Sunday, May 21, 2017

Interesting Mad Men of Kota Bharu in the 60's and all that jazz.....

my good friend , dato yeh, of titwangsa, whats app me this morning a most beautiful, short  wirid/doa involving some aspect of allah's beautiful names. i was reminded by allah's beautiful name, 'ya latif', and somehow my mind wanders off to kota bharu in the early sixties.

i must be just about six, seven or eight year old then.

for people of that age to be living in kota bharu around that time was extra special. kota bharu was a microcosm of the whole wide world. and why not , nothing else exists beyond kota bharu.

kuala terengganu of old was at least a day away, with a total of 5 to 6 long , and tedious tedious ferry crossings.
and another five before reaching kuantan, kuala lumpur suddenly become very very far away.
crossing the hazardous titiwangsa range via janda baik was no mean feat for the average driver, with narrow one way lane at places and  steep drop to no where.
kuala lumpur was a one and a half day journey  unless you are titled  and loaded and can fly the malayan airways on rickety old dakota prewar planes!

so one has to pardon a seven year old who grew up on the assumptions that, ' sultan ismail college [ lovingly called s.i.c ] is the best school in the whole wide world!'; ' the world famous zain building', a four storey mammoth building right smack in town, is the tallest building in the world', taller than empire state building; biaritz park sited on tengku li's father's huge land bank, is the best fun park in the world........etc and etc.

" awae!.....margi lah awae.....samah jah! " [ children , come lah, only fifty cent! ]
those middle aged  dance ladies in biaritz park, sitting by the veranda of  their makeshift small houses, grooming themselves, some looking for 'gutu' [ head lice ] for their friends, used to tease us small children wandering in the fun ground in late morning while waiting to go to our afternoon session school at s.i.c.

we all ran, helter skelter.
that was a long story deserving another write up!
'samah' or 50 sen , at that time in the early sixties is probably 5 rm now. big money for a morning of pleasure.

panggong rani showing cheap matinee john wyne and  the delectable marlyn monroe and sandra dee, was nearby.
cattle class, with pijat, coakroaches all thrown in, at 40 cent per viewing.

everything kota bharu was 'huge' to the seven year old.
we had two traffic lights then. one near the bata shop right in the middle of the town near the present tan sri mydin's father's sundry shop....somewhere near panggong odean.
we pride ourselves with these two traffic light because our elders told us terengganu have none!
'how can these poor teganung people live without a traffic light !!??', people of my age wondered, then.

my family, we lived at jalan teliput. this is equivalent to ttdi  now. senoir government officials of low grade like chief clerks, senior postal workers etc etc doted the road. jalan ferguson just a street away was kota bharu's damansara height. state engineer, magistrate,goverment doctors and ado's lived there.

some 400 metres from my house is sic with its famous rugby and football team. it's rugby team, i recall, was always champion of the world. however, in football, sic almost always lost to islah.
islah, to us young boys, belong to the domain of the infamy. only 'big boys who failed their standard six and form three exams go to islah!.... they cannot be good...only rascals go to islah!'.
that was drummed onto us by our parents on a daily basis.

they don't even have a rugby team! 
'what! no rugby team!..'

across my house there used to be a big agricultural research station. i did not have any notion what research they do at that time because that concept was beyond us. to us seven year olds, that huge place with big padi fields and huge chickens and oversized goats and sheep.....a fantastic playground for us. 
it was heaven on earth.

all year long, after mid morning 'mengaji qur'an' with tok ayoh long and mak long down the lane we had a gala time swimming in the parit and 'air gumber' located at the north end of the station. during fruiting season, we boys and girls had free rambutan.
i spent many happy evenings, with my elder brother hashim, prowling the ground picking brazilian seeds. very tasty, eaten raw.

needless to say the bigger kampong boys also frequent the place because pak ali, the caretaker had two good looking seven, my interest was still elsewhere.

in the center of the large station, there used to be a sombre looking building , very official looking with dark glass windows. 'wow! what goes on inside', i wondered to myself.
my elder brother hashim , by then must be around 10, and much wiser than us, opined that , 
' this is the government! '

" wow!.....this gomen must be the invisible god inside printing money to pay for wae's [ my dad ]salary and everybody's salary in kota bharu!! no wonder they have dark glasses!!...all day long printing money for the rest of people in kota bharu to live on...WOW ! ".

we children did no even dare to peep inside. 
gomen or god busy at work!....we did not want trouble.
we already have enough trouble been chased around by pak ali!

when we got tired of swimming at the air gumber' of the station, during heavy rain we swam in the parit near istana teliput, an former old british adviser's residence, currently the unofficial residence for sultan muhammad the 5th whenever he is back in kb, which is fairly rare nowadays. oftentimes we play, 'police and thieves' near the compound.

i used to catch big 'anak sepila' in the big well kept drains around the istana, during monsoon season. i remember a famous old teacher of my eldest brother , cik gu embi, an 'orang luar', lived neighbouring the southern border of the istana. cik gu embi was quite famous that they named a lane by the side of the istana  then, after him : lorong cik gu embi. 

