Friday, April 30, 2010

The Children Story - Guardians, March Off To Parenting Rehabiliation Prison!!!

This Boy Had Rippled Some Of The Singapore Radio Station. 

He is a 4 year old staying with his parents in Malang, Indonesia. The parents, Mulud Riadi, 52, and his wife Moedjiati, 41, encouraged his smoking habit.
Despite his age, the child is a chain smoker and is proficient in swearing - habits instilled in him by his parents.
The boy's case came to light with a video on YouTube showing him puffing on a cigarette. The footage has since been removed for violating the website's rules.

The boy's parents said he began smoking when he was 19 months old, when Mulud, the father, claimed to have found him "enjoying a cigarette wrapped in a corn husk".
When asked where he got the cigarette, he said someone had given it to him - according to the father - but none of the neighbors said they'd given him any cigarette.
Mulud said the boy had since smoked regularly, and would throw a fit and start swearing when asked by his parents to stop.

The Indonesia's child protection services, had previously wanted to have the boy taken away to Jakarta for rehabilitation by the National Commission for Child Protection. The commission initially planned to place him under the custody of the Social Services Ministry in Jakarta for treatment, but later opted not to take the 4-year-old boy from his parents.
The commission head, Seto Mulyadi had met with Mulud and Moedjiati at their home in Malang to discuss the rehab program for their son. The couple refused to let the commission seek help for the boy after a 15-minute talk. Instead, they "promised" to protect the child from the negative impacts of "the surroundings", with the help of Harianto, 23, who for some reason is regarded as the infant's "best friend".
Seto said the environment the boy was growing up in were not so bad that he couldn't slowly be weaned of his habit, adding there was thus no urgent call to bring him to Jakarta.
He urged everyone to change their views about the child.
"The child is the victim in this case of abuse by adults. The negative influence in his environment should also be categorized as abuse, mostly psychological."

Seto said the case should prompt the government to immediately enforce the anti-tobacco law.
"The law should provide a ban on cigarette companies from advertising in the media," he said.
"This should help reduce the number of children who take up smoking."
He added the 4-year-old had a "normal psychological profile".
Indonesia's children between the ages of 4 and 9 made up about 1.9 percent of the total population of smokers, according to Seto, as was reported in The Jakarta Post/ANN, published April 7, 2010. 

This said article is already heart wrenching enough...
2 similar scenarios added up...

John Tung Foundation, an organisation to promote the Respect for Life and Health for All in Taiwan had launched a nationwide search to hunt down a man who encourages a child, believed to be below three years old, to smoke and drink.

The Taiwanese have pledged to catch the middle-age man and bring him to book for his "unforgiven misconduct".
Its Tobacco Hazard Prevention Section chief Lin Ching-li said members would inform the Department of Health of the man's behaviour. They would also seek help from the Ministry of the Interior to hunt him down, China Times, published April 26, 2010, reported.

A nationwide search has been launched to hunt down this man who gave a cigarette and beer to the child

The exposure of two video clips about him giving a cigarette and beer to the boy he carried in his arms, sparked outrage and anger in Taiwan - the clips were uploaded to the island's popular website Wu Ming Xiao Zhan.
In the video, the man was seen offering a cigarette to the child as several others surrounding them helped to block the wind and lighted up the cigarette.
The man then asked the boy to show the "audiences" how to flick off the ash.
He also gave a can of beer to the boy and asked him to drink it - It was obvious that the man is not the child's father as he had asked the boy to call him Ah Pek (uncle).


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When Money In Hand...

Today's news in the paper is about Ms Tan Soon Kim, 28, a former principal who pocketed nearly S$19,000 from the PAP Community Foundation Education Centre Bishan branch.
She pleaded guilty to 3 charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating and was jailed for 20 months on Wednesday for criminal breach of trust and forgery.
She had since returned S$12,000 to PCF.

