Monday, August 31, 2009


5 days leave courtesy of the Health Authorities! Even better, starting from my wedding anniversary. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Laugh because so happy to get some time off. Cry as it was very stressing and worrying especially in today’s environment of H1N1 scare. It was indeed a troubling and agonising experience. But an eye opener and reassuring one. A case of two extremes situation.

Not wanting to pinpoint what or where the cause and start of it all but a few days earlier, together with a friend, went to the Gerai Ramadhan at the Stadium to get some pesungkaian. This was after a couple of years not bothering to go there. Got the normal stuff. Nothing exotic. When it comes to food, I am not that adventurous. I should have heeded the warning signs after the first visit. The tummy started to grumble more often. As often as the thunders that accompanied the heavy rains we got frequently lately despite everyone predicting prolonged dry weather. The urge to look for one particular gerai made me went for the second visit. Then the trouble really started.

Grumblings becoming louder and louder. Visits to the small room got more frequent. Still manageable and even went out and about until realising my body temperature had shot up to well above the normal range. The worry got worse after noticing the mini poster about H1N1 hanging just outside the small room. Not wanting to take any risk, off to RIPAS I went.

Upon arrival, walking through the unmanned thermal screening, I could see my infrared self on the screen. If someone was there, they would have thought Thermo Man was making an appearance. I was on fire. May be even a candidate to be one of the hottest men there that night. After the normal filling in the form, another surprised awaited me. Not so much the waiting time, but seeing how the heart rate or rather pulse rate rocketing up. Panic mode but fortunately one of the doctors explained it must be the effect of my hotness. A couple of paracetamol gulped to lower the body temperature.

With my travel history, the well above normal body temperature and the tummy grumblings aka diarrhoea, I was referred to the Flu Screening Centre after a wait of over almost an hour. This wait, with hindsight was a good one. It provided ample time for the body temperature to go normal and the heart rate stabilised. After the interview and becoming another number in the H1N1 statistics, a lady doctor attended to me. Prepared for some swab samples to be taken but was pleasantly surprised when they did not ask me to. Been hearing stories of how painful it was to take the samples. Luckily I did not have the chance to verify this story. Saved by the lack of cough and some other symptoms. On the other hand, Brunei has moved on to the next stage of H1N1 fight, the Protect and Treat Phase where the emphasis is more on protecting the vulnerable group and not so much on reporting of every single case. So not every single suspect will be tested. Before going off, was given a few “bata” or take home stuff. The standard but effective paracetamol, something for the diarrhoea and most importantly the antiviral Tamiflu.

Over the next 36 hours, visits to the small room more and more frequent. If there is a customer loyalty programme, I would have got some air miles, may be even a free ticket to some exotic destination. Endless checking and monitoring of the pulse rate and especially the body temperature which was yo yoing. The digital ear thermometer shouted red alert most of the time when the readings were well above normal. To make matters worse, Tamiflu had a nice side effect. Nausea and vomiting. Imagine feeling like to vomit most of the time. It was definitely a case of exit both at the top and the bottom. Not the normal enter at the top, exit at the bottom scenario.

Allhamdulillah, after 36 hours or so, things had stabilised. Everything seems to be heading to normal except for the side effect which hopefully will be gone soon. This experience was indeed an eye opener on how blessed we are to have a first class health service and organisation. Despite some criticisms, justified or not, played up by the media, mostly in the internet chatters, all I saw and experience was total professionalism and care. True, the waiting time still needs to be improved, but what is a little wait. Compare to what is happening in our neighbouring countries where based on the news report, are facing mounting challenges from H1N1. All in all, we must be grateful to the health authorities here for their responsible, swift, professional and caring actions. Thank you for job well done, thank you for the 5 days leave ...........

Talking about anniversaries, I am sure most Bruneian Malays has the choice of two different dates to celebrate their wedding anniversaries. One is nikah day, the other is actual bersanding day which in majority if not all are two different dates. Some celebrate the nikah day for the obvious reason that is the day they are officially and legally husband and wife. Some celebrate the actual bersanding day. I dare not ask the logic behind this. I can only insinuate it’s because it is the actual day the marriage is consummated. To be on the safe side, celebrate both. But make sure you negotiate well in advance, just one present for both dates. 2 in 1 ............

Saturday, August 22, 2009


It’s Ramadhan again. Time to focus more on good deeds and amal ibadat. Time the devil aka iblis is incaserated. Time to fast or better known as puasa. Refraining from food, drinks and all the “prohibited” things from dawn till dusk, the hardest for some is not so much the food and drinks, but not to pick their noses all day long. If we are observant enough, we can see all sorts of antics, tactics and actions devised to meet the demand of itchy noses.