[   cikgu embi, like the marican brothers were 'orang  luar', people from outside kelantan , who form the inner  fabric of 'high' society in kota bharu. they are the elites.
cik gu embi, dr ezanee marican, mr siddique marican, mr bapoo hashim, mr yusuf , the late father of the delectable amenu lady of the 80's, marina yusuf, just to name a few. mr fernandez, mr and mrs john and mary cardosa, mr mukherji, mr durbara singh etc and etc.

oouch! there was one more , dr aziz, whose daughter rashidah, i fell in love with secretly at age 9....i wonder where she is  now.  people may not know it but children these age fell in love many times over .  i still recall in standard two in tanah merah, all the boys of the class fell in love with miss hasnah abu bakar, our form teacher! she got long flowing hairs and slender hands....during 'paying school fees' time , which is 2.50 rm per month, all the boys will crowd around miss hasnah, the girls of the class will be relegated to the back rows...some boys will be close enough to be able to touch cik gu's hands!, all fighting to be in the 1st row!.. a digression. ]

this vicinity around the istana  was also a good place to catch or 'lastic' [ biddah ] a bird or two , since the surrounding of the istana, especially the back part, that time was fairly thickly wooded.

i recall there were two famous characters in downtown kota bharu.
tok awae and tok wali sa'ad. 
tok awae must be in his late 40's or 50's and tok wali probably 60's.

tok awae, thickly mustachoid with that characteristic upward twist of his end-mustache, used to frequent the makan shops around the central market at jalan temenggong.
he cannot be a schiz because he was too bouyant and gregarious in his character and exhortations. could well be a chronic bipolar in persistent manic phase.

when he saw a young lady crossing crossing the busy street , for example, he would shout, in his well known guttural , coarse , voice:

" heh! demo mulut mergah tu! comel weh demo!...margi bining dengan kawae lah! "
[ heh! that young lady with the red gincu! are beautiful...come marry me!   ]

tok awae was a very popular figure to the point one of our famous poet of that time, moyhiddin, penned a sajak about him in his weekly column in the national newspaper, berita harian.

tok wali sa'ad. 
he is the chap that make me write this piece. 
always impeccably dressed in white. white serban  and white baju tok, very distinguished looking old man. loaded as well  since he traveled in and around kota bharu with a private rickshaw . apparently he come from melur, and more usually than not his rickshaw man will 'drive' him thru jalan teliput before he make his daily round in kota bharu.

the wird sent to me by dato yeh this early morning on my whats happ, reminded me of tok wali sa'ad actually. how can i forget him. he was just a 'janggut close' to me one fine morning. i was playing around the house compound at teliput oe fine late morning ,playing hotpscotch and marble with a couple of  girls and boys, our neighbour, while waiting to walk to school for the afternoon session school.
suddenly there was this booming voice, " ya latif , ya latif, ya latif, ya latif...", directly above me.
i looked up and there he was...tok wali sa'ad himself!

all of us ran for dear life.
tok wali sa'ad was actually very benign.

my life with respect to tok wali sa'ad actually come whole circle recently.
i had a small querrel with najib's lhdn recently who has become over-creative in looking for more fund to support their oneamgedebe. they are coming after us , poor doctors.

so i wrote to my sheikk, sheikh ninowy asking for a wirid or two.
he suggested , " ya latif, ya latif , ya latiff....", a total of a hundred 29 times following 2 rakaat of sunnat/ hajat prayer or whatever.
shaykh al yacoubi of syria also agrees on this.
it work insyaallah, alhamdullillah!!...but you need to be persistent. 
do it as a daily wirid for months or weeks .

tok wali sa'ad has got a system in his madness.
the kelantanese call this 'iseng'.
i remember my sis  in law some years ago warned me,
" howk, tok leh belajar tafseer baco hamka, nanti jadi iseng! "
[ howk, dont learn the ugama reading hamka's can go mad ]
that is the typical advisory one get when trying to learn the ugama just a wee bit deeper than the usual , occassional  tazkirah one use to get from the madrasah, which is usually non structured.

try learning the ugama from just one ustaz or tok guru, and then one occasionally get slotted into the unnecessary groups with unnecessary leanings...wahabbis, the mad sufi's, the kampong ustaz, the liberals etc etc.

the safest bet is actually, in my humble opinion, to get some modicum of ugama knowledge from one's madrasah or masjid by attending regular magrib or subuh congregational prayers and the tazkirah that follows, and from there  build on it by reading voraciously books on ugama and start your journey from . these provide the necessary check and balances, ie safety in numbers.

with due respect to  people like ustaz abdullah yasin , ustaz azhar idrus, rasul dahari, maulana asri or that mufti from wang kelian, of whom are all good ustazs and have good intentions, don't  just be limited by one tok guru only, lest one become too myopic.  the best is to have several or many, has to move on from there, and finally choose which schools or leaning one is comfortable with.

dont let one tok guru or one ustaz 'straight jacket' you into his own narrow understanding of islam. islam is a wide spectrum.

read, read, read and read........and think.
with the proviso , you have some basic  in the ugama of course.
this is way madrasah attendance is important because it opens one to a variety of tok gurus initially.

dont worry you would not end up being 'iseng'.
and even if one become 'iseng' like tok wali sa'ad, i would like to reassure my sister in-law, if she is reading this, is still ok.

we who want and dare to take this journey call  this, 'essence'.
then , you can choose to be a sufi, a wahabbi, hanafi, maliki, shafei, a salafi  or just will be ok, insyaallah!

ya fattah, ya razak, ya wahab, ya ghaniy , ya mughni;
ya qodim, ya daim , ya ahad , ya wahid, ya samad;
ya allah, ya rahman, ya rahim , ya hayyu , ya qayyum, ya rabb, ya zaljalalilwal ikram;
ya ghaniy, ya hameed, ya mubdiu , ya mu'id, rahim ya wadud;

ya latif , ya latif, ya latif , ya latif.............

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Just Visiting.........[ part 2 ]

friends, dato and tansri,

in a well known tradition our nabi stated that one way to ensuring a good ending [ husnul khatimah ] is to remember and ponder about death  a lot and to read the qur'an on a daily basis. i am a relative ignoramus with respect to understanding and living the qur'an, let alone reading it on a daily basis or 'qataming' it even on a monthly basis. i read the qur'an like a ' new mualaf' even at this fairly advance age of 6 score plus five and my understanding of arabic is limited to just ' min aina anta? '.

but i can count myself lucky and blessed 'married' to a proffesion that reminds me of death most of the day. every patients that passed my door daily , i have trained myself to analyse 'mentally', ' what is the chance of this chap dying a sudden cardiac death!?' , a bad habit of mine borne out through 32 years of cardiological practice. a bad one no doubt to the unschooled mind, but a good one to me since somehow that state of mind emits 'echoes' that somehow got reflected back on myself, and at the end of the day, this help to keep me firmly grounded on a daily basis.

' allah hummaya mukalibal qulub thabit qalbi ala din nik...'
allah hummaya mukalibal qulub thabit qalbi ala ta'atik ...'

just last month while attending a cardiological seminar in london organized by the british cardiovascular interventional society, i visited , fred, a fellow registrar with me at st mary's hospital, praed street during those wild dizzying  london  days in the early eighties, just post flower power of the 70's and the paul raymond revue bar fame in soho etc and etc.

dr fred had terminal advance colo rectal cancer, that has metastasized to all over his bedridden body. he lay breathless in a palliative ward at royal marsden hospital, at fulham road. 

i noticed an unopened abdullah yusuf ali's translation of the holy qur'an on the side table. 
" omg! great!!..', i thought to myself loudly, " after all these years of of 'relative monologue' from me via 'pearls and gem' and 'the', he has somehow succumbed  ".

'how are you fred?', was my preamble.
'shit nik , shit'.....i am breathless even on O2...'

' no are very ok... i see you have islam, how long now...what is her name if i may ask?'
'just two years i am still single.....the last job at hammersmith, i nearly found someone,  a belgium fellow in hematology, one of my post grad student, then i got seriously infected with islam.....she left me. she said she was allergic to sleeping with terrorist!'

' it is the best infection in the world fred......i hope i am partly instrumental in your reversion..she lost a good man there...'

after a few minutes of niceties, i went straight to the 'jugular', which was the purpose of my visit anyway.

' are very ok. death is frightening for all our patients. even for us doctors. but we have to look from another perspective....when you have islam, especially for you, new revert, you have made it. for guys like me born into the 'ugama', i have a lot of excess baggage to answer to. for guys like you, it is as if you are travelling on ryan-air, just you and your hand luggage.
death is just a change of address. you are going to a better address, and i say this with all is not a cliche. insyaallah.....i am serious! you , of all people are the lucky selected ones.... you could have gone on being a kuffar and that is not difficult in uk or europe, even in malaysia. but you have chosen islam at the eleventh hour...and that is not an accident of it is a gift....a special invitation!.'

i did not leave fred empty handed that night.
he is a new muslim, a new 'mualaf '.
two years in islam is not a long time.
i needed to make sure he get 'educated'

we talk about tahajjud, about being in continous zikrullah; about zikr using asma al husna and ismu ul azam; about taubat and taubat prayer and about tasbeeh, especially tasbeeh prayer, an excellent 'sin expiation' prayer; and about selawat to the nabi.

' fred, visit me at ' pearls and gem ', when they think you are fit enough for discharge. 
i am sure you remember doc sabri, that elderly gentleman i introduced to you in KL 5 years ago when you visited me at my hospital...well he has gone to meet with his lord.....i missed him dearly..a great friend and mentor.'

[   ]

'you know nik, this haj season, if i can, i want to do haj....i know i may die there.'
i knew, in his current state, his chances of making it beyond july, the haj season this year, is just about 50 : 50 and i knew that he knows that i know, but this was better left unspoken.

'it is a great priveledge to die in makkah during haj season. that is my ambition as well fred...imagine 2 million souls and a couple of million angels praying for you. i pray , insyaallah , you will get to do your haj'.

as i walked to the underground tube station at fulham road, i cannot helped but remember a short conversation i had with a lady professor back home in kuala lumpur, also a cancer patient, a year ago.

[  ]

life is a series of goodbyes.
first you say goodbye to your parents, oftentimes , brothers and sisters rather prematurely.
then to a series of friends and relatives.
then to your acute faculties, slowly, slowly.
then, it is time for you yourself to go.
that is the freudian, schopenhaurs and hegelian perspectives.
your whole universe revolves around you and when you are not there , the universe disappears.
rather depressing.

the true muslim perspective is brighter with the proviso you do your prior 'homework' here in this duniya..... it is a change of address, and if you want a 'damansara height' address in the next world, you have to work harder in this world. 
it is as simple as that.

you have to know who , the ceo of the universe is.
it is not obama, donald trump, najib tun razak or the agong! 
it is HE and HE alone.
it is HE alone you worship and HE alone you ask for help. fullstop.

i was exposed to death early. 
my dad died when i was nine. 
my sister, 4 years younger than me left us when she just turned 22. a brilliant and artistic young lady , an economics graduate.

[   ]

i took some 20 years to recover from that loss, due to my relative lack of my 'ugama', my state of non redha lingered.

i must admit frankly that most doctors are quite bad at handling 'death' and 'near death' in our patients.
our training, at least during my time is 100 % secular and i dont think there has been any change in the curriculum with respect to this important issue.

we are supposed to 'educate' our patients and their anxious relative when death are impending, but oftentimes than most, the younger consultants and specialists will not discussed the issue to the point even when someone already had their body riddled with cancer, some even went on to do major brain surgery, to remove a spread.....that , i find ridiculous.

but having said that, there are instances when close relative can be a pain in the neck. when we throw in the towel, they accuse us of 'euthanasia'!

i had the unfortunate experience some 15 years ago of managing an elderly woman in her late 60's who had been in coma for over 5 years, and admitted to our hospital for severe fulminating pneumonia.
i broached the sensitive subject of letting her go without aggressive treatment anymore and was summarily sacked on the spot.

in another incidence,  a corporate top gun came in with massive heart attack and haemorrhagic stroke at the same time. he was obviously on his death throes. i called the family to do their 'yasin' bit in the ccu. he died shortly after. everything went well i thought until i got a lawyer's letter on my desk 4 days after, asking me to explain why i use 'inappropriate language' to the datin.

i observe some muslim families behave badly around the death of their love ones, and this bad behavior is directly proportional to the pay check they bring home each month when they are alive.

