31 December 2013

2013’s Final Count  Down

  What it looks like right now as I watch from my rear window. Will the forecast of another flood truly come?

I am going to quote something from an article in yesterday’s NST.

“ The truth is, once we live beyond 72 – which is the average life expectancy for men – we are literally preparing to depart….”

Tan Sri Ani Arope, about whom the article was written, knows how to express it better. Now in his early 80s he puts it as  "waiting in the departure lounge of life".

The way he puts it reminds me, now trailing not far behind him in age, of the front pages of my old annual diaries. Just before the end of the last day of the year some sixty years ago, I would be sitting quietly trying to compose my thoughts for the new years. Invariably I expressed my gratitude for whatever success I had achieved, declared my resolutions for the new year and prayed that He would continue to help. Today, each time I glance at what I wrote then (in broken Arabic!), knowing how much of my prayers, and more, have been granted, I can never hold back my tears. Now, the elder ones of my grand-children are at the age I was then. They are totally oblivious of what went through their grandfather’s mind those years when he was at their today's age. They are the fast forward of his future then.  

Strange enough, not once in those old pages I sought for a long life. Now, on my prayer mat I thank Him for giving me my life and giving me my partner in life etc, etc ….”,  and pray that while I sit ‘waiting in the departure lounge of ‘life’, HE would slightly delay the ‘plane’, giving me the chance to catch up with my lost time.


Since I have ceased buying diaries for my private thoughts I am using this ‘open’ diary to wish my visitors and readers another year of success and happiness, mindful of the gifts we all have received in life. And I pray the same as I do for my fellow passengers sitting around me.


I will leave this last page of 2013 with a part of a well known soliloquy: 

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, 

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.” 


Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

26 December 2013

What Pakcik received ( Pt 5 ) – The Cracked Pot

(Posted on Boxing Day of 2013)

Cracked but not broken

On 22nd October 2011 Pakcik posted a short story about a piece of brick which dented a Jaguar ( click HERE ). A silent visitor, a school teacher, kindly emailed a short note to Pakcik. With it came a short story copied below (less the picture).

This one is broken, no longer carcked

“Reading Pakcik's posting on 'The Brick' reminds me of a story which I came across in a newspaper years ago. There are many versions of the story on internet. The story is titled 'The Cracked Pot'; maybe Pakcik have read the story as well but here it goes;

The Cracked Pot Story

A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, but the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house.  The cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water into his master's house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

One day, after two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you."

Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have managed, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load. Because of this crack in my side I could only deliver half load. Half of it leaked out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do more work. You have never got full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "Now, when we are walking back to the master's house, I want you to watch the beautiful flowers along our path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on one side of the path, and this helped to cheered it a little. But at the end of the trail, the cracked pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologised to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side?

As I knew known all along about your flaw, I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots.

But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what he is, and look for the good in him.

There is a lot of good in us! Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

Having so many flaws myself, I take comfort in imagining myself being a ‘cracked pot’. Wassalaam.”


Dear Cikgu,

Thank you for your comments and the ‘cracked pot’ story. Yes, Cikgu, you are indeed a ‘cracked pot’, invigorating and nourishing so many children of your kampong to be useful men and women.

I would love to be one as well, Cikgu.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

20 December 2013

The Miracles of Al Quran (Pt 1) – Introduction


I looked back into my 1956 diary to be sure of his name, Ghazi Aziz, from Iraq. Sharing the same room with him was a white South African, a Christian, and another, a Jewish. Sharing an adjacent roam with me were two boys, a Budhist from India and a Christian from Chile (South America). The third one, a small single room, was occupied by an Irish. It was as international it could be in a three-room ‘digs’ run by a Scottish lady. That made eight nationalities from four continents, representing four major religions.

Thrown into that rare environment I, an absolute green-horn at 20, was obliged to learn to respect each other’s race and religion.

During the following months I grew quite close to the Arab boy from Iraq. We often sat talking about our countries, people and so on. In the course of our conversation one day, I told him that, being a Muslim, I knew a bit of Arabic, the language of Quran that we all had to learn to read in Malaya (pre-merdeka). I was not at all surprised when he took out a copy of Quran and started to talk with high praise of the language of Quran, .."the best example of Arabic language" so he said. That I was not least surprised. Then he dropped the bombshell, “ I have to admit so. although I am not a Muslim.”!

