Sex and the City


1. My wife told me one day about TV3 series Bersamamu which screened a handicapped person, a husband with telepes aquinovarus and his 7 children. I have not been so curious about Sex and the City. If I could I would have bought pirate CDs of Samantha Jones and delve deeper into the reason why Samantha couldn’t come, no matter how hard she tries.

2. There is a myth talking about sex. But one wonders how and why kampung people have so many children. When I did my O+G, I was scared of needle prick injury and the risk of contracting HIV. It is a common knowledge that people in the coastal and border area are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. It is due to their exposure to cross-border human trafficking and sexual promiscuity.

3. I remember, long long time ago, a friend of mine who stayed near Kedah-Perlis border, had humorously told me on how he accidentally met his dad in a pub, at Padang Besar, Thailand when he was in secondary school. Actually, he was the first to be there when his dad stepped his foot in. It was so funny when he tried to simulate his dad when the latter shouted at him in front of the other customers: balik..balik (go home). His dad seemed to dutifully perform his duty but yet he himself had the intention which was less spoken and mysteriously hidden. It was like the Malay metaphor umpama ketam menyuruh anaknya berjalan betul (like the crabs ask their children to walk properly).

4. It was on the other occasion when a friend of mine who owns a specialize addiction clinic in Lorong Hj Taib had invited me to join him. I went there at dusk without realizing what I would expect to see. I got down at Chow Kit LRT station and walked down Jalan Hj Taib, near pasar malam which is similar to London East End which is famous for poverty, overcrowding, disease, and criminality.

5. From a dusty, noisy pasar malam, I turned left to a dim lighted nondescript street of Lorong Hj Taib. At the back of shop houses, few frail looking twenty-something blokes were seen wandering and they looked suspicious at me. Those mat gian must be watching me as I walked away hastily, without glancing back at them and started giving my friend a call.

6. I was advised to look for Balai Polis Chow Kit and his premise was just located opposite to the police station. Once I was in, I was introduced as one of his patients coming to get methadone. The patients were dumbfounded to see me as one of their gang who was so ‘healthy’ and ‘segar bugar’..hehe..There I witnessed addicts came either by walking or by bikes to drink methadone.

7. Contrary to my experience earlier on, the ambion was so safe in the clinic compounded by the scene of the police station on the opposite side of the road. Some of the workers in the clinic were ex-addicts themselves.

8. My friend and I walked passing along the corridor of BB Inn Hotel. Sex workers and drug addicts are scarce nowadays; I was told by another friend who is currently doing a study in Chow Kit area which I am one of the co-researcher. A research assistant was hired to interview children and their mothers who work as sex workers. We had just finished the write-up and submitted a report.

9.  That night my friend brought me to a famous sushi corner in Maju Junction unfortunately without an aphrodisiac drink, Tongkat Ali Long Jack Orang Kampung…

About Difficult Times


1. When things go wrong as they sometimes will. When the road you’re trudging deems all uphill. When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.

2. When care is pressing you down a bit. Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns. As every one of us sometimes learns. And many a failure turns about. When he might have won and he stuck it out. Don’t give it up though the pace seems slow. You may succeed with another blow!

3. Success is failure turned inside out. The silver tint of the cloud of doubt. And you never can tell just how close you are. It may be near when it come so far.

4. So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit. It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

(Anonymous)

Taliban


1. Taliban is a plural of Talib, a student or seeker in an Islamic madrasah. There are more than 30 000 madrasahs in Pakistan. In Afghanistan, women are prohibited from working because it is felt that they should be at home bringing up their children and teaching them to be good Muslims. The imposition of strict purdah is to protect sisters from corrupt people as well as literal adherence to the Quranic translation of covering their bodies.

2. Taliban are open about their beliefs on syariat. The Islamic law is much more strictly enforced in the cities like Kandahar, Kabul, and Herat than in rural areas over which the Taliban not only have less control but which they encourage the traditional role of the village leaders. The mullahs are members of the Sura or governing council. Mullah Mohamad Omar Akhunzade is the Amirul Mukminin and he is infallible and all decisions, theological or secular is ultimately rested with him.

3. According to the description, he is tall, thin, elegant, reclusive, pious and rarely meet people from outside world. His edicts are pronounced in an almost inaudible voice that distracts nothing from their binding power. He is an intelligent, charismatic and twice-wounded of resistance, command deep respect among his followers.

Women In Veil

(Abstract from: John C. Griffiths)

“Paradoks”


1. “Paradoks” is a Malay novel written by the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Datok Dr. Affifudin Hj Omar.

2. It revolves around a conspiracy, sex scandal, corruption, belief to Malay traditional healer and defamation.

3. Ariffin, a high-income technocrat, resigned and joined politics during the seventh general election. His wife, Noraini was expecting Arifin to be appointed as full Minister but his position languished to just an ordinary backbencher, even though he contributed significantly, inside and outside parliament.

