Monday, February 26, 2018

It's been 10 years!

Mon. 26th. Feb. 2018.

I read that "the Scribe, Kadir Jasin" posted that his blog is 12 years old. So I checked. Why, my blog started in 2008. So I'm 10 years old ! Not bad.

I used ( sorry for these "I", "I", I know we're told it's a bad way to start a sentence. So also "but". But this, too, I seem to break all the time, ha ha ) to write to the reader's column in the "Straits Time". I thought my friends didn't notice it, but they did, and commented about it. I remember a fellow golfer I called "Lu Tipu" (real name Loo The  Poh ) especially well, because he commented on that piece about the long, long names used in Brunei. He used to teach in Brunei, and I went to Brunei in 1966, and was there with the group from the Geography Department, University of Malaya, doing some research there for 8 or 10 weeks, I can't remember exactly now. It was my first flight, and from the brand-new Subang Airport. I think we flew in a "Comet". There was an overnight stop in Jesselton, as Kota Kinabalu was then called. From there we flew to Brunei in a "Dakota."

In 2008 I fiddled around on my newly acquired pc and got my blog going, and thus ended the newspaper commentry.

Unlike Kadir, though, I only have 2 or 3 followers. But I'm not a journalist, and I'm not anywhere near the circle of Kadir's. I write for myself, though I've mulled the idea of collecting all my posts into a short journal, or even a small book. Just a sort of memoir. Something I could slid into my stack of books and look at from time to time.

I choose English because I feel more "flexible", not because I'm not proud of my Bahasa Melayu. I also believe that I should add to the number of Malays doing this, as a supporter of well-written English by Malays, or even Malaysians. To this day, I can't resist correcting my children's English, the badly-written English produced by my golf club, or even when reading the in-flight magazines in the local airlines. You might come across such magazines, if they haven't been thrown out, and see my ball-pen corrections of simple grammartical mistakes and my unsought notes "poor edition!" and such similiar ones.

Halim says my blogs are all "political". Maybe so, but it's not intentional. I have to be in the mood, as you can see from the variable pauses between blogs. But nothing raises ire for me like stupid politicians talking to us as if we are as stupid as they are!

Let's see now. My average posting has been about 400 words. I've posted 383 times these 10 years, giving about 157,000 words in total. I'm re-reading an old golf book published in 1981 - "The Inner Game of Golf" by W. Timothy Gallwey which has 238 pages with probably 78,000 words. That makes my total blog equivalent to 2 of this book. As I said, not bad !

Hopefully 10 years would extend by another 10. And another 10.

We'll see.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Wed 21st Feb 2018.

I literally bumped into Hank at the NSK Trade Store, the relatively new supermarket at S2. I'd just completed some transactions at AXA Insurers just next to it, and thought I'd just drop in and see some stuff, and who did I find, but my old friend back from 1961. Wow, that's 57 years ago ! This was a pleasant surprise because we have not met for some time.

When we were together at UM 1965-1968 we were housemates for 2 terms at "Kawasan Melayu," in Section 14, I think, in PJ. After graduation we went our separate ways, but frequently met each other because of various activities and common interests.

Since we were doing some shopping just now, we agreed to meet at the in-house eating place in half-an-hour, and we did. I had tea, Hank asked for cendul, but Hank had to leave at 4 sharp. But not before we agreed to have a golf game on Thursday March 1st. at S.I.G.C. Since he claimed to not have played for 5 years, and would have to look for his clubs, I said to just turn up with his reciprocal card and I'll bring the clubs and some balls.

In fact we took up the game together, way back in 1986, when we both got our handicaps, me in Seremban, and him at K.G.N.S. So March 1st would be an interesting game. That's plenty of years in the gap.

Hank is alone now, having lost his wife last year. He says he alternates between Seremban, where he has a house, and PJ, where his eldest daughter stays in his other house. I suggested he circulates an old photo if he wants to get a new wife. In the mean time he claims he cooks himself. I feel sorry for whoever is sharing his cooking.

There're a lot of stories about Hank, but they deserve separate pieces. I'll just state here that in 1991 I did an exceptional service for him, one that Sha, our friend, had once said "Hank, you're too much lah". On his request then, I agreed to hire his girl friend as my new secretary. I caught them a couple of times from my office window, which overlooked the back road to my office building, Hank dropping my secretary in his Mercedes, coming to work in the morning. He must have left house very early in the morning to be able to do this, because my secretary was never late.

I'll just stop here for now.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Ujang-Banun Clan reunion.

Friday - Saturday 16-17 Feb. 2018.

While taking advantage of the Chinese New Year holidays, not everyone came for this year's Ujang-Banun Family reunion. Still, about 140 were counted present this time around, the third one, at Lonek. Mostly, we stayed at the many home-stays around Lonek and Batu Kikir, with Kemar and Nazir in hotels in Bahau. Mak Di and Ai took advantage of free sleeping in Bal's house, although I suggested that she bills them.

