Monday, November 30, 2009


Our community is a concern lot. We tend to make comments and pass remarks about happenings in our community life, even if it got nothing to do with ourselves. I would like to think that its because of our caring and loving nature. We care about others. Usually I dont have any problems and are quite fine with that.

That is, as long as we don't pass any judgement. Anything other beyond the normal comments of such sometimes` devoted act', for me, will be considered as kind of interfering in others affairs.

Lets just say for instance, we heard our friends wants to marry another. We would, of course, (as what we always do) for no good reason, offered our own piece of mind, where it could be;

1. "Oi, dia tu kawin dua". or,
2. "Tu tak puas dengan sorang la tu, dah berumur, kubur kata mari, rumah kata pergi, masih nak cari lain!"

While the first comment sounds innocent enough , the second one is totally uncalled for. So he wants to marry another, so what? Are we the one who is paying for the belanja kenduri? And why the need to lace such comments with such poisonous words?

The following happened to me.

Back in Malaysia, I did my marketing at Pasar Borong, which is very near to my house, and for the reason that its quite cheap, plus its fresh.

Mr. J, never went to Pasar Borong. His shopping was done at Jusco, Tesco and the likes. One day, in a social gathering, our conversation drifted to where we bought our stuff.

Mr. J (With an eeeewww facial expression) : Dont you think Pasar Borong is dirty? And the smell. Fuhhh, you tahan macam mana?

I was taken aback, since I did not expect something like that from a big shit shot.

Akula: What?
Mr. J : Eh, you marah ke?

I countered with a polite answer but raised my voice loud enough to be heard by everyone else at the gathering.

Akula : Eh tak lah, itu opinion you, tapi saya beli kat situ okay, and so far tak la pernah jentik telor you pun.

I walk away, leaving him with a red face which also gave me the impression as if he was trying to squeezed his brain for a great comeback remarks. Other guests were staring speechless at him.

And then theres this friend of mine who told me that he really did not understand how a religious person we both knew, enjoyed his life, since he jaga solat, insisting to pray immediately bila masuk waktu by stopping whatever his doing right there and then. This guy went straight home after office hours to be with his family. "Engko tengok mamat tu, bila masa dia enjoy ntah? Orang pergi la bawak anak bini tengok wayang ke, hapa ke, baru enjoy life". I told that busybody friend of mine, perhaps, that IS the way this mamat enjoyed his life. And for me, theres definitely nothing wrong with that.

My former boss, back in the days when I was working in one of the company somewhere in Damansara, scolded me when I did a mistake in doing my job, "Abis kalau semua orang terjun lubang taik, engkau pun ikut terjun sama?". To which the capitalist side of me boldly answered "Tengok la berapa nak bagi, kalau ratus ribu, why not. Saya tak de hal, bukan tak boleh basuh". The thing was, at that time, I was dead broke with huge debts hanging on top my head, and I figured if there is some way I can earn easy money, seriously, why the hell not. I wasnt going to offer the standard meek reply, "Tak mo lah, giler, tu taik tu" (as what was logically expected) to my boss. I was promptly fired, not because of the mistake I did, but because of "menjawab". I could have offered a safe answer, toe the line and my job will be secured, but I chose not please him. It make more sense to me to just piss him off.

Sometimes we found ourselves at odd with people around us, since we do not share their opinion. We could of course choose, either to confront them with our own thoughts and defend our stand to the death or keep our mouth shut, with a fake smile and nodding our heads even if our inside are screaming to argue back.

Sometimes back, someone asked me whether I prayed. I politely replied, "I am really uncomfortable with your question, and besides, its none of your business". It was an awkward situation. It feels like my very basic integrity was being laid in the open, questioned and judged. Definitely not a good feeling to have. And the weird thing was, I think the question was not even about the prayers. It was about what I should be doing, being at this age, according to her opinion. I really resent that.

I honestly think that we dont have to live our life according the normal, accepted standard of our community, which were set and determined by God knows whom, and since God knows when. Its our life, we should be able live it the way we want to. At this middle age juncture, if we want to listen to Metallica and do some headbanging, do it. If we feel like cycling that 10km mountain road up to the top, hey, do it too. And if we want to devote ourselves to prepare for the afterlife, by all means, carry on with it. We dont need other people to stick their nose in our business with their unwelcome and unnecessary degrading remarks just because we dont do things their way.

Its simply just our own choice. The least people around us should do is to respect that.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Reading is a passion.

I will read about anything and any subject matters, be it economics, politics, social, religious, whatever. Over the years I manage to build up quite a collection, overcrowding the shelves in a couple of book racks where I kept them.

Of the personal things that I own, books are very precious to me. I rarely let other people borrow them since I am a little bit fussy about it. I dont have any problem to lend other things but when it come to books, I will definitely think twice about letting other people getting their hands on it.

Theres this one time, back in Malaysia, a visitor to my house was shocked to see my book collection. She remarked "Nak muntah tengok buku banyak", to which I venomously countered; "Ah! ingat nak muntah sebab kena bunting". She ceased to speak to me since. (BTW, what is it about these people coming to our house and passed unwanted negative comments and remarks about our stuff? Please, have some dignity to respect other people's things la. I am really uncomfortable with that kind of character. I mean, I wont do that if I am at other people's dwelling. Its not my house, and not my stuff, and I am pretty sure I don't have the right to comment about other people's preference.).

I think I was deeply influenced by my late uncle's and grandfather's love for reading. From my uncle's collection I read Sejarah Melayu, Tulang-tulang Berserakan, Keluarga Gerilya, Hikayat Inderapura, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, Raja Haji, a lot of Malay literature books. I was introduced to Readers Digest and Mastika (the old version) with my grandfathers' collection. Both were teachers, so I guess, maybe thats sort of why they like to read. Both too, were idealist and were quite active socially in their community. Come to think of it, I think its a true fact that those in teaching profession reads a lot.

My favourite author then, was (and still is) Enid Blyton. Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Adventure Series and her other books were constantly borrowed from Ipoh's Perpustakaan Tun Abdul Razak and the school's library. Other books were Alfred Hicthcock's - Tiga Penyiasat (The Three Investigators Series), Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, Willard Prices Adventure Series to name a few. Tin Tin is still cool to read until now. All these books were translated to Malay from English and were very popular back then.

Theres also this Encyclopedia Britannica that my parents bought. I think they could not resist that very persistent salesperson sales pitch and ended up buying the whole volume. I read through that lot too, although I must confessed I could not even remember a single word of whatever they printed in there now.

Money was a little bit tight at that time, and I do not have enough financial resources to buy books and always have to depend on the local library to supply me with the reading materials that I need. Sometimes I dont even have enough for tambang bas to go to the library in town. I would then hang out with my friends at this one kedai runcit mamak in Gunung Rapat and read the various Marvel comics and magazines there. The Malay ones usually on display were Bujal, Gila-gila, and I think there is also Bambino. The mamak kedai was always pissed off at us, because by reading them, the otherwise sellable items were ruined. Soon after, they sealed the magazines in a see through plastic cover, (a practice presently adopted by bookstores and street newspaper vendors) to discourage our not-buying-just-reading habit.

A teacher told me, if I want to improve my command of English, the best way to do it is to read printed English language materials. Heeding his advice, I latched on Readers Digest, The Star and New Straits Times and an Oxford Dictionary to help me with words that I dont understand. I am too lazy to pay attention to the grammars then and it shows in my blog postings. Still confuse about it to this day, I might add.

When I attended college and moved to Shah Alam, a second hand bookstore in Central Market, Kuala Lumpur became a favourite place to get books. In a sort of sewa buku type of arrangement, you pay a small amount of money and the book is yours to keep. Return it back to the bookstore and they will give your money back minus RM 2-3 for the rent. I dont know if the bookstore is still there though.

By this time, my interest graduated to those heavy topic stuff, non fiction, history and autobiography mostly, and learned that girls were crazy with Mills and Boons. Of course, taking advantage of the presented opportunity, I tried to pick up girls in bookstores, sadly to no avail. It seems like those Mills and Boons fans were totally into tall, dark and handsome guys, portrayed religiously by Mills and Boons authors as the perfect specimen of men. Tall and dark I am, but never handsome, so my chances of getting to know those Mills and Boons girls were swept down the drain even before I opened my mouth.

Those Malay novels published by Creative Enterprise (the Gila-gila company) were a hit with the Malay public back then. I love Warisan by A Talib Hassan, Sindora, and Tangisan Bulan Madu by Shamsiah Mohd Noor, and books by Ahadiat Akashah to name a few. In the twice a month published Gila-Gila, there were this short, funny and thought provoking articles, written by Akula M.D about everyday happenings and life, Matt Romeo on the adventures of a playboy and Minah Leter, err.... well, she leter about everything under the sun, plus the kitchen sink.

(READERS BEWARE! If you are a religious zealot or if you are afraid your pure soul and brain will be contaminated by my next following sentences, PLEASE STOP READING NOW! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)

I should mention here, apart from discussions with friends, reading did expose my innocent young mind to the taboo world of sexuality. Malay porn books like Mona Gersang, Permata Yang Hilang and Kehausan were high in demand and were discreetly available and sold. Although, I would argue that Permata Yang Hilang was not actually porn. It was actually a collection of referrences, suggestions and practical advice on sex. With drawings and illustrations. Since these kind of books were very hard to get, a friend of mine actually made a lot of money by making photocopies and selling it. (Talk about acute business sense. He is a successful businessman now, by the way). We do not have Internet back then, mind you, so we feed our inquisitive mind the secret of sexuality by reading about it.

Reading like I said, for me is a passion. On average I read about 2 -3 books a week. I just finished reading I Am Ozzy, by Ozzy Osbourne which is really, really funny, and are well into the next one, Madoff - The Man Who Stole 65 Billions which I think would be a very interesting book.

Beside being a cheap and accessible tool to gain knowledge and information, reading opened up the whole wide world to me. It brought the sense of adventure, with thrills and excitements to the mind of a lower middle class kid like me back then, who could hardly afford to go anywhere.

Monday, November 16, 2009



My children are grounded for 1 month. No TV, no computer, no Ipod, no outing, no whatever. Except books. That, they can read anytime they want.


They take things a little bit to easy and for granted. They didnt do their daily chores. Kemas katil, helping their mother in the kitchen, bilik bersepah, all the everyday daily chores stuff. My love one and me really had it with them this time. Penat cakap. Penat marah.

I know it may sounds a bit strange, coming from me, but I believe in discipline. Of course, those who knows me might kutuk, "Eleh, hang pun tak berdisiplin gak masa sekolah". Which is true, but at least growing up in a boarding school did teach me something about life. Punishment beckons if we did not follow the school rules.

The children were of course devastated at first since the privileges of all the things they love to do were taken away from them. But I gave them a choice. They have to earn back those privileges. If they do whatever that was expected from them, I will consider lessening their punishment duration. But they have to proof that they can do all this without me or my love one telling them.

Its been 2 weeks.

They no longer complain they are bored. They read a lot more. The eldest started to act more responsible and always reminding her sisters to do their chores. My second daughter finished the whole Enid Blyton Secret Seven and Famous Five series. The youngest one can now read on her own without any help. Out of boredom, they became creative and created games on their own to play to pass the time. My love one and I spent a whole lot more time with them without the distraction and captivating lure of television and the online Internet gaming world.

And now, they dont need both me and my love one breathing down their neck, harassing them to do their responsibilities.

I might even extend this long time grounded thing a little bit more, since its been working very well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Have you ever read the book, Laksamana Tun Tuah, authored by A Samad Ahmad? Its the authors take on the legend of Hang Tuah based on the more well known manuscript of Hikayat Hang Tuah.

Anyway, I read it when I was still a young boy. A chapter in the book described in details Hang Jebat's final moments, dying in Hang Tuah's lap, after being outwitted and stabbed by Hang Tuah in their famous duel. In the book, Hang Tuah said something about being loyal to the Sultan is above and beyond everything else, his longtime friendship with Hang Jebat included.

I remember being upset at this point, pondering why Hang Tuah did what he did. This issue stayed with me for a while and became a favourite topic to discuss with friends whenever I had the chance to bring it up.

Until I grew up and understand politics.

The way I see it, with Machiavellian maneuverings of modern day politics in mind, I wish to argue that what Hang Tuah did was simply to protect his periuk nasik and to regain favour from the one who was in power.

Forget loyalty. Forget principles. There is no such thing.

What is more important is the opportunity or means and benefits one could get to surpass his opponents of the day.

The often quoted phrase, there is no permanent enemy or friends in politics is quite true. Its all fair.

Lets just hope nobody will share Hang Jebat's fate.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I hate towers and high places.

Theres this time when I went to the Calgary Tower, in Calgary, Canada.

On the very top of the tower, inside the viewing area, theres a section of the floor, which was made from glass. Meaning, you can see all the way straight down to the street level, without any obstruction.

Upon seeing that, and since I thought that its kind of interesting to feel what its like to stand on the glass floor, coupled with the thinking that perhaps its the best time to conquer my fear of heights, I decided to try and to get on it. Calmed myself, and fought my feeling of anxiety and nervousness. Took me a while debating with myself whether I should do it. Finally, after few long pauses, with a `f**k it, lets do this!' attitude in my head, I took a deep breath and step on the glass floor.

Well, seriously, its actually more like I was down on my all fours and crawled on the glass. To view the street from that very high place, really scared me. But I did it.

I was elated and felt very pleased with myself albeit the crawling thing when suddenly, these 2 kids joined me on the glass floor and started jumping up and down without even the slightest fear of height. (By the way, it is not advisable to drop down on all four limbs in a public area, since people gave me strange looks, with judging eyes). Those kids action jolted me back to my acrophobia state of mind and I quickly retreated to the safety of the non glass floors, breathing a heavy sigh of relief. My colleagues were laughing hysterically.

I looked at them and said " Oh, thats right. You guys will surely burn in hell".


According to Wikipedia, fear of heights is;

"Acrophobia can be dangerous, as sufferers can experience a panic attack in a high place and become too agitated to get themselves down safely."

