Saturday, 31 January 2009

A different view

In my post `The view from the hillside' last month, I wrote about the breathtaking view of KLCC from the balcony of my brother-in-law's apartment in Bukit Antarabangsa. Subsequent to the landslide incident on 6 December 2008, my BIL has swopped the KLCC view with a different one.

On Thursday, I helped him move house to a new condo unit at Bukit Jalil. The new place is just across the National Sports Complex and the view from the living room windows is the luscious greens of the Bukit Jalil Country Club. My BIL hopes that this move is permanent. Having stayed at three different houses at the Bukit Antarabangsa area for almost 15 years, it was a bit difficult for him to decide to live elsewhere. He had experienced the earlier crisis years ago where a landslide blocked the only access to Bukit Antarabangsa. At that time, the road to Ukay Perdana was not constructed yet.

This latest landslide prompted him to search for new dwellings and the quality and convenience of the new location made him decide instantly. Although the name `Bukit Jalil' implies a hill, this condominium is not built on or adjacent to a hillslope. The following pics are some views from the new unit located on the 20th floor.

My brother-in-law is one of those guys who loves the view from high up whereas I am more a `down-to-earth' guy. When I do get the chance to build my own dream house, it would be a single-storey bungalow with acres of space all around.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


This is just something to take my mind off things...

Peringatan... jangan minta cerai dalam kereta

Sepasang suami isteri yang selalu menghadapi masalah perhubungan tengah berbincang masalah mereka dalam sebuah kereta. Si suami tengah memandu.

Isteri : Kita dah berkawin 15 tahun dah, saya rasa saya tak sesuai lagi bersama dengan awak... saya nak mintak cerai dengan awak.....

Si suami diam dan terus memandu kereta ...bertambah laju....(70km/j)

Isteri : Saya dah tak cintakan awak lagi...sebenarnya saya dah ada teman lelaki....dia akan berkahwin dengan saya lepas awak ceraikan saya... saya malas nak cerita panjang lagi.. dan saya tak nak awak cuba pujuk saya… saya dah bosan hidup dengan awak!!

Si suami terus memandu dengan penuh perasaan marah... masih diam...

Isteri : Bila kita bercerai, saya nak rumah kita...

Si suami masih diam... memandu dengan lebih laju....(80km/j)

Isteri : Saya nak anak kita juga... awak bukan boleh pelihara mereka.....

Si suami masih diam... tambah kelajuan (100 km/j)

Isteri : Saya nak kereta ini, credit card dan saving akaun kita.

Si suami masih diam, membelok kereta ke arah Jaya Jusco...

Isteri : Awak ada ingin minta apa-apa??

Suami : Tak perlu....saya dah ada apa yang saya perlukan.

Isteri : Ya ke?? Apa yang awak ada..??

Si suami menjawap sebelum beliau melanggar dinding konkrit Jaya
Jusco... “Saya ada air bag.....awak tak ada..”

Credit to : cikedis_mango @

Sunday, 25 January 2009

As strong as an ox!

Here's wishing a very Happy Lunar New Year to all my Chinese friends and all those who simply enjoy holidays! May this new year bring strength to all of us in line with the zodiac animal it represents. Strength to face challenges and adversities. Strength to see through the tough economic times. And strength to be humble, honest and admit that we are simply human beings after all.

Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Image of musk ox courtesy of

Saturday, 24 January 2009

A male internal plumbing problem

Of late, the posts in this blog has been getting sparse. From a regular posting every 3-4 days, it has now dropped to once a week.

The past fortnight was a bit more hectic than usual. Work commitments aside, a large part of the last week was spent attending to my father-in-law's medical condition. He suffers from prostate cancer, considered the most common cancer disease afflicting men, especially those aged above 50 years old.

We have known about this ailment for some time. My FIL had undergone treatment at a few specialists before but nothing much could be done primarily due to his advanced age. He is 93-years old. When we received news the previous week that he was admitted to the district hospital in Mersing due to urinary complications, we knew the advanced stage of the disease has begun.

After a few days at Mersing Hospital, we transferred him to the Johor Specialist Hospital in Johor Bahru. The Consultant Urologist at JSH reviewed my FIL's case and advised that a prostatic stent be inserted to relieve the blockage caused by the enlarged prostate. This procedure does not involve surgery and in my FIL's situation, the only practical option available. The insertion of the stent however, does not treat the prostate itself. It is just a measure taken to enable my FIL to pee. The application of drugs to treat the prostate has shown mixed results and in any case, takes too long to be effective.

