Friday, 14 May 2021

Remember Me - No 1

It's not due to compassion fatigue.  I must confess, as I grew into my 70s (I am now 77) I could not find the strength to carry on writing about Gaza and Palestine.

Thinking and feeling and writing for Palestine/Gaza is like breathing with "glass in your lungs".   [How one lady described the pain of Covid 19.]

Yesterday, Ros, a good friend I met on this Blog, sent me her Hari Raya greetings and her last two sentences said: 

"Hope you're both enjoying your raya fare. But it's difficult to swallow seeing what's happening in Palestine."   Ditto Ros, ditto.

 Since I started blogging in 2008 - up to 2018 - I have written about 27 postings on Palestine and especially Gaza.

For my readers who are not too familiar with the history and agony of a long-suffering people, I shall try in a couple of postings to compress and summarise the process by which Israel, with the complicity of United Kingdom, USA especially and almost all of the western countries contributed to the emasculation of an ancient, proud and brave people.  That did not take a century or so to achieve, just about 73 years since the end of the Second World War.

There were some brave voices like Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, George Galloway, Tariq Ramadan and so many others;and most recently this Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett (see YouTube below).  

I also have the privilege of meeting Chris, the Caucasian-American husband of another good friend Siti, who I met via this Blog.  Chris spent much  of his adult years as an aid worker in the West Bank, helping, among other things,  to teach English to the childen.  Chris is now 70-ish and is almost crippled by respiratory problems from all the tear gas he and his pupils were subjected to by the IDF (Israeli Defence Force).  

Siti sent me this video at 7 am this morning.  Through Siti, I am in touch with our common concerns and interests, issues like Palestine/Gaza and Islamophobia.

A CAVEAT. It is necessary - almost compulsory - that when you embark on any attempt to speak up for the Gazans and Palestinians , you have to declare you are not anti-Semitic.  I am not anti-Semitic or anti any one because of their colour or their religion or race.  Those like me who criticise Israel - a Goliath state against a 'David' political entity like Palestine/Gaza - for their racist/apartheid policy are not anti-Jew or anti-Semitic. We take up cudgels for the underdog, any underdog, in whatever shape or size, or form or colour.

I have written 27 postings and I cannot find any more words to express my thoughts for Palestine/Gaza without repeating myself.  This - at this time of our celebration after fasting in the holy month of Ramadan - is all I can put together. In no way can this shed any hope or light for our fellow Muslims in Gaza.  Unlike Chris who puts his money and health where his mouth is, AsH is just a keyboard supporter, albeit after some years of  dashing from Leicester to London, a hundred miles away, with the spouse, attending protest marches and meetings in support of Gaza and Palestine and the anti-war movement in the capital.  Then; the spirit and the flesh were able and willing.  Today, only the fighting (but weary) spirit is left.  I have to exchange the streets of London and Leicester for just this keyboard.

All children deserve a happy and secure childhood.  I was blessed with that and so did the spouse and all of our extended family in Malaysia and Paekakariki, New Zealand.

Here are the voices of children from Palestine/Gaza.  Remember Me they ask us.


The spouse and I are life-long supporters of MAP (Medical Aid For Palestinians).  Since 1990, they have been sending us their newsletters and  Annual Reports.  This came, if my memory serves me well,  after the 2008/2009 attack by the IDF.

I wonder if these children managed to grow into adults, unmaimed and healthy.  And if they did, I hope they are still alive and keeping up the fight for their homeland.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021


 Tomorrow MCO 3 goes into full swing. The Malaysian public is divided about the need for another lockdown, especially with Hari Raya just a few days away.  I am sure our fellow Malaysians who celebrate Christmas, Chinese New Year and Deepavalli would be able to put themselves in the shoes of their fellow rakyat, the Malay-Muslims, and commiserate with their frustration..

It will be especially painful for our small businessmen, our stall holders at Bazaar Ramadan, our food gerai  and all who are trying to make ends meet. To compound this, there can be no family get-together.  Let's not even begin to quibble about the numbers - Hari Raya visitors and visiting are out, fullstop.

Life or Livelihood?  This spread of Covid 19 is not peculiar to Malaysia.  Even our southern neighbour has had a rise of numbers.  But we have been especially irresponsible in not maintaing the SOP, in not wearing masks - we have become careless and complacent. 