[  ]

[  ]

on the other hand, the down and out, when it is time for them to go , there is no excessive fanfare.
i have one bizzare experience with an indonesian immigrant several years back which i like to share with you guys here.

[  ]

and lastly if any of you guys have the delusion or rather the illusion of being able to say the shahadah easily during your death throes, you can forget it.... in my statistic which i collect over 40 years of attending to the dead and near dead, statiscally it is less than 0.2 %!!!

except with the proviso you start right now practising in earnest the art of trying to be in continous zikrullah!
la ila haillallah muhammada rasullallah,... and really meaning it in your hearts of heart.
no reverence to HIS other creations, just reverence to HIM.

it is not too late to start , my dear friends, dato and tansri.......

ps :

i received from friends in the uk my good friend fred passed away at royal marsden hospital, london, just about 2 weeks after my visit.

may his soul be accepted amongst the accepted, amen.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

al qalwa tales .....from crocodile dundee to exorcist

that was the week that was!

i was fresh from umrah the evening before but had to take the early morning firefly flight to kuala trengganu, taking advantage of the long weekend following new year. i was looking forward to nursing my makkah flu back in al qalwa, pantai telaga papan....the fresh air and the raging sea could perhaps soften the body ache and general lousiness of a makkan flu.
beside that, my boys back there would be penniless by now and waiting for their 'gaji'.

by mid morning, myself, and hamzah went canoeing to check on his 'bubu' and fish net he laid upstream, the previous night, some 100 yards from our pondok. it was almost 11 months now since our encounter with a full grown estuarine crocodile probably 8 to 10 feet in length by gross estimation, and the 'croc fear' that we had earlier has now abetted somewhat. 

we are back canoeing, but no longer going the full distance. 
[    ]
certainly avoiding the deeper part of sungai telaga papan, especially near the now abandoned , unfinished clubhouse. we just limit our forays to our own backyard and the lubuk up stream, even then, with caution, looking at tell-tale signs of the big croc.

but even then we do not have to venture very far.
just a 100 feet beyond our pondok,
lo and behold, we found a three foot baby croc stucked into our net!
very aggressive despite its small size.

only probably six month old according to the perhilitan officer, but already bronze in discolouration.
for every small croc, there must be at least an 8 to 10 foot parent or parents prowling around!
the mother or dad that playfully grazed my canoe 10 months ago near the muara of sungai merang are very much alive and well....... take care when you fish  or canoe in any teganung river!

aggressive plus plus...i would have love to rear this chap in our small pond but the 'noise' it make is respectable. we do not wish her 10 foot mother prowling near our kitchen.

ready to go to hulu terengganu....

hamzah suggested we just sell it to a chinaman  he knows who would have him for dinner perhaps. 400 rm could exchange hands easily i was told, and that is a hefty sum for hamzah!

lan, my younger brother suggested we give him to dato yeh, my good friend in kota bharu who might be interested to rear it in his 'moat' surrounding his kb holiday pondok. he has a huge estate cum private holiday resort near penkalan chepa in kb.

'no hamzah, i have to dissapoint you. we cannot sell to your chinaman friend  because your boss is not that quite low profile. if the kampong people come to know we will be in trouble. lan, dato yeh is not contactable, i think he is still in makkah and i think he will also not agree to the plan. we can of course rear it here in the back yard if you guys love it very much ,but that would be asking it's mother to come for you guys!....let me call perhilitan. my kl friend knows the pengarah, encik hasdi, and has provided his hp number.',..... that was my considered opinion after one day of serious deliberation.

that night i thought to myself i could have some peace and quiet and settle down to some serious zikr and night prayer. remember, this was just two days post umrah in makkah. body and spirit , both were still in the mood! despite the bad flu and generalised body ache. 

don't underestimate shallowness of the alur, this is 'croc territory......setiu basin reforestation has worked!!

suddenly, in the wee hours of the morning around 4 am, a loud shrill shout outside the house from hamzah's wife,

' abe lan! abe lan!, dakto! dakto! mari cepat , mari cepat! fatehah kena rasuk hantu!'.

'omg!...., i said to myself, 'apa pula? i have been here the last two year. even camping alone on the beach during the initial construction phase of al qalwa....and no hantu!
now with all the hantu!'

fatehah and her husband just arrived three days earlier to al qalwa from rantau panjang. her husband lost his odd job in kb and was jobless for 6 months. hamzah asked them to come over, to give him a helping hand. 

unknown to me then, the two , husband and wife had joined hamzah upstream some 400 yards away from al qalwa towards lawyer dato hisham's beach house at 10 pm. hamzah still back to his fishing activities. they stayed too long there and fatehah decided on her own to walk back alone to al qalwa......brave girl!! [ also careless ]. 

that place is well known to be a wee bit 'keras' amongst the local, but despite that quite popular with young couples at night. also popular with the local 'pencegah maksiat' as well....and also the occasional drug addicts and the occasional police patrol
so the 'keras' aspect is pretty relative. the more 'keras' the place is, the more the attraction i can guess.

by 12 midnight she started to behave 'unnaturally' moving her hands in a semi-purposive manner nad complaining of feelingg extremely cold., according to hamzah. i was not told of this until later the next day. hamzah and her husband tried to pacify her in their ways until her 'problem' got worse, then they decided to call the boss at 4 am!

