Our House, In The Middle Of Our Street

The title of this blog entry is taken from the chorus of a 1982 favourite of mine called “Our House” by Madness. And this blog serves as a reminder to me as well as to my darling wife, who’s been helping with the new house, arranging stuff and all. The reminder goes like this:

This is our house, our fortress, our sanctuary, where we make and share our love. It may not be perfect, but it’s our house. Good or bad, sink or swim, it’s our house and together we must continue to strive to make it the place where we make and share our love.

Selamat Hari Raya, Monkey! You Wanna Be A Korban?

Stupid Ape

One of the reasons the Glaucoma Monkey agreed to grant divorce to Wifey was Wifey’s reluctant agreement to let him have unlimited visitation rights to see the kids.

And Wifey has been fair towards him, letting him see the kids, and I have been playing along with this arrangement because I know how it feels as a father being away from the kids.

Ever since their divorce, the Monkey (as he will be referred to in this article) has only given Wifey RM150 early in January 2008 for the upkeep and nothing more since then. And even before marrying Wifey, I took over the role as the provider, and have been since.

And since it is going to be Hari Raya Korban, Wifey sent him a text to ask him if he would want to take the kids for Hari Raya and spend time with them. And sice Wifey and I would be away this weekend, she thought it’s best if he could inform earlier and arrangements can be made. His reply was:

“I will see them anytime. Anytime for me means anytime.”

And I thought to myself,

“What a rude bastard!”

Therefore, the best way is for this is for me to butt in. So, I sent him a text:

“From now on, if you want to see the kids, make plans earlier. This anytime is my time does not apply anymore since I am the head of this house. And I’m feeding them. Not you. Understand?”

His reply came:

“Understand head feeder.”

Bastard’s being rude again. So I just wanted to send him a subtle reminder of what could happen to him if he doesn’t toe the line:

“You better. Otherwise I’ll feed sense into your head.”

He replied:

“Already have. No tq.”

Dasar queer yang bacul. Tau pulak takut. One fine day, if he so much as breathes wrongly, I’ll whack that bastard Monkey again.

For past encounters with the Monkey, go to the following links:

Spank The Monkey

Penat-Penat Charles Darwin Mengeluarkan Teorinya: Beruk Punya Monyet

Spank The Glaucoma Monkey

Orgyniser

The Starbucks organiser Wifey gave me

Wifey gave me the above two days go. And yesterday, I received the company’s organiser. As a result, I now have three organisers on my desk, and this is a hint from me to all those who plan on giving me yet another organiser as a corporate gift.

Organising is part and parcel of life -but in the working world, no matter what industry you might come from, organising skills is expected of you, especially if you are a chief clerk (admin exec) or above.

When I was an officer cadet, my squadmates and I were given organising tasks that are usually ad-hoc but very demanding in nature. You’re usually to work with what little resources you have, and must successfully execute the task receiving very little or no complaints at all, especially from the Chief Instructor, who happens to be the current Chief of Armed Forces. Those days, the lesser he spoke or opined, the better life would be for us. It was a bit like the difference between sheer heaven and pure hell.

As the Adjutant of the Air Training Command HQ, I was once given the task to organise a Command Conference at a remote location, 400 kilometers away, in a dilapidated bungalow, some 50 kilometers from the nearest military unit that I could rely on for logistical support. I was also required to provide a 5-star equivalent services to the guests, including free-flow food and drinks round-the-clock. And I was given a 2-day notice to get things ready from the word ‘GO’. I pulled that off quite well, I’d say. With all the experiences gained in the Air Force, I went on to organise several record-setting attempts, co-organised expeditions and international events for several states.

All the while,never forgetting the five basic principles of management learnt in the military: Planning, Organising, Commanding, Delegating, and Coordinating. And it is always akin to playing golf: set your target, analyse the conditions (appreciation of the situation), choose the best course of action, whack the ball, and follow-through. How far the ball goes and where it lands, depend on the factors that precede the whacking phase. The better you were at organising that whack, the lesser the trouble the game is for you later on.

