Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Here's the first interlude for this year...

An elderly couple goes to Burger King, where they carefully split a burger and fries. A trucker takes pity on them and offers to buy the wife her own meal.

"It's all right," says the husband. "We share everything."

A few minutes later the trucker notices that the wife hasn't taken a bite. "I really wouldn't mind buying your wife her own meal," he insists.

"She'll eat," the husband assures him. "We share everything."

Unconvinced, the trucker implores the wife, "Why aren't you eating?"

The wife snaps, "Because I'm waiting for the teeth!"

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mosques in Malaysia

In this post, I'm sharing the photographs of some mosques I have visited in my travels throughout peninsula Malaysia. I hope to extend my collection with pictures of mosques in Sabah and Sarawak plus other parts of the world, insyaAllah.

Masjid Terapung Tanjung Bungah, Penang - May 2010
Masjid Al-mukarramah, Sri Damansara - July 2010

Masjid Jamek Sultan Hishamuddin, Sabak Bernam - February 2011
Masjid Al-Azim (Masjid Negeri), Melaka - November 2011
Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim, Muar - February 2012
Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah (Masjid Terapung), Kuala Trengganu - August 2013
Masjid Ubudiah, Kuala Kangsar - May 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Social networking for photographers

My first digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix compact bought in 2003. It boasted a `healthy' resolution 3.2 megapixels and cost me an excess of RM1k, a real princely sum at the time. Although not quite top-of-the line, I was fairly pleased with its performance. It was easy to use and produced quality photos. With that camera, I had an enjoyable time taking tons and tons of pictures, both for personal and work use.

After about 6 years of dedication, the camera finally gave up on me. By that time, there was no point in getting it repaired because obviously there were better (and cheaper) products in the market. I bought a Canon Powershot compact as a replacement. Although this camera has a higher pixel count, I somehow felt that my old Nikon gave more vibrant photographs. This fired the urge to upgrade to an entry-level DSLR a year later.

With the large collection of digital photos that I have, it therefore make sense for me to share or store them online, doesn't it? Well, not quite for me. Internet connection those days was real slow and memory storage at a premium. Home internet connection was only available via the pioneer ISP called Jaring (which I sadly heard, has closed shop) at a mere 14.4 bits/sec. High-speed internet was only available at business premises or at cyber-cafes. Uploading a single photo would take an agonizing few minutes.

The first photo-sharing website that I used was Photobucket. I can't remember how many pictures I uploaded to that site but I don't think it was that many. Probably ten to twenty files arranged in a few albums. I am not sure of the quantity because I no longer have access to the site, having abandoned my account many years ago. I'm certain the account is obsolete but Photobucket itself is still alive and kicking.

Later on, I found out that many of my photographer friends use Flickr (owned by Yahoo). When Google became an established IT company, they provided Picasa as a direct competitor to Flickr. Even so, I was not moved to be a user of either of the two most popular photo sites. I prefer to share my photos sparingly as part of my blog posts.

When mobile computing came into the mainstream with the use of smartphones, Instagram became the hot app for photo-sharing. Still, I have not been drawn to ride on that bandwagon, at least not for that particular app. But yesterday, things changed a bit...

I was browsing through fellow blogger Pak Adib's pages (Adib Noh - The Reader) when I chanced upon an old entry where he mentioned that some of his photos are on sale at Getty Images via a new photo-sharing app. I got to know of Pak Adib from the Sentraal Station FB blogger's group and noted that he is a keen photographer. He has uploaded a number of his photos in his blog and very good photos they are.

The app recommended by Pak Adib is called EyeEm. It works primarily for mobile smartphones (both Android and IOS) but there is also a desktop version. I had a look at the app and viewed some of Pak Adib's already extensive collection of photos on show. I have been bitten. I soon signed up for an account and started to upload some photographs, just as a start. I now have the app running both on mobile and desktop.

To my photographer (both serious and casual) friends, do have a peek at this site. If you decide to join, feel free to have a look at my profile. Just search for or Fadhil Isma. Perhaps then, we could follow each other.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas at dusk. A similar pic can be seen at EyeEm.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Formerly broad, not long

The 2015 Athletics World Championship in Beijing has just ended two days ago. For the week that the sports event was in progress, I was mostly in front of the television, engrossed in watching the live transmission from China.

I am hardly a sportsman myself. The only games that I seriously play are football and badminton. However, I did have a minor involvement in athletics while in school. I ran the 400 metres. For this, the tiny achievement I managed to accomplish was a 3rd-place finish in the boys 400m relay. Among the 4 boys in our team, which really was the weakest team in the competition, I had the fastest individual time. Our coach, following the conventional thinking of the time, placed me to run the anchor leg. As we were getting ready at the start line, my teammate who was our 2nd fastest runner (and slated to run the 3rd leg), told me his plan on how we could possibly win something out of the race.

He said that he intends to run flat out fast from the moment he gets the baton and hope that his stamina will hold until he cross the finish line. He suggested that we switch positions, the idea being that I could hopefully catch up on some lost ground while running the 3rd leg. Leaving it to the last leg would be too late, he said. At the spur of the moment, I agreed. We switched places just as the starter was about to call for the 1st leg runners to take their mark. (Of course, technically this is against the rules, but what the heck... this was just a school sports meet held some thirty years ago.)

The race started and as expected, our first two runners could not match the other teams. By the time I received the baton, we were in 4th (last) position. I had some distance to catch up to the 3rd-placed guy. This I did while nearing the bend at the 300m mark and finally managed to overtake him as we entered the home straight. When I passed the baton to our last runner, he sped off as if he was sprinting the short distances. As I watch him run, I was worried he would lose his steam and be overtaken. But true to his word, he held on just enough to maintain the 3rd-placing and secure the team a bronze medal which we never expected to be within our grasp.

No doubt, we did not win the gold but it was a race I remember to this day because of a friend's very quick thinking on strategy. Which is why I love to watch track and field events on TV, especially the relays. The final event at Beijing on Sunday was fittingly enough, the Men's 400m relay. It was an enthralling race won by the American team despite some thrilling running by the Jamaicans.

Ok then... let's end this post with some track & field trivia.

Did you know that the long jump event in athletics was originally called the broad jump? In 1967 it was renamed to long jump because the term `broad' was considered as derogatory to women. Ooops...

The long jetty at Teluk Sengat in Kota Tinggi. Pic not relevant at all to story :-)

Friday, August 21, 2015

And then there were three...

In April of 2010, I posted an entry where I introduced my brothers to the readers of this blog. The short entry, titled Four Brothers, included a photograph of the quartet of men whose maximum age difference is only six years apart, with yours truly being the eldest.

Only three of us remain today. On this day last week, the 3rd brother Azhar, left us... quite suddenly.

It was early morning of last Friday when I received a phone call informing us of his unexpected demise. Apparently, he had woken up that morning, feeling a bit under the weather. He had asked his elder son to accompany him to the clinic. Since there was a paramedic post at the next apartment block, the son suggested that they get the aid of an ambulance to go directly to a hospital. As they were walking towards the post, my brother collapsed and fell on the sidewalk, just a few yards short of the post. A paramedic on duty saw the incident and rushed to provide CPR assistance. My brother could not be revived. However, they still put him in the ambulance and took him to the nearest hospital, just to be sure. But it is God's will... I was to lose a brother. The death of the closest family member I have experienced thus far.

My brother did not have any history of serious medical problems, which is why his departure was very much unexpected. And because of this absence of medical record, the doctors at the hospital which first received his body would not sign off the death certificate. An autopsy had to be performed at the Singapore General Hospital to determine the actual cause of death. This meant that the burial ceremony could not be carried out as soon as we would have liked.

The post-mortem examination could only be carried on Saturday morning. This delay put additional stress on my sister-in-law, the widow. I also had a  bit of trouble keeping my cool as some relatives were pressing us to secure the release of the body as soon as possible. Nonetheless, with the help of my two other brothers, we handled the situation as best we could by dividing tasks. One of my brothers arranged for the burial process with our local mosque committee while the other was stationed at the coroner's office to update us on the progress of the autopsy.

The autopsy was completed around 12.45pm. The official COD was listed as coronary atherosclerosis. In plain man's language it means that there were blockages to the arteries that supply blood to the heart. In other words, my brother died of a heart attack. He was only 49 years old.

The due process of the burial requirements proceeded immediately after the body was released from the coroner's office. My brother's body was brought back to his home in Choa Chu Kang where it was cleaned, shrouded and final prayers offered, before burial at the Pusara Abadi Muslim Cemetery at around 4 pm. Praise to Allah swt for the reasonably smooth process and the pleasant weather.

The most difficult part was actually the day earlier... how do I break the news to our mother? At that time (and even till today), she was warded at St. Luke's Hospital in Bukit Batok for physiotherapy treatment following her heart attack which happened in June. While the death had occurred in early morning, my two other brothers decided to wait for my arrival from JB in late afternoon for me to tell our mother the sad news. It is probably the gloomiest moment in my life to date. I could not imagine the sorrow going through her heart to be told that one of her offsprings has departed ahead of her.

As I sit now and contemplate the recent conversations I had with my late brother, it becomes inevitable that certain ironic instances come to the surface. I'll share one such example.

Some time ago, my youngest brother (no. 4) created a Whatsapp group for the 4 siblings to facilitate the sharing of news and family updates. It is a convenient tool because we are located in three different countries (Singapore, Malaysia and the UK). However, the group has only three members because Brother No. 3 could not be added. At first we assumed that he was still using a normal mobile phone. When I met him in June at the time our mother was admitted to hospital, I saw that he actually used a smartphone. So I told him that we have a Whatsapp group for the brothers and it is a convenient way to communicate, citing the particular example of the present situation where our mum is in hospital. Why don't you install the app, I asked. His answer then, was quite surprising. I don't believe in social media, he said. I don't have Whatsapp or Facebook or all those other stuff. I am using this smartphone only because it is the cheapest phone on contract offered by the telephone company.

Indeed. I guess our Whatsapp group for brothers, which started with three members, is destined to remain at 3, at least for now.

Al-fatihah untuk allahyarham Azhar Bin Isma Yatim. Kembali ke rahmatullah pada pagi hari Jumaat, 14hb Ogos 2015M, bersamaan 29 Syawal 1436H. Meninggalkan seorang isteri, 2 orang anak perempuan dan 2 orang anak lelaki. Semuga Allah swt mengampuni dosa beliau dan menempatkan roh beliau di kalangan para soliheen.

Same photo from the April 2010 post. Allahyarham Azhar is seated right.
Final resting place...