Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Empty Letter

One day I came to office in the morning and went to check my pigeonhole.
What's that? Pigeonhole is the nickname or slang for the letter box(es). Since there are many of them, they resemble the pigeon's nest, and therefore we call it the pigeonhole. We just had it in recently (of course the idea came from me and others).
In my pigeonhole, was a crumpled white enveloped. It had my name and address in blue. It had the sender's address on the back. I opened the envelope (it wasn't sealed) and to my surprise, there was no letter or content inside! I wondered why. I asked the office girls and they said the enveloped arrived empty! Who dunnit? I dunno!

I couldn't make out why the envelope was empty. Why did the sender send an empty envelope to me? I kept the envelope in my rattan basket and forgot about it. I wanted to ask the mail girl at the mini post-office if she could help me but it wasn't open that morning (too early). Then I forgot about the envelope altogether.

Today, I was clearing the mess in my basket and I found the envelope at the bottom, severely crumpled. I wondered could it be that this envelope got to the bottom of a big pile and got crumpled, opened by itself and the contents fell out? It's a possibility, I think.

Sometimes I think I want to be working in the mail section where letters fall out and I get to do a new job - hunt for the sender or the unfortunate recipient. I will do that next time when I get permission.

I remember visiting a hostel in Universiti Malaya when my daughter was there. There was a section in front where mail was dropped and collected. There was one section that was overflowing with unclaimed mail (letters). Most were bills and printed letters, not handwritten ones. I guess there is a lot of wastage when mail is undelivered or lost through the postal service.

I'm still missing 5 posters for my second book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors. The posters were printed in USA and were sent to Fresno! How come my posters ended up in Fresno? I don't know but an email arrived and asked me to pick up my parcel in Fresno! LOL. Everyone can fly!? Borderless world?
Fresno is a small town where the Greyhound buses stop over en route from San Francisco to Los Angeles and San Diego. I had visited Fresno some 36 years ago. I remember the place - a flat land. It is actually the agricultural belt of California (like our Serdang). It is a region where a lot of herbs and nutritious plants are grown. Here in Fresno, pesticides are not used, only natural fertilisers. This is how the USA manages to produce health foods, right in Fresno. All the health food bars you see advertised for Amway and on American TV, they are most likely produced by the farms in Fresno.

Meet Mohd Khairi

I was in my office this afternoon, clearing my email as usual. Then my phone rang and I answered it. It was from a student in PPSK (School of Health Sciences, USM). He was interested in my books. It was good that he spoke right away about my books. I had thought I had missed or forgotten to take a class. So all was fine.

Mohd Khairi called to ask whether my books are sold at local stores (eg MPH) beside the online ones. I told him no. He likes history. I asked to come and get a copy of my books for himself. He did as instructed.

Mohd Khairi is a Malay man who is currently writing up his MSc thesis in Immunology. He did his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at USM in Penang. I asked him why he didn't want to continue to do a PhD. He said he has plans!!! Of course I was surprised so I asked him, "What plans?"

This intelligent gentleman wants to be an ATC! I asked him what's ATC? He replied ATC stands for air traffic controller/comptroller. I asked him why ATC since it is very different from biotechnology. He said that it is his wannabe. I said great! He has already been accepted for ATC training in Sepang and I wished him well for his future endeavours.

I don't have his background yet. I requested him to write.

This is from his Facebook:

Mohd Khairi is from Kelantan. He attended SMKA Tangok in Bachok, Kelantan.
SMKA Tangok is one of the top rated Islamic schools in Kelantan. 
Mohd Khairi just married at the end of last year, on 10 December 2012, to Siti Hajar Omar of Kedah. He has traveled widely to South Korea, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Sydney, Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, and others. He has a lot of good photos of these place in his Facebook albums.

I saw 2 men in his album whom I know - Prof Nor Azmi Mohd Noor (Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, South Australia; husband of Prof Nik Soriani Yaacob, father of Aimi) and Prof Ahmad Zakaria (University of Nevada, Reno; husband of Prof Asma Ismail, great granddaughter of Dr Abdul Latiff Razak, the first Malay doctor).

Mohd Khairi Che Pa
School of Health Sciences
(MSc graduating candidate)
012-954 1623

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Technical Note: Sending large files

There are a few applications which are good and safe for sending large files. Some contributors had used them to send me big files. Many contributors were unaware of these applications. I have only used 3 of these applications - YouSendIt, sendspace and Dropbox. There are a few more which I have tried but I feel comfortable with sendspace, even though it is a bit too technical for some of you.

It is not economic to send large files via Gmail as it will clog and lock the email very fast. To be able to operate Gmail properly, one will need to delete all the email with attached large files.

List of applications which can be used to send large files:

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

eBook or Printed Book?

This is an article about printing in Malaysia, and the difficult choice publishers are faced with - to decide on ebook and/or printed book.

My 2 books are published as printed books and as ebooks. Both versions are made available to the public, locally and internationally, and on the Internet. Do I worry about them being photocopied? No. Even if it is photocopied, or printed from the ebook, it is not the same as holding an original printed book.

Monday, 28 January 2013


Merchandise for The Early Malay Doctors to go with the blog and books.

There are many companies which can make merchandise but I need one where I can design and upload images online and see the range of possible products with the images I want.

I'm trying out Printfection for the time being. Printfection is like a distributor centre and I don't have to order my merchandise all at once; I can stagger orders and deliveries. I can order a few (eg 250 items) and get them shipped out to various destinations at different times. It also works by demand order.

A lot of emphasis is on the quality of images that go on the merchandise. There are help pages for image resolution for merchandise. Some image files won't upload to the Printfection server and I have to tweak them so they will upload (can't have spaces in the filename). I'm reading, learning and following the instructions online. Some merchandise turn out nice, some so so, and others not too good. I'm just checking out my options to see what is possible.

Printfection is overseas in Quebec, Colorado, USA and the price range is reasonable.


Product templates

Online store

TEMD merchandise


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Technical Note: Spotflux

Spotflux is a program that gets rid of ads, viruses, cookies, etc which would otherwise overload browsing, thus slowing down what you wish to see on your computer. With Spotflux, you should be able to browse the Internet a bit more freely, rapidly or smoothly. I have tried Spotflux tonight and it works fast and fine.

VPN is Virtual Private Network. Usually hospitals are given VPN for communicating between hospitals and health centres. Patient data are also sent via VPN so they travel without data loss. For those without VPN, Spotflux should do just the same.


Technical Note: How to create a 3D book icon

This post gives the link to a tutorial for how to create a 3D vector book icon. I have not tried it yet. One of my books in the header (Biography of the Early Malay Doctors, image at top right and below) was probably created in this way. Vector programs give clear icons, whether big or small. The image re-sizing function will not affect image quality.

There are other programs which can be used to create 3D objects such as Aldus Freehand and Photoshop. These are "heavy" programs and too much hassle for the average person to use occasionally. They are however, a "must have" and "must know" for those who wish to become professional icon designers or graphic artists. Will be good as a hobby too.

GoMediaZine - How to create a 3D vector book icon

Vector Tutor Plus - How to create a 3D vector book icon

Photoshop - How to create a 3D book icon

2D cover image
3D book icon (PNG) - book lying flat
3D book icon (PNG) - book in upright position

Technical Note: VideoJoiner

I have only downloaded and installed VideoJoiner. I haven't tried it yet. It looks simple enough.

Give Away of the Day
Download VideoJoiner (19 hours)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Technical Note: Audio Record Wizard 6

This is an easy interface to record audio off existing website, including this website. Playback the audio for this website and start recording on the Audio Record Wizard 6. The recording is of higher quality and is clear. Set the recording at 100% level to obtain a better sound quality. There is no loop function on this recorder-player.

16 hours countdown to download:

Screenshot of Audio Record Wizard 6
(playback of Makan Sireh mp3)
Screenshot of mp3 recording of Selawat from YouTube

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Technical Note: Flash Satay

This is a technical note on embedding flash movies in web pages. I'm looking for how to properly embed Carousel in my present web pages, and yet make it slim as it already carries loads of images.

Flash Satay

Google search for embedding flash

Dr Nizamuddin(g) Ahmad

We are searching for the whereabouts of this doctor's family. We are unsure where to search for him. NUS Office of Alumni gave us a slightly different name spelling, Nizamudding Ahmad. The added letter g in the name points to possibly a Terengganu name origin or call name.

His name was forwarded to me by Mr Chung Chee Min, a former teacher at the Victoria Institution (VI) in Kuala Lumpur. He had obtained the name from a friend at NUS.

Dr Nizamuddin(g) Ahmad graduated with LMS in March 1929. The graduation date itself tells us that this doctor was probably born in 1902, based on "next nearest date" which we have on our records: Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos, DOB 10 December 1903, KE VII Singapore LMS March 1930.

If he was born in 1902, given a Malay male lifespan of approximately 83 years, he would be 83 in 1985. For comparison, Dr Che Lah died at age 83 in 1986.

So we are looking for a Malay male doctor named Dr Nizamuddin(g) bin Ahmad who was born in 1902, was a graduate of the KE VII Singapore with LMS in March 1929, and died in 1985. The birth and death dates are approximate and are derived. The actual dates may differ by +1-2 years.

Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohammad (2)

At first, we were uncertain of the doctor's name. We had 2 names, but only one personality.
  1. The NUS book, To Sail Uncharted Seas (2005) had his name listed as Abdul Ghani on page 113 (under 1930).
  2. A Penang document, ''Well-known Personalities'', had his name as Dr Haji Abdullah Ghani bin Mohamad, which is incorrect:
  3. A few researchers alerted me to the uncommon name style, that there is no such name as Abdullah Ghani and that it should be Abdul Ghani. 

Dr Haji Abdullah Ghani bin Mohamad
  1. Dr Haji Abdullah Ghani bin Mohamad (b.1906- ) was a Senior Health Officer (SHO) in Penang and Province Wellesley. 
  2. He was together with Dr Che Lah at a Sultan Sulaiman Club meeting in 1932 
  3. Link to Debate at Sultan Sulaiman Club
  4. He was 3 years younger than Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos (b.1903-d.1986).
  5. He was a Committee member of the Penang Malay Association (PMA) 

Dr Abdul Ghani
I had a classmate in 1969-1970 named Azizan bt Abdul Ghani and her younger sister was Naemah bt Abdul Ghani. We attended Zainab Primary School 2 in the afternoon at Telipot, Kota Bharu in Kelantan. Azizan was a school prefect while Naemah and I were athletes. Their father, Abdul Ghani, was a medical doctor. I don't have his full name. I am uncertain whether this particular Dr Abdul Ghani originated from Penang and whether he had 2 wives, a Penangite and a Kelantanese. Azizan and Naemah were fair, but they did not resemble each other much. Azizan had deep big round eyes and thick jet black short straight hair and rough body built while Naemah looked more like a Kelantan maiden, dainty and with blood vessels visible at the skin surface of her cheeks and with light wavy hair.

From Rukiah Hanoum Omar Farok (Facebook) 26 March 2011 & 23 May 2012

Rukiah alerted me to a man named Faisal Ghani whom I was informed is the son of Dr Abdul Ghani. At the time I didn't know that this was the Dr Abdul Ghani whom I was searching for; the NUS book had his name written as Abdul Ghani while newspapers reported him as Abdullah Ghani. I had doubts that I had the correct person. I wasn't sure which was the correct name of the doctor. Faisal was a classmate of Rukiah's cousin, Khalid Ariff.

I have tried to contact his son (Faisal) from a number forwarded to me via Facebook but I got no response. I have not managed to contact his family members or descendants at the time of this writing.

Update from Iszham Idris (Facebook), 23 January 2013

The correct name is Dr Haji Abdul Ghani bin Muhammad. Dr Haji Abdul Ghani was known as Tok Cak Tanjung.

His wife is Fatimah. Fatimah's sister is Siti Aminah, whose daughter is Hajjah Zaleha bt Che Long, Iszham's mother. [Dr Haji Abdul Ghani is the husband of Iszham's maternal grandaunt.]

His children are Azizah, Ghazali, Zaitun (Halimah), Abdul Jalil, Muhammad, Fadzilah, Yahya, and Faisal. The first 5 children died young and the last 3 survived to adulthood - Fadzilah, Yahya and Faisal. Fadzilah is a nurse residing in Australia. Yahya and Faisal are residing in Malaysia.

Faisal married and has a daughter.
Iszham's mother is still alive and she remembers Faisal, or his call name Pisol. We await news from both Iszham's mother as well as from Faisal, Dr Haji Abdul Ghani's youngest son.
From me (8 Feb 2013, 4:08 pm): Please note that Faisal on the BOD at CTRM is a different person and not the son of Dr Haji Abdul Ghani. The correct Faisal Abdul Ghani retired from Utusan Malaysia (refer to comments by his daughter below).

What we know so far
Paternal Grandparents
Grandfather: Abdul Muthalib bin Muhammad
Grandmother: Zaharah Nordin

Father: Muhammad bin Abdul Muthalib
Mother: Siti Zalekha bt Mohd Ayub

Siblings: 7
  1. Ihsaniah
  2. Syariah
  3. Zainal Rashid
  4. Ismail
  5. Capt Mohamed Noor bin Mohamed, a retired Penang Free School teacher 1964 (m. 1. Aminah (Puteh) Che Din, 2. m. Nacar Abdul Hamid, 3. m. Khairun Che Din)
  6. Sulaiman
  7. Dr Haji Abdul Ghani (m. Fatimah)
            Children: 8
  1. Azizah (deceased young)
  2. Ghazali (deceased young)
  3. Zaitun (Halimah) (deceased young)
  4. Abdul Jalil (deceased young)
  5. Muhammad (deceased young)
  6. Fadzilah
  7. Yahya 
  8. Faisal 

Dr Haji Abdul Ghani 
  1. Member, Sultan Sulaiman Club Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur 1932
  2. Kedah State Surgeon 1958. 
  3. Spoke at a ceremony in Alor Star where 11 blood donors received medals 14 Feb 1958
  4. Health Officer, Butterworth 1964
  5. Chairman of the Penang branch/division of the University of Malaya Graduates' Society 24 March 1964

The Straits Times, 15 Feb 1958, p. 9. Kedah Wants More Blood.
The Straits Times, 24 March 1964, p. 5. Penang Grads Pick Officials.
The Straits Times, 7 Nov 1964, p. 10. Doctor's Son Missing Since Wednesday.

His former home was in Babington Avenue, Penang (1964). Dato' Anwar Fazal Mohamed knows the place and will seek details of its sale from the Committee that maintains it today - it is now a dining place.

Tanah Perkuburan Bayan Lepas, Penang
He is interred at Tanah Perkuburan Islam in Bayan Lepas, Penang. The cemetery is close to his village in Bayan Lepas.

- - - - - -

Update 11 & 23 January 2013

I met Rukiah earlier this year (11 January 2013) at my late mother's house in Penang. She came to pick up my books for Datuk Zubaidah and herself, and for 2 other contributors - Mohd Aiyub Mohd Aziz and Khalid Ariff. I had mentioned "Omar Ariff" to Rukiah because I forgot the correct name (Khalid Ariff). I actually forgot about the piece of information about Faisal and his father, and therefore, I did not ask her about the father and son when I met her. I totally forgot this matter.

501452 Flyer

This is the other flyer I made with Easy Flyer Creator 3.0. This is 8.5 x 11 inches, and the resolution is 300 dpi.

Commercial background, tree, grass and clouds. Book face on.
Real tree and clouds near KB Mall, Kota Bharu. Front and back cover. LCCN, ISBN, Blogger and Facebook linked.

501451 Flyer

I made a flyer for the main book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. I made it with a program named Easy Flyer Creator 3.0 which I obtained from Giveaway of the Day. The dimensions are 8.5 x 11 inches. It has bleed etc but I could not fit the text within the space allotted and I might have used the bleed space at the border. Resolution is 300 dpi.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

City of Perth and Nedlands

Is it good to study in Nedlands? Yes, definitely. Is it good to make a second home in Perth/Nedlands? Yes, definitely. What is the living standard like in Perth/Nedlands? High. You can check the rental rates of hostels, apartments, colleges, and hotels just to get an idea. There are also bed and breakfast rental units @ AUD110-AUD120/night. Budget hostels are AUD547 for 5 nights. Residential colleges are AUD50-AUD65/night. There are exclusive homes for short-term rental.

Perth skyline 3 Oct 2012. Photo by Muhammad Ibrahim Adzim.

100 on 100

The University of Western Australia (UWA) will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary on 8-10 February 2013. I am flying on the 9th February and reaching on the 10th Feb. I will be there on the last day. I saw the red lights on Winthrop Hall in photos and I asked Affandi why they painted that hall pink. Affandi said the hall stays the same colour except they have coloured lights on at night. And there will be special display of lights (peacock colours) when it celebrates its 100th anniversary. I am thrilled about lights and that was how I landed myself in physics and coloured lasers in my undergraduate days.
The UWA Crawley campus is widely acknowledged as the most beautiful university campus in Australia and one of the most beautiful in the world. - UWA 2013

Meet Daisy Yvette Jansz

She is the youngest of 4 sisters and the daughter of Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos, an early Malay doctor. I last met Daisy Yvette in Perth in 1989, then we lost touch after that. In October 2012 last year, we managed to locate her again with the help of my cousins. Affandi then went to Western Australia to meet her. I called her on the phone to get her father's story - his car in Port Dickson and posting to Singapore. She said he returned with a big car and a baby boy. I'm going again to Perth in February 2013 to meet her and give her my books on The Early Malay Doctors. I'm also giving her a pack of photo albums which I'm putting together now. She's thrilled. Hopefully, these will help bring back stories from the past and we can have better stories for the books on The Early Malay Doctors next time.

Daisy Yvette 10 September 2012. Photos by Muhammad Ibrahim Adzim.
Daisy's family
Daisy's father: Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos (born 10 December 1903 in Penang), an early Malay doctor, a third generation Tamil Muslim in Malaya. Portrait was probably just after graduation from the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore, aged 27 circa 1930-31, before he married his first wife Catherine.
Daisy's mother: Catherine Daisy de Coursey Bulner (born 5 March 1911 at Kandy, Ceylon), a third generation Burgher Catholic, 1952 (aged 41)
Daisy's 3 sisters (Tamil-Burgher) and adopted brother (Danish-Chinese). Daisy (15) is leftmost. 1952
Daisy Yvette (23), fourth generation Tamil-Burgher (born 17 July 1935). circa 1958
Daisy Yvette's (24) marriage to Robert Jansz at St Mary's Church, Kuala Lumpur. 1959

Friday, 18 January 2013

Meet Muni

My former dorm & form mate Muni runs a travel and tours company. Muni is Wan Munirah bt Dato Wan Puteh, a Kuala Lumpur girl. Her company is Leisure & Incentive Tours Sdn Bhd, based in Malaysia. Muni started her company very early after we completed college at the famed Tunku Kurshiah College (TKC) in Seremban.

I penned my experiences in the leisuretoursmalaysia blogspot. - Muni

She blogs about her experiences first-hand and they reveal a lot of insights from a seasoned traveler who surely knows Malaysia inside out! Muni puts up a lot of very good photos of the places covered by her tour packages. You can't see these interesting and lovely photos anywhere else but on Muni's blogs and in her Facebook. Not many travel & tour operators can do this as expertly as Muni has.

I have certainly learnt a lot about the Malay people and their culture from Muni's blogs and Facebook. Please join me and visit Muni's blogs and Facebook. Get your family to try some of her tour packages, and get to know Malaysia better.

Contact Us:
Leisure & Incentive Tours Sdn Bhd
No 7C-2, 7th Floor, Wisma Pahlawan 
Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur 
Tel 03-2260 2667 / 4667 
Fax 02-2260 5667 


I first heard about FELDA from a contributor for my books. He was arwah Aris bin Abdul Aziz from Muar in Johor, a nephew of Dr Hamzah bin Taib, an early Malay doctor. He told me about the founding of FELDA and mentioned a few names. Today I saw another name connected with the founding of FELDA (in one of the book links below).

There is another book about the FELDA smallholders. The book was distributed to them, which stirred controversy. Affandi saw the book ad at an office in KL today where our son Muhammad went for an interview. Affandi called me to inform of this book. I checked the Internet and got this information below. I've not seen the book yet. Have you?

Najib: rakyat didahulukan, pencapaian diutamakan:
Perdana Menteri Malaysia ke-6

by Aizudin Mohamad Muaz
Published by Creative Learning Minds
ISBN 9789834454-7-7

External links:

What Raja are you?

Raja means ruler. Any Raja name means a royalty or person born of royal birth. But there is also a term called Raja Celup. I had thought it was a hybrid but I was wrong. Raja Celup means a person inappropriately using a Raja prefix in his/her name when he/she is not of royal birth. How then did people get to use the Raja prefix in their names when they are not supposed to?

I read this interesting web page and it should answer some of the doubts we have about dubious Raja names we see today.

I have summarised the Raja name prefix as follows:

  1. The Raja name prefix is inherited from the father to the sons (princes). The girls are Putri (princess).
  2. A Chinese cannot have a Raja name prefix. There is no such thing as Raja something for a Chinese male or female. A Chinese cannot inherit a Raja name prefix.
  3. There are Malay Raja names.
  4. There are Indian Raja names.
  5. There are no Chinese Raja names.
  6. A Raja name is likely a Malay, an Indian or an Indian descendant.
  7. A Raja name has Indian ascendants.
  8. Malay males have Raja name prefix while females have Putri name prefix.
  9. Indian males have Raja name prefix while females have Dewi name prefix.
  10. A Raja marries a Putri = the child is a Raja (son) or Putri (girl)
  11. A Raja marries a Tengku = the child is a Raja (son) or Tengku (girl)
  12. A Raja marries a Tunku = ?
  13. A Raja marries a Tun = ?
  14. A Raja marries an Engku = ?
  15. A Raja marries an Ungku = ?
  16. A Raja marries a commoner without a title = ?
  17. Nowadays, there are females with Raja names even though Raja is reserved for males
Some complex names are listed below:
  1. Ratna Dewi
  2. Ratna Wati Dewi
  3. Ratana Sri Dewi
  4. Seri Dewi Ratana
  5. Raja Ratna Dewi
  6. Raja Sri Dewi Ratna Sari
  7. Sari Dewi Ratna 
  8. Maha Rani 
  9. Maha Ratu Dewi Sri 
  10. Ratu Dewi
  11. Dewani
  12. Diwa

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Newspapers of the World

How many newspapers are there in this world? Many. What newspapers do university libraries subscribe to? Many. Which newspapers are free? No idea.

Adelaide University Library - newspapers listing

Straits Times Suspended 14 February 1942 issue; resumed 7 September 1945 issue

British Library - full-text, word-searchable, newspapers listing; many not available for online reading outside the British Library reading room in London

Nineteenth Century Serials Edition (NCSE) 

Digitised newspapers in Singapore

Maritime History of Port Nelson, New Zealand

I was searching for when photos were first captured and printed in Malaya and Singapore. I came across another unexpected website that had ships arriving at Port Nelson, South Island in NZ as chronicled by the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle. The Nelson Examiner was first published on the 12th of March, 1842. The images of 1850s-1860s were wood engravings. The B/W photos were from after 1870s. Communication was by telegraph. Steamers plied between Australian and NZ ports. Ships from London sailed via Suez to India to Melbourne to Port Nelson.

Search Results for Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle

Pastpapers NZ

Photographers in Early Malaya and Singapore

There were many photos taken in Malaya and Singapore by a few photographers. I have managed to trace them by names on picture postcards (ppc) in books and from discussions in Facebook. Muzium Kelantan also contacted me to request for help to locate 2 names which we didn't know who they were. I think all the names I have seen so far have appeared either in museums and also at the link below. Some families and their relatives today may know more. The photographers' names appeared in many ways, sometimes only the last name (surname) and other times, abbreviated first and second names and the full surname.

Photographers in early Malaya and Singapore from the Janus Photograph Collection:

These photographers were:
  1. GR Lambert - 1879, he covered early photos of the harbour and ships in Siam, Penang and Singapore.
  2. Charles J Kleingrothe - during British East India Company in Sumatra. I remember writing about the origin of the word Kleingrothe (keling roti).
  3. August E Kaulfuss (1896-1909) - he took photographs of Jack Fenner in Perak (see Insun Sony Mustapha Fenner in Facebook). He usually wrote his name as Kaulfuss or A. Kaulfuss.
  4. Leonard Wray (1852-1942)
  5. William Langham-Carter (1869-1940) - he maybe the person Muzium Kelantan was trying to search when I went to Muzium Kelantan long ago. It was probably him who left 2 British photo albums with the Sultan of Kelantan before he returned to Britain. There is also a professor at the Dept of English, University of Hong Kong who is looking for his ancestor named Carter but he said his ancestor did not go far south as Malaya.

Previous related post:

People who have served BAM:
  1. Hugh Bryson (died 1977), Secretary 1952-1967
  2. GR Lambert, official photographer to the King of Siam, 1879; Lambert and Co. 1879-1918
  3. Alexander Koch, assistant photographer, Lambert and Co 1883-1884; later as manager
  4. HT Jensen 1908-1910 - his photo is in 'Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya.'
  5. H Nugent Buckeridge managed Lambert and Co 1914-1917; became independent commercial photographer in Singapore-WWII
  6. Charles J Kleingrothe
  7. August E Kaulfuss
  8. Leonard Wray (1852-1942) entered Perak Civil Service 1881
  9. William Langham-Carter (1869-1940); cadet in Straits Settlement 1890; held several posts in Province Wellesley 1895-1897 and 1907-1913; Singapore 1898-1906; British Adviser in Kelantan 1913-1916; Singapore judge 1916-1922; Resident-Councillor in Malacca 1922-1925; retired 1925.

Google or Babylon Image Search Results by photographer:

William Langham-Carter photos (59,600)

William Kerr worked in the Customs Department, Kelantan in 1914. In 1920 he was the Supervisor of Customs. He received/left 2 photo albums to William Langham-Carter, which were then handed to the Sultan of Kelantan. The albums were dated 1915. It showed a British doctor's carriage.

Frank Swettenham and Maps of the Straits Settlements

Frank Swettenham

I have an old photo of a white man (possibly a young Frank Swettenham) and there was some tulisan Jawi at the bottom which I can't read. Did Frank Swettenham have a moustache? Will search and upload when I find it again.

Frank Swettenham's publications:

Maps of the Straits Settlements (SS)


This post is about Bhadralok or gentlemen. You can read about it at Wikipedia.

In many Asian and European communities, there are clearly defined human classes which don't seem to go away, even with human rights and Islam where all humans are accepted as equal. I have just learned of the Bhadralok today. Not only that, there is Babu, Mirza, Raja, Nawab, etc. When I wrote my books involving some of these name prefixes, I didn't know there was meaning attached to these name prefixes. They are more than names and indicate the class position within a society, in this case, the Bengal society.

The British came to the Bengal region after the collapse of the Mughal Empire. The existing southern Indian empire also expanded northward into the Bengal region. Sure enough, it was chaotic and there were tripartite clashes. Of course people took sides. Those who sided with the British were the middle class as well as the upper middle class and the ruling elite families. So the terms above were used to describe their affinity or closeness to the ruling British regime at the time. I take it that names without these prefixes were those of the common folk of the lower classes at that time? I don't think so we attach class meanings to these prefixes nowadays? I maybe wrong.

Historical maps of India 1893:

Deutsche Botschaft Singapur

Deutsche Botschaft Singapur or German Institutions in Singapore. I was looking for the German Embassy in Singapore and tried searching for "Deutsche ..." and got the German Embassy in Singapore.

This link gives a list of German contacts in Singapore:

This link explains about legalization of documents and access to documents:

This link describes the work of the German missions:

German Political Archive:

The language division:

The German Club in Singapore 1856:

History of the German Embassy in Singapore:

Contact & email:

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
#12-00 Singapore Land Tower
50 Raffles Place
Singapore 048623
T: (+65) 6533 6002
F: (+65) 6533 1132

Meet Affandi

Affandi is the man who came to marry me at my mother's house in Penang. My family was delighted when he arrived at the front gate that wedding night. I was in the bridal chamber when my sister came running to me and asked, "Is he the one with a powdered face as white as a monkey?!" LOL. Yes, I remember that. Affandi had no idea that his face was painted so white! I asked him many years after we got married why he painted his face white that night when he came to marry me. Affandi explained he had never won powder before and on that wedding night the people around him said he should apply some facial powder. And they applied the chalk white Chinese powder, which is sold as a hard cake. But the funny thing is they applied so much powder that he did look funny. We had to remove some of his thick white facial powder so that he looked proper for the wedding. Sometimes it tickles me that men also have to apply powder on their face on their wedding day. That's Malay style I think.

Affandi has been supporting me and my research on The Early Malay Doctors since its beginning up till now. Sometimes he did the interviewing and asking while I listened and tried to understand. He is bestowed with a good voice. He also has very good memory and I only need to ask him what somebody said and he will blurt and regurgitate what he heard or understood. So I have never used a digital tape recorder for my research on The Early Malay Doctors and I don't have any regrets. Affandi still has the video recording of the interview with Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail. We haven't converted it to MP3.  That will be the next phase in this research, insyaAllah - to document all evidence in some portable form electronically. It will take a lot of planning before I will do the necessary archiving and distribution to interested parties.

Haji Affandi bin Haji Hussien, speech-language pathologist & Head of Audiology and Speech Pathology Unit, Hospital USM, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan. Contact **** and in Facebook.

Affandi has served USM since 1981. His 55th birthday is on 20 January 2013. InsyaAllah, we will have nasi briyani for his birthday lunch in my department. 

Affandi attended school in Pahang. He attended the St Thomas Primary School in Kuantan, Pahang. Affandi grew up in the hands of his step-mother since age 6. He helped his step-mother to sell nasi lemak since age 6. He woke up early in the morning to cook rice and prepare sambal ikan bilis, cut the cucumber and boiled the eggs. Then he packed the rice, and placed all in a basket, and went to sell them at the police barrack in Bukit Galing, Kuantan in Pahang. The money obtained from the sales of nasi lemak was given to his step-mother. With so much duties to do for his siblings and the food selling to do, Affandi left school at age 15 (Form 3). He never went back to school but went to work as a bilal at Masjid Pasir Mas, under the tutelage of an Arab-Malay Imam, Haji Othman, from whom he studied the Quran verbally. He had good memory and can recite the Quran very well. At that stage, he had never learnt the Jawi script in the Quran but he could recite any verse as taught by Haji Othman. Later Haji Othman died and Affandi was left alone without a Quran teacher to guide his recitations. He went to work for another Imam, this time under the tutelage of Haji Loh Lubok Tapah, within Pasir Mas. Since Affandi had no money to pay Haji Loh, he went about cleaning the living quarters of the pondok at Lubok Tapah instead so he could stay on and learn from Haji Loh and the other students at the pondok. Then he left to work as a janitor at the government office (MPKB) in Kota Bharu. There he learnt of the many government servants and the nature of their jobs. He made a few friends, some of whom have remained his friends till today. He then went to work as a piling assistant in the rural areas, planting telephone and electricity poles (tiang letrik) in the rural areas, so these areas could have electricity as well as telephone connection. Then he went to work as a clerk at a school in Batu Uban, within Pasir Mas. He helped the teachers to fill in forms for higher studies. Then he applied for a job at USM in Penang. He became a clerk at the USM main library in Penang in 1981. Then he met me in June 1982 and we got married on 25 June 1983. Affandi came to live in my mother's house in Penang after we married. Of course my mother pampered him and fed him all the lovely food of a continental menu. It was the first time that Affandi ever tasted toast, butter and jam at breakfast. He liked jam so we always buy a bottle of strawberry jam for him and make sure there is toast, butter and jam for him at breakfast. That's what I call over pampering. When Affandi married me, he decided to continue his studies to match my status (I had my MSc). He continued to do his MCE/SPM and HSC by postal studies. I also enrolled him for driving lessons in Penang so he could take over driving my car, and for good. I stopped driving since I got married to him. It should not mean that I don't know how to drive. But I don't drive like crazy as in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!! 

Affandi and I moved to Kubang Kerian in Kelantan, in September 1983, less than 3 months after we married. In Kelantan, I was able to meet Affandi's family for the first time. I never met the family before we married. It was then that I knew there was a lot I had to do for his siblings. We went to get some food, clothing and school items for the kids. Their food cupboard at home was always bare. In the early 1980s, the Malaysian economy was bad and salaries were small. Affandi earned $200 a month, and always sent his salaries home but it was not sufficient to make ends meet. The younger siblings were stark naked. The family was often without food. Rent was $50/month at the time. The living conditions were appalling - the roof leaked so badly that one night's shower was enough to awaken everyone except the little ones who just slept through, drenched! I held on to my prayers and helped out as much as I could to get his family back on their feet, fed and feel human. While some of the boys wanted to leave school, we managed to encourage all the siblings to continue school. Alhamdulillah, everyone completed school at Form 5. Affandi tended to the form-filling chore which he was good at, and some of the boys managed to obtain scholarships and got good jobs. Affandi and I can only thank Allah SWT for saving his family and pulling them out of abject poverty. Now I understand what poverty really means. Syukur, Alhamdulillah.

When I went to do my PhD in Australia, I brought Affandi along so he could pick up on English, both written and spoken. It was his first time being overseas and seeing big white people with strange enough behaviours. He managed to enroll at TAFE College in New South Wales. He also managed to enroll for studies at Sturt College in Perth. He also enrolled for various studies at TAFE College in Perth. Altogether, he has certificates in medical records, hospital administration, etc. He also managed to enroll for Quran reading at Marion Mosque in Adelaide and at Perth Mosque when we lived in Perth. The Turkish Imam Salem at Marion Mosque taught him how to read Jawi script in the Quran. The Egyptian Imam Muhammad at Perth Mosque taught him Tajwid for Quran reading & recitation. So over the 4 years we lived in Australia, Affandi learned to read the Quran Jawi script and recitation. He also went to Makkah and there was an Imam there (could be a malaikat) in Masjidil Haram who listened to his Quran recitation and corrected him. Affandi managed to complete (khatam) his Quran reading/recitation each time he went to Makkah and Madinah. He has mastered Quran reading and recitation so well, that is it a blessing for him to be able to recite some long Surah in his night prayers (Qiamullail). He has never stopped reciting the Quran nor performing the Qiamullail. In his spare time, Affandi reads the Quran, fasts and prays. He has a large collection of Quran and Islamic books. He also inherited my father's Islamic books. He also returns to visit some pondoks and the orphanages in Kota Bharu, mainly to help out the poor kids since he understands them better than most people do. He will speak to the caretakers and I get second-hand information from him if there is anything we must do to help. 

When I went to do my first Sabbatical Leave at Royal Perth Hospital, I brought along my family. From Perth, Affandi applied for a place at UKM to do a degree in speech pathology. UKM accepted him and I cut short my Sabbatical Leave and we flew back to Kelantan, so that Affandi could go to study at UKM. Since Affandi was "over age" to obtain any scholarship for his studies at UKM, we decided to use our savings. Affandi was on "no pay leave" when he did his degree at UKM for 4 years. We were already living in our own house and both of us paid our dues to the government. But since Affandi had no pay during his time at UKM, I received an eviction order from the government. It was a big blow to me. I had to quickly decide what to do because Affandi was far away and I was on my own in Kelantan, and with 5 small kids in tow - one baby was on bottle milk, two toddlers were preschoolers and 2 kids were in primary school. I had no choice but to pay Affandi's half of the dues to the government. Altogether, I paid approximately $2,000 monthly till Affandi graduated and got back his pay. We were lucky as during that difficult period I was promoted and had a little bit extra money to pay for his education and our house. He was commuting monthly by bus between KL and KB. We decided to get a car (a Wira) so he could car pool and travel to clinics for his practical clinical sessions at the various places as assigned by his teachers at UKM. I had my last child when Affandi was in his final year. Affandi completed his degree in 2000. We then went on our first Hajj together via Tabung Haji. We made it! Alhamdulillah.

Affandi has a Chinese father and a Malay-Chinese mother. His Chinese surname is Wong. Nee how ma? How pu how? His mother's village is Kg Gajah Mati in Jalan Gajah Mati, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, near the Baptist Church. His father's village was a Chinese concentration camp made by the British to protect their Chinese citizens from the Japanese slayings during WWII. The camp was located in Kuala Balah, midway between Gua Musang and Jeli. The family then relocated to Jalan Hamzah in the post-war, becoming one of the wealthiest Chinese family in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. That's history. But fate has it and Affandi's father turned to Islam at age 21 while in the British police force based in Kota Bharu. Conversion to Islam was not allowed during that time. So his father kept it a secret. It was only made known at the time of his marriage. Then the family went to live in an old palace at Nilam Puri. The rest is history.

I asked Affandi a few times what he wanted to be when he was a little boy. Affandi said he had always wanted to become a doctor!! Even though he did not become a doctor, Affandi's work today draws him close to patients who need his service. Affandi is blessed with a soft spot in his heart when he attends to his patients. He reads the Quran and prays Solat Dhuha before he sees his patients. He is calm when he attends to them. He knows that Allah SWT sees and helps him in his work. He has to remind his patients to read the Quran and also pray. I am surprised to come to know that most patients do not pray. I am happy that Affandi is doing well today, coming from a difficult childhood. Subhanallah, Walhamdulillah, Walaa ila ha-ilallah, Wallahuakbar.

Affandi was born in a house by Sungai Kelantan.
View Rumah tepi sungai in a larger map.

Penang Wooden Homes

Early Malay houses in Penang were tiny wooden homes on stilts, a little bit bigger than the Orang Asli huts. Today, they have a brick base and a wooden upper floor. Sometimes the lower floor is walled to create additional space for the family. These homes no longer use atap nipah and most homes use corrugated Addex sheets or some fire-proof roofing materials. The exterior is painted with black oil and the brick is painted chalk white. In the dark, only the painted white bases are seen.

While house owners pay a premium for living in comfortable concrete homes, many Malay people still prefer wooden homes as they are airy and ventilation is better. However, with today's climatic changes and the atmosphere warming up globally, even these wooden homes are affected. It is now very hot in the wooden homes and impossible to live in without fans or air-conditioning. That's how bad the weather has worsened and affected Malay life in these wooden homes. I have not measured the temperatures inside these wooden homes but it was very hot when I was at home in Penang. Sometimes I wonder whether it is the hot weather that has affected the Malay people and caused the rise in kidney problems among the Malays and the rising statistics of those who died of renal complications. There is an urgent need to keep these homes as cool as they were once before despite increasing global temperatures.

I'm not sure what we can do but I think we have less big trees today than before. We have more cars and thus more pollution today than before. We also have more acid rain today than before, which kills the grass and ground cover, and drains the topsoil of nutrients, so nothing much can grow on poor topsoil. There are concrete pavements everywhere and no more dusty foot paths with just grass as before. There are less bushes than before and thick concrete fences fill almost all homes instead. There is more cement in the garden than lawn nowadays. All these make the wooden homes hotter inside and unbearable at noon and at night when heat is trapped in the homes. I have heard inhabitants complained but there is nobody to lend a helping hand or give some answers to the wooden home owners. Instead, we continue to build concrete skyscraper homes. Who needs these sky-high concrete homes? Haven't we given thought to the plights of the wooden home owners? Should we give wooden home owners the onus of "no taxes to be paid" since they are helping to keep the living spaces green and livable? We can raise the tax for concrete homes instead so we drive the message home and stud the dry brains with some good thoughts.

That's me beside my car at my late mother's wooden home. My late grandfather's semi-wooden home is in the background.

Monday, 14 January 2013


I have always wondered what the word "siantan" meant. I've heard it many times but I never knew what it meant. Today, I found the word at a botanical blog and it points to the ixora plant. To the Malay people, it is called siantan or tudung periuk, and the related Malay ballad is Seri Siantan or Sri Siantan.

Siantan or tudung periuk (Ixora). Photos were taken at the USM Herbal Garden, Health Campus, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.
When I wrote my books on the early Malay doctors, and covered the origins of Bugis people, I had thought that Siantan was an island, and therefore the people from "that island" were referred to as Orang Siantan. Just my imagination, because I don't know this Malay language that well to make sense of that word. Well, at least now I know what "siantan" is. A synonym is tudung periuk, and I wonder why. The Malay language is mysterious, and many Malay words have a hidden meaning.
A storm lasting nine days and nine nights stalled their journey and they found refuge among the Indonesian islands. Arong Abdul Rasul and his entourage anchored at Pulau Siantan, Kepulauan Anambas in Indonesia, which became their new home. They established a village, planted paddy and erected mosques. It was recorded by a scribe, Haji Jaafar, that the famous Bugis Daing warrior brothers came to the Riau Archipelago at about this time.
Three generations of Arong Abdul Rasul remained at Pulau Siantan – himself, his son Arong Muda and Arong Muda’s son Daing Abdul Latiff. The fates of the other two brothers, Arong Mustafa and Arong Marang, are unknown at the time of writing.Dr Abdul Latiff’s great-great-great grandfather was Arong Muda (Pulau Siantan),[1] who had three children, two sons and a daughter – Daing Abu, Daing Abdul Latiff and Daing Mahaya.Dr Abdul Latiff’s great-great grandfather was Daing Abdul Latiff (Pulau Siantan),[2] who had nine children, eight sons and a daughter – Omar, Maimon, Jumaat, Abdul Rahim, Haji Abdul Karim, Haji Tahir, Khamis, Haji Mohamed Kassim[3] and Haji Mohd Ali.

[1] Also styled Arong Muda Pulau Siantan, to mean Arong Muda of Pulau Siantan where he resided.[2] Also styled Daing Abdul Latiff Pulau Siantan, to mean Daing Abdul Latiff of Pulau Siantan where he resided.[3] It is possible that Haji Jaafar could have been the son of Haji Mohamed Kassim.
I know from the old days, ladies would wear the red ixora florets in their buns and when the petals dried out, one by one they fell to the ground. Of course men could trace the ladies' trail by following the fallen ixora florets.

I remember sucking the nectar from the red, pink and yellow ixora florets. There's also the Malaysian Ixora vehicle (van). I wonder why we never used Seri Siantan for our Ixora vehicles.

I have tried planting ixora but it always died. Almost all Malay homes plant this ixora plant except my house. I have to learn how to grow this plant so that my home can also be grouped as a Malay home. Trying my best for 30 years now!! LOL.

External links:
Siantan, tudung periuk or ixora:
Bugis kings in Riau-Lingga-Johor:

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Raden Ahmad of Pattani (2)

This is my second post on Raden Ahmad of Pattani.

I had received a phone call from Ustaz Wan Mohd Hazim bin Wan Abdullah bin Raden Ahmad on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at approximately 9.59 am when I was in Penang. The phone reception was unclear but I can provide this information for the time being.

Ustaz Wan Mohd Hazim wanted to know who was the wife/who were the wives of Raden Ahmad.

Ustaz Wan Mohd Hazim is the grandson of Raden Ahmad as mentioned by Haji Wan Abdullah Saghir. Ustaz Wan Mohd Hazim lives at Kg Sg Palah in Kota Kubang Labu and teaches at SMK Sg Pinang. The area is called Pasir Pekan. He said since Pattani is chaotic (huru-hara), he can't go there to do business.

I couldn't hear him well so I can't write more.

Ustaz Wan Mohd Hazim can be contacted at 09-7181-575 in Kelantan.

External links:

Hashimah Hussien

This is Affandi's youngest sister. She is married to a Motorola engineer based in Penang. She has 5 kids, the eldest is working as a pharmacist in Ipoh. The others are doctors-to-be. All her kids studied at the religious schools and memorise the Quran (hafiz & hafizah).


Xlibris Videos

Here are some Xlibris videos & tutorials on YouTube:

Top 5 submission mistakes
Publishing videos

What I have learned from the videos:
  1. Some stories/books are good to make videos for them
  2. There are very few good videos that are captivating
  3. Some objects/elements/silhouettes are used repeatedly in many different videos
  4. Commonly used pic/silhouettes are girl leaving home, lovers running uphill, lovers running down a street, a little girl walks in the fog holding hands with an adult, girl in prayer, leaves moving as the wind blows on trees and sun's rays coming through to reach the ground, the universe, starburst, stardust, the stars, etc
  5. The video portrays a real human whereas the book cover depicts a cartoon; which is true?
  6. Some videos have very good graphics & photos
  7. Some subtitles/text are blur and were difficult to read fast
  8. Some fonts are not popular and it was difficult to make out the words
  9. Professional narrations have good diction and American English is used. They are lively and nice to listen to
  10. Sometimes the title seems to portray a white man's story but the photos are of black people; which is correct?
  11. Most authors spoke in a sad voice or tone; I got very upset after listening to them. Some choked towards the end of their narrations. Didn't they audition first?
  12. A few authors sat in the same brown leather chair. Was it a studio or the authors' homes?
  13. Most authors are elderly
  14. There are some good and useful titles for university students to read
  15. There were many stories of the past, memories of pain and suffering, memories of death of a loved one, memories of adoption, memories of child abuse, etc
  16. Nobody wrote about kings except there was one about a lost kingdom which featured, probably the US war on Afghanistan or Iraq.
  17. The illustrations & photo quality are quite poor for some videos. Is it the original photo quality used or was it done on purpose to create a scene of the past?
  18. The last slide shows where to buy the book online; sometimes the lines are read
  19. Video clips are either 30 sec or 60 sec, with or without narration. Narration is either the author's voice or that of a professional narrator
My concerns:
  1. If I decide to make a video for each of my books, will my videos resemble any of the present videos? Will any element from past videos be used in my video clips? What background music is suitable for each of my books? Are these background music copyrighted or are they from public domain and free to use? How do I select the music I want?
  2. What impact will videos have on potential buyers? Will potential buyers buy after all?
  3. Is there a possibility of making a great impressive expensive video but getting no sales?

Dean Archers of phoned me while I was in Penang. The phone connection was poor so I asked him to email me too. He gave a few links and I checked them out this morning.

This is what I found out so far:

  1. The email ad for a book as prepared by BookWhirl is very attractive and I like it
  2. The colours used for the email ad makes a book stand out
  3. The text brief describing the book contents is good
  4. The marketing aim is targeted as specified by the author
  5. Most authors are happy about the email ad campaigns prepared for them
  6. The cost looks ok: USD799 for 500,000 email recipients (the one I signed up with Xlibris was for 100 email recipients only)
However, I have a few concerns. My concerns are:
  1. There were no reports of the past years sales of a book advertised via email ad campaigns
  2. I don't know how many universities worldwide teach history that have interest in Asia
  3. I don't know if foreign professors even know Malaya/Malaysia/Singapore, to even suggest using my books for class use
  4. I can subscribe to 500,000 email recipients, but the actual number of interested universities may only be >50%. So I lose 50% on email campaign alone.
I have other concerns. My concerns are:
  1. Books today are heavily advertised for markets and sales
  2. I can subscribe to so many markets and sales campaigns but what is one that is a definite one that will create good sales?
  3. There seems to be a lot of ways to market books (email ad campaign, video clip, TV, radio, magazines, catalogues, book fairs, etc)
  4. What combinations of marketing books are good for a particular book? I can't be subscribing to all marketing modes just to make sales work for my books.
  5. A lot of emphasis is now placed on cross-cultural experiences and exchange