Monday, January 31, 2005

Aidil Adha Week

The week following Aidl Adha had been a hectic week for us. All the children were home and hence the grand children too. As its Aidl Adha, we planned to return to the hometown and spend some time with the bigger family, especially with my mother. At the same time there was the constraints of time, leave from work of the children and each of their priorities to consider.

Son Shaffik and family arrived from Bintulu late Wednesday 19th January. Their flight from Bintulu was delayed 2 hours. Shaffik had flown back to Bintulu early Wednesday morning after his official trip to KL the previous two days, and flew back with the family to KLIA in the evening. Hifzhan or Babang and Haziq or dedek, were overly excited on arrival and had many questions for their Tok Bah and Tok Mi, majority of them were on their toys. Hifzhan sings the songs he learnt in playschool while Haziq kept saying ‘no problem’ to almost anything, a new term he learnt from one of the cartoon TV programmes without doubt. Haziq also insisted that he is the baby of the family (mum is in the family way and due in mid February, hence Haziq must have felt threatened!!) and preferred to be called baby instead of dedek!! However this stand Haziq took changed not too soon afterwards.

Tessa came home late evening, Thursday.

Sita and baby Najla arrived from Kerteh, Terengganu on Thursday night, after midnight though and 2.30 am to be exact, hence it was Friday morning, Friday being Aidl Adha day.

Hifzhan and Haziq, have not seen baby Najla and were looking forward to meet their cousin. They woke up early in the morning as usual and the first thing they asked was whether baby Najla has arrived. Baby Najla was still asleep, and the two of them stood by the bed in awe and kept staring at Najla. I asked Haziq which one is the baby and he pointed to Najla. What about you I asked. He said he is dedek. Not baby? I continue to tease, he ran and said noooo, dedekkkkkk…. No more Haziq the baby after that!!

Friday morning, after Aidl Adha prayers, Ram's nephew came to visit. Later we went to Klang where Ram's nephews and nieces gathered and waited for us. Spent some time with them and returned home later in the afternoon.

We went to Johore Bahru late Friday evening, in three cars and together with Ram’s sisters, Siti and Rashidah. Siti have not been home since her left hip and leg operation due to a fall in the hotel bathroom when she went for the ‘umrah’ last Ramadhan. She has been quite immobile, moving around with the aid of the 'walker' or walking stick. We arrived at Rashidah’s house just before midnight.

Saturday and Sunday was spent visiting my mother and my brothers and sisters. Tessa returned to KL on Sunday afternoon. She was caught in a traffic jam in the last quarter of her journey, a usual phenomenon during extended weekends and holidays. We originally planned to return to Petaling Jaya in the late evening of Sunday but Sita suggested that we delay the trip to early Monday morning, obviously picturing in her mind the traffic jam Tessa went through earlier.

On our way to Petaling Jaya on Monday morning we detoured to KLIA to fetch Fahrul who arrived from Kuantan at about 11.30am. Fahrul’s parents had also arrived in KL earlier and were scheduled to return to Kangar, Perlis late the same evening. They dropped by our house in the evening. The next day, Tuesday, Fahrul and family went back to Kuantan where Sita has some work to do through the next two days, and arriving just in time for it (JIT)and Fahrul was to baby sit Najla in the hotel when Sita was at work.

The rest of the week until Friday 28th. was spent keeping tab on the grandchildren with their playful antics. Babang singing his favourite song in his customary style and Dedek saying ‘no problem’ while waving his right arm in a circle, whenever challenged. Rearranging their toys seems a continuous effort, some of the times the toys were strewn all over the floor. Babang will be choosy of food preferring not to touch foodstuff that has any blackish part, like over burnt fried stuff even just slightly, while dedek has ‘no problem’ with food. One has to be coaxed to eat while the other has to be coaxed to stop eating!! They were quite certain of the places they want to go, the playground, the train ride (LRT), The Berjaya Mall, Pizza Hut etc. They did not get all their demands from their parents and they naturally turned to Tok Bah and Tok Mi,and of course all sorts of excuses were given to avoid their demands!!

Shaffik and family left for Bintulu on Friday 28th. Babang insisted that he does not want to go by the red airplane (that’s Air Asia). Why? We asked. The red plane shaking when landing he said. Actually aunty from the plane does not give chocolates!! Babang wants to go with the red, white and blue airplane (that’s MAS). Apparently he later protested just before boarding the plane but of course, he was overruled.

The house was suddenly very quiet Friday evening onwards. We decided to go to Port Dickson and spend the weekend there.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Babang & Dedek overly excited over Najla Posted by Hello

Monday, January 24, 2005

My Mum, Hjh Kalthum and My grandchildren Hifzhan, Haziq and Najla Posted by Hello

4 Generations: My Mum and My Grandchildren Posted by Hello

Hifzhan’s 1st week at Playschool

My four years old grandson started playschool when school reopens on January 3rd 2005. On the fourth day of school I received a call early in the morning asking me to persuade him to go to school. The dialog went like this:

Tok Bah: Helloooo, who is this?
Hifzhan: Tok Bahhh, this is Babang
Tok Bah: Babang, are you not going to school today?
Hifzhan: No !
Tok Bah: Why not?
Hifzhan: Babang don’t want…….
Tok Bah: Yesterday babang went to school?
Hifzhan: Yesssss. Today Babang don’t want
Tok Bah: Babang have started school, Babang must go to school everyday
Hifzhan: Babang don’t want…..
Tok Bah: Babang go to school Babang can learn to read, learn to write
Babang: Today Babang don’t want…
Tok Bah: Why today Babang don’t want?
Hifzhan: Babang don’t want…
Tok Bah: Ok, ok, if Babang don’t want to go to school then Babang will not learn to read, to write, draw pictures and play with friends…
Hifzhan: Babang don’t want … passed the phone to his mum…

Apparently he had said to his mother that today is Saturday, Babang tired, Babang want to rest… (Wow, he must have heard this too often from his dad and mum on Saturday mornings!!!!)

Finally coaxed to go to school as it was only Thursday and he went reluctantly. .

See, how fast children learn the unintentional lessons from the parents, “what you say can be used as evidence against you!!!”

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Sunday, January 23, 2005

RAM’s Cornea Graft – An Oversight that could have made Ram blind

On our return from Bangkok and in the flight to KLIA, Ram had complained of pain in her right eye, the one with the cornea graft. We reached home at about 2.00am early Friday morning 24th. December 2004. At 8.00 am we went straight to THONEH as Ram had complained of throbbing pains in her eye since getting up from sleep.