i have always been called at this wee hours of the morning to salvage people in heart failure and more often than not , to open people's blocked coronary arteries.....these are no sweat! it come with the territory of being the substantive senior consultant cardiologist at sjmc, after some thirty two  years of cardiological  practice.

this one.....a girl moving her upper limbs in odd fashion and grimacing away with eyes darting from one corner to another is a different kettle of fish!
this is not heart failure nor blocked arteries.

from the little that i still know of neurology, this is not seizure or epilepsy.
certainly not temporal lobe epilepsy.
could this well be histrionic behavior of a kampong girl under stress?.....highly probable in the list of all possibilities. this is her first time leaving home and having to interact with others as adults.....the 'internal' pressure for a kampong girl like her must be tremendous.

could this be a schizoid reaction to 'stress' from a kampong girl with a schizoid predisposition and tendency?....possible but remain to be seen and would need a full history from husband.
but 20 years of age, this could well be her 1st episode, so history is not effective here to exclude this.

these differential diagnoses raced through my mind.
uppermost in my mind was histrionic personality with acute conversion reaction, remembering my psychiatric training under prof teoh of university hospital in my fourth year medical school some forty something years back!

this being the case, given that fatehah, just turned 20 and coming from the backwater of rantau panjang, with its inherrent socio-cultural belief and back ground steeped in 'bageh' [  a kampong ceremony in the 60's in back water places like bachok and tumpat , kelantan involving neighbours and main actor the magic man , the bomoh with his ensemble, with the intention of driving away evil spirit supposedly truobling a member of the family. this usually a community affair ], 'rasuk hantu' [ devil possession ]and 'bommo', i am ready to dance to her tune and play the 'game'.

my initial game plan was to play around with her belief and play along to the point towards the end i can offer her some semblance of 'save waterface' outlet.
tomorrow , insyaallah, all will be ok.
the husband and her new friends will be gentle with her and cajole her along for a week or so until she get reorriented to the new 'stressfull' environment, of being fully adult.

that is the 'gameplan' with most histrionics as far as my little understanding of clinical psychiatry goes. 

my gameplan is to 'play the game' with her and offer her a 'soft landing'.

so i jumped in and start working.

'demo sapo. demo margi mano weh!? ', i bravely asked. [ damn it! who are you. where are you from ]

'.....mari sanno..', she answered, cheekily, pointing to the beach, in the direction towards lawyer dato hisham's beach house, some half kilometre away. [ ..i am from there... ]

that 'cheekily' part unsettled me a wee bit.
'am i on the right tract?', i asked myself.

' apo pasa  demo gedebe sangat demo mari kaca rumoh  kawae..mari kachau anok buoh kawae...tepat sining orghe semaye, orge bezikir!...guano ya demo gedebe sangat nih! '
[ why do you come and disturb my place and people. this is a place for prayer and rememberance..]

' sejuk sanno', it says , pointing in the general direction of the beach. it was raining outside.
' ambo nok tupe jah..' it said [  it is cold outside...just want to stay awhile.. ]

'that voice does not sound like fatehah'..., hamzah's wife, her half sister, echoed from behind me. hamzah and zaki [ her husband ] were there some distance away. lan, my brother, obviously did not like this encounter. he 'cabuted' back to our pondok.
lan and i, had in our childhood days seen the film,' the exorcist ', and i can read what went on his mind.

he had a choice. for me the bucks stopped here!

i did not waste time i started with a series of 'kul a'uzubirabbinnnas', followed by ' kul a'uuzubirabbil 'kul falak', finishing off with  a long series of 'ayat kursi'. even forgot to read al fatihah. i would already be on shaky ground, if this really is not hysterical conversion reaction, but a 'real rasuk hantu' case, i thought to myself, if i missed al fatihah.

after 30 long minutes of doing the series, there seemed to be no improvement. in fact i get a wee bit of palpitation when she asked,

'demo baca gapo weh!!?? ', glaring at me. [ what are you mumbling about my friend....]
now it is nik howk the 'bomoh's time to  get cold sweat in between his sarong!
she is now turning into an 'it'.

fatehah, given her age and back ground, i reckoned, would not have that  mental dexterity and nuance to understand that she is dealing with a pure amateur in front of her, and even joking about it!!

i was pretty sure at this juncture, it is no longer a 'mind game' i can play.
is this 'exorcism, fullstop?.

'am i reading it wrong? my reading may be all over the place', self doubt began to creep in.

from there i changed my 'gameplan',for good measure i added the last three ayat of surah albaqarah to my armamentarium and restart in full gear with the six small surah al 'khidr and strengthened further by 7 readings of the last three ayat of surah al baqarah.
i was sweating in my sarong despite the rain outside.
my hairs stood on ends!

after another very long 20 minutes, it began to work, the limb movement lessened and IT's glare become less fierce.

'..ambo nok kecing..', it said.   [ .. .i want to go and pee..]
' sapo dio ambo nih ', i asked.  [  who is this who want to pee..]
'ambo lah '  [ me ]
' ambo, ambo ni sapo dia?, i asked harshly. [ me , me  me, who is me!!?? ]
'ibleh ko jinn nih?', i asked, gaining in confidence. 

