Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bilang membilang.

I have a problem with numbers, with arithmetic, kira-kira, bilang-bilang. The problem will never make me great because to be ‘terbilang’ I must first be good at ‘membilang.’ Of I course I don't want to be great by 'tembelang.'

I could not count something say from one to a hundred without forgetting the actual count if distracted. Most of the time I have to start all over again. Okay, I admit sometimes I find it difficult to even remember how many rakaat has I prayed especially in the zohor and asar prayer. It is hard to have a full concentration or ‘khusyu’. Moreover with my frequent travel and the equally frequent jamak and qasar, I sometimes unconsciously qasar the solat at kariah too.

Of this forgetfulness and anomaly with number, I laugh at myself everytime I see the rerun of P. Ramlee’s Nujum Pak Belalang when the crook in the cave could not count pass three and resort to everything his partner said including and kepala hotak kau.

I have problem remembering names too.

Anyway, I counted six entries in my blog since the day after the election. Things were so fascinating, I just have to record them as it happen; as I saw them happening. Tomorrow I might see them in a different light and write about them differently. The frequency surprises the lazy me.

Now I feel I must put another blog about the final chapter of the MB saga. ‘Selesai dohlah’ was not so the end after all.

On Friday, I was in KL. By chance, met some important Terengganu guys at Masjid Negara. They asked me, ‘Mengadap ke?’ I knew they were just joking because I believe it was they who were. When I told them I was taking the evening flight home, they asked, ‘ Sambut Tuanku esok?’ I laughed. They laughed too. The Terengganuans were finally laughing, happy at the turn of event.

The mood home was a surprise to me. Almost all cars in town tied the yellow ribbon. My father’s Jeep had not one but three (put there he said by the guys at Pasar Tani), so was all the office and my staff’s car. Someone even sponsored the yellow ribbon and because the demand was so good limited them to not more than ‘sekaki’ each only.

The rakyat, the ordinary non political people are responding with a sense of relief and gladness. The ordinary people I think don’t really care who is the MB as long as we have a MB. The delay of two weeks was embarrassing and the mood is jittery.

The yellow ribbon became a symbol of relief as much as the expression of love for the Sultan and the State.

So what has counting got to do with all this?

This morning 25000 turned up at the airport to greet the King. That’s what Malaysiakini said. 30000 said Siasah. 20000, said Harakahdaily, conservative this time. 25000 said Star, 10000 said Utusan. I know there was no counting booth to add the number safely but the stark difference was outrageously funny.

The people I asked about the turnout simply answered, ’ramai’ meaning many.

So maybe, when the people at the newsroom can no longer count, we could just tell them to resort to the logic of Pak Belalang.

Eh, eh’

‘Eh,eh untuk kau, eh,eh untuk aku.’ Lepas eh, eh apa?

‘Kepala hotak kau!’

‘Kepala hotak kau untuk kau, kepala hotak kau untuk aku.’

That is for the people who’s handicapped at counting, I mean, in the older days, they might just get telor temelang.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Selesai doh lah.

My breaking news came from Sedi. His sms read ‘Slamat Mat Said jadi MB.’

I was on the way home from Masjid Terapung. Not exactly from the mosque. I was on the way there when I made a u-turn seeing lots of cars there today. More than the normal malang jemaat (malam Jumaat – Friday night) crowd. I just remembered that they were having a munajat to pray for the Sultan.

I decided to just go home. Ustaz Aziz won’t be giving ceramah anyway.

In front of the shophouse, some strange looking people were there. Strange because I don’t normally see them before. I have been a Friday night regular at the mosque here and I didn’t see them around before. One was in songkok and kain pelikat, much like the guy Sepol said appeared in the riot video both at Batu Burok and Rusila. Ah, my imagination.

So today finally UMNO supreme council endorsed Dato Mohd Said as MB, ending I hope the long stand-off between palace and ruling party. I said I hope, because I m not sure if its truly the end. Politicians will stay and fight another day. What else can they do eh?

Tomorrow, the gere, the kopitiam and wakaf dam will be abuzz with a different gossip. Who’s back in the exco?, who’s not? What’s the new scandal?

