Monday, May 16, 2011

Barang lama -- ditukar sukar, dibuang sayang

Today I finally had my car battery changed.... exactly after 5 years, two and a half months -- since I first drove the car home from Kota Bharu Toyota's showroom on 28 February 2006.

This is also the first time after some 30 years of driving had I used a car battery for this long.

As we all know most batteries usually wear out every 1 to 3 years and need to be replaced. The normal battery warranty is around 1 -2 years.

Actually I was adamant against having it changed, since it was still serving the car well, starting the engine at first strike of the ignition almost every time -- be it for the first time in the morning or when the engine is hot.

But the mechanic at Toyota's Prima Pearl Auto in Penang thought it was timely that I had a battery change.

They gave me a call when I was having breakfast with my daughter 20 minutes after I left the car at the workshop for a routine service. The odometer had clocked 58,000km.

The new battery costs RM205, and after a discount it comes to around RM195. I thought they would change it with the same model, so I said okay as really liked the factory fitted brand.

When I came to collect the car, I asked the service advisor, Mr Dinesh what was the voltage of the battery that made them wanted to replace it. I also told him the battery had served me well ever since I bought the car and I believed it is still okay.

He then went in to ask the mechanic who said they had checked the battery voltage and it was only 12.24V.  The normal battery voltage is 12.50V.

Whoah...! after 5 years plus and it had only waned 0.26V.

I asked to open the hood to look at the new battery. Unfortunately, it wasn't what I had expected. The battery was replaced with a smaller size Toyota brand. I asked Dinesh if I can recharge the old battery but he said cannot, so feeling satisfied with the answer I left home without it (the old battery).

Now I am having second thoughts about the old battery. Bukan ler apa, rasa sayang betoi kat barang lama ni. Dah jadi sentimental lah kunun..5 tahun serving the car well...heheh!.

So a few minutes ago (while writing this note) I gave the workshop a call to have the battery back. Dinesh was out, but I reminded the fella on the line that I was going to collect the battery this afternoon.

I'll try to put it in my daughter's 10 year old Proton Iswara. We'll see whether the battery can still work after this.

Moral of this story : Old habits are hard to change, but old things that had served you well may become very sentimental too.

Lastly this Malay expression might explain or justify the above expressions: Barang lama dibuang jangan, sebab ia tetap berharga, Dibuang Sayang, Ditukar Sukar

Related article: How to Check a Car Battery

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mistaking Batok with Batuk (Cough) in "Seperti Melepas Batuk di Tangga"

Have we ever thought that the Malay proverb Melepas Batuk di Tangga does not really mean like we use to think it does?

Over the years, experts in the Malay language like those in GAPENA and university lecturers has in numerous occasion reminded us of the wrong use or perception of the proverb. These misperceptions although trivial but are important if we want to safeguard the sanctity, pureness or the correct use of the language. 

But I wonder why these messages did not get to us after all these years. 

In one of the conferences in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah as was related by Hussaini Abdul Karim (pic below), the writer was informed by a speaker that the word Batuk in the proverb mentioned above was actually Batok, a water dipper made of coconut shell commonly used in traditional Malay homes in those days.

Below is a reproduction (with permission) of a letter sent by Hussaini Abdul Karim, a Singaporean businessman cum writer to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka recently. Hussaini said a copy of the letter was also sent to Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.

From Hussaini Abdul Karim

Saya terlihat satu kesilapan didalam bahagian akhir buku yang di tulis oleh Tun Dr Mahathir Muhammad, 'A Doctor in the House' di mana Tun telah menggunakan peribahasa, “melepaskan batuk di tangga”, yang beliau telah menterjemahkan kedalam bahasa Inggeris seperti berikut: 'cough at the foot of the stairs” dan beliau maksudkannya sebagai “empty formality” (perbuatan formal yang kosong atau yang tidak bererti) dan “to let you know that they are there and to get some credit for having been around” (untuk memaklumkan kepada orang ramai yang mereka berada di tempat itu supaya mereka boleh mendapat pengakuan yang mereka berada di sana dan menerima kepujiannya). Saya rasa penggunaan peribahasa tersebut dan dimaksudkan seperti itu adalah kurang tepat.

Semua orang tahu yang peribahasa tesebut bermakna,' membuat sesuatu kerja sambil lewa', atau untuk mengatakan yang sesorang itu, 'malas'. Menterjemahkan 'batuk' sebagai 'cough' adalah dimana kebanyakkan orang telah tersilap, termasuk Tun.

Lebih kurang lima tahun yang lalu, di satu konferens yang di anjurkan oleh GAPENA di Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, saya telah berpeluang untuk bertemu dengan beberapa orang ahli ahli-ahlinya yang terdiri daripada tokoh-tokoh bahasa negara termasuk dua orang Sasterawan Negara dan saya telah berpeluang menghadiri satu bengkel bahasa dimana salah satu daripada topik yang telah di bincangkan adalah 'Kesilapan Biasa di dalam Penggunaan Bahasa di dalam Sastera Melayu dan Nusantara' secara tidak formal.

Salah seroang tokoh bahasa yang berada di situ telah berhujah, 'Pada masa dahulu, kebanyakkan rumah-rumah yang di bina di kampong-kampong di bina di atas panggong untuk mengelakkan daripda dimasuk air semasa musim air bah dan semua rumah mempunyai tangga. Kemudian, ada di letakkan pula satu tempayan besar yang berisi air dan di tempatkan di hadapan rumah di sebelah tangga utama. Satu 'batok' (bukan 'batuk') yang mempunyai batang (handle) akan di gantungkan di tiang disebelah tangga itu dan ia digunakan oleh tetamu-tetamu yang datang ke rumah untuk menceduk air untuk mencuci kaki mereka sebelum mereka masuk ke rumah.

Selepas menggunakan batok itu, maka ianya akan digantungkan semula kepada penyangkut yang telah di sediakan di tiang di sebelah tangga itu tetapi ada sestengah tetamu yang malas dan hanya melepaskan, meletakkan atau membuang batok itu ke atas tangga sahaja dan peribahasa 'melepaskan batok ditangga' telah tercipta kerana perbuatan

Bezanya di anara 'batok' dan 'batuk' dalah di dalam sebutannya: i.e., batok: BA : Baa (seperti sebutan huruf jawi yang kedua selepas 'Alif, and TOK: seperti sebutan perkataan Ingeris 'Talk', dan sebutan 'batuk' adalah 'baa' 'tuk, (seperti 'datuk').

Apa komen Ibu Nening Mahendra, seorang penulis puisi dan sajakorang dari Purbalingga, Jawa Tengah: "Nama barang itu yang benar adalah 'siwur' terbuat dari bahan baku batok atau tempurung kelapa. Fungsinya untuk menyiduk air. Itu adalah gayung yang dipakai oleh nenek moyang kita di Jawa, ketika belum ditemukan plastik".

Apa pendapat tuan?

Terima kasih.

Yang benar

Hussaini Abdul Karim

Related article: Seperti Melepas Batuk diTangga by MAB

Hussaini Abdul Karim's blog: hak55

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Mother's Day Notes

Wife and me
I realized the gloomy look on my wife’s face.

Her gestures also tell me that something is wrong.

When I asked why, she said “panaslah hari ni…

I know that she knew that I know that it wasn’t the real reason she was a little bit on the edgy side.

She understands me very well. Conversely, so do I.

I know she was a little bit upset that I had not accompanied her to the mall today.

I did ask a stupid question why she took so long at the supermarket. She got a little upset and answered I should have been with her as Aiza (12 year old son) was not much of a help.

Later in the day I told her it was mother’s day today and mentioned about the status on our friends FB wall.
Hmm…takda sapa pun nak ucapkan happy mother’s day kat I..?” she cried.

I kept quiet and but I was giggling inside….heheh!

But knowing that she knew very well of my sense of sarcastic humour, I did not try to turn her weep into a cruel joke (as I always sometimes do).

That evening I took the right moment to hug and kiss her and expressed my heartfelt thanks to her (as a mother). She smiled and said..”I nak bunga…!

I replied, “nanti kita pergi taman kat belakang tu I petikkan bunga…!

That evening we went out for a sumptuous sea-food dinner with the children at a sea-side restaurant in Marina Bay, courtesy of third daughter.

She just completed her diploma (in Agro-Business) and was getting her first full pay for last month working as a clerk at an electronics shop. We were pestering her to belanja us makan and it was a sort of pay-day for her. So, since today was mother’s day, it was really nice that she fulfilled her duty to make all of us happy on this lovely occasion.

Just before we were to call the day off my wife asked if I was ‘happy’ and I said yes. “ …if you are happy then I am happy too..” she rejoiced. I knew what she meant and we both went into a slumber.

It was really a day to remember.

But that was yesterday..

Today I stumbled on some friend’s FB status and read about how they reminisced their mother in their younger days.

One of them remembered how her mom likes to make a pocket on in front of her baju kurung which is quite odd. FYI the baju kurung fashion in those days (and today still) does not have front pocket/s. Only Baju Melayu worn by Malay boys (and men) have pockets, usually 3 in front (one on the left top and two below).

If you are an FB friend of Nani-Syed Osman you can read her beautiful notes about how she remembers her mom in: Poket Depan Baju Kurung.

My wife also often reminisces her sweet moments with her mom and reminded me many times how she misses her. Every times she does that I listened to her attentively. Sometimes, she even cried while doing it.

I did not reciprocate by crying with her, but I do know how to understand her feelings when she does that. I buat muka sedih je!

I know… I know… mother’s love is a precious gift from God. 

It is something so worthy we can’t even exchange it with all the riches in the world.

Even if your mother is no longer around, but if you ever had mother’s love try to remember the beautiful moments you’ve had with her, and please do not lose them (the moments) – recall them, rekindle them, cherish them, adorn them, embellish them, treasure them.

In the end it will make your life more meaningful every time you mention of your mother and her love of you.

Somebody wrote a nice poem on a mother’s love:

A mother's love is a precious gift
To be treasured along life's highway
For the wonderful love they give
Will be taken from you someday....
(click here to continue reading the set of poems)

But what do I know about mother’s love?

I’ve never really remember I’ve had mother’s love.

How do I recall those moments, rekindle those moments, cherish those moments, adorn those moments, embellish those moments or even treasure those moments…when they weren’t there in the first place.

Mother died when I was a baby, when I was still supposed to be in her cradle, crying out for her hug, her love, her attention (and not to mention her milk).

But where were you mom, when I needed you and your love?

Why did you go so early when I needed you so badly like other babies do when they cry out for their mummy? Mummy…mummy…mummy…where are you?

I was barely three years old when she left me for good. 

But I was a strong kid. I didn’t cry when I was told later that my mother was gone.  

I remember some of my aunties cried and hugged me and told me about my mum’s passing away. But I couldn’t remember a word they say about her. However, I do understand that they felt sorry and told me that later I may be having a new mum.

So this is actually my answer to my wife and my friend’s lovely written notes:

I wish I had a moment to recall with my mother, but I have none!

I wish I had a mother to make me a Baju Melayu with many pockets, but I have none!

I wish I had a mother to help her with household chores but I have none!

I wish I had mother around to tell me about manners and how to behave, but I have none!

I wish I had a mother who would scold me when I am naughty, but I have none!

I wish I had a mother to correct me when I make mistakes, but I have none!

I wish to carry on with more wishes, but I think I’ll save myself and also you readers from those tears that are dwelling in your eyes…!

So for you people who still have a mother out there to reach out to, please do so while you can!

I am specifically talking about those who still have a mother but are “not on speaking terms” or “just not getting along well” … by intentionally and occasionally building a wall of arrogance between you and  your parents.

But at the end of the day you do have that sense or feeling that a set of maternal (or paternal) eyes are out there looking after you.

And you know what I mean.

Life’s too short to keep the flame of arrogance burning in our hearts. We the young ‘uns should be the ones that should bow in humility in front of our elders. Even if the elders are wrong.

You still have a mother, but many unlucky ones like me are without any (no more). So be there with her when you are supposed to (on Hari Raya or any other day),… before it’s too late.

To my mother Allahyarhamah XXXXXXXXX who died at the age of 29 (1934 - 1963) although I can't remember any sweet moments we've had together, you are still my mom. This is for you.

Happy Mother’s Day 2011.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The inventor of the first Digital Camera

Above is a picture of the first digital camera and the person who invented it.

Steven J. Sasson, the person who created the first digital camera is an American electrical engineer (born July 4, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York).

In 1974, Sasson began working with a very broad assignment from his supervisor at Eastman Kodak Company, Gareth A. Lloyd. He was asked to investigate the imaging properties of charge-coupled devices to create an image sensor for a film-free camera.

Lloyd posed this question to Sasson: Could a camera be built using solid state electronics, solid state imagers, and electronic sensor known as a charge coupled device (CCD) and then gather optical information?

So he set about constructing the digital circuitry from scratch, using oscilloscope measurements as a guide.

There were no images to look at until the entire prototype — an 8-pound (3.6-kilogram), toaster-size contraption — was assembled.

In December 1975, Sasson and his chief technician produced the first black-and-white digital image, captured at a resolution of .01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), took 23 seconds to record onto a digital cassette tape and another 23 seconds to read off a playback unit onto a television.

Then the picture popped up on the screen.

And the rest as they say, is history...!

In 1978, Sasson and Lloyd were issued U.S. Patent 4,131,919 for their digital camera.

Sasson now works to protect the intellectual capital of his employer, Eastman Kodak Company.

On November 17, 2010, US President Barack Obama awarded Sasson the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at the White House. This is the highest honor awarded by the US government to scientists, engineers, and inventors.

The video below has more info on the workings of first digital camera:

Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson from David Friedman on Vimeo.