Perhaps, in Malaysia, there is no sign of that triumphalism, of that trumpeting of imagined victory over Covid 19, that has blighted "the world's largest democracy" in the past few months.    But we were getting that way, especially with Ramadan and Hari Raya on the way.  It would be simplistic to blame increasing infections entirely on Ramadan and Hari Raya.    A lack of self-discipline and civic-consciouness is common to most Malaysians..

Yesterday we had our three-monthly appointment with the spouse's Consultant.  He looked a bit wan, not like his usual breezy self.   He has been the spouse's doctor for nearly 13 years, ever since we partly-settled in Kuala Lumpur

He told us, to our horror, that almost a month ago, he and his wife had been hospitalized for 6 days because they were diagnosed as Covid positive.  They are in the clear now.

Our first question, how did they pick this up?

 Four generations of his family had gone to an air-conditioned restaurant to celebrate his wife's birthday and after they got home his wife began to show the early symptoms of Covid-19.  The authorities set all the wheels of treatment and  tracing in motion.    The infection was traced to six of the workers and the restaurant was closed for six days.    And all the other customers were traced and checked.    Kudos I think, to our Health Ministry for their brisk and efficent action. 

I suggest we remember, this Hari Raya, such civil servants in the Ministry, the frontliners in the Hospitals, the clinical technicians, our ambulance drivers and our policeman for their dedication and commitment.    And especially for not "just sleeping and eating" - a brickbat often thrown at them by some of our enterprising and hardworking (and tax-paying) fellow-Malaysians.

But I have this one nagging and frightful concern.  Our consultant has seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of patients in his hospital since the Covid 19 pandemic began early last year and he was quite unscathed by the virus    It took a birthday dinner at a local restaurant during the conditional MCO to bring on the infection.

It might never have happened, if the restaurant management had kept a simple check on its workers - and made sure that they were clean and Covid negative.  

All it requires is a sense of personal and social responsibility to our fellow rakyat.

The absence of this is why MCO3 is back again.  We were asking for it!!

Stay home and stay healthy.

Monday, 5 April 2021

The Last Refuge : "Allegations" and "Presumably"

 As a footer at the end of each of my postings, there is a copyright statement:

This is a  Custom Copyright Statement "letting readers know that you are the original author of your content and that you will not permit theft."


This is my response to a Comment in my previous posting, 12 March 2021.

Malays have an apt way of describing the intent of  "copping out", of noting but not admitting to one's mea culpa :  Seperti menegakkan benang yang basah.  This is done by shifting the blame and the onus of proof to the other party.

Let's dissect these two words"allegedly" and "presumably".

"Allegedly" is used when reporting something that people say is true although it has not been proven true.

"Presumably" has the connotation of doubt, of suggesting that you think something is probably true, although you don't want to admit it.

Despite the most strenuous effort of my previous posting - to assure all and sundry, as lucidly and as categorically as is humanly possible, that two of the pictures in the video The Last Kampong belonged to Abdul Hamid bin Jala, the father of  AnaksiHamid - aspersions are still being cast at the Truth or may I say "Veritas" of ownership of said photographs.

[ By the way, the word "veritas" meaning "truth" refers to Veritas, the Roman Goddess of Truth.  It is a popular word for mottoes of educational institutions.]     

So let me finally, and categorically, put the doubt to rest.     I'm sorry, but this piece of wet string will NEVER stand straight.

The Pedigree of Photographs - 691 Pasir Panjang Road

AsH, unlike Old Mother Hubbard whose "cupboard" was bare", stores her Abah's photographs in this special album so that they will be easily retrievable for Abdul Hamid's grandchildren and great-grandchildren when she finally kicks the bucket.

The album for 691 Pasir Panjang. Do note it is not coloured.

I have scores of other pictures of the interior, the backyard, the floods, but I am concerned only with the front of our house as seen in the photograph above and below.

This is the photograph, where my ownership is being disputed,  "as not being proven true" or "probably true".

Here's the clincher!

 First, a picture of the house, and the man who built the house - and who went on to photograph it during our life in a kampung in Singapore.

Abah looking at the world from the front window.  The window was bought in Diethelm by my sister as part of the renovation in the early1960s, around 1963/1964.  She was working extra hours teaching in a night class to pay for the windows.  At  that time she was doing her teacher-training and teaching stint in a school at Kota Tinggi, Johor.

