Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Long Weekend

OK, so that was a long weekend.

I also got calls from my friends Raj and Gam in Singapore wondering if anything was the matter with me. On the other hand, I also did not want to appear obsessed with this blogging thingy, so I thought lets go easy.

On the blogging front, I believe the battle lines are drawn and parties involved in the defamation suits are going to court today. Well, the best of luck to both sides. While most bloggers are up in arms over the whole affair, I really believe that there was never really any other choice for the aggrieved parties and it has to come down to this. We cannot fail to notice that most of the parties involved in the suit have axes to grind with each other and I will also not be surprised when the time will come when bloggers will also sue each other...

Lawyer jugak yang untung.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Protocosmic Interface or Whatever

My old friend and former MCKK classmate Zaharan writes his blog, Protocosmic Interface (I'm still trying to fathom what this means) from Kota Kinabalu. A bit of an eccentric ex-academic, I believe he is now more into voyages of self discovery, solo biking and trekking in tropical jungles, climbing mountains and kayaking in river rapids and such after his retirement from the world of academia. But like me, he is also not really interested in politics although he counts amongst his former students blogger Ahirudin Attan of Rocky's Bru, now being sued for defamation by the New Straits Times.

Zaharan was also the one who had advocated standing on one's head as a panacea to a host of ills (see my earlier blog on this) some time ago when I was having a bad case of the flu. This had forced me, like him, to break into verse, albeit in an unconventional Nogori patois. I must confess though that a clogged nose and a splitting headache can really play havoc with one's literary ambitions.

He once also tried to convince me to join him on a trek up the Himalayas, in particular to Kali Pattar at the Everest Base Camp. I had wisely begged off, I think, giving the excuse that my 'sea legs' were more meant for pacing the decks of ships and certainly not for climbing mountains! But I would not have minded tagging along if only to help keep the campfires burning, snugly ensconced in the warm tents while he and the other nuts go climb the mountain, perhaps with a few lady Sherpas to keep me company ... to which he promptly pointed out that Kali Pattar was indeed the name of the patron Goddess of the lady Sherpas!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mind Your Language

It has occurred to me that since my young nephews and nieces are also reading this blog, I had better watch my language. Now this is at a time when there is already a widespread malaise of four-letter words and obscenities being freely traded over the air waves, in print, on TV and in the movies that I believe no amount of 'bleeping' (is that the word) by the censor boards can cure.

I remember many years ago, my youngest sister had asked me point blank at dinner one day what the 'F' word meant. She was then already a senior in the convent school she attended and even the then prudish Oxford English Dictionary had not yet offered any authoritative definition of the magic word. A young and naughty neighbourhood boy had shouted the word at her while cycling past, and I bet he too didn't know what it meant.

Of course my parents also didn't know what it meant either.

Suffice to say that this big bad sailor of a big brother was caught off guard and was at a loss for words, but was saved at the bell by my other sister who gave her that special lingering look amongst sisters that she immediately caught the drift and said, "Oh, you mean that, ah? I thought dunno what!".

(Now I bet her daughters, i.e., my nieces who are probably reading this are now rolling all over the floor ...)

What is the world coming to, indeed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


(Photo courtesy of Capt. Noor Apandi of Tampin Linggi)

Last night, at the Vintage Ballroom of the Subang Holiday Villa, this vintage mariner was made a Fellow of IKMAL, the Institut Kelautan Malaysia or the Malaysian Maritime Institute. Presenting the award was YBM Tengku Dato Seri Azlan, Malaysia's deputy minister of transport and younger brother of an old MCKK batchmate, Tengku Aziz. Together with the framed certificate, I was also given a smart light blue blazer with the IKMAL badge made by the exclusive Fox Custom Tailors, probably the most expensive piece of clothing I will ever own in my lifetime ...

The occasion was IKMAL's 22nd Anniversary Gala Dinner which was well attended by the Malaysian maritime fraternity. The menu was great, the entertainment was superb and the networking was excellent.

Also awarded an IKMAL Fellowship was Capt. Ahmad Othman (above photo, right), the Director General of Marine for Peninsula Malaysia, who tells me that he is a regular visitor of my blog. IKMAL's merit Awards for Corporate Excellence 2006 was also presented to North Port (M) Bhd., represented by an old friend and CEO Dato Basheer Hassan, and to Inai Kiara Sdn. Bhd. represented by Dato Capt. Ismail Kamin, another keen follower of this blog.

Jolly good fellows, really.

Friday, January 19, 2007


We are indeed living in interesting times.

A couple of my favourite bloggers are now being sued for defamation by a newspaper which used to be a favourite but now no longer my cupper tea.

Which goes to show that we do have to be extra careful and even practice ‘self censorship’ when we communicate news, rumours, opinions etc. in our blogs and which is why, unlike my contemporaries, I am not really interested in politics. It is not that I do not givashit what happens to my country and my people but as I have said before, I do honestly believe that we truly deserve the government that we have got. Period.

In a democracy, the only way to change a bad government is still through the ballot box, unless anybody wants to suggest to our army generals to have some balls and be a bit more ‘adventurous’ like our neighbours. Or our rakyat have the stomach for a 'people power’ type of revolution or whatever which I don’t think we are ready for, those recent mass demonstrations on toll hikes notwithstanding (which I believe wasn't given much publicity in the media).

