Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Taking A Break

The earlier programme was for me to stay on till 20th Dec.2010 and I will only be taking the flight home from LCCT KL to Kota Bharu when my nannying duty is over. A twist of luck has given me an opening and my charges will be away for almost a week with their father. This is a much needed break for me and by noon today I will be flying home to Kota Bharu to be with my wife Fatthiyah. She had not been able to come along as my other daughter who had been recently transferred from Labuan to Kerteh, Trengganu is currently at home in Pasir Mas since her husband's attempt to find a suitable house to rent near the school where she will be transferred to has been a failure. Vacant houses in Kerteh is a rare commodity. On the waiting list for a Petronas quarters for whom the husband work, he is way down on the waiting list at number 82. The house they bought is nearing completion but being in Dungun, it will be an hour's drive from home to school. They bought the house in Dungun anticipating a transfer to the district they requested. So when the house is completed, they will have to rent it out to compensate their own rental.
I am so happy to go home to Pasir Mas even for just a few days. Looking after the three grandchildren in Puchong has changed my daily routine. I miss everything I am so used to everyday. Back home I have that small patch of vegetables plot which was providing me with fresh vegetables such as kangkong and the ladies fingers has just started to produce when I left it.
It would be OK if it was for just for a week away from home but this is a full month and this break is much needed after being here since the 21st of November which was more than two weeks already.
On the plus side I am happy to be here as I get to meet my other children and the grandchildren. Above all I am happy because while here, I have fallen in love again. I feel deeply in love with something which I intend to get my hands on. It was while on a visit to The Mines Resort that I saw it. I have yet to decide on the model but from what I heard, an Apple computer is good whih ever model that we decide on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Never Go To MAHA On A Sunday

If I could help it I wouldn't have gone to The Malaysian Agriculture Horticulture & Agrotourism (MAHA) International Show yesterday as it was a Sunday and I was expecting a big crowd. The Sua Rasa event by TV9 was held at the site too adding to the attraction for those who are more interested in The Sua Rasa more than the MAHA show to draw the crowd. Unfortunately I had no choice since the son who could provide the conveyance was only free on Sunday. He made the mistake of waking up late and coming to pick me up late at his sister's Taman Amanputra hom from his Shah Alam home despite his friend's warning that he must go early due to congestion at the car park. It was only after we saw the traffic jam on the highway near the expo ground that we realized the folly of coming there late. The crawl began from almost two kilometers away to the ground.
After seeing others parking their cars at the road side on both sides of the highway, we decided to do the same and walk the distance as the traffic was crawling at a pace slower than our leisurely walking speed.
Some people had brought young kids along and some even have babies. I really feel sorry for these kids and babies. Even though the sun wasn't blazing hot as it normally does, the walking activities still made us sweat profusely. The cloudy sky was definitely a blessing in disguise.
There was so much to see and I couldn't cover the whole exhibition. By 1.00 PM I had to call it quit as my legs just refuse to obey orders. As I had bought a few kgs of bananas, the prospect of walking 2 kms back to the car really made me want to conserve some energy. So we decided to go home after covering about one fifth of the whole show.
I wouldn't want to burden you all with a long write up so just see the pictures that I have taken to learn a bit of what I saw from part of the extensive exposition.
If you intend to go to MAHA, please do so on a weekday as there will be less crowd. Avoid bringing babies or even young kids even though it is very educational for the kids.
If I could get the chance, I would love to go again to cover the other sections that I have yet to cover before the exhibitions ends on the 5th of December. This time it will never be on a Sunday.

My son's kancil was crawling with other cars four abreast on the highway on the way to Mardi Serdang.

Ahead of us there more cars. This signage gave us the impression that the expo wasn't faraway.

This pretty little girl was so excited seeing me taking photographs of the traffic. The mother rolled down the window to allow me to take a clearer shot of her baby.

We were on the Litrak Highway to Kajang from Puchong. Exit 5 to the expo ground must be pretty near.

There two entrances to the expo ground. The nearest was of course Entrance 2.

It was still a distance from the parking area yet we saw this Parking full sign.

Many visitors parked their cars by the road side and walk to the site. My son Azuan did carry an umbrella just in case the weather may turn either too hot or too wet.

The no parking area and the threat of being towed away. Nobody heeded the sign.

Now you know what MAEPS stand for.

Another Parking Penuh sign and yet people are still driving into the parking area. Do they really mean it that the parking area is full?

The owner of this van was using the ruse that his van is 'Rosak' (broke dowo parking) to avoid being towed away or summoned for parking in a no parking zone. I wonder if this ruse worked for him all the time.

Upon entering the exhibition area we saw orchid and ornamental plants stalls. Sua Rasa is on our left.

The signage says the stall is 50 meters away but actually it was just beside it.

The jackfruit was cut up so you don't have to buy a whole fruit

The Orchid Society participated in MAHA.

A Rhyncostylis spp in bloom. I have a similar plant back home and it had bloomed once.

The Catleyas bear beautiful colorful flowers.

Vandas are beautiful too.

I can't resist the temptation of having my photograph taken with the blooming orchids.

Shuttle busses are provided to transport visitors to the other distant part of the show area.

Who says Malaysians don't know how to queue up?

While waiting for the shuttle buses, you can always watch the goings on around the park on the big screen near the second entrance.

Juicy roasted mutton. My full stomach due to a heavy breakfast before coming to the expo prevented me from enjoy it.

A precious Boer Stud.

An even more expensive bull to be used for breeding.

Stalls selling several varietiges of food product from mutton to beef and eggs. Satay arnab was available too.
Saw this oil palm harvester at the machinery expo by various government agencies.

The Deputy Prime Minister came to the machinery display site while I was there. I took a few shots of him and his entourage. Included in his entourage was Tan Sri Mohamad Nor Ismail whom I had served for a short while when I was in Kumpulan Fima Sdn Bhd.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thank You Facebook

I must thank Facebook for it has brought me together to meet new friends. The new friends were old College mates at Serdang. The husband and wife Zahid Mohammad and Zaimi Mohd Nor were my super duper seniors at the then Serdang Agriculture College before it was transformed into Universiti Pertanian Malaysia and later Univerisity Putra Malaysia.
When I posted the message on FB that I was coming to Amanputra Puchong, Puan Zaimi responded that she was just in the neighbouring Taman Putra Perdana and suggested that we should meet. Later when her husband and me became friends on Facebook, we decided to meet after the Friday Prayers at Putra Perdana Mosque on Friday which was yesterday. This didn't materialize as Zahid couldn't be back for the Fridays prayers as he was out in KL.
Meanwhile I had received a message from another close school friend Tuan Haji Ashaari Amin who had tremendous influence on my life during my school days. He had wanted to come over from Ampang to meet me at Amanputra today. Another SMS came from Zahid suggesting for a breakfast meeting the next which I readily agreed. This is an opportune time for me to introduce Ashaari to Zahid as Ashaari was also an ex Serdang College student.
Ashaari came to Amanputra Puchong exactly at 7.45 AM on his trusted Yamaha Virago. We then proceeded to Putra Perdana to our rendezvous point at a mamak eatery at Putra Perdana at 8.00 AM. Zahid. Zahid came with his wife Zaimi exactly on time. He must be a stickler to punctuality, a rare habit among Malaysians. After a brief introduction we proceeded in seperate cars to another eatery in Bukit Puchong, a short drive away where we were told East Coast dishes are available. Zahid mentioned of the availability of pulut kuning which seemed to be his favourite.
While on the way, Ashaari mentioned that this Zahid has the exact semblance of another Zahid that he had known while studying at Lousiana State University in the US. His only doubt was that the Zahid that he knew wasn't as fair skinned as this Zahid. Somehow I was confident that this is the same Zahid and told Ashaari so. So when we reached the eatery, Ashaari immediately confirmed with Zahid by telling Zahid about the time they were in LSU. Yes it was the same Zahid.
It seemed Zahid had been transformed into a fair skinned guy by a freak accident not very different from what happened to Michael Jackson, a fire accident. The only difference is that Zahid was torched by a fire while he was tinkering with the engine of his Volkswagon whereas Michael had his while he was on stage. Since I am dark skinned too, Zahid jokingly offered to replicate the same treatment by fire on me which I of course declined.
The food at the eatery was of course very sumptuous but what was more sumptuous was the discussion that was going on between Zahid and Ashaari. Both of them were in the wellness industry. To learn more about what they are doing please visit http://www.grandsun.com.tw and http://www.mi-biotech.com or just click here and here for Zahid's and Ashaari's company respectively. Of particular note is Ashaari's involvement in early breast cancer detection which could save the life of many as by the time a lump is detected in your breast, it is already too late.
Hearing these people talk was definitely enriching to me in terms of knowledge and economic prospect. Now I know progesterone used to delay menopause in elderly ladies is produced from the lowly itchy keladi (yam) and activated carbon requires coconut shells as raw materials and certain species of bamboo are better raw materials than coconut shells.
Now don't you want to be the raw material suppliers?
Now I am toying with the idea of jumping into the business bandwagon with the so many opportunities available.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Life In Amanputra Puchong

This is the third day I am at my eldest daughter's place in Taman Amanputra Puchong. Taman Amanputra used to be the last housing area at the end of the road after the older and bigger Taman Putra Perdana. It used to be pretty quiet with traffic though its actual location is just a mere 7 minutes drive to Putrajaya. Now with the unofficial access to the highway to Putrajaya, the 7 minutes drive is a reality and passing traffic increases by leaps and bounds.
I will be here for a month to nanny my grandchildren while the parents go to work. The duty will be for a month and the plane ticket home on 21st December is already bought so there will be no extension. By then my daughter should be able to resolve her problem.
Of course I miss my home. Life is never the same compared to your own home especially when you get to sleep in your own bed. The softness of the bed and body warmth of the other half is missing. Today some semblance of comfort will be restored when the workmen will replace the malfunctioning air conditioner. The present brand claiming a good life is not really good and my daughter was convinced to buy another brand by a supplier and installer from Taman Putra Perdana. He assured us that he is just a phonecall away should we need his services be it servicing or repairing of all the air conditioner units in the house. How convenient indeed.
I have established a certain routine now after having repaired the folding bike that I gave to my grandchildren. A bike ride to the shop in Putra Perdana to buy whatever is required to prepare lunch for the grandchildren will give me the chance to exercise. Breakfast is already taken care of when my daughter would have bought the breakfast from the nearby stalls. The passing traffic to Putrajaya as opened up opportunities for small time entrepreneurs to sell nasi lemak and what have you for breakfast. Otherwise I will have to prepare the breakfast or buy them at Putra Perdana.
Another routine I am trying to establish is to get the grandchildren to stick to a certain routine where a timetable will be set. They must stick to a certain time to put in some hours to study, time to eat and play. So far everything is let to their own whim and fancy which isn't healthy and develop into a bad habit. I think this is a general problem with children of working parents when they are left under the care of the maids. God willing I may succeed in this short time that I have with them to establish some sense of purpose with the free time that they have during the school holidays.
Making some adjustments to my own life seems to be necessary now that I will be away from home when my own food will be taken care of. Hey it's an opportune time for me to learn how to cook more dishes. Just last night I did prepare a fine dish of siakap masak masam manis which I am quite adept at making lately.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Coffee Table For My Son's New House

A Coffee Table For My Son's New HouseThe completed table ready to be wrapped and sent to KL.

Azrin with his three children, Irsyad, Ayen and Syakirah

Yanie posing with a friend. The Black Merc belongs to her friend.

