Monday, 15 July 2013

Virus-hit Saudi Arabia asks pilgrims to wear masks
Saudi Arabia says "wear masks" but USM research says otherwise.

USM 2010 Research Findings:
Our findings showed that wearing facemasks was significantly associated with specific respiratory symptoms, ie, sore throat. It also showed that wearing facemask was associated with prolonged duration of sore throat and fever. This was against the findings of study by AlMudmeigh et al. (2003) which stated the facemasks were the most important practical protective factor.[15] Usual paper and surgical facemasks were not known to provide complete protection from influenza infection. Facemasks are not designed to protect against breathing in very small particles and should be used only once.[27] The hajj pilgrims tend to reuse the facemasks or not follow the proper guidelines using facemasks for optimum protection. 

Short History of Quarantine

The practice of quarantine—the separation of the diseased from the healthy—has been around a long time. As early as the writing of the Old Testament, for instance, rules existed for isolating lepers. It wasn't until the Black Death of the 14th century, however, that Venice established the first formal system of quarantine, requiring ships to lay at anchor for 40 days before landing. ("Quarantine" comes from the Latin for forty.)
Peter Tyson. A Short History of Quarantine. Posted 10.12.04. NOVA

Venice. Internet pic
Middle Eastern outbreak of the plague
The plague struck various countries in the Middle East during the pandemic, leading to serious depopulation and permanent change in both economic and social structures. As it spread to western Europe, the disease entered the region from southern Russia also. By autumn 1347, the plague reached Alexandria in Egypt, probably through the port's trade with Constantinople, and ports on the Black Sea. During 1347, the disease travelled eastward to Gaza, and north along the eastern coast to cities in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, including Ashkelon, Acre, Jerusalem, Sidon, Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo. In 1348–49, the disease reached Antioch. The city's residents fled to the north, most of them dying during the journey, but the infection had been spread to the people of Asia Minor.

Makkah became infected in 1349. During the same year, records show the city of Mawsil (Mosul) suffered a massive epidemic, and the city of Baghdad experienced a second round of the disease. In 1351 Yemen experienced an outbreak of the plague, coinciding with the return of King Mujahid of Yemen from imprisonment in Cairo. His party may have brought the disease with them from Egypt.

The most widely accepted estimate for the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and Syria, during this time, is for a death rate of about a third. The Black Death killed about 40% of Egypt's population. Half of Paris's population of 100,000 people died. In Italy, Florence's population was reduced from 110–20 thousand inhabitants in 1338 down to 50 thousand in 1351. At least 60% of Hamburg's and Bremen's population perished. Before 1350, there were about 170,000 settlements in Germany, and this was reduced by nearly 40,000 by 1450. In 1348, the plague spread so rapidly that before any physicians or government authorities had time to reflect upon its origins, about a third of the European population had already perished. In crowded cities, it was not uncommon for as much as 50% of the population to die. Europeans living in isolated areas suffered less, whereas monks and priests were especially hard hit since they cared for the Black Death's victims.

See also: Black Death Jewish persecutions
Renewed religious fervor and fanaticism bloomed in the wake of the Black Death. Some Europeans targeted "various groups such as Jews, friars, foreigners, beggars, pilgrims", lepers and Roma, thinking that they were to blame for the crisis. Lepers, and other individuals with skin diseases such as acne or psoriasis, were singled out and exterminated throughout Europe.

Because 14th-century healers were at a loss to explain the cause, Europeans turned to astrological forces, earthquakes, and the poisoning of wells by Jews as possible reasons for the plague's emergence. The governments of Europe had no apparent response to the crisis because no one knew its cause or how it spread. The mechanism of infection and transmission of diseases was little understood in the 14th century; many people believed only God's anger could produce such horrific displays.

There were many attacks against Jewish communities. In August 1349, the Jewish communities of Mainz and Cologne were exterminated. In February of that same year, the citizens of Strasbourg murdered 2,000 Jews. By 1351, 60 major and 150 smaller Jewish communities were destroyed. The Brotherhood of the Flagellants, a movement said to number up to 800,000, reached its peak of popularity.

Rat flea is the vector for Yersinia pestis.
Ships carry infected rats which can infect pilgrims.

Plague victims in mass grave.
Positive ID of DNA points to Yersinia pestis infection.
Spread of plague in Europe

Penang Monthly: Penang Influenza 1918

Penang Monthly:
Since the 1870s, the colonial authorities in Penang had an established epidemiological mechanism covering the early detection of infectious diseases from foreign ports and a network of quarantine camps. However, there was a fundamental loophole in the structure: the Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance 1915 did not include influenza in the list of not idenfiable contagious diseases alongside plague, smallpox and cholera. As a result, many influenza-infected immigrants who entered Penang, escaped the colonial authorities’ scrutiny and worsened the epidemic in the colony .
In the Straits Settlements, Penang had the most number of hospitals: five on the island and three in Province Wellesley. Nevertheless, the colonial authorities could not deal with the epidemic effectively as the hospitals were direly understaffed. For the whole of Penang, there were only 16 nurses and three to four doctors serving in the hospitals. Such a severe shortage hence led to high death rates. For instance, it was reported that 267 influenza victims died within 48 hours of admission to the General Hospital of Penang.
Straits Settlements Blue Book for the year 1917.
Judith L. Richell (2006), Disease and Demography in Colonial Burma, Singapore and Copenhagen: NUS and NIAS Press.

See more at:

Penang Development Corporation (PDC)

English names: Penang / Pearl of the Orient; Penang Development Coporation (PDC)
Malay names: Pulau Pinang / Pulau Mutiara; Perbadanan Pembangunan Pulau Pinang (PPPP)

Description of Penang
Penang is made up of a turtle-shaped island with a land acreage of 285 square kilometers, plus a strip of land called on the mainland called Seberang Prai, about 48 kilometers wide.

Since 1985, Penang island has been joined to the mainland by the Penang bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world. There are also international flights that connect directly to Penang International Airport at Bayan Lepas on the island.

PENANG CENTRE, 20 Sept 2011 [cached]
The opening of the Penang centre tomorrow will be officiated by HTC Global Services Inc's vice-president and director Chary Mudumby and Penang Development Corporation's general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar.

Penang Development Corporation general manager is Datuk Rosli Jaafar.
He was encouraging Penangites to donate their blood in a blood donation campaign.
"It is a small effort which will be crucial for someone else, a relative or even ourselves," he added.
He said health checks, a children's colouring contest and face painting were among the activities to be held as part of the campaign.

Contact Us:
Penang Development Corporation (PDC)
Bangunan Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu
No. 1 Pesiaran Mahsuri
11909 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel : (604) - 6340111
Fax : (604) - 6432405
E-mail :

The Penang Industry Advisory Panel members are:
Datuk Seri Kelvin Kiew from Mini Circuits Technologies Malaysia;
Datuk OK Lee president of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) northern branch;
Penang Development Corporation general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar,
Vigilenz Medical Devices Sdn Bhd CEO S Choudhury;
Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce advisor Datuk Faudzi Naim Noh; and
Penang Skills Development Corporation CEO Datuk Boonler Somchit.

The members of the Penang Services Advisory Panel are:
Nik Rahiman Taib, chairman of Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia northern chapter;
Lim Kok Khong, chairman of the Institute of Engineers northern branch;
Penang Health Association chairman Datuk Dr Chan Kok Ewe;
Penang Development Corporation general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar;
Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff, president of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MICCI) Penang branch; and
Marco G Battistotti chairman of the Penang Hoteliers Association.

External links:

Tuan Haji Abdul Hamid bin Desa


Tuan Haji Abdul Hamid was born in Batu 3 Tandop, Mukim Pengkalan Kundur in Kedah on 7 January 1920.

He received his early education at the Tandop Malay School in 1926 and at the Haji Abdul Ghani Religious School in 1930. In 1931, he continued his studies at the Madrasah Hamidiah (now Maktab Mahmud) and Al-Quran studies, guided by Tuan Syeikh Ibrahim Al-Ibyari.

Tuan Hj. Abdul Hamid's involvement in the field of Al-Quran recital begun since he was still a child i.e. at the age of 10. He was the first person to be recognised as the Champion Qari of the first National Musabaqah Al-Quran Recital that was held for the first time on 18 March 1960. Among locations that listened to his recitals were Medan in Indonesia, Johor, Perak, Kelantan, Patani in Southern Thailand, Perlis and Kedah.

He was possibly featured in the Malayan Medical Mission to Makkah in the early 1960s, along with Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos, Tan Sri Syed Hassan Aidid and others.

After 1960, he stopped his involvement in musabaqah in order to give way to the younger generation to compete and he focused on the task of being an educator and taught his students how to recite al-Quran. He was frequently invited to act as judge for musabaqah at the state level from 1962 until 1974.

He continued giving guidance for al-Quran recital to his students until the end of his life. He passed away on 8 April, 1986.


Dato' Seri Syed Nahar bin Tun Syed Sheh Shahabuddin



Dato' Seri Syed Nahar was born on 12 May 1934 in Alor Star, Kedah.

He was educated at Sekolah Melayu Derga, and later at Sekolah Melayu Kulim. He received secondary education in Kedah, at Ibrahim Secondary School in Sungai Petani, and Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star.

Academic qualifications:
He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science from Trinity College in Dublin, Scotland. He pursued studies in Public Administration and Local Government at Bristol University.

He was General Manager, Pilgrims Management and Fund Board (1964-1969).
He was the first Chairman of National Savings Bank (Bank Rakyat).

He was bestowed medals and orders of chivalry - Dato' Paduka Mahkota Kedah (D.P.M.K.) in 1972, the Seri Panglima Mahkota Kedah (S.P.M.K.) in 1985, the Seri Paduka Mahkota Terengganu (S.P.M.T.) in 1985, the Kesatria Mangku Negara (K.M.N.) in 1986 and the Seri Setia DiRaja Kedah (D.S.D.K.).

Who's Who in Malaysia

Ministry of Communication and Multimedia

KKMM: Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia

The Ministry of Communication and Multimedia is a Malaysian government ministry established on 9 April 2009 under Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak, the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

This newly established ministry was formed through the merger of 3 ministries:

1. Ministry of Information;
2. Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage; and
3. The Communications component of the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications.


Chinese Surnames

There are many Chinese surnames and most are short and simple. However, some of a bit longer and need a bit of practice to say them right. The simple ones are Tan, Lim, Yap, Wong, and Ong. The longer ones and have a bit more complex pronunciation are Khoo, Chong, Ching, Kuan, etc.

In Penang hotels, the Chinese temples in the wall frames are usually Khoo Kongsi - elaborate and colourful. I have seen quite a few of the Khoo Kongsi pics and even B/W fine pen drawing.

When I shop at souvenir shops, I look for Chinese souvenirs, usually pendants that bear the Chinese surname, "Wong:.

My last visit to a souvenir shop in Malacca on 4 July 2013 landed me in confusion over two Chinese surnames - Wong and Ong. Wong is a square and fatter design or calligraphy piece. Ong is thin like Eiffel tower. Between the two, the sales girl asked me which I wanted. Not knowing which one was Wong and which was Ong, I asked the girl to point to me which one was Wong. Because I am hard of hearing, it didn't matter whether she said Wong or Ong - I just heard the same! LOL.

I think the best way out of such confusion is either I say "WONG" and "NOT ONG". But the girl said Wong and Ong are similar, though not identical. You should see me trying to purchase two Wong pendants for my daughters - they are Chinese from their Wong-father.

History of Perlis

Malaysian Law and Courts

Malayan/Malaysian Rulers

Detailed list of all rulers, including colonials:

Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohamed Hashim

Born 26 December 1896 in Penang
Educated at Victoria Institution, KL and passed Senior Cambridge

Clerk at the government office in Perlis for 38 years
Officer at Customs Dept (Jabatan Kastam)
Finance officer in Perlis (Pegawai Kewangan Negeri Perlis)

4th Menteri Besar Perlis (1 May 1959-31 December 1971); first MB after Merdeka

UMNO politician
Active in UMNO politics in Perlis
Founded UMNO Perlis Division
Involved in Pilihan Raya Umum Tanah Melayu 1959 (PRU 1959)
Tunku Abdul Rahman (Prime Minister) appointed him as Menteri Besar Perlis after 1959 elections.
Became Menteri Besar Perlis at age 75

Ahli Majlis Perundangan Persekutuan (1948-59)
Pengerusi DBP (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka)

Pengerusi Penasihat Lembaga dan Urusan Tabung Haji (LUTH) /
Chairman of Malaysian Pilgrimage Advisory Committee: 
Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohamed Hashim 
(Menteri Besar Perlis Ke-4)
Source: New Straits Times 4 January 1968

Experienced finance officer (pegawai kewangan berpengalaman)
First chairman of Bank Rakyat (pengerusi pertama Bank Rakyat)

Married _____ ?

Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad became Member of Parliament (MP) Kangar (1982-2008) and Menteri Dalam Negeri (2006-08), and a host of other appoitments; Setiausaha Agung UMNO.
More about Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad: 

Stadium and Hospital Kangar:
Stadium Dato Sheikh Ahmad in Jalan Kolam, Kangar in Perlis was named in his honour, as it was built during his time as Menteri Besar Perlis. The stadium is by Sungai Perlis and Hospital Kangar.
Stadium pic and bkgr: 

Masjid Ahmad, Padang Besar, Perlis:
Located near the Perlis-Thailand border.
Officially opened on 24 December 1971 (6 Zulkaedah 1391)
Structure: Ruma limas bungkus, with 2-tier roof, dome and 2 minarets at sides
Masjid pic and bkgr: Arkib Negara Malaysia

He was awarded the PMP, PMN, PJK and JP.

Biographical source:

Menteri Besar Perlis

The Alhady Family

Dr Syed Mohamed bin Alwi Alhady’s (Dr SMA Alhady) great-grandfather was Syed Ahmad ibn Hasan ibn Saqaf al-Hady [Al-Hady is also spelled as Al-Hadi or Alhady in different accounts.] al-Ba'alawi.  Masjid Ba’alawi in Singapore would have more information on him. Refer Family Tree.

Dr SMA Alhady’s grandfather was Syed Sheikh bin Syed Ahmad Hassan al-Hadi. He was popularly known as Syed Sheikh al-Hadi. His name was written as Al-Syed Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hadi in his books. His grandfather was originally from Kampung Hulu in Melaka but moved to Riau, Singapore, Johor, Melaka and finally settled in Jelutong, Penang. Syed Sheikh bin Syed Ahmad al-Hadi passed away on 20 February 1934 (6 Zulkaedah 1352 Hijrah), aged 67. He is interred at Tanah Perkuburan Masjid Jamek Jelutong in Penang. 

Dr SMA Alhady’s father, Syed Alwi al-Hadi, was the eldest son of Syed Sheikh al-Hadi. Syed Alwi al-Hadi’s hajj of 1954 and the Penang harbour scene are described in Prof. Wazir Jahan Karim’s book, Straits Muslims: Diasporas of the Northern Passage of the Straits of Malacca (2009: 80-81). Syed Alwi al-Hadi wrote in a 1955-account that more than 1,184 pilgrims were leaving on the ship M.Y. Angkeng on 14 June 1954, the third ship to leave Penang wharf, and there were possibly more than 10,000 people sending off their loved ones on the hajj at the wharf .

Dr SMA Alhady's name was styled differently as follows: SMA Alhady, Syed Mohammad Alwi Alhady, Dr Syed Mohamad Alwi bin Syed Sheikh Al-Hady, Dr Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh Al-Hady, Dato' Dr Syed Mohamad Alwi Alhady and Dato' Dr SMA Alhady. He was born in 1921 at his parent’s home at 431 Jelutong Road, Penang—across from Syed Sheikh’s house at 410 Jalan Jelutong. Syed Sheikh al-Hadi’s third wife Sharifah Zainah al-Mashhur had no children but helped looked after Syed Sheikh's eldest grandson, (Dr) SMA Alhady, a week after he was born. Syed Sheikh al-Hadi passed away and SMA Alhady moved to a small attap house with his grandmother. Even though SMA Alhady was from Penang, he was a Johore Government scholar—a part of his scholarship was sent home to support his grandmother in Jelutong, Penang. He enrolled into the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore. His classmate was Abdul Majid bin Ismail (AM Ismail @ Coco), another poor Malay boy on Selangor State scholarship. Abdul Wahab was their senior, who was supported by two scholarships from Penang. SMA Alhady was a second year medical student while Abdul Wahab was in third year in 1942. They boarded at the FMS Medical Students’ Hostel. SMA Alhady and Coco were close friends and they studied together at the FMS Hostel. Dr Abdul Wahab’s 1987 book, Medical Students During the Japanese Invasion of Singapore, 1941-1942, gives a detailed account of their medical studies, their fates when the war broke out in Singapore, and the events leading up to the final capitulation of Singapore. Eight colleagues were killed by Japanese shelling on 14 February 1942. Singapore surrendered on 15 February 1942—its loss in the Battle of Singapore marked the start of Japanese rule on the island. In the postwar, SMA Alhady resumed medical studies at the KE VII in June 1946 and graduated with MBBS degree in 1950 [Lee 2005: 114], along with Coco—five years after the war ended. Dr SMA Alhady performed his housemanship at Penang General Hospital. Dr SMA Alhady and Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail were awarded the 1950 Queen’s Scholarship for postgraduate work. They both went to the United Kingdom together. Dr SMA Alhady undertook postgraduate studies at St George’s Hospital in London where he learned the technique of gastrectomy from Mr Norman Tanner, a renowned gastric surgeon. Dr SMA Alhady then became a gastrosurgeon (gastric surgeon) in Gastroenterology at Penang General Hospital where he headed a Surgical Unit in 1955. He was known as ‘Mr SMA Alhady’ in his circle. He had introduced and performed gastrectomy. Dr SMA Alhady also pioneered a Tetanus Unit at Penang General Hospital. Fadzilah Abdul Ghani (Melbourne) commented that the Tetanus Unit was in a small building attached to the main hospital building. Tetanus incidence decreased with the introduction of the triple vaccine immunization of infants and children which began in 1964 in Malaysia. Immunization was continued for 10 years (1964–74). 

In 1961, Dr SMA Alhady was transferred to General Hospital Kuala Lumpur as Senior Consultant Surgeon. Dr SMA Alhady retired from government service due to ill health, and later entered into private practice in Kuala Lumpur. In 1987, Dr Abdul Wahab wrote in his famous book [Abdul Wahab 1987] that Dr SMA Alhady was in private practice. Dr SMA Alhady was bestowed the Johan Mangku Negara (JMN) federal award in 1964. Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady was first the Assistant Master (1968/69) and then Master of the Academy of Medicine Malaysia (1969–71). Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady was a Fellow of the Akademi Sains Malaysia (Academy of Sciences Malaysia, ASM) since 1995. He was nominated as a candidate from among 50 distinguished names for the retrospective Anak Gemilang Malaysia award [The Star Online, 26 June 2007]. He was an Honorary Member of MAPACS [Lim Yang Kwang 2009]. Dr SMA Alhady was President of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) in 1962. In 1975, Datuk Dr SMA Alhady officially opened the University Malaya Seventh Residential College, known as Za'ba Residential College [Za’ba was Malaysia's great nationalist Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad]. The College housed and provided meals to over 800 undergraduate students at the rate of RM10.00 per day. A pioneer, Dr SMA Alhady was present at the official opening of Maktab Latihan RIDA in Petaling Jaya by Tun Dr Ismail [Arkib Negara Malaysia caption, 2007]. Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady had taught gastrointestinal surgery to many doctors. He became an eminent gastrosurgeon, not only in Penang but in Malaysia. The Malaysian Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons (MAPACS) [MAPACS (Malaysian Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons).] had this to say about him:

“A well respected and experienced surgeon, his foresight and effort created a fertile milieu whereby young impressionable surgical trainees were given invaluable exposures from these regular visits. From 1962 until 1965, visiting surgeons from overseas coming from various subspecialties such as cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery, urology, neurosurgery and plastic surgery took turns, each visit comprising of two to three weeks operating sessions during which the surgical registrars and trainees were given the task of looking after these guests. Through these visits, the neurosurgery department was established in 1964.” [Lim Yang Kwang 2009a; 2009b; Fahmi 2009].

Like his grandfather, Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady was a modernist and a reformist [Wazir Jahan Karim 2009:174]. Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady eventually entered into business. He was reported to have entered into stock investment as Director of SEACORP in Kuala Lumpur in 1994. 

Dr Abdul Wahab wrote in his book that he and Datin Abdul Wahab (Datin Intan) had met Datuk Dr SMA Alhady and Datin Alhady at the Subang International Airport (SIA) [SIA was the international airport before Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang] in 1983. Dr SMA Alhady married Ruby, a Chinese. Dr Abdul Wahab also wrote in his book that Alhady’s family resided in Kuala Lumpur (circa 1983–87). 

In 2007, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Haji Abdul Majid bin Ismail informed the author that Alhady’s family was based in Kuala Lumpur. In August 2008, Dr Abdul Wahab’s wife Datin Intan bt Haji Mustapha, informed the author that Alhady’s family lived in Section 5 in Petaling Jaya. On 19 August 2008, Rosman bin Tan Sri Dr Mohd Din informed the author that Dr SMA Alhady sold his Petaling Jaya home which was behind his (Rosman’s) house (circa 1988–93). 

Dr SMA Alhady’s daughter, Professor Dr Sharifah Fareeda Alhady (SF Alhady), was a cytopathologist at the University Hospital (Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya, PPUM) in Kuala Lumpur and the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya. According to Professor Nor Hayati Othman, Professor Dr Sharifah Fareeda Alhady was with LAN (now MQA, Malaysian Qualifications Agency). She was the Director of the Quality Assurance Division, Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia since 2006 but had left. 

In May 2007, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Haji Abdul Majid bin Ismail recalled that Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady’s wife, Datin Ruby had passed away first and Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady passed away later. On 19 August 2008, Rosman bin Tan Sri Dr Mohd Din informed the author that Dato’ Dr SMA Alhady, his wife and son, have passed away. 

Photo source: Alijah Gordon. The Real Cry of Syed Shaykh al-Hady.
1999: between pages 162-163.