29 April 2009

Prolog sebuah perjuangan

Selamat kembali kawan
aku gembira kamu kembali
untuk bersama meniti hari
ranjau maupun berduri
bertatih, berjalan berlari-lari
ahh...peduli! merangkak pun jadi

Selamat kembali rakan
perjuangan ini
tiada noktah seruan berhenti
tiada batas sana atau sini
namun dimana kita berdiri
emansipasi jati diri
tetap kan hati

Selamat kembali sahabat
kita bercerita bersenda loka
pecah perut bergelak ketawa
kekadang terpesong tersongsang pun ada
tapi aku percaya
tunjang aku, tunjang kamu sama
cuma waktu dan masa tidak derhaka

Selamat kembali sekali lagi
Aku, kamu masih berdiri
buka langkah kanan selang langkah kiri
ada masa kita kita cerita lagi

Nota kaki : nukilan tercetus apabila terserempak kamu mengintai blog ini :)

23 April 2009

I stop to smell roses

Sekuntum mawar merah sebuah puisi
Semester berbunga sewangi kasturi
dibalik jendela hatiku dicuri
kasih diikat cincin dijari
Cintaku cinta abadi
Hingga akhir nanti

Juli : "Apa you tulis merepek-repek ni darling". She asked me, after reading the latest entry in my blog.

Rumi : "Apa yang merepek tu?". Me, cool as usual.

Juli : "Tu ha...cerita pasal teropong kita tu". Lady, you've never changed. That's what makes you so special dear!

I wasn't 'merepek'. Not now. Probably back then, yes. Campus life was great. The late P. Ramlee said "dunia ana yang punya", that was the best to describe my feeling. It was a honeymoon year for me. The kampung boy had finally breathed his first 'freedom'. Away from family didn't really dampen my spirit. A little bit, probably. I had the whole Kamsis C to myself, and the tenants became my new family. In fact the whole campus became so friendly. Even Mak Cik and Pak Cik cafeteria were quite accommodating. Free meals was inevitable. I was at the top of the world. Man, I was living in a fast lane. I needed a handbrake.

That was the year of "battle of the bands". That year, the university imposed a ban on riding motorcycles around the campus. 'Ekzos potong' was so rampant, sonic boom was nothing in comparison. The bikers (actually most were kapcais - your scholarship was merely enough to buy you 'soup ekor' and 'nasi daging merah' once a week) had a demonstration and as usual, with AUKU was still in forced and instilled fear to the 'jakunis', the standoff was a mere illegal gathering with loudspeakers dancing to the tune of the cheering crowd. I was part of the crowd. Euphoria!

But soon I became restless. Something had caught my eyes and my puberty hormone started to kicked in. Luckily 'teropong iman' was at hand and came to the rescue. It zoomed in and the auto focus did all the fine tuning. Snap! I cut short my high flying activities and spent many hours confining myself in Tun Sri Lanang. I was not alone. The secret for a successful live in campus was to have a 'smart partnership'. The principle is still apply until today. I have several good partners but one was really special to me. We were in a real serious business. In business world they duped it a win-win situation, but in campus life we called it a symbiosis. We became a symbion.

You play hard and study smart. That's the rule.

I do not know about you guys, but I was never that good at taking notes during lectures. Somehow, girls are blessed with good ears and beautiful handwriting skills. Their scribble is nice too. Even their notepads smell nice :) That became my excuse to have a personal 'secretary' who will lend me her notes for me to digest. I am a happy and contented man. I smell roses everywhere.

The smart partnership became a very close strategic alliance, until now!

At the pinnacle of Mount Ophir (Gunung Ledang), 1988. I didn't find my puteri here. But with all the youth and mountain of energy, i could have conquered the world then.

p/s: Can also check out what I was up to during those crazy years here

20 April 2009

Somebody stole my heart from the balcony

Drooling over something that looks nice, beautiful and neatly kept is something that I could engross myself for hours. This adoring indulgence started during my childhood time. Ever since I knew to ride a bicycle and found the way to tour my sleepy hometown, the keropok lekor land, I started to spend time in philatelic shops or book stores and treated myself with something interesting like stamps, coins and other odd and collectible items.

