Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just a bad day

We have been to this store at Jalan Sungai Buloh for years and never expected the bad experience. We found the place under renovation and were forced to park the car on the road side rather than at the regular place in its compound.

We went inside the store for about 10 minutes. When we came to the car we found to our dismay the glass window of the front passenger was shattered. We were devastated. The glove compartment as well as the middle compartment beside the driver’s seat was open. On checking, nothing was amiss except the disappearance of the newly purchased Smart Tag together with RM90.00 worth of Touch n Go.

Also not in sight was my favourite black canvass bag which I carried everywhere, placed behind the driver’s seat. It was stubborn of me not to heed friends’ advice not to place such bag within sight in the car. It is tempting for the thief to break-in thinking there must be a laptop or some valuables in it. Now I have learned an expensive lesson.

I was advised to make a police report. I knew it was an exercise in futility as the police could not do anything to offset my loss or solved my problem. There are so many such cases throughout the city. So making a police report is just a waste of time.

I called my regular workshop and they told me getting a new glass for the window was no problem. So off I drove to USJ 6 to get the replacement. It was a 15 minutes job for the new glass to be fixed by the expert. The damage was RM150.00 for regular customer.

My parting words to all my friends: never tempt a thief by exposing a bag or container of any sort in your car. Place them in your luggage boot or where it’s not visible.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Evil in Credit Cards

I have been holding three credit cards for a long time, since my working days.

At one time there exists a rule that credit card will not be issued to a person above 60 years old but today no matter at what age any one can hold a credit card and the card companies are making concerted effort to recruit even pensioners beside the young ones new to the job market.

Beside the convenient there are the inconveniences related to its usage which are periodically highlighted in the media. There seem to be increased in the number of bankruptcies among credit card holders. The growing number is frightening as they involved the younger generation who just started work. The authorities, the banks and the credit card companies could only issue reminders and advices but they fall on deaf ears.

I have been facing that predicament at one time because I was “living beyond my mean” by misusing the credit card facilities. Temptation was the cause of the problems. I was spending more than what I could pay. The problem started when the credit card allow the “minimum payment” scheme. The minimum payment could blow our credit balance out of proportion. The only saving grace could perhaps be the “spending limit” allowed.

At the end I found that through the two credit cards that gave me such facilities I was paying the so called “bank charges” of RM500 every time the “statement of account” comes around. That is a big chunk of money compared to my pension. I was in that situation for over two years before I realised that I have been feeding the bank that hold my credit card account more than RM6K annually. That’s a ridiculously large amount to give away callously for nothing.

I brought my predicament to a well to do friend who agreed to facilitate me a no interest loan and pay when available scheme. I am thankful to him for solving my problem – now I don’t owe the bank and I am free from its interest. It’s prudent spending for me now – I live within my budget and make sure my expenditure doesn’t exceed my income.

 The banks and credit card companies are very good at convincing that their schemes and plans are beneficial to the customers. Customers are offered cash loan at no interest initially for a few months to pay off their credit card from another card for customers that has multiple cards from the same bank. It’s just like “digging a hole to cover another”.

The other scheme is the one that the bank sent a blank cheque to an amount that almost cover up the credit limit. This would certainly guarantee the customer will find it difficult to pay off the total amount owed within a short period compounding his financial woes.

The other irritating experienced I had been when the bank “misplaced” my payment cheque which incurred additional bank interest and surcharge due to “non-payment”. After some hassle things were put right.

The worst experienced I had was when  I tried my best to reduced my credit card balanced with some extra amount that I felt I could afford. Somehow the bank didn’t credit my cheque payment to the account and I was left with an extra balance in my bank account causing me to miscalculate my spending. It was painful when the case was referred to the authority at Bank Negara with accusation that I have issued a few “bounced” cheques. I think my bank was well aware of my spending and issuing of cheques habit and record. It was settled amicably.

These are some of the pitfalls I have experienced and want to make aware to all friends out there. It’s better to spare sometime on your account rather than regretting it later.

If you can do away away with credit card, please do so.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Unscrupulous Taxi Driver

This must be common occurrences at busy public places like airport, railway stations and bus terminals, giving Malaysia and its tourist industry a bad name.

