30 September 2010

From Russia With Love

There was a call on my h/p. I picked it up, looked sat its face, and wondered at the number, 0127966xxx1127, an unusually long one.

Before I could open my mouth the voice from the other end came through loud and clear, “Pkcik, kenal sapa ni ?”. And as I was just about to pick out his name from my memory bank the very familiar voice continued excitedly, “ Hairi ni . Dari Moscow,Russia Pakcik. Saya dah sampai …..” (“ This is Hairi from Moscow, Russia. I have just arrived ….”
Yes indeed it was a very pleasant ‘From RussiaWith Love’. It made my
day At the end of the brief conversation he promised to send an e-mail the moment he got his computer and things sorted out.

Hairi, who will feature in my ‘End of the tunnel’ series, was a star performer in last year’s SPM exam, obtaining straight 10A’s. He is today in Moscow, having lost his mother not very long ago, leaving behind a sick father who had just gone through an emergency operation of a burst appendix; and he is determined to be a doctor.

That was two days ago. When I opened my laptop this morning I noticed a short message from Hairi, just as he promised.

Salam,,,pak cik,,,
I miss u a lot,,,mak cik also,,,
How are u now???
Now,I am in Moscow, Russia,,,,studying medicine at the First Moscow State Medical University,,,
It is really cold here and I can say that I trembeled like a leaf,,,
the class will start on 15th oct,,,and now,all of us spend our time shopping and visiting somewhere,,,,
Moscow is a beautiful city i....now it is auturm season...so beautiful,,,
Hairie, Moscow..
Pakcik’s note to Hairi:

How I appreciate your communicating with me so soon.

I know, because you have told me, that in your heart you have a place for Makcik and Pakcik.

Whatever we have done for you is never as important as the value we hope you have learnt of being compassionate and caring for others. You will need this when you have a career of your own one day, insya Allah.

We will always pray for your success, Hairi.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

28 September 2010

Hold on - Is this a hoax?

A regular visitor to this blog kindly forwarded to Pakcik from USA,certain views found in a website called ‘hoax-slayer’. In particular, the circulated message contained in Pakcik’s post under ‘Medical Advice – Pending a heart attack’ was commented upon by a couple of parties, namely the American Heart Association and the Resuscitation Council of UK.

I am duty-bound to mention, even in not so many words, the gist of what the two parties said. Firstly,reference was made to the American Heart Association that "the usefulness of 'cough CPR' is generally limited to monitored patients with a witnessed arrest in the hospital setting".

Secondly, the Resuscitation Council in UK "knows of no evidence that, even if a lone patient knew that cardiac arrest had occurred, he or she would be able to maintain sufficient circulation to allow activity, let alone driving to the hospital".

I am somewhat relieved that no party implied that the simple method prescribed was wrong or dangerous. The stress was on getting professional help. Yes indeed, we all want professional help. But do we all have access to medical help that readily as in those developed countries?

A doctor I consulted felt that one should not stop trying something after initiating 999, while being driven to hospital or while waiting for the ambulance. “What else is there to do apart from ‘mengucap’ – especially when we still a little bit more time on God’s earth?”

Hasma, a visitor to Pakcik's posting (also a doctor) stressed in her comment the importance of knowing how to dial 999 in emergency situation.

Pill Pusher ( I suspect he is in medical line as well) left the following comment at the end of Pakcik’s posting:

“jgn lupa kunyah dan telan 1 biji aspirin 300mg jugak mase tu (kalau ade kat situ)

Indeed why shouldn’t we do something recommended by certain people, something not known to be harmful, rather than ‘mengucap’? I am of this view and now I will make sure some aspirin is kept readily available at home as suggested by Pill Pusher. Then, after ‘berikhtiar’ we sit ‘mengucap dan berdoa’.( try all what we can do and rest to say our prayers.)

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

25 September 2010

MEDICAL ADVICE - Pending a heart attack

A friend sent Pakcik a circular the content of which I feel should be shared. It is a simple advice on what can be done in the event of a heart attack, something dreaded by many. It may help if one can sense its coming and is able to do something himself/herself while waiting for help to arrive. For this reason I am posting the following information.


A Valuable Piece of information

Let's say it's 6.15pm and you're going home (alone of course), after an unusually hard day on the job.

You're really tired, upset and frustrated.

Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to drag out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home. Unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.


Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help,the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.

However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.

A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.

Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital. Tell as many
Other people as possible about this. It could save their lives!!

A cardiologist says If everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that we'll save at least one life.

