Sunday, January 25, 2009

Khir and Sarah wedding

Khir and Sarah marriage was solemnized at about 10pm 23rd January 2009. The ijab and qabul by the bride's father recorded on Facebook for posterity. Never mind Khir's fumbling the first try. 'Ni ketar ni,' the bride's father said.

At reception at the mertua’s house the next day, Ayah was as usual reluctant to go up the dais to do the tepung tawar but he did eventually with someItalic persuasion. Then somebody (I think it was Mad Leh) shouted from the crowd. ‘Ni menantu paling lama tunggu ni.’ Most who know, laughed. The family indeed had waited so long for this.

At 36, Khir managed to be the longest holding bachelor in the family. Over the years, no amount of persuasion could make him see any girls that family tried to introduce. To the point that the anak-anak sedara were so used with Khir’s standard answer to ‘Ayah Khir bila nak kawin? – esok’

And then suddenly the girl who walked in to his office walked right into his heart, as the father of the bride jokingly remarked, ‘masuk perangkap.’

To Khir and Sarah Anis Sulaiman, congratulation. May your marriage be blessed with happiness and many beautiful child.

And by the way, the anak-anak sedara is still discussing whether to call her Cik or Auntie.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Let me be TNB boss.

TNB has just announced a loss of 944 million ringgit.

I can only take a deep, very very deep breath and exhale slowly.

Years ago, Misbun Sidek was the hope of Malaysia at the All England. I can’t remember the year exactly but it must be in 82 because I was staying in Taman Melawati then. Those years, long before the advent of Astro, live telecast was only on radio. So we stayed up late for the hope that Misbun would do well. It was only the early round but all our hope was dashed because of his quick exit in straight set, garnering only a few points. So angry were we that we screamed in frustration.

‘Kalau nak bagi kalah 15-0 bagi aku wakil Malaysia lagi baik.’ (If its only to lose 15-0, better let me play for Malaysia), someone said. ‘Mung pandai ke main?’ (Do you know how to play?) I asked. ‘Kalau setakat kalah 15-0 aku main pun kalah 15-0’ (if it’s just to lose 15-0, I can get the same score) he retorted.

Today I said, let me be the CEO of TNB. I will surely make TNB lose as much. TNB can pay me just half or a quarter of what paid to Khaleb so I could make the loss slightly less.

Are they not fortunate? Those CEOs, I mean. Sitting in such posh offices, the cars, the first class travel, good hotels, huge salaries and they can be still drawing fat check even after the company losing hundreds of millions.

On the other hand, businessmen like us struggled to earn just enough every month to pay our staff salaries and when the collection fall short be the last and least to be paid.

If the whole point of business is to lose so much money, might as well let anyone be the CEO. Pok Mat, Pok Awang, Ah Leong or Mutu can be just as effective with so much smaller paycheck.

If I can take the place of Misbun to lose 15-0, surely I can take Khaleb’s place to lose 944 million.

Just let me be TNB boss.

Kalu dok menang gok saja sangatlah …..

Kalu dok menang gok saja sangatlah …..

Now is already the aftermath of a war. The police troops numbering six thousands (official figure) or twelve thousands (some claim) has gone home. The street is now starngely quiet. Even the party flags only recently waving proudly in the late monsoon gust are packed and stored for the next battle someplace else.

Last night when we drove around town (oops… Bandaraya), Yati remarked, ‘This is Kuala Terengganu that we knew.’

Perhaps as well Farah can now take off her ‘Ni Tranung ke Gaza’ notation on her Facebook wall.

I had refrained from making any comments on the election before the election. Too much has already been said and written.

But it was now over. PAS and Pakatan Rakyat winning it was only reinforcing the knowledge, hope and fear of many depending on which side of the divide they were.

I grew up in a fiercely parochial UMNO family. I watched and took pride in all UMNO winning the elections as early as my memory of attending the rapat umum during that historical first Barisan election. I remember Barisan (then both UMNO and PAS) bashing Kasim Ahmad on his poem of ‘tuhan sudah mati.’ I recall the impact of hate Utusan Malaysia created on the person of Tengku Razaleigh when he donned the tengkolok with what looked like a Christian’s cross in a Sabah campaign; with it igniting the fear of the Muslims, thus killing the hope of Semangat 46. I remember too the Lim Kok Wing led advertisement in the 1999 election, the advertorial in televisions, the full page picture of gnarling Lim Kit Siang, angry Anwar and ferocious Haji Hadi. Those were the days when newspaper played a major role in igniting the feeling of the masses.

But 1999 was also the turning point. With the extreme overkill, rakyat began to see and loath the popular media. I felt the same too. Oppositions saw the power of new media, the web and captured its potential to seriously challenge the establishment.

Sadly, Barisan’s campaign strategist in this is age of Youtube are still living in the cocoon of yesteryears. Internet has enabled anyone to check on any news to learn about what is exactly happening and what was truly said. Full text of statements, remarks and speeches can be downloaded to neutralize the venom of selective reporting. Body language can now be viewed and believed.

In those years, I recall my father (then a key UMNO campaigner) dashing everywhere to solve voters problem. Those who complain of not having electricity will have the tiang letrik put up almost immediately by then LLN. All for that important one vote. The actual power supply can wait till the next complain in the next election, if ever.

We now live in a much richer Malaysia. The election gifts are very much in practice albeit in grander scale. To UMNO, what is sadly happening is the negative impact it created. While a hundred contractor walked away happily with projects, the other seventy thousand nine hundred voters squirmed, ‘doh kita ni buleh mende?’ (so what do we get?)

In this KT by-election, the result was not really that bad. Thirty over thousands still for whatever reasons crossed the dacing. The cup can always be seen as half empty or half full.

The lost of Barisan was very much anticipated. Barisan though early on declaring themselves the underdog (so much for self esteem) did however put up a grand fight. Cost some say goes to a hundred million. It was of course a rumor but even a quarter of it is a serious amount of money.

A friend who came all the way from Kedah to help in the campaign (apart from ‘tunjuk muka’ and carrying a project envelop) drop by at 3 pm, on the election day, exhausted. ‘Dah kalah dah’ he said. ‘For that amount of money’ he said ‘Barisan should have worked out a magic.’ ‘What magic?’ I asked. ‘duit banyak ni tak payah teruk-teruk kempen. Hang bagi duit je kat pengundi suruh pangkah Barisan. Kalau hang bagi seribu sorang pun ada baki lagi dua puluh juta.’

Hahaha… we all laughed. A painful laugh.

That kind of sums up the mood in the run up to the big day. When asked ‘Barisan boleh menang ke dok?’ many simply answered, ‘kalu dok menang gok, saje sangatlah.

It is. Apparently



Nye buleh lok ......

Problemlah gini......

Just can't get the posting online.

So by the time I figure it out, KT by-election will be long gone history....
Or those few write-up will be up together.....

Let see if this go through.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Once the spotlight dies.

As for the righteous, they will be in the Gardens and Springs. Taking joy in the things their Lord gives them, because before then, they lived a good live. They were in the habit of sleeping but little at night. And in the hour of early dawn, they (were found) praying for Forgiveness; And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the needy, him who asked, and him who (for some reason) was prevented (from asking).
Al-Dariyat 51:15-19

Election is perhaps the best time to see the kind of thing one would do to be in the spotlight of the media. Kissing babies, transporting the sick in one’s gleaming car to hospital, visiting the poor and desolate, walking through mud and when one is backed by the power and wealth; distributing goodies in all forms – new road premix, new projects, new school halls and new everything that is thinkable. The other side, not to be outdone does the same only in a lesser way.

This is also the time when the poor and the needy is brought out to surface – kind of multiple episodes of ‘Bersama mu’ in fast forward. The poor now became the object of celebration.

I have hated the exploitation. I refused to attend ceremonies involving the poor walking up stage to receive assistance to the thunderous clap of the audience. I often do even if it is for good cause like charity and zakat. I hate watching some poor soul crying on the numerous television programs. What are we clapping about? I often asked. That they are poor?

I hate it even more, when it is done for votes.

Like always, once past the finish line they will be back to where they always are, forgotten. Perhaps until the next election.

I know I will never know, whether those care and concern shown were genuine but I want to believe that they are. All those act of love were sincere and straight from their heart.

