THE MESSAGE No. 50, JANUARY 2006
THE HAJI BAHARI SHAFIE SERIES.
THE LOH FOOK CHENG 2ND EDITION
HAPPY NEW YEAR
WELCOME YEAR 2006
HOW ARE YOU?
THAT was what someone asked me in an e-mail. He prayed that I am in the best of health.
"The Message which we received is a proof of your good health cum humour", he wrote
further. I am fine. Thank you.
By the way, how is everybody out there. Someone has said being Malaysians you are
habitually silent. I presume silence means you are fine unless and until
somebody else passes me some news otherwise.
I WAS ON THE UPWARD TRAIL
The other day I went for my regular medical check-up. You know what are up?
B/s, b/p, uric acid and the wickedest of them all - cholesterol.
Suddenly, I have become a sweeter person than before for my blood sugar has soared.
My blood pressure also improved upwards than normal to an almost dangerous level.
I felt damn sore!
Oh my! The worst was my cholesterol. It had shot up to an abominable level. Then my uric
acid test was out. It might lead me to a relapse of gout.
STILL IN THE WELL
Heh, Suy Sang how come you are so plagued by diseases and still you bang out the MESSAGE.
Are you all right, are you well? Sure, I am still in the well.
So I was advised by the medical personnel who are so knowledgeable and wise.
They said,"Go on diet. Exercise. Abstain from this, don't eat that".
Blah, blah, blah....
Oh my! I am to forgo many good things that I enjoy in life. I must cut down on food.
I must pick up eating habits that are good. Good? Nothing eating food!
EXERCISE - GO FOR IT
Finally, I went out for exercise; for morning walk and evening jog. Purpose: to sweat it
out and burn up the calories - provided I don't replenish the calories with more goodies.
Then I would be healthy and develop a nicely shaped body.
In my area, handfuls of people walk and jog hither thither. I have no liking to walk in my
area. The reason is simple. There aren't many people to set the mood for the jog and walk.
Then there is the nuisance and scare of dogs. As I pass by the houses often dogs howl and
bark aloud. A sudden growl from a canine may give me a certain jolt and a most unpleasant
shock! Damn it!!
TREKKING GROUND FOUND
So I toyed with the idea of doing jogging in some distant designated jogging ground.
First, I looked around in Bentong. Yes, just behind the Seri Pahang government office
building there is a hill for jungle trekking. So one day we went there for a walk and jog.
Who made up the we? The woman in the house and me.
At the beginning, we climbed up a flight of concrete steps with nothing to grab.
This was followed by another flight of cemented steps with handrails to assist you on the
We entered a jungle of bamboo clusters, bushes, brushes, reeds, weeds and fallen twigs and
leaves. The bamboos formed a very shady canopy. We just moved on, squeezed and twisted
among the bamboo stems brushing along as we went. The ground now turned into irregular
steps of exposed yellow soil. The steps are but footholds formed when people have stepped
THREADING AMONG BAMBOOS
We clambered on fallen bamboos and tree branches. Then we climbed a steep incline by the
side of a rubber plantation. This was the most difficult stretch of all. We had to hold on
exposed tree roots and other small plants for support. Finally we raised ourselves to the
Then we made the descent. It was a winding earthen track again. We twisted and turned among
the bamboos and smaller trees. Sometimes we had to test the footholds to make sure that
our body will hold. If the soil let go, we might fall and hit the forest floor and down
the slope we might roll.
Something I noticed was that all the trees are straight. They stretch high into the sky
to get the most sunlight something I have learnt in elementary science.
The forest floor here is bare of weeds as there is no sunlight for them to feed.
AN ABANDONED BUNGALOW
Then we returned to the concrete steps. It was a steep way down. We made a detour and
turned into a house. The Division One government quarters was abandoned and laid derelict.
Weeds have gown all over the house compound. We took to the road leading down.
Time taken for the trek: 30 minutes. It was a real treat leading to a profusion of
sweat and panting breath!
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH JANUARY 1956
50 YEARS AGO?
The year started with a disaster in Bentong. All bridges in Bentong were washed away by a
great flash flood. New villages like Perting, Kemansur and Chamang were cut off from the
town as they lay on the other side of the rivers.
Changes were imminent in our school. Our principal, Mr.Miles has completed his tour of
service and planning to return to the United States. Though he promised he would return to
Bentong, but he would be away for quite long. Thus there was an air of uncertainty
Yours truly and Yip Fook Khim struggled down to Kuala Lumpur to push our
way into M.B.S. Sentul.
CELEBRATING DEEPAVALI WITH RAMASAMY
IN the recent Deepfitri, I lodged myself in Bentong for a couple of days.
I wanted to meet some Mesians whom I have not met for half a century.