And I always expect my subordinates, even in my line of work now, to have the same attitude towards organising. I, for one, dislike jobs that are done half-heartedly, or in haste, or not given much thought in terms of organising and execution. And I never smoke the cigar until the fat lady truly sings. Therefore, if I have a manager or an exec under me, I expect him or her to do something thoroughly: no half-baked organising and stuff. I certainly dislike assumptions, and the easiest thing a subordinate could do is to assume that he/she had gotten the instructions correctly, and take things easy assuming everything is correct. Worse still, if a subordinate given a certain task, does not check for correct requirements, does not follow-through to see if orders were adhered to, and details taken care of. And to make matters worse, he/she has his/her mind set on the weekend or go on leave prior to the event deadline.

I write this as I have received and gone through several resumes for the post of being my executive assistant.

Files have flown before; and even in the Air Force I used to receive lots of transfer request from subordinates who would rather spend time in the theater of operations than to be in my headquarters. All except for one lady corporal who was one of the recruits that I trained, who now works in the Kedah State Secretariat in a relatively high post. She would cry when a file folder flies into her face, but she would never give up at trying to excel in what she did.

That, is the quality I am looking for, in an EA who is to organise things on my behalf. For those with lacksadaisical attitude, you can take your resume back and burn it to warm yourself up in this blistering cold Kuala Lumpur winter.

Mencarut

Baru lepas berak pukul 3 pagi. Jadi aku tak boleh nak tidur.

Mencarut.

Hmm. Aku tak tau kenapa topic kali ni ialah mengenai mencarut, carut dan carutan. Mungkin sebab aku mencarut bila perut meragam disebabkan Plain Mandy Rice bercampur dengan Beef Shawarma, Falafel, Hummuz, Yoghurt dan lain-lain yang sewaktu dengan bumi Arab. So, mencarut it is then.

Aku rasa aku agak lewat belajar mencarut ni. Sebab masa umur aku 8 tahun, aku bengang dengan orang gaji kitorang (nama dia Kak Kamariah – dan aku tak tau masa ni dia mengandung disebabkan neighbour aku punya gardener yang sering panjat pagar rumah kitorang masa kitorang tak ada di rumah siang-siang). Aku mandi dan baju tidur aku tak ada. Aku panggil la dari bilik aku di tingkat atas, dia tak menyahut. Last-last, keluar la dari mulut aku perkataan,

“Kak Kamar bodoh!”

Terus ayah aku datang, heret aku ke bawah dengan hanya menarik telinga aku, sementara tangan-tangan dengan kaki-kaki aku berhempas pulas cuba nak pasang handbrake. Dung! Dung! Dung! Dung! Aku kena seret dua tingkat ke bawah, ke lounge area di mana aku diikat kepada sebuah kerusi dan selain pelempang, ayah aku menenyeh mulut aku dengan cili padi segenggam. Dah lah kena pelempang dan mulut penuh dengan cili padi, bibir dah berdarah sebab dia sental kuat gila. Menangis? Jangan cari pasal. Lagi menangis, lagi kena. Masa tu aku ada rambut la lagi…jadi gerenti masa pergi sekolah esok tu, rupa aku ada sket macam Mick Jagger – bibir tebal dan air liur merambu sebab pijar mulut aku minum air tiga baldi pun tak hilang pijar cabai.

Disebabkan peristiwa tu la aku punya proses kematangan bahasa agak terencat. Itu baru sebut “Bodoh.”

Jadi, aku jadi budak baik. Kalau gaduh dengan kakak aku, bila dia sebut benda tak elok aje aku akan report,

“Ayah! Yong Jijah kata BABI!

Lepas tu kakak aku pun jadi budak baik macam aku lepas dia pergi sekolah dengan bibir macam Tina Turner. Aku rasa sebab tu la aku selalu bergaduh dengan kakak aku…sampai la ke tua ni.

Aku mula belajar perkataan-perkataan yang menunjukkan kematangan fikiran hanya bila aku dalam Darjah Enam (untuk bebudak sekarang, ianya sama dengan Tahun 6). Masa tu member aku, Rafidi Aris nama dia, sebut satu perkataan yang agak asing bagi aku.

