Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Syawal Take

~ For the first time since kahwin (except for when I was abroad in 2002 & 2003), no new baju Melayu raya for me. Decided to recycle my old baju Melayu, but wore it with different samping so that I looked different in photos.  I have over 10 pairs of baju Melayu already, and they have been put to good use when I was in the Navy.  Now I’m no longer in the Navy, complete baju Melayu has only been worn not more than 5 times a year, mainly to attend weddings.

~ The usual Surau I went to for solat raya has been fully renovated.  Beautiful, tiny but beautiful.

~ Very good raya khutbah in my opinion. Content with tersurat and tersirat message like this - “Alangkah lucunya masyarakat yang ghairah bersatu untuk berpecah sehingga menjadi kecil dan lemah! dan akhirnya musuh bertepuk-sorak kerana berjaya merembat kejayaan. Link - khutbah raya 

~ The khutbah was recited by a very young Khatib. I have a mixed feeling about this.  Very young Imam (especially Hafiz) to lead prayer I definitely agree, but to recite Khutbah I think it is better for the older surau’s leaders to do it.

~ Striking red is in this year.  Inside joke among Sani’s Clan; Ungu Terung and Hijau Kacang will do if you scramble to do your shopping last minute.

~ When we think of sacrifice of not going back for raya, normally the military, police and similar organisations in uniform come to mind.  This time my attention was also drawn to others who have to work on the very first day of raya like toll booth operators, bus drivers, even my own staff who have to support the company’s year round operation. Salute to these unsung heroes!!!

~ Suddenly the image of this old Pak Cik selling lemang alone by the road side on the first day of raya came across vividly in my mind.  Saw him for quite a few years enroute to visit my mother; and every time I could not help but to wonder why was not he at home with his family.  Never had the courage to ask him, and now I will never know why as I don’t see him there anymore.

~ The amount of duit raya my kids received would be unthinkable during my childhood days.  How life has changed over these years, and how much the value of ringgit has diminished over the same period.

~ Listening to the usual evergreen raya songs has been part of raya culture.  But this year, I stumbled upon a song which was tunggang terbalik with terrible melody and horrendous lyrics. Can’t believe someone actually recorded that song.  Hopefully it only made an appearance this year.  My God, how did you come up with such a song?

~ Feeling awesome celebrating raya in Lembah Kelang due to no worries about traffic.  Boleh baring atas jalan.  My heart goes to my friends who spent record time on the road travelling north, south and east of KL.  Gombak Toll to Genting Sempah alone took 2 hours, over 50 cars overheated along the stretch of Karak Highway…. Well I guess raya at this concrete jungle is not that bad after all.  Then some have said; kalau tak jam, bukan raya namaya.

Photo credit: The Star

~ MEX highway was free for a day, PLUS and some highways did not have have “Tambah Nilai” lanes leading to traumatic raya experience for certain unsuspecting motorists…. And surely more dramas on the road as people inched their way towards home sweet home.

~ Lemang Kemensah for the second year running became my preferred choice for 1st day of Syawal. No hangit part, just perfect combo of pulut (glutinous rice), santan (coconut milk) and garam (salt) cooked to perfection each time.  Btw, Sharifah Shahirah is also a huge fan, based on her IG posting according to my wife. She said “sep sep tom tom” said my wife in expressing her liking for Lemang Kemensah. So peeps please give it a try and support these very hard working Malay entrepreneurs.

Photo credit: FB Lemang Kemensah

Just about to pass the first week mark and you know what that means; Raya Open House.  And for Lembah Klang, the return of chaos and traffic jam across the city is going to be the norms for the next four weekends.  Selamat Hari Raya folks.  Jangan lupa puasa enam J

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Rugby Teams

In the span of over 30 years I have been privileged to either play for, coach or manage all of these teams.  Each is unique and super special, with lots of fond memories.  Equally memorable is the opportunity to play and associate with some of the most talented rugby personalities. What can I say, it has been very fulfilling and rewarding journey.

