THE MESSAGE NO.91 JUNE 2009
- THE LADY ANON. SERIES -
THE OTHER LADY ANON. EDITION
I AM COUNTING UP AND UP TO REACH THE ENVIALBE 100 ISSUES OF THE MESIAN-MESSAGE
FROM THE LAND OF THE RISNG SUN
by Ir. Chen Khin Sang
So sorry that I read your SMS on my phone about 45 days late. The reason: I have gone to Tokyo with my wife to
visit my eldest son just before CHinese New Year. You see my phone battery had gone flat after 5 days without
charging. In Japan, it took me nearly 2 months to get the right adaptor for my phone charger plug point. Here
Electric Utility supply is in the order of 100volts at a frequency 60 cycles per second. In Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional
supply is 230v & 50 cps (or 50 Hertz). As such, it took quite a while for me to get my phone functioning again.
Anyway, I will be returning to Petaling Jaya soon. There is nothing like "Home Sweet Home" albeit the cherry
blooms are in full bloom. They are certainly magnificent and beautiful.
Food, garments, services and practically everything else cost several times more in Japan than in Malaysia.
Yes, like the saying goes "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" - I am beginning to follow some Japanese style of
doing things. For instance, throwing away rubbish, I need to follow different days of the week to dispose off
different items. Japs are renowned for their neatness and politeness. Their streets are immaculately clean and
their clothing is impeccable and stylish too.
Like most Japs do, I travel around on their efficient train services. Imagine, the bigger stations in Tokyo area
have ten to twelve rail tracks in their station; some are subways going 2 to 3 levels underground i.e. some 180
metres down, really a civil engineering marvel. Singapore has only 2 MRT lines. Toyko has 93 train & LRT lines in
a very elaborate & extensive network of stations.
Politeness is the Japanese's forte. Bowing forms an integral part of Japanese custom. You see bowing everywhere
and every day. Bows are used by Japanese to greet when they meet or depart; to say thank you, to apologize
other time such as in a meeting. Bowing is such an ingrained habit that it is common to see Japanese nod their
heads repeatedly when they talk to someone or when they are listening. Nods are like small bows. I actually saw
two Japanese bowing to each other four times as they departed on the platform of a railway station.
There is more to bowing than just bending at the waist with the head down. An informal bow should take you
about 15 degrees; a semi-formal bow about 30 degrees. For the really formal bow, place both hands on the front
your legs and let them slide down as you bend to about 45 degrees. You need not worry. It is not necessary to
have Mathematical precision bows. The essence of bowing is to show respect for people and for their position.
Most of the time, a shallow bow will do. Salesperson or counter staff may bow in thanks for your patronage,
but you need only to nod back.
Traditional Japanese eating places usually have a raised wooden platform which occupy half the premises and
other half the standard western style table & chair setup. On the raised platform, low tables (32cm high) are
on square cushions (cross-legged) around this low table to have their meals. Here is an interesting
observation that I made: for example at noodle shops they provide customer with chopstick only but no spoon to
scoop the soup. Japs just gulp down all the soup from the bowl after finishing noodles or rice vermicelli. I
presume they are being practical or it is a Japanese trait to finish whatever is in the bowl - no wastage see?
Some makan joints have raised platform where there is a recess rectangle directly below the low table. This
recess rectangle provides the "leg room" for the customer so that he is actually in a sitting position at the
table. I prefer this "leg room" type as I am not used to sitting cross-legged and eating.
Japs eat a lot of things raw. Thin slices of raw fish (more common), raw chicken & vegetables are favourites. They
also like grilled beef, chicken, guts, tongue and what have you - you name it & they will eat it. I was tricked
into eating cow tongue when taking Kobe Beef (a famous delicacy here) by of all people - my son. He asked how
was, after I have eaten. I replied "Very good". He laughed and told me the truth. Yuck!
On the language front, I managed to learn only a few phrases. Most of the time, I am back in the Stone age using
sign language - really difficult to communicate. Yes, 'sayonara' is the right word to say and with that I am
Chen Khin Sang comes from a family of smart students in Bentong those days. He was a teacher of MES prior to his
departure for the university. After graduating he became a very powerful man in the real sense. He was producing
megawatts after megawatts of power at the power station in Klang.
(His story of visiting Japan to be continued.)
Balls and Cocks shrink as Wangs grow in UK name game
LONDON, March 26 - The number of people in Britain with surnames like Cockshott, Balls, Death and Shufflebottom
likely the source of schoolroom laughter –-has declined by up to 775 per cent in the last century.
A study found the number of people with the name Cock shrank to 785 last year from 3,211 in 1881, those called
Balls fell to 1,299 from 2,904 and the number of Deaths were reduced to 605 from 1,133.
People named Smellie decreased by 70 per cent, Dafts by 51 per cent, Gotobeds by 42 per cent, Shufflebottoms by
40 per cent, and Cockshotts by 34 per cent, said Richard Webber, visiting professor of geography at King's
"If you find the (absolute) number goes down, it's either because they changed their names or they emigrated,"
Webber, author of the study, told Reuters on Wednesday.
He said that in many cases, people probably changed their surnames as they came to be regarded as in bad
"It's because the meaning of words can change. Take the name Daft - that as a term for a stupid is a relatively
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Daft meant "mild" or "meek" in Old English, whereas it means
"That's why there are names which people think aren't really very pleasant names and you wonder why they
persisted as long as they did."
Webber, whose work can be seen on the website mapyourname.com, got his data for 2008 from credit card firm
Experian and mapping service Geowise. He then compared it with the census of 1881.
Webber also discovered that the most common names in Britain have not changed over the past 127 years. Last
Smith, Jones, Williams, Brown, Taylor and Davies held the top spots in exactly the same order as they did a
Webber also found that between 1996 and 2008, the names Zhang, Wang, and Yang had experienced the fastest
Zhang rose by 4,719 per cent, while Wang grew by 2,225 per cent. - Reuters
GIVE PAUL AN APPLAUSE FOR COMING OVER
Wishing to pay him a regular weekend visit, I called our mentor. When he picked up my call, he told me to
urgently call Paul. Who's or which Paul? Oh, he is the Paul from Toronto. Paul Fong Shek Phooi had surfaced here
from the other side of the globe. He had come over to visit his relatives, both the living and the deceased. How
was he to visit those departed souls? Oh! It was the Chinese All Souls' Day called Qing Ming, then. Paul came to
pay homage to all his departed relatives at their respective graves. Confucian filial piety demands his presence,
though he came from a very long distance!
On this day April 11, he came over from Raub the town of his birth. He took Mr. Miles out for lunch and to catch
up with the news and gossips from this side and the other side of the world. At that instant, our mentor
predicted that he was still in town, so I drove downtown.
A short wait at ESSO saw the result. A World War II army vehicle pulled over at the petrol station. I was swiftly
picked up and driven off Gestapo style. The vehicle was the like of one ridden by the infamous German dictator
Adolf Hitler. It was a gleaming Kubelwagen; the executive army version of the Volkswagen!
I was whisked through Bentong town and dropped off at a coffee shop. It was an ideal rendezvous for small talks
for at that hour the place was almost empty. The three of us Paul Fong, the proud owner of the Kubelwagen a
Raubian called Cheam and me ordered coffee and tea. Soon we were joined by a couple another Cheam and
who nee Chu.
Paul Fong was a chatter-box and so he rattled off. From MES, Paul said, he bunked off to Ipoh to a trade school
of some sort. After that he joined the NEB (National Electricity Board). For ten years he struggled, slogged,
gamboled and messed around with electricity.
Next, he packed off his family and ran off to a faraway country. They were looking for some greener pastures.
Where else could they find better and greener grass but the grassland called the Prairie! So there they are, they
have migrated to Canada.
With a background in power production, Paul soon found a place to resume his vocation. He was employed in a
nuclear-powered power station. Wow! Wasn't that a promotion from a diesel power station to the position of
someone in a nuclear run power station?
But at that stage of knowledge Paul was still a novice in atomic power generation. So he underwent course after
course after course to put him on course. As he proceeded with the many and varied courses within and without
company, he rose and gained in status. While dealing with radioactive materials he confessed he had to don
anti-radiation apparels of course.
"Is there the danger of explosion and later nuclear pollution leading to human and vegetation annihilation?"
somebody popped the question. "No, as any sudden emission would be sucked in and stored up in a built-in
It is a structure functioning like a black hole!" we were told. Wow! We were so glad to know.
Paul visited the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. He saw the real thing but only a little bit of it. Tickets
were sold like gold. Imagined he was offered a ticket at Rmb 10,000 to see just a ball game! He was full of
praise for the Games plus the development in the city.
After a two hours of tittle-tattle we went our separate ways to be back to each individual niches in the ocean of
SOME MORE OF STORY NO. 4:
By Mohd. Razlan Marzuki
Hi Chan, I am to continue from how I was sent to MES Bentong. I started to learn English in Std 3A. At that time
the teacher was Ms Sakuntala. It was in January 1955.
Year in and year out I managed to pass the examinations. Then I reached Form Three when I had to face an
important exam called the LCE.
After passing that exam I continued my studies. The final year was in 1963. I was really in difficulty as I was
facing an important exam called the FMC. I had no confidence. I really did not know what to do for the exam. I
was only reading the text books available. I failed the FMC exam badly. It was a big lesson to me. However, that
was not the end of my life, I thought.
After applying for jobs here and there, I managed to get a job with the iron ore mining company in Kuala Rompin
Pahang. The company was known as Rompin Mining Company. I started working there in April 1964. I still
that my salary was better than the Government clerk, they were paid only $150 whereas I was paid $200/= per
I was attached to the Stores Department there. I was employed as Clerk cum typist. Those days, I did not use
money much, I got extras -- so as a gratitude to my parents I regularly sent $100/= to my father, at that time my
father was operating a small sundry shop in the kampong. My father really felt happy and he felt very great and
proud of me.
After 11 months of working, the sad news came. RETRENCHMENT of workers. This was a customary practice in that
company. I was so scared to be retrenched from the company. Well, whether I like it or not I must find an
alternative position before my turn came.
Ultimately the answer came in the local newspaper stating that the country needed 5000 new teachers. So I said
myself, why not I gave it a try. I sent in my application and after two months the reply came for the interview.
I was accepted to be trained in Kuantan, that was in January 1965, the venue was Day Training Centre -- because
only got the LCE qualification. My allowance was only $115 per month. Hardship came again because I had to
that amount of money for almost everything. For three years I had sustained myself on that meager sum.
The final examination came and I passed. I chose Malacca as my first posting. Well, I got what I wanted. I
started teaching in a school near the Malacca town, Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Gelam. After teaching the
school children for two months stint there, I was transfered to Alor Gajah (the school was known as Sekolah
Kebangsaan Ayer Pak Abas) due to excess of teachers in previous school. At this school, SK Pak Abas, I tried to
take my exam again -- MCE. I took that exam in 1969 and I passed. I was so happy, why? Because my salary had
also gone up if I was not mistaken, I started as low as $250 and then went up to $450!
To celebrate I will now give you a break. I promise I'll be back to continue my story. - Razlan Marzuki.
REELING BACK HALF A CENTURY
BACK TO 1959 - JUNE
Games had been vehemently promoted by our mentor with the influx of many good games enthusiasts especially
and soccer players. Though the MES players were young and robust, but sometimes they were trashed and bashed.
injuries occurred in one game. Mod Nor was knocked down by opposing players.
Then Dzulkifli who recently surfaced as the successful negotiator for a column in the Mesian-message from our
mentor, was more seriously injured. The team manager sent someone to the hospital to borrow a stretcher to
Dzul the 100 m to hospital on four shoulders. But no, hospital protocol did not allow the stretcher to be
borrowed. Instead the ambulance sped through the 100m and picked up the injured sending him to the hospital
Instead of getting immediate treatment Dzul was mistreated. He was floored. He was not attended to by any
at all. The medical officer was just outside the door playing balls. It seemed that according to hospital
protocol, there was a time for work and there was a time for play. The doctor would not let the injured to rob
his play time off! Moreover, there was no bed available and poor Dzul passed the night on the cold dusty cement
From cases of injuries and treatment at the hospital Mr. Miles learned and observed many of the malpractices and
pitfalls in the running of the hospital. He fretted about their pitfalls and longed to help improve their ways.
He complained to the Government's higher medical authorities, and the local doctor came to explain and
to give apologies.
Mr. Miles took one Chow Loo Ping to Kuala Lumpur and got the boy admitted to the Lady's Templer's Tuberculosis
Hospital. Again the case by-passed all medical protocols. The boy smuggled out his medical records from the
hospital and used that to get admitted in the TB hospital.
Our mentor then attended a Hindu funeral. He observed all the goings-on of how people wailed and mourned a
departed prominent soul. With his own eyes he saw the details of open air burning - not of rubbish but the
traditional cremation of the local in a firewood pyre!
Prominent among names mentioned in his diary in June 1959 were: Mohd. Nor, Dzulklifli, Munzir, Brian, Chow Loo
Ping, Goon Ting, Bala, Ahmad Abidin, Tengku Ibrahim, Tengku Nizan, John Clement, Nyit Chin, Nik Hassan, Yeng
Dharma Rajah, Nor Safian, Ghafar, Jalil, Say Kuang, Samuel Paul Raj, Dr. and Mrs. Amstutz, Dr. Varma, Dato Razak
and Tengku Abdul Rahman.
To know the details of these actors and characters, read Volume II of his Past Notes.
…he writes 2, he types click-clack on a new tool...
FROM SIR, WITH LOVE
As one grows older-and we all do (a little bit every da)-it becomes easier somehow to look back than to look
forward. We reach the point where the future looks pretty uncertain because we have no idea what the "sweet
and bye" is going to be like. To think about death is natural, but actually, there doesn't seem to be much point
in worrying about where we're going when we die, if anywhere, because "whatever will be will be", take it or
leave it. We may as well use what energy we have left looking back, trying to remember (before we lose the
faculty of remembering) people and events that were a special part of our life.
I've just received a letter from an old friend in England, whose husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's
disease. It's heartbreaking to read how this man, who used to be such an entertaining conversationalist, now can
say only "Yes" or "No", nothing more than that, and communicates mainly by squeezing your hand. This awful
disease has robbed him of the joy of looking back at the many exciting adventures that I know he had, of
recalling all those interesting discussions with scores of friends, of remembering all the places he visited with
his wife-places recorded in photos that mean nothing to him now.
This newsletter has been bringing to us each month reminders of a time that was very special, a time of concerts
and carnivals, of classroom bloopers and nail-biting games, of teenage romances and yes, even the sting of the
cane. There is so much to remember, and remembering makes our life that much richer.