Month -3-01, Dec

Dec 1 Fri was for the make-up of the results from yesterday Nov 30 Thu meeting. Dec 2 Sat, being "freed" by Alya, and also tomorrow, we went for the Walimah of Dr Mohd Aspollah, my form 4 & 5 1967-68 SAS classmate, an Assoc Prof in UPM Chemistry. My guess was that I accidentally met him - a nice guy to be a friend of - only twice since 1970. In 1971 he was in the group that went to Indonesia; I was in the group that supposedly went to Australia, but eventually joined the group that filled up UKM. Unfortunately the walimah was in UPM's PPL dining hall instead of his home. Nonetheless, I had been to this place before, and love to see it again. It was in 1990 Ogos 20-25 for the training course in water and waste water treatment - a pre-embarkation of the chitosan research in view of its potential ability to clean water. It was during this course also, I met my SAS senior 1969 Ariffin Saat who was then with Tampin Municipal Council. That was fifteen years ago; he would have retired by this year.

Dec 5 Mon was the last paper of SPM (Biology) - "high noon", and thus the last day Alya in Seseri; joining others already at home since late last Nov to finish the whole Dec school year end break; she is to begin a new phase in 2007 Jan. Seseri became her alma mater. Unlike TKC and SAS, each with quantums of five years 'affair', SESERI, with the 'special affair', although for a short two years only, will be remembered by every one, perhaps including Asri.

The last load, the last pose, and the last look;

Dec 6 Tue, In the Old Locus

My job took me to a place in my 1970's locus. My very first arrival at this place was in 1971 when I checked in UKM; at the time this particular premise was not yet exist, and all the main roads were no better than double-lane dual carriage-way. I had not been here during the previous four years tenure 1967-1970 in SAS. This place atrributed partly as I was growing up. It made me lingered around throughout the rest of the 70's, until we moved to Bangi in 1983. This place then became just a yesterday places. Other than traces, nothing was left behind to pick up or to return for.

The place was Sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 Petaling Jaya; originally was just residential area without high-rise buildings and other "developments". The other half of my locus during this period of time was the Pantai Valley through to Bangsar and Kuala Lumpur bound to the east. These sections are on the eastern side of the Federal Highway, opposite to what was called PJ New Town or Merdeka Square (sometimes State PJ) on the western side.

In those days, Merdeka Square was the commercial area of PJ, like that of the Sect 14, in contrast to residential area of Old PJ. People came here for matters related to Registration Department, Driving permits and other transport matters in JPJ, the Post Office, the police station, a hub of car spareparts and workshops, and Trifty supermarket - the first supermarket in town, next door to C&C (selling Merc) S&S centre.

Petaling Jaya is a city in the third millenium. Obviously. The developed area, and most of all the development itself needed the status for economic purposes. But it was started from here - the Merdeka Square or the State PJ. Currently the landmark in the area is the MPPJ Tower. It used to be a car park, like a court surrounded by only double-storey blocks. All essential items were available in this area (including bar). It lacked only a wet-market - because it was always meant for admin centre of PJ.

Medan Selera became Medan Ria. It was "preserved" as an underground court below a high-rise residential condo. It is no longer an open air. As I was posing (to Dr Razak Ali of UTM) for this picture, a pale thin stall operator approached with a deja vu "mahu tahu bakar?";

The left side of the road was the backdoor of the stalls of Medan Selera;

Jaya Supermarket is maintained, but I believed had changed hands many times already since it maiden opening in mid-1970;

PJ Section 11 - Section 12 "twizone" which was a fully plane residential area that I never have a business to be here in the 1970's - not even today. The straight road is Jln 11/4 with the background of Pantai Valley - Pantai Hills. Sections 11, 12, 13, and 14 are neighbouring;

Jln Datuk Abd Aziz 14/28 maintains its "residentiality" to this day. The secret? No high rise building;

The eastern side of Jln Semangat is continuously being "repainted". The western side is original (plus some touch-up here and there). Along this walk, I met my close friend, Othman Ngah in 1976 (evening of Nov 22 Mon) who had just graduated from UM. That was the last we saw each other, and I made known to him Azizah. I never had the opportunity to know the family he chiefed;

Section 11, 12, 13, 14 were basically fully residential areaa; I was a total stranger in the former, but in the latter Section 14 there were a cluster of sundry shops. The most known was an eateries called "Medan Selera". It was like "Benteng", or "Campbell", or "Pasar Minggu", but better organised in that the eating tables were in a courtyard surrounded by the circle of 'gerai's which sell the dishes. The dishes that "suited" us were mostly along the western rows.

