The year 1997.
The most choppy year so far in the trial of life, the first taste of real life. Chitin Group was in real financial poverty since last year. None of us managed to go to the Second APCC Symposium in AIT Bangkok, the first of which was initiated by our group here in UKM in 1994 and had been recognised internationally as one of the biennial chitosan research meeting platforms in Asia Pacific region. I nonetheless sent a paper postered by a UPM lecturer who managed to get registered in the eleven-hour. Several meetings with MTDC under UKM's BIRO umbrella had calminated in a MOU signing ceremony in Parit Buntar involving Eastern Global and Perfect Persuit on April 4. The latter was the latest entry into the chitin web and very serious in forming a JVC since its business was selling chitosan products in cosmetics and nutraceuticals. The latter's parent company, Nationwide Visions (Malaysia) sponsored my trip to Lyon, France for 7th ICCC scheduled September 3-5, but I had to withdraw because my eldest daughter could not afford my absence even for a week. The JVC was evantually born and registered in November, Chito-Chem (M) Sdn Bhd, Company Number 456003-T with the registered office at the Head Office of MTDC. I was appointed a director alternately with Dr Pauzi. The factory was in the premise of the Eastern Global, Parit Buntar, a major partner of the JVC.
My application for a sebbatical leave for nine months beginning April 1 to capitalise the newly arrived 1.5 MRM XPS machine for development of novel chitoalaytical techniques had been turned down by the dean of faculty, reason (verbally via head of department), I could accompalish it without the leave. My application for full professorship which I submitted last December was also turned down by the dean's peer committee, without even giving a chance for my referees to say something, reasons, my guess was that I had no administrative experience for I noticed that none of the professors in UKM was not a former administrator at the time of their appointment, except Prof Lim Swee Cheng in Physics Dept. If I were to be made one then I must be ten times better than him since he was made so ten years ago.
On May 18 we sent Rubaini to KTDI Jalan Temerloh KL for her start in UKM Medical Faculty, the career she said she wanted to get into during her Matriculation year. The first 'smell of rat' was sensed at her accomodation which was a sharing of the store of the kitchen of a flat. I then went for a DBP outing in Penang, then took the rest of the family for a break in Terengganu while I took the opportunity of going out fishing in Bidong area. It was while at the sea I received a message that Rubaini was ditching with her course problems; I made an emergency return driving to KL at mid-night of May 28. She was really in difficulty. I managed to reposition Rubaini in Food Science and Management Programme of the Life Sciences Faculty in Bangi, and unbonded her legally from JPA. She regained her CGPA during her first semester exam in October 1998. In the meantime I stole the chances to get to know my colleagues in the Kuala Lumpur campus whom otherwise I would not have a reason, notably Prof Hamid (Anatomy), Prof Hamin Rajikin (Physiology), Prof Aidariah (Parasitology), Prof Jalil (Microbilogy), En Osman and Puan Pauziah of the medical faculty office; and most of all Prof Saroja (Psychiatry) through to mid 1998.
And not forgotten was Maimunah, one of the pioneer chemistry office typist in Sect 16 campus in the 1970s from when I was a student. She currently is in the Deputy Dean's office of the medical faculty. Her colleague clerk, Nyonya moved to Bangi.
In the mean time Muzani was sitting his UPSR on October 21 and had to be pushed strongly, sometimes jump-started to finally get a mark one step below Malini and Zidni. Malini sat her SPM beginning November 24. She had a distant gravity effect from Rubaini, she shed her tears once on seeing how her sister Rubaini was in the transition state. Zidni ran into a small entanglement with the computer web in his school that I had to go to see SAS Pengetua, Haji Yusof Othman on April 7 to clear him. It had some effects on his performance.
In between these blisters I enjoyed very much in being hired by DBP to assist the Encyclopedia Section under Tuan Haji Zainal and En Amran to publish 'Ensiklopedia Sains dan Teknologi' with UTM. I went on many workshops with them, in Penang, Melaka, and even Langkawi. The 'Perkamusan' Section also hired me to help developing Kamus Melayu-Inggeris Dewan headed by Puan Nor Azizah. In one occasion in DBP, I met En Mohamad Ismail, my physics teacher in SAS 1969, who was then a Colonel in ATM's education wing, also in the same committee in helping the military terms. Nationwide Vision took me on many occasions in its marketing Rallies of chitosan products, many times in KL itself, Kuantan, Johor Bahru and Butterworth.
Ending the year, I took every one in the family for a couple of days real break, first in Parit Buntar for a seafood spree, then Butterworth for plates of nasi kandar fish head, and finally a dip in the pool of Paradise Tanjung Bunga, Penang, just in time to be back in God's blessed Ramadan on December 31.
Zainal Abidin Harahap died Feb 1 Mon in Medan.
Abang Ra kena stroke 1997 Nov 15 Sat
Edition dated Jan 1998