Life Can Still Be Funny

You know it’s still too early for you and for some people when you drive into a shopping mall’s carpark and the security guards are still frantically trying to remove the barriers they had put up the previous night. You walk up the escalator (it was still inoperational) to find your dry-cleaners outlet dark. You walk into a Starbucks and ask for Chamomile Mee. When the cashier asks you “Chamomile Mee?”, you go, “Yes, Grande, hot.”

I don’t know what’s wrong with me but that was what I did just now. Then as I bent forward to plug my notebook charger into the socket, I inadvertently let loose a silent but killer fart. Hey, how was I suppose to know it was going to be a killer one? I blame this horrible smell on the new diet I am on. I rarely get this problem. The worse part was, the smell just lingered and refused to go. And here I was sitting in front of the notebook looking at its screen pretending it wasn’t me but was probably the guy seated in front of me, while the guy at the next table could be seen flaring his nostrils to capture untainted air.

Yesterday, I did the same thing to this couple who were behind me on an escalator in Ampang Park. You should see their face when I farted. It was a lot funnier scene than the funny look they gave me at the top of the escalator later.

What is even funnier was when I read an excerpt from this book called Contemporary Medical Issues In Islamic Jurisprudence by one Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi something like:

1. It is okay for the goat’s upper front teeth to be used in the case of lost front teeth in a human being.

2. Man should use his own organs to be transplanted in his own self. This is to avoid giving the donor sin should the recepient commit one.

3. It is alright to eat the flesh of a dead prophet if there is nothing left to eat.

First and foremost, goats DO NOT HAVE UPPER FRONT TEETH! It is just one big hard gum! Secondly, if both my kidneys fail, which kidney should I use to transplant? And, thirdly, I’ll die from starvation because the last prophet was around 1500 years ago.

And they call themselves the Ulama’ (learned/knowledgeable ones) and have the cheek to write things on medical issues. If I were to ridicule this guy openly, people would brand me blasphemous as if this guy is a god.

This is, indeed, a funny world.

Distressing Journey To Destress

Three days ago I was asked by my cardiologist who happens to be my batchmate at good old Sekolah Melayu Jalan Stesen, to see him at IJN. So that was what I did yesterday.

It has been a stressful week not just for me, but also for Wifey, as none of us knew what was medically wrong with me. We could speculate and all that, but I don’t think it would have done us any good.

Anyway, finding a car park at IJN is a stress-test by itself. If you can keep calm while trying to find ONE space in between any of the 382 cars in a 100-car carpark, then you should just leave the place and go home. Don’t waste time looking for a space. It will kill you if you already have a heart disease.

When we got there, there could have been 3 million people seeking either medical opinion or follow-ups. But having myself registered to do the Executive Screening Package made life a lot easier for me. It was a bit like going through the Customs Green Lane without the customs officers in sight. Did the blood test, urine, before I was ushered into a room to do my lung function test. After weighing me and measuring my height, I sat down in front of the physiotherapist.

PT: “Encik sekarang masuk dalam category obese kalau ikut BMI encik. Kalau Encik dapat kurangkan berat supaya masuk dalam category Overweight pun tak apa.”

Me: “Berapa patutnya berat saya kalau gitu?”

PT: “84 kilo.”

Okay, seriously I don’t know how that is going to work. That is 15 kilograms for me to lose. The last time I actually lost weight was 5 kilos middle of last year. Then I celebrated the weight loss and put on more than I had initially lost.

Then Wifey and I had to wait for my turn to do the stress test on the treadmill. This is the first time I had my spouse waiting with me, and it was a big help. I was having an anxiety attack and I was having some chest pains by then. An hour later, I was ushered into the room. When I got onto the treadmill, and after the leads have been attached to me, there were some concerns. My heart rate was at 107bpm, while my blood pressure reading was at 170/80. Immediately I was asked if I had taken my medication to which I replied YES. Everytime I was about to progress in stage, the lady would ask me if I was okay to progress to the next level. I also replied YES, and all because if there was any anomaly, it would have been detected already. When my BP hit 220/90, she asked me if my body was aching, and I replied NO. In the end, some 10 minutes and 43 seconds after I had begun the test, she asked me if I would like to stop as I had achieved my targeted heart rate. This time I said YES…and added, “Dah pancit.” The last time I did the stress test I stopped on the 12th minute. Not bad, this time, considering I have been quite inactive physically.

