Saturday, August 14, 2010


Hj. Amran alerted me to the news:

Rare 'princess' turtle returns to Malaysia

(AFP) – 17 hours ago

KUALA LUMPUR — A leatherback turtle has made a surprise return to a Malaysian beach after 32 years, a report said Friday, hailed as a "miracle" by conservationists and renewing hopes for the endangered species.

The leatherbacks -- the largest of all sea turtles -- were once a star attraction at Rantau Abang beach in Malaysia's northern state of Terengganu but overfishing, poaching and pollution caused the population to plummet.

The turtle, dubbed the "Puteri Rantau Abang" or Rantau Abang Princess and identified by special markings, returned last month to end a long dry spell of turtle landings which have been rare in Terengganu since the 1980s.

"It is a miracle that leatherback turtles are making a comeback to this area," Malaysian Fisheries Department director-general Ahamad Sabki Mahmood said according to The Star newspaper.

Ahamad said the turtle's return showed that Rantau Abang was being made a turtle nesting ground once again, and he hoped for more during the next possible nesting period between August 15 and 20.

The Puteri Rantau Abang, which was hatched in the area in 1978 and marked on its shell and left flipper, returned at a weight of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), measuring 1.5 metres (five feet) in length and 1.16 metres wide.

It was released back into the sea on Thursday, carrying a satellite transmitter which will help conservationists track turtle migration patterns.

"We expect Puteri Rantau Abang to head for Vietnam and Japan before heading to the Pacific," Ahamad said, adding that the turtle was also expected to travel to Indonesian waters and as far as New Zealand before returning to Malaysia.

Leatherback turtles have been around for the past 75 million years, surviving cycles of near extinction. Terengganu was the only place in Malaysia where leatherbacks nested.

In the 1950s, up to 10,000 female turtles struggled up the beach to lay their eggs each year, but by 1984 the number had fallen to 800 and in 2006 only five nests were found from two turtles, without any hatchlings emerging.

Apart from the leatherbacks, green turtles have also made a return to Malaysian beaches in recent weeks, but experts warned that the species is still headed for oblivion if habitat loss is not stopped.

I hope mistakes of the past shall not be repeated. You know what they are: Riding on the leatherback, shining torch;ights on her face while she is laying eggs, etc.etc.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Once upon a time, somewhere in Indonesia, during troubled times, 5 Chinese guys in a car were stopped at a check point. The following conversation ensued:

GUARD: Kemana kamu? (Where to?)
1st GUY:Mahu pulang Pak! (Going home sir!)
GUARD: Ada bawa kartu (You have any cards?)
1st Guy:Ada pak! (We have!)
(Produces identification papers)
GUARD:Di sini bilang kamu Muslim ya? (It says here that you are Muslims)
1st Guy: Benar Pak! (Correct, sir)
GUARD: Kalau benar kamu Muslim, saya mahu tanya soalan-soalan, kamu jawab ya? (If you are really Muslims, you have to answer some questions)
1st Guy:Tanyalah! (Fire away)
GUARD: Berapa kali sehari Muslim mesti solat? (How many times a day must a Muslim pray)
1st Guy: Lima kali Pak! (5 times, sir!)
GUARD: Kamu! Apa waktu solat yang pertama? (You, whats the first solat?)
2nd Guy:Subuh, Pak! (The Dawn Prayer, sir)
GUARD: Bagus! Kamu! Selepas subuh apa? (Good, You! Whats after Subuh?)
3rd Guy:Selepas subuh johor Pak! (After subuh its zohor, sir)
GUARD: (Nodding) Kamu, apa selepas zohor? (You! Whats after zohor?)
4th Guy: Selepas johor, Singapore Pak! (After Johor its Singapore)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


What sign do we usually see in front of houses?
Apart from the house address, some might opt to announce the name of the house (when it is worth naming) like Som's Villa, Teratak Lebai Saeed, Pondok Bahagia or something of that ilk.
There could a warning like "Beware of Dog" but this one baffles me:

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I was having dinner at Lucky Garden Bangsar last night when I noticed that most of my fellow-patrons did not pay much attention to their food. Malaysia was playing China in the Thomas Cup semifinal. Malaysia lost but not for the lack of cheering from fellow-Malaysians. The stadium crowd roared at every shot and every smash. We still lost.
It warms the heart to see that Malaysians cheered for Malaysia. There is hope yet for this country of ours.
A few days before the badminton match, I got hold of "Invictus", a film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. I thought it was all about Mandela ( played convincingly by Morgan Freeman) but it was not. It was about the Springbok, South Africa's national rugby team. When Mandela became President of South Africa, the Springbok played against England's Roses. The whites cheered for Springbok while the blacks cheered for England. Mandela, who dubbed his country "The Rainbow Nation", noticed this and he set about changing the perception. He succeeded and when Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springbok was interviewed after they beat Lomu and the NZ All-Blacks, he disagreed that 63,000 South African in the stadium supported the team. He told the interviewer that all 43 million South African were behind him. I hope one day, this would be true of Malaysia too.
Before the BAM prepare for the next Thomas Cup, let me remind everyone of what Muhammad Ali, the great boxing champion once said:
Champions aren't made in gyms,
Champions are made from something
they have deep inside them: a desire,
a dream, a vision. They have to have
last-minute stamina, they have to be
a little faster.They have to have the skill
and the will . But the will must be stronger
than the skill.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


