Thursday, 5 September 2019

PONTIANAK THE EQUATOR CITY

Equator monument 1982
          Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan, Indonesia probably is an unlikely  stop over for travelers.My first encounter with this  destination dated far back as August 1982 when, surprisingly, I was seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take up my designation as the Malaysian Police Liaison Officer (MPLO) at the  Malaysian Consulate in Pontianak that was established in West Kalimantan in Nov 1982. This opportunity, as far as I was concerned, was  a wish came true. Pontianak, first attracted my attention during my primary school days at Pykett Methodist Penang having located this city on the world atlas during our geography lesson and of course as a boy I wondered how was the situation  then.What a name for a city. Least did I expect of being here. As far as we Malaysians and even Indonesians are concerned we are familiar with 'Pontianak' something equivalent to the  female version of Count Dracula/Vampire 
Equator monument 2019
 


     In the eighties  access to this city was by air once a week on Friday by Merpati Nusantara  from  Kuching.The other alternative was by road from Kuching to Serian, Tebakang to Tebedu our last frontier before crossing into Indonesia. No official crossing point existed however anyone intending to venture further has to report to our police and Immigration Officer in Tebedu. Then proceed on foot through jungle track and earthen road to reached the Entekong on the Indonesian border.All travelers must report to the Indonesian military border post for registration.Bear in mind at that time border operations were carried out by both armies to hunt Paraku communists along the common border.

Border crossing
If you arrived at the border town at noon you probably have to spend a night at Entekong a small village as all public transport would have left Entekong for Pontianak at break of dawn.Road trips from Entekong to Pontianak will take about 8 hours. Currently air con tour buses depart daily from Kuching in the morning as soon as the border opens but with better road conditions now the journey reportedly is more pleasant.

The flight time is about fourty five minutes and the scenario down below are the dense  jungles of Kalimantan. I anticipated life would be very much different and was prepared to face the situation in a place that I will be calling home.Unfortunately at that time Pontianak faced a long drought.Water for drinking comes from the Kapuas River. The Supadio Airport itself   gave me a brief picture of what to expect. Whatever the situation as a police officer I had to adjust. "When in Rome do as the Romans do" that's it. I did not take long to adjust to  my new environment and my gregarious character made  it easy to attract friends quickly. One thing for sure I left the hustle and stress of Kuala Lumpur for Pontianak alone with no friends except for a couple of military men from Third Brigade, Sarawak. However at the conclusion of my tour of duty I left a number of local friends whom I considered as relations a friendship I cherished to this very day.Well of course some have passed on and may God bless their souls.

     My most recent visit to Pontianak was on 15 August 2019 which coincided with the National Day of Indonesia on 17 August 2019, Before this recent visit my second visit Pontianak was in 2003 for a Search & Rescue meeting..What a surprise Pontianak had undergone a drastic change. Shopping malls, and starred hotels can boost tourism which was negligible in the seventies and eighties. Further more with the opening of overland travel it is now possible to drive from Kota Kinabalu to Pontianak.


     Before my departure I visioned the city of Pontianak to be somewhat like our own Kuching the capital of Sarawak.Unfortunately that was not the case as they have much catching up to do. The ground condition in the city areas were not conducive for the construction of any structure beyond 4 floors high. .The new Supadio airport was impressive  Decades ago there existed no supermarkets or shopping malls.This transformation  now put them at par with Kuching. In the eighties  only the Kapuas Permai Hotel can be proud to have an Olympic size swimming pool. An alternative public pool was located at Tetraria which is now just a memory. PresentlytThere are a number of good hotels to cater for tourists.

 Present Hotel Kapuas

Legend has it that Pontianak was founded on 23 October 1771 by Syarif Abdurrahman Al Khadrie of Arab decent.He sailed up the river Kapuas and upon reaching  the confluence of the rivers Kapuas and Landak he decided to establish his sultanate. It was said that evil spirits roamed the location.  Syarif Abdurrahman Al Khadrie ordered his men to fire a canon ball and at the break of dawn  directed them  to locate the canon ball.At the spot  where the canon ball was recovered he ordered the construction of the 'masjid' of timber that stood the test of time till this present day. Similarly like Masjid Jamek Kuala Lumpur which  is located at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, Masjid Keraton Pontinnak is located at the confluence of the Landak and Kapuas Rivers.




   There are events of significance to me.The ceremony at the Hero's Memorial (Makam Pahlawan) is one and others are Ramadhan and the Eid Celebrations. Indonesian independence day is celebrated on 17 August each year with a solemn ceremony at the 'Makam Pahlawan' that will simultaneously commence at 0000 hrs 17 August throughout the republic. Of interest, the regional military commander (Pangdam) will declare the number of TNI soldiers,vigilante and villagers (including unknown soldiers) from West Kalimantan who died fighting for independence. .Candles are lighted on each standard size tombstone with a combat helmet on each grave.What a beautiful sight it was.Tears swell in my eyes while the buglers sounded the 'last post', that echoed throughout the cemetery, as the numbers of the dead were cited.Graves were segregated according to the various religion. This ceremony was something I have never experience before. Follow up to this in the morning the parade and the raising of the national flag took place. What a big difference as compared to our celebration. At the parade iveterans were given front seating what an honour.

 
Tomb of civilian combatant


    Ramadhan in Pontianak is also unique affair, each morning during 'sahur' the village youths would strike electrical, telecommunication posts and empty tins to wake up people for the early morning meals.The terawih congregations in mosques  remained about the same in numbers from day one to the conclusion of the fasting month.During the last week of Ramadhan the explosion of the Raya canons fired from both banks of the Kapuas turned the place into  a war zone.Surprisingly no casualties reported connected with these activities.

Log Canon  used before
Present day concrete canon
Eid prayers decades ago were held in the streets especially  in front of the old military HQ near Alun Kapuas Park and on the road in front of the Mujahidin Mosque. The main prayer hall was not utilised.










It was known that,Lampung, and of course Pontianak are the only two provincwere the most memorable.es  that  carried on with  this tradition.My three Hari Raya in  Pontianak the most memorable.

 
Mujahidin Mosque Pontianak
Add caption

St Joseph Cathedral Pontianak
I was happy to be able to meet old friends but sadly some had passed on.One of my dear friend is Bapak Agus Prawito a dentist by profession. Overall he's Ok except for his hearing.I met him during my tour of duty second occasion in 2003. 




If the opportunity prevail ang God willing I will again make that journey down memory lane.The locals mentioned this everytime to a visitor -If you have drunk the water from the Kapuas River then, one day you shall make a return trip  to Pontianak.I did just that. Apart from Nasi Padang do enjoy the fried ayam kampong, local 'jeruk' (orange) and don't forget to soothing Aloe Vera drink.  

With enough finance and of course good health one must make it point to visit Putussibau the eastern frontier of West Kalimantan and of course Sambas and Singkawang, the "Amoy' city of West Kalimantan.
   
                                               Image result for map of west kalimantan indonesia


Monday, 7 November 2016

PUTAR PUTAR CARI MAKAN




 Pulau Pinang memang terkenal dengan makanan beraneka bukan setakat nasi kandar saja tetapi ada lain makanan  'caca marba' yang  juga perlu dicuba.


Bagi sarapan pagi di warong 'Roti Bakar' Lorong Hutton tersedia roti benggali bakar. Perniagaan usaha keluarga ini  dimulakan pada tahun 1957 oleh Mamu Jabar. Warong ini merupakan salah satu tempat sarapan pagi yang bertugas disekitar kawasan warong ini.Ramai yang mungkin tidak  sedar wujudnya warong Roti Bakar kerana kedudukan tersorok dilorong antara bangunan.


Disampinag roti bakar dengan telor rebus  setengah  masak sebagai 'signature breakfast' warong ini juga menyediakan roti canai dan Nasi Dalcha dengan lauk daging atau ayam yang menyelerakan. Roti benggali bakar dicicah  lauk ikan merupakan sarapan istimewa di sini. 

Potret Mamu Jabar
Kedudukan warong Roti Bakar Lorong Hutton Penang

   









Pada ketika ini urusan perniagaan 'Roti Bakar' ini dikendalikan oleh Mohd Ansari anak Mamu Jabar yang masih kekal bertapak ditempat asal mereka. Warong ini sangat terkenal dikalangan orang 'tanjung'. Jadi bIla di 'tanjung' jangan lupa mencuba ' Roti Bakar ' di Lorong Huton. 

Mohd Ansari 


   


TAUKUA DAN CUCUR RENDANG

Tuakua Rendang

Lintas saja dari simpang Lorong Hutton dan terus masuk lorong di celah gerai menjual pakaian dan cendrahati di  'jual murah', anda akan bertemu dengan  warong yang menghidangkan 'taukua rendang' satu makan ringan yang sesuai pada bila bila masa dan bagi mereka yang menjaga badan.

                                                                                                                            Dahulunya di Lorong bazar 'jual murah'  Pulau Pinang ini terdapat beberapa  kedai kedai nasi kandar menghidangkan lauk yang  memang 'classic' belaka. Namun apakan daya peredaran zaman telah menyebabkan 'scenario' ini bertukar agak muram sekadar tinggal kenangan manis sahaja bagi mereka yang seangkatan dengan saya.
Taukua Rendang dengan Kopi O

Bagi memilih minuman petang memang tidak menjadi masalah di Pulau Pinang kerana terdapat beberapa pilihan.Di Kuala Lumpur agak sukar mendapat taukua rendang atau popiah basah,  laksa mau pun mee mamak.Banyak  penjaja menjual pisang goreng,keropok lekor dan kueh muih.

Mee Mamak Statik



Mee Mamak Beroda di Masjid Bayan.Baru

    Di Pulau Pinang   rata rata  boleh dapat mee yang  memang lazat. Lain pula di Kuala Lumpur agar sukar juga mendapatkan rasa sedemikian.Mee mamak  di Padang Brom', di kedai kopi berhampiran  bulatan Air Itam  ke Bukit Bendera, Mee Pitchay di astaka Sg Nibong dan mee Bangkok Lane, Pulau Tikus  semuanya mempunyai keenakan tersendiri.


POPIAH
Mamak Suleiman
Popiah basah  payah ditemui di Kuala Lumpur. Pergilah ke Lorong Kulit pada hari Sabtu dan Ahad dan cubalah Popiah Ali lokasinya dihadapan pejabat TNB. Pada masa lampau  popiah Allahyarham Mamak Suleiman di Jalan Johor dipinggir Padang 'Brom' (Brown) memang  sangat sedap dan terkenal. Popiah Mamak Suleiman ini menarik ramai pelanggan dan  mamak kelihatan  saperti menari semasa sedang menyediakan pesanan pelanggan yang beratur namun, selepas pemergian 'Mamak Popiah' perniagaan ini diteruskan sementara oleh anak perempuan Allahyarham. Sedihnya usaha ini tidak berterusan dan riwayat popiah Mamak Suleiman pun sekadar tinggal kenangan sahaja bagi pelanggan yang mengetahui.


Popiah Mat
'Tak pa' kata orang Penang.Walau apa pun kita boleh juga nikmati popiah 'member' saya Mat yang  tidak kurang hebatnya.  Popiah Mat terletak  di tepi medan selera stadium di Jalan Perak.


BUAH BERANGAN
Buah Berangan China

Buah yang diimpot dari China boleh di dapati dari penjaja berhampiran Pasar Chowrasta. Dulu ramai yang menjaja buah berangan ini. Dikhuatiri penjaja penjaja  ini juga  akan pupus dan mungkin digantikan dengan kaedah bercorak moden.







LAKSA PENANG

Laksa Buyong satu satunya makanan yang lazat . Laksa ini boleh dinikmati di astaka selera Stadium di Jalan Perak.Sekiranya kita ke pantai Batu Feringghi boleh nikmati laksa di tepi jalan di Pantai Maimi sebelahan banglo 'Boon Siew'.Kuah laksa ini memang  'kow' dengan otak udang.

PULUT UDANG PANGGANG
 
Pulut Udang

Pulut udang panggang satu lagi menu yang sesuai dengan minuman petang.Boleh di dapati di Jalan Makloom dan ada beberap tempat lagi termasuk di Teluk Bahang sekiranya anda berada dikawasan ini. Saya gemar pulut udang yang garing sikit.





NASI KANDAR FAISAL PASAR BAYAN BARU
 

Medan Selera Pasar Bayan Baru

Di Pasar Bayan Baru pada waktu pagi  anda bolehlah cuba nasi kandar,roti canai atau murtabak di Restoran Faisal.


Penjual nasi kandar  di Pulau Pinang satu ketika dulu. Inilah dia Nasi Kandar sebenarnya. Kebanyakan mereka ini  menyediakan nasi kandar yang lazat dan tak banyak pun lauk.


APOM MANIS 


 Apom ini sesuai bagi sarapan pagi maupun minum petang. Ini pun sukar juga nak cari ini di Kuala Lumpur. Apom manis ini kita boleh buat pilihan samada perlu apom telur atau yang biasa. Apom boleh didapati di pasar Bayan Baru sebelah dengan restoran Faisal atau di flat taman Sardon Gelugor atau di simpang masuk ke pasar Jelutong.Ada kala dijual tepi di Jalan Batu Lancang.
.
Dapur membakar apom







MEE UDANG

Kedai Mee Udang di Lebuh Dickson


Nak cuba 'Hokkien Mee' pergi ke Bee Hwa Cafe.Terletak di Lebuh Dickens dihadapan pintu masuk ke Ibupejabat Polis Pulau Pinang kedai ini telah lama menghidangkan mee udang yang kuahnya sangat lazat dan memuaskan berbeza dengan mee udang biasa.
                   

        




                                       
MAKANAN DULU YANG KINI  HANYA
TINGGAL KENANGAN SAHAJA

Bagi orang 'tanjung,' dulu,ada makanan-makanan lazat  yang ketika ini sekadar tinggal kenangan sahaja.Makanan saperti:-


Lokasi Nasi Kandar Arif di kedai tengah
Jalan Dato Kramat
Nasi Kandar Ariff Dato Kramat

Nasi Kandar Ariff memang terkenal,  dulu  berlokasi di kedai kopi rakan saya disimpang Jalan Dato Kramat/Jalan Perak menghidangkan nasi kandar yang istimewa. Tidak saperti nasi kandar sekarang yang menyediakan berbagai lauk pauk.Nasi Kandar Ariff Dato Kramat ini  hanya menyediakan lauk ikan, daging, sotong, udang, telor rebus, bendi serta sambal 'nyiok' sahaja. Bila  kesemua kuah-kuah ini dicampur memang sedap sekali dan lebih lazat lagi bila disimpan sehingga nasi kembang.Lani agar sukar juga nak nikmati sambal 'nyiok'. Tertanya juga entah ke mana perginya si Ariff ini?

TEH/KOPI DALAM 'KOLE' TIN SUSU

Mamak ! Bagi the tarik satu!
Pergilah ke kedai kopi mamak tepi jalan dan pesananlah teh atau kopi tarik untuk ' take away' ketika dulu. Sudah pasti kita  akan diberikan minuman  di isikan dalam tin susu tidak saperti sekarang dibekalkan dalam plastik ikat tepi. Perlu awas bila nak minum takut berdarah bibir.




Roti Benggali Klasik

Roti benggali merupakan satunya makanan yang sentiasa ada kebanyakan rumah.Bolehlah dibakar dan  dengan sekaya atau mentega termasuk juga dengan susu pekat. Kami suka membeli kuah ikan sahaja dari kedai nasi kandar yang   juga akan   bekalkan kuah ikan itu dalam tin susu. Seronok betul kongsi makan roti benggali  dengan kuah ikan atau kuah sate kongsi dengan kawan kawan.



Kenderaan Jual Roti


Kadang kala ternampak juga van Ismailia Bakery yang bergerak menjual roti benggali tetapi kedudukan statik van ini susah tetapkan. Dulu mamak roti pakai kayoh saja dengan bunyi loceng di ketuk.











AIS SIRAP TINGKAP
Ais Tingkap ketika ini

Sekiranya anda berkunjung ke ' tanjung ' pergilah intai dan cubalah ais 'sirap tingkap'. Ingatan saya masih jelas dibawa bapa saya ke kedai tingkap ini semasa saya kecil dulu.  Penjaja berkenaan berada ditingkap kecil  sahaja tapi keadaan telah berubah. Perniagaan ini sekarang diurus oleh generasi baru.Minuman ais sirap yang ini dicampur biji selasih dan macam macam lagi  sangat menyegarkan terutama pada hari yang panas. Warong ini terletak di kepala Tamil Street disimpang pasar Chowrasta.


Pada tahun 60an terdapat juga minuman sirap dengan kikisan  kelapa muda dijual ditepi jalan.Minuman yang sangat popular ini boleh didapati dengan harga 5 sen sahaja dan yang 'bestnya'  boleh ditambah pula, jadi boleh  kongsi dengan kawan.Dulu bukan senang nak dapat duit pun. Lima duit pun dililit di kocek seluar dengan getah bayangkan, takut hilang katakan.

DADIH SUSU MANIS

Kelibat mamak menjual dadih susu yang 'ori' juga telah ghaib.Di Pulau Pinang  dulu kita dapat lihat mamak kandar  bakul berisi dadih dalam tin susu untuk jualan. Sukar mendapat dadih ori pada masa sekarang.Dadih yang dijual sekarang menyerupai agar agar. Dadih dulu kala juga disediakan dalam tin susu kandungan setengah tin dan satu tin bukan dalam mangkok plastik saperti sekarang.
MURTABAK CRAVEN A
Craven A
Murtabak kelas tahun enam puluhan di 'Craven A' dan di Ghani Briani Restoran yang terletak di tangga jejantas di simpang Jalan Penang /Burmah sangat lazat sekali. Kedua dua restoran ini telah tiada lagi.Restoran Hameediah  di Lebuh Campbell juga menyediakan murtabak yang sedap dulu tetapi sekarang ini lain pula rasanya berbanding yang lampau.Hairan juga kenapa resepi dan tradesi menghasil murtabak yang baik tidak di kekalkan.Murtabak di warong simpang pasar Jelutong pada petang hari  dan juga di Restoran Faisal,Bayan Baru bolehlah makan ada rasa.


 GULA PAHAT

Penjaja  menjual 'Gula Pahat'  dalam talam ini akan selalu melalui di kawasan  kami menjaja gula batu   saperti coklat putih tetapi keras.Gula ini akan dipahat berketul ketul untuk dimakan. Zaman dulu tak kisah pun pasal kencing manis main balun saja.
KAWASAN DATO KRAMAT


Tempat saya dilahirkan
Kawasan Dato' Kramat ini tersedia banyak kemudahan.

Bagi sarapan pagi atau petang boleh menikmati berbagai juadah saperti tosei, idly, nasi kandar, apom manis. putu mayam, kueh mueh,pisang goreng,  roti canai, roti benggali bakar dengan kaya. Makanan tak termasuk yang dijual untuk kaum China senang didapati. Hospital, balai polis, masjid, tokong dan kuil dan lebih menarik Stadium Bandaraya berdekatan termasuk gerai makan padang Brom yang menyediakan berbagai jenis makanan  juga berhampiran tempat tinggal kami.

Suasan Berubah Memori Tetap Kekal Dalam Ingatan
















" APAKAN DAYA MASA TAK AKAN KEMBALI, HANCUR MUSNAHLAH SEMUANYA..................."

Tan Sri P Ramlee
                                                                         
'THOSE WERE THE DAYS MY FRIEND WE THOUGHT THEY NEVER END ....'
 Mary Hopkins


"YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS YOUNG THE TASTE OF LIFE WAS SWEET AS RAIN UPON MY TONGUE......."
Charles Aznavour

 

                                 


Sunday, 1 February 2015

MH 370 -WHERE ARE YOU?


Just how fast time flies and soon we will be commemorating the anniversary of the loss of our MH 370.  This tragic catastrophe has in fact given rise to various speculations and theories and created much confusion as to what was the truth behind this tragedy?. Finally the Malaysian Government made a  official declaration announcing that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 an accident and that all 239 passengers and the crew were dead' paving a way for the next of kin to file compensation claims. A mixed reactions from those affected.Some chose to accept  the government's announcement while some remain adamant and will probably  accept such a declaration when the wreckage was found. Unfortunately this still seems to be a long way ahead as till this stage in time those involved in the SAR operations do not have any positive indication as to the whereabouts of MH 370 that simply vanished from the clear blue skies.

Search And Rescue (SAR) operations launched is likened to a search for a 'needle in the hay stack'. We   knew  exactly the kind of needle  we are looking (MH370)  for however, the pertinent question is which 'hay stack' are we going to put our concentration on? Is the 'hay stack' the South China Sea, the Southern or Northern Corridor? This is absolutely hard to establish due to the lack of precise information regarding the final flight path of MH 370. By the way how, did the US military base in Diego Garcia, believed to possess the best air surveillance system, throw any light on this? Did they come up with anything useful other than providing logistic support for the SAR? So the frustrating search goes on and on.

Diego Garcia near the southern corridor
If all passengers on and crew on board were dead, then where are their bodies? An interesting point here is the reported sighting of an unidentified aircraft intruding into our air space.Surprisingly no one bothered to check this out and this failure has contributed to this situation we now face. Probably those working in "Area 51" in the United States can comment on this UFO thing. All these can make one's imagination run wild. So extra terrestrial beings do exist after all don't they?. The failure of those manning our air space surveillance system  had now incurred us million of dollars allotted for the SAR on MH 370.This leads us to question the purpose of having our Sukhoi fighters and other aircrafts?

Just a recollection, sometime in October 2014 a Singapore aircraft from Sibu to Seletar was intercepted by Indonesian Sukhoi fighter jets and subsequently instructed to land in Pontianak,West Kalimantan as the Singapore aircraft was flying over the country without flight approval.This is an indication as to how serious the Indonesians are with their responsibilities  protecting their air space while we, on the other hand, chose to do otherwise.Someone is responsible here and what action was taken - nothing probably.

Those responsible with our air defence systems need to be more sensitive and accountable to preserve our sovereignty and security.This failure to check out the 'UFO' had thrown us into this vague premonition of disaster as MH 370 'may probably have been hijacked by aliens from another planet'. Those on duty that fatal day had caused this unnecessary calamity and also drained millions in public funds  needed for the search for that 'needle in the hay stack'.

What has happened cannot be undone so let us continue to pray to  Almighty GOD and may the truth prevail.Oh God save this nation the anguish and the bereavement suffered by the next of kin. May those who lost their loved ones be bestowed the strength to face this extreme pain and anguish.

Finally it is very important for those in authority to be transparent and seriously look at the  shortcomings and failures. More important is to ensure that our sovereignity,safety and national security are never at any stage compromised.


  

Thursday, 27 March 2014

MH 370- YET ANOTHER MYSTERY.

Saturday 8 Mar 2014 is etched as a tragic morning for Malaysia and also our aviation history. Earlier  media reports quoted that MH 370 had made an emergency landing in Nanking and this came as a relief to us.However, moments later the situation changed and this transformed into a nightmare for the nation when told about the  disappearance of MH 370.This was  "May Day' for the nation as we were not the only people shocked by this tragedy but the whole world too was stunned.

No one knows exactly what went wrong with many speculations.Whatever the situation the flickers of hope in finding survivors was finally extinguished when the Prime Minister announced on 24 Mar 2014 that "MH 370 ended it's flight in the Indian ocean'. Nevertheless the nation will continue to pray that search parties can locate MH 370 and with this discovery comes the next mammoth phase, the recovery and salvage operations. More questions rather than answers popped up each day connected with MH 370. Similar predicaments were experienced on the evening of 4 Dec 1997 when MH 653 too went off the radar en route from Bayan Lepas to Singapore only to be discovered having crashed into a swampy  area at Tanjung Kupang in Johor. 

Reminiscing MH 653, that evening 4 Dec 1997,I was the Duty Officer at Penang Police HQ Operations Room and  the tv series "Combat"  was on air when  suddenly a phone call came  with the shocking news  about the disappearance of flight MH 653 from the radar over Tg Kupang, Johor. With the confirmation on this unfortunate information made,I immediately  pushed the 'action button' rounding up all those involved in handling flight MH 653 that fatal evening to assemble at the Bayan Lepas old airport. Simultaneously  those who should be made aware of the incident were  duly informed. Passenger security checks at that time  were solely handled by MAS security personnel.Investigations were carried out and similarly MH 653 too, had exposed serious security loopholes  which in the course of time remedial steps were taken to tightened security.Unfortunately tight is not tight enough as apparent with what had happened. More stringent measures will surely be implemented which in turn will no doubt make air travel more cumbersome. The Tanjung Kupang incident eventually led to the establishment of the  Auxiliary Police the authority now handling passengers security checks at all airports.


MH 653, although concluded as a case of hijacking, had certainly remained a mystery till this very day. What else can it be when it happened not long after the Japanese Red Army hostage situation in Kuala Lumpur.In addition there were a handful of Japanese passengers on board. Also  listed on the passengers manifest of MH 653 were the  Minister of Agriculture, Ali Hj Ahmad, his body guard, Mario Garcia, the Cuban Ambassador and his wife. Personally, I  lost two friends on this ill fated flight. The Flight Data Recorder though recovered  it did nothing much to clear the air of uncertainty as important segments of the recordings were said to be 'inaudible' due to the 'extensive damage' on this gadget. So what else to say.Who did what on MH 653 no one know? Only the Almighty knows what went wrong on the MAS flight en route to Singapore on 4 Dec 1977.


Will it be the same with MH 370 ?  Personally, I hope not and let's pray for the best and God help us to eliminate all doubts surrounding this drama as the credibility of not only our airline is at stake but the nation on the whole.As in the case of MH 653 this sad incident too had, no doubt,  also exposed weaknesses in the handling  of this crisis despite   previous experiences we have had. Experiences handling the explosion at Bright Sparklers, the Penang Ferry Terminal  and the Highland Towers collapse  should have hardened our capabilities and professionalism in  crisis management. What is more  important now is ensure that plans are  laid out meticulously to assemble a team of credible, capable and good investigators to investigate incident and  establish the cause.

Whatever happened to the  National Security Council   MKN 20 is not known as this  code clearly stipulated the line of actions in handling a mass disaster.Confusions and contradictions marred the initially handling of MH 370. Who held overall command and control of the situation was apparently unclear. Probably the MKN 20  needed to be re examined and further enhanced especially ,in a case like this with  multinational  involvement.At the same time it is equally important to focus on matter of jurisdiction.Whether  an international code on a tragedy such as this is necessary to ensure a well coordinated operations amongst the nations affected?

Are our aviation systems on land, in space and those in our aircraft up to expectations. Are our available asset, military or civilian, credible enough to handle the situation?How embarrassing can it be when told that our submarines were   not suited for this type of operations. Can we be self reliance or have we to  be dependent on others? Equally surprising to know why were the trans responders in a state of the art aircraft like Boeing 777 unable to function at a time when we needed them most? Is there a probability that  someone deliberately shutdown the system in the ill fated plane that disabled all other controls in the plane causing the pilot to have difficulties maneuvering the aircraft resulting in MH 370 ending it's journey in the Indian ocean when fuel supply was depleted. Are we technically at par with other advance countries in the field of civil aviation or we rather be complacent with mediocre equipments which obviously places safety at risks. 

Let us back track a little on the flight to Beijing by MH 370 on the night of 8 Mar 2014.When the Malaysian Air Traffic controller lost contact with MH 370 at a position when the plane was near the Vietnam border how many times were attempts made to reestablish contact with the plane? We were told that 'MH 370 turned back to KLIA', as quoted by the Chief of Armed Forces and this was clearly an indication that something is not right about the flight.How many attempts were made to communicate with MH 370 when the plane turned back? What was to be done when no responses were received from  MH 370 after that several attempts? There surely must be a SOP that   warrant our jets to be scrambled to check  this or any UFO?   If this was done probably it would have been a different scenario entirely for MH 370.Now, this seems more like a case of 'after all is said and done  more is  said than done'. Probably it didn't cross the minds of those air controllers about the existence of a squadron of Shukoi jets stationed in Terengganu. In a circumstance like this does it not justify that our jets go check the situation out? Something is amiss and someone is sleeping on his job and an inquiry is necessary. After all what have we to lose if we sent up our jets  can as an exercise on quick response  for the pilots anyway. I hope this again is not a case of  our  Shukoi jets  are not suited  for night flying or for this type of sortie as reported by the Minister of Transport revealing that our submarines were not sent to the SAR area as they were unsuitable for such duties.Aren't we supposed to have something better?

Are SOP put in place rigidly adhered to. The government is seen doing it's best but one thing for sure, more has to be done on aviation safety and security as the people need to be given the best  the government can offer.

Whatever the situation my sympathies still goes to those who have lost relatives or friends on board.While the situation remains ambiguous, I humbly  salute the crew members who had a role to play on the flight and in particular the flight commander and his deputy.Let us not jump into conclusions. As rightly said - 'Innocent until proven guilty'.The commander and his deputy together with the crew would have tried their very best for the passengers. For those heartless people out there  how would they feel if one of the passenger were to be their loved one?I pray that that probably some survivors are found and what will the situation be when the truth unfold. This is an act of the Almighty and HE and only HE alone knows what we human do not. I pray for those who perished and may the Almighty forgive them and bless their souls.  Also I pray that  the families of those who perished do accept this as a fate by God and to pull themselves together as life has to go on.Bless them all!