Thursday, 29 April 2010


Throb, throb, throb went my right thigh

This was at about 8.30 pm on my bunk-bed in our tiny room at the Gunting Lagadan Dorm at Laban Rata some 10,000 ft. on Mount Kinabalu.

It was time to catch some much-needed sleep in preparation for the 2.30am assault of the SUMMIT - otherwise known by the very unassuming name Low's Peak.

We already had wolfed down a good buffet dinner at the resthouse cafetaria some 200 metres below, had a cold-to-tepid shower to wash off the day's exertions climbing 6km up from Timpohon Gate, and I had rubbed my tired legs with liberal lashings of funky-smelling Minyak Gamat Langkawi and even plastered Salonpas on the dodgy areas.

As I lay down and closed my eyes and wishing them to sleep, the throbbing started.

Throb, throb, throb

That's funny, I thought. It's my left hip and glutes that's usually wonky, but now they feel fine - but my right thigh's throbbing to a fifties rock-n-roll beat.

I groaned, switched on the light, fished out a Ponstan capsule left over from my last wisdom tooth extraction and swallowed it. I thought I wouldn't need any painkillers. My two young ladies already each had 2 paracetamol for their headaches at this oxygen-sparse altitude (10,000ft above sea-level). My hubby also had something for his problematic left ankle - from an injury in a high-speed motorbike accident.

We are to meet our guide down at the cafetaria for supper at 2 am before commencing the climb at 2.30.

I closed my eyes - trying to think beautiful thoughts. It was quiet, the whole dorm seemed to be sleeping. From the  2 overhead bunks - regular breathing, and from the other one below - reassuringly gentle snoring.

Throb, throb, throb

Some kind of brainwave made me put both palms under my bottom  as a cushion. That helped relax the muscles a bit. But still I couldn't sleep - the body being used to a 2 am beddy-bye on normal days. I massaged my legs with eyes closed, I turned to one side, then the other, I hear someone trudging to the restroom, luckily no eerie sounds, but all I could do was close my eyes while nursing a sore thigh.

Throb, throb, throb

The ponstan didn't take. My mind was restless, thinking about nothing and everything. I might have drifted somehow but I began to hear voices outside in the corridor. Soon hubby's alarm went off and it was time to get up. I reluctantly sat up, and then


That was my head.


The gang were getting dressed. It was decision time.


"You guys go on down. If I feel up to it, I'll have those 2 hard-boiled eggs for supper, then we'll meet up  outside."

"Are you sure?" asked one

"Are you sure?" asked another

"Yes, I haven't slept a wink and my head's thumping". The throbbing in the thigh seemed mild in comparison.

Off they went to supper.

I got up, took two paracetamol left over from my last root-canal treatment, opened the window louvres - aaah fresh biting-cold air, and put my head on the pillow to rest a little.

I went off like a light! What did you expect? It was almost 2 am - bed-time!

I awoke to the chirping of birds. It seemed like the most restful 3 hour sleep I had in ages. 

It was time for dawn prayers.

That was when the gang REACHED LOW'S PEAK!  YAY!!! So proud of them was I.

Through the cold and the pain and fatigue, THEY DID IT by sheer grit and determination!!! A man 58 years of age and 2 very young ladies! Congratulations and Jubilations!!!

 Laban Rata Resthouse - Kinabalu Base Camp

And so that was MY attempt at the peak of Kinabalu!

Not so inspirational huh? So let's take away that label off me and let me be an ordinary makcik again hehehe

The helipad on Laban Rata

Monday, 26 April 2010

Pushing The Stroller Up Kinabalu

It was



But I needed to do it.

Strolling is easy, but pushing the stroller while strolling is not so. With a baby inside it becomes quite a bit of work.

And when you yourself is the stroller and you yourself is the  baby inside that you yourself have to push, it becomes a thousand times harder.

And I huffed and I puffed and I prayed  a thousand prayers all the way up from the Timpohon Gate at 6,100ft (1,866metres) above sea-level to Laban Rata Rest House at 10,700ft (3,270metres).

And I inched and stepped and zig-zagged and I breathed gratitude all the way down.

Because I MADE IT!

With the unfazed support of my husband (who constantly kept close by me) and my two girls, I MADE IT!

And now my children can tell their yet-to-be-conceived children how at the ripe age of 56, granny MADE IT TO THE SUMMIT ooops BASE CAMP LABAN RATA - OF KINABALU -  6 km of trekking up the mountain! Yay, not quite the summit but I conquered MY Everest!

