The Year 2002.

, an eventfully blessed year at the home front. On the career front, absolutely nothing had happened, it was like a mid-night silence. Actually I chose the former to lead over the latter, except one in July, when I was lured to sit in the publication subcommittee of UKM-ITB 2002, the 5th joint seminar on chemistry by UKM's School of Chemical Sciences & Food Technologies and Indonesian Bandung Institute of Technology's Math and Natural Science Faculty; nonetheless successfully eluded the chairmanship. In practise, the committee delegated all the publication job to me, pushing me to brave in subordinating Dr Ishak Ahmad and the functional Secretary, Dr Anita Ramli.

Every one lived to continue to be alive. I joked many times to the younger colleages, although many of them were making themselves, that the new dawn would be in five to ten years time: the time when they would see around only themselves in their own metamorphosed ecological biosphere. A kicking in the deputy dean's office in June reverberated into the school chairman office, but it didn't quite catch my attention, except a note that the school had got its third chairman since July 1999, the last two within this year 2002 alone; the second one being a chairperson. Another kick was right on the last day of the year when we were assigned a new dean, Prof ALM, the second one since its inception in July 1999. I have lost count on the up-downloading of personnels in the two deputy posts.

Deputy Dean, Prof Dr Jalil, presented the certificates; to the participants as well as to the course providers.

Some of the FST Staff who took up the ICT course to make themselves attired with the modern regalia.

I led the FST ICT "expert" team twice this year in guiding the faculty staff into the torrance of the contemporary world, in which the university would like them to get sucked into. I managed to steer the course organisation from the faculty's ICT subcommittee (chaired by the dean, which means the job will be carried out by one of the subordinates, usually ict coordinator) into staff training subcommittee (chaired by a professor which means the job will be single-handedly done by the professor, although there were many more professors in the committee) by making the point to the dean that this course is better be defined within the latter's jurisdiction. The ICT subcommittee job would be to lend the hardware maintenance support in the laboratory which would be managed by the ICT Lab coordinator, me. The first occasion (2nd in such series, the firat was last year end, organised by the previuos ict coordinator) was on May 22-23 in which I was just lingering around to not missing the meal itenerary. However in the secand occasion (3rd in the series) which was on October 29-30, I really threw down my weight by giving five hours of hands-on lecture course.

Beginning this year, from the earliest Jan, UKM launched ICT-based login-out to all the staff, including the academia (from their own PC in their office). This was a follow-on step from 2001 launching of ditto-based SSB input via browser-based SMPK.

Early of the year I was trapped into composing an aplication for the IRPA8. Initially I had acquired the reason to do it, and organised two workshops, at my own expenses, comprising mostly young and eager colleagues. A proposal was ready by April 15. However, I found it hard to find someone to help to nurture its way through the layers of committees when I needed the time for the August occasion. It lost in the months of the year, even after the August, and then I misplaced the reason.

The home front was more exciting with miscellaneous events and incidents from January beginning of the year endlessly right to the December end of the year, making every body got involved. Ashbi began his yr 1 in SKBBB Jln 2, the alma mater of all his elders, in the evening session (1 Ikhlas). He told us that he got along very well with the class teacher CheGu Radzi who then appointed him the class monitor and later of the year recommended him to become a "pengawas" for 2003. Since year 2000, SRA Bangi closed the intake the traditional JAIS programme which was succeeded by the Sekolah Integrasi (7 am to 4 pm, supposedly all-in education, but unfortunately registered as private school); for that inconvenience, we sent Ashbi to the 3-days-week LEPAI Fardhu Ain class at Jln 6 in the morning session. CB continued in Yr 4 (Jujur) in the morning session, and SRA in the evening (last batch of JAIS programme).

So did Alya, who began her secondary schooling in SMBBB Jln 2, like Muzani, and inconveniently in the afternoon session. And like Ashbi, she too was made a "pengawas" beginning the last quarter of the year. This has cheered her up a bit from disappointment of non-answer to go to full board school of either SMBP (like Malini and Zidni), MRSM or SMKA (like Rubaini) albeit she had all the qualification in her UPSR last year 2001, including ko-ku. It appeared that apart from exam results, the ko-ku activities were purely for self-education, no bearing whatsoever on anyone's next schooling move, practically contrary to adformative encouragement by the school. Muzani, being reinstalled a pengawas, was sitting for his SPM in Nov, almost the same begnning of Ramadan 1423; in his own style, appeared independent but not necessarily intentive and inquisitive. Asri was an "erectus" at exactly 12 months old last Nov; at two plus the year end he was a Speedy, and like his elders, foot-twisting his tricycle for higher velocity in the house and the corridor outside.

