Oh, I crashed my Duke

It is ironic. But I resigned to the fact that it was destined, and God only knows the wisdom behind.
Just over a week since a close friend passed away as a result of a horrible motorbike accident. And an accident happened to me. I survived it unscathed, just minor pains here and there, but the bike was badly damaged. Sometimes I felt embarassed as if it was from my own shortcoming (despite it clearly was the fault of the car driver!), but I cant help to feel inadequate. Is something wrong somewhere…? How I could ensure it will never happen again? How I could convince anyone to be my pillion passenger, again? Am I fit to ride to work, bustling the traffic congestion on daily basis, again?
Everything happened so fast…beyond thinkable…well it was going to be like any other normal day coming back home from work. …except a different route via Jln Tun Razak traffic congestion, and I was riding the Duke 200 for a change. Work ended early so I took the opportunity to send the bike for quick service at Pudu. Riding on the way home, post service (and removal of cut off point) I was a little too eager at times perhaps trying to test bike while forgetting that I had not ridden it in dense traffic for quite a while. Not that this was a problem, indeed Duke’s smaller profile made it easier to manouver, except, the absence of ABS for emergency braking. Suddenly I was confronted with an emergency situation, requiring sudden and forceful braking – the Myvi infront switched to the fast lane out of a sudden, without indication. 
Perhaps the less forgiving nature of Duke’s braking system coupled with a little harsh ride led to less than ideal reaction time, added by a major fault from the car in front that took a sudden lane switching without prior warning. Whatever, it had been fated that I ended up with a loud bang and the next thing I was thrown on the tarmac. The bike was badly damaged but I was fine. A number of bikers stopped to give help. A guy picked the bike and pushed it to the road side.
The driver was a lady accompanied by her daughter. She repeatedly apologised and promised to work together to settle things. 
It turned out to be a three hours plus of waiting, towing the bike (assistance by Motoaid) and settling things at McDonas Auto. As late evening set in I laid down my jacket and stood up to perform Asar prayer on the roadside. The next prayer which was maghrib done at the workshop that needed me to climb up two flight of stairs in pain. It was not till the towtruck arrived I began to feel excruciating pain on my hips, which worsened when climbing.
I tried to act strong in front of the wife and pretend I could walk normally but it didnt take too long to notice my predicament…even with multiple doses of analgesia the pain just became slightly more bearable…
Thank God, things could have been much worse, it was solely with His Mercy I escaped the death.

A most unlikely selfie...a shot taken shortly after the unfortunate accident

A most unlikely selfie…a shot taken shortly after the unfortunate accident

Reaction, overeaction?
I first alerted my bikers group – many responded worrying, wanting to know how I was. I reassured them that I was ok. I had to use the best of words to communicate to the wife of my situation, this did not come by till a little later. She called my handphone and I answerd calmly, telling her the bike had a breakdown, as a result of a minor accident – that I hit a car, nevertheless I was completely fine whilst the bike sustained serious damages. She understood and we made plan to meet at the workshop after the bike was delivered by the towtruck.
I did not post to the FB till the next day, I was thinking initially not to, more for the shame! and fearful of ‘hostile’ responses from some people. Many of them were taken by surprise when i posted my selfie taken immediately after the accident. That instantly gave the message that I wasn’t seriously hurt.
Most of them expressed sympathy at the tragedy. However, as anticipated there were a number who advised to give up riding or the like, such as:
Maybe it is time to consider going back to driving…
My cousin has lost his leg from the same motorcycle. Better abandon such dangerous activity!
If you love your wife/family, then no riding!
Superbike is good for ego but not for family at home…
The Head of Emergency Department doctor advised me against riding…

I chose to remain silent over the comments. Most of them are people I knew, who I know well do care, so thank you brothers and sisters. Anyway, up to now I have not the slightest thought of laying down my machine. Well, I may, on a serious note, get rid of the Duke soon, and go for a new ABS equipped machine (perhaps a scooter?, not certain yet).

