Friday, October 29, 2010

A Calamity

Inspired by Magpie #38

A Bad Omen

It suddenly dropped without warning

Unsecurely stuck teetering precariously

Adorning the bare wall

I spied the mirror earlier

Was it a bad omen?

Shouts of joy and laughter of children on the beach

Could not alleviate the pain

Of seeing a present received from a loved one

On the floor , smashed to smithereens

What with it, it did not seem right.

It was deathly quiet, seemed utterly strange

The chirping of the birds suddenly missing

Restlessness, animals in circles, moving

Initially relieved that frolicking children

were enjoying the sun on the beach but not realizing

Of imminent danger , unfolding

the calmness of the sea was disturbing

Strangely enough it suddenly turned quiet

As an empty concert hall devoid of performance

The air of silence permeated the surroundings

Pull away the curtains!

This was not the time to laze in bed

The sun already up high in the sky

Get up! You’d be late

Wham! How suddenly it happened

Caught unguarded, unprepared, unaware of walls of water

Six metres high, Lashing outside swirling,

it cruelly tore me out of bed

Wrenched out rudely


Thrust among the debris unceremoniously

Raging torrents inundated the surroundings

Flattening , shoving,pushing racing amongst them

Men, women,children sans laughter, screaming

Animals scurrying, baying

In a whirlpool I was thrown in, frantically grabbing

A log, heaven sent, toppling and tumbling

Hold on to dear life

It seemed ages, I passed out astride

Oblivious of time

The angels above were kind.

I opened my eyes, I was full of grime

Destruction of mankind

Of untold proportions

Wanton loss of lives were common

Providence was overly protective

Of my battered soul and limbs

In daze I wandered my gaze

Around the environment

‘Where is everybody? ”

No one here, no one heard

Just a lost soul in faint soliloquy

There lying beside me just as forlorn

Lifeless, just as lonely, with an inscription, a broken stone

for company

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Frame - Life's Challenge

A poem prompted by Magpie Tales # 37

A Framework of Pent-up Emotions

A jaundiced view through glassy eyes
My intentions fulfilled I remained calm
Prying, groping, wondering,wherever it lies
Have I realized now how was it done?

No, my mind’s filled with life’s problems
Endlessly trying to alter the mode
Needless to assume it’s such a burden
A damper to all efforts to lighten the load

A lost soul wrought with trying times
Can I expect solace wherever that be
Must I venture through without a dime
And picture good times most readily

Yes, I must, none who owes me a living
Made up my mind, will not be glum
The whole wide world is always forgiving
I’ll work my ways forward, I would have won!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Haiku First

Would this poem meet the aspiration of a haiku? There is kigo, the season element with the approach of winter. The moras, 17 in all. For this time numberings are included for me to be able to be reminded ( but not for subsequent ones ). I wonder if kireji also is met where there is a contrast shown between drab London and sunny Langkawi. I'm still not quite clear on the kireji element. Anyway, here goes!

The Smog

Dreaded London smog 5
Dark, wet, tunnel like, pitch-black 7
Left us all agog 5

Hark! apparitions 5
Prancing low in the shadows 7
Are you not concerned? 5

Must stop, venture not 5
Eerie, frightful , hair on ends 7
Winter’s sneaking in! 5

Let me see the sun 5
Where is it in abundance ? 7
- Langkawi , my friend! 5

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Tribute

This is a tribute to Ma'am, one who is trying her best to push through a crash course in poetry writing for which I pray I'll measure up to her valiant efforts.
Fittingly I based it on her beautiful poem. Hopefully mine qualifies for a quatrain. Let's see.

I’m in Awe

It is beautiful, simple, mysterious and brief
Dare I venture in realms foreign to my mind
I struggled , awkward , rather crude I believe
Dare I, a novice attempt and persist in time

I’m trying, I’m trying ,pray be how do I fare
Inspired with her poem, it was such a feat
It was about what, a stable door, a mare?
How I’d wished I could be really that neat

I’ll plod on led by the hand to keep me in tow
But knowing she is there I would continue writing
To strive, to really try, a bliss, do I know?
Her poem about a horse? It is just fascinating !

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Early Morning Reveille

This marks the challenge of getting out of bed in a jiffy in the mornings.

Wakey! Wakey!

Slow on the uptake
Half conscious sloth like
Eyes half closed,
it just tugged on the nerves

Can we have a semblance of authority here?