How was I to know that an Arab, bearing that name, Ghazi aziz, was not a Muslim? That’s how green I was. I wonder if I managed to hide my shock.

Since that day no book would surprise me if it says the language of Quran is one of the miracles of Quran. After all Muhammad (saw) was an ‘ummi’, an illiterate person. How could he, of all people, claim the Book to be his work even if he wanted or tried to? There, in that strange environment I learnt of the first ‘Mukjizat’ (miracle)of Quran; it being too perfect to be of human creation.

Part of Ayat 23 from Surah Al-Baqarah

Interpretation by Muhammad Asad: "And if you doubt any part of what We have bestowed from on high, step by step, upon Our servant(Muhammad), then produce a surah of similar merit, and call upon any other than God to bear witness for you – if what you say is true!"


That is my introduction to this new series. With humility I must, from this very first stage, declare that I will only do the work of compiling the facts from other sources; delivering an original thought is beyond my human capability.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

11 December 2013

With a Sigh ( No 17) - Have You ever seen the Rain?


 I am still without line at home and have to post this longer-than-usual entry on a ‘borrowed’ line over 15 km away from home and in a car park! Regret for any faults and inadequacy. Instead of using comment box below please e-mail me (almanar@pd.jaring.my) if you wish to express your very critical comments which may be construed as slanderous.

(From a song popularised by a number of top singers in 1970/80s)
“Someone told me long ago
There's a calm before the storm,
I know;
It's been comin' for some time.
When it's over, so they say,
It'll rain a sunny day,
I know;
Shinin' down like water.

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin' down on a sunny day?


I was born and raised in K Trengganu ( without ‘e’ after ‘T” in Teren…) I did not have to learn Ilmu Alam to know what rain in December is like in the East Coast. Like other children I had lots of fun with ‘main hujan’ (playing in the rain), a special kind of sport in Trengganu

Last week I needed to get to KL with some urgency. The rain and strong wind that came with the Monsoon did not bother me in the least.  I would, on the hand, prefer that cool atmosphere to the hot sun and its glare.  It so happened my old jalopy had just been through a ‘major service’ and, most importantly, been fitted with a set of four brand new tyres for safety. I did not, unfortunately, have Her Majesty- cum ‘sleeping-beauty’ to accompany me as usual but I had one of our grandchildren who wished to return to KL after a fortnight at NURI.

If at all, my concern was leaving our home unattended in this weather.

Here he is finding the wind direction and testing its intensity

FIRST day of rain

With my grandson sitting alongside, we set out at 8.30 with enough food, drink, musical CDs and all to last the journey which would normally take me about five to six hours of driving. It was raining when we left. The drive via Jerangau-Jabor road to Kuantan was normal with fairly light traffic. But what really bothered me was seeing heavy vehicles being driven at high speed, creating potholes and damaging parts of the road under water puddles. There was nothing eventful to speak of the journey except for a record-breaking aspect. It was pouring throughout the 500km drive with the screen wiper never stopped swinging.

SECOND day of rain 

On the following day, this time with Makcik in the co-pilot seat, we set off from KL northwards on a 100-km drive heading for her kampong. We had news that durian fruit had begun to fall.   

That old wooden house where we tied the knot, with 100-year old durian trees as witness.

Having fully satisfied ourselves with durian, we were back on the North-South Highway heading southwards in a car fully laden with durian. Even the lot of ‘pandan’ leaves covering the fruit could not help to neutralise the smell of the fruit, not that it bothered us in any way.

THIRD day of rain

Early on the third day, with Makkcik in the co-pilot seat, we left KL after I had satisfied everyone that I was fresh enough for another long drive to K Terengganu. There was light rain and the weather promised a pleasant journey home.

