Tuesday, 10 September 2019

I'm over the moon!

The kindness of Mr Chan Peng Kin, also a former pupil of Mr Kempson Wong, enabled me to savour one of the most joyful experience from being a blogger.

When I wrote my post in 2012 remembering a great teacher, I never envisaged the slightest chance of Mr KW reading my article at all.  And when I spoke to him yesterday - he's now 85 - but still "hale n hearty" ( as Mr Chan put it),  it took me back to over 64 years ago when I was a scruffy 11 year-old, tagging behing him during House Practice.

Call it serindipity, fate, Kismet but who cares, it's a septuagenarian's dream come true.

Pasir Panjang English School (1955 or 1956).  All my special teachers are there, Mr Chia Wai Chee and Mrs Tan Choon Lan (seated).  Then there's Mr Chong Khim Siong and  Mr Kempson Wong (boxed in red) , standing.

We had a lovely chat, we shared a lot of laughter and happy memories.

A few weeks ago, sometime in mid-August I made what I reckoned to be my last trip to Singapore.  But I just have to go back again, for a day-trip to visit my dear ex-teacher Mr Kempson Wong and make my dream come true.

See you soon, Sir!!

Monday, 9 September 2019

I'm so sorry.

Three weeks ago at Tung Shin Hospital, the spouse and I were waiting to see our Acupuncturist Prof Moon Jae Sung.  Then this petite Malay lady in her (traditional style) Baju Kurung and scarf came towards me and asked "Excuse me, are you AnaksiHamid?"  I nodded a "Yes I am."  Then she added, "I am Semenyih."

You could have knocked me down with a feather!!!!!  The face was that of a stranger, but the name was a familiar, friendly and intelligent commentator on my blog.  She said she had made several comments on my blog and there had been no response.  I replied that I had not noticed any new indications of comments made into Ash since 2015.

But it was such a wonderful serindipitious contact with Siti aka Semenyih and her husband Chris.  We could not get over the coincidence.  We four had a lot to talk about - what a breath of fresh air!

We promised to meet again but as we're all too tied up with commitments we had to make it another day, here in Kuala Lumpur or in England.  When we parted at Tung Shin, to go to our separate cars I commented "Some one up there planned this meeting" and Siti said "Allah works in mysterious ways!"

Indeed He does.

Yesterday I received a lovely e-mail from Siti in England and she mentioned once again about her making a recent comment.  I felt I had to do something about this.  So I opened up the Blog's desktop  and discovered that Comments were now on a separate column and not on the top of the list of posts.  I clicked on it and found three headings; Published, Awaiting Moderation and Spam.  This was all new to me.  So there they were, all this time.  There were the usual rants and rubbish from bigots, losers and no-hopers, plus loads of  advertisements camouflaged as Comments. 

But in the process I also missed out on my genuine commentators.  I am especially cut up because the son (Francis Wong) and friend ( Mr Chan Peng Kin) of my former teacher Mr Kempson Wong had tried to make contact with me,


to arrange a get-together with my dear former teacher.  I spent all morning trying to contact Francis Wong, but I could not get through.  I'm trying other channels too but should I fail to do so, I have to take comfort that one of my favourite teachers when I was 11 years old did get to read about how much I appreciated him and how he made my school days so meaningful and happy.  Here's to you Sir.

If I could see you once again in front of my eyes, your septuagenarian ex-pupil would give you a big hug and rejoice once again in all those happy, innocent years at Pasir Panjang English School.

To Francis and Chan Peng Kin,  I am so sorry.

And I ask the same of my brother Mus, good friends like Din, Irene, Awang Goneng, Baiti, Mamasita, Charlie, Puyi, and Catharsis.  To all the Anons and new visitors and well-wishers, thank you for taking the trouble to add to the writings of AsH.

Finally to Semenyih - If not for you??????  Thank you being so steadfast and persisting.  I shall repeat what you said :  ALLAH WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Lest We Forget - Merdeka 2019

Let us learn from that reminder.

In the Beginning : REMEMBER THIS.


The Ceremony



The Installation of the Yang di Pertuan Agong



1.  Malays originate from the ooze and slime of the Semenanjung.  They did not arrive as missionaries, traders, foreign workers, soldiers of fortune, carpet-baggers, economic migrants, refugees from war and poverty, convicts discarded from other regimes, adventurer-capitalists, colonisers and colonialists.     When Ptolemy described the land of the Golden Chersonese (Avrea Chersonesvs), around 150 A.D., our ancestors were certainly well established within it!

2.  The Semenanjung (once) had a beautiful landscape before it was exploited and ravaged by 'economic development'.

Figure 1: A coastal village.

Figure 2 :  Padi fields where Malays had to work hard, surprise! surprise!

