Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Miserable End For 2008

My life could have been better; but it was not. Maybe I have been paying the sins of the past; life was quite wild back then. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise; but then I am not that optimistic. Maybe it is just a test from God…yeah…maybe, I am not that sure myself. But one thing I can pin point is that I suffered and my family was hurt. I don’t want to blame God or anyone for that matter. Life is full of uncertainties; and because of that we made wrong mistakes or took up unfavorable decisions. It was not easy; just go on living and hope for the best…whatever that means. Living is not easy to spell out, we must experience it to understand and comprehend all things that make up our life. Sometimes good thing turns bad in a matter of days. Happy moments becomes deep sense of disappointment within a split second. High hopes dashed by a single utterance. Anything can change. Anything. Whether we like it or not.

I started the year of 2008 with high expectations. Being made President of an alumni association, I had many many reformed agenda to change the association for the better. I created a platform and set a trend only to find out that they are the monsters that will suffocate me to a near death. I have been the victim of my own circumstances. I learnt the hard way between the thing you want to do, what you can do and what you can do better. Pick the one you know for sure. My reason was “ I love my alma mater so much I would do anything to help out”…..huhuhu…so naïve…you need more than that, a lot more. I planned for a retreat just collect myself and put my thinking together before I do anything else.

Then I changed my daughter’s school from Maahad Muhammadi in Kota Bharu to SMK Seksyen7, Shah Alam. The main reason was due to her health. Being so far away we could not properly monitor her health which has resulted her being ill without a proper health care. My wife and I decided to take her home. She has improved ever since. There was an Arabic class at her school so she enrolled and added another subject to her PMR. Everything went smoothly until she got her PMR result yesterday. 8As and 1B. Guess what the B is?..Bahasa Arab. For me she has done excellently. That extra B is the result of my own failure….my unforeseen mistake. And we all have to live with it. For not realizing that the new Arabic class was so new that they didn’t even know how to run it. There is only one student got A for Arabic in that class, 1 B and the others are God knows what. How could they make experiment out of my daughter’s future? Another misery!

I had some extra RM100K lying around in the accounts. Feeling so rich. The feeling that makes your head so big, your heart so warm and makes you walk like a rich man. Before long I bumped into a friend who needed some cash to open up a new business. Ahaah….that will make me richer……let the money work for you…invest!. I gave out RM50K as a loan. Then another friend came along to open up a primary school, without much thought I gave the other half as a loan as well. Education is a noble cause. The business is not doing well; as we all know the credit crunch in the US and Europe has affected our businesses in one way or another. Now I am RM100K less richer. Feeling so poor and stupid. I am not sure about my investment; I hope to see my money again….sob…sob…..soon

Then we had that dengue fever. A gruelling reminder that life is not yours. God can take it back anytime. Never to forget that.

Finally, on the 28th of December, my daughter Aqeelah went for Sarawak!. Of all the places why did she has to go so far away? I am mad to the government for doing this to me and my daughter. Has any of the menteri’s children gone for PLKN? I don’t think so!.

And so we say goodbye to 2008 !

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Two weddings and an exam

Today my dearest wife started her final exam. She is doing her PhD by coursework with INCIEF (a BNM training arm). My prayers are always for her to be calm and collected during the exam and she will come out of it with full success. I dropped her off at the exam center and headed to Sg Buloh for a khenduri. There were a lot of khenduri today; I don’t really know why today, maybe it is just a fine day to hold a reception. Even Mawi and Ekin got married this morning. Hmmm that bald and skinny guy from Felda Andak (I can’t remember, it sounds like that) has finally got married. All the best to Mawi…when are you coming out with a new album……asyik jalan makan angin aje! Anyway getting married makes people look complete. Is that why we got married? I wonder! So that people around us will feel better. Do we feel better? I do (in case you want me to answer that). But many of my friends got married and it did not work out…so tragic but as they say life has to go on. We just pick up the pieces and go on. The wedding at Sg Buloh was the son of our dearest secretary at the faculty. I arrived just about the same time as the rombongan pengantin got there. So the set up was a bit special with the kompang and all. The pengantin looked very handsome and pretty. I looked at them and smiled to myself for no apparent reason. I guess we all love beauty and beautiful things…and this young couple is definitely beautiful. The karaoke just stopped to make way for a ceremonial entry by the pengantin. I was sitting there trying to finish the nasi; it was quite good actually but the menu is always the same, I wonder again…is there a standard menu for khenduri.I went to this khenduri alone as my wife is sitting for her exam and my kids would not be interested to come. What a mistake ! never go alone to a khenduri and hoping to find your friends there. You would end up eating alone like a crazy lonely man. You really do! Believe me. Even if your friends were there ,they would be with their family or other friends and you would feel awkward among so many people. So what I did was, eat up and get the hell out of there as fast as you can. Never mind you did not have the time to enjoy the nasi; you will find it again in another khenduri. So that’s what I did ;made a dash out of there and went on to the second khenduri.

The next one was in Kajang. Hmmmmm….that’s a long way from Sg. Buloh. The question is …to go or not to go. I went along with the traffic as my mind looking for that answer. The time was almost 3pm and by the time you got there the nasi might be gone already. I reasoned with myself. But this one is a dear friend how could you stood up an invitation from a friend…..maybe he will not notice you…….by this time I was already passed Puchong and was about to hit the highway to Kajang. Before long I was stuck in a traffic in the middle of Kajang. Now what? I scrambled for the card looking for my way to the house. The map did not help much; just go and it must be somewhere around here. After a few u-turns I made it to the second khenduri. Walllaa……the same nasi; you see you come all the way across town and the menu is exactly the same. I ate up and made a quick dash out of there. But of course to show your face first so that to feel not too guilty for spending so much time driving and filling up the gas. So artificial, isn’t it? Ah well there goes my Saturday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

When your life is numbered by the platelet counts …

When Muslim all over the world celebrated the eidul adha, my family and I were fighting for our life. We were attacked by dengue and five of us including myself were hospitalized. I was hit the hardest with my platelet count was down to 9 (normal is 150++). It was painfully scary as the case was classified as fatal. In anytime my blood vessel could burst out and causes internal bleeding. So I was under ICU standby for the whole two days. Alhamd. Nothing bad happened. I hung on with prayers and hopes; and my body pulled it through until the WBC and the platelet count steadily increased. Funny when you are down with the fever; nothing matters except that you want to get better and be with your family and friends. I guess nothing else really matters….your high life, big career, cars, houses, positions or what not….you just never give them a thought when you were down and almost out. You would like to see your family and friends get in touch with you in case you would not make it this time. FYI, I survived the same ordeal last year about the same time. That’s the price we have to pay for moving to the big city such as Shah Alam. I guess now I know what Shah Alam is famous for : one big under-utilised National Stadium and another one is it is home to Dengue; sarang nyamuk Aedes. If not for pecah rumah, then the cerun runtuh otherwise dengue…..where else do we feel safe and sound for our little family.That’s life I guess…live it a day at a time and be thankful for all the things happened during that period of time.

My other family members : my wife and three of our children suffered high fever and were warded for a few days. I wish this tragic moment will not happen again. It was so hard for the children to cope even my wife and I were down to tears for being helpless and just could not do anything to ease the burden. We are thankful and proud of our second daughter Ifah who escaped the fever and at one time was the only one running around the ward taking care of the family. She is one strong lady. Very proud of her. We are also thankful to the neighbors who helped out during this difficult time. And family back home who held prayers for our recovery.

As death was just a-platelet-count away, your minds stormed with people and faces that you wish to see and meet for the last time. Maybe just to say that last word that you hold up for so many years. You flip through the faces as if looking at an album for people you come to know all these years. Suddenly you stop and mark a few faces as if you would come back to them later. What if there is no LATER ! Your life might stop right there and then…and there is no more later. When I realized how precious that extra time is I felt so small and vulnerable. I could not even control my own life…it’s not even mine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When Love was the only dose to survive ...

These are the emails that I sent and received from my family before and after the viva of my PhD. I returned to Malaysia at the end of the four-year study leave and went back for my viva a couple of months later.I treasure these emails because they captured the moments when I badly needed help and my family was there for me..when love was the only dose to survive .....

---- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 12:30:15 PM
Subject: viva

Hello Dr. Steel,

I'm wondering if you have set up a date for my viva. I'd prefer it to
be end of September or early Oct as I would need as much time as
possible to settle my family here.
I'm having trouble accessing my email from Essex Univ. So at the moment
please contact me through this email.
Thank you.