As for the MB drama? It’s old news.

Cakak mende gok agi? Selesai doh….

Deafening silence

The hurt that you try to hide is killing me
I drink a thousand lies,
To freeze the past in time

[machine head – deafening silence 2001]

Deafening silence – A silence or lack of response that reveal something significant.

In Tranung the closest to it perhaps is ‘senyap kkatup’ – so quiet you hear pin drop, your own heart beating.

There is another kind of silence. When everybody and everything in all the commotion suddenly became momentarily quiet. So quiet it’s hair raising – ‘naik bulu roma’. Here, we say, ‘malaikat lalu’ - an angel just passes by.

I wonder why the national papers are silent on Terengganu.
Here, we are still left to wonder. Depending on and perhaps ‘drinking’ the gossips. Siasah Online said Pak Lah has backed down and agreed to Dato Mohd Said but NST Online says the 22 Aduns are still adamant. Nothing on Malaysiakini. Not so ‘kini’ afterall huh? Can Pak Lah agree to a non UMNO MB? I mean, I thought Dato Mohd Said was reportedly sacked from UMNO. Rumors too that two former exco and MB were stripped of datokship. Truth or just rumors?

Hey! Can someone tell us what is going on?

Or has Zaid Ibrahim successfully moved all the attention away leaving us rakyat in the dark once again.

Or is something else significant cooking?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Guane ghamok teranung kite?

As of now, Dato’ Mohd Said has assumed the office of Menteri Besar, becoming an MB for what may be (in his own word – as reported in media) a short spell. Dato’ Idris Jusoh on the other hand has called a press conference saying he will respect the decision but so.
Like many orang Tranung I am confused because NST Online and Malaysiakini gave a differing version. Can somebody put the whole press conference on Youtube please, so we can opined for ourselves.

Now is a hard time to be in Teranung. No, not because we are the second poorest people in the nation, or because of the oil stop flowing, but because calls from friends and families are streaming in non stop.

Guane keadaaang? (How’s thing?)

Mung ade baju melayu itang dok agi? Nok wak mende? Wak gi akat supoh!
(Have you got the black baju melayu? What for? To attend swearing in ceremony?)

Mung dok gi berarok ke? (You are not demonstrating?)

Doh mung dok beloh Derih ke Mat Said? (So are you on Dato Idris or Dato Mat Said side?)

And this SMS among the many circulating around.

Kepada semua rakyat Terengganu, Tanda sokongan kita sebagai rakyat menyokong penuh Institusi Beraja & taat setia kita kepada Raja, pasangkan riben kuning pada kenderaan……., bertindak segera supaya Tuanku kita tidak diperlekehkan.

Bring to mind the song, ‘Tie a yellow ribbon, on the old oak tree….’

I find it even tougher to answer my curious children.

This episode will go as a watershed in Terengganu history. The older generation may recall the similar event in the Pas led government in 1959-1961. The then Menteri Besar, Mohd Daud Samad faced a vote of no confidence from the Dewan after two Pas YBs switched camp to UMNO. This time around, Dato Mohd Said may be sacked from UMNO and faced a vote of no confidence from UMNO itself. Opposition can’t do anything because their numbers are insignificant. Unless of course there’s a larger support to Dato’Mohd Said from within UMNO and all of them are sacked too. That is unlikely to happen given the current national climate.

But even now I’m not sure of ‘unlikely to happen’, Terengganu lost to Pas in 1999 was unlikely to happen, six states falling to oppositions in 2008 was ‘unlikely to happen’, but it does happen.

So I know I can’t read the political scenario and be a pundit, much less be a politician.

Maybe I should just go shop for a yellow ribbon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The reason to blog

Welcome to the unreal cyber world.

It is heartening that not long after being regarded in the same basket as bored housewives, the youth ministry is toying with a proposal to start of all thing – a blog. Imagine some high level ministry guy donning pink polka dot apron to work….. (ah! you may not get my drift).

