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.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Follow The Stars : A team-building experience in the jungle of Terengganu.

The time was 1435 (2:35 in the afternoon for normal people). Groups of academicians, mentally into-the-jungle-unprepared, misfits and compass-illiterates, being sent off to find their ways in unknown territories come day or night. Sounds so unrealistic but I would put it as plain stupid. We were sent off in full military grandeur with the groups marching out through the colorful smoke and a few claps in a gesture of good luck and hope-to-see-you- soon mood. The afternoon air was still fresh from the morning breeze. In the horizon we saw our destination (so we thought!)…so calm and quiet. None of the kampung activities was in sight. Nobody was attending the cows, or the many kebuns that cover from end to end. It was as if the world says, go ahead it’s your turn to graze the land, we’ll step aside and give you the way. And we did. One step after another we set forth to realize our destiny. We went across a few kebuns and tembakau plantations. Far at the back I could still see the base camp and as we went further away the camp has become smaller and smaller. As we entered the high growth, I could feel the journey has started to go into a new phase. The time was about 4 pm when were really inside the jungle.

As we brave into the thick forest, our minds ran wild with what might be watching us.The place seemed so strange that it was not in my wildest dream to spend my days finding my ways between the spiking leaves and muddy trails of wild pigs.I kept my eyes open to watch over my buddies, you know, if anything happen. Ust Dzul who always in the front should be my primary concern as he kept popping on and off . The gals are doing very well although Dena sometime stuck in the mud. But she never complained always throwing away her crispy smiles and tickling us with her naive questions of the flora and fauna. Most of the time Che Him will answer them in great details. Che Him seems to know everything and nobody argued. Sometime a deep silence struck us and all we can hear is the sound of the wind blowing away the heat of the forest. Berhenti ! Ooi berhenti laaa! and all of us stood still as if we were rehearsing a stupid dance. It was a sound of our super navigators Azahar and Khirzan. They hailed us every now and then to get the reading right. Juggling between the map, a compass and that half-circle thing is just too much for me. Let them lead us through, it is easier that way. Tn Haji Maksom smiled at me and asked if I’m alright. Yeah, I’m fine thank you. He seemed very steady himself and volunteered to be the marker. You know when the guys try to read the compass they need a marker to set a point; some people use trees but we prefer Tn Haji better. So bit by bit we edged ourselves into the forest. We stumbled upon strange things as we dragged our tired legs through the forest like: wild pigs puddle, one after another, I guess this is where they spend their afternoon. The trees that are used to make chopping boards…what’s left of it. I wonder whether they paid for the trees or just chop it off like that. Who’s gonna know !?. We came across a dried stream, it’s like a small road in the middle of the jungle, so fantastic. The thing that I remember the most while going through the rough leaves and branches were the serenity of the jungle. There were trees all around and if you sit down and keep quiet for a moment, you would be wrapped around by a total silence, cold and empty. When we stopped at one point for a rest, I think we can all feel this like a cold water dripped upon your heart, so far away from the outside world and nothing bothers. It’s me and myself. I could hear my heartbeats. The time is way into Asr and we haven’t got out of the forest. On the map it seemed we were already on the edge of the jungle but I didn’t see any clear land ahead. The way ahead is still uphill and as difficult as the last hill we climbed. Oh my God, I grumbled to myself, what have I got myself into now ? We have to chop our way through now. Luckily Wan Manan brought his shiny golok.The sound of people gave us hopes for this gruelling experience to be end soon. It was another group led by Dr Wan and navigated by Md Lehan & Co. Oh no not this people, I thought it was the checkpoint guy. I think this group has lost their way. But something incredible emerged from this convergence…we decided to unite and walk together. The more the merrier so they say. I’m glad we did. We put aside the fact that we are competing for the moment and try to get out of here safely and quickly. We were in the middle of kelapa sawit plantation. We really discussed and concluded that we should join the group and follow the compass. The team spirit really worked out very well here as some suggested that we just follow the road as the compass might get us back into the deep jungle. But we agreed anyway to use the compass and it eventually get us deep into the hill and kelapa sawit trees. Around 6.30 pm we finally saw the road and that means the end of the jungle. We had to walk for another half an hour but we didn’t mind, I was just glad to be out of the jungle. And we were very lucky to be out before the sunset. Reached the checkpoint just enough time to perform the Asr prayer and waited for the night fall. This is where we joined the surau people for bubur lambok and all.I could not enjoy the celebration as I was too busy nursing my cramped legs, thighs,bums, groin ,knees and just about every other joint in my body. Ust Dzul joined me as his legs were giving up as well. Dena was in pain as well and thought of quitting the rest of the journey.Don’t worry, I said trying to make everything looks okay,we’ll rest as long as we need and move whenever we are ready. That didn’t comfort her at all and decided to call the ambulance. So it turned out that Ust Dzul and Dena will not quit after all but will wait for us at the next checkpoint. Talking about high spirit and team building, these two people could not be any better example Their determination to join us later despite the injury they encountered is a proof of superb personalities . God knows I was in pain myself, but I promise to myself that I will finish this against all odds. Other members in our group were also tired, hungry and on the edge of giving up. This has become more and more ridiculous. We had no plan or strategy; all we knew were to walk and walk and this time we’ll follow the stars. The night was great as if there was a celebration in the sky. The stars glittered and greeted us every step of the way. Despite all the grutches we finally set forth to our next checkpoint at 2115 hrs. There were only six of us now: Azahar, Khirzan, Wan Manan, Che Him, Tn Hj Maksom and myself. Dena and Ust Dzul had gone away with the ambulance and Ras being alone in the group joined the other syndicate This time around we’d walk by the roadside and followed the stars. The journey took us a bit over an hour . We talked, sang, told stupid jokes, made fun of some people (of whose name I could not write here) or just made noises that have no meaning whatsoever. It was like going back from mengaji al-qur’an at the surau when we were kids. Suddenly we saw lights, bunch of lights coming towards us. Could it be one of our syindicates ? which one ? As we approached each other it had become apparent that it was indeed one of us. Which group, is it ? I whispered to myself. DAMN! It’s group No.1, the one with a Chinese name. Oh no! we are in trouble. I thought they had given up already. Somebody told us that;or was it a consipracy. That means they are leading because this should be their last checkpoint and we’re going to our second checkpoint.. Never mind, I said calming myself, stay on course and move forward. We reached our next checkpoint shortly and as planned Ust Dzul and Dena rejoined us. I was assigned to read the compass. It was so difficult in the dark so we decided to follow the stars again. The next checkpoint was quite easy (so we thought!). We’ve been there during the practice earlier in the day.