Here they are:

Royal Military College (Black Scorpions) U-15

1986: MSSWP (First Runner-up)
1986: Milo National 10s (First Runners-up Plate)

Royal Military College (Black Scorpions) U-18
1987: MSSWP (Champions)
1988: MSSWP (Third Place)
1988: Qualifying Round - Jonah Jones International Schools 7s (Champions)
1988: Jonah Jones International Schools 7s (Semi-final)
1989: Qualifying Round- Jonah Jones International Schools 7s (Champions)
1989: Jonah Jones International Schools 7s (Champions)

Majlis Sukan Sekolah Wilayah Persekutuan (MSSWP)

1987: Majlis Sukan Sekolah Malaysia (MSSM) U-18 Tournament (Preliminary rounds)
1988: Majlis Sukan Sekolah Malaysia (MSSM) U-18 Tournament (Third Place)

United States Naval Academy, USA

1990-1992:  Potomac Rugby Inter Collegiate (Champions)
1991: Collegiate East Coast Finals (Semi-finalist)
1992: Collegiate East Coast Finals (First Runner-up)
1992: BEAT ARMY at West Point (12-10)
1993: Cherry Blossom Tournament (Champions)
1992-1993: USNA Rugby Letter (with a Star for beating Army)

US Combined Armed Forces Jr All Star
1992: Selected for Battle of New Orleans Tournament but did not go
1993: Battle of New Orleans Tournament

Virginia Beach Rugby Club, USA 

1992: Virginia Beach 7s Tournament (First Runners-up)

Royal Malaysian Navy (Navy ORCA) Officers Team  

1993: Armed Forces Inter Services Officer (Champions)
1994: Armed Forces Inter Services Officer (Champions)
1998: Armed Forces Inter Services Officer (Champions)

Royal Malaysian Navy (Navy ORCA) Senior Team

1994: Armed Forces 7s (First Runners-up)
1994: Singapore Blacks 10s (Semi-final)
1994: Perlis 7s (Qtr-final)
1994: UUM 10s (First Runner-up)
1994: Haatyai 7s (Semi-Final)
1994: Jonah Jones 7s (Champions Plate)
1996: Armed Forces 7s (Semi-final)
1998: Penang 10s (Quarter Finals)
1998: Penang 7s (Champions)
1998: Trengganu 10s (First Runners-up)
1998: Jonah Jones 7s (Champions Plate)

As Coach & Club Chairman (2007-2010 & 2015)

2007: Perak Super League (Champions)
2007: Perak President’s Cup (First Runners-up)
2008: Perak Super League (First Runners-up)
2008: Perak President’s Cup (Champions)
2008: Armed Forces Inter Services (First Runners-up)
2008: MRU President’s Cup (Semi-final)
2009: Perak Super League (Champions)
2009: Perak President’s Cup (Champions)
2009: Negeri Sembilan 7s (Plate Runners-up)
2009: Perak Isa Abas Cup 7s (Cup Runners-up)
2009: Jonah Jones 7s (Plate Semi-final)
2010: Perak Super League (Champions)
2010: Perak President’s Cup (Champions)
2010: UPNM 10s (Plate Champions)
2010: Taiping 10s (Plate Semi-final)
2010: Jonah Jones 7s (Plate Semi-final)
2015: Selangor League Div 1 (First Runners-up)

Old Putra Association (OPA)

1998 – Penang 10s (First Runners-up Plate)

Royal Naval Engineering College (HMS Thunderer), Manadon, 
Plymouth, United Kingdom 

1995: Plymouth Region League (First Runners-up)

HMS Osprey, Portland, United Kingdom

1995: Portland/Weymouth Regional (Preliminary)

Malaysia Armed Forces 15s and 7s Teams 

1994: Agong’s Cup (Champions)
1994: National 7s (First Runners-up)
1998: National 7s (Semi-final)

Malaysia Rugby U-23 

1993: Friendly vs Singapore (Malaysia won)

Malaysia Rugby 7s (Senior) 
1994: Fiji Sevens, Suva, Fiji (Preliminary rounds)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Freak Accident Update ~ “A surgery, really???”

After an upbeat entry about the Gung-Ho Run, this entry is to reflect how set-backs could creep in when you least expect them.

I decided to Whatsapp my friend Orthopedic Dr the day after the run (20 Nov 13) asking him if he could spare some time to look at my crooked pinky (link).  I was lucky as he said he could see me during lunch time.  Wow…that was very kind of him.

I arrived at the base hospital, waited for about 10 minutes outside his clinic and it was time to see him.  Then it all went super fast and within 45 minutes after leaving his clinic, I found myself being registered for an operation to re-attach my suspected torn tendon.  What???? No time to think, just react ok.  I trust my Dr as I have known him since 2006, and he has performed my PCL reconstruction surgery before.    

Just a small surgery with local anesthetic? Didn’t seem like it though.  The pre-surgical process was quite intimidating to be honest.  First, I was told to change into a complete garment for surgical patient.  Huh!!!  ID bracelet was placed around my wrist, IV line was put on my right hand (ouch), indemnity form, question on allergies etc.  A quick call to my wife and I was immediately ushered on a wheelchair to the OT.  All set to go.

As I lied on the operation table, the nurses helped to remove my wedding ring and glasses.  All the patches to monitor my vital signs were placed.  Unfortunately, a screen was also put in between to prevent me from seeing the ops procedure.  My left arm was positioned on a raised platform, then rubbed with the cleaning solution………all we needed then was for the Dr to come in.

The procedure to reattach the severed tendon in my finger took less than one hour.  However, I discovered that the local anesthetic for a finger surgery did not alleviate the pain completely.  In fact, the operation was quite a painful experience.  Quite a sting for each of the anesthetic injection, and all the cuts and whatever was done to reattach the tendon were not exactly “pain free”, and “painful” was probably a better word to describe it.  I was told the pain was inevitable as the area was small and so close to the bone, I just had to endure this “little” pain I guessed. 

I know my pain tolerance is quite high, but I felt my pain threshold was really stretched during this surgery.   

The surgery was finally over and I was quickly wheel-chaired back to the ward for recovery.  I was advised that I could stay overnight if I wanted, but I decided against it as I felt I would be better off recuperating at home.

The outcome

The ID Bracelet

So now the pinky is heavily bandaged and supported by a splint until my appointment next Tuesday.  This has been super fast.  A crooked finger, a quick assessment by the Dr, a quick surgery………… but now the long and slow battle towards recovery.

I was advised to spend the night here....but

.......I want to go home

Life is so full of surprises……… I pray that God will give me the strength in coping with the many challenges coming my way. Amin.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A PCL Survivor Milestone ~ KDSI I Annual Gung-Ho Run 2013

I have always wanted to climb Mount Kinabalu to signify my personal accomplishment in surviving the PCL surgery.  Now 5 years later, the dream still hasn’t been realised, early osteoarthritis has begun to set in, both knees have deteriorated that now I’m surviving on gel/fluid insertion into these knees every 15-18 months, and I’m obviously getting older.  I’m actually in constant pain, but it is a condition I’m already accustomed to by now.

I had a chance to put my PCL knee to test recently, a consolation to my inability to make my way to the peak of Mount Kinabalu I suppose. It came in the form of a “Gung-Ho Run” held at my work place.  It comprised rowing for about 500m, running for 10km and finally climbing 303 steps to the top of an 11-storey building.  I was anxious to see if the knee would hold.  So far I’ve only run up to 5km, and have never attempted to exceed that (the regular jogging track around the base where I work makes it convenient for me to limit myself to just 5km).

Early riser

The day started very early for the Gung-Ho Run.  Already at my workplace for breakfast at 0530, Subuh prayer and followed by a warming up session.  Off to the boat house by 0700 and after a quick motivational talk by me (hmmmmm.......trying to motivate 90+ staff officers and trainees, including psyching myself up wasn’t as easy as I thought), we were ready to kick start with the first activity ~ rowing.

