Thursday, 25 February 2010

The last person to know

Not many of the younger generation on Facebook want to be friends with their relatives of the older generation for fear that news of their activity posted on FB profiles would reach unwanted parties, namely their parents. Not that they are doing anything terribly nasty or the like... but more on matters of the heart.

A few of my nieces have added me as friends and it has been interesting for me to see the things that are going on with their life from their status and photo updates. It is how I know who's just been traveling to where, who's having problem with boyfriends or other stuff young girls like to chat about. I drop in once in awhile, dropping a comment or two... mostly in jest. But the things I learn about them, I keep to myself... because I'm not a spy. I do not leak info to their parents or even to my wife. That's why I'm such a cool uncle :-)

One such niece, I observed, is seeing a new guy and I reckon the relationship is heading a serious direction with marital commitments becoming likelihood. But I wasn't sure if anybody else knew because nobody else in the family is talking about it... not even the young lady's parents whom I met a few weeks ago.

Last weekend, the young lady went home to her kampung. Accompanying her was her boyfriend who's being introduced to the parents for the first time. My sister-in-law received one of the biggest shocks of her life. The young man her daughter brought home is a Chinese.

News is now spreading fast through the family grapevine that so-and-so is dating a Chinese guy. The story reached my wife from another sister and she's just told me about it this evening. I feigned a little surprise as if I knew nothing about it.

This niece of mine is really a pretty lass and is known to be involved in relationships with a few Malay men before, at various stages. Apparently, none of them worked out. She's following her heart and hoping that her jodoh is now with a man of another race.

To my lovely niece from Mersing who shall remain nameless for now, I pray that you find the happiness that you seek. I wish you all the best and hope everything will work itself out in the end...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Water Conservation Initiative

 Bank of Sungai Johor near Ladang Sungai Papan in Kota Tinggi

I owe blogger Versedanggerik a tag since more than a week ago, so I guess I better get cracking. The tag is intended to raise awareness about water conservation.

I agree to do the tag because water used to be in my line of work. I was involved in managing and construction of water treatment plants for more than 5 years, part of it in a project to help reduce leakage and losses (Non-revenue water or NRW). Many Malaysians take our water supply for granted, as if it is an endless resource. As it is at present, Johor is facing a dry spell and the water levels at dams and reservoirs are falling . So here goes...

Water is precious, yet it is being wasted or poorly managed. You can help promote water conservation by sending on this meme.

If you do, simply follow these rules:

1. Create a blog entry entitled "Water Conservation Initiative".

2. Post the Water Initiative Network's Water Facts in your post.

3. List 3 things YOU will do to save water.

4. Add in the photo above, or any photo you have taken of a waterfall, river or lake.

5. End with the line: "Find out more about water conservation and good governance by joining the Water Initiative Network on Facebook! Visit us here at: Water Initiative Network!

Tag 5 or more blog/FB friends. Be sure to copy the rules, okay?

1. Of every 100 drops of water on earth, 97 are too salty to drink, 2 are locked in ice and snow, and 1 is fresh water.

2. The daily requirement for sanitation, bathing, and cooking needs, as well as for assuring survival, is about 50 litres per person.

3. Reducing shower time from 20 mins to 8 mins saves up to 360 litres of water per shower.

4. A small drip from a faucet can waste as much as 75 litres of water a day.

5. Two thirds of the water used in a home is used in the bathroom. To flush a toilet, we use up to 9 litres of water.

6. Water-efficient toilets and washing machines are good ways to save water.

7. A low-tech way to save water is to form the habit of turning on the tap to low flow and turning it off when the water is not needed.

8. Non-revenue water (i.e. stolen or wasted water) constitutes 36% of water 'used' in Selangor, Malaysia, and this raises the cost of water for everyone.

9. Water supply infrastructure cost billions of ringgit. This money could be spent in more useful ways.

10. Large areas of forests are cleared to make way for water supply dams to accommodate our soaring demand for water. These forests and their wildlife represent our natural heritage.


1. I will collect rainwater to be used for replacement of the clouded water in my fish tank. The dirty water would then be used to to water my plants.

2. I will fill my water bottle with filtered water from my RO unit instead of buying bottled water!

3. I will make sure that all taps in my house do not leak and the overflow valve in the toilet cisterns all work properly.

Like Pat of The English Cottage, I'm not tagging anybody because it seems that most of the bloggers I know are doing the same thing or have already been tagged.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Sunrise and sunset at Teluk Iskandar

Teluk Iskandar is a stretch of coastline a few kilometres to the south of Mersing town. It is named after the previous Sultan of Johor and became famous some years back for the discovery of gold. Hundreds of hopeful prospectors dug up the beach at low tide, in hope of finding fortune in the form of tiny specks of yellow dust among the dark grey sands.

At the peak of the gold mining activity in December 2007, many gold-diggers camped out on the beach. The price of woks and frying pans in Mersing town shot up like nobody's business.

The bay has now returned to normal. The beach itself is not really that pretty when compared to other beaches on the east coast of Malaysia. Nonetheless, it is a good spot to practice with some sunrise and sunset photography...

Sunrise Pics :


Sunset Pics :


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Tiger buddies

Let's have a cheerful story for a change...

