Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Serious Trip Down Memory Lane, Ulu Kinta, Feb 17, 2008

What a nostalgic journey it was. I did not really plan it but got suck into it as I was driving home from Kulim that Sunday. I already made up my mind to stop at Ipoh after our usual sojourned to Kuala Kangsar Sunday Market as I was driving on the highway. The reason for stopping at Ipoh was just to kill time as I did not want to be home too early. When I was nearing Ipoh I remembered Bro Azahar mentioned to me where the old Ulu Kinta Police Field Force Camp was and I decided to find it after we had our time and lunch at the Kinta City Center.

I took the Tambun road and drove ahead expecting to see the signage of the camp any minute. But I knew it was not that soon but my eagerness was overwhelming me. I seriously thought it would be soon. What do you expect coming from somebody that half of his brain had gone nostalgic. I drove on until I saw the signage that says Kem PGA Briged Utara, Ulu Kinta and turned right into a junction. I knew I was at the right place the moment we arrived at the gate. Imagine how I felt when I stared for a while at the surrounding trying to remember the details. I could still remember the small waterfall aka stream that we frequent just outside the gate on the left. From the Ranger my view did not register anything but deep down I knew I was at the same place. We moved out of the camp to Galing Camp, Kuantan almost 40 years ago. I was just going to be standard 2 primary school student then. I just could not believe most of the buildings were still standing.

As we drove in

A lot of trees now then I was like an x-mining area

The end of the blocks I seriously thought there were more

During our second passing

Our Block D. My Mum told me our flat was Level 6 Flat number 2 (Tngkat 6, Pintu n 2)

I walked towards the guard house and explained to the officer there my intention. I told him that I used to stay there when I was small and wished to go inside to see the place. He asked for my IC and registered me in. When I asked him he told me all the original buildings were still intact and none was taken down. I was really surprise to hear that but still when I drove in I did not know what to expect. I strained my eyes as well as my rusty brain to remember the place but the only thing that I could register was the Padang Kawad. The buildings seemed to me were less from what they were used to be. I remember when I was small there were rows of high-rise buildings. But what I had in front of me was row and row of unrecognizable ten story buildings. I was trying very hard to identify our block but I just could not remember which one it was. In the effort to really remember it I even asked Baqir to be the cameraman. Still in the end I could only guess guided by my instinct and decided our block to be Block D. I drove around the camp slowly attracting onlookers by the roadside. My second past around was even slower and I stopped at Block D again to take few shots of the building. In the end having exhausted my memory I tried to locate my old school that I knew just outside the camp. I still remember I used to walk towards the parameter and exit through one of the gate to school but during my driving around I could not identify the route. So when I was at the guard house to collect my IC and thank the officer I asked him about the school. I was very glad and excited when he told me the school was still there at its original place and I could go there by driving around along the camp’s parameter. I just could not wait and be there fast enough.

They have added two new blocks since then but other than that the school just remained as it was when I left it in 1968. There it was in front of me Sekolah Kebangsaan Pasukan Polis Hutan, Ulu Kinta. Standing and looking inside through a locked gate I could see myself walking through the gate to my classroom which was that the bottom and the end of the one classroom block building nearest to the gate. A term before all of us went to the Tg Rambutan Primary which was few kilometers away from the camp. So we knew each other when we were there on our first day at the school. I could also see myself running around the building playing police sentry loudly with my friends. There I was pushing and shoving to buy food at the school canteen. How in the classroom we were seated in a cluster of four according to our last academic performance and the last thing that I remember clearly was during our end of the year school performance day that I was dressed by my class teacher as an Arab for the whole day. For that I won second place. All these it seems to me just like they happened just yesterday. To be honest that was how I felt when I stood there staring at the empty school. In actual fact it had been almost 40 years. I like it so much if I could meet some of my old school mates there but my big problem is I do not even remember any one of them.

The school gate. Of course this was not the original

This was the only block then and my class was the first one on the lower floor

Our school canteen

The view as we drove out pf the school gate

The old school field and of course it was earth brown then

View of the school entrance as we walked in

The other gate at the side of the Camp that we used when we walked to school

My first school - Sek Keb Tg Rambutan. It is at the back of the old wooden structure. It is now Sek Keb Tamil Tg Rambutan :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On The Train, Mac 12, 2008

I just got on the train after witnessing the best watercolor art I have ever seen so far. The cheapest priced at RM65K was way, way beyond me and I was standing speechless admiring all of them. I remarked to my colleague that I exhausted my superlatives salivating at them. Looking around the gallery of course I probably look like and old misplaced man with all the up-market and trendy clients or precisely art lovers. I gather most of them were either businessmen or high level corporate executive. Maybe none of them can afford one either but that beside the point as all the painting on display were already sold out. Just imagine spending RM65 on a painting. But then if it is Chang Fee Ming’s I guess worth all the RMs. If you are not a collector, a buyer could be a speculator or investor. Somehow I assumed some of the sold ones were the case as the original buyer hoping some could not control his or her urge to top the price he paid for.