For some reasons we decided to walk without the lights. Somebody handed me a rope and told me to hang on. It was dark and we could not see where we were going, so I guess the rope will do just fine. Hang on to the rope, keep walking and look at the stars. I just could not understand why I did that and didn’t bother to question. My body was about to collapse I was not in a mood to think. I just went along .

The next leg of journey was tiring but fantastically maginificent. Have you ever walk under the night sky ? I mean really walking and enjoying the darkness. Well, I could because somebody in the front was leading us. I got the rope so I could look up and see the stars. But not for long, the sky was getting darker. I think it’s gonna rain. We were heading to the bridge, follow the road and make a right turn somewhere ahead. That was the plan that’s why we put the compass away as we thought we knew the way. Night could not be more deceiving as we found out later We got to the bridge and when there was a turn we took it only to find that it was not the right one. At first it was okay we thought but as we went deeper into the field it didn’t feel right. Now what ?.we were lost that’s what happened. In the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night , we were loosing hope and easily getting frustrated. Everybody just stood there in silent and looking like chicken that have lost the way to the barn. As we contemplating our next move, we heard voices from afar. We kind of follow it. Alright ! Checkpoint!. Go! Go! Go!. We met the guys there, had some drinks and threw ourself into the bushes for a rest. Wow! Wait a minute! This is NOT checkpoint No. 4, this is No. 5 ! Oh No we are at the wrong stop. So Where the heck is our stop ? I’m not suppose to tell you this but just follow this dirt road and you won’t miss it , it’s just ahead, said the guys there. Yeah! Right! the last time they said like that it took us hours to find it. And I was right.It took us another hour and 15 minutes to reach our checkpoint. But they still got the soup. What a relief. The checkpoint was in the middle of an airfield. Dena and Ras will be our next navigators. Don’t worry Dena we would not be going any other way, would we ? We just been there, remember a couple of hours ago. So just pretend you know how to work out the compass and that half-circle thing. And off we went. Back to Checkpoint No.5. On the the way we met Dr wan’s group camping around having tea just a few distance away . Maybe they just needed the rest badly.

