Friday, March 31, 2006

Dioxin -

I read with trepidation certain news of the effects of dioxin to water stored in plastic bottles and the resultant effects to humans. A friend sent me the following:

Cancer update: Johns Hopkins = Cancer News from Johns Hopkins:

1. No plastic containers in microwave.
2. No water bottles in freezer.
3. No plastic wrap in microwave.

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Dioxin chemicals causes cancer, especially breast cancer.

Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.

Recently, Dr Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body.

Instead, he recommends using glass, Corning Ware or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.

He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.

Also, he pointed out that Saran wrap is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food.

Cover food with a paper towel instead

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Senior Citizens" Visit The University

Recently a group of Senior Citizens, ex PETRONAS staff and retirees, visited University Technology PETRONAS (UTP) at the invitation of its Rector and CEO. This is the second time that I visited the University. The first time was when the complex was under construction and the University was operating in temporary buildings at the site. I was still working then. Now, after about 10 years the complex or campus is almost completed with the main buildings and facilities available. There should be more buildings constructed according to its master plan but these will be built in due time. In deed there are construction activities going on but these are at areas away from the main buildings.

The objective of the visit was for the Retirees Fraternity to have an overall view of the University, its development and progress to date and to see for themselves how the thoughts, ideas and plans that some of them had put in place for the University when they were still working in PETRONAS has materialized. A majority of those in the visiting group had in some way or other contributed to the existence and perhaps the development of the University. The visit was also to explore the possibility of having the Retirees share their experience(s) in their working life by returning to the campus giving lectures, or talks or contribute in whatever way possible to the development of the young minds in the campus. This aspect of the visit was highlighted by the Rector several times.

A 44 seater bus was provided by our host and our pick-up point was the parking lot of the KL main mosque (Masjid Wilayah). I was there early to ensure that ‘things’ that should happen, happen as required. All went as planned with nothing untoward. Heading the group was the President of the Retirees Fraternity. There were about thirty of us and a few came with their spouses, Ram included. We left the pick-up point at just after 9.00am and arrived at the gate of the university at just before 12.00 noon.

We were accorded a most hearty welcome and we could see that they were indeed well prepared for the visit. On approaching the gate of the University, a security outrider accompanied us leading the way to our first destination, where the Rector and his Management staff were waiting to greet and meet us. They had planned to take us around the site, visit the various facilities, the halls, resource centre, mosque, and a briefing on the development of the university.

The entrance to the University was a simple yet nicely arranged non-imposing gated structure but on driving up to the security control centre one would notice the mosque, the first building visible from the entrance, very imposing, whitewashed, domed at the front and full of pillars. It was surrounded on one side by a lake which I found out later was a double level cascading water design, man made out of the original mining pond. That was a unique design. From the distance and especially at night, with built in lights, the view would be of the mosque standing over the edge of a waterfall. There were also a lot of tall trees around such that the view of the main buildings in the campus as we approached the mosque was hidden by the trees.

We visited the Chancellors Complex, a very impressive huge building that houses the Resource centre, Administrative centre, Chancellors offices, Senate and Conference halls on one side of the complex and the Chancellors Hall on the other side. The resource centre is four levels of shelves that can hold about 500,000 books with large seating spaces also provided at each level together with IT facilities and other library equipment and resources. The Chancellors Hall is a movable stage and movable theatre-tiered seats hall large enough to seat about 3000 people (my estimate) and with the stage and the theatre seats retracted, the hall will be used for their exams sessions. We were also shown the engineering laboratories and the academic blocks all of which adjoins the main Chancellors building.

We were later brought on a tour of the whole site in the bus and viewed the academic blocks, the residences and other facilities. The campus stands in an area of 1000 acres much of which are greenery, very conducive to study and the interactivity of the minds. After viewing the complex, I said to myself how wonderful it would be to be able to go back to University and study with such nice facilities provided………… (I am comparing these facilities to what I was used to when I was a student hmmmm!!)

