Thursday, September 27, 2007

My personal experience with Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali

I would like to take this opportunity to record my admiration of Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali. She has been by the bedside of her husband of 51 years, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad since almost four weeks ago in IJN and has not left since. Her sheer dedication to see her husband recuperate is nothing short of amazing.

Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali is definitely a remarkable and exemplary woman. As the wife of then the Prime Minister, she devoted herself to support her husband for a good 22 1/2 years of service.

She did so much as the "First Lady".

This is a story about my personal experience with Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali.

A few days before Hari Raya Year 2000. We had been busy organising some stuff to be taken with Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir to Ambon for his first ever humanitarian mission, things like instant food (which I managed to arrange for one ton of tepung adabi), medical supplies, clothing etc etc etc.

So it was on a Saturday and they were supposed to leave from TUDM Subang with an RMAF C 130H to Ambon, via TUDM Labuan. The rendezvous was 0700hrs at point Zulu.

Obviously, being my usual self, (DEFNITELY NOT a morning person!), I overslept. So I missed the send off event. Friends told me at least 500-600 friends and family were at the airbase to send of these young men with their supplies to a grief stricken place caused by religious unrest.

Three days later they came back. Then Hari Raya Aidil Fitri came, like any other completion of Ramadhan. Like any other first day of Syawal, the Prime Minister will host an openhouse for the public. So for the first day Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, it was reported in the media that at least 60, 000 well wishers were at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya to wish the First Couple good tidings and enjoyed free food.

My invitation to Seri Perdana then was usually on the second day, where members of the diplomatic corp, Cabinet Ministers, politicians and their families, senior civil servants and some corporate leaders assembled at the Banquet Hall to spend Hari Raya with the Mahathirs. An average crowd of 600 was the usual suspect.

So, conveniently on my way back to Johor Bahru, I'd stop over to wish the Mahathirs and after a sumptuous meal of variety of food one would get at any usual Dr. Mahathir openhouse, we'd speed off down south, when traffic is usually much lesser. That fateful second day Hari Raya will always be fresh in my memory. The moment I walked through the doors of the Banquet Hall primmed in my red Baju Melayu Johor full suit, I caught the First Couple were standing by the door and we immediately approach to greet them.

The moment I bend down to salam and kiss Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah's hand, she uttered "Big Guy, where were you on Saturday? How come you were not there to send Mukhriz off?" Gawd! She noticed. Between that moment and Mukhriz left five days earlier, she must have seen over 60,000 faces, carved that amazing smile and shook their hands. I thought to myself "How on earth could she notice I was not there????".

Stupid but recklessly, I had to ask "Datin Seri, you noticed I was not at Subang?"

"Of course! Why were you not there?"

Embarrassed being bush-whacked, I had to lie "Datin Seri, I was not too well that weekend".

"Are you feeling much better now?" She genuinely cared.

"Yes, thanks"

And I quickly moved away. My wife turned to me and said it with her sharp stare instead of the mouth "You lied to her! That's low!".

"Please, bad enough I missed the send off! Don't make it worse for me now...." I pleaded.

She instantly replied "I did not say anything" and carved a diabolical smile.

Of course my wife knew I felt bad because I lied to Datin Seri Dr. Siti Hasmah when bush-whacked like that. I will always remember that!

Moral of the story, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali is a very observant woman and she, like her husband, gets nothing passed her by simply.

My blogger friends did the 'walk'

This morning, some of my blogger friends did the 'walk', from the Palace of Justice to the Perdana Putra (Prime Minister's Office). The posse assembled in front of POJ at 1100am and the thousand of them walked to the PMO, in an event organised by the Bar Council.

These are their photos:

The bloggers that I know in their snazzy black & white (especially Rocky, shirt tucked in!)

The Malaysia-Today editor

The blogger who had to walk the extra 4-5km!

A Kelantanese born former DAP man

The tall-man-blogger

However, I wasn't there, not even the witness the 'walk'. Infact, I was at home, recuperating from a painful joint ailment, caused by a side-effect of mineral imbalance (after my succesful bariatric gastric by-pass twelve weeks ago) and reduced water intake (for doing the fast this Ramadhan, although some physicians thought I should not started to fast this early after the radical surgery). On top of that, I had diarrhea since yesterday, due to medication taken to correct the pain. So I have not left my room since over 48 hours ago.

The last time I did something remotely resembled a 'walk' was twenty five years ago. The whole batch of us walked from Pekan Nenas, Pontian to Bakri, Muo in four days, under the scorching mid-day sun and evening torrential rains. The journey was 160km; part of our post-SRP program, designed to keep ourselves occupied. In hindsight, it was not the most responsible thing to do, especially we trailed along the main trunk road from Pekan Nenas-Pontian-Benut-Batu Pahat-Parit Jawa-Bukit Mor-Bakri, going against traffic.

I must salute our principal, En. Abdul Hamid Zamburi. He wanted us to have a lot of "semangat", discipline, sense of patriotism and nationalism and of course, grow up with leadership qualities and a high sense responsibility. So there we were, testing our organisational skills, leadership, comradeship, discipline, survivality, wit, strength of spirit and sheer determination to succeed, reflective in our ability to work as a team. We walked the talk, we walked tall. Most of all, we were all just merely fifteen then!

Today, I saw all of that in the people who walked in Putrajaya (minus the 'fifteen year old factor'), even though I was not there. I may not agree with their cause, but its the spirit that I respected, enough to document the feat here in this blog, now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My electronic journal

This is my electronic journal.

I decided to start this electronic journal to capture on the things that are close to my heart, like my family and friends and the ventures they go through.

My darling daughter started her own blog, "Yeah, sure, whatever".