The End of Another August

It’s August 31st, 2010, and Malaysia celebrates her 53rd National Day. August is the month I started this blog 5 years ago (albeit using another URL), and at the end of August of that year, I wrote I Love Malaysia. The following year, I was no longer working in an office, I wrote Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan Ke-49, writing about how race relations used to be like when I was little. In 2007, I wrote about people’s perception of Malaysians in Selamat Menyambut Kemerdekaan Ke-50.

By 2008, I was already clearly disenchanted with local politics (especially of the politicians on both sides of the fence) that I wrote It’s That Time Of The Year Again Although It Doesn’t Mean Much To Me.

And last year, I wrote Merdeka? which was on how we have become both xenophobic and myopic.

I guess nothing have changed 5 years on. Therefore, I’ll just write about what has happened in August 2010.

On our rig

During the first week of August, I was on board the rig because there was a safety training conducted for the new crew. At the same time, the project management team worked 24/7 to deliver Malaysia’s first Malaysian-owned and operated drilling rig, and I am proud to say that the rig is now completed and is ready to sail to her first drilling location off the coast of Sabah.

I also managed to meet up with my former Air Force squad mates, some I have not seen in over 20 years. Although only six of us turned up, it was a good meet nevertheless.

RMAF TJP52 members

The month of Ramadhan came on the second week of August 2010, and my college batch mates and I attended our annual sahur. 27 years since leaving college but we’re still very much in touch with each other. That is what being together for five long years has given us – brotherhood.

Mat Bab, Zan, Mabi and I

The craziest week by far has been the final week of August 2010. First of all was the berbuka session with the Usual Suspects at Tatto, followed by a day-trip down South, also for berbuka.

The usual suspects at Tatto

At Tip Top, JB, with the wife

The best, of course, was the very next day when we went up Genting Highlands to have our berbuka puasa at a good friend’s place. Wifey, Spena, my brother Joe, and my brother-in-law, Shah, were there as well.

Savouring good food at Savor Jaya

And the best was followed by the fireworks display up on the peak of Mount Ulu Kali.

Fireworks display at Genting Highlands

Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan Ke-53, Malaysia. Let’s make this country a better place.

A Bee’s Sting Is At The Ass

I went for breaking of the fast with Wifey and friends, and towards the end I felt the urge to go dump crap. I softly whispered to Wifey about the urge and that we should be going soon. However, the topic that was being discussed seemed an interesting one that required our participation as well; and we found it difficult to leave the table.

Finally, I told the wife I had to go. I got up and went to the restaurant’s spanking clean toilet and entered a booth. The first thing I noticed was the absence of a hose pipe. So I knew I had to use the toilet paper that was available in abundance. When the session was over, I used the toilet paper to wipe myself clean. When it was, I turned to look to my right and saw this thing fixed to the wall that says “SANITIZER.” So I thought to myself, “Well, why not? I’ll make sure it’s cleaner than it should be.” I quickly glanced through the diagrams as I would speed-read, skipping the ones my brain deemed unimportant, folded a few pieces of tissue paper, squirted the sanitizing liquid onto the paper and wiped myself.

Suddenly, I felt this burning and stinging sensation and I went, “Fuck! What the hell is this thing?

I looked back at the dispenser and went through the diagrams again and finally it dawned upon me what it was:


The stinging sensation went away after a few minutes. I went back to the table and told the rest about it and they had a good laugh.

Well, at least I know my ass is clean!

Toilet Seat Sanitizing Liquid Dispenser

53 And Getting Nowhere

53 years on I don’t think we have gotten anywhere far. We still see each other according to the colour of skin, religious extremism now regularly rears its ugly head (and raghead), and there is still that need to rid the country of ALL politicians.

I wonder where will we be 5 years down the line…

Flagpole Rag

Happy And Accepted

I remember sitting in a tour bus in San Francisco when the driver cum guide suddenly announced that we were in the part of Frisco where everyone was happy. I looked out the side window of the bus and saw a couple of men holding hands while crossing the road.