At the Hospital, although there was no scheduled clinic that day, Dr. Veera Ramani was available to see her. One look at her eyes she decided to detain her in hospital and do an intensive and intrusive treatment to the eye. What happened? She exclaimed. You have been doing very well and now it is really bad. There is an ulcer on the cornea and its spreading, she said. The whole cornea can be damaged in a day or two and you will be blind!!.

Apparently dust had gone into the eye and had caused an infection of the new cornea which had turned into an ulcer that’s spreading fast. The doctor gave her two injections directly at the eye and prescribed eye drops to be administered every 15 minutes. That’s the reason she detained and confined Ram to the hospital ward for treatment and to avoid further infection. We decided to take a single room in the ward and I stayed with her throughout. I called Tessa. She came later in the afternoon after going home to fetch some essential stuff, change of clothing, reading materials and my laptop.

Ram’s eye was red all over. The treatment to it continued every 15 minutes with three different types of eye drops until Saturday, Christmas day, when the doctor evaluated the eye and said that the spread of ulcer had been arrested and it was beginning to reduce in size. Treatment, however, need to be continued and on Sunday the frequency was reduced to hourly.

On Monday, 27th December, 2004 (the day after the tsunami incident) the doctor said that the ulcer on the eye had reduced considerably but treatment continued 2 hourly for the next few days. Ram was allowed to go home on Wednesday 29th but has to come in on Thursday for follow up checks. Two types of eye drops were prescribed to be administered every four hours and we religiously followed the instructions. She was to observe all the precautions set after she had the operation previously. So I had to perform most of the household chores as previously done while Ram took care not to exert herself too much. We went back to the hospital on Thursday as appointed. The doctor reduced the frequency to every six hourly and asked her to come back on Monday 3rd. On that day her eye has recovered almost fully but to be sure, the doctor continued with the two types of eye drops to be administered six hourly and set for another appointment the next Monday, 10th January 2005.

Monday 10th January came. We went to the hospital early. The doctor said that the eye had recovered fully and that Ram should continue to take extra care and not expose herself unnecessarily. She should take all precautions possible and avoid infections. Her next appointment was set at one month interval. Shaffik bought for her one of that fancy safety glass that cover the eyes almost completely and yet look fashionable.

Now that the eye is recovering well we tried to get answers to the many questions we had on why this could have happened. Apparently, the new cornea, not being directly connected to the other parts of the eye (there are no blood vessels connection as in other body part transplants or grafts), obtains its nourishment from the film of liquid around it. With foreign body(es) lodged into the cornea like dusts and other impurities, and other living organisms coming along with the foreign bodies eg. dust mites and the likes,infection will take place, and the cornea being weaker, with minimal nourishments, will succumb to the attacks by these foreign organisms. This was what we believed happened to Ram's eye. So, we have to also remember that it will not only be protecting the eye from airbone infections but also from waterborne infections. She has to also be very careful when she uses water to wash her face and eyes. We are aware that this recent incident could have been due to our carelessness in protecting the eye when we were in Bangkok. We thought the most likely occassion that she caught the infection and had dust in her eyes was either when we took the tuk-tuk ride or when we walked along the busy streets of Bangkok at night, when there was an occassion Ram took off her eye-glasses as the street was rather dark and she could not see where she was going using the glasses that had colour shades on it. This was an expensive lesson to us. We will have to be more careful in the future.

We thank Almighty Allah for answering our prayers and for the protection and guidance throughout this ordeal. We are thankful that Ram recovered and did not lose her eyesight, vision being one of our most important senses. We hope we can soon proceed with further treatment of the eye as advised by the specialists from ‘Orbis’ the Flying Eye Hospital, mentioned in my previous write up

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bangkok - Holiday Break

BANGKOK 19 - 23 Dec 2004

DAY 1 – Sunday, 19th December, 2004

Bangkok, City Of Angels they say. I imagine angels as those dressed in flowing dresses, with beautiful tresses and a lighted wand in one hand. Four days and nights in Bangkok, neither did I meet nor did I see any angel but I did see angels of a different kind. There were those elegantly dressed, for the office or some function or other, those dressed casually, many of them looking like foreigners in Bangkok like me, carrying tote-bags, cameras, various models mostly of the digital kind, a map and a bottle of mineral water in one hand. Another kind of angel is those young, and also those trying to look as young, girls, skimpily or is it scantily dressed, flaunting flesh and assets, obviously hoping for a foreign catch. Are they the reason why Bangkok is called "City of Angels"? Perhaps "City of Angels in the Night” is more appropriate…… I wonder.

Sometime in the month of November 2004, while surfing the net, I came across Air Asia's "Go Holiday" site, touting "free and easy" holiday packages. I picked the one for Bangkok simply because I have not been to Bangkok except in transit at the airport a couple of times previously. I thought this would be a good opportunity for Ram and I to explore the city, at leisure, and see the sites and heritage of the capital of Thailand. I obtained as much information of the hotels from the internet, read the reviews by recent visitors, saw the map on-line to get an idea of the location of hotels and simplicity to move around the city on my own, and also information on places to visit or tour at our leisure. A four night stay in a 3-star hotel “the Menam Riverside Hotel” by the Chao Phraya River (River of Kings) inclusive of breakfast for two and the Air Asia ticket to and from Kuala Lumpur cost only RM980.00, which I thought was a good deal indeed. I picked this hotel based on the reviews written by recent guests to the hotel.

We left KL on the evening of 19th. December 2004. Tessa sent us to the airport. The flight to Bangkok was delayed by about an hour. Arriving at Don Muang Airport, Bangkok, going through immigration, custom clearance, and currency exchange was a breeze. On exiting the arrival lounge of the airport, we came across a few taxi-touts soliciting our patronage of their services and I remember the advice given on the net by previous foreign visitors to Bangkok that we should avoid them. One said he could take us to the hotel at a special price of Baht 800.00 and we of course turn him down. We got into the taxi queue, got one ‘metered taxi’ through the taxi counter and got to the hotel in about 45 minutes by way of the toll expressway. The airport taxi surcharge was Baht 50, toll was Baht 70, and the taxi meter charge came to Baht 240, a total of Baht 360, less than half of what the ‘great’ guy’s special offer of Baht 800!!