It was indeed rather pleasant. Two hours into the East Coast Highway my sleeping beauty was comfortably well stretched on her seat, breathing softly. And there I was at the wheel enjoying Doris Day’s ‘The Autumn Leaves’ instead of Broery’s love songs. I glanced at her and told myself what a perfect picture that was. An hour later we came to a junction where I missed one turning, and soon myself on the alternative road to KT via Cherating, Kemaman ahnd Dungun, a route I dislike for its heavy traffic. So on this occasion I was watchfull enough, and at the junction we turned off the highway into the old winding Jabor-Jerangau road, realising fully well that I had to drive slower under the worse road condition.

About 30 km on the old road, we found ourselves trailing a long line of vehicles. And soon every one of them was doing the zig-zag dance, trying to avoid deep potholes. That and seeing hardly any on-coming vehicles, except a few heavy vehicles, began to worry me. When the procession finally came to a full stop several drivers stepped out, each with an umbrella in hand. With concern I joined them, too. Just then a car appeared from ahead. Its driver stopped by us to announce that the road ahead was under water and not passable to light traffic.

That was that. “Apa kita nak buat,abang?” (what shoud we do) asked my sleeping beauty who had been awake since the speed of the car changed on leaving the highway

My decision was simple. I turned the car round, back-tracked for about 30km and took the coastal road. Our hand-phones were out of action, rendering us without communication.  About an hour later we came to another similar situation, stopping behind a convoy of vehicles. News passed from mouth to mouth that the road ahead was closed. We were about to reach Cherating, some 20 km from Kemaman.  

As we were weighing what action we should take, our need to see a toilet was paramount – what with drinking and the cold weather all the way- and we had had no stop for almost six hours . Personally, I could possibly find a spot to stand behind a tree, but what of my sleeping beauty

There was only one small wooden sundry shop open in the immediate vicinity. Azmi, a very nice young owner, with apology showed us a small room at the back. To get there we had to step in flood water which had already begun to cover the floor of the shop.

Nevertheless, we both did it, with great relief. How we thanked Azmi. Sadly until now, four days after the event, I have not been able to get him on his hand-phone to thank him. His phone is as dead as the door knob!  

Azmi seriously advised that we found a place to spend the night. The rain and the high tide would keep the road under water for a long time. But no, we decided to return to KL. In the rain, we traced our way back and after a ten-hour pleasure drive we were back where our day began, in KL.

Alhamdulillah. Now, four days after the event I know, had we managed to get through Cherating, we would surely have been marooned between Cherating and Kemaman.      

FOURTH day of rain

Early in the morning of the fourth day I made phone calls to six police stations to check on the road condition. One said that the two normal routes to K Terengganu were out of question. One advised me that, if I must go to KT,  I should preferably take the long route through Kelantan. But one was rather optimistic, saying that although Kemaman road was out of question, some traffic managed to get through Jabor-Jerangau road early this morning.

So there was a chance!

Despite several disapproving comments from family members I was adamant to take the chances. Alhamdulillah, to cut it short, we MADE IT safely through all the way; and, this time, the screen wiper did take a rest from time to time.

We were happy to see our home standing proudly in the rain while the surrounding tall coconut palms stood defiantly against the strong Monsoon wind, but their leaves, unable to fight back, were being swept landwards at the mercy of the wind. 

Standing defiantly year after year


I am left with a lot of questions in my head.

Why wasn’t there a single notice on the roads advising motorists of the road closure ahead?
When I needed their help, where were the traffic police who had, with dedication to duty, waited eagerly to hand me tickets for speeding?
Why were the information centres in the two states not able to give precise and up-to-date information on the road conditions?
For all intents and purposes, I regard what happened as a national emergency and the will of God; but do we leave it all in His Hand to pass information, place notices and be ready to help in whatever form?
Or do we just publicise our voluminous sympathy and be contented?

I heave a deep sigh of relief that we and our home are safe, and that many people at large are willingly parting with their sens and ringgits on the roads and at supermarkets in town.    

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk Kemanusiaan

08 December 2013

With my deep regret


This time it is not because of cable theft but the flood. Our home is still in one piece, Alhamdulillah; but we are without streamyx. I have to travel some distance to ‘borrow’ a line to p[ost this message. But many around us are without home and food. It is all sad stories we have been hearing - not as much in the press!

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