No, they are still at it, not hearing
continuing with their forty winks, surfing
freely Santa-like, smoothly gliding

It was tortuous, a Spartan journey
the round of festivities are over,
the goodies of Raya no more
It has been days since they last appeared
duit Raya givers had virtually disappeared

This is the hour of reckoning,
the head is spinning
Just got to get up,
may be late for solat

Up sleepy head, the new school term is here!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Remembering Kashmir 1973

There's a place tucked away in the mountains far north. It is to be seen to be appreciated. I was there for a week way back in 1973. The serenity of undisturbed nature was just overwhelming. It brought back fond memories to inspire this!

( dedicated to Ma'am who advised me to be brief and careful on choice of words)


Much maligned, holiday blues
What am I in for?
Set me free, morning dews
Droplets , shining , pierced by the Sun
Tell me more!

Rivulets of clear streams
Gushing down the mountain side
in the Kashmiri landscape
Say, am I dreaming?
No, say no more
A story that’s no ending

Fly Air Asia, onwards, Gulmarg and Pahalgam
Bring me back the flowers, the blue sky,
the snow,gushing streams crystal clear
of lovely maidens, and rosy cheeks
of house-boats and Dal Lake
Kashmir, I remember thee once of yesteryear

Undisturbed , decidedly picturesque, untouched ,
yearnings beyond,
markedly wishing
for Srinagar again beckons!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wedding - Ahmad Farid and Nur Bahiyah

The Bridesmaids Leading the Procession

The Newly-Weds

Dr Andy, Dr Farah and Baby Danial ( you can read about the drama that was the day Dr Farah was born ( here )

My son Azhar, Syed and Mrs

Ruby and Shah

Cuddling Baby Danial - From Left : Zain, Dr Farah, Laila Fitri, Laila Fasha, Pn Maharani and Datin

Dr Farah, Datin and Zariah

Baby Danial and Dr Farah

Syed, OP Datuk Dr Fadzil and Zain

The Bride and Bridegroom bidding the Guests Farewell

We just came back from the wedding of Ahmad Farid and his charming bride, Nur Bahiyah held earlier in the evening of Oct 16th, 2010. Ahmad Farid is the first-born and the only son of Dr Ib and Zariah.

Dr Ib had forewarned me of Ahmad Farid’s impending wedding much earlier in the year. About 2 weeks ago a text from Dr Ib told me that he was back from Dublin with a reminder of Ahmad Farid’s wedding.

I attended the wedding with my loving son Azhar, as my loving wife Shadah is indisposed. We were seated with Syed Alwi , OP ( Datuk, Dr) Fadzil , Zain and Shah together with their respective spouses.

The wonderful evening started off with a doa followed by the merenjis ceremony. It was confined to the family with Dr Farah and Dr Andy as the first couple ( together with cute Baby Danial) all on stage who started the ball rolling. Then others followed including representatives from the bride’s.

On its completion it was followed with an eulogy on Ahmad Farid by sister Laila Fasha. She was choked with emotions at one stage, ( losing a brother but gaining a sister-in-law, so it was! ) It happened for just a split second ( and frankly we did’t even notice, we thought it was a long pause) but she bravely carried on with her speech . Fasha then handed the floor to sister Laila Fitri who delivered her rendition in poetry form ( a verse succinct and sweet ) and most pleasant to the ear.

Then the sumptuous dinner , with compliments of the Hotel, an impromptu speech by Dr Ib thanking one and all, his besan En Jamaludin and guests ( with the visible full support of the whole family on stage, including cute Baby Danial ( who Dr Ib confirmed could be viewed on YouTube by accessing through ‘ Malikiwi ‘ ) It was then followed with the cake-cutting.

The Bride and Bridegroom then graciously bade all guests good-night at the door ( not forgetting that all guests , Dr Ib confirmed would be invited again sometime next year for one of the young ladies’ turn)

Wishing Ahmad Farid and Nur Bahiyah, 'Congratulations on your Wedding and Selamat Pengantin Baru'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10-10-10 - A Once in a Hundred Year Cycle

A Perfect 10 - It's a 100 year cycle and definitely it's a once in a lifetime affair for all of us now.

The Crowded Hall of Newly Weds - All the couples took the opportunity of getting married simultaneously on 10-10-10. They must have waited in anticipation years ahead.

Our Astronaut and Wife - Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and Datin Dr Harlina. How elegant they look. They also waited to be married on 10-10-10

10.10 An Extract from Jaafar's Facebook -
I wish to take this opportunity to wish my kid brother Jaafar, ' A Very Happy Birthday' - on this Very Special Day on 10-10-10 this year.

Message To Adinda Jaafar - I can still remember seeing you the first time when our Allahyarhamah Bonda gave birth to you on Oct 10,1958. I cannot remember when exactly you arrived but I saw you briefly when I came back from school. You were all nicely and warmly wrapped up.
I bent down to say 'cak' but I was prevented from planting a kiss on your cheeks as I was all sweaty. Remember?