Giving up on the Duke?
It does not in any way, mean that I am recalling all my previous compliments on KTM Duke 200. By now I realised, one of the most read posting in my blog are those on the Duke 200, and some people must have been influenced by my opinion. I still believe it a good bike, perhaps better with the ABS in action. Everything I said about before is still relevant. However, all in all, I don’t think anyone sensible would go back riding the same machine that had caused them to crash whatever it is. Just as much as one tries to avoid going through the same spot where he had the accident, not at least for the first few months. One will try as much as possible to wipe away the memory of the incident rather than keeping it close by, which may only raise your anxiety and affect your confidence level.
Having said that, let me make a little comment on the Duke’s behaviour that I thought may have been partly contributing to the incident. First the ABS. I have had three 2 near crash incidents in the past, resulted from sudden braking. I thought this had improved vastly since I practised the new braking technique (front brake more than rear, or mere front brake), while emergency braking requires both. However, with the Duke, sudden braking had always turned horror. My first experience of this was during rain, when I suddenly found myself approaching a 4 wheeler too close, on a wet road. So I tap the brakes firmly (rear more than front this time), and instantly the rear tire started to shake violently, my bike felt unstable, I thought I was going to fall, luckily there was just enough distance before I managed to stop, and the gap was quite wide. The second incident, also when the road was slightly wet, this time I was close, very close to a car when it suddenly came to a halt, I stomped the brakes and the tire wobbled again madly, I was about to hit the car, the bike skidded a bit which indeed took me a little away from the body of the car and I was saved.
The third instance was this time, when it resulted in a real, unfortunate accident.
No I don’t blame the bike, it just, maybe, didn’t suit my riding style (anymore). While I had been on the new bike, the Triumph STreet Triple for a year now, I have had no such encounter so far, thank God.
On the hand, I admitted, that I have lately been having a thrill with the Duke’s slick handling around corners, with its small body no doubt it still makes one of the best bikes at heavy traffic. Just you need extra caution when braking in wet condition, or when applying emergency brakes.
Yes, I do need to improve my riding skill futher, and meanwhile I should perhaps stick with ABS system to be safe.

Whose fault? Introspection, reflection on my riding
It didn’t take long before I felt I was ready to ride. In fact a week later I was back on the wheel, and two weeks later I joined a short convoy with friends from the MyIkram Bikers. Did I change my riding style? Not a bit…indeed as usual I remained the front runner with occasional sprint beyond a 170km/hr (yes, sounded nervous wrecking for a newbie who had just crashed his bike…!). As I was tracking along MRR2 nearing the exit to PLUS highway, suddenly I was caught at this particular tight bend, at a slightly higher speed, when the road felt unusually slippery. I nearly lost traction and let the bike verged to the extreme left, before picking myself up and regained speed. That was a nightmare and anything nasty could have happened that very moment, I thought…well, perhaps the absence of vehicles in the immediate surrounding had caused me to underestimate the danger and let the bike slipped rather wildly. Maybe, this sort of carelessness should not be repeated if I don’t want to see another mishap.

I looked back at my riding history – two years plus, almost 30,000kms, still relatively new as a rider, I would not claim myself as having enough riding experience. So, why being overconfident? Perhaps, I should rather take it easy, set a few rules to keep my ride safe and sound.

Speed is certainly a big thing. While cruising speed of over 140km/hr is an acceptable standard during group ride, perhaps a solo ride, during a relatively busy traffic should be limited to below this figure. While a densely busy traffic such that in MRR2 should not be filtered with anything more than 90-100km/hr. ‘Aggressive manouvers’ such as sudden lane switching, racing with other riders (the temptation is always there), or overspeeding while doing lane splitting, should be avoided. Lastly protective gears is an all time must.