Figure 3 : Malays lived amongst coconut palms.  Coconut (and fish and rice) were essential to their simple diet.  Despite this seemingly easy life they also kept their kampung compounds clean and they were never short of space for their settlements.

Figure 4 :  But they were not simply kampung yokels dependent only on the bounties from land and sea.  Above is a Malay Eating House - the beginning of the Malay warong - a venture into food-capitalism?  Maybe KFC and McDonalds, Nasi Kandar and the Kopitiams  began this way! 

They lived surrounded by a naturally beautiful landscape.

Figure 5 : Gunung Bubu from Krian.

Figure 6 :The Larut Plain and Estuary from the Hills

Figure 7 : Morning Mists - Gunung Tahan

Figure 8 : A river landscape tarnished by tin workings, a common blight affecting Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

The images from Figures 1, and 3 to 8 were taken from  Illustrated Guide to the Federated Malay States edited by Cuthbert Woodville Harrison,  Malayan Civil Service.  It was published by The Malay States Information Agency , London, 1923.  The Colour Illustrations were done  by Mrs H. C. Barnard.

The spouse bought this book in Auckland, New Zealand for NZ$15 in the late 1980s.  It was (relatively) cheap because it was missing a map.

Figure 2 is the cover of .....

If anyone, anywhere wishes to 'make  use' of these illustrations, PLEASE acknowledge and give credit to the author and publisher of both books. Thank you.

It's a matter of Copyright and BUDI.

Mana kemudi patah di kerat
Berapa luas biduk kelana.
Binasa budi padah melarat
Kerana emas sanggup di hina.

Finally,  for hundreds of years, the Malays have been threatened, attacked, invaded, persuaded, cajoled and 'administrated' into parting with their sovereignty, independence and their land to serve the commercial ambitions of others.

After 1957, the Malays especially those of my father's generation and older, believed they now have the freedom and choice to repair the imbalances and losses.

But  their peers. their children and grandchildren have become the proverbial pagar makan padi.

Corruption, cronyism, nepotism have taken over and in the process the Malays are scratching each other's eyes out for bigger and bigger slices of booty.   They pledged, hocked, pawned, peddled, marketed, mortgaged  and auctioned the Tanah Pusaka  to the highest bidder and their middle men and agents - though all too often we still get shortchanged.

My Abah used to say this of the British ; "they will cut the ground from under your feet and make you thank them for it."  Nowadays, the Malays are collaborating with the ground cutters in the name of Merdeka, Liberte, Egalite  and Fraternite.  

Si Kacang Melayu dah lupakan Kulit.


Wednesday, 7 August 2019


In the wake of the brouhaha over the introduction of teaching Khat or Jawi calligraphy as part of the BM curriculum for Year Four pupils,  I decided it's a good time to think and talk about a key aspect of the Malay Peninsula's culture, heritage and literary legacy which had been marginalised as a result of the policies and practices of our  previous "masters of our fate" during nearly 450 years of foreign colonisation and overlordship.

In introducing Khat, there is hardly any overtone of  pursuing a policy of  language exclusiveness and triumphalism like Singapore's  Mandarin language campaign.

To those who protest so adamantly about Khat and Jawi, people like .......

1.   Dong Zong and Jiao Zong ....

They do teach Chinese calligraphy in Chinese vernacular schools, don't they??

2.  DAP rabble rousers
DAP foot-soldiers

3.  Orang berkuasa baru
Teresa Kok is DAP's MP for Seputeh and Minister for Primary Industries.   What opinion does she hold today?  

4.  Si Bangsa/Anak Malaysia 
Apologies for this fuzzy image of  Lim Lip Eng, DAP MP for Kepong.  I find his purple Mandarin jacket very becoming.  For a moment I thought he was a rakyat of Taiwan or the PRC or Singapore(?).

When I was in Secondary School in Singapore during the late fifties/early sixties, we did not have a permanent Malay Language teacher although Malays made up nearly a quarter of Students for my Grade Level.  The school provided a Mandarin Language teacher and we Malay girls had to sit in during each Mandarin lesson after firstly standing up and making a greeting of  Sen sen chau an when Madam X entered the classroom.  Of course we (as most teenagers do) would natter out of sheer boredom.  Although the four of us were quite subdued in our chatter, Madam X would yell at us "Malay girl sitting at the back, listen to your book!".  Yez Ma'm, Yez Boss, Yez Guv!

In 1961, about a month or two before we sat for our Senior Cambridge School Certificate Examination and the  Federation of Malaya Certificate (FMC) Malay Language Paper, we were directed to Gan Eng Seng School for our Malay Language lessons on a Saturday afternoon.   What was my Grade ye may ask??  I did not fail but I did get an S7 - something I am not proud of.  BUT, the Singapore Government reckoned that was good enough for me to teach in Malay in Sekolah Menengah Yusof  Ishak when I graduated in Geography and Political Science in 1967!!!  Yes Sir, Yes Boss, Yes Guv!