How's Isyam with his medical studies? With friends around him he should be able to settle down to his studies comfortably by now. Being overseas at a young age, he will have to endure culture shock initially but he looked confident in his ways before he left. He should be ok. He has already extended to me his email address. I will communicate direct with him as and when ( besides through his FB)


10-10-10 - A Once in a Hundred Year Cycle

10-10-10 a day perceived as auspicious
Some aren’t taken up but to some it did matter
Exchanging marriage vows seemed the obvious
Blissful ,endearing and they live ‘ happily ever after’

Triple 10 occurs every 100 years nary just one while
Prompting couples to get hitched in mass ceremonies
Astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and Dr Halina did it in style
Even inviting to his wedding all his 100 astronaut buddies

The collapse of the Qing Dynasty of Pu-Yi
Was arising from the Oct 10, revolution in Wuchang
And despite proclaimed a Republic in 1912, 01 January
The National day of China still falls on Double Ten

And incidentally nearer home, take a look!
My brother Jaafar in that select group too
His Birthday as attested to, Oct 10, 1958 in his Facebook
An uncanny coincidence, yes, but it is true!

P/S Thanks to Pakcik for initiating the push to experiment on new things

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Baby Bird – Dedicated to Pakcik

The images I managed to record within those split seconds when the Mother Bird returned with what appeared to be an insect and the Baby Bird clamouring with beaks opened asking to be fed.

The Mother Bird flew away and then after about 15 mins came back again and this time it looked like a cherry in its beak. Baby Bird now stretched higher to get at the 'food'.


This is dedicated to Pakcik. Now I know how he had ‘pushed’ his wards, the students under his wings. They could not have had an even chance in regular schools but some notable ones turned out ‘gems’ at his ‘school’

Pakcik subtlely issued a challenge to them. A challenge is a form of 'subtle persuasion'. Sometimes it is extended by others and sometimes it is self-imposed. That’s how it did to me. It was a tall order. Pakcik in his blog, the al-Manar ( ) had featured a beautiful poem of ninotaziz. I was fascinated. It came in 3 languages in one poem. It was just great! Henchforth, I told Pakcik I would regularly look up ninotaziz because I liked it. There were exchanges of comments with Pakcik and he goaded me on ( subtlely ). I am to try myself engaging into one. He said it, and it even came with an incentive, five cents apiece!

My gosh, my big mouth, how can I get out of this. It is a tall order. I came across poems in school before, but ages ago. Not quite inclined towards them, anyway.

Somehow reading ninotaziz opened up a something in me. But I didn’t know where to start. Must you start with a story in mind, maybe a theme or what?

Yes, may be that. In that case, let's see. I remember a posting I did on June 01, 2010 ( see ‘Bird-watching – a new hobby? ) .

It was a unique encounter , a chance opportunity which may not happen again. It was about a little bird. Yes, why not turn prose into poetry. That I thought would make it easier, the structure is already there. Yes, why not.

Pakcik’s challenge was yesterday. I spent the whole of last night, right through early morning, bleary eyed and came up with my little ‘poem’ below. Please bear with me. This is a first effort, somewhat crude, short on vocab but, well, here goes!

The Baby Bird – Dedicated to Pakcik

What a stroke of good fortune
I’d not with such luck be blessed?
One morning , 2010, the 1st of June
A little baby bird stirred in a nest

Not unlike a flower in bloom
As on a silver platter it dropped
There in front of the living room
A drama unfurled, unrehearsed sans props

Our Indon helper had spied movements
She just couldn’t believe her eyes
In a nest that appeared unwittingly dormant
A baby bird suddenly comes alive

She rushed to tell me, ‘Bapak , ada burung!
A little amused , I thought she’d turned randy
But, lo! In all innocence, she wasn’t wrong
A baby bird right in front of my eyes to see.

My turn it is now to rush , and praying hard
From a vantage position behind the curtains, I hid
Still as the night, and stiff as the palace guard
I stood, camera at the ready, quietly for my first bid

Pray be, mother bird come back to roost to thy nest
I’m waiting, I’m waiting, had never been into bird-watching
But favour me, fly in, on your crown that upright crest
Just swoop in, pray be, my camera will be clicking

What do you know, my prayers were answered
Not once ,not twice but that many that I had hoped
‘twas click, click, click,click, was I flustered?
No, a better part of the hour, my patience aptly rewarded

Mother bird, swooped in, a tiny insect in its beak
On a tiny branch it perched, just above the nest
Baby bird, neck stretching , beak wide open ever so quick
So hungry and impatient, it gobbled and chomped at nature’s best

I waited again the morning after hoping for more
Mother bird never did appear and true to form
Unlike the swallows that are faithfully back to Capistrano
The baby bird flew off a few days after never to return

Translation: ‘Sir, there’s a bird’

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Annual Camp 1963

The Annual Camp from 25th July till 9th August 1963 was in Kamunting, Taiping in the northern part of Perak state. It comprised those from the Lower Six Forms and those from Form Fours ( in the honeymoon years so to speak ) who had no major exams to sit for at the end of the year.

