed a chef soon.

In no time I would be a celebrity chef.

Yeah, too obvious, cooking is in my vein.

The ketupats unfortunately came out too hard. It was well cooked, since we boiled it for more than 5 hours. But it was a tad too hard for my liking, so I did not enjoy it that much. My ketupats have to be perfect. And if they were, I could eat them for days.

But I got no one else to blame except myself.

Much of my ketupats went to waste.

And I did not enjoy other people's ketupat that much either. I simply refused to give theirs a try, as I knew I would be too jealous if theirs were perfect. I was sure theirs were as bad as mine, so why bother trying.

That was the kiasu side of me thinking, I guess.

But give credit to this old blogger. He also pan-fried the peanuts, and then pound them to prepare kuah kacang. He did all he could for his share of the raya dishes this years.

In consolation, at least, I did give it my best shot, and I guess with this experience behind me, I will make the perfect ketupats for Raya Haji in two months.

That I am positive, and I am confident!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The RM37 journey Part III - The Kelantan Match Factory


Years of traveling has taught me to use local transportation in my host country.

When I traveled to the remotest Indonesian town, I was presented with a dilemma. I can walk to my destination, or take a ride on a rickshaw for Rp1,000 (then it was RM1.00). Being the cheapskate that I was, I would excuse myself and told them that I would rather walk (for the exercise - yeah, right!) than get someone to cycle me and be parted with my rupiahs.

I was stingy and for short distant, I see no reason for using their services.

Later on as I grew older, I thought, "Hey, I was there on business trip and benefitted my company and myself from doing business there, so I should be giving back to the local economy. Afterall, how much do you think these rickshaw drivers would earn in a day? Most likely, on a good day, Rp10,000 and they are probably supporting a wife and a few children with my fare."

I did not feel like I was a big boss who needs to be driven and chauffeured around.

It is about giving back to the local economy - stay at mom and pop's motel, eating at local restaurant, or warungs, and use their becaks!

Kelantan Match Factory
Taken from internet without permission

So upon arrival at Ismail Petra Airport, I took the cab to Ridel. After the small talk about the weather, I was eagerly telling the driver that I used to call Pengkalan Chepa and KB home and have not been 'home' for nearly a decade. He was equally eager showing me the PC junction and other landmarks, and how they have changed over the years - Maahad, for example.

Then suddenly he asked me, "You remember Mancis cap Lada?"

Yeah, barely.

"Ni, kilang dia - Kelantan Match Factory," he said as he was making a left turn for Ridel. "Ni dulu towkey besar. Oghe pertama dalam Kelantan yang ado kapalterbang sendiri! Bombadi.

I presume he was talking about Bombardier Aircraft. I did not bother asking if I got it right with the aircraft. It is not important.
Taken from internet without permission

The building itself, while not really in dilapidated state, is not in a state where I would call it a landmark.

I think I still remember mancis cap lada and of course it would state Kelantan Match Factory on its cover. Unfortunately the memory is not vivid. I was a non-smoker when I was in school (or even today), so I would barely use matches unless I was in the kitchen, which would not be too rare in those days.

But I do remember them. For sure.

"Sekotak dulu, berapa harga? Lima sen?" I asked him.

"Betul, mulo2 lima sen, kemudian naik sepuloh sen," the cab driver told me without putting into context the year it was that cheap.

"Boleh dia pakai kapalterbang, jual mancis harga 5 sen," I commented, in amazement.

I don't know about the economics of matches then. Or even now. It is a wonder to me that such 'petty' and el cheapo stuff would enable its owner to own and fly a private airplane. I have been running an oil and gas consultancy firm for many years now, and I thought that while we do high-end engineering consultancy, I am still nowhere near owning a Ferrari, let alone have a private plane.

I do have a private plane pilot in Arif though.

If only I can afford a plane - a single engine will do, preferably a twin engine. But a Bombadier Executive jet would top it. Hahaha, wishful thinking on my part!

But I have to change profession first.

Now, what shall I do for a change? May be selling kayu api?

Friday, August 24, 2012

The RM37 journey - Part II

I still wish that I had scaled mountains, and the deepest seas to visit my teachers in Kota Bharu.

