Sleepless in Setiawangsa – IV

Ah, another sleepless night here in Bukit Setiawangsa. I am awake and I don’t seem to be able to close my eyes and go to bed.

So I think I am going to write and ramble away. But right now I am having a mental block and have been staring at this empty screen before me the last one hour. Oh, I wish I could write efffortlessly like those journo-bloggers I secretly envy. But sad to say, that wish will remain just a dream – for now. So, please spare me your time and bear with my ramblings.

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At TWB (Tuesday with Bloggers ler…) last Tuesday, crime analyst Kamal Affendi, who is now a blogger, was among the new faces that turned up at Kak Ton’s house.

We had earlier (Kak Ton and Raden Galoh) watched him on TV3′s “Wanita Hari Ini” about the Nurin Alert. With him were Nuraina A. Samad and Jasni Abdul Jalil (the uncle of Nurin Jazlin), who was also a first-timer at the gathering.

The TWB was like a reunion of sort because it was the first gathering we had since the beginning of the fasting month. It was simply great to be among friends again.

While Kak Ton, Raden Galoh and I were at the dining table, we heard someone played the piano. Hmmm, good, I thought. Some music for the soul. Who could that be? I wondered. I turned around to have a look. What a surprise. He was none other than our crime analyst.

He entertained us with a number of songs including my all-time favourite “Love Story.” Ah, that song literally transported me to another place and another time.

I love the song so much because it brings me back to special moments in time. The first time I heard it played (live) was somewhere in a forgotten street of Machynlleth, Wales.

Have you heard this song on a violin? The melody is so magical that it evokes a sense of romance in anyone who claims to have a heart. And the lyrics are simply awesome too:

Where do I begin

To tell a story

Of how greatful love can be

The sweet love story

That is older than a sea…

Of course, the hopelessly romantic person that I am started to wonder what life would be without music and poetry.

Duke Orsino, in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (who is utterly besotted with Olivia) loudly proclaims:

If music is the food of love

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, 
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again;–it had a dying fall; 
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet south, 
That breathes upon a bank of violets, 
Stealing and giving odour.–Enough; no more; 
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before. 
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou! 
That, notwithstanding thy capacity 
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there, 
Of what validity and pitch soever, 
But falls into abatement and low price 
Even in a minute! so full of shapes is fancy, 
That it alone is high-fantastical. “

So friends, do you have a love story to tell me?

Tok Mommy the Blogger!

My mentor in writing, Maria Tan Sri A. Samad, finally has her own blog after endless coaxing  from the bloggers who shamelessly gather at her house every Tuesday.

We Tuesday people of MRT welcome her to the blogspehere. I am dying to know what she has in store for us. She is finally doing it! Zorro will vouch as to how difficult it is to convince her to do it. Please click here to read her maiden posting.

Way to go Tok Mommy! Clap Clap Clap!!

[Maria Samad is a sister to Nuraina Samad of 3540 Jalan Sudin who graciously host MRT every week]

Tears in Rangoon

(Sunset at Shewdagon Pagoda, Rangoon)

I am deeply moved and humbled by the plight of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi whose fight for democracy has resulted in her being put under house arrest for the last 12 years.

Suu Kyi is the torchbearer of Democracy for the ordinary Burmese – the people she represents – against the opression of the junta, who has been ruling Burma with iron-clad fist.

Although the whole world has watched the human tradegy unfold in Burma and especially in the last few weeks, little is being done from the outside to bring the junta to its senses.

Burma is a poor Asian country. It is backward in comparison to her South East Asian neighbours who have progressed economically by leaps and bounds. The Burmese by and large are poor as a result of of the regime’s mismanagement. Over a million Burmese, many of them ethnic minorities, have fled for economic and political reasons to Bangladesh, India, China, Malaysia and Thailand to seek work and asylum. 

More than 150,000 Burmese live in nine refugee camps in Thailand and roughly 30,000 live in two camps in Bangladesh. Roughly 30,000  Burmese (mostly Chin and Rohingya) have fled to Malaysia.

According to the UN Development Programme’s 2006 Human Development Report, public health expenditure equaled only to 0.3% of Burma’s GDP. High infant mortality rates and short life expectancies further highlight poor health and living conditions.

Education is not something that the junta considers as of paramount importance. Borneo Blues in his blog related how the regime had shut down the institutions of higher learning…Apparently, universities open once a year just to enable all students to sit for their examinations and the junta “… let everybody pass so they can get jobs.”

(the lives of the ornidary Burmese and the monks are entertwined)

In this devout Buddhist country, the lives of the ordinary Burmese and the monks are entertwined as the latter depend solely on alms/donations from the former. When the inflation rate is constantly on the rise, the Burmese have very little to spare…and to give away for donations. My favourite Time Magazine’s correspondent, Andrew Marshall, writes with candour on the recent street protest led by the monks in Rangoon. I have never been to Rangoon but I have seen many Buddhist monks in Tumpat, Kelantan, in their saffron-coloured robes doing the round carrying their bowls in humility for alms.

On September 24th, 2007, the monks took the street of Rangoon in protest of yet another unjustified fuel-hike by the junta which is causing an added hardship for the people. The road along the sacred Shewdagon Pagoda where the march began was filled with maroon and saffron-robed monks as thousands of them gathered to march in protest against Burma’s military government chanting calls for democracy. In Marshall’s own words, “the mantra will haunt me for days: Let everyone be free from harm. Let everyone be free from anger. Let everyone be free from harship.”

Thousands of ordinary Burmese joined them, altough it was reported that the monks had discouraged them from participating becuase they feared reprisals by the military. In protest, some monks held their bowls upside down indicating their refusal to accept alms from families & relatives of the junta.

However, their “freedom” to protest was short lived. In retaliation, the soldiers on the command of the ruling junta raided the monasteries and attacked the monks dragging them out of their safe enclaves, beat the protestors with cane and locked the gate of Shewdagon Pagoda.

September 26 and 27 of 2007 will surely fo down as another bleak day in the history of Burma.

The people’s plea for peaceful dialogue had gone unheeded by the junta. Curfews were promptly imposed. The junta’s reign of terror knows no bound when protestors were shot at random. Blood of the innocence, once again, flowed in the street of Rangoon.

 (The scene at a market in Rangoon)

I believe the US & China (which has close ties with the ruling junta) can use their influence towards efforts for a genuine reconciliation and restoration of democracy in Burma through a policy of engagement. I place a lot of hope on the shoulders of Ibrahim Gambari, UN’s special envoy, in his effort to negotiate a solution in Burma.

Let us stand in solidarity with the Burmese people and show the military rulers that the world will not tolerate repression. It is my fervent hope that the light of Democracy will soon shine on the shores of Burma.

[Pictures courtesy of Time]

MRT – How dare you Mat Salo!

MRT (mee rebus tuesday ler…) is resuming as normal tomorrow. It has been more than a month since we last met and the anticipation is running high. Hence the frantic phone calls among bloggers today to plan their arrivals at Kak Ton’s place.

Out of the kindness of my heart, I volunteer to pick the famous Borneo Blues and give him a lift to Kak Ton’s house. The man rejected my offer without further ado. Worse, he picked Shar 101 (honey bunch, whatever else he is called nowadays!) to drive him to Kak Ton’s. Shar? Shar? Shar????

Oh, come on now!

Lest we forget…

Since Ayah is no longer around; Eid Mubarak will never be the same again. My life will never be the same again since his departure on January 24th, 2000.  I was few months shy from being called to the Malaysian Bar. Ayah didn’t get to witness the day his daughter achieved his dream.

However, I believe that he can watch me now from heaven. I hope he knows that I got married and we now have Luqman. Eid Mubarak is a special day for parents. Go home, hug them and  tell them that you love them.

Salam Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir Batin.

Ayah dan ibu
Itulah permulaan kami
Dapatlah melihat bulan dan
Matahari
Ahai…

Yang dikurniakan dari Ilahi
Ahai…
Ayah dan ibu lah
Mesti dihormati

Ayah dan ibu
Wali dan juga keramat
Pada mereka kita beri hormat
Ahai…
Bagilah tunjuk ajar dan
Nasihat
Supaya hidup
Supaya hidup kita akan selamat

Thank You!

Words cannot describe the agony Jefree and I went through last week. It is the most enduring test that we have to face thus far. For that entire four minutes when Luqman went absolutely quiet and cold: Jefree and I died a million times.

At the end of the four minutes, Luqman snapped out of the fit, and uttered the word “Papa!” to Jefree. My knees went weak with relief. In my highly articulate world, I cannot tell you how I exactly felt at that time – how bizarre is that?

By the time we reached the emergency department, he was already too exhausted from his ordeal and fell asleep. Blood was drawn from his tiny hand, wires and monitors were attached to his lithe body and no amount of comforting words could ease my pain.

According to the paeditricians, it is just febrile fits. The tests show no indication of abnormalcy that we should be concerned about. But Jefree and I are bringing him back to his old paeditrician – Dr. Musa – for second opinion.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of you for the prayers that have been bestowed upon us.

Special thank you goes to my blogger sisters & brothers; not forgetting the commentors of this blog too. Thank you Doc TA for putting up the notice in your blog.

To our family and close friends; we could not have gone through it without your support. We appreciate each and every phone calls – even if most of it went unanswered – and text messages.

Our thank you also goes to the support staff of Gleneagles’ peaditric ward, Dato’ Dr. Iean Hamzah, Dr. Adrian Koh and Dr. Musa.

*Picture above: his tiny hand with the IV paraphenelia

*Picture below: taken just after he was discharged from the hospital