The year 2004.

It was a very slow momentum at the start of the year; many were still in celebration mood: picking up from the x-mas to new year break followed by chinese new monkey year on Jan 22 Thu, then Eid Adha Feb 1 Sun (coincide with Federal Territory day - we spent it in Sg Merab Bangi) and finally the Thaipusan on Jan 5 Thu. By the time everyone returned, it was the final semester exam which even started on the weekend Feb 28 Sat. Only a few of us like me who saw the rise of UKM since 1970 were staying all along for the 'long' 33 years. We saw how UKM grew up like a living thing unmissed by any biology description; infinitesimally one could not feel the growth, but on thermodynamic state basis, UKM had transformed from an ovum into a massive institution, many times I had said, perhaps had reached a galactical scale; I meant, it formed many independent biospheres with their own ecological strata. Being an analogical living thing, UKM is aging, or perhaps had aged. It lived not into a great mammal which has a long life-span and important ecological function in the food-chain; its position was rather on the lyses of the cycle. In the past recent periods I was trusted to represent the dean in several meetings of the highest level a dean involved: I saw the aging machines were working on UKM, I saw how a tired organ when in difficulty was very hard to get resuscitated; unfortunately it was all due to under-nourished blood, olds and youngs.

Three events, each with a zero statistical probability, but yes.., no..., in practice it happened, and thus had a unity probability. These events are, but a few of the thermodynamics paradoxes. How did these probability ununitiness come about to become unity? Well, very simple. I made them to happen as I had all the means to make them so. Very clever scientists argued that human being existance evolved from a sheer probability of interstellar particles interactions, which other cleverer scientists estimated it (from interaction of two interstellar particles) to be very close to zero. Every natural element in the equation, including thermodynamics, had a value resulted in zero probability of human existance. Despite its zeroness, human did exist. How? Well, by a simple comparison. It ununitiness was made unity by "someone" who had all the means to do it.
What is the ununitiness of statistical probability in this? It was not the ununitiness. It is about its uniqueness, and its price of uniqueness in this oriental part of the world. When I began my career in mid-70's, a contemporary one cost 25K; of course it was entirely not within my dictionary because it would take about 24 months of my gross pay. Barely less than ten years later it cost 60K, then amazingly an equivalent of 24 months of my pay. Fine, the price "did not increase" because it swallowed the pay increase which was meant for my "progress". In early 1990 it cost 120K: 40 months of my pay. It thus receding very fast from a wage earner. In 2000 it reached 250K: 50 months gross pay. In this 2004 AFTA year it is 300K: 60 months. It disappeared into the distant galaxy. Under normal circumtances, young graduates would never be able to catch up. Those changes of course included the latest technology and many added functions. Viewed from another dimension: in 1977 it was 25K brand-new; in 1984 the same money earned a five years old; in 1990, a ten years old required 50K; in 2000 it took 100K to own the ten-years old "elephant". And some how, somewhere, in 2004, a 12 years old was asking for 65K.
Another ununitiness. An EX5 costed 4.783KRM on Apr 23 Mon 2001. One evening Jun 7 Thu, it was practically snatched a few meters behind as the rider left to reach the gate of a house by two men in full helmet riding another bike who apparently had followed closely, perhaps for the past few days. It was reported to the police and investigated by the CID (from another police station). It was reported to the insurance for claim purpose (the bike was insured comprehensive - 0.22675 KRM). Jul 17 Tue received the answer from the insurance (without any investigation - just from the police report) - "the claim was not approved because the lost was due to the rider's carelessness". That was it. It blew off into the thin air, just like that. A quick check on the web, its reg was blacklisted by PDRM but not JPJ. The original key and the log book, submitted to accompany the claim, were not returned, why? Did the policy say it belonged to them? In such a case one could not be bothered to find out.

The week end Mar 20 was quiet with the students ended their 2003/04 exams, but a week later the campus was swarmed with 4080 PLKN (first time beginning this year - all about 85K selected from post SPM-ers) which elasticised the new session 2004/05 to early Jun (instead of early May). The frequent sounds of yelling and shouting audible from any office, otherwise they were unnoticed (apart from the visible blue uniform). It was immediately after the national pentennial event: the 11th polls on Mac 21 Sun after the nomination day Mac 13 Sat following the parliament dissolution on Mac 4 Thu by the PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The results were an "inverse take over" of the 10th 1999 Nov GE, unfortunately superimposable on the 1986 polls. Many critics got reminded of the infamous "May 13" incident. There was a "buckle", like a landing ferry, the tug-boat had to reprocedure the realignment and relanding. Terengganu was retaken 4-28 from 28-4 but Datuk Seri HA maintained his Ru Rendang. Kelantan was halved. Kedah and Perlis were returned to Pre-1999. The beacons in Selangor and Pahang dissipated. Keadilan was reduced to its Prsident [DS WA majority: -36, +17, +18, +449, +590], DAP reestablished itself with the returned of LKS and KS. Apart from the more and more wasteful of posters, the polls was the most "acceptable" phenomenon by both sides judging by the SPR performances of many recounts and as many as three times recounts to the deep morning of Mar 22 Mon, the poll deferred to Mar 28 Sun in Sungai Lembing, Selangor's two-hrs extension, CD-hard copy differences of voters, and AAB unhappiness with EC's work (in Utu-san words: "SPR malu gagal urus pengundian"). Implicitly, EC had accomplished its 2004 mission. This included a petrol price raise in May and again in Oct, Astro fees increase in late May and a 12-months re-contract in Oct, a heat-up of toll increase, Jun 3; the oppening of East Coast Highway (LPT) from Karak to Kuantan in Aug (a total of RM28 from Bangi). Since then, Universities had its own ministry, Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi, with Kementerian pendidikan was reverted to Kementerian Pelajaran.

Clock-wise from top-left: Presario 1700T; Mac's i-Book; Mac's PowerBook; 512K Pen Drive; Power Shot SD100; 1976 Apple II, the PC of the first contact; OHP, the 80's lecturer's gear; and LCD, the substance of the talk of the professors;

New session started in late June, the lecture started Jun 21 Mon; as for the past couple of years, my first lecture was the STPD and it was on Jun 24 Thu. After quite a break to attend the MatriQ workshops, and left the course to Dr Kadderi to weave-in his parts, I returned on Aug 5 Thu with a revolution! I began using the "talk of the professors" tool in the lecture: the magic LCD. This was possibly initiated by my #3son Zidni who kindly let me inherit his obsolete Presario 1700T, which in current race is a bone shaker; it is squeaked by Windows 2000 on a pre-thou MHz pentium III. He acquired it in 2001 when he first landed in Tulsa. Since then he had migrated to Mac via iBook, then a year later traded-in for the bigger powerBook. I am proud of him: from a boy who started asking sketchy questions about a computer when he first entered his sec school in 1996 (Windows95-PentiumMMX era) to currently a remote helping hand whom I sometimes turned my own questions to. He had all the apparatus needed to produce a multimedia-aided teaching materials - things which I was made to partly guide the FST staff to produce, but very hard to produce myself. He took home almost all the apparatus during his May-Aug internship, and while all those were at home I had a chance to comprehend an evolution of a true pc from its first contact by Apple II in 1976 to the latest through his (not the highest though) Mac's powerBook (forget about Windows). I am next eyeing his canon Power Shot SD100 digital because by then he would be searching no longer for the images, but the real objects; its resolution by then is only a third of what is currently in the market which I don't really need to that far. The hardware-wise were almost fully furnished by Aug 16, when Dr Ambar bartered my helping him putting up his CAT-UKM webpages in UKM server with an HP 1300 printer and a 512M Pen drive, the size of a Wrigley. With those set, I had my brief case with me all the time at home; obviating the diskette altogether and frequent night visit to the office.

In my economic ignorance, I could not resist to talk about contemporary economy; firstly because I was packing to retire in a couple of years time, and secondly my concern about how the economy had dictated us on how to spend, and unfortunately to many, not on how they earned. Was it really the demand directs the supply? No, I don't believe it. I observed the otherway around: the supply dictates the demand. In mid 1980's I noticed a cooking oil brand which was well accepted by the consumer. It disappeared from the shop only after a few years of 'operation'. In 2004, a well accepted car model was 'replaced', so that in the frenzy of panick, the consumers could be dictated by the producers.
Tue night Sep 7, StarWorld (#70) of ASTRO broadcasted a documentary about the fakeness of the American Moon Landing since its Apollo 11 in 1969. The following night, in Discovery (#52), it was responded by the opposite documentry, probably from a NASA-sponsored producer. The matter was galactically highlighted in the net since last year, like this one. And seeing the benefits the USA gained, many nations planned "to conquer the moon".

The outer space is very, very far away; and at this step of the state, we are very, very long way to go. It is more likely that the outer space is receding faster than the speed of the stepping in the states;
Do consumer demand when they shop in the market? Absolutely no, they picked (and pay) whatever are available for their needs, especially the essential food items. The consumer had only two choices: suffer or meet the demand of the suppliers. The suppliers never actually supply the demand of the consumer, instead the supplier grabbed the opportunity to supply (and demand) the consumer needs, like that in the housing business where the consumer never had any choice; create the needs if it could be miraged like in the transport (like the third brake light for the "oldies") and education (like the obsolete 3K-old sempoa). Was market competition good for the consumer? Yes, but the producers compete to win a monopoly; and they always win, like in the cellular. Before, the consumer get a 'quite' discount for the prepaid (not cheap though), then they cosolidated to earn a monopoly; after then there was no more discount. Imagine a discount of monthly 5RM per cellular; there was 10M cellulars, therefore a monthly 50RM discount. When no discount? Well, 50RM monthly clean profit. Does market economy guarentee a growth? Yes, intrinsically by merely increasing the price, be it for the reason of dark moon nights or moon-shine nights like fish price in the market, or rainy days and sunny days like in the veg price. The oil price is "marketed" by the producers not any longer by the supply-demand equation, but by the political economy of the power that be in its own relative entity. The consumers pay for a produce the producer fixed based on how much the consumers do not know the cost of the produce. Thus keeping the knowledge of cost as far away as possible from the consumers is vital for the "growth". In this part of the world, adverts do not carry a price tag, so that different cunsumers pay different price according to their willingness to pay, not the cost of the produce. Words that accompany a produce have nothing to do with the function or performance of the produce; it depends on the power of the language the producer uses to express and on the media technology affordable to the producer. On many produces, the producers do not even know what words are being used by the "consultants" to describe their produces. The dealers and the grocers do not necessarily sell the produce described by the adverts. Warranty is not a guarentee, it is an advert; the consumers kiss the money an eternal good-bye before they pay, irrespective of the thermodynamic state of the produce they exchange for.

Some shopping tips.
I needed a long distance travelling bag, and soon in a search mission, I was attracted to this one in a shop in Kajang "downtown metropolitan". A Lojel 36"; the tag was 790RM. After a long inspection, and after a long counter-"auta", the shop offered me only 775RM. I left the shop and was thinking of another brand. A few days later, I harboured around the place again, and dropped by in a rather big bag shop (meaning there were many types of bags displayed). I did not see any Lojel on display, so I asked the keeper if he had a stock of it: a Lojel 36". He said yes he had the stock, but in the store which he said it would take a few minutes to fetch it and he insisted that I see it. I said never mind seeing it because I had seen it in detail in KL (I lied, it was not in KL, it was in a couple of doors away a few days ago); I told him I wanted to know how much was the price while "blackmailing" him that I had a rather good offer in KL (another lie) which I said would cost me only 10RM to drive there. He insisted to know how much I was "offered", but I refused to tell. Finally he quoted, confidently, 780RM, and without my insistence, ran to get the bag to show it to me. He returned a few minutes later with the bag. Yes, it was the bag I had seen. Then, in murmur, I told him that the price I was offered was very much lower than his offer; it was so low that I said I dare not tell him. He said its all right, he insisted it to be told. At this point I striked my trump card. I said it was 495RM (an absolute lie), plus another 10RM driving cost if I would go to KL to take the offer. Apparently it did not shock him (that made me more confident that the price I shot was about right). He scratched his head a few times plus some murmur, and made a phone call. Within a few minutes I was offered 490RM, and while he was in the confused state of mind, I paid and took away the Lojel 36" in my car and dashed home.


A 2cr5 6V battery to power a Canon EOS, and another for its auto-dedicated flash unit, which I used in the middle of 90's when I was writing the KBSMs. It costed 17RM; and lately? I noticed its price tag was 38RM in a shopping complex. I wanted to rejuvenate my SLR cannon EOS, because my Minolta Riva 75W was malfunction in its back-winding mechanism. The first shop I inquired began its cheating procedure by saying that it was original and showed to me the band writings on the packaging cardboard which he said would be absent in the faked battery; and further, the faked one would last only for about twenty rolls of films; and he proceeded to the second cheating step by saying that the battery was actually two batteries combined in one because of the its twin-cylinder shape. At this stage he did not realise that he was trying to cheat a high level physical chemist; and it was at this point that I realized that he was trying to cheat. Alright, lets try! First I said that I had bought this at a price very much lower than his price; to which he said he would give a discount; to which I straight forward said that I paid only 17RM; to which he said that the one I bought was a faked one; to which, refering to his "info", I replied that I had used it for two years, not just twenty rolls; at which he straight forward offered me 20RM; to which I replied that his price was for a faked one; and left the shop inferring then that its price must be not very much more than 17RM I had paid. I would decline if he was to offer 17RM; I would demand a few RM less because I knew that then he knew that I knew the price; this is the weak point of a cheater: when he knew that you knew he was cheating and you knew the price. I harboured at a second shop; straight forward asked for a 2cr5 battery and the attendants criss-crossed the shelves and found and handed to me. The price tag was similar, 38RM. I said I had paid for it for 17RM six month ago (I lied) and asked if he would give it to me for the same price. Without an angument he said yes; and thus I said I would have two. I similarly ventured further to have a Konica 100asa 36 exp for 7RM (tagged 8.50 RM - and currently was an obsolete material) to which he voluntarily offered 6RM to roundup my 40RM I had kissed good-bye; and my canon EOS was rejuvenated in the very same night. And well, well, who knows, the next day, May 2 Sun, when I turned up, I was asked to become the impromptu official photographer in the wedding ceremony of one of my long-time friend Dr Md Soot's son, because the one his wife booked did not turn up; and the EOS functioned very well.

Two pairs of nylon wheels I needed to replace for my FOC computer table which collapsed a few days when the computer set was on it. They were tagged 37RM when I inquired them in a hardware shop on a Sunday in PJ New Town. The shop owner, an old man, gave to me for 35RM. A few days later in a shop near my place I saw the exact boxed copy of the wheels, retailed at only 20RM. I was furious and datermined to get my cheated money back. So several weeks later, I revisited the shop. The opportunity was perfect when I saw the shop tenders were two young men. I went in, and told them the merchandise I wanted to buy: the same wheels while pointing to the place on the shelf where I got my last wheels. One of them picked them and gave them to me. They were the same wheels. And they were similarly quoted 37RM. I told him that I bought a similar set last week from his father (the old man - did not matter his father or not) for only 15RM. Perhaps he was his real father, and perhaps invoking his "father" had spelled him down. With no further usual "auta", he said yes, and very quickly I put the 15RM on the table and dashed out and disappeared myself in a split second. At home in the evening, I made some arithmatic sums: two sets of wheel at a sum of 35+15=50 RM, that meant 25RM a set. Well, not that bad compared to the 20RM that had made me very furious. At least I got back a large fraction of the money I was cheated. But, on this very day, I 'recovered' another bigger loss. I met one of my old friends of UKM 1970's in pantai campus, right around the very vicinity where I recovered my cheated money. He was Tuan Kob who was my coursemate in the first year in 1971. Apparently he had a very good memory of my face derivative since that short 1971. It took him only an instant second to recognise me, but it took my admission to dig my memory about him. He stayed in Subang Jaya, apparently very close to my ever-buddy Rashidi, and in fact he said very frequently had teh tarik together around their place.

I have been studying and then teaching high level Chemistry since 1974 as a tutor, then lecturer in Nov 1976; exactly 30 years to end of 2004. The smallest size of my class was 4 students - SK470 in Nov 1976, and the biggest was 577 - STPD 1113, fortunately an ICT paper all the science students had to sit. The biggest chemistry paper was 565 - SK 1062 in May 1987, and another batch 560 in May 1988; then all science students sat for my paper plus the first year Life Science Faculty, 150 of which were stampeding to get a place in the second year Medical Faculty. I introduced the multiple choice question for the mid and final exam, of which I was remarked "a lazy lecturer" by my then Head of Dept. In 2004, MCQ was accepted as a norm for big classes and was 'acrued' by ISO and since then many colleagues learned that setting MCQ was definitely not a job of "lazy lecturers". Admittedly, I never knew how good I was in imparting the knowledge and educating the students; I never tried to find it out. It was not because I did not care. When I looked up upon my teachers, I noted that teaching is a "religious" duty, or a spiritual obligation, as an intrinsic property ordained for the propagation of the great circle of life; it thus depends on how blessed we were by god, irrespective of what one's religion is, and the limit is whithin there.

Apparently the banks did not give a free cheap car loan;

The cars were very expensive, but the car loan were very cheap. Loan for new cars were almost below 3%; whereas for used cars, the amount offered were more than the price of the car eventhough the cost were up to 6%. How to account this in terms of ordinary lives? Forget the economist jargons, alas, in a variety of rational, because whatever the explanation they offered, the results were always invariably the same: price increase. The corporates borrow money from the bank; use the money to make products to sell to the people at a price as many times higher as possible than the cost; so they make profits; and the price keeps on increasing to make bigger profits. Where do the banks get the money? How do they multiply their money? Not very difficult if you are a banker, I mean if you are given a licence to operate a bank. When you keep the money in the bank, it uses your money to make money which becomes its money with only a token for you; in essence it means you pay the bank to keep your money. And ubiquitously, if you borrow the money from the bank, you pay for the cost of the borrowing. That's how nomatter what season it is, the banks always have a lot of money. In other words, with money to buy the money, the bank always pay cheaper for our money than we pay for their money. I was not alone, some body, on Nov 1, wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister about this banking "practice".

Somehow in the AFTA mood, the consumer paid higher for the cars; announced in the early of 2nd week Jan. Petrol price increased in Mei 2004, and again Oct 1 2004 to 1.42RM per litre. And the same day the chicken price was increased by 40-60 sen per kilo; two weeks after it was confirmed that avian flu had striked northern state Kelantan where the bird were culled by the thousands; and Singapore banned import of the livestock.

Sukiman Sarmani dropped-in, 1974 Dec 29 Sun, Castle Irwell Student Village, Salford University.

A new registrar was in the office from Jun 9, the office bearer I contended to perform the NCship beginning from the expiration of the current one. He was of my batch in UKM in 1971 perhaps only made me knew him very well. But some surprises descended; Prof ALM who assumed the deanship since Jan 1 last year was prematurely replaced by Prof Jalil from Jul 1, but his lecturer job was continued on contract for another two years in PPSSSA. Bigger surprise! the congener TNCA suffered similar fate from Aug 18 (at retiring date - after just 1.5 y on the 'junjung', or ca. 0.5 tenure) and descended to PPSKTM on a similar contract. Both were cases of unclimaxed events. In UKM history, no outgoing TNC (except one from PPSM) who descended to where he came from, stayed there long enough; all would leave for a better peace. A month later, his replacement was found, back-dated to Aug 19, to last till 2007 Aug 18, Prof Sukiman Sarmani, also from the same cocoon. His significance perhaps was as a third UKM grad (of 1st batch) to have climbed to chancellory (2nd level). The second was Prof Abdul Hamid Hadi, 4-5th batch, as TNCA University of Malaya in late last year or early this year; and the first was Prof Mohd Wahid, of 2nd batch, in Jun last year 2003 as TNC HEP of UKM. The replacement thus completed the chancellory's flatness and confirmed the notion that syarahan perdana was only for contract renewal at the beginning of one's retirement.

Sarcastically, the wave occurred with an attribution to the chemistry school. Firstly the expired TNCA was a chemist; he was replaced by another chemist, the dean of PPS whose vacated post was filled by another chemist, a deputy dean in FST who pulled another chemist from the school to fill the (dep dean) post. Inevitably, similar waves (of ripple size) took place in the School of chemical sciences. The chemistry programme head Dr Musa took over to become the new chairman of PPSKTM, whose place, the chief of chemistry programme, was filled by Dr Zuriati whose place, the chief of oleochemistry programme, was replenished, thank goodness, this time by a new blood Dr Jumat.

Dr Noramly -pic 1973- who recruited a lot of staff for chemistry department, UKM in 1972; Prof Sjamsul Arifin, used to be on loan from Indonesia's ITB to UKM's chemistry 1975-1978;
It is interesting to note that the new chairman is an alumnus of the department/school, graduated in 1985, with many of his teachers are still serving; and thus practically would be serving him. There would come the first time, and then many times after that, that he would decide on the "lifeline" of his former teachers, the creatures who fed him with knowledges that eventually made the exercises he is experiencing possible. When that time comes, I would like to let the new chairman knows that he must do it with a full of wisdom, the absence of which, as I had observed occurred on several "alumni" for the past thirty years, would take him to a new destiny he would prepare to die to leave. It is a natural phenomenon, like a thermodynamic parameter does, that a pupil must maintain an undivided one-way respect to his teacher, no matter how bad his teacher is due to the one-way newtonic mechanism he had experienced when he was a student; exactly as a sibling is to his parents, no matter what religion they were in. If he forgets this he could not forget that he had only himself to blame. The latest in my list of observation was the fateful piper sarmentosum himself who while at a junction of his destiny chose to dissent the suggestion to pay an honour to the person happened to had fed him the first spoon of career, the destiny he was then riding, to the peak at the fateful day; in preference for a former foreign colleague who then hold a more potential helpfulness than the former.

In the 'confusion', I managed to sneak out of the ICT things during the transition (Aug 14) and passed the baton to Dr Kadderi; confirmed on Jul 19 by the NC letter, thanking for being the coordinator for the past 3 years; but I still in love with the teaching of the ICT for the faculty first year intake. My last jointly-organised ICT course (#4 series) to the FST staff was on Mac 30-31 in which I spoke for four hours in two sessions.

Aug 17 Tue morning, Rubi born a baby girl in Hospital Putra Jaya, exactly 2 years (18 Aug 2002) after her wedding: making me a Datuk, and Azizah a "Datin"; thus completed a cycle of life and began the new cycle. I was very much blessed to be able to live in the overlap of the two cycles. Asri took quite sometimes to adapt to the new comer for he had the 'idea' that she was his new sister to take over his place on Azizah's lap. For the first few weeks he did not compromise at all.

The original RU in Oct 2003 after the "deunhygenisation", and in Sep 2004.
New RU spanning across the river under construction

New RU began its operation from Sep 2 Wed 2004.
Perhaps the most significant academic development in FST was on Wed 1 Sep, when for the first time the new cafe which was built spanning across the river, operated, replacing the old "unhygenic" canteen, closed in 2002 oct. Dr Jumat, Prof Pauzi and Md Nor and I were among the first to try on the bright morning; it was whispered by the 'operator' (sound like a convert chinese, heard shouted at as Pak Mat) that the NC and his entourage would come in the late morning to inaugurate. But after a few 'sittings', we decided that, taste-wisely, it was good to alternate to PUSANIKA, one of our 'kolam seroja' since mid-year last year. We were not wrong; the roti canai disappeared after a few weeks operation; and the teh tarik was getting colder by the days. The first meteorite hit was when Ramadan 1425 clocked in on Oct 15 Fri. When I "revisited" it after Eid 1425 (Nov 14 Sun) Nov 23 Tue, 2nd day the campus restarted its Semester II, 2004/05, the roti canai returned, but most of the table were harboured by the girls students either waiting for their lectures in 129H or 130H, or simply as a place for rendezvous.
A lot of space and quite open-air, but rather institutionalised; the clear benefactor was the builder, and the processors leading to it;

