Wednesday, December 23, 2009

photography contest

I wonder if there would be any entries for a photography contest, if I were to hold one.

The subject is 'police officers in Malaysia wearing seatbelt in patrol cars'.

So far (at least in JB) it's hard to find one.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dewey the Library Cat

His full name is Dewey Readmore Books, very apt for a library cat, adopted by staff at the Spencer Public Library, in a small town of Spencer, Iowa.

A chat with Nassim over teh tarik after last Friday's night ride in Larkin, triggered my bookstore visit yesterday. It's been a while since I read a novel, so I'm hunting for one to read.

I was in MPH City Square Johor Bahru browsing for a Crichton's Pirates Latitudes. They only have it in hardcover (read: expensive), so I guess I'll just have to wait for the paperback version. I picked up one of Azizi Ali's book on property investment, looked at the backcovers of all books Toyota management (because they are all plastic-wrapped), while holding Umar in arms. Man, he's getting heavier day by day. Naza took care of selecting the children's educational books, and the payment at the counter (of course, with my $).

I lingered at the non-fiction (Albom, et. al.), and I saw Dewey posing innocently to the camera on the book cover. The backcover stated his full name (yes, this one's also was wrapped in plastic), and I'm hooked just by reading his name. So, I brought his story home as well. A true story would be much better than a novel if it involves cats, I think. Paulo Coelho (probably The Zahir) just have to wait until next month to reside on my bookshelf.

A quick research this morning returned the links scattered in this entry. Interesting, indeed. Especially for an ex-librarian (in MBS Sentul), book lover, and feline adorer in me.

Up to this point, I'm only at the first chapter. I'll continue reading during lunchtimes. Meanwhile, have a load on Dewey's photos in Spencer Library's website. He's also on Facebook, by the way.

photo credit goes to Spencer Public Library

Thursday, November 26, 2009

selamat hari raya aidil adha 1430H

A few of the guys in the office left for their kampungs already, although my Kelantanese colleague seating next to me is still in his seat staring at the computer.

I guess since last evening, my mind too, have left for Senawang. Aidil Adha had never been a big celebratory occasion for me, subconsciously regarding it as the lesser hari raya, second to Aidil Fitri. Perhaps I need to experience it in Kelantan and Terengganu, where they say the celebratory mode is the other way around.

It has been quite some time since we went back to Senawang. That's why i'm eager to go back this weekend (tonight, insyaAllah). Aidil Adha being the occasion, Ibu's house is expected to be full, with Hafiz my younger brother and his family making the trip from Ipoh and Akak with Azeem and Byron from KL celebrating the day. Oh, and this will be Umar's first trip to Senawang.

For Naza and I, we'll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on Saturday. That's another big occasion, too. Should I get her the Casio digital piano or a solitaire diamond ring or a pair of diamond earstuds? The keyboard is not prone to being lost, although it is very much less sparkling than diamonds. Still scratching my head for the fund, though...

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha to you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Al Insyirah


Al Insyirah
Bukankah Kami telah melapangkan untukmu dadamu?,
Dan Kami telah menghilangkan dari padamu bebanmu,
Yang memberatkan punggungmu?
Dan Kami tinggikan bagimu sebutan (nama)mu.
Kerana sesungguhnya sesudah kesulitan itu ada kemudahan,
Sesungguhnya sesudah kesulitan itu ada kemudahan.
Maka apabila kamu telah selesai (dari sesuatu urusan), kerjakanlah dengan sungguh-sungguh (urusan) yang lain,
Dan hanya kepada Tuhanmulah hendaknya kamu berharap.

Surah 94, Al-Quran Kareem

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jangan Merokok

Kapal ni dulu siap belayar keliling dunia dok promote kempen jangan merokok. Tu diaa… punya la besar dia punya tulisan.

Kawan-kawan, jangan merokok.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I'm sending/replying SMSes from my office PC lightning fast, thanks to Bluetooth connection, and Nokia PC Suite.
Ultra cool! Well, that's one of many things that I could do differently (faster) with my handphone via BT.

With NPS, I could also manage my handphone data, faster. Backup, organise or deleting data has never been easier.
What needed are
  • a pc
  • good internet connection (to download the NPS software)
  • bluetooth USB dongle - got it for RM30, I bet there are cheaper ones elsewhere
Check out what's behind the 'Bluetooth' name - wikipedia

Okay, I'm lagging waay behind in terms of embracing the technology. That being said, it means that I'm using it at a time when the technology is matured and the cost of the hardwares are relatively cheaper :)

What's next? Perhaps a BT earpiece for handsfree communication while driving (only).

Monday, October 26, 2009

sore arm

We went for Umar's first immunisation on Saturday evening in Pasir Gudang. The doctor didn't chart his growth, but we did a check on his weight.

He weighs 4.3kg, on his 60th day. No wonder my arm is sore this morning. I guess from carrying him around the house, for his time being awake is a bit longer now.

Other obvious signs: puffy cheeks, double chin (hiding his neck), rounder butt cheeks (used to be flat as a chopping board), and his head is filling the beanie hat now.

We are happy for this. Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Seri Alam Toastmasters Club

The Seri Alam Toastmasters Club is a continuity of MMHE Toastmasters Club. Established since 2005, as a company club it was open primarily to MMHE employees, while also accepting members from outside the workplace. It has gone one step further, and now it is a community club. Meaning, you can also be a member.
For the time being we are having the meetings in MMHE's office in Bandar Seri Alam (read: free venue), with the courtesy and support of MMHE.
Currently, yours truly is the Sergeant-At-Arms for the club. What is Toastmasters? Find out more about it here.