PANTAT!

Aku gelak mengekek bila dia terangkan kat aku maksud benda tu. Mampus aku tak boleh nak sebut benda tu kat rumah…baru BODOH dah setengah mati. Kalau orang tua aku dengar aku sebut benda tu, aku rasa sekarang ni aku dalam proses untuk menjadi sumber hydrocarbon nasional dah. Tapi, satu hari tu, aku dengar la tukang kebun kitoang, arwah pakcik Md Nor, dengan driver kitorang, Abang Mazlan, mencarut kat bilik belakang (masa tu orang tua aku ada kat office), lalu aku dengan bangganya masuk campur dan sebut perkataan yang aku baru belajar tu:

“BANTAT!”

Kimak. Diorang gelakkan aku. Lalu Abang Mazlan pun memperbetulkan sebutan dan idegham aku:

“PANTAT! Bukan BANTAT!”

Dan daripada Abang Mazlan dan arwah Pakcik Md Nor lah aku belajar beberapa patah perkataan yang kemudian dengan bangganya aku mengajar kembali Rafidi dan rakan-rakan yang lain.

Rasa besar beb…aku lagi tau mencarut daripada diorang. Lepas tu aku ajar pulak classmate aku sorang lagi. Nama dia Michael Leong. Michael Leong ni memang terkenal dengan kekerapan kena rotan dalam kelas sebab perangainya yang kurang enak. Aku ajar dia:

“BUTOH!”

Dia ajar aku pulak:

“TIU NIA SING!”

Aku dah betul-betul dalam tahap advanced knowledge berbanding dengan Rafidi dan lain-lain budak melayu. Aku dah jadi the multi-lingual curser. Dan aku menambahkan ilmu mencarut aku sehingga begitu mantap that by the time aku masuk MCKK masa Form One, aku kira dah seasoned multilingual-curser. Masa aku demam panas dan dimasukkan ke Hospital Daerah Kuala Kangsar (wad Kelas Dua), ada sorang uncle India ni. Selalu suka marah the nurses. Perkataan yang lazim adalah:

“PUNDEK! (Perkataan asal ialah PUNDAI yang bermaksud: ANAK KUCING a.k.a PUSSY)”

Gila beb. Aku Form One aku dah embrace the 1 Malaysia spirit!

Bila Form Five, ada tukang kebun baru, nama dia Kannapathy (Inspector Kanna for short…I mean, he’s a shorty la). Dia ajar aku prefixes kepada PUNDAI ni tadi. Jadi aku pun mahir menyebut perkataan-perkataan seperti:

“KAENAPUNDAI!”

dan,

“KERYAPUNDAI!”

Yang first tu bukannya Japanese cunt. It actually means STUPID CUNT, dan yang second tu OLD CUNT. Yang bestnya, Kanna ni sendiri takut nak mencarut. Bila dia sebut untuk mengajar, dia mesti senyum tersipu-sipu.

Then, bila aku ke England, salah satu subject yang aku ambik was European History. So, disebabkan dapat points extra kalau quotes are being given in the original languages, aku pun belajar sikit-sikit French, German and Russian (thanks to people like Cardinal Richelieu, the Hapsburgs, and King Gustavus Adolphus’s father who waged war against the Russians), and inevitably, learnt how to swear in these languages as well.

Aku rasa, mencarut la yang membuat aku have this passion for languages. You start by learning some words. From these words, you form sentences. You learn the language’s structure. After that, everything is smooth sailing. Masuk askar, memang mencarut aje la dari pagi sampai ke petang. It’s like sunshine. There’ll never be a day without it.

And because of mencarut la, aku sekarang ni is an expert at cunnilingus – a cunning linguist.

Two Announcements

First of all, I would like to announce that today, I am wearing a pair of Dockers that I had trouble fitting into early last year, and had trouble trying to button it up two years ago. I bought this pair in Langkawi back in 2004 and am proud I can now wear it again!