I had thought of driving to KB. But with Akmal still busy with his assignments, and Arif's flight a bit too close for comfort for them to be driving with me, it made no sense for me to be driving, especially if there were less than 2 people in the car.

So instead, I took the easy way out, and paid RM37 for a seat with Air Asia. The return flight had cost me RM40.

"Who do you want to visit tomorrow? Let me see who's here - Cikgu Wan Nasihah is here. You know Ustaz Ridhwan or not? He lives not far from cikgu Wan Nasihah," she said, thoughtfully.

Yes, of course I remember him. I even remember that he was from University of Airlangga. I remember him because he taught us Islamic study obviously. In fact, I remember the car that he drove. It has an AR plate - a Perak registered car.

So when one day I found him washing his car at the school compound, I approached him. "Ustaz, ustaz pakai kereta nama saya - Abdul Rahman," I jokingly teased him.

"Bukan, AR tu Abang Ridhwan," he replied, matter-of-factly. He was quick witted. That's Ustaz Ridhwan for me.

I told Cikgu Nik that I didn't know Ustaz masih ada, and yes I would love to meet up with him.

But in the end, time was just too short to see everybody. I had to take a raincheck.

The day before in the car of a junior at school (Hiday, a lecturer at UMK) on the way back after visiting Cikgu Norbibi, I had talked to Cikgu Wan Tik over the phone. She was to leave to KL the next day for a medical appointment at HKL. I last talked to her perhaps in 2006. She was supposed to come to my Raya open house, but at the very last minute she called to apologized for not being to make it due to a thunderstorm brewing in her area.
Here is the picture of Cikgu Wan Tik and I
taken in 2003 in PJ

"Rahman, I have read your blog that you had written about me," she said, "you had written that I was (one of your) favourite geography teacher."

"Oh and you said that I looked younger than you," she told me teasingly. I laughed.

Yes, I am sure I had written that about her. I had a picture taken with her at a lunch gathering in PJ and I commented that she looked much younger than her own student!

Earlier at the hospital while chatting with Cikgu Nik, a junior (KB1992) had commented on how we looked like we were of similar age.

But I disagree. Totally. Cikgu Nik may be amused, but I was offended by that remark! I thought it missed the mark by at least a decade.

I thought I looked older than her, to be honest!

White hairs all around, and losing most of them too. A face beaten up by the stress of life. The story of my life - so what else is new? ;)

So by noon (Thursday 23) we were at Cikgu Wan Nasihah's abode. She lives right next to the Sultan's palace - literally, so she can be considered a royal neighbour. That's how cikgu Nik Faridah has been teasing Cikgu Wan Nasihah.

I should be able to find her house the next time I am in KB. Just go and find the sultan's palace!

Cikgu Wan Nasihah had, a couple years ago, had a brain surgery, so she walked in a robotic way. She can't make a gradual turn. But she is strong and can still walk with little problem. May be with a little help, at times.

Other than that she is fine.
The blogger with his teachers from the 70s. Love
the tapai pulut.

The beauty of being the teacher to MRSM students that many of her medical needs were/are attended by her (former) students who are now surgeons and specialists in many (medical) fields, and they gave  their best treatments to their teachers, like Cikgu Wan and Nor Bibi.

That's the beauty of being a teacher, a privilege that I would never be accorded in my lifetime.

So many stories were told by her about that privilege when she was doing her operations, and medical check ups. Their (former) students were always grateful and obliging to their teachers.

As an engineer, a veteran oil and gas engineer, I would never be as useful to my teachers. I can never return their deeds in a direct manner, unlike my doctor colleagues. I do know a thing or two about oil and gas and chemical engineering, but I guess at this stage of their lives, I am quite useless.

For that, I feel so small, so miniscule. Again.

(If you want to know how to calculate fire and explosion at an oil and gas facility, do let me know. I'll design a safe system for you. Or if you found oil in your backyard, and you want to distill it into diesel and kerosene portions, I'll do it for you for free. I'll simulate the process for you in a simulator. Hahaha, pretty useless me, huh?)

We didn't leave until Cikgu Nik telling Cikgu Wan that Arif is now a pilot with AirAsia and hence got cheap flight ticket to come to Kota Bharu.

She looked at me in amazement; not that she was surprised that I got a pilot son, she was more surprised that I already have a 'working' son.