 As I went through my twenties and thirties; and through the trauma of Singapore in and out of Malaysia, of the Race Riots in Singapore and the 1969 May 13 tragedy in Malaya, of watching the rising serpent of  racism-cum-discrimination which affected both myself and my pupils;  I had to do a re-think of who and what I am.

That was the beginning of my regret and shame in knowing and learning so little of my language (especially in Jawi), my Malay Literature and the history of the Malays from way before 1511 when Catholic Portugal subjugated the land of my forefathers (and foremothers).

I did try to make a beginning with teaching myself Jawi.  I bought several do-it-yourself books.  This is my most precious  and I shall extract parts from it to illustrate why Jawi is such a significant aspect of the identity of the Malay, an expression that has been so neglected for the past 60 years or more (unlike the Chinese and the Indians who are supported to maintain and foster the calligraphy of their mother tongue).

Here is that book.

What follows is extracted entirely from M. B. Lewis' book. I have learned a lot about Jawi calligraphy and somewhat unexpectedly, about a wide tapestry of Malay culture, literature, history, socio-economics and homely domestic settings.

1.  The Portuguese reach Malacca - from Sejarah Melayu

2.  Pantun

3.  A Trading Permit

4.  From a Newspaper

5.  Newspaper Titles


Finally, a word of caution when showing one's indignation.

When DAP MP  Lim Lip Eng wrote this in his Facebook  ------

------  is he aware of the implications of the term "cow manure"?

When he used the words 'cow manure', he is of course referring to cow dung which all Malaysians know is a good organic fertilizer, just like horse dung/horse manure.

Do read this :

Hidup di dunia biar beradat,
Bahasa tidak berjual beli.   Please.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019


Two years ago, when I pulang ke Tanah Air from Leicester, the Malaysians I met were very voluble about the dire state of the country - what with rampant corruption, cronyism, racism, "Ketuanan Melayu",  the rising cost of living, the much-hated GST,  the kleptocrat leaders and of course Rosmah Mansor's shoes and pink diamonds: the country was going to the dogs!!!!

But what's new?  Other richer countries, with laudable records on freedom, equality, LGBT and human rights were also having problems especially those at the lower rungs of the ladder.  Low wages, benefit-cuts, a creaky NHS (National Health Service), high prices of food and other domestic goods, unaffordable houses, and 3 million immigrants from Eastern Europe  flooding their country.

We went to several Open Houses this Syawal and this time, no one wanted to talk about politics, the economy,  about life in Malaysia Baru: about unfulfilled promises, racism, "Shameless and lazy Melayu",  rising cost of food, petrol, transport etc; all the ills that plagued the people before GE 14.  We revisited the home of a Datuk, a highly-educated liberal, who, four years ago, declared that Najib Razak should be shot!  Today, he did not seem too elated and enamoured with  the downfall of his nemesis or the substitutes!   Some of those we met preferred to chat about their umrahs (past and future), about spending Ramadan in the Holy Land and of future group tours of Scandinavia to see the Aurora Borealis.  In fact the Orthodontist who was doing a root-canal job on the spouse, was telling Iain that Brexit is bad  - that Britain should remain in the European Union??!!?   Her main fear was for her property in Bayswater, London.  Tenants would be scarce (well, not as easy-peasy as before), property in London will not be able to maintain its mouth-watering prices and the Sterling is falling!  The same gripes that Malaysians were making before GE 14.

At 75, I have become even more cynical about people, politics, about my bangsa Melayu -  the nonagenarians, octogenarians, septuagenarians, sexagenarians, quinquagenarians, quadragenarians, tricenarians and vicenarians.  Even the denarians, busy with stuffing their mouths with junk food; their eyes and brains with their smartphones do not give much room for hope.  Or else I'm just an unabashed, old misanthropist - give me a a four-legged  creature or a feathered denizen of God's earth any day.

We septuagenarians tend to look back (sad and bad?) to happier days of bygone years when we had simple games to play, like collecting scraps of articles and pictures to make a scrapbook. Well, every Friday in Leicester the spouse would pop over to the Co-Op or One Stop Shop to buy the latest TV Weekly.  There are umpteen TV Channels on British TV but 80% of them are junk.

Here's a page to illustrate the 'range' of programmes.  I have specially boxed a programme from Channel 4 (which is a very liberal and 'radical' Station) which for an oldie like me I find quite repulsive and unnecessary.  But then this is what a society who spouts "Me, Me, Me " feel they have the right to express!   Malaysians too have absorbed these values and reckon that free expression is a valid human right and all barriers should be shunted aside.