It just happened at the main entrance of KL Sentral at 6.40 am this morning (Thursday 21 April 2011) when I was fetching my wife from a long train journey. I was about to drive off when a taxi cut into my path and park in front of my car on the outer lane, disembarking a foreign looking passenger, I assume a tourist or someone who came to town for a business deal.

Normally I would get irritated and honked but I was at my most patience with due respect to our foreign guest. The next scene I saw was the passenger and driver in jovial mood standing behind the taxi exchanging greetings and settling payment. While the passenger was standing, the driver moved into his taxi and drove off. The poor guy was flailing his hands and at the same time banging the boot of the taxi gesturing. I could only assume he was trying to extract his luggage from the boot but the taxi just bolted off.

I wanted to give chase but the guy’s hand luggage was on my path. I could only honked gesturing to him to get the bag off my way but it was too late. The taxi was nowhere in sight.

As it happened so fast I was unable to see the taxi number plate, its light was not on. The surrounding place was poorly lighted and it was quite dark at that time.

On reaching home, when we related the incident to a staff of the Hilton next to where it happened we were told that they were common occurrences. Even guests at the hotels at Sentral were not spared by these rogue taxi drivers. Some guests with family would go shopping at the many prominent complexes in the city, come back by taxi and got similar treatment. There was nothing much the staff could do except to advice their guests to take the LRT which could inconvenient them.

The rampant occurrence of such incident is giving a bad name to Malaysia and the tourist industry of the country. I suggest the various authorities look seriously into the matter. 

To start with the place should be better lighted and sophisticated surveillance cameras in the form of close circuit television (CCTV) be installed. If that had been done then more should be added pointing to vantage points.

I don’t like this to happen to my friends or guests. I guess the poor guy this morning must be having a nightmare and very poor impression Malaysia right now.

So someone of authority on such related issue out there kindly take action.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ismail Long - as I know him

Ismail Long passed away in his sleep on a Friday morning two years ago in 2009 at Dato’ Keramat, Kuala Lumpur. He was buried at the AU cemetery after Friday prayer. His death was a shock to many who knew him personally. Although not in good health he has been jovial all the time.

At the time of his passing he was staying with his spouse in the village of Karak Jaya along the old main trunk road between KL and Kuantan. He came to KL to accompany his wife who was due for a medical check-up at the hospital that day.

It was a sad personal loss for me. I have heard of his name when I joined Radio Malaysia in 1963. He has been with the Malay Service in Melaka long before I became a staff at Federal House, KL. Prior to that he was an office hand in Penang. I met him on several occasion on official duty in Penang when he was posted there as a BA3. By that time he was a well known announcer there.

When I was transferred to Penang as the Malay Programme Organiser in 1966, Ismail and Nor Hashimah Ismail were the only staff I had in the service. Our job at that time was to feed local reports and recording to the headquarters at Federal House as well as participating in inter-stations programme. Life was quite easy going then.

When we started the Regional Broadcasts of 3 hours daily following the aftermath of Hartal, 13 May and the Big Flood which drown the national broadcast at Federal House in KL for 3 days, life became more hectic. Penang was instructed to take the lead to make sure the national broadcast was not interrupted. We pass the test with flying colour. It was Ismail who played a major role in its success. He was very good at selecting songs to keep the listeners following the broadcast. He was never short of ideas for interviews and keeping the public inform.

Ismail was willing to try his hand at everything, including live report and running commentary, including sports especially football matches.

He is well known for being jovial and enjoying life to the fullest. We had understanding on that. Whatever he did he must make sure there is no casualty as far as our transmission was concern. I am proud to say we keep our clean slate with flying colour until I got to return to KL in 1972. 

When I arrived in Penang Ismail and family was renting a house in Tanjung Tokong. Later he moved to the government quarters at Lorong Selamat, all along the bus route.

Later he was transferred on promotion to the Perak Station in Ipoh. I visited him there and his wife prepared the best oxtail I have ever tasted. Not long after that he was stationed in Kuala Terengganu. I didn’t follow his activities there but being a dedicated broadcaster he came out top among the pack.

