My Platform

Mangrove fate: beginning of its end in 2011
Location: Johor Bahru, Malaysia (2012)
I am just another living person who is witnessing quick depletion of the natural resources and climate changes. Who have to pay hiked price-tags for basic goods and services for the demand on needed items are overwhelming its once surplus of supply. We made the mistake haven’t we? Say ‘Hello’ for me to the 7th Billion earth people. Also, my best wishes to all younger generations whom I’ve always respect and hopeful for, especially, to those who were born at the time when we  just began sending SMS via handphones, and younger. Today you are able to view this from your Tabs or mobiles. This one’s for you, our future environmental thrones! 

Mangrove grave in the making. The road is now a full stretch cutting across the water pond where most of the fallen mangrove were degraded. Geotextiles layer is no longer evident but its retarding effects to water flows persists.
My personnal questions
The same Mangrove: Deprived of nutrient transport as water from the Sg. Melayu - Skudai River Estuary (left) is blocked by the road construction which otherwise were naturally fed into the once living remainder of an aquatic 'nursery' here. (Pic.- End 2012) Nonetheless, what I need to highlight is the fact that the sediments here are the receiving end of releases from an array of human activities occurring upstream. It spans from agriculture to industries and thus residential which discharges waste waters into the entire stretch of this river basin. My concern is the effect of sediment agitation and erosion from the above activities to its adjacent and subsequent environment. Well, as the saying goes... 'What turns around comes around'. We are in the food chain aren't we? Inset Picture (Mac 2013) is showing that the fallen mangrove trees and vegetation are almost completely decayed and its retained water is now turning into a stagnant pond as the road construction nears completion. We could see at this point of writing that the level of this 'pond' be higher than that of the adjacent estuarine of Sungai Skudai during low tides. Soon, they may pump out this water or 'convert' it into recreational pond or something that conjure to the theme of their development here. We'll see into that and be keeping you posted.
Mangrove graved! As seen in October 2012, this almost totally decayed vegetation is now a stagnant water body.
Adjacent to its left (lower part of picture) is the Sg. Melayu running parallel with Sg. Skudai. Witness the slow and
steady development that is creeping into and around this dying nursery of our aquatic life stock.

'Windmill of your mind'

The PLUS highway during its MINUS

 Once a vast area of Mangrove swamps are in many parts now stood five star resort condominiums and other speculative property development. Then the aborigines and local fishermen are complaining. In some other provinces near to where I’m from do have a history of being connected with tramps in the cities, but, that type of noble public transport were removed and now congested with traffic and infested with obnoxious emissions, and potholesIntercity highways are broader with six carriageways but appeared like alleys during festive seasons and weekend eves.  
TNB - eat your heart out!
We have the sunlight for a good average of 11 hours daily throughout the year, but, the power generation plant still rely on coal, LPG and diesel to spin its turbines. We have strong winds that could push racing yachts and occasionally blow-off roof-tops but the only windmill is in another province called Melaka (Malacca). 
However, it remains only as a preserved antique for happy tourists. We have adequate rainfall that inundates several areas annually, but, we still rely on heavily polluted streams which have to undergo thorough hygienic treatment prior distribution as chlorinated drinking water
Well, some of us installed home water purifiers, just in case. The industrial sectors have led waste segregation and recycling but the majority of our residential areas are still short of large waste skip to accommodate broken furniture, garden wastes, electrical appliance and other domestic wastes that can’t fit into our normal rubbish bins in our backyards. So, a few ‘centralized-littering’ spots seem inevitable.   
As it gets conspicuous later the municipals would plant over these heaps of unattended garbage with signage like “No Littering, a penalty shall be imposed”. Today, we have a new law that requires residents to segregate their domestic wastes. But, where are the centralized segregation waste skips? The depleting fossil-fuel-derived petrol’s kiosk seems easier to find than an orderly managed waste centres! Ironically, we are number 26 cleanest in the world! We have them but we haven’t the due-diligence, have we? So, that’s where I’m from. The One Nation, One Shop, One Sport One Student, etc. are all for one. Nonetheless, I respect those who are still working for its betterment. Keep it up!

My current dilemma
Well, living in a social-friendly, parliamentary-democratic, capitalist-oriented, moderately Islamic with free-religious belief or religious-free beliefs, multi-cultured and multi-racial colourful nation is challenging indeed. I’m just a professional trainer working from a limited resource. But, the ‘market’ so requires an incorporated company. It is an expensive affair to maintain for a mere passionate professional. Inevitably, I registered one in order to do what I love and with it I keep the family. A hopeful citizen! God, Mercy! I’m grateful and responsible for its good use.  To date, I've trained uncountable number of non-policymakers, private employee and industrial personnel who are involved in the environmental management. They have understood. However, small fractions have implemented it diligently. Despite being thankful for their trust I believe I could provide more! But, time and tide waits for no man, and, as I’m ageing promptly it feels like time is about to run-out soon. So, here’s my BLOG containing posts for those in need to capture these shared experiences, to digest it, to use it, to expand it, to improve it and share it with everybody. The environment is a heritage of mankind anyway.  