So there I was on the platform at KL Sentral still reminiscing about the painting. The persistent announcer kept on interrupting my reverie with her incorrect announcement about the train arrival. I was really pissed by that. In trying to be helpful she actually successful in annoying me. In this case misinformation is worse than not giving anything. There were a lot of people waiting but I was lucky to get a seat when I boarded. Another good fortune for the day – seeing the light at the end of my project’s tunnel, my daughter with her good result, the pleasure of admiring Chang Fee Ming;s masterpieces and this make a day of a man that has been under attack and pressure for quite a while. Tomorrow yet another day…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sistem Pembekalan Penerbitan, Mac 11, 2008

I decided to get down at KL Sentral and take a cab to PNM. I was not sure about the time of the meeting and it was too early to call Nor (later I found out Nor was actually on leave) so I just paid RM10 for the fare and took the next available cab. The driver maneuvered the cab across the morning traffic at a frantic pace. Not that I did not like the speed as I would do the same as well but his driving was not smooth that made reading almost intolerable.

After three Director Generals since the last time I was at the National Library not much has changed. I seriously hope the mentality and culture have changed for the better though. As I walked up to the Auditorium Yazid, my former student, was walking down, we exchanged pleasantries and remarked we’ll see each other at breakfast table given by PNM.

I did not have any great expectation coming to the meeting but would want to learn as much as possible about the system and the mechanics of it. My learning objectives were;

1. To understand and explore the possibility of contributing more to the system.
2. To understand the issues related to SPP
3. To understand and learn the electronic system of SPP
4. To network and identify potential collaborative partners
5. Help to instill the concept of CoP within the participants
6. To meet the new DG, En Raslin to discuss on the possibilities of strategic collaboration.

The hall was three quarter filled when I looked around. With my laptop on and typing this I was one sore thumb, further more I was sitting practically alone on one side of the auditorium. It was not my intention to do so but I wanted to be nearer to the power source just in case I need it. Beside Yazid I was very sure there were a few more that I know in the hall. At least I saw Munazzah walking about the stage making sure everything was in order for the day.

The session started a bit late. As Raslin started on his speech my handphone buzzed in my pocket and it was The Boss. I walked out to answer it and to cut story short I had to go back to the office after lunch.

The gist of the DG’s, Raslin, speech was focused on to consider more on technology to enhance the SPP process. He mentioned that KIK (Katalog Induk Kebangsaan) would be launched in the 3Q and with it would be new way or doing things plus new opportunities for SPP. I did not get to talk to Raslin as he had another meeting to go to. So I did not achieve my sixth learning objective.

While waiting for the meeting to start Mek Lah and few other familiar faces came to say hello. My former student Adilah also walked up to me to say hello and to ask few other things. With that kind of scenario I began to miss attending events like that where I got to meet old and new acquaintances. I resolved to be part of the circuit again and now I have a very good reason to do so.

The meeting went on just like any other Mesyuarat Agong persatuan. Minutes were read, debated and new issues raised. But what I found refreshing was that most of us want to collaborate more. The subject of Library Group was discussed and mentioned were the Medical Library Groug (MLG) and Law Library Group (LLG). It was suggested that similar LGs to be formed in the area of;

1. Islamic Finance & Banking
2. Islamic Library Group
3. Consumer & NGO Interest Group
4. Science and Technology

To me what they were talking about was obviously CoPs and by just listening to the discussion I was convinced we were on the right track with all these.

We were also briefed on the KIK project under the Perdana umbrella. I was glad that the Perdana project is still alive and kicking and I sincerely hope have gone one better than when we started off. With RM10m investment the KIK project strated off with 102 participants and will slowly include all libraries. The KIK was modeled according to OCLC. KIK can currently be accessed at kik.pnm.my. As part of the Perdana big project it will act as the clearinghouse for Malaysiana collection. The project also has an open invitation to those who wish to digitize their special collection. Unfortunately, although it is one of the objectives, we could not use KIK for SPP simply because none of the library systems are Z39.85 or 7 interlibrary loan protocol compliance.

In the end I achieved my other five learning objectives by just listening to the discussion. I was hoping I could be more involved after lunch but then I had to leave.

Next action plan:

1. To join the Islamic Library Group
2. To seriously start the Islamic Banking & Finance and Banking Groups.
3. To set and appointment with the DG to share our vision and explore opportunities for further collaboration

Now I know why I unconsciously like to go home a bit late. The uninterrupted train ride home which was a bit quiet created an environment that made me relax and to think a bit more clearly. It was like the train flew into the night passing all stations without stopping. I was at Bangi station in no time just like that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

On The Train, Mar 10, 2008

I guess a lot of people are writing or commenting on the recently concluded general election. All I can say the result really surprised if not stunted a lot of Malaysian. Which ever way you kook at it from your perspective it was a good and a bad thing. But I rather take the route of looking at it from a positive point of view. With the opposition stronger I hope they will send a right and overdue message to KTMB J)). I was really not amuse by the, KTMB called it a service, disservice to all it’s stakeholders. Delays after delays compounded by cancellation of their train disservice. I just suffered in silence for the past few weeks. I was already in a stressful situation I certainly do not need for KTMB to make it worse. In fact the past few weeks also I never failed to see and read complaints about KTMB Komuter service, opps disservice. I do not know for how long more that KTMB would want to be ‘sombong’ and not accorded their stakeholder a decent service. If there are not careful they could be Selangor, Perak or Penang after 2008 election.