In the 80s he came to Angkasapuri.  We met again in the same division when I became the Head of the newly created Sport Department. He was place in the Radio Section as one of the Supervisor. I knew it was in safe hand.

He retired as Programme Assistant in early 90s after I left the Sports Department. That was quite an achievement from a general staff to rise to such a high post.

After retirement he settled down in Kampong Seronok, Bayan Lepas, Penang, playing active leading roles in social work there especially in promoting local cultures that attracted the local and foreign tourists visiting the place. Being a man who thirsts for peace and quietness, Ismail finally decided to lead a quite life in the remote area of Karak Jaya in central Pahang with his second wife.

He would travel once in a while to KL to meet old friends and relatives. I happened to keep in touch with him via phone which he never forgot to inform me the latest number wherever he was. I made an effort to visit him at his place in Karak Jaya on many occasions when I passed there on my journey. It was convenient when the new highway KL-Kuantan was not around.

I purposely avoid mentioning the happy and hilarious moment and occasions we shared together with friends whether at work or leisure. Perhaps on another occasion.

Semoga rohnya dicucuri rahmat dan ditempatkan dikalangan mokmin yang soleh.


Following is the Malay version of this article that was posted in the SUARA PVRTM Newsletter:

Ismail Long Dalam Kenangan

Ismail Long yang dikenali sebagai Che Mey dikalangan yang rapat dengannya menghembus nafas yang terakhir pada pagi satu Jumaat 2009 di Dato’ Keramat Kuala Lumpur. Jenazahnya dikebumikan selapas solat Jumaat di tanah perkuburan AU. Pemergiannya sungguh mengejutkan mereka yang mengenalinya. Sungguhpon kesihatannya terganggu Ismail terus menunjukkan semangat periang yang tidak mengenal penat lelah.

Semasa peninggalannya dia menetap di Kampong Karak Jaya, Pahang bersama isteri mudanya yang berasal dari situ. Karak Jaya terletak di tepi jalanraya Persekutuan lama antara Kuala Lumpur dan Kuantan. Dia datang ke KL menemani isterinya untuk pemeriksaan doktor yang dijadual pada hari itu.

Pemergiannya adalah satu kehilangan besar kepada saya yang mendengar nama dan mengenali suaranya sejak mula menyertai Radio Malaysia pada tahun 1963. Dia telah menjadi staf di Melaka jauh sebelum saya melaporkan diri di Rumah Persektuan KL. Sebelum itu Ismail pernah berkhidmat di Pulau Pinang sebagai kakitangan pejabat pentadbiran Radio. Saya sering menemui dan berhubung dengan nya semasa menjalankan tugas resmi di Pulau Pinang ketika dia menjawat jawatan Pembantu Siaran Gred 3 (BA3). Masa itu dia sudah menjadi juruhebah dikenali ramai.

Bila saya ditukar ke Pulau Pinang untuk mengetuai siaran sebagai Pengelola Rancangan Melayu (MPO) Kawasan Utara, hanya Ismail Long dan Norhashimah Ismail sahaja yang berkhidmat disana untuk mengendalikan siaran Melayu. Tugas utama kami pada masa itu ialah menyumbang laporan dan rakaman tempatan meliputi empat negeri terdiri dari Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah dan Perlis kepada ibu pejabat di Rumah Persekutuan KL, selain dari menyertai rancangan antara setesen yang sangat popular ketika itu. Keadaan kerja pada masa itu boleh dikata ringan dan relaks.

Bila bermulanya Siaran Daerah atau Tempatan selama 3 jam sehari berikutan peristiwa “Hartal”, “13 Mei” dan “banjir besar di Kuala Lumpur” budaya kerja kami bertambah dan sungguh berbeza dari apa yang kami tempuhi selama ini. Banjir besar telah melumpuhkan siaran Radio kebangsaan dari Rumah Persekutuan selama 3 hari. Pulau Pinang yang mempunyai beberapa pemancar gelombang pendek yang boleh didengar diseluruh negara, telah diarah untuk mengambil alih siaran kebangsaan bagi memastikan ianya tidak terputus. Kami lulus ujian itu dengan cemerlang. Ismail Long memainkan peranan penting dalam kejayaan itu. Dia sungguh bijak memilih lagu-lagu yang memukau pendengar kepada siaran. Dia juga cekap membuat temuramah dan tidak kurang dengan idea untuk memberi maklumat terkini untuk pendegar yang ingin tahu apa yang berlaku.

