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Monday, December 30, 2013


In these days of internet vast amount of information are made available in a matter of seconds so much so that libraries are under threat of going dimmer. Innovative measures are to be taken to encourage the populace, young and old to read and make use of libraries.

Libraries in Malaysia are on the downtrend. They are not reader-friendly. Most if not all libraries including those in the universities have security guards at the turnstiles. It is as if knowledge and information kept are to be guarded like gold deposits in the banks! This trend will hasten the demise of libraries in Malaysia, more of this in a future posting.

The pictures of libraries below are of decades old.

Central University Library, University of California at San Diego.

University at St. Gollen, Switzerland, 18th century building housing incunobula and rare manuscripts.

Bibliotheque Nationale, the national library of France, Paris.

L: Sate V. I. Lenin Library, the national library of Russia, in Moscow.
R: Bodleian Library, the library of the University of Oxford, England.

Central Library, Accra, Ghana.

Public library in Vaerlose, Copenhagen.

National Library of Canada, Ottawa.

Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City.

Robert Hutchings Goddard Library, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Wichita Public Library, Kansas.

Reading Room, U.S. Library of Congress.

The architectural design of a library must take into considerations of many factors. It can be simple to cut costs or unique but the criterion is functional at the utmost. It has to blend with the surroundings eg. climate, natural and manmade landscape, buildings, types of community catered for. Spaciousness gives that sense of openness and friendly atmosphere. Easy access and centrally located would encourage patronage. The staff should be well trained in their respective job functions that offer diverse  services to cater different needs and modes of knowledge seeking.

Friday, December 27, 2013


A herd of seladang or gaur, they very much resemble buffaloes. Gaurs are wild and fierce jungle animals. To protect the herd especially their young the leader of the herd will attack the enemy when it sense danger.

Harry Charles Syers, Commissioner of Police of the Federated Malay States was a game hunter. July 14 1897 was a very sad day indeed for Syers was to die by the sharp horns of a seladang in the deep jungle of Pahang.

H.C. Syers in uniform with Hugh Clifford at Raub Gold Mine stockade, May 1892.

The killer seladang was later hunted and killed by R.S. Meikle. The head of the seladang was made into a trophy in memory of Syers.

Inscription at the bottom of the trophy.

Syers two-storied house (left) and police barracks (right) on the hill, now called Bukit Aman, above the Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur, 1882.

n.b. Seladang are known to interbreed with (escaped) cows to produce big size offsprings termed selembu which are unfortunately sterile.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Najib in family photo. What the great man think of him?

Quite a playboy.

Dumped the beautiful first wife. He doesn't like BuDu.

Since he joined politics at the tender age of 22 till now he is still trying to shed the shadow of his father's image - Felda, Razak's visit to China ...

This is what he said as Minister of Education?

He asked for feedback on indiscipline but said that nothing we can do about indiscipline! That is not solving the problem at the same not supportive of the teachers. He must suggest policies and measures to curb serious discipline problems in  schools eg. reward-punishment system, counselling, PTAs, community involvement, extracurricular activities so on and so forth. Not to imply to live with the problem!

Talk is not cheap then. Behind him the RM7.2B paid consultants are doing the talking to propel us into high income economy at the expense of burdening the rakyat. Nazir makes it looks easy with RM9M annual take.

For being clueless and blunderfool after 11x3 years (11 his feng shui number) in politics then the hands that push him up should push him down. Malaysia has and is suffering from two blunderfools. The country is regressing in more ways than one.

Two things happen when you grow older - age and wise. It seems that only age happens to Najib.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Dr. Hashim Wahab was the Deputy DG of MARDI at one time and thus one of my bosses between 1979-1990. He left MARDI to be DG of the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB) based in Kota Kinabalu in 1990. I left for MARDI Cameron Highlands the next year. I know him as a no-nonsense administrator, scientist, being open-minded and approachable. A scientist cannot be dogmatic as I learned.

Dr. Hashim is an achiever and still going on doing that put many others to shame including me. He is a member of the Malaysian Science Academy. He was in the corporate sector for some years after he left MCB. He keeps abreast in many things as his blog reveals:

His hobbies are varied - cycling, mountain climbing, books, organisations, conferences, service to the community, adventure travel. He has cycled to N. Korea from here, climbed Mt. Kinabalu several times and has written a book about his outdoor activities during his stay in Sabah.

It must be more than two decades ago when he said about taking pegaga juice good for health. He must be doing other things to keep fit and youthful as seen in the recent picture above. If he keeps a young wife that I don't know!! I have been out of touch of him since he left MARDI.

Has Dr. Hashim found the elixir of youth? The book he is holding entitled "The Proven Keys for Long, Healthy Life" among the many in his extensive library suggests that he is doing something right. Visit his blog and ask him.

There is an anti-aging society that has been established by Dr. Harnam Singh, a world reknown ENT consultant. I know him too for he did tympanoplasty on both my left and right ears in the early 70s. He is a man of calmness with always a smile on his face and soft spoken.

