Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Bintulu 9 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005.

Bintulu March 16, 2005.

I ponder. Another day goes by. I was told by my sisters that their respective functions went well. The proper function for a newborn was held and was well attended while another nephew of mine is married now. My other sister must be enjoying herself in the glory of her school producing the best student in the recent examinations, with lunch and dinner functions and meeting up with royalty and dignitaries alike as reported by the local newspapers. It must have been a hectic period for them. For us here its hectic in a different way. With the two boys constantly noisy and attracting attention its difficult to concentrate in what one wants to do. Their playful antics however wipe off any disappointment in that respect.

Sita eMailed some recent pictures of Najla and two of these are posted here. Najla is six months old now.

A few days ago there was an article in the local newspaper on the Malaysian postal service. The article more or less described the transformation of the service provider from its early beginnings as a government department to what it is now, a corporate entity. All the good that they do are highlighted, the increase in the number of mails and parcels handled, number of staff, offices and sub-offices and so on mentioned, such that I get the feeling they are trying to portray something, justify something to the public. Many many years ago, mails were delivered quite haphazardly. They were either late, delayed or mislaid. Post was not regarded as a service provider but an enforcer. You want to send mail, come to us and we will deliver for you when we are able to!! Then came the courier service. This was in the early or mid seventies. In late sixties there were already small or private concerns providing such courier service but they were rather crude and not well organized. When they were organized properly, they became a threat to the Post services. I think its was DHL that first set up the services in a big way. So Post had to buck up and face the competition. They have to increase efficiency. They have to service the public as a true service provider. They have to deliver on time. They finally decided to corporatise to increase efficiency. But is that the only way to increase efficiency? A corporate entity has to prove profitable besides being efficient. They have to answer to their shareholders. So which comes first? Shareholders or client? Profit for the shareholders or efficient service to the public, their clients. If you consider what has transpired recently my vote is their responsibility to shareholders comes first and service to clients second or is it last!! What has become apparent is that rates are increasing. It is a lot more expensive to use their services now. Will they be more efficient? I wonder. They are setting stricter rules before they can provide their service, as example, no more brown envelopes. Envelopes must be white. But white envelopes are more expensive!! All envelopes must be sealed when previously you can send open envelopes, open-ended parcels of magazines, periodicals and other printed matters and so on which was at a cheaper rate, compared to sealed envelopes. There are many more new rules and regulations being introduced. In addition they use all sorts of justification to increase rates. One, which I always fail to understand is, the rates in our country is currently the lowest in the region, or the lowest amongst so and so and similar reasons. (You also hear this reason for the increase in toll, electricity tariff, public transport fares and others!!). Must we increase our rates just because other countries charge higher rates? Other countries use our services as a dumping ground to enjoy the cheaper rates they say so we have to increase rate. So, we, the general public, having enjoyed cheaper rates have to suffer by paying higher rates to prevent others from using our country’s services as a dump? That is not right is it? Why can’t they handle the dumping by the few instead of ‘buggering’ the masses?

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Najla: who is that behind the camera? Posted by Hello

Sita and Najla, connecting .... Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005


Bintulu 8 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005.

Bintulu March 14, 2005.

I ponder. Another day goes by. In fact its been a few days since I posted my last ramblings. I am now into my fourth week in Bintulu. The two boys are constantly keeping us on our toes. School break has just started, so the two of them are together always. They play together, loudly and they fight loudly too. The little sister are often awakened in a jolt. We have to constantly coax them to be quiet. Its peace and quiet when they are asleep.

Over the last few days three of my sisters and their families went through different functions. One had held a celebration for her eighth grandchild yesterday, another held a marriage solemnization ceremony for her son also yesterday and yet another sister attended and accompanied one of her students to functions upon functions celebrating her success in obtaining A1s in all 17 subjects she took in the recent examinations. (See my previous blog on this). For obvious reasons I could not attend the first two functions but I am sure the functions went well, and I wish all of them well too.

