Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, February 25, 2008
If you are one of those people paid to monitor blogs, let me assure you that I am not a political animal, orang utan, frog or whatever. I do have friends supporting the party of their choice - kepala lembu, roket, bulan and kapal layar. Ok, some are old symbols but I am old and I have old friends. I did work for the government but I have never worked for any political party. I shall not insult your intelligence by explaining the difference. Only clueless politicians think their party is the government.

Now that I am old, I do what most old people do. Give advice and sleep. No, I do not give advice while sleeping. So, candidates (it does not matter which Barisan you are in), listen.

First and foremost, I have to ask you a question. Why did you put in your nomination papers? Oh, you want to be elected. Silly old me. Why do you want to be elected? Were you thinking of making your constituents’ life better or were you hoping that your life will be better? If you are an UMNO candidate, here is what your President said at the 57th General Assembly:

It is vital that political leadership provide the best possible example by displaying honesty, diligence, dedication and commitment. Effective leadership is respected leadership. In working towards implementing this first pillar, I have exhorted every Malaysian to work with me and not work for me. At the same time, I am conscious of the fact that I am but God’s humble servant. And consistent with the teachings of Islam, I hope that the political leadership works to serve, in the spirit of community, in the name of Allah and for Allah.
(English translation of the whole speech here.)
I shall not comment on your President's speech because I am sure many have done so. But do
take note of the last line. Non-Muslims, please bear with me. I’ll get to you later. Muslims, be they politicians, opticians, morticians, beauticians and even writers of petitions are required to pray 5 times a day. Each time, you recite the Doa’ Iftitah. That’s where you promise God, among other things “My solat, my life and my death are all for you God. Lord of the Universe”. Remember that? Of course you do. Unless you are among those that think "kun fayakun" is part of a hadith. God wants you to do amal makruf, nahi munkar (perform good deeds and abhor evil). No mention of commissions, shares, a bungalow in the likes of Damansara Height, a trophy wife/husband and a Lexus or two obtained through evil, illegal or unethical means. Non-Muslims candidates should have no problems with performing good deeds and abhorring evil. I am sure your own religion teaches that too. The thing is, I hope you contest because you want to do the right thing. Right? Knowing and doing the right thing is far more difficult than doing things right. Going by past records, not many politicians can even differentiate between right and wrong. Heck, some politicians are just like some Malaysian motorists. They don’t even know which is right and which is left. They give wrong signals. I pray that you, dear candidates do not make the same mistake. Just remember that, in the hereafter, you will be judged. High-powered and well-connected lawyers will not be available to help write the judgment.

Apart from the “Heirloom seats” (seats previously won by your father, your father-in-law, your brother or even your mother’s stepfather), we all know that you have to kiss asses (figuratively, of course) to get to be a candidate. Now that the campaigning have started, you have to kiss babies. Literally. Lots of them. My advice is, shave your face. Babies are sensitive to sand-paper stubbles and crying babies won't get you votes. For women candidates, shaving face is optional. Make sure the babies are under 5 years old. Kissing 16 year old babies during the campaign is not advisable.

Make sure you brief your campaign workers well. In one of the previous elections, some workers hiked up their sarong and exposed themselves to some Puteri members. The flashers landed up in court. In these days of ubiquitous camera phones, even party workers with the most nondescript member can be easily identified and convicted. So warn your workers.

Communicating well is another priority for you. When giving your ceramah, please speak clearly and distinctly. Get rid of your cigarettes, chewing gums or sirih out of your mouth. Those without teeth, go get some dentures pronto. Otherwise you will wind up like the guy who got a 10 inch pianist from a genie just because he did not speak properly.

More advice later. I have to remove my tongue out of my cheek and take a siesta.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008
As part of my ongoing tutelage in taking pictures,TV Smith picked me up early this morning to photograph the nomination scene in Bangsar. Later he drove me to Sri Petaling to photograph the other two lady candidates.
I ran out of battery so this is what I could get:

Earlier, I ran out of steam in Bangsar and could not made the detour to the PKR entourage. TV Smith made it though. He told me PKR served breakfast too. See his pics here.
Any bloggers posting pictures of Nomination Day in other constituencies? Talking about constituencies, the reader of the 1 o'clock news on TV1 today pronounced Haji Hadi's kawasan as Rhu Rendang with the Rendang as in rendang daging. Same mistake made with Pulau Redang. Are there no more Terengganu people in RTM?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Once in a while I get forwarded emails worth sharing. This one is forwarded to me by filmmaker Yassin Salleh. Enjoy! (Older readers might want to use the Text Size option on your browser.)

Two Choices

What would you do? You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handic
apped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were
playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losin
g by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a sma
ll tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone kne
w that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this mom
ent in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would h
ave been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay
ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the ba
se. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all th
e Way Shay"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were
on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the b
oys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother te
arfully embrace her little hero of the day!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar,
and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in you
r address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once
said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:
1. Delete
2. Forward

May your day, be a Shay Day
Thank you
Dr. Seri Intan Mokhtar

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Monday, February 18, 2008
I wrote this before Dewan Rakyat was dissolved so there is nothing about the election in here. Just thought you would like to know.