Saya dapati Ismail adalah seorang yang berani mencuba segala bidang lapangan penyiaran, termasuk membuat laporan langsung dan ulasan-selari apa jua peristiwa dan acara, termasuk sukan khususnya bolasepak yang digemarinya.

Ismail adalah seorang yang periang dan kehadirannya sentiasa membikin sesiapa bersamanya tidak kering gusi. Jarang sekali saya lihat dia muram atau bersedih, apatah lagi “naik angin”. Prinsip hidup adalah kegembiraan. Berdasarkan itu kami berdua mempunyai falsafah yang sama: apa juga yang berlaku dia wajib memastikan siaran dan rancangan tiada tergendala. Saya amat megah falsafah itu berjaya kami pertahankan sehingga saya meninggal Pulau Pinang untuk kembali ke ibu pejabat di KL pada tahun 1972.

Bila saya sampai Pulau Piunang untuk melaporkan diri tahun 1966 Ismail dan keluarganya menyewa rumah di Tanjong Tokong. Kemudian dia menginap di rumah pegawai kerajaan di Lorong Selamat, Pulau Pinang. Kedua-duanya berhampiran laluan perkhidmatan bas yang efisen di P.Pinang masa itu.

Kemudian dia ditukar kestesen negeri Perak di Ipoh kerana naik pangkat. Saya melawatnya disana dan isterinya menyediakan sup ekor lembu yang paling enak pernah saya rasa. Kemudian dia ditukar ke Kuala Trengganu. Saya tidak berjumpa dia disana kerana saya sendiri berhadapan dengan peningkatan beban kerja. Saya tidak mengikuti kemajuan kerjanya disana, namun sebagai penyiar yang penuh dedikasi dia sentiasa bersaing berada didepan untuk meningkat imej jabatan. Saya mendengar khabar dia bertemu isteri mudanya di sana.

Pada tahun 80an dia berpindah ke Angkasapuri KL. Kami berjumpa semula dalam bahagian yang sama bila saya dilantik Ketua Bahagian Sukan yang baru ditubuh. Beliau ditempatkan disayap Radio dimana Ismail mengetuai sebahagian dari siarannya. Saya tidak perlu bimbang kerana mengetahui ianya dalam penyeliaan yang baik.

Ismail pencen pada jawatan Pegawai Penolong Rancangan (PA) diawal tahun 90an lama selepas saya meninggal Bahagian Sukan. Itu adalah satu kejayaan besar bagi seorang staf yang memulakan kerjanya dari jawatan yang paling rendah dalam hiraki perkhidmatan kerajaan kepada jawatan gred tinggi.

Selepas berasara, Ismail kembali menetap di Kampong Seronok. Dia memain peranan aktif dalam aktibiti sosial membikin kampong itu menjadi destinasi seni dan budaya bagi pelancung yang berkunjung ke Pulau Pinang.

Setelah beberapa tahun kesibukan dunia mula menggugat dia untuk mencarai kedamaian dan ketenangan. Mungkin itulah sebabnya dia mengambil keputusan menetap di tempat terpencil Kampong Karak Jaya yang terletak di tengah Negeri Pahang bersama isteri mudanya.

Sering juga dia berkunjung ke Kuala Lumpur untuk menemui saudara-masa dan kawan-kawan lama. Kami sentiasa berhubung kerana Ismail tidak lupa meninggalkan nombor taliponnya dimana saja dia berada. Saya sentiasa berusaha melawatnya di Karak Jaya bila ada peluang, jika saya melalui tempatnya dalam perjalan ke Kuantan atau Pantai Timur. Ia lebih mudah lagi sebelum wujudnya Lebuhraya Karak – Kuantan yang baru.