Checking into the Menam Riverside Hotel was also without a hitch and the room allocated to us was reasonably comfortable. We went down to the coffee house to have dinner and we were pleasantly surprised that they have quite a wide selection on the menu, with many vegetarian and seafood dishes thus, at once removing our apprehension on obtaining suitable food. We were earlier told by friends and relatives that it would be quite difficult for us to get suitable food in Bangkok. On the contrary, we later found that there are many “halal” restaurants available in Bangkok. The hotel is situated on the south side of Bangkok by the Chao Phraya River. Services available are adequate and the staff are helpful and friendly although English conversation can be quite exasperating at times!! A complimentary boat shuttle service is provided hourly from the hotel’s jetty to the terminal of Bangkok Sky-Train. This service, we hope, would make our movement around Bangkok easier whilst we do not have to depend on the public road transport. The roads in Bangkok are almost always jammed with traffic.

Day 2 – Monday, 20th December 2004

Woke up early and had breakfast. The breakfast spread was very good with a wide variety and choice of food. As the different foods were clearly labeled and marked, we had no problem in selecting our choice. We took the boat shuttle to the terminal for the sky-train and took the train to an area called Salom. Our intention was to get used to the transport system while at the same time familiarize ourselves with the major tourist areas in Bangkok. However we found that we were too early for Salom as it was then 9.00am or so and things only begin to pick up at 10 or 11 am onwards. As we were browsing around the main street and side streets we met an elderly local who spoke very good English and advised us of what to do and see. He recommended and guided us to a factory outlet close by which was already open and offered sale discounts of up to 40% on their products for the festive and end of year holiday season. Later we continued to browse around Salom area and the various other outlets and complexes. They are a little up market but no different then those in KL or Singapore or for that matter any big city anywhere!! Although most offered discounts but the prices are not that much cheaper than those available at home.

We were back in the hotel by late afternoon. Ram was rather exhausted by the long walk around Salom. After a little rest, I went out alone and walked around the vicinity of the hotel within a one or two kilometer radius hoping to find some food outlet that I can buy take-away dinner. I found a mosque, within walking distance from the hotel, but it was closed then as it was already passed ‘Asar’ prayer time. There were many stalls and one or two little restaurants within the area selling halal stuff but I was not at all impressed by them. It appeared as though hygiene was not a priority, food left exposed in the open and the surroundings unkempt, quite pathetic really. Certainly not inviting at all and will not do justice to my palate. Dinner that night was taken in the hotel coffee house.

Day 3 – Tuesday, 21st December 2004

Jim Thomson House

After breakfast we took the shuttle boat and a day-ticket for the sky-train and headed for a visit to the legendary Jim Thomson House. Jim Thomson, an American architect turned Thai Silk King who disappeared in 1967 in the jungles of Cameron Highlands, Malaysia and whose body was never discovered, built this house in the traditional and ancient Thai architectural design using mostly local timber and other local materials, a rich artistic and cultural heritage.

The house, which combines six teak buildings, representing traditional Thai architecture stands on a piece of about one acre of land within the city. The houses, at least two centuries old, were dismantled and brought to the present site, some from as far away as the old capital of Ayudhya. In his quest for authenticity, Jim Thomson adhered to the customs of the early builders in most respects and personally supervised their reconstruction. The houses were elevated a full story above the ground, a practical Thai precaution to avoid flooding during the rainy season, and the roof tiles were fired in Ayudhya employing a design common centuries ago but rarely used today. The red paint on the outside walls is a preservative often found on many old Thai buildings. The chandeliers, modified and a concession to modern convenience, belong to a past era having come from 18th and 19th century period.

Jim Thomson had also a wide collection of traditional Thai arts, carvings, statues especially of Buddha, antique plates and vases, and paintings mostly on silk although there are others on various materials. These are on display in various parts of the six houses. Statues of Buddha, being the object of worship of the Thais are placed at strategic locations in the house based on the varied local beliefs in the protection of the house and households. Furniture displayed in the rooms depicts their functionality of purpose. As example, the bidets in the bedrooms are designed according to the sizes of the user of the rooms, girl’s room or boy’s room or adult’s room. The dining furniture is a combination of two mahjong tables placed together and the chairs appear to be of rosewood materials. There are carvings on these furniture mostly of local folklore motifs.

The main entrance to the house is off a canal and there is an imposing entrance archway by the side of the canal although this entrance is now no longer in use. In the olden days people commute by boat via the many canals within the city, but most canals apparently have now been covered over and redeveloped. However the canal in front of this house still exists and I hear motorized boats plying by several times while there. The main door to the house, which opens to a wide entertaining area is itself wide, windows many and the design of walls and roofing unique in that there is an easy funnel-type flow of air providing very good ventilation for the house. The walls are constructed slightly tilting inwards at the top and the roof and ceiling overlapped to allow for natural ventilation.

The Suan Pakkad Palace Museum

From the Jim Thomson House, we proceeded to visit the Suan Pakkad Palace Museum, four stations away by sky-train. This palace used to be the private residence of their Royal Highness Prince and Princess Chumbhot. They decided to convert the palace into a museum and added on more buildings and facilities to accommodate the various exhibits which has been passed down through successive generations. It is a fine combination of fine arts and ancient artifacts from the era of Prince Paribatra Sukhumbahandhu the son of King Rama V, King Chulalongkorn (Note: The present king is King Rama IX).

The museum consists of eight Thai houses connected by a raised walkway within a compound of about 6 acres. A new building stands at one side of the compound which houses the office of the Chumbhot – Pantip foundation and some permanent exhibit rooms. In one of the rooms are displayed artifacts dated back into the prehistoric period, in the Ban – Chiang Period. Red painted pottery, glass beads, bronze bracelets and clay design stamps are displayed. The discovery of these artifacts was quite unexpected. A student of archaeology, visiting the area tripped on the roots of a tree and fell face down on the ground and while on the ground he found small pieces of pottery chips that he suspected to be old. He referred this finding to the professor in-charge of archaeology in Chulalongkorn University and a team was assembled to excavate the area. That was where most of the exhibits of the Ban – Chiang Period were found.

In another building, sort of a boathouse, the Royal Barge used by the Prince was displayed. The barge did really look very old and had been properly preserved for display. Another building, the lacquer pavilion, dating back to the 17th–18th century AD stood in another part of the compound. The outer walls of wood are beautifully sculptured and the inner walls are painted in gold on black lacquer. The paintings depict various events from the Buddha period along with others from the Hindu epic, Ramayana and also the daily scenes of Thai life. It is the only painting of its kind in Thailand.

