The Dentist and I

Dentists and anything dentist-related are my Achilles heel. From 1965 to 1968, I was at Sultan Abdullah School in Kuantan. Those were memorable days basking in all the attention since it was an all boys’ school and the only girls around were from the Express and Special classes. Every week, if my memory serves me well, an ambulance would come by with a couple of nurses. They would appear at your classroom door and call out what I refer to as the “death roll call”. Whenever I see the ambulance roll into the school’s compound, I would excuse myself and hid in the toilet. There was one occasion when I did not see the ambulance driving in. All I remembered was that the minute I saw the nurses at the door, I disappeared under my table. But my teacher saw me and that was that. A number of us were led to the ambulance-like vehicle – it’s actually a van but painted to look like an ambulance – and was driven to the Dental Clinic at Jalan Gambut. Here you have no choice but to go through the drill … checkup, fill cavities, extraction and advice. So what is so frightening then? The DRILLING and EXTRACTION of course. The sound of the drill is unbearable and the minute it hits a nerve in the pulp cavity, the pain is unbearable. Extraction involves the removal of a bad tooth and therefore, your gums have to go to sleep and this involves injections. You can see the needle so close to your face. 

Throughout my life, I only go to the dentist when the pain is unbearable. No regular checkups for me. Thus my dental works are not as good as it should be. I have always noted that I will “do up my teeth” at the Faculty of Dentistry before I retire, but I never did. Finally my teeth (that means many many tooth) got the better of me and I finally secured an appointment. After a thorough check and x-rays, the Professor ran through the things that needs to be done and the list was long. I waited and waited and waited (it was a very long wait) before I was contacted by Dr. A (that’s not even his real initial for professional reasons) and he said that he’ll be handling my case.

So this is my 6th visit and a lot has taken place. The technology and instruments are much better now. The chair is much more comfortable and you get to put on shades to protect your eyes from the glaring lights. My dentist is really good and the nurses are nice. Up until now I have received numerous injections and I’m ok with it … I chalk this down to the age factor and probably labour pains. But I still HATE the whirring sound of the drills.

Great istruments

My daughters? The eldest … her first ever visit was to a dentist in Ipoh. Her father and I were careless with her and she heard the shouts and screams of another child. From then on, she had problems with dentists. On her 2nd visit to a dentist in Subang Jaya, she ran down the stairs and was trying to walk home while I was registering her. After that I left her dental visits to my late father aka her grandfather and my brother-in-law aka her uncle. They were instrumental in the removal of her milk teeth. Till today, she takes very good care of her teeth and  visits the dentist are rare. 

My youngest was introduced to the dentist when we were in Leeds and she’s lucky. When we entered the dentist’s room then, there were cartoon characters on the walls, ceilings and instruments. The dentist was very children-friendly. So, my youngest has had no problems with dentists and my eldest’s fear for dentists was greatly minimised with her experience in Leeds.

My grandaughter … I advised her mum aka my eldest daughter to introduce her to dental visits early. The first visit was tearful minus the screams. I give credit to the dentist and nurses who were pacifying her with words and lots of caressing. Her next and subsequent visits were drama-free.

My take on this one … when going to the dentist, first experience  does matter and I guess I’m coming to terms with dentists and anything dental related. But the dentist did say that I need to have two teeth extracted and I’m dreading the day.

Petaling Jaya’s skyline as seen from UMMC’s carpark
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To blog or Not to blog

The trigger to this … I was looking for a particular blogger on the Web two nights ago but could not track her whereabouts. What I like most about her blogs is the simplicity and honesty in her writings.  Her link took me to a company instead of her blog site and the next best thing to do is to google. After hours of clicking here and there, I did find her last post under a different blog name and even that blog site was not available. However, I received a link in my email to her farewell post. She said that blogging that started out as a hobby, consumed her. She was too caught up with it and other social media apps that she lost her real world and she had to stop. 

I tried looking up for her again today and manage to find her on Twitter but she seldom tweets, only retweets. Like her and I guess many others, I started blogging to “while my time away”. I wanted to chronicle my thoughts, events in my life and most importantly I just want to write so that I do not lose my interest in writing. Whenever I say to myself that I will blog today and most of the time I don’t. I would even lug around my laptop to every town I go to with the sole intent of blogging about my trip. But most of the time I’m enjoying myself way too much to bother about pounding the keyboard. I make notes in my various notebooks, handphone and pieces of paper with the sole intention of putting in all down in a well written blog … easier said than done.

Brochures, pieces of papers and a notebook to record my travels

I’m now a retiree and logically I should have more than enough time to blog. BUT, please remember that a retiree can choose to be just as busy as a non-retiree. So, yours truly was so intent on blogging-on-the-go that she bought a Tab S4 with a keyboard and choose to opt for a RM1 J6 (under the Maxis 128 Plan) to replace her now defunct S6. She has been carrying the tablet in her tote but have yet to open it up to blog.


The definition of blogging is the process of writing a blog, an online journal in which you share your thoughts about a particular subject with readers.

https://www.yourdictionary.com

There are various reasons for blogging – to generate income, to share experiences, to promote an organisation, to act as a diary of events, to network, to market products, to state political view and the list goes on. Since I am involved with GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums), I’m more inclined towards reading postings from blogs of these institutions. When I was working and even now, there are a number of institutional blogs that I follow. These come to mind:

  • USM Library Blog (https://hamzahsendutlibrary.wordpress.com) was blogging regularly then but now there is a lull and they have not updated their blog for quite sometime. 
  • UM Library Blog (https://blogumlib.com) had a slow start but they are now blogging monthly. It would be good if they blog more frequently since they do have a lot going on at the Library. However, I’m more inclined to them since I was part of the institution.
  • Berita PPM (https://beritappm.wordpress.com) is a newsletter put out by the Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia (PPM) of the Librarians Association of Malaysia. Their postings are regularly since their various Committees and Groups run various activities throughout the year. I’m also involved in this blog

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, unlike institutional blogs, your personal blog is yours and you decide when you want to blog. There is no pressure for you to blog incessantly and there are no deadlines to meet. But at the same time, you cannot leave your blog “unattended” for too long. The choice is yours. For those who want to blog, there are various websites offering online tutorials and guidance. There are also various websites giving you examples of blogs. Just go through them and all the best. I started out with WordPress and I’m still on it. So for newbies, I would recommend WordPress. Good luck and all the best.

Clouds looming over Gambang, a town in Pahang
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It’s been too long

It’s been a while … a long while to be exact. My last post was uploaded on 28 July 2018 and since then numerous events have taken place in my life. Come to think of it, four months is a long time to be away from blogging but knowing me. I will tell myself that I should start blogging once I returned from my travel or attended an event or just felt like sharing meaningful moments in my life. I would mentally blog but never got to hitting the keyboard to come out with a masterpiece. A truly bad habit that has not gone away even when I’m in my 60s.

However, I will make an attempt to update my blog … keeping fingers cross. What did I do and where did I go since January 2018?

  • Two trips to Jakarta and Bandung with fellow librarians
  • Trip to Kuala Terengganu for PPM
  • Trip to Myanmar for CONSAL
  • Trip to Singapore with my youngest
  • Trip to Kuching
  • Trip to Perth with my schoolmates
  • Trip to Singapore with my girls
  • IFLA WLIC 2018
  • Trip to Norway and Iceland
  • Trip to Penang on the ETS with my schoolmates
  • CSR with PPM in Sungai Lembing
  • Trips to Kuantan for a wedding, an engagement, meetings and Hari Raya

It would be best if I blog about those listed above separately and not lumped them into one lengthy blog. So, I do have a lot to blog about. Okay … keep calm.

As for now, over the weekend, the entire family attended Azwa Safrina’s end-of year concert. It was held at the Auditorium of MAHSA at Jalan Elmu, Petaling Jaya on 17 November 2018. She has gone through two sports day and one end-of-year concert and I have not attended any of them. However, I did promised her that I will attend her concert this time since she has a solo appearance.

Her class presented Little People Jungle and did two performances – Do-Re-Mi and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. She was the lion in the second performance and was rather good at it. She sang her heart out in another two songs with the rest of her schoolmates – Gemuruh and It’s Time To Go Home. 

Her Maksu aka Aunty was out early today (18 November 2018). She was off to UiTM Puncak Alam and came back with a plaque/medal/momento. So, we were rather overwhelmed with celebration this weekend. Congratulations to Azwa and Amy and not forgetting Azwa’s Ummi aka mummy for a good end to her second year at Genius Aulad Ara Damansara.

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Azwa Safrina revisits Kuching at 5

The first time we took her, Azwa Safrina,  to Kuching was in 2014 when she was 2 and we brought her again in 2015 when she was 3. On both occasions she was too young to comprehend what Kuching was all about. Since I had an engagement with Pustaka Sarawak on 12 July 2018, I decided to bring Azwa and her mum to Kuching again and we stayed from 10 to 13 July 2018.

Her first visit to Kuching in September 2014

Her second visit in November 2015

Us here in Kuching in 2018 … Azwa’s third visit

We took AirAsia and this time round, I went dirt cheap … no food ‘cos it’s a short trip, no check-in luggage since we have 3 persons x 7 kg of carry-on and no seat purchase. All in all, it worked for us and would from now on will be our family’s way of travelling unless its winter travel.

We left on 10 July 2018 at midday and landed safely at Kuching International Airport. Suraiya or Sue (my eldest) got hold of Grab to take us to the Waterfront Hotel which is in the vicinity of the Merdeka Plaza and the Old Courthouse. This was our first time at the Hotel and it was worth the price. The fact that Merdeka Plaza is just next door and attached to the Hotel, is a definite plus since food and window shopping is within reach.

We spent our first afternoon at the Mall and at night we walked to the waterfront area, took a boat cross the river and had dinner at My Village Barok. Again this is my first time here and I was definitely impressed with the décor and the food. Both Sue and I had nasi goreng ayam getuk. It’s fried rice and a tasty piece of chicken … I think getuk means smashed.

The next day, we had breakfast at the Hotel and walked across the bridge and then explored the Old Courthouse, the Indian area  and had lunch at the Mall. The Hana Bridge crosses the river and walking on the bridge is quite an experience. The view from the bridge itself is magnificent. The Old Courthouse is now the Sarawak Tourism Complex. We went through the numerous galleries and were able to understand a bit more about Sarawak and its people. In the afternoon, we set out to search for the cat statutes and walked from the Hotel through Jalan China to one cat statute and then walked on to the second cat statute.

Her first contact with the cats in 2014

She has grown but the cats are still the same in July 2018

Sue caught sight of a shop selling ice cream gula apong and had that for tea. We then walked back towards our Hotel and stopped at Jugra Tower for Azwa’s haircut. We then decided to have dinner at Top Spot for our mandatory seafood dinner. We ordered only 4 dishes this time – prawns in batter, steamed fish, sweet sour crab and lemidi  – and as usual, it was sumptuous.

Azwa and her mum at the famous statute of the cats in 2014

 

With the same statute in 2018

Her first ever haircut by a hairdresser was in Kuching in 2014 and it was a nightmare for us

Another haircut in Kuchin in 2018 but with a more relaxed Azwa

The Sarawak Libraries Colloquium was held on 12 July 2018 at the Waterfront Hotel. I was invited as a panel member and was there the whole day. Sue and Azwa went swimming at the Hotel’s pool. Later on in the afternoon, we explored the Mall again and spent some time watching Azwa running and playing at Padang Merdeka.

On 13 July 2018, we had breakfast at the Hotel. We finished packing and then went to the Old Courthouse Cafe for coffee and cakes. We then used the Grab service to take us to the airport, boarded the plane and landed safely at KLIA2. All in all, it was a nice trip and we hope to visit Kuching again.

 

 

 

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Meeting friends from way back

In 1964, I enrolled and attended the Methodist Primary School in Kuantan, Pahang. My class was the first room if you enter the school compound via the entrance opposite the Methodist Church. My classroom teacher then was Mrs. Mahalingam. However, I only spent one year there and I had to leave the school ‘cos I was selected to enter the Express Programme. So, in 1965 I enrolled and attended the Sultan Abdullah School. My class was called Express 2 and I only left the School in December 1968 from Express 6. What this meant is that the Express class students did their primary 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in 4 years.

In January 1969, the girls from the Express class were enrolled at the Methodist Girls Secondary School in Kuantan. The boys went to a school that was in the vicinity of Sekolah Teruntum … the name totally escapes me at this point in time. I was placed in Form 1S and the group of us not only had to adjust to being in an all girls school but we had to learn how to sew and cook. The cooking classes were okay but I was rather traumatised in the sewing classes ‘cos my classmates from the MGS Primary School and the Assunta School could sew but not me and my friends from Sultan Abdullah School. We had to cut and sew our white apron and yours truly, to the horror of the homeroom teacher, drew her lines with a pencil instead of a tailor’s chalk. The first question the teacher asked me was “Are you from Abdullah School?” and when I said “Yes”, she smiled ever so sweetly and taught me how to use the tailor’s chalk. I think her name was Mrs. Heng … to me she was very tall and very fair and always wore beautifully coloured mini dresses … yes, the teachers do wear mini dresses then … no issue here.

I stayed in Form 1S, 2S and 3S and in 1971, whilst in Form 3, we all took the L.C.E. (Lower Certificate of Education) Examination. L.C.E. is a national examination and once the results are out, we were streamed into the Science or Arts stream. I opted not to do pure science but went for additional science instead. Pure science meant you had to do Biology, Chemistry and Physics as individual subjects. For additional science, we did Science and Additional Science as individual subjects and History. Both streams had to do Mathematics and Additional Mathematics also as individual subjects. I could not fathom Additional Mathematics, so I decided much earlier on to drop this subject and picked up Health Science instead. The streaming meant that the class of 3S was split up. Some opted for Pure Science and some opted for the Arts – a wise move when you think of it. We were not well guided then in our choice of which stream to follow. It was natural for us to accept whatever was given to us. A month later, I was offered a place at Sekolah Menengah Teknik, a school specialising in technical studies where most of the students end up in the engineering faculties. I did want to go but I had to get my priorities right – mathematics and physics were not my strong subjects and I would be a “late entry” student who needs to really catch up. So, I declined the offer and stayed in Forms 4 Science 2 and 5 Science 2. In 1973, all of us took another national examination, the M.C.E. (Malaysia Certificate of Education) and when the results were out in 1974, we said goodbye to our secondary school days.

From here, we began charting our career path. Some of us used the M.C.E. results to undertake diploma courses at local universities, some went on to Form 6 and some joined the workforce. I enrolled and attended Sultan Abu Bakar School in Kuantan in 1974 and here, the Express Class girls finally  met-up with the Express Class boys. I definitely remember Wong Siew Kee, Lim Tian Siew, Mohd. Sabri and Azman Abas from my Express Class days. I was still in the company of my classmates and schoolmates from MGS Secondary School – Lim Lay Kin, Yap Chui Nyuk, Yap Shew Mee, Jayamalar, Radin Fatihah and others. I decided to do the Bio/Chem combination and was placed in Form Lower Six Science 2. I did enjoy my school days then but I had difficulties catching up and so applied to do Veterinary Science in UPM and Fisheries in ITM. I attended the interview for UPM but failed miserably when it comes to identifying seeds … yes, the panel gave me a whole bunch of seeds to identify and I think I only got one correct. So, it was instant rejection from UPM but I was accepted into ITM Shah Alam to do a 3-year Diploma in Fisheries. Why did I choose Fisheries? Well, it was a new programme and I wanted to try something new. So in July 1974, I registered in ITM Shah Alam and from then on I hardly kept in touch with my friends from school.

Some time in 2016, I managed to catch up with a few of my old school friends and finally on 26 August 2016, those who left MGSS Kuantan in 1973 met up in Kuantan at Zenith Hotel. Some of our teachers who taught us from way back were also present. We also found out that some of our teachers and friends have also left us. All in all, it was a memorable and happy occasion for me and we kept in touch through the various social media platforms.

The class of 1973 with some of the teachers who taught us then

With friends from way back

With Cheong Yoke Kum, Leong Lee Suan and Tan Bee Kim – classmates

With my English teacher, Mrs Vicky Chan. She introduced me to Tan Chee Seng, my pen pal from JB.

We were in Forms 4 Science 2 and 5 Science 2

On 18 March 2017, some of us met again at the Swiss Hotel Kuala Lumpur. We met again on 26 November 2017 at Cititel Hotel Kuala Lumpur and we met yet again on 23 July 2018 at Cititel Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Those present decided that whoever wants to meet up can always send us a message and whoever’s available can come.

18 March 2017 at Swiss Garden KL

26 November 2017 at Cititel Hotel KL but I came late and missed the main event

22 July 2018 Our last meet-up at Cititel with only 7 of us but Yap Shew Mee dropped by to say hello

Seven of us catching up

Personally, I do treasure these meet-ups. These friends were an important part of our life – important ‘cos we were at that stage of our lives when we were adopting values and going thro’ the different phases of growing up. We spent so much time together then and these are the friends who rallied around us when we had our share of teenage problems and issues. We broke rank with them to pursue our education and career and take care of the family and now that we are free from those, we seek our friends from long ago to renew broken ties. There are some of us who did keep in touch and I truly value them. So, thank you to all my school mates being being there for me then and now.

 

 

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Getting back to reading … small steps

Whenever I tell someone I’m a librarian, he/she assumes that I love to read. Yes, I do but when I was working I did not read as much as I want to. But please don’t get me wrong. I do read but mostly scholarly articles, chapters in books and books. Reading novels was a luxury then and I only read novels when I travel whilst waiting for my flight or onboard flights.

Over the years I accumulated a number of books. I normally buy them on my travels, during book fairs and book sales. I amassed quite a collection and each time I buy them, I tell myself that I will read it one day. And of course that one day comes when I officially retired on 28 May 2017.

So, what have I read so far? Not as many books as I want to – only 9 to be exact – from 1 June 2017 until 31 December 2017. Here goes:

  1. Cantik Itu Luka – Eka Kurniawan. Jakarta: Gramedia, 2015.
  2. The Shadow of Me – Azlena Abdul Hamid. Kuala Lumpur: Kalsom Taib Publishing, 2017.
  3. If I Stay – Gayle Forman. New York: Speak, 2009.
  4. Theodore Boone: The Scandal – John Grisham. London: Hodder, 2016.
  5. How Starbucks Saved My Life – Michael Gates Lee. New York: Avery, 2007.
  6. Suleiman The Magnificient – A. Teyfur Erdogdu. Istanbul: Rumuz Publishing, 2017.
  7. Life in Harem. K. Erhan Bozkurt. Istanbul: Keskin Volour, 2010. Translated by Stuart Kline.
  8. Micro Malaysians – Anwar Hadi (Editor). Petaling Jaya: Fixi Novo, 2017.
  9. Joseon’s Royal Heritage: 500 Years of Splendor. Seoul: Korea Foundation, 2011.

As you can see, I read all genre since I don’t have a particular author that I read. I use to read John Grisham’s work but the last one, Pizza Man, took such a long time to finish reading it. His works are good but you really need to focus on what you are reading since all his works are law related. I still have 5 more books to finish up and hopefully I can get to read more and hopefully I can identify a genre or maybe an author I like. However, my choice of books is highly dependent on the font size. I totally skip books with small font size and I grab books with large font size.

What am I reading now? The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness by Kyung-Sook Shin. It is translated from Korean and published in 2015 in New York by Pegasus Books. The setting for this novel is Jeju Island and the author is a Man Asia Literary Prize  winner. But most importantly, the font size is large. My other constant read is AlMumayyaz. So, 9 books in 7 months … an accomplishment for me.

 

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October 2017 – it’s a wrap

OCTOBER – Knowing or unknowingly, I registered for the My10K@UPM Farm Run and roped in Amelia as well. But bear in mind, I do not run but walk. Was it a good walk? Yes and no. Yes – I was walking along a new route in UPM and the weather was good. No – my timing went out the door and I was dead tired as a result of no training and no exercise.

Done … every one who completes the run gets a finisher’s medal

However, the highlight of October was my holiday in Yogyakarta with Sue and Azwa from 3 to 6 October. It was unplanned but since I had to deliver a presentation at Rapat IPI for PPM, I decided to go for a short holiday with my girls. We stayed at Hotel Ibis Yogyakarta at Jalan Malioboro since this was meant to be a foodie holiday and there are loads of eateries here. Azwa loves going on the plane and she takes to it easily. She adapts well to hotels and tries her best to try the different food a place has to offer. Her only requirement is that we have to allow her to play at any playground that we come across and luckily for her, almost all the malls here have a playground. We came back happy but I was definitely not rejuvenated but that’s another story.

Presented and capturing moments with my Indonesian counterpart

She loves doughnuts

With Camar

My first ever visit to Taman Sari

Apart from that I had four meetings, a wedding and a birthday party to attend. But, the highlight of October had to be the birthdays of Sue or Suraiya on 9 October, Amy or Mimi or Amelia on 7 October and Sue’s husband on 10 October.

Happy birthday

The last weekend was spent indulging Azwa with Halloween celebrations. As a family, we don’t celebrate Halloween but I feel its important that Azwa enjoys the best of all cultures.

Happy Halloween

Sugar overdose

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