Saya sengaja tidak menyebut disini zaman gembira yang sukar dilupa yang kami alami bersama kawan-kawan lain – mungkin di ruang yang lain.

Semoga rohnya dicucuri rahmat dan ditempatkan dikalangan mokmin yang soleh.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Century at Mandi Wap

Herbal Sauna

Yesterday, Tuesday 12 April 2011, marked the 100th time I went to “Mandi Wap Herbal” with my good friend, former classmate Zainal Abidin Imam of Kuala Kubu Bahru.

We started going to the Herbal Sauna at Tanjung Karang about a year back when Zainal was diagnosed with minor stroke and lost his ability to speak. He suffers speech impedance.

 Other than the IJN he is a frequent visitor of the Kuala Kubu Bahru Hospital, the Selayang Hospital and at time the KL Hospital. He also began to look for alternative medicine to get into normal shape. His younger brother took him to this place in Tanjung Karang simply named “Mandi Wap Herbal” (Herbal Sauna). It is a simple place sharing roof with a defunct motor workshop, along the main coastal road to the right side as we approached Tanjung Karang town from KL. The official address is: Lot 88, Batu 7, 45500 Tanjung Karang.

Zainal suggested that I tagged along and we have been around together for nearly a year. I went along for the company. I came to like the 75 km journey between my place and the Sauna where we spent endless hours chatting.

 I was on medication for prostate and diabetes. The medicine was affecting my stability and I began to stop my normal routine of walking to sweat. I could feel my physical appearance bloating. I find the Sauna beneficial in getting rid of the toxic through the heavy sweating.

Most of the driving was done by Zainal, being his favourite pastime. Initially he drove from KKB to my place spending the night at his son or in-law’s place. Later when his jalopy was giving problem due to old age we decided to go in my car. Later on Zainal found it less tiresome driving from KKB by taking the KTM Komuter that has increased its frequency. Normally he will embark and disembark at Sungai Buloh station. I will pick him up and travelled via the busy old road. If he decided to head straight to Subang Jaya we would go via the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) and saved some minutes. Otherwise we would take the long stretch via Puncak Alam with nice sceneries of the new housing areas but the traffic lights there were a bother for smooth travelling.

Our normal pit stop would be at Kuala Selangor where we would have Banana Leaf Lunch of either Indian rice or “tosay” at the Mahaa India Curry House. We are always welcome with open arm by the owner, a friendly lady whom we dubbed “Amma” and his able assistant. Normally the lunch for two with fish, chicken, vegetables and 2 drinks thrown in would be around RM12.00.

In the early days we would be at the Mandi Wap Herbal almost daily making sure we meet the operator Mr Jabar who would be around between 5 and 6 pm. Due to poor eye sights we avoid going there at night. Nowadays we prefer the afternoon shift arriving there between 1 and 2 pm and leaving before 4 pm, to avoid the rush hour.

For the inquisitive, Mandi Wap Herbal is simply Sauna with Herbs. Jabar operate one moderate size room with sitting terrace and normal chairs that can accommodate about 25 people easily. Steam laced with herbs would be pump in from the stove in the next room where a huge pot is heated by normal household gas. Temperature would be control from there by his assistant Ms Ani who seems to be around the place almost all the time.

Patrons are advised not to overdo being in the Sauna Room for more than an hour at a stretch. Most of us would stay not more than 30 minutes for the first stretch and would take a break in the resting place next door to cool down for a few minutes. Drinking of water or beverages is permitted. Then we would take in another session of 15 or 20 minutes, repeating once or twice again before quitting.

It takes a few minutes to get the sweat out of the body. The men are advised to wear shorts and everyone should bring a small towel to wipe off the profusion of sweat. A plastic is handy to place the wet towel, shorts, singlet or t-shirts at the end.

As for the fees, the place charge 25 sen for entrance. Should anyone leave the place and re-enter then he has to put in another 25 sen. Out of curiosity I asked Mr Jabar what he does with the collections. He said he normally gave it to charitable organisation around town. For the Mandi Wap the charge is RM 15.00 per person per session. I did a rough calculation, I think it’s just enough to sustain the operations, taking into account the cost of the gas that come in  tanks, rental of premises, electricity and water charges, helpers and assistants salaries, maintenance and unseen costs. Mr Jabar must have set this place up as social responsibility rather than making a profit.

After a year of frequenting the place, I notice there have been improvements in cleanliness and upgrading of facilities. Previously the changing and rest room has to be shared by the men and ladies causing disgruntled. Now the men got a brand new one at the back of the place on the outside which is more spacious and the toilet is sitting type unlike the old one.

Most of the patrons look forward to meet the jovial Mr Jabar. When he is around he offers what he called the “repair job”, some sort of “accue pressure” where he would look for the pressure points in one’s body using a little wood. I think the Chinese called it “fixing the Chi point”. Well, it worked on many patrons who seem satisfied after the treatment. This treatment comes together with the Mandi Wap Herbal as one’s wish. Zainal and I forego this treatment lately as we leave the place well before Mr. Jabar arrived.

Our verdict on the Mandi Wap – Zainal is pleased to see his health improving. His speech is getting better. The only thing that didn’t go away is the three blockages that he is having. The IJN was willing to allow him to continue with his medication rather than going for the surgery. As for me I find that I feel lighter and more agile. The lethargic part has departed sometime back. I think the sweating was responsible for that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Remembering Ramli Samat

Early this year I received a short messaging service (SMS) on the mobile phone from a contact informing me the passing of my good friend Haji Ramli Samat at the Ipoh General Hospital.

Ramli was staying alone after his wife Azian passed away a year earlier and their two children were working outstation. He was not well for sometime due to gout and complications of diabetes. The gout limited his movement and he had to use the chair to pray.

He called me a few weeks before being admitted to talk about old time and updating ourselves. I wanted to visit him should I be in Ipoh but it was fated that the opportunity did not arise.

I have known Ramli when I joined Radio Malaysia at the end of 1963 and we became close pal.

He was from Mesjid Tanah, Melaka. After School Certificate he found a temporary teaching post in Kuala Selangor. After a short stint there he was offered the post of Broadcasting Asssistant Grade III (BA 3) at the Malay Service of Radio Malaysia at Federal House. He had a good husky voice. He loved the job and really made an effort to improved himself. His voice became one of the well known at that time.

He was one of those who was thrifty at that time and could afford to own a brand new Mini Minor which made him more popular with colleagues in the office.

We came very close when he heard I was about to rent a flat at the Malayan Mansion in Jalan Mesjid India, the area known as the infamous “Belakang Mati” in the yesteryears prior to its development with a spanking new mosque built by the India Muslim traders of the area.

That was 1965. I took him as my roommate in the master bedroom. We had a jolly good time and happily enjoying our work at the office. Soon after he received a transfer letter to be Radio Malaysia pioneer representative in Ipoh. His initial reaction was to rebel and he wanted to appeal. I cannot blame him as he was getting high mark on the popularity chart with the audience.

I didn’t actually know how to react but decided to advice him to accept the transfer order – someone has got to go and fill the post. I told him Ipoh was my hometown and where I went to school. He is going to like the place and meet nice friends. After some friendly persuasion, he decided to give it a try at the spanking new office and studio in Dairy Road.

So one nice morning on a Sunday we bade him farewell at the car park of the Mansion. Maybe out of loneliness he called me daily for consultation for the first few days. He must be getting into his stride at work, the called ceased later but he still made his way to KL during the weekends.

At the end of 1965 I too received my transfer order to be the Malay Programme Organiser (MPO) for the Northern Region based in Penang; the responsibility encompassed the four northern states of Penang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. At that time Ipoh was the only one that has an office and studio. Ramli was answerable to me in Penang. He liked that very much rather than being tied up to the headquarters in KL. We had good working relationships.

Ramli had a way with people. His Public Relation was on top. He came to be liked by the locals. He enjoyed his work and gave good local reports.

Later he and Michael Ho of the Entertainment Department in Ipoh became very close with the Rishah Band, established by Sultan Idris who was a proficient saxophonist and composer. Ramli became acquainted through his contact Raja Ismail, the Sultan younger brother. R.Ismail was a radio drama script writer in KL and write lyrics for songs too. He was always with us in Kuala Lumpur. This made Ramli enjoyed his job.

