Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mahathir in Seremban.

Maulud had wapp'ed me about Pakatan Harapan's Ceramah Perdana at Betaria Business Centre, Seremban, on Sunday, 18th. March, starting from 8.30 p.m., with Mahathir as the centre of attention, but I'd forgotten about it until that morning when Raob mentioned it at the golf club's reception counter. Of course I went, one, because I'm a supporter, and two, I wanted to see the crowd.

There were a few snafus. The sudden drizzle; the record track loss on the theme song; the cutting-off of the air-balloons from the two banners. But the drizzle was brief. The mc quickly switched over on the mike. And nobody seemed to notice the balloons floating away, leaving the banners behind.

When I arrived around 8 and parked my car at Centrepoint, the new shopping complex close by, others were also arriving in numbers. I saw young Chinese men and women, middle-aged Indian men, and young Malays of both sexes gathering, looking for parking space, and walking briskly to the venue for the forum. The GE has not been announced, but this sure looked like it. I emphasize the relative youthfulness of those I saw coming, because this is significant for a Malaysian GE. The youth has always shown apathy  in the past. And that all 3 major races were there in numbers is significant, too.

As a supporter I was hoping for a good crowd. In fact, there was a huge one, given the venue and the scant publicity, and that this was a private, not governmental event. The entire area designated in the empty street was filled up. The shop corridors on both sides had standing room only. The rest of the space remaining were filled up, and people were standing and sitting on the road and the road divider facing the big screen, following what was going on. Cars and vans and motorcycles were double-parked on both sides of Jalan Dato' Siamang Gagap from the Centerpoint Shopping Complex to the traffic lights at the Sikamat junction.

This was the second Mahathir's visit I'd attended in Seremban, the first one at Ampangan last year. I tell you, the old man still has pulling power.

If the 14 GE is run honestly, if at all, I think BN has a lot to worry about, just looking at this one Ceramah Perdana. Negri's Mat Hasan is reported to have said that the youth should "turn the table" in NS. Actually he used the Malay words "terbalikkan meja". I know what it means. I don't know if Negri's Mat Hasan meant it that way. But "turning the table" is reversing the existing position. BN is in power in NS right now. Turning the table on that means changing the government - from BN to others !

I give it to the old man. It's entirely because of him that Najib has ordered (he must have !) the ROS not to approve the registeration of Pakatan Harapan, and has even threatened to deregister Bersatu. A disjointed opposition works in favour of the BN. Only PAS has supported Najib (at least Hadi has) but 21 seats out of 222 in Parliament, and 82 seats out of 587 in the States don't carry much clout. Without a single united opposition headed by someone like Mahathir, Najib has a better chance of retaining power. Or so he thinks.

The last time UMNO's 88 ( 14 from Sabah ) had 7 MCA, 4 MIC, 1 Gerakan, and a massive 33 from Sabah & Sarawak to hold 133 seats in Parliament, but 59.9 % is the worst performance in the 54-year history of the Malaysian GE's up to that time. But BN clung to power.

But the table could be turned.


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Monday, March 19, 2018

Post 41 Tiger Woods.

Monday 19.3.2018

I'd sms'd Ong at the end of the 3rd. round of the Arnold Palmer Tournament and suggested that Tiger could be in contention if he made 6 birdies and no bogeys for a -13 come Sunday's final round. He made 6 birdies, but had 3 bogies for a -10, for 5th. place, 8 strokes behind the final winner, who started with -10 and had a -8 on the last day, for -18.

But this was only his fifth outing for 2018, 5 years after his last win. 2016 & 2017 he was out with back surgery. For the 5 competitions this year, Tiger has a mixed-bag of one missed-cut, 9th., 2nd. and at Arnold's a 5th. place finish.  Some US sports commentators say that his come-back from injury is too fast. Greg Norman, naturally, said Tiger is too old to win a Major again.

So what are his chances for the Masters at Augusta this April, the first of the 4 Majors he needs to draw level with Nicklaus' record ?

He used to hold the no. 1 spot for a total 683 weeks. (Greg Norman is second with less than half as many weeks.) Now his WGR is in the hundreds. His 14 Majors is second best to Nicklaus' 18. His 79 PGA titles is second best to Sam Snead's 82.  His last win was 4 years ago, making it a total of 5 winless years if you add 2010. His last Major win was the US Open in 2008,  a long, long time ago. Doesn't sound great ?

But 14 Majors over a span of 20 years as a pro works out to 1.42 years between them. His record at Augusta is nothing to be ashamed of: in 18 years between 1997 - 2015, he had 4 wins and 9 top 10, making it 13/18, or 72.2% of the time.

His first win at the Masters in 1997 at age 21 was his 3rd. professional win, and his first Major, in his 2nd year as a pro. 

He has won the other 3 Majors a total of  10 times.  In fact he has a "Tiger Slam" - holding all 4 Major trophies between 2000 -2001, the only one to do so.

He's won the 10 million-dollar FedEx Cup twice, the only one to have done it.

Before turning professional and quitting college in his second year, or a sophomore as the Americans call it, Tiger had won the US Junior and the US Amateur 3 consecutive times each from age 15, the only person who has done so.