 Club Information

Club Number
Club Name
  Seri Alam Toastmasters Club
Club contact phone
  017 7151881
Club contact e-mail
 Meeting Information

Meeting Day
  1st & 3rd Thursday
Meeting Time
  7:00 pm
Meeting Frequency
  Twice a Month
Meeting Place 1
  MMHE Seri Alam office

  Jalan Suria 2, Bandar Seri Alam, Masai
Meeting City
  Johor Bahru
Officer Terms
Club Type
  Community Club
Is your club
  Open to all interested parties
Charter Date

Monday, September 28, 2009

Aidilfitri 1430H 2009

(L to R): Adam, Nazahiya, Umar (on lap), Akmal Hizam, Marsya

Selamat Hari Raya from all of us.
Mohon maaf, zahir dan batin.

Ben 10 in Malay

Ben 10 was just starting on Cartoon Network over Astro that Raya morning. I was entertaining local kids coming over our house in Plentong. Without hesitation one of them said:
“Eh, tukar Bahasa Melayu lah”.
I did not know that it’s served bilingually. It did not matter to my children, and so we were not bothered with the technology. Five minutes later I heard Ben uttering Malay words.
Splendid. We learn something new every day.

Image copyright Turner Media Innovations

Evening Sky - 02.09.2009

I just had to stop at the roadside en route to Plentong when I saw the sky that evening.

It was fantastic.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Norzah the writer

He's an old hand when it comes to writing. Only this morning I discovered that he's been blogging since 2007.

He's my uncle, by way that his wife is Ibu's cousin. A retired government servant, I have high respect upon him. I still remember that morning while at the neighbourhood mamak shop buying things that Ibu asked me to buy. I caught a glimpse of his face on the front page of a newspaper (memory not so fantastic, can't recall which newspaper). I was only 9 at that time, and buying a newspaper was never in my shopping list. I bought that paper (instead of the usual Kiki chewing gums), for Uncle's face was on the front page giving his thoughts on something, as a somebody from MAMPU.

I guess he's one of my role models (also his wife, Aunty Bong) when I was growing up. You know, a kampung boy (and girl) who went to further their studies in universities overseas, hold high ranks in government, successful, makes folks at home proud. Drives a Volvo. That sort of thing.
Only very much later I found out that he's an avid writer. He gave me a thick novel as a gift when I visited him after I graduated. A Malay novel that he wrote - Saga.

As a tribute, I put his blog link in my blogroll. Love to read your thoughts, Uncle.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eid Mubarak 1430H

Here’s wishing all of you:

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Mohon maaf, lahir dan batin

Have a blessed Eid Mubarak.
Enjoy your festive holiday wherever you are, and come back safely.

greeting graphics taken from Institut Memandu Bunga Raya pamphlet

Monday, September 14, 2009

Masjid Abu Bakar Johor Bahru

It’s been my favourite masjid in Johor Bahru since I first stepped into its courtyard. That was 19 years ago, when my cousin steered his van with us inside for our solat, en route to Singapore.

The architecture and finishing of the masjid is amazing, while being simple. The black small domes are distinctive, and I really like the brass fittings adorning its white doors and windows.

I would never miss the chance to go for solat Jumaat in this very place, and 3 weeks ago I did. The parking space is always crowded, so I went there quite early. Parked only at the sides of the entrance way, to ensure my easy way out after the solat. While it may seem that the masjid would be congested, it is actually not so. There’s ample space. Another thing I like about it is that there’s an array of water faucets for ablution along the covered pavement leading towards the side entrances. Seldom I have to queue for my turn.

These facts below I gathered from an information board erected on the masjid grounds:

  • Located atop Bukit Kecil, overseeing Selat Tebrau. You can see Singapore from here, and the view is simply breathtaking.
  • Construction took 8 years to finish, sice 1893, costing $400,000. I’m not sure whether the sum is based on current value, or the amount at the time of construction. If it is from 1893, that’s an awful lot of money.
  • First opened in 2nd February 1900, officiated with a solat Jumaat.
  • The marbles are from Italy.
  • The mimbar is from Turkey.

No info on the sparkling chandelier, though.

Photo by Pasha Razak Photography

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ikea raya ad

Fuhh... makin bertambah lawa rumah kampung kat Juasseh.
Mak Lang pun sekarang ni nampak makin berseri-seri.

Err... agak2 Ikea nak amik aku buat commercial utk hias rumah Ibu kat Senawang pulak tak?

ehh... tapi macam bukan rumah arwah atuk je tu. rumah sapa eh? Uwan Acik ko?

kemaskini 14.09.2009:
Setolah berburak dongan Ibu, rumah yang dalam iklan tu sebona'eh rumah dokek Gombak yo... sobab eh, rumah kek Joseh tu tongah di renovate buat tompek mandi ngan tandeh.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Umar is a week old today

I guess I'm like any other young parents with their new babies.

What I observe is that when you ask these young parents (usually for their first and second child) 'How old is your baby now?', they would almost invariably give you the answer in term of days (some with hours).
2 weeks and 3 days.
4 months and 15 days.
9 days and 4 hours.

Perhaps I am still a young parent...

Anyway, I am recollecting my skills in handling Umar. I'm glad that I found myself able to handle his fragile body - change nappies, his (now) baggy clothings, and bottle feed him.

One thing I'm still struggling to keep up with: sleep deprivation.

Above all, we are truly grateful for he is a no-fuss baby. Alhamdulillah for this blessing, and numerous others, so far within this 6 days and 22 hours.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Announcing the Arrival of Umar Bin Akmal Hizam

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah swt for His unending blessings bestowed upon us.