' yo lah, ambo fatehah.....', IT smiled cheekily, then added, abruptly, ' ambo iblis!.... '

my hairs stood on ends but i maintained my composure.

we asked the husband to follow her to an outside toilet, some 15 yards away from the workers quarter. the husband reluctantly followed her , in fear, accompanied by hamzah's wife. both in fear.

when they came back, fatehah regained her composure.
she told us ,
' i am  very tired. i want to go to sleep..'
the movement in the fingers had stopped by then.

myself, lan and hamzah left the couple to themselves and went outside the quarter to have coffee while waiting for the azan subuh, while zaki and hamzah's wife attended to fatehah.

shortly after that the husband, zaki, came out to join us for coffee.
'dakto, ambo takut tadi dekat bilek air.....bining ambo lambai tangan kat sapo dio ambo tok tahu, dio kata 'bye...bye..'
[ dr, i was fearful at the outside toilet just wife waved bye bye to some object in the dark.........]

now it was time for dr nik howk to have cold sweat!!
what a weekend!

the morals of the story are:

1. dr nik howk can say good bye to his plan to canoe in all the great rivers of terengganu....especially in the setiu basin. 
crocs are endemic here in terengganu, full stop!

2. girls! if you have to walk in the wee hours of the morning or at night on the beach far away from any beach house or motel, walk in company. please, please, never do it alone. there can be unwarranted 'encounter of the third kind'. or even 'encounters of the first kind' can be dangerous. one do not know what lurks in the minds of men at these places at such time.

3. if ever i have to face this kind of situation again i will put my 'scientific', analytic thoughts and scepticism away on the back burner, and right on from the first word go, proceed full steam ahead with my usual gambit of the 'six khidr' plus my favourite last three ayat of surah al baqarah. no more 'mental game'. assume it is exorcism right from the word go.
even if it is not, it will work for histrionic conversion reaction, most time.

7 x fatihah
7  x an nas
7  x al falak
7  x kul huwallah
7  x kulya
7  x ayatul kursi

and add my favourite, 
7  x last three ayat of al baqarah.

.....and if this does not work, i will get someone to call the local imam.....whatever the time. frankly, i would rather do primary infarct emergency angioplasty than this kind of work!!
it is damn scary because you do not know what kind of 'devil'  and 'demon' you are dealing with!

and if the 'demon' turned out to be a benign  'internal demon of the histrionic ' kind, even in this situation, the serious right on approach will work.


mr gedebe, the stud, a cross between pure arabian and a brazilian breed, mangalarga machador; pedro, ex-polo; mek bunga,  pure arabian but 'tak comel, thus the name; and salsabil, ex-race, now heavily pregnant.

al qalwa is a small piece of heaven on earth but don't stray too far away from it at night on the beach, especially alone!

other articles on haj and umrah in the blog:




Monday, December 26, 2016

UMRAH.......on to the next level

ru, joe, nina , shasha and yazman,

ok guys, you have all completed 5 makkan days following tabung haji's directives from their small booklet to the T.
now papa want you guys to move to the next level. let us all leave the  ground level piazza and move on  to the next level, to the upper level floor.

join me here for tawaf sunat minimum twice a day for more 'exercise'! it is 0.9 to 1 km in circumference and the whole exercise will take us about 2 hours if we walk daintily and slowly.
with the hard marbled floor and just your stockinged feet,  papa would advice that you guys do just that: walk slowly and daintily. or else you will get plantar faciitis in no time , and our spiritual and physical experiment in the masjidil haram will fail right after the 1st attempt!

papa do not want that to happen because papa want to share with you some of the secrets that the haram has to offer, if just its millions and millions of  adherrents care to consider.

let us leave the 'too noisy indonesians , malaysians, turks and bangla with their cacaphony of group zikr and oftentimes 'irritating and noisy' and distracting group chanting on the ground floor of the 'mataaf', the pearl white marbled floor of the piazza surrounding the kaabah..

let us also leave those people who are too busy clicking their way in tawaf doing 'selfies' and answering calls on their handphones, to themselves. too many of these nowadays!

come children! join me on the 1st floor.
papa has not entirely abandoned the piazza yet, but when the crowds get busy and noisy, papa go to the relative peace of the upper levels.

over here let us throw away all pre-prepared long doa's and standard chantings.
it is a silent world up on the upper level.....we do zikrullah silently up here,
zikr of the heart rather than the lisan, the mouth.

we have the Qur'an, the 99 names of the asma ul husna and the tasbih, tahmid and tahlil to choose from.
any one of them in xcombination. 
the permutations and combinations are endless!

on the upper level papa has even done away with 'la illa haillallah' .
and why not!?

right here, around the kaaabah, 'la illa haillallah' seems superflous.
if you have so far reached the haram, it is a given thing already!
HE is the one. the only substantive one. the rest, including all of us, living and non living, are non entities!

papa's favourite for the 1st round is 'ya allah'
it encompasses all the 99 names.
it is indefinable.

the 2nd is 'ya rahman'.

Allah's mercy does not differentiate whether you are buddhists, christians, jews, muslims or downright secular. HE is mercy to everyone, including the stones and birds....

then we move on to 'ya rahim'.
while 'ya rahman' is for everyone, 'ya rahim' is extra special. 'ya rahim' is only for the people who submit.

by the beginning of the 4th circumbulation, you guys must have covered some three plus kilometres.
tired feet and sore muscles.....but 'ya hayyu ya quyyum', the ever living and the eternal, will soldier you on.

then on to 'ya rabb ya zaljalaliwal ikram'.
you guys will be energized and motivated by now.

if by the beginning of the sixth circumbulation, 'ya fattah ya razak ya wahab ya ghoniy ya mughni' fail to excite you, papa will be utterly disappointed. these most beautiful names are about power, richness, generousity and benevolence.
some shyakhs and tok gurus even dare to suggest that if one make this 'mantra' a daily occurrence, one's life will be 'rich'. 
papa is not into this

finally we finish our tawaf with 'ya khadeem,ya daim, ya ahad ya wahid ya samad'.
the one who has no beginning, no ending, no equal , the one and only and the eternal.

you guys have four more makkan days to elevate yourselves beyond the din and commonness of everyday life.
after that we leave for kuala lumpur, back to our ordinariness and oftentimes daily chores and rigours.