I wonder if such remark tantamount to prejudice, but it goes to show that even in a society where homosexuality is acknowledge, there are those who cannot readily accept such lifestyle. I have gay friends, both men and women; and although they are more out in the open than they used to be a few years ago, almost none dare to openly declare their homosexuality especially to their immediate family. Even in this company I work for, we had to inform contractors not to allow gay personnel offshore.

I can only imagine how life is difficult for them, especially in the Malaysian society where expectations are everything. You’re expected to live within the norms of the society and not transgress that border. You are expected to get married by a certain age, by which, if you are not, you will be tagged with unkind labels, be you gay or otherwise. We can always place into effect the standard escape clause: career, but even that has a time-limit. If you are a single woman and you hit 30, automatically you are labeled a spinster. For a man, he would be deemed gay if he hits 40 and has never married. Such is the thinking that this society has that we often find gay men get married for the sake of being accepted by the society. Often they marry submissive women, would usually have one kid and that’s it. In some cases, they would also have their gay partner live-in together with their family and you would see the partner play the supporting role, managing the family, than the wife would. I don’t know how it feels, being gay and loving someone of your own gender. I am pretty sure it feels like falling in love with the most wonderful person you’ve ever met, but happens to be the daughter or son of your father’s worst enemy. You love the person very much and feel elated about the whole thing but you can’t tell anyone about it.

The problem with society is that we’re judgmental, never ready to think out of the box and we always want to play God. I am not trying to get people to condone homosexuality, but more to accept those who practice as human beings too. It’s a weird thing for us who are straight, but love is love no matter whom you love. And if we think them as freaks, then we would be condemning God as Cruel for making them as such, when we, the supposedly more pious and conforming to God’s prescribed way of life believe in how Compassionate and Merciful God is. To me, life, death, marriage, divorce, sins, punishments and rewards, heaven and hell, are all God’s privilege. All we as human beings can do is to educate, and leave the rest to God as how He has often mentioned in His book. It is never up to us to say that God will punish non-conformists because we’re not God’s equal to be able to read His mind to know if He’s pissed at or happy with us.

If we are to think slightly out of the box and learn how to accept others and their shortcomings, this world would be a happier one (not necessarily gay) and believe me, there would be lesser babies ending up in toilet bowls, rubbish bins, or floating in rivers.

One Full Circle – Again

Some of you might remember that my relationship with my family hasn’t been great since 3 years ago, and some even asked me here on this blog to defend myself, and explain especially to my parents about what was actually causing the rift. My standard answer would be, “It’s okay. One day they will know the truth. The truth will one day prevail.

And every time I have a fall out with them, it would take 3 years before the circle comes to a complete round. And this time it has. It was just after my 41st birthday that my parents and I stopped talking to each other, and shortly after my 44th, I was having tea with my father again. And not only that, my wife sat next to my mother and watched badminton on ASTRO together.

And apparently, and with a big thank you to my younger sister who finally spoke out, my parents found out the truth about my younger brother and I, the former had to go through the same thing as I a year or so after I did. Luckily, my younger brother and I stuck together through it all, supported by our respective wife, and children.

Two nights ago, we went to my parents’ place again to celebrate my younger sister’s birthday. And this time, my parents and I reminisced about the years when I was still little, recalling some incidents that made us all laugh, and some that made us smile in silence. And my wife gained a mother-in-law that night, with my mother taking her on a tour of their new house, even to the master bedroom and my father’s newly-built study.

I know this year, my wife will finally get her wish – to be able to spend Aidil Fitri with her in-laws; her children will finally get to know of their grandparents who do not live in Batu Pahat; and we would all be able to take a family portrait – parents, children, grandparents, great-grandparents, grand uncles and grand aunts, cousins, siblings, step-siblings, and nephew.

Earlier today, my younger sister sent me a text message that reads:

“By the way, I forgot to tell you. I’m glad you went to see Ayah the other night. He’s been missing you and Joe (my younger brother) a lot. Always talking about you both as children. He’s talking a lot about not being around much longer so it;s good if we can make it good for him in his last years.”

This reminds me a lot about a posting that I had made about a book that I had read two years ago, that was written by the late Dr Randy Pausch about how family comes first in any case at all.

I hope that, in this twilight years of mine, and of my father’s, this full circle will finally come to a full stop.

Because we are a family again.

The family, June 2007
The family in June 2007 – before the fallout some two weeks later.

Battle in the Booths – Part 2


The one thing bad about working with a tummy that is suffering from food poisoning is that you are so conscious about controlling your sphincter during the meeting that the moment the meeting ends, your sphincter gradually gives way and expects a toilet to appear next to you there and then.

I was in a meeting with clients when the urge came. I controlled myself, and maintained my composure. Slowly as the meeting was wrapping up, I started packing up, all ready to blast off. The moment it ended, I said quick goodbyes and walked to the nearest toilet.


So, I made my way to the lift lobby and summoned a lift. The moment I got into one, I had the urge again – at the 40th floor. Since it was the end of the working day, there was no quick journey down as the lift made a stop at virtually every floor, and that really tested my will to not fart for fear that something else would be purged instead of bad air.

I finally made it to the ground floor and contemplated whether I could make it across the road to my office, or just go to a premier toilet located on the floor I was at. I decided for the latter and rushed there. I paid the mandatory RM2.00 and got me a booth, undid my pants and sat. You know that feeling as soon as you relax your muscles, the first jet of diarrhea shot out, splashing into the bowl. That was followed by one noisy fart…the blabbing type, as air passes through relaxed muscles. It was noisy. As I was about to let loose the second salvo of air and crap mixture, someone walked into the gents, and I had to do that sphincter-muscle control technique again as not to embarrass myself. That’s the funny thing. Not that the guy can see you or anything, but it’s just that embarrassment if I was done and walked out of the booth only to find the guy still standing outside your booth.

I held my breath…both controlling my muscles and trying not to get asphyxiated by the stench the toilet bowl emitted. The guy walked into the booth next to mine, which was a squat-toilet. I could hear the ruffle of his pants as he undid it, and the inevitable silence as he prepares to let go a shot.


And I was like, “What the fuck?”


What was this guy doing? Giving birth or something? Then the expected sound followed:


“Bombs away!” I thought, still controlling my muscle. Then I timed myself to let loose every time he groaned, and it sounded like an ensemble:


And this would repeat several times until I laughed, and he laughed as well, but never uttered a single word.

Soon, he was done. And automatically you go into this toiletiquette mode where either one has to stay inside the booth until the other has walked out of the gents. It’s a face-saving thing that I think goes through the mind of other civilised men who had to crap in public toilets. As soon as he was done, I made sure that the toilet seat was clean, and put in an upright position (yes, we civilised men put up the toilet seat so no one with a weak dick would splash pee on them). To my horror, beneath the toilet seat looked as if someone had spilled a whole pot of curry. So, I quickly got out of the booth to wash my hands. At the same time, two guys walked in to the urinals and then washed their hands at the sinks to my left and right.

Just then, the cleaner came in with a scented towel and a disinfectant to clean the toilet seats. When he walked into the booth where I was, he took a step back, looked at the mess, then left the gents only to walk back in as I was about to walk out with a pail and scrubber. I passed by him slowly, looking at the booth, then at him, then at the guys behind me who were either still washing their hands or were applying the free Body Shop cologne.

The cleaner gazed at them and shook his head, confirming that my blame-deflection technique had work, and I smiled and walked away.


I am so accustomed to people not being friendly here in Malaysia (by my standards) and not polite. If you hold the door open for them, they would just walk past you and not even attempt to hold the door after you, as if it is your job to hold the door open for them and their entourage. Hardly anyone says “thank you” be it from the service staff, or the customers themselves. If you want to order something at most restaurants, most of the time you’d see the waiters/waitresses chatting and not looking, or pretend that they can’t see you. And if you do get their attention their attitude is more often than not they give you the “why the hell are you here ordering me around and if you don’t like me then get out of this place” look.

