A Travellerspoint blog

No Quitting Part-Time Job

Find A Job In The Less Developed Country?

overcast 33 °C

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Working part-time does not give me a sense of assurance and achievement. Because the job scope is very confined and clerical boundary, I always feel I have not managed to deliver enough the amount of work to be compensated by the wages I get paid. I feel I need to deliver more effort and get more things in the office to be done before I receive my payroll by the end of the month. I have a careful consideration for work, if I get to be paid RM1,000, I must deliver a work value of RM1,000, or perhaps give more efforts above the wages value. Otherwise, I would feel a sense of degrading in the worth for my presence in the office.

Earlier, I have a predicament whether to stay or quit this part-time job before I go for a 2 months break in this coming autumn. The thought of quitting the job kept rolling over and over in a huge mess in the head. It was a reverberate rolling echoes messed up in the head. If I don’t tender my resignation letter, upon my return from the trip in October, at least I still have a job in hand. I am able to earn an assured amount of pocket money to pay for my insurance premium and credit card bills. The pocket money, albeit not much, will be used to recover some of the cash money I withdraw from the savings for spending in the Himalayas. So, I put off the thinking of quitting the job.

I am desirous to work with a company in the overseas as a manager to run and overseeing their finance and accounts activities. Some 8 years ago, I was successfully selected a candidate for a job posting in Papua New Guinea. The director owns a sawmill in Papua New Guinea. He runs the business as a joint venture with his brother in Port Moresby. His manager overseeing the finance has left him, that made him returned to Malaysia to search for a replacement.

Looking back now, I wouldn’t want to turn off the offer granted by the director. I turned off the offer because the remuneration package offered by the director was mediocre. I chose not to work for him. If I get a second chance of offer from the director now, I will grab his offer. It is the country - Papua New Guinea that I wouldn’t want to think twice, thrice or many more times to work and live there. What is the fuss over the salary if you are paid well above your peers in the market but you get confronted by the diseased corporate peer relationship? What is the excitement over the flashy and a glittering office room that is given to you if you do not have the inward satisfaction for liking to do your daily job?

I am getting more and more inspired to retreat into the less developed countries like Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar or India to make a living there. But job opportunities are not widely opened for a foreigner in these countries. They don’t advertise their recruitment needs in Malaysia. Their needs for job candidates are absolutely filled by their local nationals first. As an alternative way to find my way through into these countries, I hope to do it through an employment with a Malaysian company. Some Malaysian companies are huge MNC running the business in these countries. I only have a simple demand. I do not seek an expatriate treatment. Nepal is a country I have a greater wish to go there for work, live and retreat. I know finding a job in Nepal is out of the context and out of a sane mind. Nepalis come in droves to Malaysia for a greener economic pasture but adversely it is rarely any Malaysians go to Nepal to earn a living.

Retreating into the less developed countries makes me want to withdraw to a more quiet and secluded place for living. Living in Kuala Lumpur has a full force of hustle and a scurry bustle. It is not a place to find a still quietness in itself.

I wanted to perforate a breakthrough from the norm, and breakaway from the 9 am - 6pm white collar corporate work in this capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The days ahead are tough, I find myself a candidate at 42 loses the competitive edge due to the age factor. Competition with the younger candidates is inevitable. I would select a younger candidate in his 30s to fill the position for a posting in overseas if I am asked to pick one for my company. In some cases, I may not totally lose out in this race. A person in his 40s who shows the standard of mental and emotional qualities of an adult wins over the selection criteria.

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Narayan Gopal - Kehi Mitho Baat Gara in piano. Last week at one midnight, I woke up finding this piece of piano playing a song on my laptop. I ushered my look into the laptop so closely with my sleepy eyes closed. I listened to the melody. It was so enchanting that I hallucinated into its rhythm. I felt the melody oscillated me into an imaginary captivating mass of cotton candy clouds over the mountains in the Himalayas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiuP8cKr68A&index=121&list=PLDMDEKdYkhYTVxKERBw_j9moBF2SCapf0

Kehi Mitho Baat Gara sang by Narayan Gopal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxieEoF-4vk
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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:36 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

At The Juncture Of Dilemma

A Part-Timer Now

sunny 33 °C

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Last year in June, I quit my full-time job after I had the trauma of pain in the chest. Soon after that, a swim buddy of mine introduced me to an occasional job that made me ended up in USJ Subang. A casual job that required me to work for only 3 days a week. On each alternate day, I will have to be reported to the office. On every Tuesday and Thursday, I get to rest. In an ordinary full-time job, an employee will have to clock at least a minimum of 42 and-a-half hours for a week. For this job, I work for 25 and-a-half hours only. I get to be paid on a daily basis. If I work on that day, I‘ll get to be paid. If I don’t, my pocket gets no wages for that day.

It was a restless dilemma for me when I first met my present boss asking from him for a position in his accounts department for a part time job. I know without a doubt that working as a part-timer is not a way to stay connected to build a proper career. Unless I work a full-time job, I would not be able to build a proper career. It is vital for me to keep a nonbreak gap of my career history. If I accepted and begin to work as a part-timer, I would have tainted my career history.

An anxiety that perturbed and bogged me down heavy is, because now I have a career history of the period working as a part-timer, I may be viewed by the future employers as having no earnest thought to build a serious work career. I am already 42. To them, why does a serious candidate pursuing his career at a mature age switching to take up a part-time job? For a candidate at 42, he should not at any choice leaving his job lest taking up a part-time job. He should have earned a stabilized income by now.

Before, I already left my jobs several times. I have several career gaps in my employment history. During that time, I went to travel on backpack after I quit my jobs. In my job search, many employers found it difficult to offer a job to me, worried that I may not stay on long. The employers made me understand their intended meaning - living a realistic life. A person’s employment marketability begins to drop at the age of 40. This is how they relate to me. Never think that I have no worries every time I left my job for travel. As the number of times I quit my job, my worries compiled. Finding a suitable new job in the future is getting difficult.

Why do I choose to quit my full-time job? Why now I choose to work as a part-timer? Opportunities of jobs working as an accountant are available out there. Why not pick up a proper full-time job and stay on with it instead of deciding to take up a part-time position?

The heart pain attacked me last year and the diseased relationship among subordinates in the previous job made me left the job. Yes, they have been crude to me. But these reasons are not truer enough being the real cause of reasons why I have a persistent yearning to leave job and travel far away from home. Emotionally in the heart I have not revealed the knot. There is something buried extending far down in the heart that I deeply felt for it. I tried hard to listen to my heart. I hope someone senses and feels the same deeply for me.

My emotion is getting intense day by day that I am hoping one day I can live like the student disciples I have seen in India who have relinquished their household lives. Their living in the ashrams being a student committing to the only learning of religious scriptures and philosophy. Living and Learning in the ashram environment is a great longing I wanted to do.

When I was living in Tiruvannamalai, the Arunachala hill sacred to Lord Shiva, I lived in a rented householder home. Many ashrams do offer a place for disciples to live if they write a request letter and deliver out with some donations. I did not manage to pick my way to live in the ashram although there are an endless number of ashrams in Tiruvannamalai. I waited unless I am ready to feel with inward emotions for the ashram.

My brother asked me, as he understands that I have travelled to various spiritual learning centers in India, “Did you manage to find someone on the spiritual path who can guide you?”. I replied to him saying, “Anyone may find a guru, but it’s essential that I should not make it literally to have a connection with him. The connection with a guru shall arise as a natural cause of connection in the inward between us. It cannot be a makeup. He will be the person who can take care and guide me through in the spiritual process”. I further added on, “I wish one day I will meet a guru. A guru that I can devote to him. I am in the process of searching for him.”

Some people ask, “What is the purpose of living in the ashram?” Living in the ashram is living under the umbrella of the teaching of a guru. People say, you will find a guru when you are ready. Maybe I am not ready for myself yet. I must remember the purpose why I have the strong desirous feeling to relinquish living as a householder.

16 years ago, I was given a reading by a psychic who calculated the numerology chart of my date of birth and into the fine print of the time of my birth. With her supernatural ability to perceive events in the future beyond a normal sensory contact, she made a remark and stated very directly to me, “You will get on with another 3 jobs only after you leave this present employment.” she added further, “You would not want to earn your wages by spending your day sitting at the desk. Your character will lead you away from working on the enclosure of office environment.” She perceived that I will go away from the norm. 16 years ago, I was working as an auditor with an auditing firm. It was my first job. I was contracted to work with the firm and at that period, I was still engaging with the accounting institute to pursue a qualification.

Since the last previous job, it’s getting tough emotional day after day for me to sit at the desk within an enclosure of the office environment. From nine morning, I know I have to report to work. By six evening I wrapped up the job and went home. It became an automating process where I was operating like an automatic machine.

I accept the quality of my character traits. I’m well alert a timid person who does not do a witty trick to win over the hearts of people. Doing a witty trick is seriously a very daunting piece of work for me. Sometimes I tried to be persuasive and creating myself being interesting, but the witty tricks I played just did not work out. It’s my true self I feel at ease and relaxed. If I choose not to be a white collar sitting at the desk at the office, what can I do for a living?