Hit the pic to enlarge

Shafie, on my left, led a prayer. Dr Md Soot at his back. Anon and Dr Osman on my right.

The indispensable people, Q-ing on the foreground L-to-R: Anon, Dr Rusli, Zailan, Shafie, Zamri, Yusof, Budiman, Sapini, and Isa.

Some of the Darul Izzah boarders.

Sulaiman on my right, Prof Hamid on my left, and Dr Zaini on the background.

Sulaiman, Dr Tajul, Dr Izzudin and Prof Pauzi.

Mohd Embong on the foreground and Dr Tajul on the background.

Back row from left: Mohd Embong and Prof Abd Rahim. Front row from left: En Ithnin, Razak, Razak's wife, Zawiah, Zaharah and Abdullah.

The reason d'etre.

The most cheerful unforgetable time of the year was the Sunday Aug 18 event and almost every day about the date. This has prompted the returning-home of Zidni (July 5 to Aug 23) from the USA and compulsively Malini (June 22 to Sep 28) from UK in conjunction with her internship at Shell HQ in Damansara. In fact the Aug 18 date was optimised to fit the former schedule which was much tighter than that of the latter. The spectrum actually began with a non-event in mid Jul 2001 last year which remotely and independently turned around during the Eid 1422 in Dec the same year. It evolved into progresive states, compatibly stacked into an interconnected serial that could only be understood in terms of devine destiny in which I believe in one solid piece. Peaking resonances were on Feb 24 Sun while on Eid Qurban 1422, June 30 Sun, Aug 10 Sat, Aug 17 Sat, Aug 18 Sun itself and momentised to Aug 25 Sun and Sep 10 Tue. Obviously, the days were not my days; they were my daughters'. I merely furnished the days for them in according to my devine duty. In these serial events we unreluctantly 'lost' two daughters simultaneously, but deliriously happy instead, we won two son-in-laws.

Friends, neighbours, family members and relatives, many of them with their families, lent their supports indispensably, without with the days would have not been as they had been; such days that one would know one is not alone or otherwise. I was so indebted to them that I wanted to preserve here their sincere togetherness with us.

It was extended, as the days neared, as far as to the classes when greater moments of the lecture and tutorial of STPD was loaded on Dr Kadderi; so did STKK on Dr Ishak. Pacing forward was Omar and especially his wife, Nor who made herself available even though sometimes remotely. Gearing closer towards the day, Dr Md Soot took charge of the rapport with the caterer in Jln 2/4 BBB, Dr Osman the invitation and rapport with the Darul Izzah boarders. When the moment arrived, Shafie led with a prayer, Dr Abdul Rahman and Dr Zaini manned the welcoming party, Isa Kamis led the serving team of mostly the faculty support staff (and also the kompang team in the afternoon) together with Haji Hassan (who was around since Friday), Dr Che Seman looked after the drinks while Dr Rusli and Maaruf led the washing team. The internal matter in the house was rolled out since Friday, and occasionally days before, by Zizah's friends and neighbours.

Moreover, this moment was the oportunity not to be missed to use the occasion as reason d'etre to get in touch with my young-days acquaintances, in SAS, and in the UK, many of them I have not heard of for more then twenty years with whom the reminiscing frolics always seems just like yesterday. A bunch of them, the core, cheerfully turned up. I had made every available effort to get to them.

I researched and found Husin (by recalling his words on the phone in 1980's about his place whereabout in Jabi) as early as late July and from him, Jalil in KT, whose possible place of location had already been told by Omar. Both were unable to turn up for obvious reason. The former also led to Sulaiman in Shah Alam. An extra effort paid off with Dr Izzudin in Klang, both of them were really looking forward for the reunion; unfortunately I failed to the end to get in touch with Jamalluddin for this occasion. Zawiah was very desirous to join. She phoned for detail and I asked Zaharah to get in touch for better arrangement. They all turned up, the husbands, En Ithnin and Abdullah, respectively, less all the kids I was expecting. She also gave Mariam's number to contact directly, but I relied solely on her more frequently contacted brother, Ibrahim. Unfortunately, both did not turn up; and Jalil was right, the opportunity might not knock again. Mohd Embong, Othman Ali, Razak Mohd, Wan Mohamad Musa pairs, and scores of "local" SASians-70 made up their day to the evening. Dr Abdullah Embong in Penang rang for being unable to make in the last minute, but Dr Mathadzer and all in his family drove all the way to and fro from Parit Buntar. Other UK-originated acquaintances were Dato' Dr Khir Harun, Dato' Ibrahim Mat, Prof Amin Alias, Dr Khalik, Dr Zaharuddin's family, Dr Ibrahim Idris, Prof Hamid Hadi; whereas Umran pair were up-and-down since Thu since they stayed in BBB; unfortunately minus Dr Mohamad Osman whose family once was very close in Monton in the 80's. I missed Osman Musa in time too. Khamsah and Raja Daniel, despite being on the line might have matters independent of their will, especially the latter. So did Jariah and Salamah. Dato' Dr Mohd Mansor, Dr Shafie Embong and Dr Akram whose acquaintances were extending deep into the wives since late 70s in Pantai Baru were very much looking forward.

Friends and colleagues at work turned up in mass, as predicted by the caterer judging from the intrinsic state of the funtions. A significant fraction of them were my daughters' friends many of them I had not seen before. Aug 18 was unmistakably our day. But the day appeared to pass very quick. By the evening, traces of them were only in the camera film.

Musa, on my right and his son #5 on his right. Musa is a grandfather of five. He and his big family made a life after having many barns of broiler in Banggol Katong.

A surprise precipitated from nilhilo. A person, Musa Daud, not for a quantum of moment floated in my memory in 2002, blipped on my handset on Aug 24 Sat morning, a week after the Walimah, apparently was incidentally in Kajang bus terminal the night of Aug 18 and stumbled with my relatives enroute to Terengganu who told him about their purpose of coming to a person in Bangi who is also dear to him. So Musa visited us that morning, rather late for the occasion, but had the most of my attention. I had to furnish Musa's visit to someone else in my mind. Musa is my childhood mate, since I was a little kid. His family was our close neighbour whose home was by the river. They moved to another place at a time we were about eight. During the Eid 1423 break in Dec, I made every effort to find Musa, and especially knowing that Musa's mother (MakDa to every younger one, age about seventy), the person in my mind, was still well around. I took along Ripin, another childhood-neighbour mate. I finally found Musa's place, and I actually wanted to see more of Musa's mother, in Banggol Katong, Dec 7 Sat. My mother used to tell me that Musa's mother was very close to her when she stayed in PA, and when I was a little boy, my home, Musa's home and Ripin's home were our homes. Ripin, Musa, Musa's younger brother (Ismail), my elder brother, and me were five babies growing together in an exciting life by the river. Musa's eldest sister, Mek Long, who also happened to present on the day, told me that, in those PA days, my mother was very close to her, and that she used to baby-sit me when I was a baby. My mother, Ripin's mother, and Musa's mother were very close young mothers during the PA days, in mid-1950s. I do not know how many times my mother had the chance to meet Musa's mother after they moved from PA to Banggol Katong, Musa's mother's original place before getting married to Musa's father. She knew my mother's passing only after quite sometimes later, but she visited my mother once when my mother was very ill. On ending the visit and leaving (Musa lives in another home not very far from it) I hugged Musa's mother; in that moment I intensely felt I missed my mother very much; tears were in my eyes and in Musa's mother's eyes. She whispered to me, "You are like my own son."

Nonetheless, the onset of the new phase of life was not without sorrows. First the passing of Utz Yong, a very prominent figure, a Tok Guru, a teacher in pondoks, in schools, and in the Istana, in Terengganu, particularly in Seberang Takir, on May 9 Thu, whose particular son then had just engaged to become my first SIL. I was destined to meet Utz Yong, but I was given to meet him only once, on Feb 25 Mon, in his place, the day after the engagement; my daughter never had a proper chance. On strolling back in times during the very short meeting, it was noted that Utz Yong was a mentor and "an encyclopedia" to my uncle (Ayoh Chik Takir, my father's next elder brother) in his imamship in Ulu Takir. A double storey wooden, washed-off-white house in front of his house had rang a bell in my memory. It appeared like I was there, and in the house, one early night in 1978, then painted green, viewed in that early night. I was visiting my cousin, the son of the particular Uncle and who was running for Seberang Takir Adun in 1978 GE. I mentioned this to Utz Yong, but he could not remember very well the occasion regarding the house at the described time. The house was owned by a brother of Utz Yong who married and resided in Singapore. In post Utz Yong, the house was bought by his second sibling who sold her house in Pengadang Baru to stay close to her mother, Puan Hajah Zainon who was Utz Yong's pupil migrated in a small family since a child from Indonesia.