This house was constructed in 1950 and we did not part with it until 1967.  During those 17 years Abah made several renovations - like changing the attap roof to a zinc roof as seen in the photograph.  He also had to raise the floor of the whole house because of the constant floods during the early to mid-50s.  Then, in the late 50s, he made an extension to the right side of the house to create a bigger kitchen and bathroom and additional bedrooms as we were growing up and needed more space.  But the most welcoming addition was the verandah to the front of the main house.  Initially (circa the mid-1950s) the wall was made entirely of wire grills, a sort of semi-open verandah.  Later, as seen in the "disputed" photograph, Abah changed it to a plywood wall effectively changing the verandah to a sitting room.

The two photographs below showed what the house looked like at the start of its life around 1950 as evidenced by the photo of Akim as a toddler (he was born in 1949).  In the photograph of my parents, the window behind them was just a simple kampung house window with wooden shutters and wire grills instead of glass. 

So this is our kampung house at 691 Pasir Panjang Road, later re-designated as 27-G, Lorong Abu Kassim.   It was a happy house, which went through many changes, because of a father who wanted to make sure his family had as pleasant and as comfortable a home as possible.

This was the house that Hamid built.

This was the hub of our family from 1950/1951 to 1967.

This was our Last Kampung House.

And no one, but no one can take that away from us.

Here is another clincher to prove that AnaksiHamid aka Maznoor bt Abd Hamid (that "nasty" septuagenarian) did exist at 691 Pasir Panjang Road and attended Pasir Panjang English School.

 I was not born in a colony like Singapore or Penang.  I was a British Protected Person (BPP) born in Selangor in Semenanjung Tanah Melayu (The Malay Peninsula).


The Pedigree of Photographs - 680 Pasir Panjang Road

The Album

This is the photograph where my ownership is deemed as "probably true" or "not being proven true".

Someone else's name has been inscribed on the Hari Raya photograph of our second kampung house - 680 Pasir Panjang Road.    I hope the following photographs will dispel any doubts about the true  ownership of the picture.

 Abdul Hamid and his family made this their temporary rented abode while awaiting the construction of his very own house just across the Sungai Nipah.  It was a short stay, about two years, and we had a glorious Hari Raya in 1949 with our cousins from Pasir Panjang Hill and Emak and Abah's good friends from Kampung Chantek.  It was especially happy because we had a new little brother, Mustakim, born in this house on 29 April 1949.

Akim being given a sunny airing at the verandah.  This was the mak bidan's (midwife)  advice to Emak to prevent the baby from getting Jaundice.

Maznoor and Mustapha, just hanging out at the verandah.  The area enclosed in a red rectangle indicates the rear entry to the house.  Behind that door is a well - and around it we were given our daily freezing-cold baths.

Our Emak and Abah dressed in their best Baju Hari Raya.  This photograph was taken in the enclosed courtyard behind that door.  It was a very private little annex for the family.

Hamid's and Kamisah's 3 rapscallions, Maznah, Maznoor, Mustapha and our cousins Abang Hussin and Kak Zainab.

So there we have it..    And just to sum up:  

This once again is the photograph my family "allegedly" owns.

680 Pasir Panjang Road


And this photograph below is a group picture of the true owners of all the 'disputed' photographs - minus of course the photographer, my father.

Hari Raya with Emak , her beaming smile, her three children and our 3 cousins.

So all's  done and dusted.  

QED - quod erat demonstrandum.  Our Mathematics teacher Mr Tan at Crescent Girls School preferred us to write QED at the end of every theorem we have proved.  When asked what it means, he said "Quite Easily Done".



Footnote: This posting was written for a serious purpose : to thwart a contemptuous and contemptible attempt, couched in a farcical "apology", to re-script the ownership of my photographs and my memories of Pasir Panjang.    But it has also been for me a process of remembering, of expressing and  keeping alive my memories of a happy childhood in a kampung.    It has a very personal significance - and my father's record of that life together as a family is also a very personal possession....which no-one can take away from me.

But for all the happy memories, however short or long our life  may be, they are tinged with gloom and melancholy - for the kampung is lost forever.  No amount of nostalgia and photographs and videos can revive it.  The people who built the kampung are gone and the denizens who lived and breathed the kampung are gone forever.  

"Progress is a comfortable disease" writes E.E Cummings.  And Singapore is the epitome of progress in the Nusantara.

That is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain,

The happy highways where I went

And cannot come again.     

                                                        A.E Housman 1859-1936

Friday, 12 March 2021

Another cut-and-paste Perfidy!!

Not too long ago I had to sort out a case of  'pilfering' of my personal photograph/images from my blog  AnaksiHamid.

See :

.This cover of the spouse's book "Fatimah's Kampung" ......