Regular readers of this blog would've noticed some stories about my working life while stationed outside my hometown. Many years back, I worked on a construction project in Terengganu, together with an ex-colleague named Steve Wong. We became very close friends even after we went separate ways upon completion of the project.

We kept in touch by way of emails, Yahoo Messenger and the occasional phone call. After Terengganu, Steve returned to his hometown in Ipoh and worked with a few companies before finally (I hope) settled in on a steady job with his brother's company in Singapore. Steve gave me a call when he first transferred to Singapore almost three years ago and I promised to look him up whenever I have the chance. Despite that promise, I never found the time to meet up with him although I travel to Singapore quite often to visit my parents.

One evening last month, I was still at the office when a buzz from my old friend came in on YM. We chatted for a bit before he asked me when I think we can meet up. I told him that my visits to Singapore are usually weekend trips and don't have that much free time.

He replied back, `Haiya brader... excuses only!'

It hit me instantly that my friend was right. If we want something to be done, we will try our best to make it happen. The Malay phrase is, `Hendak seribu daya...'

I then decided I'll make a specific trip to Singapore just to meet up with my friend. We exchanged messages for a bit more before deciding on the last Saturday of January to have dinner together. On 30.01.10, I drove down to Singapore to meet my old buddy whom I've not met for more than 5 years.

Steve took me out for a seafood dinner near his house in Choa Chu Kang. We talked about old times and old friends. He told me that he's settling down with life in Singapore and hope to move his family from Ipoh soon. On the work front, things have much improved although initially he faced many problems. Things are definitely looking up for my friend.

Steve and I are both tiger guys... we are 48-years old this year. We may be endangered species but our fighting spirit never dies.

During the dinner, I mentioned to Steve that another of our ex-colleague, CP Toh may also be working in Singapore. Steve asked for Toh's local mobile number and immediately placed a call. As luck would have it, Toh was actually in Singapore that evening, still slugging it out at his office somewhere within the National University of Singapore campus. We decided to meet up and have teh tarik somewhere not too far from the NUS.

Three longtime pals : (L to R) CP Toh, Oldstock and Steve Wong

And so that evening, three close friends who've never met in years ended up at a mamak eating place having some drinks and chatting up late into the night. Good friends are like gold... they'll never lose value.

Happy Lunar New Year to all my Chinese friends and readers. Enjoy the long weekend everyone!

Previous posts about my friends can be read here ->
1. The turtle state
2. Iftar with a good friend

Pic of tigers borrowed from National Geographic.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The second departure in 2010

It was Sunday evening on 7th February. I was already on the PLUS highway heading north to Kuala Lumpur when a text message arrived in my mobile. It was from my wife, informing me of news that an uncle of ours has just passed away.

I stopped at a rest area and then made some phone calls. I called my cousin to get the first-hand news of his father's demise. He told me that he was still at Pontian Hospital and arranging for the body to be brought home to Air Baloi. I then texted my colleague to inform her that I won't be coming to the office the next day.

I resumed my journey but rather than continuing to KL, I exited the highway at Simpang Renggam, turned left towards Benut and onwards to Air Baloi. When I reached my cousin's kampung house, he was not there  yet. It was past 11pm when the hospital van carrying my late uncle's body arrived.

My uncle had not been in good health for quite some time. It was only two weeks earlier that I had a chance meeting with my cousin at Masjid Abu Bakar for Friday prayers and I asked him about his father's health.

I had a look at the death certificate where the doctor had written the COD as pulmonary edema leading to cardiac arrest. In layman's terms, that's an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs leading to a heart failure. My uncle was 81-years old.

Buat Allahyarham Ayahanda Abdul Rahman Bin Rafiee, semuga Allah swt mencucuri rahmat ke atas roh ayahanda dan ditempatkan di kalangan orang-orang yang beriman. Amin.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The previous year in pictures

I'm devoid of ideas to write... so this post is simply a collection of selected photographs taken throughout 2009.

Title : Masjid Ma'muniah Simpang 5, Sg. Nipah
Location : Sg. Besar Selangor
Date : 31.01.09

Title : Grandniece Nurul Aqilah
Location : Kota Tinggi, Johor
Date : 21.02.09

Title : Bunga Sikudangan @ Kesidang
Location : At home in JB
Date : 14.03.09

Title : Performance by students of Sekolah Seni Johor Bahru
Location : Plaza Angsana, JB
Date : 08.04.09

Title : Rombongan Cik Kiah ke Perkahwinan Dr. Fathhullah
Location : Alor Star, Kedah
Date : 31.05.09

Title : Old lighthouse at Kota Kuala Kedah
Location : Kuala Kedah
Date : 02.06.09

Title : Hot air balloon
Location : JB Arts Festival, Johor Bahru
Date : 19.07.09

Title : Belimbing buluh
Location : At home in JB
Date : 24.08.09

Title : Three brothers at Aidilfitri morning
Location : At their grandparents' home, Bukit Batok, Singapore
Date : 20.09.09

Title : Wedding of staff, Siti Lailatul Musa
Location : Pasir Gudang, Johor
Date : 11.10.09

Title : Korban pertama di Aidiladha
Location : Kg. Sri Pantai, Mersing
Date : 27.11.09

Title : Pelbagai pilihan batik corak terkini
Location : Pasar Kedai Payang, Kuala Terengganu
Date : 28.12.09