Then, defensive riding skill should be sharpened. Special group training on handling the bike may also help

Riding remains a highly risky activity?
Sometimes, there is the inner feeling of fear, timidity, restlessness, as if something bad going to happen. Uncertainty reigns. Holding on to the bike, with my short stature, and ahead of me, hostile drivers, maddening traffic congestion – all conspired to shake my confidence. But once on the bike, throttle on, the confidence rose as the bike accelerates.
Once I sat down with those seasoned guys from our club MyIkram Bikers – on them indeed I found calm faces, who have blasted the wind, crossed the borders, filtered the depth of most tortuous roads in the country, swamped the darkness of the night with their bikes grazing thousands of miles of rough journeys. Years of riding experience, many falls, lost directions, breakdowns in the middle of nowhere – and with all that, no signs of regret nor fears. They spoke about how riders went on a serious mission, in the middle of night, risking their lives – they have done it years in, years out, many survived such priceless experience – yes they got big hearts. You don’t do such thing if you have no heart, no gut. Just sit at home and enjoy cozy and warm sofa. But the riding world is something different. Surely the bikes are not made for the faint hearted. You, have the heart. You are made of different materials. So be there, for the action. Fear of your life? Don’t you trust God?
Finally, once again, I made the resolution. I am a rider, and will always be. May God save me and help me to enjoy the riding while keeping myself in His rememberance.

Bila Mahkamah Dunia Memutuskan…

Buat yang sentiasa meng’update’ FB wall mereka, mungkin sesuatu yang tak kena kalau peristiwa sebesar keputusan mahkamah isu DSAI-Saiful Bokhari tidak tersentuh. Mungkin ada yang tak senang, atau tak pasti apa nak dikata, atau takut dgn Sedition Act? Setelah menyepi dari memberi komen dua hari lepas, akhirnya jari-jari anugerah Ilahi ini dapat menukilkan sesuatu untuk renungan sendiri. Bukan untuk menarik ‘likes’ atau ‘dislikes’ tapi sekadar berkongsi kefahaman peribadi. Perlu saya tegaskan ini pendapat saya sahaja, dan saya bukan pakar perundangan, jadi kalau saya tersilap harap tegur, jangan terus seret ke Akta Hasutan pula…:

1. Siapakah yang benar? Hanya Allah yang Maha Tahu. Mahkamah dunia hanya memberikan hukuman berdasarkan bukti dan hujah, dan keputusan di tangan hakim. Hanya Mahkamah Allah swt yang paling adil dan amat halus dan teliti, di mana semua rahsia, bukti dan kebenaran akan dibentangkan tanpa hijab pada hari yang amat digeruni di mahsyar nanti.

2. Walau bagaimanapun, sebagai seorang Islam, saya mengenali sedikit sebanyak DSAI, beliau seorang Muslim yang baik dan menjaga kewajipan pada Tuhan, saya mempercayai kata-kata beliau yang mempertahankan beliau tidak bersalah. Saya tidak kenal Saiful, biarpun saya mendapat gambaran peribadi & perlakuan beliau dari kamar mahkamah, jadi saya tidak dapat menerima pengakuan beliau maupun beliau telah bersumpah. Ada banyak kata-kata beliau yang tak konsisten. Tetapi saya bukan nak menjadi hakim mengadili di sini, ini adalah pendapat saya. Apalagi bila satu ketika bapa beliau sendiri mengakui keraguan terhadap pengakuan beliau. Dan petugas/Imam masjid yang menyaksikan sumpah beliau juga telah membuat pengakuan beliau diberi arahan sedemikian dll.

