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Monday, October 28, 2019


KKM Play God?

Multiple myeloma is a rare form of blood cancer. My wife has been diagnosed with the disease 7 years ago. Since then she has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for the first four years at Ampang Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, and then at Hospital Raja Perempuan Bainun (HRPB), Ipoh until now. The haematology specialists from both hospitals have more or less exhausted the types of chemo drugs used on her, at best they retard the cancer cells. Earlier on, she had stem cell treatment at Ampang Hospital and this gave respite of good health for a couple of years before relapse.

Lately, the cancer cells have become aggressive and my wife has been in and out of hospital. Now, she is much weakened. For the latest treatment, and as a last resort, the specialist at HRPB, Dr. Kamini recommended the use of Darzalex, weekly doses for the first month, subsequently fornightly and later on monthly. She had the first two doses already and the third next week.

Both of us are retired governments, my wife a former teacher and also lecturer at UKM and UITM.  I was with MARDI for 20 years. I have applied  to MARDI to pay for the expensive drug, RM12,800 for each dose of 2 vials supplied by MS Ally. Time is not on our side as the approval will take time as MARDI has to get the go-ahead from the Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KMM), so for the beginning we pay first and to get reimbursements later once approved. We are confident that it will be straightforward case because MARDI has no stipulation as to the cost. Lo and behold, we got word ie. unofficially from the KMM people that they cannot approve use of the drug because it is expensive and not in their list!

Are they ignorant that the party responsible payment of the drug is MARDI not KKM. If the drug is not the list, there must be a committee to review it because the medicine world changes by the hour due to their (west) innovative research. We just relax and say they have done it all. Is to review the list something big and difficult? We are talking about saving life, not money. Is life that cheap? Let us not play god. Anyway, the drug has been on compassionate list before, why KMM pulled it back? Each cancer patient has his/her own chemo treatment regime accordingly, thus not many need to use Dovralex. This further adds to the cost .

If they do not approve (officially) then we are going to exhaust all avenues of appeal to KMM up to the Minister and even up to PM. We have nothing to loose. We perceive it as an injustice to deprive my wife getting the treatment. Nobody wants to get cancer! The Ministry must listen to reasons and approve the drug use. Thank you. I will do anything for my wife, my love. I will solo picket if needs be.  

Sunday, October 27, 2019


Nature Farming – harnessing latent energies of the environment

In the last two centuries, our haste towards development  and progress have resulted in widespread degradation of the earth’s ecosystem. Improper disposal of industrial and domestic wastes have polluted the soil, water, and air. In certain parts our atmosphere is partly blanketed with greenhouse gases which trap the deflected sun rays and prevent them to escape.  Land denudation, deforestration, diminishing biodiversity, burgeoning population, and not to mention wars further add to the earth’s crisis. Global climate change is a clear example of the sum effect of man’s negative follies on the ecosystem. Equitable climate means survival for all living things and preservation of the non-living.

To face the environmental challenges on the ecosystem, organisations at various levels - internationally, nationally, communally, and individually are taking remedial measures  sustainable ecosystems. Malaysia is promoting going green (biodiesel, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture), renewable energy use (solar and hydro power), cutting down plastic use, and waste recycling.

Agriculture is the mainstay of this country. The practice of sustainable agriculture is viewed to be of utmost importance for economic production for the long term.  It hinges on optimising the use of resources  of the ecosystem - water, topography, fertility, weather, pest and diseases to match with arability of the crop(s) to be grown. The use of modern and appropriate technologies must go in tandem in all aspects of production, processing, and marketing.  Agricultural pollution could be minimised by judicial use of fertiliser and pesticides for example.

In organic farming (OM) system, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not applied in the growing of crops. If used at all it will be minimal and under unavoidable situations. This environmental friendly approach is one of the ways  towards sustainable agriculture. However, it is intensive in terms of labour especially may not be suitable for large scale agriculture.

Nature farming (NF) is another approach towards sustainable agriculture. It is less intensive. The concept is to adapt crop and/or animal husbandry to the inherent  characteristics of the land. It is to harness and merge the latent energies of the diverse elements in the system to productive use. Biotic factors such as root competition, plant growth habit, storied and shade effects, animals, and abiotic such as weather, soil condition, rocks that persist in sub-ecosystem are taken advantage in the interplay and relationships they may have - neutral, synergistic, symbiotic, antagonistic. The use of diverse plant species from ground cover to tall trees to beneficial use means that it is a sort of disorganised mixed farming of the wild. However, there is order in the disorder. Also, NF is perhaps an advanced form of traditional agriculture with basic scientific concepts applied.  

The oil palm, the most efficient converter of the sun’s energy to edible oil is a good  candidate for nature farming that shows intricacies of man-animal-plant-environment relationships and energy flow. From the start, if the area is bushy with small trees, just clear (with bulldozer) the planting row and plant the oil palm seedlings. The lining may not be accurate to our liking but good enough. Within a couple of years the young palms will overshoot the tops of the bushes. The vigorous fibrous root system can cover a wide area and would soon overwhelm the root systems of lalang and grasses around it. Within three years the lalang and other undergrowths will be overshaded by the palm fronds and die off. The small trees can be gradually cut down or pollarded. If there are buffaloes grazing in the area they will help to clear the wild grasses and vines and make walking paths. They will however munch the shoot and leaves of young palms. Being fast growers, the palms will recover with new cycle of leaves and stunting is minimal. Buffaloes will scare away snakes in the area and make it safe to work. If there are muddy pools the buffaloes would wallow in them to cool off.  Their droppings add fertility to the soil that benefit the earthworms and plants. They attract leeches that suck human blood to give the ‘bekam’ effect if one gets bitten. It is a pleasant sight to see egrets land on the backs of buffaloes doing a favour looking for ticks. Monkeys and wild pigs deprived of their original habitats would pick fruits from  the low bunches.  Their tracks result in the area around the base of palm clear  allowing easy access for harvesting. Those animals deserve a share of the harvest. Cabbage from unwanted non-bearing palms can be harvested and cooked. Fresh leaves and pellets made from the fronds provide feed to goats, sheep, and cattle.

As a plantation crop, the oil palm has been much criticised for environmental destruction by the west. They may have a point. It is the planters to be blamed. At any scale of operations, riparian reserve should be left undisturbed to allow water catchment and wild animals to live. The mega FELDA Lahad Datu oil palm scheme left nothing for orang utan haven.  It has caused irreversible damage to the riverine system, biodiversity, environment, and people inhabitants of the jungle.

Monday, September 23, 2019


Sunday, 22 September 2019

Pakistan's Kashmir obsession: unhealthy and unrealistic?

As the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in New York for the latest session of the United Nations General Assembly it's necessary for Pakistanis to ask exactly what the country can do about Indian Kashmir. 

Muzaffarabad is the largest city and capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is located near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum Rivers and is a four hour drive from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. (Source: Wikipedia: Obaid 747) 
The country's economic managers are walking around with a begging bowl because the country cannot pay its bills leave alone spend money on national development. The Pakistan Banao (Bachao?) Certificates launched with great fanfare early in Khan's term and designed to raise Pakistan's foreign currency reserves have done little to strengthen reserves.

The economy is in the midst of a serious downturn with no recovery in sight for at least the coming 18-24 months. Large scale manufacturing is shrinking while small and medium sized enterprises labor under the effects of increased taxation, a sharp drop in the value of the Rupee and an emasculated consumer struggling to make ends meet while losing more discretionary income with each passing day given an official inflation rate above thirteen percent.

The country is running out of water but has no money to build dams. Despite arm twisting and 'forced donations' (e.g. via each Pakistan Railways ticket sold) the Supreme Court's Dam Fund is nowhere near numbers required to seriously assist with the urgent building of dams across the country. Indeed, the much hyped Dam Fund has become a hazy memory for most and an embarrassing one for those promoting crowdfunding as an alternate means to pay for massive national infrastructural projects. 

The electricity situation is no better. Despite suffering shortages and brownouts for the last several decades, Pakistan has been unable to fix its electricity load shedding problem until today. Much of the country suffers hours without electricity daily in both Winter and Summer months. Even when electricity is available it is not stable with voltage fluctuations playing havoc with machinery; a disincentive for manufacturing concerns requiring stable, uninterrupted electricity for normal operations.

The country has no proper waste management systems. Without a drastic betterment in urban sanitation levels improvements in preventive healthcare will remain wanting. (Picking up litter from urban areas and dumping it on the outskirts of cities so it is out of sight does not constitute proper waste management.) It's not surprising Pakistan is one of the only countries where polio still afflicts children. 

The air quality in Pakistan's cities is rapidly deteriorating due to pollution. Indeed, Lahore is blanketed by haze virtually on a daily basis with air quality moving into the healthy range an exception to the daily norm. Islamabad and Karachi are not far behind. This is the air Pakistan's infants breathe daily – and there is no shortage of infants given the country's fertility rate.

Pakistan cannot provide adequate food, housing, education or medical care to the majority of Pakistanis. In many households, animals are more precious than women, who have few effective social or economic freedoms. 
All these problems are compounded by Pakistan's unbridled population growth with its population increasing exponentially every few decades.

So as PM Khan travels back to Pakistan in a few days on on a borrowed Saudi luxury jet he may wish to ask himself what's more important for Pakistan's two hundred million plus citizens: ratcheting up Kashmir hysteria a few more notches or implementing a national development agenda on a war footing? 

Imran is a Singapore based Tour Guide with a special interest in arts and history. Imran has lived and worked in several countries during his career as an international banker. He enjoys traveling, especially by train, as a way to feed his curiosity about the world and nurture his interest in photography. He is available on twitter (@grandmoofti); Instagram(@imranahmedsg) and can be contacted at


Saturday, September 21, 2019


Netanyahu facing corruption charges, so Al-Jib.

May you rot in Bamboo River. 

al-Jib will get Jho Lo to company him.

(pics: tukar tiub)

Sunday, September 15, 2019


If there is boy there must be girl. God's creation of all if not most living things in pairs, male and female for purposes of procreation.

There are corrupt Malays especially of Umno and Pas who are desperate to regain their former easy if not luxurious lifestyles under the previous government. The heyday of the culture of corruption is over. And those found to be corrupt will face jail terms. These people are the real desperadoes and will do whatever they could to derail justice. They are back to their old game using religion and race issues, real, false or misleading to garner support of the ignorants or those with self interests, in order to save their skin or neck, more so now. So much so it has reached a point to them let the devil take the hindmost.

The hullaballoo the desperadoes trying to promote in the name of Malay but more of Umno-Pas unity to boycott non-Muslim products is a devisive strategy. Those who fall in the trap do not have their feet firmly on the ground. The reality is that the non-Muslims especially the Chinese control the economy meaning that all businesses from A to Z of anything you name it in the country are theirs. Even belacan they manufacture and control the market. What more of home, small, medium, and heavy industries for local and export markets. The moment you open your big mouth to boycott they can easily without a fuss counter by non-supplying of goods and materials to Malay businesses. Price of things will go up and the people, mainly Malays who are basically consumers will get the short end of the stick.

This race and religion thing is played even in government institutions.  It reminds me when I was in MARDI, an ambitious (director) in trying to reach the top (DG) fast would use such a strategy. His so called research and English was below the mark to qualify for DG post. That mark the real beginning of the fall of MARDI. I observed quite similar happenings in CRAUN Research and UPM Bintulu - games people play to cover inferiority complex and shenanigans.


Thursday, September 5, 2019


ya, Tuhan ku
aku syukur
lahir aku di kampong
bapak minang kahwin cina

sekolah atap
2 batu jalan kaki
ahmad tahi lalat dipipi
cikgu pertama darjah 1
rabu bawa tahi ayam
2 tempurong baja sayur

kau pergi sekolah omputih
aku nak sekolah agama, abah
cikgu ibrahim panggil aku cantik
aku marah
aku syok norehan, normah
ms chia chongsam sexy
belah nampak paha kiri kanan
ms chapman pinggang ramping
cikgu zainab genit

masuk asrama
aku pendiam
lebai, bookworm disindir 
emak jahit seluar dalam biru
aku budak kampong
telinga menanah
aku gelisah runsing sedih
jangan selam dalam air, abah kata

form VI di seremban
syed abu bakar guru asrama
aku parah sains maths
masuk kolej serdang, abang kata

dr harnam singh ent
terima kasih
telinga aku pulih 

terima kasih semua guru2
segala tunjuk ajar
aku hutang budi 
tak terbayar
hanya ALLAH ku serahkan 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


September 2006, selepas melawat FELDA Sahabat, Lahad Datu atas urusan resmi aku sempat ke Semporna, pantai timur Sabah.

Pekan Semporna dipersisiran laut.  Kelihatan bumbung masjid di belakang pasar (bumbung berbentuk terendak). Perahu2 pengangkutan dan nelayan berlabuh. 

Di stesyen bas dan teksi van aku berbual dengan troubodour Bajau. "Abang, nama saya Merdeka. Kalau tak percaya tengok IC." katanya. Ku terhibur dengan Merdeka - petikan gitarnya sambil menyanyi. Ini antara kenangan manis di Semporna.

Orang Bajau dan laut tidak terpisah. Laut merupakan tempat pencarian hidup - ikan, mutiara, agar laut. Dulunya mereka meredah laut dari pulau ke pulau melanun bila ada peluang. Perkampungan mereka selesa  di gigi laut. Keadaan rumah menampakan tahap kemiskinan terabai. 

Malaysia merdeka hanya di Kuala Lumpur?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


Gulai cendawan busut masak pedas (cili api) adalah antara masakan popular di alam Minangkabau, N. Sembilan. 

Pada musim hujan kerap cendawan itu muncul dekat busut anai2. Soldadu anai2 garang mengigit dan dipanggil kelingkiak. Badanya berwarna hitam sebab itu orang Minang panggil dia keling! 
Sekarang jarang2  jumpa cendawan busut di kampung. Busut dan anai2 sudah berkurangan agaknya.
Pernah membeli cendawan busut dijual tepi jalan belakang hospital Kajang, RM20/kg. Katanya cendawan dari Beranang.

Masakan cendawan peringkat button (atas) lebih sedap serta rangup daripada yang payungnya sudah kembang (kiri).

Kelingkiak mengikut istilah Minang ialah soldadau anai2, badanya lebih besar dan garang menggigit (menyepit). Bila hujan lebat sebelah senja atau malam soldadu2 ini keluar. Ia petanda cendawan busut akan tumbuh. 

Pada hemahnya spora cendawan melekat pada kaki dan badan anai2  tersimpan dalam busut.  Bila kelingkiak merayap keluar dari lubang busut spora secara tidak langsung ditabur. Spora akan tumbuh menjadi cendawan. 

Monday, September 2, 2019


LEMBAGA Disiplin Umno sedang menjalankan siasatan keatas bekas naib presiden parti itu Hishammuddin Hussein atas aduan salah laku.

Pengerusi Lembaga itu Mohamed Apandi Ali yang mengesahkan siasatan tersebut berkata perincian mengenainya akan dimaklumkan apabila siasatan selesai.

Siasatan itu dikaitkan dengan pertemuan Hishammuddin dengan Perdana Menteri Dr Mahathir Mohamad pada Julai.

(petikan Tukar Tiub)

Saturday, August 31, 2019


Ptolemy described the land of the Golden Chersonese (Avrea Chersonesvs), around 150 A.D.

The First Map of the Malay Peninsula drawn from information contained in Ptolemy's "Geographike Syntaxis" written in Alexandria about A.D. 150
Figures 1, and 3 to 8 (below) were taken from  Illustrated Guide to the Federated Malay States edited by Cuthbert Woodville Harrison,  Malayan Civil Service.  It was published by The Malay States Information Agency , London, 1923.  The colour illustrations were done  by Mrs H. C. Barnard.

Figure 1: A coastal village.

Figure 2 :  Padi fields where Malays had to work hard, surprise! surprise!

Figure 3 : Malays lived amongst coconut palms.  Coconut (and fish and rice) were essential to their simple diet.  Despite this seemingly easy life they also kept their kampung compounds clean and they were never short of space for their settlements.

Figure 4 :  But they were not simply kampung yokels dependent only on the bounties from land and sea.  Above is a Malay Eating House - the beginning of the Malay warong - a venture into food-capitalism? 

Figure 5 : Gunung Bubu from Krian.

Figure 7 : Morning Mists - Gunung Tahan

Figure 8 : A river landscape tarnished by tin workings, a common blight affecting Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

(adapted from Anak si Hamid)

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Samarinda, an exotic name for a large town in Kalimantan Timur (Katim), Borneo. It evokes a sense de va ju, a dreamland-like place. Many an adventurer had explored that part of Borneo, along the Mahakam River of which Samarinda lies  at its mouth. 

Jokowi, the President of Indonesia has proposed Samarinda-Balikpapan to be the new capital city to replace Jakarta.

Midday shadows on the Mahakam River in the heart of the jungle.
View of the Mahakam River at Samarinda.

My barber at Samarinda leaving the pasang grahan.     Malay schoolboys at Samarinda.

Malay women at Samarinda going home from market.     Water carrier of the pasang grahan at Samarinda.

A Dyak and his sisters. The younger sister is resting in the customary "squat" attitude.