---- Forwarded Message ----
From: Steel S W D
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 4:08:45 PM
Subject: Re: viva


Your thesis has been sent to the external examiner, but no
date is yet fixed for the viva. Are there any times that are
especially good or bad for you?

Sam Steel
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Steel S W D
Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 11:56:00 PM
Subject: Re: viva


Yes, we have a date fixed. It is the earliest date
at which the internal and external were both free all day.
It is 2.00 on Monday 1 November 1999.

You should get a letter shortly confirming that.

Could you confirm that is OK?

Sam Steel

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 1999 7:10:27 PM
Subject: Message from essex

ASM Sayang,

How to send messages:

send the message to Abah will log
in here and read it.

Alhamd. Abah arrived here around 6.20pm. Nothing much
happenning during the journey. The usual things...2
dinners and a few hot waters. No hassle just boring
because used to the kecoh-kecoh with the kids and all.
Got on the bus to Colchester around 9pm and arrived at
12am. Bro Mohd pick me up and stayed there for the
night. In the morning, strange thing happened.Abah
woke up at the usual time (The time when Fajr almot
bye-bye) and after solat put the trousers on and went
out to buy the paper at phil and jane.That 's what I
have been doing before every saturday morning.
Everything is happening subconciously as if I have
come back home from a vacation. Abah just couldn't
hold the tears, this place is not just any place. It
used to be our home. Abah walked down port lane,
passing by our house. The house is still empty and
gliberry keeps the red small gendang yang pecah tu kat
window. Abah stopped by Deby's place and met James,
David and Paul. They have a little sister now called
chelsea. As Abah walked around to phil's and back old
memories are coming back and I don't think it is a
good thing because I'm leaving in a week.

Called Tajul and he told about his problem with the
supervisor. Usual stuff. then go to the university to
study at the library.That's all for now.

Hugs and kisses from Abah to sayang,aqeelah, ifah, una
and maryam.


----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 1999 2:46:30 PM
Subject: Re: Message from essex

dear darling,
i've just got back fr. work,solat & straight to the
computer(while feeding maryam)...good to hear fr.
you...wanted to write last nite but couldn't
access...things are ok here(so far)...we arrived fr.kb
yesterday about 3.30 p.m...we stopped at sek sains &
walked home...after that i rang syikin ,then we went
to itm(as usual,punch in then out)...after that ustaz
came to fix the timer...i rang ifah&una...they seemed
to be ok insya allah...ummi cooked soup(what else!)for
aqeelah...and that's went to work
with anita...finished my work...bersembang & came
back...that's it.
it's good kak long is least ummi can eat &
solat...this morning i had to leave maryam crying in
the cot just to mandi b'coz kak long is still
enough report for the day...actually i've been waiting
for a call fr you...our phone still can't be used to
make any international call yet...
pls call before your viva
we're all praying for you...IA e/thing will be ok...IA
Allah will be with you...just concentrate to your
work...don't bother your mind w/ anything else at the
moment...remember the du'a as well as the one that i
wrote in that notebook in the red bag...
all the best ...hugs and kisses fr. all of us(mryam is
smiling on my lap now)
that's all

lots and lots of love from
ummi and the girls

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 1999 3:09:02 PM
Subject: first telecom

asmk darling,
just in case you need to top up cr w/ 1st tel,customer
service no is: 0800 376 6666 for mrs hassan tapi min
cr is 25 rasanya better abah beli prepaid
card kat newsagent...around 10 pounds pun dah
boleh...rasanya kat phil and janpun ada...maybe kat
univ pun ada...just ask...toksahlah beli yg
byk...nanti tak habis pakai...beli yg paling sikit
boleh beli...that's alll.
i'll keep on writing.


----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Monday, November 1, 1999 12:49:01 AM
Subject: miss you darling

asmkm dear,
after getting a phone call fr you i've been waiting for reconnection...tak
apalah...actually the phone rang just after i disconnected the internet...that's why
i asked you whether that's the 1st try or not maybe if you had been trying to
call tak dpt...anyway after balik kerja ummi terus buka e-mail & terus reply your
msg...then dpt your call...lps tu tunggu tapi tak ada ummipun 'jenera' dgn
maryam...sambil dia 'minum ptg'...lagipun ummi agak penat,maklumlah 'bayar dam'
lagi...besok IA bayar satu lagi...
now it's 12.21a.m...ummi masih belum tidur(yalah tadi kan dah jenera)laagipun
darling2 berdua tu dah beradu bolehlah buat kerja sikit...kemas2 barang,buka
komp,dll. I think that'll be the routine...balik kerja ummi akan check e-mail sekali
dan malam ummi akan check sekali abah rajin2lah baca(& of course balas)
so macamana prep... ummi & anak2 berdoa dari jauh dgn sepenuh hati semoga abah will
do well...we really pray that there'll be no correction...IA Allah will be with
you...pray to Him....after all those years i really want to be by your side at this give my strong support as usual...oh how i pls
darling,whatever it is we want to be the 1st persons to know the result...i'm
praying for you day & night(I've been praying & will keep on praying...)
baca doa byk2...before masuk baca doa...compose yourself well...present yourself prepared & tawakkal to Allah...i believe you'll do well...i trust
kak long has been asking so many questions about you...i printed the letter that you
wrote for her to read...and she enjoyed reading it....
that's all for now...maryam dah to go darling
we miss you soooooooo much

love,hugs and kisses from ummi and the girls

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Tuesday, November 2, 1999 6:58:43 AM
Subject: waiting

asmkm darling,
it's now early in the morning...around 6 am...maryam
woke up early,so i have to be awake as well...lagipun
need to get ready to go to work.
i've been waiting for the news from you till late last
night...didn't realize what time did i go to
bed...anyway i hope e/thing went on fine.

that's all for now dear,hope to hear fr you soon IA

hugs and kisses from
ummi and the princesses

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Tuesday, November 2, 1999 8:54:12 PM
Subject: going back after all


The viva was the hard one. The internal went on very
hard on me.I didn't expect that from him. I thought he
will be the nice guy. The external on the other hand
was very very nice. The verdict was ... pass with
revision.Alhamd I have passed. But this is the worst
kind of pass ;have no choice but to accept it. The
revision should take no longer than a year.

After thinking about the whole thing, I think I'm
going back after all. I could do the revision in
Dungun and communicate with Jeff thru email and post.
Abah just couldn't live like this. I miss you all the
time. Just couldn't live without you. Its true and
Abah just couldn't take it anymore. I will leave on
Sunday InsyaAllah if everything goes well. Even if I
need to stay longer it wouldn't be more than a week or
two. But right now I'm not changing the original plan.


love you all

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 12:15:06 AM
Subject: from Aqeelah

asm abah,
we have read your e mail.Don,t panic abah everybody in
Dungun is OK.Ummi is OK Aqeelah OK and Maryam.Don,t
let your boss get angry with you abah and after your
finish work you can come back to Dungun.Everybody
hear want you to be a DOCTOR and we all love you.We
are going back to Kelantan with ustaz Mad.And Ummi
cryed a litlle bit.

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 1:35:52 AM
Subject: solat istikharah

asmkm dear,
how's everything going on?i've just read your msg but not quite sure...have you got
the report fr the it a major correction you have to do or what...
i've told aqeelah that you rang earlier saying that you're coming back in dec and
surprisingly she's very u/standing...we're very lucky to have her as our daughter...