3. Walaupun DSAI disabitkan oleh Mahkamah Rayuan bersalah yang memberi implikasi beliau telah melakukan kesalahan liwat, pada pendapat saya sebagai seorang Muslim kita tidak dapat menerima apalagi memberikan label beliau seorang peliwat. Kerana tiadanya saksi yang menyaksikan perbuatan itu, dan beliau menafikan. Bukti DNA hanyalah ‘circumstantial’ sahaja, dan tidak boleh dijadikan muktamat (anda akan kata saya naive kalau saya beri perumpamaan dengan cokelat cadbury….tapi ada samar-samar kesamaan di sini, ujudnya DNA tidak mensabitkan salahlaku, dan ini diakui dalam perundangan pun). Malahan menurut undang-undang Islam, Saiful layak dihudud atas sumpah beliau kerana beliau gagal membawa saksi kejadian (saksi yang benar-benar melihat kejadian).
Ya, setahu saya, ada peruntukan untuk takzir, iaitu hukuman yang lebih ringan dari hudud, jika kesalahan tidak dapat disabitkan. Pun begitu, dari pendakwaan tiada bukti yang kukuh wallahu álam. Mengenai DNA, ingatlah, dalam keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi 2012, DSAI disabitkan tak bersalah kerana terdapat keraguan pada DNA. Dan apapun DNA sahaja tidak boleh dijadikan bukti muktamat tanpa adanya turutan kejadian yang tak diragui.

4. Saya merasa hairan dengan ‘dakwaan’ mengatakan Saiful telah menunjukkan keberanian luarbiasa kerana berani mendakwa seorang DS dan juga majikan beliau. Jika beliau seorang lelaki yang berani dan jujur pastinya beliau tak rela dirinya diperkosa, diliwati. Pasti beliau sanggup melakukan apa saja untuk melawan pesalahlaku. Tetapi tiada bukti beliau cuba melawan, malah beliau mengaku buka seluar, pakai tuala dan beri KY Jelly…ini tak masuk akal. Lebih pelik lagi bila pendakwaan masih berdasarkan 377A & B – iaitu kesalahan liwat secara konsensual, dan bukan paksa /sodomi (377C).

5. Wajibkah penyokong-penyokong DSAI menerima keputusan ini dan berdiam diri. Sebagai rakyat setiap orang punya hak, selagi hak bersuara tersebut dilakukan dalam rangka undang-undang yang sah, tidak sepatutnya dihalang. Dan kerajaan harus bersikap terbuka tak perlu menggunakan akta hasutan dengan sewenang-wenangnya. Begitupun, saya tidak setuju menandatangani petisyen meminta campurtangan kuasa luar, maupun meminta pengampunan dari Yang Dipertuan Agong. DSAI hanya harus bebas dengan keputusan mahkamah (contohnya mahkamah pada satu ketika overule keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan tersebut), ini sebagai untuk pembersihan nama beliau sendiri.

Kadangkala kebenaran berakhir di penjara, maupun di tali gantung. Harga kebenaran amat mahal. Mungkin penjara ‘lebih baik’, sebagaimana kata-kata Nabi Yusuf dalam peristiwa beliau difitnah Zulaikha:
“Wahai Tuhanku, penjara lebih aku sukai daripada memenuhi ajakan (syahwat) mereka kepadaku. Dan jika tidak Engkau hindarkan daripadaku tipu daya mereka, tentu aku akan cenderung untuk (memenuhi keinginan mereka) dan tentulah aku termasuk orang-orang yang bodoh” (Yusuf: 33)

Malah, di peringkat seterusnya, apabila Yusuf diberi peluang untuk keluar dari penjara, beliau tidak berganjak sebaliknya menuntuk agar pengadilan semula dilakukan, demi untuk membersihkan nama beliau, hingga akhirnya penuduh-penuduh beliau mengaku mereka telah berbohong dan bahawa beliau dipihak yang benar.

(Saya pilih untuk tidak menyiarkan tulisan ini di FB, kerana pada ketika saya telah siap menulis, berlaku pula peristiwa besar lain, jadi biarlah saya abadikan pendapat saya di sini dan sebagai tatapan sesiapa saja yang sudi membaca)

Between Wealth and Blessings

I got this from Maahad Tahfiz WA, something worth reading…

In 1923, nine of the wealthiest people in the world met at Chicago’s Edge Water Beach Hotel.

