Saturday, May 26, 2007

In a Dark Dark Wood

In a dark dark wood,
there was a dark dark path.

And up that dark dark path,
there was a dark dark house.

And in that dark dark house,
there was a dark dark stair.

And up that dark dark stair,
there was a dark dark room.

And in that dark dark room,
there was a dark dark cupboard.

And in that dark dark cupboard,
there was a dark dark box.

And in that dark dark box,
there was a....GHOST.

I am sure all of us have come across this folk tale sometime in our lives. I like the way when it entices our minds into thinking of a big area to start with and it shrinks down to a smaller and smaller place until the nucleus of it, the subject matter, comes alive… there was a GHOST.

Don’t you think there is a similarity in whatever things we are dealing in, we should focus on the big picture of it first before pursuing the directions we set, of which later breeds into the action plans with the breakdowns of activities to work on until the real thing we are aiming for comes out as a result of it?

I think it does.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Murphy's Law

Right from the time when I was a student, I wanted to have a business of my own. It was supposed to be a gradual process after acquiring certain knowledge and experience. But it happened sooner than expected; the opportunity to have it came in a surprising manner when I lost my job years ago.

When I mention to people that I came into the business world because I failed to secure a job after the last downfall, the reaction is nonplussed.

It’s true. I lost everything. Well, it was actually not much of everything that I had lost as I accumulated no wealth throughout but the pride was. That was back in Year 2001.

You can imagine when you are used to have a “good life” with a “good pay” and a big car and all of the sudden you are left with nothing. At first, to be at the taxi stand or LRT station to commute felt like the whole world was laughing at me. It’s different when you commute using the public transports out of your own choice while you are having your Porsche, or BMW, or CLS-Class, or even Kancil for that matter parked under the shade somewhere at the station or home. And it’s different for not having a mean of a transport of your own when you choose not to have one but in my case it was necessary for me to have one but I could not afford it.

It damaged my pride. The worst feeling is when I had to sit around not having the regular things that I had before to be dealing with.

But it was not too long before I got back on my feet understanding what I had already understood about the reality of life. I had nothing in life before. Then I had the opportunity to have something. And now, that little something was back to nothing. So what’s the big deal? The only thing was, without realizing it, I had allowed the pride in me to build the wall. I should've put it in the pocket, instead.

To make the story short, I was actually hunting around for a job but The Murphy’s Law worked on me at that time. The time when I was employed, plenty of offers from other corporations wanted to fish me out but when the time I desperately needed it, none was available.

I am quite handy with papers and paper works. I may be am not the best person in the world to conceptualize a business plan but the sketch I worked on while I was alone at home later turned out to be something of a value to some quarters. In fact, what I did was just pouring out my frustrations and capitalizing on my imaginations for the escapism purposes. Little did I know someone would take it seriously.

That’s how I get myself into the business circle.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rambling: An Afternoon with My Kids

Last week on Tuesday…..

Edrin was excited for a swim at a swimming pool at the club house in our area, Saujana Utama Club House, some 200 meters on the straight line from our home, up on the gradient. It has been a while since the last time my boys went there swimming. He hurried with the gears, had the swimwear readily worn underneath his daily wear, a bottle of cold drinks, an empty laundry bag for wet clothes, and towels – packed in a sling bag, shared with Sam’s. Since the excitement was greatly in Edrin, Sam just sat there on the couch finishing off the game on his Nintendo GameBoy. Edrin was seen a bit pissed off when Sam teased him – jokingly threatens not to go if he fails to pack up for him.

“Kalau tak jumpa goggle Sam… Sam tak nak pergi…”
“Hehehe… I am the Boss… Kan Aesh?

(Edrin is called as Aesh by Fara & Sam, originated from his 1st name Farez but my wife and I call on his 2nd name, Edrin)

A glance from the corner of his eyes, tongue-in-cheek, demonstrating his annoyance with Sam and Sam continues laughing.

But Edrin packed up anyway.

“Cepatlah Sammm…” Edrin just couldn’t stand anymore when he was all ready with the bag hanging on his left shoulder.

“OK…OK… Nak siap ni…” Sam walked off from the couch while his eyes still glued on the Gameboy screen in his hands. Swiftly to the room, put on his swimwear before using back the clothes he was wearing on top.

“Kak Ana tu…” The boys call their sister Fara Liyana as Kak Ana. Before Edrin finished his sentence, the sister Fara already acted upon it, acknowledged his agitation.

Fara dashed to have her tudung on, almost bumped into Sam in the hallway, giggling, feeling triumphant in her prod to push Edrin to the edge. Their mom was in her usual self, smirked, with ‘I-am-ready-whenever-you-are’ conduct, lounged in the single-seater, clenching on her purse, timed her move off the seat. She then switched off the little indoor fountain, latched the sliding door and for a second or two gave an admiring look at the curtain of her choice for Hari Raya last year. While I, was at the rock garden leading to the grilled door with the shoelaces already tied up, adjusting my favorite black Levi’s cap, car keys in hand, smiling – amused with the play staged by them.