Over the last few days a number of visitors came to visit Mini and the baby. One of them came and introduced Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water system to Shaffik. He even demonstrated the difference between RO water and other waters available. He was convincing. But then again, all of those trying to sell their stuff, whatever system it is, will be just as convincing. So where do we go then. There are many systems of water purification in the market. All of them claim theirs are superior than others. Theres even one system that claims to purify water to just water, nothing else. Is pure water and nothing else in it really good for us? I ponder. When I was in school, health science taught me that we need minerals in our body, all sorts, from calcium, magnesium, iron to selenium and a myriad of other minerals. One of the sources of these minerals is the water we drink. To my mind, we only need to purify and clean the water from bacteria and impurities, without any need to remove all else from the water. So, something at the back of my mind suspect, only a suspicion, that there is a correlation between the water supplier, the Jabatan Bekalan Air, Puas or whatever and the water system manufacturer. I wonder. When I was young, I used to carry water in metal pails and other containers from the standpipes at the roadside into the house, (water were not piped into the houses then). I used to drink water direct from the pipe. Nobody thought of filtering the water before use. Even when the water was allowed to stand in the containers for a long time there were no sediments or any settlements at the bottom. Now? Phoooh! The muck that comes off the water filters is just unbelieveable. Whites when washed in the washing machines can turn yellow if not careful. I even read in the papers that people have found all sorts of impurities coming out of their taps, including live ‘crawlies’ and worms!! So can I be blamed for pondering and wondering if there is a connection between suppliers and manufacturers?

I recently see advertisements and hear news of a prominent personality appealing to people to attend a musical function that is held to collect funds for the Tsunami victims. Over the past few months there have been many funds and collection centers set up for this purpose. Millions upon millions have already been collected. A lot of Hoohaaa on the amount collected, of how generous so and so are, such and such a company are. They appear on TV to show to the world how conscious they are to the plight of the victims. Who then is responsible for all the money? Who then accounts for all that has been collected? Its money held in trust from all that has donated. As its money in trust, it should be properly accounted for. If not it will be a breach of that trust!! How about the victims? Have they been adequately attended to? I know from an experience of someone very close to me that her attempt to pass on donations directly to the victims at one location was thwarted by the politicians and their cohorts, to the extent of using the police to prevent her. All donations must go through a certain ‘authority’ they say. Is this then genuine attempt at helping the victims? I wonder and I continue to ponder. I am very much afraid of the wrath of the One and Only, the Almighty. Was not tsunami one of it?

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Ahhh! peace. Those two guys not bothering me now. I'l catch up with my beauty sleep!! Posted by Hello

Hey you guys lay off please!! You are smothering me!! Posted by Hello

I am 17 days old.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Bintulu 7 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005.

Bintulu March 8, 2005.

I ponder. Another day goes by. Apart from the routine of sending Babang to school daily, and keeping the kids occupied, distracting them from annoying their baby sister and everybody else in the house, I had to spend quite a bit of time trying to configure the settings of security system in my laptop. The two little boys hovering over me and persuading me to play with them, in short trying always to draw my attention to them, did not help in my sorting out the security system configuration. They insisted that I play ball with them this evening. I did. Amidst the running around, jumping, kicking and catching the ball, mostly catching the ball, Babang disappeared into the house for a while and came out at the door shouting at us, “Hey you guys! want to drink water?”. First time I hear him using that term. Must have learnt it from one of the cartoon programmes no doubt. Dedek of course jumped at the suggestion and insisted that he gets juice and not just water!! Ha ha. He got his way too. Another occasion, while everybody was running around, Dedek, all of a sudden shouted, “Hey, stop, quiet, quiet”. So we all stopped and looked at him. Putting his right hand halfway upwards, palm in a fist and forefinger pointing upwards, he continued, “Now everybody listen, we all go to the airport, we see the fire engines there ok?” Babang just looked at me and shrugged!! Dedek must have been tired then and that was a diversion to allow him to catch his breadth, ha ha ha!!

I ponder. Two days ago I got a reminder to renew my laptop Virus Protection with an offer to upgrade it to a more sophisticated one. I did so and got them all downloaded, registered, installed accordingly and activated. However, when I switched on the laptop this morning and went on line there were some applications that refused to respond. Spent the whole morning trying to figure out what went wrong and was flustered most of the time at my inadequate knowledge of the system. Finally found out, in the afternoon, that the new and upgraded Virus Protection programme had a personal firewall system running and had prevented the programmes from responding. I have to open the firewall programme, go through a list and identify what I can allow and what to prevent or walled. I did that, and then only the applications responded as normal. I am no computer expert, am still a novice. An expert would have found the problem and solve it at a blink of an eye!! So, there you go. Technology. Technology needs to be mastered or you will end up being mastered.

