The year 1984.
UKM had its new VC, Professor Hamid from Medical faculty, replacing Prof Awang Had Salleh who was going to UUM's kick-off in Kedah. He took over UKM from Dr Anuar Mahmud in early 80's, when I was in UK. With my study had completed and settled down into a lecturer, I felt that I should resume getting organised. In the office, I was appointed the Chemistry Coordinator of the Matriculation Centre replacing Dr Harun Hamzah who himself was appointed the Director of the centre; the appointment was for two years to December 1985. The job was mainly to oversee that the chemistry standard in the centre was maintained, and to invigilate the marking of the exam papers, including selecting the examiners from among the lecturers in the department. I was arranged Dr Harun to make two visits this year to the Matriculation schools; one at STM Kuala Terengganu, then SMIP Pengkalan Chepa, KB on September 28-29 and at MRSM Seremban on November 15. Prof Noramly, the TNC nominated me to represent UKM in the National Working Committee of Radiation Application in Wood-Based Products, based in PUSPATI. Thus together with the PUSPATI counter-parts, Dr Ibrahim, Dahlan and Mustafa, we started some preliminary survey including meeting with Dr Husin of PORIM and personnels at the Department of Social Welfare, in July.
|The interviewer: Prof Hamid Abd Rahman the VC and Chairman, Prof Noramly Muslim the DVC (Academic), Prof Ariffin Aton the Dean, Prof Shaharir the senate rep, En Baharudin Ishak the registrar (sec), a rep from treasury, a rep from JPA.|
During the break in June, I attended Japanese class for UKM staff, organised by the Language Centre. I intended to learn to read the Japanese, since many polymer papers were in Japanese, but apparently the course was for spoken Japanese. Obviously I did not do very well in the class; I only remembered one sentence, "Watashi-wa, okane-ga arimas-sen". At about the same time I filled in the promotion form for the Associate Professor at the department for it was circulated by JPA that university could promote its staff on PTH basis. Incidently, on the submission day, the Dean, Dr Arifin Aton was on leave and the office was acted by the deputy, Dr Ismail Md Nor. He probably wrote many nice things about me in the form, that on October 26, I was called for the interview, together with two others in the dept, Dr Sri Nurestri and Dr Ibrahim Baba, then the Head of Dept. During the session, in the afternoon after Friday prayer, every body, except the representatives from Government Office, asked a question. It started with Prof Hamid, the VC who chaired the session, probing my opinion about the faculty intention to self-multiply. He apparently like my answer that I did not agree, but rather prefer the consolidation of the existing programme. Prof Noramly asked me about the possibility of chemist contribution to the industries on support basis, to which I said a lot. One such example was my partial involvement with ICI, via its development chemist Dr Ibrahim Idris, in finding out a quick way to check the practice of paint adultration by the building contractors and my involvement in the chitin project headed by Dr Arisol then in rapport with the Ministry of Agriculture. The dean Dr Arifin asked me a hollow, self-degrading question not worth to remember, the answer of which was only "yes", but Prof Shahrir, representing the University Senate 'over-interrogated' me for an answer, the answer he wanted, on why I produced so much materials for the school, rather than for the university. The reference was made to my publications, almost every day in Utusan Malaysia since May, on guides to STPM chemistry. I tried to give an 'official' answer of my multifariousness in contributions, since then my publications with Dr Huglin on hydrogels were running as much, with some were yet to be drafted. He did not like it, and cornered me to the end of the interview time to the answer that it was for the money.
Writing is always my hobby. I got in touch with En Mohd Saleh of LIMMA enterprise and promised to published my books. With his partner, Anuwar, and the office in Jalan Ipoh, he was interested in books for the school. I also made a rapport with En Amran of DBP, a UKM graduate and knew me already, to write book for the university, which I had in fact half-way done on paper. It needed to be completed, but for the first time in DBP editors experience, to be submitted in disket form.
My first profesional society involvement was with the Malaysia Translator Society (PPM); actually it was on the insistence of Dr Mansor of UM, the president, and I attended its first International Conference in DBP on March 13. I did not pay very much attention to become member of Malaysia Institute of Chemistry (IKM) because university did not require its staff to be one, and being a non-analytical chemist, I was not in hurry to get into the chartered chemist folder.