There is a music room in one of the other buildings where ancient drums, big and small, xylophones of various sizes, fiddles, gongs and other musical instruments are displayed. Also in this building are images of Buddha in various styles, Chinese porcelains of the Ming and Ching Dynasty period, and various royal decorations, weapons and shields, and other war paraphernalia.

The displays in this museum are varied and they tell a story allowing visitors a wide knowledge of the way of life, culture and olden day practices of the Thai Royalty and the people alike. It provides historical evolvement of lifestyles and living needs of the people.

That night we met up with an old friend who was working in Bangkok on a gas transmission project. Had dinner with him at Nana area where there were many restaurants serving food from various parts of the world. There is one street that resembles a street in Saudi Arabia!!

Day 4 – Wednesday 22nd December 2004

Today we decided to use the Tourist River Boat. Just like the sky-train, one can buy a day pass and travel on the river boat any number of times in the day. The boat makes many stops along the Chao Phraya river, most stops having their own attractions, shopping, temples, museums and palaces etc. We decided to visit the Grand Palace today.

We arrived at the palace at about 11.30am and was advised by an official that the place will close between noon and 2.30pm, today being an auspices day for Buddhists and the closure is to allow the Monks in the temples within the palace grounds to have their special prayers and also lunch. The official suggested we visit another site close by which we can reach by using a ‘tuk-tuk’, the motorized trishaw. We did so and the site is called Golden Mount, a 200 meter hill with a temple of Buddha on the peak. From the peak of Golden Mount one can view the city and the surroundings. It is worthwhile noting that most of the tourist sites around the city and the surroundings beyond will include one or several temples or “Wat” with either a standing Buddha, a sitting Buddha, or a reclining Buddha within each of them. There appear to be a Wat at every turn!! I also noticed that there are Government Officials available at major tourist spots, mingling with the crowd and approach tourists with advice and guidance. At the grand palace, we crossed the busy street using the zebra-crossing. The official approached us and advised us to be extra careful crossing busy streets in Bangkok even at the zebra-crossings. Drivers do not heed nor give way to pedestrians at zebra-crossings.

To while away the time the tuk-tuk driver took us to a few souvenir outlets including a tax-free shop to browse around. In one of them he requested that we stay browsing for at least 15 minutes. We found out later that the tuk-tuk driver is given free gasoline if the tourist he brings to the outlet stays longer than 15 minutes.

We returned to the Grand Palace Complex at about 2.30 pm and proceeded to purchase entry tickets. The number of visitors was overwhelming. It was as though there was a major football league, or a major concert going on within the compound. There were just people and more people everywhere we go. Within the compound are several Wats, the Royal residences (there are several of them) for the king and his princes and princesses, Throne Rooms, Official Halls and Administrative Buildings. The various Wats contained statues of Buddhas in stone, emerald, gold and others. The Royal Residence is ceremonially guarded and the guard on duty appears to be the most photographed person then. It took us more than two hours to walk around the complex and that too without looking at the exhibits in detail.

The Grand Palace Complex was established in 1782, built on the order of King Rama I. Prior to this the royal palace and centre of administration had been located in Thomburi across the river Chao Phraya. The various other palaces and Wats were subsequently built to accommodate the expanding royal family and the needs current. This includes the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The Emerald Buddha, carved from a block of green jade and discovered in 1434 by an abbot who initially thought that the stone was emerald (thus the legend of the Emerald Buddha began), is enshrined on a golden traditional Thai-style throne made of gilded-carved wood placed in the ordination hall of the royal monastery within the temple. The statue is clad with one of the three seasonal costumes, summer, rainy season and winter and the costumes are changed three times a year in a ceremony presided over by the King. There is a colourful history behind the Emerald Buddha. It had been moved from the original place of discovery in Chiang Rai, to Chiang mai, then to Laos and later brought back to Thailand when the Thai army under the command of Officer Chao Phraya Chakri and who later became King Rama I invaded Vientiane, the Laotian capital. When this king built the current city of Bangkok, the Emerald Buddha was housed within the Royal Monastery with due pomp and ceremony. We noticed that this exhibit attracts the most number of visitors.

The walls of the buildings around the complex are painted with colourful murals depicting selected events in the life of Buddha and scenes of folklores and Thai stories, traditions or the Buddhist Cosmology. The buildings’ design is of the traditional high walled, sharp inclined roofs and mostly brightly painted in gold or gilded in a myriad of tiny reflective stones, glass and other shining materials giving them a very rich, shining appearance.

We returned to the hotel at about 5.30pm using the river boat and the Hotel’s shuttle boat. After resting our tired legs, with all the walking we did earlier in the day, we went out again for dinner at one of the restaurants in Nana area.

Day 5 – Thursday 23rd December 2004

Our last day in Bangkok. We had a leisurely breakfast, walked around the area near the hotel and packed our bags. Our flight back to KL was scheduled for 2020hrs. We checked out of the hotel at noon and left our bags with the concierge and took the sky-train to the city. We had lunch, walked around a little in the shopping area and returned to the hotel at about 4.30pm.

The journey to the airport took about an hour and a half using the toll highway, as traffic was rather heavy being after office peak period then. Checking-in for the flight at the airport, immigrations and customs checks went without a hitch. The flight was however delayed by about one hour. Finally arrived home at about 2.00 am Friday 24th.

NOTE: Ram had begun to complaint of uncomfortable feelings in her right eye today. At the airport she felt the uncomfort a lot more than earlier in the day and on landing in KLIA she said that there was some pain……… (I was determined to take her to the THONEH as soon as they open in the morning)

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

At Jim Thomson's House Posted by Hello

Hotel Riverboat Ferry Shuttle Posted by Hello

Menam Riverside Hotel Posted by Hello

Entrance to Golden Mount Posted by Hello

Friday, January 21, 2005

Ram's consultation - Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital
(A voluntary organization dedicated to the attention and treatment of visually impaired patients around the world and especially to the third-world countries. Visit their website: for more details.

The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, the only one of its kind in the world, arrived in Malaysia on Monday, November 22nd 2004. They were on a skills-exchange programme and were in Malaysia for two weeks at the invitation of the Ministry of Health and the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital (THONEH) and their presence was sponsored by PETRONAS. Built inside a converted DC10, the ORBIS hospital is dedicated to cure preventable blindness by flying to where the services of its volunteer eye doctors are needed most.
Their Mission : ORBIS is dedicated to the prevention of blindness ... the saving of sight ... the delivery of training ... the transfer of skills... and the creation of a world where quality eye care, education and treatment are available to every human being.
ORBIS Mission Statement: ORBIS is a non-aligned, non-profit global development organization. Our mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local partners to prevent and treat blindness.