I ponder and I wonder. My sister told me yesterday that one of her students obtained 17 A1s in the recent SPM examinations (Final examinations in the upper-secondary school and a passport to further education). That’s a record!! We have heard of 9 A1s and 10 A1s but 17 …… that’s way too many. And it’s also not from one of those premier school, where all the best facilities are made available and normally without a fuss, but a school in the suburbs, a small town (that is growing very fast though) about 30 kilometers from the big city. My sister is the Headmistress of the school, so she is naturally very proud of the achievement. It seems the student, a girl named Amalina I think, took subjects related to both the Arts and the Science streams, hence the 17 subjects that she took for the examinations. There will be a big do very soon with the Minister coming to the school to make the announcement. It is very clear that this girl has and uses her mental capacity to the full. She is able to apply all spectrum of the thinking process. She manages her time well too I presume. But the question is, what next? I wonder.

I ponder, and wonder and hope. This week will be a week many families and couples will be either overjoyed at the success of their off-springs or dismayed at their performance in the SPM examinations. The successes will naturally be proud of their achievement. The not so successful and the failures will be brooding or wondering what happened. There will be a lot of hooha over it for a while. Then, there will be a scramble to obtain places in a higher education institution and face the next step, the next hurdle, in this race of life achievement. It is clearly an exam orientated system. The learning process is with the objective of passing exams. I only hope that all these successes realize that knowledge and skills are the key tools required to be successful in the real world later in life, after leaving higher studies.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Shhhh! I need my beauty sleep pleaseeee!! Posted by Hello

I am 2 weeks old Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Bintulu 6 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005.

Bintulu March 6, 2005.

I ponder. Today is a race day for Formula 1 racing cars. The first leg of this year’s race season, held in Melbourne, Australia. This year sees a new team in the line up and a mix of experienced drivers with a couple of new ones including Karthikayan from India, the first F1 driver from that country. I enjoy watching the F1 race, albeit on the TV only. I have tried not to miss any of the races previously but not to the extent of forgoing other important things that I may need to do at the same time. I was in a way looking forward to this race, so also, apparently, were my two grandsons. Not that they were looking forward to it, but when the TV was on and showing the cars they were excited, “Racing car, racing car,” they said and dropped everything else, getting themselves glued to the TV. Babang chose the blue car while Dedek chose Yellow. They were noisy, noisier than the TV, especially Dedek, all excited. When the race got underway, they were even more excited, standing up and jumping up and down. “Go, go, go” said Babang with hands in a fist and waving forward. Looks professional enough as a spectator!! I could not hear Martin Brundell’s commentary for the first 10 laps at least!! By then Dedek’s attention span had waned. “No accidentttt” he said. He was beginning to race the sister’s empty pram around the hall and not concentrating on the TV anymore. After a while he was playing alone with his other toys. Not Babang though. He was full of attention right through the race. He had a lot of questions though. “Tok Bah, why is the car being pushed?” or “Tok Bah, what happened to that car?” or “Where is my blue car? What number is it?” and similar questions. When, Fisichella won, he was up jumping, “Yeh, yeh, yeh, my blue car wins”.

I ponder. During my teen-days, there used to be motor racing in my home town. Its usually a two days affair with the final races for motorcycles held in the morning of the second day and for cars in the afternoon. The races were held on normal roads which were barricaded off for the race. I used to love watching the mechanics working on the machines after the first day’s heats or trials. You can hear the clanking of spanners, the metal grinding and pumping sounds while they were at work. Everything were mostly mechanical then. Drivers, when racing, changed gears, breaked and do other things necessary to win the race manually, just like driving normal cars. Communications between drivers and the pits were through cue cards held up as he passed by. Not now. Everything is electronics or computerized. The steering wheel is not round anymore but square and imbedded with multi switches and buttons. There’s traction control, speed control, gear control and a multitude of functions all on that square wheel and buttons. Drivers communicate with their Engineers over the radio instantly. Its more intricate and the tests on drivers are heavier. The speed too is much, much higher now, three times higher than what it was when it was all manual.

I ponder and wonder. What will it be like when Babang, Dedek, Najla and Hadieya are about 30 or 40 years old. Will the speed at the races get any higher? Will there be more controls and gadgets installed in the racing cars. Will our children get the opportunity to keep abreast with the technical development in the electrical/electronics and computer scene in the race through life? The drivers of technology and modern living? If the opportunity is there, will they have the capacity to acquire the knowledge and skills? What is there to do and how to prepare them is the question that need answers now. A young mind can be groomed and moulded to make them become successful in whatever field desired.