My hobby turned into a fiery passion when one day I received an offer letter and went to seek more wisdom in Bangi. I am not ashamed to admit - it was my first time ever I step out from the keropok lekor land and missed my early morning 'nasi dagang' breakfast ritual. That was very hard for me. Eighteen years of 'ikang aye' affection. For the first time, I missed 'pesta main pantai' as well. Even though the yearly event was not as happening as it used to be, but the idea of having a convoy with the whole kampung folks to join the other pilgrims, staring at the moon on a crowded beach was so melancholic. If that was not enough to torture me, Friday is a working day in the new and remote place. I started to miss my blissful siesta before the Friday prayer. Come on guy, get a life!

And the new passion started to develop. Every morning before my first lecture, I will sit in the balcony of my strategically located room at Kamsis Ungku Omar and started to drool on some beautiful beings that passing by, unwary to my scrutinizing eyes. It was not a perversion but utmost admiration. I watched them with my 'teropong iman' of course. God really creates them very beautiful for us to mesmerize upon and I got hooked. Pulcherrima! Sometimes the stake out really put me into trouble for missing out one or two lectures. But if you have more than 100 course mates with the lecture hall a size of half a football pitch, it was a circus, and nobody will ever notice you for missing in action. I missed them all, even the clowns and jokers.

The best part was, I bagged my precious trophy from that balcony. The one and only. I am still drooling at my trophy whenever there is a celestial sign or I see right constellations in the sky or the moon is full.

...to be continued...

16 April 2009

One on....Two putt

I have finally kicked out the addiction..! Am I?

It was all started five years ago, when out of the blue somebody started to realize that our organization was losing not only good scientists who didn't pay much attention about other thing except how to get fast promotion and a handsome salary before their retirement, but also good golfers.

And it was one fine morning, in the big field that used to house international cricket matches, I started to get my first hand on the irons. Together with a group of 30 unwary novices (the number later reducing each time we had the training, but that was expected) I started the training passionately . The adrenalin straight away kicked in and gushing through my body and I got bitten by the bug almost instantly. The feeling was almost like driving a fast car without a speed limiter and not having to worry about speed trap on our uneven highways. Day in and day out, I whacked the balls. Until it goes straight.

That was until last December. Something not so good happened to me. An extra swing that tickled my nerves. I am still in my confinement now, recuperating from a sciatica. The longest so far. I have past the four month barrier. I think by now my golf sets have started to gather dust and cobweb in the store. Now I am starting to think of whether to sell the gears and get some fund to replace my old but trusty SLR - of which is depreciating everyday inside the cabinet.

Golf has somehow taught and showed me a totally new dimension about sport. Some people say golf is a gentleman's game. Which in away is true enough. For example, you can have a friend whom you have known for many years for his good manner and behaving better that any imam in this world, but in the field, he is cheating like a horny rabbit (he will always claim he find his ball, even though it is clearly the ball splashed the water and has sunken deep in the pond). You will also seldom hear these passionate people utters nice word like 'Please clean your ball first", but four letter words are quite an inevitable tune when some miss hit happen or the ball hit the bunker. And these nice people will become as good as 'tokoh maal hijrah' again the moment we finished the game. These has been our laughing stock for years to come.

There are so much rules, regulations, etiquette etc. you have to know before you even set your foot on the green. Some are quite weird and funny too. It is for example, a big taboo if you stand behind your partner when he/she is ready to putt the ball into the hole. And on the green you just cannot walk like you normally do during one of your window shopping sessions. You have to actually learn to do some catwalk or walk the way gentleman's normally do. You have to also be aware not to step on your partners' line as that will incur a penalty. No jean is allowed and only with proper attire you will be allowed in the field. The field marshals will check on you from time to time and will ask you to stop playing and packing your gear if you break any of the rules. No joke.

Golfers are really a handicap sportsmen. They can get themselves ready at anytime and anyplace, rain or shine for this one passion, even on the last minute call. Any mother-in-law will be so proud of this total devotion and utmost determination. Most don't have much problem to wake up before the first light of the day, earlier than the subuh muazzin and travel many hours to uncharted territories just to play a round of golf. Most will just contented finishing at the 18th hole, but some of the more adventurous and more spirited ones will continue with another round, even with new or different partners. The partners they might just picked up in the loo during the break.

Golf is also a universal game with no boundary as well. I am not a member of any golf club and like to stay that way, as I can play anywhere that fancied me. Whenever somebody ask me which club I belong to, I will say "KGSS" (read = Kelab Golf Sana-Sini :) Nowadays you don't need to be a member of a club to play golf (not like many years back), in most of the cases, you just pay the green-fee and off you go to the field. I think money has more say than a plastic membership card.

In a nutshell, golf is really an interesting sport to me. I met many interesting people and make a lot of new friends on the green. I play golf because the principle behind the game and a good company too. The green fairway and beautiful landscape has a soothing effect to my eyes.

My sciatic problem, extreme UV exposure, missing quality time with the family, world economy crisis and the possibility of stumbling upon creatures from the underworld are among the issues that really bugging me right now. From time to time, my 'kaki' will call asking for a game. A real temptation. But I am in no good shape now and really has to 'fast' at least another 3 or 4 months. Even Tiger Wood took one year off and miss a few title recently.

I am still thinking...

11 April 2009

It was so contagious and I feel so kiasu

It was well documented that great influenza pandemics are sharp blades of disease that scrape masses of humanity from the earth. The influenza virus is believed to have first leaped from animals to humans a few thousand years ago, probably in southern china. The last major killer epidemic, the flu pandemic of 1918, was a unique scourge, killing more than 60 million people. That was 91 years ago and leaving a really big scar in human history.

And this week, our Southern neighbor Singapore, has reported another outbreak. Indian rojak has become a very popular subject in Kiasuland this week, simply because 2 people died of food poisoning after enjoying the food at a local rojak stall. With 137 rojak devotees became the victim of Vibrio parahaemolyticus within the span of two days, it really sends shiver through my spine as I've just come back from the island and feeling not so well. My body have succumbed with symptomatic ancient illness of running nose, light-headed, coughing and fatigue at the same time.

My wife reassured me there was nothing much to worry about. She said it was probably due to the extensive traveling I endured in a short span of time. It sound quite logical to me plus age is catching up too.

One thing about traveling, especially on a short distance flight, it requires more time getting ready than the actual traveling time. A flight to Singapore which normally takes less than an hour from KLIA, will require at least 3 hours of pre-traveling preparation. As the flight was at 8.00 a.m., I set my alarm clock at 4.15 a.m. but woke up an hour earlier and could not sleep afterward, spending time staring on the ceiling. By 6.00 a.m. I've already checked in and have to wait another 2 agonizing hours having early breakfast in the terminal - light headed. Any attempt to kill the time by gazing through a book, which I normally do was a futile one. Time really move very slowly if you constantly checking on the watch.

So this whole week I spent some interesting time visiting old friends in the Kiasuland, extracting some bugs probably exposing myself too long outdoor having dinner along the riverside and having ample of time dozing off at the airport.

Subconsciously, human is always terrified of any disease. A fear gene that is naturally encoded in our DNA. A gentle reminder from the Maker but I am recuperating well and very grateful that we are not living through an infectious-disease outbreak. Hopefully not during our temporary mortal lifespan.

05 April 2009

What's past is prologue

Seventeen years ago I attended my first interview in Jalan Ampang. I went there alone and didn't expect to meet any familiar faces. It was not until I've finished my interview, I met my coursemate from UKM. He came for the interview as well. To cut the long story short, we both were offered the job and spent another 4 years together stuck in the same laboratories before both of us went to further our study abroad.

I met him again four years later and gosh...! He did change a lot! Once a cheerful and talkative guy with the blackish hair in the entire Sungai Buloh was then turned into one of the speechless mutant donning white hair all over his pinnacle. PhD has really transformed this guy (he shared the dark secret with me one day). From that moment I started to believe PhD stands for a kind of rare disease called 'Permanent head Damage'! Luckily and somehow, my mind and body were quite immuned from the disease.

We seldom talk after that. In fact he hardly talk to anybody. Occasionally when I stumbled upon him along the corridor I try to strike a conversation or catching up with him. He is still one nice guy. It was however, a rare sight to see an email from him, but two days ago he sent me this email. It is a kind of aide memoire to me. Aging is catching fast.

Thank you Dr. S for sharing this memento.


George Carlin's (age 102 years) views on Ageing

Do you realise that the only time in you lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about ageing that you think in fractions.

'How old are you? 'I'm four and a half!' You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key!

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.
'How old are you?' 'I'm gonna be 16' You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life..... You become 21. Event the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSSSS!

But then you turn 30. Oooohhh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE IT to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE IT to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there into the 90's, your start going backwards; 'I was JUST 92.'

Then a strange thing happens. If yo make it over 100, you become a little kid again. 'I'm 100 and a half!'