We reached the base camp around 02:30. That means we have been walking around 12 hours. Can you imagine that ? we were given the task now to open up all the envelopes that we collected along the way. They were letters that will make up something. We have to put up the letters on the whiteboard. We tried to finish it before retiring for the day. There was nothing to stick them up with. I went and asked for a glue. Well, you have to write a letter asking for that. WRITE A LETTER ! at 2.30 in the morning after 12 hours of walking. @#$%^& ! What a joke !……oooppsss I was not suppose to complain. I dictated the letter and Dena scribbled it on a piece of paper. So I took it and went to the office. Sorry the office is closed, please come in the morning. THAT”S IT. I am not gonna play this game anymore. I was deeply frustrated with the whole thing and it’s nothing but a nightmare. Some just never know how to let go. They have made the point, that’s it, we know what they want and we also know the true picture of the whole thing. And for me it’s a very ugly one. I was up all night. Thinking about everything and trying to put them in the right frames. The rain came down like cats and dogs. Oh dear…those still on the track must be soaking wet on top of their gruelling pain and aching body. I tried to close my eyes and told myself that things will get better in the morning. It was calm and misty. The field was still wet from the rain last night. Everyone was going about getting ready in a very quiet and lifeless manner. No morning shower songs neither freaking noises. The closing ceremony was brief and fast. At least that’s how I feel as I have got nothing to cheer. It was incomplete. No reconciliation. The gruelling pain left unsuccumbed. The broken hearts left unamended. No apologies . As if we deserved everything we have gone through. So be it.

5 Tips From IMF Chief For current global economic crisis

Dominique Strauss-Kahn highlighted yesterday (Oct 9) five sets of actions.

First, as some governments have concluded, the fragility of public confidence has now reached a point that some explicit public guarantee of financial system liabilities is unavoidable.

Second, the state needs to take out troubled assets and force the recognition of losses.

Third, private money is scarce in today’s environment, and loss recognition alone may not be sufficient to induce fresh injection of private capital.
Fourth, a high degree of international cooperation has become urgent.

Fifth, it is now becoming clear that emerging market countries are likely to be hit hard by financial turmoil, despite stronger fundamentals and policy frameworks.

As bleak as the situation now looks, I am convinced that there is a way out of our shared predicament. The trick is to get policymakers around the world to pull in the same direction.

Read more here

The global economic growth is expected to be 0% until the end of next year. The advanced economies in the US,Europe and Japan will grow around 0.5% in 2009. Nevertheless, Nor Yakcop said Malaysian economy will set to grow around 3.5% next year. Now, how is that possible? our fundamentals are stronger than theirs?

Iceland has gone bankrupt yesterday with the biggest bank has been nationalised and their ministers are heading to Russia for some cash. The Indonesia stock market remains closed until next week fear of deteriorating stock values. Bangkok is going down as well. I hope in Bank Negara they are prepared for the worst.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Hari ini bukan hari aku bukan juga hari engkau
Engkau nampak letih dan kelesuan
Mungkin sudah tiba masa tidur mu
Tidur lah .....
Moga tempat rehat mu seluas istana di syurga firdaus
Maafkanlah ...
Dengan kudrat yang ada aku hanya mampu melihat
Jiwamu dimamah kehancuran
Reput besama cita-cita besar
Untuk kembali berbakti
Mereka hanya tahu mengomblot keindahan hatimu
Merakus aura keagungan niat naluri
Itulah dunia kita
Penuh dengan ruap harapan
Yang disangka pelangi
Melambai jauh warna-warna kehidupan

Kini kau terlantar sebak
Ingin meluah kata-kata mungkin
Buat saka menyeru keikhlasan
Dalam mendokong panji perjuangan

