Friday, 30 July 2010


I know I promised my readers the next part of the story published in the previous post... but there is this extremely funny thread started by my friend Captain Norhisham Kassim on his Facebook wall which I wish to share. The following was copied from Norhisham's wall without his permission... but I'm certain he wouldn't mind.

Kenangan bersama adik beradik masa nak tidur….

Pak Pandir panjat pokok pisang. Pokok pisang patah. Pak Pandir panjat pulak pokok petai. Pokok petai pun patah. Pak Pandir pun panggil Pak Paiman Polis. Pak Paiman polis pencen. Polis pencen pun pakai pistol? Pak Pandir pikir… Pak Pandir panik. Pikir punya pikir, Pak Pandir... pengsan. Polis pencen pulak panik. Panik punya panik… polis pencen pulak pengsan. Pinish…

The thread was started yesterday 29 July 2010 and is continuing with contributions by friends who have posted stories where the words all start with the same letter. The original story above starts with P. Since then, there have been those starting with J, S and K. Totally hilarious!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Someone watching over me (Part 1)

He looks down hard at the piece of paper the doctor has handed to him. It is a form of some kind… neatly printed out with check boxes alongside lines of text that explains the choices available. He has been requested to tick his option and sign at the bottom of the form.

'Can you give me some time, Doc… please..,' he says.

'Okay,' the doctor replies. 'But don’t take too long. I am sorry to have to ask you to do this.' The doctor gives him a gentle squeeze on his arm as he leaves the room.

The room in the Intensive Care Unit is quiet now except for the rhythmic beeps coming from the life monitoring machine. Tubes and wires are connected all over the patient who is now in a deep state of unconsciousness.

Amir looks at the pale-white face of his wife Maryam lying on the hospital bed… and his eyes slowly starts to well up with tears.

He speaks to her in that soft and gentle voice of his. 'Yam, I don’t know what to do… they have asked me to choose. I know I made a promise to you that we will save the baby… but I can’t do that. Yes, we have waited for ten years to get him. But… I can’t let you go. I just can’t…'

'It no longer matters to me that we might not have another baby… because I don’t think I can find another you. I am sorry to break my promise… but I want you to come back. Please.'

He wipes away the tears that have wetted his cheeks. He ticks a box on the form, signs it and leaves the room to pass the paper back to the doctor.

The doctor takes a look at the form and then nods in agreement.

'We will try our best to save them both,' he trys to reassure the man who has just signed the consent.

The doctor then directs his surgery team to move into action. The clear and specific instruction being that in case of any life-threatening emergency, the mother's life comes first.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Blooms and blossoms

A flower and garden festival is currently being held at Putrajaya. Officially named Floria `10, the event is organized by the Putrajaya Corporation at Precinct 2 along the lake waterfront. I became aware of this festival after reading a post in Mamasita's blog.

Having been to such events before in Johor Bahru, I knew that it would be a good place to experiment with some digital photography skills. The splash of colours is wonderful to see. Almost everybody was snapping pictures at all sorts of angles... here, there and everywhere. From the simple camera-phones, the compact digicam to the high-end DSLRs of the pros... the full range of cameras can be seen in use.

Previously, when I took photos using a point-n-shoot compact, I envied the guys snapping away with those classy DSLRs. Now, with a Nikon DSLR myself, I envy those who have the long telephoto and short macro lenses... never can we be ever satisfied. Anyway, here is a sample of my effort from yesterday.

The festival ends tomorrow 18 July 2010. I end this post with the opening lines of Afternoon On A Hill, a lovely poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay :

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

Monday, 12 July 2010

A new addition to the family

On Saturday, my brother-in-law (my wife's youngest brother) got engaged to a sweet young lady from Bagan Datoh in Perak. I was part of the `rombongan meminang' which included four elder sisters, two elder brothers and an assortment of in-laws, nephews, nieces and friends. It is the first time we are all to meet the young lady in person.

We assembled at my brother's house at Shah Alam very early in the morning and it took us nearly three hours to get to the young lady's place by way of the coastal road via Kuala Selangor and Sabak Bernam. My brother's fiancee hails from a kampung in Hutan Melintang. This prompted some of us to jest that my brother would be marrying an `orang hutan', hehehe...

God willing, the wedding would take place in February next year. We welcome Cik Nurul-huda Ismail as the latest addition to our extended family.

Part of the gifts from the gentleman's side, Godiva chocolates. The name comes from the legend of Lady Godiva of Coventry in England. Google the name to read about the interesting legend.

Nine trays of gifts from the lady's side in return for seven

A happily smiling bride-to-be

Friday, 9 July 2010

The song of a nation

I watched the football World Cup semi-final match between Spain and Germany early yesterday morning. Before each game starts, the national anthem of the two countries are played. I had not previously paid any attention to the anthems played at the previous matches but this time round I was quite captivated by the national song of Germany. It has a beautiful melody and to my mind, is the best anthem I have heard so far.