The summit is a further 2 km up - which the girls and their father reached early Sunday morning to watch a splendid sunrise and appreciate God's majesty.

Our legs are stiff from the strain and will ease soon enough.

But the euphoria of our achievements will remain for a good long while.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Snippets Of A Sunday Morning Stroll

 I am on my morning stroll in the Kiara hills adjacent to the golf course on one side and the Taman Tun Park on the other.

It's called Taman Arboratum and shaped like a Q - the tail is a long uphill walk, a challenge in itself especially in the mornings when the muscles are still sleeping.

At the top, the road declines sharply ahead. It's a welcome respite after battling the tail but a hundred metres on it's mainly uphill all the way back.

I decide to turn left against the mainstream.

I'm still warming up, I argue. I'll go downhill this round, and turn back the other way the next.

The people walking up is like an exodus of refugees escaping tyranny. Most are panting hard - some of them very hard indeed, because they are jogging!

Hah! You do your thing, I'll do mine.

I stroll.

And I eavesdrop on what Malaysians are up to in their lives.

 "Ser-tee-ya Ah-lam Semee-dee, ngor low koong lorr"

This lady has a semi-detached house in Setia Alam, I surmise. Probably bought by her husband.

That's quite a distance from here, I doubt she came all that way. I've forgotten my cantonese to understand the conversation.

Yup, there are many people doing the Arboratum on Sunday mornings: fat ones, thin ones, toddlers, the elderly. There are  young cyclists as well, huffing and puffing up-slope and racing like the blazes down. The older walkers are like me, in our fifty's perhaps and a sizable few who look like young upcoming professionals.

"Aku suka bagi gripe-water".

"Gripe-water? Ada lagi ke?"

"Ada... "

Young mums. Isn't that the colic medicine for babies, it has some alcoholic content if I'm not mistaken. Thank God none of my babies were colicky.

I walk on. The road levels out.

"So what you do is... take the average and then..."

These two girls are walking too fast for me to catch the magic formula. Ah well, never mind.

The road slopes down and curves slightly. Two men in late-forty's brisk-walking uphill, and a thirty plus jogging a few metres behind.

"Cannot.... stroke-lah", one man says loudly to the young friend.

 "Problem is," says the young guy as he catches up, "the toilet is locked lah"

 Aiit, is there a toilet around here, I wonder. And what has a stroke got to do with the toilet?

Hahaha, the mind starts to imagine.

Coming up look like lecturer types. I may not be far wrong.

"Dia ada buat ceramah di Universiti Malaya. Dia kata kalau anak kita berlaku tak elok, jangan terus tuduh dia penzina...."

That startles me. Ya Allah, lindungilah anak-anak ku dari syaitan yang direjam.

I recite a quranic verse as I walk on.

"I'll ask my remisier" someone says.

Yeah do that, hope you profit much hehe. Is it bearish or bullish now, I wonder. Been a while since I had any interest in the market.

Young people yapping away about exams. Hmph, also not interesting.

Further on, I plod along not bothering to look at people anymore. There are some monkeys to avoid.

"You leave them alone then they'll leave you alone", says a Mum to her little kids.

Dad quips, "If not they AT-TACK you one". Kiddies walk closely to Mum and Dad while eyeing the monkeys with their own babies clinging to them.

I stay close to them too and eventually pass the danger.

I'm approaching the sharp incline.

"This place is not as interesting as Gasing, you think so or not?"

Maybe not, but it's very safe. I had heard of muggings up in the Gasing hills.

Halfway up a seven year old kid is squatting to rest while Mummy walks on ahead.

He then gets up and begins to run up to her, but loses one slipper.

"Mummy, mummy my croc!"

Mums should make kids wear proper shoes in these kind of places. But what the heck, what's a scraped knee or two once in a while?

I stretch at the top of the hill and then proceed down the "normal" way.

I'm lost in my own thoughts.

After three rounds, I walk down the tail.

A young lady with two male companions enjoys their attention.

"Kau rasa tak tadi macam mendaki bukit?"

"Tak lah, kalau dengan kau berdua orang gila, tak terasa langsung"

 "Tengok ni" one of them inspecting a bush plant, "yang ni jantan, yang ni betina"

"Mana kau tahu?"

"Yang ni busuk, yang ni wangi"

"Kepala hotak kau, hahaha"

My left hip seems jammed. I sit at the guardhouse and stretch,  especially my left glute.

The man  who was feeding the monkeys with bananas comes up to me asking, "Mau lipat tak Kak?"

"Lipat apa?"

"Ini ubat Cina punya"

"Massage kah?"

"Tak, ini lipat"

"Tak apa, saya stretching sudah cukup"

He spots a fifty-year old. "Hello Uncle..."

He's selling something. But I only lipat in private, sorry.

I eat a tub of  taufoo far and chat with the seller.

"Not many people today har?"

"Now it's ten o'clock, the peak is over. Six o' clock people start coming already"

"Today I didn't see that old man, the one who does the qi gong walk"

"You mean that eighty-year old down there in the park? He passed away last week lah"

"Wah, pass away already ah that man. But not that one, this one always qi gong walk same-side arm same-side leg, same speed uphill-downhill, quite funny. I saw him last week"

A lady customer explains "There are many kinds of qi gong walks, all using inner core strength. Ya lorr, that man not here today"

"Hope he's OK"

The taufoo far man says "Last week also a 53-year old man had a heart attack up the hill. He's the youngest so far. Usually seventy-year olds, sixty year olds get heart attack. I do business here eight years already, I know the goings-on lah"

"Waah, so young, 53 years old!"

"Yeah, he was on a challenge - ten rounds!"

"Wow, I one round also flat already"

I finish my delicious taufoo far and paid him.

"Thank you, bye, take care" he says.

And I'm off to an early lunch at Restoran Sambal Hijau in Sungai Penchala.
Just wondering, where do the politicians exercise?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Korean who liked Punjabi songs

Hey there kiddos,

I was on a working trip in Korea a long long time  ago in the last century.

We were on our way somewhere in a car driven by our Korean contact who spoke of the many peoples of different nationalities that he had met in his line of work.

And the many faces and colours and behaviours of Malaysians.

Yeah multi-racial, multi-cultural we are - very interesting.

Oooops, this is not about 1Malaysia. There has always been one Malaysia anyway.

Unclear of the concept, aren't I? Haha - purposely...

Anyway after tiring of the  exchanges about our different heterogeneous / homogeneous makeups the guide asked:

"What kind of songs you like?"

"Err, everything. I like to listen to all kinds of songs - modern, classical, traditional, tribal"

He says "I like Punjabi songs"

"You LIKE PUNJABI songs?"


 "Have you met any Punjabis before?"

"Errr no, they don't come to Korea but I have their song CD" (or was it cassette - it was that long ago).

"I play for you, surely you like" he says, smiling.

Oh OK, I could do with some BANGRA beat.

He stuck the thing in to the player.

 And out came "It's My Life" from


"Aaaah, that is BON JOE VEEE - just now you said PUN JA BI"

"NO, so sorry but I said PUN JA BI, here you can read the label"

It was Bon Jovi. It's either his tongue or my ears...

The car shook from my colleague's and mine suppressed laughter - to the rocky beat of It's My Life.

Here is a slowed down version. Enjoy.


Nice inspiring lyrics too.

In the fast version you shout out, "IT'S MY LIFE".

Go on, do it!

This ain't a song for the brokenhearted
No silent prayer for the faith departed
And I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd
You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud

It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life

This is for the ones who stood their ground
For Tommy and Gina who never backed down (aiiit got Tommy oso wan)
Tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake
Luck ain't even lucky, gotta make your own breaks

It's my life
And it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life

You better stand tall
When they're calling you out
Don't bend, don't break
Baby, don't back down

It's my life
It's now or never
'Cause I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
And it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life!

 Let's all live right, kiddos.

Monday, 12 April 2010

All in the Family, but Modified

This is a horse

and this is a donkey

Both are of the same genetic family but of a DIFFERENT SPECIES. 

(I shall not get into the chimp-human family debate but here it suggests that genetically humans and chimps share 99.4 percent identity)

 Anyway, when a male donkey is cross-bred with a female horse, the product is:

What's interesting is that mules are sterile. They CANNOT produce any off-spring.

And apparently, this is most often (but not always) the case for creatures that are produced from cross-breeding between species.

Though geneticists go cross-eyed  arguing as to the actual scientific reason,   a layman like me naturally concludes that it's what we get when we tamper with nature, when humans merrily experiment with genes and modify them for whatsoever reason.

I mean, would a female horse NATURALLY WANT to mate with a donkey? She could easily out-run him anytime and anywhere, that's one thing. And stallions look a thousand times better, too.

And how about plants?

 This is a guava, with seeds

and these are SEEDLESS guavas

A normal guava looks nice and symmetrical but the seedless variety are grossly gnarled and misshapened, their segments unevenly sized.

The seedless one is what I had the pleasure of partaking recently though, and painfully paid the price early the next morning.

Fruits are designed to contain seeds for the purpose of propogating their species.

When a fruit has no seeds, it is barren, infertile - like the mule.

And I naturally suspect the human hand being the cause - by genetically modifying the original seeded one.

They say the Thais have got it down pat, producing seedless varieties of durians, the guava above, rambutans etc. through genetical modifications (GM) ie through either inserting or deleting genes.

What I can decipher from Wiki are that there are a number of ways to do this.

You can artificially transfer genes between organisms that can be conventionally bred, I'm assuming within the same species. 

Or you can insert genes from a different species by attaching them to a transporter virus. They say using a very fine syringe or  a gene gun (nice) may also work in transferring DNA material. 

And they are also talking about transferring genes between plants and animals! 

However GM foods are not without controversies. 

"Supporters point to wonderful possibilities of nutrient-packed food and solving world hunger, while critics fear unknown effects on human health. But whatever one’s opinion the matter, one thing is clear: some genetically modified fruits and vegetables are awfully intriguing!"

Here's one example:

A Lemato

"Okay, so a lemon and a tomato aren’t the most natural of pairs, but that didn’t stop Israeli researchers from bringing us the Lemato! Unlike other genetically altered fruits and veggies (which were created primarily for health reasons), it appears that the lemato was solely an experiment to determine if it was possible to make tomatos give off the scent of lemons". 

OK, on the one hand they are saying the GM fruits are created "for health reasons" but on the other they fear "unknown effects on human health"!

But I know what effect the seedless guava had on me. My wonderful tummy rejected it, even though the humble guava does have many naturopathic benefits.

Taken unedited from
"Though guava is cheaper, it contains lot of nutrients as well as good medicinal value.  Guava is the best remedy for constipation problems. Seedless guava has the ability to strengthen heart muscles. If you get hiccup troubles frequently, eat guava which will stop hiccup immediately. Guava has a copious amount of vitamin C and little amount of vitamin A, B. One ounce of guava consists of fat-1gm, protein-1gm, calcium-3mg, carbohydrate-4.1gm and iron-0.3gm. Young guava fruit quits dysentery. To reduce tooth pain, chew guava leaves well and do mouthwash. Consuming tender leaves in empty stomach will increase the hunger and strengthen the intestine. Don’t remove the skin of guava because skinless guava may cause indigestion problems."

What? DO NOT REMOVE THE SKIN OF GUAVA because skinless guava may cause INDIGESTION PROBLEMS?

That was exactly what I did! I removed the skin!

So it wasn't because of it being GENETICALLY-MODIFIED after all.

Or it might still be, who knows...

 Still, it will be a long while before I try Seedless Guavas  again.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Perut Oh Perut

Kenapa engkau sakit?

Perut says:
Macam mana aku tak sakit?
Keli Masak Cuka!

For over 50 years I’ve basically eaten whatever that could be eaten with barely a twinge from the old food-processor. Though it was barely noticeable, things started to change in my fifth decade.And now it’s getting to be a tad picky about what I throw into it’s rumbling folds.

Perut oh perut
Kenapa tak ngam cuka?

Perut says:
Macam mana aku nak ngam?
“Lining” semakin tua!

I was at this cafeteria somewhere in Putrajaya where they had a buffet lunch spread. My weakness - ikan keli –  looked appetising fried and glazed with some kind of sauce. Also the Urap Pucuk Paku looked a good bet as a complement. I had both with a palm-sized portion of white rice.

Perut oh perut
Kenapa engkau sakit?

Perut says:
Macam mana aku tak sakit?
Lauk berlawan-lawan

OK, the ikan keli tasted sweetish-tangy like it was bathed in vinegar but it was certainly delicious. I polished off the whole fish in no time. The urap or was it kerabu was also nice. The ulam looked fresh, not too over-blanched (or wasn’t it?), with just enough grated coconut to look presentable. But maybe something in there wasn’t clean enough?

Perut oh perut
Baru sikit dah sakit?

Perut says:
Macam mana aku tak sakit?
Kena pulak roti canai mamak!

Including the dhall curry and teh tarik later at 5 pm. I was entertaining my companion who was hungry and headachey…. honest.

And Perut continues:
Dan Sambal Tumis Udang sama Nasi Lemak pada malam nyerrrr….

But they were good - I made them myself!

Next morning Perut woke me up with cramps and grumbles and venomous poisons. I was housebound two whole days, the second day as a precautionary measure.

Perut warns:
Orang oh orang
Kenapa engkau gelojoh?
Makanlah untuk hidup
Bukan untuk aniaya aku!

Ahh Perut, what a painful thing your retribution. I hear you, I hear you.
Look what I missed the first day.

Amin, back from KK for a few days was clamouring for some Arabian
Wonder who the girls got their appetites from?

And all I had was bland rice porridge with a pinch of anchovies.
And plenty of yogurt drinks.

Seems I’m OK today but did I heed  Perut?

For dinner last night - Butter Prawns and Tenggiri Masak Kicap with Soo Hoon.
Nasi Goreng for breakfast.
Chicken Rice for lunch.
Mum’s Mee Goreng for tea.

Bangau oh bangau
Kenapa aku tak kurus?

Bangau says:
Macam mana kau nak kurus

Memanglah begitu…. (sigh)

Thursday, 1 April 2010


I was spellbound while watching a documentary about "Pukau" on the Crime and Investigation channel on Astro this morning.

It showcased three scenarios where this art or ilmu of hypnotising victims were used. The first were firsthand accounts from ordinary people who had been pukau-ed into parting with cash and jewellery - on the spot. Also a case where a Pak Haji drove home, fetched his passbook, withdrew RM20,000 from his bank account and coolly handed it over to the pemukau. These victims reported feeling dazed, antara sedar dan tak sedar, while all this was taking place.

The art of pukau is allegedly used in house burglaries where the occupants of the house are hypnotised into deep sleep during the robbery. This had happened to us too when I was a little girl living in the government quarters assigned to my then civil-servant father. I remembered following the policemen and my father to check out some food strewn in the compound with human faeces nearby - that's the trademark of pukau practitioners in burglaries. They have to eat something from the house and then urinate or defaecate on the premises before their get-away - gross! In that time, the occupants would be having one of the most restful sleep of their lives.

The third scenario was related by a former police-officer who had interviewed a serial rapist about his pukau modus operandi. Some detectives on night patrol had been able to apprehend the rapist because he had done something that broke his own pukau spell. On that particular night in the house of his intended victim, he had kissed the forehead of a sleeping 3-month old baby when overcomed by feelings of rindu for is own child. On that night he was no longer invisible to others and was easily taken into custody without a struggle. However while the arrest was taking place, one of the officers had felt as if he was being tightly constricted by something, until one of his colleagues saw his predicament and promptly urinated at the scene which then reliefed him of his extreme discomfort.

Apparently the serial rapist had already raped 29 virgins and in complying with the requirements of his black ilmu, had fifty more to do to fulfill his desire to be forever young-looking. He revealed that his were not lustful acts and he had never left behind his semen, only to collect the girls' hymens or virginal blood! He used his saliva to "hook" the victim by placing a mentholated sweet that he had sucked into the victim's mouth. Victims remember having this taste in their mouths upon waking.

Three professionals who commented on the art of pukau in this documentary were of the opinion that these kind of criminals are actually con-artistes well-versed in the psychology of human nature, and in the techniques of hypnotism. In choosing their victims, they would have recognised the gullible ones from their body-language or whatever, and then placed "anchors" on them through eye-contact or a touch or a spoken word. For burglaries or rapes, they would then have followed the victims home a few times to make sure that they indeed live there. Scary isn't it?

And it seems there is nothing to show that there is any supernaturalism involved in pukau.

But then how to explain that policeman being bear-hugged by something or other?

All this goes to show that we have to always be on our toes when approached by strangers no matter whether you are an elderly man, woman, or young boy or girl because these monsters are very deft at putting our guard down and playing on our sympathies. The victims in the documentary only came to realise that they had been tricked or their safe-haven violated after they came out of their hypnotised stupor.

Anyway, that was the first time  that I watched Crime and Investigation. It's something you have to pay extra for but I'm  getting it free because we have someone in the house-hold working for Astro now.