Their combined wealth, it is estimated, exceeded the wealth of the Government of the United States at that time. These men certainly knew how to make a living and accumulate wealth. Attending the meeting were the following men:

1. The president of the largest steel company,

2. The president of the largest utility company,

3. The president of the largest gas company,

4. The president of the New York Stock Exchange,

5. The president of the Bank of International Settlements,

6. The greatest wheat speculator,

7. The greatest bear on Wall Street,

8. The head of the World’s greatest monopoly &

9. A member of President Harding’s cabinet.

That’s a pretty impressive line-up of people by anyone’s yardstick.

Yet, 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants?

Let’s examine what happened to them 25 years later.
1. The President of the then largest steel company (Bethlehem Steel Corp), Charles M Schwab, lived on borrowed capital for five years before he died bankrupt.

2. The President of the then largest gas company, Howard Hubson, went insane.

3. One of the greatest commodity traders (Wheat Speculator), Arthur Cutten, died insolvent.

4. The then President of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was sent to jail.

5. The member of the US President’s Cabinet (the member of President Harding’s cabinet), Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail just to be able to go home and die in peace.

6. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore committed suicide.

7. The President of the then world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger, committed suicide.

8. The President of the Bank of International Settlement, Leon Fraser, committed Suicide.

9. The president of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless.

What they forgot was how to “make” life while they got busy making money!

Money in itself is not evil; it provides food for the hungry, medicine for the sick, clothes for the needy. Money is only a medium of exchange.

We need two kinds of education:

a) One that teaches us how to make a living,


b) One that teaches us how to live.

There are many of us who are so engrossed in our professional life that we neglect our family, health and social responsibilities.

If asked why we do this, we would reply that “We are doing it for our family”.

Yet, our kids are sleeping when we leave home. They are sleeping when we come back home!! Twenty years later, we’ll turn back, and they’ll all be gone, to pursue their own dreams and their own lives.

Without water, a ship cannot move. The ship needs water, but if the water gets into the ship, the ship will face existential problems. What was once a means of living for the ship will now become a means of destruction.

Similarly we live in a time where earning is a necessity but let not the earning enter our hearts, for what was once a means of living will surely become a means of destruction for us as well.

So take a moment and ask yourself, “Has the water entered my ship?”
I hope not!

Hope the above story will drive all of us in a better direction in 2015..

”Alone I can ‘Say’ but
together we can ‘talk’.

‘Alone I can ‘Enjoy’ but
together we can

‘Alone I can ‘Smile’ but
together we can ‘Laugh’.

That’s the BEAUTY of
Human Relations.

We are nothing without
each other

Solat Zuhur terakhir untukmu….

Jom Prof, dia orang dah naik tu…ujar salah seorang doktor di klinik. Aku bergegas, meninggalkan kerja2 menulis di fail pesakit.

Sampai di pintu surau, rupanya beliau sedang menuju masuk. Tetapi beliau tidak masuk ke surau bersendirian, malah dibantu oleh beberapa orang. Dalam keadaan terbaring & tidak mampu lagi berkata-kata, beliau diusung ke barisan paling hadapan, di depan Imam.
Aah, jam 2 petang, aku memang belum solat Zuhur lagi. Eloklah masuk surau, walaupun jemaah Zuhur dah selesai. Kebetulan yang tinggal tak ramai, cukup untuk membuat tiga saf.

Solat Zuhur kali ini ringkas pula. Hanya empat takbir. Tiada ruku’ dan sujud, hanya kurang lebih 3 minit selesai. Semua hadirin berwajah suram, tapi cukup gagah & bersungguh-sungguh mengaminkan doa Imam. Aah, inilah solat beliau yang terakhir, sebelum diberi penghormatan menuju ke rumah penginapan baru.

Sahabat kami, yang bersama satu pasukan kerja, dan satu masa dalam satu kelab superbike, menunggang bersama2, kini telah tiada. Aku masih terbayang dengan detik mencemaskan pagi tadi. Sampai di te mpat parking motor di bawah, aku belek handphone dan terdapat satu ‘missed call’ dari Datuk Sri. Hai apahal Datuk Sri telefon awal pagi pulak ni, lalu terus ku dail nombor beliau, tapi tidak berjawab. Selang beberapa minit beliau menalipon, memberitahu, sahabat kami sedang nazak dan pasukan penyelamat perubatan sedang bertungkus lumus cuba menyelamatkan nyawa beliau.