Rather than sending jokes please.. Contribute by forwarding this mail which can save a person's life....If this message comes around you ......more than once.....please don't get irritated......U need to be happy that you are being reminded of how to tackle....Heart attacks....AGAIN...


Haz xxx

Needless to say one must initiate 999, not just simply depending on the above emergency attempt.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

18 September 2010

End of the tunnel ( Pt. 9 ) – from burger stall to MRI T.0 Tesla

Din, the name I prefer to use at times, is today a young man of twenty three.

Nine years ago Din joined our tuition class at Al-Manar after getting 2A’s, 2B’s and 1C for his UPSR. That was not much of a result to boast about. Under better circumstances, if life had not been rather hard on him, I am quite certain he would have done better. His father, now in his mid fifty and like many man folks in the area, has been depending on the generosity of the rough South China Sea for livelihood. According to Din his father began his ‘apprenticeship’ at sea as young as eight. This, too, is nothing new in this part of the world. And Din’s mother helps to supplement the family’s earning, working for keropok makers and operating a burger stall in front of their house. Din himself helped out at the stall, making it hard on him to attend Al-Manar classes regularly.

So if we talk about making burgers, Din knows all the tricks.

From the UPSR results of 2A’s,2B’s and 1C, Din improved his academic performance three years later to gain 5A’s and 3B’s for his PMR. He went on to do it even better two years later to score 7A’s and 2B’s in his SPM examination. Seeing how hard he worked, not forgetting his commitment to the burger stall, Pakcik knew that I had not yet seen Din at his best.

“Pakcik apa patut saya buat? ( What should I do ?)” was his question when his SPM results were known. Now he wanted to map out his future. Whatever it might be, he wanted to start something that he could realistically expect success. He did not want any uncertainty.

We discussed at length various possible courses for someone like him who did not make all A’s at SPM. Personally he would like to see himself doing a hospital-related job. That being the case, and having excellent results particularly in science subjects and mathematics, backed by reasonably good English, he should go for a diploma in radiography. The odds would be against him to compete for a place to do medicine. For Din there was no room to gamble. Ukur baju dibadan sendiri. With a good diploma in radiography he would be able to find a job and would still have the opportunity to continue for a degree in due course.

It had already been decided between us that joining Kelas Metrikulasi should be avoided. Accordingly, Din sent his applications and a month later he received three offers one of which came from a university hospital for a diploma course in radiography. This was one which he wanted most; but he needed to get through an interview.

Din had no idea what an interview was like and how he should conduct himself. To give him all the confidence he needed Pakcik lent him a book on radiography and pointed out parts he should try to familiarise himself. A few days later we sat rehearsing mock interviews. It amazed me to see how much of the subject he had digested from the book. So, reasonably assured of himself he left for KL.

When Din returned to brief Pakcik how his interview was conducted, I was reasonably certain he would make it. I had my doubt any normal candidates could engage on a discussion on radiography as he could. Indeed, a couple of weeks later he turned up with a broad smile. He did it.


Din spent the next three years shuttling between KL and KT, never failed to brief Pakcik of his progress each time he returned home.

It was not all in vain. Din did it in style. At the end of the course he topped the group, emerging the only one in the Dean’s list. He was particularly happy realising that his brilliant achievement was his greatest reward to Pakcik. For that performance he was given a choice to start his contractual service at the university hospital or continue on a course leading to a degree in radiography. Following a brief discussion Din expressed what he personally preferred, “Pakcik, I would like to work for a couple of years to save some money. Then I will join the degree course.” I supported the idea. A couple of years’ experience would stand him in good stead to perform well for his first degree course and beyond. However, deep in my heart I knew the true reason for his preference to work first before continuing for a degree - to earn some money so that his family would see the first ringgit from him.


Early next month Din will start working at the unversity hospital, and have the satisfaction of seeing the fruit of his patience and sweat over the years.

I have a vision that Din will ultimately be at university lecturing in radiography.

I have a vision, too, that many years into the distant future, his children will sit around him listening how their father once operated a burger stall, and how their grandfather rode the rough sea, all for them to emerge from the long dark tunnel. The children will realise how far his father has travelled from frying burgers to operating a sophisticated MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) T.O Tesla machine. I wish him all the best.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

09 September 2010

Pakcik reminisces ( Part 11 ) – Hari Raya


--- 54 YEARS AGO ---

Indeed I am fortunate to have kept a diary and today I look back literally with tears in my eyes. As I read the pages, my mind's eye races back in time bringing back vivid pictures of yester years.

As I look back with nostalgia and feel how pleasant things were then I cannot deny that, after certain changes, there are better things today. I take as an example the events which I had jotted down in my 1956 diary of what I had to go through on 27th and 28th January of that year.


In the morning of the 27th January, 1956, seven of us were heading for Kuala Lumpur eagerly to join HSC, the Cambridge Higher School Certificate class (STPM of today) at two old schools in KL, the Victoria and St. John's. A smaller group was heading for Anderson School in Ipoh. As the Cambridge School Certificate (SPM of today) results for 1955 were not yet known our admission into HSC was based on a special qualifying test. I firmly believed I failed miserably. I had cried and prayed hard for this. So the offer to join HSC was heaven-sent as far as I was concerned.

Accordingly, the seven musketeers, three Malays, three Indians and one Chinese, all boys except for one Indian, merrily boarded the so called 'bas express', the first stage being KT-Kemaman, then Kemaman-Kuantan and the last 'bas express' Kuantan-KL. Now allow me to pick out a few parts of what I had jotted down on the pages of that diary.


Friday 27th January(1956)
7.30 am left KT by Kemaman Express. (fare $5.30)
1.35 pm reached Kemaman 2.40 pm left Kemaman for Kuantan
4.35 pm reached Kuantan

Saturday 28th
Woke up and had bath at 4.15 am (mistaken time for 5.15!)
8.00 am left Kuantan by express bus for KL (fare $ 8.50)
11.00 am reached Temerloh 12.05 am left Temerloh after being delayed by ferry.
4.30 pm reached KL

One certainly finds it hard to believe that travel time was 9hrs 5 min on the first day and 8 hrs 30 min on the following day, making a total travelling time of 17 hrs 35 min in two days.


That was 54 (FIFTY FOUR) years ago. Pakcik must have been so excited that on the second morning, as noted in my diary, I had a bath at 4.30 am!

That was Pakcik's historical first trip to KL with six very close class-mates. Before we left KT, we went to a photo studio to take a group photo for memory. I cannot remember seeing anyone with camera those days. One would have to go to a photo studio or call the studio to send a cameraman.

Standing L to R :Ravindran (deceased) , Arifin Yasin (deceased), Prasad (deceased) and Dato’ Wan Hussein.
Sitting L to R : Yours truly, Sarada Devi (deceased) and Dato’ Dr Wee Lian Hong (deceased)

Notice the seven names above. FIVE of the musketeers are marked (deceased) leaving just two of us, Dato' Wan Hussein and Pakcik. Yes, the picture was taken perhaps to remind me today that I have a lot to thank for.

It is interesting to note here that the three Indians in our group were in fact two brothers and one sister. They were clever children of a school principal. The two younger ones were accelerated to join the eldest (the only girl in the group) and be in the same class, sitting for the Form 5 exam in the same year, 1955. That was possible during our colonial era when Malaya was just a small colony. Can we now have this in our independent Malaysia, I wonder. Have we, in this case, really changed for the better?

So all the three siblings are gone with two others in the picture, leaving that photo for me to reminisce. No, that is not quite all. One of the three, Prasad, the last to depart left me something else, something that has prompted me to retrieve my diary of 1956 and urged me to write this posting.


In 1956, Hari Raya fell on Saturday 12th May. There was no way for us to return home (balik kampong). As we see above one needed four days of traveling time to make a return trip in 1956.

Obviously it was a lonely Hari Raya for me, being away for the first time. I cannot believe that one from K Terengganu can really be lonely on a Hari Raya in KL today. We can now communicate and watch each other's face across the world. But we did not have as much as a crude telephone to hear the voice of the loved ones.

My diary tells me today how I spent my lonely Hari Raya's eve in 1956.

"At 9.05 saw Mega Mandong at Coliseum". Today it seems unbelievable. But that diary was not meant to tell a lie.

On Hari Raya day I went visiting a few houses with Malay friends. In our class we were fortunate to have Malays from around KL, one was Tan Sri Zaleha Ismail, the ex National Unity and Development Minister.


In brief that was how I spent my Hari Raya’s eve, in a cinema watching a Malay film, and the day itself visiting friends' houses.

This brings me to the present, 2010, 54 years later.

Last week I decided to send a few cards in response to those who took the trouble to send me greeting cards last year. Fortunately I had their cards safely stored away. So I retrieved them and started to I leaf through. Then among them, staring into my eyes was a card signed by MK Prasad, one member of the group of seven (in the picture on top) who made the maiden trip to KL with me in January 1956. Here is another reminder of my past. Prasad passed away last July and in his memory I wrote my posting on 19th July ‘Bila Musim Durian Tiba – berguguran

2009 Hari Raya card from Prasad

Prasad was such a jovial person, never stopped pulling our legs in his suppressed humour as we enjoyed our monthly lunches. He had the following foot-note written at the bottom of his card :

Food for thought.
They say that money does not grow on trees, but the banks have many branches !