Of course that programme was scheduled for way past the children's bed time.   But especially in Malay households, their children are still running around at 11 pm.

As for AsH, she  was only interested in  re-runs of Star Trek and old koboi  movies while the spouse was looking out for Documentaries and Gardening programmes.  One can see who is the more cerebral Buchanan!

But I do enjoy snipping and snapping the covers and the titles of my TV Weekly/TV Choice.  (Here I acknowledge TV Weekly/TV Choice as the sources of my Headline-captions).
Sometimes I would use some of them as a book cover for my Recipe Books.

 Book cover for my Recipe Book 8.

But I decided I could utilise some of the Headlines for illustrating postings in my Blog.


1.    Will there be any justice for Muhammad Adib bin Mohd Kassim?

Will this be the only justice that this young firefighter will get from Malaysia Baru ?   from his Tanah Air ?

This is not just a vandalism of a mural but a kick in the teeth for his death in the line of duty, his sacrifice and his family's grief and pain.  Has the untimely death of any other Malaysian, non-bumiputra or bumiputra been treated with such contempt?  Or is this a Signifier of the Brave New Malaysia?

Do you still hold to the belief that "Takkan melayu hilang dari dunia".  The Malays are too enthralled  in knocking the nails into their own coffin.  By the way the coffin was not made by Malays - they bought it from Malay dealers who were given a "special offer".





2.     This was the latest hot topic when I got back to my homeland.   "Takkan pisang berbuah dua kali!!"    Is this an example of what the Prime Minister describes as the shameless Malay (NST 13012018)  or the Malay who has no value system,  or the Malay who lacks honesty and integrity (Malaysian Insider 11092014)?




In the light of the Prime Minister's call for the Malays to unite and join PPBM - the Malays, who have had all kinds of brickbats thrown at them,  except for accusations of being gullible and self-serving - perhaps need some reminders and  context.

"Malays are not trustworthy"

b.     But I certainly agree with this view.


c.     Read:

d.     Read: 

Other than the evil of corruption, do think seriously about nepotism, monopoly (of power and wealth), re-distribution of the national wealth especially the gap between the rich and the poor, and the urban and rural denizens of Malaysia.  The issue of unity involves more than just the Malays.  The unity of Malays and non-Malays is just as crucial - a unity that is not fragmented by language and the varying facets of the education system. Simply adorning yourself with the title Anak  Malaysia or Bangsa Malaysia is a  mere cosmetic change -almost like emulating the Emperor's New Clothes.

Bersih 4 - 2015

e.    But Malays are never short of toadies or kuncu kuncu to broadcast HMV and beat the drums for Malay-bashing.

Look what the  CAT dragged in.


This time Malays (especially FELDA settlers) are compared to a 'lazy breed of cats'!   Our celebrity chef has really put a CAT among the pigeons, talking as if he is the CAT's PYJAMAS and a BARBER'S CAT to boot!

Like the Cat that just swallowed the Canary!

But never fear, there are cats and cats and cats!  There are  the PEDIGREE CATS and KUCING KURAP (ALLEY CAT) just like pedigree chefs and alley cooks.  Don't forget the various types and breed of predatory FAT CATS prowling and caterwauling in Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown and in the cities and big towns in Malaysia.

As for the rest of us benighted Malays which cat best describes us?  Is it the COPY CAT, COOL CAT, SCAREDY CAT, HELL CAT or CATTY CAT?  

HAS THE CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE?  I guess that is the plight for most of our Malays.  Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi.

Nevertheless, do take comfort from this: A CAT MAY LOOK AT A KING.  A FELDA cat may have low standing but he still has his rights!

But breeding is something that other communities are very, very concerned about.

A lack of breeding!

If  Malaysia goes on having problems of breeding, too much or too little, then our TOM CATS and   KITTY CATS have to start showing more enterprise and imagination in Malaysia Baru.

Thank you IKON Chef  Wan for sounding this CAT's MEOW (which means excellent).



I don't really have much to say about Malaysia's Minister of Defence.  As an ex-teacher I would probably write the above in his Report Card.




I guess this is how a lot of (some) people feel for the Minister of Finance despite .....


But I shall always remember him for articulating such brave words in Brave New Malaysia.

WHAT YOU SEE (Malaysia's Finance Minister) IS WHAT YOU GET!  

We are indeed getting a bellyful of the MOF's 'truthful' shenanigans  with the aid of his lawyer ........

Mr T Thomas has been a busy bee, bending over backwards reforming "60 years of laws" supervising Malaysia's great REFORMATION.  Hallelujah.

Selamat pulang ke Tanah Air.

Start Yodelling Malaysians!