Ms Tan reminded me of a teacher, Ina, whom I had to take over from her, her class in mid-January, more than 15 year ago.
Unlike Ms Tan who misappropriated S$13,269 between February and December 2008; and S$3,836 between January and February 16 last year, Ina's 'takings' was unaccounted for.
The school management's check with parents showed that Ina had been misusing or misappropriating school fees payment for about a year.
Those were the years before GIRO payment went full swing in the school.

The monthly fees of S$45 per student in a class of sometimes up to 40 students added up... Wow wee!!!
She's the form teacher of 2 classes...

The Senior Teacher knew of those parents who were prompt with fees and other payments.
These parents had been sending one by one of their children to study in the same school as their siblings.
The Senior Teacher's 'friendly' phone calls to these parents, enquiring of what's lacking and needed to be done to upgrade the system, led to the 'answers' why suddenly some of these prompt payers suddenly lagging in their children's fees.

Ina was called up by the management to settle whatever monies belonging to the school within 24 hours or police will be informed.
Her brother returned S$1,700 to the school, as was instructed by Ina.
That was her last day and she continued working in another school, a government school.

Picking up the pieces where Ina had left in Mid-January was a nightmare.
A lot of rechecking and rerecording of the attendance registers needed to be done.

Most parents when called up, claimed to have paid the January and December fees but I had only S$3,600 in hand. Added with the returned S$1,700, the sum did not tally to the amount of S$7,200.
When these parents pressed for the receipt of payments that they made through Ina, I had to beat around the bush so as not to let them smell the rat, lest they lost faith in all the teachers.

While Ms Tan used the money to repay her father's debts, Ina used the money to support her lifestyle.
I had always reminded her, a newly married then, who had just bought a house, it's better to sleep soundly in a sparsely furnished home than having nightmare sleep in a fully furnished home.
Alas, she chose the latter.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Food Story - Towards The Closure Of The Lethal Rojak Episode

Mr Sheik Allaudin Mohideen, 70, the man at the centre of the Indian Rojak food poisoning, will be charged in court next month, May 11, on three counts of selling food unfit for human consumption, failing to keep his chopping board and his fridge tray clean.

Singapore's worst incidences of food poisoning in recent years saw two women died and more than 150 people became ill after eating food from Mr Sheik's stall at the Geylang Serai Temporary Food Market in April 2009.
A coroner's inquiry into the incident in February recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Mr Mohideen is resigned to having his licence suspended. He now spends his days at home in his Eunos flat waiting for the authorities' decision, praying for the best.
In a joint statement of the National Environment Authority (NEA) and the Ministry of Health said investigations into the food poisoning incident had been completed. They said they had found food and environmental hygiene lapses at the stall, and that they would take Mr Allaudin to court.

Was that an honest mistake? I doubted. His negligence claimed 2 lives and an unborn child.
Rats to be blamed? They thrive where there's food to consume but we can take steps not to let the rodent, some as big as cats, live with us.

The tragedy has given Indian Rojak a bad name, customers stay away from other Indian Rojak stalls and other rojak sellers' income were badly affected.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Taxi Story - You Are Not Alone

Cabbies live from hand to mouth
With reference to the letter "Cabbies have a hard time making a living," (Sunday Star, April 11), the writer was spot on that the average income of taxi drivers range from RM1,500 to RM1,800 per month.
  In my presentation to the Malaysian Productivity Corporation in 2008, I have worked out that their average income range from RM1,117 for those working 24 days a month to RM1,717 for those working everyday.
  Since then, there has been an increase in metre rates for budget taxis by 32% for distance travelled and 114% for time clocked.
  The numbers of taxis on the road has also gone up after the fare increase in August 2009.
  I have been driving a taxi since June 2000 and will not recommend anyone who wishes to raise a family to choose it as their livelihood.
  In London, black cab drivers earn between RM42,000 and RM56,000 a month.
  A Finnish taxi driver who was one of my passengers only has to work for 6 months and can afford to travel the rest of the year.
  Malaysian taxi drivers virtually live from hand to mouth and is best described by a Malay proverb "Kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang".
  Taxi drivers tend to splurge during good months instead of saving for rainy days.
  They suffer a double whammy when they have to pay a major mechanical or accident repairs coupled with the loss of income.
  As such, they are easy prey for loan sharks.
  Once they fall behind in payments for rental purchase to the taxi company or hire purchase to the bank and with Ah Longs breathing down their necks, their struggle for survival will unfortunately be at the expense of the unlucky passengers.
  However, it is still wrong to lump all taxi drivers in the same boat, as the public tend to treat them, including the honest ones, with scorn.
  Caring passengers like the writer from Penang can induce them to provide a better service.
  One of the reasons why enforcement of errant taxi drivers has not been effective seems from the fact that CVLB paints all taxi drivers with the same stroke.
  The CVLB director was reported to have said "If they are budak baik (good boys), we don't need to come up with the sticker rules".
  They should instead target the unscrupulous drivers who are like touts who park their taxis by the roadside at popular areas such as KLCC in Kuala Lumpur.
  Some taxi drivers who station their cars near nightspots are opportunistic pimps.
  Used to earn easy money, they also tend to fix the fare at several times more than the rate to rip off passengers.
  CVLB does not have to take measures against all the 31,000 taxi drivers.
  Their 100 enforcement officers are more than sufficient to catch the hard cores operating in full view of the public.
  Publicising specific actions taken against errant taxi drivers through various newspapers will be an effective deterrent for the rest of the cabbies to fall in line.

Kuala Lumpur               

This writing in views section of 'Star' newspaper last Tuesday 13th, really caught my attention.

Having many neighbours and family friends who are taxi drivers, his views are the general cabbies' grouses and their wives' woes. There's never enough to feed their families even with the men driving 18 hours a day all year round.
I've yet to meet a cabbie who entitled himself a day off on a weekly basis.

Mr YS Chan, with his 10 years experience as a taxi driver, wrote his working journeys well and me, who's depending on taxis for more than 20 years journey in JB town, will classify him as the few rare drivers who can elevate the profession to the next level.
I've came across few drivers, who admitted being degree holders with no job opportunity after years of applying.
Reading YS Chan's writing reminds me of a  Singapore scientist from China  turned taxi-driver, and I did read in Singapore's Straits Times, many years back, about a pilot turned taxi-driver too.

Not all cabbies are  'unscrupulous drivers'  and not all passengers treat cabbies as 'scorns'.
Cabbies are humans with  feelings  too, topped with their unfair share of problems and 'struggle for survival'. Some of them just need 'ears' for them to be understood.
If they are heard, if the general drivers' views are seen, if the authority do not see them as collective, then the public's collective perception of seeing cabbies as opportunists will vanish as most taxi drivers just want to earn the 'honest RM by providing their best service'.                      

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Toddler Exploited

The pony-tailed man's gaze was kind of full of satisfactions as he studiously stared and smiled at the only 'panadol extra'-like pill placed in a snugly fit plastic.

What's so special about panadol? I asked myself, being more of a supplement believer.
Once he realised I was watching his movement in the MRT, he put the pill away, stuffed carefully into the zipper compartment of his carrier bag which I assumed was full of toddler's needs.
Yes, he brought along a very cheerful girl, who will return a bright smile with every MRT passengers' looks.

An unsightly more than 50 years old Malay man, haggard looking in tight jeans with a girl around 2 years of age, frankly speaking, I do not trust what was before my eyes at 9pm last night.
He sang with the toddler the latest hit song of an Indonesian band, and surprisingly, the girl sang well even with her limited vocab, jumping around to the music from his handphone.
As the announcement, 'Next station, Bugis.' was heard, he stopped the music, sent an SMS and turned around facing the glass window.

Discreetly, he took out the only pill, slipped it carefully under his 2cm wristband on his left hand.
Many questions swirled in my mind. Wasn't it panadol? Was that drug? What was I supposed to do then?

When the train reached Bugis, he carried up the girl, and she sat nicely on the wristband while in his arm.
"Kiss daddy," he asked the girl before alighting from the train.

Now, she's his baby girl, but where's the mother?
How on earth can she trust her small girl in the hand of a very untrustworthy looking 'father'?
Was the girl's presence a camouflage to his illegal drug activity?

He's abusing his child. He's abusing her presence. He's...
I was very frustrated with the scene. Helpless.           

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Debt, Paid At Last

I gave Mak Maznah a year to sort out her dream of her father, with her brother.

Her father appeared in her sleep asking for 300 (S$, RM, SR? I've no answer) from her.

'Mana ada duit',
she turned down his request and woke up.

She spent the whole night and dawn thinking of him before she came over my house that early morning.
Her father wanted the money to go to Mecca, to fulfill the last pillar but, he was dead and buried underground more than 60 years ago.

Her late father, she said, was a rather rich man in his days, having acres of land in Opera Estate. 
But his favourite activities of marrying and leaving his families to start another family, took up a lot of his time.
Although he knew of his obligation to fulfill the 5 pillars, the knowledge was shelved away.

Before he died, he made his wish to Mecca known to his children. 
But nobody took heed of it. 
They were more interested in the acres of land.

Mak Maznah was 12 and her only flesh-and-blood brother, 7, when their father passed away. 
The pair, due to their tender age, were oblivion in the in-fighting among siblings of their father's estate. 
The pair's mother, being the last of many wives, were excluded of her share.


Fast forward, the brother married the busy hawker centre stall-owner whom he had worked with.

Their food business was elevated to a new height.
The couple became canteen operators, preparing food for staff and employees to one of the world's busiest port, manning a 24-hour canteen, preparing food with thousand eaters daily in mind.
It's big business.

The S$ churning business makes the brother's 6 in the family's several trips to Mecca possible beside the husband and wife's couple of times Haj pilgrimage.


Did Mak Maznah discuss her dream with her brother?
I doubted as he's known to resent his father as a father, a husband and a person as a whole.

Mak Maznah's feeling of her father?
She's fighting hard learning to discard any negative feelings of him.


A month before the December 2005 Haj season started, Mak Maznah brought up to me, the father's '300' issue which she was unable to raise, being herself in the social welfare and Baitul Mal list.

Her brother?
She dared not pester further when he refused to produce the '300'.
His resentment towards the father is more than skin deep, right to his heart.


My idea of paying volunteer student to perform 'badal haji' for the late Mak Maznah's father was subsequently put off.

Ok, My Husband will perform their father's long overdue Haj, I said.
The breaking news was followed by Mak Maznah's rainy eyes.
I held the news of my going there again for a year from her until that very moment, not because of anything, but to see how her brother will react towards his sister's dream and their father's last wish.


Thank GOD, the Haj went well and we were back home in mid January 2006.

Mak Maznah came over to my house one early morning, few days after we reached home.
Her father appeared in her dream again, thanking her of the '300' and his last pillar of Islam finally built.

***Some changes made.
***The brother's licence to operate the 24-hour canteen expired end December 2005 and, not renewed ever since.                    

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

There Are Eyes Around

It was in 2006 and I was the last person to go through Sue's photo-album of she and husband performed their Haj.

Did those before me looking at the photos taken noticed something strange?
I asked, but none could think of any.
When Sue came for the photo-album, I sat with her, asking her if anybody reminded her, possibly, not to snap any photographs at any 'Jamrahs' - She saw no reason why it should not be done.

As Sue and I went through the photos of 'Jamrahs', where the act of Prophet Abraham alaihis salam threw stones at satan for discouraging him performing his duty to GOD was followed, she realised pairs of red eyes were scattered on them.
Her facial expression changed, quickly she put away the album back into the casing.

"Just throw away the photos." I advised her.


Mina, where the 3 'Jamrahs' are, is not a place to live in as it's the place where  satans and other evil creatures
roam around -It's only during the Haj period do we see throngs of pilgrimmers.