That is Prasad's last note to me, just two months ago. He, his two siblings in the picture, and two other dear friends have left this world - leaving just two out of seven. Isn’t this a sobering thought?

It was finding that old Hari Raya card from Prasad that prompted me to say farewell to this Ramadhan and welcome the coming Hari Raya in a reflective note - as I did on welcoming this holy month. I would like to feel that Ramadhan has left a more lasting effect on us all, and the joy of Hari Raya would equally do - that there are out there people who are not as lucky as we are, and the need to forgive and forget in the spirit of Hari Raya.

I would like keep reminding myself of the stark reality of the Quranic ayat 26-27 of Surah 55 , translated by Muhammad Asad as “All that lives on earth or in the heavens is bound to pass away: but forever will abide thy Sustainer’s Self, full of majesty and glory.” - Nothing, absolutely nothing is permanent


Pakcik and Makcik wish all our visitors and ex Almanar pupils Selamat Hari Raya. Semoga masih ada lagi Ramadhan dan Hari Raya di tahun-tahun hadapan.

07 September 2010

Follow-up on Jane’s Ground Zero - Manhattan

I am pleased to post another comment to Almanar. This time it is from Mekyam.

As someone for whom this town is home and the horror that was 911 was a reality personally felt [5 days to the date, 9 years ago, on a gorgeous day not unlike the ones we're having now] and not just something read in the news…” Mekyam went on to comment.


From Mekyam:

Salam idilfitri pakcik, makcik & family, termasuk keluarga almanar and readers of this blog!

first, thank you jane and pakcik for sharing the link to that heart-warming article.

now, let me share here the writings of rabbi bruce warshal. it pretty much sums up the feelings of most nuyorkers, including our mayor, on the cordoba house/park 51 issue.


as kaykuala pointed out, the issue has been conveniently politicized by vested interests. it is actually a non-issue, not only because it is nowhere near ground zero and the existing bldg has been a muslim prayer place for years with nary a squeak from anyone, but also because the site is a privately owned property and the permit to build has already been given by the city. the concerns left is that donations for the actual bldg should not come from organizations connected to terrorists.

as someone for whom this town is home and the horror that was 911 was a reality personally felt [5 days to the date, 9 years ago, on a gorgeous day not unlike the ones we're having now] and not just something read in the news, i have to say that most of the fuss about park51 have also come from people who don't live in this town. they probably would not know Ground Zero if they fell in it, much less care what sort of establishments share its neighbourhood. truth be known, nuyorkers in general are pretty much waiting for all the fuss to die down already. there are more pressing matters to think about.

just like right after 911, when nuyorkers themselves were too busy huddling together trying to help and comfort one another in their shared shock and grief, quite oblivious of race or creed per usual, it's always those outside who don't realize how much the people of this town embrace their differences and diversity who overreacted and blew things out of proportion. those are usually people who see the world through their own prejudices and are thus easily manipulated by vested interests and manipulative media.

in fact, this excerpt from the NY Daily News of a few days ago...

BY Samuel Goldsmith
September 2nd 2010, 8:10 PM

HEADLINE: Muslim-bashing televangelist Bill Keller to bring inflammatory brand of worship to Ground Zero

A Muslim-bashing evangelical preacher is bringing his inflammatory brand of worship to Ground Zero - and even the anti-mosque crowd doesn't want him.

... shows that even nuyorkers who are against the idea of a mosque in the vicinity of GZ have no time for bigots.


Mekyam, we are privileged to get this from someone close to ZERO when most of us are on the other side of the world shouting our heads off. Thank you

As Pakcik welcomed this holy Ramadhan with a posting, Pakcik will, insya Allah, post another to say farewell and to welcome Hari Raya.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

05 September 2010

Ground Zero - Manhattan

Pakcik received the following comment from a daughter of a very dear late friend of mine. She is in the States. Let us share what she has sent. To her and family ,Pakcik and Makcik wish all the best and expect to see them in Terengganu one of these days.


Jane said...
Dear Pakcik and everyone in Al-Manar's blog community:No doubt you have heard of the great controversy happening at Ground Zero in Manhattan regarding the building of the mosque. My heart saddens. I share with you this: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2015518_2185139,00.htmlHow do we get the 'hand' poems out there for America to read?
Sun Sep 05, 09:38:00 PM


Thank you Jane with love from us in KT.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan