Thursday, 9 May 2019

Ramadan - Crunching Numbers

Read this refreshing article today by M. Bakri Musa :

This reminded me of an occasion when we were chatting with an Ayurvedic doctor in Bombay some time in 1981 and he said "Islam is a good religion, it's a shame about the Muslims". This statement was attributed to George Bernard Shaw but one cannot be too certain.

Then I remembered reading a quote by a Japanese convert : "I'm so glad I became a Muslim before I came to Malaysia".

While the ulamas are reminding us of  how we can multiply our pahala (with bonus plus plus) during Ramadan, it seems a good time to talk about the multiplication of our generosity and our appetite both worldly and non-worldly.

Take this article by Cheng Sim:

Gorging yourself for Ramadan.

Muslim punters are titillated with  -

1.   "Kampung Selections" like gulai kawah kambing, opor daging hitam, ayam goreng serai. [Adult $70, Child (5-12) $40]  You can also select bubur lambuk, pasembur, kerabu, daging salai, masak lemak pucuk paku, ayam dara goreng serai. [Adult $59, Child (6-12) $39, Senior Citizen (60+) $49]  They also provide concessions for your maks, abahs, and Atoks - that's sweet!

2.  We can now move upmarket to the super-sized-SUV clientele.  On offer is "Masakan Bonda Kembali" of daging salai masak lemak cili padi Negri Sembilan, kari kepala ikan Pulau Pinang, sambal ikan bilis tempoyak and petai Perak, udang masak kailo Melaka, ayam masak tomato Kedah. [Adult $98, Child (below 11) $69, Senior Citizen (60+) $60]

3.  And now for our fellow brothers-and -sisters-in-Islam with deeper pockets, you can partake of  dishes from a special themed cuisine  featuring 6 spices like black pepper, candlenut, cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise.  No wonder our youngsters (well, the younger X generation and millenials) look lost when you mention lada hitam, bua keras, pelaga, cingkeh, kayu manis  and bunga lawang !!!!   You can fill your gob with ikan patin masak tempoyak, red curry beef with fruit, lamb varuval and ikan bakar percik. [Adult $138, Child (5-12) $69 ]

4.  But what can be more enticing in this holy month than this almost Bacchanalian (sans liquor) feast featuring 400 dishes and  10 live stations ( apa 'tu live station ?)! What is on offer?  You can plump for stuffed quail briyani, or asam pedas oxtail soup, grilled chicken and roasted goat! [Adult $188,  Child $98]

And here comes the hallmark of 21st century Malaysia.  You are always assured of CHOICES - in almost everything you want and do, anything goes!  Social media will allow you to frame, record and annotate your preferences, your very own wishes and desires.  (Where I come from, you take what's given to you - no 'yes' or 'no' or 'buts''.  I guess that's why Ash is so critical -  tak sporting, lah )

At the end of this Ramadan feature - you get to vote.

What about Mama's (and Papa's) and Atok's home-cooking?  (That image of a slice of bread encircling the kitten's head is obscene.  Bread is food.  Food is reziki from Allah.)

Old Malaysia, New Malaysia - the inhabitants seem to live in some kind of cloud cuckoo land.  They (especially our Muslim brethren) seem to have a blind spot and cocoon themselves from the dire reality of their fellow human beings outside of Malaysia - of their human rights to food and shelter and security.

Let's do some number crunching.  From last year's Islamic Relief Appeal for Ramadan .....

£75 = $404.  This comes to $135 per family.

How much does an average Malaysian Muslim family of mother, father and four children spend for a single Buffet Buka Ramadan?

Choice 1 - $274, Choice 2 - $472, Choice 3 - $552 and Choice 4 - $768.

$274 can feed 2 families, $472 for 3 families, $552 for 4 families and the whopping $768 can give sustenance to 5 1/2  families.      For thirty days.

The providers and sustainers of Buffet Ramadan should choke on that comparison!

Furthermore, in fulfilling the Hajj, the fifth and final Pillar of Islam,  Muslims from Malaysia expend  ......