I ponder and wonder. I ponder and wonder and hope that these young children get the right guidance from their parents, mentally and spiritually, to achieve whatever goals they set themselves to achieve. It’s a challenging world, and the challenges have to be faced head on. The tools are out there and you will have to search for it. It will not come onto your lap. If you don’t go for it you will miss out and be left behind. Wonder what to do, search and do it. Do not wonder what happened later.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Bintulu 5 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005.

Bintulu March 5, 2005.

I ponder. I am now into the third week of my stay in Bintulu. It has been two weeks of laid back, easygoing daily routines, keeping up with the two little boys with their pranks, playful and naughty behaviours. Especially Dedek, who still refuses to acknowledge that he is the big brother of the younger sister, and insists that he is Dedek and the younger sister is baby. He would sometime behave as though he is the baby. He would sometime snuggle up on my lap and put his head on my arm as though wanting me to hold him the way babies are held in our arms!! I would call for his feeding bottle so that I can feed him like a baby and usually, on that call, he will immediately jump up and giggle away!! Babang on the other hand is different. He once whispered to me asking me to send him to school everyday. I told him that I will have to go back to KL sometime soon, so Daddy will send him to school then. He said, “When Tok Bah go back to KL, Tok Bah must come back to Bintulu quickly ok?”. Another time, while at the playground and amidst running around and up and down the slides, he came and whispered into my ear, “Tok Bah, please stay here with Babang always”. I told him I cannot because my house is in KL. He said, “If Tok Bah go to KL Babang have nobodyyyyy”. I said, “you have Daddy”. “Daddy got work” he said. I said, “You got Mummy”. “Mummy with babyyyy” he said. I said, “You got Dedek”. “No, Dedek is naughty” he said. I said, “Nooo, that is not right. Babang should be with Daddy, Mummy, Dedek and Baby, here in Bintulu and when Daddy have time you can all come to Tok Bah’s house in KL ok?”. “Ok” he said and went away. Tough time there!! Dedek of course saw the brother whispering something into my ear and wanting to be like the brother also came to whisper something into my ear. He said, “Dedek want to eat roti canai, many many”. Ha ha! One is serious about life and living while the other is serious about food.

I ponder. In this atmosphere of easygoing daily routines, I get the opportunity to serve the net, watch TV – discovery channel, travel programmes, movies, and listen to the news – read the Quran, magazines and so on, beside dosing to sleep at all odd hours of the day, most of the time in front of the TV. I ponder and wonder, what its going to be like in the future for these little kids. When I was growing up, I was used to only the basics. No battery operated toys, bicycles was a luxury, food came off the wood fire stove, toilets were outside of the house and manual too. (I remember doing my job early one morning and while at it the bowl disappeared from under me!! The ‘night soil man’, that’s the man who came around daily to clean the ‘manual’ toilet bowls and take away its content daily, was apparently late that day as he usually did his rounds in the ‘dead of the night’). These days, little kids have it all, electrical or battery operated and electronically controlled gadgets all over the house. (See my earlier dialog with my grandson on money and banking).

I ponder and wonder, how the world is going to be when the kids are grown up say 20 years from now, a world without borders, where currently the rich gets richer ripping off from the poor all across the globe, the strong talking aloud of democracy, world democracy at that, but taking advantage of the weak, hiding behind the name of ‘humanity??’, the cronyism parallel, manipulations, corruptions at all levels of society. Human rights has meaning only when you have power, strength and a stable economy. Others do not have rights, do not practice human rights and must be shown how to by the mighty using their might to take over and administer democracy.

I ponder and wonder if the kids, when they grow up, gather the right knowledge and skills, develop enough capacity, will and creativity to survive. The present day world situation is so much more to cope with that current young adults and children find themselves much engrossed in the techno-commercial aspect of daily living, that their lives are centered in bettering themselves in the electronically related life and daily living enhancers that physical and spiritual aspect are often rated secondary or least important.

I ponder and wonder and hope. Hope that the children will develop enough resilience to accommodate and face the challenges ahead of them much like me facing the challenges I came across during my time. Hope that the children will develop the capacity to garner all the knowledge and skills available from this borderless world and apply to advantage, much like or more than what I could garner and gather for my advantage in my time. It’s a borderless world alright, and its literally getting smaller and smaller a world to face.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,