Undoubtly, the event of the year was the freeing of DS Anwar on Sep 2 Thu by the Federal Court judges Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamed and Tengku Datuk Baharuddin Shah Tengku Mahmud (the third judge Datin Peduka Rahmah Hussain, dissented) in the Palace of Justice in Putra Jaya; excatly 6 years after he was dismissed, arrested, beaten to an inch of his life, humiliatingly convicted and jailed in Sg Buloh prison. He flew to Munich immediately during the weekend to have his acute back injury treated. Chronology of Anwar's plight; also here, here, and here. He returned home on Oct 31 (exactly a year after Tun MM steped down) to resume or rebegin his leadership career. It clouded a bit the UMNO 2004, 21-25 sep in PWTC general assembly in which Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (5th PM since 2003 Oct 31) and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (the TPM, since 2004 Jan 7 Wed) were elected uncontested President and Deputy, respectively.

Perhaps this period of time was the walimah period thrown by colleagues and friends and relatives for the siblings, like I was in 2002 Aug; weekends this year were almost saturated, school breaks or not: Mac 6 Sat, Suhaimi Muslim (KRU); Mar 19 (missed), Rozali Mamat, my cousin in Trg; Mac 7 Sun Talhah (LA - Sect 4); Mac 20, Sun Dr Md Soot, (accompanying to Teluk Intan) and at his home in Bakar Baginda May 2 Sun; Mac 20 Sun, (previsit) Dr Md Pauzi (Kajang); MakNgah's grandson Muhamad Endut's both top two sons, Apr 4 Sun (both engagements in Klang), Aug 7 Sat, akad Along in Wangsa Maju, and 'hantar' the next day, akad Angah di Klang Aug 20 Fri, and 2-in-1 in Sg Merab Aug 28 Sat; Apr 25 Sun, En Jaafar of MARDI, Jo's Su's untie in Sec 2; May 1 Sat, Mizan Wahid (puspati) in Rasah Jaya; May 7, Prof Abdul Salam Babji in Masjid Wilayah Jln Duta; May 9 Sun, Hj Ibrahim Abdullah (Bakar Baginda); May 29 Sat, Dr Tusirin (Permata); May 30 Sun, Utz Dr Ab Halim Muhammady of Teras Jernang; May 30 Sun, Dr Akram Ayob in Taman TDI; May 30 Sun, (previsit - Sect 2) Hamidah Hj Ghani, the Deanery staff; Jun 5 Sat, Dr Hamid Hadi in Manjalara; Jun 5, (missed - but not my #1 and #2 daughters, their teacher at SRK) Hjh Ramlah Munawar; Jun 12 Sat, Muhammad Salih Jaafar the uphill neighbour; Jun 12 Sun, Mohd Napiah Abdullah (near SRK BBB); Jun 12 Sat, (missed) Dr Amran Kisimin of Sg Merab; Jul 17 Sat, CheGu Ros engagement of her #2daughter in Meru; Jul 18 Sun, (missed - Jln 2/4) Aziz Ngah the retired Geo LA; Aug 1 Sun, (missed - Jln 1/9?) Dr Abd Rashid Ahmad; Jul 18 Sun, Abdullah Yusof in Dewan Perdana FELDA Keramat (a gallant ceremony attended by the Acting Sultan of Pahang) and, Aug 7 Sat (missed) his double sons walimah in Terengganu; Aug 7 Sat, Dr Osman Hassan (missed to accompany to Sg Isap, Kuantan Aug 21 Sat - missed also the probablity of seeing Awang Sulong my SAS-mate in 1967 who I never forget); Aug 7 Sat, Dr Mohd Ambar Yarmo; Aug 21 Sat, (previsit) Wak Misbah in Sentosa Teras Jernang; Aug 21-22 Sat-Sun, Zizah's sister Kamal&Noriah in Segamat (missed Aug 27 Fri the congener occasion in Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan); Aug 21 Sat, (missed for the second time - Jln 1/8?) Dato' Dr Nik Abd Rashid Ismail, my former teacher 1966 in Padang Midin Trg and former UKM TNC; Aug 22 Sun, (missed - neighbour) Prof Dr Mohd Alauddin Mohd Ali; Aug 28 Sat, Prof Dato' Md Noor Embi (KRU); Aug 29 Sun, Wan Ahmad Jusoh in his exclusive retreat in Janda Baik; Sep 11 Sat, Prof Chamhuri Siwar (Permata); Oct 2 Sat, Mohd Radzi Zainuddin (jln 2/2); Nov 28 Sun, Aishah Hanim (LA - Jln 2/3); Nov 28 Sun, Fatimah Omar (home-state next neighbour - Punchak Alam); Dec 3 Fri, Datuk Wira Jahaya Mat (missed - Balai Felda); Dec 4 Sat, Prof Dr Yahaya Mahamood (Gemilang UKM); Dec 12 Sun, Prof Madya Ainon Hamzah (Sukiman's #3 - missed, Pandan Indah); Dec 11 Sat, CheGu Ros, my #2SIL's family in Meru, Klang; Dec 12 Sun, Prof Zuriati Zakaria (Sukiman's #2 - Jln 4/5); Dec 25 Sat, Mohd Mustafah - Jamaliah (Jln 3/3A); Dec 25 Sat, Shamsuddin Abd Hamid of Bakar Baginda; Dec 26 Sun, Dr Sanusi Jangi (Jln 1/9J); Dec 26 Sun, Prof Dr Muda@Ismail Ab Rahman (Jln 2/4F); Dec 26 Sun, (missed) Zainal Abidin Abdul Ghani, former Chem LA (1/3C, near my "alma mater"); Dec 26 Sun, (missed) Pak Wan the school canteen caterer (2/2c); right through to the new year 2005 Jan 1 Sat, Dr Jamaluddin Daud;