This morning as I walked to the lift lobby, I caught the female security guard smiling at me, greeting me, “Selamat Pagi!” while the male guard had this wide smile on his face. I returned the greeting and smiled back. Then a guy approached the same lift door as I, and even he had this smile on his face. The moment I got into the lift with him, he looked at me and smiled.

I mustered a smile but it must have looked insincere, plus the puzzled look I probably had on my face. I turned slightly to my left and started feeling my fly in case my zipper was undone.

I’ve had that experience before. There was this time more than 5 years ago that everyone smiled at me all the way to the car park. When I sat down in the driver’s seat of my car did I realise that my zipper was undone. It was open wide.

The guy exited the lift at Level X, and I saw the sign on the wall that says the building management’s office is located on this floor.

No wonder everyone was so polite.

Or maybe it was still early in the morning and I have never been to office this early.

Kill Them Young

And yet another scare tactic has been prescribed for infanticide and baby-dumping. If the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has its way, the cases would be classified as murder and attempted murder respectively. This comes in light of yet another baby discovered dead floating inside a sewage tank in Jeli, Kelantan. While I am for sterner actions against those who dump and allow their baby to die, I still think this has to be a multi-pronged approach.

Condemning these young ladies to death, in my opinion, is not the answer. It is true that what they do is horrendous and unthinkable, but why are we stereotyping them as if what they do is purely out of fun with little regard for values? Meting out such punishments may pose as a deterrent for would-be reluctant mothers, but to blame them alone, having them to face the music for something that is the result of a shared communal responsibility.

If you drive around late at night, you will see that the roads are being roamed mostly by the underaged. At mamak shops, you see school-aged children happily puffing away on cigarettes or its unfiltered equivalent – the Shisha (Hookah to some) and this goes on until the wee hours of the morning. You see boys and girls riding motorbikes in housing estates at these hours without helmets and so on. My question is, where are the parents? Parents often leave their children to wander around at night aimlessly thinking “If I don’t see them do anything bad in front of me, then they must be well-behaved” only to cry foul when their kids get arrested or shot dead in the middle of the night. Then they’ll go, “I know my child well! They are not criminals!” If you know them well, why didn’t you know that they’ve been loitering around at night when they should be at home sleeping or studying?

The lack of supervision and guidance at home is one of the reasons children grow up experimenting things they should not. And in this case, only the parents have themselves to blame.

Many young mothers also come from government housing scheme flats – two-bedroomed flats that could hardly fit in more than 4 people at any one time, to cater for a family of at least six. There is little privacy at home and there are no facilities for the youths built anywhere near. The most they would usually have is a playground that is strewn with rubbish, broken slides, swings and see-saws; but nothing else for those above the age of 12. So, where do they go for entertainment? Hang around with kids their age, and soon one will bring a packet of cigarettes to be shared amongst them. This bad habit will soon progress into something else with gangsterism and drug-addiction at the apex of this evil pyramid. Being naturally anti-establishment, these youths will soon have their own territory and the girls, wanting to be part of the gang, become the gang’s ‘assets.’ You think this is a far-fetched theory? Back in 1991 I personally had to help a friend who was also my subordinate to look for his missing 14-year old daughter, who joined one of these gangs at one of the Bandar Tun Razak flats. He was stationed with me in Penang while his wife worked night-shifts in Balakong to supplement the family’s income. With the help of other members of my squadron, we rescued her from a budget hotel along Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang after four months of tracking her down. Was she thankful? No. She went missing again a month later.

