Monday, September 29, 2008

Buka puasa with Mukhriz

UMNO Youth Exco Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir hosted a buka puasa for the media this evening. It was held at Seri Angkasa Restaurant, Menara Kuala Lumpur.

Right: Dato' Mukhriz catching up on chat with some friends and members of the media

Left: "Berani Berubah" pose

So many friends from the media came. This also include friends from alternative media.

The food was sumptous and the spread was good.

Later, he held a media conference where a barrage of questions were thrown at him, with regards to the current political scenario.

Right: Mukhriz answering the media

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meeting Alia Harris

We went to see a friend, Darlina Hashim at her parents' place this afternoon. It was Aishah's and Linda's first time meeting her since last. It was the first time being introduced to Alia Saaniah Harris also. It was at Brig. Gen. Hashim's place in Ulu Kelang.

Right: Meeting Alia for the first time, at the front door

Alia Harris was born on 13 August 2008 in Gleneagles Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Despite the Harris reside in Bahrain, Dee came back to deliver her first child here in KL. They have been residing in Manama since April last year.

Left: Alia and Mummy

Dee has been a fulltime housewife since. She's a friend from school. We've gone a long way back since our MRSM Muo days, 27 years ago. We are so glad that there is now Alia in the Harrises's life.

Right: Feeding time while the two moms exchange notes

Husband, Neil Harris will be in KL on Tuesday, the day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. On 11 October, they will leave for the Gulf and show Alia her home, for the first time. We shall miss the Harris. By the next time we come across Alia Harris, she will be much different.

Welcome to our world....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Presenting to an old blogging buddy

We were at the Chief Minister's Office at twenty to three. They occupy the entire floor of the 28th level of Komtar. The State Cabinet office and operations room is here also. We had an appointment with YB Jeff Ooi, who is the Chief of Staff at the Penang CEO's office. He is also the MP for Jelutong. We were early so we had to wait for a while as he was out of the office for official business.

Right: Waiting outside the Chief Minister's Office

We did a presentation to Jeff, as we tried to get his views and input on the implementation of Penang being a cashless state.

Left: YB Jeff Ooi listening on the concept of cashless community, via our 'shotgun' approach

He was very attentive to the presentation. Infact, he was very inquisitive and perfectly understood where we were coming from and saw the potential and benefits for Penang, be it the state and rakyat.

Right: Ken demonstrating the Xiring mobile terminal, best suited for micro collection and delivery business

Ken even showed him how his own party benefited from our payment gateway, which has been provided to them by a third party acquirer. He shown a lot of interests on the concept as a whole. However, we need to work on what ever being presented further. This means we have to come back a few more times. Personally, I am looking forward to work with a state official who is so into e commerce.

Left: Momento shot with Jeff Ooi

Soon after, we managed to catch up on each other's personal views of current political situation. Before we left, Jeff showed us the south side of Georgetown from his office window. We could also see the entire length of the Penang Bridge and the development on the Pulau Jerejak. As he walked us to the lift, we caught up with Chief Minister Dato' Lim Guan Eng.

It was a very good day indeed. Now, to plan for buka puasa....

A working trip to Penang

I was in Penang today. It started like any other usual morning. Except I left home with overnight clothes (these days, things simply cropped up last minute). I popped by the office first to get some official Federal Government circulars, to show the Penangites.

Right: Looking down at Malacca Straits from the altitude of 24,000 ft

Then Ken, arrived at work and by little past ten, we pushed off to KLIA. We parked at the SUV bay (Yes, there is a special bay for 'Enterprise' alike, something I am so glad MAB offered), checked in through the stand alone kiosk and then board, at the nick of time.

Left: Ken enjoying his lunch

There were many spaces available in this flight. When we arrived in Penang International, it was lunch time. So, Ken had his lunch. It was alright since we had time to spare. We had to kill the two and half hours before our three o'clock appointment at Komtar anyway. Ken had a sumptous Kenny Spicy BBQ chicken meal set at Kenny Rogers.

Right: At the lobby of Komtar

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taking mother in law to a specialist

At 1000am this morning, we picked mother in law up at her home in Stulang Baru. We took her to Johor Specialist Hospital, to see Dr Shahrom Ujang, a cardiologist. My cardiologist, Dr. Mohd. Daud Sulaiman, who was also my schoolmate once, insisted that I take her to see Dr Shahrom. This is our primary mission to Johor Bahru on this trip.

The first order of the day is the ECG.

Right: Waiting for ECG

As usual, like any other visitations to a hospital, it is the waiting game which really bog one down. The anxiety of consulting a specialist is very amplified with the waiting bit. Girl-Girl, in her own usual way, killed her boredom getting lost in a book. Today, it was the classic "Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux. I am glad she's on the classics now.

Right: Dr. Shahrom in his initial tests

When we met Dr. Shahrom, he is unable to ascertain for mother in law's real issues. The chest pain she has been experiencing could also be caused by her cough. So, he instructed more tests to be carried out. A chest x-ray is also ordered to ascertain the state of her lungs.

After the echocardiogram, Dr. Shahrom changed her hypertension medication. She has to come back tomorrow to install a device to monitor her ECG for 24 hours and come back on Tuesday to dis-install. My wife will have to fly down on Tuesday to take her to consult Dr. Shahrom again.

Left: Updating this blog whilst waiting for the echocardiogram

Mean while, I did my thing to keep myself occupied all morning long.....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Buka puasa in Johor Bahru

My mother in law, Ansariah Hj Hussin has been ill all week long. She complained of chest pains. So, two days ago, we decided to go back to Johor Bahru and see how she is doing.

This morning, we pushed off from our place in Damansara Utama at 930am, with brief stopovers uploading octane 97 petrol and some of my mother in law's personal item, from her son's place in Kota Damansara.

Right: Somewhere near Alor Gajah, late morning

We entered the NKVE highway at ten past ten and headed towards Shah Alam before making a left turn towards KLIA and Nilai.

*Updated Sunday, 21 September 2008 100am

Later, we had some Mi Rebus Haji Wahid and otak-otak for buka puasa. We left our hotel in Jalan Ibrahim and rushed for Plaza Angsana, at 530pm. Then it was to Jalan Tebrau, to get a bottle of Beyh Royale for my mother in law. The final stop was to get a freshly prepared siakap cooked in rich sweet sour sauce for her. We finally reached her home in Kampung Stulang Baru seconds before Maghrib prayer call, which marks the buka puasa.

Left: The buka puasa feast, in the nick of time

Then at 930pm, we called on my aunty in Stulang Laut. Her entire family was there and we caught up on a lot of things.

By 1030pm, we had to excuse ourselves as I promised a friend to go for Moreh at a nearby hotel. We met my friend, Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir at the Moreh. He was the guest of honour, hosted by local Pemuda UMNO friends. Despite in this hectic event, we managed to catch on quite a bit, especially politics. He will be in Johor Bahru all day long tomorrow, which include another buka puasa and moreh thingy.

Right: Sharing thoughts on politics

It was good day indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A working trip to Johor Bahru

I was up by 430am this morning. I made a working trip to Johor Bahru, via Malaysia Airlines 725am flight from KLIA to Sultan Ismail International, Johor Bahru.

My appointment was at 1000am, at the Sultan Ibrahim Building. It is the most iconic building the South of the Peninsular. I was awed at the 80 year old majestic building as I approached it. It perched on the Bukit Timbalan and houses the State Government of Johor.

Right: Infront of the west entrace

I took entered via the west entrance, to my meeting at the second floor, also on the west wing.

The meeting I had was amazingly fruitful.

Left: With B J

Later, I managed to catch up with my old Newcastle buddy, Mohd. Noorazam "B J" Osman. Being a senior JCS officer, on a Friday, he doned the traditional baju kurung Johor.

Right: Beyh Royale; Resembles a bottle of 12 year old, isn't it?

BJ gave me a bottle of the "national drink of Johor", Beyh Royale. It was first introduced to the court of Sultan Ibrahim, the grandfather of the current Sultan of Johor.

At 1145am, I was in another meeting, in a building across the street from Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim. That turned out to br very well too.