But actually, the year started with the passing away of Pak Teh Mat on the night of Jan 9 at his home in Terengganu while performing his Maghrib prayer. I went home, at twelve mid-night, with Num, and on the way, picked up Abang Mat in Kuala Sentul. I reached home at ten the next morning, but the burial was over. Pak Teh Mat was my distant relative, but his wife, Mak Teh Pah is my father's younger sister who took a very great care to my father. Both of them gave a very close concern to my family; they in fact were part of my 'parents'. They brought up their children together with my brothers and sisters, and for that matter their children are like my brothers and sisters. Abang Mat Pahang was especially very dear to Pak Teh Mat. On my return to KL that night, Mak Teh put it in her tears that Abang Mat and me were her true nephews and she needed us more than ever since the demise of Pak Teh. This was followed by the passing away of Ayah Endut, my father's younger brother on the mid-day of February 22, in Padang Air. I went home again, with Num, and also Zaid, Mak Teh's son. As before we detoured to collect Abang Mat di Kuala Sentul. It was about 8.30 night when we took the junction to Kuala Sentul at Maran; at the junction we picked up an old man, very weary and in badly need of a transport to go into the settlement. He carried a shabby bag probably containing his clothes, and a water melon already broken from a few fall. He was murmuring about very difficult to get a transport. Before reaching Kuala Sentul, in the middle of the jungle he asked us to stop to get down for he said his son's house was just at the corner, but I did not see any light in the dark of the night within the vicinity. We did what he wanted, and we carried out our journey, without Abang Mat for he was in Jengka. On the return trip the next day, we reached Temerloh at past mid-night, and at the police road-block, we were asked whether we had picked up any old man today in this area, which we obviously answered no. However when we had passed Mentakab, Zaid reminded us of the old man that we picked up the day before. I wanted to turn back to the police, but no one or nothing forced me to do so including Mak Ngah who followed us to KL. I prayed that the old man the police was looking for, probably reported lost by a relative, was not the old man that we picked up the day before.
My mother's health began to detoriate. Actually in 1982, my sister Mek Maziah wrote a letter to me, then in UK, telling me that my mother was diagnosed to have a high BP and diabetes. In late February I drove back home again to see her. Taking my family along, and Mak Ngah who came with me last week to KL, I swapped Num's car again. It was about four in the morning when we approached Kemaman, the area where the road was full of port-holes created by heavy lorry, augmented by the monsoon downfall, and while negotiating the holes, one of the tyre fall in a deep one, and immediately depleted. The spare wheel was also depleted, since last week on the return trip from seeing Ayah Endut's family. So we had to camp on the road side, in a drizzle, until morning when we got help from a motorist, a custum officer, who took me to the tyre shop for repair. At home I took my mother to see Dr Menon in his clinic in Balik Bukit and talked to him for about two hours on my mother's condition. The problem was that he insisted my mother be warded in GH whereas my mother wanted the illness treated out-patient. She was finally warded, in Dungun Hospital on July 29 while visiting Abang Ra. Num rang to tell me the news while he was on his 'balik kampung'. Her condition was not very serious, it was a 'light' treatment, and was discharged after four days. By then she was strong enough to manage the marriage of my younger sister Rubaihah, on August 17, to Md Rani (Man) from Kampung Batin, two days before Azizah's parent took off to Makkah from Telaga Batin Airport. We spent the Aidil Fitri on June 30 in Terengganu, but the Aidil Adzha in Bangi. We had another rush off home again in September 16 when we got the phone call from Zubaidah, who was the eldest looking after the youngers while my in-laws were in Makkah, that Toki Zain, Azizah's maternal grandfather, also under Zubaidah's care, has passed away. With every body in the KE30 we drove off at about six in the evening, and had to pick up another family in Warderburn Camp, Setapak, Pak Su and his family, Azizah's youngest maternal uncle, an army. It took a very long time to arrange for his emergency leave, up to MINDEF in Jln Padang Tembak, and that was assisted by a telegram incidently arrived during the processing, from his brother in Terengganu; only at twelve mid-night we could start the drive, packed with my three kids and Pak Su's two kids plus the four adults. We reached Trg at ten the next morning, then only the burial could start.
Rubaini, then six, was prepared for the school next year. She went to Kindergaten in the surau very near our house. It was sort of a temporary, one organised by the Residence Council. This kindergarten was later taken over by ABIM and became one of its TASKI. Malini could not stand being away with her sister every morning, so by April we let her go to the TASKI together with Rubaini. She followed the 'lessons' in the TASKI very well, did all her 'homeworks' and very keen to go to school, so on the advise of the TASKI teacher, Malini was registered in May, at the age of four, the youngest in the class. Later in the year, in September, Rubaini was registered in SRK Bandar Baru Bangi, within walking distance, to be in Std One next year. Her 'conferment' day, in which she participated solo during the show, was on November 4, Malini also received her certificate; later wet by her own throwup for that day it was rather hot and she had a bit of asthmatic attack. In the mean time, Azizah concieved again, probably in April, since on her first appointment in Pantai MC in November, the O&G Dr Ariffin, confirmed that she would deliver in January next year.
Edition dated Jan 1999