The insertion procedure was carried out yesterday afternoon. My FIL is now recovering but the full effect of the process is yet to be seen. As I've mentioned, we still need to consider the state of the cancer of the prostate itself. It seems that nothing much can be done about that. There will come a time when there is nothing else that we can do, but pray.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

It's a numbers game

Today is polling day for the citizens of Kuala Terengganu to elect their representative to parliament. I have not been following the campaign process closely. It’s only through the accidental reading of newspapers and occasional visits to so-po blogs that I get to know of what’s happening. It never ceases to amaze me the silly things that political leaders (from both sides) say during campaigning, all in the name of political expediency.

Anyway, this post is not about the KT by-election. It’s about something that happened during the time I was based in Dungun some years ago.

It was the year 2000 and I was working for a KL-based construction company. We got a sub-contract job to carry out mechanical works at a water treatment plant in Dungun, Terengganu. At that time, PAS had just taken over the state government and part of the changes they made was to ban gambling. This meant that all the licensed operators of the 4-digit betting franchise (Magnum, Sports Toto and the like) had to close shop.

This however, did not deter one of my staff from finding ways to continue his habit of `buying’ numbers. Sandra, my site supervisor, is a die-hard 4D player. Don’t let the female-sounding name mislead you. Sandra is a full-blooded Indian chap. I’ve seen his IC… it reads Sandra A/L Govindasamy.

Where there is a will, there is always a way. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for Sandra to find an operator who was willing to take his bets. The closure of betting shops had created a black market among the local Chinese population of Dungun. The 4-digit operators had gone underground.

On certain days of the week, Sandra would leave the job site earlier than normal because he need to meet his `agent’ and place the bets before closing time. I tolerated this routine because Sandra would cover for the missing hours on other days. As long as our work progress was not affected, it was fine by me.

On one occasion, a team of colleagues came over from Kuala Lumpur to help us out during a critical shutdown procedure over a few days. The team included our Project Manager, David Chong.

It was a 4-D betting day but since the boss was around, Sandra couldn’t simply leave the work site unnoticed. At around 4pm, Sandra approached David and sheepishly asked, “David, can I knock off early please? I need to go somewhere.”

David looked at Sandra with a stern face and replied, “Why? You want to go and buy numbers hah?”. David already know of this habit of one of his longest-serving employees.

“Err… yes,” Sandra replied with a wide grin.

“Got place to buy numbers, meh? I thought all the 4-D shops closed down already?” David asked back.

“Got… black market,” Sandra told him.

David thought about it for a while and then agreed to let Sandra go. But not before saying, “Here’s RM10. Buy my car number for me also.”

Seeing that the boss had joined in the game, a few of the other KL guys decided to tumpang sekaki and asked Sandra to place bets for them too.

David looked at me and asked, “So Fadhil, want to buy your car number? Never mind, I belanja.”

I politely declined. I was driving the company’s project car at the time, a Proton Wira bearing the registration number WHH 1798.

The following day, the team gathered at our favourite makan place for breakfast before going to the worksite. As normal, I would buy the daily newspaper before going for breakfast. While I am not a numbers player, I liked to check the 4-D results just to see how often my friends strike something. It was also interesting to assess how often my car number has cropped up as winner. If I had been a regular numbers player, I would have lost a lot of money putting bets on that number. Until that particular day, that is.

When we reached our favourite breakfast spot, the other team members were already there. As I reached their table, I said aloud, “Whoever bought my car number yesterday would strike big.” I passed them the day’s paper, already turned out to show the 4-D results page. The Magnum 4D results box showed 1798 winning the first prize.

David studied the page and then looked at me in disbelief. He muttered, “If only you had said `YES’ yesterday, I would have bought your number. We all can makan besar tonight.”

Heheheh… no regrets, my friend. That’s what the luck of the draw is all about. Sometimes you strike… but generally most times you don’t.

Barisan Nasional recaptured Terengganu state in the 2004 general elections and retained it last year. I have been to Terengganu a few times since I last worked in Dungun but I cannot recall if the 4-D betting shops have been allowed to resume business by the BN government. Even if they have not, I’m willing to bet that the illegal black market operations would continue to thrive and survive. It’s a supply and demand game, right?

Saturday, 10 January 2009

A lady in a hurry

I frequently travel on the North-South Expressway for my trips to and from Kuala Lumpur. At certain stretches of the highway, I can turn into a speed demon but generally nowadays I have taken an easy and steady approach in driving. On certain days, the Seremban to KL stretch can have a heavy traffic flow, making high-speed driving a bit difficult anyway.

Earlier this evening, I was on my way back from KL to JB. The traffic leaving KL is heavy as expected. Even on the right-most lane (the fast lane), it was generally difficult to touch speeds above 120 km/h.

Somewhere around the Nilai area I noticed a Proton Waja behind me. Although there was no flashing of the high beam, I suspected the driver was in a bit of a hurry because the Waja was so close to my tail.