When I checked-in UKM in 1971 May, I stayed in Sg Way Police Station. From there I rode to Pantai Valley every day. The journey was through Jln 225 (the end of which was the police station), with the Malayan Acid Works on the right; then Jln 223 (or cut through Jln 222 joining Jln 223) which continued with Jln Datuk Abdul Aziz 14/29 - Kah Motor was on the left and Federal Institute of Technology on the right - to the right along Jalan Semangat 14/28 (Colgate Palmolive was on the left where my colleague Ahmad Salleh eventually 'settled' after graduation to his retirement in post 2000), then left to Jln Kemajuan 12/18, three o'clock at the roundabout (bulatan Universiti) along Jln Universiti, then Jln Ilmu into University of Malaya campus, out of the campus, eight o'clock at the 'Amjal' roundabout, and eventually into UKM campus. And reverse on the way home.

Sometimes on returning back to Sg Way I took a more "adventurous" route by going up to the "Bulatan Rothman" at the Jln Semangat-Jln Universiti end, then through to Section 19, then SS2, the Paramount, then Kg Tunku SS1 which was adjacent to Sg Way. Conversely a slightly further route, but faster, but more risky (by the bullet-speed cars and Sri Jaya Bus), was through the Federal Highway; taking it immedately at the mini-roundabout at the Malayan Acid Work, and exit at Jln Pantai Bharu. The section 14 "Medan Selera" was off parallel to the Jln Semangat on the right, where there were also two rows of sundries shop. All along the left side of Jln Semangat was off-public manufacturing 'dry' factories.

In 1972, when all UKM Chemistry moved to Section 16 (along Jln Universiti), I stayed in the 2nd Residential College (from November). Section 14 was my 'playground'; in 1973 through to half year 1974, very frequent at the Medan Selera to have the night supper. The favourite drink was always "teh ais" (iced tea), sometimes sugarcane juice. Favourite dish was just noodle (fried or soup). "Nasi lemak" was not yet an ubiquity. On celebration-mood, grilled chicken or satay. On entering the courtyard, we were always "greeted" by the chinese selling "tahu bakar" (grilled soya curd) which I never wish to have a taste of it.

In 1976, when I began my teaching at the UKM Chem Dept, I stayed in Damansara Utama SS22. Again, Section 14 was a point on the locus; but not the Medan Selera, it was the Jaya Supermarket which was built sometimes around 1974. Another point on the locus was the Oxford University Press (Penerbit Fajar Bakti) at the end of Jln 13/1 off Jln Kemajuan (backing Colgate-Palmolive).

I spent quite a while in Sect 14, "reminiscing", seeing the changes almost beyond recognition; but one, the Jaya, but I believed still hand changed hands many times. Somehow, Jln Datuk Abd Aziz 14/28 was left un'developed', and the inhibitants appeared to live ever after. This was the road I passed, in peak times, twice a day to and fro, in 1971 and 1972, first on BAA9275, then BAB7816, until I embedded in the college in Nov that year. It was amazing how they "preserved" the Medan Selera, by way of 'numerical' method, hiding the macro-effect of the demography - the prevailing natural entropic way. The eastern side of Jalan Semangat 14/28 is seen being repainted from dry factories to the usual high-rise commercial buildings where people these days would congregate and exhale whatever they have for the greedy inhalers.

Jln Kemajuan 12/18 that connected Section 14 to Section 16 and 17 - the "line of life" in 1972-1974.

Dec 7 Wed, I finally Met the Tiger

The tiger which in 1960's meant so much to us. It was the only source of cinema. When the tiger began to roar, every kiddy screamed deliriously; that the film was starting, then every one stayed quiet, devouring the "story". It was in the open air; and sometimes in the moon-light. The silence broke after about three-quarter of an hour by the sudden stop of the show and sudden flash of lights from the generator (in the boat, if they came by the river, or in the landrover if they came by land). A man grabbed the microphone and began his "information" in the hingest dB of a PA, heard all over the village even to those who did not come to the cinema. The boredom set-in. The children began to make cluttering noises, but still very much lower than the dB of the PA; and circulating the guessing: firstly, when the man with the microphone will stop; secondly, when he stop, would there be any more film show.