The Global Climate Change. 
Here we are in the 21st century where rain and shine are no longer a usual phenomena. 
Ice-Tectonic Plate?
We are getting extreme drought and flood when its least expected. There are a number of famous hypothesis with regards to this environmental concerns. The Global Warming issue, for instance, are now being taught in schools. My kids are telling me that the earth is getting warmer because of excessive sun's heat radiant reaching its surface. And, this is so because of the thinning Ozone Layer, plus, the reflected heat from the earth surface can't get out of the atmosphere due to the blockage by Green House Gases. Well, their teachers did some good job in nurturing such environmental awareness. I have to put myself in some deep thought about all this mixtures of scientific discovery, environmental evidences, environmental chemistry and some hasty hypothesis and theories that; not only made their way into international treaties, but, being embraced like 'a holy statement' by many students around the globe. I'm working on some simple evidences based on hard and proven facts for us to ponder. Well, Global Warming is true and happening, but, some good justification is missing or disappear among those explanations published so far.

My environmental milestone begins from secondary school
I was sixteen when the word environment unseeingly shines into me. The daily papers were publishing reports about several devastated streams due to polluting effluent discharges from the palm oil and rubber mills back then. The local environmental law was just gazetted. I followed with mild interest as my younger days Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Bad Company and the ‘LAT’ cartoons usually got more of my attention during my leisure readings, literally. The following year I sat for the ‘D-Day’ for Malaysian schools then called the M.C.E examination. Bahasa Malaysia Paper-2 as I remembered was the essay section. I love to write but not well groomed although Ismail School Muar, and its High School did a good job. There was a choice of essay titles and my eyes were locked to one with an environmental theme. It was a breeze. Those local newspapers were indeed the most remembered reference retrieved in the two hours sound of silence. I was a thinker and quite creative in areas that interest me. I hate figures and the idea of mugging facts just to spit it out in exams but can’t comprehend it further. I hate to be instructed as I’m a self-motivator full of initiative, plenty of common sense and punctual. Mostly they were instilled by an ex-British Army, my late father and usually it was like being in an agonizing disciplinary ‘camp’ with him. Despite this, his perseverance inspires me in most times. Other than my late parents, they were some outstanding teachers at school and athletes around the world whom I idolized. However, austerity was my backdrop then. I remember months that I have to endure with no meals at school just to save the small weekly allowances to buy an English dictionary called ‘The Random House’ which I treasured until this day.  I love the adventure of knowledge that is vivid, energetic, dynamic, explorable and applicable ala natural sciences. 

My passion for writing.
I remembered this persistent urges to write something. I guess it's a kind of inspiration which came from reading good articles published in local newspapers or books. I love writing poems in both English and Bahasa Melayu. In fact I seldom buy birthday or greeting cards. I make them. I'd write beautiful poetry or poems and drew cartoons on them. Usually those girls (who are someone else's wife today) would 'melt' reading my poems. One day in 1988 as I was flicking the New Straits Times (NST), a popular paper in Malaysia then, I came across an essay contest as a nomination for NST's Mother Of The Year Award 1988. I felt my mom deserve this. So I wrote an essay and was proof-read by my immediate superior Mr. Charanpal Singh in DOE-Wilayah Tengah, Jalan Ipoh, KL then.
NST Mother of The Year Award 1988
My late mom is sitting right in front of me.
She received calls and visits by relatives and her
nursing colleagues. Happy to have made her day.
I remembered he suggested an english word 'nurtured' which helped shorten a sentence which I attempted to describe my mom. About a month later NST declared five Mothers of The Year and my mom was one of them. An irony even to the NST committee was the fact that I was the only son who wrote in an essay as the rest were from daughters. We got a couple of night stay in KL Hilton, reception dinner and gala by NST staffs, hampers from various generous sponsors, shopping vouchers in Parkson and MAS flight ticket to Hong Kong for two. We made good use of all those gifts but didn't make it to Hong Kong though. Nonetheless, this glory spurred my believe in writing and it was indeed my starting point to explore the art of expressing thoughts in effective writing skills. I'm still learning.