I rarely do my grocery shopping so I do not know whether there is a butter shortage in Malaysia. I still have about 4 inches of butter in the fridge. I think we bought that bar of butter early last year or was it in 2006? So tell me, is there a butter shortage? I know we have a shortage of good sense, real leaders and honest people. We have people who know which side of their bread is buttered and constantly butter up their bosses but is there a butter shortage in Malaysia?

There was a butter shortage in Japan last December and more recently, an acute butter shortage in Australia. Butter was (maybe still is) in such a short supply that a baker had to resort to drastic measures to safeguard his stock.

The butter shortage in Australia was blamed on the drought. Some blamed it on its export. Demand for butter and other dairy products in Asia has increased. The Chinese in China fell in love with cheesecake. Any baker worth his mixing bowl would tell you that cheesecakes need cheese and butter too.

Of course if you are the cincai type, you might replace butter with margarine. In fact margarine was concocted and patented during an acute butter shortage in 1869. If you are fussy about names, the guy is Hippolyte Mege Mouries. Margarine could be named after his mother-in-law Marge, if he had one. He was French and that brings us to the secret of French cuisine. Just three words "butter, butter, butter". Ok, so you watched "The Last Holiday" too. But I wonder how many of you watched "The Last Tango In Paris". That was a fine film by Bernado Bertolucci starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.
If you do not know who Mr. Brando is, you are too young for my blog. For those of the right age, I would like to point out that "Last Tango In Paris" was definitely not done during a butter shortage.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008
Can you imagine the gomen giving you, a car owner 120 liters of FREE petrol every month? If you own a lorry, a bus or a tractor you will get 200 liters. Motorcycle owners will get 40 liters.

Regretfully, it is not the Malaysian government dishing out this freebie but the government of Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is the country on the Caspian Sea neighboring Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran. And no, they are not having an election this year. The people of Turkmenistan are already enjoying free electricity, free gas, free water and free salt. We enjoy cursing the rise in power rate and were told that even rain water is not free. We do not mind paying for the salt though.

So, since yesterday drivers in Turkmenistan are singing in (or on) their vehicles. The government might be singing too. No more worries about subsidies and smuggling.

But envy not the Turkmen (or the Turkwomen). At least you know for a fact that they will not stand a chance of owning one of the 6 supercars every time they fill up.

Read the news here.
Read about the country here.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008
To all my Chinese friends, Happy New Year. May you be happy and prosperous.



Monday, February 04, 2008
It has been a while since the last get-together of SSSS61 classmates. Thus I did not want to miss last Saturday's High Tea Shamsudin Zahid spread for us at his new bungalow in Bayu Lakehomes, Mantin.

Since Bayu Lakehomes is much younger than some of my cucus (grandchildren), I had to google for its location. Later, Shamsudin sent a map (via Hajjah Sapinah) recommending us to take the Cheras-Kajang-Semenyih-Beranang way. I took his recommendation but forgot to take the map with me. Naguib, my backseat passenger and occasional backseat driver wanted me to take the PLUS highway and had the nagging feeling that I might lose my way. I told him that I have committed the map to memory. I told him about the Scout's Kims Game. My fellow Scout, Pok Daud who was riding shotgun did his best to convince Naguib to have confidence in my navigation.

The road was a bit clogged at Taman Connaught and also in Semenyih. I attributed it to the rain and to the Chinese New Year shoppers. We passed a couple of villages with names that sounded strange to Naguib. He thought we were in Indonesia already.

I got Naguib and Pok Daud safely to Shamsudin's house. In my excitement, I used the French window as my entrance instead of the front door. Som, Shafiq, Dato' Aziz Abdullah and Hajjah Sapinah were amused. One of our juniors and widow of our late teacher was also there. It was nice to see Nik Nga again. Later, Shamsudin Jaafar, who was also our Head Boy came with his wife and his sister, Atan. Atan or Shamsiah was our junior in SSSS. Then the hilaritywas enhanced by the presence of Dato' Dr. Khalid Mohd Noor. The last to arrive was Hassan Hussin. He went to house 192 instead of house 129.
(Left to right:Sapinah, Dato' Dr.Khalid, Som, Shafieq, Dato' Aziz, Nik Nga)

(Pok Daud, Hassan, Sapinah, Shamsudin Zahid. The lake is in the background)

(Dato' Dr.Khalid, Som, Shamsuddin Jaafar, Daud, Naguib)

After thanking the gracious host and hostess for the lovely High Tea and congratulating them on the new lovely bungalow, we reluctantly left at around 6 pm. Shamsudin Zahid told us that going back to KL would be easier via the PLUS highway. Using it on the way in is tricky. There is a lack of signboards to get to his place. I felt vindicated.

Cruising on the highway, the conversation turned a bit academic. We were debating whether we are a democracy, an oligarchy or what. We cannot really say that ours is "a government of the people, by the people, for the people". Being on the highway that is old enough for the toll to be reduced and thinking of the daylight robberies that were committed by various people and various quarters, I told them of a kind of government that they might not have heard of before. You go and read on kleptocracy and see if we are heading that way.

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