I don’t belong in the elite blogger group that triumphantly claimed to have moved the political consciousness of the nation nor do I belong to the nemesis Putra (or is it Puteri?) cyber trooper. I, if anything, is one among the millions who for some spare minutes of our day sat in front of the laptop typing something that is of no value to others but ourselves, not even hoping for our words to be found in the cyberspace. We derive joy in letting go of what we felt, strongly or otherwise. We care not for the feedback or the backlash of others. Blogs are our personal notes put on cyberspace, nothing more, nothing less. Once in a while we pat ourselves in the back, seeing a hit on our page, someone somewhere in Banjarmasin chanced on our words and wrote back.

Blogs are special. They are because they are not bound by rules or bias except by what is personal. We, bloggers are not afraid because we chose not to be bound by any rules or guidelines. We would be in journalism if we do.

We too are aware of the spectre of law (that put fear in our soul) often impressed by those in power. We knew well that the law says we have to be responsible for even an independent phantom opinion on our blog but that if it ever happen will give us (and we would cheekily accept) our time in court or our brush with fame.

So, the idea of ministerial blog is if my opinion is worth anything, an inane proposition. Imagine a JPA advert in NST; Situation Vacant – Blogger. (Ha..ha… I’m already laughing to myself). Place of work – Kemaman Kopitiam; work hour – as you fight insomnia at 237 am.

I would have a much greater respect for the dear minister if he begin by starting his own blog, using the free blogspot template and (in the word of Anna Scott in Notting Hill) fire away. I would even have a much higher respect to him if he is willing to put on an open forum, airing comments all and sundry.

A blogger read another blogger, many, many other bloggers for that matters. That’s why we have a link at the side of our page. (oops I don’t). We click from a blog to another because we look not for some lengthy Pullitzer’s material but some simple sweet, forthright, honest, bold and hilarious pieces. We could sense a fake and move to another click.
Please, dear minister, understand what blogging is all about, undertand the soul of a blog. Less it will end up like the plenty outdated .gov webs.
See you then.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Teka teki aishah

Mak, Aishah ada satu soalan.


Nombor apa yang orang tak suka?

Emmm… nombor tujuh?


Nombor 3?


Nombor lapan?


Nombor satu? dua? sembilan? Enam? Empat? Lima?

Salah. Salah. Salah……

Dah tu nombor apa?

Mak nak beli ke?

Ok Mak beli.

Nombor yang anda dail telah ditamatkan perkhidmatan.

The reason for it all

Raison d'ĂȘtre is a phrase borrowed from French where it means simply "reason for being"; in English use it also comes to suggest a degree of rationalization, as "The claimed reason for the existence of something or someone". A raison in nature may also symbolize wisdom or knowledge.

Che’ Jak was our lecturer in UTM. He was to many of us who graduated from there a philosophical sifu; in his own special, slightly crazy yet wise way. Of the many thing about him, I remember his story about a food shop he found somewhere along his travel. The shop was nice, the place clean, the service was fast, with a smile and the food was good. The owner himself moving from table to table, smiling, cracking little jokes, laughing a little to the customers enquiring if everything was okay. He seems so cheerful and happy.

Pleased with what he saw Che Jak told himself to return again someday.

When that day came several years later, he sat at the same table as the last time; observing. The shop was still the same but the same owner was now sitting at the till, busy collecting money. The shop was still full of customers but the owner was no longer smiling, cracking little jokes or laughing. He was no longer a cheerful self.

Why? Che Jak asked us.

There were many reasons and arguments put forth that day. They were all correct he said. But more than anything else, the reason for the happiness he said was because the shop owner was in the beginning doing a service to the people, his customers. The later unhappiness came because he was now no longer doing service but a business. He had lost the reason to be happy.

I find the similitude from the above, in the days after the election. Strange enough from both camps of the victors and losers, winners and whiners.

In the aftermath of the election, the bickering by the winners over the exco seats, and the coveted MB or chief minister position would embarrass a third grader fighting for a cekelat. The losers and whiners too, not to be left out, hit out at the people they once so called served, threatening them with the end of the world. Maybe that was what the press said but that was how it seems.

It brings to light the sheer arrogance and hypocrisy from the people called politicians (some if not all) to what they really were.