About to start

12 crew in each boat, and off we went.......... The heavily strapped pinky (link) didn’t bother me much....alhamdulillah.  Energy level was high, spirit was high.....but steering technique was totally off....hahahaha.......we were zigzagging to get to the marker buoy and were lucky not to finish last.........

The first boat to arrive....not mine

Now all pumped up for the gruelling 10km run...... After putting on my jogging shoes, and a quick warm up on my own to make sure I was ready, I lined up quickly with the rest at the starting point.  A blast of the horn and we were on our way.  The morning was beautiful, and the sun was shining brightly to lift up our spirit. Alhamdulillah the knee felt okay initially, but I knew I just had to maintain my snail pace and not be tempted or intimidated to keep up with the faster runners.  The agony of pushing through the pain barrier was the biggest challenge.  My aim was to complete the run without stopping at all.  Glad I have my wife and kids who drove along and waited at strategic places to cheer me on.  My pride and joy who have always been there for me.........I’m such a lucky guy.

The starting of the run

Still feeling good early on

Morale booster from the kids

At the first check point I was doing relatively my standard that isJ  Still running, and maintaining my position just about the middle of the group.  However, after the one hour point, the knee started to bother me but I was determined to keep running.  My pace got much slower, a few runners behind me began to catch up and I was really struggling to keep moving.  A PCL survivor’s quest had to I just kept on going......”layan jer” as we say it here....

No pain, no gain 

The second check point finally behind me and I was enroute the last quarter of the now drenched in sweat, and soaking wet with water I poured over my head at each check point,  coupled with a wobbly knee that felt like jelly.  Finally, the end was in sight and I could see my family and some of the earlier finishers cheering me on.  To complete the agony of this run, the last 500m was an excruciating gradual climb.  Huffing..... puffing..... sucking as much air as I possibly could and slowly inching my way.....still running all the way till the finishing line.  I was completely spent......... but the run was over.  And yes, I have managed to run the whole way.........

The last 500m uphill....with my twins cheering me on

Fliud replenishment before taking a crack at the 303 steps up the building

The route and my time

But wait......the Gung-Ho Run was not quite over yet.  I still have another 303 steps up the 11-storey building to be conquered.  The pain to complete the climb was obvious......every lift of the leg up each step was a challenge, every level reached made my chest tighter and my breathing faster.......the claustrophobic confine of the stairs did not help one bit as I was deprived of the much needed oxygen............. Then, finally I could hear the clapping and cheering signifying I was only about 20 more steps from completing my dash up the final stretch.  As I reached the time was read out to me: 1 hour 29 min and 35 sec.  Actually, I can barely remember now how I rang the bell to signify the end of my run.  But rang the bell I did, and this PCL Survivor has finally completed the Gung-Ho Run!!  My family was again there to celebrate this significant milestone with me.  At this point, the spectacular view from atop the building was second to the sensational feeling I had.  Alhamdulillah, I have finally reached the end of this.......running all the way, conquering not only the distance but also the constant pain I felt throughout the run.  Gung-Ho Run 2013 is now a history!!!!

The killer steps.....almost there

Your time ~ 1hr 29min 35sec

Are you okay sir?.....the expression says it all

The triumphant ringing of the bell!!!!  Yes, it's finally over

Looking back I’m glad I did it.  It encapsulates my own personal success in coping with the PCL surgery and the slow battle for recovery.  My life has changed forever as a result of the PCL injury.  This little feat of completing the Gung-Ho Run reaffirmed the belief that the change may not be so fact I believe being a PCL Survivor has given me a better outlook on life.  As usual, God’s plan is always betterJ As I recuperate from this packs on both knees, a long shower, a short nap and a dip in the base swimming pool; I can’t help to feel really blessed and fortunate.  Alhamdulillah atas semua kurnia Mu Ya Allah, I’m really thankful.  Life is great!!!!!

