Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vagrant in the Making - What Hold the Future?

We went visiting a relative at DBKL flat in Jalan Peel, Pudu to check on the wedding preparation of Bob, their loving son taking place at the weekend in Pekan Nanas, Johor.

I was surprised to be met by a charming smiling boy at the door and asked if he was the “cucu” that I have not met. Norsiah and Mat Nor hastily informed that he was a “stray” from one of the flats,  neglected by the parents whose next door neighbour was already having their hands full with their own kids to care for him. So this relative of mine took pity on Yusri and allowed the boy to hang around their place. That’s understandable; their children have grown up, working and leading their own life – at their late age they needed company of the young.

I thought he was a good subject to talk to; my instinct as a former broadcaster led me to asking him questions that came back with a one word or one liner answer and amused everyone around. With facts provided by the couple and the answer from Yusri, this is what I gather.

He is now in standard 2, never did his homework. Last year he spent most of his time outside school. This year Cik Nor (his reference to Norsiah) make sure he is in school daily and provided him lunch and place to rest while waiting for his mother to reach home normally well after 5 pm and could be as late as 4 am. My curiosity as to his mother’s occupation was left unanswered as he only said she went to the Concorde. He was reluctant to communicate on his father.

Evening was chaotic at his flat with various “pakciks” on motorbikes (possibly Mat Rempits) coming in and out, making noises and lot of arguments. Neighbours keep complaining telling them to bring their problems outside the neighbourhood instead of disturbing the tranquillity of the place.

All he knew his parents’ kampong is in Perak but he didn’t know the exact location and they have never brought him there. His life has always been around the flat. It seems he was independent since a toddler crossing the busy thoroughfare of the area to the chagrin of concern neighbours who has brought the situation to the attention of the welfare authority without avail.

Yusri looks cheerful all the time, quite aware of the going on around him. He hasn’t got many friends but get around to plays his favourite sport of football at the school field nearby with some of the kids around the flat.

I just checked his pocket and asked him what was inside. He showed me a set of keys and a small metal toy car. He obligingly demonstrated its use. I suppose he occupies most of his time pushing the little toy around the lengthy corridor and imagine he was one of the drivers along the street of KL.

I asked him what he wanted to be in the future. He seems to admire Bob and wanted to be a cameraman like him. When told that Bob is getting married he shyly said that was not for him. All of us took the opportunity of advising on the virtue of going to school and not neglecting his education to be like Bob. He seems inspired. Hopefully it stays in his memory.

At the moment Yusri is a lucky lad with caring neighbours around. It scares me to think of the situation of neglected and forgotten old folks in the media lately. There was this Malay guy who stayed in the chicken coop at the back of a Chinese house near Bukit Mertajam. Then there was this Chinese fellow who stayed in a shack at the fringe end of a jungle somewhere near Teluk Intan. There are many more such stories from all over the places in the country.

This make me wonder what went wrong with the family system and what is being done by the “caring society” programmes and campaigns that is aggressively campaign all over the media in the country. The richer gets richer while the downtrodden keep on being forgotten and neglected.

The saga continues. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

At the Eye Clinic

This may be of interest to people of my age. I had an appointment at the Ophthalmology Clinic (another word for Eye Clinic) at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, HUKM in Jalan Cheras, on 21 March at 8 am. It turned out I overslept and manage to be at the clinic just before 11.

HUKM need to do something about its parking space. The jockeys refused to accept my old jalopy saying that they have been oversubscribed. So Jun had to take over the wheel and drove to the overcrowded car park down the slope while I rushed to the clinic on the 1st floor. Later Jun told me she went round 3 times before one of the attendants advice her to just leave the car with the hand-brakes and the gear free allowing them to push just in case anyone being blocked would go out. Clever! Fortunately a car was going out and Jun took over its place. Lucky!

The clinic was full to the brim with people – patients with eyes problems accompanied by one or 2 others. Maybe the clinic got to look into adding more seats and space. It looks as if the staff went overtime with overwork. I was called in over 2 hours later at 1.30 pm. Half hour later the examination of my eyes that underwent surgery for removal of cataract sometime back was over. I was given a clean healthy result but advice to be careful as a diabetic patient. Then it was off to the pharmacy for medication. Unfortunately it hasn’t got the “artificial tears” the doctor recommended and I have to buy at the “shop” on the ground floor.