Strange because only a fortnight earlier they were screaming for a chance to serve or continue to serve the people.

So was all the hoo ha, all those promises meant to serve the rakyat jelata or themselves? What has positions got to do with serving? Must you be in position to do good? Is the collective power not good enough?

I do hope at the end of it all, sensibility sets in. The people need leaders, a good one at that. Not some selfish self serving dot dot dot. Not ever again I hope.

I pray those smiles they flashed during those grueling campaign will come back. And insyaAllah it will bring smiles to the wajah (faces) of the people too; happy, knowing that at the end of it all they chose to be wiser.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The day after

Its been a long while since the last blog. Why? Oh that’s for another time.

I passed by Kemasek the day after the famous 8th March 08 election. The day that all feng-shui believers will look back at in disgust and disbelief. The 8th was not ‘ong’ at all, at least not to Pak Lah and his Barisan’s men. Already, my phone is being filled with smses of jokes and gurindams, making fun of the unfortunate losers; but I m not putting them down here. You can find them easily on the web somewhere.

Despite the tsunami that swept away five states, six if Kuala Lumpur is included, Terengganu remained in Barisan’s hand. As was the Kemasek state seat . This is one place I often joked that Barisan can win even with a ‘batang nyior’ as a candidate. I was not being disrespectful. I knew how loyal the folks here were to UMNO and Barisan. I knew because my family was a firm believer in UMNO. My father was once one of the kampong stalwarts of the party, having been for years the ‘wakil calon’ for the YB and once he claimed almost to be the candidate for the party. I said was because I was not sure where the allegiance is anymore, certainly not since 98.

The traffic light junction in Kemasek (the only one) still look festive with the party flags from both sides flying in the strong wind. The blue on the upperhand, of course. It looks fun.

In my much younger day, election was fun. It was time to help cooking kanji paste to glue the posters on coconut trees, challenging one on the other side on who could go higher, hanging out at the party posts, truly bangsal wrapped in party flags, having free biscuits and tea and helping to print t-shirts and banners. The flags and banners would be much sought after, for kain sahang, and the billboard plywood for gok ayang, good till the next four years. It was way before election paraphernalia were imported from China.

Elections every time held had for us some measure of memory.

I remember the first Barisan’s rally in front of the balairaya. It was the first post Perikatan election and the kapal layar (or was it perahu layar) was replaced by the dacing. [I wonder why dacing is still used as a symbol when SI system was introduced not much later and all dacing were banned from marketplace – talk about being outdated/outmoded] Then it was against Kasim Ahmad’s parti p’ala lembu (how the people called Parti Sosialis Malaya). I remember the scathing attack on Kasim not for his socialist ideology but because of his poem ‘Tuhan Sudah Mati’

That year PAS was part of the pioneering Barisan.

In another time, even earlier, I remember how Che would quietly told us when we asked she voted kapal layar against Aki’s instruction to vote bulan bintang.

And later in another time when the young Hj Hadi helmed the rejunevated PAS I remember how Ayah Mat’s family would be avoiding us because they were pro PAS and we were all the instruments of thaghut. But that was a passing fad I believe and air dicincang takkan putus.

In 78, my father spent his time campaigning for Barisan and ended sacked from his job – such sacrifice.

In 99, I recalled how embarrassed I was because my son Amir, then about six but well into reading Harakah for his age, asked his Aki for a flag and when given an UMNO flag refused and said, ‘Amir nok d’era PAS.’ That year, under the current of reformasi, Barisan took a beating and Terengganu was lost.

My family has all left Kemasek. Most in KT with the rest scattered from KL to south of peninsula. We have become at most politically conscious yet distance from the thick of politicking. We had seen how ayah had spent the best years of his life, once putting life at the golok’s end (that’s again another story) for his party, retired and watched in disgust at the excesses of his party men. We became non political because he encouraged us to be professional and businessmen instead. That way we can help people he said, albeit in our own small way.

We passed by many more villages along the way and see flags, posters and bunting some with funny quips being slowly brought down and put to fire. The battle for seats how ridiculous it sometime seems was now over.

Elections, the many of them seems to pass just a while away.