The banner said "since 2006." That makes this event a good 12 years old. I can't remember who first mooted the idea, but it's a good one. There's another one I was invited to, the Tanjong Jati Clan, but I only attended one gathering many, many years ago, at the Police Depot, KL. My connection is through my grandfather on my mother's side. The Ujang-Banun group has had more gatherings, obviously.

It's the second-generation who's managing this.  But the third and fourth generations contibute the biggest membership. And members are pretty far-flung - from Seremban, KL, Kota Bharu, Kedah, Kuantan, Segamat, Keluang, Terengganu, Singapore and even Sabah. And of course Bal & family from right here, Lonek. The biggest contributor of numbers was Anjang's group. Pin alone accounted (note the pun) for 9, with 1 AWOL (for more details, contact Mak Di). Azza is catching up.

The Singapore contigent was muted this time around. Sabah came full force, including one unborn. Ikhwan's group was also missing. But there was enough noise, and the 140 made the now-standard 2-day event no less fun. 

The committee hatched well-thought out activities last time, as also this time. The key word is participation, and there's always plenty of it. There was a good mixture of the physical as well as the spiritual. While fun and games were enjoyed, prayers for the dear departed, and supplication for continued well-being for all were offered. Two versions of the azan were heard. Farhan's was weak and clearly untested, but Anjang's grandson was good. Two imams also ably led, separately,  Magrib and later Isyak. Nazir threw in a surprise birth-day lunch for his 63 years, complete with a brief, tearful speech.

The food was much improved from the last gathering, both in quantity and taste, although I think it's the same supplier.

The mc for the 2 days was fluent and appeared experienced and obviously pregnant. But that didn't seem to affect her movement. In fact she was jumping around with mike in one hand and baby in the other. She even managed to make Kak Long Izan speak more than one sentence when asked about her recent Bandung trip.

The next gathering is planned for 2020. Meanwhile, there will be qurban for Aidil Adha. But Ai not-so-politely reminded everyone to keep his or her membership account up-to-date. 


Thursday, February 8, 2018


Thursday 8 Feb 2018.

The wife and I were in Bandung these last four days. With Kak Long Izan and 3 daughters and grandson. And Balkis. The ladies had planned for this without me, but when I found out about it, I forced myself in. But it was Kak Long's show all the way. I just watched. I think she's ok.

I was here in 1996, for golf. That's 22 years ago! I don't remember the traffic being bad then. But the weather is just as cool now as it was then. Every day in the early morning it was 21 degrees C this time around. When we went up to Kawah Putih it was a fingers-numbing 14 degrees!

It was four hectic days, and I enjoyed it. Food was good, the sights were enjoyable, the people friendly, and even with rain, the weather was refreshingly pleasant. I took morning walks each day after breakfast, and enjoyed them because of the cool temperature, and the guest-house we stayed at is in an up-scale area fronted with a well-kept quiet street, with security.  Once you step out to the public roads at both ends of the short street, it was the scene common to all of the city - a truly horrifying vehicle-choked mess.

"Macet" is the common term used to describe the continuously jammed traffic. I've been to Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta, Mumbai, Delhi (both Old and New) and Johannesberg. We're forever complaining about KL traffic. But I don't think I've seen worse traffic chaos than Bandung. It's literally bumper-to-bumper. You can't even see the pavement. And 90% of the roads are too small even for two cars to pass each other.

The great thing is, the 4 days I was there, even with the 2-hour trip up Kawah Putih, with the steady drizzle, the mist, and the thousands of motorcycles, bicycles, and horse-carts, I didn't see a SINGLE accident! Our van driver even made a U-turn in the middle of the congested street, even having to make a 3-point turn because of the narrowness of the road, the other road users tolerated it and not a sound of irritation came from the other vehicles or their occupants. It was truly amazing.

I got to see the local scenery, tasted the local food (very much like our own, only somehow tastier because of the ambient temperature), chatted with a few of the citizens, and waited patiently for the ladies who spent too much time shopping, especially at Pasar Baru. It was a nice break from my eternal golf, and I didn't even miss it.

We speak the same language, the Indonesians and Malaysians. It's a different dialect of the Malay Language. Even the spelling is the same now, when decades ago they used the Dutch spelling. Still Bal learned a few rather strange words for common things. Like "pangkas rambut" (gunting rambut), "dorong"(tolak), and of course "macet"(traffic jam). And, commonly, all the sales girls at Pasar Baru were crying out "boleh, boleh, boleh, blanja lagi!"

We told Kak Long to plan for the next trip. Maybe Hanoi?