Some Malaysians can afford multiple pilgrimages for the Hajj and the Umrah.

Islamic Relief, in its Appeal during Ramadan last year presented these needs and the costs involved.
£780 = $4206 for a water pump.  Malaysians and Malaysian Muslims do not bear such hardship.
£1,905 = MYR 10,274.  The Malaysian Health Service is one of the top five in the world.  A visit to a Government clinic will set you back by $2 ( 37p).
£640 = $3454.   As for schools in Malaysia, we may not have the best but all our children have a school to go to with all the necessary facilities - except this year they have to swop the age-old white shoes for black. 

Nearer home we have our own needy but we only tend to make a flying visitation during Ramadan and Hari Raya - there seems to be no inspiration for Muslim communities  and the Islamic bureaucracy to provide a long-term, continuous helping hand for their poor and disadvantaged.  "It's the Government's responsiblity" they say.

Just recently this story appeared in The Mole :

Perhaps this account may open up the minds and hearts and wallets and banking accounts of  Muslims in Malaysia especially for those intent on collecting "brownie points" in this holy month of Ramadan?

A few months ago, The Mole wrote a poignant story about a transit home for "aged" orphans who lost their founder Che Azrul Rozi Che Rozi who died at 35.   Che Azrul was a true practising Muslim who cared for his fellow humans  far, far above and beyond the ibadat-pahala-dosa syndrome.  He puts all our religious Ulamas and scholars, and all other Muslims (including AsH) to shame.

I looked up that story again :

........  and was pleased to know that with the help of  Wan Azizah, the Minister for Women, Family and Community,  they are now safe and sound and back on their feet.  Thank you  Zaidi Azmi for connecting us with what it should mean to be a Malay and a Muslim. 

But being such a Malay and a Muslim is not only for Ramadan.   It is for all time and for others far beyond our kith and kind and kin.

Peace to all for this Ramadan. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Footfalls echo in the memory ..........

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.  My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
                                    But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
                                     Other echoes
Inhabit the garden.  Shall we follow?

(From 'Burnt Norton', No 1 of  "Four Quartets" by T.S. Eliot, 1888-1965)

The memory of Akim's passing ( 37 years ago) lives on much longer than the life he was given (33 years)  as a beloved son, brother and uncle in AsH's family.

He would have been 70 two days ago and today on the first of May, I recall this song that he used to play at our Boon Lay flat.  "Guess who cried come first of May."

T.S. Eliot's 'Burnt Norton' started with ...

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.

1949 - The baby of the family.
'Time past' when there were four of us plus Abah and Mak ..... and later only Mak after December 1974.

'......... and what has been/ Point to one end, which is always present/ Footfalls echo in the memory.....'

Al Fatihah  Mustakim bin Abdul Hamid.

It has been 37 years and I miss you still.

The great business of life is to be, to do, to do without, and to depart. 
(John Morley, 1838-1923)

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Happy in Leicester .... and cuckoofied in my homeland

It was great to be home - back in Leicester.  Albeit it's the spouse's homeland but I'm fortunate to be able to place my feet in both worlds - East and West - and yet feel at home in both !!!

We had a bit of trouble with the boiler when we arrived - and in the first week of March we were a wee bit cold - the central heating gave up the ghost.

Then Waheed, the man from British Gas came to the rescue.

Waheed at work.  Note how tidy he is.  On the kitchen table he placed a big piece of paper where he arranged all the little bits and pieces.

He replaced this thingamajig ....

Living up to my reputation as a magpie I decided to use this as a paperweight.

......  and the house became as warm as toast.

As usual, at this time of year, Victoria Park put on a grand show of daffodils.

My homesick spouse was reunited with his heart's desire at Vicky Park!

But our dear friend Jack, made sure we were not deprived of the season's blooms in our backyard-mini-garden.

Tulips fronted by the much-loved perennial lavender, another gift from Jack.

A closeup of the tulips and wallflower.