Like I said, I have this nagging fear of heights.

The Wikipedia definition, and while I am not the most extreme case, more or less describe what I feel whenever I am at very high places.

The thing about it is this, I dont feel any fear if I am at the highest point INSIDE a tall building, on an airplane, or on a mountain. What fear me the most is when I can see that vertical long way down from the point where I am standing at. I will then, be imagining all sorts of thing that can happen to me if I fall down. In that kind of situation, I would always think that if I make a wrong move, I will fall and, its really a long way before I hit the ground, splattered . In those kind of places, I will usually stay away from the edges.

I hate to ride in those glass elevators usually found on the side of a very tall building, which of course other than its main function, to get us up there, is to provide us the enjoyment of viewing a city's beautiful sight and sky line. Usually, I won't have time to leisurely enjoy the view since I'll be busy calming myself down and at the same time gripping the handling beam as tightly as I could, with my fake, nervous smile.

Last 2 weeks, I was instructed by my superior to do a recce work in Chamonix, Mont Blanc. I already heard stories about the route there from Geneva, where a section of the road includes a very high bridge crossing a valley up to a mountain.

"I felt like I was driving on top of a cloud".
"Usually I have no fear of heights, but that bridge really scared the shit out of me".
"I will drive right in middle of the bridge when there is no other cars, to avoid seeing the long way to the ground".

Those were the descriptions of that particular bridge by friends who had been to Chamonix.

I was thinking, if these people were scared to drive on that thing and they are not the kind to fear heights, what that would do to me? I definitely dont want to drive on it myself.

But work is work regardless, so I took the easy way out. I hired a local driver to drive me there. And off we went. After half and hour drive from Geneva, Ahmad pointed out the bridge to me. It was a long, winding and damn it, its really high. I could feel tinge of nervousness crept inside my stomach, tightening its hold. And before we knew it, we were already on the bridge. Ahmad drove slowly but never took his eyes of the road, chatting away the minutes. I was clinging to my seat. After what seems like eternity to me, we were off the bridge. I breathed a sigh of relief, turned around and snapped a few pictures.

Of course, needless to say, I survived the ordeal. Its not a pleasant experience for me and I still did not conquer my fear of heights. The thing is I could easily avoid going there by presenting facts easily obtained information from the Internet. But nothing beats the real thing. I just have to see and experience it myself.

Like the glass floor thing in Calgary Tower, I need to face up to my fear every now and then. Otherwise, I am sure I'll miss a lot of interesting places and experiences.

The thing about all this is, in our life, there are times when we need to face our deepest fears. We may not easily get over it and it may stay and lingers with us all our life, but at least we know we can always give our best shot to overcome it every time we need to.

As for me, the very next on my list to face my fear of heights, if I ever have the opportunity, will be tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai.

But I'll settle for something less, like Petronas Tower's bridge as I have yet to be on it, anyway.


Thursday, November 5, 2009


The hasad dengki and adu domba strikes again, it seems.

Its really sad to see, even at the highest level, our community still has not change our turun temurun keji ways.

Allegations were traded like hot commodities, without any regards or respects to the truth and teachings of our own religion. And yet, we dare called ourselves as followers of the true path.

Those who spoke their frank mind in our community are being penalized and shunned off. And all this were for a lousy privilege to head an insignificant organization. Which remain as rumours as far as I can tell.

Perhaps a hard, brain shocking slap in the face would help wake us up.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


How do we all make decisions?

Better still, perhaps the question should be, how do we conclude that the decision we made is the correct one?

Well, seriously, my humble and frank opinion is that, we don't really know. Until that decision played itself out, that is. Even then, good or bad, there will be question marks on how it actually should have been.

Its harder still, if we are dependent on our friends (or for that matter) our family members opinions to guide us on how we should decide.

We Muslims took to solat ishtikarah, as what our common practice dictates whenever we are ever in doubt. I have my own opinion about that, but perhaps mine is best not to be discussed here.

I honestly think that whenever we are confronted with a certain dilemma, in our life, more often than not, unconsciously we already know what we are supposed to do. What we usually think about, is to wonder what others might thought about it. Thats why we sought other people's advice, to see if they are having the same line of thinking too.

The other thing about that is, we definitely dont want people to judge us on our decisions and usually, we restrained ourselves from making radical conclusions that are not in line with our community accepted standards on a certain issues, fearing retribution to ourselves. And based on that, somehow and in some way, we convinced ourselves that certain decision was the best one, even if at the back of our mind we know that we could have made a better, more logical choice.

A friend of mine, once told me that, we could asked thousands of people for advice but the best decision remains our own since we are the one who will live with it. Not them.

I'll let you decide on that.


This issue has been bugging Akula's mind and brainwaves while he's busy whacking his enemy playing Mafia Wars on Facebook these past few weeks.