Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy merdeka day!

Well done Malaysia! We survived Permatang Pauh by-election without any untoward incidents.Kalah menang adat bertanding.Bagi yang menang, JANGAN kecewakan harapan rakyat Permatang Pauh.Bagi yang kalah, cuba lagi. I was hoping AI will be sworn in today so that kita akan nampak pembangunan pesat di Permatang Pauh (he is said to be able to bring in so many investors from the Middle East and I should not matter what party brings in those investors, asalkan rakyat kampong yang mendapat habuannya.I hope they will look after health care, education, environment, clean water issues.Kita tak perlu bangunan pencakar langit to achieve basic human rights ni.Kita tengoklah AI boleh bawak perubahan2 ini atau tidak tapi apa pasal he's denied his right to be sworn in now? Najib kata democracy is alive.Can we see it to the finishing line? The finishing line is rakyat Permatang Pauh want AI in parliament)

Yang kelakar so many who are not from Permatang Pauh turut menyibuk.A relative of mine (not living in Pulau Pinang) sampai takut nak tengok TV to find the results.She sms-ed me and told me to pls text her the results.I pun malas nak follow the news (my daughter and I were watching some romance movie on TV and only after it's done we switched on to AWANI). My mom lagi best, dia masuk tidur early and before sleeping she said, "Kalau Allah nak naikkan/menjatuhkan seseorang tu, takda kuasa boleh menghalangnya".Pagi ni she asked selamba, "So who won?" I said selamba juga, "Anwar." She said, "I told you! Kalau Allah nak naikkan seseorang itu, takda kuasa boleh menghalangnya."

My relative yang tak duduk kat Permatang Pauh said she now nak sedekah pisang kat masjid.Hahaha...harga kemenangan AI hanyalah seikat pisang. I find this so funny.

My family is big and we all 'simpati kedai kopi' to different parties (kecuali DAP).My mom has been a die-hard UMNO supporter tapi bila kita tekan2 if she has berpaling tadah, she will say my undi is rahsia. But I suspect dia kesian kat Dato' Seri Dr.Azizah and anak2 (having to raise me and my 2 younger sisters after my father died when I was 18) when she showed her support for AI.I think she could relate to DS Dr.Azizah.

Anyway, happy merdeka folks! Kibarkan jalur gemilang!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Musim orang hilang ni, it's nice to hilang for a while -- without the net, phone, television except I could not do without the last two items. Heh heh.

The family had planned to fly to Bangkok but we ended up in Alor Star, visiting an ailing aunty.
It was not too bad cos' we made a few stops: Kuala Kangsar to meet Saniah, Jitra to visit Nura and her family (met her talented kids.Jalil scuba dives at 15, speaks non-stop on everything.I think he's a genius.Won some gold award while living in UAE.Fatehah did wonderful origamis for Z and I).

Mak Yang in AS has so many cats (I'm not a cat lover, though) and Nik didn't want to upset her by sleeping at a hotel we'd booked so akhirnya, kita semua melepak with her for 2 days.Bonding la kiranya. It has been a while, really.

I like Alor Star.It's a lazy town.Good for retired people.Makan pun murah.
On our way back, kita dropped by Permatang Pauh.Bumped into Arif Shah tengah kempen.Hee hee. Orang tak ramai but it's a working day.Most people would be at work, I guess.I'll post some pics in a while.

If you talk to Arif's people, they will say it's 51-49 win in favour of him.Kalu cakap dgn org AI, they will say rubbbissshhhhh! Whatever it is folks, stay cool. Yang penting jangan main kotor.Whoever wins, he will be judged again in the next elections.So takut apa? Kalau main kotor, rakyat lagi menyampah.Yang I tak paham, apa pasal dok suruh AI bersumpah siang malam? As though yang suruh bersumpah tu clean sangat.Cuba hangpa semua bersumpah kami tak main politic money, kami tak songlap duit rakyat, kami tak kaki betina, kami tak kaki rasuah, kami tak cuba suap pengundi RM100 to RM200 setiap kali piliharanraya (kecil atau besar)etc etc. Tiba2 ramai sangat yang nak jadi hakim di luar mahkamah.That, I pelik.

Anyway, kita tinggalkan cerita politik tak berfaedah ni dulu. Let me continue with my family holiday story..lepas tu, Nik wanted to show Penang to Z.Z has never been to Penang so we went tanpa ada rancangan awal.Penang has become a lovely city compared to the last time I was there.Tak byk pulak mat motor.But I guess people were at work.Belum rush hours. Rang up Zairi (every time I'm up, he's down in KL!) for advice mana nak makan sedap (I don't like nasi kandar).Zairi told us of a little place off Jalan Transfer.Nasi Padang depan petrol station.We found it after going round and round.Wahlau! Memang bagusssss....bagus giler! I l-o-v-e Penang.It's so green, so breezy, so green (Air Itam area).Z says it's so happening also (byk new malls).In many parts, macam kat Spore.

Must make it a point to come holidaying here, proper.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

University of Liverpool Alumni: The Malaysian Chapter

According to the 'Ambassador' of Uni of Liverpool, Dr. Yan-Goh Ng, they tried 4 times trying to set up this chapter.Apa ke kalut sangat tu?! Apparently suami Noorkumalasari is an alumnus and was supposed to be the first Prez.Malangnya tidak menjadi.

Anyway, some of us met up at his office today and if you are reading this and are an alumnus (or know others who are) please email Dr. Ng your particulars. We are building our alumni database in order to plan future get togethers/activities for all.Dr. Ng can be reached at yangoh at

We want to set up an official comm by Dec. this year.Shucks! This reminds me that I have to compile another list of names for Yong! (for Waikato Alumni) Adoi!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Will you cry over this?

AUKU and Msian universities

Datang beramai-ramai to discuss the future of Msian universities!

Date: 16th August 2008
Venue: Lecture Hall B, PASUM, UM (next to University House)
Time: 8.30 am - 1 pm

Prof. Dato' Mohamad Zawawi Ismail (keynote)

Assoc. Prof. Rosli Mahat
Prof. Wan Manan Wan Muda
Prof. Azmi Sharom
YB Tony Pua
Prof. Hashim Hussin Yaacob
BN rep (to be confirmed)

Jeff Ooi on Arif Shah

I first got to know Jeff when we were together in the USJ-Subang Jaya e-comm (this when I was still living in USJ). I was in awe of the man.Not only would he do his homework well in any plight he worked on, his Malay was also perfect (in one event we organised with Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya dengan yang *Dipertua who I was also in awe of..sapa ke namanya...he's a big man in Penang after he left Selangor.Tak tau la ada lagi kat Penang ke tak.If not...jumpa Jeff lagi.Hahaha, what a fate!Anyway, in that event with Yang DiPertua, Jeff recited a Malay poem which had this line "biarlah aku berkelana..." or something to that effect.Wahlau, impressive! His fav. kuih is tepung pelita which he'd look for, every Ramadan at our local Ramadan food bazaar.)

Anyway, his write-up on Arif Shah can be read here

* Nama Yang Dipertua itu ialah Dato' Ahmad Fuad Ismail (he got Datoship after I left USJ).Another worker.I liked him a lot! Dia dan Jeff Ooi setanding!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mother of All Reunions

Ivy and Allen who flew home from LA to join the fun

from left: wati, kim, aida, me, shimah and norida (who got 'feelings' to sing as an entry for our karaoke competition)

shamni and christine, looking glamorous

another happy couple who flew from Oregon, Kim and Steve

at the registration counter.Kai Chong has projects everywhere (the Curve was his)

vacuum, pak, jangan tak vacuum

Finally, the mother of all reunions which was planned for 2 years came to reality last night.

What a night!

Despite all the plannings (mostly done over the net via our mailing list), we still experienced last minute alarm and panic. We should have checked out the layout of the venue earlier.Luckily I went early cos' Peter Yong (a millionaire by day, in charge of technical stuffs) said he'd be there by 4 pm to check the sound system for our multimedia presentation and karaoke competition.So as the chairperson of the event, I had to come early to oversee stuffs. By 5 pm, Peter had not shown up. When I rang him up, he said he was still testing the system at home and would be there in 30 mins.I went oh oh..if the system failed, we didn't have any plan B.Or C. Or Z.