While waiting earlier I took a break to go to the canteen after missing breakfast. It was way out at the back of the hospital near the emergency ward. It took some walking to reach. It was crowded as most of the people who went to the hospital missed their breakfast to avoid the early morning rush hour. I noticed a lot of shortcoming in this area and without specific suggest that the authority look into the health related matter seriously.

HUKM has changed its parking system payment by introducing the central payment opposing the one as you drive out. I think it solved some of their problem of employing people but it was not good for users as there was no cover for rain and sun after a long walk from HUKM building via the steep stairs.

Parking is really a hazardous problem at HUKM. I suggest they look urgently at putting up a multi-storey car park like the one at University Malaya Medical Centre UMMC. They must not forget to install lifts, escalators and roofed walk-away connected to the main building of the hospital for the sake of the aged, handicapped, and the sick and similar people.

I don’t know why the planners and the architects of new government buildings related to public services never look seriously into the matter of vehicles parking. Even the spanking new Putrajaya complex is also facing the same problem. They should take account into the number of vehicles coming in to be parked. The buildings are far away from public transport and people have to use cars to reach there.

I may be deviating from my original purpose of going to the Eye Clinic but being an elderly patient who has to go through all this agony of long distance walking of climbing up and down staircases I feel I have the right to make suggestions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wither Gaddafi

I have been sharing thoughts with an old buddy on events and happenings around the world. I feel it is worth while sharing his thoughts on the going on associated with Libya and its leader Muaamar Gaddafi. After all he was there many good years and had the opportunity of meeting the man in his heyday picking his brain. Unfortunately this buddy of mine is quite shy in revealing his identity.

Here goes:

So Qaddafi keeps on ranting madly. I don’t think he is getting any sympathy. Amir Musa the secretary general of the Arab League now complains that the strikes were too harsh mouthing Gaddafi's propaganda about civilian casualties. The former Foreign Minister of discredited Mubarak now wants to be president!  The Arab League is toothless - it didn’t do anything about Tunisia and Egypt and full of hollow words. It calls for an emergency meeting but who is going to attend?

The Arab League has failed miserably on Palestine as Arab countries have different agendas.
So to voice a discordant note is aimed at establishing some credibility for himself?

As more strikes are envisaged Qaddafi's forces will no longer have the use of their planes and will find it difficult to withstand the renewed offensive of the rebels. Probably there are still a lot more artillery and missiles that need to be destroyed before a final push on Tripoli begins. The US does not want a divided truncated Libya which would only mean the rebels' eventual control of Tripoli and Qaddafi's ouster.
There is no doubt Qaddafi has been a brutal dictator.  Those so called followers chanting their support are paid to do so. They will be the first to change sides once they see the rebels at the gates. His son and heir apparent Seif now has completely gone silent after the earlier blood curdling threats he made on the rebels.

Qaddafi miscalculated. He was sure that either China or Russia or both would veto the UN resolution empowering the West to take punitive action. Instead they gamely abstained and both South Africa and Nigeria had their arms twisted to fall in line giving the Western alliance the 10 positive votes (one better than the required 9).
Arab countries which came out against the resolution, Algeria and Syria, fear that a similar fate may visit them as they have suppressed the opposition in their countries. Indonesia knows too well that after Timor Timur they have to tread carefully over Papua.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going North

I made a whirlwind trip up north with my good friend Zainal of KKB to attend 2 weddings – in Kota Bharu, Kelantan where my old office mate Mahady Ibrahim (better known Pak Chu on the internet) was hosting a kenduri for his daughter’s wedding, and the other one in Kupang, Kedah where my former Executive Officer at RTM Sarawak Ahmad Aziz (better known as “AA”) was holding a wedding reception for his son at his ancestral home in Kampong Hangus.

We left Subang Jaya early at 7 am on Friday 18 March 2011 heading north via the Plus North-South Highway. We did not stop along the way as my wife Jun prepared some sandwiches for breakfast in the car. We entered Tapah before 9 as I wanted to settle my land assessment; the office was deserted at this time of the year and I was the only customer. It was a breeze. Before re-entering the highway we refilled the tank at Tapah town. Zainal took over the wheel and I had a nap.