It is also the time more people will remember prayer times for Maghrib and Suboh, if not for prayers, it’s the time we can eat, drink and to certain extend being “extra friendly” with our spouses. Maghrib, the starting whistle blows. Suboh, Imsyak to be precise, the finishing line. That seems to be how some people think of Ramadhan. Sungkai feast offerings here and there. Eateries offering Sahur spreads. In short, Maghrib to Suboh is the time for personal pleasurable indulgement.

To some, the numbers are not that many, Ramadhan is just something they have to go through before the much anticipated, awaited Hari Raya. To them, fasting or not is irrelevant. What is important is Hari Raya. Time to have fun. Time for new clothes. Time to eat, eat, eat. And off course the Hari Raya, open houses, gatherings and parties. Not realising, or may be just acting ignorant, what Hari Raya Aidilfitri is really for and for whom is Hari Raya for.

Fortunately, thankfully, more and more people, are aware of the significance of Ramadhan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri from Islam point of view. More and more are knowledgeable on the amal ibadat, wajib or sunat encouraged in this month of doing good deeds. Mosques are also seeing increase in attendance, especially at night for terawih prayers. The numbers seem to peak in the first week, stabilising in the second week, slow downward trend in the third week followed by drastic nose dive in the fourth and final week.

In short, it seems, admittedly not scientifically deduced nor backed by hard statistics, just by simple observations, as we go through Ramadhan, some of us are heading in the opposite direction to what Ramadhan is all about. More indulgement instead of more sacrifices.........

Today’s khutbah on the jokes made about sighting of the new moon is timely. We all love jokes and the jokes on the failure to sight the new moon are hilarious and original. With the theme around the “out of order” aka “rosak” telescopes. But in reality, sighting of the new moon is a serious matter and comes with big responsibility. A decision affecting all the Muslims in this country. Everyone involves are giving their best, backed by experts and high tech equipment. Failure of sightings is not for lack of trying and equipment. All by God’s will...... Selamat Beramadhan in everysense... everyway.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Change or else.....

One of my early entries was about how it was raining, flooding here and there yet taps were dry. Prolonged disruptions to the water supply. Now, today, the last few months until who knows when but if we believe the forecast as early as September or may be longer, we are in the dry season made worse by our not so good friend Mrs El-Nino. Prefer to call it Mrs, the female gender as weather phenomenon especially tropical storms, typhoons, cyclones, initially were named after the female species. Wonder why this is? Anything to do with the female kind ability to brew up storms out of nothing? But in 1979, some people who wants to be politically correct and seems to be too serious at all things changed this. They said this practice was sexist. Spoil sport! Now the males are also associated with it!

El-Nino increases surface temperature, induced forest fires, amplify haze and brings prolonged drought. Up to 40% reduction from the normal rainfall is predicted. This figure is worrying. It is already supposed to be dry, now 40% drier? Why should we worry some may ask. We still get some rain, water is plentiful, stored in tanks, rivers, dams, etc. True, as a country we are blessed with natural water source. True we have dams to store water. True we are blessed with a government who provides excellent water infrastructure. But with our current usage of water, among the highest in the world, this will catch up with us, we will run out of water, cheap water that is. Water can always be produced but at what cost? Do we want to be in the situation where the cost to produce water is so high, uneconomically high? Ask the Saudis, Singaporeans and other not so blessed countries, how many times more it cost them to produce a litre of water compare to us in this blessed country. Do we want to pay more for our water? Increase our water bills? Reduce the portion of our hard earned income we can spend on our houses, clothings, shoes, bags, food, cars, bikes, TVs, home cinemas, karaoke sets, mobile phones, gadgets, spa treatments, facials, pedicure, manicure, hair treatment, traveling, shopping trips, hobbies, all the pleasurable albeit some are useless things and also our savings? Do we really want that? Hope we will not take this fact for granted.

Let´s all CHANGE, use LESS WATER now! Not just during this dry season, but all the time. Change or else ....

If my sources are correct, I believed they are, they are the professionals, the experts, at the current rate of usage and in the event of prolong dry season, our storages can only last us between 6 months to a year. Worrying indeed and the water levels are beginning to drop. Boh doi!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Being Critical ....

“To me the sign of a great nation – and a great citizen – is pride in the country coupled with the ability to recognise what needs to be improved” wrote Philip Merry, CEO of the Global Leadership Academy in the Straits Times.

Definitely something to ponder, contemplate and reflect as we grow as a country and a nation. I am sure every citizen, every resident in this country of unexpected treasures, negara bertuah, feel blessed to live in one of the best places in the world. A wonderful place. The best place to lead a balanced lifestyle one of my bosses said before. In fact a friend used to say, albeit jokingly, which if you think about it, have some truth in it, you can find everything here. Good, bad, legal, illegal, over the table, under the table, halal, haram and so on. Semua ada as in the Doraemon front pocket / pouch where all sorts of things, gadgets and tools can be magically produced.

As much as we are proud of our beloved country, I for one do not wish to live in another country even if I am forced at gun point, we must be able to be critical, not in a senseless way, to make this great country even greater. To be critical we must be civilise, able to discuss rationally, objectively with constructive criticism at the same time understanding the issues, getting the full true facts and most important of all is our good intention to see this beloved country grow even greater and able to provide the best for her people. For the good of everyone. All for one and one for all as the Musketeers used to say......

Doraemon’s front pocket is called yojigen-pocket, or 4-dimensional pocket. Although he can hear perfectly well, Doraemon has no ears: his robotic ears were eaten by a mouse, giving him a phobia of the creatures. I once read Doraemon stories contain a lot of moral lessons regarding values such as integrity, perseverance, courage, family and respect. May be our kids are not wasting their time watching this blue and white creature from the future up to his antics. May be they did learn something.............

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Breastfeeding ....

It’s the end of the first week of August. The last day of the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) which this year falls from 1st to 7th August. By all accounts breastfeeding is good for the baby as well as the mom. Among the objectives of the WBW 2009 is to draw attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies worldwide. According to the WBW website, “ Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies – child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhoea, respiratory illness and malnutrition. Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Even in non-emergency settings, non-breastfed babies under 2 months of age are six times more likely to die.”

Our local health authorities have a policy of encouraging breastfeeding as soon as giving birth, exclusively for six months and to continue breastfeeding up to 2 years. The fliers they distributed also stated among the advantages are the baby will have higher IQ, lower risk of obesity, antibody against diarrhoea, lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and reduce risk of orthodontic and dental problems. As for the mom, breastfeeding helps the mom's body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster, helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies, develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child and helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding.

That takes care of the mom and the baby. How about the daddy? To date, haven’t seen any fliers telling what benefits breastfeeding brings to the daddy. Some will say, having healthier wife and baby is benefit enough. But guys being guys, I am sure will want to know what other advantages they will get out of it. Remember, if the mom breastfeeds the baby for at least two years, that will be two years of refraining from some pleasurable activity for the daddy. So they must be thinking “I better get something out of this”. Hope the health authorities can look into this.

In the absence of such fliers, on top of the head, we can see some obvious benefits. First, to the wallet. Milk formula tends to be costly. Breastfeeding definitely will help in reducing the household expenses. The money saved can be used on other things or be used as seed money to open up the baby’s account. Over two years, the figure can be around $1000 which will worth double when the baby turns 18. A second advantage will be to the eyes and better night sleep. No more worries about waking up and mixing the milk formula with half eyes closed in the middle of the night. Better sleep means the daddy can get up early and be at work on time. No time loss at work and the boss will be happier.

I am sure if we put our head into it, we can conjure up more imaginative benefits to the daddy. A not so obvious advantage, according to one website, the stool of a baby on breastfeeding has a butter-milk smell. Any volunteers to check on this? If it smells like the butter milk fish/beef/chicken, pretty sure changing diapers will be a more pleasant experience. We may even want to savour the moment, take in the smell, may even feel hungry, not trying to get it done as fast as we can.

Being a daddy, I support wholeheartedly the breastfeeding drive. Don’t be surprised to see the following slogan on my car bumper.... “Support breastfeeding, excellent for the baby, good for the mom and the daddy too.”

As in anything, if you ask any guys, breastfeeding has its “disadvantages” . Feeling left out, less bond with the child, just to name a few. Some may feel resentment towards the baby who has "come between" him and the mom. We often hear jokes how the daddy may compete with the baby.But I am sure, we in this muslim country, would do all we can to avoid being grouped into the “sesusuan” category.....

Monday, August 03, 2009

Happy Birthday....

~~~ Happy Birthday To You ... Happy Birthday To You... Happy Birthday... Happy Birthday.... Happy Birthday to You ...~~~ Happy Birthday To You ... Happy Birthday To You... Happy Birthday... Happy Birthday.... Happy Birthday to You ...~~

My cheeky brainy fourth son has been telling me to sing it regularly lately. He asked me to sing it TWICE in a row every time I wash my hand with soap. Didn’t give it much thought initially. Really thought he was having me on. Got the cheek to play a prank on me.

Apparently, to my wonderful surprise, to make sure our hands are really clean, we need to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. That’s about the same time it takes for us to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Thank you son. You taught your ignorant dad something. Who says the we can’t learn anything from the young. Definitely comes in handy in this time where we need to wash our hands regularly. Touch anything, we wash. Sneeze, we wash. Cough, we wash. Shake hands, we wash. Wash, wash, wash. Wet tissues, hand soaps gone in no time.

Singing Happy Birthday song can also bring smile to our face. Remind us of the birthdays of the people around us, the people who means a lot to us. Have them in mind when we sing it, advance, current, belated. Those gifted with wonderful voice will bring cheers to people around. Those not so gifted, with suara katak, with any luck may just scare those bacteria and viruses off our hands for good......

Reader’s Digest August Edition gave an alternative, albeit costly. We can ask our kids to use a soap dispenser which shoots a small black ink (vegetable dye) along with soap. Kids need to thoroughly wash for 20 seconds to get the dye off. Well, we may have clean hands but may also end up with artistic abstract looking stain splattered all over their uniforms....

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Time to Kill...

It’s the first day of August. It’s a Saturday. It’s my off day. Well normally it’s my working day. But for some very special and joyous reason, it’s my off day. “Time to kill a lot I have” as Yoda would have said it. Quite where in the Star Wars series he said it, please do not ask me.

What do I do with a lot of time to kill? I can choose from watch TV, read, trying to catch up with some sleep, cruising around aimlessly, window shopping, house chores, baby sitting etc. The list goes on and on. One of the killing time activities is surfing. Before you start thinking of beach bums with bermuda shorts, delicious behind with tanned six pack torso, with surf board in hand, this is not the surfing not on the beach kind. It’s the kind of surfing used to be for the nerds of this world but now it seems everyone bar the few still in the dark ages, nerd or no nerd are into surfing. Surfing the internet seems to be one of the most favourite past time nowadays. On the PC, on the notebooks or on the smart phones and to certain extend not so smart phones, everyone is surfing the cyber world, the world wide web, the internet.

Everything, anything in this real world can be found in the internet. Useful information, useless information, trivial matters, serious ones, long lost family members, forgotten friends, new love, old love, gossips, facts, PG rated, X-rated. It goes on and on. Basically everything you can think off. Google it, it will be there. Sometime ago, a friend said one way of measuring how popular you are is by goggling your name. Imagine his horror when he goggled his name, no entry appeared. He was obviously very popular.. NOT!

Freedom of information some people call it. But as in everything, freedom does not necessarily mean a totally good thing. No regulation on what is put on the internet. No way of telling if it is a fact or a lie. One thing we can do, is not to trust the internet 100%. Take the information with a pinch of salt. An example of this is how readily available information on health and symptoms of any disease is. Before you go to the doctor, you somehow manage to come up with the diagnosis and even the prognosis. Some may even doubt what the real life doctor says and prescribed. It seems a few minutes surfing on the internet made us a well qualified doctor compared to someone who had gone through at least 7 years of medical training and many many years of professional training and experience. The internet seems to be taken too seriously and taken as the truth. In actual fact, the internet is only a very useful tool to disseminate knowledge and extend our network and source of information. For expert and professional advice, trust should and must still be given to the right professionals of the real world.

Back to my surfing. Came across a very interesting albeit to many people useless site. With a domain name of, it definitely attracts attention. This particular site has a collection of facts and trivia about things that are the longest of their kind in the world. Useless but some are hilarious.

The longest name of a country? With 74 characters with spaces and 63 characters without, Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma holds the record. It is more widely known as Libya. Imagine how twisted tongued the newsreader will be!

Another, the world's longest abbreviation containing 56 letters: NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT
Which stands for Laboratory for Shuttering, Reinforcement, Concrete and Ferroconcrete Operations for Composite-monolithic and Monolithic Constructions of the Department of Technology of Building Assembly Operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organization for Building Mechanization and Technical Aid of the Academy of Building and Architecture of the USSR. Do they even understand what abbreviation means? And who in the world would give something such a long winded name. No wonder the USSR is no longer around.

You can try the website for more. Have fun ...

Only do this if you have plenty of time to kill. You have already wasted enough of your valuable time reading this useless entry. Ha ha ha ....