Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Solution Is Always There.

The Star of October 26 reported:

KTMB managing director Abd Radzak Abd Malek said he was trying to devise a system where six extra trains which did not run the complete route could be operated between 6am and 9am as well as 5pm and 8pm.

Speaking to reporters during KTMB’s Hari Raya open house, Radzak said the six trains would run between Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam on the Sentul-Port Klang route, and between Kajang and Sungai Buloh on the Seremban- Kuala Kubu Baru route.

Trust Radzak to come up with a solution.

Some forty-fifty years ago, KTM was doing a short run between Kuala Lipis and Bukit Betong in Pahang, a journey of about 15 minutes, conveying school children from Bukit Betong and Padang Tengku and halts in between, to schools in Kuala Lipis.

Roads were non-existence then.

The trains consisted of a 42 class steam locomotive and two to three coaches. Bukit Betong station had no turn table to turn the loco for its return journey so the loco had to run tender foremost
. The normal service route then was between Kuala Lipis and Kuala Krai or Tumpat in Kelantan.

Would a non-railwayman know this or for that matter the existing senior KTM officers? Little wonder their idea of a solution is to wait for additional rolling stocks rather than coming up with a practical solution to solve their immediate problems.

Syabas, Bro!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Deepavali, Mamak.

Happy Deepavali to all my Hindu friends and their families especially to you Mamak.

When Mamak called me a few days before Deepavali inviting me to his house, I was planning to be away and told him of my plan.

His son Ganesh called me and told me that his father would be very happy to see his old friends again and that Jabar would be coming. He wondered whether I too could make it.

I called Mus, Pak Wan and Ivan if they would be available to visit Mamak. Both Mus and Ivan are already committed. Couldn't contact Cheong Fook and Sim. Pak Wan said OK so I picked him up together with Jabar.

Mamak was really happy to see us and after all the hugging and patting, we sat down for some 'serious' story telling. His son Siva took a few snaps of us and a group photo with his digital Nikon. Glad he is into photograpy just like me.

Jabar brought along an old framed photo of Mamak with a group of former KTM Sports Committee members and handed over to Mamak accompanied by a short speach and pantuns.

Mamak, we expect you at the next gathering and Siva has agreed to drive you over.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Forming Ex-KTM Veteran's Association

During the last gathering, there was suggestion that we former railwaymen form an association.

I contacted a few people to get the ball rolling and we had our first meeting to discuss this and to form a pro-tem committee. Dato' Zin was gracious to offer to host this meeting at his house and still being in the month of Syawal, an Eid'l Fitr gathering too.

We appointed Dato' Zin (his house, his food) as the meeting Chairman. Pak Wan, Ahmad Rahimi (Bang Cik), Jabar and yours truly were there. Ismail Harun (Mike) had another meeting he coulnd't leave. Mustapha (Pak Mus) was in JB. Mahalingam had to take his wife out for last minute Deepavali shopping. Kamsiah (Kak Kam) and Masri couldn't make it for some reason.

So it was decided to for a pro-tem committee to register the association. We haven't decided on the name yet. Jabar mentioned there was an earlier attempt to form one by Baharuddin and Rahmat but it did not go anywhere. There is also an allumni club of engineering people led by Hj. Mazlan (not sure if this has been registered).

The pro-tem committee consists of Dato' Zin (President), Jabardin (Secretary), Ahmad Rahimi, Wan Yahya, Mustapha, Kamsiah, Ismail Harun, Mahalingam, Masri and I.

We planned to meet again next November 8th at Dato' Zin's office.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Iraq - Not WMD nor Democracy but OIL!

President Bush Asserts Right to Control Iraqi Oil
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President George Bush this week rejected a Congressional effort to bar the United States military from controlling Iraq's oil resources.

Before signing a military funding bill earlier this week, the president issued a "signing statement," barring any expenditure of funds to "To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a 65-year-old Quaker lobby, has worked with Congress for three years to pass legislation that bars the United States from building permanent military bases in Iraq or exercising control of Iraq's oil resources. "We are dismayed that the president would deny the Iraqi people and its government the basic sovereign right to control their own natural resources. President Bush apparently believes that as commander in chief he is entitled to seize Iraq's oil fields and control Iraqi oil if he should deem it necessary to protect U.S. national security," said Jim Fine, a lobbyist for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. "It's hard to see any other logic behind his signing statement. He has, in effect, declared himself -- and any future U.S. presidents who fail to repudiate his outlandish claims --
emperors of Iraq."

President Bush has signed the restriction against controlling Iraqi oil into law five times since 2006, but has issued 2 signing statements this year asserting that banning U.S. control over Iraqi oil would violate the constitutional powers of the executive. He argues that his administration is not legally bound to abide by those provisions.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, the oldest registered religious lobby in Washington, is a nonpartisan Quaker lobby in the public interest. FCNL works with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people from every state in the U.S. to advocate for social and economic justice, peace, and good government.


Baghdad International (Green) Zone 4

Thursday, October 23, 2008

History of FMSR/MR/KTM From A 3rd Generation Railwayman.

If you want to know more of the history of our railway, then wait for the book (still untitled) written by a third generation Railwayman.

I am referring to my good friend L.A. Vincent better known as Centy to his very close friends. Vincent's grandfather worked in Sentul workshop whilst his father was a Signalman. Vincent's mum too, was from a railway family. Recently retired as General Manager of Multimodal Freight Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of KTM, he decided to put all those memories and a fair amount of research, on paper. There are also some interesting photographs.

I had the opportunity of proof-reading his drafts and I can assure you of a good read if you get hold of a copy of his book when it is released. I'm not including an excerp of his book here as I don't want to spoil your surprise. Get the book.

I wish Vincent the very best and hope to get an authograhed copy soon.

Photo: Celebrating Merdeka 1957 - Vincent is the cute boy standing on the right. His father is in the center (sitting). Guess, that's where he gets his looks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Law of the Jungle

Law of the Jungle

Racism, Obama and the Infallible God

by Fidel Castro Ruz

Trade, within a society and between countries, is the exchange of goods and services produced by human beings. The owners of the means of production appropriate the profits. As a class, they are the leaders of the capitalist state and they boast of fostering development and social well-being through market. This they worship as an infallible God.

In every country there is competition between the strongest and the weakest; the ones with more physical energy and better fed, those who learned how to read and write, who attended school and have more experience accumulated; the ones with more extensive social relations and more resources, and those within society who fail to have these advantages.

(Click on title to read full article)

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Question Malaysians Are Asking.

The lost 'Fuck-A-V' Tribe

For the forth time (not everything comes in threes), he came across the same tree he had first marked earlier. He knew now he was lost in this unfamiliar jungle. He slumped down with his back against the tree and patted his wet brow with his bandanna. He had no food and a near empty canteen. "I'm fucked!" he exclaimed aloud.

He must have dosed off when he suddenly woke up hearing some kind of faraway humming and coming closer by the minute. Grabbing his rifle, he eased himself behind the tree for cover and slowly took a peek to see what was coming his way.

It was human voices he was hearing in some kind of a chant. It sounded like..werdefokawee..werdeforawee..werdafokawee..repeated over and over. He had not come across this language among the natives the whole of his time in this country.

Could this be the lost tribe he had heard stories about?

As the 'thing' came closer and closer and the chanting got louder and louder, he braved himself to leave the protection of the tree. All he could see was the rustling of the five-foot tall grass from where the chanting came.

Then, there emerged from the bush a group of four-foot tall pygmies walking in a single file, totally naked black people, the blackest he had ever seen.

Finally, the chants became words he could understand. They were chanting over and over "Where the fuck are we?".

At last, he had found the lost tribe.

This anecdote was told by 'Taiping' EL Looi

Sambutan Eid'l Fitr 1429/2008

Tak disangka respons dari sahabat-sahabat begitu baik. Biasanya apabila kami bertemu yang akan hadir lebihkurang dua puluh orang itu pun tanpa istri. Tapi kali ini apabila di kirim sms nak adakan perjumpaan pada bulan Syawal ramai yang nak datang dan nak bawa istri bersama.

Kami adakan perjumpaan di restoran Nelayan, Taman Titiwangsa pada hari Ahad 12 Oktober lalu. Seramai lima puluh orang hadir dan ada yang bawa bersama anak dan istri. Anak tu jadi dreber maklumlah mata waktu malam tak berapa nampak sangat. Lagi pun Pak Wan tu takkan pula tak bawa Nab.

Radzak tak dapat bersama kerana terpaksa ke outstation atas urusan rasmi. Salah aku sebab mula-mula set pada hari sabtu tetapi pinda pula ke hari ahad. Sebab pindaan ni, Dolah Interpol pun komplen dia ke situ hari sabtu tapi tak nampak batang hidung sapa pun. Kenalah minta maaf kat Dolah juga.

Sebenarnya perjumpaan ni tak dibil sebagai perjumpaan Hari Raya atau Deepavali. Tapi sebab masih dalam suasana berhariraya secara tak langsung jadi acara hariraya. Kalau dibil sebagai perjumpaan hariraya tak kan pula kita nak jemput sahabat non-Muslim dan suruh depa bayar sama? Memang tak kenalah.

Tujuan utama aku aturkan perjumpaan ni nak kumpulkan para sahabat bagi support kat Radzak dan ra'i dia sebagai MD baru KTMB. Bila aku bagi tau Radzak apologise tak dapat datang semua mengeluh dan aku diamanahkan sampaikan salam dan sokongan depa nanti kat member kita tu.

Waktu buat short ucapan aku sampaikan salam Radzak kat depa dan aku nak pandangan semua tentang cadangan nak tubuhkan persatuan veteran KTM. Alhamdulillah, semua setuju dan sokong ide ni.

Terima kasih kat semua yang hadir. Nak kena arrange perjumpaan lagi pada 17hb Disember. Kali ni Masri nak sponsor.

Ni foto-foto baru terima dari Tan KS.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Tiff Over, Now To Get Down To Business.

I understand the tussle between the Chairman and some members of KTMB's Board with Abdul Radzak Abd Malek, the newly appointed MD, is over. The Chairman has resigned but not sure about the few members of like mind.

What was the reason for them not to accept Radzak's appointment? After all, Radzak until his retirement was a Railwayman (capital R) and his last post was General Manager Freight Division and had done a damn good job if you ask me. The Landbridge service was his brainchild. If the Chairman's refusal of a former railwayman to head the organisation is his paronia of railwayman, then it's right he should resign.

Anyway, why bring in some outsider when a Railwayman is capable of heading it? What's so special about the outsider? Enough already - give the man a chance.

KTMB is undergoing a massive development worth billions and therefore needs someone like Radzak to oversee this program. Radzak is not new to this as he had been involved in the double-tracking and electrification of the Port Kelang - Rawang - Seremban project in the '80s.
He is also unorthodox in his approach to thing and is not afraid to take risk and stepping of toes. Perhaps, this was why his appointment was objected to.

For what it's worth, Radzak has my support and that of veteran Railwaymen like me and talking to some of the serving railwaymen, theirs too.

Let's "get Malaysians into Training".

Group photo taken at Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Training Center, USA in 1982. Radzak is second from left.

Gathering The Flock - Sheeps They Are Not.

Agag lama juga kumpulan veteran Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) tidak mengadakan perjumpaan. yang akhir sekali di adakan pertengahan 2007.

You would think meeting among penshioners would be easy to arrange. After all, other than looking after their grandchildren or pottering around the gardens, they would be going back to sleep after finishing reading the morning newspapers. Not so. They are busier now than when they were working. Now it's picking up wife from surau/club/dance practice/etc. Or picking up the grandchildren from tuition class. Sending and picking up grandchildren from tuition classes? Ni bukan kerja mak-bapak depa kah?

Actually (Dato' Zin's favorite word), I suspected they have problem getting the 'line clear' from the wife. Kalau dulu waktu kerja nak keluar rumah wife tak tanya sebab tau kerja keretapi memang tak tentu masa, siang malam 24/7. Sekarang dah susahlah nak tembak.

Every now and then I get a call asking when is the next gathering. They are under the impression that there a secretariat full staff to plan and make arrangement. You try setting a date and a few will come up with an alternate. You set the venue and you get another suggestion for a different one somewhere near their vicinity.

Long ago when planning the first gathering, I decided to let them order what they want and everybody pay for what they ordered. This way I avoided all those special meals for daibetes, high-blood pressure, constipation and numerous other old people's illness. Minum pun nak air suam.

Finally, there's the cost! Heloooo, my friend! Simpanlah duit sikit-sikit dari duit pensyen tu. Kalau simpan sebulan 10 ringgit, tiga bula sekali kita jumpa dan ada 30 ringgit untuk bayar makanan sendirilah. La ni bukan ada orang nak sponsor. Sponsor orang pencen depa dapat apa?

Pak Mus tu nak class saja. Dia ingat orang lain macam dia..loaded. Jabar pula hingga nak discount saja. Dia ingat macam buat tour, dapat 10 orang 1 orang free.

So far, yang tak banyak buat ragam cuma Ivan. Thanks, friend.

I will write on the recent gathering once I receive the photographs from Tan Kim Seng.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Friends - People I took a lot of crap from

Gathering of friends after retirement. Forgot actual date when this was held in 2007 at Hotel Singgahsana, PJ. Siew and Cheah was there early before dinner so they came in a bit tipsy after a couple or more, I assume. Pak Wan is the Patriarch and always will be to me. He came in dressed in all black true to form. 'Young man' Mus came dressed for a date. Now he wants to be addressed as Pak Mus. Rama, Cheong Fook, Sim and Chuan would argue over all and everything while Chuah is always the quiet one. And Tan Kim Seng, always with pen and paper at the ready. Mohamad Duriat could be vocal when he wants to. A few snapshots of the event.