A screwed-up approach in religion is also another culprit to be blamed. We are so bent on punishing people for the bad things they do that we tell them that God does the same, too. How often do we hear warnings such as, “God will cut off your hands if you steal” or “Cut off your tongue if you lie” or “He will hang you by your hair and burn you in hell for not wearing the tudung”? God is always portrayed as being God the Merciless. Whatever happened to God the Merciful? Can’t they instead say that God loves those who abide by His books and live the way of life that has been prescribed? Heaven and Hell are intangible. No one gives a damn about Heaven and Hell because they cannot see it. Before telling them about God’s love, show them love and guidance instead. We never show love to youngsters, that when they get pregnant, we shun them. If they get out of jail we shun them. We are more sensitive about what people would say about our family than placing importance on keeping the family unit together as one. Where are these people to go if they are not allowed to return to their own home?

How many of their children actually roam around stateless? It is so difficult to get a birth certificate because these children were being born out of wedlock and would be even more difficult for them to be registered in clinics, hospitals and schools. Why can’t the government think about this? A birth is a birth be it illegitimate or otherwise. Everyone is entitled to his/her birth certificate to show that they exist on this earth.

I cannot imagine when one of these mothers who have been living life unguided and is confused, is being condemned to death. I don’t think the first thing they wanted to do was to kill their child, but what other choices do they have other than to abandon them or kill them to stifle their cries? Have we ever given them a way out?

For every dead or abandoned baby that is discovered, for every young reluctant mothers we condemn, we destroy ourselves bit by bit.

Don’t Leave Home Without Brain

I sit here in my room, my mind numb as it suffers from having to read a plethora of stupid political issues day in, day out. The ignominy fence-sitters like I have to experience, reading about immature power-crazy politicians, and the comments made by their equally imbecile supporters on online social networks crying foul over every single thing the government of the day does. Every single excruciating whimsical cry pierces through my sanity that I wish I could just bitch slap each and every one of them on a daily basis for tormenting my soul.

Then there’s Ramadhan…

Then somehow virtually everyone becomes religious, starts talking about religious stuff; previous profile pics of clubbing scenes were immediately replaced by pics of the blond hair being fully-covered. I guess we love that – being seasonally-religious.

I guess it’s human to want to hope for something, up to the point of sucking up to other people’s ass and so on, as long as we can get some form of reward. And given a choice between two beneficial deeds, we would perform the one that benefits us most. Virtually every Muslim I know planned on what nights to attend the Tarawih prayers simply because there is a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that lines up every single night’s reward for performing the prayer, even when it has been proven that the mentioned Hadith is false (Maudhu’).

A couple of weeks ago, Facebook status from users glorified the night of the middle of Syaaban (Lailatun Nisf min Shaaban). Everyone started fasting and suddenly everyone turned religious on that one day only, prayed as if that was THE night to pray and so on. Then they would quote Hadiths stating how special that day and night is, and that the revelation of the Quran was on that night; but when asked what is Nuz al-Quran if it’s not the night the Quran was revealed, the most they could answer was, “Oh, you are not a learned. Therefore, you should not ask these things.”

I may not be a learned but I know that God gave me a set of brain so I could weigh pros and cons, good and bad, logic and stupidity. Why the hell would God want you to pray five times a day when praying on a certain day equals to 10,000 prayers? All I need to do is pray on eight of this Syaaban day, year after year for eight years and I would have prayed the equivalent to my current lifetime! It’s a shortcut! And it is only human to love shortcuts! So, is that logical that there ought to be one special day to do a lifetime’s prayers? You have your brain, so use it. I am not going to answer that for you.

The Quran is there for you. But you should not just read it at face value. I do not see the point in memorizing the whole Book of God in its original language when I know jack what every verse is about, what the history behind the revelation of that verse was. For that reason too, I do not know why is Arabic made compulsory in schools for Malay/Muslims when I would rather have my children learn Mandarin and Tamil so they can grow up to learn about their Chinese and Indian brothers. What is this talk about being a Hafiz? About creating schools to churn out Huffaz? (Hafiz means ‘Guardian’ and Huffaz is its plural form). I doubt that every single Hafiz could memorize each word by how it was spelt in Arabic. But wouldn’t I be a Hafiz too, if I PDF the Quran onto a DVD and make thousands of copies? Children need to grow up as children; you can’t have them go to school in the morning, then have them attend religious studies in the afternoon, only to have them to be able to study and do their homework after all that! Even we adults feel exhausted after a day at the office. We are only better off because we do not have homeworks and exams like they do. After all, they already have religious studies class in school.

