Monday, October 31, 2005


Of late, I've asked myself, do I give enough to the community, as much as I should? Actually the thought came, when I recently read about the 'Sen To Save Lives' campaign by Makna in Dr Bubble's blog. I was excited at the opportunity to effortlessly donate to charity, so I got him to send me a few of the cute donation boxes, and distributed some to friends. Some friends were happy to be contributing (Is asked for 2 boxes, kind guy), but a few were like "tengoklah nanti". I don't want to question what is in their heart or mind, but to me, it shouldn't be a problem. The box is tiny, just drop some extra change from your lunch money every other day, the box would fill up in no time at all.

Last 2 years, I signed up with an NGO as a part-time volunteer. Semangat berkobar-kobar masa training, and I envisioned doing various things like helping out at orphanages, old folk's homes, hospitals etc. I did get to join some activities, but then I found excuses to skip others. Boring la, tak free la, takde geng la, tempat jauh malas driving la etc. If I had been truly dedicated, I would have joined in, despite all that kan? I would have sacrificed my personal comforts. Instead, I only joined in activities which didn't inconvenient me, namely half-day activities on weekends held at the NGO centre which is nearby my home. Ppfff!

During the tsunami fiasco early this year, I became a bit more active. Helped collect clothes & foodstuff for donation, then spent time at the NGO operation centre to sort out & box them for shipment to the disaster areas. But that's about it la. I could've done more, like volunteer to help at the shelters in Kedah/Penang, but the mind says 'tak payah la, leceh nanti'. Again, I only did what was not inconvenient to me.

Aside from that, my only other current charitable contribution to the society is blood donation. Nak derma duit, yelah keje gomen ni berapa sangatlah pitih yang ada. Blood donation is so effortless {the 'effortless' word again! Jie memang taknak nyusahkan diri sendiri ye?} and doesn't cost a thing. After all if you don't donate that blood, in 120 days (betul ke 120 days? rasanya la) it would disintegrate and be replaced with new blood. But if you donate, your body instantly starts to manufacture new replacement blood. Healthy, yes? Most importantly, you may be saving lives. And maybe another time, someone else's blood may save your life too.

Plus, your blood would be screened for certain illnesses, so if the tests turn out positive, at least you will get an early warning from the blood bank. But please, blood donation SHOULD NOT be used as an el-cheapo blood-screening, so if you know you have/possibly have serious illness like AIDS, Hepatitis etc, STAY AWAY FROM BLOOD DONATIONS. Sadly many among my friends aren't inclined to donate blood. Tak perlu, takut jarum, tak cukup darah, nanti pengsan blah de blah blah. Early this year when my agency held a blood drive, only three people (including me) from my department came forward.

So, have I done enough for my community? Have you done enough? I think I've started to care more, but I need a structured volunteer activity and some constant encouragement to keep it up. I need to find the drive. I need to find the calling. I wish I can be more committed, and I wish my family would be more supportive of it too. I'm gonna have to look deeper within myself, and ask the question again.


It's the last week of Ramadhan, only 4 days away from Aidilfitri. The whole of today was spent ferrying mom around for her shopping. We reached Sogo at around 10.15, and already the parking was almost full! I guess actually a good number of people just park their vehicles in Sogo and then go shopping in Jalan TAR, since the usual parking spaces in Jalan TAR have been converted into construction sites. Anyway, duit keluar macam air, in a matter of a few hours, we came out about RM400 poorer, bukannya banyak barangnya pun! Tu baru barang kecik-kecik untuk rumah, like cookie canisters, table runners etc. Belum kira personal items like baju, tudung, kasut etc. By afternoon, there were so many people (mostly men) sitting on pavements everywhere holding plastic bags. Tu mesti dah letih sangat tunggu wife dok shopping :-) Well, ikutkan sajalah. Wife tu shopping pun untuk seisi keluarga, bukannya untuk diri dia sorang, kan?

Personally, Raya festivities have ceased to mean much to me these days. {Tak baik cakap gini Jie!} Oh I know, hari mulia meraikan kebaikan, bermaafan & kunjung-mengunjungi antara keluarga, jiran & sahabat yadda yadda yadda. I understand the spiritual context of it. But the festivities & tradition, dah maleh nak layan la. Pegi rumah relatives, I'd hear whispers from the makciks to my mom "Jie camana sekarang, dah ada orang?" Duit raya, well tahun ni aku banyak commitment, so takde kasik, except to my bro & nephew je. Anak orang lain datang umah aku, sori takde salam kaup ye. Buat kuih pun, just my favourites, some of which will surely end up in my own tummy, yum! {Camana nak tuyus???} Tart nenas! Tart nenas! Raya dishes, bab ni takleh escape since I'm just the assistant chef, so kena ikutkan aje la arahan Ibu a.k.a Chief Cook.

Anyway, you guys have fun for Hari Raya, OK? Jangan main/kasik anak main mercun, esok-esok kang susah nak sarung cincin plak. Jangan makan berlebihan {ya right, Jie. You should take heed of this advice yourself!}. Drive carefully, Ops Sikap baru start pun dah ada 15 korban. Tahun ni Raya panjang, so dapat la balik kampung lama kan?

As for me, I'm celebrating Raya here in PJ {nak pi mana lagi Jie oii, sini la pun rumah hang}. And as usual, jadi 'dapur officer'. Baju kurung pun pakai 2-3 jam je, once relatives start coming, kena tukar uniform. OK I know this is not in the spirit of Aidilfitri, but I'm thinking of going shopping, possibly watch a movie on second Raya. Hmm... kena cari geng ni...

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Earlier yesterday was spring cleaning day at my home. My my, I didn't realize how cluttered my room (and ultimately my life?) had become. Books & mags scattered here & there, unopened citibank & astro bills, a whole pile of papers & stuff on my desk. Must've been that 'ala bukannya ada saper nak tengok pun' attitude which had plagued me of late. Tidy up, tidy up, hang up laundered clothes, pick up books off the floor, change bedsheet, vacuum carpet etc etc.

Then, I made a stupid mistake. I decided to open my teakwood chest, and found The Album. The chest is where I keep my most personal stuff, where nobody (I hope) ever get into. I haven't seen The Album for a good part of the last 2 years. I pondered for a while, then I made the second stupid mistake. I opened The Album. I couldn't help it, tears turned to sobs, but still I turned the pages. Images of a younger me looking like a princess of the day, madly in love, eyes sparkling with joy, posing and flirting with the lenses, demure smiles masking the thump thump in my heart, a little fearful but much anticipation of the coming nightfall and all that it promises. Such innnocence. Little did I know.

Maybe some day, I hope sooner rather than later, I will fall in love again, get hitched, build up a family. But it will be a different kind of love. A different kind of intensity. A different kind of relationship. A different behaviour towards my partner.

It will all be different, because I AM different now.

I am jaded.

And I cried for the innocence, lost forever, never to be regained, nor given to another.

Allah? Do you hear my cries?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


What's a Guarantor in a loan agreement? Damn, I don't have a law dictionary in hand, but basically in layman's term, he's the guy who's helping you get your loan. The financier don't really trust you enough to lend you money, but when your Guarantor comes into the picture, the financier says "hey ok, this other guy obviously trusts the applicant enough to serah leher dia to us in case the applicant doesn't repay his loan, so let's give the applicant the loan lah" The Guarantor is THAT important to you at that point of time, yes?

So you get the loan & enjoy the money, build up your life, gets you that cushy job, bungalow on the hill and cars with pedigree (not-the-local-mongrel pr*t*n). Do you split the money with the guy who helped you get the loan a.k.a The Guarantor? Nope. Nada. Illek puchek. Does he get any benefit at all for risking his neck for you? Nope. Nada. Illek puchek. All from the goodness of his heart.

Time passes, you start paying the monthly instalments. More time passes, you start to prioritize other things above settling your debt. Hey, I need that RM250 karaoke session MORE than I need to repay my loan. I need that RM450 facial and full-body massage MORE than I need to repay my loan. I need this I want that who cares about my loan repayment after all I am not the only one who has defaulted so they better go chase after those defaulters who have bigger loans than me and besides I am entitled to all that money it is my birthright { Jie, tarik nafas... hembus... tarik nafas... hembus...fuuhh letihnya }.

So now after copious efforts to contact you through phone, numerous letters of reminder, several notices of demand, even visits to your last known address, we are left with no choice but to file a civil suit in court against you and your Guarantor(s). But here's the thing, you moved and never informed us of your latest address. You seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth, but we managed to track down your Guarantor and serve the summons on him. So now, who's neck is on the chopping board? Your Guarantor, of course. Kesian dia, kesiaannn diaaa, penyu menangis siapalah yang tahuuuu...

Your Guarantor (most likely to have been a friend of your parents, or neighbours from kampung and most likely to be in their 40s, 50s or 60s, or relatives or even your own family members) comes to our office in a state of shock and confusion, sometimes anger too.
"Encik, bukan saya yang berhutang, kenapa saman saya?"
"Puan, makcik tak kenal peminjam ni, bapak dia yang mintak makcik tolong jadi penjamin, kenapa saman makcik?"
"Cik, duit ni tak dapat ke saya pun, saya cuma niat nak tolong anak bangsa supaya dapat melanjutkan pelajaran, kenapa saman saya?"
"Nak, pakcik dah pencen, ada sakit jantung, kenapa saman pakcik?"

Adeeehhh.... susahnya nak explain pada pakcik-makcik ni that by law, the guarantor's liability is the same, jointly & severally, as that of the borrower's, it's all stated there in clause 4 of our standard loan agreement! Tak, bukan susah nak cakap, our officers are very articulate I-tey-you. We are after all, qualified lawyers (loyar buruk pun ada). Yang susahnya ialah berat hati dan berat lidah nak beritahu pakcik-makcik ni betapa angkara orang yang mereka pernah tolong jamin dulu membuatkan diri mereka sekarang 'terancam'.

Kesannya? Well, one bank dulu pernah tahan duit pencen some of these unfortunate people. Nasib baik they've scrapped off that policy now. Some Guarantors have failed to secure loans for themselves or even to act as guarantors for their own children's study loans. Aside from the financial hassle, it is a matter of honour and justice to these kind old souls. Mak-Ayah kita ni memang takut dengan mahkamah, malu bila kena saman, nak-nak lagi bukan atas 'dosa' diri mereka sendiri, semua ni tak adil dan menjejaskan maruah diri mereka.

Along these years, I have encountered all kinds of borrowers giving all kinds of excuses under the sun. The genuine down-on-the-luck cases, yes we treat with compassion. But some others seem to take pleasure in pulling the smoke curtain over our eyes, telling sob stories, making promises, giving out dud cheques etc. Oh yeah, we usually can detect the phonies from a mile away, but procedures say we have to give 'em a second chance. Some try the offensive tactic, marah-marah, threaten & intimidate us, try to get underneath our skins. Some resort to the all-famous trick of 'main tarik kabel', oh you know what I mean. Macam-macam endorsement ada, cuma endorsement Pak Lah je yang aku belum jumpa. People, WTFF huh?

Along these years also, I have met many Guarantors. We try to be as gentle as possible with them, but yet duty dictates that we have to be firm in what we do. Nak buek camno, da big kahunna keep hounding us on collection, collection, collection. There have been many occassions where the Guarantors break down in tears, mengenangkan nasib malang mereka, madu yang dihulur dibalas tuba { Jie! terer pepatah ye, macam Karam Singh Walia hehehe }. On several of those occassions, I couldn't stop my own tears from falling. Kesian diaaa, kesiaaannn diiaaa...

One particular case touched me deeply indeed. This pakcik from Kelantan living on his RM480 duit pencen with his wife, is the father of a defaulter with a RM120K loan. Soon after finishing his studies, the borrower clashed with some family members, then bawa diri lari ke US. That was back in the late 1980s. After a few years, they lost contact with him. When we filed the civil suit, the guarantors (who were the pakcik's friends) got very angry to the extent of 'serang' this pakcik at home with a parang. Heboh satu kampung, sampai pakcik ni sekarang jadi kera sumbang.

So the pakcik comes to us, asking for advice. He has since been paying RM50 a month in an effort to stave-off the civil suit. But we tell him, this is inadequate. The only way this loan can ever be 'neutralized' is if the borrower has passed away. The pakcik, with tears in his eyes says, "pokcik redha la klu dia mati sekalipung, asake dok susohke oghe (guarantors) laing" But there is no way of knowing the whereabouts of the borrower, short of hiring private detectives. The next best step is to get a declaration of death from the High Court. But the costs of this procedure is in the regions of RM5K to RM8K, which the pakcik can't afford. We helped him get legal aid, the wheels were put in motion, but then the court says, hey you gotta go track him in the US first then, get a verification from the local police and our consulate there. All avenues now seem to lead to dead ends for this pakcik.

The really sad part is seeing this pakcik every time he comes to our office with his luggage bag. I asked him how (mode of transport) he comes to KL?
"Pokcik naik bah male dari Kota Bharu, sampa sini subuh, pokcik gi masjid kejap. Pahtu pokcik jale ke sini (jauh tu from the terminal-masjid-my office!). Ning lepah ni pokcik gi masjid lagi, semaye, tido sebeta, pete ni pokcik naik bah pulak kelik Kota Bharu"
"Jauhnya pakcik jalan!"
"Pokcik takdok pitih nok naik teksi"

Never once did this pakcik argue, or raise his voice, or even say any bad words against his son or the guarantors. Hanya matanya yang berkaca-kaca sambil bibirnya berkata "pokcik redha"
Imagine, dalam kedhaifan pencen RM480, dia cuba bayar RM50 sebulan untuk kurangkan hutang anaknya, not knowing how or where his son is and at the same time trying to get the courts to declare that his beloved son is dead, while spending precious money, time & effort coming down to KL every 2-3 months to our office. My heart goes out to him! Kasih seorang ayah tak mengenal batasan.

Conclusion - sendiri hutang, sendiri bayar la, jangan nak menyusahkan orang lain, seperti kacang lupakan kulitnya. Sekian sahaja saya Karam Jie Walia melaporkan untuk TV33.


AlhamduliLlah, first week of Ramadhan has been & gone, one down three more to go! Unfortunately, my buddy came by and she's still around, so I've not been fasting for a few days already. I say 'unfortunately', because I don't like not fasting early in Ramadhan. Nanti by the next week orang semua dah biasa & relax puasa, kita baru terhegeh-hegeh nak get used to the hunger pangs, isy. Lagipun dah tak semangat nak start terawih by then.

I can't remember { signs of aging, ye Jie? } when it was I first started to fast, probably in darjah satu. Mula tu puasa half a day, Abah tolong kira. Dia kata, berapa hari boleh beraya depends on berapa hari puasa. So tolak-campur congak-congak, I think I got something like 12 days. Sooo excited, I thought I'd be getting duit raya every day for 12 days. Tipah tertipu bang...

Started puasa for whole days, probably a year or two after that. Tapi kekadang tu kecundang jugak hehehe. I think when I was in boarding school, ada la a few times yang tak tahan terlalu dahaga, so batal puasa dengan minum. Makan tak berani la, minum tu pun air dari sinki bilik air, kekonon basuh muka, tapi sambil tu teguk sikit hehehe :-)

Tapi bila time tabley puasa tu, especially if ada geng, balik hostel tengahari, masak maggi! Heran, bila berpuasa tak la terasa lapar sangat, tapi bila tak puasa perut bernyanyi-nyanyi. I think it's all in the mind. Bila kita ikhlas niat berpuasa untuk beribadat, our subconscious mind tells the body system to slow down with the gastric juices. Sebab tu jugak la smokers pun boleh takde smoke craving waktu berpuasa, tapi for the rest of the year punyalah susah nak berhenti merokok, kan?

So I read somewhere that puasa is the only ibadah yang solely hak Allah. Meaning, you fast because you do it for no one else but Allah, as He demands of you. Lagipun, only you & He would know if you puasa dengan sempurna or not because it is intangible, unlike other ibadahs even solat for instance, where you solat for Him but other people can see you solat. Tapi banyak gak kes orang tak puasa la. OK, I'm not patronising (or 'matronising', if you are a feminist) anyone, far from it as I know I am not a perfect muslim either. Just an observation. Tapi bak kata orang tua-tua, 'pandai makan, pandai la sorok' - in this case it is literally kena pandai makan sorok-sorok! I'm just sad to see that sometimes tu, dah la tak puasa, pastu makan in public pulak. So lepas tu, jangan la marah kalau ada orang non-muslim yang question sejauh mana kita punya iman & aqidah.

Dah, dah, Jie bukan ustazah yang nak berceramah. Each to his own, kubur sendiri-sendiri kan. Jie pun manusia yang terlalu kerdil di sisi Allah, ada gak kecundang puasa, ada gak culas solat, and a whole myriad of other dosa yang tak payah cerita la. But perhaps this holy month is a good time for self-evaluation, muhasabah diri setakat mana kita dah berusaha untuk buat yang terbaik untuk dunia & akhirat?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

I'm so bored being cooped up at home on my third day of MC with this horrible horrible stomach flu... errgh! Whatthehey let's do this 3-Qs test, how accurate can the results be? Not bad, actually, some of 'em quite 'kena' jugak.