The part-time income is far smaller than the salary I earned before. As long as I am able to make my monthly ends meet, able to pay for my insurance, telephone and credit card bills, I will live with this occasional job till I return from the 2-month leave. I will relay to my boss of my intention to be away from the office for 2 months in this coming August and September. I will only relay the message to him when time is fit. Maybe in late June, I’ll get his permission for the leave from office. The 2 months away from the office will be my moments I can let go and I’ll think about what I can do when I return home.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM2p8Mr_8z4&list=RDU9OZLuW1x_8&index=27
Tadha tadha janu chha sathi - Narayan Gopal nepali song
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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 16:42 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

No Gift Of A Gab

Finding Beauty In The Ugliest Days

overcast 28 °C

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I had a career but not now. Last year at this time, I left my job. I had not managed to stay long with this company. I worked there for only half a year. Of my career history, this employment was the shortest stint ever. It was a disconcerting struggle for me to find a reason every morning why I should get to punch my attendance card and be reported at the table by nine o’clock every morning. I woke up in the morning, and I was completely pulled back seeing that I have another long full day to deal with the people that human chemistry just didn’t work out properly among us.

This organization owns itself a 25-storey office building in the prime centre of Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Raja Chulan. It boasts to have employed 250 collar workers including blue-collar and unskilled construction workers to do the building work for its property development projects. I was employed as an accountant overseeing the accounts and finance of the companies within the group.

Working in a group of companies, it is inevitable that we are bound to deal with someone who couldn’t tolerate and get along well with us. I have peers who have had a bad emotional state for me yet I have to tolerate them because I needed them for work. At the expense of my worthy respect, I gave in to them. In my finance department, the grapevine chain was so influential that they tended to create a belief that their voices can overpower their superior. When I say - follow my instructions, they tend to do the work their way.

The subordinates took the guts to challenge me by showing awful faces when I wanted them to do work. That was enough to stupefy me as a sign of emotional attack. When I gave an explanation on how to get the task done, they put on denial mode.

In one evening last year in April, when I was boarding the Masjid Jamek LRT train heading home from the office, I had a sudden attack of crushing pain in the heart. I already had the discomfort in the chest that had been prolonged when I was in the office. I stood by the door of the train while one hand holding on to the handrail, because of the chronic crushing pain, I had another hand forcibly laid and pressed on the chest. I used some force to press on the left chest in the position of the heart. I was hoping to release some pain that had attacked suddenly.

I took an instant long and deep inhalation into the lungs followed by strong exhalation of air out from the lungs. With no delay, I turned my focus on the chakra node of the heart.

Before, I had an experience of respiratory choke that attacked and caused pain on the chest. I posed myself on a kneeling vajrasana where my knees, lower legs and ankles were together and I sat back on the heels. After kneeling on vajrasana, I took to focus on the chakra node and continued to hold on to the chakra as a point of convergence of my breath. Slowly I breathed in and exhaled out in a strong, regular and repeated pattern for some while. As I began to feel some release from the choke, I rested. After a while, I continued the breathing in a rhythmic pattern again until I was eased from the choke.

But this time, the crushing pain in the heart is not associated with the respiratory choke.

The train rattled its way off from the city centre to the suburban residential area where I live. I was still standing on the train hoping to reach home quickly.

The agony of pain turned not bearable. I had not before suffered from this kind of crushing pain in the heart. I ruled out any blood vessel problem.

I knew I have been living under some chronic level of mental stress caused by the ill-emotional relationship with the office peers and subordinates, and also working the way to meet the series of crucial reporting deadlines that the finance department could not afford not to abide.

That night, I went to the general practitioner to do an ECG scan. The doctor reviewed the records of the electrical activity of the heart generated by the ECG machine. The doctor detected no signs of heart attack. During the ECG scan, the crushing pain in the heart had already completely receded.

“You should come immediately to do the ECG scan when you begin to feel pain in the heart. The ECG machine is able to scan for any malfunction in the heart when there is a pain. Now I read the ECG report as normal”, uttered the doctor. “Mental stress that causing pain in the heart is also another type of heart attack”, said the doctor who wanted me to take wellness of mental stress as seriously as blood vessel problem that clogged the heart. I knew the intended meaning of the doctor. The crushing attack in the heart was believed to be a mild heart attack. I am now a patient of the heart attack at 41. I have to look inward before deciding my next step of how I wanted to live my life.

One year apart, I hold no blame on the 2 executives who worked in my department. They held diseased grudges and emotions to dislike my presence in the office. Instead, I have a regret that we were not able to build any good feelings while I was there. No one is blameworthy. If I do a witty trick to win over the hearts of people and being persuasive and creating myself being interesting enough, I may overcome more flaws for better work relationship. I know myself. I am not capable of doing so. I do not have that gift of a gab. I am an introvert who turns inward mentally. I often avoid large groups of people and feeling more energized by time alone.

Working as a group accountant, inevitably the position requires me to meet many demanding reporting deadlines causing plentiful stress. The position will work well with a receive of great support from the team. If the subordinates were caught in the emotional distress with me, work will not be delivered. The mental stress level is heightened.

I have no career now. I am only on a 3-day week work as a part timer with a small company. The income I receive from working as a part timer is only a meagre return, it is capable at least helping me to make ends meet. I spend no much or luxury.

I am able to energize myself well by time alone. Of the dull days, I am looking forward to seeking the beauties of Nepal. Travel solo is the moment I cherished more than having a companion.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP7VenDfm4g

Narayan Gopal is a prominent singer and composer of Nepali songs, who has died in 1990 at the age of 51. Hope you like his songs as much as I do.

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 05:46 Archived in Malaysia Comments (1)

Shiva Rudrashtakam

PROSTRATION TO LORD SHIVA

sunny 34 °C

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPw3A1k6N58

Shiva Rudrashtakam belongs to the genre of lyric poetry, which tends to be short, extremely melodic, and contemplative. The name Rudra has been taken as a synonym for the god Shiva and the two names are used interchangeably.

The Rudrashtakam is a Sanskrit composition in devotion of Rudra, composed by the Hindu Bhakti poet in the late fifteenth century in India. It reflects and portrays the poet's own feelings, states of mind, and perceptions about the theme or character in the Astakam.

I would not be able to describe how much I am delighted when I found this song on the internet. I play this song on the laptop. I prostrate to the feet of Lord Shiva.

You will find the lyrics of the song in Sanskrit written in roman below:

Namaam-Iisham-Iishaana Nirvaanna-Ruupam
Vibhum Vyaapakam Brahma-Veda-Svaruupam
Nijam Nirgunnam Nirvikalpam Niriiham
Cidaakaasham-Aakaasha-Vaasam Bhaje-[A]ham

Niraakaaram-Ongkara-Muulam Turiiyam
Giraa-Jnyaana-Go-[A]tiitam-Iisham Giriisham
Karaalam Mahaakaala-Kaalam Krpaalam
Gunna-[A]agaara-Samsaara-Paaram Nato-[A]ham

Tussaara-Adri-Samkaasha-Gauram Gabhiram
Mano-Bhuuta-Kotti-Prabhaa-Shrii Shariiram
Sphuran-Mauli-Kallolinii Caaru-Ganggaa
Lasad-Bhaala-Baale[a-I]ndu Kanntthe Bhujanggaa

Calat-Kunnddalam Bhruu-Sunetram Vishaalam
Prasanna-[A]ananam Niila-Kannttham Dayaalam
Mrga-Adhiisha-Carma-Ambaram Munndda-Maalam
Priyam Shangkaram Sarva-Naatham Bhajaami

Pracannddam Prakrssttam Pragalbham Pare[a-Ii]sham
Akhannddam Ajam Bhaanu-Kotti-Prakaasham
Tryah-Shuula-Nirmuulanam Shuula-Paannim
Bhaje[a-A]ham Bhavaanii-Patim Bhaava-Gamyam

Kalaatiita-Kalyaanna Kalpa-Anta-Kaarii
Sadaa Sajjana-[A]ananda-Daataa Pura-Arii
Cid-Aananda-Samdoha Moha-Apahaarii
Prasiida Prasiida Prabho Manmatha-Arii

Na Yaavad Umaa-Naatha-Paada-Aravindam
Bhajanti-Iha Loke Pare Vaa Naraannaam
Na Taavat-Sukham Shaanti Santaapa-Naasham
Prasiida Prabho Sarva-Bhuuta-Adhi-Vaasam

Na Jaanaami Yogam Japam Naiva Puujaam
Natoham Sadaa Sarvadaa Shambhu-Tubhyam
Jaraa-Janma-Duhkhau-[A]gha Taatapyamaanam
Prabho Paahi Aapanna-Maam-Iisha Shambho

Rudraassttaka-Idam Proktam Viprenna Hara-Tossaye
Ye Patthanti Naraa Bhaktyaa Tessaam Shambhuh Prasiidati

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:29 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Love Me, Love My Dog

Fall Back To The Purpose Of Going To India

overcast 30 °C

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Kathira was holding several sticks of incense while he was trying to ignite a match by chafing it on the matchbox. Not later a while I smelt a sharp, but mellowing substance of sandal incense mixed with frankincense emanating into my room. The smell of incense was pleasing that it rid the saturated smell coming from the rear patio.

Kathira walked into my room. With several sticks of incense, he gave one to me, “It’s for you.” It is an incense stick Hindus often burns them for prayer. The smoke of the incense immediately choked the tiny room but mellowing away the hardening part of the stale air that has lost its freshness.

He looked at the passport I left it on the mattress by the pillow side, and he said to me, “Leaving soon to India?” I nodded. He added, “You have been living here for nearly a month, don’t you?”

Seeing the incense sticks burning, I completely felt as if I am in India attending a ritual in Yogiram ashram. A lamp filled with ghee is reposed on the arathi plate. A cotton wick is put into the oil and then lighted. Some camphor is burnt. A devotee is called upon by Ma Devaki to lead the arathi. Arathi is waved around the image of Lord Shiva. Then we cup our down-turned hands over the flame and raise the palms to our forehead - taking the ritual as a purify blessing.

I deeply miss the spiritual routine in a deep sense of reverence, adoration and meditative awareness as being observed in the ashram.

Is it time to go back to India now?

Earlier my initial plan was to go back to India soon after making a short visit to Sri Lanka. I had no intention to stay long in Sri Lanka. The visit to Sri Lanka is to satisfy the compulsive border crossing looking at the short permissible stay granted by the immigration office of India. If only I get to stay longer than 30 days in India for each visit and if the Indian visa permits to do so, I wouldn’t have to do the border crossing that frequent.

Though crossing country from Sri Lanka to India in the wee hours is tiresome but it’s still bearable. I have normally picked the wee-hours flight as the cost to board such a flight is unusually cheaper. But during wee hours, mobilizing with pack of bags is extra laborious.

Going back to India again is an excitement in waiting. People say India is a spiritual giant. “Go and learn from the giant that offers you an insight of your true self, so enables you to make a spiritual breakthrough.” India indeed has a lot to offer.

But then, if I tell you there is nothing I loathe about India, all I have is none other than an affection I have unto her, you’ll shut your ears and turn away from me. I wish to tell you a truer truth. I hate the traffic in India beyond loathe. I particularly bear no suitable state of mood to describe the extent of ill-will I have upon the motorcyclists in India. They ride their motorcycles ferociously like a mad wild bull escaping the bullring jumping out of the arena. I am not a matador to bullfight them. I have once tossed over by a motorcycle. I was tumbling down and blundered on the sidewalk. The motorcyclist gave me a middle finger. Shouldn’t I the person giving him a middle finger instead?

I only have one more day in Sri Lanka before I get to crane my head to the officer at the immigration check point of the airport of Chennai and say, “Hello, I’m back.” They wouldn’t be bothered of my presence anyway.

I am beyond expression and felt exhilarated having able to spend a month under the sun at the pristine beach of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. No doubt I get to bask, tan and swim, but having the fun of excursion at the beach is complete recreationally orientated. The long leisure excursion seems to have swayed the purpose I quit my job to travel to India. I shall fall back to the purpose of coming to India. It is also the message that has been prompting at the back of my mind.

Tiruvannamalai is always a pleasant holy town to visit or even considering a stay for learning engagement. Casting the die, this time from Chennai, instead of heading south to Tiruvannamalai, I will leap a distance to the north into a hill in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This holy hill is one of the foremost pilgrimage centres in India. It is situated in the southeast of Andhra Pradesh, around 168 km north of Chennai. The hill claims to have the busiest temple in the world – Tirumala & Tirupathi.

It’s time to repack the unpacked stuff found strewn in the room. The books and reading materials remained the weight carrier of all my stuff. Finding some books as I collected as I travel, it adds on to the existing 5kg of books that already bloating the backpack. Carry light is always right, I emphasize myself to adhere.

There is a saying, if you love me, love my dog. If we adore India, tolerate her inadequacies and shortages. I shall learn to tolerate the honks indiscriminately blared to deafening by the vehicles on the streets.

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 00:05 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (3)

A Fanatic Clam Eater

Recreational Clam Digging At Dyke Beach

sunny 31 °C

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Ever since I arrived at Dyke Rest, Kathira has several times told me that the kitchen is freely opened for use. We, the in-house guests are allowed to cook in the kitchen. I have not touched the gas stove so far let alone to cook a meal.

“Why not you try to boil some clams?” Kathira asked me. “But I prefer to eat out. I have not wanted to take the trouble to visit wet market – walk all the way to the town to search for clams?” I responded.

“No, you dig,” Kathira claimed. “Go and dig some clams at the beach the way Chinese guests cherished. Collect the clams and bring them back for the pot. Trust me, it’s delicious,” Kathira was making a recommendation as if promoting the delicacy of the clams available at the Dyke beach.

“The guests from China marvel the clams boiling in the pot,” he added. As a matter of fact, Sri Lanka has gained its status as a popular destination to the Chinese tourists and the Chinese are well received by the tour operators here for their big spending. Dyke Rest is one of the inns that well recommended to the independent Chinese travellers by their guide books.

I declined politely, but I nodded as a gesture – maybe next time. It’s also a hassle imposing on me to get the stove carefully heated up under the chafe of a match.

That afternoon as I strode my long steps out the rickety rear zinc-gate on the way to the cape, three young lads with their hands showing a sinuous motion were making signal demanding an attention from me. As they irregularly swayed their hands upon me, they yelled out, “Hello, come here!” Then followed by several yelps, “Come here! Come here!”

I turned to them. None of them was wearing bottom shorts, instead the underwear clothe on their bottoms were loose enough to expose the gluteal fold of their buttocks. They pointed to the tidal sand flat.

“Wow!” I was struck to see the amount clams they dug from the sand flat. A huge plastic bag was filled with clams, and another was half filled.

“Which country?” they asked.

I took the phrase interpreted as whether have I experienced what they were getting on with their bare hands. No fork, no spade and neither a shovel used. “Come, dig. Dig here,” they pointed to the tidal shore.

It was pretty exhilarating to say, for me to join a hand digging the sand flat and seeing the sand built up to one side like building a sand castle in the progress. While on the other hand, we collected the clams from beneath the surface of the tidal flat. I had not played a digging game like this all my life. Though Sepang Coast of Selangor is foremost known for excavating mud clams, it was not a playground I thought will suit a man at 39.

Beach clam is an edible species of infaunal bivalve mollusk normally found from below the surface of the tidal sand flats or mud flats where they live. It is abundant on surf-pounded ocean beaches, but also occurs in sheltered areas along the coast. Beach clam in Dyke bay grows to a length of 3-4 cm of size and it is a non-seasonal shellfish that you may easily find throughout the year. Over here, clam digging is not commercially motivated but it is done very recreationally for enjoyment or as a source of food to the local people.

You don’t often see a serious clam digger, but the recreational diggers are normally local young lads you usually spot them wearing a pair of loose underwear with the gluteal fold of their buttocks inevitably exposed. Anyhow, recreational digging for beach clams is truly a family sport.

During certain times of the year, marine toxins, produced by some species of diatom algae are taken in by beach clams and concentrated. When ingested by human, these toxins can cause illness and in very high concentrations can be fatal to humans. Is this a true fact or mere a ludicrous say, I’m not sure. But I heard it from the fisherman next door.

If you think clam digging is less of a challenge, you may want to flex your muscles to try to pry off some native oysters and barnacles from the estuarine ocean rocks. There are plenty of native oysters and barnacles grow on the estuarine rocks, mostly all not harvested.

My family is a great seafood lover. Of the seafood, other than crabs and prawns, clams top the platter. If you argue that you are a great epicure for clam dish, there is a fanatic like you - my elder sister.

For oysters, one needs to shuck the shells in order to taste the soft, tender and mellowing pulp. Unlike oysters, most of the live clams after unearthed for some while without any seawater, its bivalves tend to open up slightly. Only a dead clam contaminated with dirt and mud will remain closed under the hot stove.

Cooking clams is never ever any difficult than boiling a pack of instant noodles. We savour the clams cooked under a wok of soup. Stir fry the clams with thin slices of gingers at first. When the aroma rises from the wok, discriminatively add some water. Then pour into the wok plenty of rice wine. I really mean plenty of it. Let it boil for another 5 minutes. After that, switch off the heat and the wok is ready to serve. The clam soup may not taste rich in flavour but appetizingly it is delicately sweet to go along with a plate of rice. It is a savouring dish to recommend.

How much clams do you think is enough to make a serving for two?

The answer is – we had 4 kg for two.

That could translate as, apart from enjoying the clam dish, we are also consuming a large amount of cholesterol from the clams. Take oysters as a benchmark, as oysters ranked the 10th most high cholesterol food, each 100 grams of oysters contained 105 mg cholesterol. Whereas, every 100 grams of clams give the consumer a good choke of 67 mg of cholesterol.

Post script:

Swimming in the shallow water at Dyke occasionally my feet are nibbled by a shoal of smelt fish. Smelt fish is a family of small fish, where they run in large shoals along the saltwater coastline. When these small fish nibble my feet, it gives a ticklish sensation but odd enough I fear for a bigger fish that will instantaneous give me a bite. I enjoy the nibble massage, yet I feel odd for the fear. In KL elsewhere, fish spa is not uncommon. You pay RM10 you’ll get a fish spa for half an hour, meaning to leave your feet submerging in the water as bait for smelt fish to nibble. It’s a weird spa though.

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 13:19 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (1)

The Right Of Disposal

Better No Pet Than Keeping A Pet For One Day

semi-overcast 32 °C

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’Fight like cats and dogs’ is not exactly the phrase to be used here. I would say – lazy laid-back dog submits to its natural enemy, the burglar cats. There has not been a grappling fight between the lazy dog and the burglar cats. Instead, the quick witted cats jump over the lazy dog. The defeated dog succumbed to the grappling claws of the cats.

Kathira keeps a dog – that lazy laid-back dog. Ganesh tried his patience to keep the cats – all four of them, the quick witted burglar cats. Ganesh cuddles the cats and Kathira fawns the dog. Both caretakers of the inn may exhibit a gentle affection for their little animals, but they are not any enthusiasts of their pets. Only if these pets knew the proper way to drop their faeces the way it was expected by their masters.

Half a year ago when I first visited the inn, I only saw a cat. It was a stray tabby cat. The stray tabby cat, a queen, grows with a grey coat and has dark stripes lined over her body. With any unfinished rice and leftover food, instead of throwing them away, Ganesh spread the leftovers on the ground at the edge of the rear patio, thinking the leftover may serve the stray cats well. There are several stray cats, apart from the tabby queen. They are burglars widely entering the houses by climbing the walls of the neighbourhood stalking for food.