I will have another one late in the afternoon. I hope it will be good too. Anyhow, it was a good day indeed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mukhriz making the effort to change

I was in Titigajah, Alor Setar the better half of yesterday's afternoon. My friend, Exco Pemuda UMNO Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir announced his candidacy to contest as UMNO Youth Head at the party elections this coming December.

Right: Mukhriz is making last minute changes in his speech

Mukhriz is also BN MP for Jerlun. The last time I sat at this table was during the 8 March 2008 12th General Elections, where he stood for the first time.

Left: Merbok UMNO Youth Head Kamal and Mukhriz's Media Officer Azrin Zizal

I was there amongst friends when he finalised his announcement speech and also the final draft of the media statement was being prepared. The battle cry, "Berani Berubah" (Dare To Change) was used for this campaign.

More than 600 UMNO Youth leaders and members gathered in the grounds of his family's estate, 'Pondok Maharizan'. This include members of the press corp.

Right: Mukhriz making his announcement speech

He detailed on why he asked UMNO Youth members to support and be with his in this quest to change UMNO, the nationalist party.

This is a landmark moment. I still remember clearly the day when Mukhriz won the UMNO Youth Exco seat with the most vote in August 2004. And now, I am here as part where another history is in the making.

Left: Otherwise Mukhriz is usually light, this is a serious moment, getting the deliverance and tone right

It was a good afternoon indeed. The weather was rather cool and everyone was spiritual charged. Later, most of us went to do a special buka puasa dan terawih prayers at Masjid Tok Kepak, Lana Bulu, near Kokdiang.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Discovering Alor Setar

I was in Alor Setar since late last night. We pushed of from Kuala Lumpur at the height of Friday evening rush hour traffic, an hour before sundown. Most of the journey, right from Jalan Duta Bus Terminal, all the way to Titigajah was raining. Not the drizzle rain but moonsoon like torrential downpours.

Right: The icon of the town, Masjid Zahir

This morning, I was in the heart of Alor Setar, rediscovering the town. Unlike in February/March when I was last here, this trip I had more 'R & R' time.

It was exactly as I left it, six months ago. All the warmth and cosy feeling is still there. Alor Setar is now a town I have acustomed to and feels a lot like home.

Left: Another icon, the old Police station and the Telekom tower in the background

I have a feeling I will be here, more often since March. And I did.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A much needed Merdeka spirit 'injection'

On the eve of 51st Merdeka Day, I was involved in a patriotic spirit building event for the Young Professional Malays. The Sekretariat Melayu Muda organised a special talk titled "Malaysia Baru: Senario Politik Masa Kini" at Sime Darby Convention Centre, Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Right: The Chair, Wan Azrain Adnan, Tun Dr. Mahathir and yours truly

The keynote address was done by none other fourth Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He spoke on how and what the Malays had to go through to come to this point and it was up to young Malay professionals like ourselves to step up and ensure the continuity of being a 'Bangsa Merdeka' is able to be sustained, indefinitely.

He threw a lot of perspective on the nation we now call Malaysia, through the historical thread. Earlier, former Cabinet Minister and Menteri Besar Kedah Tan Sri Sanusi Junid related on the story of what some great world leaders had to go through. The whole event was very inspirational indeed.

Left: Last minute briefing pre-event at the holding room

I had the opportunity to brief Tun Dr. Mahathir pre-event and we met him at this office to discuss on the content and approach of the much needed Merdeka spirit 'injection'. The spirit of patriotism and nationalism is a pertinent requirement, especially to my peers, in order the country's sovereignity is preserved, for our common future.

It was a good morning indeed. A speech I wrote on the importance to build and preserve the process of nation building and nationhood, was read by a childhood friend. The downside to it, as the time was pressing, he was bullet-train reading the speech.

Right: All dressy to feel the nationalism of the Merdeka weekend

I am also extremely delighted that some of my friends could make it this time. All look dashing and pretty in the pakaian kebangsaan, with utmost pride. To celebrate the zestful feeling, soon after we had a sumptous Chinese dim sum lunch at the adjacent restaurant.

All that could be said about the day at Sime Darby Convention Centre was nothing else but a total success.