This prompted me to do a bit of online reading on this subject. According to Wikipedia, a national anthem is a patriotic musical composition recognized by a nation's government as the official national song or by convention through the use by its people. They are played on national holidays and festivals, and have also come to be closely connected with sporting events. Most of the best-known anthems were written by little-known or unknown composers. For example, the author of the British national anthem `God Save The Queen' cannot be verified or is disputed.

In rare cases, there are anthems of some countries that were written by famous composers. Germany is one such example. Their anthem titled `Das Deutschlandlied' (The Song of Germany) was written by classical composer Joseph Hadyn. No wonder it sounds so lovely.

By comparison, our national anthem Negaraku, is based on a folk song called Terang Bulan. This song is said to be adopted from a French composition titled La Rosalie written by Pierre-Jean de BĂ©ranger. It was originally popular in the Seychelles islands, where the Sultan of Perak was living in exile. I am a bit amused upon reading how the melody came to be the Perak state anthem which later got selected to be Malaya's anthem upon independence. Even well before that date, a version of the song was commercially recorded under the title of Mamula Moon with a distinctive Hawaiian tune. You can google the title for a Youtube video and listen for yourself.

I then read up on the anthem of Spain, the other country in the second semi-final game. Interestingly, Spain's national song La Marcha Real (The Royal March), has no official lyrics. No wonder I didn't see any of the Spanish players singing when their anthem was played. Imagine that... a national anthem with no words. If Negaraku was a wordless song, then we would be standing still during weekly school assemblies just listening to it being played, with no need for our voices to be heard.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The influence of numbers

I first became part of the workforce in September 1984 after graduation. Six months later I decided to buy my first car because having my own transport was an essential part of my job and the organization that I worked in offered staff loans at a very attractive rate.

After deciding on the make of car that I wanted, a 1.5litre Mazda 323 hatchback, I went to the Road Transport Department to see if I could book a nice registration number. On the RTD's notice board was a list of new registration numbers on offer... of course the really nice ones (the ones with only 3 digits and those containing the number 8) were mostly taken up. But I knew there would be some that would still be available, especially those that include the number 4. Most Chinese individuals (and probably some Malay folks too) would avoid this number because in the Cantonese dialect it sounds the same as the word for `die' or `death'. In other words, not so lucky laa...

I ended up booking the registration number JBJ 4400 and paid only RM200 for it. Four-four-zero-zero... die twice and end up being nothing... twice. How's that for tempting fate?

Over the years, I enjoyed driving the car very much. It was nifty and had reasonable acceleration power, or to use the common local term, got good `pick-up'. Some people call the 323 as Tarzan's car.... tree to tree, get it? It was my trusty companion on all the outstation trips to visit project sites. Before the days of toll highways, I was a regular traveller on the old JB - Air Hitam road of the Federal Route 1. This stretch is famous for notorious road accidents and I chalked up thousands of kilometres on this route on my trips from Johor Bahru to Batu Pahat or Muar or Segamat and back, mostly without incident. I say `mostly'... because there were a few near-misses, very near misses.

That Mazda however, did get involved in a few accidents... two of which were serious because the car had to spend quite some time in the workshop for repairs. But these accidents I consider as not my fault because on both occasions, my car was hit from behind. After 4 years of trusty service, I decided to sell my car... not because I felt unlucky with it, but because I thought it was time for me to upgrade to a bigger one.

So, do certain numbers have influence on our lives? Many people think they do. While Chinese dislike the number 4, some people of western cultures have a phobia on the number 13. In the particular apartment complex where I now stay, there is not a 4th floor or even a 14th floor. The elevator buttons show Floor 3A and Floor 13A. I would assume, a similar high-storey building in the west, may possibly substitute Floor 12A for Floor 13. I was told that on certain airlines there is no row of seats numbered 13.

If there is belief that some numbers bring misfortune, there would of course be belief in some numbers that carry good luck. In Chinese culture, 8 is such a number. It is thought to bring prosperity. Some property owners go out of their way to try effect the favourable fortune that such a number is believed to bring.

One such example is the Swiss Garden Resort Hotel in Kuantan. We stayed there during our holidays in December last year. The hotel rooms are numbered with 4 digits starting with the numeral 8. This does not mean that the hotel has 8 floors (it only has 3) or it has more than eight thousand rooms. It's just the hotel owner's belief that having room numbers starting with 8 would be good for his business and maybe good for his customers as well.

While many people do not believe in the influence of numbers on their fate, most people do have certain numbers that they consider to be favourite. The legendary Malay film-maker P. Ramlee is known to like the number 3. Madu Tiga and Tiga Abdul are two of his popular movies. His Bujang Lapok series of films show the adventures of three comical bachelors.

So, do you have a favourite number?