yes it's true that i was in tears...while i was putting maryam to bed she was
writing that letter and when i came out i couldn't hide my red eyes(and she's very
concern)...actually i was thinking of you...i really pity you...after all those hard
work you deserve to get a good report and pass wothout anything major to be
done...we've gone all out ,sacrificing everything...and now isn't it over yet...
i don't actually know the real sit'n but if you really have to stay there a bit
longer go ahead...don't worry about us...IA i can manage...believe me...after all
those long hard years i'm used to it now...and i think the girls are like that as
well...we just want you to be done...if you think by staying there you can finish
your work,then stay...if you don't want to stay b'coz of us,think again...again i'll
say don't worry about us....if you can manage to get things done before christmas
break,then stay...if you think the progress will be very slow if you're working in
m'sia,then stay....whatever your decision is please solat istikharah...jgn buat
decision terburu2...belajarlah dari previous exp'nces...minta petunjuk dari
Allah...hanya Dia yg maha tahu apa yg terbaik utk kita...ummi & anak2 akan sentiasa
berdoa utk abah...your success is our success...tiada apa yg lebih bernilai yg akan
abah bawa balik selain drp kejayaan itu...itulah yg kami tunggu
selama have to consider jugak,kat m'sia ni byk faktor2 luar lagi yg akan
'mengganggu' have to be very berdisiplin...kena janjilah tu...
now regarding the flight...if you're coming back as the original plan you have to
reconfirm your flifgt at least 72 hrs before dep.(3 days)...i don't have virgin's
no. but mas adalah i.e 0171 341 2020...if they can't do it ask for virgin's no. fr.
them. daan satu lagi ialah flight fr klia-kb...ummi boleh confirmkan...kalu boleh
abah bagi booking/resv'n no(ada dlm itinerary dok sekali dgn tiket tu)...daan kalau
abah jadi balik kena cakap juga sbb ummi nak minta cuti monday tu...if not mungkin
kena dtg dgn ustaz juga sunday,so tak perlu cuti monday...
again i'm telling you,don't worry about long as ada org jaga maryam tak
apa...sek. pun cuma ada 2 minggu aje lagi..lps ni cuti...kalau the big girls tu tak
nak balik kgpun sue dah kata dia nak for me,i can go with anita,everyday
pun tak apa dia kata...pagi2 dia mesti pergi hantar anak gi nursey,t/hari mesti kena
balik ambil anak sek dan ptg dia akan pergi semula & balik 4.30 utk ambil yg kat
nursey tu...
for your info...sek cuti 18/11,puasa start early dec,raya 9or 10 Jan and schools
reopen 13 Jan.
setakat nilah dulu celoteh kali ini...hope to hear again fr. you soon.
we miss you and we love you very much,
ummi and the princesses

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 5:00:56 PM
Subject: flight

asmkm darling,
hope you're in the best of everything...alhmd we're all ok here...don't worry too
much about us...the 3 of us are ok fine in dungun...and the other 2 in wb pun
alhmd...ummi ring them everyday...don't worry...they're fine and happy there...i'm
worried about you...always pray that e/thing will be ok IA He will be with
us...doalah byk2 semoga Allah tak bebankan kita dgn bebanan yg tak saggup kita
pikul...dan sekiranya kita diuji semoga kita bersabar menahannya...bagi ummi semua
yg Allah buat ada hikmhnya...ummi akan terus bersabar dan terus berdoa...
i've just made the resv'n to kb...IA kalau plan tak berubah abah akan tiba di klia
on mon 8/11 at 6.25 the next flight to kb is at 10.30 arriving at
11.20...flight no mh1426 confirm.
kak long is doing very well at school...semua markah dah tahu except maths...she did
surprisingly well in jawi dpt 100%,98 for Eng.(dia patut dpt 100 tu)...not too bad
in bm &agama i.e 80+. ..maybe today dpt tahu no.berapa...tak sabar ummi nak
besok kami balik in the morning...ustaz kata around 9(pukul 1 pagi waktu england) by
tommorrow afternoon IA kami di wb.
ok dulu...kalau ada apa2 ummi will write again...keep on checking...kalau boleh
before balik tu check e-mail sekali lagi...mana tahu kot2 ada last minute
the moment ummi akan ambil cuti hanya utk monday 8/ tues dah kena masuk
kerja...boleh ke macam tu?kalau tak boleh pls let ummi know so that i can take one
more day...
ok darling...itu dulu.
i love you so much
ummi and maryam

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 9:59:34 PM
Subject: one more from aqeelah

Abah have you seen the other letter i sent. Have you made up your mind abah ? Did
you know cikgu saya said i got nomber six with Rabbani. Are you going to give me a
present .Izzah got nomber twenty four with Wan Muhammad Hanis.
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: salwana hassan
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 10:09:12 PM
Subject: addresses

asmkm dear,
baru2 ni there were a few letters to be posted,they put them in the
envelopes but w/out the now i'm giving you the add...keep them
until you need them...sbb lps ni bila balik kg maybe i can't write as
often as i'm doing right now...
kaneesha : 172 old heath rd, co2 8aq
melissa : 214 old heath rd, co2 8au
itu aje rasanya.

till then,

lots and lots of love from,
ummi,aqeelah & maaryaam
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwana hassan
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 11:10:12 PM
Subject: Re: one more from aqeelah

--- salwana hassan wrote:
> asmkm
> Abah have you seen the other letter i sent. Have
> you made up your mind
> abah ? Did you know cikgu saya said i got nomber six
> with Rabbani. Are
> you going to give me a present .Izzah got nomber
> twenty four with Wan
> Muhammad Hanis.

ASM love,

yes I have read the other letter. but i miss you sooo
much that I have to go back and see you. That's great
.... you got number six. brilliant. what do you want
for your present ? something from england. Tell Izzah
to try harder, she should get better results next
time. What about hamizah? Ok have a nice journey to
wakaf bharu. Baba will be home by sunday to
ummi ,ifah,una and maryam.


From: salwana hassan
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 8:53:16 AM
Subject: balik kg

asmkm love,
it's quite early in the morning,everybody's ready incl
aqeelah...actually we're waiting for ustaz...yesterday he told me that
we'll be leaving dia suruh pergi ITM dgn dia...i'll bring
aqeelah along & he'll bring his children as well...dia tgh sibuk lagi lo
ni...masih menyiapkan thesis(i don't know what thesis)so tonight nak gi
kl lagi tu...minta extend for another week...tak siap binding lagi.
so how are you love?are you really sure that you're coming back this
weekend...whatever the decision is i hope it's the best option...if
you're coming back pls reconfirm your flight...ummi will be happy with
whatever the best for us...if i have to sacrifice, i will...i will do
anything for you and the girls lillah...
nanti bila sampai wb tengoklah...if i have the chance i'll write
that's all...take care
with love from ummi and the princesses

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: salwana hassan
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 8:54:57 AM
Subject: with love to abah

Asm abah ,
I got your message.I want anything from England except barbies.And one
more thing,please promise that you won't marah me .Next time I
will try to get number ONE

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Salwana Nordin
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 9:09:58 AM
Subject: pesanan

abah ummi nak suruh beli coklat kit-kat (or sth like
that tapi store brand)ke and also penguin,coklat
lainpun tak apa juga...lps tu beli juga biskut
digestive...don't forget the polish for the leather
ASM love,

Baba has bought a lot of choc from tesco, sainsbury
and town. I think it's more than enough. Choc ni
fattening you know, so sikit2 cukup.

love from Abah

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Salwana Nordin
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 11:18:53 PM
Subject: best to balik ....

ASM love,

I think it's best for all that Abah goes home. Not
only that I cannot afford it here ,it is also not
necessary. I will try to finish it back home,
InsyaALlah I can do it. Being here alone is an
unbearable burden for Abah. I know now why Aqeelah has
never seen me cry, because I have no reason to. But
now I couldn't read the emails without tears. sebab tu
jarang balas .... malu kat orang kiri kanan dalam lab
ni. Today is okay sebab orang tak ramai. can hide
behind the monitor. may ALlah help us all.


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwana hassan
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 11:22:20 PM
Subject: Re: with love to abah

--- salwana hassan wrote:
> Asm abah ,
> I got your message.I want anything from England
> except barbies.And one
> more thing,please promise that you won't marah me
> .Next time I
> will try to get number ONE

ASM love,

don't worry you are already number ONE to me. and
you'll always be number ONE. be good and help ummi


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Abu-Bakar, Nordin"
To: ""
Sent: Friday, November 5, 1999 2:19:10 AM
Subject: FW: thanks

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Salwana Nordin
Sent: Saturday, November 6, 1999 1:50:42 PM
Subject: from wakaf bharu