  1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.
  2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
  3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
  4. Enjoy the simple things.
  5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
  6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
  7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
  8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
  9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next country; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
  10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER - Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moment that take our breath away.

01 April 2009

Everyday is a kimchi day

Whenever I went abroad or traveling a bit further from our beloved Bolehland, there are always something new that I picked up or learned which at the end of the day enriching my knowledge and nurturing my experience. Some could be a very inspiring and mind boggling encounter , and some could be a not-to-be remembered one. No doubt about it. It just like a larvae coming out from the cocoon and having a taste of fresh air and come face to face with a new life.

During our recent trip to Korea I observed and experienced many interesting things. One of the thing I learned was whenever you want to buy something or anything from a shop, never never lay even a finger on the item for your viewing pleasure. Just point at the item and pay the money. Only then you will have your first 'feeling' on that item. When I ask the rationale behind this super hygienic behaviour, the tour guide told me that, Korean products are always of the highest quality. No thorough inspection needed and satisfaction guaranteed (Have not verified on the item that I bought yet). If you 'ransack' the items before you decide to buy them (just like our itchy hands normally do when going out for shopping), then the seller will stare at you like your mathematics teacher or even pinched you hand (that was exactly what happened to one of the 'rombongan Cik Kiah' member during one of their shopping spree). I think the Korean knows very well how dirty Malaysian hands can be!

Korean are generally quite short in their physical (and probably in other departments too:) as compared to us. But of late I see many of them are very tall, nice pointed nose, ideal features that can easily landed them a role as a model. I asked our tour tour guide (she is Korean) and she told me that those new breeds actually consumed the much-talk-about Koren ginseng since their childhood and some even going to the extend of injecting the saponin (active ingredient) into themselves. Did I say injecting? I thought silicon implant was the main culprit, but it was not.

One thing good about their establishment is that they know how to package entertainment industries and tourism as their national product, with good advertisement thrown in. One third of the trip was visiting the many scenic locations of popular TV dramas that were sold and aired in many foreign countries. For example, 'Winter Sonata' in Nami Island, 'All In' in Seopjikoji, Jeju Island, 'The hourglass' at Jeongdonjing beach (the train station closest tot he sea), 'Stairway to Heaven' at the theme parks in Seoul and many more that I can't remember simply because I don't watch any of them :)

And of course kimchi, the pickled vegetables that is a must in all the meals. Korean girls have to learn the art of making kimchi before they get married.

So having to travel abroad is all about invoking all your senses - the sight, the smell, the taste, the sound and the feel.

an nyung ha seyo!

The reminder is so loud and clear. Even with this packed strawberry!

Notice the look on the shopkeeper's face when one of the uninitiated tourist is trying to reach for one of the souvenirs.

In Nami Island you can see these flags. The flag resemble the country that is airing or used to air the popular TV drama 'Winter Sonata'.

Staple diet during the whole duration of the trip. Everyday is a kimchi day.

Vegetable steamboat with tofu. Kimchi is the red cabbage on a plate, the left-hand side of this photo.

The Korean are so obsessed with kimchi, they even have kimchi making class in most of the town. Portraying here was our kimchi students waiting eagerly the instruction from the masterchef to make their first kimchi.

Stall that sells tempura is a normal sight in the local market.

We have the opportunity to experience sleeping on the heated floor (ondol) in one of the hotels. I spent only ten minute getting myself comfortable under the blanket when my significant half called me from the other adjoining room for a more comfortable king size bed.

'Rombongan Cik Kiah' having their all-girls moment at The Everland theme park. These ladies especially the outgoing datin, really could not shut up their mouth and always making the trip full of laughter with their classical antics.

Tulips are also starting to bloom in the theme park.

The main attraction to this safari is actually a liger (lion mixed with tiger) but we were told that the liger was not available that time. This white tiger is one of the inhabitants in this safari.

Chocolate factory in Jeju Island. Notice the material used to build the factory are all made from the black stones which are abundant in the island.

Lovely Ginny, our local tourist guide. She is so sweet and trying her best to accommodate our request. One time, the datin requested to stray a bit from our itinerary (which is strictly a big NO especially to the bus driver as their movement is monitored closely through GPS from the HQ). But with Ginny and her charm managed to persuade the driver to drop 'rombongan Cik Kiah' at their preferred stopover. Seoul Hard Rock Cafe and Korean Silk outlets are among the place they sidetracked.
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