"You are old, Rahman," she exclaimed, smilingly. I just laughed - I did not try to explain; that goes without saying!

After nearly two hours, I bade her goodbye, promising that I would return to visit her again one of these days. We headed to Pengkalan Chepa to Cikgu Nik's house; and closer to the wedding venue I was supposed to attend. We weren't there that long - the clock was ticking fast, but I was served quiche and Starbucks coffee.

It was four-ish when I arrived at Hafiz's wedding. For some reasons, I thought he didn't recognize me until Cikgu Nik waved at him. The couple looked resplendent in their wedding dresses; memang sepadan.
Hafiz and NOrizan on their auspicious day with the blogger.
at Taman Bumi, Pengkalan Chepa on Thursday 23/8/12.

I was wondering initially when I saw the invitation card - it says the wedding feast starts at 1 pm and ends at 6 pm. I thought it was a tad too long, but since it says so, I took my time with my heavy schedule to come to the wedding reception, and sure enough, tables were still nearly fully occupied even at that late hour. In KL or the west coast state, I am sure all the tables and food would be gone by then!

I have to mention that the it was food galore at the wedding. Laksa, laksam, two kind of buburs and obviously nasik minyak with a dalca gearbox - you would not get that anywhere. 

"You eat all that, Rahman?" cikgu Nik asked me.

"I love the sum-sum tulang and the internal organs - I eat everything. The liver, the peruts, the sum-sum tulang!" I told her, as I was shaking the gearbox against my plate to get the sum-sum tulang out.

I am sure she cringed upon hearing the bad eating habits of her (former) student.

"We only live once, Cikgu," I told her, laughingly, and trying hard not to sound cliche. After all, she was and still is an English teacher.

One thing about Kelantan and Kelantanese that I like - they practically knew each other and everybody. The same with Cikgu Nik and the hosts - apparently they were schoolmates, albeit separated by a year of schooling. She knew many guests at the wedding reception, when this blogger knew no one else other than the groom.

The only thing I found surprising is that she did not find out that somehow, somewhere they were related. The last time she met with strangers in a hospital in my presence, she found out that they were not strangers afterall.

They were in fact related.

That's Kelantan for you.


I reached the airport at 5.55 pm, barely an hour before the flight. A tad too close to the departure. I was worried about not getting a seat; the next flight was at 2155 hours, another 4 hours away. Cikgu Nik was also rushing as she has another guest to entertain.

That's her - an ever willing host. God bless you Cikgu. She is heading to Spain with Cikgu Somchit in about two weeks. Post many pictures in FB, cikgu, and please do it while in Spain. Would love to enjoy the pictures fresh from the camera so to speak. Cikgu, I'll lend you my DSLR for your trip. It is worth bringing that heavy camera, for the memories. Let me know if you want to bring it with you to Spain.

These are views from my RM40 seat back to KL (RM3 more than the incoming journey).

Good bye Pengkalan Chepa.
Pengkalan Chepa as we departed
Goodbye Sabak
I presume this is Sabak beach
Goodbye Kota Bharu.

Looking towards Kota Bharu
Until we meet again.

The RM37 journey eclipsed by a 36-hour journey - Part I

I thought I was doing the noblest thing this Raya, but I guess many others would be more noble than yours truly. It was a lifetime lesson, in sacrifice and gratefulness, and piety, I guess.

Obviously I knew I had to attend a wedding in Kota Bharu, and there was no two way about it. He has  been working with me for 3 years, so when his big day arrived, I simply knew I had to be there. It is a long journey to Kota Bharu, and on holidays like this Raya holidays, journey to KB or back to KL could take 12 hours or more (instead of 6 hours for normal day journey).

But Kota Bharu was my home during my teen years, so there were enough reasons for me to go back to. I can think of a list of people I would love to meet again, and catch up on lost time. After all the last time I was there was nearly a decade ago.

So I took the 1325 flight out of KLIA. That was my first time using my privilege as a parent to an Air Asia staff on a domestic flight.
OMG, I still could not believe what I had to pay to go to KB, so much
so I would be telling anybody who is willing to listen how much
money this cheapskate had to fork out to meet up with them.
Lousy me! I should be telling them (my teachers) how I had to
scale the mountains to see them instead.

They made me pay RM37.00 for my seat - this Air Asia airlines. OMG, It was cheaper than an 8-hour bus journey to KB. I could have made this trip a thousand times now.