Going to court is one way to let it all come out in the open. Questions will need to be answered and if our judiciary have indeed come to their senses, then these are going to be very interesting times indeed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Of Days Gone By

(This is for Mat Salo*, who is somewhere out there drilling for oil off-shore in an Indonesian backwater).

I had made it a point to drive to Port Klang this morning just to meet Mat Salo's uncle Basiruddin or 'Acheh', a childhood friend I have not seen for almost 30 years. Over teh tarik kurang manis at the famous Abdullah's mamak restaurant opposite the bus terminal, we sure had a lot of catching up to do. He had just completed a two year contract managing the Port Klang Golf Club and is now on his second 'retirement'.

The years have indeed taken a toll on the both of us. Somehow we had lost touch over the years, not that he was on a different planet but we had both pursued our respective careers and raised our families in different states. He excelled in sports and had remained in our home town Seremban, teaching and coaching tennis in local schools while I went on to pilot ships in Port Klang. I did not know that he had gone to pursue a degree in sports management in the U.S. in the mid 80's nor was I aware that he had lost his eldest son to leukemia about fifteen years ago. Almost in despair, he had quit teaching then and managed several golf clubs and resorts in between.

They say the good die young and time heals but I could feel his pain even now. How I wish that I had been there for him while he and his family were going through the trauma and the tragedy over the loss of his son. I recall I had held the boy in my arms when he was a toddler.

We parted making promises to keep in touch and to meet again soon, promises lightly made as in the past but Insyaallah, this time I shall try to keep them.

* Borneo Blues - a Mat Salo Perspective is at http://matsalo.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Food Tasting

Braised abalone and fish maw with broccoli.

Well, broccoli has never been my favourite vegetable but the abalone and fish maw were delicious. This dish was part of the proposed menu for our institute's annual dinner next week at a hotel in Subang Jaya. The organizing committee had arranged for a food tasting luncheon yesterday.

A 10 course Chinese lunch or dinner is not quite the norm for moi these days so I had to go easy on dinner last night. Since the annual dinner is only a week away, I shall be quite busy and may have to go easy on blogging too ...

Still no news of the fate of of my HDD from Western Digital and at present I am using a borrowed spare HDD from the vendor.

Monday, January 08, 2007


I came home yesterday to find that my four month old PC hard disk drive has crashed. Just came back from Imbi Plaza where I sent it to try and salvage any data at all from the disk. I was told that chances are very slim and the best I can hope for is a replacement of the disk with a new blank disk.

This is something that you hear can happen but you never expect it to happen to you, so you don't make any back ups. It would appear that a lot of my very personal data, documents, photos, music etc are gone forever and this is a very expensive lesson indeed.

Friday, January 05, 2007

South of the Border

In a little while, I am going to hit the PLUS north-south highway en route to Singapore to fetch my missus. My favourite itinerary has always been a leisurely breakfast stop at the R-and-R complex at Air Keroh in Melaka and from there direct to Johor Baru. After filling up my petrol tank at the Second Link I should be in time for lunch in Singapore.

We should be back on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Terang Bulan Avenue

I have been 'summoned' by my wife to fetch her home from her sister's house in Opera Estate*, Singapore (or else she isn't coming back she says ... haha) where she has spent the past week 'bonding' with her kinfolk. So I will take a slow drive down to Singapore early Friday morning and spend a couple of days there.

* It is interesting to note that all the roads and avenues in this housing estate are named after operas, operettas and Malay bangsawan of old e.g. Carmen, Aida, Figaro and even Terang Bulan Avenue where my wife and I were married more than thirty years ago. The theme song from the old Malay bangsawan or opera Terang Bulan was adapted in 1957 as our national anthem Negara Ku.

I recall many years ago, as part of the often brutal 'ragging' aboard my pre-sea training ship in Bombay, I was made to stand stark naked at attention by my seniors and sing our national anthem. Imagine my horror then when I was proudly singing the Negara Ku, albeit in my 'birthday suit', one of the senior cadets started to hum and then sing the song in a language I could not then identify! It appeared that this particular senior cadet grew up in the Seychelles Islands where the song was an old and popular folk song*.

It was fortunate for me that I remembered my history lessons well and managed to explain away the 'connection'. Our national anthem was actually adapted from the Perak state anthem, which in turn was adapted from the then popular bangsawan song Terang Bulan. This song had originated from the Seychelles where Perak's Sultan Abdullah was sent in exile by the British after being implicated in the assassination of J.W.W. Birch in November 1875.

But I must have looked pretty silly then forty years ago, with mouth agape and 'main mast' dangling in the wind, when my seniors aboard the training ship ordered me to stop trying to be a comedian and sing the correct song, or else to hit the deck (literally) and do a hundred push ups instead ...

From the French song La Rosalie, original melody by Pierre Jean de Beranger.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hello 2007

I must be one of the fortunate few husbands who have absolutely no reason to forget his wife's birthday simply because it is today, 1st of January. So to my dear better half now in Singapore: Happy Birthday and a Happy New Year.

Alan on the guitar, Dato K and Seetho

After a quick balik kampung trip to Seremban in the morning after solat yesterday for the raya with my mother and immediate family, I later attended a small private year-end party in the evening given by my old friend, retired ambassador Dato Kadir at his house in Shah Alam. We had a sumptuous barbecue dinner, with splendid company and a thoroughly enjoyable sing-along session of oldies and evergreens backed by the Z Band led by Alan Zechariah while we waited for midnight for the final countdown to the new year...