Several close relatives passed on this year. May 11 Tue, MakDa Memon; Jun 29 Tue early night, AyohLi; Jul 22 Thu evening, AbangMahAbangWi; Sep 13 Mon, MakChik Takir; Oct 18 Mon night, Abang Ngah. Colleagues: May 22 Tue, Dr Jamil Jais (spectroscopist); Jun 22 Tue, Dr Kamaruzzaman Matharsa (statistician); Nov 15 Mon, Dr Muhammed Awang (Psychologist).

Jun 9 Wed, submitted appln for gred C. If I did not, I would be cursed for the rest of my life. And as every one was one hundred fifty percent correct, I received the letter from the dean on Dec 16, conforting, saying not to grief. I had forgotten whether he said or not that I should try again next time. He should not, because he ought to know that there was no more next time, neither I nor him.

It was a quite outings this year, mostly in the first 3Q of the year; four times on loan to MatriQ (Jan 15-16 - Ipoh Rd, Jul 13-16 - Penang Rd, Jul 28-31 - Pudu, Oct 17-22 - Seremban; the first three of which digged the memories of late 1960s and early 1970's); three times for the mother UKM's ICT desire which unambiguously exhibited the UKMisme (Apr 25-26 - Allson Klana Seremban, Jul 12-13 - Equitorial Bangi, Aug 6 - FTSM, UKM); and the 'amazing' EST was alive and surprisingly very merry in Riviera, Kelebang, Melaka (Sep 1-3). It was a luxurious place: a bedroom in the room. It was an enjoyble time with my wife and the lower kids during the first stay 1996 Sep 20-24; and since then had been there for a few times, and the last one was 1997 Mac 5-9, on the same ticket. I noticed somehow a new name kept on appearing: "Meritus"; well, all created things change, no matter how big the things are. This was the only place I had been in this country which provides tooth brush and tooth paste. The other place such service I experienced was in Jia Duo Lih Motel in Taipei, Taiwan, 1999 Dec 20 Mon.

Two kiddos sat for the certificated examination: Alya for PMR (Tingkatan 3), in the morning session at SMKBBB, and CB, UPSR (darjah 6). They both enrolled in the Edu Tech, Diamond/Warta since Jan 5, the very first day the school opened. SB, in year 3 was in the evening session. Muzani, at the beginning of the year was in 2nd semester of his Matriculation in Arau, Perlis (KMP). He finished off on Mar 12 Fri with less stress than that of the first semester last year. April 11 Sun, the final result was made available; sufficient for him on Jun 13 toregister in UPM to do economy, his third choice. Zidni returned home on May 15 for his internship at ESSO to early Aug when he would return for his last leg in Tulsa -- 18 Aug flight, just on time to see his #1niece.

Latest addition to the mega highways projects: the tolled east coast highways; opened in Aug 2004 (continued 7RM) from Karak to Kuantan at 19.60RM; nonetheless eased the KL-KTN to-and-fro journey for Eid 1425 on Nov 13 Sat; news in Dec, that the whole north-south (meaning: including east-west) highways would increased its toll by 10%;

From this car alone, I paid 551.90RM toll for 2004. I paid toll from other cars too which I did not collect the receipts. My office is only a few km away from my home; I do not pay toll to go to work. The toll I paid was for taking my family for leisure. Imagine those who had to pay toll to go to work and pay another toll to come back home to their families. The fact of the matter is that highway "business" has entered into a new phase: highways are now commercial products; they are not any longer a service of a government to its people.

My own count down to the inevitable retirement began today, 2004 Nov 30 Tue, when I recieved the reminder from the registrar, and asking to submit several documents for them to proceed: it would be 2007 Apr 20 Friday; which ever comes first, completed 56, to exit the UKM, to begin the new, most probably the last, phase of life.

