Friday, December 24, 2010

Time To Let GO

At our Wednesday weekly breakfast gathering (no particular significance on the choice of day) held in the lower lobby of our local mosque, friends and neighbours spend about an hour and a half to share thoughts, information and opinions on current issues openly and without any fixed agenda. Provision of breakfast food is arranged by the operator of the sundry shop-cum-canteen of the mosque and sponsored by either the operator or individuals voluntarily. These meetings of minds of men and women, who are almost all retired professional individuals from both the private and public sectors, have been going on for over a year.

For years, ever since I moved into this community about thirty years ago, several groups of individuals have been going out, and on almost daily basis soon after the pre-dawn prayers, for breakfast at any one of the many eating shops and stalls in town. Of course over this period in time many have gone (May they rest in peace) and new ones have joined in, but the tradition continued. However the current batch of retirees, amongst the congregation, felt that better utilization of the time spent can be achieved if this gathering can somehow be structured (albeit loosely) and then see to what level the group can move on to. Indeed, the group has recently put up a letter of protest and suggestion to the local authorities over an issue affecting the community, after having discussed the issue at the gathering. So, the group can move on to be a pressure group, a think tank, an advisory group or anything for, the benefit of and be useful to, the community.

At the last breakfast gathering, and since this is the New Year in the Muslim calendar, attendees were asked if any would share their resolution(s) or anything similar on this New Year thing (within a ten minutes time limit). I stood up to talk about my decision to ‘let go’. I have, by default, and by being the eldest in the family, chaired my family grouping, the ‘Warisan TCC’ which is an association of family members that was started off by my late father. I recently decided to decline election as Chairman and paved the way for the next generation to take the lead. It is time to ‘let go’ and allow the young to take over the helm. I briefly explained to the breakfast group how Warisan TCC was formed and what the benefits gained by the members were and this generated a lot of interest amongst the listeners. What was to be a ten minute talk turned out to be a half-an-hour discussion and that span of time was certainly not enough to cover everything about what Warisan TCC was about. It may well be a study of ‘how to’ later on.

The above is an example of how the breakfast group make useful of the time available and what else can happen if the group decides to see things through to an upper level. May the Almighty be pleased with our efforts………

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life Dreams and Achievement

Dinosaurs – the giant animal that lived and survived in the jungles million years ago. Big in size, strong and ever intimidating. They are territorial, take control and will not compromise. Some of the specie are carnivorous, some vegetarian and they fight to protect their perceived rights. Because of their size and strength they were arrogant and conceited. They damage the environment and slowly destroy their source of food and ultimately became extinct. They did not realize that when they die they were food for the ants, insects and worms, and their bodies rot on the very ground that they forget to look at when they were alive, just because they kept their heads very high up in the air. They finally end up having their bones displayed in museums all over the world!

The ‘dinosaurs’ is a study of status, of power and strength, of how these influence attitude. If only the realization of how life ends is factored into the equation then attitude will change from arrogance to humbling. No need to act privileged, to intimidate and show off, to humiliate and downgrade. Lead by setting good examples without expecting recognition which will actually come in due time…..

My wish for the future is for the ‘Leaders’ that be to come down on earth and act real. No artificial pretences, no make-beliefs and negativity. All of us have jobs to do, responsibilities to take care of and lifelong dreams to strive for. There are no short cuts to all of them. It is only hard work to achievement. May the Almighty continue to provide guidance always……..

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Quintessential Dad

Hj Ismail bin Md Yassin bin Abdul Jani bin Moepati
22 Nov 1921 - 8 Aug 1986

Dad, Several Years Before His Retirement From Government Service

That’s my dad. A quintessential dad, an inspiration to me especially and I believe to my siblings too. He held no secrets nor grudges on anyone and was friendly to all irrespective of colour, creed and social status. He was as comfortable mixing with the cleaners, grass-cutters and the like as he was with family, friends, neighbours and dignitaries. He was ever ready to help those in need and would share what he had with others. He was a good planner and had very clear vision and mission in life. I was often reminded to treat another person as a human being, not according to position. I was taught to respect elders always and to seek knowledge from them, to learn from their experience. I was told at a young age to always keep a note book and a pencil/pen in my pocket and use them. He told me you will forget what you see, what you hear unless you write those that you want to remember. Indeed, motivational gurus taught that you will remember only 20% of what you hear, 40% of what you see and hear, and 70 – 80% of what you see, hear and do. He once asked me to write in my notebook, “There is never any glory in never failing but a lot in arising after every fall”. I have held this close to my heart all my life. Never give up but to strive to do better always.