On Deepavali day, I called Ramasamy to probe a little to find out if he welcomes me.
"Come over, please." he said heartily.
That opened the way for our visit. First I drove down to Sungai Dua to visit my
nonagenarian cousin sister-in-law who had never gone to a Deepavali before.
We thought it might be good to bring her along. She is a hardy lady full of stories.
She told us her grandson had just gotten married. While the whole household of friends and
relatives were at the wedding dinner party, there was a burglary. The thief took away all
the new couples's jewellery; tea drinking and guests angpau money.
However, the family was well-to-do, the loss did not seem to much pinch the family.
We went to Karak. Taman Hijau was our itinerary to visit Ramasamy. The house was so easy
to find. As soon as we neared the house everybody burst out with a "Wow!"
It was the beautiful concrete slab lawn interspersed with green grass that made us let out
the appreciative howl.
On entering the house we let out more similar exclamations.
His was a very clean, neat and well-kept house!
We wished everybody "Happy Deepavali", yours truly adding the expression "wakktukal",
to spice up my greetings with the only auspicious word I know in Tamil.
Then we dined real Indian style eating thosai and chicken and mutton curry from banana
leaves with our fingers. They offered us forks and spoons but we declined adding that
fingers would be fine. We thought it ridiculous scooping up food laid out on banana leaves
with forks and spoons making the whole feeding process looked unnatural when something
is done so naturally. After eating we folded the banana leaves towards us,
an act to show our appreciation and civility. Ain't we right Ramasamy?
Ramasamy grew up in Bukit Dinding Estate in Manchis - remember recently that shantytown was
burned down? Kumarasamy, Kandasamy and he the third samy were the successful three from
the land of lush rubber trees.
Ramasamy attended a Tamil school early. Then to furthered his studies in Temerloh in
Abu Bakar Secondary. Later he came to M.E.S. to advance further his knowledge of English.
Then Ramasamy started his illustrious career as an educator. He taught in Tamil schools in
Cameron Highlands, Tapah and Karak. Soon he was elevated to the post of a Tamil school
headmaster. He rose further. Ramasamy completed his career as a Tamil schools inspector.
In the end he graduated as a pensioner.
The food was good especially the mutton rendang. The story was interesting.
What a wonderful Deepavali we had. Thanks Ramasamy and family for your hospitality.
SEEING HIM AFTER HALF A CENTURY
Hari Raya Aidilfitri was on. I picked up our mentor and drove down to Sungai Marong.
First we visited Haji Shamsuddin Salleh. He was once our master's favourite, remembered,
and still is. We have not met for almost half a century.
We had come early, being the first batchof arrivals to the family.
Shamsuddin still looked familiar to me. Of course, 50 years had wrought changes to his
once robust body. He spots a scanty bush round his mouth and carries more bushy eyebrows
now. Otherwise he was the old Shamsuddin as we used to see.
Then we dined on a variety of Hari Raya goodies. Our mentor likes lemang and rendang
especially. We tasted meat curry and a array of cookies. But we had to leave a little
corner of our stomachs empty for we have to visit and eat in other families. We harried as
our mentor was expecting guests from Kuantan.
We proceeded to Munzir's house for a visit. There we stuffed in more curry and goodies.
Mr. Miles never let of of the rendang and lemang. When we left we were given packets to
carry away. We deposited a lot to Santa and Anthea for them to savour.
Then I drove our partiarch home as he was nursing a flu. On our visits we had joked about
the possibility of the avian variety that was prevalent in China and even some Eurpopean
countries. Had it reached Malaysia, someone wondered! Mr. Miles tired and worn out.
His complained mainly of a lack of energy.
Back to his bungalow, we waited and waited for the visitors' arrival. Finally a car drove
up. A young lady alighted with a maid and a baby. She inquired if Mr. Miles would sell
part of his property. We trekked out and climbed a little hill slope. That ascent really
took a heavy toll of our master's energy. He gasped for breath after we had tracked back.
Another half house later, up drove the Kuantan visitors. There came a certain Dr. Chan,
his spouse and their little ones. With them also came Allan a former Kuantan M.E.S.
student. They had come over actually for a round of golf at the former airstrip
Allan Lim the golfer is a most loquacious guy. He yakked off whatever he likes. He blared
out that he knew things in and out, over and under. He claimed that he had connection with
the underworld; and could have things done both legal and illegal. Later I discovered he
could talk you out of this world! Ha, ha, ha. Read on further to see how this guy prattled
making me fluttered with his hypnotic flattering rattle.
To shut him up I gave him some past issues of the MESSAGE for him to read. But no,
he machine-gunned on with his stories while sitting most homely on the settee.
Finally they left for the golf course. I too took my leave to let our mentor to take a
breather. However, they announced that they would return later!
Two days later I was back to Petaling Jaya. I headed off to a spiritual meeting to boost
up my spirit after the week's beatings. While I was meditating my mobile phone rattled
and rang. I put off the call as I was amidst many other people in the middle of a large hall.
After the session was over, I returned the call. "Hello, itfs me Allan Lim, remember me?
I'd just met you the day before."
Then followed the unceasing machine-gunning. Allan poured out his heart and mind. He told
me that he liked our newsletter the MESSAGE. He had read through the samples I gave him
from page to page. "Very good," he said. "You've done a wonderful job, a good deed.
I like a good read. That's what we need." Thus he rattled off praises and compliments on
what I have done.
For a moment I felt myself swollen by his barrage of his compliments. He rocketed me into
space with his praise. It took me sometime to put my mind down to earth again.
Now you know what I mean when I said someone could talk me out of this world.
That's Allan Lim.
You know what my meditation was all about? Astral travel. How appropriate, I marveled!
A SUMPTUOUS PRE-CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON TREAT
Just one day before Christmas, we had our annual almost ritualistic treat for our
patriarch. Wong Mun Seong as is befitting his status as the boss of a housing developing
chain, was the boss. With him came his spouse - a charming lady to brighten up and to grace
I particularly singled out our two already singled men: Ng Kam Thye and Lee Sai Kan our old
friends. Lee Yew Kwong squeezed in between them. Chan Siew Mun also came in for the tuck-In.
Yap Choy Meng tiptoed in with her colonel spouse escorting. Our loquacious friend crashed
in with a bang! Mong Yong driven up from KL instantaneously took over the floor blasting
off with his talk of all and sundries. His spouse sat in silence to let him go on his show.
Two strangers came in whom I thought to be Martians but they were Mesians. Do you remember
Hoh See Ngee and Chin Khin Sang? The latter sat just beside Chan Suy Sang. Not to be left
out I also brought along my other half so that she would not stay home and starve.
Squeezed between this lady and Mr. Miles sat our friend Sar Kim Len. Wong Yeng Kee dropped
by; did not partake of any bite; but just made it to say a hurried bye-bye!
The rendezvous: An exclusive dinning room in the Golden Court Restaurant in Bentong.
Mr. & Mrs. Wong Mun Seong.
A VERY MERRY X'MAS
A cloudy sky and a drizzle ushered in Christmas 2005 in Bentong. In spite of this, a stream
of visitors came to wish our mentor a "VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS".
The Mahalingams from Seremban drove in via Pekan. From Port Dickson cruised in the
Balachandrans. All bearings pots of food and curry. Yap Kim Hee drove in with
Leong Kah Wah. There was also a cute little toddler Adam with his mom Fatimah.
Gary and Mary popped in with their daughter Stephanie with pots of delightful
food and fiery curry.
Wong Yeng Kee and Peter Chong sauntered in at 2.30 with a delightful dish of spaghetti.
A melodious chime heralded in the Joo Shek Phins.From Temerloh Foo YooYoon came a calling.
"Why have you been absent for so long?" Our mentor asked a ketua kampung. Mohd. Sooud the
Benta village headman replied, "No school, Sir". The student and the schoolmaster met at
last after 42 long years. They leaped at each other with joy! True, now we have no school.
We are pulling through, through the MESSAGE. The M.E.S. TEACHERS AND STUDENTS STILL EXIST
AS A CLOSELY KNITTED FRATERNITY! It is because of
DID IT STRAIN YOUR EYES
Hey, gals and guys, I beg your pardon for I have strained your eyes. I mean the last
bonanza edition was big but it was done in small prints style. Getting all the articles in
was not an easy task. The printing was finally decided by Dr. Abu Samah. He reduced it to
half size, so the strain bore down on your eyes!
But do not worry! He can look into your eyes if you so desire.
Remember he is a practitioner of iridology?
Not only will he be looking into your eyes, he actually probes further into your body.
To him your eyes are the windows to your organs to see if they are functioning or
otherwise. But I presume you have had a good read, indeed!
In that bumper edition you saw something weird beside the editor didn't you?
The printer's ghost was just by my side. By George! I swear that "REVIVAL" was in my
original. But "REVIVEL" reared up as the printer's ghost! It haunted me as soon as I got
it back from the printer. Strike off the ghost. Kindly replace it with "REVIVAL".
"BUT THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION WAS GREAT"
many said and I can still hear praises reverberate.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN JANUARY
||LEE SAI KAN
||YANG AHMAD MAT RAIS
||KOK AH KOW
||ABDUL JALIL MOHD DIN
||MUNZIR BIN ABAS (HAJI)
||TAN CHEONG LUNG
||WONG LAN CHAN
HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR
It's from Suy Sang to
GONG XI FA CAI
This comes from Ted Miles
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