Went in to see my cardiologist with Wifey, and was told that I did quite well, and he could not detect any blockages. However, I am a borderline diabetic (I found this out back in October 2007). So, he has prescribed me several medicines to handle my sugar-level, something to “thin” my blood as a preventive measure, and a new medicine for my hypertension. I have also been told to stay away from lots of culinary favourites. He attributes the pain in the chest that I have been having to anxiety and stress at work, and advised me to go back swimming and scuba diving.

Oh well, I have another 9 days to go before I get to dive again. I hope I can survive ’til then.

The Other Hereditary Membership

Institut Jantung Negara - image from Placidway
Institut Jantung Negara – image from Placidway

More than 8 and a half years ago was the last time I went to the IJN. At that time, my father did his second open-heart bypass surgery. That was the time I decided to give up skydiving and flying.

After more than a week suffering from bouts of chest pains, numb left arm and so on, my cardiologist, who was also my MCKK batchmate has advised me to see him tomorrow morning for a full examination, and if there is a need for it, do an angioplasty.

Recently, my counterpart in our JV partner company suffered a heart attack when he was in the Ukraine. His condition is a lot worse than mine is but has so far escaped the need to have any form of procedure done to him. He is now on medication. I hope I am limited to that too tomorrow. The nature of our work is very stressful and I don’t know if I can physically meet that kind of challenge. My mind may say otherwise.

I hope I can pass the stress test tomorrow.

Now, let’s look for a leaked question or two…

It’s Going To Be A New Year & I Found Some Old Pics

12.48pm on Saturday 24th January 2009.

I’m still in the office. I cannot complete my paperwork as an important portion is with my colleague and he is still not back from our shipyard located in another state.

Anyway, I found some old pics that I have uploaded into my Facebook album. Let me share some of those pics here with you:

Jumping off a C-130H over Gong Kedak - March 1993
Jumping off a C-130H over Gong Kedak – March 1993

After a jump with Bob at Ipoh airport - March 2000
After a jump with Bob at Ipoh airport – March 2000

The Empty Vessel

from Best Desi dot com(image from Best Desi dot com)

I don’t know. I woke up this morning with a deep thought.

“If I die, will I get reincarnated? What will I become in my next life, if there is any at all?”

It’s just a thought. But as I sat on the porcelain throne before having a shower, I thought of exploring this thought. Yes, call it philosophical or hypothetical or whatever-have-you.

We have the vegetarians and the meat eaters amongst us. I can be both. Whether I am one or the other depends solely on my mood for the day. I have my no-chicken day and my vegetarian day sometimes. Nothing religious about it. Some vegetarians are so because of health reasons, others because of their beliefs. Some vegetarians believe that the meat we consume is from a vessel that once probably contained the soul of our departed kin, or friend; therefore it is not good to kill animals so that we can consume them.

Reincarnation does not necessarily mean that you and I will be reborn into the body (vessel) of a human being. You could be a cow’s calf where the grass is green and you have nipples to choose from to suckle – in a way, where you are as a calf describes heaven.

As in the movie Little Buddha, a good philosophical movie that is one of my favourites, the soul is like tea in a cup. The cup represents your body (vessel). If the cup breaks (the human body dies), the tea is spilt onto the floor and table where the broken cup lay. The tea that is on the table is your soul, the tea that is spilt onto the floor is your soul, and the tea collected in the sponge when you wipe the tea off the floor and still tea; therefore it is still your soul in that form (tea).


So you may be born either as a human being, or a cow, or a tiger, or a germ, or an amoeba somewhere on this face of this earth. Several questions remain:

1) Since trees etc., are living things as well, won’t we get reincarnated as a tree, or vegetable?

2) So it is okay if I am born again as a tiger and eat you, a cow.

3) It is okay for me to kill insects that could be my grandfathers, using insecticides, to protect the vegetables and fruits.