Day after day, the tabby queen became a regular cat that enjoyed the food left by Ganesh. Ganesh has no intention at first to marvel the cat let alone to keep her in the inn. But, as you feed the purring mammal, with regular meals Ganesh made it ready without having the stray tabby queen to prey, the cat laid its den down.

Where? Where does the tabby queen settle her den?

It was right beside the communal toilet at the rear patio beneath the plain sight of remnant pieces of woods and rusty zinc sheets.

Yesterday morning at my doorstep when I was on the way to the communal toilet with my toothbrush in hand, I saw Kathira making his grumble. He was targeting at Ganesh. But Ganesh seemed to go along in tune with Kathira and conceded with him. Kathira with his unusual murmurs below his breath in exasperation, he walked to me and uttered, “She has a new boyfriend. You see, she’s slipped out again with her frisky boyfriend next door.” Kathira looked into my baffling eyes, knowing I was puzzled, but he tempted to continue, “When she’s home, she’ll bring with her the problems to us.”

I was very much held in bafflement. Of the early morning, Kathira made a fault-finding accusation of someone pertaining to her moral and chastity. It sounded serious. It’s a mounting disdainful charge. Who is she? Her boyfriend lives by the door next to us?

I turned to Ganesh.

Ganesh has a big laugh beyond measure. It was such a cheeky way of Kathira to describe his exasperation.

He pointed to the offspring of their tabby queen. Tabby queen was already slipped out of the house leaving the kittens around. The kittens were sleeping on the decrepitate doormat at the doorstep of my room. The kittens are capable of creating a mischievous havoc in the kitchen but not detached completely from their mother yet. Often they are seen suckling their mother’s breasts. They are in the weaning transition into solid food.

When I see the kittens sleeping on the doormat at the doorsteps of my room, I always feel a great nuisance agitating from my fear. I am carrying a fear that one night on my way to the communal toilet, I may unwarily stomp my legs on the kittens and crush them of their alimentary canals off their stomachs. It may sound crude, but that is my real tragic fear. The kittens indiscriminately choose to sleep around the doorsteps of my room. The night at the inn is pitch dark, so as to say all the lights will be turned off, including the corridor and patio lamps when the caretakers are ready for bed.

“How are we going to solve this problem of offspring progression?” Kathira looked at Ganesh. “Our queenie is in heat. She’s been escaping the house to mate.” Then he added with a gasp of frustration, “In three months’ time we are going to have another litter.”

“We already have litters before. Now we are still having here three undetached kittens,” claimed Kathira.

Kathira was maddened with the unkempt hygiene of the kitchen affected by the faeces left by the kittens. He was infuriated to unfold the hidden faeces deposited at the opening crevice of the kitchen wall, at the fissure brick behind the archaic well and at the hollow cranny at the side wall of my room. Ganesh didn’t say a word, but the way he gesticulated, we knew he acknowledged the problems. Ganesh conceded, and they both agreed that they must - clean off the domestic little tigers’ poops found everywhere at the inn.

Cats' reproduction activities may seem simple to the casual observer: they mate loudly, frequently, and indiscriminately. Once your female cat reaches puberty at about 6 months of age, she becomes a queen and estrus (heat) cycles will start. The queen will slip to escape the house in order to find mates to mate. She’s being loudly vocalize (call), and lurk near doors, just waiting for the chance to meet up with one of the noisy frisky Tom cat who will cluster near your house.

Cats can go into heat several times a year, whereas dogs typically have only two heat cycles a year. Literally, cats can produce a litter at any time in the year. Female cats are induced ovulators, which means that ovulation does not take place without mating. Until and unless she mates, these estrus cycles will repeat as often as every two or three weeks, causing distress to the queen and the human companion.

On the street, a queen may mate with two or more Tom cats over the length of the estrus cycle. A multi-coloured kittens of a litter will often vividly demonstrate multiple mating. If pregnant, the queen’s pregnancy lasts on average 60-64 days before giving birth to a litter.

Later in the evening, I saw Kathira together with Ganesh, as briskly they tried to help each other to set up a trap. They had wanted to set up a trap to lure the cats into captivity. The captivity was a huge plastic basket normally mobilized by the inn used for collecting dry laundry. In the basket, they left some food on it so to entice the cats hoping they will be tricked to get into the captivity. It is not a wise idea for them to catch the kittens barehanded with the presence of the mother cat. Both Kathira and Ganesh know. They know that catching the kittens is viciously an act in the presence of the mother cat. The mother cat may grapple them with its sharp claw. While raising its fur and arched its back, in a loud vocalize hissing and baring its sharp teeth, it’ll give a sign of intimidation to anyone trying to dump her kittens off.

Abandoning the kittens?

Yes. Abandoning the kittens including the mother cat was the initial idea both Kathira and Ganesh have. It probably may happen if they are able to capture the kittens into the cage. They already have an idea that these domestic little tigers will be fed properly at the fish market than staying at the inn. As the fish market has a certain amount of leftover of fish discharges, the cats would not be starved to death. Ganesh had domesticated a stray cat at first, now he wanted to abandon these purring mammals out from the household unit, thus adding the cats into the already large population of feral cats we find in the open, especially at the fish market in the town.

Many people have instilled with the belief that as a pet owner, they have every right to decide the faith of their pet. As they owned a choice to pick the animal as a pet, they assume that they deserve the absolute right to dispose the little domestic creatures when they are no longer wanted. This is the ‘right of disposal’ as many pet owners wrongfully thought they are undoubtedly accorded with. It is an exhausting belief that I feel tragic.

Failure to control the breeding of pets by spaying and neutering, the abandonment of household pets inevitably has resulted in large numbers of feral cats and dogs roaming in the neighbourhood. I have once eye witnessed a neighbour dumping their pet rabbit by the ditch of the neighbourhood where I live.

Better no pet than keeping a pet for one day.

Post script:

1. Several days after the notion of wanting to dump to the cats, the caretakers of the inn changed their mind. They may not have told anyone, but their action unfolded their intention that they have decided to keep the cats. Probably the trap that had been set to capture the cats was never a success.

2. I know cats are skillful stalkers of a broad range of small vertebrate and invertebrate preys. One day, I saw the black kitten of the three, holding its mouth over the throat of a chipmunk caught in the ambush by the tabby queen. With its canine teeth and the sharp clawed paws, the black kitten sheared the head of the chipmunk off from its body. Then, the kitten ate it in wholesome not leaving behind a single bone or a coat of fur. Ever since seeing that brutal bloodshed massacre of the chipmunk by the cats, I have had a total new fold of impression over the cats. I remember someone told me, they had trained their cats and dogs to abstain from meat and confined its food to vegetarian only. If cats’ and dogs’ eating habit could be trained as such, we would see the wondrous beauty of a restful non-belligerent animal kingdom but it is a dreadful curse to the natural chain of ecology.

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:42 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Flies Picking An Underwear

House Flies Savouring Foul Discharges

semi-overcast 33 °C

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My room adjoins the rear patio. The rear patio is just a tiny patch of ground, roofless and rough but concreted five feet inward from the rusted rickety backdoor. My room was a storage room transformed into a staff’s. Kathira, a caretaker of the inn once used to occupy this room. One arm’s-length multiplied by one-and-a-half of its size, as they called it a bachelor’s room.

Often in the evening, when there are guests, Kathira will get someone to deliver some raw seafood to the inn for him to cook dinner. A dinner topped with seafood is usually served for the in-house guests. There is a standalone bathroom situated in the rear patio right beside my room. It serves as a common convenience for the guests. The water tap in the bathroom has been used to do cleaning and scaling, leaving the ground stales with reek of fish stench. Unless you sanitize the ground with a disinfectant substance, you often will get to attract house flies.

Getting rid of the irritating house flies from buzzing and landing around in my room is beyond a hectic business. There is too much to do to rid these flying pests. Though tiny in size but once they are aroused by foul discharges they’ll infest you like crazy in swarms. I reap to coexist with them. The sow is, I always drench myself in seawater running into the rear patio and into the room. The dripping seawater mixed with beach sand and dirt from the ground dries off absolutely having a smell like dumps of metal batteries. On top of it, the reeking stench from the discharge of cleaning raw fish by the water tap is another savoury reason attracting flies. Sometimes I feel intimidated by the house flies.

How on earth these pests in their mounting company only pick to dangle on my underwear hanging on the clothesline? There is always a choice of the man’s next door.

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 09:07 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (1)

Tap The Anchor Buoy

A Ship That Does Not Obey The Helm Will Have To Obey The Rocks

overcast 28 °C

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Two days ago in the afternoon, the sky was unexpectedly outburst in rainstorms. The cumulus clouds nestled high above in the sky like heaps of white cotton buds had suddenly ragged by dark and gloomy clouds. The dark clouds ominously huddled together while the wind lashed out upon the ground. With an ominous sound, the rain pelted the earth as if buckets of water poured down from the sky. The tropical rain hit the bay at the spit of the cape of Trincomalee. Yet torrential storms to arrive till the arrival of the monsoon.

The sea started to get rough. By October, the tropical monsoon will bring torrential rains to the region.

Looking at the chart of the weather forecast of Trincomalee, the beachgoers would not get to enjoy any longer the hot sun we are enthralling it now, let alone to do open water swim when the monsoon arrives soon.

I will return to Tamil Nadu on 22nd this month. By the time I leave India again a month later, it is already monsoon season in Trincomalee. I need to plan for an alternative route. Instead of heading to Trincomalee again, alternatively the west coast of Sri Lanka is a choice. Or creating another choice, I may have to en route to the northern neighbouring country. Distance is a point of consideration. With longer travelling distance, the cost of mobility takes its place as a critical factor in making decision.

That day in the afternoon, I almost have crossed the navigational safety border marked with white buoys floating on the surface of the sea. I was swimming my way to a dense of ocean rocks rose on the ambient seabed which was at a length offshore. The farthest sedimentary ocean rock was fixed with an anchor buoy pulled by a rope set out from the shore.

Tapping on the anchor buoy as I usually do to designate reaching target point, I treaded on the rock with caution so I would not trample on the oyster reef sticking to the surface of the sedimentary rocks. The hard shells of the oysters were hinged together very sharply. I have had several wounds on the soles unnoticeably got cut by the sharp hinges of the oyster shells elsewhere. As I set my feet down properly on the rock, whistles blew.

Whistles blew in shrill. Whistles emitted from the shore. The clear shrill of whistling was audible to my ears while I lingered at the boulder of the ocean rock some 200 metres away from the shore. I raised my head against the dazzling sun. The glare of the sun had caused my eyes half closed. I tried to see to the shore at the west where the sound of whistling shrill initiated. Three men were whistling. They were in blue uniforms standing by the lifeguard booth erected at the beach.

While they persisted to whistle under a non-stop effort, they waved furiously at me. Obviously the waving was not a signal they rolled themselves to address that I made it to ocean rock, but they were giving a kind of warning. They wanted me to get back to the shore. They had not wanted me to linger any longer on the ocean rocks.

Sometimes, I am being a little haughty myself. Making a whistling shrill targeted on me was already an embarrassing commotion let alone twirling the whistles and furiously waving their hands against me. The beachgoers were alerted on the presumption that I broke some rules. I was only heading to the ocean rock. The distance was hardly farther than 200 metres offshore.

“Had I wronged anywhere? Not that I hadn’t swum in deep water before. In the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, I made my way in a swimathon from the coast to an Island. It was comparably a distance obviously tens of times farther than this,” I grumbled in the heart and apparently contained an ego in it.

Being quite hardheaded, I stayed on the ocean boulder ignoring the hand signals given by them. I lingered on the boulder, diverted my attention by - disturbing the fiddler crabs’ burrows, shooing some perching crows, unhinging some native rock-oysters, agitating some crustaceans, muddling some whelks and limpets; of which all I did was a pretendence that I heard no cries from the lifeguards. It was the crude side of me.

Some while later, the tide was getting high and sea was battering rougher. On the way swimming back to the shore, at times I lost sight of the horizon when the waves relentless turned furious as it slapped on to my face. I had gulps of seawater swallowed down the throat.

The lifeguards had not been doing any wrong with their furious commotion. I still held on with my ego though, of which I declined to render down although knowing that they had acted for my safety. As I walked closely to the lifeguard booth, I had a peek on them. Only I discovered that the lifeguards are some marine men assigned to watch guard the public safety. Swimming is possible at the bay, but one has to exercise extra caution as sometimes dangerous undertows and deadly grip of rip currents do occur. When the monsoon arrives, deep sea swimming tends to pose a certain level of danger to the swimmers. One has to be extremely alert of the undertows and rip currents apart from the rough splashing waves thrashing on.

Thinking back, I tend to be ignorant, sometimes. Doing deep water swimming is safe but if ill guarded, potentially it poses a serious life threat. I have to abide to the safety rules if I am to swim in deep water. I remind myself that - a great ship asks deep waters but, the ship that does not obey the helm will have to obey the rocks.

Only a section of the coastline at the cape adjacent to the fort is guarded by lifeguards. It is an intertidal zone, and the waters are lined with navigational white floating buoys in a form of circuit pulled from the shore to that massive ocean rock. The waters enclosing within the buoy circuit is considered a safety zone. Battering waves that pound in to the shore from the deep ocean are weakened by the dense of ocean rocks as these rocks abate the impact of the battering waves.

I have to obey the safety rules, and it’s not difficult to act upon, I told myself. Abide the rules from the beginning with a receptive correct attitude and cache them in the heart. Instead of swim and wade off the bay to somewhere into the ocean, now I do it in laps. I started from the first marking buoy at the shore. I begin to swim diagonally crossing a straight figure from a corner to corner until I reach the anchor buoy planted at the boulder of the ocean where I once landed with commotion. Then, I swim back to the beginning point and counted one lap. By doing this, swimming in deep water counting by laps is also fabulous.

It’s open water swimming time now @4.17pm.

~ Live in the Sunshine, Swim the Sea, Drink the Wild Air ~

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 07:56 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (1)

A Spandex Swim Shorts

A Fool Swimming In The Ocean

rain 30 °C

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Fabulous! Fabulous! I get to recharge my energy. I get to bask and do an open water swimming at the marvellous beach by the bay at the spit of the cape of Trincomalee. I always tell my friends that apart from consuming carbohydrate, my body runs on solar. Out from the backdoor of Dyke Rest, it is the splendid white sandy beach that spreads over to the ocean connecting to the horizon. The temptation of getting a dive in the turquoise waters of Indian Ocean is too hard to resist. I barge into the strong wave as it pounds to the shore.

I feel uneasy wearing a pair of triangle swimming trunks by the seaside and walk freely on it. I must admit I am an old-fashioned pursuer for what I wear in the public beach. To me, swimming trunks are meant to be worn for swimming in the pool, and it limits its motion within the pool vicinity. It is like your sleeping pyjamas. You don’t wear your pyjamas out from your bedroom.

I put on my exercise shorts in the outer layer and having beneath wearing a pair of swimming trunks. That obviously appears to be a little foolish. Foolish never mind, I brush it aside. As I swim and dive, the shorts get loosen endlessly against the strong pounding waves and it drops off mercilessly. It is embarrassing. The Sri Lankan kids playing by the shore watched oddly of my clowning pursuits of securing the bottom wear every time I am hit by the waves.

Why not getting a pair spandex swim shorts instead?

Getting a pair of spandex swim shorts? I intensely dislike putting on the spandex shorts when I swim in the swimming pool. For rough sea, maybe it’s a spectacular idea.

I happily wake up early and merrily walk to the town searching for the aqua sportswear.

This young man taking charge of the sportswear shop pulled out several sizes of swim shorts. He displayed the swim shorts, all made of black spandex material and he put them on the glass rack. Looking at the material, and taking a glance of the label, you would not deny that the spandex shorts are massively a product of mass production. That doesn’t matter, but it matters greatly when you are given a product that couldn’t be any better quality than a mediocre one. You want your money’s worth since he is asking a price for an arm and a leg. Pity us, in Sri Lanka, the foreign travellers have never got to enjoy the privilege of the local price in everything we pay.

“Will I buy the spandex shorts with that called price?” I asked myself.

“Yes, I desperate needed it.” Otherwise, I am not able to swim in the open water.

He gave me a size of XL. I asked for double XL. I know which size suits me better than anyone else. I need a breathing space at the groin area, not wanting something to be fitted too tightly. It’s a pursuit of comfortable breathing after all.

I tell the young man of the sportswear shop, “I need to try on both pairs of swim shorts.” There is no fitting room at the shop, I aware. “I’m going to test-wear them here,” I told the young man with my index finger pointed to the rear side of the low glass counter.

He was instantly bewildered. I saw his eyes widely popped. Then I noticed his big popping eyes roll from side to side and gave me a smirk. I read his mind, “Oh my goodness, this man is so lewd. He must be morally loose having wanted to take off his underpants by my counter just to try on the spandex shorts?” He had a massive laugh. I feel ridiculed making myself a laughing-stock, that I am as daft as a brush.

Anyway, I tried both sizes and picked the larger swim shorts of two. Your mind should not run disarray. Does he know that I can test wear the spandex shorts even with my underpants on?

Later at the beach not far away from the backdoor of the inn, I have anxiously wanted to jump into the sea immediately after putting on the tight spandex. Only I notice there is a lining seam ripping at the groin in between both legs. I thought if I don’t stress the spandex shorts right exactly at the sensitive spot by not motioning a squat on the ground with knees drawn up, I would not force open the ripped seam. If the lining seam does rip open, it's a never mind to me. After all, today is a weekday, there aren’t many beachgoers around. People may not have noticed. Only a few children run for bat-and-ball cricket game at the shore.

So, I plunged into the waters under the terrifying heat of the sun. I like it. It is a total recharge for me.

Thinking back I don’t remember the last time I was being completely a fool doing foolish things. Being foolish is sometimes an experience that we ridicule ourselves. And it could turn out to be fun and may become a precious experience.

Doing open water swimming here gives an overwhelming ecstasy. Let me figure out how to tell you about it later.

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Posted by Quah Khian Hu 01:15 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (3)

Janmashtami

Five Thousand Years Ago, Lord Krishna was Born

sunny 39 °C

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I looked closely at the field of the date imprinted on the wall calendar suspended on the entrance of Yogiram Ashram, it stated 28th August 2013 Wednesday, a declared holiday – “Janmashtami”. I completely had no idea what the day is. Living near to the ashram, I pay attention to any public holidays, whether it is a national or state declared holiday or even a religious holiday. The holidays are the days when we see devotees drawing in huge crowds to the ashrams in Tiruvannamalai.

I searched on google for Janmashtami. I found it – the birth day of Lord Krishna.

Two days ago, Hindus over the country of India, South Asia and many followers of the Krishna faith abroad have celebrated Janmashtami over the birth of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated in the August/September month, on the eighth day (Ashtami) of Krishna Paksh (dark fortnight) in the month of Bhadon according to the Hindu lunar calendar.

Lord Krishna, the eight avatar of Lord Vishnu, was believed to have been born about five thousand years ago, on the 19th July 3228 BC in Mathura. Indian as well as Western scholars have accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in which Lord Krishna lived on earth. It is believed that Lord Krishna had lived for 125 years. Counting from year 3228 BC to the present, we are able to say that Lord Krishna was born 5241 years ago.

Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting without water the whole day and night and staying vigil through the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs and dance. Some temples also conduct reading of the Hindu religious scripture Bhagavad Gita and chant the mantra Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.

Janmashtami is celebrated over two days. The first day is Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami. The second day is called Kalastami or more popularly Janmashtami.

Krishna was the 8th son of princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva. Krishna belonged to the Vrishni clan of Yadavas from Mathura (in present day Mathura district, Uttar Pradesh). King Kansa, Devaki's brother was afraid of a prophecy that predicted his death at the hands of Devaki's eighth son. Kansa had both Devaki and Vasudeva locked into a prison cell. After Kansa killed the first six children, and Devaki's apparent miscarriage of the seventh, Krishna was born. After his birth Lord Vishnu ordered Vasudeva to take Krishna to Gokul where he can live safely away from his evil Uncle Kansa. So Vasudeva took Krishna with him and crossed Yamuna to reach Gokul. Krishna grew up in Gokul.

According to Bhagavata Purana, Krishna was born without a sexual union, but by divine "mental transmission" from the mind of Vasudeva into the womb of Devaki. Krishna was dark and extremely handsome. The word Krishna literally means 'black'. Though his skin colour may be depicted as black or dark, in other images such as modern pictorial representations, Krishna is usually shown with blue skin. He is often shown wearing a yellow silk dhoti and a peacock feather crown. Common depictions show him as a little boy (Bala Krishna), or as a young man in a characteristically relaxed pose, playing the flute. In this form, he usually stands with one leg bent in front of the other with a flute raised to his lips, in the Tribhanga posture, accompanied by cows.

People consider Krishna their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher and friend all rolled into one. Krishna has influenced the Indian thought, life and culture in myriad ways. He has influenced not only its religion and philosophy, but also into its mysticism and literature, painting and sculpture, dance and music, and all aspects of Indian folklore.

I arrived at Trincomalee town, northeast of Sri Lanka in the morning of Janmashtami day. I would have attended the prayer held in Yogiram ashram and joining the celebration of Janmashtami had I stayed longer in Tiruvannamalai. I was anxious to imagine the crowd of people thronging to the ashram during this special day.

Riding on a long distance nine-hour train from Colombo through the night, I was dozing off with my head staggering disorderly away. My head was rocking side-to-side and forcibly had banged on the window. I was awakened. Then I dozed off again. I possibly had a head rolling onto the shoulder of the rider next to me. And the train rattled noisily on its way to Trincomalee.

That night at Dyke Rest in Trincomalee, the local community have had a motion for street procession in celebrating Janmashtami day. The procession was arrayed with a chariot illuminated in lights. No bullocks were used to pull the chariot but a few strong young men took up the task. In the decorated chariot on its sanctum, a statue of Lord Krishna was placed on it. The simple procession attracted not a huge crowd but it signified heartily a reverence the people of Dyke Street have upon Lord Krishna.

Living in a little inn at the cape of Dyke, Trincomalee, you’ll be blown away by the sound of waves beating on the shore. Trincomalee boasts the gateway to some of the finest beaches of Sri Lanka, if you wish to know.

In the month of August, the Indian nation gets to enjoy several public holidays. Eid Mubarak fell on 9th August, which was celebrated one day after Malaysia. A week later on 15th August, the Indian nation was seen hoisting their Tiranga Jhanda, the tricolor flag with an exuberant spirit while they marched to perform the parade rites. It was the nation’s 66th Independence Day they celebrated with sovereign pride. Then, on the 28th August, it is the special holiday that marked the birth of Lord Krishna.

Happy Birthday Lord Krishna. He is 5241 years old now!

Oh, I am also not forgetting to wish a Happy National Day 31.8.2013 to Malaysian friends, and have a great holiday ahead.

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Chariot illuminated in bulb lights celebrating Janmashtami at Dyke, Trincomalee

Chariot illuminated in bulb lights celebrating Janmashtami at Dyke, Trincomalee

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 01:54 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (2)

A Hundredth-Day Mourn

Our Age According To Lunar Calendar

sunny 38 °C

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Today is a commemorative day to our family. It is the hundredth-day mourn that we are in grief to our Aunt Lian who had crossed over to another realm on 17th of May 2013.

I had a short chat on the net with my older sister several days ago, and I found out that she and her family would make a trip back to the hometown in Teluk Intan. They have planned to attend and assist my father to carry out the tradition ritual of offering a salvation prayer to Aunt Lian.

Aunt Lian was firstly admitted to the council hospital in the hometown when I was still travelling in Sri Lanka. I took a flight home with a throb of suspense after hearing the news. Looking back four months ago before she was admitted to the hospital, though Aunt Lian was already getting weak of old age and only serving on soft diet due to lack of competency in swallowing, it has never given rise to our mind that bronchopneumonia, an aspiration pneumonia was in attack. It was to cost Aunt Lian her life soon later.

In the council hospital, the physician after having done up with his medical diagnosis, he had no choice but to treat Aunt Lian on a high dose antibiotic therapy to counter the chemical pneumonitis caused by the entrance of oral contents aspirated into the bronchial tree of the lungs. Bacterial pathogens had added to the inflammation. Aunt Lian was advised to feed on Ryles tube then onwards. Feeding solids was no more a choice. Sixteen days later, Aunt Lian was discharged from the council hospital for home. We were relieved. But our relief did not last long to alleviate our series of apprehension. It was only a temporary relief.

That morning, Grace Lai with a breath of anxiety arrived at the hospital searching for the ICU ward after receiving an anxious telephone call from my sister. She, a joined at the hip to my sister had hurriedly rushed to Assunta Hospital in Petaling Jaya wanting to visit Aunt Lian and hoping that, in the way she always could, to alleviate some anxiety from bouldering our minds. At that time, Aunt Lian was already equipped completely on a life support. We did not relinquish every single chance to revive Aunt Lian from coma. But survival rate was not optimistic.

In the afternoon at 5.15 pm, the team of nurses was summoned by the emergency unit to the ICU ward where Aunt Lian was ridden. Aunt Lian was seemingly a body without soul by then. The nurses were hastened into the ward to rescue and had tried to resuscitate Aunt Lian. All they have done, they had done beyond they were able. Aunt Lian made a cross over that afternoon very peacefully. It was a deep grief to us. The dark day was only four weeks apart after Aunt Lian was given a green light from the council hospital in our home town to allow her a discharge.

Looking at the medical record, Aunt Lian was 74. She had neither suffered from major sickness nor ailments in her younger days. She was adamantly healthy and dreadfully resisted to be treated with western medicines for any illness that inflicted on her. It was a belief to her, very adamantly that – slight illness, naturally the body will recuperate by itself. And for major sickness, she’ll remedy on herbs and having relied on the rumpled pieces of herbal prescriptions written by the olden day sages. Those herbal prescriptions were believed to be efficacious.

When I was a child, I always heard her making a claim sort of an invocation that, “Otherwise after the herbal remedy, our lives aren’t after all ceded down to the ‘Sky Kingdom’ in the heaven?” And she had an index finger pointing upward to the sky. She had lived through the brutality of the era of wars that disastrously ruined the lives of many. Hers was not spared. She had also lived under the circumscription of a maltreating childhood and a never easy harsh adulthood. Having we understood what she had gone through in her life, we are not able to deny but passionately to cede with her that she had every right to preserve her own perception and way of thought.

In due course at home in the hometown, the funeral caretaker arrived with two white lanterns waiting to be suspended on the entrance of the mourning hall. The hako shaped paper lanterns were inscribed with a brush calligraphy written in black ink made of soot. The syllables in Chinese were written, read as such – “70-Blossoms-With-9”.

Literally it is taken as seventy plus nine, or in other words, it means seventy nine years old. In the tradition of our community, a deceased who had died of an old age, old enough to be recognized as a good death would be honoured on the mourning lanterns with the inscription of a blossom on it. The older a person crosses over, it is perceived that an abundance of wisdom the deceased has experienced in his or her life. It is an honour to the deceased.

Hock Boon, a close acquaintance of mine, came to me after seeing the mourning lanterns, whispered to me by my ear with his propensity trusting that he may not have heard appropriately of what I had shared with him in the hospital earlier. He muttered below his breath, “Isn’t Aunt Lian 74 years old?” Having asked his words, Hock Boon began to feel a little uneasy himself, assuming that he could have gone too far to have uttered his words as such in a mourning funeral though it was out of a concern.

As a matter of fact, Aunt Lian’s biological age was 74 years old and it is also decently correct to have said, she was 79 according to her lunar age. How does it find to sum an extra 5 years that was added on to her biological age?

To describe this, Aunt Lian was born on 21st January 1939. The Gregorian year 1939 according to Lunar calendar was a rabbit year but it has a spilt over of Tiger zodiac during the beginning months of 1939. It also means that the ending of the Lunar year of Tiger had fallen on the beginning of the Gregorian year of 1939. My aunt whom was born on January 21 was a zodiac of Tiger though 1939 was in fact a Rabbit year. In the Chinese astrology, a person who leaps through another zodiac symbol in one year gains a year older. So, Aunt Lian was honoured to keep one extra year here.