The Fourth Formers were freshies who had just joined the RMC at the beginning of the year. They would have gone on a week-end camp at Kuala Kubu Bharu ( KKB) to prepare them for this Annual Camp. It would now be a big thing for them. They found themselves ‘playing soldiers’ at age 16 with all the ‘real army things’ provided, even firearms and ‘live’ bullets, ( at the 0.22 shooting range) . All of them were just too eager on any activity as most things experienced were new to them.

There was an average of about 12 boys per Coy , close to about a 100 boys in total. There were also about 20 others comprising the Officers and Other Ranks who provided logistical support ( the exact number of all categories could not be determined exactly)

The camp-site was more forgiving than that of the Annual Camp 1960 in KKB which was within a typical jungle environment. The Taiping camp-site was more of a waste-land, about 12 kms from Taiping town in a dry area with scanty vegetation and with thin and dry undergrowth.

(Following an exchange of notes with my buddy , OP Zawawi (Datuk) a Taiping boy, we just could not place the present location of the Camp-site now. It may well be where the present Kamunting Detention Centre is located. It does not really matter though.)

In a way, having a venue somewhere not entirely in a thick jungle environment, made it convenient for organising the inter-Coy competitions differently from those before. We could utilise the shooting facilities at the Royal Malay Camp, had Maxwell Hill for the Endurance Run, besides the usual Tug-of-War and Volley-Ball games on site.

This will be in the form of a pictorial essay tracing back activities we went through in and around Taiping within those 2 weeks.

With Razali:
We had just arrived at the Camp-Site in Kamunting. Razali was the driver of the 3-tonner ( military truck ) that transported G Coy ( Coy stands for Company) all the way from Sungai Besi to Taiping. I remembered it well. The trucks were all lined up in a row that dawn of July 25th in Sungai Besi.

Surprises, surprises! We were loading our things onto the truck and there was Razali, my village mate. We grew up together, I was in KL and Razali was in Gemas but we often met during the school holidays in Kuala Pilah where our roots were. I had no indication he joined the Army until that morning - we met in a million-to-one-chance sort of situation.

Temporary Tent with my tent-mates.: From Left: OPs Suhut, Michael (Dr) and Hank. We hastily had the tent up just a few minutes upon arrival ( pending allocation of specific areas for each Coy).

Our More Permanent Structure : With my tent-mates at our 'home' for 2 weeks.

The Camp Area of G Coy : As can be seen we were still working on improvements to the general area.

A Community Project : Constructed to facilitate meal-times and evening chats get-together. From Left: OPs Hank, Nasir Hashim (Dr) currently the PKR ADUN for Kota Damansara, Amiruddin Yusof (Dr,Datuk), currently in Brunei, Ahmat Samat, and Jeffery (Dr)

Guard Duties : In front of the make-shift 'Guard-House' From Left: OPs Amat, Michael (Dr) and Hank.

Wireless Communication : From Left : OPs Hank and Zawawi ( Datuk)

Wireless Communication From Left: OPs Hank and Michael (Dr) Notice the background, bare, devoid of vegetation and dry ( very unlike Taiping, reputed to be the wettest region in the country )

G Coy, At the End of the Endurance Run, up at Caulfield Hill ( A higher point up on Maxwell Hill ) All Sweaty and Tired, From Left: Front Row: OPs Rajan, Amat and Alias. Middle Row: OPs Amiruddin (Dr,Datuk), Zawawi (Datuk) Michael (Dr), Suhut, Tajudin (from A Coy who was one of the Marshals), Nasir (Dr), and Hank. Back Row: Jeffery (Dr) and Ismail (Dr)
We were required to run up Maxwell Hill ( now known as ?Bukit Larut) as a team with Marshals coordinating traffic along the narrow road. It was one of the events in the Inter-Coy competition.

