Friday, 11 January 2013

GH Penang

This was my second visit to General Hospital Penang. This time we decided not to disturb Mr Tan Hock Chuan. We parked our car near the cenotaph and went up to the 3rd floor to the director's office. We were greeted and then met Mr Tan. He instantly recognised Affandi and I through the glass door while talking to a staff at the counter.

We left 3 copies of Biography of TEMD, one for Mr Tan Hock Chuan, another for Dato' Dr Yasmin bt Sulaiman, and another for the hospital library. Of course we took a few photos and enjoyed ourselves while we were there. The director had a meeting so I didn't see her.

Mr HC Tan
Block A, GH Penang
Parking lot in front of Block A, GH Penang
Block A, GH Penang viewed from Jalan Sepoy Lines and the polo ground

Meet Assoc Prof Dr Cheah Yu-N

He was my research collaborator. We co-published a lot of stuff on Telehealth, including books.

Assoc Prof Dr Cheah Yu-N
School of Computer Sciences, USM Penang

Meet Dr Zarina Mustafa

Both Prof Asma Ismail (now VC USIM) and Dr Zarina Mustafa (School of Educational Studies, USM) are descendants of the first Malay doctor, Dr Abdul Latiff bin Razak. There's a road named Jalan Doktor Abdul Latiff at the General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (GHKL) which was renamed Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL).

Dr Zarina contributed a lot to make the biography of the first Malay doctor a success. Otherwise I didn't have photos for the biography of Dr Abdul Latiff. She had obtained the photos from her uncle, engineer Zainuddin Dato Yahya. Zainuddin had compiled many photos of his Bugis clan which I used for my book.

I had called Dr Zarina to meet her at her office but Affandi got distracted after solat Jumaat and went to visit his old friend Prof Omar Shawkataly (a Malacca man), while I waited for him, and Dr Zarina waited for me.

I informed Dr Zarina that I was waiting for Affandi at Canselori. She wanted to go somewhere and came to see me at the Canselori. We sat there and talked like kids do. It was good to catch up on old times. She was surprised, happy, stunned, thrilled and lost for words that the books were ready and appeared right before her eyes, in her very own hands!! Nobody could imagine that the books would be out after 10 years of research. Yes! We made it after all!! Alhamdulillah. Thanks to all team members who helped. Now we have books which we can share.

Dr Zarina leading the way (Kami Memimpin)
School of Educational Studies, USM

Azeeza Begam Habib Noohu

Habib Noh's desendants
Her father's name takes after the famous Muslim saint of Singapore, Syed Noh @ Habib Noh who is buried at Makam Habib Noh. Azeeza Begam is a descendant of Habib Noh. Link1. Link2.

I first heard of Habib Noh from a distant relative, Azeeza Begam Habib Noohu, when my family gave her a lift to her home in Penang some time in 1982/83. Her house was by the roadside with the front door facing and opening to the road. It was a quaint house with dark green painted walls and it looked a bit "Chinese" and unusual for a family home. She lived there with her mother. I never met her parents.
Both Azeeza Begam and I worked together at the same hospital in Kubang Kerian. This was the newly built Hospital USM (HUSM). It was officially opened in November 1984. Azeeza Begam was in administration as the registrar (pendaftar) and I was a lecturer, doing both administration and academic work. As we both had a lot of work to do in early HUSM, we hardly met while working at the same hospital.

Azeeza Begam and I are of the same age (born 1958). Azeeza Begam feels more connected to me than I am to her. She seeks me more than I seek her.
Azeeza was the woman who had her first C-section after me, using the same surgical instruments which were not properly sterilised after my surgery at HUSM in late April 1984. We both survived the ordeal.
Both Azeeza Begam and I had our first child (daughters) in April 1984, less than 24 hours apart. It was at this time while in our respective hospital beds in HUSM that her mother and relatives came to visit her and I met them for the first time. Our hospital beds were separated by the aisle and green curtains. We could speak to each other while laying in bed.

When I visited her office this morning, the girls there told she had taken early retirement. I was upset as we had not met for so long. I asked the girl (Aishah) for Azeeza's hp#. I called Azeeza during Friday prayer and she came with her daughter to meet me at USM Canselori. It was very nice to meet a relative again after all these years.
It was the first time I met her daughter as I could not get up from my bed to see her daughter in 1984, after surgery back then. I must say that she has a beautiful daughter, with similar first name as my eldest daughter. Her daughter is a mass comm graduate.
I met Azeeza Begam at the USM Canselori in Penang on 11 January 2013. She said a lot of things but I haven't had the time to learn of the details nor digest them fully.
According to Azeeza Begam, "your mother's people" were descended and related to Habib Noh, the famous Muslim saint who died in Singapore. 
I still have some doubts about this. To me, Al-Habshi people are related to my late father's lineage, and not my mother. My late mother's paternal lineage was from Hyderabad in the Deccan plateau, southern central India. According to Azeeza Bagem, Intan's mother and Azeeza's mother were cousins and their parents were siblings and descended from Habib Noh. So, I am right with my doubts. Intan is my uncle's wife. Uncle Din (Kamaruddin bin Dr Che Lah) is my mother's half-brother from the same father. So I am not related to the famed Habib Noh but my uncle's wife and her son are.

Aishah Shahira and Azeeza Begam (right)

Makam Habib Noh

Who was Habib Noh?

Habib Noh is Al Habib Nuh bin Muhammad Al-Habshi, a Muslim saint of Singapore. His grave (makam) is atop a hillock, and not at the usual Muslim cemetery. There is a history about his unusual burial site and why he is buried there. Makam Habib Noh is a must visit site for many Muslim visitors to Singapore.

External links:

Datuk Zubaidah Ariff & Rukiah Hanoum Omar Farok

Kak Rukiah was the first person I texted when I arrived in Penang last night, 10 January 2013 at 8.37 pm. We continued to text each other after she and Datuk Zubaidah had finished dinner at a restaurant. She mentioned the name of the restaurant to Affandi but I didn't hear it clearly and forgot the name. We agreed to meet on 11 January 2013, as Datuk Zubaidah would be on her way out to visit some relatives in Bertam. I was at USM when I received Kak Rukiah's SMS this morning. We rushed home upon receiving her SMS.

I was taking out the books for Datuk Zubaidah and Kak Rukiah when Affandi suddenly frantically called out, "Dia dah datang!" I jumped and my heart raced. I panicked because "Dia dah datang" was the same cry when Affandi first arrived at my mother's gate to marry me. But this time, it was Datin Zubaidah and Kak Rukiah. 

Datuk Zubaidah was a childhood & teenage friend of my mother. They played dolls together. I wrote about it in my book, Biography of TEMD. Her husband Dato Mushir Ariff passed away the same night I had called Datuk Zubaidah when I put up at one of the beach hotels in Batu Ferringhi. She was staying somewhere in Tg Bungah at the time. Later, she moved to the seaside residence at Gurney Drive. 

Since they arrive at my late mother's house (now my sister's house), I said to Affandi to attend to them and take some photos while I continued to pick out the books for them. I had never panicked this bad as I did earlier today. I couldn't even autoraph the books properly for them. Terrible!

Rukiah Hanoum, granddaughter of Sir Kamil Ariff
YBhg Datuk Zubaidah Ariff, wife of Dato' Mushir Ariff (son of Sir Kamil Ariff). I managed to salam this lovely lady.
Kak Rukiah and me. She's also taking the books to give to 2 other contributors - Ayob and Omar. Datuk Zubaidah's car - MA is for Mushir Ariff.

Assoc Prof Dato Mohd Razha Abd Rashid

He is the husband of Prof Dato Dr Wazir Jahan Karim. We didn't get to meet him as he was in a meeting at PPJJ (Pusat Pengajian Jarak Jauh). We were supposed to deliver the book to him. I left the book at the office counter with a lady named Salmiah. Later Dato' informed us he had received the book. He had left his hp in silence mode, for which he did not hear my calls or read my SMS. But I'm happy he has received the book, Biography of TEMD, on behalf of Prof Wazir.

I remember one day when Dato Razha called on my hp when I was at work in USM in Kelantan. I had just returned from Prof Wazir's book launch in KL. He spoke continuously and at the end of it I told him he got the wrong person! LOL. Of course a big laughter ensued. He had wanted to call another lady by the same name as mine about Prof Wazir's books. It happens when one has a very common name like Faridah. Prof Wazir's book launch is mentioned in Biography of TEMD.

Assoc Prof Sr Azlan Raofuddin

Azlan is the son of Dr Nuruddin bin Mohd Salleh, an early Malay dentist mentioned in my books. He had a meeting when we arrived at his office door at HBP (School of Housing, Building and Planning).

Affandi waiting in front of Azlan's office
Azlan's office at HBP

Meet Izham Musa

Izham helped designed the Telehealth logo which appears on the back of the book Biography of the Early Malay Doctors, and also in the book Research on the Early Malay Doctors. We met him while driving; he was going the opposite direction. We know Izham since we first joined the USM Medical School. He was a graphic designer.

Izham (left) and Affandi

Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)

VC's Speech 16 Feb 2012

Biodata Prof Dato' Dr Daing Nasir Ibrahim

Penerbit USM

We also visited Penerbit USM at Taman Buku dan Inovasi Media. This is a low-lying single-storey red open brick & glass building in front of the Penerbit USM main building. The Taman Buku dan Inovasi Media building cannot be viewed from the roadside because it is hidden by the large lecture hall that is in front of it. Negotiations are in progress with Penerbit USM. We talked to Hasleza. Penerbit USM supplies to booksellers in Malaysia and Singapore. It takes 40% off supplier's price. It also hosts books online.

This bunting was seen on the 6th floor of the Chancellory building on 11 January 2013. It says at the bottom: Bahagian Pemasaran, Taman Buku dan Inovasi Media, Penerbit USM. Tel: +604-653 3888 ext. 4433/4953 Fax: +604-633-4431. Web:
The tiny blue signboard of Taman Buku dan Inovasi Media on the wall of the huge lecture hall as viewed from the roadside.
Open brick and glass building of Taman Buku dan Inovasi Media in front of Penerbit USM. Affandi is standing at the main entrance.
Discussion with Hasleza, Izham, Affandi and myself.
Hasleza Abdul Halim
Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 USM Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel: 604 653 4953
Faks: 604 653 4431

Update 17 January 2013
Hasleza wrote back and says Penerbit USM does not want to distribute my books.

Meet USM VC's office

We visited USM VC's office and that of the Dy VC Academic at the Canselori. The VC was out. However, I met him, Encik Mohamad Abdullah and other men who returned from the masjid after Friday prayer. The men wore black baju Melayu cekak musang and kain sampin. They looked elegant as men in black. I did not greet the VC because I wasn't sure it was really him. Azeeza Begam greeted him as she had worked on the same floor as the VC's office. I only confirmed with Azeeza Begam that it was the VC after he left to go upstairs. So I don't have a photo of the VC for this post. Encik Mohamad Abdullah came later to greet Azeeza Begam but I wasn't sure it was him but he recognised me and said to Azeeza Begam: Saya kenal dia tapi dia tak kenal saya.

Norzalinah Shaik Mohamed, Secretary, Office of the VC, Chancellory, USM, Penang. **** Tel: +604-653 3101  Fax: +609-656 5401
Anisah Hussain, Sceretary, Office of Dy VC (Academic and International Affairs), Chancellory, USM, Penang. ****  Tel: +604-653 3295  Fax: +604-656 6699

Meet Sharifah

This is my sister Sharifah who lives in Minden Heights, Penang. She works at the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP), near Masjid Negeri. She has a limited stock of my book, Biography of TEMD. She can be contacted at CAP.

Hajah Sharifah bt Haji Abdul Rashid
It is this sister who has kept my interest in history going all my life. Otherwise I won't even care to write the 2 books I did. She supplied photos from our mother's collection and information for Dr Che Lah's biography.

She only completed schooling until age 15 (Form 3) and then stayed home to help our family while both my parents worked till they retired. She continued to look after our parents in their retirement life till they both passed away. Though she has limited schooling, she has other skills and manages wells by herself. She continued to study from home and completed the MCE and HSC by postal studies. She has a diploma in catering from ITM in Shah Alam. With or without a catering diploma, she is a natural gifted chef and has cooked all our family meals since she left school in 1972. She cooks everything, you just name it and you only have to wait a few minutes at the dining table and she will deliver your ordered dishes direct from the home kitchen. In her spare time, she reads the Quran, fasts, prays and watches TV Al-Hijrah (30 minit bersama Ustaz Don). She took Arabic lessons at Masjid Negeri in Penang, and has a certificate in Arabic speaking. She also has a natural skill for speaking French which she picked up from I don't know where. You can ask her. Nobody speaks French in our family. My sister is one year my senior. As an elder sister, she handles the family estate, wasiat, etc and polices the siblings. She presently earns the label "millionnaire of Cangkat Minden" from her CAP colleagues as she inherits the family home. The houses here are worth approximately between RM3.5 million and RM5 million each. The house was only RM40K when my mother obtained it from her father in 1975. My sister said she is not selling her house.