But it was good I was already there.I had to supervise the cleaners to properly clean up the hall (the previous event left it in a messy state and the cleaners did not bother to vacuum up).Then I realised we needed to do some touch up on the decor.A few phone calls here and there to buy rose petals, candles etc.

Then the comm came and we decorated the place. CEOs tak CEOs, Chairman tak Chairman. All were instructed to help out.Hee hee.It looked and felt like a wedding place in the end. :)))

As people poured in (some we didn't recognise, those who we did -- got screamings and huggings from us), the level of noise and excitements were beyond description. I am glad it was as planned.Alhamdulillah! Ivy and Kim and their spouses came and they said they enjoyed the do as much as I did. Allen and Steve (who flew from the US, for their wives) were judges for the karaoke competition (and Kim had whispered to her husband to give extra marks for our group/table when we sang 'Feelings'.Hahaha.But we didn't win)

I think the Reunion was timely.Outside us, in the morning, a peaceful street demo took place in protest of the way Bar Council handled its forum on Muslim conversion (this is how I read it.The protest to me is not against the topic of the forum but the bias Bar Council had in organising the forum). Had it been held at a neutral venue, organised by a neutral body, the dialogue might have worked.But I do not understand why the few experiences of non-Muslims who had a bad deal with bad Muslims could be used as a basis to create an uproar on Muslim conversion. They should also have invited Muslim converts who had good experiences to give a balanced perspective on the issue.Definitely we have issues and problems to settle but by setting an agenda to serve a certain quarter of the population is not ethical, methinks.One must be mindful of the sensitivity of 60% of the population.We can dialogue but means of the doing it must be well considered.

So last nite amidst what went on on the streets, my school reunion may have represented the ideal life of what Msia should be (or what it was before).I grew up with a very mixed group of friends in the 70s and 80s.We were colour blind. Last nite we celebrated this although the country may have changed and if left unguarded, would have taken all of us on a different route.I think the ordinary people like my friends and I have no problem with each other.And I pray it is people like us who will hold the country together.

More pics at this link (thanks to Ricky):

Someone who went through the pics spotted a ghost's hand (trying to eat kacang Sempalit?) in Pic no. 4.The arm is transparent! Don't view this if you live alone and it's midnite!

Friday, August 08, 2008


It's our merdeka month.I almost forgot about this.It has been very hectic since the start of August.Suddenly the uni is swamped by so many conferences, half day seminars, exotic guest speakers (by this I also mean John Esposito whose talk I missed today cos' I had opted for the half day seminar on Msian Foreign Policies by academics from IKON, UKM; UM and ISIS)

Our IKON rep. gave a promising start but towards the end he sounded very preachy, almost like an MIC politician, talking about how the 40% minority must be respected and considered (wei..I thought we were talking about FOREIGN policies Not domestic problems) Habis isu HINDRAF dia bawak masuk then issue temple.Lepas jawab 2-3 questions, cepat2 cabut.I wanted to raise an issue. But his discussant, Dr. Stephen yang kena (dia pun sama raised isu Islamic State tak Statenya). He said Msia is not an Islamic State and should it be one, what would be the issues surrounding it.He said it's impossible that it would work (look at Saudi, Iran, Pakistan kata dia) Aik? For someone who should know what foreign policies are about, tiba2 so undiplomatic naming those countries as failures...(based on whose judgment? western media?) Prof Dato' Bakar of UM gave his input.He made sense! He said the same not be fooled by definitions given by the western media.How do we judge the success of a country? By dollar and cent? (ini tambahan I selepas I discussed with Nik.Haha.This is Nik's input: he said how is it the world could accept Islamic econ. system/Islamic Financial system but not its legal system, etc.Is success only to be measured by dollar and cent, he argued.Boleh tahan!)

Anyway, at lunch with Dato' Bakar and Dr. Stephen, kita sambung lagi.Best juga open discussion macam ni. I had raised during the talk why is it when it comes to talking about Islam and Muslims in Msia, the non-Muslims often have a certain kinda prejudice, often NOT fully supported by scholarly arguments..they are always opinionated and non-scholarly.Is it fair to compare Msia with Saudi, Pakistan or Iran? Our history is different.Our culture and population makeup is also different.And how can anyone argue that an Islamic State is impossible in Msia.IF (or when...hahaha) PAS wins the next elections..apo nak dikato? Better psyche yourself up, bro. Also, why do we associate Islam as a religion or a system which favours Muslims only.Read the history of Islamic cities (Medina is a good example).Learn how non-Muslim minorities were protected..they lived in the inner circle of the city and then only the Muslims, outside this privileged circle...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Toshihiko Izutsu

I was busy eavesdropping this seminar on Japanese scholar/thinker/philosopher/linguist Toshihiko Izutsu, organised by friends in IRK.He's the first Japanese who translated Quran to Japanese (he had a degree in English Lit but spent some time in Iran studying sufism, philosophy etc).I went cos' I was curious (tinggal kerja opis kejap).What had he said/written which past Muslim scholars had not said that deserved him a conference dedicated to him alone? Pelik juga, kan? Someone said it's becos' western schools that do Islamic Studies popularise him as great thinker of Islamic Studies.It's a brand of America's Islam.They decide who to study, etc.But having gone back to my Renaissance class after the seminar, etc, I could relate to Izutsu's sensibility/debates & discussions raised at the conference esp. about concept of man, philosophy, position of knowledge, language and the use/abuse of it. I guess I learned lots esp in my discussions with colleagues of the field.

Tak jumpa cari budak yang touched and went on the concept of man during jahiliah.I thought that concept fit in Renaissance's definition of man.Does this mean Renaissance values were actually jahiliah's? My mental bulb lit up at this! Would like to read more on this topic (concept of man during the jahiliah's period).

Tonight I will dine with Nura who I have not seen since 1993 (semalam sibuk kat Istana Hotel at the Corporate Dinner.I thot Muhyideen Yassin was boring ..dok persembah Financial Report buat apa? Duit banyak trillion2 pun bukan dapat ke rakyat biasa macam kami.And we are not Permatang Pauh voters.Tak payah nak impress lah how well the country did.I was hoping that he'd give some inspiring talk on how to build this city again)

Kaki bodek pun ramai (they did an Olympics gimmick on him..tiba2 nak announce how well he did as Sports Minister..apa ke jadah...what is the relationship between that and the event?)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hare Mai Waikato

with some people from NZ High Comm, Uni of Waikato and local private institutions

Profs Maya David (UM) and McLellan (who speaks fluent Malay, having lived in Brunei for 17 years.He's British, now teaching at Waikato)

Where I learned to be independent

Waikato River

(kalau summer, banyak water skiing/cruises here.We rented a motel by the river 4 years ago.Ahh..nostalgic nya)

Jangan marah, folks but this evening witnessed another get together with friends of yonder years at the Royal Lake Club (dinner was salmon sebesar one whole chicken.Nak termuntah I makan.Could not finish up.Tak sedap).I was there cos' visitors from my alma mater in New Zealand (er..I have 4 alma maters, harap maaf di atas segala confusion) came to town.

Unfortunately I was the only alumnus invited cos' the rest could not come at a short notice (some I rang at 6.30 am soonest I hear from Ir. Yong that I could invite other alumni.Bagus betul kerja dia bagi short notice macam tu). Nura Che Din who thought someone died when I called so early said she just got discharged from SJMC (alamak!). Badri mungkin terlalu sibuk with his work at Ericsson. Epah langsung tak jawab phone. Zurina too. Campak je handphones tu ke Sungai Klang weh kalau tak mau guna.

Anyway, I had a good time (the social animal I am). At least the Kiwis are much more sociable compared to the Ozzies (except for Geoff). Lawak juga depa ni. Two of them were saying how the role of parents is now reversed.Uri, yang dari NZ High Comm tu kampong dia di Masterton! What a small world!

He said the trend is now parents leave home to live abroad and their kids telling them to be careful living in strange countries. Their kids are sad to see them go cos' their babysitters are now gone.But ada juga anak2 yang so encouraging cos' it'd mean free holidays abroad and a stopover to places they wanna go e.g. Nepal, Cambodia etc. Can cut costs.Lawak betul.

I went back to NZ about 4 years ago after I left it in 1986. It has changed so much but the family and I loved it.Rasa nak visit balik but the truth is, I don't even have time to go holidaying in Malaysia.