When there was a safe gap in the middle lane, I switched lanes to let the Waja pass. As the car passed me on the right, I was surprised to see a young Malay lady at the wheel with another Malay woman in the passenger seat. She tried to pick up speed but since the right lane was also heavy with traffic, she couldn't get too far ahead. After some time, there was a gap in the middle lane and she took the opportunity to switch lanes and started overtaking on the left. I spotted her doing this left overtaking move a few times and thought that she must either be brave or silly.

I then decided to chase her just to check out how fast she was going. She was really driving fast and it wasn't until a few kilometres before I could get right back on her tail. I managed to overtake her after she miscalculated the gap between the slower cars in one of her left-side overtaking manuevers. Pretty soon she right back on my tail and again I decided to let her pass so that I can take a pic. The photo shown below was taken at speeds of 160 - 170 km/h!

The traffic became lighter after we passed Senawang interchange. She then zoomed away in ultra-lightning speed... and I decided to let her ride free. No point tailing her anymore.

To the young lady driving a Proton Waja WJE 908, I hereby confirm that you are really a fast and perhaps a skillful driver. Those quick left-side overtaking moves must have surely given you a thrill. But don't do it too often, my dear... it is dangerous. You may not live to regret it.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

No more walks on the Causeway

The new CIQ complex at Johor Bahru was opened for business on the 16th of last month. To date, I've passed through the complex twice on my way to and from Singapore.

The new Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration & Quarantine (CIQ) Complex

It is quite a large complex and on first impression, there seems to be ample traffic lanes to handle the huge volume of vehicles that pass through this border checkpoint. However, the true test of the handling capacity can only be seen during peak holiday periods. The one coming up next is the Chinese New Year holidays. Let's see then if the expected congestion can be handled smoothly.

With the opening of the complex, traffic to and from Singapore no longer pass through the centre of Johor Bahru city. This relieves some of the congestion in the city centre but I foresee that the build-up of traffic would be transferred elsewhere. Vehicular access to the checkpoint is via the Middle Ring Road. While this particular road is relatively new and quite wide (3 lanes at most parts), it joins other main feeder and distributor roads such as the very busy Jalan Tebrau. One congestion spot that I predict is the interchange junction between MRR and Jalan Tebrau, near the Traffic Police Headquarters.

The route from MRR into the complex is well planned and marked-out but the route from the complex onto the Causeway is a bit long-winded. This is because the original plan of constructing a bridge was aborted. Toll payments at this new CIQ complex can only be made using Touch N Go cards. Sorry... cash is no longer accepted.

Another new ruling that has come into force is that no more pedestrians are allowed. This means that you can no longer travel on the Causeway on foot. The Star Online reported on this story last Sunday -> here.

I think it is a pity that our authorities (note : this rule was enforced by the Malaysian side) do not allow pedestrians. Many people opt to cross the border on foot because, when there is a congestion, it is faster to walk than take the public transport. I have done this myself a number of times... see my earlier post -> here.

The reason given by the authorities is that it is dangerous for the pedestrians. There is no specific footpath or walkway for people who prefer to walk. Well... unfortunately, the new checkpoint was not designed with pedestrians in mind. This, I think, is a serious flaw. Walking, apart from being good exercise, is an environmental-friendly approach in reducing congestion.

Alas, no more walks on the Johor Causeway...

Update 11.01.09 :

Today's The Star Online carries a report quoting Home Minister Dato' Seri Syed Hamid Albar that a designated route for pedestrians should have been built. Since the Immigration Department is under his Ministry, it is a bit surprising that the Home Minister only knows about this now. Nonetheless, I hope the people in higher positions look into this matter seriously.

Read the full report -> here.

Friday, 2 January 2009

It's tough being a contractor

Most of you would have deduced by now that I'm working in the construction industry. It is a tough job to be in... but rather than tell you a story about my struggles, I'd like to start the new year by posting a light-hearted one.

This joke was relayed to me years ago by a friend after he found out that I was working in a construction firm.

Building a bridge between Heaven and Hell

The people in Hell were suffering terribly from the endless torture. One day, some of them decided to plead to God for a reprieve and begged to be allowed to visit Heaven, even if it was for only a day.

God asked the people in Heaven what they thought. The kind-hearted people in Heaven, especially those who had family and friends in Hell, asked for God's mercy to agree to the idea.
God thought about it for a while and agreed to let the people from Hell to visit Heaven for a day. He commanded the people from each side to build a bridge that would meet in the middle.

The people in Hell were estatic and started the construction of their side of the bridge with great gusto.
After some time, God checked on the progress and was surprised that the Hell side of the bridge has been completed. However, the Heaven side had not shown any progress at all. So he asked the people in Heaven, `How come?'

The people in Heaven replied, `We are so very sorry, O God. There is nobody in Heaven who knows how to build a bridge. All the contractors are in Hell...'