My environmental milestone from tertiary education 
Well, I was just an average student and lucky enough to enrol for Microbiology, School of Applied Sciences, Mara Institute of Technology then, (Now, UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor. His name is Mr. Robert Choo, a senior lecturer way back in 1982.  He made my first historic encounter with the reality of the term ‘environment’ and ‘ubiquitous’.  It was one semester of Industrial Microbiology. Fantastic and enjoyable are words to sum it up. We were well exposed via guided research projects, excursions and lab-works.  We were enthusiastic enough that a colleague made beer from water melon! As for me it began with the Escherichia coli specie, a microorganism as I recalled an explanation by Mr. Choo, which dwells in our stomach and excreted as a constituent of faecal discharges. And, their presence in water indicates faecal contamination and potential disease transmission. Having seen my interest Mr. Choo and the Course Tutor (now known as Dean of Faculty) encouraged to study further in the U.S. So, I secured two places in two separate universities, one in Microbiology and the other in Environmental Sciences. My parents were happy but seemed quiet and I realized that as the first child I have a responsibility. My father who is a pensioner has just suffered a cardiac infarct while mom has a couple more years of nursing in the local government hospital. I knew that I could still proceed with my chances and they could still manage my younger brother and sister for their schooling. But my father’s unstable condition and to leave mom at that distance was excruciatingly heart biting then. I was weak for the first time.

My environmental milestone from work and professional trainings
A broader environmental horizon arises as I was assigned to perform systematic environmental monitoring of the rivers when employed by the Department of Environment in 1985 under The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment then. I remembered attending its interview as one of the question was about my ambition then. I answered ‘The Minister of Science, Technology and Environment’. I was a naive beginner as I thought one could apply for that post! I’ve witnessed and sampled the crystal clearest river water up to the most heavily polluted ones from coast to coast. A plethora of assignments that followed progressively enabled me to observe and study sources of pollution that caused impact to all major environmental media. A posting from the DOE Central Region to the Southern Region enhanced my competency by experience and ‘grew-up’ in the department with in-depth exposure through hierarchal responsibilities in enforcement, planning, environmental investigations and the judicial system. Within ten years of service I was offered a professional training in the International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Late Dr. Elizabeth is on the right
The late Dr, Elizabeth Mann Bougesse (regardless of her personal beliefs and standings in politics), who founded the International Ocean Institute hosted us along with her team of expert-affiliates from several parts of the Globe further exposed us in field of Oceanography and Marine Ecology as part of its program on Integrated Coastal Zone Management. I'd say this is a grand interaction from multi-disciplinary, diverse cultures, and oceanic oriented professionals that I've participated thus far. 
It was about the same time that the Law of the Sea entered into force and was interpreted exclusively article by article. Questions were answered and evidences on global environmental issues were displayed and discussed.  Natural phenomenon’s of the climate change, resource depletion, greenhouse effects, arctic haze, over-fishing, threats from the plate tectonics’ instability, up to conflict of land-use and environmental implications of technocratic policy-makers are literally scrutinised. My head felt like it grew big as if the data transmission from the brain’s rods and cones are constantly feeding them into my overcrowded nerve system on list of things to do as soon as I return home! As if, this program was like a movie titled ‘Confession from an Environmentalist’. I returned home and then it’s all back to protocol and priorities. The boss is always right. Or, perhaps I’m not that good yet in communication skills desirable and suitable enough to penetrate and seeps within the system. Should have done the distant-learning MBA I thought. But, my books are well kept. A year later I was interviewed for the Department has nominated me as a candidate for a program under the efforts of the Asean Development Bank titled Environmental Protection of the Coastal Regions. It was technically a German Scholarship. Carl Duisberg Gesselschaft hosted the program and they took a black and white passport sized photo of me then. The exact same photo I posted in my BLOG earlier on. 
I picked up the ‘Deutsche Sprache’ pretty well as most of the technical environmental lectures and notes are in German. The Germans are extraordinarily precise, honest, prompt, confident and full of common sense. I felt good and blend into the society much easily than what most of my colleagues thought. Of course, I got to speak German and make the first step! The already broaden environmental horizon now deepens as the German esperience, technologies and practices in the environmental conservation, rehabilitation and management systems are innoculated in a systematic and gradual manner. We were finally in Bremen after Saarbrueken, Muenchen and Dortmund.  
It was initiated by  Herr Manfred Bonn (Pic: lower left) and his partner Herr Andreas Lieberum (Pic: left)   from a firm called ‘Ecolo und Kommunikation’  (then) who was the man behind my mastery in the environmental management system. We met when he was invited as a guest tutor for one later stage of the course. He was the consultant for the Local Agenda 21 for the city of Bremen. I was picked to have my practical training in ISO14001 EMS in his office. It all began when it took him about 
My Baju Melayu and a fan. The
Keris is real but did no harm!
3 weeks to ‘drill and grill’ me into the definition of ‘Environmental Aspects’ alone, as promulgated by the TC207 in Geneva for the new international standard for environmental management system called the ISO14001. The Germans were already subscribing to a very stringent and transparent EMS called the EMAS (Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) and they have the DIN standard for the environment. I was entirely engaged with his thorough explanation and interpretation. Herr Manfred Bonn is an excellent tutor. He needed only the whiteboard and a few colored marker pen. It was the content from his knowledge and experience that stunned me. In addition, his and his colleagues’ hospitality in their office and their homes were among the sweetest German experience I had. In addition to the program, I frequent Bremen Universitaet with the help of a few German friends who are studying there for further references where environmental information and reports were abundant and not found at home.
‘Der hoch techniche sprach war schwer’, so, they translated some words and phrases to me. And, this friend had already spent seven years for a Ph.D. ‘Wahnsinn’! The course on ‘Change Management’ where management tools like ‘thinking out of the box’ and ‘mind-mapping’ was the latest thing in 1996 have changed my perception about corporate and human management.
Baju Melayu Costume as the Class president.
The Last German Speech in Public
But, the passion to become a trainer enlightened me during special short course about training skills. I was seen as a budding speaker and given the honor to represent all program groups in a closing speach for the batch. As I was delivering the 30 minute speach in German while wearing a Malaysian traditional costume I noted how one of my supervisors sank in his seat and bit finger nails. 
Andy, Yusri, Alveer, Chandana
and myself in Koln 1996
  
I thought they were nervous as if I probably have said something wrong but later it turned out that they loved it. This spurred my passion to be a trainer. So, after a couple of years back at work, I resigned from a good government job, to everyone’s astonishment, to do what I love most. My heartiest gratitude for all that the DOE Malaysia had given me remains untold. I conceded that it remains unfold! 

Well, it was rather a different ambience abroad. Ability and willingness to express one's thought and ideas was seemingly welcomed. I was invited to participate in forums where ideas are valued and honored. Of course, laying it down in German was a challenge as I wasn't able to speak that quick and can't really apprehend the local vernacular expressions.



Dinner in Holiday in Crowne Plaze Hotel, Bremen 
We presented a discussion on 
'Bremen and Municipalities' 
as part of an international follow-on seminar under 
German Agenda 21.
But, thanks to German friends who guided me into the language including introducing me to a local German Karaoke called the 'Little Ritz' in Buergermeister Str. where I learned a famous German pop-classic song. I remember it was 'So Bist Du' by Peter Maffay who isn't German too! Well, this helped me getting around idiomatics used in the discussion. The forum went well and we took turns to deliver jests of all our inferences. Then, the German dinner follows. "sehr gut!" Whenever they 'cheers-up' with their beers or white wines I followed by raising my carbonated mineral water or coke in identical glasses, well, as a matter of respect as much as they respect my faith. In most forum and seminars involving discussions related to the environment here would attract local radio and TV stations. I believe they sat through the entire session and eager to know about new ideas so that they could initiate publications and ratification by local politicians and government bodies. I remembered one forum in Bremen where we presented issues with regards to conflicting coastal zone management. My German working-group were environmental consultants, lecturers and officials from the Bremen State Authority. 90% of our discussion had me all-ears only as it was either very interesting or I got inundated with German vocabularies. The discussion was intense with many referrals with their local case studies. My part was delivering issues and legislative solutions in preventing conflict of land-use in economic development of coastal areas. I've included a Malaysian remedy in preventing such conflict - the E.I.A which uses an integrated review panel consisting between 17 to 20 odd agencies. It was just a short 10 minutes presentation from me. I knew my German sounded good as it was slowly spoken in 'Hoch Deutchesprache'.
Well, it's somewhat like listening to Dato' Ong Kim Swee (Harimau Muda Coach) speaking Bahasa Melayu!, you know, as a Malay I'm impressed too. Just as we walked down the stage a number journalist with hand-held microphone and their respective camera crews flocked us. One smiling blonde lady approached me and asked if I wouldn't mind being interviewed. I was thinking to myself in that instant that I was never interviewed by any Malaysian TV or Radio station back home! It felt great and really wanted to brag about it. The interview began by her praising my German presentation and who and how I picked it up. Then, the interview got serious. In the least noticeable manner I could make mistakes if I answered 'too honestly' to some crucial questions. Questions posed by this well-trained journalist were somewhat like 'leading questions' from a lawyer in a courtroom. Our 'Bakun Dam Project' in Sarawak back then was actually in the back of their mind. Thanks for my reading of German newspapers which published many negative aspects of the Bakun Project which help me anticipate the flow from this journalist. As a Malaysian in foreign land I still uphold the 'Rukun Negara' and reflect our commitment in environmental management in the best projection verbally to all her inquiries. I knew that she knew what it was, but, I was not there to second her opinion. Well, she doesn't know that I'm a DOE Prosecution Officer who was trained by PDRM, Judges, State Prosecution Officers, CID and the Interpol back home, then. This interview was apparently three times longer than my presentation! Another area of interest during those years was also the Global Climate Change and Deforestation as one of its prime contributor apart from greenhouse gases etc.  Again, another interview about a month later took place in Kiel, northern Germany. New developments of township, urbanization, river pollution, air pollution, ground contamination, lost of arable lands, sewage and effluent treatments, remote sensing and environmental laws were apparently the daily diet of local newspapers. It was an excursion to an earth-based satellite monitoring centre where I have to display my passion but retain my integrity with journalists. But, this time he wanted to know about current environmental technologies in Malaysia.
The manner and terminologies used seems like he's an environmental science graduate. I'm not surprised if he is though because I was once in a cab driven by a biochemist who just lost his job! After learning my years of experience in environmental management in Malaysia he narrowed his scope and lingers around water pollution, river water pollution in particular. Somehow I noticed his eyebrow would raise whenever I touched about biological treatment systems. Then, he focused on sewage treatment system and ask whether we have succeeded in producing organic fertilizers from sewage sludges. Well, I replied "Not yet, and we are still relying on German imports like Mercedes and BMWs" The German method of treating sewage are purely (almost purely) natural. Treated water discharges from oxidation ditches would flow via submerged perforated pipelines for several kilometers before 'entering' a lake which is apparently part of a water-catchment area for human consumption. Der Rhurverband in Dortmund is one that I've visited. These methods have success stories for their contribution in betterment and sustaining healthy and drinkable Rhine river which was at the time ranked "Guter Klasse Einz' (First Class Water Quality).  