His stay in Ipoh became more intimate when he met his wife Azian which finally led to their marriage.

Good thing has got to come to an end. On promotion he was transferred to KL. I was in the same position as before, advising him to follow order. He reluctantly went to Angkasapuri.

I was later transferred to KL too. On taking charge of the Sports Division Ramli approached me for a place. RTM has got other plan for him but I took him in on casual basis. In fact he joined the team that covered the Final of the Thomas Cup in England in the 80s. He enjoyed doing the job.

Being a thrifty person he purchased a semi D house in Kelana Jaya. Then he was transferred to be in charge of the newly established Shah Alam station on promotion. Although it was not to his liking but he went.

Soon after he was posted to his favourite place to take charge of the Ipoh station. He renewed his acquaintance there and established himself in social work.

Finally he retired and settled in Ipoh.

Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmatNya dan menempat rohnya di kalangan orang2 yang Soleh.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Tokcik's Tale #2

A Simple Touch

It was at the Clifford, Kuala Kangsar, a prestigious school in Perak that Rosman became pally with classmate Arshad better known as Pak Yat. Now they meet at the stall enjoying their tea while talking old time.

“What happened Man? You got very good result at the Cambridge .. Grade One with five As. I just got Grade Two with all Credits.. well I went to Form Sixth and manage to get my Full HSC”.

“As you know Pak Yat I went to Technical College. I found the technical subjects not to my liking but I slogged on – repeat my Final and had to leave without the diploma”.

“What a pity. Its good we are now at this Department”

“You are doing fine in the Programme Section .. here I am tinkering with technical stuff”.

“Never mind .. opportunity will arise”.

Getting a job in the public sector was easy in the days when the country just gained its Merdeka. Rosman opted as a Technician in Radio Malaya at the Federal House. Being technically minded he found the job to his liking but working in shift and doing the same thing was mundane.

“Tell me what sort of job you got to do being a technical man”.

“It is normal for us technicians to be placed at various sections - the MCR, Conties, and Recoding Rooms, Maintenance, the OB and recordings as well as other chores. I don’t enjoy working at the OB as the boss Haji Mahir was always picking on me for the entire little thing that went wrong there.”

Rosman paused for a sip of tea, “I had rather be in the Conties and the Studios”

“ You mean that’s where the glamour is.. you can rub shoulders with well known personalities on the air”. “No la.. but I enjoyed their company and learn new things”. “Yes I notice they appreciate your talent especially in the creative aspect of writing with pantun”. “Some composers and singers got me to write lyrics for their songs”. “Good for you as some of your work are now hit on the local chart”. “OK, I belanja you lah today”.

On the way back to office their subject change to their vehicles, “I spent $50 a month to get my car clean by Nor twice a week”. “Ah, you can afford it”. “You must be cleaning yours on your own”. “No lah wasting time, I never clean my car at all, just let it be”. “Oh, no wonder it’s so dusty”. “Hey, Pak Yat after Hari Raya you can see my car spanking new”. “I didn’t notice that”. “Once a year I sent my car to be painted, it cost $150 only. I save a lot for a new coat of paint”. Both of them had a good laugh.

When Television came to town, Rosman like most technical and creative minded person naturally fit into the bill, ending as an Assistant Producer. It was an interesting post which gave him job satisfaction though the working hours were inconsistent.

The Department was expanding rapidly to fulfil the need of the developing country in disseminating information and provide entertainment of local nature. Rosman found himself in the pilot seat of a producer. He also naturally found himself a family.

The two friends became acquainted again after several years apart. “Wah, Man, you are typical Malay civil service officer la”. “What do you mean?”. “Now you own a Volvo like the rest of them”. “Pak Yat this an old car la”. “Tak kira la, still a Volvo”. “Typical of me, no time to wash. There is a hole on the floor board under you seat, so be careful with your legs.” “All the same it’s a Volvo” followed by laughter.

