The year 1988.
Very hectic year, every day was a day from January beginning to December end; filled with works of meeting matters in many committees in the faculty and department, including protem c/m for Material Sc Dept, authored and translated mss in DBP, and a new 'phenomenon' known as KBSM took almost every reminder of each day to late night through out the year, at home and in the office, coupled with my SK1062 students many of them under a very intense pressure to get A-grade for their admittance to the medical faculty. Some of them even expressed their anger in graffiti "Dr Mat is dead" on toilet doors. I gaveup STPM not because I was filled up, but the coordination meeting which sacrificed a lot of "academic facts" in favour of "what and how" they were taught by the teachers, and the chairman was so "sweet" to the teacher-examiners. It was a relief that my Matriculation Coordinator job expired on Dec 31 last year. And my mother was never getting better, in fact she was getting worse; plus some major finishing of my residence had to be overseered.
On the new year day, Friday, we were on the move, back to KL; dropped in Kuala Sentul for a short visit to Abang Mat. Among the goodies he gave on our take off was pickled "kelubi". At night on the next day, Saturday, at about one plus, the house was burgled. They had a jolly good sweet time downstairs while we were about to go to bed upstairs. Several strange things happened before and during the incident. The house was not yet grilled because I did not have the money. Normally after returning from a break in Trg I would have spent all the cash in the pocket. But on this occasion I had about five hRM left. Usually I took all the daily-used "hardwares" upstairs when going to bed, but this time I forgot to take upstairs my trouser (containing ic, license, etc in the wallet, and the reminder cash), the brief case (containing my daily works, and on this occasion, the stpm scripts), and my wrist watch. The pickled "kelubi" was turned into "ice-cream" after dinner that night and kept in the freezer. Azizah never take out the rings on her finger and the wrist watch when doing the dish-washing, but on this occasion she broke her norms and even left them in the kitchen. Malini had a mild asthmatic attack. We helped to comfort her when she was going to bed, at one plus. While tending Malini in her room, we heard a noise like a heavy wooden furniture being dragged on a coarse concrete, in and out with the sound of people "partying", very merry indeed, and strangely I heard those sounds came from uphill neighbour. I asked azizah to phone the neighbour, but she was reluctant saying that the neighbour might had relatives visiting on this weekend night. The sound died down and when Malini fall asleep we all went to bed. Only in the next morning when we got up, got downstairs for breakfast we realised that those sounds were of the burglar at works last night. The brief case contents were scattered on the floor in the hall, none was missing, ecpecially the precious stpm scripts, but the brief case (brown) was taken away. My trouser was ransacked, and the wallet, and the cash gone, but the ic and license were spared. Azizah rushed to see her rings, and all were gone; and also her watch, and my watch. The fridge door was ajar, and after a close examination, we noticed that the pickled "ice-cream" were eaten. It appeared that they came through the sliding door, ungrilled, and it was only secured by a stacked of three 4mm plywoods (the dragging sound). The lock of the sliding door was open, apparently very easily, and even undamaged. Out through the sliding door, we noticed our kettle was on the grass just outside the pavement, with scattered "ice-cream" plastics (the partying sounds), and our towel covering a stool. We were actually "black-magic-ed" last night. And strangely all those taken away were goods we bought in England in 79-83 periods, including my Van Hausen white-spotted dark blue shirt which I bought in England in 74-76 period. We made the police report in the Sunday morning at BBB Police Station. Four officers came immediately, one with a camera and another with finger print tool-kit. Some sketches were drawn, some pictures were snapped, but they told us the tool-kits did not show any finger print, especially on the fridge door handle, even our own finger print that we left on when we opened it to get noticed that the "ice-cream" were eaten. And after that nothing had ever followed-up.
It was a very hectic year with DBP since the reestablishment of my presence last year. With ms "Prinsip Kimia Polimer" in the press, I managed to pursuade the senior editor Amran, after failing previously to do so to Chua of PFB who said PFB preferred fresh mss, to rescue three of the four mss at LIMMA which had twinkled its existence to invisibility. All the three were to form the "Siri Kimia Pra-Universiti" series, to begin with "Kimia Fizik" followed by "Kimia Tak Organic" and finally "Kimia Organik"; the latter being co-authored with Dr Wan Mohammed. The gallei of the first ms was ready as early as June for proofing and it went to press in Oct. The second ms followed in order, concurrently then was at indexing whereas the third was going through second reading. Ms "Prinsip Kimia Polimer" itself was published on Monday June 6. Also running concurrently was the translation of Rudin's Elements of Polymer Science and Engineering, Introductory Texts for Engineers and Chemists which I got its green light from Puan Rashidah of the Translation Division in January. I worked on it through to early June. She then trusted me with another "bible" of polymer book: Flory's Principles of Polymerization which I managed to convince her and DBP of its relevancy despite its 1953 publication. Unfortunately in Aug, NADI scheme was launched and translation of the ms fell to Edusyatem. The scheme opened a very large loophole for the "swasta" to bite the translators fees on top of the other "renumerations" they got directly from DBP. For that reason I conceded, withdrew my half translated script and told Puan Rashidah to tell Edusystem to find their own translator. Apparently it was given to a lecturer in USM and another in UPM, but combined they failed to deliver. In Oct a personnel from DBP came to my office to ask for my recontribution. Without a pause I gave my word, for the sake of DBP, not for Edusystem, and I told the personnel, I would do it for free since DBP do not pay translation fees anymore. As always I worked it out, during every available time, in the office and at home, and I delivered it by mid December.