4) When we achieved Independence, we had only 5 million people in Malaya. We now have 26 million. Since yesterday does not have enough souls to fill up so many vessels created today, do animals get reborn too? If yes, that probably explains why there’s so many crime now, and stupid drivers on the roads.

5) Wait a minute! Aren’t animals supposed to have human souls as well for them to run around in the wild? So the ones that do not have souls, are they the ones that appear dumb?

Okay, now I am confused as well.

6) Should my body stop producing antibodies since my grandma could be one of the harmful bacterium that is inside my tummy right now? (incidentally, I have been to the toilet 4 times this morning).

Okay, I am going to eat meat again today.

Let Me Do This Tag

I found this tag on Faisal‘s blog and thought maybe I should give it a shot. So, here goes:

1. Have you ever been on TV?

Yes, I have; mostly when I did my three records (North Pole, first BASE jump, and the 1000km jet-ski). The last time I was probably seen on TV was when KJ and I were seen on the floor of Dewan Merdeka PWTC reacting to Dr M’s resignation announcement in 2002. KJ and I were quite close then.

2. Have you ever sung in public?

Yes, I have. At several weddings, and at two hotel lounges.

3. Have you ever dyed your hair blond?

When I had hair? Yes. But it was fluorescent green and pink.

4. Have you ever eaten frogs’ legs?

I ate a whole frog, minus the poisonous top part.

5. Have you ever received a present that you really hated?

Never. But I loathed the sender.

6. Have you ever walked into a lamp post?

Lamp post, signboard, a closed glass door, and a wall.

7. Have you ever cooked a meal by yourself for more than 15 people?

Only corned beef fried rice.

8. Have you ever fallen or stumbled in front of others?

Yes. Many times over.

9. Have you ever done volunteer work?

Outside work? I used to run a community service center in the Kuang area. It would be suicidal to volunteer for anything in the office.


It was just the other night, I was probably suffering from anxiety or stress at work when I noticed my heart beating a lot stronger, that I had chest pains…some jabbing sans the numbness that should radiate from my jaw all the way down to my left side and arm if I were having a heart attack. I didn’t want to alarm Wifey. So, all I did was to hold her close to me, calling her softly by her Pet Society’s pet’s name: Tembam-bam (Tembam = podgy), and kissing her cheeks and forehead, telling her how much I love her. She stirred a bit, not realising what was happening.

I will be 43 this July. I term this current phase in this life of mine as Living On Borrowed Time.

Sudden and deadly heart attacks runs in my family. So does Hypercholesterolemia. It was only 4 and a half years ago when I had arrhythmia at the Singapore Expo, that sent me to the Cardiac ICU. That was due to stress. Although I no longer suffer from skipped heartbeats, or that thumping punch from the inside my heart gave me once in a while then, I still suffer from tachycardia. My resting heartbeat is anything between 88 to 120 beats per minute. And since the divorce two years ago, I suffer from Hypertension that has since required me to have my daily dosage of and ACE Inhibitor, on top of the Statin I take for my cholesterol levels. I also suffer from asthma, which I never had until after the divorce.

43, I think, was the age when my paternal grandfather passed away. Before, he passed away, he said to my father who was then 13 years old, “Hanif, tomorrow you will no longer have a backbone to support you.” According to my father, true to his father’s words, the next afternoon my father felt weak as if he did not have any backbone. That was the moment my grandfather died at the billiards hall.

My father suffered his first heart attack when he was 37 years old. I remember how he collapsed one morning in the bathroom. At the age of 42, he had another attack, that sent him to do his first coronary bypass at the Harley Street Clinic at Weymouth Street in London. He had a second bypass when he was 61. He had just celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday.

My younger brother was diagnosed by our cardiologist 2 years ago to have up to 30% damage to his heart. His condition was made worse by the fact that he smoked (he probably still does but at a lot lesser rate). The cardiologist told him that if he continues to smoke, it no longer will be the question of if he would die, but rather when.

