Tuesday, May 23, 2017


It was last minute. Su, our eldest daughter and mother of the bride, oops, birthday girl called out of the blues and asked if they could celebrate Nureen's third birthday at the farm. Luckily we have good service providers who were  more than ready to obliged our impromptu request, in particular the food. For this occasion they requested for roast lamp on the spit.

It was planned for about 20 adults and 20 children, but I think the final attendance exceeded that. The food was nevertheless sufficient.

It rain for a bit but did not dampen their spirits. The children (small and big) did not mind the rain and for children raised in the city, playing in the rain was a treat, a  luxury not be be missed. So too, rolling on the ground. Afterall, how far can you roll in your bungalow lot compared to  3 acres. Its amazing how they could stand up straight after that. I would have vomited out my meals for the last 3 days.

Children today have much more in terms of quality of life but I guess the word quality is relative. I remembered their mothers playing in mud-filled ponds as a past-time in the village. And they were not children, but full grown teenagers. See how they turned out. Must be the mud.


It was supposed to be a children's party but I think it was just an excuse for the mothers and fathers to unwind. With today's lifestyle its good to get silly every now and to restore the balance to sanity.

Rave reviews for the lamp. Went very well with barbequed pineapples





Good fun. Nice to have the family and friends together, though not all the children was there. One was on the way up Mount Kinabalu and the other who just began work was busy impressing his boss. And another was biting her finger in frustration in Japan.

Ahh, the simple things in life. 

Have a blessed Ramathan everyone, family and friends

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Every now and then the Almighty, ever gracious and loving as He is, gives you a blessing which leaves you soft and all mushy inside for weeks, eternally grateful that things turned out the way it did, settling down years of anxious wait and expectations, leaving you peaceful inside.

I suppose its nothing new as millions of parents all over the world go through the same thing several times of the year, but for me its a big deal. Like many parents prior to that big day, you wonder whether it will come at all, what with all that divergent teenage inclinations, leading to subsequently divergent views and expectations, not to mention disagreements on both sides.

Suddenly, there he is before your very eyes, strutting around in his brand new suit, looking good and so matured, ready to take on the world. His friends said he looked like James Bond, but he said James Bond actually looked like him. His mother said his strut and cockiness comes from me, but I beg to differ. His great grandfather most likely.

Your heart ache as you see that little boy in crumpled and dirty shorts, and equally dirty T-shirt, disappeared forever, except in your dimming memory and photographs, and in his place stands an adult seemingly ready for the world. Your ache mingle with pride at the transformation. Suddenly you are seized by panic, for you know what the world has in store for him. Very soon the reality of the world will come crashing on him with all its greed and competitiveness, business and me first mantra which has left many of us badly shakened and sometimes broken. Gone are the sheltered world of schools and parents, your fall back option for everything from school bullies to pocket money.

For a while we can stand by and provide advice and moral support as they navigate the treacherous waters of the corporate and the business world, but soon enough we will be out of touch with the ways of the ever changing world and we will fall into a sad and confused silence.

In the early difficult years of my career, I used to talk to my late father and I valued his advice and encouragement. In the latter years, his advise became lesser for as he told me, he no longer understood how the world functioned. He could only look at me sadly as I run through my litany of problems and grouses. Strangely enough however, just having him there to listen was comforting enough. I invariably felt better afterwards, and would go back well resolved to make things work.Perhaps too that resolve was due to my guilt at putting him through such pain.

Well, I shall try to be there for him as I had for his other siblings. God, you wouldn't believe what I had to listen to as they all unload all their office problems and politics, as if I have the answer for everything.  And one can get really long-winded.

Our children, all born after 1980 are all millennials, That in itself will be a great challenge as they struggle to fit into the business and corporate world still very much run by the earlier generation. Now some people may debunk this issue outright, but I believe there are pertinent points to be recognized and addressed.

Being born and raised at a time of greater prosperity, affording them better quality of life, through their parents of course, and witnessing and experiencing the explosion of new technologies, plus being highly connected to the world, the expectations of this generation are far more complicated than that of the older generation.

For a start do not expect them to stay around and take all the nonsense the company has to give in the name of building a career. Given their connectivity and network, they have great access to other opportunities. Do not just give them instructions and expect dutiful execution. Often times they require rationale for what they are doing, a sense of awareness and belonging in the entire scheme of things. One of our girls having got into her much coveted position in one of the Big 4 accounting firm, asked after a while "what is the meaning of all that?". So she promptly got herself a mortgage, to provide some meaning, I guess.

The issues with millennials have been address in volumes but I guess, the key thing here is not to see their trends as disruptive, but rather opportunities to expand our horizon and maximize on their special skills, tendencies and outlook to bring organizations to greater heights. The sooner this is realized the better, for very soon the working world will be full of them, and those who can extract the best from them are the winners.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


I was in Danang, Vietnam last week for the Ironman 70.3. No, I was not a participant. The company I worked for in Vietnam, was one of the event sponsors and I was part of the team in support of the sponsorship.

It was a typically grueling medley of event for the participants involving 21 km of running, 1.9 km swim of the shores of Danang and 80 km of cycling. Close to 1000 participants took part. There was also Ironkids meant for children.

Of the ASEAN contingent Singapore was the highest at 104, followed by Malaysia at 86 and the Philippines at slightly lower.

Anyway  there are many Ironman events around the world and all year round. So enough said on the subject. What I would like to share was my encounter with some very interesting personalities at the meet.

The first candidate was a Malaysian. At 80 years old Mr. Yee Sze Mun is the oldest participant. He started training and participating in Ironman events at the age of 58. Fourteen years later at the age of 72 he clocked his fastest time. Todate he has done 37 half Ironman and 20 full Ironman. He has completed the Hawaiian Ironman 6 times, the Hawaiian Ironman being considered one of the toughest challenge. Worldwide there are estimated only about 20 Ironman atheletes above 80 years old and he is one of them.

Mr. Yee Sze Mun honored me with his presence
The second participant was another Malaysian, Mr. Wong Hock Yim. At 68 years old he is rather youthful compared to Mr Yee above and in a political party, he would be in the Youth Wing. So being still youthful, Mr. Wong has completed only 13 Ironman events. But no worries, he still has many years to catch up. In his spare time at home in Ipoh, Malaysia he runs YN Therapy, a therapy center based on traditional Chinese medicine.

In both Mr. Yee and Mr. Wong, the spirit of Malaysia Boleh was well articulated.

Mr Yee Sze Mun , the Elder, on the left and Mr Wong Hock Yim , Youth Leader, on the right

The third interesting participant was Mr. Tony Ledinh. At 79 years he was all raring to go for the event the next day. Having a long illustrious history, he served as Deputy Minister under President Nguyen Cao Ky in the 1960's and was a very close friend of Malaysia's first Prime Minister, the late Tungku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, being his regular golfing kaki (partner) and confidante.

Mr Tony Ledinh and wife

Whilts I admire the hundreds of athletes who steeled themselves for the pain and exhaustion of the event under the burning sun, I reserve my greatest admiration to these gentlemen above. They have decided that life should be lived and savored to the fullest and the last drop. The way life should be lived.

I guess there are various motives as to why men and women do this thing. For many I guess it is to compete against themselves. For some to compete against the others. For a few maybe, just to be part of the scene and to be able to say, "I was there and did that".

But for these honorable gentlemen, I think their hidden motive was to put us couch potatoes to shame. Well, for me they have succeeded. Starting training soon.

Monday, May 8, 2017


Taking advantage of the extended Labour Day holidays, three young families decided to introduce their young ones to another world of fun, apart from the shopping mall routine. Arriving on 29 April they brought their own tents and everything else they could possibly need for three days 2 nights in the "wild".

Well the "wild" is overstated. The 2.8 acres grounds is well maintained and cleaned. No bushes and vines to hide and swing from, or for strange animals to hide and pounce on them. At night lights hung from strategic locations on the trees provide adequate lighting, But most important, was the availability of clean toilets and bathrooms which you may not find on many camping sites. There was even a big multi-purpose hall which they could have used to have their meals complete with tables and chairs. They did not take up the offer, I guess, the children might get the wrong idea about what camping in the wild is all about.

As for wild animals, our chickens, dogs, cats and horses put up their "ferocious" best, but I don't think they fooled anyone. I mean, how ferocious can Mary, our children's pony get? True enough all the 8 children overcome their initial trepidation and got along well with Mary.

Despite heavy rains the days before, the weather held beautifully during their stay. The Almighty must have wanted the children to really have a great time. And that they did, running around to their hearts content and soaking themselves in the pool until they looked like oversized dried prunes.

I think they had a good time, especially the children, sleeping under the sky, long talks into the night by the parents, chilly misty nights and waking up to the crowing of cockerells and chirping of birds.

Thank you Joyce and friends. Tell your other friends about us.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Two of them came all the way from Johore whilst the other 2 are KL ladies, determined to have their fun time on Sunday 23 April 2017. Amongst them was an Aikido instructor, a financial executive with an international insurance company and the other was a lecturer at a local university.

Notwithstanding the rainy season they were determined to do two things that day. One was trekking through the primary forest of the Congkak Reserve and the other was to bamboo raft down Sungai Langat.

Arriving at slightly after 8.30 we proceeded to the forest reserve for the jungle trek. Our arrival was greeted by a bunch of soldiers who were just packing up after after a few days of jungle exercise.

The trek took about 40 minutes during which they were feted on the beauty of the natural jungle, certainly a far cry from the manicured paths of FRIM. It being the raining season we were also greeted by the local hosts, leeches. Most of us got a bite or two but they were particularly fond of one team member, who could not help commiserating on her unfortunate attraction to the blood suckers.

Actually it was no fault or special attraction of hers. As we walk single file through the trek, the highly sensitive heat sensors of the leeches would alert them of our arrival and they would start coming in our direction. In fact experienced eyes would be able to see them coming towards you. The first few members of the trekking team in front, if they walk fast enough would be able to avoid them. By the time the second half of the trekking team passes through the same spot the leeches would be more than ready to latch on to the shoes and thereafter up the body.

Jungle millipede - at least 20 times bigger than their urban cousins

Hence it would appear that only some members are prone to bites. The trick is to walk rather rapidly, yet keep a sharp eye for obstacles and dangers, so that they have no time to latch on. And if you get bitten unless, you are totally oblivious, you could sense the slight biting sensation as they start their feed.

Main targets areas are the soft tissues where are there are lots of capillaries. So underarms, in between fingers and toes are favorite spots. Generally not harmful unless one has certain highly susceptible conditions or where they attack you en-masse. This happen to me many years ago in the Ulu Kelang jungles.

As I stood in the middle of the jungle I thought it was starting to rain as i heard what sounded like rain drops falling on the canopy. Looking around and up we realize it was not water coming down but leeches coming down from the top of the canopy to greet us, and the sound was their foot steps, or body steps, as they landed on the leaves. Within seconds we had tens of leeches climbing all over us. Plucking them individually was no longer efficient. So we resorted to our Parangs (machetes) to scrap them off. Needless to say, our choice of a base camp that night was changed immediately.

Anyway by 11.00 am we were down again and they proceeded to their bamboo rafting. It being the raining season the water level was perfect, meaning low water level would expose  rocks which makes navigation of the rafts a bit problematic.

By noon they arrived at the finishing point and after a refreshing shower at Uluhati, headed back to town with lunch topmost on their minds.

Thank you girls, tell your friends about us.