Fate has it Rosman reported to Pak Yat as a Producer all of a sudden. They had a chat over the matter in the boss’ office, “I notice you seem to be on regular MC a couple of days a week in the old place. Are you sick Man?”. “No, I just don’t enjoy working under Haji Mahir who use to picked on me while a technician at OB. Remember he was my boss at the old place”. “Ah, I see. You know this place here is hectic, we have job to be done to be on the air daily. You think you can cope with the others?”. “Well, I can try”. “You don’t mind working odd hours”, silence, “What sort of working hours you would like to have?”. “Pak Yat you are the boss, you decide”

“I have a simple philosophy, if you don’t feel like to be in the office during working hours you don’t have to be here”. “You are joking”. “I am serious. Only under certain conditions”. “Really?”. “You have to let me know where you are and how you can be contacted at all time”. Rosman contemplate, “What give boss?”. “Simple, we work round the clock and I need people who can be easily contacted and be available on call”. “OK, I like your style, boss. Agree”. Rosman also accepted the other working schedule laid for him.

The next day and subsequent days he was in the office well before 7.30 am and would leave for home well after working hours.

A month later Pak Yat was curious for the change in attitude of his old friend and invited him for a chat. “You seem to be making the office your home, Man?”. “I enjoyed working in your department. I come early after sending my kids to schools. The Mrs picked them up after school”.

Friday, April 8, 2011

tokcik's tale #1

The Wakwak

When the family was in the village near the ‘bendang’ (rice field) the ‘wak-wak’ was a common sight for Munir among other species of birds that depended on the natural surroundings for their feed. The children and the grownups used to trap and brought the various species home as additional delicacies to their staple diets.

That was long ago and Munir has gone to the military college and through the years has gone up in rank and now holding the top post staying at a fully fenced and well guarded luscious residence in peaceful surroundings of an exclusive areas of town in the eastern state.

His wife Marina kept the house in order and disciplined their two secondary going daughters Ana and Ani like the school mum she was before she opted for retirement to assist Munir in the welfare of the wives of the officers and soldiers under him.

There was plenty of time to be filled in such surroundings and conditions. A troop of soldiers took turn in guarding the top brass residence and they have their bunks to return to when they were off duty. Most of them were from the villages and they were so acclimatised to the surroundings, picking up the shoots, leaves and even trappings wild birds. Their favourite birds were the “wak-wak” which seems to be in their natural surrounding around the area.

They have a cage as a holding area for the birds they have caught and would sacrifice them on reaching sufficient numbers. Being children the two sisters would spend endless hours watching and teasing the junky birds. The mum and the soldiers were happy to see them at peace and not creating mischief.

In the old days in the village there were myths on the little wak-wak bird that has no tail. It was common belief that they were under control of bigger power which would command the wak-wak to the path of righteousness. In the Philippines it was believed there were giant wak-waks that could maim cruel and ruthless human. The myth spread far to the nearby lands of similar culture.

On a Saturday morning the girls were near the cage admiring the large number of the birds inside but were taken aback when a trickle of the same bird keep coming from elsewhere and surround the cage.

The girls began to get frighten and withdrew themselves calling their mother, “Mama so many birds coming from outside”.

Being brought up in the city she didn’t figure the significant of the event and asked the guards to shoo them away. The guard did what they were told but to no avail. More wak-waks kept coming, making plenty of squeaky noise and look quite intent to be near their kind in the cage.

The girls got frighten and was led to their room by the maids.

Not knowing what to do under the circumstances Marina decided to make an emergency call to Munir and informed him of the situation. Being the main in his position, Munir coolly told his wife to be calm and asked for the leader of the guard.

While waiting for the chief of the soldier to be on the line, Munir remember of similar tales he heard in his village when he was a small boy. He made his decision like the general he was.

He needed no explanation from the corporal and just ordered him to open the cage and release all the birds.

The order was followed to the letter. All the birds were released and as mimicking the soldiers they just march in orderly manner by the hundreds into the underbrush and disappeared from sight.

There was complete silence at the scene.

Immediately the cage just disappeared from sight as ordered by the general. There was no more activity of trappings the wak-waks. Victory was theirs.