Then barely two months after Utz Yong passed away, on Jul 3 Wed, the sorrow was doubled by the repeat incident on the Arwah's son, the eldest. I met him three times, the last being on May 31 Fri in PD during the Walimah day of Azizah's last sister. Both Utz Yong and his eldest son were very nice persons I was looking forward to get close to in the coming times. For these two reasons, we accepted the fact that reception in Seberang Takir was done in a very minimum intensity on the week Sep 16, in my absence.

Dato' Dr Mahfodz (left), and CheGu Ariffin Suhaimi (middle).

Being a second most VIP, dining with a Tan Sri.

Tok Wan (right) blessing his first grandson; his daughter CheGu Ros on his right.

Tan Sri Prof Dr Ismail Hussien, destined to be indirectly related.

After quite a while, unexpectedly, another repeat happened on Dec 19 Thu in my second SIL family, and very sadly to CheGu Azam, another young and very nice person I would miss forever to be close to. The last time I saw him was when all of them put up at our home for the night before all of us went to KLIA on Sep 28 Sat sending off our "kids" for their final leg Master in Cambridge. CheGu Azam who married his wife in the UK, born his eldest, my second SIL in the UK Birmingham on May 12 Mon, two days before Azizah born our daughter on May 14 Wed 1980 in Manchester. The two babys grew up to youngsters and destined to meet in Cambridge in 2000. They decided to get married in early 2002, in the time we were putting the effort to get our first daughter married. Chegu Azam's family originated in Singapore; like himself, many of his relatives made their living in Malaysia, unknowingly with many people I had known long time ago. I thus (re)met many of them during the reception on Aug 25 in Meru, Klang. The most excited one was no other than my own HM in SAS 1967-69, CheGu Arifin Suhaimi whose wife is a CheGu Azam's untie. Many people noticed it funny when an old man me kissed another old man CheGu Arifin's hand (a Prof Dr, his last career was #2 in UIAM). Never mind, my father reminded me many times: never lose my respect to my teachers no matter who they are. Then similarly related it was the wife of Tan Sri Wan Mohktar, the former Terengganu CM; Prof Farid, a retiree of Pusat Bahasa, UKM; Dato' Dr Mahfodz who I knew since 1990 in SMAS Kajang through the close-classmateness of our daughters. I met many more people I had met before on CheGu Azam burial day, most of them were lost acquaintances in the 1976-83 UK years. CheGu Azam in law's family originated in Yan, Kedah, whose original seed came from Acheh, Indonesia. I met many of them on Sep 10 reception in Sungai Limau Dalam, Yan. One of them was Prof Ismail Hussien, the Gapena #1, whose last career was UKM's ATMA director; who, long time ago, took a niece from Yan to bring up to school in PJ, then educated her in England to meet and married CheGu Azam there, to born a son destined to become my second SIL; to finally become CheGu Ros. I met many of CheGu Ros's elderly relatives, especially her father, Tok Wan. All of them are very nice persons, I guess, the kind my father prayed for me to meet along in my life. I felt very at home with them and looking forward to be with them again and again.

Incidentally, both of my SILs parted with their old men in the same year, the same Thu day when they were both, independently, in UK. For all matters regarding the two weddings, both Arwahs and I, the former being much older than me and the latter being younger, had one thing in common: we wanted to make them as it was ordained by removing things which would make the ride bumpy. Indeed it was my destiny to be very lucky in dealing with such ordained matters with them. Both Utz Yong and CheGu Azam had brought me closer to many people close to me. That is my destiny, I have the most beautiful destiny indeed.

Albeit, the year was full of blessings. I had planned and it appeared that I was blessed with a better and more beautiful extended plan.

Edition dated Jan 2003