Anyway, two days ago after work, while we cuddled in bed after a hard day working, I told her about what had happened the previous night. I asked her where would she have me buried should I die. She was in tears. I know I am prepared to die when my time comes, but I am not giving up that easily. I have only begun to learn to be happy, with Wifey by my side…I want to enjoy this life with her for as long as I can.

Every morning, as I drive us to work, I would (or would try to) hold her hand whenever the traffic lights turn red, or when we get stuck in traffic. And we would say “I love you” to each other when I drop her off at her office building, and this would continue later in the form of Yahoo! Messenger or text messages on the phone.

Whenever I drop her off, I am not sure if I would be alive when I get home next. Therefore, I do not want to miss anything, or have any regrets for the things I did not say or do to her. Sometimes, we take our partner for granted because we always come home alive. But this may one day change.

Try not to miss telling the other half how much you miss him/her, especially before you go off to work. I will definitely try not to miss any opportunity I get.

I don’t know how much longer I have, now that I am playing extra time in this soccer game of life. I may get to play until I win, or I might get taken off the field by the Team Manager above before the referee blows the final whistle. Therefore, I cherish the moments that she and I have spent together, and create more moments for me to cherish. Hopefully, when I go, although she would be missing me, as I would her, I hope she would smile more thinking that we’ve managed to do the best to be happy together and make each other happy.

Wifey and I - OTWC YKS 25 Oct 2008

Islamic Dinar

I often hear these terms Islamic dinar and Islamic Dirham which I, until now, cannot comprehend its practicality. I first heard of the dirham in the late Tan Sri P.Ramlee movies, especially in Ali Baba Bujang Lapok.

First and foremost, the proponents of the so-called Islamic Dinar would quote this very saying by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say: “A time is certainly coming over mankind in which there will be nothing [left] which will be of use save a dinar and a dirham.”
(The Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal)

All I can understand from the above saying is, there will come a time when in the end, only money will be of use to man. Nothing more than that. In the Quran, the only two mentions of the Dirham are as follows:

And amongst the People of the Book there are those who, if you were to entrust them with a treasure (qintar), he would return it to you. And amongst them is he who, if you were to entrust him with a dinar would not return it to you, unless you kept standing over him. Qur’an (3:75)


They sold him [Joseph] for a miserable price, for a few dirhams counted out [darahima ma‘dudatin]; in such low estimation did they hold him! Qur’an (12:20)

There was no Islamic Dinar prior to Omar al-Khattab’s time. It was during his reign as a Caliph that he said:

“7 dinars must be equivalent to 10 dirhams.”

Therefore, in 75 Hijriyyah (695 AD), they minted the first Islamic Dinar and Dirhams. That was 63 years after the passing of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Which means, there was no Islamic Dinar or Dirham during the lifetime of Muhammad (pbuh).

First and foremost, for the uninitiated, the Islamic Dinar has a specific weight of 22 karat gold (917.) equivalent to 4.25 grams. For the Islamic Dinar, it is a specific weight of pure silver equivalent to 3.0 grams.

At 2.36pm on the 14th January 2009 (at the time of writing this posting), the price of gold is at RM95.12 per gram. The price of silver is around RM11.92 per gram.

So, if we were to follow Omar’s formula that 7 Dinars equals to 10 Dirhams, therefore:

7 Dinars = 7 x 4.25 grams x RM95.12 = RM2,829.82

10 Dirhams = 10 x 3 grams x RM11.92 = RM357.60

Something’s terribly wrong here. How can 7 Dinars equal 10 Dirhams? One Dinar = RM404.26 while 1 Dirham = RM35.76

If I were to use the Dirham and Dinar, just to buy me a packet of Mentos, I wonder how the cashier is going to bite a chip off the silver or gold to give me my change? I cannot imagine Wifey sitting in front of the TV watching the silver and gold market tickers instead of Friends or CSI just to wait for the right prices before going out to shop. It is just not practical.

So how is it that the Dinar and Dirham became part of Syariah? I quote:

“The Revelation undertook to mention them and attached many judgements to them, for example zakat, marriage, and hudud, etc., therefore within the Revelation they have to have a reality and specific measure for assessment [of zakat, etc.] upon which its judgements may be based rather than on the non-shari’i [other coins].