About 12 hours ago, at 11:26 am our latest addition to the family has arrived.
Our dear Umar was born via cesarean section, weighing 2.1 kg at Puteri Specialist Hospital, Johor Bahru.

He appeared to be in a surprisingly healthy and normal state, despite being brought in earlier than scheduled. Well, we plan but Allah's plan is greater. Naza is now recovering and resting in the hospital.

I'm a bit tired now, but my heart is filled with happiness. And so I found myself typing out these words for the world to know.

We had pictures of Umar taken by the hospital personnel (thanks very much!), right from his entry to this world, out from the comfort of his mommy's womb. Will be uploaded soon, insyaAllah.

Please welcome, Umar Bin Akmal Hizam.
Let us pray that he grows to be a good Muslim. Ameen.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sunscreen song

Heard this song this morning on the radio. Been more than 10 years since I last hear it. Some are good advice, the rest, up to you to judge.

It’s actually a newspaper article eventually turned into a song.

Original article (now lyrics) by Mary Schmich of Chicago Tribune.

The quite interesting history of the ‘song’ is here:



Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Amri is my elder brother.

Oman is my cousin’s son.

Amri: Oman, bak sini email address.
Oman: Ada tiga. Nak yang mana?
Me: Fuhh… banyak tu…
Amri: Bagi je lah yang mana2 selalu check. Bagi semua pun boleh.
Me: Oman, pernah tengok setem tak?
Oman: Setem? Apa tu?
Me & Amri: duhh…

I hope he knows what a Post Office is. But then again, kids nowadays might think that the PO is now a place for paying bills and other stuff not directly related to sending letters.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

enjoying my morning cuppa

I brewed Twinings’ Lady Grey Tea this morning.


First, there’s the refreshing aroma. Perfect for rainy days, served hot with biscuit.

The taste – somewhat stronger than Earl Grey.


The description on the box:

“A fragrant, bright and light black tea infused with orange, lemon and bergamot flavours”


Yup, that’s right. Perhaps the stronger citrus aroma is from the orange and lemon. Earl Grey contains only bergamot.

I like this one.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


My colleague in the office told me about the news that H1N1 found a victim, and she's in JB.
I was worried when I came to this paragraph:
She said Health department staff would also be sent to the schools of the student''s siblings -- Sekolah Menengah Datuk Jaafar and Sekolah Menengah Infant Jesus Convent -- because the two attended school yesterday.
"We will check the two schools to prevent any spread of the virus," she added.
I hope Naza in particular, and the whole school in general is okay. I'm going there this Saturday for Marsya's open day. Well, her school is just beside the secondary school, sharing the same area.

anglicised Bahasa Melayu?

An article by NST's Azmi Ashar.
It is basically my view on English and Bahasa Melayu at their current trend in Malaysia.
Well, actually back when the first time I heard the word 'Bajet' was used instead of 'Belanjawan', which had been used for all these while.
His English vocabulary is respectable. Albeit, he could spare them so that I (and many other readers trying to get a grasp on English) would be able to read fluidly without having to refer to the dictionary software.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

what's your cup of tea?

Lately at the office I'm quite fond with tea compared to the usual instant coffee and chocolate drinks. My draughts(wo)man also make a jug of tea for a few of us to enjoy. This morning, the jug is upgraded to a bigger one so that many more could share.

Last night Naza and I were shopping for groceries, and we were looking for teabags. Usually we go for Lipton, but last night she wanted to have those 'top shelves' kind of tea. Tesco (being British) stocks quite a good array of tea selection, including their house brand. We narrowed down three brands - Dilmah, Ahmad Tea and Twinings. So many different kinds of tea. We took home Twinings, for we could have assortment of teas in a box.

It costs about RM8 for 25 individually wrapped, 5 types of tea. That comes to about 30 sen each. Imagine how Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves, Starbucks, et. al. make when they sell you a cuppa.
We tried one in the middle of the night - Earl Grey.
Superb! Love it. With a hint of citrus, it's refreshing but not in the lemon tea kind of way.
Here's a list of what's in the pack:
  • English Breakfast
  • Prince of Wales (apparently a blend of tea from China)
  • Earl Grey
  • Lady Grey
  • Darjeeling
The flavours range from 'light' to 'medium' strength.
There's also 'Afternoon Tea', but we'll get that and some other types later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

begitulah acuannya

Seronok sekarang ni perhatikan perangai anak-anak.
Banyak yang sama macam mak dan ayah diorang.
Tapi bila tang perangai yang tak berapa bagus tu, jadi risau jugak :P
Masa tu kena lah muhasabah diri.

Agaknya itulah satu lagi rahmat Allah bagi kat ibubapa melalui anak-anak.

Semoga kita semua terus berusaha untuk menjadi manusia terbaik, insyaAllah.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Aussie T-Shirt

My friend Noraidalin went Down Under and bought me a t-shirt.
Okay, I asked for the t-shirt. For free.

And sure enough, she gave me a piece. Quite nice. Very comfortable. Unlike the usual thin, low quality type. I like the color too.

The thing that makes it special is what printed on the t-shirt.

I'm a bit of a collector, and so it's nice to have a collection of Australian slangs in one piece of cloth.

Here's the list:

  • wally
  • gone walkabout
  • chock a wobly
  • stone the crows
  • no worries
  • bloody oath
  • stunned mullet
  • crikey!
  • hows that!
  • sheilla
  • you beauty
  • bonza!!
  • down under
  • fair crack of the whip
  • turn it up
  • mug lair
  • too right
  • amberfluid
  • footy
  • flatout like a lizard drinkin
  • strewth!!
  • onya
  • yobbo
  • she'll be right
  • g'day mate!
  • fair dinkum
  • spot on
  • tinnie
  • flamin heck
I've heard a few, like the familiar "Down Under", "G'Day Mate!","spot on", "no worries" and "fair dinkum".
Totally no idea what the rest means.
Go and figure them out:
google 'aussie slang' or 'strine' and you'll get quite a handful of hits.

Thanks for the t-shirt, Lin!
Where'll you be going after this?

*updated 21 Feb 2014. thanks to Robbie and Michelle for informing me the correct link above :)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ferrari II

Adam: Mak, nanti bila saya dah besar macam awak, saya boleh hantar Ayah pergi MMHE. Lepas tu saya boleh hantar awak dengan Marsya pergi Convent. Lepas tu saya pergi dekat Sekolah Sri Tebrau.
Naza: Bestnya...
Adam: Jugak saya boleh letak saya punya beg dengan baju sekolah agama dalam kereta.
Naza: Adam naik kereta apa?
Adam: Ferrari lah...
Akmal: Ferrari Adam warna apa?
Adam: Merah...
Thoughtful, isn't he?
And right choice on the colour, my son. Other than red ain't quite a Ferrari.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Adam: "Kenapa awak tak beli Ferrari, Mak?"
Naza: :p
Adam: "Saya suka..." *dengan nada hampa*

I'm not quite sure whether he's referring to Shell's miniature Ferraris or the real deal.

Note: he refers Naza's maroon Avanza as Lightning McQueen
photo from here

Monday, June 01, 2009


A budding photographer.

Naza always find lots of photos taken by Adam whenever she 'lost' her camera for a few hours left lying around in the house. Sometimes with no more space for other photos. Most of the time, with exhausted batteries.

self-portrait, 2009

It is good to support his keen interest. Perhaps it's a good idea to buy him a Nikon D90 now.

While he learns to compose good photos, I could use the DSLR for other stuff.

Yeah, a good idea indeed.

Have I mentioned before that's he's a bit of a joker, too?

You would've guessed, anyway.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Man United is the biggest English football club

United was beaten 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome this week.

What's the big fuss?

From the talks going on around my friends (who are against MU), it actually proves one thing:

Manchester United is the biggest football club
And naturally, people envy United. Their success, and even their existence. With winning seems to be a second nature, it would be a tremendous news to see a giant fall.

And they fell big time to Barcenola.

The talking point of the match result is not that Barcenola wins, but Man United's lost.

Here's my take:

In English football, either you are a Man United fan or you're not.
If you're not, choose among other 19 teams in the league.
Whatever they are, it didn't matter. As long as you could vent your envy and loath against Man United.

Simple as that.

In the CL finals, many football fans who hate Man United watched it to see Man United fall. It doesn't really matter if Barcenola (or any other team) wins, actually. As long as Man United lose. These sad people will be happy. And happy they were.
Good for them. They need that once in a while.
And it doesn't seem important that I spelled Barcenola correctly or not, right?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

neglected stereo

These past few days I suddenly had the urge of listening back to Counting Crows. Can't really say my favourite band, but I do like their songs. Out of their eight albums, I only have two.
  1. Their first album August and Everything After (1993).
  2. Across A Wire: Live From New York (1998) - bought because it's a value package - 2 CDs for about RM40.

Okay, and also a few CD singles, mainly from their second album Recovering The Satellites (1996).

After dinner just now, I decided to have an hour round of cycling around Seri Alam, for it has been more than a week without cycling. That decision was overthrown by the sudden thought of listening to CC on the stereo at home.

Popped in the August CD into the DVD player. What awful audio coming out of my floorstanding speakers! I made a quick check, and found the source of that poor audio quality. The left speaker's tweeter unit is not working. No treble coming out of it. Hence, the song doesn't come out right, losing it's balance on the high freq audio output.

Well, to think of it, my poor stereo system (we call them 'separates' in the UK, short of Hi Fi Separates) is neglected since a few years ago. Not really being looked at, a far cry from my student days - the time when I acquired the set. Used to check for dust and corrosion monthly (or weekly, depending on my mood). The funny thing was, the separates hype for me sort of ended some time after I came to Johor and started working here. A classic case of lack of environment filled with enthusiasts, diminishing the flame. Seems that I'm alone in the separates world over here.

It was very different while I was in Manchester (and it seems at that time, among friends across Britain). My peers are proud owners of separates. Wealthy people (like Shell and Petronas scholars) own high end systems, while those with not so deep pockets like me own entry to mid level systems. But yes, most of us would have our own separates. So a house with 3 or four students would have 3 or 4 different sets of separates.

Wherever we go and whenever we chat, there would always be an exchange of separates component models being discussed. Usually a blend of long alphanumeric codes decipherable only to the avid students of What Hi Fi (okay, other Hi Fi mags too) and Hi Fi store frequenters. Yeah, I can still remember a few: SL-PG 580A, CD-63SE MkIII KI Signature (that's a Marantz sweet CD Player - drool...), 733i, AE109, Alpha 7, Coda7, Talk4.1.

Back to my problem with the stereo. I have another pair of speakers, bookshelf type that I have not used since my days in KL with Technip. Took them down from the shelf, dusted a bit and propped on top of the floorstanders. Plugged the speaker cable leads into the speaker lugs. Hey presto, Adam Duritz and his band's music plays oh so beatifully coming out from the small speakers.