Ram was fortunate to have her cornea operation and recovery status reviewed by the above group of doctors at the Tun Hussein Onn Hospital on Monday, November 29th 2004. The team, led by a Dr. Jonathan Cheung, an American Chinese, reviewed various cases, especially rare ones, which were ongoing in the hospital, to lend and accord expert opinion and advice.

Dr. Cheung commented that Ram’s right eye was recovering very well. Removal of the remaining sutures should be possible then. There was however an impending problem of astigmatism to be addressed. He suggested use of laser or contacts, but left it for Ram and her Doctor at the hospital to decide on the course of action. In any case the cornea graft was a success and Ram was on her way to full recovery. She should be able to perform her daily routines normally now. This was indeed reassuring. We were very happy with the findings.

Subsequently part of the sutures on the circumference of the cornea was removed on December 13th 2004 and the rest would be removed in the next few months, after which the astigmatism problem will be addressed accordingly.

However all these changed later, quite dramatically, due to an oversight on our part. Ram almost went blind on the new cornea due to an infection. The details of which will follow later.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya.

Modern kid's idea of Banking

Dialog with grandchildren while driving home from the library with them sitting at the back of the car:

Hifzhan: Tok Bah, Tok Bah, (tapping his hand on my shoulder) nnn nnn can go to toy shop or not?
Tok Bah: Why?
Hifzhan: babang want to nnn nnn buy toy car….
Tok Bah: babang got money?
Hifzhan: no money…
Tok bah: no money how to buy…..
Hifzhan: use Tok Bah money can
Tok Bah: Tok Bah no money….
Hifzhan: Tok Bah go to the bank nnn nnn take money
Tok Bah: Tok bah dono how to take
Hifzhan: Tok Bah go to the bank nnn nnn press the button and take money
Tok Bah: How babang know can take money from the bank
Hifzhan: Daddy nnn nnn go to bank nnnn nnn press press the button…. money come out
Tok Bah: Tok Bah got no money in the bank oso. Daddy got money because daddy working and save money in the bank, so daddy can take out. Tok Bah not working.
Hifzhan: Ohhhhh Tok Bah nnn nnn go to work and get money ok?
Tok Bah: Cannot, Tok Bah old oredi cannot work anymore…
Hifzhan: Nooo Tok bah must go to work….
Tok Bah Ok ok, wait tok bah go to work ok…. But now tok bah no money so cannot go toy shop…
Hifzhan OK… when Tok Bah got money Babang folo Tok bah to Toy shop ok?


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Baby Najla, Haziq and Hifzhan Posted by Hello

Lopsided View At The Beach

I read in the news yesterday NST 18 January 2005, something about
one guy in Australia being charged in court and found guilty of
having photos taken in Bondi beach that includes images of topless
women sunbathing. More interestingly is that the authorities now
intend to pass a law 'outlawing' taking photos at the beach!!

Not too long ago, topless sunbathing was considered unlawful, while
photography at the beach was a common thing amongst the beach-goers,
whatever their photography intentions were.

Now they want to protect the topless and outlaw the camera toting
(camera h/phones included) masses. Ha ha!! remember Pareto 80/20
principle? Now more than 80% of the public are hastled for the sake
of the less than 20% topless sunbathers!! How askewed and lopsided
many things are in this world today!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Ram’s Cornea Operation Recovery Process

(beyond four weeks of the cornea graft operation)

Recovery from the eye operation was very slow. Ram had to continue to be very careful managing her daily activities. She should not exert herself, no bending down, no lifting of heavy objects, stay away from fumes, dusty environment, and anything that can have detrimental effects to the eye. This meant no cooking, washing, laundry, and so on, In short, do nothing. She could not read, performs her routine prayers sitting upright in a chair, and watches TV for short periods of time only as she had to strain her eyes in the glare of the TV screen.

We decided to employ a lady helper and agreed that she comes three times a week to help with some of the major chores in the house like ironing of clothes, cleaning the floors, windows, bathrooms and others as the need be. Other times I do the cleaning, laundry, cooking and whatever else that needs to be done in the house.

The children helped too, especially Tessa who came home as often as she could, to mop, clean, store and rearrange stuffs in the house as required. She would especially try to be home during the weekends and other times when there were visitors to the house. Sita and Fahrul came back as often as they could. Shaffik came back quite often too when he had meetings in Kuala Lumpur and three times he came back with the family. Having the grandchildren at home on these occasions, with their antics, was a sort of antidote for Ram, boosting her morale and brightening up her days, cheering her. Siti and Rashidah, Ram’s sisters, came often too, with Siti staying for about one month immediately after the operation and Shidah came as often as she could get away from her work.

We had to settle the hospital bills ourselves as we failed to claim medical insurance because Ram’s condition is classified as genetics and hence excluded from medical insurance coverage. I have always been skeptical of these insurance schemes, be it medical, endowment or whatever, and this incidence had downgraded my faith in them totally. The policy would be cancelled if we default in the monthly payment but when there are claims, they try to find every possible clause not to pay.

Meanwhile Ram’s eye slowly continued to improve. She found difficulties initially coordinating her vision between eyes, the left eye blurred but properly focused while the right eye, with the new cornea, bright but was not focused. She could not judge distances, sizes and shapes properly. As time goes by her vision improved. The newspapers originally appeared as patches of black ink on paper but slowly the words became clearer and clearer. First the headlines, then the slightly bigger prints and in about six months she could read the quran, newspapers, books and other prints but for short periods of time each initially, to avoid straining. Visits to the doctor became less and less frequent, from weekly to fortnights to monthly. The eye-drops prescription and application frequency changed too. The eye was recovering well indeed.

In the house she slowly began to involve herself in the daily chores, starting with the light ones and going on as she felt more and more comfortable. I guess she could not take it when I had to do most of the necessary chores and she had to resume charge of the activities in the home front!!

We made short trips to our house in Port Dickson over the weekends and other opportunities when I can get away, or back to Johore Bahru, or Terengganu, or Bintulu. This was to take her away from the house and thus reduces the opportunities for her to exert herself unnecessarily.