Know that there is consensus [ijma] since the beginning of Islam and the age of the Companions and the Followers that the dirham of the shari’ah is that of which ten weigh seven mithqals [weight of the dinar] of gold. . . The weight of a mithqal of gold is seventy-two grains of barley, so that the dirham which is seven-tenths of it is fifty and two-fifths grains. All these measurements are firmly established by consensus.” Ibn Khaldun, Al-Muqaddimah

Hang on, who is this Ibnu Khaldun guy? This is he:

Ibnu Khaldun's statue in Tunisia from Wikipedia
Statue of Ibnu Khaldun in Tunisia

72 grains of barley.

Ibnu Khaldun never mentioned anything about the size of each grain. And in the context of today, whether the grain is genetically-modified grain, or just wild or peasant-grown barley, whether it is malting barley or feed barley. If it is malt barley, it is about RM636.17 per tonne while feed barley is around RM537.10 per tonne. Now, I leave it to you to calculate the price of 27 72 grains of barley. A no-brainer quick calculation will tell you that it will not even get you a gram of silver for the dirham, let alone the dinar.

And as usual, nobody quotes anything from the Quran anymore. It is Ibnu Khaldun’s writings that they use to help determine the syariah law. Ibnu Khaldun’s words, not Allah’s. And with that, Ibnu Khaldun’s words get cast in stone, while the Quran is degraded into some reading material over some Thursday night, if not only during the month of Ramadhan.

And what is so Islamic about the Dinar and Dirham?

As shown in the verse on Joseph (Prophet Yusof pbuh), the Dirham has been around, even before Islam came into existence. The Dirham derived its name from the Persian Drahm which in turn got its name from the Greek Drachma. While the Dinar comes from the Latin Denarius (plural: denarii). Both the Denarius and Drachma got to the Middle East through colonisation by the Greeks and the Romans.

I don’t know why people are so bent to make life difficult than it has to be. The Quran has never said it is the source of difficulties. As Allah said in the Quran:

“We sent not this Quran upon you that you may be put to trouble.” Quran 20:2

But of course, people no longer look to the Quran for reference, but instead declare it a sin to go against the sayings of mere mortals like the Imams and so on like they are Gods.

Supernaturally KL – Outskirts of KL

Well, I meant to continue writing on supernatural events but events have somehow caught up. And the other day I bumped into someone’s hubby going out for coffee with someone familiar (not the wife). Just an interlude for this post. So, while I have this long lunch break, I think I should just write about it. I know Wifey doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but I do because of several personal experience.

Outskirts of KL

Hulu Langat – back in the mid to late 70’s, Hulu Langat from the 9th Mile onwards, was a lonely and quiet place. Apart from the threat of communist terrorists from the nearby jungles bordering Pahang, driving to Hulu Langat was like doing a long-distance trip, much like going to Shah Alam and Sungai Buloh then. My father’s fruit orchards are located in several areas of Hulu Langat, and we would have to take a Land Rover to visit them. We would normally leave Hulu Langat around dusk, and there would be times when we were able to see a white figure with long hair standing in between the rubber trees on the way out.

Pontianak - Kuntilanak. Pic from Gambar Foto Hantu dot Com

Of course, when it got darker, you could see balls of flame flying from one house to the other. My late driver said those were spells aimed from one house to the other (in malay we call it tuju-tuju). Spells must be a common phenomenon there then; and I wonder if the same holds now. It would be scary to marry into a family that practices “black magic”…haha! Somehow this rings a bell somewhere:

“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave!”

Klang – another place. Although I have heard of certain stories, my personal experience was along Jalan Bukit Kuda about 5 years ago. I was driving back sometime after 1am when I saw a white figure flying in front of me heading towards the bank of the Klang River across from the Connaught Bridge Power Station. I stopped and alighted from the car to have a look. And there it was, searching for something on the riverbank. I suppose what they say about this kind of supernatural being eating frogs is true.

I told a former colleague who still lives there. He’s heard of stories but had never encountered one. Until one day, at the office, he told me how the thing stood in the middle of the road as his brother-in-law was driving back to the house after returning from supper with his wife.