In the hands of media, the same phenomenon and fact becomes stereoscopic. Some present it syndiotactically, while others, isotactically; it's hard not to believe a deliberation. Ubiquitously. And quickly attracted the Calliphoridae;

The bread that we consume everyday is apparently no longer made from flour, yeast, salt and water only. Such formulation is a control item, and thus "no fun" in making the bread of this recipe. Current bread is made from the substances containing all sorts of nutritional components needed to be eaten to become superhuman. The manufacturer is really concerned about it and thus embarked on superhigh food technology advice to make this bread. This is the formulae (sans composition) for a whole meal which is made from a mixture of cereals. Naturally they are rich in nutrition - the Nature's goodness which had sustained human being to this end. The ingredients that are not naturally in the cereals are the palm oil, emulsifier & enzyme, permitted flavour, oligosaccharide (inulin), and calcium propionate. Thus listing the cereal mixture, and all the components in it; plus the six non-naturals; add salt, yeast and water; mixed thoroughly, and bake. A super-bread is produced and thus at super-price. Look at the vitamins alone. The label gave the perception that they are the ingredients not the components available in the ingredients. Take note that they are mostly vitamin B's family. Imagine stacks of bottles of vitamins in the stock store to be added in the making of the bread. Only four minerals are "added": iron, iodine, magnesium, and zink. Calcium is from the calcium propionate - the additive. Sodium is from the (common) salt, and perhaps cobalt is from cyanocobalamine.

Dec 13 Tue

Malaysia installed its 13th Agong, the Sultan of Terengganu, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Al Wathiqu Billah Al-Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Al-Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Al-Haj, replacing the 12th, the Raja Perlis, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail. This was the second time the Terengganu sultan was installed. The first time was in 1965 Sep 21, that of Al-Marhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III, the 4th Agong who replaced the 3rd Agong, the Raja Perlis, Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail. Sultan Mizan is the grandson of Al-Marhum Sultan Ismail, while Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin is the son of Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra.

Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra (the 3rd Agong), DYMM Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin (the 12th Agong), Al-Marhum Sultan Ismail (the 4th Agong - the 15th Sultan of Terengganu), Almarhum Sultan Mahmud (the 16th Sultan of Terengganu), DYMM Al-Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin (the 13th Agong - the 17th Sultan of Terengganu), and Tengku Muhammad Ismail (the 2006 Acting Sultan of Terengganu);

In 1965 I was in form two in SMK Padang Midin, Terengganu, which was for the first time opened in 1964 Oct. The school was officially opened on Tuesday, September 28 1965, by the Minister of Education, YB En Mohd Khir Johari. In 1966, the first grand Speech Day was held, and the Sultan of Terengganu was the GOH; however since the Sultan was in Kuala Lumpur as the 4th Agong, the Acting Sultan was taking the place. It was Tengku Mahmud, the then Acting Sultan. I recieved my prizes from His Majesty (two days rehearsal), the 13th Agong's father, the 16th Sultan of Terengganu (1979-1998); for the form two 1965 Math, Science, Geografi, and History, plus the overall. I was told by a teacher, that I was capped to allow others to "participate".

Al-Sultan Mizan was the youngest to become a Sultan in the country. He was 36 in 1998 May 15 when he was installed the 17th Sultan of Terengganu. Al-Sultan Mizan, 44, is the second youngest Agong after Tuanku Syed Putra of Perlis who took office as Agong 1961 Jan 4, at the age of 41. Before leaving for Kuala Lumpur, Al-Sultan Mizan appointed his son, Tengku Muhammad Ismail, as the acting Sultan; and he is 8 (the age of a rakyat in Year 2 SRK), the youngest indeed. It would really be phenomenal if a year two boy in a school is receiving his prize from an 8 yr old king during the speech day of the school, even more for an 18 yrs old sixth former. Unfortunately nowdays, schools do not anymore enjoy the previlage of the royalty patronage anymore for such occasion like speech day. There are so many awarding-days in the school now that speech day (the days a school is all about) is so dilute that it does not worth the attention of a state Sultan.