In about an hour, I was being driven out of Pengkalan Chepa to Kota Bharu town.
First time in Kelantan for nearly a decade. I only wish
that Petronas had chosen Bachok as the gas landing area
so that I have professional reasons to return,
but it was not meant to be, I guess.

Upon checking in at Ridel Hotel for a room with no window (Arif was adamant that I should not have done that for safety reasons), I booked a cab at 5 pm to take me to HUSM, but with KB being under sieged by migrant Kelantanese returning home, it could only arrive to pick me up at about 6 pm, and only at 6.30 pm I arrived at the HDU. I thought it was a bit late. A crowd of people was already there and not seeing Cikgu Nik or any familiar face, I would not have a clue of how to see Cikgu Norbibi.

I felt like a stranger in a strange land where people talk in funny slang!
I was not supposed to enter through this door - there was side door
on the right (not seen in this picture), but I didn't know any better.
I decided not to take any picture - I thought that it is rude to do so,
so I only took this picture to show that I was there.
I can see someone organizing and controlling the blue shirt that one must wear inside the HDU ward, but he kept on giving to others, taking turn to visit this one patient. I could only watch in despair as the 'queue' is long (even if the turnover is high), and the fact that I didn't know any of them.

So I had to ask who this popular patient is.

"Nor Bibi," came the response.

"Of course, Cikgu Nor Bibi," I blurted out. I was seeing the same exact patient.

"Are you her student?" he asked back, "batch no berapa?"

Apparently Tabira is her 4th son, and once he knew that I had came all the way from Kuala Lumpur, he quickly took me to introduce me to his dad.

Soon I found myself alone facing Cikgu Nor Bibi. She is unconscious and she was breathing very heavily. I called up to her, introduced myself and wished her a speedy recovery. I was sure that she heard me because I thought I heard non-syllabic response (though I can't be really sure). It was good enough for me - I didn't want to stress her out, and  I knew there were many other wanting to have a chance to see her. 

But I was hoping that she would hear me, and I do pray that Allah will fulfill our doa for her.

(I remember seeing Cikgu Wari at her ICU bed; she was conscious, but she was breathing heavily and sounded like she was in pain.)

A day later, I found out that a senior (Kak Siti Munirah) had driven all the way from Melaka to KB to see Cikgu NorBibi. Apparently she had arrived at 7 am in KB, went to see her at noon, and left KB by 10 pm. If I don't have my cheapskate ticket - and a wedding to attend to, would I have done what she did?

I don't think I even want to answer that question, and I do feel so small, to be honest. Others would b e scaling the mountains, and the deepest sea to be with her, while I was only doing the molehill, so to speak.

I felt so miniscule.

On the other hand, I normally would be coming armed with my SLR, but this time around, I didn't feel right about doing it. There was no way I would be taking her picture with all the tubes and mask surrounding her face. It would be rude and too demeaning to be honest. I could not comprehend those who did that and would even had the cheek to pose in FB.

That I totally agree with another former teacher of mine Cikgu (Dr) Fatanah.

Apparently she had chided a few visitors who were talking too loudly among themselves in the presence of patient. Some even had the cheek to 'pose' smilingly (read: tersengih) with ICU patients. It is not proper and it is not right, no matter how noble your intentions were.

I already have a one on one picture with Cikgu Norbibi. While it was taken about ten years ago in KL, that's how I would remember her.


View of riverfront at Ridel Hotel at 7 am
"I'll pick you up at the airport, and you can have my car (for you to go around)."

That's Cikgu Nik Faridah's hospitality for you.

I could not take her offer for various reasons. For one, it is Raya time and I don't want to trouble her. I am sure she had many guests to entertain in the first place. Secondly, it is Raya time, and I am sure KB traffic could be notorious, and not knowing the road, I am sure I would not survive driving in KB.

Thirdly, I thought I'll do my part to boost the local economy, in my own small way. (Don't take this in a negative way please. I am not implying on the state of the economy at all.)

In the end, obviously she did much more than that.

She was driving me around taking me to see Cikgu Wan Nasihah, and even to the wedding of my staff. "It is ok," she said, "I am free today." But a teacher like her, having taught thousands of students would never be free on the auspicious day. There will always be one visiting and paying their respects.