Tug of War: Another of the events in the Inter-Coy Competition

0.22 Shooting Competition: Resting in Between Takes Outside the Shooting Range at the Royal Malay Camp From Left: Front Row: OPs Suhut, Rajan, Hank, Weng Yin, Amiruddin (Dr,Datuk), Jeffery (Dr),Zawawi (Datuk), Ahmat and Sgt Cha Boh (military instructor) Back Row: OPs Ismail (Dr) Nasir (Dr) and Alias

Outside the 0.22 Shooting Range at the Royal Malay Camp: From Left: Standing: OPs Mohd Noor Gear (Dr,Datuk), Ismail (Dr) Sitting: OPs Rajan, Amiruddin (Dr,Datuk), Zawawi (Datuk) and Hank - playing 'sembang' with stones ( to while away the time )

Outing at Taiping Town: From Left: OPs Ismail (Dr) ,Alias, at the rear, Amiruddin (Dr,Datuk), Suhut, Jeffery (Dr) at the rear, Nasir (Dr), Weng Yin, Hank, at the rear, and Rajan
We took the opportunity to organise visits for a day of the vicinity. At the Annual Camp '61 in Cameron Highlands, it was the Hydro Electricity Dam

Outing At Taiping Zoo:
Capt Underwood ( Company Commander) was one of the expatriate teachers in the RMC then. For our Annual Camps it would be mandatory to have the presence of Officers, and they would normally take the opportunity to accompany us in such outdoor activities including expeditions.

Taiping Zoo Again : With Capt A C Loone, (Company Commander) , the one without Beret.

Good-bye To Taiping: At the Taiping Railway Station, On the Way Back To KL: From Left: OPs Weng Yin,Rajan, Jeffery (Dr),Suhut, Michael(Dr), Amiruddin (Dr,Datuk) Hank, Zawawi (Datuk) and Amir Shariffuddin (Dr) Squatting: OP Alias

( This snap-shot was taken sometime later in the day, probably in the afternoon. OP Zawawi (Datuk) is seen here not in uniform ie he was in 'civilian clothes' as, being a local boy he had already reached home. He came just to see us off at the Railway station )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tony Curtis – The Passing of a Movie Icon

The Early Years, an autographed snap-shot an idol of the young

The Book Cover of his Memoirs, The American Prince.

The Familiar Image at its Heyday

His Starring Roles - Operation Petticoat

......Son of Ali Baba

......Sweet Smell of Success with Marilyn Monroe

.....Taras Bulba with Christine Kaufman

.....with Jerry Lewis

......with Rock Hudson

.....with Jack Lemmon, Some Like it Hot

His Family with his wife Janet Leigh

..... Janet Leigh again

... ...with wife Janet, daughters Jaime Lee and Kelly Lee

Later Years....

... autograph signing of his Memoirs at Border's in 1989

It is with sadness that I learned of the demise of Tony Curtis, a Hollywood great, who died of cardiac arrest on Sept 29, 2010 at age 85. He was born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx, New York in 1925, of Hungarian-Jewish parentage. He was one of the biggest box-office stars of the 50’s and 60’s.

He acted in more than 140 films and was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of an escaped convict in The Defiant Ones ( for which he didn’t win and was disappointed at not having won any Oscars at all)

He was the contemporary of the big names of Hollywood, and had co-starring roles with Burt Lancaster (Trapeze - 1956), Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant (Operation Petticoat - 1959 , Kirk Douglas ( Spartacus – 1960 ) Sydney Portier ( The Defiant Ones - 1958) and Jack Lemmon ( Some Like It Hot - 1959)

His leading ladies among others were Marilyn Monroe ( Sweet Smell of Success - 1957) , Janet Leigh ( Houdini - 1953 ) and Christine Kaufman ( Taras Bulba - 1962)

He was equally adept not just in serious roles but also comedies. The 3 known comedies were Operation Petticoat, Some Like it Hot and Sex and the Single Girl.

His last major film role was in The Boston Strangler in 1968, for which he had expected an Oscar for a brilliant performance but didn’t.

He was married 6 times and counted Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood as near misses. His first wife was Janet Leigh, his co-star in Houdini ( married in 1951 and divorced in 1962) His second wife his co-star in Taras Bulba, Christine Kaufman was just 17 when they got married. (in 1963 and divorced in 1967) His 6th wife Jill Vandenberg ( 45 years his junior) was with him when he died.

Later in life he made a name for himself as an artist . In 1989, he sold more than US$1mil (RM3.08mil) of his art works on the first day of his Los Angeles Art Exhibition. He was a multi-talented icon, he certainly was unique.

To think that he nearly didn’t make it when he participated in teen gangs in the Bronx but was saved when a neighbour got him interested in Boy Scouts activities at age 16 . He had a stint in the Navy, later made good in Drama School and never looked back.