Outside the season, it's out of bound but, it used to be one favourite spot for illegal immigrants.
It's the place where the elephants belonging to the then Yaman's King Abrahah's were burnt to ash with stones aimed by the 'Ababil' birds
(Surah Alfil 2: Did HE not make their treacherous plan go astray?
3: And HE sent against them Flights of Birds.
4: Striking them with stones and baked clay.
5: Then did HE make them like an empty field of stalks and straw, [of which the corns] had been eaten up).

It's the place where annual stampedes took place, but with the just built new multi-tired stoning areas, GOD willing, there'll be none.

The last time I was there, I saw a woman deep in trance, jumped into one of the walled 'jamrah' pillar and continuously banged herself against the pillar.
Unavoidably, she was stoned by many pilgrimmers.

At best, unnecessary purchases be avoided.


Two years on, I asked Sue about the photographs, and she lamented the eyes had multiplied many times more.

"Just throw away." I said again.
She wanted to, but her husband forbid though they realised the unusual changes in their bedroom - 'Somebody' was constantly watching over them.
The photo-album was then moved to the study.


"Ummie, are the photos in any way, linked to Razif's constant faint? He's taking his O level this year end." My friend, Sue's workmate, was curious to know, as Sue had been taking more frequent emergency leave attending to Razif. He's been frequenting hospital as doctors are still finding the cause.

"To save your doubt, just throw away the pictures." My friend advised her, too.
She wanted, but her husband refused.

The husband liked the photos very much as the red eyes keeps multiplying, not only as a background as before, but occupied the whole pictures!

***Some Changes Made.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Animals Had Signaled

Did I hear the sound of seal behind my house in the rain 2 nights ago?  

For a moment, I was brought to the time for penguin watching at Phillip Island when we were in Australia. The sight was awesome! SubhanALLAH. Mother nature surrounded me. Beautiful sunset at the endless end of the ocean. Nature painted sky with streaky orange red colour that placed me nowhere in the vast God gift to all breathing creatures.
Amidst all the electrifying beauty that brought tears to my eyes, I cannot stop wanting to get away from the picturesque beach enjoyed by seals. It's indescribable when we not only see things with our naked eyes, but our inner eye as well.

Spending sundown with no other humans except the 5 of us on the beach, with thousands of penguins swimming ashore to spend their night on land, I saw those penguins no difference from bats.
It brought creepiness to my heart.

Seal behind my house?
It took a while before I realised it was frog, as the old saying goes, calling the rain. But the difference in the croaking sound put my heart not at ease. What will happen? Only God knows, but the signal is there. If only we are made to understand animal language.

If people may say I'm superstitious, I'm not but for happenings that had taken place, there are reasons behind it, fate, the whys and the causes. My curious mind will venture out the possibilities, and our inner eye will see the reason why.
Of late, activities of rats, birds and even ants, as I see them, are on the hyper side. Only God knows the reason why, as He's the One who created them - if only I can understand the animal language.
They are creatures with higher sensitivity than us, they follow nature's order with no qualms and, shall I say, they commit no sin.

Cows are known to eat grass, never having adventurous appetite than what is being served by God on His earth. But how submissive they can be, mad cow disease still lingers around.
Then, again, because of human greed and vanity, Luohan, the designer fish was designed. Only the 'perfect' were chosen. The rest? To the rivers that caused nervous changes to the eco-system.
Growing (not rearing, mind you) by demand poultries for our consumption, we are culprits too. Shame on us!
Now, scientists are crafting human-safe mozzies...

Did all these animals retaliate in any way? Did all these animals demand compensation for their spaces that had been taken up by 'intelligent' humans? Did all these animals plead us to abide mother nature for harmonious living? If only we are made to understand their language.

Animals are lovers of mother nature and obedient creatures.
They serve humans as needed by nature. They live in the wild where they are placed. They roam the sky by order.