Time for a repair, that decade-old Mission 733i speaker of mine. I wonder how much it would cost me.
Here's my current setup for the home theater/stereo separates system:
  • Amplifier: Kenwood KR-V6080 Audio-Video Surround Receiver. Basically a 60 Watt Dolby Surround amplifier that functions as a radio tuner.
  • Video Source 1: Pioneer DV-366 DVD Player. Plays DVD, VCD, CD, CDR. Has dimmer function for the dot-matrix display (for ultra better sound quality when playing CDs - no apparent distortion or noise of electrical signal from the electronics. Kononnya).
  • Video Source 2: Astro decoder set top. Well, for watching Astro.
  • Display: Samsung LA32A450 32" Series 4 LCD Display. Okay, its an LCD TV. Sheeshh...
  • Speakers: Mission 733i Primavera floorstanders, Mission 731i black ash bookshelves, Acoustic Energy AE107C center speaker.
  • Cables - interconnect: Cambridge Audio Pacific (Yellow) for DVD Player, QED Qnect2 for Astro decoder.
  • Cables - speakers: Cable Talk Talk 4.1 Bi-Wire (fronts), QED Qudos Silver Micro (rears), QED Qudos Bi-Wire (center).

The intention initially was to have it set up as surround home theater. With Naza always changing the layout of furniture in the house (used to, but not anymore now), it would be a problem to set up the rear speakers in the living room. Anyway, I have only a Dolby Surround amp. The rear speakers would only give mono quality audio output. Nowadays the minimal norm would be Dolby Digital 5.1 which would give independent audio for each speakers for that realism. The center speaker's tweeter dome was poked by Marsya when she was smaller and experimenting his hand-eye co-ordination skills. With that collectively, I settled for only stereo setup for video and audio.


Choosing other old CDs to play, I picked up Gary Moore's Ballads & Blues CD. And, found inside the jewel case the SRAM and Rock Shox small stickers that I've been looking for all these while. Woohoo!

...yeap, there's always something related with cycling, my world nowadays.

Monday, April 27, 2009

lower your taxes, give away books

April is nearing the end. Are you being a good Malaysian? Have you filed in your tax forms?

Among other things, we can lower our taxes - or at least get back our pre-paid PCBs, by buying books (and magazines). You can get tax deduction by claiming up to RM1,000 expenditure on books and magazines. That's a big sum, and could lower by quite an amount from your taxable income. When it comes to taxes, a ringgit is a hefty sum, isn't it?
Even if you don't enjoy reading books, once in a while you'd buy a copy or two of magazines to kill time while waiting for someone, school books for your children, yada yada yada...

Or, you could buy books as gifts. C'mon, you do give away presents to someone, right? While it may be nice to buy those small things your loved ones have been hinting on you all-year, giving away books would work for you, too. It's a win-win thingy. You'll not only enrich someone's life (great people reads, and leads), you'll also be doing yourself a favour. Everyone would be happy, because of you.

Err... here's a list of books that I want this year. Well, at least one of them.

Make my day. Save the receipt(s) for next April (and make your day, then).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

who's your favourite painter?

I like Vincent Van Gogh's paintings, although not all of them.


Because his brushstroke is unique. I'm no art buff, but I know what I like when I'm looking at it.

My favourite of his all must be 'Irises'. There's a mystery to the single white one, amongst the other 'normals'. The overall colour blend is nice - blue/indigo and green, the accompaniment of oranges on the top left corner, dashes of yellow, and earth on the bottom left corner.

On the subject of art, my kind of art is more towards geometric and definite. No wonder why among my past ambitions was to be an architect. Well, I guess a mechanical engineer suits me too. Once in a while I get to draw, those geometric and definite lines with Autocad. If I really have the time, I'd go old school: pen, paper, ruler, stencils and geometric stationeries.

I remember during art classes through my school years , I'm more keen towards letterings/typesets, logos, posters and such. I guess that's why I'm into XS - because of the definiteness, while offering a work of art when it's finished.

Some time ago I attempted to convert Irises into XS sheet so that I can make it a major project. However, it turned out to be quite massive and requires many, many different colours. Well, having the painting as my office PC desktop wallpaper is okay too.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour 2009, and beyond

I'll switch off the lights in the house tonight, in support of Earth Hour this year.

However, let's take our 'votes' for earth beyond that, beyond tonight. Let's rethink our impact to the environment, and take steps to care for our earth more.

I borrowed Jafa's copy of National Geographic magazine March issue, and a lot can be learned in it.

Search online for ways to reduce energy usage, so you can know how to do your part. Well, borrowing (instead of buying another copy) is one way for reducing energy by itself, too.

Related entry:
recycling has its perks - eventually

Friday, March 27, 2009

How Fast Can Your Fingers Dance?

If you could send SMSes without having to look at the keypad of your handphone, kudos! That's a skill that many are still trying to learn, and not all could master. I am one of that many. However, it's only using one thumb. So, not an all-fingers-dancing there.

Touch Typing (TT) is an essential skill modern people should have. It uses all your fingers. Well, I'm using only nine - my right hand thumb is spared from the keyboard dance. Most of us who work in the office would have a computer on our desks. The means of communicating with the computer is via the mouse and the keyboard.

There are many associated health risks related to the usage of these two. Essentials for our work, we can't do without them. The risks can be minimised, by taking steps to make better the ergonomics. The physical design aspect is one of them. Another step that we could take is to minimise the nodding movement while typing. That is, to minimise the eye (and head) movement when we have to glance at the keyboard every now and then to make sure that we're hitting on the correct keys. With TT, this is minimised, or eliminated altogether (if you're an expert).