The small room in Nicolaistrasse 28, Bremen, Deutchland. The production of my unpopular book titled "Addressing Environmental Management with special reference to the German EMAS, British EMS BS7750 and ISO14001". It took me 5 months working till wee hours while attending classes each morning. Referred and translated from journals and books consisted of 13 Germans, 3 British and one French report. Areas of my researches were promulgation of EMS, post-EMS issues, legalization and governance of environmental emission standards, environmental performance, environmental accounting and environmental taxation. Proved read by my supervisor before it was brought home for proper typing and printing. It was submitted to my boss and got stuck at some protocols. Seeing that it had huge benefit to Malaysian Industries and Institutions, and opportunity for my 'independence', I conceded to leave the service and convert them into series of environmental management and sciences training handout notes that my training participants are having today. 
    
Training is an important element in acquiring knowledge and experience from a trainer. I was trained by admirable trainers.
I looked up at them and paid attention to what and how they deliver facts of interest. In many ways I'm being influenced by their amazing skills, whereby, most of which weren't relying on fancy technologies as widely used today. Back then it was just transparencies, overhead projectors and white or black boards. Meager facilities were nonchalant to their distinguished training skills. 
I'm 53 and enjoying moments (updated in 2014)

Fresh milk, dates, dates vinegar, figs, honey, olive oil, black cummins and healthier life goes on
As I’m writing for this BLOG I’m 16 years older than the blog's picture and approaching 50 now. I’m still, despite the bulk built, swimming a full 1km of the ‘free-style’ almost every morning and slam tennis balls with my younger kids in weekends. Of course, tennis, for me now has a price to pay – the joints and muscle
Another Public Training
aches! I do look older than my age. Perhaps, the ageing genetic code suppressor called the HFkB (published in 2007) is not fully activated! In the course of duty then, exposure to hazardous chemical fumes, if not toxic, are part of the routine ambience of most audit task i.e. site reviews on industrial complexes’ installations, processes, reactors, chemical storage and waste management etc., where observation and sampling of evidences are standard procedures. Some of these facilities are using radiation, UV, ozone for certain processes where we have to verify on its state of environmental control. Thus, replenishing or recovery of the body is a matter of nutrient intake and time. However, no toxicological test on personnel exposed while in the line of duty was made. The ordinary health screening blood test don’t determine toxicological elements as far as I observed. We were not insured at all, unless we opted it on  personal accord. Fortunately, I believe we’re still able to opt for fresh milk, dates, dates vinegar, figs, honey, olive, black cumins, grapes and 
Pomegranate in place of a medical insurance, aren’t we? Absolutely. Please look the some of the compilation from generous Muslim Scholars (Blessings from The Al-Mighty Creator to all) meant for this sharing, as follows;