I got up as the car was descending the Kuala Kangsar interchange, Zainal did not want to reverse as there were some cars at the back. So we missed the road to Grik. I instructed him to exit at Changkat Jering the next exit and proceeded to Padang Rengas and then on the left side of town headed to Lubok Merbau which Zainal has never been. The old winding road was no more. I was surprised of the brand new road that made our journey relaxing as there was no other vehicle along the way. In no time we rejoined the road to Grik and precede our journey according to the original plan on the famous East-West Highway crossing the mountain range that separated Perak and Kelantan.

We refilled the gas at Jeli at 1.30 pm and got some snack to last us till we reach Pak Chu’s abode. We headed toward Machang – the road was crowded as it was the end of school holidays – then we entered Jalan Kuala Krai towards Kota Bharu, reaching Pak Chu’s house at 3 pm. The groom was just arriving and it was crowded. It was a grand occasion as this is the first time Pak Chu is hosting a daughter’s wedding. Previous 4 were all sons. I was happy to meet close friend Tok Ayah, new FB friend Wan Asmadi and a host of others who seem to recognise me from the old TV days of old. We enjoyed the food laid out.

Then we headed to the new in-place in KB, Wakaf Che’ Yeh, and our resting place at Ombak Inn booked by Pak Chu. We had 2 single bed room and very spartan with no window but the bare necessity. As we decided not to roam around KB later we secured a parking space in front of the hotel on the advice of the receptionist and took a well deserve shower and nap, getting up at 7pm. Pak Chu joined us at 9 after the Isya prayer. We toured the huge and crowded night market. We had a light dinner of original Penang Char Kway Teow cooked by the local at one of the stall. Pak Chu briefed us on the place. It belongs to a local entrepreneur who took up the project putting up the buildings. Early in the morning it became the “pasar borong” (wholesale market), later it became the normal market. By late afternoon tents and shades were put up accommodating the night market where we can get all sort of things needed, imported from across the border as well as locals and anything one could think of. We capped it off with the “tarik” at the hotel’s cafe.

We were disappointed at not getting a proper local breakfast in the morning of Saturday 19 March and decided to get it along the road to the E-W highway. It was a big letdown. We found an eating shop at Bukit Bunga, Jeli for breakfast at 11 am. Then we hit the highway at a leisurely pace. Zainal took over the wheel before Banding as I was exhausted due to lack of sleep.

We entered the lovely new Baling Highway heading towards Kupang. It was drizzling. There were so many weddings along the way. We got confused. We missed AA’s house and decided to call him for direction. We didn’t realised we have overshot and our tank was nearly empty. So told AA we would be late as we would be heading for Kuala Ketil to get the tank filled. This time we got the house spot on. The map on the invitation card was misleading as the house was place on the left hand side instead of right.

It was a grand wedding kenduri for the kampong. After a long time apart I was happy to have met Ahmad Aziz, his lovely wife Zee and the wedded couples who are pharmacists. We were treated to a “hidang” of sumptuous lunch. The dessert was local “kueh” and “kueh lapeh” expertly cooked by Zee, Sarawak style. At the same time it was also an engagement ceremony day for their daughter Shikin. After some pleasantry we made our way back to Subang Jaya. AA told us to take the Grik-Kuala Kangsar route rather than the Kulim-Juru to avoid the heavy holiday crowd on the highway. We heed his advice and did not regret. I took the opportunity of exiting to Kampong  Raban to get the “ikan pekasam” (fermented fish) expertly prepared by the locals along the Tasik Cenderoh that Jun wanted so much.

Zainal decided to enter Ipoh for old time sake. I called my old pal Leow Seng Loong (better known as Ah Loong) and he directed us to Canning Garden for some Char Kway Teow. Zainal met him for the first time. We had a short chat as Ah Loong had an appointment at 7.

It was drizzling all the way. Between Bidor-Sungkai- Slim River I saw the brightest of the moon on the left side of the car. I wanted to take a snap of it but the camera was in the boot of the car. Later at home I read Mek Yam’s posting on FB saying that the moon was at its nearest position to the earth. I felt “rugi” not snapping a shot.

