Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guest Workers

The other day when I was passing a construction site, I noticed some activity on the top of the building.

From what I could make out the worker was not wearing any safety harness or other safety device except for a 'hard hat'.

We are always complaining about the social problems that having guests workers here are causing, but we give little credit to the fact that they do most of the dangerous and unappealing jobs that we Malaysians shy away from. (That's why I'm guessing that the guy up there is not Malaysian.)

I just need to remind myself that whenever I see a guest worker I should at least smile at him/her as my way of saying 'Thank You' for saving us the trouble of doing every thing ourselves.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bakawali Flower

The other day, my sister called me to inform that the Bakawali flowers at her house would be blooming that night.  (She had witnessed the blooms many times before to notice the signs.)

So at about 10.00 p.m. that night I visited her armed with my camera.  It was truly a beautiful sight.
I counted a total of 15 flowers in bloom with many more buds in various stages of development.
As the flower only blooms at night and then only lasts a few hours, many people have never seen it.
Its nocturnal blooming has given rise to many myths and legends about the plant. 
Malaysians of Chinese origin belief that the plant brings good luck and they often tie pieces of red ribbons around each leaf. 
The blooms are a harbinger of good fortune and if the plant wilts or dies it foretells that ill fortune is to follow.
The Malays belief in the presence of a guardian (a nymph or bunian) when the flowers bloom.
I must have been truly lucky to be blessed with the sight of so many blooms all in one night.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Dutchman's PipekardableNight Queen or Gul-e-Bakawali) is a species of cactus and one of the most cultivated species in the genus. It is also referred to as Night blooming Cereus and often confused with species of Selenicereus. (
The plant is widely cultivated all over the world that its origins are quite obscure although Wikipedia does mention its being Sri Lankan in origin. 
Easily cultivated this fast growing plant needs compost containing plenty of humus and sufficient moisture. It can be grown in semi-shade or full sun.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Recently I was at an 'Islamic' bookshop (the type that only sell books relating to Islam, and only by Muslim authors and publishers) and picked up a book on 'Beliefs'.  I was browsing the introduction and immediately put it down as what I understood was that the author was trying to say is that intellect is not important in Islam, as otherwise what is the reason for revelation.  (If he had said that intellect by itself alone is not sufficient I wouldn't have minded, but he said something to the effect that intellect is irrelevant.)

I sometimes wonder if those we generally consider experts on Islam do actually read the Quran and understand it as a practical guide to daily living in these and future times.

I just need to remind myself that the Quran is replete with verses requiring the use of intellect and reasoning, such as these:
Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and day - there are indeed signs for men of understanding.
(AliImran 3:190 - Abdullah Yusof Ali translation)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Avicenna (Ibn Sina) - The Golden Age of Islam

Statue of Ibn Sina at Dushanbe, Tajikstan
(Photo from
The other day, when I was writing my post on Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, I mentioned that medicine has come a long way since Avicenna under the photo of NCSM's Nuclear Medicine Centre sign.

This got me thinking: "Knowledge was almost a monopoly of the Muslims then, while today, Muslims seem to be shy of knowledge, maybe even averse to it."

"What happened between then and now?"

"What can I do?"
An Arabic copy of the Cannon of Medicine dated 1593
(Photo from

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Crime Rate Down

The above is one of the headlines in today's Star.  Why is it that I still don't really feel safe? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A lighter side to the Hulu Selangor By-Election

I saw this at and thought of sharing it here. Enjoy! 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

National Achievers Congress 2010

The National Achievers Congress 2010 was held at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre from 23 to 25 April 2010.  I was given 2 tickets for the event, so I dragged along a colleague for company.  I was expecting to recognize a lot of people there, but I only met with a few friends.  I did make a few new ones though.

The congress was organized by Success Resources, a Singapore based company with a Malaysian branch.
 There were about a dozen speakers at the congress...
...among them, John P Coutis.

Born with a severe disability that rendered his legs useless, John defied medical opinion by refusing to die.  Today John speaks all around the world to tens of thousands, very enthusiastic and eager people whom he leaves breathless.  Read more about John P Coutis here.

Many people were posing for a photo with John...

... I couldn't resist.
John had even spoken at this function as far back as 1998.

Another speaker was of course Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain.

 Photo from Malaysian Insider

Photo from Rocky's Bru

While there was a large police presence at the Convention Centre, I was not aware of the 100 or so persons gathered to protest the presence of Blair.

Blair spoke about how interdependent we all are, how global challenges have become and the speed at which change occurs today.  Success is dependent on being open minded and our willingness to embrace change.

It was ironical that when there were those protesting outside the hall, Blair spoke to a standing ovation by the around 3,000 participants of the Congress.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Defenders of Islam

It’s interesting to note that there are now so many self-proclaimed ‘defenders of Islam’. This, to me, implies that Islam is too weak that it requires these persons to come forward in defence of it.

I have been brought up with the belief that an important tenet of Islam is the Shahadah or witnessing and according to my Ustaz or teacher, this Shahadah should be reflected in our daily lives.

When I live my life in a way that portrays the beauty of Islam and invites others to Islam, not by mere words but by the very essence of my being, then I am living the Shahadah of Islam. If, on the other hand, my actions actually drive others away, then it is the Shahadah of kufr (disbelief).

I have to ask myself as to the kind of witness that I am and/or would like to be, and I would like to invite the ‘defenders’ to ask themselves the same question.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Division W - International Speech & Table Topics Contests

The Area W3 International Speech & Table Topics Contests will be held on March 17, 2010 (Wednesday) 7:30 p.m. at:
Global Success Centre
Unit 17-3A, Level 3A
3rd Mile Square Old Klang Road
(building behind Pappa Rich – end lot, top floor from WINALITE)

The winners will represent the Area in the Division contest in April. (There's a typo in the above flyer, it should be 2010.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010


 Lunar New Year decorations at IEM (Institute of Engineers, Malaysia)

Wishing all friends and readers

Maaf Zahir dan Batin

(what better time than a festival to seek forgiveness from and to forgive each other for any wrong doings, real or perceived.)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kuching Toastmasters Club

I was on holiday in Kuching from 16 to 18 January 2010.  It so happened that the Kuching Toastmasters Club meets at the hotel we were staying at.  This being the International Speech Contest season, Kuching TMC was having their club level contest on that Sunday.  I didn't want to miss it, so I skipped dinner with my family members who were with me there to attend this contest.


The contest chairman, Stephen Chee CTM, CL, who is also the Vice-President Education of the club, taking charge of the contest.

All role players are at their assigned positions.

The trophies, certificates and tokens of appreciation are all ready.

The contestants and audience are waiting.

As the rules do not allow photographs being taken when contestants are delivering their speeches, lest they be distracted, I refrained from taking photos during the contest.

There was a slide presentation between the contests.

I must say that I was a little envious that we have not done anything like this at our club.

This speech would have been more appropriate in KL rather than Kuching, especially with reference to Pavilion and Sungai Wang.

The man whose dream it was to hold a meeting on the summit, Mike Lim.

Presentation of Certificates to participants.  There were 9 participants for the International Speech contest and 7 participants for Table Topics.  A total of 11 members took part.  I know 9 + 7 is more than 11, some took part in both contests.

Certificates were also presented to role-players.

These ladies made sure the correct certificates and trophies were handed out.

The second runner-up for the International Speech contest, Ms Grace Tan.

The runner-up was Mr Sahil Singh Dev.

The Kuching Toastmasters Club International Speech Champion for the period 2009/2010, Mr Colin Wong.

The second runner-up for the Table Topics contest was Mr Lawrence Tay.

The runner-up was Mr Felix Kho.

The Table Topic champion was, once again, Mr Colin Wong.

The President, Stanley Ngu CTM, CL making his closing address and inviting everyone present to supper.

Lawrence is a Money & You graduate from 1992.  He did his M&Y in Singapore.  The President, Stanley is a graduate from 2001 in Kuala Lumpur.


I must admit that I had a great time and made new friends. 

Mike has volunteered to take me around the next time I visit Kuching.  I'm sure that offer is open to all Toastmasters.