Sunday, February 12, 2012


I was at a neighbourhood gathering when one of my colleagues called me. I was numb for a while when he told me about Whitney Houston's passing. It did not seem real and to me, it could have been another false report. As soon as I got home, I logged on to 'Classic Whitney' and there it was. The dreadful news. Another one of my favourite singers is gone. Whitney Houston died a few hours before the pre-Grammy party that she was supposed to attend. The whole thing came as a big shock to me since her pictures going out with friends and family members were all over the Internet a few days ago. She looked fine and there was nothing to indicate that she was sick or in need of serious medical attention. Life can be strange and full of mystery indeed. There are many things that we do not know and will never ever know. One thing for sure is when the time comes for us to leave this world, nobody can stop it. I also received a few phone calls and text messages from close friends to confirm the news since they knew that I was a huge fan of hers. It bugged me when they started talking about her 'negative' lifestyle. They also asked whether drugs were the cause of her death. I did not answer any questions and I told them to read or watch the news if they wanted to get more information since I did not want to get into any arguments. I have always believed that when someone dies, it is clearly in bad taste to talk about his or her 'mistakes' and wrong ways. Everyone deserves to be remembered with fondness and affection. If we can't remember any good thing about the person, the least that we can do is not to talk badly about him or her. I was still in college when Whitney Houston released her first album. At that time, there were not that many black singers especially female singers who could break into mainstream pop. Whitney did and she also paved the way for many other singers. Some of Whitney's songs may seem like bubble-gum pop but they were songs that I listened to on the radio at that time and you don't easily forget things that are part of your life. I am a fan of songs that have stories and underlying meanings behind them. Many of her songs are also the soundtrack to my own life. My ups and downs. Sadness and happiness. Hope and disappointment. Strangely, a few days ago I finally received my second copy of 'The Bodyguard' soundtrack that I had ordered online. I had already owned one copy of the CD but I simply felt that I had to have another copy. When the CD arrived, I took out every Whitney stuff that I owned (records, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, VCDs) and put them on the floor. I made a mental note of some of the stuff that I still did not own and wondered if I would ever have them in my collection. I'm quite sure some of her rarer stuff will increase in value now that she is no longer with us. There will also be a renewed interest in her music catalogue. Sadly, I can no longer look forward to any new releases from her except those that were recorded before her demise. Goodbye and thank you, Whitney Elizabeth Houston. You were much loved.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


May the teachings and noble character of Rasulullah (peace be upon him) become the way we live our daily lives. إنشالله

يا ربي قد غفلنا وكلنا طمع
في عفو وفي كرم وفي اعتاق
وجنة مع سيد البشر
ندعوك... ندعوك ربي من الأعماق

لو كان بيننا الحبيب
لدنا القاصي والقريب
من طيبة قبل المغيب
طالباً قرب الحبيب

بقربه النفس تطيب
وتدعوا الله فيجيب
أنوار طه لا تغيب
بلغنا لقاه يا مجيب

هداك الكون الرحيب
رحمة الهادي القريب
حديثك النهر العذيب
جوارك الغصن الرطيب

فدتك روحي يا حبيب
محمد مكرم الغريب
بقربك الروح تطيب
يا رحمة للعالمين

يا حبيبي يا محمد
يا طبيبي يا ممجد
أنت ذوالفضل المؤيد
جل من صلى عليك

Thursday, February 2, 2012


My oldest tomcat, Nomot, had been acting quite strangely for the past two weeks. He ate a little and stayed most of the time at home sleeping on my table. He only went out of the house for a while and he would be back not long after that. He did not show any symptoms that he was sick but it was clear that he was not his usual self. He did not even fight with Milo, a big grey cat that often sneaked into my house to steal food. Friday had always been a special day for him. He knew I would be going to the 'pasar malam' in my housing area for my weekly shopping and that meant there would be fried chicken for him. He would often wait for me until I came back and as soon as he saw me, he would be running to get me. He loved fried chicken but last Friday, he only nibbled on the fried chicken that I bought for him. It was as if all his appetite was gone. A few days ago he became terribly sick. He hid himself under the bed and only came out when I called him. I could detect the inevitable smell of death emanating from him. I immediately knew that he had been poisoned. I'm quite sure he had eaten grass which had been sprayed with insecticide or pesticide. I realised that the end was near and I had to be mentally prepared for it. I talked to my Mom and told her about the situation. From time to time, I would give him some fresh water to drink since that was all that he could manage to take. I knew he was suffering but I did not take him to the doctor. I did not want to put him to sleep. It is not something that I believe in. I've learned from past experiences that nothing much could be done when poison has entered a cat's bloodstream but I was still hoping that something miraculous would happen. My dear beloved Nomot did not make it. He finally breathed his last breath tonight. I was in the living room when I heard a choking sound from him. I knew that the time had come for me to say goodbye. I stroked his stiff body and whispered comforting words to him. I told him that everything was okay and he would go to a better place. My sweet protective Nomot died on my lap while I was still holding him. Goodbye Nomot and sleep tight. We will meet again in a beautiful place made for me and you. And I promise you there won't be any more suffering for us.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


As much as I love cats, this entry is not about any cats at all. This one is a story about me and the Alleycats, the Malaysian music group. Well, to be exact, it is not even about me and them. It is actually about me and a very good friend. You might wonder how the Alleycats are part of this story and I'm going to tell you how. Although none of the musicians are Malays, the Alleycats were very popular among the Malay music listeners back in the 80s and 90s (they still are). Back in 1985, I attended a concert (Malam Kerana Kau) at Stadium Negara with a very dear friend (who will remain anonymous of course). It was a last-minute decision to go and see the Alleycats in action. As a result, we arrived quite late since we were not familiar with the route to the venue at all. It was also raining slightly that night and the motorbike ride all the way from Serdang (I was studying there at that time) to the stadium was not pleasant at all. By the time we reached the place, we both looked like two skinny cats (no pun intended) which had fallen into a drain. But how wonderful it was to be young and carefree! To be without heavy responsibilities and life-long commitments. It was definitely a night that I will remember and cherish until the end of time. That was almost 27 years ago and now, both of us have gotten older and hopefully, wiser too. The sad thing is we are not even speaking to each other anymore. We had a falling out back in 1986 and we have stopped talking to each other ever since. We had been friends for years and suddenly, everything went down the drain just like that. It's obviously stupid when we fight over petty matters but it's even more stupid when we lose someone over something that can easily be avoided. Looking back, I wish I had not allowed my foolish pride and ego obscure my judgment and decision. I humbly admit that everything was due to my own folly and none of my friend's.

Sampaikanlah salam cintaku padanya
Walaupun terluka namunku merindu
Kerana cintaku tiada akhirnya
Walaupun kau telah menghancurkan

Sampaikanlah salam cintaku padanya
Walaupun sengsara namun ku masih sayang
Kerana cintaku mewangi dan harum
Walau tercampak di mana jua

Andai ku tiada, andai ku pejam mata
Biar ku abadi cinta yang setia ini
Biarpun kau jauh, sambutlah salamku
Kerana aku masih menyayangimu
Tidak pernah aku membenci dirimu

p/s Dear friend, you are not forgotten and will never be. Terima kaseey for the wonderful times we had!

The ticket stub from the Alleycats' 1985 concert.