Puchong – they talked about a haunted house at Taman Tenaga back in the 1980s. They still do now apparently. But when I was at the Air Force’s Institute of Aviation Technology back then, Bandar Kinrara was just Kinrara Estate, and at night sometimes we’d see a white figure flying from tree to tree.

Cheras – I remember this story that was printed out in one of the tabloids, about a man who came back from the dead for 40 nights, roaming around his neighbourhood at Kampung Cheras Baru. This was in the early-80s. The story goes like this: This man died, and I cannot remember if he had a supernatural being as a pet, or he learnt some black magic during his life. Anyway, when they buried him, and when the imam was reading the talqin (Instructions to the dead after burial, also known as talqin al-mayyit), the whole congregation was seen by others living nearby as giving their back to the deceased’s grave, instead of facing it. Then he would roam the neighbourhood nightly, often knocking on his family’s house door. My cousin, whose father is the imam of the mosque there, confirmed then that the deceased could also be seen going to the mosque, sitting on the edge of the kolah a tank for storing water for ablution (mind my language), with his feet dipped into the water playfully. And my uncle would talk to this zombie asking it to return to its grave and not scare the people there. I don’t know how this episode ended, or I cannot remember.

The above incident brings me back to the mid-70s at my mother’s hometown, but that is in Pahang, and that will be covered in a later posting (if I ever get to write about it).

I know there are more, but I only want to write about what I, or my friends, or family members, have experienced. So, there you have it. I hope you can all sleep peacefully tonight.

Just don’t look behind over your shoulders or into the mirror too long 😉

What’s In A Name

There used to be a time when it’s fashionable to have an Anglicised name, and I have covered this in one of the topics previously. You’d have Albert Baker, or Baker, or Ashburn, or Ash or simply Burn for someone called Abu Bakar. Others would have Raymond for Rahman, James for Jamsuri, Jam for Jamal, Keith for Kifli. I wonder why Zakaria would become Zack, when a closer and direct translation would give it a more glamourous name: Happy Cock.

Just this morning, Wifey pointed out at a faggot driving a car that overtook us, who happens to be the gay partner of one of her ex-colleagues’ ex-husband. She mentioned that he would introduce himself as Max. I cannot think of a name, a Malay name for that. Max. Probably his real name is Kimeks, or that may be what people call him, which is a shortened and adulterated version of the swearword Puk*m*k.

This brings me to a study of Etymology.

As I have mentioned, too, before, there is no one person who is an Ulama. You can’t say “So and so is an ulama.” That would be wrong. The root word for Ulama is Ilmu that means knowledge. Ulama is the plural word for Alim which means “the knowledgeable one.” Unfortunately, unlike 1500 years ago, the ulama of our time know nothing about maths and science, and astronomy. Most of them can only speak in two languages, Malay, and kindergarten-level Arabic perhaps.

Islam, is neither a cult nor is it a religion. And if you say it is an Agama, you should be banned! The word Cult originates from the the Latin Cultus that is still in use today, and is defined as:

“…a system of religious beliefs and rituals…”

What then is a religion? Religion is derived from the word religio that means:

“…belief in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator(s) and ruler(s) of the universe…”

But why do religious people go out destroying cults if there is hardly any difference between the meaning of the two words? Simple. Religion is a cult that has grown big that it controls everything. A cult may have several thousand followers, while a religion has a billion or more followers. Christianity and Islam were regarded as cults during the early days. However, as they grew bigger, they were regarded as religions.

Islam, however, is mentioned in the Quran as Deen, which simply means “way of life“, a complete code on how to live your life without pissing other people of, let alone God, by whatever name you call Him.

So, why then is Agama wrong?

Well, according to “Siva Sutras: The Yoga of Supreme Identity” by Vasugupta, Jaideva Singh, Agama in the Hindu context is a word derived from Sanskrit:

“…a traditional doctrine, or system which commands faith…”

Therefore, Jabatan Agama Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) is a Hindu department. Therefore, it should be banned, since Yoga is said to have its roots from Hinduism.

So, that’s it. A writing of mine when I am feeling absolutely bored.