My writing in English does not mean that I love Bahasa Melayu less.
The fervour for our Bahasa Kebangsaan was renewed after listening to Dr.Rais Yatim's speech at a dinner he gave to old classmates of Maktab Perguruan Bahasa recently.
Dr. Rais and many of us old teachers were alarmed that Bahasa Melayu that we hear on TV and radio sometimes become "rojak". We fervently hope that this will not become a habit. Old habits die hard.
Take the phrase "goreng pisang" used for fried bananas. Any Bahasa Malaysia teacher worth his dog-eared copy of "Pelita Bahasa Melayu" would tell you that it is wrong. The proper phrase is "pisang goreng". But is it used? Nope. When I went for ikan celup tepung in Kuala Terengganu recently, I saw a sign in the shop that says "kerepok goreng" and "goreng pisang" all in the same breath. "Goreng pisang" is a verb. "Pisang goreng" is the noun, the same as "pisang salai" or "pisang lecek".
Later, after droppping off Mimi at her campus in Section 17 Shah Alam, I stopped at a shop advertising "Nasi Bubur". Now "nasi" is somewhat different from "bubur" otherwise you would not have the peribahasa "Nasi sudah menjadi bubur". I know there are shops in Kelantan famous for their "nasi air" ( "air nasi" would not sell, however hard you try). I remember trying lip-smacking nasi air near the cinema hall in Pasir Putih, long long ago. But "nasi bubur"? Well, grammatically it could be in the same class as "nasi goreng", "nasi lemak", "nasi minyak" and "nasi dingin". It is the same with "bubur". It is always "bubur kacang", "bubur pulut hitam" "bubur cha cha" or "bubur lambuk". So "bubur nasi" would be grammatically correct.
Thats food for tho0ught eh?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It was the first Monday in January. I had an appointment at 12 noon in Menara Tan & Tan, Jalan Tun Razak. As usual, I waited for the 11 o'clock train at the University Station. The train came but did not move after half a minute as the norm. The doors remained open for about 10 long minutes. This was repeated at Kerinchi, Abdullah Hukum, Bangsar, KL Sentral, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jame' where the stops were much longer than the usual 25 seconds. At Pasar Seni and Mesjid Jame', I saw many policemen on the platform. Although a bit alarmed, I remained in my seat. I had no idea whatsoever at what was going on.

I began to get alarmed when the train reversed at Mesjid Jame' and many people got off at Pasar Seni. I was too deep in thought that I could only get off at KL Sentral so that I could catch a train that is going to Ampang Park. On reaching Mesjid Jame' for the second time, there was a Rapid KL staff shouting that the train I was on will be going back to Kelana Jaya and those going towards Wangsa Maju had to get down and wait for another train on the the OTHER platform. I was already late for my appointment by then and had to reschedule it.

Apparently, there was some problems with the track between Damai and Wangsa Maju and the trains became shuttle trains. Rapid KL was caught with its pants down. It was a big SNAFU and obviously Rapid KL was not fully prepared for it. It was only later, on my back that there was a small notice that I saw at Ampang Park informing passengers of the problem. There was a megaphone used at Ampang Park Station telling passengers which platform to use. In spite of that passengers going to Kelana Jaya had to rush from one platform to another because coordination was poor.

Next day I scanned the papers for the news of the SNAFU. Rapid KL must have an excellent relations with the press because the incident was not reported. On Thursday, when I hesistantly took the LRT again, I saw Rapid KL staff with walkie-talkies on the train. At least somebody learned from mistakes.

LRT is now getting popular as a public transport. Apart from the occasional offensive body odour, incessant loud talking on the phone and younger people who cannot read signs to give the seat to pregnant women and old people, I have no complaint. But when you are not prepared for breakdowns, I cannot forgive you. Can you?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


(DIAL-UP USERS BE PATIENT. Wait for images to load!)

On Tuesday, one of my Veteran friends (and computer students) Hj. Amran Hamid took me to lunch. He brought along his fellow sports commentator, Haji Zulkarnain Hassan. Jun, Amran's wife made up the foursome. Another ex-colleague, Hj. Baharin Tahir who drove on his own all the way from Klang got lost in Dengkil and never made it to our lunch.

I did not know that it was going to be a long trip but it was worth the long journey.
We arrived at Auntie Aini's Garden Cafe just after 12 noon. I had no idea whatsoever that it was in another state altogether.

The place is in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.

It has a distinctive gate which reminded me of another restaurant in Sungai Penchala.
The place was already crowded when we got there. Aini told me her clientele are mostly from KLIA and surrounding places. Most of the tables were already reserved.
If you fancy eating kampung-style (sitting on the floor), reserve one of the two small huts.
Aini personally took our order. She has been featured on Travel & Living twice. Once with Anthony Bourdain and the other with Jamie Aditya. Jamie, The Naked Chef would probably come later.
In deference to Haji Zulkarnain's tastebuds, we did not order Auntie Aini's celebrated Kepala Ikan Tempoyak. We had Asam Pedas instead. Jun did not get her fried quails (they just ran out) so we made do with fried chicken. Kerabu Pucuk Paku, Gulai Daging Salai and ikan masin were the rest of our fare.
The food was excellent, the ambience was nice and the service was above par. What more can you ask from a restaurant?
Here is how you can get to the restaurant. It is closed on Sundays but open on Public Holidays. The address is Batu 16 Jalan Sepang, Kampong Chelet, Nilai. It is advisable to make reservations. Call (06) 799 1276. For those who have not yet acquired the taste for Negeri Sembilan cuisine, worry not. Auntie Aini's can whip up mean western dishes too.