At this point of my posting the phone rang.  It was a call from Kuala Lumpur, from our good friend Som.  After the usual greetings Som said, "Maz, I've been looking into your blog and you have not been as active as before."  I replied, "I know, I'm so disillusioned - disillusioned with our bangsa."

Well, dear friend I'm changing tack and writing this for you in this posting.

Dear Som,

At 75, this female septuagenarian (maybe I'll get more inspired when (and if) I get to my nineties) is getting very weary.  I am witnessing the machinations and working of an agenda which I had merely suspected and optimistically thought it would not see fruition.

My Tanah Air  has been cuckoo-ed (cuckoofied?) by foreign colonists brought in by foreign colonial masters.

My  Tanah Air  has been cuckolded by the Malays.  My  bangsa have been shooting themselves in the foot, plunging knives into each other's backs, desiccating the minds of their young, pumping the spirit out of the pulse and heart of their brethren and unwittingly(?), unwillingly(?) pimping and collaborating to manufacture a NEW MALAYSIA.  

I am observing  too much  "damnful jiggery-pokery" in this land of my forefathers, this land that stretched way back before the invasion of European Christians, before Islam, before the Melaka Sultanate, before the period of the Hindu Empires and before the ooze and slime of all our history.  For the Malays, their roots, their blood and genes and DNA are here and not across some ocean in some other terrain.  I cannot bear to watch the Malays turning into  reed warblers (watch the above video) and it sickens me when they become like "the ill bird that fouls its own nest".

I have done my bit (maybe not enough?) of whistling in the wind, and spitting at the sky. 

How do I live in this Malaysia Baru, in this co-called Brave New World of New Malaysia?

I have this picture.  It's either malaySIA  or MALAYSIA.

No, SIA is not Singapore Airlines.  It's an Alliance of the cuckoos.

Take care, my friend.  It's lovely to hear your voice again.

ps  For my nusa, bangsa and negara :  "After all the loves of my life, I'll be thinking of you and wondering why."


I hope to continue the original posting later.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Tears and Fears and Dirty Water

I have not and I do not think I shall ever get over the hate and bigotry that murdered this little three year old Mucaad Ibrahim on 15 March 2019 in Christchurch.   He was shot twice by an Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant :  the first when he was on his father's lap in the Al Noor Mosque  and the second time in the head when he was separated from his father, calling out "Daddy, Daddy"!

Al Fatiha  Mucaad Ibrahim

During his funeral, little Mucaad "was carried aloft in a shroud - almost weightless", wrote the reporter from New Zealand Herald.


How do you fathom the images and trauma in this survivor's soul and being?

The victims and survivors of that massacre in Christchurch were all Immigrants: from Palestine, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq and several other Muslim countries torn apart by war and poverty;  who had hoped for a better life in New Zealand.  But it was not to be.


There are other immigrants too, from another time and another country who sought and were given refuge and succour in a foreign land far away from their motherland.

They not only survived but also prospered enormously.   See Video below on the 10 richest people in Malaysia- January 2019 - all the sons of Mr Chiak Boh Liau.

If only those immigrants at Christchurch were as lucky as these.


The claim to victim-hood has become one of this century's foremost fads.  Every one demands the right to be victims of oppression, bullying, persecution, exploitation and discrimination.  Forget about being heroic which involves being courageous, unselfish and gallant and true. 

When does a manipulative whinger become a victim?  When does a snow flake turn into the tormented?  When does a 'victim' become a martyr?

50 people were viciously murdered at prayer -'victims nonpareil' - by an ideology that is no different from that which created The Holocaust of the Second World War.

So I was quite amused to read about our 'Made in Malaysia' victims of oppression, discrimination. persecution etc etc being given so much publicity and succour from the Press and even a Minister!   All these Little Corporals , all these pathetic "cry babies"  how well they grow in Malaysia Baru.

Malaysia's Little Corporals - Anak Pewter  demanding to be Anak Emas  and using dirty water to quench a fire.

A sow may whistle, though it has an ill mouth for it.  George Forbes, 1760- 1837.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Chermin Maznah by Pakcik Agus

It was my one and only sister's birthday yesterday.  This is my tribute to her for what she has accomplished as a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a wife, mother and grandmother.

In 1953, she received a fantastic gift of a poem written in her Autograph Book.  It was lovingly and beautifully composed by  Pakcik Agus, a Minang man and a good friend of Abah.

Cpl Jamaludin from Klang, flanked on his right and left by two Minang men.

For my sister and I, a birthday is just another day.  Our generation gave scant notice and celebration for the day we were born.  But now that we are getting closer to our eighties, we tend to reflect on what  has been.  Charlotte Bronte's statement comes close to what we feel about getting older.

AsH is not impressed by the present but the past means a lot to her.

A gap of nearly 50 years for two sisters.

More and more years under the bridge.  We now have Abah's and Emak's first, second and third generation.  We have also added two Buchanans to our clan.  What a grand family we have!

But I have to return to Pakcik Agus'  declamation -a  poignant and touching wish from the heart for the next generation.

And here he expresses the hope and expectations of parents - and especially Malay parents.

This posting is not just about Chermin Maznah by Agus Karimudin for Maznah Abdul Hamid.

Have we Malays done our duty and our best ?

"Melihat keturunan ku berjaya maju.
Habis riwayatku meninggalkan tauladan.
Jadi ikutan bangsa dan keturunanku."

Noraka  kutakuti, Sorga ku Kenang.
Ku maju dan modern, ku jaga marwahku.

That is why my memory "retains vividly those of earlier years."

Friday, 18 January 2019

And in the beginning ............

Yesterday the husband of  " Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom ........... Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith "  i.e.   the Christian Faith,  was involved in a bad accident.

Worries and prayers were expressed by the Ugandan-born Bishop of York, Bishop John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu.

Perhaps if Malaysia (old or new)  had a Christian Royalty,  some of her rakyat and elite might be a tad more respectful, tolerant, understanding and accommodating towards having a "Yang di Pertuan Agong" as Head of State.  Let's take more steps backwards -  to more than 61 years ago , to just about 65.

Note the unctuous deference to the British Queen in pre-independence Malaya, specifically 1953.

Supplicants from Penang

And by the way, that loyal and humble subject Dr Lee Tiang Keng plotted secession for Penang to break away from the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Federation of Malaya) and join forces with Singapore - why kowtow to Malay Sultans?

As for Singapore:

Looking at the non-white membership of the Singapore Legislative Council, no wonder my Chinese fellow undergrads  at Singapore University mocked the title of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Ash's experience at Singapore University from the early to mid-1960s.

So, this contempt for the institution of  the  Malay monarchy has a long, long pedigree.  People like Eric Liew and Richard Chung and countless others are simply carrying on with the tradition of their forefathers.

Insults and jibes at Malay institutions, religion, culture and all things Malay will never end especially from the likes of   highly educated and well heeled "Bangsa Malaysia" ......

.....  who  contributed his thoughtfully reasoned analysis (after all, he's a university graduate) on the Agong's  resignation.  I see no need for me to repeat his masterpiece.

Besides all the others - Malays and non-Malays - baying at this  Institution of Monarchy, we have the classic, oft-repeated pecuniary rationale of   "we pay the most tax, so we have the greater say!".

Perhaps Eric and Richard and all those of their ilk might ponder on the price we pay to be  a  Rakyat  of Malaysia.   Bishop John Sentamu for example, demonstrated and expressed his loyalty and gratitude to the country that gave him succour and security and citizenship

There are after all, many other Malaysians who have made "contributions" and paid a different price for sustaining the well-being of Malaysia.

" The ethnic profile of police officers has been traditionally disproportionate compared to the national ethnic profile with a significantly higher proportion of ethnic Malays especially in the earlier decades.  However the number of casualties involving ethnic Malay police officers are statistically higher overall due in part to the high mortality rates involving the ethnic Malay community during the Malayan emergency in the 1950-1970s, and in part to the ethnic composition of the police force."
From the above Table, the Malays paid in 1,016, the Chinese 98, the Indians 27 and the Eurasians 69 - LIVES, not ringgit and cents.

You could say that those members of "Bangsa Malaysia" who eventually became today's high-rate taxpayers were given the luxury/opportunity to study, work and prosper in peace because the Malays were protecting their rice bowl.

Enough's said.

So, we can look forward to a new Malaysia pledging to undo all the mismanagement and miscreants of old Malaysia.  The past 61 years have been rubbished.

But let's learn from an old Malay poem.


Dahan ! Dahan !  kenapa bengkok ?

Sebab terhinggap burong.

Burong ! Burong !  sebab apa hinggap dahan?

Hendak melihat ikan timbul.

Ikan ! Ikan !  kenapa timbul?

Sebab ada lembu masok sungai.

Lembu !  Lembu ! kenapa masok sungai ?

Sebab ada orang memukul.

Orang !  orang ! kenapa di-pukul lembu?

Sebab lapar, hendak makan nasi.

Nasi ! nasi !  kenapa engkau mentah?

Sebab api tidak bernyala.

Api !  api !  kenapa tidak bernyala ?

Sebab kayu habis basah.

Kayu !  kayu ! kenapa habis basah ?

Sebab di-timpa hujan.

Hujan ! hujan ! kenapa engkau turun ?

Sebab di-panggil katak.

Katak !  katak !  kenapa sudah memanggil ?

Sebab haus berkehendakkan  ayer.



The bough (dahan) of this Malaysia will remain bent and crooked because the country still embraces the incompetent, stupid, arrogant and nefarious birds, fish,cows, humans, fire, firewood, rain and most of all, the cursed voracious frogs.


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Insolence from a 4000 year-old Value System.

The barely 200 year old (dating from 1789) Semenanjung Tanah Melayu aka Malaya aka Malaysia  is made up of some of these peoples from Asia.

TYPES of PEOPLE from ASIA : From "Wide World Reader".  The Malay and the two members of  two great civilizations are circled in red.

There are the natives, the bangsa Melayu or Malays of the Semenanjung,  the bangsa Cina  from China and bangsa India from the Indian sub-continent.  The last two groupings belong to two of the four great civilizations of the world - with a long pedigree behind them.  (Babylon and Egypt are the other two).

It is puzzling that the peoples of these two great civilizations should find themselves cast into the Malay Peninsula, this finger-like extension of the Asian continent. The Semenanjung, before the penetration by Christian Europeans was known as quite an inhospitable area of dark forests, muddy rivers, hot and humid climate and almost  uninhabited except for the coastlines,along the river-banks and estuaries where Malay chiefs and Sultans had set up their own territorial Sultanates sometimes in conjunction with other Malay chiefs and Sultans from the Southeast Asian Malay Archipelago.  This political and cultural setup was in many ways very similar to the beginnings of the history and culture of the countries that make up Europe today.

Europe 12th century.  In the Malay Archipelago, we have for instance, the Riau-Lingga Empire, the Sulu and the Brunei Sultanates and the Malacca Empire.

Europe at the beginning of the First World War which was actually a bloody European Civil War , nothing to do with the World but which engulfed the rest of the World nevertheless.  Note the map of the Races of Europe.  You could do the same map of the Malay Archipelago with the various component 'Malay' races.  Like the Europeans, the Malays are SERUMPUN.

Who knows, if we had been given as much time and freedom from Colonisation as the European nations : the Malays of Nusantara could have 'developed' their  Archipelago politically and advance the existing trading and mercantile network between their various entities.  Perhaps like in the history of Europe, which was peppered with many infightings,  wars, deaths by assassinations, guillotines and being drawn and quartered, internecine squabbles, rapings and lootings and having an incorrigible King like Henry VIII of England who changed the country from Catholicism to Protestantism just so he could divorce his first wife;  the Nusantara might have gone through such a colourful tapestry of 'development' and nation building.

The Malays and their Sultans , their Admirals, Generals and merchant class could have had  a right old wild and gory romping history- just like the Europeans.  Alas they were denied the political and economic 'rite of passage' that other civilizations went through.  Because,  along came Western firepower, Capitalism and Christianity and the huge import of foreign workers to service the purpose of the Empire.  The Malays were  emasculated  into (so they claim) boring, lazy, indolent, untrustworthy, shameless people; and everything else you can throw at us, including the kitchen sink and our Value System!

The Malays they reckoned. should be left as padi farmers, fishermen, policemen and also cannon fodder to protect the Empire and later their Tanah Air.  Oops, I forgot.  When the Malays leave their cosy villages for the urban centres, they can be assured of vocations like becoming a driver, a  gardener, servants (but not chefs because you see, they have this particular aversion to the pig!) and if they can read and write, maybe they can be employed as peons and office boys and mailmen.

Just think what the EC is all about - to re-patch and unite the old warring nation states.  One feature, amongst others,  that member states are unhappy with is the freedom of movement of people across the borders within  the EC.  Wow, I thought.  They inflicted that licence (for people who are as different to the Malays like chalk and cheese) on to our part of the world and we have to live with the toxic consequences.

What is all this preamble about?  I wanted to set up a background scenario for what is happening to this Golden Chersonese, to the insolence  coming from the descendants of 4000 years of culture and civilization,  from those who in our peribahasa , 

Datang tidak di jemput,

Pergi tidak di halang.

....  for the likes of Eric Liew.

You did not just make "a rude comment".  Thank your lucky stars that you are in the land of DYMM  Yang di Pertuan Agong and not in Thailand. You have perhaps validated this version of the sayings of the great  Chinese philosopher Confucius.

... except in your case your bete noir has not done anything "unto you".  In fact you and your fore-fathers  have had a free run to " do unto" this country  and prosper.

The ultimate question is, "How did this multi-racial,multi-lingual, multi-religious democratic country foster the foment of such renegades?"



The maps in colour are from A New Atlas of World History by W and A. K Johnston and  J W Bacon, 1956.  The one in black and white is from Wheatons Atlas of British and World History,1949.

Monday, 7 January 2019

AsH's Grove

I was taught this song during Music Class at Crescent Girls School during the late 1950s.

On 23 December last year came three visitors to grace our home.  What a soothing finale for 2018, for Ash and spouse.  Two of them, Mr Yuwrajh Durgude and Mr Charles Beale came from New York via Singapore just to "catch up with the Buchanans".  We last met Yuwrajh in May last year ........

............  but we had not seen Charlie for nearly ten years.  What a grand reunion for these two youngsters from Generation X and the septuagenarians from the post-War baby boomers.

Yuwrajh and Charlie excelled themselves as guests.  They not only belanja us for breakfasts and lunches but they also did the washing up!

From New York I only requested one Calvin and Hobbes but they brought me four.

The scarf, another gift from Mexico City makes a nice wrapper for me and for my C&H.  
By the way, I've read them all and all the rest of the C&H issues.  Any more ... please?

They had an odd Christmas with us when we went for a walk at Bukit Ampang

Lost at Bukit Ampang on Christmas Day.
I sent a local guide to look for them.

Had to give the guide a bag of peanuts for doing a good job.

And of course we must have that 'selfie' though the spouse did look a bit lost trying to understand the technology of the Smart Phone.

Yuwrajh and Charlie, do come back. Your room is waiting for you, here in KL and in Leicester.

For us, in this December good things came twice.

Two old friends who have lost touch for over 30 years, two boys from my teaching days of 1975-1977,  met on the 23rd.  I watched and listened to them exchanging tales and experiences from their
last few decades and I just felt like the most privileged teacher on this planet.

Yuwrajh and Din (and friends) forty years ago.

Din, Yuwrajh, Charlie - bless you all and your cotton socks.  Sob, sob!

Here's another song from my colonial style education days.  Very, very apt.