Edrin had his goggles missing during the last bashing at the river. We stopped over at 7-11 for a new pair. Since not much of choices available, I told Edrin to go without it this time around and promised him a better pair to be bought in SACC Mall, Shah Alam.

So there we were at the club, greeted by an Indian guy, a familiar face in charge of the security around the swimming pool. I am confused whether he is a security guard or life guard. Whatever it is, he’s always there for the club and around the pool. Anyway… You know what? It was 1st of May, Labor Day. Public holiday. The pool was closed.

Phewww! You can imagine the kind of look Edrin had posed.

So then we went to the Equestrian Club instead, right down the slope across the street from the Club House – watching horses in the stables. At least Edrin’s frustration for not being able to swim was compensated a little when he had fun patting and stroking the horses and commenting on the stained teeth of the horses. And I personally started to like what I was seeing up close, amazed with the sturdy build up of a horse. I never had ridden a horse before despite of having all the opportunities when I was abroad. My interest in it perhaps was drowned by my other interest in motor vehicles. I bet it is far different from riding on the back of a bull when I was a young boy for the bull that I hopped on turned nasty, threw me off ugly to the ground that made me think twice to ride on it again.

What so good about the Equestrian Club in our place? It is a place of choice for the King of The Country, YDP Agong for the horseback riding. In any weekend, if our secluded and quiet neighborhood is then busy with motorcade of police patrol cars and motorbikes, or the horses were seen being hauled into the area in the DBKL wagon truck the day before, it is a clear sign that The YDP Agong will be there for the ride.

I told my kids of my intention to buy a horse and rent out a stable there. At least it would liven up a chance for me to brush shoulders with the King. Sam looked skeptical and slightly raised one side of his eyebrows. No chronicle of words from him though. He was more interested to be out of the place fast, grumbling, it was blistering to still have the full-bodied swimwear worn inside. My wife knew it all too well and just sports a smile. Edrin took my words copiously, got his eyes popped out and his jaw dropped.

“Whoaaa…. Best tu Bahhh….!”

But Fara had shrewdly read my tone of voice and all too soon she replied over;

“Ya la tu Bahhh….” with an easily understood rhythm she used, to suggest the other way round.

And Edrin realized it was not true. His words then blended in the snigger.

“Ekk Elehhh…Ingatkan betul-betul le tadi…!”


Saturday, May 05, 2007

To Educate is to be Educated.

In his tender age, he was sent to Singapore to study. It is not out of the ordinary if it happens today but when it was back in late 1950’s, it is something. What more when it was in a traditional kampong and the folks were generally not having awareness in the importance of educations due to not being educated themselves. But, that is what happened to my uncle when my grandpa decided to send him there, and until now he has made Singapore a place for him to reside, happily with his kids that now already bring joy to him with presence of the grandchildren. He is in Woodlands.

Singapore is not a strange place to me. I grew up not having an attitude to differentiate between Malaysia and Singapore unlike what generally is now in the minds of younger generations. May be when I was small, I knew my uncle was there and thought it was just another place out of the area we were staying in. The blame goes to the politicians (on both sides) to have us separated in early 60’s as two different nations. It worsens with the political agendas come to play in 80’s and 90’s and to this day, that seemingly put the sharing of history and cultures remotely and thus out of place.

I digress.

Ustaz Luqman retired as a school teacher years ago. His last posting was at a boarding school somewhere in the East Coast of the peninsular. He too has a lot of stories to tell about his younger days. He was sent to Indonesia to study. Ustaz Luqman is later known to me as an uncle too when I marry his niece – my wife now. The irony is he went over to Indonesia together with Abang Lazim, my mom’s cousin that also now retired after serving in the Engineering Ground Support Department with Malaysia Airline System – MAS. Until today, his Indonesian wife is still heavily accented with her Java tongue – I know, that’s beside the point.

Considering the poor living state those years in the rural area where they lacked in facilities and opportunities, in my adulthood, the admiration grew in me for what the old folks had done to educate their children. They looked for ways not to have their children deprived from educations. It was not an outlandish thing during my childhood when I heard people had their grown up children study abroad. The popular destinations back then were Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while India was a place of choice too. They worked hard to support their children’s studies though they were literally lived a hard living with merely make ends meet. The word scholarship is only recent.

Started from my time onward, we can be considered lucky. We have a very good education system in the country. I can say it loud and clear because I am the product of the system. Well not too good, but not that bad either. To the very least I can feel that I am contributing my small part to the nation. No doubt the ideal formula for the whole education system is yet to mature relative to what have been achieved in the developed countries like USA and UK, but in many aspects we are not far behind if not better in certain areas. The biggest achievement is perhaps our end product is not a “kiasu”.

And, look at another angle. How many countries in the world give free educations until the age of 17? (Until the age of 19 in some cases) How many countries in the world spend big chunks of their budgets in scholarships for their students for higher learning?

We are one.



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