Reduced health risks aside, it is much more convenient to TT. Lunchtime is a lights-off period in my office. So, the ability to TT is essential if one is to send emails (not work related, of course...) or chat online during that period.

Old school Autocad users are familiar with TT, but not to the full extent. Give them a mouse to work with, they'd prefer a QWERTY keyboard instead. After all, the numbers are still on the keyboard, right?

That being said, TT also includes the ability to key in numbers without looking at the keypad. By the way, that set of numbers to the right of a full-sized keyboard is called a keypad.

I could only TT at about 45 words per minute (WPM) at accuracy above 90%. However, throw in symbols in the sentences or words to be typed, my accuracy (or speed) would drop a lot.
I learnt how to TT when I was 15, using my cousin Azizi's PC. Those days, the OS was MS-DOS (no, I'm not old), so the graphics was not as awesome as nowadays. Still the essence is the same. After finishing school, while my friends were attending driving classes, I sat at home learning TT on my brother Amri's PC (Windows based already by this). Four hours a day, for three weeks, I finished the basic lessons - not that hard, eh? Well, the PC was not with captivating computer games(solitaire, pacman) that I could play with, so I took the challenge of TT.

The intention was for me to be able to type efficiently, knowing that I would have to hand out reports and assignments for college and university. So, I started 'early' learning how to TT to prepare for that, and I guess I set the goal right back then.

The only bad thing about being able to TT is that my eyes would stay fixed on the computer monitor for a long period of time. Oh, and me learning to TT and forgoing the driving lessons, that's another story.

Google for 'touch typing' (or here), and you'll get enough help to get started. There are many sites offering free online tutoring. Have fun, and may your fingers dance gracefully, and faster.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

jemput makan?

While having his nasi lemak in the office one morning, a colleague invited:
"Makan?" ("Eat?")
It's a shortened question for "come and join me with my meal".

It is a courtesy invitation, practiced by Asians. We politely offer to share our meals with others. This is so as not to be rude, enjoying the sumptuous meal alone while others would be left watching enviously and trying hard to ignore the tantalizing aroma floating around the area shared by those around.

This courtesy is practised almost anywhere, even with strangers. If you're on a bus for a long journey and about to enjoy your food, it is deemed to be normal (and somewhat expected) for you to extend this courtesy to the person seated next to you. Even if it's just a plain slice of bread. It's the thought that counts.

Almost all the time, this 'obligatory' courteous invitation will be welcomed with a smile (absent all the while before that), and replied with one of these stock answers:
"No thank you, enjoy your [whatever]",
"Bismillah" (I like/prefer this one),
"Eh, takpe, takpe",
and et cetera.

I said 'almost', because sometimes I'd like to tease my friends (and strangers) with this unexpected answer:
"OK, leave some for me that chicken wing and the ice cream", while rolling my sleeves up.

That begs a question:
Do we offer our food to be shared with others around because of mere courtesy, adab berbudi bahasa, making it as cliché; or doing it out of pure sincerity and kind thoughts?

During college years, a close friend of mine usually would enjoy his food by himself quietly, and never would offer the courtesy to people around. His take on it is that he wants to eat it all for himself (food on his plate is just enough for himself), and would never be a hypocrite. I agree with him on this.

There's a hadeeth about sharing your food:
"Food for two is enough for three, while food for three is enough for four"
(Abu Hurairah r.a.)

Rest assured, I'll always be sincere while being courteous whenever I ask you to join me with my meal. Though I'll keep mum if I'm only a spoonful away from finishing my [whatever].

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I received these photos from my cousin Liza 2 days ago. The exact date of the photo taken is July 19th last year. It's from her elder sister Lin's (Kak Long) camera, who is technologically challenged :)

The occasion: Nubhan's fan club inaugural meeting cum get together.

I was around KL at that time attending meeting; and so were Ibu, Ayah, and my elder brother Amri's family. Amri fetched me from Crown Princess hotel upon checking out and we went to Low Yat to buy a laptop for Ibu.

Ibu were at UTM Jalan Semarak attending IT related course. We fetch her and had lunch together. Little did I know that they came to KL also to attend NFC's function. I followed them anyway, to Bora Ombak near Ampang Sports Planet.

Although there was a long table reserved for 'family', I still felt uncomfortable to be there. I didn't pay anything, while members have to fork out a certain amount. Another reason being: I was the other person besides Auntie Bong wearing green in that occasion. Really felt so out of place :).

The way out: took Kak Long's camera and went to shooting frenzy mode. Hahaa... Win-win for her and I. Problem is, it took this long for me to get the photo of myself with Nubhan from her. Perhaps Kak Liza could teach Kak Long the simplest way ever to download photos from her uber sophisticated camera someday? Using a card reader is a simple way to do it.

Ayah, Ibu, me, Kak Lang, Kak Long

Of Nubhan, I didn't quite notice how lanky he is. Upon seeing the photo, well, he's a lot taller than I am, and a lot slimmer than I remember when he's younger. And little did I know of his hidden talent, for he's a quiet guy all the while.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

be the boss?

Anyone would be perplexed whenever I tell them that I don't have any desire to be a boss, head of department or the like.

I would ask them back why would anyone want to be a boss. The common and usual answer would be 'better salary'. Ahh... the very reason why people are busting their delicate bottoms everyday at their workplace.

Not just $, but $ if you're the boss.

Yes, it is bigger but not necessarily always. Once a former boss of mine said that it is also not unusual for bosses having lower wages than their subordinates. This of course depends on the industry and the line of work. You don't have to be in the management ladder in order to have a big salary. For technical companies, if you have the right technical competency, your salary would be upscaled accordingly. Unfortunately for me, my company doesn't have that. Thus the only path to have better salary is to be the boss.

Does it have to be that way? The boss is the leader, period. That's how companies would flourish, and people get better. When people wants to be the leader because of the $ factor, things could go ugly. Corrupt politicians are examples. Naturally, a leader is a leader not because of the benefits for himself. He should be focusing on others, beyond self. Improving the lives of others, for example. Hence making the $ factor not the prime motivation, rather downgraded only as a side benefit.

You would always also hear bosses say that 'money is not everything'. Well, if you already have tons of it, and that's completely another topic altogether.

Monday, March 02, 2009

summer meadow update

Last Sunday Naza requested for me not to go offroad, and have a recreational activity with the family instead. I obliged, and as usual they enjoyed the extension of last night's sleep. Meanwhile, after Subuh I picked up my XS project and continued on.

This morning I took a photo of the project so far, and it is showing very much progress since my last entry about this. The white daisies are starting to show up between the spots of green & khakis.

It would finish very much soon, if I'm willing to trade it with my offroad rides. Well... the project can always wait.


And yes, we went to Hutan Bandar for the family activity - after the brunch.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

mei chern's CD

She's a singer-songwriter. She plays her guitar beautifully.

I get to know only last week that Mei Chern released her 7-song CD (and that happened last year). I have with me a copy of her homemade CD featuring 3 songs in July 2007. Got it when I went to KL Sing Song at KLPac. I have always liked those 3 songs, her guitar playing and her singing voice.

Immediately I sent an email to her asking if she could send me a copy of her CD. After exchanging a few emails, with the magical money transfer through Maybank2u, she sent me the CD. I received it on Wednesday via Poslaju, with personalised autograph on the CD cover with my name on it.

I'm writing this while listening to her songs. I'd say it's suitable for a lazy Sunday morning at home, and for a carefree drive along a quiet country road.

However, this one song from her homemade CD is still my favourite so far - Feels Like Falling.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Summer Meadow Revisited

I went to Senawang over the recent Chinese New Year holidays to spend some time with my parents, and celebrate Ayah's birthday too. Ayah proudly showed me his completed Masjidil Haram cross-stitch work. and, he asked me about the progress of my xs piece.

It has been a very, very long time since I started my ambitious xs mega project - Summer Meadow. It was supposed to be finished by the time we move to Seri Alam, and hung on one of
the walls as a memento.

Since June 2007, now it is already more than one and a half year! Still a work-in-progress.
Been busying myself with my other hobby-turned-obsession, and this one hobby been neglected to a lower tier. Albeit, recently I did spend a little time on weekends over in Senawang. Make that 4 hours over the last 2 months

No latest photo of my progress, but here's one.

Photo taken on 3rd October 2007.
Hahahaa... a major neglect.

I can pretty much say that it is quite close to what it is right now (read: little progress).

As for the memento, well, there'll always be other occasions in the future that can suit the finish date of this project. Hopefully not for my retirement.

Friday, January 30, 2009

fat cat bed

I read about this just now, it's cute and funny.

Hope you cat lovers out there like this one too!


Friday, January 23, 2009


Tagged by Lydia, and this has been long overdue.

1. Senaraikan 5 perkara tentang org yang tag kamu:
  1. Her name is Lydia
  2. She works in MMHE, attached with PMDP
  3. Hard on the outside, but actually mellow inside. She said so.
  4. She likes to bloop
  5. She always melalut in her blog
2. Tuliskan novel kegemaran kamu:
Michael Crichton's 'The Great Train Robbery'.
Was written in the year I was born!

3. Listkan 5 benda yang kamu sayang:
  1. my Titus watch - a wedding gift from my wife. later will pass on to my kids. an heirloom, sort of.
  2. my wallet - a storage for my family portrait, ID, driving licence, bankcard, and cash (yup, no credit cards). also a wedding gift, but replaced with a similar one. the old one still nicely kept.
  3. my ultra sophisticated handphone - Nokia 1200. actually, the data in it. and the emergency flashlight. my PDA as well also lah, like that...
  4. books
  5. bicycles
Now, these people are tagged by me:
Huar huar huar...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Linkin Park now playing in your nearest masjid

Or it could be Metallica, or P. Ramlee, or whatever mp3 tunes that you have set for your ring tones.

C'mon, people.
If you have those ring tones, please switch your phones to silent mode if you don't want to switch the phone off. It is rather annoying, what with the fact that it is actually rude to have music in play while the Khatib is giving his sermon during Jumaat.

On the other hand, may I suggest that you discard your mp3 ring tones and stick to the normal, boring old standard ring tone. That is, if you're the kind of people who always forget to switch off your phones before entering surau or masjid.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Al Fatihah

9:50 pm last night Ayah called me and relayed a very surprising news.
At first I thought he mentioned my cousin Kak Lang has passed away. That would be a shock to me. Immediately he made it clear that it was my uncle Pak Lang, my mom's brother-in-law.

I really didn't know what to do right then. My mind was filled with what to do next. First of all, I recited Al Fatihah for him. Next, to deliberate and assess my current situation. How do I attend his funeral - planned after zuhur today at kampung. Late last night I decided that I couldn't attend, and told Ibu about it.

Pak Lang is of a quiet character. He's a man of few words, but full of wisdom. Understandably so, as he was an Ustaz, an Imam and also a Qadhi. I went to hajj the same time with him, and we shared the same tent in Mina. He took very good care of my late grandparents house and everything around it in Juasseh (the one that you see in Astro - Nubhan's house). That, I admire highly and I appreciate so much.