The KBSM phenomenon was actually more demanding than the works with DBP. The making of the ms was from absolute zero. I had to depend very much on Rashidi for the methodology for I had no experience at all in writing for the lower secondary readers. The other three more often did all sorts of jobs minus creating and writing sentences. I spent some hours with Rashidi almost every day from Jan to Dec. The ms was decided to be published by DPI. In Mac it was submitted, in May the result was known and it required a major overhaul, almost rewriting. DPI's inexperience in publishing technical book had worsen like putting salt on the wound. The final resubmission was in Sep for the press in Oct and to be distributed for consumption begining Jan 1989. In Oct also KBSM2 was launched for proposal submission in Dec. Rashidi and I decided to go separately and we were very happy to be "sold" to PAP of Kota Bharu. During the few days before submission we camped in DPI office in Kg Baru, racing against the time.
Chitin project with Teroka Rimba met with a dragging progress after the submission of phase two reports. The proprietor was very uncommitted to setting up a proper site for the pilot plant, instead he kept on depending on the university's "charity" which in turn looked at it as having the lowest priority for it would not carry any mileage to any individual above us. Meetings with Development TNC, Prof NRI in Jan, Jul and Oct did not strike anything other than beating about the bush; one tried to take advantage over the others. As the year ending, the project prima facie shrinked irreversibly. In Mac the group submitted another IRPA grant, this time under Industrial Sector, and it appeared that a new light was lit on.
An added phase back home. The Duyung Bridge, across Terengganu river, spanning from Hiliran on the southern bank over Duyung to Bukit Tumbuh on the northern bank. It was usable in 1988. Due for officiation in 1990, and to be named Sultan Mahmud Bridge.
At home, things moved as dynamic as in the office. Merely a week after my house was burgled, Pak Din's family who rented the "Rumah Hantu" nearby was robbed by armed gang. A meeting among the residence was held the next day at Ust Ahmad Bakar's place uphill, attended by the four from our area, the Ust Ismail's group (five) nearby and the Ust Saedon's group (three) further up, plus another two in between. It was suggested that private guards be hired. The area was then began to see signs of mass developments; the MPI began to show up its shape, follwed by the Welfare Dept's Industrial Training Centre for the Disabled. And the burglary robbery cases? Increased proportionately, until one night it was the turn of the village head who was robbed red-handed. Then only the authority opened their eyes. Village meeting was held, attended by BB Police OCPD. As always, night patrol was to be held, and it began on Sep 15. I never missed my duty, but alas, after a couple of weeks, the element of disorganisation swept in: it began with the "muhajirin" skipped their duty with reason they could not effort a sleepless night for the work the next day, then the "ansar" replied by saying that the burglars were more interested in the "muhajirin's" house and that they were doing good for them, not for themselves. So the night patrol naturally died in beginning, and the burglary robbery rejuvenated.
Schooling for Rubaini (Year 4) and Malini (Year 2) were not easy with the extra distance they had to stride, plus both schools, SRK and SRA, different sessions for two of them. We had to ferry them all the time. At one time from middle of Jan we pooled kids ferrying jobs with our immediate neighbour. I contributed more since both of them were working, that's all right; but neglecting ours during their turn was unforgiven. It was thus not long-lived. In Aug Azizah began her driving lesson, but she failed the first time on the road in RIMV PJ on Oct 27. She made it three weeks later, in a hurry since it was medically and unconcealably clear that we would be bestowed with a fifth sibling in April next year.
I could not take my mother to stay with me and the hope keep on vanishing for she was getting more and more ill. On Friday morning Feb 12 she suffered a stroke. I returned home to Trg to see her a week later while on the same day I left the "kenduri kesyukuran" to En Ahmad Kromo, the local I acquainted in 1972, together with my in-laws who were visiting, to run it. My mother was really ill, bed-ridden and needed help everytime she needed anything at all. AdikJo, then in Form 4 had to quit hostel in SS and commute to school, while AdikAni was in her MPI initial years beginning in Jul 10. In between the fast pace of DBP and KBSM, I took as many break as possible, taking my family back to Trg to spend with my mother; April 8-15; May 16-21 for the Eid 1408 on Tue May 17 after the first Ramadan in Sg Merab which began April 18 Monday; Jul 30 to Aug 5 when we dropped at Rantau Abang for children to watch the traditional turtle egg-laying at night; and finally Dec 22-27. In August she got slightly better and managed to get into the car, but to go for a medicine in Chendering.
I managed to complete painting my house only by November end, fortunately helped by the published mss, ICI in and out. At about the same time all its corridors and the reminder four baths were tiled and all the bedrooms were pacquered; except the latter, all were done by PakJid and his workers.
Edition dated Jan 1989