The tradition believes that once when a baby is conceived, the embryo in the womb is as real as alive. There is already a life in the embryo. Otherwise the embryo in the mother’s womb would cease to have grown big. A live baby that sits in the womb of the mother is a baby of soul. The conceive of the soulful baby for 9 months in the womb is counted as if he has gained one year of life before he is brought forth by birth. Like anyone who uses Lunar calendar for age counting, Aunt Lian was honoured to keep another year here.

When one crosses over to another realm upon his or her demise, the tradition honours the deceased with a three-deferential-respect. First, it is an oblation offer to the sky kingdom. Secondly, it is an esteem lauded to the earth and the third, it is a respect given to the deceased own self. With three respects, the deceased is honoured with three years added on to their biological age.

On the mourning day till the funeral, sables were worn. We may not have observed the deep old traditional convention of wearing sables in black and fastening a piece of black gauze on the arm but we had put on white trousers and white top in return. My father as the patriarch of the family has opined that Aunt Lian, the eldest sister to my father, whom was having no blood kinship in a way to the four of us as her nephews and nieces, white sables were appropriate. It was one of the ways we thought we were able to show our heartfelt gratitude to her.

We did not observe the usual way of our tradition in burning paper replica money, but we burnt a paper replica house for Aunt Lian instead. Old traditions die hard. We know that it appears ludicrous to expect a deceased person to receive the paper replicas in a physical form in their realm, but it is mere a symbol of our affection we found on her.

On the funeral day, the remains of our Aunt Lian were cremated in Temoh, a small out-of-town village situated not far from Ayer Kuning. If you travel further on the same old federal road to the north, you’ll arrive at Ipoh, the state capital of Perak. The urn of ashes of our Aunt Lian was placed in the temple of the crematorium of Temoh.

In sorrow and grief, my father had expressed his lament that Aunt Lian was a woman of no kinship descendant. She was not a married woman. “But never mind”, we told our father. “She has her nephews and nieces, the four of us as her children.” In fact, she was already a grand aunt to the children of my brother and sisters.

Aunt Lian is a surrogate mother to us, as deeply she showered on us her affection like a mother when we were still toddlers. She raised us like her own when our mother died at young age. Losing her is like losing a piece of our souls. We hold grief to be departed with her. We know we have to continue living our lives to the fullest but grieving is inevitable. Grief is like a drawer that one opens, takes a look and, stows it back away. In the afterlife, soul never dies. She lives.

In the Yogiram Ashram this morning, on this 100th-Day mourning day, I prayed to Lord Shiva hoping that the soul of our Aunt Lian is placed together with the souls of the virtuous. Om Nama Shiva Ya, I prayed.

I have a notion to search for an Indian sweets shop in the town later. I solemnly wanted to purchase several packets of Indian sweets hoping to serve the ashram aspirants who would come to dine at the ashram in the evening today. Gulab Jamun or Pak or Bal Mithai will make me delighted – as a form of thanks giving and a mindful appreciation for everyone who had kept Aunt Lian in prayers and remembrance.

Lastly, do you know how old are you according to Lunar calendar? Of course you have to completely ignore the 3-year honour that adds on to your age. I bet you know what I mean. It is a taboo that you have to be alert of.

(Having stayed in Tiruvannamalai for a month, it’s time to leave India again before I am caught in trouble with the immigration office here. I would be leaving India from Chennai International Airport for Sri Lanka tomorrow. See you in Sri Lanka!)

January 1939 Calendar

January 1939 Calendar

January 1930 Calendar

January 1930 Calendar

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Pak

Pak

Bal Mithai

Bal Mithai

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:14 Archived in India Comments (1)

An Iridescent Plume

A Feather Bearing A Magnificent Eyespot

rain 29 °C

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Pixar Jun my nephew, seven at that time was verily anxious wanted to take a close look at the long covert plume I grasped in hand. The plume of the train of a peacock with its iridescent colour of green and blue, ornamenting with a magnificent eyespot at its tip was extravagant enough to arouse an extra attention from him. He had wanted to see closely for himself the limelight of the eyespot, hold it and eagerly sway to stroke it by his nose but his illogical feeling was calling him vehemently from doing so. He showed a struck of reverential fear and had his hand rebounded from reaching out to the long iridescent plume. “I get restless and uneasy with it – the eyespot. It’s something extraordinary”, he cried out.

I had just returned home from Batu Caves that evening merrily holding the plume of a peacock walking into the house. Batu Caves was celebrating Thaipusam that day. Over a million of devotees and tourists had thronged to the cave during the day to observe the celebration. Of the many pedlars, one attracted my attention. I rarely come across such a large display of peacock’s covert plumes. The plumes were magnificent and brightly iridescent. Those plumes were contained in the pottery jars waiting to be picked by the buyers. I chose one. I was taught to pick the best selection – the criteria, I shall look out for its eyespot. A magnificent one would have a complete rounded eye and it should be bright and iridescent like a glossy ornament bearing over the tip of the plume. The last time I held a peacock plume, thinking back, it was 31 years ago.

That year in 1982, my father brought home a long and glossy peacock plume. We children were mesmerized upon seeing the plume, for it was an unusual feather we did not normally see. We were taught a proper way to safe keep the plume to avoid causing breakage to the feather and crushing on its eyespot. So, it was ended up erected on a dictionary volume and, we had it to flap on the reading desk for quite some years.

It all began with a feather. A peacock feather that was shed from its upper tail to the gravel ground of the Hindu koil, the Indian man picked it up. He saw my father and gave it to him. The Indian man was probably a swami known to my father, who took care of the peafowls raised in the ground of the koil. My father set an eye on it, looking at the brightly iridescent eyespot of the covert feather with admiration and he was told perhaps, “You may wish to bring it home. Your children may admire upon this feather of the symbol of immaculate decency.” My father was pleased with the feather given to him, a massive symbol that it is always associated with the deities in the belief of the Hindu pantheon.

My father had been working in a less urbanite area, in a tyre workshop situated by the coastal road leading south to Sabak Bernam, around twenty kilometres away from our home of Teluk Intan. If you travel down south by the coast, you’ll notice that the coastal road cleaves its way through the fertile soil. It divides the land into coastal shore adjacent to the Straits of Melaka to the west and lowland peat soil to the east. Over the years both the shore and lowland have been bulldozed for plantation. With then a great number of oil palm estates have sprung up and got cultivated on the soil. Many Indians gained their livinghood in those estates and resided there then.

Looking at the horizon ahead, to the left and right, it was dotted with a number of Hindu koils and shrines built by the estate residents. Of course, my father would have to combust his motorcycle engine on his Honda 70cc riding pass the Hindu koils, a few of the temples he would have to run into every day before he was to reach the tyre workshop.

“How did you obtain this magnificent feather? Why does a peacock’s covert plume ornament with an eyespot?” I looked upon my father with many more questions anxiously lingering in mind.

At the age of eight, I have not seen a life peafowl, and it was beyond my imagination of how magnificent a peafowl is with its iridescent colours and extravagant display of its plumage bearing a shape of an erected fan. I had only watched it through documentaries on TV of how a real peacock would be. In those days of early 80s, computer was rarely a household unit while internet was rocket science. Google and YouTube were aliens then. We were not exposed to quick facts electronically in the simple way we enjoy now by clicking on the mouse.

With an awestruck, I thought, “It must be seriously astounding if I could get to keep a peafowl at home. I’ll get to harvest (pluck) freely as many feathers, as shimmering as the one my father held in hand, when I need to make another feather skipper.” A mischievous chuckle threw out from me.

My father began with his story.

“The Hindu swami of a koil, situated not far away from my workshop recently brought home from Southern India a clutch of peafowl eggs. He had selected the eggs from the breeder to make sure that these peafowl eggs are fertilized before he brought them back here for incubation,” my father revealed the knowledge he had with the swami.

Then, he continued, “The pair of blue peafowls, a lovely peacock and peahen, both matured birds that were bred by the koil had no longer returned to their nest in the captivity. Swami had dreary waited every evening hoping that these peafowls will return to the nest to roost but they hadn’t. Poor swami, he could have waited till the twelfth of never. Several years ago when these peafowls were chicks, Swami took them to the koil, bred them with a hope that these birds will add some livelihood to the koil. Swami reveres the peafowls as a symbol of immaculate decency that he holds upon Lord Krishna and Lord Muruga.”

“Before this, the koil had also tried to breed a flock of peafowls. Those fowls were kept in the open of the uncultivated gravel ground growing with shrub bushes and undergrown trees. Swami did not get to enjoy the privilege of seeing his peafowls breeding offspring. They flew away one day and never returned to the koil anymore,” my father added.

As a child, I nodded but with a little baffle filling in head, “Flew away and not returned to the koil anymore?” My father replied, “Yes. During the breeding season, in the year when these birds were ready for breeding, they flew far away in searching for a larger flock for their mates. You see, while swami was thinking of a way to secure the peafowls from leaving the nest, he has thought of a notion if to put the dominant male peafowl in captivity. A long rope will be clinched on its leg to a pole. The rest of the peafowls will still be let loose in the open for them to search their forage. As long as the dominant peacock is caught firmly in captivity to the ground, it would be a high chance that the peahens will remain in the nest.”

This notion is deprecated. Among the Hindu community, peafowls are revered sacred. When swami was deliberating such a notion, it was merely a thought that lingered in his mind. Clinching the leg of the peacock is considered cruel as to imposing ill treatment to such a sacred bird on earth. That is supposed to be a bad karma in the creation.