May Allah bless you, Cikgu.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ngomelan dipagi Raya (ketiga)

This Raya is a funny Raya.

No, it is not funny in the sense that you will laugh your a** off. Or that you would be rolling (or is it lolling) on the floor because someone has tickled your funny bones or sense of humour.

It has been awhile that I've been wanting to celebrate raya in KL. I am tired of joining the traffic jam heading North every raya holidays, so much so last year I decided that to take the train for Raya.

This time around it was forced upon us to Raya in KL by virtue that Mak was hospitalized in KL practically the whole month of Ramadhan. I do hope it would be the start of new raya tradition for us - raya-ing in the city!

Tired as I am to join the Balik Kampung rush, I was more tired commuting between home/office and hospital. May be not as tiring physically; it was more mentally than anything else. It is not easy taking care even your beloved mother, no matter how much you thought you love her. 

When dad died after a sudden hypertensive attack (it was during dawn, and he was dead by noon), many (including yours truly) wished that he would live irrespective of his condition. If only he would survive, we would take care of him in any state.

Great hope. Love the what-ifs scenario, and the wishful thinking.

You thought you are the filial son; the greatest gift to your parents.

You know you would never know how you would react and perform until you experience it first hand. I have always said that until I am offered multi million ringgit bribe and I rejected it out right, I can never claim I would never behaved in such heinous manner as many of our politicians.

A blogger friend called me on the day before Raya night. Actually he is my mother's generation, so he is more than just any friend that I knew over at the cyberspace. He was giving some advice on alternative medicine for mak which I would not elaborate here until I have ransacked his blog for more info.

Then he told his own story of caring for his parent (not sure if the mom or dad), and as you may have guessed it through the saying that "mak seorang boleh jaga anak sedozen, but anak sedozen belum tentu boleh jaga mak seorang."

Not without infighting over who should take care of her and who should be contributing for how much. Typical Malay families.

I thanked him over the phone saying, "You made me fell much better with your own story. Now I know I am not alone!"

Anyway, so by the solat Raya time, we had two families converged at my sister's house to be-raya with Mak. I have decided the day before that I would solat at my sis' place and not at my own to ensure that it would still be a joyful (read: noisy) early Raya morning, just like in Taiping where most of us would converge every year without hesitation.

Now that by default that Mak has to raya at my sister, I would accord her home just like our family home by virtue of Mak being there. There was no question over in my mind of the suitability of solat-ing at my own place. So by 7 am, we were out of our home and headed to Ampang.

Thankfully the day before my bro from Penang had made his way to KL, so at least there were 3 families with little children around.
Early Raya breakfast with Mak at my sis home. This was taken before solat time.

As for others who could not, or would not, or would prefer to celebrate Raya like you did not have a family (especially the bujang one, and the not so bujang ones up North), I could not comprehend your reasonings. If you think your friends are more important that your own mother, I can only sympathize with your twisted thinking. 

At noon, we decided to head to Seremban to celebrate Raya with my inlaws, but not without hiccup. The whole of KL-Seremban highway was congested with cars that at one stage it was not moving at all, so I decided to detour to KLIA and use the old road to Labu and Sendayan to reach Seremban.

Oh boy. This is getting ridiculous. What's going on? Too many car in Malaysia that I could not even visited Seremban for raya without it becoming such a pain?

May be next Raya I would stay quietly at home!
With the inlaws in Seremban. By the time this pic was taken,
we had ditched the sampin, except for Akmal. We stayed in Serembang
until magrib time.
Honestly I was still cursing on Thursday and Friday on KL traffic. It was still heavy despite the fact that schools have closed by then. "When are you guys heading out of KL and leave the city to myself?"

I thought that I could even sleep on the city road during the raya holidays, but I did not see that even on Saturday. The traffic was still reasonably heavy even then.

Aah well, just my luck. This is a city in her own right and with her own citizens.


Why did we only have a 29-day Ramadhan this year? I thought normally we would almost always not see the crescent moon and hence would almost always have to fast for 30 days. This would give us an extra day to prepare for Raya.