But what am I in all that?

I hope that those images I saw of them around me will wake me up. Touch the softer side of my heart.

I hope I can be there with once the media spotlight dies.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The price of a chair.

How much is a chair?

Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair, designed by Don Chadwick my all time favourite (but can’t afford just yet) is RM 8K plus. Last year before the oil goes up price. The quote I get for Charles Eames good quality China mari reproduction is RM 3900. The same sold at X, is going at RM 12K. Italy mari? Hardly. Itay mari also nowadays China buat, Italy pergi, Malaysia mari.

A chair in parliament?

Is it comfortable to begin with? It doesn’t look too comfortable really, the backseat look too upright. But how much it cost really?

RM 400 million.


That’s only part payment mind you. The fact that Terengganu got back the royalty just before the KT by-election make it the outright price to pay, it seems.

Right? Wrong? Maybe?

Oh, whatever.

After such a high price, is the chair truly worth it?

Again, is it comfortable to begin with?

You and me, the common among the ordinary may just never find out. But then again who knows. With some among our chosen MPs dozing off soundly, it just can’t be but comfy.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New year, happenings and resolutions.

In 1995, the first of Muharram, came on the first day of June. That was the day I officially dated the start of my company. On that date it moved to its own rented office from a little corner in a rented house in Kubang Ikan.

Muharram 0f 1430 Hijriah came close to January 1, 2009. We are now in our own building. I look back to those many struggling years and I could not help smiling.

Even after these many years I am still struggling.

That’s a fact of life.

The weather in Kuala Terengganu is gloomy. It‘s been dark and raining since late October and may well continue till Chap Goh Mei.

And everything else is not much cheerful either.

The economy is bad and getting even worse. Good thing they cut the interest rate by 0.25 percent though it makes no impact on the bottom line. Knowing banks, the sunny day friends, they will jack up the rate to cover for the loss later. Petrol too was down but nothing follows. And Air Asia doing without the fuel surcharge helps lessen the flight bills for frequent traveler like myself.

I’m getting more job applications. Friends say some friends are now struggling to pay salaries. Well I have been like that like forever. But unlike some of them, I don’t have the Mercs or Beemers to pay yet.

The P-36 Kuala Terengganu by-election is coming.

And so are DPM, ministers, wanita, pemuda and puteris. Along Jalan Sultan Mahmud, the puteris has just turned a listless home-stay into a pink carnival. The giant dacings and the red and white keris flags now dominate. The moon on the green flags will be coming soon. When? I’m not sure.

There is now many-many more policemen on the street. We have three makeshift pondok polis at both ends of our street including one right in-front of the office. And a MBKT signboard next to my gate proclaiming ‘KAWASAN LARANGAN’ – talk about feeling safe.

Yes I do want to feel safe. The bridge near my office has been the scene of many ‘war’ between PAS and UMNO – fighting to put up their flags every elections. Stupid fools. Can’t they just be game about everything? Take a side of the bridge each, put all the flags they can hoist. Have fun, have a few shouting match across the divider then go away for a cup of coffee.

Talk about feeling safe.

I wish there were that many policemen (some say six thousands) as for this election as when thief broke into my car in Gombak and Shah Alam. I wish that many make shift pondok could be put up on street where murderous snatch thieves and break-ins were rampant. Some wish!

Suddenly, KT is no longer the quiet town it has always been. The home-stay signboard seems to sprout like some ‘cendawan selepas hujan.’ And friends are calling for a place to stay. ‘Helping in the campaign’ they say. ‘Tunjuk muka’, says other. ‘Sambil-sambil lobi projek’, they add. The need for temporary lodges has pushed up the rental rates. Some were offered as much as 5 to 6K per house for a month. With some catch of course, half is for the broker….. some wanita. Wonder if the Kak Fida know about these ground level fleecing.

I’ll be 46 in a matter of days. And I m quite tired. So I made a resolution to take things a little easier and make it easier to my architects too. I’ll take in more people to look after the newer works so we can all breathe a little and continue going home after five thirty. That means more money to pay salaries every months but that’s the price I would gladly pay. I still have faith that for everyone of them their rezeki has already been destined their way.

And I’ll hold on to that Merc order for a while too ………