After a visit to the mosque and after prayers we left UTP to return to KL by the same bus arriving at the KL mosque at just after dusk prayers. It was an enjoyable trip. Everyone, I think, was satisfied that it was a good trip. Apart from viewing the facilities participants had an insight into how UTP function as engineering studies provider and the extent it stretches to its shareholder i.e. PETRONAS, to the community and also to the country in the provision of engineering skills and knowledge. I also think that the participants are willing to positively respond to the call by the Rector for Retirees to return to UTP and assist it with inputs for the ‘young minds’. The thing to do now is to identify how and what input is required from these Retirees. We will have to start working with the relevant officers of the university to identify these areas of input. Retirees may be free with all the time in the world but being retirees, to get them going may take some time. Hence an early start is what all are looking at….. I wonder if they are all looking at me (being the secretary of the Retirees Fraternity) to start ??…….. Hmmmm… I guess they are…

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

The Mosque


View From The Entrance Road


Inside The Mosque Posted by Picasa

The Chancellors Complex

  Posted by Picasa

Resource Centre


All Book Shelves Posted by Picasa

The Chancellors Hall


Group Photograph Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Babang Bored ?

It is Tuesday. We are still sniffling but we feel much better than yesterday, and much much better than Sunday! The throbs in the head are gone but Ram has another complication. She has to visit the ‘loo’ often. Running nose has slowed down but running tummy has begun!! Perhaps her immune level has dropped much that one slight mistake in food intake causes the tummy to protest!! We wondered what causes it as we have been taking only hot soup and bread the last few meals. Anyway she made v very strong plain tea (the Chinese calls it ‘kow’ for strong and she made it like triple kow) for herself and drank half a cup, without sugar or milk, hot and steaming …. yuk! (That is old grandma’s recipe for upset tummy) and she says she feels much better now. So, grandma’s recipes are no ‘old folk’s tale or fables’ after all. Yup, it works…. So folks, if you have an upset tummy and have to visit the ‘loo’ more than twice in an hour, try taking the ‘triple kow’ tea, and make sure that it is hot. If in the next hour after that you still have to go to the ‘loo’ hasten to a doctor. Make sure that there are ‘loos’ available along the way as you may need it. It is no joke and no laughing matter. I have, and I am sure you have too, experienced the pain and the rumble in the tummy when it happens. Ram appears ok while I am writing this and she has not gone to the ‘loo’ for quite a while now.

A while ago Mini called from her office and spoke to Ram. She must have heard that we are not well. We learnt from Mini that the kids have not gone to their playschool for about a week now and that all the playschools in the town has been asked to stay closed as precaution because of an infectious flu affecting small children in the town. Mini said that Babang is complaining of being bored staying at home. And that the three kids are very boisterous, especially so baby Haadieya. She constantly annoyed her elder brothers and fight with them and … she is a girl??? Shaffik had offered to take all of them to Miri this weekend but Babang said Miri is also boring….. I guess he must like school very much.

Later we called and spoke to the kids. Dedek came on first and rambled on and on about what he is doing at home and why he is not at school. Asked if he quarrels with baby Haadieya, he said ‘Noh! Dadek do not quarrellllll’ in a sing-song style. He is proud in saying that he can now ride his scooter with both legs on it. Babang on the other hand was more subdued in his conversation with us. He says that he does drawings and colouring, and also read his books at home. He can balance on his scooter for a long time now, he says. He told us that it is boring to stay at home and not go to school. Ram asked him why it should be boring since he has his brother and sister to play with. He said, “No, Tok Mi, Babang boring stay at home…. If Babang go to KL and to Tok Bah’s house Babang not boringggg!” Hahahaha! A 5 year old wishful thinking!! Who knows…. his wishes may come true ….. will it? Shaffik has a meeting in KL for two days next week…. I wonder…… ???

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Throb - Throb - Throb; Ohhh! Our heavy heads....

It has been a week since we returned from Bintulu. The first few days were spent cleaning up the house, doing necessary chores, routine doctor appointment, running errands and paying bills. Nothing out of the ordinary except that we have to go through the hassle of finding parking space, long queues and crowds, but then again, that is ordinary in the PJ area now!! It is a good thing and a lot of help that some of the bills, especially the monthly ones, can be paid on-line. It saves us a lot of time and effort.

I went to pay the annual quit rent at the Land office. I got a queue number that has 145 people ahead of me to pay similar bills. I waited a while to see how the queue progress. It was, as expected, slow. Ram was then at Hussein Onn Hospital for her eye appointment. She called my cellphone when she had finished and I could drive all the way to the hospital to fetch her and returned to pay the bill at the land office and yet my queue number was not yet up. There were still about 50 people yet to pay their bills ahead of me. One kind lady asked if I want her number as she got a friend to pay for her. Her number was about 30 before me. I took it and passed mine to someone else whose number was much larger than mine. Why can’t the Land Office allow on line payment like most other establishments, eg. utility companies, collecting payments from the public. They used to have drive-through payment counters years ago but somehow stopped the practice. I wonder why.

After settling the ‘must pay’ bills we were quite free to do our own thing. We had been looking forward to join our religious commune activities that were scheduled for Wednesday 8th. In a previous posting some months ago I wrote of a visitor, a preacher, who came from Yemen and a Deputy Rector of a religious college there. This time we welcomed the Rector himself, Al-Habib Umar bin Hafidz, and his entourage. As usual I was a little late in arriving at the place. It usually takes about an hour for us to reach the place but this day the traffic was exceptionally heavy and it was raining heavily in PJ too. But when we arrived at the mosque it was dry and the sky was clear. No impending rain too. There was already a large gathering of people. We had a tight squeeze when sitting or when praying. After the evening prayers, Al-Habib Umar gave his lecture that centered on the present generation of followers who forget their promises to the Almighty. Although they pray five times a day or more and make these promises in their prayers, yet in their daily activities they chase after the worldly things more than their spiritual obligations. Everyone seems to give priority in obtaining worldly things and become tools to these things instead of making these things as tools for their submission to the Almighty. The evening continued with more prayers, reciting verses glorifying the Almighty and His Prophet pbh., and supplications to Him. The session ended at about 11.00 pm followed by dinner of course. Dinner was briani rice with lamb, beef and dhall curry or known locally as dalcha!. There was enough food for everybody that night. It was close to midnight when we left the place for home reaching home at almost 1.00am.

Shaffik was in KL for two days to attend an assessment on position grade and job grade mismatch at his work place. Hopefully the anomaly can be sorted out and he gets an upgrade at the end of it, may the grace of the Almighty be with him. We went to meet him at his hotel on Thursday night and spent the evening with him. He left for Bintulu early the next morning.

From Friday onwards, both Ram and I were down with flu’. It started with a sore throat followed by sniffling nose, and by Saturday our voices were hoarse, we were coughing and our heads were heavy and throbbing and throbbing and throbbing. We had to give the wedding of a relative a miss. We just could not get out of bed that day. Ram’s sister said perhaps we have been running around exerting ourselves too much. Perhaps we had. And it is now time for us to rest….. Tessa came home in the evening to see us but I noticed that she too was sniffling and repeatedly clearing her throat. She had the same thing we had, only perhaps a little lighter. This time it runs in the family I guess. We were resting at home right through. I hope that we will be well enough by Wednesday. The Retirees Fraternity is making a day trip to the University Technology Petronas on Wednesday at the invitation of the Rector and we do not want to give that trip a miss. We have been looking forward to the trip and hope, with the grace of the Almighty, we can be well enough to make it………..

No prize for guessing who this cutie is?

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,
Petaling Jaya