....... had been corrupted into this .... by a  Homestay business in Malim Nawar. 

Aaaah, this is quite a demonstration of  business acumen for we 'lazy, indolent and unenterprising' Malays!   But in this beloved land of ours, worse has been done in the name of  'entrepreneurship' and audacious money-making.  In Malayan history, there have been many such people - petty-minded Malay wannabe businessmen too busy with their own little egos to challenge the incomers and make the Peninsula a world of their own and a world to be proud of.   It's truly a shame.

I was quite fortunate to discover that deceitful little gem during my wanderings on the Internet five years ago.  I am certain there are many more cases of pilfering and intrusions into my Blog and countless other sites.  After all, this is 21st century Malaysia/Singapore.  Integrity and probity lie very low on the ground, especially when aided by sophisticated technology and its highly qualified practitioners.

Many of my readers (both past and present), it seems, like my earlier postings about the stories of AsH growing up in the kampung (I spell it 'kampung' and not the Colonial affectation of 'kampong') in Singapore, like Kampung Chantek and Kampung Abu Kassim.  I have included in these postings some of the vast collection of my beloved Abah's black and white photographs which recorded lovingly his and his family's happy life.   In appreciation of his (and my mother's) life and love, I decided to  narrate in this blog the memoir of a Malay family in mid 20th century Singapore.  I was also impelled by the desire of my father's grandchildren  to learn more about their grandparents and parents as well.  I guess I was quite blissfully unaware of the growing trend and pecuniary interests of the Nostalgia Industry - especially in the city-state of Singapore, which has demolished the vast bulk of its heritage in the name of progress and economic development.  A land with virtually no tangible signs left of its non-colonial history can only resort and cling to the vestiges to be found in old books, documents and - especially - photographs.  

For instance, while the spouse and I were wandering around Leicestershire in the late 1980s we discovered in a little stamp shop this unbelievable Postcard of old Singapore, dated 25 May 1912.

Malay Shop Singapore - The name 'Albert' inserted on the card must have been written by either Albert in Darjeeling or his Grand Pa in Calcutta.  There must be a sweet story behind this communication between a young boy and his grandfather.

It was priced at £2.75 which was equivalent to about 2 return bus trips from our house to Leicester City Centre!

We went to Singapore just a few years later, and in an  upmarket Bookshop selling antiquarian books and nostalgia at Tanglin Shopping Centre, a postcard of almost similar age and condition as ours was priced at SGD$50 (late 1980s) !

I guess I'm beginning to sound like the typical Singaporean, obsessed with the query of "How much?".  

I'm afraid the spouse and I are also obsessed - with our affection for old things that remind us of our growing up years.  That includes books, postcards, comics, annuals, embroidery, vinyls, typewriters, gramophones and more books and postcards.  We often joke about how we have to part with them one day, to pay for a hip operation or a brain transplant!

They are a precious collection just like those much loved black and white photographs that my Abah left behind.  He did not leave us a legacy of land, property, business holdings, stocks and shares and antique cars.     Just those photographs, happy memories, and a good education.     These are not the sort of things we would sell for a hip operation.    These are my most personal nostalgia, my most personal heritage, my history and identity.      They are not for sale.     They are not to be abused by people for their own pecuniary and self-serving designs.

So where is all this leading?     Well, a few days ago,my brother Mus passed on this link to me from YouTube titled Part 2 Lost Kampongs in Singapore.

I - Click on this video and at 0.01 you will find this picture at Figure 1

Figure 1 - This photo by my father had been coloured and defaced and abused.

Now go to .......


Figure 2 - My Abah's original photograph (1)



Figure 3 - My Abah's original photograph (2)


Figure 4 - My Abah's original photograph (3)

4.  And here is my own map of the location of our house at Kampung Abu Kassim.
Figure 5 - My map of Kampung Abu Kassim

II.  Click on the above video at 2.27 and you will find this picture at Figure 6.

Figure 6 - This photograph belonging to my father had also been desecrated like Figure 1, but in a very despicable way.

Firstly:  Sarafian Salleh, the provider of the said YouTube video, a Singaporean Malay and an Australian University graduate in Mechanical Engineering who I had previously never heard of, has appropriated this photograph as his - by inserting his name in the image (see the yellow rectangle).     But this image has been and always will be a photograph taken by my father - a Minang man by the name of Abdul Hamid bin Jala.    It was not taken by, and has never been in the possession of, Sarafian Salleh.... or his father Incik Salleh......or anybody else on this planet.