The 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th UN Secretary Generals;

The acting, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th UN Secretary Generals;

Apparently, the same date, the new 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean Foreign Minister took office (the second Sec from Asia); he was sworn in on December 14, 2006 (to begin 2007 Jan 1). Extracting from Wikipedia, Ban Ki-moon replaced the 7th Sec Gen Kofi Atta Annan, a Ghanian who is married to Nane Maria Lagergren, a Swedish lawyer and artist who is the half-niece of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and member of one of the most prominent banker families in Sweden who worked to save thousands of the Hungarian Jews. Annan has two children, Kojo and Ama, from his previous marriage to Nigerian Titi Alakija. He and Alakija divorced in the late 1970s. Nane has one child, Nina Cronstedt de Groot, from a previous marriage. Kofi Annan succeeded, in 1996 Dec (to begin 1997 Jan 1), the 6th Sec Gen (from 1992 Jan 1), Boutros_Boutros-Ghali, a christian Egyptian, who was the former Egyptian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; born 14 November 1922 in Cairo, Egypt; married to Leia Maria Boutros-Ghali, a sister of Mr. Nadler, an international businessman of Jewish descent who is based in Alexandria, Egypt. The 5th Secretary General was Javier Perez de Cuellar, a Peruvian, who assumed office as Secretary-General of the United Nations on 1 January 1982; he was appointed for a second term of office, which began on 1 January 1987. Perez de Cuellar is married to Marcela Temple, a Peruvian of Scottish ancestry.

The prelim Sec was Gladwyn Jebb of UK (acting) (24 October 1945 – 2 February 1946) until the 1st Sec, Trygve Lie of Norway was voted (2 February 1946 – 10 November 1952). The 2nd was Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden (10 April 1953 – 18 September 1961). The 3rd was Maha Thray Sithu U Thant of Burma (30 November 1961 – 31 December 1971), and the 4th was Kurt Waldheim of Austria (1 January 1972 – 31 December 1981).

When I started reading history in the school, and the UN came in as a new entity replacing the collapsed League of Nations, the Sec Gen was U Thant. I remembered his name very often in the media (radio and newspaper), perhaps because he was an Asian, and from such a country Burma. Indeed U Thant was a great Sec, a man of peace during the most troubled period of the world. He served for two terms, and was succeeded by Kurt Waldheim of Austria. By then I was in the university, and did not read history for my degree. Kurt Waldheim served for two terms as well, then he returned to Austria. He ran for presidency for the second attempt (he lost the first attempt, 1971), and won, June 1986. At this point, his early life in the army was invoked, revealing the impression that Austrian President was more influential than the UN Sec Gen in the world affairs, for he had stayed in peace for two terms as the Sec without any of his past invoked; the extension of which was, to an alien from outer space, that UN was the Federal Goverment of the US.

Count Down Continues;

Two steps shorter in the count down, while the fate might mechanically is in here. It would be made known earliest by Feb next year 2007.

I met many friends, i.e. at a minimum we have met before, along the line, and everyone suggested a conclusion of similar fate. I guessed they based it on the majority incidents. When comes to an individual, statistic does not operate; the average value is functionless. The probability is either one or zero. It will be purely fate, nothing to do with the majority incidents.

Dec 21 Thu, The Last Waltz, Perhaps that Last Forever;

because the big round table eventually a few steps away from completing its revolution;

Receding Further and Further;

Since 1982, this "investment department" had undergone one addition of "facility", and one door change to an executive one, the one better than the lecturer room door. A few months ago it was closed down completely because of "insecurity". It caused quite a distress to Level 2 West Chemistry. No one knows when it will be reopened. And on the East, the door was just like that of the "bus station". The kind that fit to get sticked on it a bill of the attempt to "imbibe" for another variety of investment.
In the meantime, on Level 1, the excecutivisation of the "investment department" had always been on the menu, every time a new mandor took over. This time completed with an automatic hand dryer like that in the 5-star hotels or international airports. Since it started from Level 1, skipping the Level L and G, it is not known whether or not it will climb to level 2 and 3 where most of the Chem professors abode to have their retreat of privacy.