*************************************************************************************
Dates
"مَنِ اصْطَبَحَ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ تَمَرَاتٍ عَجْوَةً، لَمْ يَضُرَّهُ سُمٌّ، وَلَا سِحْرٌ ذَلِكَ اليَوْمَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ وَقَالَ غَيْرُهُ: سَبْعَ تَمَرَاتٍ"
"One who starts the morning every day with the date of Ajwa, poison and magic will not affect him that day till the night. Another narrator metioned seven dates of Ajwa."  Bukhari (5768)

Milk
Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was presented two cups at Bait al-Maqdis on the night of Heavenly Journey, one containing wine and the other containing milk. He looked at both of them, and be took the one containing milk, whereupon Gabriel (peace be upon him) said: Praise is due to Allah Who guided you to the true nature; had you taken the one containing wine, Your Umma would have gone astray.  Sahih Muslim (4985)

Vinegar of dates
'A'isha reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: The best of condiments or condiment is vinegar. Sahih Muslim (5091)

Figs
" By the fig and the olive. By mount Sinai. By this city of security (Makkah).Verily,We created man in the best stature(mould)" (Sura no. 95: Surah At-Tiin verse no. 1)
If I had to mention a fruit that descended from the Garden I would say this is it… (Mukhtasar Tadhkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 313)

Olive Oil
Hadhrat Abu Hurayra narrates that Rasulullah (saaws) stated, "Eat the olive oil and apply it (locally), since there is cure for seventy diseases in it, one of them is Leprosy." (Abu Naim)
“Eat the oil and use it on your hair and skin, for it comes from a blessed tree.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 1775; see also Saheeh al-Jaami also seen in [Surah al-Muminoon 23:20] and [Surah al-Anaam, 6:141]

Black Cumins
Sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad underline the significance of black cumin. According to a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, he says, "I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "There is healing in black cumin for all diseases except death." Sahih Bukhari 7. 592

Pomegranate 
......We bring forth the green blade from, which we bring forth the thick clustered grain; and from the date palm, from the pollen thereof, spring pendant bunches; and (We bring forth) gardens of grapes, and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike...... (Holy Qur'an 6:99 - Al’An’am 99)


Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, "Pomegranate and its rind strengthen digestion(stomach)." (narrated Ali(radhiyallahu anhu), Abu Nuaim, Al-Jozi)




























A family photo courtesy of Ruth & Randall - Dora Mac voyagers of the world.  From right: Khalid, Abdul Rahim, Nur Aisyah, Wife Katijah, Abdul Malik, Abdul Rahman and Hur Hazimah.  All swimmers in the family. Family fastest record holder belongs to Abdul Rahim. Family distant record holder is Abdul Malik. 
So, the family is the ultimate reason for my continued enthusiasm and hopefully one day those young ones are able to comprehend their father's blog. 

Stress Management - the Family Cup!
Well, for the moment, we've to do something about the tendency that most of us today who are inclined to lead a sedentary life styles amidst our challenges in life. It's PC at work, Notebook at home and Tabs in the train, plane and everywhere else. Gets tired by the end of the weekdays' routine and find ourself into a comfortable sofa in front of a cable TV with fast food and then sleep. Worst, is when we work in an ambience of artificial air-quality called the 'Air-Conditioned' room. Not a drop of sweat and we didn't feel the induced dehydration and cooling that our body needs to cope with. Unwanted or metabolic waste substances that the body needs to rejects remains within the skin. So, that's probably the ultimate reason for a medical insurance. Get sick, hospitalized, drugged - all conveniently paid for. These ailments mainly originated from a disorderly functioned body chemistry and are frequently derived from a silent but harmful condition called STRESS. Stress begins from the early stage as I observed. It starts from the One-Year Matriculation, 3rd Year First Degree Entry, perhaps pursuing MBA of not Masters and PhD; otherwise get employed as a junior executive and absorbing all urgent or delicate task from a smart-working superiors of the organizational hierarchy who have those K.P.I to look after for such a subjective handsome salary. 

Stress Management - Routine Swimming. The story of my 'Historic Plunge'.
I was literally breaking weighing scales all those years after entering the working life. Not much to sweat about in air-con rooms and the weekly field work wasn't physical enough as they were mostly well aided by more experienced assistances. One afternoon in 1987, I attempted to jog around a playground in Taman Permata KL which I lived my bachelor lives in a rented house with buddies like Kamarudin, Abdul Razak, Shaari and Zainal Abidin. We were office mates, housemates, eligible and handsome bachelors available to all ladies! Zainal and Shaari spot the best groomed hair. It was the 80s that made us! I thought I've to start doing something to shed-down the 143kg and I thought jogging would be it. It was barely 50 meters and I was already out of breath and my heart was pounding like it is about to explode out of my chest! My mates were laughing as they are quite fit for badminton and football was still their routine games. They advised me to take it easy and lightly for a start. I went to a dietician and she gave me all the calorific values of food and told me what I should eat and what to avoid. I was skeptic because I enjoy eating!. Then, I approached a very senior medical doctor. We talked for over an hour. He concluded that we are what we eat. Then he went on saying that we are consuming it right but spending it wrong. Further he elaborated that we are spending energy less than what we took in. In a manner as if he would scream at me, he said "Eat what you like, but burn it!!" Moments later, he advised further in lower tones that I must pick a routine exercise that I would enjoy doing and be objective with. He said, "For a man, it's not strength that matters, but, endurance! It's all about your pulmonary circulation. You need to circulate it well and work on the heart muscles. May be, you should take up swimming. It may not slim you down but you would be much healthier than normal built body who don't work-out" I was thinking to myself. I'd love to swim but I can't swim. At 27 years old and still can't swim? Well, not only that I can't swim, I had this sense of 'water-phobia' since childhood. It was the Weld Road DBKL Public Swimming Pool in mid 1987 when I made my first debut in entering a huge pool of water with many onlookers who'd make you suffocate even before dipping into the water. Some of the eyes was in bikinis. I'm still not sure if that was the factor that motivate but I've decided to make the first plunge that would change my lifestyle for good. My first entry was waist level as it was the shallowest part of the pool. It was tough being in water that is well known to drown many. I've learned about those accidents in news! Wow, this is serious, I thought to myself. But, I did some good eyeball engineering by observing the best swimmer around. They were graceful and doing non-stop laps. I wonder if I'd be able to reach that level. Just that level of leisure swimming. The male swimmers have bodies of a V-configuration and no tummies. I noticed that girls are looking at them as they climb out of the pool. Well, my eyes were locked on their onlookers instead! After several tries which literally sent me to the bottom I was advised to learn to float first. Then I discover the Breaststroke, which is actually a survival technique. I got to know a few good swimmers who are generous enough to spend some swimming tips. I came to this pool almost everyday after work and I did my first 50 meters breaststroke in 30 days. My first 100 meter was just 2 days later. Then 250 meters a week later. Well, my first 1000 meters came a month later, in about 3 months after my historic plunge! At this point I begun to be 'somebody' at the pool. Greetings and jokes with routine swimmers were shared as we queue at ticket counters every evening. I was literally 'given the right' to a swimming lane as much as other senior swimmers. By the 5th month I was already covering 1500 meters non-stop freestyle.
Getting ready for the pool. Riding this Yamaha RD350LC
to the pool was the coolest thing. It was a beast! 
But, it was an awkward version until a senior warrant officer from MINDEF corrected it when DOE organized an official swimming lesson to staffs who are involved in marine water monitoring in mid 1989. So, the new corrected version of freestyle made me close-up my speed with those senior swimmers in DBKL Pool and I'm already using the Monthly Card which were punched for every entry. My 1500m was first timed to clock at about 45 minutes and this proper technique brought it down to 35 minutes. About 6 months later I was doing a consistent 30 minutes for 1500m which encouraged to increase my distance to 3000m just to burn about the same calories as the swimming became more efficient. In other words, the body burns less fuel when it is efficient - the jest of endurance! In about a year from my 'historic plunge', I have to re-tailor my slacks and remove about 1 1/2 inch waistline. I got married in Nov 1989 and blessed with our first child in July 1990. I begun to think of having a family of swimmers. Home grown and father-coached swimmers.