And I’ve forgotten the second thing that I wanted to announce.

This Is It

Michael Jackson's This Is It

It’s almost half a year since MJ’s passing, and it seems as if the world has finally accepted the fact that MJ’s gone and will never come back again. I sometimes wonder if people actually miss him. And after almost 3 weeks of hitting the big screens, This Is It was what I went to watch with Wifey.

I have written on this blog before that I am not truly a MJ fan; I listen to only a selected few songs of his, and I acknowledge him as probably being one of the best entertainers (if not THE best) that have ever lived.

However, This Is It allowed me to see MJ the person, the man behind the myth, what was he really like when he was being himself doing what he liked most. And it was sobering to see a man so filled with love and compassion, a child who never grew up but was filled with excitement, and a friend who cared for all.

All that imperfection shown on the screen, did not show MJ at his best. But it also showed what it took to be the best, and the best MJ was, and will always be.

It is the first movie that I did not see anyone standing when the ending credits began to roll. Everyone waited until it was truly over. And when it was, they clapped.

And I guess, they do miss MJ, and will continue to miss MJ.

3 Years In Penang

If my memory serves me right, the first time I ever went to Penang was when I followed my parents on their first tour of the north after my father took the helm of the Royal Malaysian Police Force after his predecessor was assassinated by communist terrorists (whose leader some quarters in this country are trying to bring back and portray as a Patriot). That was in 1974. And we stayed at what was the Merlin Hotel on Farquhar Street (now the City Bayview Hotel on Jalan Farquhar). My parents left early for some reason, so I had to stay at the house of someone who became my batchmate at the Malay College 5 years later (Dr Suhaimi Osman, now a cardiologist at the National Heart Institute) until we left Penang some days later, by virtue that I had to follow the late Datuk Ahmad Maulana SM Babjee (former head of CID, and also an uncle of Dr Suhaimi).

After that I never visited Penang again until 1980, when I followed my family on holiday there. Then, again in 1981 and 1982, when Dato Zaman Khan was the CPO of Penang, 1983 when I was a Cadet Sergeant, taking the Company out on an excursion. My next visit after that was in 1986 after my return from England (I went on an ad-hoc camping trip with my schoolmate, Hafiz a.k.a Jawa).

In 1989, I was stationed at the RMAF Air Training Command HQ, located at the former RAAF School, Jalan Azyze, Tanjung Bungah (Hillside), initially as the Staff Officer (3) Programming, then as the HQ Adjutant a year later until I left in early 1992.

I would say Penang was one of the best places I was ever stationed at when I was still serving. A typical day would have been like this:

0700 – breakfast at the Officers’ Mess
0745 – morning parade
0800 – work commences
1245 – lunch at the Officers’ Mess
1400 – work re-commence
1600 – ‘O’ Group to plan activities for the evening
1615 – work ends: back to the Officers’ Mess to change
1700 – off to Teluk Bahang or at the breakwater of what is now the Copthorne Orchid for fishing
2359 – back at the Officers’ Mess

My fishing kakis included Corporal Hashim (later Warrant Officer Hashim who was with me at the Air Force Legal Department, now retired and living in Sentul), Corporal Karim (who was with me later at Songhkla, now retired as a Warrant Officer and is now living in Pengkalan Hulu), Corporal Budin (passed away in 1993), Warrant Officer Rahman Said (passed away in 1995, he retired at the age of 42 in 1992 and got married the following year), Sivalingam (our civilian clerk who has now retired and residing in Taiping), Sergeant Aziz Din (the guy who coined the famous term Thursday night Friday, now retired and living in Kodiang), Corporal Lim Boon Cheng (passed away in 1994), army Captain Ustaz Razali (KAGAT) who got transferred out in 1990 (I used to make him watch porn movies as part of his mess initiation), Flight Sergeant Zakaria Din (retired as a Warrant Officer, now living in Bangi), Flight Sergeant Misran Sueib (retired in 1995 and went back to Trong, Perak), Corporal Ustaz Shahrul (from KAGAT) and Aircraftman Nizam (the Kelantanese Iban who reported for duty to me saying, “Saya orang IBAE tuae!”).