As I mentioned in my previous posting on my ancestors, dad was the eldest amongst his siblings. Being the eldest he learnt quickly that it was his responsibility to take care of the siblings just as it was his responsibility to take care of his immediate family. He was the eldest son (his six siblings, dad was fourth, of the same father and mother died when they were very young, and nine other younger siblings from a step-mother). Granddad was very sickly towards the end of his life and passed away at an age of sixtyish when dad was about 35. At that age he suddenly found that he had a big family to look after. Six of the younger siblings were at various stages of schooling age with the youngest just starting at year one or was it year two? (my memory is playing tricks with me, ha ha ha!). The two youngest were younger than me and one above that a couple of years older. So, my uncles and aunties became my playmates.

In his younger days, dad went to an English school in the mornings and attended religious school in the afternoon. It was in the afternoon religious school that he had eyes for this beautiful girl in the same class with him. She was brought to school daily by a fully covered trishaw (society was very strict then, a young woman and a young man were not to be seen together at all, let alone chit chat, while dating was taboo!). She had a younger brother whom dad befriended and they became close to each other. Obviously dad had ulterior motives, ha ha!

Mum, Active in Politics, Women's Movement, Community and Public Service

This beautiful girl ultimately became his wife and is my dear mum. They got married on 3rd January 1943 and I came along to start messing with their lives in September 1944. Malaya (became Malaysia in September 1963) was at that time under Japanese occupation and I was told that life was very hard then. Rice was scarce while tapioca became the staple food for a while. Milk was difficult to come by, and as an infant I was fed boiled tapioca water instead. Luckily there was breast milk and that was a luxury since mum was then a teacher and had to be away from home. I was taken care of by my grandma for a while until Mum found a baby- sister for me. That was how I had to survive with tapioca water, since breast milk supply was away from home ha ha!! Things improved a lot after the Japanese left (they lost the war, remember) and the British took over administering the country. Substitute baby milk was subsequently made available then and it was of the ‘Lactogen’ brand. Other brands were introduced much, much later. After me, nine other siblings followed to maintain messing up mum’s and dad’s lives, and together with a few of my uncles and aunties it was a crowd in the house, ha ha!

Three Days After Their Wedding on 3rd January 1943

Dad started work in the Government service initially at the Police Depot as a civilian staff and stayed in that office for several years. Many of his colleagues then, both uniformed and civilian, became his close friends and they came to the house to learn English and English conversation under dad’s tutelage. Apparently dad was privileged to have gone through an English school, learnt and studied English, and true to his character his tutelage was voluntary without expecting anything in return. I used to sit in in his English class and he was very patient and helpful to the point of being overly accommodating to the errors and omissions made when tutoring his colleagues. I picked up English here and perhaps picked up some of his character traits as well.
From the Police Department he was transferred to the Government Audit department, then to the Medical Bureau and finally to the Marine department where he retired as a Deputy Port officer. At the same time he was involved with the scout movement and also heavily involved with a political party that came into power to rule the country. I remember that he was repeatedly voted in as the Youth Chief for many years. Mum was equally involved and stayed on as the Women’s division treasurer being voted in year after year by members.
With Dad and Mum heavily involved in the current politics then and away from home so often we, the children, were left at home on our own and I, being the eldest but still in school, was tasked to look after my siblings. I learnt to do the marketing, cooking and other chores very early. Apart from that I was also exposed to many life challenges at a very young age just as dad was when he was young but his was out of circumstances while mine was out of design!! (More of this in my upcoming postings). I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to grow up and grow fast!! May the Almighty be pleased…..

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya