Monday, December 17, 2007

Ko Muk (1)

Something to balance the 'loneliness' posts and laugh a bit. But in actual fact, this was the source of my sulking. I brought the family for a bit of travelling during August school holiday and since it was short ... in time and in cash ... we thought of some islands close in south Thailand. See, poor people make brave choices amidst the thing there; though the western side is a bit quiet than the Patani/Narathiwat side.

So we chose Ko Muk for not much reasons at all. Never been there and it reads on the net that it's cheaper than some islands nearby.

August being a low season, we had the whole beach to ourselves.

And it was low season for a reason ... it rains there in August. And on the way back, we almost got stuck! Hope you had a bit of a laugh ...

Loneliness (2)

To continue from last post, though I'm feeling okay now, I thought I should share some notes on this thing called 'loneliness'.

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet came to mind at the moment; for his style of writing and things he said, but I don't have the book with me and not even sure if he wrote anything on this.

In these 36 years of living, I felt acute loneliness on two distinct occasions.

The first was around year 2000, I was working for a small EON Service workshop in Puchong at the time and the boss wanted to go into NGV cars. So I search a bit and told him that there will be international NGV Conference in Yokohama in a few months. And he said go. Fulamak I thought, never been out of the country since I came back from studies in 1994 and was feeling a bit happy.

So the day came, and as I was walking alone towards Japanese immigration, I thought alamakkk (trying to clear from swear words now :) ), I'm alone here on my own and was envious of other Malaysians in the queue with their group, happy talking together like they are already high on local sake.

Searched a bit on how to use Japanese train and managed to get to Yokohama station. Truly our mind is limited in its perception; we usually thought what we will experience according to our previous occurrences. I guess that’s why in some Sufi stories, the morale is to change our method of thinking from linear consequential to non-linear. And hence I thought Yokohama station can't be that much bigger than KL's. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. I think they have more than 20 platforms compare to KL’s 5.

And finally managed to walk to the hotel and went to the conference and all. And that night, alone in the hotel room and with no English-channel TV to watch, and no company nor cash to walk around; I felt I miss my family so much.

This went around for a few days until I dare myself to buy a scratch card to watch TV in the hotel room. I thought that card would give you more TV channels like Cinemax or something.

But guess what, it’s a card for Jap porno channel. He he he.

O well, lust … just like love, does not need a spoken language to communicate. Can’t remember now whether I asked the hotel for more soap bars that day!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lonely (1)

It has been about 2 months since I moved to Kulim. Before going there, I thought I could catch up on my reading. I still have a few books bought in 2005 to finish. And there's a biography on St. Thomas Aquinas that I had since college days. But things did not go as we planned. I've been to few workplaces since my first pay check and work stuff does not bother me too much. I think I could survive in any work environment. But life issues. Now that's another story.

There's a saying I think that goes, 'to be in this world but not part of it'. I roughly understood as for us to be here on earth but don't forget our hereafter. As Mawlana sometimes say, roughly, we are like big rats in a sewer. Running after this dunya. And I am weak. And I am forgetting my purpose.

And there's another saying, ‘one can be lonely in a crowd’, or something like that. The first two weeks in Kulim were lonely evenings on 11th floor of Sunway Hotel in Seberang Prai. That saying hits right on.

As I looked down from my room, I see people. In mamak shops. ATM ques. Going to Billion supermarket next door.

But I am alone. No connection at all with any of them. And I sleep alone. Bertemankan tv yang ntah apa-apa cerita. Now I know how my mom missed me in when I was in boarding school. Somehow life comes full circle here.

That's the thing about our mind. We think we are always cool and know stuff. Back 20 years ago, I couldn't wait to leave home. Being at home is stuffing. I can't imagine what a mother's love then. Back then, love is stifling; love constricts; love doesn't let you go to experience life.

My oh my. Now alone in this creamish hotel room; I long for my son's voice. I long to know how is my wife doing.

And I sort of know what a mother's love is. So friends, carpe diem, seize the day. I may sound cliché but make your present matters to your loved ones. You’ll never know until the opportunity is not there anymore.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Being a weekend husband has taken a bit on me ... so here's some interlude

Nasruddin was arrested and taken to court on the charge that he was stuffing horsemeat into the chicken cutlets he served at his restaurant. Before passing sentence, the judge wanted to know in what proportion he was mixing the horsemeat with chicken flesh. Nasruddin said, on oath, "It was fifty-fifty, Your Honor."

After the trial a friend asked what exactly "fifty-fifty"meant.

Said Nasruddin, "One horse to one chicken."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trip to Jakarta Photos

I just uploaded some photos for Jakarta trip in May, 2007 to flickr. You could view these at

Monday, July 02, 2007

Dinner at Debu

Once uploaded to google video, turn out to be not that high quality. But the experience itself was nice. These Debu folks are really 'folks on the path' ... or Sufis ... or Sufi aspirants ... I'm not sure of the proper term but they are good people. Their dinner portion is just nice and not too much like what we usually have at home.

And the music was nice too! Mustafa said he learned the instrument from a Malaysian while the instrument (is it what we called 'gabus'?) itself is from Egypt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cerita Anak

Fateh is having his mid-year exam at Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu 14, Puchong since last week. And yesterday he came home telling us that he's fairly confident in getting 'A' for his Jawi paper.

He said, "mula2 tak faham tapi lepas pakai otak, Teh boleh buat semua. Tapi satu je tak boleh buat ... satu muka surat!" Haaa, he he he ... anak ... anak. Apa nak buat, mak bapak dia dua-dua kerja, balik malam dah letih nak tengok kerja sekolah dia. Nasib baik baru darjah 2, hopefully later on we will be more involved in your academic son.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Da Bomb!

So, it was officially announced last Thursday that our whole department will be moved from KL to Kulim effective 1st June, 2007. We have heard about it a few months ago so it wasn't such a surprise. I could rant and bitch about it but in the end, we are still employees. Plus, organization-wise, the plan has its merits.

So, in times like this, meditation on things like below will be good for the soul ...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Jakarta 2007 - 1st Day

I was picked up from Jakarta airport by Octavius Sutar, or Ote for short. But what a name, Octavius. Despite Malaysian kids nowdays having a name like Danial or stuff, you would not find here a Roman name like that. I read a bit and apprently, Octavii is a family of high standing in those Roman times. And may Ote also started the same this side of the Roman empire. Ote, quickly e-mail me your photo so I could put it here!

This is how I know him. While on a bus from Penang to KL, two guys behind me were talking in a diffrent accent and so I turn around and started talking. Apparently, they are two Indonesians who just finished playing a hockey tournament in USM (with their own money! they are hockey fanatics) and now, on therr way back to KL. So, we got to talking and they are going to their Malaysian friend's house but that friend won't be be home until like 8 or 9 p.m. We got to KL around 4 p.m. and I invited them to my house. What was I thinking, inviting total strangers to my house. And feed them mamak food some more! They could be 'pencopek' for god's sake! He he he.

But that's the thing with us nowdays. We run after dunia (or dunya as Shaykh Nazim says) so much that our heart becomes hardened. Oftentimes, when I pass by people walking to my housing area, it's difficult for me to stop and offer them a ride. If our heart is not soft & beutiful, I don't think it's easy for us to do charity. Amazing isn't it.

So, Ote picked us up and drove us to our guesthouse in Jalan Jaksa, Jakarta Pusat. Jaksa is like Bangkok's Khao San road on a smaller scale. Before that, we had a Sundanese lunch at a place called BenHill. That's one thing good if you know the locals, they take to good makan places. Sunda food is a bit sweet and has lots of ulam.

After checking in, we had a short rest and again, picked up by another friend, Dinna, to visit Debu.

Dinna is a founding member for yahoo group's fansya_debu, and from there, we got to e-mail each other a bit. It was really nice of her and her husband, Dhani, to drive us and give us tips about places to eat & shop in Jakarta. I think from Jakarta Pusat to Debu's house in Cilandak, Jakarta Selatan is about 40 km. But with traffic jam, took us about 1 1/2 hours to get there. Patient people they are. May the Lord reward them handsomely.

A bit about Debu. I think it was around early 2003 that I first heard Debu on Ikim's radio. They probably appeared on Astro first but since we don't have Astro I wouldn't know. They are mostly American Muslims whom moved to Indonesia some years ago and started to play music during their spare time in between giving English classes. They have spiritual guide in Shaykh Fataah (Mustafa's father) who has permission or 'ijazah' from several Sufi masters. And this is my guess: the 60's hippies movement is not a total waste. Apart from those music festivals, we have people whom travel to the East in search for spiritual wisdom. And some of them found answers from masters like Pir Vilayat Khan, Shaykh Ahmad Al Alawi, Shaykh Nazim, and from many more others.

I had been up that day since 5 a.m. and when we got to Debu, I was really tired and wasn't talking much. But I brought a Mawlid Day'bai book as a gift to them.

That's me after the giving the book to Mustafa. Mannn, I'm fat. Even Ibrahim, to my immediate left, who's from Texas is slim (Mustafa is next to Ibrahim).
We also had dinner at Debu's. What is nice is that while we all were having dinner, Mustafa and one other person were plying some instruments; sort of background music for us. Well, they do this everytime, not because we were there :)

And that's Dhani, son Ahmad Rayyan, and Dinna enjoying their dinner.

Fateh, Dinna, and other kids were playing before dinner. It's weird to hear those blonde kids speaking in perfect Indonesian accent. They need to learn Enlish! :)

All in all, it was a 'capet' and good day.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Jakarta 2007 - The Planning

Taking advantage of the long Labor Day holiday recently, and with a bit of foresight and generous credit from Hong Leong visa card, we were off to Jakarta last April 28, 2007 and came back 5 days later.

My wife has this habit of taking pictures of airport/general scenery as we land and so, here's one of Jakarta's airport. Or 'bandara' they call it, which is short form of 'bandar udara'. You will find they use lots of acronyms overthere. As opposed to my Padang trip in 2006, I did not do much planning/reading for this trip (read: I'm a good boy at the office and don't utilize company resources for personal use. And Borat will loudly say, "NOTTTTT").

I usually use to get to know the places I'll be visiting and so far, they are quite alright. Plus, the tips there are written by real travelers or local residents so they are not like those tourism brochures (there are however, some people who copied tips from tour sites/brochures but they are negligible).

And since the hotels in Jakarta are more expensive and we being more of 'backpacker' tourist than a Hilton/Hyatt type, I use for lodging info. Google Earth also helps in giving the bearings of places in Jakarta.

So, before going there, I made a list of places to visit:
Day 1 - Saturday, 28/4/07
Shopping - Sarinah, Blok M Shopping
Shopping - Jl Surabaya, Senen

Day 2 - Sunday, 29/4/07
Istiqlal Mosque, Museum Gajah, Monas
Shopping - Tanah Abang
Go to Debu's house

Day 3 - Monday, 30/4/07 (move to Bandung for one night)
Kawah Putih Ciwidey
Shopping - Bandung

Day 4 - Tuesday, 1/5/07
Kota / Sunda Kelapa
Shopping - Mangga Dua

Day 5 - Wednesday, 2/5/07
Return KL

Many people suggested to include Anchol Dreamland (like Genting or Sunway in Malaysia but much bigger) and Taman Mini but due to limited time & budget, I did not include these two.

But alas, 'Mat Jenin' can dream but Jakarta is sooo biigggg that all my plan goes haywire. Look at the photos below and imagine about 12 million people live there.

Unlike KL, where most people lives in the surrounding areas and not in the city itself, Jakarta with length from North to South of about 70 km (estimate by a friend), people do work and live there. So the place is really congested. And I don't know any roads in KL that is 5 lanes on each side!

So, my plan all goes to haywire and only managed to do this:

Day 1 - Saturday, 28/4/07
No shopping at Sarinah, Blok M, Jalan Surabaya for antiques, or Senen for used books. But had good Sundanese lunch at BenHil (like our Star Hill, actual name is Bendungan Hilir) after airport pick up by Pak Ote. Ote, by the way, I met recently in a Nice bus from Penang to KL while coming back from Krabi trip in December 2006. Who knew short conversations in a bus could turn into friendship.

After checking into hotel, had a short rest and was picked up by Dinna, another friend whom I got to know from Yahoo group fansnya_Debu and off we went to Debu's house/zawiya in South Jakarta. It was fun to finally met some Debu members face to face and had dinner there. And it was priceless to have two Debu members playing 'gambus' (I think) as background music while having dinner (more on this later).

Day 2 - Sunday, 29/4/07
No visit to Istiqlal Mosque, Museum Gajah, or shopping at Tanah Abang as planned but we managed to go to Monument National or Monas for short. This is funny. A day before leaving for Jakarta, I sms a good and hopefully lifelong buddy Riza telling him that I'm going to Jakarta and asking if he wants anything from there. And he replied he's actually going there that afternoon itself. Wow, without previous plan, now I've got buddies to hang around with in Jakarta. So, this good Sunday morning, since Riza and his entourage was already at Monas, we went there first to join them. Waduuuhhh, besar banget tempatnya. Taxi driver drop us at a bad entrance and I had to walk about 2 kilometers to go to the actual Monas monument. And about a kilometer of those walking scented by human urine. No kidding. After that, capet sekali and terus pulang ke kamar and rehat2 aja.

Day 3 - Monday, 30/4/07
Woke up still feeling tired and drag ourselves to Stasiun Gambir (which is like only 10 minutes from Jakarta Pusat where we stayed) for train to Bandung. Highly recommended the Executive train to Bandung instead of using taxi or minivan coz with train, the scenery is truly beautiful.

Day 4 - Tuesday, 1/5/07
Went to Kawah Putih in Bandung and return to Jakarta via minivan.

Day 5 - Wednesday, 2/5/07
Again, nothing happen as planned to visit Kota / Sunda Kelapa area. But team up with Riza and visit some naqshbandi members in Jakarta. Though I'm not that good of a Muslim, it's nice to meet some people who is.

Day 6 - Thursday, 3/5/07
Yes Dorothy, there's no place like home.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A good start to Maulid 2007 session

After a long hiatus, which is occuring more frequently now :), went for zikir last night and now being Rabiul-Awal, the praising of our Prophet is a bit longer than usual. The video grab from my Lumix camera is not that good (plus I'm not sure if it's a good idea to post video here) but like most things now, you can google for mawlid videos at youtube or google video.

That's Fateh in the foreground and a familiar face at the background in blue shirt with back at the wall.

And the 'kambing' afterward is, as always, simply divine.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A day at National Zoo

These are the photos that made me wanted to buy a digital camera. Sometime ago we decided to bring Fateh to the zoo since we ourselves never been there. Judging from above, we made good timing too! By the way, that is not his 'fifth' leg.

We had a good day there. Though not knowing the schedule, we left our house early enough and made it to the few animal shows and enjoyed ourselves. The giraffes safari was nice. Seladangs too.

A good way to spend a day and it beats the mall anytime.

Friday, March 16, 2007


It was the book 'Muhammad' by Martin Lings that made me wanted to do this. There's a reference there that during Isra & Mikraj that the angels were telling our prophet for his nation to do the bekam. So a few years later and some weeks ago I did it.

It was one of those days that I felt lazy to go to work and found an excuse for mc or whatever. By chance I went to Puchong Perdana mosque and saw this guy phone number on a poster for 'bekam'. Because he was trained by some MLM company, that apart from doing bekam they also sell herbal medicine, the equipment used seemed quite alrite; with proper sterilization on the syringe and all.

Contrary to my perception, it wasn't hurtful at all. However, to show you the 'front' photo would constitute pornography on my part.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

How to have great beach holiday on the cheap?

Take a deep breath and think about your life nowadays. Now, wouldn't it be nice for a little get away on the cheap, a sort of life-recharging holiday but doesn't cost you more than a few steaks at Victoria Station. Well, you have got a friend here to tell you how. So thank the good Lord for that. He he he. And pray that he becomes a good boy.

Assuming that you live in KL like me, and no matter how much you spend time in the office, things are not gonna be that superb. So, what a bloke to do? My suggestion - go Krabi my friend, go Krabi. Now, where the heck is that? Well, I know your geography is not good. So, look at the map below.

It’s not that far from Phuket, about two hours by boat. While there are still tons of tourists in Krabi (in case you wanna people watching *wink*), it’s not over-commercialized as Phuket, hence, won’t cost you a bundle. And it’s not that far from Bukit Kayu Hitam either.

So how to go there? And how to go there on the cheap and easy.

First, to Bukit Kayu Hitam. Here I think the easiest would be to drive yourself up all the way to the Duty Free building and park your car there. I’ve parked my car here for a few days and done this for a couple of times over the years and so far, no trouble for me. And right at that parking lot, you will see a few vans and taxis to Hat Yai. Price changes but roughly a van cost you about RM15 per person and RM50 per taxi. I’m not a regular to Hat Yai (see, I’m still a good boy and with your prayers, I’ll be better) so I don’t know the details.

Twice, without a map and just by reading the sparse signboards with English characters and squiggly fonts, we managed to drive up to Hat Yai. You need your car registration to do this and you have to buy Thai insurance before leaving the Malaysian border. At the border, please make sure that you do your passports and also permit for the car coz during our first time, nobody told us and we went up to Sadao for another check and have to return back.

In Hat Yai, you could go to any travel agent and ask for a minivan to Krabi. And if you walk around the central shopping area, you wouldn’t walk more than 100m without seeing one tour agent with photos of nice girls on the wall. If I remember correctly, van to Krabi leaves at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, & 3 pm. Don’t take my words for these but it should be your guide for your traveling plan. If I’ve time, I would not mind staying a night in Hat Yai and leaves for Krabi the next day. I went to Krabi in early 2007 and the van cost me only RM25.

It was not a planned trip and I’ve not even read up on the place. The opportunity arose when I had to go to Penang for work trip and I thought what the heck, might as well take a few days off. So, armed with only one phone number for tour agent in Krabi (got it from, I got on that minivan and spend four hours on the road. With fear and excitement, I thought what the hell am I doing in this van. As customary in Thailand, guys would sit at the back of the van leaving the front for ladies. This van is like a Toyota Hiace with 3 rows of seat at the back. I’m alone at the back row and another guy in front of me. Conversation was out of the picture since he was not the talking type. One German couple at the front and they don’t seem friendly too. So I was like, o mannn, don’t let my asthma got to me or else I could die here alone!

And I already intent to jama’ zuhr during asr and the van is moving patiently in the winding road with no towns in sight. What if the good Lord said, well young man, your time on earth is up and your hour of Truth has come. The feeling of excitement and anxiety when you are traveling somewhere without having a clue of the journey itself is really something. The adrenaline is different from Bungee Jumping or those ride at the theme parks. You know theme park operators will do their best to ensure safety but traveling without a Lonely Planet guide will make your heart thumps wildly. Writing this, makes me realize how I can be complacent with the journey to hereafter but will not travel anywhere on earth without a guide book.

Enough of that. After two hours leaving Hat Yai, we had a R&R stop and not having small change with me, I did not leave the van. On the return trip, I realized how foolish it was. For the place had a halal food stall and also a Surau!

I arrived in Krabi about 6 pm and have the driver talked to the agent for my drop off. Patty, the tour agent, was nice and helpful and got me a fairly new place with a/c and bathroom for the night at RM35. For halal dinner, she suggested the night market which is near the Krabi pier, about 100m from her office. I went there and start looking for the ‘Bismillah’ or any Arabic signs. But unlike Hat Yai, I could not find any. I haven’t had lunch and now another surprise! I guess unlike Hat Yai, Malaysians don’t go to Krabi much so there’s no need for the signs. After walking a while, I saw a couple (must be local) and the girl wears a tudung. So that’s the spot for me. Asked the stall what they have for dinner but it wasn’t going anywhere since I don’t speak Thai; so the easiest would be ‘chicken fried rice’ and ‘iced tea’. Cost me RM4 for those.

Apparently, Krabi is about 40% Muslims and a few traders at the night market are Muslims. There are also a few Muslim restaurants but being a small town, much smaller than Hat Yai, the restaurants open at 8 am and close 5 pm.

Things to do here are the same as those in Phuket. After all, you would take the island trips to Phi Phi and a few others like Maya Beach where they filmed Leo’s the Beach movie. The diffence is that it’s cheaper if your base is in Krabi. Krabi also has a few beaches like Ao Nang (20 minutes by car) or Rai Lay (by boat only), but accommodation could double up in those areas.

So, for less than RM50 for transportation from border and RM30 for room, you could be in another environment sipping ice cold pineapple juice and reading a book while being caressed by soft winds. And not to mention those farangs with well endowed assets.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blog Updating

To my friend Elin & Lollies, sorry that I've not updated this for a bit. I'm feeling quite down at work at the moment and lost the appetite to write. Plus, I'm not that good of a writer or have much free time to produce good writing. But I think these people are:

Incidentally, I started blogging just because I wanted to comment on Riza's blog. Never I dream that I could bring world peace or change the world by writing this.

But by golly, there was one time, not too many years ago that I dreamt of changing our Malay society. Though I don't know much, names like Che Guavara, Malcom X, Burhanuddin Helmi were always on my lips. I asked a few friends one time what they think of our society, and one replied, "What? Che Sayuti?". I knew it was hard work then and changed my hobby to playing Nintendo. And I was good at Mario Brothers too!

But dream and understanding is an elusive thing. If I may, remember those Calculus problems in Form 5? They were difficult to solve and understand at first, but after a few trials, voila, we feel a bit more confident to solve them. But trying to understand and solve the maladies of our society wasn't that simple. And at times it could be burdensome; until one time I was reading one talk/sohbet by Shaykh Nazim about the tribulations of our time and felt that I don't have to carry the burden anymore. Truly, 'understanding' is not something we could get by striving alone, it also has to be bestowed on us.

I wasn't planning to write about that but I digress. I actually wanted to congratulate our friend Phirdouse for getting married. Again. But never mind. Mabruk, mabruk.