when we circumbulate the kaabah, our hearts and mind are focussing on the Owner of the kaabah, the 'ya fattah, ya razak, ya wahab, ya ghoniy ya mughni, ya khadeem, ya daim, ya ahad, ya wahid, ya samad, ya rahman, ya rahim , ya hayyu, ya qayyum, ya rabb, ya zaljala liwalikram' all HIS indefinable majesty, splendour and power.

the trick really is to bring back some hidden secret of the 'baitullah' into one's mundane ordinary day to day life and work,
how can one do this, you may ask?

as papa have told you in our previous communication,umrah is a great open university of life.
it is back to zikrullah during your tawaf......bring it to your work place.

for shasha, do it at the operation table and your er.
yes! even when you are faced with death ond the dying throes of an eight year old down with haemorrhagic dengue.

for ru, do it while you are managing those American visitors in kuala lumpur  from remote year.
it seemed incongrous, since they are mainly 'godless and secular' to you.
but you can take it from papa that this is where 'ugama' is needed most.

for yazman, the national oil company and its strategic planning unit would benefit if you can bring back some semblance of ugama into klcc. you guys deal with billion rm projects. a wee bit of 'ugama' may help here.

and for joe, papa know on a scale of things at star cruise, you are still  'gurkha' doing the number crunching and prenegotiations for their tender committee. if you do move on later to managing the nation's ' durian and musang king' plantations, and i hope you will move on subsequently to things more 'halal', since you have the talent, don't ever leat the chinaman's disease of 'that 2.5 per cent' ever percolate into your life.

we already have too much of this lately in putrajaya.
ringgit malaysia has upped the ante and refined it to an art-form.

for you my dear nina, insyaalah, your exam next week will just be a breeze!

with lots of love and fatherly tenderness,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

UMRAH.......reminiscence of 'old time' and our time for renewal

Labbaik Allah humma labbaik
Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik
Innal hamda
Laka walmulk
Laa sharika lah.

O my Lord, here I am at Your service, here I am.
There is no partner with You,
here I am.
Truly the praise
and the provisions are Yours,
and so is the dominion and sovereignty.

There is no partner with You.

nadzru, johan, nina , shasha and yazman,


we are coming to the penultimate week before our umrah.
i hope you guys are polishing up yourselves spiritually so that you would not just end up as  'tourists'.
we want to be 'travelers' not tourist....'travelers on the path to allah'
the late ustaz dr harun din once told papa in the eighties before haj and umrah that, 'haj and umrah are essentially a rehearsal of death'.
he was echoing the fact that in a haj mabrur a traveler 'dies to the duniya and lives for the akhirat' after that.

the good shaykh, shaykh ninowy here talks of attachment and detachment. 
papa could remember some years back, being an 'old kaki' at umrah and haj, when doing tawaf and papa could feel like acres of space, while some years, when papa was 'sergabuk' and unfocussed, it felt so crowded.
iman , like everything else , waxes and wane, even in the best of circumstances and place, for all of us mere mortals! 

life is a mind game.
the relative 'success' or 'failure' in life is determined largely by the paradigm or shift of paradigm that each individual make up there in his cerebral cortex.
and your 'cerebral cortex' is just a servant of  your 'heart'
the 'heart' of a believer is malleable.
it is 'moldable', but require a lot of serious work.

it is our choice, to be ok or not ok, to be a good abdal of allah or to be 'always in a state of 'irrational' anger with HIM throughout life.
there are so many example for you guys to see around, people perpetually 'angry with allah'

if you can achieve that detachment, alhamdullillah, if not continue to work on it.
it will come to you, insyaallah.
it is 'dowable' insyaallah.
and  in papa's estimation, 'umrah' is a 'great  open university' for such game plan to change towards the better.
an expensive one no doubt but you guys are fairly lucky lot since papa is very much an addict to this 'open university'!

but this is not free guys!
you guys have to some work on your own.
in the equestrian parlance, one can bring the horse to the water but one cannot force it to drink!

to achieve this end it is important in this last week to brush up on the following :

1 . prayers ie sunnat prayers around the compulsory prayers.

2.  solatul jenazah
there is jenazah prayer all the time in the haram and masjid nabi

3. solatul tasbeeh

this is papa's favourite prayer. some months ago  papa used to do it daily and in ramadan almost twice a day. 
now at least twice a week. children, iman and fervour waxes and wane. your dad is no exception.
' why solatul tasbeeh, i heard the hadith is dhaif? ', you asked.

' sons!, forget about dhaif, hasan or soheeh! you are not there 1470 years ago ! if imam al ghazali [circa 300 to 325 year, post nabi ] or al qushairi [ circa 350, post nabi ] did it, i dont care that  muhammad ibnu abdul wahab [ circa 1102 to 1192, post nabi ] did not think ibnu abbas' tradition is strong. 

just do it. 

papa's point is this: if you are al ghazali or imam qushairy, your tok gurus were at least tabi-tabi'in or at worst, tabi-tabi-tabi'in. hadiths and memories , especially in the arabian context, were still fresh. if the 'salafis' now whose substantive tok gurus was at least 11 centuries after nabi, what basis of claim can they make that their version, and only their versions are correct , the rest are maudhu' or suspect.

in solatul tasbeeh, papa agree with the minority view . 
children!,do it  daily in the haram for size.

and when you are safely back home in KL , go do tasbeeh daily for 6 months. 
then come back tell me whether you think it is dhaif,  soheeh, hasan or maudhu'. !
we can discuss further.

chances are, you will  find solatul tasbeeh bringing in  so much solace and pleasure to you, that you would feel embarassed to discuss dhaif, hasan or soheeh anymore!
those who feel happy going  thru life wearing blinkers, go ahead.
we have no querrel with these 'blinkered'  guys!

' is'nt it  time for those who believe in the zikr of allah to taste the sweetness of iman? '

'experiential islam ' is more important than a load of hadiths and theory.
the hadith is not dhaif, the iman is dhaif.

4.night prayer [ tahajjud ]
in the haram, one don't sleep my sons! [ mufti menk short take on night prayer ]

5.sembahyang israk and dhuha

6. zikr

any of those 30 or so zikr,  or more.
these are papa's favourites.
they are short and the ma'ana are quite obvious and easy.
we are not 'schooled' in the ugama, so just try do what we know best.

7. and please polish up on the rudiments  and doa involved in an 'umrah'.
if you guys find the doa during tawaf and saei too tedious, do a thousand 'kul huwalah' instead.
some 15 years back, papa did the big tawaf, around the kaabah, early morning after sahur and the crowd was too big! the big circle on haram's 1st floor is around 1.2 km or so and that equates to 750 kul huwallah each round!

in the haram, children, do your things.
on that day papa thought papa did very well well until papa met a young somalian teacher, and mashaallah the conversation went on like this:

'assala mualaikum young brother , where are you from'
'somalia...', said he, he carried one sling bag, and later i found out that was his only luggage.
'where are you staying in makkah?'
' i eat, sleep in the haram....i wash and have bath in the public rest room outside sir'
...and papa had a five star hotel room to go back to after the ordeal of the sunat tawaf!!!!

7. solawat to the nabi.
the little time we spend in madinah, try to be in continous solawat to the nabi [ pbuh ].
visit his grave every prayer if you can, otherwise everyday.
read his seerah before our journey to know him better.
martin ling's seerah of the nabi [ pbuh ] in papa's estimation is one of the best.
it is collecting dust on papa's bookshelf for over 40 years!
none of you read it, so occupied you guys with whathapp, misshaps etc etc and etc!
t o love THE BELOVED you must 1st love HIS prophet numero uno.

at the end of the day guys, ' what is  the heck papa, are these all about!!?? ', you may ask.

it is all about getting closer to HIM.
when HE is your friend, the rest of the world can go and fly kites.

that young somalian teacher had very little.
but papa thought his haj and umrah was 'more mabrur' than papa's.
on the day when nothing else matter, that is the difference between the night and the day.

i am not asking you to be an average worker or citizen.
for from that.
if you are just a bandaraya worker, be the best , honest bandaraya worker.
if you are a shopkeeper in downtown pj, be the best and honest one.
does not matter you earn million rm or just a mussel here, and a mussel there.
if you are a govt doctor in shah alam, be the best medical officer.

likewise, if you are ceo of malaysia incorporated, please, please, don't be like that shameless numbskull, that clown , that badut, now sleeping and shitting in putrajaya, totally oblivious of what the whole wide world thought of him!

islam is about good intention [ niya'], good thoughts, good deeds and above all good character. islam is about excellence.
certainly it is  not about this kind of utter nonsense!
..... and being quiet on this tantamount to 'subahat'.

where are all the shakers and movers of society!!!??
are  we justa nation of 'cari makan' with no 'core' values?
no maruah and no accountability?


Friday, November 25, 2016

...All Of Us Can Fly.......

friends, dato and tansri,

we are all fellow travelers on this planet earth.
this short sojourn in this duniya is just like a transient stop under a tree before our forward journey
our next stop is alam barzark.
a relatively very short stop compared to the next
it is just a 'small' station.

the final stop is beyond the atlantic, beyond the pacific.
it is back to our paradisal origin...the alam akhirat.
alam akhirah, just after the sirat, bifurcates into jannah and al jaheem.
there is no return ticket
there is no side station
al jannah and al jaheem are for eternity.

[ oops! correction: there is a small sub station, on a plateau called al a'raf  where those with 'equal weightage on the 'al mizan' get assessed and reassessed for a couple of hundred thousand earth years , allahualam, before their on-toward final respective destination ]

here, we have a 'potpourri' of related lectures, old and current, by shaykh ninowy of duluth, usa, to invigorate us into the journey.
i count shaykh ninowy as one of my tok guru

we start in a rather inverted way, we start with the 'top end', three khutbah on the 'awliyas'.
their 'karamah etc and etc
then we go back to the nitty gritty of cleansing the 'heart', the tazkiah an naf tazkiah al qulub ,the real hard work......

shaykh abdal qadir isa, [ circa 1920-1991 ], a syrian mujaddid  and doyen of ilm tasawuf from aleppo, ,  in his magnum opus, ' haqa' iq an at-tashawwuf ', realities of sufism, opined , that the journey starts with taubatan nasuha as the first station.

the next station is muhasabah, or introspection.
the third and the fourth stations, khauf [ fear ] and raja' [ hope ], come together.
the  careful traveler goes through life till death with both fear and hope.

then the subsequent stations, shidiq, ikhlas, sabr, wara', zuhud, ridha, tawakal, and shukr..........

the fruit of all these is closeness to allah, mahabbatullah

in a tradition from umar al khatab known as hadith al jibril, ' worship allah as if you are seeing HIM and if you can't , be assured that HE is seeing you! '.

all of us want to be people of ihsan.
all of us can fly.
we just need to re-orientate our paradigm.
we  just have to re-calibrate our hearts and minds in congruence with the qur'an and sunnah

   awliya allah 1

    awliya allah 2

    awliya allah 3

   on shukr

   on piety

    tazkiah , 4th nov.

    ibnu athaillah al iskandari's hikam, part 1

[ starts after 26.05 ]

    ibnu athaillah al iskandari's hikam, part 2

    on zikr

  on detachment & attachment
[ a lot of us live in a spiritual winter ]

   on death, dying and the living dead...

   from rituals to spiritual

.....and now, dato and tansri, are we ready to re-testify?