Those were the future yesterday. And these are the past yesterday, the rig and the equilizer tank, left on the flight stair down to the no-man basement; and the rest of the equipments herded into a corner in the Chitin Lab; the one I worked from late 1980's through to the 1990's. It anticlimaxed when Chito-Chem was formed, then the "restructure" in many places, then myopic focus on the chitosan, then many other things, one after another; like in the polymer chains, the (n-1)th segment affects the nth segment which affects the (n+1)th segment and so on in a dissipating fashion.
Nonetheless, the Chitin Lab itself stayed as the prototype of such a mini-lab which I designed in 1999 on Biro courtesy and completed in its honour in 2000. Dionex IC spectrometer (which we bought on IRPA 02-07-03-011 in 1992) was salvaged to furnish the Water Lab, and the lab was accredited.

Bracing for the New Year;

The neighbour ritualised the land clearing (the third since I moved in here in 1987) that moved everybody into an extreme anxiety, and as had been in the past, died down when the sound of the pushing bulldozer died and the dust settled by the rain;
A new set of SU: 3 GHz P4, 512 Mb, 80 Gb - plus the existing sets, to almost one each;
One piece of cooking module assembled;
complete with paint;
One new room acquired by conversion;
Extra three shelves with one splitted, opposite the already fully packed;
A plenty of helping hands;

WIRA was given an engine resuscitation, the first since its acquisation in 1997 Apr and some orthopedic body touch;

The extremely patience boys waiting to leave 2006 for the new 2007 - in the full school break and University break. And in the break were xmas break Dec 25 Mon. CB and SB had a chance to feel "home alone", when the rest took a few days (Dec 22 Fri - 25 Mon) to peek Terengganu; Rubi et al stayed on to the Eid Adha in Seberang Takir; equally Malini et al, by first in Perak then on to Kedah for the Eid.

The Curse of Oil: The Red of the Blood and the Black of the Oil

The event of the year was undoubtedly the hastily execution of Saddam Hussein, the ousted Iraq President - early morning 2006 Dec 30 Sat. Reading the time-line of US-Iraq conflict: Super-fire owner vs super-oil owner, it was really very eerie. The super-oil that fueled the super-fire eventually burned the oil owner. US invaded Iraq in 2003 April, said to deliver democracy, razed the country to ground zero by all known and unknown bombs, killed hundreds of thousands of the the innocent people, the women, the children, the army tortured the prisoners, raped the female to pre-civilisation, small and big (one-piece a repeat of Mongol invasion in 13th century), caught the President 2003 Dec, established a puppet american-democratic government, sponsored up a court, tried him, found him guilty (against the huminity of his people), sentenced to death by hanging, and executed. His only crime (against his arrester - not his people) was that he worked out to change the trading of Iraq oil from dollar to euro, and the secrets he has about the US "democracy" in the ME. For many years until euro was established, Saddam was a great friend of the US, like that of saudi and kuwait. He even helped the attempt to "reinstall" american-democracy in Iran many years after the Shah (another US great dictator friend it installed) was chased away by the Iranian people. The event was made to take place in the twilight of millions of Muslim in wukuf in the Arafah 2006 Dec 30 Sat (and the Eid Hajj 1427, 2006 Dec 31 Sun); and of transfer of function of the UN 8th Sec Gen to the Korean Ban Ki-moon, from the 7th Ghanian Kofi Atta Annan 2007 Jan 1 Mon. I believed there were more than what were told by the (western-controlled) media taking into account that this is the first invaded head of state that was hanged. US does not even bother to catch Osama who it said had terrorised the planet earth and masterminded the imfamous 911. And the US was losing the battle and the war in Iraq. And historically since Mesopotamian time, the place now called Bahgdad was full of misteries. Saddam himself was one of the modern time mystery. And mysteriously, the ("prime") media did not publish the comment of the world peace-lovers.

The Eid Adzha 1427H, and the Year End

Zulhijjah 10, was on the very end of 2006 - Dec 31 Sun. We spent the day, as was the Eid in Oct 24 Tue, in Sg Merab; everyone, minus Rubaini et al, and Malini et al. Solat in MPI mosque; it was only one-third filled and very quiet. That was the day of the day. The day, and the year ended by a gathering of brothers: Num and Jo, et al, visiting, from evening to the middle of the night.

Chapter dated Dec 31 Sun, 2006