Until the end of 2017, at age 41, Tiger has won 111 tournament in 26 years. This comprises 6 amateurs, 14 Majors, 65 other PGA's, and 26 international titles, which works out to 4.27 wins per year.

The last Major Jack won was at age 46. Tiger is 41.

This is a game. Forget about all the accolades which all come after. You have to have game. At Arnold's, Tiger had 20 birdies. That alone, without any bogies, would have beaten the winner's score of -18. But he had 8 bogies and a double-bogey. His drive went OB on the 16th. hole on the last day. He had the ball stuck unplayable to the side of the bunker. And he missed a handful of makeable birdies. Others were dunking the ball into the hole from all over the place, birdieing from bunkers and eagling from the fairway. You can join all the lucky strikes and all Tiger's bad bounces, and you see chance tipping the scale against pure talent.

So, to answer my own question about his chances at the Masters in 3 weeks time, I'd say pretty darn good!


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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Acik

Sat. 3rd. March, 2018.

Acik was the last of my aunties from atok Hassan and wan Tiamin. Acik died in her daughter's arms Thursday, March 1st., about 10 past 6 p.m. in her house in Beting. An auspicious day to be called to the Lord. Ati called at about 7. I left Seremban after Magrib, with Calit and my wife. Norzam said her mother had not been feeling well the last 2 days, and had asked for water, and when Norzam was trying to put the liquid to her lips, she simply slipped away. She was 81.

I remember when our family of  6 were in a taxi, all ready to move to Tanjung Malim in 1950, where dad was being reassigned to S.I.T.C., when Acik cried and cried, wanting to go with her elder sister, my mom. She was hanging on the taxi's window, and mom was consoling her from inside the car, and wan doing the same thing from outside it, and Acik was not consoled until mom pulled either her gold necklace or gold ring, I can't remember which, and gave it to Acik, saying she could come later, and only then did Acik let go of her hold on the car. She did eventually come to Tanjung Malim much later, and in fact attended Standard 6, I think, at the school there, for about a year. Kak Mot, my future sister-in-law, was with her there, as Cikgu Ujang and family were also there. Simple arithmetic puts Acik at about 12 years old then.

Acik was always close to mom, right until mom's death 10 years ago. She'd come to the house almost daily from her house in Batu 46, about 3 km away, and especially when mom wasn't well, as she was often in the last years of her 86 long years. Acik was the one who took care of the details when mom died in her own bed, and would often visit even when the burial and the "doa arwah" and other stuff were all long done. It's sad that in the last 2 years Acik had not been well, and had memory loss and all the aging afflictions. I would come as often as I could, from Seremban, but could never feel I'd done justice for the love and care Acik gave to mom. I'd tried to never miss my Raya visit to her house in Batu 46, and later when she moved into Norzam's house in Beting. I would have visited more often, but for the horrendous Seremban-Kuala Pilah drive, especially on weekends and holidays. In the old days Seremban-Kuala Pilah was an easy half-an-hour drive. Nowadays you're lucky to do it in less than 2 hours. Last Chinese New Year's holidays, I had to even take a detour to Inas-Kampong Batu, Rembau to come back to Seremban, and that itself took two and-a-half hours.

Being the youngest, Acik was much attached to wan, her mother, who died 64 years ago, as her tombstone inscription says " 4.5.64", an easy number to remember. Now, in death, they're close again, in the same burial ground, about 30 feet apart, at the Kg. Jawa Muslim cemetry, in Melang. Both my parents, and the two grandparents, are interred here, as is Mak Tam, my other aunt, my niece Iza, and Udin Hj. Aso, Acik's last and second husband, just next to her, so there's a whole family here.

Did I say "second husband"?

My wife, among others, was surprised to learn that Acik was married before the one with Udin Hj. Aso. It was Pak Bai and Amok Jompo, Acik's other elder sister, who were responsible for Acik's first marriage, to a soldier, Mustaffa. But it didn't last long. I remember Acik and wan going with Mustaffa to his camp, after the wedding. I can't remember where that camp was. But I remember Mustaffa, because he commented on my drawing when I came back from school. We were all staying in wan's house in Bukit Temensu then. After a few months, wan and Acik came back from wherever Mustaffa's camp was. I remember wan and Acik sewing a tear in the mosquito net that they brought back with them. It struck me as strange then, their sewing the torn mosquito net. Only later I learned that Acik was home for good, minus Mustaffa. To this day I wonder what caused the separation and divorce. I heard just now, at Acik's funeral, that wan didn't like Mustaffa for not being "alim" or something to that effect. Mustaffa remarried, and is back in Jempol, and must be in his 80's, like Acik. In fact Basit Abai brought Mustaffa to visit Acik some months ago, now that Acik was ailing. And in fact his daughter to that second marriage came for the funeral.

The night before the Friday funeral, I lifted the veil covering Acik's face, and said to her, eyes closed and face pale in death, "do good, Acik" without knowing why I said those words that she could no longer hear. But my sadness was real. May God have mercy on you, dear Acik.


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