How This Blog Came About

I still remember that day, July 1st 2005. Getting away from the boredom and tension of being in the nation’s most-favoured multinational company, my colleagues Niels and Andy, and a friend of mine, Ismail Othman, boarded the first Malaysia Airlines flight to Kota Bharu for a four-day break in Perhentian. From Kota Bharu airport, we took a cab down to Kuala Besut, then straight to Perhentian by boat.

Seahorse back in 2005

Even though I was in Perhentian three and a half months before that for my daughters’ Open Water Diver course, it would be my first time diving with Seahorse Dive Center. On arrival, Ismail, Andy, Niels and I went to dive at Batu Nisan. Later that night, Kimi joined us and stayed with us at Seahorse’s dormitory (that very dorm has now made way for what is now the Seahorse Cafe – nice food there, people).

Ismail and Niels at Batu Nisan

I was initially worried because Niels, coming from Germany, may have had a different perspective of what or how an accommodation should be like, so I was a bit apprehensive about the condition of the dorm. But he was cool about staying in a dorm that had only one window, wooden double-deckers, thin mattresses, one attached bathroom and one table fan, with only a 12-hour daily electricity supply. But I guess it was the company that mattered most, as it did during my trip with Yummy Baby, Gem Odorono Corleone, Herbivore Girl, Abang Rina, Betch President, Gombak4Life and Liverpool Babe.

Niels is a legal person. To me, he is funny and good fun, although some found him to be pushy. I can’t blame him because being a German, the motto macht mit einer großen Kanone Qualität counts. Andy is an avid topside photographer, meticulous and very detailed (redundant repetition?). He is very quiet at times, especially when he is engrossed with his work, but can deliver a mean joke from time to time. Ismail and Kimi were my daughters’ open water diver coursemates, but Kimi became my buddy when we went to Redang two months before the Perhentian trip.

I went for a night dive at Batu Nisan after which we had dinner at Abdul’s and it was fun. We slept fine that night as it rained heavily.

Me ascending from Secret Reef

I woke up the next morning at 7am. Birgit Weber, the resident instructor and my Facebook friend was busy sweeping the floor with the statuesquely beautiful Divemaster, Larissa. Both Larissa and Birgit are Niels’s compatriots. We did the deepest dive first that morning at the Secret Reef, followed by another dive at Tukun Laut. In the afternoon, a member of the Singapore Marine Police, Jessie Tan, who was doing her Master Scuba Diver course did a dive with us at Tanjung Basi.

Kimi and Birgit on the way back from Secret Reef

That night again we had dinner at Abdul before retiring.

The next morning, Larissa DMed us to Sugar Wreck. Niels buddied with Andy, Kimi and I, while Ismail, with the least number of dives, buddied with Larissa. During a simple penetration of the wreck’s cargo holds, Ismail was lost and had followed another group of divers. Then when we went to the top of the wreck to do our safety stop, Larissa panicked when she could not find Ismail. She was wide-eyed. I signalled for her to calm down. I then signalled to the rest to continue with their safety stop and surface when they were done. I then guided Larissa back to the wreck to search for Ismail. With our air running low, we had to surface – and there was Ismail, already in the dive boat, and he had followed his “lost buddy procedure” as briefed by the DM. The final dive of the trip was done at Sea Belle Rock…it is one of the places I hardly dive at, but is a very good dive site.

Andy underwater

After the dive, I thought I’d play a prank and tell people I saw a Hammerhead underwater and took a picture of it.

Hammerhead in Perhentian

I did see a Hammerhead; I just did not say it was a Hammerhead shark. It was after this that Andy quipped that I was a Nitrogen narcosis addict, and Kimi said maybe we ought to start a blog or website to write about our dive adventures. That was how Narcaholic was born.

It was a good trip with great friends – and because of that trip, I got to make lots of new friends through this blog, and meet my Yummy Baby

Birgit is no longer there. She is now with a dive center in Perhentian Kecil. Larissa last I heard broke-off with her boyfriend, James, and is now an instructor in the Maldives. Andy is now on his own doing photography and talks; Niels has also left the company and is now working elsewhere in KL; Ismail is missing in action; Kimi still comments on this blog, although I have not dived with him since March 2006.

Seahorse is now a double-storey dive center, and is still as busy as it was back then, and is still my favourite dive center in the Perhentians.

Seahorse Dive Center in 2008

The life...

Poisonous Fubu

In Japan it is Fugu - Japanprobe

It’s a wonder that people would go for dangerous things; as in my case it is probably the adrenaline rush that makes me addicted to dangerous things. In Japan, it is eating the fugu that is dangerous, and staying alive after that is the rush. The tetrodotoxin in it knows no antidote. It is a sodium channel blocker that paralyses the victim’s muscles. The victim will eventually die of asphyxiation while remaining conscious throughout the process of dying.

Okay. That is fugu.

In Malaysia, we have the fubu. Equally dangerous and mentally poisonous, the fubu sets out to destroy the society we belong to. The term fubu actually originates from the ‘happy‘ male society, but has now extended in usage to the heterosexual society. In the old days, there was love, followed by sex. Nowadays, with fubu, there is only sex and nothing else. Young adult female, or even pre-menopausal female would engage in sex with a person they find themselves to be comfortable with. There’s no real feeling involved, just the feeling of comfort with no sense, and the ability to get a few cents out of the sexual partner. Some even take it a step further by engaging in sex with multiple male partners, one at a time, keeping a list of whom to go to bed with as long as there is a comfortable room, and some food for the night, for the price of holding one’s breath and keeping the eyes closed for about five minutes until the session is over when he rolls off and snores away. The female then reduces herself to something lesser than human, morally.

So that, my dear friends, is fubu. Even sheeps mate for a purpose. Fubus fuck for no reason.

Sheeps mating

What is fubu?

It is short for fuck buddy.

Dangerous and poisons the mind.

Phee, Meurai Ja Klab Ban?

While driving back from dinner with Yummy Baby, Spena, and Oja, we talked about Koh Lipe, Koh Adang, Thai radio, then suddenly I was singing the Thai National Anthem (Phleng Chart Thai).

15 years ago, every single door on my office block would have the name tags written in Thai, so much so that my Commanding Officer, Colonel Shahron Ibrahim (now Lieutenant-General Dato’ Hj Shahron Ibrahim, RMAF – Chief of Staff of the Malaysian Armed Forces HQ) would frequently have problems finding his way to my office. I mean, he didn’t know which door to enter. And my staff and I would be speaking in Thai. Every morning at 9am (8am Thai time) the radio, tuned to a Thai radio station, would pipe in the Thai National Anthem and we would be singing: Prathet Thai ruam leuad neua chart chuea thai, pen pracha rat pha-thai korng thai thook suan and so on.

Thai was very much my life, having to alternate between my base in Alor Setar and the office in Songkhla, where my staff there, Flight Sergeant Abd Karim Abd Aziz from Pengkalan Hulu in Perak (he served with me once before at the Air Training HQ where I was the Adjutant and before that as SO3 Programming), and my signalman, Corporal Ahmad bin Morad a.k.a Mat Spring from Pendang, Kedah, were based permanently. Joining me from Alor Setar would be my team members, Sergeant Uzaid Ahmad, Corporal Rozamin Daud, Leading Aircraftman Dahlan Dahaman, Corporal Ali (whom I still maintain contact until now and Yummy Baby‘s heard us conversing in Thai), Corporal Md Fodzi Taib, and Leading Aircraftman Abdull bin Me. Ali and Abdull are Thai descendants, while Mat Spring is married to a Thai citizen.

Those were the good old days – it was tensed nevertheless as Southern Thai was as volatile then as it is now and a simple bomb blast would see us being sent to the location almost immediately to verify the situation. But life was good then. After a 24-hour duty, I would drive my Proton Saga (we were not allowed to drive Malaysian military vehicles across the border) to the Samilla Beach, buy a plate of fried chilli crabs for 10 Baht, sit on a mat facing the sea, wallop the crabs and sleep before driving back to my quarters at the Tanah Merah camp near Jenan.

I missed Thailand when I was transferred back to sit in a Major’s post as the Head of the Special Investigations Branch of the RMAF Provost Marshall’s Office. Life was so hectic there with lots of investigations to conduct, and seriously understaffed; I was flying to almost all the airbases in Malaysia on a daily basis, so much so that I had to forgo my resettlement training prior t leaving the service. As a matter of fact, after leaving the Air Force, I was still attending courts-martial on cases I prosecuted because I was still subjected to the Armed Forces Act, 1972, for three months after my run-out-date.

But Thailand was always on my mind.

In 1996, after my first wife and I separated, I went back to Thailand with friends during fasting month just to be able to have that feel of brotherhood with the Thai muslims, breaking fast with them at a mosque somewhere in Amphoe Sadao.

In 1997, being single, I went completely Thai especially during the International Parachuting Competition at the Phra Ram 6 Camp in Cha-Am north of Hua Hin, when I represented Malaysia. For 12 days there I spoke Thai and virtually Thai only. That was fun.

And soon, my job took me back there, mainly in Bangkok, and I spent quite some time there. Even when I was stationed in Langkawi, I would just take the last ferry out, spend a night in Hat Yai, then take the first flight out to Bangkok and spend the weekend there before flying back to KL. Just so that I could sit by the banks of the Chao Phraya river watching boats and ships ply.

For those who do not know, the Thais have two anthems. One is the National Anthem mentioned above that they would play twice daily (8am and 6pm), then there is also the Royal Anthem (Phleng Sansasoen Phra Barami) that is played during state functions, or when a member of the royal family is present, or before a movie starts. The royal anthem is also played on TV at the beginning and ending of the daily transmission.

I remember I went to watch a movie at the Emporium on Sukhumvit soi 24 with Bee, my friend’s secretary. After the trailers and adverts, an announcement was made for all to stand in respect for the King, and the royal anthem was played. I started singing Kha wora phutta chao, ao mano lae si rakran and Bee just looked at me in disbelief. Here I am, a foreigner, singing the royal anthem that many yuppies don’t even remember the lyrics to. She never asked me anything until after the movie when we walked at the Benjasiri Park (The Queen’s Park) when all activities came to a halt at 6pm when the National Anthem was played, and I sang along.

“Are you sure you are not Thai?” she asked me in Thai, to which I just smiled.

Khidtheung meuang Thai…yark ja ronghai!

Chao Phraya and Temple - Arrakeen