All to pay for in life. So, we have chosen a strict rule of working out outdoors. Swimming has been our routine treatment for our pulmonary circulations. In a hadith narrated from Hazrat Ibn Umar (R.A) in which our beloved Prophet said  "Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding". 
Nur Hazimah first entry of the
swimming pool. Weld Road KL.
Approx. 3 - 4 months old
Nur Hazimah, our first child, set the first family record to swim without any aid at 6 years old. Introduced to the wading pool of the Weld Road Public Swimming Pool Kuala Lumpur (now demolished) at 3 - 4 months old. Being a premature baby who spent 40 days in the ICU General Hospital Kuala Lumpur with asthma-like symptom. Well, she discovered the art of floating by herself as she was playing in a wading pool in Beachcomber Hotel, Penang at 6 years old. She begun swimming 500m non-stop breast-stroke at 7. Then began her 1km a couple of years later as she's busy playing with her younger brother Abd Malik who's 2 years old then. It was quite a hiatus for her long distance swimming until Abdul Malik set a new family record at 4 years old to swim without any aid and 500m non-stop just months later. Later, they swam side-by-side for about 500 meters up to 1000 meter. Well we didn't force them to swim. 
Abdul Malik's first Floating Lesson
Age 1 year old. He could float about
one year later at the age of 2. He first
250m breast stroke was at the age
of four.
All it took was to witness me swimming my 2km freestyle every time we brought them to the pool. My speed for a 120 kg wasn't that bad as my personal best was 28 minutes to complete 1500 meters. Of course, our national swimmer then was Jeffrey Ong who did that in less than 14 minutes in the Olympics. So he and Matt Biondi from the USA was the inspiration. So, it was until then that Nur Hazimah & Abdul Malik were both dolphining all pools that we frequented, from Woodlands in Singapore up to Novotel in Penang. The rest was in the Larkin MBJB Public Pool and the Royal Johor Golf Club. So, the routine repeats with younger siblings Nur Aisyah, Abdul Rahman and Abdul Rahim. All swimmers developed by example. Today, Nur Aisyah is doing 3 km freestyle whenever she got the opportunity as the university's branch campus that she's attending doesn't have a swimming pool. The 'Three Abdul' are ardent fans of Roger Federer and swim their 2 km perhaps only once a week as a break from their routine tennis workout. 

My Breaststroke
In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “Practice archery and horseback riding.” The Prophet said “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness except four acts: walking from target to target (during archery practice), training a horse, . . . , and learning to swim.” 
My Freestyle
Abdul Rahman & Abdul Malik 2015
And The Mom (My wife) 2015
She "floats like a butterfly "
From top: Kakak, Adek and Aisyah 2015 July 16
  

We've been doing an average 1km non-stop 'free-style' or 'breast-stroke' at least 2 times a week if not every day. However, to enhance some muscular tones of our limps and abdomen we are resorting to Tennis and cool down with swimming. Inspired by tennis stars like Nadal, Federer, Jokovic, Serena Williams, Azarenka and Kvitova of today and Bjon Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Evert Loyd and Graff of yesteryears we self-train ourselves in basics of the game. 






Tennis Family Cup in the making. The Family-Open Tournament is scheduled once we are consistent in our services and returns or at least able to be 'decent' with the balls. For the time being, our 'fans' comprises of the ecological inhabitants of an adjacent shrubs - from scorpions to monkeys.

A family group of monkeys would occasionally 'watch' us train as they walk on the fence's upper beams to feed on fruit-buds and sprouts from trees as seen in the background. Honestly, they'd make a good collection of our stray balls that trespassed their home ground and branches. My wife is consistently in the look-out of discarded used tennis balls around the area. Some courteous club members do leave behind used tennis balls to be re-used by other members including novices like us. Some even wrote a small note that reads "Used tennis balls - please use them - Thanks". I'm glad that they have such due-diligence of the environment in practice. A disciplined routine that is a lot of fun! All in the outdoors under the morning sun.
Cheerio. 14th February 2012 (21st Rabiul Awal 1433) 
First update - 29th April 2012 (7th Jamadul Akhir 1433)

The Abd Malik - Abd Rahman Pair
Me and Abd Rahim
Just  about a year later in 2013, as our serves and returns improved gradually, this picture was taken, matches within family members got into the routine. This is one of our doubles matches against another pair Abd Malek - Abd Rahman. Honestly, my partner Abd Rahim (my youngest child) covered more than 70% of our court and his court-awareness is already impressive. We lost, however, in a tie-break 6 - 7 (6-8). 

March 2013 - Another for the album. Second update: 6th March 2013 23rd RabiulAkhir 1434




























The education here has evolved progressively since the last couple of decades. Academic and vocational skills are both essential elements in schools and became options in higher learnings. In our case the boys are less sticky to reading books as compared to handy skills. Our girls are rather obedient to studies and homework. We believe in fostering over forcing. I was blessed with basic Islamic forment for elderlies which was cultivated by our late Guru Al-Marhum Al-Fadhil Haji Daliman Bin Mohd Said. He was a former Headmaster of a religious school known as Sekolah Agama Dato' Omar Yusof in Johor Bahru. He was also once entrusted as 'mental revolutionary officer' by the Johor State Islamic Department in 'corrective alignment' for the malay muslim community. One major difference between him and many other scholars here is he practices what he preaches. We attended all his lectures usually held in Mosques. After he passed away peacefully on the 4th of May 2006 we are truly deprived of his teachings and cultivation. Being responsible for my kids I conceded to educate them with religious elements at home using Islamic Books referred by our late Guru.