So this photograph was never in the keeping of Sarafian Salleh and his family.  It is a photograph treasured and lovingly looked after by Maznoor binti Abdul Hamid (AsH) and her mother Kamisah binti Suboh since 1949 when AsH was just five years old.

Who,by the way,  is Sarafian Salleh?

Sarafian Salleh also goes into my my blog, signs up as a Follower, then he vandalises and filches my family photographs to promote his image as a guardian of Singapore's 'nostalgia' especially that of the Malays.  That's entrepreneurship par excellence that is reputed to be a feature of Singapore's success. 

Secondly, Lorong Abu Hassan (the yellow elliptical shape) is a name that, as far as I know, does not exist at Pasir Panjang. It is quite laughable had it had not been for the fact that this video is so abjectly grimy.


 Now let's check Abdul Hamid's original photographs.


Figure 7 - The Selamat Hari Raya Banner  and the Two Stars were drawn and made by Abdul Hamid, by my Abah's loving and hard work.


Figure 8 - The clothes on the washing line (to the right) certainly belong to Kamisah's family and nobody else in Singapore or in any other part of the Nusantara.


Figure 9 - Enough said!


When I clicked on that "Part 2 Lost Kampong" video by Sarafian Salleh, I could not believe my eyes.  The brazen plagiarism and appropriation of my family photographs are quite appalling.  As I watched it right to the end, I noticed that credit was given to various names, sources and organisations for the use of their images.

Figure 10


Figure 11

But there was no mention or reference to .

My response ranged from anger to disgust to contempt.

How very Singaporean I thought.  How very Singaporean-Malay, I shuddered,

In Malaysia I had to deal with a  Homestay kampung-entrepreneur who purloined lock, stock and barrel the spouse's book cover of Fatimah's Kampung'.

However this video by Sarafian Salleh takes the cake for another reason.     It reveals a kind of 'electronic' chicanery which one would expect had long been wiped out in an efficient, hardworking, enterprising, smart and clean Singapore.

Sikap gaya alah sayang pendekar putri.

Bertepok tangan amboi tangan, tanda berani.

Tiada gentar alah sayang, hai membela diri,


I hate to have to post such a posting - yet again.  Seperti meludah ke langit.  (It's like spitting at the sky).

Konon- nya orang Melayu adalah serumpun.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Chinese New Year celebration for the Nanyang (Overseas) Chinese - Learn from Singapore


Chinese New Year in Malaysia, 2021

1.  Population of Malaysia - 32.7 million.

2.  Demography : 

3. Area of Malaysia - 330,803 sq km.

4.  Covid 19 cases: 

     (a) In Malaysia

     (b) While in Sarawak:

Obviously, in a pandemic like this, getting together raises enormous problems.   Consider, for example: 

All this "sound and fury" from representatives of 23.2 % of the population ..........


....... when this SOP .....


...... was announced by the "backdoor, minority"  Malay-led Government (whose authority was not recognised by 90% of Chinese according to the DAP leader Lim Guan Eng).  The Malay-led Government  compromised with this minority and the SOP was updated.


Who says size matters?  Not when you have  Warlords Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng from the DAP on your side!


Meanwhile, in a nation just south of Malaya (a small City-State where most of the population are descendants of settlers and colonists from the Middle Kingdom of China) the rules were slightly different.    Here, the celebrations for the Year of the Ox during the Covid-19 Pandemic had already been carefully drawn up by January 26th 2021, by the PAP-led Government  that had been ruling the country since its Independence.

Chinese New Year 2021 in Singapore

1. Population 5.69 million

2.  Demography :

3.  Area - 728 sq km.

4.  Covid 19 cases: 

5.  All the following are extracts from :



Chinese New Year Celebration for the Middle Kingdom (People's Republic of China - PRC)

1.  Last year for the Year of the Rat :

2.  This year, the Year of the Ox :



Here's A Chinese New Year video by Namewee.

PS   Wee Meng Chee's CV.


Another PS. Sorry.

Is 2021 the Year of the Ox or the Year of the Cow?  It seems both are acceptable. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Cow symbolizes an animal with a gentle nature associated with Buddha. The Ox on the other hand, represents a diligent and dependable personality.

There is however a difference between a cow (lembu betina  in Malay) and an ox (lembu jantan).

The West is quite categorical about the difference.

Finally, whatever the day, whatever the Celebration, keep well and safe and healthy for the sake of our loved ones, our Rakyat, especially the Frontliners, and our Nation.  

Abide with the SOP.