We were like so into fishing that even our General Officer Commanding (GOC or Panglima), Brigadier General Dato’ Fauzi bin Hussain (retired as a Major General, as Deputy Chief of Air Force) used to join us fishing during weekends.

General Fauzi was my Panglima when I joined the Air Force as an Officer Cadet. He remained the Command HQ’s Panglima until he was succeeded in 1990 by Brigadier General Dato’ Nawi Alias (retired as a Major General, he was also the Inspector-General of the Air Force, and also the Chief of Staff, Malaysian Armed Forces), followed by Brigadier General Abdullah Omar (retired as the GOC 1st Air Division).

We had two Chief of Staffs when I was there: first it was Lieutenant Colonel Chong Keng Lay, an Air Force hero, a disciplinarian but cared for his subordinates, until 1990 (he was posted to RMAF Station Kuala Lumpur a.k.a known as TUDM Sungai Besi), followed by Colonel Nagaratnam Ampalam, a quiet but stern disciplinarian, who jogs 10km every evening without fail. Definitely not an apple polisher as he never played golf to please superiors. He earned the nickname Mango Dragon from us (Mango because of the Tamil word for Mango is Maam Palam, that’s where the word Mempelam originated from, and Dragon from his name Naga).

The building itself used to be the Royal Australian Air Force school, for children of the members of the RAAF stationed at the Butterworth AFB (they now have Dalat School along Jalan Tanjung Bungah). It was opened on 9th May 1962, and the last school year was in 1988, before it was taken over by the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

The Air Training Command (Markas Pemerintahan Pendidikan Udara) ceased to exist in 1993, and the premise was taken over by the Institut Latihan Ikhtisas TUDM (ILIT), and was later renamed Sekolah Ikhtisas Tentera Udara (SITU).

Sometimes, after office, we would go to Murad‘s along Jalan Tanjong Tokong (it was seafront then before they reclaimed the seafront) to eat Cucur Bawang with Teh Tarik, or Mee Hoon Soup Utara; and at night we would have Char Kuey Teow at Tanjung Bungah itself.

The area was initially a gangsters’ hideout, and gangsters were notoriously killing people and dumping the bodies at the ravine along Jalan Lembah Permai, and the chinese cemetery located at Mount Erskine (we nicknamed this place Mount Foreskin). These two locations were linked via Fettes Park (we pronounced it as Fatties).

The area became peaceful after we were deployed there, for reasons I shall not disclose here.

Anyway, I’ve lost all the pics of my tour in Penang. I only have three albums left of my childhood and teenage days. I have no picture of me prior to the age of 13. I blame that on my divorce.

Below are pictures of our Command HQ from various sources:

Google Maps Satellite view
Google Maps satellite view of Tanjung Tokong on the right, and Tanjung Bungah on the left. Right most is the reclaimed area that was once one of my fishing areas (Courtesy of Google Maps)

When it was still the RAAF School
When it was still the RAAF School (Picture courtesy of RAAF School Penang)

This was the Air Training Command HQ a year after I left in 1992
The Air Training Command HQ in 1992, a year after I was posted out (Picture courtesy of RAAF School Penang)

The yard
The basketball yard under RAAF School – on the left was the Junior Ranks’ Barracks, now replaced by a 3-storey block, while on the right was the Cookhouse and Junior Ranks’ Mess. This block is no longer there. (Picture courtesy of RAAF School Penang)

The yard in 1988
The basketball yard after the RAAF handed over the complex to the RMAF in 1988 (Picture courtesy of RAAF School Penang)

SITU in 2003
SITU in 2003. This was the Administration Block where my office was located (Picture courtesy of RAAF School Penang)

SITU in 2007
SITU in 2007. The Administration Block is the one on the right (where my office was located). The center block housed the Logistics, Engineering and Operations Squadrons. The left-most block was the Officers’ Mess (Picture courtesy of RAAF School Penang)