Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Search 43

25 May 2005

It is Wednesday, 10.07 pm on my laptop at home. My husband is reading Al-Qur'an behind me while my youngest is disturbing him, as usual. The Qur'an reading behind me gives me a lot of calmness and makes my writing easy too; the mind is clearer.

The 43rd search is to digest an online news article. I had earlier searched for Christine Anna Bates and came to naught. Then I tried searching for Majid "Coco" Ismail using Google. I came to an article by The Star Online > News >. Here was an article dated Sunday, January 28, 2001 entitled Discovering the soul of KL. From forest to concrete jungle written by Susan Tam. For a while I thought Google had gone bonkers because I was searching for a man and not a jungle! But I thought to give it a try and read it anyway. The first paragraph ran this bit, Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid Ismail. I was thrilled but I was wondering why "Coco" did not appear in the text. I read further and the second paragraph had his year of birth as 1921. He is therefore 20 years younger than my late grandfather and should be 84 years in 2005. He was born in Kampung Baru, the same village as my dad! But my dad was born in 1931 in a Malay house in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur which now houses the elegant Regent Hotel according to my dad. As I scrolled down further and read the third paragraph, then the magic word "Coco" Majid appeared! I was more than thrilled! I could not believe my eyes that I had indeed stumbled on a gold mine! My heart was racing! And a photograph of the great man was there in the third paragraph! I printed the article and read it in the car in the back seat on my way home. I broke the news to my husband that I had discovered "Coco" Majid and that got him excited too.

When we reached home, I quickly took my usual walk around my house, smelled the flowers and came inside the house to prepare our family dinner. I wanted to be quick so that I could have time tonight to write about "Coco" Majid.

The thrill has not faded! This article portrayed him as having an interesting typical Malay life with reference to vivid words such as beca (rickshaw), kereta lembu (bullock cart), hutan batu (concrete jungle), ikan (fish), udang galah (lobster), pucuk paku (a type of river bank fern used to make a delicious Malay salad), ubi kayu (tapioca or manioc, a common tuber in many equatorial regions, the leaves are boiled until soft, the tubers are either boiled, fermented or fried), and barut (a cloth tied around the navel).

There are two types of barut or bekongBarut anak is often a small piece of white rectangular sewn cloth with two or three tie strings at opposite edges which is  wrapped around newborns to cover the navel to prevent wind or colic and injury to this area. It also provides support and makes handling of newborns a whole lot easier. An oil rub is applied to the abdomen before the barut is secured in place. When tied properly, newborns often cry less and sleep better with barut on. Another is the bigger barut ibu (a girdle) worn by women soon after delivery to help them regain their pre-pregnancy shape and turgor. Beauty and vigor are big words of Malay women and the hour-glass waist is still being much sought by many. However, globalization has managed to make many Malay women either overweight or obese and less adorable.

It is 11.23 pm. Everyone is sleeping soundly.


The Star Online
Sunday, January 28, 2001
"Discovering the soul of KL. From forest to concrete jungle"
Written by Susan Tam

Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid Ismail (better known as "Coco Majid")
Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia
Birthplace and date: Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur; 1921

Telehealth Research Group
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia