Friday, 28 September 2012

The haunts of an old British barrack in Pengkalan Chepa

I lived at one of the lecturers' quarters at Maktab Perguruan Perempaun Melayu (MPPM) at Pengkalan Chepa in Kelantan, from May 1969 to December 1971. The college was a previous British army barrack which was first built and used by the British till the war broke out. It was then used by the Japanese army from 1941 till it surrendered in 1945.

My father was a lecturer at MPPM in the post-war, from May 1969 to January 1972. There were very few teachers then as I remember - (Tan Sri Dr) Yahya Ibrahim, Mr Ibrahim (deceased), Dr Sharifah, Mr ____ (Taufik's father), Mr ____ (Mimi's father), Mr Khalid (quiet family), Mr Jamaludin (deceased, Dr Faezah's father and my neighbour), Madam ___, etc. I didn't know what my father taught but probably Maths and/ Malay.

Anyway, when it was my turn to teach here on weekends for the Open University Malaysia (OUM) chemistry course, I thought to walk around and see the place for myself, and feel for myself how my father had worked here. I was slotted for the Sept/Dec classes, which were scheduled during the heavy monsoon period. Despite the rain and the perilous road conditions, I had to brave myself and drive through torrential rain and also zero visibility, to arrive for my classes on time. I could have died on the road, speeding at 90 km/h or more, in heavy rain. For such a high risk and weekend work, I was paid RM700-RM1,200/mo.

OUM now has a recently renovated blue-silver building in Lundang, in front of Balai Islam. Here are some old photos of the British barrack where I taught chemistry on weekends from 2005/6 to 2007/8. These are pre-war buildings, some are more recent though.

old big hall
new modern buildings and corridors
modern corrugated stunted Doric columns
old corridor with round metal poles, post-war, 1960s
ancient corridor with square wooden poles on base, old roof, pre-war
a typical home of a British/Japanese army officer/college lecturer
modern surau and free parking

Thursday, 27 September 2012

What's up?

I am waiting for my 2 books to be printed. The delay is because the previous book representative at Xlibris left without my knowing and a new person took over as of yesterday. The books didn't get printed on time (intended for Aidilfitri 2012). I hope they will be printed in time for Aidiladha 2012. To those of you whom I have promised to send you the books (gratis), I will do that once I get them. I would prefer you to come to my house and pick up the books because then you get to select what you want (hardcover or softcover) and I can sign the book(s) for you. If you can't come, then I will mail them out to your work or home address, whichever is convenient. Once you get the book(s), please read it/them and provide me some feedback, especially errors/typos/etc so that when I do the next printing (insyaaAllah), I would have done the corrections (insyaAllah). I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their help and support of the research on the early Malay doctors and the 2 books. I have made many lifetime friends and I will keep fond memories of everyone I met and corresponded with. You can write to me and keep in touch in Facebook or other. If I forget you in future, it only means I'm getting old, so forgive me.

Those of you who are in medicine and allied health, you can send your biodata/CV and photos to me so I can upload a story about you here in this blog. The more students read about others, the better they can decide on what they want to be and make changes in life towards their goal. Otherwise, it is quite difficult to change our society without solid evidence of successes from predecessors. Transformation is a big word but means nothing if the means are not there. So I'm using this blog to move our society one step ahead, and by-passing politics, etc. I hope this blog is useful for many students who are grappling and groping, and parents who want the best for their children. I am a mother of 6 kids and bringing them up without good examples for them to follow was difficult but I had used Sherlock Holmes stories and had some success somewhat. Please come forward and let's help the children of today by giving them true information of our successes so they can see for themselves and follow suit. The young follow their parents. Parents can learn from other parents. A good society is one where everyone is learning from everyone else. Fighting about our differences gets us nowhere but builds more anger (sakit hati) and that can crumble any society. We are fortunate to live in Malaysia (or Singapore) as this is a peaceful country. But let us not forget that we must educate ourselves, our young and our society if we want to maintain this peace and harmony and live as loving human beings.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Views of USM Health Campus

These are views of the USM Health Campus from the 8th floor (top floor) of the USM hospital building, Hospital USM (HUSM). The land surrounding the campus is flat. It is flat for miles, right up to the South China Sea. Because it is this flat, it floods easily everywhere except for built-up areas, hillocks, hills, foothills,  and the central mountain range in Jeli (~2 hours from Kota Bharu).

These views were taken while my daughter was admitted for tympanoplasty, to patch her eardrum, after she cleaned her left ear so hard and it bled from the burst eardrum. She had gone swimming at a ladies swimming pool in Bangalore, India. The surgery and recovery took 4 hours. So I took photos instead to kill time. I am no heroine when it comes to heights, so my husband had to hold me and direct me where to point the camera. I am scared of heights! My office was on this floor too back in 1983/84, in the left wing or Wad 8 Selatan. I was 3rd in rank for looking after the administration for this hospital then. Then I left for Australia to do my PhD in Feb 1985.

It was also on this top floor, in east wing (Wad 8 Timur), that Prof Salem and I taught programming to HUSM staff. That was the beginning of laboratory computerisation and hospital information system (HIS) for us. Today, we have our own in-house LifeLine for HIS and also for electronic medical records (EMR). We are presently on to the Case-Mix System from UNU-IIGH, despite the cons of the Case-Mix System. We think we can design a better Case-Mix System later but that needs a lot of discussion, and that is another story. I will be fully retired.

Big roofs in the foreground are those of the present (old) A&E Dept (a new one will open soon). The USM Dental School is the white-orange building with a blue dome. A covered bridge (at left) links the Dental School to the Medical School complex. The water tower is next to the surau (can see its minaret, top left corner). The pink roof (top left corner) is the old Sports Complex.
USM Medical School complex, Phase II, built in mid-1990s. The end of the campus is Sg Datu (near the skyline). The hexagon roofs are the lecture theatres. There are 3 such roofs and 5 lectures theatres. The 2 parallel roofs in the foreground are lecturers rooms. The long blue plastic strip joins the roofs. On the right are the rooms above the old Oren Mall. The previous shops of Oren Mall have now been renovated and converted to USAINS spaces for private ventures.
HUSM Students' Exam Block (big roofs), kitchen (lower roof with air vents), dhobi and incinerator (with long chimney). The north wing (Wad Utara) of HUSM can be seen at left edge of the photo. The airport in Pengkalan Chepa is towards the skyline and to the right.
A new shopping place called the Kubang Kerian Square is in front of USM Health Campus. There is Mydin and everything else. You can get everything here. All food is halal in Kubang Kerian except at a few ethnic eateries. This new shopping place is convenient for both USM staff and the patients' families. There is no need to stay in Kota Bharu. Kubang Kerian and Kubang Kerian Square have many places to stay. The roofs in the foreground are the Students' Exam Block. The lower roof beyond that (with exhaust fans and vents) is the recently renovated hospital kitchen.

Other photos of USM Health Campus

Close-up of the students' hostels viewed from the Medical School bridge to the library. The water tower is behind the students' hostel.

Distant view of the students' hostel from Medical School at the bridge to the library
Dewan Utama, the main hall for most public lectures on campus
School of Medical Sciences, USM Health Campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan since 1990
The Director of Campus office has moved to a new complex near the new playing field in early 2012
Old photo of the water tower in 2010. The students' old hostel block is behind the water tower. The campus surau is to the left of the water tower (not in pic). A new block of students' hostel was later built adjacent to the water tower and was commissioned in September 2012.

Courses offered at USM Health Campus:

Sungai Datu

This river is behind USM Health Campus. The river swells during the monsoon season and appears as in the photos below during off monsoon season. Many have used photos of the river for book covers, etc. There was talk of building a bridge from USM to the other side of the river but that has not materialised. The concrete slabs you see are for the intended bridge. Since it was known that the bridge was going to be build, many people bought land on the other side of the river, for setting up homes. However, since the bridge has been built, the landowners are frustrated. Land across this river is no longer cheap. The other side of the river is low lying and floods easily, and not many people know, so they buy up. When it floods, the water reaches waist deep. I don't see any point in purchasing land on the other side of the river and prospective buyers should know. To buy land in Kelantan, it is worth coming here during the monsoon months and then decide. There is no point crying after buying. A rule of thumb when buying land here is to look for the nipah palms. These palms thrive in marshland and signifies a waterlogged land. So don't buy land where you can clearly see the nipah palms unless you don't understand what they signify.

The present USM Campus is sited on very high grounds. If I recall correctly, they had to top up the land to about 50 feet high and then build the hospital buildings, the teaching complexes, etc. It does not flood on campus but the river water overflows and floods its river banks. My brother-in-law's family lives on the other side of the river. They were cheated into buying land there under the poor families scheme (PPRT). He has 10 kids, and during the flood, they all have to wade in waist deep water to go elsewhere. It is terrible to have to cope that way.

View of Sg Datu from USM Health Campus. There are nipah palms lining the river banks. The concrete slabs are meant for the proposed bridge.
Clear blue waters of Sg Datu. I have heard of crocodiles thriving in this river.
Another view of the Sg Datu river from USM Health Campus

Working definition of Malay

I'm copying this here from my old Zimbra Inbox before I lose it.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Prof Faridah Abdul Rashid" <>
To: "Akademik" <akademik@warga.kck.usmnet>
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:38:28 AM GMT +08:00
Subject: [akademik] Working definition of 'Malay'

Back to the definition of Malay.
This is my working definition of the term 'Malay':
1) Has a Malay or Muslim name
2) Speaks Malay most of the time
3) Eats Malay food most of the time
4) Dresses to cover most part of the body
5) Professes Islam as a religion and way of life; the male goes for Friday prayers
6) Has Malay/Indian/Chinese parents born within the Malay World who are also Muslims
7) Has pan-Asian facial features with flat/high nose bridge
8) Has fair to dark complexion determined by his/her genes
9) Has black/brown/hazel-coloured iris depending on genes inherited
10) Has short stature, about 5 feet but not higher than 6 feet
11) Has black/brunette/pale orange (warna sireh) straight/wavy/frizzy hair depending on genes inherited
12) Greets by salam gesture (holds the palms of the friend in his/her palms for a few seconds) or similar
13) Has a headgear most of the time - the ladies wear a scarf, serban or tudung and the males wear a black songkok, white kopiah or serban
14) Observes Ramadan fasting most of the time
15) Goes for hajj pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime
16) Eats halal foods and avoids non-halal foods (pig products and alcoholic beverages)
17) Does not advocate gambling, prostitution and free sex
18) Marries a wife and can possibly have up to 4 wives at a time but does not have mistresses or call girls and the like
19) Has a halal source of income
20) Pays zakat of mainly 2 kinds - zakat fitrah and zakat harta\

Kota Jembal, Kelantan

If you reach the Kubang Kerian traffic lights, and proceed towards Bachok (beach), you will pass by a place named Kota Jembal. As you approach the traffic lights at the Kota Jembal junction, the marketplace will be on your left. Why is Kota Jembal important in Kelantan Malay history?

Kota Jembal was one of the many 'kingdoms' or 'rajadom' in the early vast Malay kingdom in Kelantan. Kota Jembal is a region on the eastern bank of Sungai Pengkalan Datu. As a landing place or pengkalan, it was (may still be) a place of trade. Pasar Kota Jembal is the present marketplace in Kota Jembal, an ancient Malay city. Its architecture is a mark of the ancient Malay architecture, very unique to the Kelantan Malay craftmanship of this region, and I don't think it is found outside Kelantan - I have not seen it outside Kelantan.

Next time you come and visit Kelantan, come and visit this ancient princely city of Kota Jembal and see its marketplace, Pasar Kota Jembal (they didn't have malls in ancient cities). I have not been around on foot in this city, but my vibes tell me, this place is 'very ancient'. Looks spooky too but I didn't see any big blood-shot eyes. That's ancient legend.

The people of Kota Jembal were religious people (Hindu in ancient times but now Muslims) and some of the descendants of that early kingdom are still around and rule this state. They are related to the other Malay royalties of a large Malay kingdom in this region. The ancient Malay kingdom spreads from southern Siam (now Thailand) to Kota Jembal and beyond. Sungai Pengkalan Datu opens into the South China Sea. There is an artificial sandbar built by the villagers to dampen the waves, to avoid erosion of the beach front. Many Malays settle at this rivermouth (muara). The homes are wooden and built high on stilts as this rivermouth is flooded during the monsoon season. Malay people from Cambodia and also from Malacca probably came to Kota Jembal via this rivermouth. The Malacca migrants settled at Pulau Melaka (a large sandy island in Sungai Pengkalan Datu) and others settled on the river bank at Kota Jembal. Both cities are princely cities. I would say that this part of the Malay region probably contains inhabitants who are descended from ancient Malay royalties, and thus we see the prefix 'Raja' and 'Puteri/Putri' in their names. Most have dark skin as they are descended from ancient Indian forebearers. However, the ones descended from the Cambodian Malays have fair skin - they carry the prefix 'Wan' in their names.

Prayer place at the entrance to the Ramadan bazaar adjacent to Pasar Kota Jembal.
I can't make out what the buildings are. The Ramadan bazaar is in the centre.
Ramadan bazaar in full swing in 2012
After the Ramadan bazaar, after the fasting month was over, back to normal.
Fenced marketplace, this is Pasar Kota Jembal. Note the unique architecture. Looks like a lodge or a princely residence. This is an example of fine Malay architecture. I like it very much.

There is a meeting of the royals of Kota Jembal on 6 November 2012(?).


The eBook is very cheap, at USD$3.79 per download.

Research on the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and ... 
Jul 1, 2012 ... Research on the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. by Faridah Abdul Rashid; Avg. Rating: Not yet rated; Publish Date: ... 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

It's gadgets time again!

It is time for me to try different gadgets for this blogspot/website. Sometimes this entire blog will disappear. Do not panic. I am not an expert blog developer but it pays to try a few things. I will add a few things. So far this website is not worth as much as my other website, which is worth USD1mil. So don't panic. Stay calm and come and visit another time when this website is doing fine. I will make a copy of this blog before I venture into gadgets. Usually I will destroy my entire blog when I fall asleep, only to discover I have lost my blog when I wake up! It happens. So don't expect it doesn't happen. Unexpected things happen. My eldest daughter keeps reminding me to save a copy of this blog - I have never done it. I will now save a copy just in case this entire blog disappears. There's always a 3-month's grace in anything electronic before it totally gets deleted from the Blogger server, so there is still a safety margin or grace there in itself. Tak payah nak takut-takut nak cuba sesuatu yang baru,. That is what IT is to me. You don't try the unexpected, you will never get anywhere unexpected.

How to export/import a blog & How to save (backup) a blog:

I have saved this blog as an XML file, which is 6.76MB.
There are altogether 734 posts, of which 64 are drafts and 670 are published.
Published comments 164
Pageviews today 278
Followers 17
This blog has existed for 3 years, 3 months and 3 days.
The blog hit is presently 73,825.
This blog ranks at 5,382,401 (#1 is best).

I have created the TEMD Toolbar using Alexa, but it only works in Firefox and IE.
You can write a review about this blog (click the Alexa review button at right).

Resources on Accessible Web Design:

Ismail bin Abu Sittee

I was browsing the USM collection of videos hosted by the Engineering Campus and saw this Hari Raya 2012 video. I decided to give it a try to see if the video runs on my laptop. It does run in HTML mode. It doesn't seem to work in the FLV mode (wonder why).

Anyway, half-way through the video, I saw my former schoolmate/classmate(?) from Std 1 at Sultanah Asma Primary School in Alor Star, Kedah - that was 1965. She is Asma bt Ismail, now Prof Asma Ismail.

I managed to write to her just before my book went to print. I was hoping to fix a passage for her in my book but maybe because I was hurrying through the last stages of editing, I totally omitted her info about her father. Who was he?

Asma's father, Encik Ismail, as he was known, was an educated man who served in Jitra, together with Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin (arwah). Tan Sri had requested me to find out about one man who appeared twice in 2 of his photos. At the time, it was a difficult request to fulfill and I thought it would be next to impossible to locate a man from 1965 today. His features would change and he may not look like he did in the photos that Tan Sri gave me. I was worried but I promised myself I would search for the man and made a photographic imprint of him so I could spot him if I saw him (a very big hope).

One day, I was going through a list of my schoolfriends from childhood; there were a few I remembered from 1965, in Std 1. One was Fauzaih Fakaruddin. Another who I knew much later at Tunku Kurshiah College (TKC) in 1974 and right through Form 6 at Methodist Boys' School in 1976, was Asma Ismail.

Asma's mother worked for my maternal grandfather, Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos, a Penangite from Jelutong. I met the mother on a trip to the community clinic (Klinik Desa) at Sungai Dua. She worked there. When I met her she asked if I was Dr Che Lah's granddaughter and I replied yes. I had never met her before.

I later visited Asma and her family at home. I met her mother again, her 2 brothers and herself (eldest). Her father was not at home when I was there but for a brief time. Then her father returned and that was the first time I met him. He looked a bit like Tunku Abdul Rahman and I got confused. Why would Tunku appear in Asma's house? Then I was told that he was the father. In case you haven't noticed, the men in those days, they all wore their pants up high on the waist - I think it was a trend at the time.

Mr Ismail, as I remember him, was a quiet man of few words. He didn't say much. I probably told him who I was and he knew. Then I left. Her 2 brothers were my brothers' friends.

When Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin requested for me to search for a 'Mr Ismail', I hadn't the faintest idea that he was Asma's father. Time was a factor and he had changed. I couldn't figure out that this Mr Ismail, father of Asma, was the same man that had worked with Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin at the RHTC in Jitra, Kedah. It was only when I emailed Asma to ask about her father that we both discovered the missing link! That was after 9 email exchanges. It was great news for me but I could not get the new info in time into my books on The Early Malay Doctors. Asma's father died in 1992.

This is Asma's description of her father:

My father was Ismail bin Abu Sittee. He was the chief public health inspector of Penang. While in the Health Centre in Jitra Kedah he served as phi and health trainer under Raja Nordin and then under Siti Hasmah. My father was at Jitra till we transferred to Penang in 1969 when I was in Std 3. not in 1964. He was transferred to pg to take up the post of chief phi. He was a health trainer, a very good one at that. My public speaking ability in all probability followed his footsteps. I cannot make out the pictures sent. Pls resend. I have his pictures at home but would not be able to find the old pictures. My father was at Trengganu but never in Kelantan. He was big in malaria eradication but am not aware of yaws. He hardly spoke of yaws. I am privy to work done by my father in malaria since he brought home the gurus in the field from WHO. I met them all. I hope have shed some light on my father. Thank you for re living nostalgic memories. Pls ensure that the facts are right difficult as it is to dig up the past. Raja Nordin punya son Norman may shed more light. We played as kids in the Health Centre at Jitra. Don't think he remembers me. wassalam. 

Asma's father had also worked with Tun Dr Siti Hasmah in Kedah. I guess he would be in some of her earlier pictures taken in Kedah, before 1969. I have to ask Arkib Negara Malaysia if it can search for Encik Ismail, formerly at RHTC, and later as Chief Public Health Inspector in Penang. I will also need to search my grandfather's old photos for Encik Ismail.

Asma's father, Encik Ismail bin Abu Sittee (left) and Norman's father, Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin, at the RHTC in Jitra, circa early 1960s.

Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin is seated at the table edge. Encik Ismail bin Abu Sittee is standing at left, helping out with filming of the Malayan Yaws Campaign in Kelantan, in early 1960s.
Portrait of (Tan Sri) Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin, in 1965 when he went to UC Berkeley to  complete his MSc in Public Health. His Academic Supervisor was Prof Beryl Josephine Roberts.

Asma's mother, Hjh Aminah bt Yusoff, is linked to the first Malay doctor, Dr Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Razak.

Hjh Aminah Yusoff (photo was obtained from an A4 collage of female descendants of the Bugis Daeng warriors contributed by Zainuddin Dato Yahya). Dr Abdul Latiff was Hjh Aminah's granduncle.
Prof Asma Ismail (photo frame created from USM Aidilfitri 2012 video made by Zamri et al, UKAST). Her great-granduncle was Dr Abdul Latiff.


Assalamualaikum w.w.


Sukacita dimaklumkan Klinik Rawatan Islam Dan Tradisional Pusat Islam Kampus Kesihatan (RAWATID) telah dibuka pada setiap minggu mengikut maklumat seperti berikut:

Hari : Setiap hari Sabtu (9.30 pg hingga 12.30 tgh)
Tempat : Masjid Kampus Kesihatan USM

Warga kampus dan masyarakat sekitar yang mempunyai masalah penyakit terutamanya yang berkaitan dengan penyakit kerohanian dan gangguan makhluk halus dipelawa untuk mendapatkan rawatan tersebut. Rawatan ini adalah dengan kerjasamasa Darussyifa’ Kelantan. Klinik ini tidak menetapkan sebarang bayaran. Hanya Tabung Derma disediakan bagi pesakit yang ingin menyumbang derma ikhlas. Untuk mendapatkan rawatan bolehlah terus datang pada waktu klinik dibuka atau bagi mendapatkan maklumat lanjut bolehlah menghubungi Pusat Islam Kampus Kesihatan USM di Ext: 1067/ 1068/ 013-2331150 (Ustaz Rosdian)

Rosdian Hassan
Penyelaras Klinik

Malay beliefs and concerns

I will share with you some of the emails I received re Malay beliefs and their concerns. I cannot interpret them nor do I understand everything but I will share them here with you. You can interpret them.

[1] 8 December 2010

sekadar bertanyakan pendapat..

kebanyakan bpendapat,org tua2 dulu banyak 'memakai' dan bnda tu manjadikan beliau susah nak meninggal dunia kena 'pelepas' dengan barbagai cara.Sejauh mana benda ni benar dan bagaimana pula dengan isu 'menteri' dan 'main makyong' itu ..adakah benda ini blh diambil kira atau secara kebetulan??Pohon penjelasan dari yang lebih arif...nauzubillah drpd dilaknati Allah. 

[2] 8 December 2010

Tak kalamulo, sebutkato muluk, sederak pado hati, 
melaye pepeh, bogolek mari, jatuh kemano, jatuh kemato  melerat ke hati,
asal titeh anak rajo mudo, mano mari asal segunung tujuh, tujuh puteri,
puh kane, puh kiri....

Ilmu ore dulu-dulu. Ado (Banyak tahyul+ khurafat)
Memakai tu Wajib...Kalau tak pakai itu HARAM.. (tak tutup aurat)..
Keyakinan kepada Allah lebih utama.
(Ilmu hitam dan janji Iblis pengoda yang akan menyesatkan umat Anak Adam sehingga akhir zaman).

[3] 8 December 2012

Tengok keadaan
Makyong ,menora, wayang, kulit, selampit adalah sejenis hiburan terdapat juga unsur khurafat.
Mainteri, bageh tu untuk rawatan sah guna makhluk halus

orang dulu-dulu orang biasa pun "memakai" lebih-lebih lagi ahli dalam bidang tersebut diatas.
Ada kumpulan makyong sekarang ini menyatakan mereka tidak mengamalkan unsur khurafat.
mereka cuma lakonkan sahaja upacara-upacara yang diamalkan oleh orang lama-lama.

[4] 8 December 2010

Kita tak leh blame orang lama, kerana itu aje ilmu yang digalakkan oleh Inggeris selama 500 tahun. Orang baru ni patut dipersalahkan, kerajaan kita dah banyak membantu. Tapi yang balog liat tu dok macam tu juga.

Alam Melayu

Back in 2010, I was still struggling with the definition of the word 'Malay' or 'Melayu'. I visited ATMA UKM website and studied about the Malays there (online). This is the ATMA UKM Site Admin's email to me at the time. It is a good site and has a lot of stuff about the Malays.

Subject: Portal Transformation
Sent By: "malaycivilization portal" <>  
On: November 20, 2010 3:17 AM
To: Prof Faridah

Dear Faridah Abdul Rashid,

Greetings of the Day!

Pleased to inform you that portal has been transformed successfully. This portal was developed by the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation (ATMA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2002 to meet the information needs of local and international researchers in Malay world studies. It is now ready to be accessed by users at its URL address with lots of content and interactive features like blog, discussion, review etc.

Please explore it and provide your valuable feedback or suggestions.

Thanks & Regards,
Site Administrator

Useful links:
Institute of Malay World and Civilisation (ATMA):
Prospectus ATMA:
SARI (ATMA journal):

Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu (ATMA),
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 
43600 UKM, Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel : 603 8921 5254 / 5280 Faks : 603 8925 4698
Website :
E-mel :

USM Convex 46

Here are the photos of the promotion for the book, Research on the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore at the USM Convex 46 in Penang on 19-23 September 2012. The students did the promotion (Fatihin - Science Forensic 2, Zaki - Biomedicine 2, Aiman - Sports Science 2, Shaada - Medic 2 and Vani - Medic 2). This is the first public display and promotion of the book. Will be doing more promotions in future, insyaAllah.

Contact person:
Ahmad Fauzan Zainal Bakri
Year 2 Medicine
USM Medical School
16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

USM Health Campus booth
Theme: Alternative Medicine

Book on display at the first booth, Introductory Booth ...

Friday, 21 September 2012

Pray for Adam

Baby Adam suffers from HIE (hypoxic-ishaemic encephalopathy). He is cared for at home by his young parents. Follow his story in Facebook.

Update 21 February 2013
Baby Adam has passed away. Please follow his update in Facebook.

Innalillah. Adam sudah meninggal.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012



The USM Convocation (Convo) begins today and is open to the public for 5 days (19-23 Sept 2012). Live streaming of the event is online at USM website (I have posted on this earlier). If you have some time or happen to be in Penang, please visit the USM Convocation Exposition (Convex) outside Dewan Tunku Syed Putra (DTSP).


USM Medical School is also taking part. Year 2 medical students are taking charge of the Medical School booth. We take part every year. This year is a bit special because I have allowed my book to be promoted there. Only one book is on display at the USM Medical School booth. Only this title will be displayed for 5 days, "Research on the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore". Since there are only 2 author's copies, I cannot let my students sell my copies. You can however take a look at the interior and see what is inside. Then you can buy it online at, Barnes and Noble or Xlibris.

The student who is in-charge of the display for my book is Fauzan. I gave him the materials for display on Saturday.

Fauzan, Year 2 medical student, USM Kubang Kerian

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hari Malaysia

I almost forgot that today is Hari Malaysia. With 1001 things on my mind, it is not easy to remember, even important dates like this Hari Malaysia. What's Hari Malaysia? What about Hari Malaysia? What's the fuss about Hari Malaysia?

Will & Kate visited Malaysia; QEII is still alive in her palace in London; Queen Mother? I have not seen the 2 of them for quite some time now. I remember Diana and also Princess Anne. Nobody sings 'London Bridge is Falling Down' nowadays. Why not? Of course London Bridge does not fall apart. It opens up and comes back down, that's all. I loved London bridge when I first saw it in 1980. It was huge and light blue, and the brickwork was so massive. (The San Francisco bridge is red).

Back to Hari Malaysia. Since I forgot today's date and therefore did not know it is Hari Malaysia, I got up to have leftover nasi tomato from yesterday's lunch. I made some gravy to go with the rice. That was breakfast. Then I went shopping at TESCO, to the tune of RM731. Why so much? Cos I bought stuff for the kids and the house for a month. My husband & #2 son will be away in Perth, so I have to stock up and feed the rest. Also because the monsoon rain has arrived. So a food stockpile is worth the effort. October, November, December and January maybe holiday months for most people, but not for me. These are my busy months and I really get too busy with work at USM, not so much at home.

I have pushed a lot of my teaching for year 2 medicine to March 2013 because I just won't have time for everything. I presently have a PhD thesis of a Chinese girl, in Industrial Food Technology (it arrived in my pigeonhole on 13 September 2012). She's written on probiotics in tofu and tofufa. Not had time to examine it yet. Will do when I can find a sharp pencil. Went to TESCO to buy a pack of neon colour page marker. Expect a lot of pasting and writing little notes, as I usually do when I examine any document, including books.

Back to the question of Hari Malaysia. What is it? It was the day Malaysia was formed, on 16 September 1963. Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya (FoM) to form Malaysia. Singapore left in August 1965, and became Republic of Singapore on 9 August 1965. I was in Standard 1 at Sultanah Asma Primary School in Alor Star, Kedah. Sultan Abdul Hamid College and the Day Training College were farther up the same road, Jalan Langgar. (Tun) Dr Mahathir operated MAHA Klinik at Kg Cina/Kg Melayu in Alor Star. This clinic was near the bridge. My late mother also went to his clinic although I don't know for what, maybe for family planning. That was how my parents new the Tuns then. I remember my mother was thin but she became ill at some point. And when she came through, she was double her size. She was in baju kebaya pendek before she was taken ill and after that she switched to baju kurung for life. Of course when I was a student in primary school in Alor Star, I did not know (Tun) Dr Mahathir. I only became aware he was a minister when I was at Tunku Kurshiah College (TKC) in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. At the time, Tun Abdul Razak was still the prime minister - he had the Buku Hijau on. We had to plant kacang panjang at college for a house project. We also had to ferilize the soil by mixing it with dried cow dung. I can still recall the pong from the cow dung. Stinking or not, the kacang panjang grew very well and were harvested and sent to the mak cik and pak cik at the hostel kitchen to make our vegetables.

So how should I remember Hari Malaysia in the future and not miss it? Last year (2011) I cooked trigone pasta to remember Hari Malaysia. This year (2012) because I forgot, I went out to TESCO to 'enjoy' laksa Penang and nasi goreng Pattaya with air bandung milkshake for under RM15. I used to enjoy laksa Penang when I got married in Penang but nowadays the laska Penang tastes different from 30 years ago. Nasi goreng Pattaya didn't look too enticing today. That was lunch outside, and of all days, Hari Malaysia. I should have stayed home and cooked a new pasta recipe if I had remembered it is Hari Malaysia today. That can't be undone now. Wait for Hari Malaysia 2013 in the next 365 days.

It rained today so I could not take photographs except for a few shots from my car window. I also got out of my car to get 2 photos of the newly constructed flyover, probably Kota Bharu's first. I would say it was a dull day in Kota Bharu and Kubang Kerian because I didn't get much done today.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Renaissance Universities

I taught History of Medicine on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 to 200+ medical students in Year 1 in Dewan Kuliah 1 (DK1). InsyaAllah, I will have another 6 lectures in 6 years time before I retire at 60. That's how old I am today.

What did I teach this time? This time around I only had 1 hour. I covered the various civilisations in human history and touched on medicine where possible. Otherwise it was just mythology and magic potions.

I covered in sequence: ancient Egyptian civilisation, Greek civilisation, Roman civilisation, Arab civilisation,  and Renaissance. I mentioned Spain, Iran, Iraq and the Middle-East in passing as I had not much time. I also pointed out the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st century discoveries in medicine.

For ancient Egypt, I covered the Pharaohs (Fir'aun). I mentioned they had the Book of the Dead that described procedures for preparing the dead for burial as mummies. I mentioned that the ancient Egyptians slit open the torso and took out the internal organs and placed them in canopy jars. (A lot of reactions from the students.) Then they replace the cavity with salt and sewed the torso and prepared them as mummies, to be stowed in sarcophagus, tombs or coffins. The interesting here was the use of scalpel to slit open the torso. I asked the students to identify the scalpel but in the illustration I showed the students, the scalpel looked like giant walking sticks (tongkat) or crochet needles. LOL

For ancient Greece, I mentioned that the Greeks were steeped in mythology and have more than 40 gods and goddesses. I named some of the gods & goddess, of course with tongue-twister names, it was a lot of laughter. There was a family of god & goddesses of medicine and healing. Asclepius married Lampetia (goddess) and they had 4 daughters (goddesses). For the capital of Greece, I mentioned Athena and showed them her statue, pole and serpent that would around her pole. I also mentioned the Greeks believed Athena metamorphed into an owl and was often depicted as an owl in images of ancient Greece. I mentioned the Acropolis and the Pantheon where the Greek prayed to their gods & goddesses. The renovated Pantheon still has many Doric columns, and pointed to the students how Malaysian have copied and lived the glory of the ancient Greek Pantheon in their very homes. Almost every modern Malaysian home today has 2 Doric columns in front; some have them inside the homes too. Pantheon was the prayer place while Pathenos meant barren or infertile. I elaborated the differences with "you don't ask your friend, "Are you pathenos while your friend prays in the Pantheon." There was a lot of laughter after that. I mentioned 2 Greeks - Hippocrates and Galen. Hippocrates was the village doctor who practised under a tree in Kos. He was the man who founded concepts used since his time and up till now in modern medicine. Galen went to Alexandria and learned Anatomy from the Egyptians who were highly skilled. He also made lots of medicinal mixtures and wrote about their uses. Galen also returned to Greece but went on to work for the Gladiators in Rome. I queried the students about the Gladiators - they were okay.

The Arabs learned about medicine from the Greeks. I emphasized that the word Arab is a misnomer and incorrectly used by historians and almost everyone. The Arabs have 'al' name for objects and 'Al' suffix for clan name or surname. The non Arabs do not have 'Al' as name suffix. That alone should tell us whether an ancient man was an Arab or a non Arab. I also corrected the general understanding of what constitutes Arabic medicine, Islamic medicine and Prophetic medicine. Besides the Arabs and Iranians or Persians, there were Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, etc. The students have heard of Avicenna and they could read up on their own. They can also read up on the Golden Age of Islamic medicine in these countries. I mentioned Al-Qurrawiyun University as the oldest university and the first to offer medicine. University of Al-Azhar only adopted medicine in 1965 which is still quite recent. I mentioned some of the places in Spain and they can read up.

I covered Renaissance Europe. At the time, Europeans were fighting over land ownership and there were a lot of wars and battles. France moved north towards England and Normandy signifies French influences. The churches were active in keeping up with medicine. Popes became barbers and surgeons. Univerisities sprung up in Europe. These included Oxford University and Cambridge University. So these 2 universities (and others) are ancient centres of tertiary learning. I also covered the discoveries made in Europe (a lot of slides).

I did not cover Chinese, Indian and Malay medicine nor their history as time was limited.

Graduate Studies @USM

IPS = Institut Pengajian Siswazah (Malay) / Institute of Graduate Studies

IPS Dean:
Prof. Roshada Hashim
Dean, Institute of Graduate Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), 11800 Penang, Malaysia
Phone: +604-653-2930 Fax: +604-653-2931 E-mail:



USM 46th Convocation Ceremony
19-23 September 2012
Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra

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Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra, USM