The species of blue peafowl, which is also known as Indian Peafowl, is the native breeder across the Indian subcontinent. They are usually found in the drier lowland in the deciduous forests of the Indian subcontinent. It is inevitably that the estate ground does not appear suitable for the blue peafowls to breed. However, the peafowls may still adapt to live in other cultivated regions. Peafowls tend to live in flock that made up of a cock, and the muster would at least have a handful of 4 to 5 peahens. When the peafowls are ready for breeding during the breeding season, with only a handful of peafowls or even fewer found in the estate ground, these birds tend to leave behind their existing nest in searching for its mates far away.

With a clutch of peafowl eggs brought to the koil from India waiting for incubation, it gave hope to swami that those eggs would fertilize, develop and hatch into several pea chicks. That would give rise to a fresh pedigree of peafowls for swami to raise care. It is a 31-year-old piece of story that I thought it amusing – if artificial incubation denied otherwise, then a bantam hen would be handpicked to do the incubation on behalf of the mother peahen. The mother peahen that laid those eggs was now nesting far away in India. I had wondered whether the eggs after incubated under the bottoms of the bantam hen for 26 days, whether any pea chicks pipped the shell?

With a fawn over his head, Pixar Jun may have been too young to appreciate the meaning underlying in the symbol of the eyespot bearing on a peacock’s covert plume. Pixar Jun was truthfully expressing himself as a child at seven. I completely understand why he felt uneasy for it. When I was eight, I was reverentially taken aback too the same way Pixar Jun reacted, when my father first posed upon the peacock plume to my embrace.

As a child I was not able to comprehend how a feather, already itself shimmering in glow, glazing iridescently in colours and, unusually ornamented with a massive glossy eye on its tip, was being adored. I would find it creepy. The massive glossy eye bearing over the feather had really taken me aback as a child.

Soon when I grew older, I was able to appreciate how splendid the magnificent eyespot is. It resembles a splendid beauty of the spiritual eye of our inner guru sitting in the centre of our forehead. It also resembles the symbol of immaculate decency for its association with Krishna. I adore it for its charm. Indeed it is splendid. I hope that one day Pixar Jun will adore the magnificent eyespot of the peacock’s covert plume.

By the way, the pedlar was holding a large quantity of peacock feathers in the pottery jars calling for sale. Have you had an idea where do those feathers harvest from? Pluck from the upper tails of the peacocks out of their lives? That is a bad karma in creation. A point to ponder and find out.

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Pixar Jun, at 9 now

Pixar Jun, at 9 now

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:04 Archived in India Comments (3)

Swiping Spree Of Credit Cards

I Had A Quiver And A Throb Reading The Bill

overcast 35 °C

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If I hadn’t acted quick enough to terminate the credit facilities, I would not have imagined how devastated the bill will haunt me later. The stealing crooks absolutely had a jolly evening with a swiping spree, the evening when my money belt was found stolen on the bus when I was heading to Chennai. It was all for free, at least to them but I have had a quiver and a throb watching the unauthorized expenditure in dollars and cents calling to be charged by the bank.

Cards were swiped on that evening at the electronic household shops in Chennai, and they succeeded. An alas to me. The stealing crooks had an unusual courage to steal my credit value further on the following day, of which I tipped my hat to them.

Why?

Would you have enough dare to use the stolen credit cards, as if they are yours to pay for a stay over a resort? If you have no guts, the gutsy crooks have plenty.

It was a long list of try-outs they had hoped to get through at the credit card terminals available to the merchants on the following day adding on to the try-out at the resort in Chennai. But they were denied, fortunately no more credit card spree for them. Every single succeeded unauthorized transaction including the not succeeded ones, were transmitted back to the headquarters of the bank in Kuala Lumpur and had been acted for investigation.

Over in Kuala Lumpur at the headquarters of the bank, I reported to the bank that I shall not be held account for the amount spent by the stealing crooks. My name imprinted on the cards, obviously a Malaysian name forming two words for first name and another word of family name, is as obvious distinguishable from that of an Indian. How on earth the crooks, apparently are Indians able to claim they are me?

If the stealing crooks were to make a bigger daring leap, with my passport already in their hands together with the credit cards, they are able to withdraw a sum of cash from the counter. All they need is to find man with a mimic feature to the photograph of the passport, and he has to be gutsily brave to claim my identity as his in order for him to cash the credit from the counter.

Never do this. It is a serious criminal crime subject to severe punishment.

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:07 Archived in India Comments (0)

Wild Goose Chasing Is Over

I received A Nod For Exit Permit

semi-overcast 32 °C

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After running around at the police station and immigration office in Chennai for several days, and tiring myself with the wild goose chase trying to fulfill the instructions - unclear and ambiguous, as instructed by the officers of the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO), finally I received a blink of nod from the authority of Chennai. It was a relief when I was issued an exit permit. With that exit permit in hand finally, now I am able to embark the airplane at the Chennai International airport for home.

The immigration officer at the departure gate of Chennai International Airport took the single-page exit permit, scrutinized scrupulously for every word printed on the page against the temporary emergency passport issued by the Consulate of Malaysia. Then she verified my travel details and corroborated them to the electronic database recently submitted by our consulate to the FRRO. She now knew every single detail of my whereabouts by the press of a button. Afterwards, she sealed an embarkation stamp on the emergency passport – “leaving Chennai 10 July 2013”.

Six days ago, Zarina had instructed her subordinate to get ready the issuance of temporary emergency passport for me at speed, so that I could leave India for Malaysia without any delay. She had thought that I would leave India as expected by everyone.

But upon hearing my request, Zarina immediately held up an incredulous scepticism upon me. I had wanted to stay and be remained in Chennai, and I requested that I wish to collect the new passport through the Consulate of Malaysia in Chennai.

“What? Haven’t you have a plan to go back to Malaysia? Are you sure?” Zarina was asking, “Why not return to Malaysia?” She pondered for a while, and with her scepticism growing on a doubtful face, she said, “It would be difficult for us to help you if you intend to stay back in Chennai. This is critical. What is pulling you from going back to Malaysia?”

She has a plenty of reasons to frown sceptic upon me now. It was a script to make her frown – what is this 39-year-old man do in Chennai for so long?

She has been cautious to counteract for any possible crime dealing with the passport stealing syndicate. Why not? Of nowhere when someone had claimed to be a Malaysian, approached her for help, claimed losing his passport and seek to be issued a temporary one, also not forgetting to get a cash loan from the consulate though it was not in huge amount. She has every right to be careful. Even before I got to meet her, she had already performed a lengthy interrogation about my background with my sister in Kuala Lumpur through the phone.

The passport stealing syndicate is inevitably happened. In the record of the consulate, there were many cases of loss of passports reported by fellow Malaysians the way I was victimized by the stealing blackguards.

In her soft vocal cord she made a reveal in a rustle voice. She wanted to get me to be attentive to what she would say, “Malaysian passports are a hot item here with the crime syndicated by the minion blackguards. The crime is getting rampant. When the passports have fallen into the hands of these minions, the passports will be sold to their mastermind under the global syndicate that specializes in forging passports. They will make forge of it before manipulate the passports for crime purposes.”

Then she advised, “It is better if you could resolve to sort out all your travel documents with the respective ministry’s departments in Malaysia as soon as possible. We may have submitted a link of your case with the immigration department of Malaysia, but you have to report the case in your presence when you return home to make sure that your passport will not be used for crime by the blackguard syndicate.”

She further added, “Recently the police in Malaysia have uncovered an international syndicate specializing in falsifying the international passports. The syndicate also falsifying the stamp belongs to the Malaysian Immigration Department. The syndicate was uncovered after when the police detained three men who were involved in robbing a woman near the Sungai Besi Toll Plaza in Kuala Lumpur early June recently.”

Fearing my passport will fall into the hands of the blackguard syndicate, I relented. Finally I decided to fly home to Malaysia to sort out the possible complication from arising and I shall get things done, all to be done in Malaysia.

What will I do when I finally get home in Kuala Lumpur?

I ought to get a new passport from the National Immigration Office in Kuala Lumpur. Before that, I have to restore my nationality identity by getting the identity card to be replaced. Because I lost the passport which has another 3 years of life span before it gets expired, I have expected to be summoned over by the officer of the immigration office for an inquisition when I submit my application to get a new passport.

I have paid a hefty penalty in Chennai while dealing with various authority departments. I hold the prospect to be fined again when I get home for losing my identity card and travel documents. The penalty is just getting to stick in my craw.

I already have a burn of hole in my pocket. Having aggregating the cash loss, credit card scam and the never ending penalty to be paid, I wish I would have been able to use the RM5,000 in a more consented manner at my will.

Coming to the end of the mishap before flying home, I hold a gratitude to believe that all’s well that ends well but if only several of the FFRO officers could uphold their work etiquette and conscientiously knowing the importance to do service for the public. That was the only annoyance madding me out of my wits during the days when I was having trouble in Chennai.

As for the Consulate of Malaysia in Chennai, I come to aware that the duty of a vice consular does not limit her to her office duties only. You’ll see Zarina run around in Chennai like a home butler-in-call when she receives a call from the distress crying Malaysians. She serves like a nanny of the consulate for the fellow Malaysians.

At last, thank god I will not be deported home by the immigration of India the way they usually do to deport the illegal immigrants. I am returning to Malaysia as a traveller with a valid travelling pass holding in hand waiting to be shown at the departure gate. Wait for me. I’ll be back to India once when the travel documents are produced in Malaysia. It will be very soon.

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FRRO Office in Chennai

FRRO Office in Chennai

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 02:46 Archived in India Comments (2)

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