Already retired a long time ago were the instruments the retirees were working with, unsalvaged by UKMisme;

As I contended a few years ago, that the Chemistry, unless a new enthalpy is added (who cares !!!!), naturally would inevitably deswell and would reach the intrinsic volume, the size of the amorphous state by 2010.

Preceded were those who had passed on, the late En Karim Yaacob, (option-retired in 1988, passed away in 2000) a theoretical chemist; the late Dr Rusli Ghani (1993), a polymer chemist; the late Dr Wan Mohamed Wan Muda (2000), an organometallic chemist; the late Dr Jamil Jais (disability-retired in 1999, passed away in 2004), a spectroscopist;

Dr Ahyar Idris (1985), a analytical chemist, resigned to join a private firm; Dr Arisol Alimuniar (1994), a polymer chemist, also opted out to join a private firm in Thailand; Dr Jariah Abdullah, an inorganic chemist, retired in 2001; Dr Anita Ramli, an inorganic chemist, moved on (2003) to reunite her husband in SIRIM, Kulim;

Dr Nik Idris, an physical organic chemist, retired (2004) and joined the neighbouring KUIM; Subashani Maniam, a tutor, opted out (2004) after about a year without a sign of kick-off; Dr Sri Nurestri, a natural product chemist, moved to join University of Malaya (2004); Dr Sri was the third most senior lecturer of the Chemistry UKM, reporting for duty in 1975 upon return from New Zealand (the second was Dr Jamjam Rajikan who moved to USM in 1978 and retired from there in 2000; the very first was Dr Noramly Muslim who after in and out on several secondment in the country, moved to IAEA in Geneva in 1988 and retired from there in 1997). As of today, the most senior is Dr Md Soot Ahmad, followed by Dr Md Pauzi Abdullah, the former will retire in 2008, while the latter together will retire in 2007. In Oct this year, three of us completed 30 years of service in UKM;

Prof Ikram Said; Prof Abdul Hamid Othman; Prof Abdul Salam Babji; all retired in 2004, but were lucky and got reemployed per se on contract to be re-retired or "recycled" in 2006. All the latter six were officially farewelled by the School on Dec 23 Thu afternoon in KRU;

The Unquoted Quotes

"The most difficult part is to get enrolled into a university. Once enrolled, graduation is guaranteed by the university."

- A senior student to freshies.

"Tag whatever price you like for the foods; they would be sold out soon after the sun set."

- A night market food-staller in Bangi to her colleagues.

"In the future the greatest achievement of a professor is delivering the inaugural lecture six months before retirement date.

- A deputy CEO of a private University College in his interview defending his job."

"It is not important to become an important person; to be able to become an ordinary person is far, far more important."

- A psychiatrist to her patient.

In my backyard orchard
This year, the dokong, planted in the same year the house was constructed (1985), began to give us their sweet langsat-duku combination. This is the remaining few of the trees that we planted that give us the fruits. It was grown from the seeds, the fruits of which was brought here by the house builder Pak Zid from his home town in Pattani, Thailand. From the two kilos of fruits that Pak Zid brought to us, several seeds were germinated in two discarded paint-cans; when they were sufficienly strong and enough number of leaves, they were transfered per se to the plot at two different locations; however, they grew up at a different rates; the slower one was inhibited further by the frequent manace of the hanuman langur to the resultant size-wise of 1 to ten. We are waiting, and we are also waiting for the duku, the baby of which was the one that survived from the forty odd we brought from Terengganu in early 1990's; and the langsat (two trees) we planted from the babies given to us by Pak Etek of Sungai Buah at about the same year;


The year end event was better remembered with the splinters of tsunami's breath that only hissed on Penang, Kuala Muda, and Langkawi (with only ca. 60 washed off - many thousands though mercilessly displaced) - to the year end 67 confirmed died, and counting; compared to those it touched in the western coast of northern Sumatra (where the epicentre was), Phuket, Andaman islands, Madras, Sri Langka, and Maldives. It was estimated that close to 160,000 lives were washed off (a figure of 400,000 was anticipated by Dec 31 as rescue teams reported that the demages were more severe than what was estimated) by the giant wave on the afternoon of 2004 Dec 26 Sunday. More than a million was said to had been displaced by the wave. In Aceh, Sumatra, the worst-hit, some reporters relayed the manaces in words "in some places in Aceh, there were no sign of life". The Premier suggested for the no-celebration (otherwise very "merry" in Bangsar, Merdeka Square, Bukit Bintang, and KLCC) for the new year, and "naturally" every one, private or public observed.

Gurney Drive, Feringgi, Tg Tokong, in Penang; and Chenang, in Langkawi;

Tamil Nadu, and Madras in India; Banda Aceh, Sumatra; Phuket, Thailand; Link to some satelite pictures before and after;

The tremor was felt in several places in the peninsular: Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu (where the patients in the hospitals were evacuated); in Kuala Lumpur on several high rise condos, and hospitals evacuation were of Pusat Rawatan Islam and Selayang Hospital.

Edition dated Jan 2005