I pray that Allah rests this good man's soul in Jannah. InsyaAllah.

Al Fatihah.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

jalan jalan pegi berendam

Isnin 29 Disember 2008.
Ma'al Hijrah.

Aku sekeluarga bercadang untuk pergi berendam di Starhill resort (kawasan Kempas, arah ke Seelong). Lambat jugak kitorang keluar, dalam pukul 10 pagi.

Sampai aje kat tempat tu, abang jaga kat situ kata kolam tutup setiap Isnin.

Tukar arah ke Pulai Springs Resort pulak. Dah berapa lama aku kat JB ni, tak pernah berkunjung pun ke situ. Macam biasa lah, terbuka hanya pada ahli kelab sahaja. Ada laa dalam rm8k setahun yurannya.

Perjalanan diteruskan ke Gunung Pulai pulak. Info dari anak sedara aku yang kampungnya kat Pontian, katanya tempat tu dibuka. Info dari kawan sepengayuh kata tempat tu masih ditutup ekoran kemalangan akibat banjir kilat 2001. Aku baca suratkhabar semalam, masih dalam kajian 10 tahun sebelum dibuka semula. Ada lagi 2 tahun nak kena tunggu. Errkk...
Tapi aku tau, ada aje makhluk yang selamba naik ke situ dan menikmati alam anugerah Allah. Aku tetap teruskan jugak ke Gunung Pulai tu. Saja-saja nak tau jalan dan macamana rupa tempat tu. Rasanya aku ke situ cuma sekali, 10 tahun lepas... itupun jadi penumpang dok kat tempat duduk belakang tanpa menggunakan talipinggang keledar (masih belum menjadi kesalahan). Nak ke Gunung Pulai tu kena la pulak lalu Pekan Nanas. Heheheh... maka aku pun singgah le jugak jenguk-jenguk kedai beskal yang tersohor kat situ.

Sampai je kat Gunung Pulai tu ada papan tanda 'Dilarang Masuk'. Maka aku pun tak masuk le. Setelah berbincang, kami pun sepakat untuk ke Kota Tinggi. Pun, aku dah lama tak ke sana sejak dinaiktaraf pengurusan (dan harga tiket). Untuk itu, kami menghala ke Kulai. Kali pertama aku lalu jalan tu, dan kali pertama jugak le aku tau kat mana tempatnya Felda Taib Andak. Jauh jugak siut... padan le Mawi suami isteri naik heli nak ke sini untuk hadiri kenduri sendiri (hey, it rhymes!).

Perjalanan diteruskan ke Kota Tinggi dari Kulai. Bab ni, aku agak familiar siket pasal ada laa 3-4 kali jugak aku dah ke Air Terjun Kota Tinggi. Dalam pukul 2 petang kami sampai kat pintu masuk. Lepas bayar tiket untuk 2 dewasa, 2 kanak-kanak dan 1 kereta, kitorang pun menuju ke tempat parkir dan bersiap solat zohor sebelum pegi berendam.

Fuhh... Punya laa ramai orang kat situ. Iye la, cuti umum kan...

Kitorang naik ke tingkat atas dan carik tempat sesuai untuk berendam. Agak cuak bagi aku pasal kena handle 2 budak tak berapa kecik dan sorang mak budak. Kali pertama aku bawak Marsya dan Adam gi berendam kat air terjun. Dengan batu besarnya, dengan lumut kat batu jadi licinnya, dengan air yang sejuknya... fuhh... best dengan bahaya bercampur. Nasib baek anak2 aku tak komen kuat2 pasal couple2 yang shame-shame kat situ. Rasa macam overprotective pulak bila aku dok pimpin diorang masuk kat tempat berendam tu. Tapi bila tiba masa nak pindah kat tempat lain pulak, aku amik keputusan untuk biarkan Marsya & Adam cari jalan diorang sendiri (aku jadi guide aje) untuk melintasi bebatu besar dan licin.

Ada 3 tempat kitorang berendam. Sebetulnya, aku & Naza je yang banyak berendam. Penghujung air terjun tu ada gelungsur lebar. Aku turun kat situ, memang syiok. Last call, kononnya, sebelum balik tinggalkan air terjun. Marsya nak cuba jugak, tapi takut-takut. Pastu bila aku setuju turun sama-sama, dia pun beranikan diri turun kat situ. Penyudahnya, 2-3 kali jugak kami dok naik-turun kat situ.

Kami balik dan cari makan kat bandar Kota Tinggi. Jumpa restoran Nasi Padang. Lepas makan, aku ternampak ada pulak satu kedai surfing kat tingkat atas. Tangganya betul betul bersebelahan dengan kedai makan tu. Aku naik ke atas saja jenguk-jenguk, Naza pulak belek-belek kedai baju kat sebelah.

Aku turun cari Naza, dia takde. Padan la takde... dia menyorok kat dalam fitting room kedai baju tu. Maka aku pun ada laa lesen untuk berkunjung ke kedai beskal Lim. Terus aku telefon si Jai tanya kat mana letaknya kedai tu. Berkunjung ke kedai Lim tu, ada pulak tuas brek Avid SD 7. Aku pun angkut le sepasang... (maka lengkaplah cockpit SRAM aku sekarang ni).

6.30 petang kami pulang dari Kota. Dah balik baru la terasa penat. Tapi aku rasa berbaloi. Ada pengalaman baru untuk aku, Marsya & Adam. Dan ada baju baru untuk Naza. Dan ada barang mtb baru untuk aku.
Keh keh keh...