Bukan wang yang menabur senyum
Atau pangkat mengikat janji
Jauh sekali kata-kata yang berulang nada
Hanya keringat buat azimat
Menyulam tulang yang empat kerat
Dengan ikhlas dan semangat waja

Bawalah senyum pada yang duka
Secekup wang buat si miskin
Mengubat hidup yang perit
Hati yang gundah
Masa depan yang penuh angan-angan

Semesta ...
Izin kan aku berkelana
Bersama mimpi dan niat suci
Bagi mencari sekelumit ketenangan
Setitis madu mengubat jiwa
Selagi kuat kaki melangkah
Dalam terus mewarna hidup ini
Dengan senyum dan tawa hilai
Dari hati yang penuh taqwa dan insaf diri

Perjuangan mu kan terus subur
Niat mu kan terus membakar dan menyala
Dalam gerimis syahwat yang mendatang
Tidurlah .....
Satu hari kau akan bangkit
Dengan semangat waja
Wawasan mulia dan ....
Perwira yang akan memacu mu ke medan jaya
Dengan matlamat dan cita-cita
Untuk kembali berbakti

Sesungguhnya Engkau Maha Mengetahui bahwa hati-hati ini
Telah berkumpul untuk mencurahkan mahabbah hanya kepada-Mu,
Bertemu untuk taat setia kepada-Mu,
Bersatu dalam rangka menyeru di jalan-Mu,
Dan berjanji setia untuk membela syariat-Mu,
Maka kuatkanlah ikatan pertaliannya, Ya Allah
Abadikanlah kasih sayangnya, tunjukkanlah jalannya dan
penuhilah dengan cahayaMu yang tak pernah redup,
Lapangkanlah dadanya dengan limpahan iman dan keindahan tawakkal kepada-Mu,
Hidupkanlah dengan ma’rifah-Mu.
Sesungguhnya Engkau sebaik-baik pelindung
Dan sebaik-baik penolong. Ameen.
Dan semoga salawat serta salam selalu tercurah kepada Muhammad,
Kepada keluarganya, dan kepada semua sahabatnya.

taqobbalaLlahhumina wamingkum.

Raya 2008 : Time to reconnect ...

The Raya celebration was a bit quiet this year compared to the one we had last year. I am not disappointed at all nor do I beg for a pity from anyone. We (the AJK in out last meeting) have anticipated the low turn up this year based on the commitment from certain quarters in Semesta ( it sounds like a political party after losing the last general election isn’t it?)…that’s why we reduced the order and toned down the menu. But still it is a wholesome of money to be wasted (on food, advertising and futsal courts). This won’t happen again I hope. Despite many did not turn up for reasons god only knows, a few came and apparently have overcome all those reasons. Hmmmm…make one wonders why ? I guess if Semesta were about to be ceased to exist these would the ones that will protect it …..our last samurais ! They are not as handsome as Tom Cruise but their presence meant a lot to someone like me. Thank you guys.

So whatever it is, this tradition will stay and we will see each other again same place, same time next year. Maybe for some, to come to the majlis is to see the same old faces and having the same old dishes; but one fails to realize the important of reconnecting the old friendships and our life history. For me the trip to the school has always been revealing and refreshing. Though my past at the school not seem to be as colorful as others but as the saying goes “ tempat jatuh lagi dikenang”, there is a need for me to come and re-conciliate with my past. Maybe different people have different perspectives in life.

Enough of that. Semesta has suck up a lot more of my time and energy than I expected. I like the opportunity to know the alumni but once a problem came across you will spend endless time trying to justify the reasons for doing it all….mainly for your own sake. I do not have that much time anymore. At the end of the day everyone is laughing at their own party; leaving you hopelessly in the dark…thinking why? Why? Why?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Meeting Lias Hassan & Mae

After 26 years, I finally had a chance to meet Alias. Sometime we wonder how the time has gone by so if it were yesteryear.

One for the road, we do not when we will have the same golden opportunity to meet again ...

Now, Alias81 and wife Rahimah85

Mae, at his new house.

Lias is a teacher now (an English teacher at SMK Kamil PP), they call him "Sir Alias " now.