The problem with us is that all of us think we are better than God. When I was 16, I used to go out of my dormitory at night, especially on Thursday nights, hunting for house lizards, just because there was this tale that a lizard’s sound almost gave Muhammad away to the Quraisy who were after him. So, there I was with my friends all geared up for war against one of God’s supposed most-hated animal. The problem with that was, I once told myself,

“Wait! If God hates this creature so much, why is He being such a wimp, asking mortals like me to wipe out the world’s lizard population when He can wipe out the whole existence of what He created faster than I can blink?”

See, I have a brain to think with, to rationalize. Unlike some stupid cow-shit-for-brain Soldiers of God who went around petrol-bombing churches, decapitate non-Muslims, blow up innocent people be they Jews, Buddhists, Christians or fellow Muslims alike – ALL in the name of God, because to them God is such a penis-less being that cannot take care of His own divinity. These are people who say they are the learned ones but learnt nothing of the Quran.

So, that’s it. My first posting for this month of Ramadhan that until now has yet to have a title. Therefore, whatever title I decide to give it may or may not reflect the content of this posting at all.

To all Muslims, fast as you are told to, not because you seek divine rewards, but because you love to fast and not because you were told to, or because if you don’t then the person in the cubicle next to you is going to tell everyone at the office including the tea lady that you don’t fast.

You have a brain, use it.

Making A Life

The meeting I was supposed to attend is now probably into its first hour. However, I am still in bed. Life has been such a rush lately that I seem to have put more important things aside.


Everything at the office have been moving at such a high pace, trying to complete in two months what the previous partner could not in two years, and at the same time having to hop between offshore platforms and doing other work I term as ‘normal’. My mind has been so preoccupied with work that I am more withdrawn now, grumpier, at times lost in my own world, and suffer from BLANK-OUTS – eyes open but don’t seem to register anything.

One episode of a blank-out caused my car to hit a post as I drove out from the office parking. I have yet to send the car for repairs.

I talk less to the wife and kids. And my work schedule made me miss seeing my children for a whole month. I had to make trips out of KL starting on weekends and away for a week or so. I get irritated easily, and things I am normally sensitive towards I now find petty. When I get home, I no longer make a stop downstairs to say Hi to the kids, or grab a cracker from the kitchen. Nowadays I just walk straight to the room and there I’d stay until I leave home for work the next morning.

And yes, my only meal yesterday was lunch. I have yet to have breakfast today.

And I have trouble sleeping at night. It is always that endless tossing and turning and finally sleeping at around 4am, only to wake up two hours later. The only time I got to have more sleep was when I was on board the rig recently – at least four hours a night.

Usually I’d call my kids daily. Now there has even been a long stretch of more than a week of not talking to them over the phone, even when I was away.

Don’t even mention about going diving. I cannot seem to find time in the near future to plan a trip. From next month onwards, I will be going to the rig every month, spending between 4 to 5 days on board. That translates into at least 7 days a month being away just for rig audit and inspection. I haven’t added other outstation trips I know I’ll be making, like doing audits and inspection at our forward bases in Labuan and Kemaman. The only consolation is I no longer have to look after the vessels. Just the drilling side.

I miss going out for movies, I think the last movie I watched was Michael Jackson’s “This Is It.” I miss driving around at night. I miss walking around with the wife aimlessly. I miss listening to laughter. I miss seeing my friends, not just the friends I made when I got to know my wife, but my friends – my dive buddies, my college mates, my Air Force squad mates.

In short, I miss my life.

I have been too busy making a living that I forgot to make a life.