Tuesday, January 25, 2005



[adj] informal or slang terms for mentally irregular.


around the bend, balmy, barmy, bats, batty, bonkers, buggy, cockamamie, cockamamy, cracked, crackers, daft, dotty, fool(a), foolish, fruity, goofy, haywire, insane, kookie, kooky, loco, loony, loopy, nuts, nutty, round the bend, sappy, silly, unreasonable, whacky, zany

Wacky things (kerja gila) that I have done in my life:

1. experimentally covered my face with shaving foam. Inspired by Julie Goell and Angela de Castro . Suffered from balmy face after that.

2. 'ponteng kelas' during my university days and spent the day wandering around the Yorkshire Dales.(memang kerja gila!)

3. quit my job on the same day after my annual appraisal by my former CEO in 2001. The next day, another colleague quit after that stupid appraisal.

4. spent hours 'playing' with semut during my childhood days. even now my mom still use that fact to tease me.

5. photocopied my face.

Lesson learnt while doing wacky things:

1. learned to take the risks.
2. learned not to take myself seriously
3. learn to see things differently.

My wacky gadget wishlist for 2005:

1. Airzooka.click here for details.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Clowning for tsunami children: Dr Bubbles's Diary

8 Jan 2005 : Clowning at SK Tanjung Bungah, Penang

We arrived in Penang on Saturday afternoon. Since we arrived a little bit early we managed to visit some of the affected houses near the seaside before headed to the relief centre at SK Tanjung Bungah.

Tanjung Bungah: one of the house that had been washed away by the Dec 26's tsunami Posted by Hello

After reporting to the relief center’s coordinator, we quickly prepare for the clown show at the canteen cum stage. Apparently most of the evacuees had returned to their houses (to clean up the mess) however words has gone by that clowns would come that afternoon to the relief centre.

Not long after that, throng of kids and parents started to fill up the canteen. Some curious kids circled around me while I am applying my make-up. As a my way of befriended the children the kid who sit the nearest to me will definitely gets his face accidentally ‘stamped’ with my powder puff as I puffed my face (to set the makeup cream).

SK Kuala Muda: Make-up session Posted by Hello

As we prepared for the show, Sam a.k.a Uncle Button asked me to do the warm-up games with the children before he proceeded with his routine. Man! I never have the courage to be on the stage. It always makes the butterflies in my stomach go haywire! I am the timid and shy Dr Bubbles who usually prefer one-to-one interaction such as blowing bubbles with a child. Sam on the other hand is an experienced clown instructor at the Clown Camp® University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. For the record he is the only Malaysian ever inducted as the staff member of the Clown Camp®, the largest and the oldest clown training in the world. I have a great respect on him. I know somehow he wants to polish the ‘Joey’ in me to become a better one. So I took up the challenge. Luckily my volunteer teaching experience did help. So when the show kicked off, I managed to conduct the warm-up game - getting bunch of kids blowing the balloons and the team who blow the biggest balloons win. It was fun! It became funnier when they got the chance to choose the stuffed toys they wanted. “Ambil yang itu!” “Bukan yang itu!” you could hear the mothers shouted from the back and the kids duly obliged and picked the right toys for the smiling mothers. Haha! It was not the kids who wanted to play the game.

Anyway, I got my ‘revenge’ in the next game where the kids had to grab the mums to the stage and wore them the red noses. And cheekily the audience picked the funniest clown mum! Yes, now the mums had the chance to pick their own favourite teddy bears. And now the fathers shouted, “Ambil yang itu, Pah!”…hehe…

The show went on with Uncle Button displayed his routines. He juggled and invited the children to participate. It was hilarious. His wonderful and grand finale routine was to build the balloon house. He twisted here and there and Wallah! There’s the balloon house complete with ‘love’! It delivered a very simple yet powerful message to the evacuees,

“Let’s rebuild our life again.”

Tg. Bungah,Penang: Uncle Button building his 'house'. Posted by Hello

Tg Bungah,Penang: a child with a red nose; a small triumph for us Posted by Hello

We left Penang for Sungai Petani late in the evening. We stayed at the Park Avenue Hotel in Sungai Petani. Tired after a long journey we retired early. By the way we managed to get a glimpse of Mr. Eric Chia. Hmm…that’s another story.

9 Jan 2005: Kota Kuala Muda, the next morning

We went to Kota Kuala Muda as early as 8.30 a.m. after we were told by Mejar Anuar, our Mercy contact in Kedah, that the traffic would be ‘heavy’ in that sleepy village of Kota Kuala Muda with the presence of VIPs (later we did met some of them – Rafidah Aziz, Shahrizat Jalil, Chang Kong Choy and The US Assistant Secretary of State) and volunteers who came from all over to help with the cleaning up the area that day.

SK Kuala Muda: morning bath Posted by Hello

We made our way to SK Kota Kuala Muda and set up the stage for our show. The canteen floor was filthy and the surrounding wasn’t so clean. You can see rubbish everywhere. Hmm…. . Anyway legion of MPSP cleaners soon came in to clean up the school compound. They sprayed disinfectant in the drainage, floors and toilets. Not surprisingly the compound soon crowded with people waiting for the VIP entourages to come at 10.30 a.m. We just kept busy setting the stage after all we were there not to greet the VIP. We got more important things to do that morning.

I started the show with the same routine. But soon I found out the kids and the audience wasn’t so receptive to our show compared to the group in Penang. Judging the situation, I quickly cut short my skit and handed over the show to Sam. After all, he’s the expert in stage show. I quickly step down .Later we found out the reason why. Apparently, there were big groups of clowns from Penang came to the school the day before and did some walk around. The problem with ‘Joey’ (newborn) clowns, they still lack of experience and skills. So they just give away balloons sculptures to the kids. It wasn’t a wise move. You will create queues and ‘gimme-gimme’ syndrome with the kids. To the kids, clowns just came to give away gifts. Hey, this is not what we are here for! We are here to make heart-to-heart connection. Anyway, after Sam did all his routines and finally wanted to wrap-up the show, he was talking to the audience on our wish to give away the stuffed toys we brought along. He didn’t even had the chance to finish his words, when all by sudden the kids swarmed the stage and cleared the stuffed toys within seconds.

DR Bubbles, my clown character do give away stickers and balloons to children. But only through experience you would know when to give and not to. On Kuala Muda visit, wisely he did not. People coming from all over came to give things to the victims and it creates the ‘giving away’ spree. Clowns supposed to be there to cheer up people. Very simple.

SK Kota Kuala Muda: Spinning my plates. Posted by Hello

Anyway after the show we did walk around visiting the tents. I took the opportunity to hone up my improvisation; it also gave me the chance to polish up my clown character. After all, we clowns must see things differently.

Kota Kuala Muda: Uncle Button telling stories with balloons Posted by Hello

As I walk around blowing away my smiles to the people and sometime spin my plates, I tried to see the ‘moment’ where I could sneaked in and ‘play’. Aha! From far, I see a family was walking along the pavement. The man, with skull cap was holding his daughters hand on the right and his wife was following him from behind.

I quickly and quietly sneaked in on his left and held his hand and there we go, a clown kid, a father a sister hand in hand just walking merrily towards the school entrance. We are the happy family in our own ‘imaginary’ space. The family just played along with a clown. That’s what the heart-to-heart connection I am looking for as a clown.

As we walked suddenly in the spirit of play, my cheeky clown mind thought of a new scenario. Now the man became the groom parading before a wedding. Aha! My yellow clown plate now became the ‘kipas pengantin’ covering his face. As we walked, I improvised further by shouting, “ Mana kompang? mana kompang?” , “Pengantin sudah sampai”, to the chuckled of the people around.

The man suddenly quipped, “ Jangan bagi NTV7 nampak sudah!”…Haha! That was funny!

Kota Kuala Muda: spinning my red cap. Posted by Hello

We retired around noon. After lunch, we headed to the Kota Kuala Muda beach and managed to see the affected areas. I met some friends from Yayasan Salam Malaysia as they were helping to clean up the mess with other hundreds of volunteers who came that weekend.

Kota Kuala Muda: basuh rumah Posted by Hello

We left for KL at about 5.30 pm and arrived home at 10.00 pm. I bunked myself that night tired but somehow satisfied.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Pantun melayu lama

heard Budayawan Ibu Azah Aziz recited an old malay 'pantun' on radio yesterday.

tegak rumah kerana sendi,
rosak sendi rumah binasa,
tegak bangsa kerana budi,
rosak budi bangsa binasa.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

news report: clowning in penang

Check out the link below for details


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Good People

SMS from Pak Nik of Wisma Putra made me chuckled.

" U have 2 entertain us too. we have been working long hours coz of tsunami"

"I can come to your office to clown around. just let me know when". I shoot the reply immediately.

Despite the common perception of how government works, I know that good people like him are working hard to ensure assistance from Malaysia to be delivered to the tsunami-affected areas in the region.

When I first reached Tehran with Mercy mission for Bam earthquake, he was already waiting for us at 3 am in the morning and entertained us until 6 am at the Mehrabad Airport before excusing himself to go to work as usual at 8 am.

In fact few months before that, Mejar Arshad Khan of the famous oldest Malaysian couple who travelled around the world told me, " If you ever reach Tehran, do contact Pak Nik. He would be most helpful".

True to his words Pak Nik has become a good friend of mine. When I reach Tehran after completing the mission, he took the trouble to greet us at the airport and to look for us a very good and safe accommodation in the embassy enclave in Tehran (it was during the 2004 Iranian national election. Situation was unsafe for foreigners and rumours had that the army were planning to instigate trouble in the capital) and after that invited us for a very good malay dinner at his residence. In fact the next day he even climbed the Tolchar with us (me, Dr Alzamani and Dr Nasir).
I can't thank him enough for his hospitality when we were there.

Despite his kelantanese-sound name, Nik, he is actually 'senegeri' with me. He is from Rompin, Pahang. And you can sense his friendliness as you hear him talking in rompin dialect.

Not long after I left Tehran, I found out that he is back to Malaysia for good. no more hardship posting. He is now at the South Asian Desk, Wisma Putra. Spoken to him few weeks ago and he shared his good news. He just adopted a newborn baby despite 3 boys he got. I am just happy for him and his family.

I am going to visit him soon to see the new member of Nik's clan. I pray that she will be a good person like her father.

Clowning for Tsunami Children


Finally, clowns can go and tickle that sad hearts in Penang and Kedah. We will be visiting Penang and Kedah this weekend. This visit is organised by Mercy Malaysia to bring smiles and laughter to the traumatised children in the evacuation centers.

To anybody who wants to sponsors giveaways ( bubble soaps, foam red noses, stickers,polaroid films) to the traumatised children do let me know asap.My contact no. is 019-9499013.

Here come the clowns marching in!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Patch Adams

I first watched a movie about him when I was a student in Bradford, UK. That famous film "Patch Adams" starring Academy Award's Robin Williams helped me to find my true calling.

And yesterday, I received a recorded phone message from the man himself.We (me and my organisation) is planning to bring him to Malaysia for speaking engagement.I wrote to him and he duly replied. He were asking whether I have received the letter. ( I did!I have yet to receive instructions from my management).

In his message, he told about the actual thing happened in the Red Square, Moscow. they were detained by the police for few hours. apparently, there are too many clowns in the Red Square and this scares the authorities. That's funny!

I going to get back to him soon after I will receive instructions from my superior.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Balik Kampung

I went back to Jerantut yesterday. Reached home at about 10.30 a.m. after smoothly driving for 2 hours through Lebuhraya Pantai Timur. Abah and mak nowhere to be seen. Half an hour later they came back. Apparently they went to our family orchard , 12 miles away.

this sunday morning, and old man came to our house asking for 'kelapa muda' for her wife.In front of our house, abah planted coconut trees few years ago and it become perfect landmark for whoever coming for the first time to our house. "Just look for house with coconut trees after you drive past the padang". It become quite popular with the neighbours and passerby who always stops by and ask for its "buah kelapa mawar". Some says the coconut juice help to 'buat kebah demam'.

Back to the old man, Abah invited him for a morning tea. I know him as Pak Khair or Dato' Hj Khairuddin Kawi, a former politician and local historian. He used to be the Speaker for State of Pahang long time ago. I think during the early 80s. Her sister Rahimah Kawi used to be the Assemblywoman for DUN Tahan,Pahang not long ago.

He is about nearly 80 years old, if I am not mistaken. What amazed me most was that his memory is still sharp.

Talking about the tsunami, he told us about his own experience with the disaster long time ago. He was with 32 others visiting neighbouring countries under The Federation of Malaya Volunteers program(This is the first time I know about volunteering during the old days). They were visiting Japan when the disaster hit coastal Japan. They missed the tsunami by half an hour or so after leaving Osaka for Tokyo. Osaka was hit badly that day. Even at that time, he told us that the authorities had been well -prepared for the disaster. tv announcements was aired few hours before the tsunami struck.

They were stranded in Tokyo for 5 days with no money. The ambassador was not around and the embassy left with an officer who are afraid to give them funds. So he asked the officer to call up Tun Razak and he spoke personally to Tun about their predicament. Tun Razak immediately relay funds thru Wisma Putra to them. They got RM50 per day allowance and for that fateful 5 day "extended holiday", they got about RM350, a large sum of money at that time.

" Ah, we used the the money to buy souvenirs!" he remarked followed by our laughter.

He is also known for his vast collection of local history and folk stories. Too bad not many people knows about it. And too bad if this 'walking dictionary' will leave us without passing the knowledge about our heritage to younger generations. For example, who now ever knows how the name of Kuala Lipis originated from? or perhaps how the name of my hometown Jerantut come by?

Well, like that celcom's ads says, " It is all in our hands". So here is my resolution for 2005. whenever I return to my hometown , I will visit him and listen to his collection of stories and ultimately to record it . I am no academician but at least I hope I can share the stories to my children so that they know and begin to appreciate our heritage.
Haa...it is going to be interesting 2005!