It was sometimes in August 2010 that my daughter in law Yanie made a posting in her Facebook that she will be moving into her new home in Subang Alam in Section 27 Shah Alam. I immediately responded by promising to give a coffee table which she could collect when she came back for the last Idulfitri. Unfortunately the table was not ready as the workshop that I commissioned to do was too busy doing other jobs including my own wakaf (gazebo).
It was only today that the final coat of white shellac was sprayed and was ready for collection.
The table top for the coffee table is a special piece of cengal wood measuring 18" x 43" carved with floral motives. This piece of wood is special in that I had purchased it some 20 odd years ago from my uncle in Kuala Lumpur. It was a surplus piece from those used to decorate the walls of the traditional houses in Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam Shah Alam. I remember paying my uncle some RM300 for that piece with a few other items made from wood. The piece had been in my keep without knowing when it will ever be used. So when we moved back from our previous home in Gua Musang, that piece of wood carving came along. Though I have never found a proper use for it, it was never the less safely tucked away in a corner. Our own furniture of mainly Indonesian Jati did not seem to allow for this gem to fit in anywhere.
The beautiful carving with a floral motif.

That was until my son bought his new house that there was space enough for a coffee table which I offered him for via Yanie's facebook posting. There was a snag though. He had ordered his new furniture in white even though they were made of Cengal, the king of Malaysian wood. He wanted furniture made of wood that will last but of white color. To me painting wood is against the spirit of wood especially when they are made of cengal whereby all the grain in the wood will be obscured.

In the case of the coffee table, I had to compromise. The body of the table will be painted with white shellac, while the table top with the floral carving will be stained with wood oil and covered with a piece of 8 mm glass. Thus the carving will remain the color of the wood with the spirit of wood intact.
The table will be delivered to my son's home when I next visit them after Yanie has delivered my ninth grandson in January 2011.
Today is Azrin's birthday. Happy birthday son.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Saving The Life of A Machine

The two of us who are members of the Surau near our home was almost done with the vacuuming of the carpet in the small surau after the Friday Subuh prayers when the vacuum machine suddenly went quiet. We tried to restart the machine but it was to no avail. When I touched the body of the machine, it felt pretty hot. After letting it cool down we tried again after checking all the cables to see all the power supply was intact.We even changed the point from where the machine was plugged into. Since after such attempts were made the machine refused to come to life.
I took the machine home and told my wife that the machine ain't working anymore. It could be a burnt coil. Since we had been using the machine for several years already we thought the machine has had its day and called it quit. We decide to buy a new one the next day as we were going to Kota Bharu on Saturday. We will buy a similar model, a Panasonic by National. Since we are buying a new one, I decided to have a go with the machine and open it up to see what is wrong with it. Knowing that the worst that can happen is replacing the machine, I didn't have to worry if it will be good again or not.
There were not many visible screws to unscrew and the few that I saw were already out and yet the machine refused to be disemboweled. After further scrutiny I found a few more screws under a removable body part. Yet the machine can't be opened up. Using flat screw drivers I forced open a section of the body and suddenly I heard a small crack, indicating that a small part had given way to the force and broke up. Removing the piece I saw another single screw that needed to be opened before the whole machine can be opened. What a way to learn things by experimenting and relying on hunches.

The motor was removed and cleaned of dust.

At last I could open up the machine and was able to check the motor inside. Upon closer scrutiny, there was no visibility burning signs on the coil. That is a good sign, meaning a simple machine like a vacuum machine is not overly damaged if the coil is still intact. To confirm the coil is OK I called on my neighbour Chong who is an electrician and he confirmed my hunch that the motor is OK.
He suggested that I just clean up the dusts in the machine and fit them together again to try and start it up. Rebuilding became a bit of a problem as I had not really observed the steps I took when opening up. Since there were not many parts inside, I finally did manage to fit in all the screws and kept the wires inside intact.
It was music to my ears when upon switching it on, the motor whined. My wife grinned from ear to ear as we are saved several hundred ringgit if we were to buy a new machine. At least that expense will be delayed until much later when the machine will give up its last breath.
In our home I have managed to salvage many other electrical appliances like the electric irons, fans and vacuum cleaners because I dare to try and repair them first before throwing them away for good. Sometimes they were just mere dusts, broken wires or dry bearings that prevented them from function. Reconnecting broke wires, reapplying grease on bearings and removing dusts often bring them back to life. Not all were so easy though but some did. Those that did were really satisfying.
My sister in law's vacuum cleaner was not sucking much dust. She was contemplating buying a new one. When she told me of her problem, I opened up the dust compartment and sure enough the dust bag was choked up with years of all the things it was made to suck in. Her Electrolux vacuum cleaner is still serving her fine despite the many decades of being in service.
The moral of the story, don't rush into buying a new machine unless it is beyond repair. Such machines do need regular servicing to keep them in working condition. If it needs be, it must be brought to the service centers to have them professionally cleaned up. You will defintely be the winner

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Landscape For The House

The soft landscape that is the planting of flowers and shrubs around the house is my wife's domain. She will decide everything as to the choice of plants and the arrangement. Since she finds immense joy and satisfaction in doing it, I am only happy to watch. My only involvement is only for the occasional advice whenever she chooses to ask and other menial job which requires more muscular power such as re potting, moving the larger pots around and filling the larger pots with soil.
Of late I became more involved in the landscape work both the soft landscape and the hard landscape. Now I am more interested to produce some potted seedlings for sale to the local nursery. This I will dwell on in more detail in my future posts. For now I would like to share with you all some of the hard landscape projects which I did for the house.
Fatthiyah has been getting ideas for the hard landscape projects from such magazines as Laman or Anjung Seri which she buys regularly and read them from front to back. With quite a stack of sawn timber left over from our house renovation job which I have been reluctant to dispose off lest they become necessary later, Fatthiyah asked me to do something with it so as to reduce the pile from being used as rodent's nest or even worse from being used the breeding place for snakes.
The first project started off with the making of a simple fence using 2" x 2" wood as poles and nailed with 1" x 2" laterals.
To start off I will show you some of the tools I used for the job.

A Black & Decker folding bench, a Makita 7" hand held circular power saw (not really necessary for the first job but was used due to the fasting month where energy conservation is of paramount importance), a Sandvic cross cut saw, a hammer and some nails. The power drill is not in the picture but it was used to drill some holes before nailing the wood together. The wood being old and dry will split without the holes being drilled first.

This is how the wooden decorative fence look like after being given several coats of ICI's solar screen. This solarscreen product will keep the wood from rotting due to the constant exposure to water and sun.
Fatthiyah was so happy with it and pretty soon she came up with another idea albeit much more harder to do due to larger pieces of wood used. For this job I should be using at least 5" x 5" posts which I don't have. What I did was to use 2" x 5" pieces together to form a 4" x 5' blocks. For this job I am thankful that I have the hand held circular saw as it really helped me with the cutting of the larger pieces. The project is for a flower pot stand.

This is how the contraption looked like when completed. A flower pot will be placed on each posts which ranged in height from 12' to 24".

After several coats of solarscreen application, this is how it looks. So as not to waste space I placed some 2" x 2" rafters on the rack which could be used to place more pots.

The next project was my own project. It was a bench to complement the pseudo marble bench and table which I sometime use to work on my notebook whenever I want to be outdoor. Since the benches which came with the set were made of concrete, they were too heavy to move around and the distance was not conducive for working on a notebook when placed on the table.

A closer view of the wooden bench. The bench was later given a white coat of paint to ensure it will last longer and and make it aesthetically pleasing to the eye since it matches the colour of the other furniture.
The last project was another flower pot stand since I still have ample sawn timber left overs. This time it was for a three pot stand.

A flat piece to cover the post and provide a larger surface for the pots.

The rack after painting.

The three pots rack with flower pots placed on it.

With this idea why not do your own? They are really quite simple to do and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to do it. A saw, a hammer, some nails and some sawn timber are all that you need.