4. This was due to defamatory reports, incitements and inaccurate information relayed to the party leaders by kingmakers who were jealous and envious of him.

5. Noraini was frustrated and her resentment led to marital conflict from time to time.

6. Along the way, Arifin witnessed the steady promotion of backbenchers who were corrupted and mediocre but nonetheless, they were promoted due to family and business relationships with top party leaders.

7. The perception was those who are brilliant, honest and render good service to the party were then marginalized.

8. Those paradoxes had threatened Arifin political and marital fortune. Even when he left politics and became a millionaire’s businessman, he was threatened again by few paradoxes in his new endeavor.

9. To those who know Dr. Affifuddin, some of the events are perhaps real-life experiences based on his political and business forbearances. The other half is purely fictional.

10. I trust this pseudo-bibliographical, semi-fictional novel may add to the treasure of political satire in Bahasa Malaysia in the awakening of new socio-political movements to deny the importance of Bahasa ibunda. It may also add to political resistance to the political culture at present.

A stunning political tale of Melayu Baru

On Food Fusion


1. I remember asking one of the Istana hotel concierges on the best Indian curry house in town. The answer was Betel Leaf restaurant, Lebuh Ampang, KL. It was on June 28th, 2010 when I accompanied Emeritus Prof Barry Nocumber, a distinguished Australian scholar, and professor who was with me examining post-graduate student in child psychiatry, we went to this restaurant.


2. It was a busy weekday; precisely in the late evening. The restaurant was situated on the first floor of the seasoned row of shophouses. Outside, it was raining. The one-way street was clogged with buses and taxis. Many people were waiting for the transport as the bus stop and taxi station were located just in front of the shophouses. We were chatted excitedly about ourselves and the exam that we had just attended to.

3. It was there that we ate pulao rice, served in a stainless plate with banana leaves, papadom, chicken curry, and vegetable. Interestingly, Indian curry houses serve foods using stainless metal dishes. Malays, to the contrary, feel awkward eating curry from periuk. Following tradition, banana leaf rice is somewhat acquainted with South Indian cuisine. The food that we ate had a lot of pepper, chilies, spices and curry leaves.

4. The North Indian cuisine (pic, below) such as briyani is taken with creamy sauces and of course, not being served using the banana leaf. I was informed that the North Indian dishes tend to taste less spicy because the milk, cream or yogurt content helps tone them down. This was confirmed when I tested the best Hyderabad biryani.

5. Mamak restaurant, on the other hand, serves cuisine of Indian-Muslim food; a culinary assimilation of Indian and Malay rempah curry. The curries are unmistakably Indian but the nasi lemak and roti canai are typically Malaysian.

6. Interestingly, the mamak restaurant near my vicinity has incorporated sweet flavor in the cooking, in order to attract local customers.

7. Ayam madu and ayam masak kicap, I think, are definitely the fusion of local tastes and definitely not authentic Indian foods. Take a look at Malaysianized roti canai. It has many variations such as roti pisang, roti telur, roti sardin and roti kon.

They are surely food of Indian-Malaysian fusion.

Bangkok Is Sinking


1. High tide brings a rush of salt water into this seaside city, where sewers overflow many mornings and flood the streets.

2. While taxis slosh through filthy puddles, dozens of rusty pipes and generators begin pumping floodwaters back into the bay. And by late morning, the pools have receded through gutter grates and the roads are dry.

3. Flooding is already a fact of life in Samut Prakan, this urban port roughly 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Bangkok proper. While many Thais shrug off the flooding as an inconvenience, the country’s top disaster specialist sees doom in the rising waters.

4. “Right now, nothing is being done,” says Meteorologist Smith Dharmasaroja, head of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center. “And if nothing is ever done? Bangkok will be flooded.”

5. By 2030, much of Bangkok will lie under 1.5 meters (5 feet) of seawater, Smith says. It’s a claim made doubly ominous by his history of predicting natural disasters.

6. In the late 1990s, he predicted that a tsunami would batter Thailand’s coast. Thousands will die, he said, if the government doesn’t install an early warning system for alerting tourists and coastal dwellers.

7. In 2004, this prophecy was tragically vindicated. Ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra helped pull Smith out of retirement to direct the newly founded disaster warning center. To this day, his small office building is outfitted with massive wall maps, bays of monitors and red-alert hotlines — just in case a tsunami strikes again.

8. Smith’s attention, however, is now fixed on floods.

9. Polar ice melting has the world’s sea level rising at more than one-tenth of an inch per year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Bangkok’s steel and concrete buildings, which weigh down on soft clay underneath, are causing the capital to sink more than 3 inches per year on average, Smith says. And many natural flood buffers, such as coastal mangroves, were replaced with cement long ago.

10. Those factors will conspire, Smith says, to flood Bangkok with seawater. By his math, the low-lying city will take on more than .75 meters (2.5 feet) of water every 10 years. Along with Bangkok’s posh riverfront — a promenade of deluxe apartments and hotels — city workers are already dispatched to brace the shoreline with sandbags. “This is not a solution,” Smith says. “It’s temporary and it’s a waste of time.”

11. At Samut Prakan, practically walking distance from Bangkok’s city limits, riverside pavilions are draped with ugly rubber tubing. The bay view is spoiled by gas-powered generators and their corroded pipes, which gush floodwaters over the plaza’s railing.

12. The city floods a little almost every morning at high tide, said Sarawut Kankamneard, a glassmaker who lives nearby. “When the tide is high, water pressure builds up,” he said. “It floods the sewers and runs into the city.”

13. To hear Smith tell it, this is doomsday in its infancy. In 2100, by his projections, Bangkok will be Atlantis. He is calling for a massive dike spanning the Gulf of Thailand, a roughly $2.8 billion USD project by his estimation. But to save Bangkok, he insists, construction must begin almost immediately.

14. Biblical as Smith’s predictions may be, flooding is not on Thailand’s national agenda. Too many politicians and scientists, Smith remains a nag. To Bangkok business interests protecting the value of their riverfront property, he is an outright threat. And while no one disagrees that Bangkok is sinking, other meteorologists strike a less urgent tone.

15. The urban coast outside Bangkok, dotted with thousands of piers and factories, will likely go underwater in coming decades, said Anond Snidvongs, director of the Southeast Asia Regional Research Center. But the sea will flow and recede with Thailand’s rainy and dry seasons, he says, leaving the area uninhabitable for only about 60 days a year.

16. “It won’t be a permanent sea level rise like we’re in Neverland,” he says.

17. Still, Anond says a slow retreat strategy is much more feasible than a huge dike, which will disturb the environment. Building the dike, he says, would exceed the cost of a government-sponsored relocation drive for families living on the bay.

18. “Don’t try to save the shoreline,” Anond says. “It’s beyond hope.”

19. Despite his cachet earned from predicting Thailand’s tsunami, Smith remains a minor-league public figure. Thailand’s government is fragile and struggling to solve immediate problems, let alone crises that will haunt some future administration. Smith knows politicians are unlikely to adopt his cause and build his dike.

20. “All my life, I’ve worked for the people,” Smith says. “And I’m attacked.”

21. Even in Greater Bangkok, where seawater already runs in the streets, the flooding is tolerated. With barges and navy vessels bobbing on the horizon, locals strolling along the waterfront sidestep the tubes that flush invading waters back into the bay.

22. “It’s actually nicer now,” said Sarawut, the glassmaker. “If you could see what’s underneath the water, it’s all garbage anyway.” (Global Post)

South-North Journey


1. We started our journey at 7.30 pm from KLIA when the plane departed from the airport. The sky was clear. For a long time, I haven’t been traveling the South-North Expressway. I was lucky that the driving was fantastically smooth. Two night before I was driving along the East Coast old trunk road from my house down to K Lumpur. The experience driving from the East to KL and up the North was very much similar to exploring the East and West coasts which essentially pursued distinct lives separated by the main range, Titiwangsa.

2. It was in the midnight that we reached Hentian Tapah to take some rest. I was lucky to skip the experience of having to face a low sun throwing a rich golden light along the expressway, unfairly blazing into the eyes of me, the driver.

3. My wife was just talking in order to keep me awake. I’ve had forgotten the torture of driving home along this highway since we have not been doing this for quite some time. It was like pelanduk yang selalu lupakan jerat (a mousedeer which often forgotten the trap). I thought I disliked the metaphor since I knew it was my choice to drive home at this hour.

4. The route that I disliked much driving at the midnight was Ipoh Utara-Changkat Jering-Taiping. I can’t stand the hill and the slope before and after the Terowong Menora. I didn’t mind being in Dabong or Gual Periuk as long as the land contour was flat. Although the car ride wasn’t an affront to me and my family, the timing was indeed not so perfect.

5. By the time we reached Kepala Batas, it was past midnight. I couldn’t stand anymore. I needed sleep. We stopped at the quiet area and I practically leaped off to pee and slept in full exhaustion all the way there.

6. It was 1.30 am that my wife woke me up and we continued our journey again. A narrow lane led me off the highway. Later, there was a signpost, white lettering on a green background: Alor Star Selatan. I was relieved, at last, we reached home. It was 2.30 am. In 30 minutes I will reach home, I said to myself.