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Friday, November 29, 2013


The last time I have seen Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was several months ago in a TV rerun of Bruce Lee's movie. It was a fleeting fight stint for him.

Very recently when I met Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (figuratively, inflight magazine) on the flight to Melbourne has shaved bald and clean cut. Does age makes him fairer?

The retired professional basketball player and celebrated athlete who won the NBA Most Valuable Player title six times said, " One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team".

Lew Alcindor before converted to Islam.

(AGE OF ALCINDOR, UCLA supershooter Lew Alcindor ended his collegiate career in style as he led the Bruins to their third straight NCAA championship. In his last game before graduation Alcindor scored 37 points as the UCLA team triumphed over Purdue).

He played professional first with Milwaukee Bucks and later Los Angeles Lakers. His advantage of height and the formidable sky-hook technique he mastered made it difficult to block the ball from getting into the net.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The crusade against Islam is still ongoing but under various guises - fight against terror, bombings and missiles (drones), Guantanamo, government change, globalisation, currency manipulations, trade barriers ... What happened to Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Yaman, Mindanao, Patani ... Indeed, the US is the mother of crusader states.

After meeting the Pope at the Vatican Najib went to Mekah to make amends probably. What has he been doing for the past 11x3 years in politics to remain clueless of so many things? We are talking about putting things in the right perspectives, past and present.

Lest he forget history. What does he know about the papacy and crusades? Does he show cognizance of the millions that sacrificed their lives for Islam and the Muslim  civilisation - the Ayubbids, the Seljuks, the Ottomans?

Pope Urban II was the initiator of the 1st Crusade in 1096. Many Popes after him were crusaders.

The castle near Latakia, Syria where Salahudin al-Ayubi spent much the winter when not fighting against the infidels.
I visited the castle in 1999. The Aga Khan Trust has allocated funds to repair the castle.

Salahudin spent a total of 27 years on horseback to wage war against the crusaders. In 1187 he destroyed the army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin and recovered Jerusalem for Islam. Four years later he died poor in Damascus after giving away whatever he has to charity.

The Ottomans, the saviour of Islam.

Mehmet II captured Constantinople, the seat of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.

Source: Geoffrey Hindley. 2004. A Brief History of the Crusades: Islam and Christianity in the Struggle for World Supremacy. Constable & Robinson, London 300pp

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Siam is the only nation in Asia unconquered. The people have been fiercely patriotic to the country and kings. Today, politics see Thailand divided.

Kedah was ceded to Malaya in 1893. Thanks to the British. Our kings were petty fighting among themselves.

Tamra pichai songkram - art of war.

Before going to war the country must be strong to defend itself against enemies within and without. Firstly, the country must be impregnable. To be so, the most strategic information needed is the layout of the country ie. accurate maps, and hence also of enemy territories and battlegrounds.

The fighting men well trained to be led into battle manoeuvres by hardened commanders.

The logistics and other paraphernalia needed for the fighting machine - elephants for transportation and battles.

(A reenactment of elephant battles at Surin, Thailand. Elepahnts were long used as pachyderm panzers and helped turned course of history in Thailand, Burma and Cambodia)

Advanced technology - ships and cannons.

Source: Santanee Phasuk and Philip Stott. 2004. Royal Siamese Maps: War and Trade in Nineteenth Century Thailand. River Books, Bangkok 208pp

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The Ismailis are now under the leadership of Aga Khan V, their Imam. Below is about their previous Imam, Aga Khan IV, Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni.

Aga Khan IV at Harvard.

About the Ismailis.

Aga Khan IV spent much of early years in Nairobi, Kenya, and then studied in Switzerland. He obtained a B.A. in Islamic Studies at Harvard in 1959.

Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam of the Ismailis visited his communities in many parts of the world. The Aga Khan Foundation has done much charities towards development of the Ismailis and others.

Source: Farhad Daftary and Zulfikar Hirji. 2008. The Ismailis: An Illustrated History. Azimuth Editions, London 262pp


An idea was mooted to bring in teachers from India to help teach English. Can you imagine how your grandchildren talk the way they talk English in India? With much tongue rolled to add the accent? That was how a former Science Adviser to the PM described it to me when I commented that we are regressing in English.

Language needs practice even to master one own's mother tongue - writing, conversation, reading, music, watching, listening, imitating ...

Glad that I found these two books at the Ipoh Sunday Market that were used to teach beginning English in primary schools in the 50's and early 60's. Reminds me of how slow I was learning the language!

After Book One and Book Two stages of Beacon Reading next go to Book Three. The latter was written by James H. Fassett and first published in 1922 by Ginn and Company Limited, London. The copy I got is in mint condition, the forty first impression (1956) of the revised edition of 1931.

First topic of Book Three.

A penny can buy a pig? Our Shafie Apdal would say that the penny is useless.

Forgot the rhyming of chicken licken!

Titty and Tatty.

After Beacon Book Three one is ready for Malayan Readers starting from Reader 1 and further.

Lesson 1 of Reader 4. Scout motto "Be Prepared." Reminds me of my Queen Scout badge!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The Malay Archipelago is known as Nusantara or Gugusan Kepulauan Melayu to the people.

James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak had to ban head-hunting otherwise there would be no end to it because it is vengeful. Without peace means no economy to finance governing his territory.

However, when he put down the Chinese miners' rebellion who were against his government imposing tax and burnt down Kuching he let the Dyak head-hunters chased them into the jungles of Kalimantan. More than a thousand heads were chopped off.

Dried heads of victims placed by the rafter of the house.

A Kelabit father in head-hunting gear at Long Lelang.

A young Sea Dyak equipped for a long expedition either in search of food or hunting heads.

A Dyak headhunter.

Band of head hunters. They can track the enemy through thick jungle.

Dyak mandaus with hand-carved handles from deer horns for headhunting.

Land Dyak head house, or Bala of Lanchang Village on Upper Sadong River.

Murut head-feast.

Dyaks convicted of murder by headhunting, on the way to prison.


To me there are only four good men.

His father, Dato Onn Jaafar of Turkish descent who spearheaded UMNO and later to leave and form a new political party.

While rummaging some old photos, lo and behold I found that I had shaken hand on stage with the then Minister of Education, Tun Hussein Onn.

After getting Diploma Pertanian from the College of Agriculture, Serdang after a 3 year course in March 1973, we had the graduation ceremony held at the College hall in July.

My mind was quite in a jumble during the period of study and didn't perform well enough!