askm love...
how are you dear...evrybody here is's 1
o'clock (a/noon)...maryam & una are sleeping...kaklong
pergi kedai nenek & ifah is watching TV...ummi dtg
kedai kat wisma ni sorang aje...miss abah sgt ni sbb
tu ummi call tadi...nak cakap tulah...cukuplah beli
coklat...brg2 yg tinggal kat rumah abu naif tu byk sgt
ke...kalau boleh bawalah balik semua...kalau tak boleh
nak buat macamana...hari tu kan byk bawak beg...cdng
nak isi brg2 tu...apa yg abah shopping byk sgt
ni?...pandai2lah berbelanja...don't spend too
much...bill yg br.mohd bayarkan tu abah dah settle
ke?clear all the bills and hutang 1st,then you can
spend ...tupun don.t finish all the $...dan ummi hope
abah tak byk sgt 'menenyeh'...tadi tu ummi cakap ttg
'fairy godmother' yg abah beli for kaya's b/day...hari
tu ada sb tanya(I can't remember whether it's una or
ifah) b'coz i can remember you promise to buy for her
b/day...that's why kalau ada chance ummi suruh
beli...kalau tak dpt tak apalah
btw nak tanya abah byk duit ke tu...kalau duit ada byk
ummi teringin nak pakai jam accurist...yg style macam
abah i.e with rotating bezel...kalau kat argos tu
around 30 quids ...dulu berhajat nak pakai bila abah
dah jadi 'dr'...that's why ummi tanya ada byk duit ke
tidak...kalau kena tenyeh tak payahlah... kita beli
bila ada duit nanti sbb now nipun bukannya desperate
nak jam ...yg ada lo ni pun masih boleh
pakai...mungkin boleh beri masa 10th anniversary
duit budak2 byk lagi ke?ummi dok fikir kalau abah
still nak climbing frame tu abah order jugak dgn
argos(mmg kena orderpun) tapi bagi alamat tajul,so brg
tu will be delivered to him...nanti boleh dia ship
sekali dgn brg dia(macam imran buat tu)...tupun kalau
abah fikir patutlah...kalau tak tu tak
payah...tajulpun dah dekat nak balik kan?
whatver you do,bereskann dulu urusan2 abah...benda2
lain ni sampingnan aje...kalau jumpa 'kawan2' ummi
kirim salam byk2lah...nailah,auntie,fadhilah & the
others...and don't forget if you go to mahfuzh's
,kirim salam dari ummi and anak2 to his wife and
itu ajelah dulu for this time
satu lagi...surat2 yg abah bawa tu dah pos ke...surat
for kaneesha,melissa,carol,mrs webb,cellnet & mana2
lagi(ummipun tak ingat)...dan change of address to
ok ya darling...see you on monday...
we miss you soooo much...una dah start tanya 'where's
Abah...i miss him....'

till then....
love from ummi and princesses aqeelah,ifah,una &

ASM love,

It's really good to hear from you. I miss you so much.
Jumpa budak nigeria (halijah?) dia kirim salam ke
ummi. nailah tak sempat jumpa, cuma uncle siddique dan
osman saja masa sembhyng jummaat. they all send salaam
to ummi and aqeelah,ifah and una. sempat drop by
kaya's house. say hello and bagi coklat.they were very
happy and surprise to see me. everybody is missing
aqeelah and ifah. tentang duit tu insyALlah adalh
sikit dari refund tu (625 pounds) .cuma check belum
clear lagi jadi kena tenyeh lah dulu kemudian bayar
kedian. baba masukkan dalam account barclays. jam ummi
and fairy godmother tu insyALlah akan baba usahakan.
Baba rasa climbing frame tu biarlah dulu, a bit too
expensive I think. Duit budak2 tu biar dok kat situ,
insyaALlah we can save it for better use in the

that's all. i'll be leaving colchester tonite (sat
night).so i don't think i'd be able to read any more
emails.bye for now.

love and kisses for ummi and the girls.


you want to go where everyone knows your name ...

It has been a while since I was away from the serenity of sura hujung. The beautiful beaches along jalan pantai has constantly got my heart longing for a holiday. Maybe once again I can draw the faces in the sand or stroll by early in the morning. The kids can run up and down playing with the waves once more. Feeling so miserable at the office or at home with the neighbors. People are just different. Maybe I need time to adjust but the thing is just so painful. Even having tea break with the gang is different. There is no gang here! I haven’t come across people going for tea. Not that these people are more hard working than the rest of us. They disappear and reappear every now and then. The case now you see me now you don’t. Things are physically hard here in all aspects of life. It does not only seem hard and difficult; it IS hard and brutally difficult. But still we see people come streaming in from all places in the country to taste life in the city; just like myself, I supposed. I have been here once before and as far as I am concerned life was much much livelier back then. The simplicity of rural living could not be compared by any standards here. It is the best !. People may seem poor in the village but rich with humane and humanity. I guess I don’t have what it takes to be a city dweller. I am not sure myself but I know where I am supposed to be and would be in the future….back in a small town like Dungun.

My transfer to Shah Alam thought by many as a promotion. I could not emphasize enough that it is not a promotion and it has never been intended as one and I am pretty damn sure it is not one. I was going for different environment as seeing myself enjoying too much and doing nothing with my area of research. It was my intention to come and grow in my field of study but after a few years here I am not sure myself if this place is any better.. I will give sometime to myself to adjust and look around maybe I will find a spot to raise a flag and say “ OK. I am here!”.

I remember that by the second week after the move, we were thrown out of the house that we just rented We just could not come to agree with the tenancy agreement proposed and the owner was not prepared to budge. I guess the days when you moved in and out of the rumah sewa have long gone. People are getting very sophisticated with terms and agreements. Coming from remote village, I’ve kind of forgotten that sweet smiles and humble conversation have no reservation here. Everything must be formal and documented and signed. So there we were, out in the street looking for another place to stay. Not that there is no other houses in Shah Alam, but we need another thing, money. People don’t smile to you without money, literally speaking. What have this society come to be ? So modern and complicated that we forget the root of human existence. Maybe I am in the wrong circle seeing the values that contradict every single principle that I live for. I guess my big task now is to find friends or people that believe the similar philosophy.

Some people say the first impression tells the whole story. I could not agree more. When I first reported duty on June the 1st, 2004; they could not give me a room. Being in UiTM for so many years I kind of understand the situation. Space is limited and with hundreds of lecturers I can really imagine the proportion of the problems. People will hang on to their rooms like a lion defending his territory. I guess it is human nature to fight for a little space to move about, to breed and raise a family. A lion will hunt down any intruder that comes into the territory and defend it with his life. That is the basic instinct in nature. Even human will do the same if being pushed to the limit. However, the mind and the knowledge that shape that mind has made us act rationally. We think about consequences , the good and evil of our actions. We see people around and realize that they are part of our life whether we like it or not; whether they like it or not. Sometime we bump into each other and still remain a complete stranger. I know you from somewhere but could not recall the name. The time has made us so insensitive of each other. Not in any moment that we can sit down and relax other than thinking of rushing here and there to beat the traffic or getting in front of the queue.

The date was 8th September 2004 and for the first time since I came to this place, I feel welcomed and accepted. I am one of “us” now. Perhaps those having the same experience would feel the greatness of such a feeling. There was no ceremony or anything like that but it was one of those days where you converge to a point that meet you with the right people and having the right conversation during a perfect mood of the day. And of course we all enjoy the moment. Maybe others do not realize this magnificent point of time except myself. It was rather important to me that now I can move on and proceed with other things. Being alienated at work, or at any other places for that matter, is the worst challenge that one might have to face. As in Cheers, “you want to go where everyone knows your name”.I guess it is human nature to be accepted by friends and colleagues as part of our social consciousness. After four years here in Shah Alam, I can see my family and I are settling quite nicely. My daughters,Aqeelah, has just finished her SPM and busy trying to find a new place of study. Nabiela is very comfortable at her school in Besut, Terengganu.;and Ariefah, likes her school in Shah Alam and fast making good friends as well as good grades. My other children, Maryam and Ahmad, are enjoying their times at the school. I am not sure whether they learn anything there but for now it is good to know they are comfortable. My wife is getting herself busy with her PhD and I believe it will take some time to get into the rhythm and all, like myself, she will get there eventually. All praise be to Allah for giving us the strength and courage during all those times. So, as Anwar is out trying to form a new government, Obama swept everyone off their feet and book himself a place at the oval office, I myself seek a brighter and healthier future ahead. My age has gone past 40-year-old mark and keep thinking of what have I done for all those years of living. What is it really the thing that matters the most? Am I happy? Satisfied? Fulfilled? Accomplished? At the end of the day I realize that healthy body is so precious that nothing else matters. But again, it is a daunting task to keep the body fit. With extra fat hanging around, I have a long way to go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Haj Story : Hello Madinah !

Selesai Haji and we were off to Madinah. Our host pakcik Abdul Rahman is in the front.

Our Malaysian student group from UK.(Bro Nigeria(& wife) tu numpang kita orang, they're from Hull)

Madinah was completely different from Makkah. The weather was a bit cooler, the town was neatly landscaped and the area was cleaner compared to Makkah. We stayed just nearby the Great Mosque of the prophet (Masjid Nabawi). While in Madinah , spent sometime visiting historical sites around the town; Masjid Quba’, Masjid Qiblatain (the mosque with two qiblats) and Jabal Uhud. At Jabal Uhud, it was nothing monumental except for the little hill and the tomb of Saidina Hamzah and a few sahabah who fell shaheed during the battle of uhud. However, being there would take you back in time. You can see and feel the sand and dust from the kicking horses. The spots where they (the enemies) gathered to recharge and reenter the battle. The place where they supposed to stay in guard and all. It was quite interesting at least for me as I like the battle stories better than anything else from the seerah. After two days in Madinah we took a bus toJeddah for our flight back to London. Reached Heathrow Airport around 4.30 pm and home in Colchester two hours later. AlhamduliLlah the kids were all fine.