Finally we reached home at 9.30 pm. It was really a whirlwind trip up north.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Creating History

Congratulations to Dato’ Hajjah Norhyati binti Ismail for being elevated the Director General of Broadcasting Malaysia.

It is the pinnacle of a broadcaster career being thrust into the position entrusted with huge responsibility.

With that she created two historical landmarks in the annals of Malaysian broadcasting, specifically Radio-Television Malaysia, RTM. She is the first lady in the country to be in that position and the first from Sarawak to hold the position.

I believe and have faith in her leading the way to a glorious future for RTM. The doldrums and period of uncertainties under caretakers for the last few years should be thing of the past for RTM. She has a set of young talented hard working and forward looking talents at her disposal ready to be harnessed.

I have known her strength when she headed the TV component of RTM Sarawak while I was the Director of the Region in 1992-3. Among her achievement was creating successfully the P.Ramlee Singing Competition (Pertandingan Lagu-Lagu P.Ramlee) on the national level held in Sarawak. She also created the children singing talent “Bintang Kecil” that went nationwide.

Another achievement of her was the successful implementation of the coverage of the National Day Parade in Kuching in 1993. It was a difficult project having to line-up the cameras at the most awkward positions on limited space of the Merdeka Padang in Kuching with huge trees surrounding it.

When I was heading the TV set up of RTM as its Director prior to my retirement late 1995, Norhyati was brought to Kuala Lumpur to head the Entertainment Department. She brought new life to the “hiburan” programmes subtly displaying the national culture.

She rose through the rank and held various positions in RTM, including the Director of Sarawak Region and Director of Strategy.

Norhyati has known broadcasting all her life. Her father the late Haji Ismail was a well known radio announcer in its early days in Sarawak. Later he headed the Malay Service of RTM Sarawak. That when “Pak Mail” became acquainted with me, then representing the Northern Region based in Penang. We used to meet annually when we headed our singing talents at the “Bintang Radio” competition. He has nutured her to love family life as she is very close to her aging mother residing in Kuching and all her siblings and relatives.

Norhyati has a good voice. She was the lead nasyid singer of the well known Sarawak group that perform at the National and International Quraan Recital Competition in its early days. Norhyati is very good in reciting the Quraan too. She participated in several competitions and was RTM champion some years back.

She graduated in broadcasting from the UiTM Mass Communication School. She is also an MBA degree holder from University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

She was the first broadcaster in Sarawak to be honoured the Datoship by the State of Sarawak while in service. A rare honour indeed in the history of the Department.

I wish her well and success in her new position.

May Allah be with her always.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This is my first posting in Malay, the national language of Malaysia. I dedicate this to the management and staff of POS MALAYSIA which was privatised for some years now:

Tokcik nak sambung Lesen Memandu di POS USJ petang kelmarin. Pelanggan ramai. Ambil no giliran dan pergi Restoran Ubi Kayu di sebelah, order "Mi Udang".

Tokey Tuan Haji bimbang terlepas giliran & sanggup pinjam cucunya untuk tunggu giliran. Tokcik bagitahu tak perlu kerana POS tu 'slow' buat kerja.

Habeh makan, giliran masih 9 nombor lagi. Tunggu sejam, tengok gelagat pelanggan-pelanggan lain gelisah. Hanya 2 kaunter sahaja beroperasi tetapi bila sampai banyak bungkusan Pos Laju satu lagi dibuka, dan yang menjaga kaunter pelbagai biasa juga turut membantu hampir 40 minit. Akhirnya bungkusan selesai.

Bila nombor giliran dipanggil 6 yang didepan tokcik tak bersahut mungkin mereka tak sabar menanti. Oleh kerana lesen memandu esuknya tak laku, tokcik terpaksa akur tunggu.

Kenalah POS ambil tindakan mengatasi keadaan sedemikian (Itupon POS USJ tak ambil kes saman Polis & JPJ kerana pencetak meragam) demi menjaga keyakinan pelanggan kepada syarikat yang berkaitan kerajaan (GLC).