There are encouraging developments now that there is serious talk about self-sufficiency in rice and setting up an agricultural university. Hope the latter materialise soonest.  The country needs to establish a full-bodied R&D organisation for rice just like cocoa, oil palm and rubber to achieve the self-sufficiency objective. Dr. Hashim Wahab with his wide knowledge and international experience in agricultural science could be a pillar in the proposed university and rice development.

On a personal note, Dr. Hashim attended my wedding in September 1979, and I am embarrassed to say I have not returned any favour since. This posting is but a small gratitute to him.

Dr. Hashim Wahab (left).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Armadillo is the scaly anteater, Tenggiling in Malay, Manis javanica scientific name. It feeds at night on ants and termites using sharp claws to dig or tear up nests in or above the ground.

Armadillo's meat in demand, cause for illicit trade. Wonder what's so special about the meat? Muslims cannot take the meat I think.

Aztec people of Mexican empire - ritual transformation into an armadillo.

A pair of Texas armadillos on the highway!

Armadillo milk anyone? God knows where's the udder!

Be a friend to armadillo and carry it over your head.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Myanmar, this 60 million people so-called Buddhist country is on rampage against Muslims, the Rohingyas. Skirmishes against Muslims have occurred many times before especially after General Ne Win's coup  in 1962.

Surely their god(s) is(are) not angry neither the people have misunderstood their religion. Is it hatred in the people - monks, the army and junta lead to genocide of the Rohingyas? In the western state of Rakhine, 200 people have been killed, whole villages burned forcing 140,000 to flee their homes.

This man from United Nations, Razali Ismail has been very active in and out of Myanmar to cajole the Myanmar junta in order to gain release of Su Kyi who has been under house arrest for more than a decade. Now, where is he and what has he done to appease the junta from committing more atrocities to the Muslims? He should use his leverage in the UN, Su Kyi and Myanmar to help stop the killing fields.

Su Kyi, since her release dare not say anything to the perpetrators of the crime against humanity.

Pity the Muslims wherever they originated from earlier on generations ago to settle in Myanmar. For what they have contributed to the development of the country they are not even recognised as citizens.

May your donations through this Maybank account help ease the sufferings of the Rohingyas.

Malaysia has not done enough to help the Rohingyas. Najib spent billions on consultants to save his skin but immune to the slaughter of Muslims. Should Malaysia send athletes to the SEA Games in Myanmar?

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Burma gained independence in 1948. U Nu won the first general election in April 1960. He was supportive of Muslim minorities but the coup by General Ne Win in March 1962 put an end to Muslim political  activity. That was the beginning of genocide but before that there were skirmishes already.

The royal dynasty was put to an end after the Burma wars when the British took over the country. The last king was exiled to India likewise the last Mughal emperor was exiled to Burma.

When kings ruled, culture and religion did not differentiate between the minority and majority groups of people. Burma was rich in natural resources of land and water to cater for easy everyday life in terms of food, material culture, ornaments. Its borders became porous as neighbouring Muslims from India came to settle in Burma. The palace power was not abusive enabling a powerful state to wage wars against Siam.

The king and queen at a performance at the Mandalay palace gardens.

The spirit 'palace' at Taungbyon, near Mandalay. Dancing mediums are with the orchestra on the platform, drunken revellers are below, c.1869.

An ah-nyeint troup performing in the street, c.1900. A spirit (centre) sends a tiger (foreground) to catch the heroine who sits weaving (right).

A bon-shay (double-headed drum) group with two dancers, c.1880

 A yein (chorus) dance by a group of young girls at a Buddhist festival, c.1890's

Trained elephants for war, work, transport and leisure.

Princess Hteik, descendant of former royalty showing oil paintings of her parents, Yangon, 2013.

Under the current junta supposedly more liberalised after relaese of Ang Su Kyi, Myanmar is a hell of a place for Rohingyas. Militant Buddhism has taken over the mood of the country and killing fields taking place at will.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hishamudin is a nicotine addict. It is not easy to detox and come out clean from such candu. However he must try otherwise suffer the consequences. I tried Peter Stuyvesant post-school days but my throat was sensitive and I would cough. It was a good thing to deter me from getting the habit.

I don't know what brand he puffs but certainly not Player's or Rough Rider. They were cigarettes of yore.

Apart from the guidelines to adhere he needs strong self-discipline to quit smoking.

Modern medicine makes angioplasty routine. Whatmore, the stent technology to balloon the blocked artery has improved to sophistication.

Alhamdulillah, Hishamudin gone through the angio well. He is to say a modified man. I am too a modified man in many ways. Had undergone angioplasty thrice. I think it's in the genes. My indebtness to Dato' Seri Roba'ayah and Dato' Bala of IJN.

Kick the habit bro.

Or you may become like this according to the Ministry of Health.