Sunday, June 1, 2014

Giving back to society - sambil menyelam, makan harumanis

I should be doing more of this.

No, not 'menyelam'. Of course not. Not at this age. It is a tad too late, I have to admit. And I have no desire anymore. In any case, I have never been a water person. I can drown in a bowl of water. LOL.

I am talking back about giving back to society. I am a product of affirmative actions and I need to give back to society.

And of course eating the famous harumanis.

But I have been procrastinating. There are many opportunities, but work schedules and other excuses always crept into the picture.

And my desire to have an easy life.

I am talking about giving back to society of course. I am not talking about every now and then giving alms to the needy. I am talking about giving back to society in a more formal way than doing the occasional alms at the mosques.

I was both relieved and apprehensive when a friend of mine - a lecturer at a small university, called one day to ask me to do a lecture at his department. Relieved in teh sense that now I have an avenue to give back. Apprehensive since I was asked to do thermo, which is not my forte. Never mind that I will be talking to undergraduate students who probably will accept whatever I will say as the Quranic truth.

So instead I tried to chicken my way out by asking another friend.

But in the end, I was told to just give a talk on materials I am comfortable with.
Hj Juares giving lecture to a teh final year students. Mine was the 2nd year
students and hence it is a bigger group
So coupled with the mango season in Perlis, I knew I was going to have fun there.

So for the first time in many years, I was given a flight other than Air Asia and a five star hotel. Something I would not do if I had to pay for them. I am a cheapskate; I care for the company cashflow and profitability. So I travel prudently.

The travel on MAS is eventful to be honest. MAS is on a bad luck run perhaps. I am not a superstitious person. Not at all. But that landing in Alor Star that night was perhaps the worst I had experienced. It landed on the tarmac very hard - a thud to be honest, and immediately we can smell tyres burning in the cabin. My fellow passengers on both side of me looked at each other. We weren't afraid or nervous - we were already on the ground.

Knowing what Arif had told me about landing, I thought the plane ought to be grounded. I don't really know if we had experienced 5G of force while landing; if we did, the aircraft would be grounded and may not able to fly back to KL that night. But the bad luck continue for MAS. I do hope it would end soon.

For the first time in more than a decade, someone was waiting at the airport and would take us to the hotel. It is absurd. It is a a very strange feeling - something I had not felt for a long, long time. Not since Narita, where the Japanese would be waiting for you with a signboard - that's Japanese hospitality for you.

Comfortable and inviting - that's what I like about this hotel and bed.
The hotel is brand new, I believe. Perhaps the best I had stayed for a long, long time. And with reasonable speed wifi available for all guests. What else could I ask for? After all, making the stay even sweeter, it is all paid for.

The next morning, we were picked up by Dr Farizul and headed to the Dept of Bioprocess Engineering. Dr Farizul is a PhD graduate from Newcastle University and I was delighted that he took it upon himself to drive us to the University and the Northern part of Perlis later that afternoon in my most fav brand car.

I would think that the bio-process engineering is basically a chemical engineering department with emphasis to bio processes, but the fundamental is still chemical engineering. But obviously with w degree in bio-process, companies in other fields, say oil and gas, would hesitate in employing them. But that's another story and entry.

I am happy to do my part, no matter how small it is and I think we all should be able to contribute more to the society than doing an all expense paid lecture like the one I did at UNIMAP last week. IT is too easy, though in honesty, it is tough to get out from my daily routine at the office and take a one hour flight up North and get in front of 100 students and do my lecture.

I am not use to standing up in front of students. I told them not to give me a hard time by asking probing questions. I am used to stand in front of my peers or senior in the industry or even lecturing the lecturers in certain topics, but students, I am not used to.

Would we take our own time and money and do lectures for students at the public universities out of our sheer interest in making sure the students would be equipped with whatever is needed in the industry. I wish I can answer yes to that question, but unless I am already in the midst of doing it, I think I would refrain from portraying to you that I am already doing it.

An easier part of giving would be by allowing students to do internship at the office, but that's easy. I don't have to do much other than to agree to take them in.

Anyway, but there is reward for doing good deeds, though I prefer to receive mine in the hereafter. Sometimes you may get something in this world without having to wait, but I hope that the perceived reward in this world would not preclude me from what I hope would be my entitlement in the hereafter.

Here is my reward.
Harumanis with pulut at Titi Tinggi
Aah, heavenly

I could not understand why Perlis is the only state with Harumanis. I am jealous obviously as I can be driving 500 km just to get my share of the sweetest mango in Malaysia. It is too far and even though I can be considered as a hantu mempelam, I won't drive that far for it.

Doc Farizul and Nabil of UNIMAP told me that it could be the heat. Perlis is notoriously hot, they said. As if we in KL:could experience the four seasons. But they may be right. THe radiation in Perlis is such that you would not want to go out all and would rather stay indoor during the day.

If there is a next trip, i would like to get some saplings of Harumanis so that I can try and grow them in wintry Kuala Lumpur. LOL.
Harumanis Farm in Titi Tinggi
Alas we are at the end of the season and coupled with Sukma, price of Harumanis has skyrocketed. IT is not more expensive than the king of fruits - The Musang King. At RM25-30 per kg, I am not sure if many can afford to taste the Harumanis.
ONly the rich can afford Harumanis in Malaysia
Let me give you my opinion on Harumanis. I love the sweet taste of it. There is not a tinge of sour for Harumanis. It is 100% sweet, so for that part I love it so much. The sticky rice is just right, with a tad of salty taste and hence complemented the sweet Harumanis.


Yes, I would plant it in front of house and replace the Chokanan.

But I found that it lacks substance. The flesh is too light for my liking and that eating Harumanis does not fill your mouth up.
The Harumanis research plantation at UNIMAP. Only for the VVIP, according to Doc Farizul.
Apparently they are not VVIP enough and neither was I :)

Or your stomach.

It is kinda melt in your mouth type of fruits. So the moment it is in your mouth, in no time you will lose it to your stomach. It didn't linger on in your mouth for long. So you need to continue eating to have a feel of Harumanis. I wish it is slightly denser and hence it stays longer in your mouth

I have 4 kg at home and may be I will try and compare it with the Indians or Pakistani mangoes.

For now, let me enjoy my RM26 per kg Harumanis as part of my being away from work last week.

Dr Farizul in the middle with Nabil and Ir Hj Juares at the end of the lecture

No comments:

Post a Comment