But when 'intelligent' humans expect them to go against norm, God The Hearer hears their cry, we can't.
He Who Sees everything watching them and us but we chose to see the result of our inhumane action.
God, He, Who Is The AlMighty Knowledgeable, knows these animals' plea. If only we can understand their language, then we will not self-destruct our human kingdom.
We live with humanity. Do animals live with animality?

Spare a thought. If our wish, our payers are not answered, check around.
If our lives are filled with misery, check our inner-self what makes all the going so wrong.

Animals around us are bestowed with super sensitive senses. They sense what's coming. Pets in our house know of future mishap befalling us - if only they can speak to forewarn us in the language that we understand.
Animals see  those invisible  around us. If, The Only God permit us to borrow these animals' eyes, then we will have better understanding that surround us thus those who are keen looking out for ghost, vampire, supernatural or whatsoever, these invisible creatures are no different from those in 'Lord Of The Ring', 'Avatar' and other books and films far to many...
They can exist in any form, to whom they want to show themselves to, especially those who are keen in befriending them. They are, after all, like befriending humans and like occupying human's mind, body and soul.
If we wish, we too can live in their world.

Animals are sinless that make them very close to their Creator. These animals are close to their Creator that He, The Creator, will answer their prayers especially prayers of those animals being deprived by human beings of their rights, their spaces, their freedom, whatever reason rightfully theirs, are reasonably enough for God to answer them first.

The seal?
It is still playing in my mind and stirring my inner feeling after 2 days.                       

Friday, April 2, 2010

Smokey Issues

Some deejays of Singapore radio stations today, were expressing their disgust feelings, talking about a 4 year-old Indonesian boy who smoke, having the ambition to become a thief when he grows up and will patronise prostitutes with the ill-gotten money.
More than 1,000 people had viewed him on YouYube before it was brought down. The father, in his 50s said, his son had been asking for cigarettes since he's one.

I have a smoker-girlfriend who brand non-smoker males as 'incomplete' and 'not macho enough'. Needless to say, she chose a chain-smoker as a husband, but a close friend who looked after her baby nephew since birth had no choice - she had to blow cigarette smoke all over the newborn if his cryings and wailings went for hours.
She claimed his body's aching all over. She should had known better as the baby's father is her own brother.

The baby's parents were drug abusers. Cannabis brought them together as a couple and married them off. So, had the drug in any way affected the newborn? I bet.
The baby would cry for hours and my friend would lace a cigarette with white powder, keep the smoke in her mouth and blew it slowly all over the baby. Then the baby will sleep for hours too.
Maybe my friend was right - the baby's body aching all over.

Her brother refused to let his wife care for the baby for he pretty well understood she could not even care for herself. I had seen the baby's mother once before she walked out of the marriage - she's almost toothless or whatever teeth left were all black.
I am not a person to judge characters so, I was able to communicate with Ghani, the baby's father.

On many occasions, he tried hard to turn over a new leaf.
Upon being released from rehabiliation centre and for his child's sake, he became a cobbler at Pasar Baru. He found peace with shoes around him and yes, he did quite well with the new trade - but it's short lived.
The person whom he used to get his 'ware' knew of his whereabout and started frequenting his working place, sitting around for hours, persuading him to continue where he had left.
After a few months, I was informed he was being caught for cannabis pocession but was released after co-operating with police officers of his supplier - the supplier was caught, his house, car and money were confiscated.
The news of the haul was reported in local paper, but he's a free man again after 2 weeks, not reported, this time.

Again, Ghani was caught for reasons known best to him and sent to (either) prison / rehabiliation ( I've forgotten) in Negeri Sembilan. From then on, his life went downhill.
After spending time in Negeri Sembilan, he was sent home, feeling very sick. I was at his house on few occasions but his family kept him in his own room. I would hear endless coughing, and he's coughing out blood, until his death.
Baby? Thank God, he grew up a fine man who is now working in school lab, never give my friend any headache and choosy about his circle of friends - always refering to his father's circle of friends as comparison.