Our Haj Story : Arafah....where the haj begins

We left Makkah for wukuf in Arafah at around midnight. Being in Arafah on the ninth of Dzulhijjah is one of the haj pillars. No haj if one failed to be there before the sunset. Arrived in Arafah about half an hour later. We were not the first to be there as groups of people already had their tent up and ready. We were on our own so first thing first…..find a good place to settle down. We chose an area close to the toilets and a walking distance to the mosque. O yes, a big and beautiful Namira mosque. This mosque is very special as it opens for public only once a year on the Day of Arafah.The door will open at 4.30 am and I’ll be there by then to witness a frenzy ritual people do everytime they open the door. But the time now is half past 2 and our haj shack is almost ready. Our little place is far from that of Tabung Haji with nice carpet and all. I thinkMalaysian pilgrims with Tabung Haji have all the facilities and protections better than anybody else in this holy land. Earlier that day I came across a fleet of buses carrying the Tabung Haji logo ready to go to Arafah, neatly lined up in front of a hotel; but we prefer to ride on top of a jeep for 20 riyals one way. But alhamduliLlah ALlah had given us strength and will power to endure this journey. Namira mosque was ready to open; and so did thousands of people waiting outside. It’s almost 4.30 in the morning. They were so eager to get in to escape from the heat later on in the day. The mosque is fully air-conditioned. But there were a group of people that aiming for something else …..the qur’an. I heard that people will fight to get a copy of the qur’an. Those copies were donated by the king. The minute the door opened, everybody was rushing in and trying to get them. The frenzy ritual had just started. They were really fighting, grabbing and hustling to get to the shelf. I just could not get anywhere near it as the situation went out of control. They were really out of their mind like a bunch of hyenas trying to get to their food (as seen on TV). I just could not understand these people on why they are doing it and for what. Even with their ihram on they could be that nasty.

In the morning, more and more people were filling up the area; putting up tents and sun shades. I went for a cup of tea, sold by and Indon for one riyal. Hmmmm….what a good idea, I mean people would buy anything here especially drinks. I was offered one thousand riyal for my old camera (this item is ‘hot’ as taking picture is considered unlawful in Saudi Arabia, some thing like that). By midday, the place was really hot from above and beneath. They sprinkled water to the air through out the day to keep the temperature low. But the heat never seem to subside.

This is how Malaysian students(in this group there were mainly Malaysian students from UK plus a few from Egypt/Jordan and Syria ) would stay in Arafah, not in air-conditioned tents but make-shift shades around the mosque. It was very simple for us and for most of the people there. Only with TH you would stay comfortable away from the dead heat of the desert....but then it would not be much fun, would it !

The heat is getting too much and the dust is blowing everywhere. Here we were waiting for the Zohr trying to escape the sun as much as possible.

The khutbah has finished and we were about to perform Zohr prayer.

AlhamduliLlah everyone in our group tried to be calm, supportive and patient. We spent time reading qur’an, making doa and listening to ceramahs. When the azan was called, we all set foot to Muzdalifah. Instead of looking for the bus, we decided to walk.Joining us were thousands of other pilgrims. There was a special walking path for people who decided to walk from Arafah to Muzdalifah (around 9 km).

On the way to Muzdalifah, by foot, with thousands of other pilgrims.

The weather was good and people just strolled about making their own pace. At Muzdalifah we collected pebbles and prayed Maghrib and Isya. At around midnight we continued walking to Mina (another 5 km). The jamrat area was already packed with hujjaj doing the stoning ritual. After melontar the jamrat we cut the hair for early tahlul (from now on we are not required to wear the ihram anymore). After that we rushed to Makkah for tawaf. Again some of us rode on top of a four-wheeler but could not get to Makkah in time for Fajr. We got lost. Oh dear, apparently the driver was a foreigner and he just could get to our place. We almost missed the Fajr prayer and certainly missed the aidil adha prayer. We made to the mosque around 10 in the morning and join the crowd for the tawaf. The crowd was just unbelievably huge. After Asr later that day we were on the way to Mina again for mabit (spending the night) . Again there was a seat at the roof top but this time I was inside by the driver.

We arrived in Mina late in the afternoon nearly Maghrib time. Now we have to find a place to stay for the night. Those not going with Tabung haji (like us and the rest of the world) will be registered with muassasah under Haj ministery of Saudi Government. It is their duty to entertain people going for haj. Under no circumstances they will deny people who intend to perform haj. Actually it’s a previlige for them to serve and accommodate the hujjaj….a duty of a custodian of the two holy mosques (al haramain asy-syarifain). That night we were placed at muassasah Asia Tenggara. It’s right beside the three jamrats on the hill slope. Those who went with TH package will be placed here. A bit exclusive with clean toilets, nice air conditioned tents plus a clinic. But we got the spare tents way at the back; we had a full view of the jamrats. That night we decided to head back to Makkah early in the morning after we have met the requirement for mabit. Around 3 am we reached Makkah and started the sa’ie. The mosque was completely packed with hujjaj so we decided to do the sa’ie upstairs. By this time I was feeling unwell; hanging on to my wife I dragged myself until we completed the ritual. Do you know that there is a fully equipped clinic in the mosque ? I did not know myself until I was about to faint. We went to this clinic (which is on the 2nd floor of masjidil haram) and I was treated for hyperthermia. By 8 am I was released and prepared to go to Mina again for the 2nd mabit. The driver dropped us a bit far from our tent so we had to walk under the scorching heat. I just could not take anymore and by the time we reached the tent I collapsed. The next thing I remembered was being carried away on a stretcher. Somebody opened up my clothes and I was sprayed with water all over my body. Soaking wet. I did come around later and the doctor (apparently I was in TH clinic) warned of my fatal hyperthermia. AlhamduliLlah I survived but was too weak to perform the stoning (hantar wakil lah kali ni). That night we stayed in Mina.

Spending the night in Mina, in the background is the jamrah. We were right up the hill in front of the jamrah.

The next day in Mina would be very critical for us as we need to leave early ( so we have to complete the stoning early and leave Mina before sunset otherwise we have to spend another night there). Our group leader had decided to go on performing the stoning right after Zohr time. And the 1998 stampede took place right there and then leaving 118 dead. I didn’t go for the ritual and left alone in the tent when the sound of paramedic vans filled up the air and the panic alarm was set off. Oh my god ! my wife was in there and none of them have come back. I was too weak to go down and all I could do was pray for the safety of my wife and my friends. I could see down from our tent (it was located a bit on the hill slope) about 20 paramedic vans flashing around in the area and people were running in panic. The stampede occurred on the upper level of the jamrat. The situation seemed to calm down about an hour later. I sat there and watched and prayed over and over again. A few of us came back but not my wife. “The ladies had been separated from us and we just could not find them “, told one of them with a big sigh. I was devastated. I grabbed the qur’an and read it with doa, hope and tears. AlhamduliLlah half an hour later my wife showed up all red from the heat. We were ready to set off ( for nafar awal) by Asr and reached Makkah before Maghrib. Prayed Maghrib at the mosque and went back to pack. We left Makkah for Madinah the next day around noon. The journey by bus took 8 hours.

Next : Hello Madinah !

Our Haj Story : Hari-hari Menanti(Part 3)

The haj rituals will start in Arafah on the Day of Wukuf which falls on the ninth of Dzulhijjah in islamic calendar. So during the period from our arrival in Makkah up until that day, the hujjaj-to-be would make all preparations and catch up with prayers and sunat activties. We would go for Zuhr or Asr parayers and stayed there in the mosque until Fajr and went back for a little rest till noon. That would be our daily routine during these hari-hari menanti. People were everywhere; filling up the mosque, the streets around Makkah and the bazaar (suq).The crowd was unbelievably huge and nasty. It wasn’t easy anymore to do the tawaf as people were pushing and running like …we were in a battle or something. One thing we should remember is that NEVER in whatever circumstances to underestimate the crowd…it could be fatal. Avoid the crowd. But since people were everywhere how could you ever avoid them.

One day we decided to stay away from the mosque and hired a minibus for a tour around Makkah. The first stop was Jabal Nur (Nur Hill). We did not go up just walking around the foothill. Then we stopped at Jabal Rahmah in Arafah about 20 km from Makkah. Arafah where more than 2 million people will convene for a start of haj, is a desert (as most of this country is)…an almost empty space as far as the eyes can see. From atop Jabal Rahmah it was a huge sand field with spots of greens where the trees struggle to grow. And the place was really hot; like the sun was right above your head. Here , at Jabal Rahmah, was the place where people ride a camel for 10 riyals. I did not bother to get on one. Walking up Jabal Rahmah was not that difficult as the hill was quite small as compared to others. On the way back we stopped at Mina and visited the three jamrats. Then drove by Jabal Thur for a quick view of this historic place.

Next : Yaumul Arafah

Our Haj Story : The Kaabah (part 2)

Al misfalah was about half an hour walking to al-Haram. A bit far compared to the usual place that people stay when they went for haj. I think it was a last minute arrangement and we were considered lucky to get one. We walked pass shophouses and a funfair ground with the big wheel and all..they do have this sort of thing in Makkah ? I puzzled. I guessed it shows the needs of human nature no matter where the place is. We went into a tunnel and came out at the other end near one of the many entrances to Baitul Haram. The place was buzzing with people as the would-be hujjaj have started to converge in Makkah. We arrived on Sunday and the Day of Wukuf would be next Monday; so it was about one week into the haj days. The mosque was calm but busy with people. I went straight to see the Kaabah as others were doing sunat prayers. The moment I laid my eyes on it, I was stunned and awed ….macam nak pecah dada nih (as I described to my father through a phone call later that day). You just can’t really describe the feeling. Perhaps those who have been there could really feel the serenity that touches the heart. For all the places we’ve been all over the world, nothing compared to this visit. It’s really one trip everyone should be thinking of. Not only as part of our religious obligation but to experience the whole purpose of life. A few minutes later we started the tawaf. It seemed crowded with people but alhamduliLlah there was always a space. And that was something strange to me because people seem to be every where but within that crowd there is a space for you. I guess when your intention is straight and sincere, Allah will make ways for you. I really believe in that. We finished the umrah nearly fajr so we decided to stay for Fajr prayer. A few people from the group went missing so we had to wait until everbody showed up. The time was 6 am.

The group with Pakcik Abdul Rahman (our host in Makkah)

I wondered that the shops kinda open all the time, only to stop selling briefly during the prayers. All the way back we could see all sort of things to buy. Hmmmm so rambang mata. Our money was in pounds so felt a bit gatal tangan because it was 6 riyals to a pound. Had to calm myself down a bit and reminded the true reason for being here. We reached the madrasah about an hour later . Got lost. Al misfalah was a bit like kawasan setinggan in KL; where the pathway was an intricated maze of alleys in between the houses. The area was on a hill slope where the madrasah was located at the upper hill. It reminded me of a seerah when it described the life in Makkah. You could really feel the environment from the seerah ar-Rasul and stories of sahabah. Finally we found the place and sat for breakfast. Breakfast was shai (tea) and that big rounded bread we bought on the way back. Since the Day of Wukuf (start of haj ) is one more week, what did we do in the mean time ?…….find out next !

Next : Hari-hari Menanti

Our Haj Story : Leaving London(Part 1)

My wife and I went to haj in 1998 .It was quite difficult to leave your kids under the care of friends and neighbors. We got the haj visa for two weeks only; so leaving them for such a short time would not be too much for everyone. We are very grateful to our fellow Malaysian students (mainly the girls) for their support and help. Even the Arab brothers chipped in to help in taking care of the kids. We left for Heathrow airport in the morning, catching the morning train to London. We travelled light with two bags;one for each of us. From Victoria Station we took an express train to the airport where we will meet with the others. Our group comprised of 10 couples and 3-4 singles. The haj trip that year was organised by a Malaysian group from Leeds. There were a couple of doctors in the group from HUKM doing their specialisation course ; so we were alright !.

The flight to Jeddah via Cairo was due to take off around 2.30 pm but was delayed until close to 4 pm. But later on we found ourself in the latest edition of Boeing 777; so it was quite okay. The flight was okay with good food and personal screen for watching videos or playing games. It took about 4 hours to reach Cairo.

In Cairo (L-R): Dr Ahmad(NPC), Me, Dr Ahmad Saat(UiTM), Dr Azlan (UiTM) , Dr Daud(UiTM)

We changed into ihram and get ourself ready for the journey of a lifetime to al haram asy syarif Makkah al mukarramah. The commuter flight from Cairo to Jeddah leaves every two hours. Ours was in the early morning and we reached Jeddah after an hour or so later. The immigration checks in Jeddah was so agonizing; not because of the thorough checking but due to slow and complicated process. We didn’t know Arabic and only a handful of the officers spoke English. I was shocked to see my bags being opened even when the lock is on. “Don’t worry, we’ll close it back”, said one officer; and he did. There was no single scratch whatsoever. I started to worry on the level of security in this country. We managed to pull it through and out by Fajr. The trip was arranged by us and no agency like Tabung haji or anything like that waiting to help in this land strange for many of us. While the group leader trying to negotiate for a bus to Makkah we could have a bit of rest and finished our morning prayers. Around mid morning, we were on the way to the holy city. A brief stop at one place (can’t remember the name) ,we were given a bottle of zam zam.

The journey to Makkah took about 2 hours and we reached Baitul Haram by Zohr. The bus took us straight to the mosque, but we could not get off because the regulations say that the driver has to hand us over to a local host (sheikh) together with our passport. We had made an arrangement with a Malaysian living there to be our host; only if we could find his place somewhere around here. The place was called al-Misfalah. It took the driver about three hours to find it. Pak Cik Abdul Rahman has lived in Makkah for more than 50 years; he is from Kelantan and married to one of Tok Kenali’s daughters (Mak Cik Yam, as we came to know her). We were going to rent his madrasah during our stay there. Al-Misfalah is largely populated by Kelantanese and Patani folks; it’s more like my kampung rather than Makkah. PakCik had about 20 khadam (mostly Bangla) and Makcik had her own personal khadam (4 of them which mainly from Indonesia); so I think he’s doing quite well. The house was a 7-storey building which during that time only four levels were ready to be occupied. Each floor was elegantly decorated and filled with luxurious furnitures. We settled ourself in the madrasah and got ready for tawaf qudum (tawaf selamat datang). We would do that after the Isya’ prayers ……

Next : The Kaabah

Remembering The Passing of a Friend

That morning I woke up to the incoming sms beep on my PDA. I received the sad news that an old friend has lost his battle to dengue. He’s been fighting for his life for the last few days and today just before dawn he finally gave up. May his soul rest in peace with the muttaqeen and the muqorrobin. Death is inevitable. We know that. It is staring at us like an American eagle looking for a prey. Am I scared of dying? of course I am just like everyone else. I was exactly in the same position a while back; warded with dengue. Alone in the hospital bed I started to think that nothing else really matters at this point and time other than my health. With all the money in the world; I would rather have my self out of this bed. I really felt that way in the true sense of the word. I could not die as yet. I wanted to see my son Ahmad off to his new school and make new friends. I wanted to ask whether Maryam likes her new muallimah or not. I wanted to send Nabiela to her hostel when the new term begins. I needed to see Ifah going through her PMR and make sure Kak Long settle down comfortably for her SPM. You see, I’ve got a million things to do. I just could not die as yet. Moments after moments I knew I would be strong enough to get myself out of this illness. I guess that very motivation has got me going even at one point I thought the angel of death is just outside the door. You just cannot underestimate this type of illness…dengue can be fatal. I learnt that the hard way. The headache and never-ending fever are too common to be taken seriously. But then think again. A simple effort of visiting a clinic at your neighborhood could mean life or death.

As the news of my old friend reached everyone, I started to remember him from the schooldays some 30 years ago. He was nice, friendly, outgoing and had a beautiful voice as we frequently asked him to call out the azan for prayers. I still remember him with his serban and all and was favoured by the seniors. He got into trouble later and was expelled from school. After so many years we met again at our alumni gathering. The same old buddy but a bit skinny. He looked tired as if life has not been so forgiving for him. After that meeting we had no opportunity to see each other again. He went away without saying goodbye. Life is indeed too short. Farewell my friend. May you rest in peace.


اَللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لَهُ وَارْحَمْهُ وَعَافِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنْهُ، وَأَكْرِمْ نُزُلَهُ، وَوَسِّعْ مَدْخَلَهُ، وَاغْسِلْهُ بِالْمَاءِ وَالثَّلْجِ وَالْبَرَدِ، وَنَقِّهِ مِنَ الْخَطَايَا كَمَا نَقَّيْتَ الثَّوْبَ اْلأَبْيَضَ مِنَ الدَّنَسِ، وَأَبْدِلْهُ دَارًا خَيْرًا مِنْ دَارِهِ، وَأَهْلاً خَيْرًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ، وَزَوْجًا خَيْرًا مِنْ زَوْجِهِ، وَأَدْخِلْهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَعِذْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ [وَعَذَابِ النَّارِ]

Allahhum maghfirlahu warhamhu wa'fu 'anhu wa 'afihee wa-akrim nuzuluhu wa was-si' mudkhalahu, waghsilhu bil maee wath thalji wal bardi, wa naq-qihi minal 'khataya Kama yunaq- qath thawbul abyadu minad danasi, wa abdilhu daran Khayram min darihi, wa ahlan Khayram min ahlihi wa zawjan khayrum min-zawjihi, wa adkhil hul jan-nata, waqihi fitnatal qabri wa 'Azaban nar

O Allah! Forgive him and have Mercy on him and give him strength and pardon him. Be generous to him and cause his entrance to be wide and wash him with water and snow and hail. Cleanse him of his transgressions as white cloth is cleansed of stains. Give him an abode better than his home, and a family better than his family and a wife better than his wife. Take him into Paradise and protect him from the punishment of the grave (and of the fire)
[Muslim; 2:663]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Love you my dear ! (Part 2)

The first year went on with a constant struggle. The study and family demanded huge attention from this already limping soul. I just could not take it; and at times—quitting, was on the menu. But Na was always there to support me; she would make the worst thing be more bearable and the stressed more manageable. We did not have a washing machine so Na would hand wash all of our clothes---everyday with cold water. Her hands would pecah-pecah and in pain from the soap and freezing water. But she never complained. During this time Nabiela was still a baby, Ariefah was about 2-3 years old and Aqeelah was about 5. Na took care of them very well.

We stayed there at that Pakistani’s house until the end of the year. The house was cold as the heating system constantly broke down; the electricity ran on prepaid card and we could not reach the landlord most of the time. I was fed up with that stupid old Paki and decided to move out. I found a house that we could barely afford; listed with an agent. But because of the urgent need to get away from that old house; we moved in with 500 pounds deposit and some amount for the bills as well. A contract was signed---very formal. The house was nice and clean but the pressure was you have to keep it that way all the time.

Na would scrubbed and cleaned every corners and joints every single day without fail. Sometime the cleaning went well into midnight. But she never complained; alhamdulillah by the time we moved out we got all the deposit back. The inspector was amazed herself because in all her working life no one ever got the full amount back. And she could not find a single spot of grease to penalize us.

By this time we were nearly into the summer of 1997. My PhD work had gone from bad to worse. I was going for my second year in September and that means will go before a panel to evaluate my progress. That was it I thought. I am dead. The pressure was too much for me and it got me confused and frustrated. Somehow the frustration for not being able to work on my research followed me home. I was so tensed that a small thing would become boiling hot and Na and I would get into serious situation. I would not call it a fight but a very uneasy circumstance. I guess the right phrase for it is “ I was becoming so pongoh!”--- an explosion of anger where I would lose sense of sanity. So deadly. I pray to Allah to give me strength and courage to overcome such an ugly psychotic behaviour.

The summer went by without much of a progress. As usual in Britain they dropped everything for the summer holidays; so things were not moving for me as well. So I went before the panel without any finding, no paper, no article nothing whatsoever. As expected they failed me. The exact word was ----- cause for concern; so you are advised to terminate …….I was devastated. Stayed in the office for hours staring at that letter; reading it over and over again just to make sure I do not miss anything. Everytime it ended with the same note: FAILED. I had no courage to tell Na or anyone about that heartbreaking news, I just could not. All I wanted to do was to curl into the corner and cut my heart out of that pain; slice by slice until it’s all gone. I could do it to myself but not to see my beloved Na and Aqeelah and Ifah and Una hurt by the painful mistake that I have made. I kept it to myself for a long time; Na only knew about it after we have come back to Malaysia a few years later. I just do not have the courage to talk about this. I still keep the letter and I have never shown it to anyone just yet; not even to Na. My struggle for a PhD had stopped right there ; after I received that letter from the faculty. After a few days of mourning, I decided to face my supervisor and sorted this out. I did not have any new findings or results to show him but I knew one thing for sure : I could not go back empty handed. By whatever means I had to get through this for my Na. My prayers always be …Ya Allah jika Engkau kesihani isteriku, tolong lah aku……I did not care anymore what kind of thesis there would be, or whether the results relevant or not…I was going to put an end to this and got it done . For my beloved Na. I begged my supervisor to give me a second chance and let me finish my research. He finally agreed and persuaded the faculty to let me continue.

Looking back to those times, I know that my PhD is definitely from the doa and prayers from my beloved Na. She’s the only one who had faith in me.

By the end of my study period I submitted my thesis without the full consent of my supervisor. He reluctantly signed my application to submit. He told me I had no chance to get my PhD with these results. I said nothing just waiting for the paper to be signed. I had no more will to argue or reason with him.

Finally the date for viva was set in October 1999. I went in with the deputy dean and presented my thesis before a panel of examiners. I knew all the panel members; some from within the faculty and one from the City University London. I was not that nervous but because the results and findings were not strong, I could not make a solid thesis. It was raw and vulnerable. That was the best I could do. Apparently it was not good enough, my thesis was referred. The next worst result one could get. The worst being rejected flat out. I was not sad anymore. No more tears to shed. I left it to dear God for whatever forthcoming. I told Na it’s time to go home.

I spent about a year to do the correction. I mailed the thesis and asked everyone to kiss the envelope for good luck…Na, Aqeelah, Ifah, Una and Maryam. That was in 2000.

The following year 2001, something strange happened. When we came back in 1999,we rented a house in Dungun near UiTM Dungun. Then we moved to another house by the end of 2001. So somewhere in August 2001 I went to visit a friend who lived in our old house. Nothing special just an afternoon visit. While we were talking there was another neighbour happen to drop by; so we all sitting together and enjoying the conversation. I saw that neighbour holding a letter; I did not pay much attention as it was not my business whatsoever. All of the sudden she dropped the letter as walking past me. I picked up and glanced to the addressee and saw ---Mr Abubakar, N. I told her that’s my letter---Abu Bakar, Nordin. OOOOO…ye ke? Kita tak tahu sape yang punye itu bagi pd kakak ni kot dia tahu. Dah hampir sebulan surat tu smpai ! I opened the letter right a way because the envelope shown University of Essex. Right there in the middle of the conversation; I read silently that I have been given a pass. I looked at Na and she knew right away that her prayers have been answered. In silent while sipping the tea, I screamed and jumped and shouted to the heavens that our prayers were answered. The one that said … Ya Allah jika Engkau kesihani isteriku, tolong lah aku……

Thank you my dear. Love you forever !

My wife Na is now doing her own PhD in Islamic Finance at INCEIF(Bank Negara)'s my turn to stand by her side now.
See here for her presentation at MACFEA Conference.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Visiting Prof Kamarudin Salleh (Pakdin)

Pakdin was very cheerful yesterday when we arrived. He must be bored doing nothing in the room alone. We spent more than two hours chatting and talking about a lot of things. From his grueling pains to his passion for Semesta. He's really a man with great patience. Every once in a while the pain showed up on his face. He suffered a lot but we were brave enough to put up a smile hoping for everything to be okay.

Pakdin asked about Semesta; straight to my face. I just couldn't say much as I have resigned from the presidency a week ago. I know from his face that things that are happening have made him sad and frustrated. I explained my reasons. He understood well I guess because we are from the same background ....academic. There are things in academic that go beyond compromise. At one point or another once we reach that particular spot; we have to make decisions.

Pakdin gave a few suggestions for me to take home. I will sleep on it.

Whatever happens we want Pakdin to know that his contributions to Semesta are huge and he will always be our Pakdin.

Contemplating the future of Semesta. We will sort it out. We hope Pakdin will recover soon and back to his research and teaching.

However, when a friend asked Pakdin, Nordin pergi pukul berapa ? he replied, "Nordin belum sampai lagi" ......I hope the morfin works temporarily and he will remember our visit again.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Love you, my dear !

1990 : The year we tied the knot. It was on The deepavali Day that I rushed with RM1500 drawn from the ATM ,home to marry my wife. I did not ask for a lavish ceremony and my family just went along. The rombongan menantu was served assorted kuih only….something no one has ever done. No khenduri nothing. I was thankful enough to have my in-laws dared to bare with me when people saying all sort of nasty things about their son-in-law. I did not care really, all my friends marrying their partners in the USA in simple ceremonies as well. I just did not want to burden my family with all the big spending and all when I perfectly knew they did not have any money for that. Alhamdulillah, Allah has made it easy for me all these years. I am very happy with my lovely sweetheart and just could not imagine a life without her. After the khenduri at her house, I brought her to Dungun where I worked at the time. No honeymoon…. hmmmm..she still mumbling about that…me owing her a honeymoon. I just don’t understand why I need to go on the honeymoon. Maybe one of these days if we have the time we will go off somewhere just the two of us. I want to promise her that.

Our first five years in Dungun was nice. We managed to live well on such a small salary, drove an old Nissan Sunny commuting between Dungun and Wakaf Bharu every weekend. At one time I drove into a herd of kerbau during one of the trips back and wrecked the car. I later found out that neither me nor the car were insured. Kena tipu la by my own friend who sold the insurance. Sold the car and got a new Proton Wira.

1995: Then we off to London.When I look back through the years in Essex, England I could not hold myself back from being emotional as it was a unique experience that skin my soul inside out. After all these years I just could not stop to thank Allah for giving me, my wife and my children all the strength that we needed. My wife Salwana had been the backbone of my life particularly during the four years we were in Essex. She played a pivotal role to ensure that I have plenty of room to earn my PhD. I just could not do it without her; even it is not too much to say that my PhD is rightfully hers.

After the plane touched down at The Heathrow airport early in the morning of that one day in September 1995, we were all queuing to get through the immigration. The process was okay but we were all very tired from the long flight. I could see my wife was very very tired holding Nabiela Husna as she was only 50 days old. All through the flight she did not rest well as to keep Nabiela , Aqeelah and Ariefah quiet and not to disturb other passengers. Aqeelah and Ariefah were okay as they were old enough to know what’s going on. I myself could handle them and tried to keep them occupied with the movies and what not. But Nabiela was so small and still on breastfeed, I just did not know how to handle her. My wife Salwana would be the only one that could comfort her and she had been doing that all night long. She was tired. I told myself what have I got my family into … a disaster. Just hang on for a little while, I prayed. So we went pass the immigration, walked through that green lane and out. So now what ! No body was there to greet us. I did not plan for anybody to come how could anyone be there ! But not to worry we will get a cab and find that place called Essex. I fetched that Black London Cab and asked if he could take us to Essex. Of course he agreed ……for 110 pounds. I did not feel that it was really 440 ringgit(the exhange rate back then was 4.0) for a taxi ride. The cab took us to a hotel near the university and we stayed there for a while. I thought I could get a house and we could move in asap. But it was not that easy. My children got diarrhea from the flight’s food and I went out to get some medical help. But where ? I walked around the campus and could not see any clinics or health centers open. I walked and walked around the place until it’s dark; I just could not figure out where to get help. I was hoping for a Malaysian to pass by and I could ask for help. No one seemed to be around. I got tired after while; I sat down on the stairs crying myself out. I felt so lonely and helpless. Oh my dear God please help me. Frustrated, I walked back to the hotel. I looked at my wife’s face and she knew I could not get help. She smiled and told me it’s okay the children are getting better. She put some ubat that we brought from home. The children looked pale and tired but I just could not do anything else. After dinner I got out and walked around the hotel. I heard a couple of kids speaking Malay at the hallway. I approached them asked where they are from. Their parents came out and we introduced each other. Alhamdulillah, my doa was answered and that day I knew someone named M that has become my friend until today. He found a house to stay and he invited us to stay with him until we got our own place. The next day we checked out of the hotel by noon. I was hoping to stay at M’s place for a while. We waited and waited but no sign of M. We were really out in the cold with no place to go. We stayed out in the park. The weather was getting colder and colder and there was still no sign of M. Finally I got hold of M on the phone and he gave me the address for us to go. It was bitterly cold but Na did not say anything as she knew Allah is always with us and will help her husband somehow. Her deep faith had given me strength that I never knew I had . Being gutsy and “just do it” are not my usual self. Somehow it got me through the years in the strange land. We really had gone through the thick and thin of life together. She had been the real power and I owed it all to her.

Our first house was a two-storey terrace in a nice neighbourhood called Beeleigh Close. The house owned by a Pakistani. In the UK standard the house was dilapidated; but in our standard it was a luxury. That Paki was a bad landlord; he cheated us and never kept his promises. In the winter the electricity company gave a rebate to the customers; we did not get ours because the bill was in his name, so he went and claim the rebate. And a lot of other things that he did to us; from there on I knew that Muslims are not necessarily good. By this time we had known more Malaysians around the city. Not many of them here; during that time it was only about six families. As those in the foreign land do, we got together every weekend and exchange stories and learn how to live in England from the seniors. Those were the days that we never forget. It was hard but at the same time filled with unforgettable moments in our life.

Happy Anniversary my love ! I love you with all my heart. Thank you for such a wonderful life.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When The Heavens Wept

Under the cold cloudy sky
time seems to stand still
the serenity of body and soul
finally at peace
the morning dews drop
sent down from the heavens

cry no more Tuan Guru
we are here, we are all here
behind you
to provide and protect
the motherland of ours
even if the heavens call upon you
we will still be here
to chant and cherish
the hope that you’ve given us
---when there is hopelessness
The courage
--when there is disappointment and despair
The reason to live and be alive
--when death is inevitable

Shed your tears Tuan Guru
The evils have gone
Washed away by the tsunami of iman and islam
What left is the monument of true belief
The greed and hypocrisy once again
Plunged into abyss
For a million years to come

Don’t cry Tuan Guru
This land is ours
Forever and ever
So the children can understand
The true words from heavens
Without fear and intimidations
To live heavenly ever after
In the land
Where the green and white flag
Fly high above the sky
To show the world …….
That Iman and Islam rule here.

Don’t cry my dear Tuan Guru
Up above
the heavens will weep with you
for people have betrayed their pledge
to live and die with Islam
but instead
they stole the truth from us
protect the ugly little bastard
that rape the children
keep the dirty ones in the house
let the evils
speak and intimidate Islam
we will have that no more
in this beloved land of Kelantan
the last frontier of our belief
to cradle the true believers and warriors
that will continue
our journey for a better future.

Don’t cry Tuan Guru
We are all here
For God and human kind.

shah alam
march 8, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The “everyday” miracles

Last night I was lucky enough to catch a documentary on Discovery Channel about giving birth : travelogue : From conceptions to delivery (something like that). It was so interesting to follow 3-4 mothers coping with the whole experience. I still remember how it was like to be a new father some 17 years ago. A case of brutal experience in the public hospital. I swear to God not to let myself or any of my family member to go near that hell hole for a treatment such as giving birth. We were in Hospital Kota Bharu (HRPZII as it now called) and the place was dark and filthy; the nurses were the descendants of Hell’s angels with fangs and all; you can hardly see any doctor around, it was a total disaster to be there. But that’s all we can afford at that time; so we put our fate at the mercy of those nurses and doctors to get us through the painful experience. The maternity ward was awful as many young mothers were screaming in vain during the labor. And they were left alone by the wall screaming and tossing to ease the pain. I peeked through the window and witnessed the most grueling scene … a young mother screaming on top of her voice by the corridor and no one bothered to come and see her, I can see the blood was all over her sarong. I prayed to god to safe guard my wife. But as she told me her own ordeal after the birth I just could not believe how a hospital is allowed to run in such a bad condition.

But again that is the only place where the poor like myself was able to take refuge during the time of great difficulty. The other mean is to see the bomoh (medicine man). I guess that was out of the question.

Our second child was born at the same hospital during the big flood in 1993 ( well in Kelantan there was always a flood at the end of the year). The same grueling experience. Fortunately my wife did not have to stay there for long. Imagine when the water started to rise ; every single crawling creature will come out from their hiding for a higher ground. I have never seen a rat bigger than a cat before … frightening.

By the time we are ready to greet our third child, I have enough savings to go to a private clinic in Kota Bharu. Not particularly a 5-star but good enough for us; clean and friendly people. It was Klinik An-Nisa located along Jalan Sultan Ibrahim in Kota Bharu. For the first time I was able to be in the delivery room with my wife and as I remember it by the time the baby was out I was out as well (pitam). So dramatic to see such a big baby to come out from such a small little hole. But the ladies there were very quick and professional, everything was done within half an hour.

The fourth one was made and delivered in England. I was in the delivery room as well. The facilities there were about the same with what we have here in Malaysia; maybe a bit better but not the whole lot. When we were asked how was it compared to your place in Malaysia; we said…well it’s about the same. I guess they expected us to tell theirs are far more superior than us. I think our medical facilities are not that bad; and that I was comparing with Klinik Annisa. Even now the same Klinik Annisa has even far better facilities. We were at Klinik Annisa again to greet our fifth child. They have improved a lot with many sophisticated machines and all.