The sutures on the new cornea were taken out by the doctor in stages starting from the June visit, which was about six months after the operation. During the operation the cornea was sutured circumferentially and also at intervals around the edges. In that visit two stitches at the edge were removed and two more were removed in each of the subsequent monthly visits until September when all the edge sutures were removed leaving only the circumferential sutures to be removed. The doctor decided then to wait until January, one full year after the operation, to start removing the circumferential sutures.

An opportunity arose, sometime in November 2004, for Ram to have additional expert opinion and advice. This came from Eye Specialists from the ORBIS flying Eye Hospital. They had a look at her eyes and gave positive comments and recommendations for her. It was indicative that her eye was indeed recovering very well. Further information on this ORBIS Flying Hospital and the recommendations will come in my write-up sometime very soon.

Petaling Jaya

Sunday, January 16, 2005

With The Grandchildren

Dialog with my two grandsons (a 3 ½ and 2 ½ year olds) one evening, their toys strewn all over the floor. The children call me Tok Bah, elder one named Hifzhan is nicknamed Babang and younger one Haziq is nicknamed Dedek:

Tok Bah: Babangggg….. Dedekkkk…… why are all your toys all over the floor? Clear all of them pleaseeee… put them all back in the basket..
Dedek: Dowant dowant dowant….
Tok Bah: Dowant tomoro you cannot follow Tok Bah and Tok Mi
Babang: Tok Bah nnn nnn Tok Bah want to go where?
Tok Bah: Clear your toys first. If not both of you cannot follow. Ask Dedek to help you clear the toys.
Babang: Dedek… clear the toys… wait cannot follow Tok Bah…
Dedek: Follow go whereee…..
Babang: TokBah, Tok Bah... nnn nnnFollow Tok Bah go where?
Tok Bah: Ask Dedek where Dedek want to go…
Babang: Dedek…. You want to go PIZZA HUT or whererrrr…
Dedek: Pizza Hut
Tok Bah: Nooo… Pizza Hut is closed.
Babang: Why Pizza Hut closed???
Tok Bah: Becozzz it’s a holiday
Babang: Holiday Pizza Hut closed?
Tok Bah: Yes…. We go to library ok….
Dedek: I want go libary?
Tok Bah: What you want to do in the library?
Dedek: Dedek want to read books….
Tok Bah: Ok go clear your toys……

Phewww!!! Saved…. No need to go to Pizza Hut. The idea was to get them to clear their toys... not to go to Pizza Hut. Thats the parent's job!!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

My Wife's Cornea Transplant - Fuchs' Dystrophy

My wife has defective eye condition called Fuchs' Dystrophy, on both eyes, a very rare genetic cornea condition that required grafting. This procedure was performed about a year ago and the following is a write up of it. There's more of what she had to go through and I will post them here soon. This was one of the reasons I devote more of my time to her and less and less time being active in work and career as I mentioned in the Introduction yesterday.


The day finally came. It's early morning, Monday 19th January, 2004. I did not sleep well the night before. I also noticed that Ram was tossing and turning most of the night. I guess both of us were silently praying for Allah’s guidance and providing us strength to face the event of the following day with confidence. We were praying that the event will go to pass successfully. We performed our morning ‘subuh’ prayers, Ram packed light clothing, toiletries and other essentials, had breakfast of cereals and some fruits, and got ready to go to the hospital. We left for the hospital at just before 9.00 am.

Four days earlier, on the morning of Thursday 15th January, 2004, Ram received a call from The Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital (THONEH) that the operation on her right eye is scheduled for the afternoon of the 19th. She was to come in to the hospital at about 9.00 am. She should only take light breakfast that morning, after which she had to fast until the operation is performed. It was a short telephone conversation. We had questions and wanted more information, and decided to go to the hospital then. At the hospital we were told that a donor cornea is available from the US and allocated for Ram. She should come in as scheduled. She would be expected to stay in the hospital for a few days and that a room is reserved for her. Since she is already at the hospital would she like to get the necessary pre-operation tests done? No need to do them on Monday morning, they said. Ram agreed. All the tests were performed and their results were positive. Meanwhile I informed my children and other kinfolks of the impending operation. Siti and Rashidah (Ram's sisters) had previously planned to visit for the weekend and join us in a ‘tazkirah’ session meant for PETRONAS retirees that I was hosting at home. So also also our children, Tessa, Sita and Fahrul. It was too far for Shaffik to come home, we told him no need to, and furthermore it was the Chinese New Year holiday period and flights were mostly full. The ‘tazkirah’ session was indeed timely as we took the opportunity to have a ‘do’a selamat’ after the session and there were about fifty retirees present then. Siti decided to stay on until after the operation while Rashidah had to return to Johor Bahru as she had not planned to take leave from work beyond the weekend.

It was about twelve years ago, circa 1992. Ram was working in the Finance Department of University Hospital. She drove to work daily. She started work in the UH in July 1969 and had been in Finance all the time, starting as an Executive Accounting Officer and rose to be the Finance Manager until her retirement in 1999. In 1992 she was the officer-in-charge of billings and income follow-ups, policies and procedures and as secretary to the committee for waiver of bills. In this position she has to deal with piles and piles of papers and documents. She was also instrumental in developing computerized billings, working closely with the computer section and had to face the computer screen alot. She had had difficulties then to discern what’s written on the computer screen and had always put the blame on these difficulties to her glasses. Outside of the office she had difficulties reading billboards, maps, fine prints and the like, more so under the glare of sunlight or spotlights. Her vision had been cloudy under these conditions. She had her glasses remade and retested several times over the next few years but the problems persist. Once she drove through a stop sign at a road junction not realizing it until she had gone far beyond the junction. On another occasion she almost ran into a policeman directing traffic in the middle of a traffic light T-junction. Luckily the policeman just glared at her and did not do anything beyond that. All these were blamed on her glasses. In addition to all these she also, at times and in the beginning, feel pain in the eyes especially in the mornings. She felt as though her eyes were swollen but the pain subsided as the days progressed. As time went on the pain got more and more frequent.

On one visit to her regular optician to get her glasses checked, sometime in 1995, the optician encountered difficulties rationalizing the refraction in both her eyes. The optician advised her to see an eye specialist as she suspected there was something in her eye but could not identify what it was. She made an appointment with the eye specialist in UH, and on examining the eye confirmed that there was something in the eyes but could not identify what it was. Yet another specialist took a look at her eyes but they still could not diagnose the problem. Finally the eye specialists decided to bring Ram’s case to the departmental conference to discuss her case. An eye specialist from the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital is usually in attendance at these conferences.

On the day of the conference Ram was invited to be present. The THONEH specialist, Dr Pall Singh, took a close look at Ram’s eyes and confirmed that she has “Fuchs’ Dystrophy”. All the eye doctors present at the conference took turns examining her eyes. To all of them it’s something they have not seen before. From that day on, she had been requested to attend session after sessions of displaying her eyes for eye doctors to see. She had become a study piece!! It does not help her morale at all. She was often moody, phobic and stressed.

Fuchs’ Dystrophy, as explained by Dr Pall Singh then, was discovered by a German Doctor named Dr. Fuchs. It’s a slow, degenerative disease of the cornea and genetically inclined prevalent amongst Caucasians of age group 60 onwards. Not much is currently known to correct the disease nor is there a cure although there are medications that help slow down its degeneration. The pain she felt, in the mornings especially, is due to this disease. It is due to water being retained in the eyes. One way of relieving the pain is by running a hair dryer and blowing hot air against the eyes. However, as the disease progresses, the patient’s vision will deteriorate further and the eye will ultimately become blind!! To Ram it was a very scary thing to discover. How long will it take before she becomes blind? It can be one year, it can be ten, only God knows. What can be done when she is blind? “A transplant,” Dr. Pall Singh said. Transplant? Where can we get the eye from? Can I give her one of my eyes? What about compatibility, blood relationship, and many other questions were playing in our minds. I tried talking to my family doctor about Fuchs’ Dystrophy but he was not aware of the disease and promised to look it up for me. I tried the library, medical journals, the Readers’ Digest Family Medical Reference book, and whatever else I can get my hands on to learn more of the disease and could not get any. My family doctor also confirmed that he too could not get more information on the disease. Finally I went into the internet and there it was, one website that described the disease in two paragraphs!!

One does not see anything wrong on a person with Fuchs’ Dystrophy. There are no outward signs nor any indication that the eyes are diseased. Only through an eye doctor’s instruments can the disease be seen. It is the failure of the tiny capillaries on the cornea of the eye to release water. Water is retained in the cornea and vision is impaired. (Imagine looking at objects through water). As the disease progresses the cornea would appear as though it is peeling off. It is as though the capillaries have burst at the seams, much like when holes are punched in a tin can. The pain now will be severe. Simple tasks will be difficult to perform. Even reading will become a major task. The disease is also very rare, less than 1% of the worlds’ population has the disease and a majority of them are above 60 years of age. Studies on the disease have not been conclusive, no cure has been found, and for the time being only ways to relieve and lessen the pain are available. The only way permanent is a transplant of the cornea. When to perform the transplant will depend very much on the deterioration of vision; when it has detrimental impact on the person’s quality of life. More and more details on Fuchs’ Dystrophy has, over the years, been available on the internet and for those who are interested the site is one to visit.

Ram continued to see the eye specialists in UH and had eye drops prescribed to be applied daily. However she had to respond to requests after requests from the Medical Faculty Eye Department for her to be present now and then for eye doctors to view her eyes until she got tired of it. She even had to present herself at the eye doctors’ graduate examination as an exhibit or specimen!! Moreover the specialist at UH kept changing and each time she had to go through the same procedures all over again but ending with no expert advise. At the same time and as the days, weeks and months go by, she was encountering more and more difficulties doing her daily routine things. She likes reading but could not read properly. She read the newspapers but only discern the headlines while the text appear like patches of black ink. Sometimes her vision is so bad that she felt like looking through her glasses smeared with a layer of Vaseline or oil. She once missed pouring a spoonful of milo into the cup, when making the drink, spreading the milo on the floor instead. Cutting her fingernails would always be a feel and cut job. She would not be able to see where to put the nail clipper before cutting. She decided to shift to The Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital in early 1999 to consult Dr. Pall Singh directly as his patient. The slow deterioration of her eyes and vision continued until the middle of 2003 when she was almost blind in her right eye. She was referred to a cornea specialist, Dato’ Dr. Veera Ramani, who confirmed that she needed a cornea transplant and from then on continued to be under her consultation. Ram was registered as a donor recipient with the International Eye Bank. Reality began to slowly sink in our minds. The inevitable will take place.

So it was, in the morning of Thursday, 15th January, that confirmation of the inevitable arrived through that phone call. On Monday, 19th January, Ram and I arrived at THONEH at about 9.15am, registered at the ward on level 2 of the hospital and was assigned to room 213A, a single room but with an extra bed available for a boarder. A single room was advised and preferred so as to have some isolation and also to avoid contamination of the eye after the operation. The nurses started preparing Ram for the operation; eye lashes of the right eye were removed, eyebrow trimmed, blood sugar level tested, while other necessary tests prior to the operation had already been done a few days ago. Ram was then ready for the operation and we waited. Siti, Tessa and Sita came to the hospital at about 11.30am to lend support to Ram, and indirectly to me. Ram’s doctor nephew and niece, Anis (Dr. Salleh) and Fizah (Dr. Sabariah Faizah) with husband Md Diah also came to lend support. Tessa, on her way to the ward met Dr. Sanjeev, a close friend of hers. He is understudying to be a cornea specialist under Dato’ Dr. Ramani. He has seen Ram once and is aware of the scheduled transplant but did not know who Ram was until meeting Tessa. We were wondering why we were still waiting in the ward when it was well after lunch time. Dr. Sanjeev explained that they were still waiting for the DHL courier service to deliver the cornea from KLIA; the plane carrying the cornea having landed in KLIA in the morning. From then on Dr Sanjeev was more than helpful and dropped in to see Ram as often as he could.

At 3.15pm, the nurses came and asked Ram to proceed to the operating theatre. All of us trooped in behind her into the lobby of the operating theatre, said our last words, encouragement and prayers for her and then left the room. Anis left for his office (he was working) while the rest of us waited. We felt hungry and went for some food in the canteen located in the basement of the hospital. Eat? What did I eat? I cannot remember what I ate. I was more thirsty than hungry. My mind then was in the operating theatre. We later went back into the room and waited. They wheeled Ram back into the room at about 5.45pm. Her right eye was bandaged and patched-up. She was conscious and obviously quite sedated still. Her face disheveled, lips dry and she complained of a headache. The nurses changed the bandage on the right eye and replaced the patch. A little while later Dr Sanjeev came to see her and prescribed something to relieve her of the headache and pain. She was given porridge to eat but vomited it all out after eating; after effects of the sedation I guess. All family members, Siti, Tessa, Sita left at about 8.30pm, including Fahrul who came just before Maghrib from his office meeting. Faizah and Md Diah had left a little earlier. I stayed on to accompany her. Afraid that I may not be able to immediately respond to her needs during the night, I moved the single chair next to her bed, sleeping in it instead of the spare bed. The nurses came in twice to clean her eyes, change dressings and administer medicines that night. Ram, restless the whole night, slept little and so did I.

The next morning Dr Sanjeev and Dato Dr Ramani saw Ram in the consulting room. She explained that the operation went on smoothly and the new cornea, a very good cornea, is set very neatly in its place. They say it looks very good and do not expect any problem. There is however some swellings on the eyelids and the eye is red but these will go off in due course, according to the doctors. Ram is to be cautious though, and not exert herself. She should not bend forward, nor carry heavy loads, nor do strenuous work and not exert pressure on the right side of the face. Neither should she wash the eyes with ordinary water for the time being. The eye is to be protected from dust and contaminations, and a plastic eye shield was provided for this purpose. It is to be cleaned using saline solution and three types of eye-drops were prescribed to be applied 4 times a day.

On Wednesday 21st. January 2004, after the Doctors had seen her in the morning, she was allowed to go home with a list of precautions she has to take. So began the routine of cleaning her eyes and applying the medicine and three types of eye-drops every six hours. To avoid contamination, all utensils used for cleaning the eye have to be cleaned with disinfectant soap and placed in a covered receptacle all the time together with the cotton wool and cotton buds. The hands should be regularly washed with soap and especially when cleaning the eyes.

Subsequent visits made to the doctor in the hospital showed positive improvements in the eye. Focus and vision slowly improved. However, according to the doctor, full recovery may take up to one year. The sutures may be taken out in stages in about four to six months and meanwhile she has to continue taking the necessary precautions. One week after operation she could not read anything but three weeks later she could read the letters on the second line of the eye refraction-chart. She could read the headlines of newspapers but the full texts are still blurred. Focus is slowly taking place. Vision on the right eye as compared to the left eye is bright, as though a spotlight or torch is directed to what she sees. Does this mean that her vision has been dimmed all these while?

Ever since returning from the hospital there had been a steady stream of visitors, relatives, friends and also neighbours to see her, comfort her and wishing her steady recovery. Afraid that she may get overly excited receiving these visits and thereon exerting herself in explaining the operation and the eye condition, I printed out brief descriptions of Fuchs’ Dystrophy and related pictures of the part of the eye that is operated on and how the new cornea is sutured, for all to see and read. I kept reminding Ram to speak little, and not move about too much. She did very well and the visitors understood the need for her not to move about as best possible. The visitors helped uplift her morale as well and did good for her wellbeing. Shaffik and family came home for the Hari Raya Haji holidays, 10 days after the operation, and the sight of the grandchildren, lifted Ram’s spirits. “Kesian Tok Mi, eye painfullll….” Said Hifzhan…. And you can certainly see the glow in the grandmother’s eyes….

She is now in the fourth week after the operation. The swellings in the eye, the redness on the eyeball and the pain in her head and temple have subsided almost completely. The eye appears to have a ring around the edge of the cornea and taking a closer look at it, the sutures can be seen quite clearly on the ring, 360o around the cornea. It is neat and even. Frequency of cleaning the eye, of applying the eye drops and taking the prescribed medicine is maintained, while the number of eye drops to be applied can be reduced to only one type after the fourth week. She has to continue to be cautious, not to exert herself, not to carry or lift heavy objects, not to bend forward, in short, not to strain herself in anyway for yet some months. She is well, except for the eye, has good appetite since she is at home all the time, cannot exert therefore cannot exercise, all these does not appear good for maintaining her body weight!! I keep reminding her to watch what she eats. We do not want other problems to creep in do we?

We still have many questions in our minds about Ram’s condition for which only time will provide the answers. Questions like, will the cornea adhere completely to the eye in within the period mentioned? (We did hear of a case where the cornea came off when the person accidentally touched the eye, and that was after 5 years of transplant!!) What happens if it does not? After all there are no blood vessels to assist!! What about the left eye? The left eye is also afflicted with Fuchs’ Dystrophy. Will another cornea transplant be necessary?

The donor? …… All we know is that the donor is from the US. It is not the practice of the International Eye Bank to release details of the donor. It shall remain anonymous. There was an earlier allocation of a cornea from Canada for Ram during the Christmas/New Year holidays but it was not feasible then as there were delays in the flights out of the US/Canada during that holiday period partly due to the restrictions imposed by the US Government on flights into and out of the US as precautions against terrorism and also partly due to the repeat outbreak of SARS. These delays would only make the cornea exceed its permissible exposure limits rendering it to be clinically dead by the time it arrives in Malaysia and hence not acceptable for grafting or transplant. The doctors decided not to ship out the cornea then. We hope that that cornea found a beneficial recipient in the US or Canada.

We thank Almighty Allah for His blessings, His guidance to us in making the decisions we made, His compassion towards providing us the comforts in these stressful times, and most of all His allowance to Ram, for the strength He gave her to face these trials and tests. We continue to seek and to pray for His guidance to us to face the trials and tests with humble allegiance and confidence, instilling and maintaining in our hearts the will to be humble to Him and the will to accept whatever He bestows on us with rightful thanks and ‘syukur’. To Allah we owe our allegiance and from Him we seek forgiveness.

Kampong Tunku,
Petaling Jaya.
February 15, 2004


Hi, I have been reading blogger postings of friends and others and now decide to post my own. I am not quite sure what I will be writing about but I guess, as one of my friends suggested "let your mind flow through your fingers on the keyboard", I will do just that and mindful of the set restrictions and guidelines.

Having retired from active employment in 1999, I have been taking it easy since, travelling within the country and abroad, and doing those things that I could not do when I was working. Although there was a period of about 3years after retirement where I was quite active again but decided at the end of it to concentrate more on the needs of my immediate family and attend to other personal matters (details of these will appear as the days go on and as I post more of my thoughts here). Again I would like to quote another friend, who was invited to be actively employed again but declined by saying, "I think I have worked hard enough to be where I am today, and it is now time for me to joyfully spend my twilight years". I am trying and still trying to do the same.

I try to surf the net, read eMails, news and so on using my laptop daily. However when I travel, the frequency I switch on my laptop or go online will not be that frequent as I prefer to spend travel time rather than surfing time!! However at the least, I will get to go online once a week.