I always dread of having a 29-day Ramadhan especially when I used to celebrate raya at my inlways in Batu Kurau. They would always prepare the lemang for Raya (tak main la beli2 macam kita sekarang), and once my wife's grandma knew that Raya is tomorrow, by isyak time we would be having a party preparing the fire for cooking lemang that very night, and we would normally finish in the wee hours of the morning.

It is tiring not to mention sleepy. I can't escape from helping them/her. Normally many other would still not arrived by then - conveniently or otherwise (hahaha). I am not sure if this is worse that a 20-day ramadhan. In such case, we would be cooking during the day at around 11 am, why late afternoon, one would be extremely thirsty.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mad Madder Maddest

Today is a happy day for most of us.

Mak is now discharged from Ampang Puteri and now resting at my sister's house in Ampang. She looks good; if there is any relapse, we are heading to another hospital for a second opinion.

Twelve days at Ampang Puteri and we are no closer to finding the truth about Mak. The good news is she has no cancer whatsoever. All cancer marker tests came out negative.

She knew that she had none of the those.

So why would she have fever on a daily basis? Ampang Puteri had tried the most powerful antibiotic (Tienam), supposedly daily it would cost us over a thousand buck, and yet her fever would persist. I told a friend that the doctor is experimenting, but we are paying for the experiment nevertheless, and irrespective of the results.

So he replied, "You are providing funds for research at Ampang Puteri!"

Oh My God! I am, really, as if I can afford it.

Can we change this business in healthcare? They are having it too easy at our expense and no wonder they are making hundreds of millions. Is it a wonder that the KPJ are expanding like nobody's business? Let's give them more responsibility in caring for their patients. If they can't figure out anything in a test that they have requested or recommended, then the charge would be on the hospital. If they found the cause/problem, only then the patient would be paying for it.

What say you?

Anyway, today's discharge of Mak was marred by an incident. A fat, short person (read: obese) wearing jeans that has seen better days (read: unwashed for at least a year) went berserk at the hospital. He was seen leaving the hospital soon after, but we aren't sure what had become of him.

Too thick a helmet had shrunk his brain perhaps.

I don't know, but I don't care.

Let's hope Mak would be able to cope with life outside hospital. It is better for her for sure; living for so many days in a hospital can be detrimental to one's health, especially the mental one.

As seen in the case above.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Olympian that never was

Now that I am finally getting into the spirit of the Olympic, I thought I should try to write an entry on one. But I am not sure if there was any link, to be honest, between Olympic and the blogger.

I was never a sportperson; never was and never will be (even in the veteran section). That I would gladly admit. None of my kids are either. You can call us anything - kaki bangku, tangan meja, pengkang, whatever.

I was not good with any of physical attributes. I cannot 'run', I can't kick a ball, let alone curve it,  my wrist are up to the mark in a badminton game. 

Only the fact that at one time I was bigger than my peers that I was selected to play rugby for my school, and we won the Perak state title that year. But that was so many years ago that soon it would be considered a 'heritage' landmark by UNESCO!

Honestly, I think it is a waste of money to send Malaysian athletes to Games. Not many would be medal contender. MOst would be water carrier, if I may say that. Only perhaps Lee Chong Wei, and Azizul could contend for a medal in their respective fields.

Yang lelain, including the pregnant lady shooter - Suryati - perabih beras saja!

But in the spirit of (London) Olympic 2012, and talking about our shooters and archery, I was reminded of my own foray in archery in 1981. I was doing my matric and a senior had invited us to join an archery class over the weekends.

"It is a favourite sport of the prophet," we were reminded. That was all the encouragement I needed.

And being new to the country (Australia, or Western Australia/Perth to be more precise), I was keen to sample every little thing that is considered a different lifestyle that we were so used to in Malaysia and in Kota Bharu.

So I jumped into archery. Learned the proper techniques from the instructor - it was a formal course. Managed to hit a couple of bulls-eye, and we went 'hunting' too - 'rabbits', 'kangaroos', and deers especially, were some of my victims. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera during hunting period, so I can't show you any picture. You have to just take my words for me, ok.

If not, consider it as one that gets away! ;)

The (archery) olympian that never was.
Don't you think I have the flair? Hehehe.
Picture taken in 1981
Looking at the picture above, in hindsight I could have been an Olympian, may be for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic. We could have won our first medal way back then, had I decided to pursue it with more vengeance, or not be an engineer.

Would you agree with me? ;)