They are my pillars of strength....always

Nursing the hurting PCL knee

Iced-cold towel.......such a relief

The certificate

Medal for one of the Gung-Ho winners

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What You Can Do With RM10 In Manjung

With the recent hike in fuel and sugar prices, we the ordinary people can’t help but cringe with anxiety as how it will impact our daily lives.  We are also constantly being reminded that GST is good, prudent spending is necessary, and we must do our bit to help the country’s economy so that we can all benefit from being a high income nation by 2020.  Oh yes, we must…………

I am not sure we can make sense of it all, but cope with it we must.  This lazy Sunday morning, I’ve just confirmed that for RM10 I can still provide a decent breakfast for a family of four in Manjung.  This should fit in perfectly with the need to cope.  However, I imagine it’s much easier to do this in Manjung than in the big cities.  So for this amount to meet your breakfast needs, you may want to consider these few options:

~ Don’t eat out – this is mandatory, or else you'll definitely need more than RM10.
~ Buy basic but tasty commonly available breakfast choices ie roti canai, nasi lemak & bihun bungkus etc minus all the frills ………forget rendang, ayam goreng, paru sambal etc.  Taste is very subjective so the best bet is to buy at our preferred stalls. I have a few in ManjungJ
~ Don’t go for nasi dagang, bihun sup, soto, lontong or any of the slightly more complicated to prepare options.  The more complicated they are, the more likely they are going to be pricey.
~ I don’t know about other places, but kuih in Manjung is still RM1 for three, and you can mix and match as you please.  Yes, way to go Manjung!!!
~ The obvious choice is to cook at home for breakfast…………but for me it’s faster and more convenient to spend RM10 instead.  Home-cooked food is a better option for lunch or dinner in my household, definitely.

So here’s what I got for RM10 this morning.  Exactly RM10.  And as a bonus I got to throw in the Star newspaper as well.  I just love Manjung………

The full spread complete with the Star newspaper for RM10

Roti Canai & Murtabak

Karipap & Apam Polka Dot/Chocolate

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Freak Accident to Rejuvenate My Blog

What a better way to rejuvenate this blog than to recount a freak accident that occurred to me today.  A seemingly harmless awkward landing on the bed in the middle of the night as I stumbled my way back from the loo resulted in my having a crooked pinky and a trip to the Emergency at the base hospital.

No serious pain when it occurred so I didn’t give it much thought at all.  I just slowly drifted back to sleep and wasn’t bothered until the next morning.  To my horror, I first saw the pinky in a crooked position when I got into the shower.  Hahahaha………You must be wondering how come I didn’t realise immediately when I woke up.  Heck, I don’t know………I guess there wasn’t any need to move the pinky until I got into the showerJ

Crooked pinky & ice cream stick work well together

Well, to cut the story short, I consulted my Orthopedic Specialist Dr Musa.  Upon seeing a picture of the injury I sent him, he advised me to get it x-rayed at the base hospital.  He suspected some damage must have occurred to the tendon.  “Make sure the finger is straightened using a splint, the staff at the hospital should be able to assist you to get it done”.

As a temporary measure, my ever reliable wife, Lin, strap an ice cream stick to keep the pinky straight.  She did a really good job albeit having to use a “decorated” ice cream stick left over from the kids’ activities.

Then off to the hospital with wifey and kids in tow.  Glad it was a smooth process; an x-ray was done almost immediately, followed by the splint.  The bandage used to hold the splint in position has made the injury more obvious for everyone to see.  Oh well, I guess I just have to live with all the questions and speculations on how it occurred for the next few weeks.

Trip to the Emergency at the base hospital

I am scheduled to participate in a “Gung Ho Run” in a few days.  This grueling test of rowing for 500m, running for 10km and climbing an 11-storey building will really put my post-PCL surgery knee to test.  And having a crooked pinky surely adds more flavour to this challenge.  Well, what can I say…………Bring It On!!!!

Gung Ho Run- Rowing, Running & Resilient Climb.......hope I can hack it when the time comes