Lalu aku bergegas ke ICU, di sinilah sahabat kami terlantar semenjak sepuluh hari lalu, selepas berlaku insiden ngeri di Bukit Tinggi. Satu kemalangan maut membabitkan jentera beliau Kawasaki Z800 bertembung dengan sebuah KTM Duke 200. Beliau cedera parah melibatkan pelbagai organ termasuk otak, jantung, paru-paru & pelvic. Kekadang seolah ada harapan sedikit, dan setiap hari kami mengunjungi beliau, mengucapkan kata2 semangat, walaupun beliau hanya tidur nyenyak di bawah kawalan ubat. Rakan-rakan, & saudara menaruh harapan, malah ada yang mereka ayat, hah nanti dah sihat, mesti tak nak ride motor dah…Tapi takdir Ilahi mengatasi segalanya. sejak 3 hari lepas, selepas disahkan mendapat ‘sepsis’ iaitu jangkitan kuman dalam darah, keadaan semakin meruncing. Pagi ini, beliau diserang ‘cardiac arrest’.

Aku meluru ke katil & menekan dada beliau ‘CPR’ berkali-kali. Ubat2an tak saling putus dicucuk ke dalam darah. Silih berganti kami melakukan CPR. Tidak nampak respon yang baik. Mataku bergerak pantas meninjau sesiapa yang ada di sisi beliau. Z ada di situ, wajahnya pucat lesi, Y juga di situ, berwajah serius, beliau dengan tangan gagahnya turut serta memberikan CPR. Tiba2 telefon ku berdering: di hujung sana suara esakan tangisan. “Are you with him?” Aku menjawab tenang. “Ok, I am coming…don’t forget…teach him syahadah…” “oh, ok, drive carefully”….seperti anak kecil menurut suruhan ibunya, aku bergerak ke kepala katil, menukar strategi. Orang lain silih berganti melakukan CPR, aku tak putus-putus mengucapkan kalimah ‘Lailaha Illallah, Muhammadurrasulullah,” pada telinga sahabatku. Adakah dia mendengarnya…di kemelut ini. Aah, teruskan sahaja, inilah kalimah akhir yang dia mau bawa mengadap Tuhan…bisik hatiku.

Detik-detik terakhir beliau (anak panah)....semasa ride tahun baru. Ceria bersama rakan. Sukses dalam business dan gelaran hepat tp beliau tetap bersahaja & simple bersama rakan2

Detik-detik terakhir beliau (anak panah)….semasa ride tahun baru.
Ceria bersama rakan. Sukses dalam business dan gelaran hepat tp beliau tetap bersahaja & simple bersama rakan2

Dah lebih setengah jam ni…desak seorang Pakar. Aku cuma mengisyaratkan untuk terus mencuba. Ada kisah memang CPR yang berlanjutan sampai sejam dapat memulihkan seorang mangsa ‘cardiac arrest’ berusia muda. Tapi itu dalam keadaan lain, tak silap, mangsa lemas. Namun apapun, aku cuba ‘membeli masa’ sedikit…untuk apa, tak pasti. Tak dapat menerima hakikat lagi? Agaknya itu yang bermain dibenakku, di hati Z, di kepala Y, bahawa akan berlaku satu ‘karamah’ atau mukjizat di mana sahabat karib kami akan bangun juga…tapi nampaknya itu hanya mimpi.

Memang barangkali para ‘bikers’ yang berhati kering ni, tak takut mati, dan cukup optimis. Ya, kuat tawakkal lah kut…kekadang macam ‘over confident’ pula…

OK, everyone, we stop here. Arahku. Wajah2 yang murung memandang kosong. 3 orang pelawat melangkah masuk, airmata berderai. Aku bersalaman dengan yang lelaki, abang kepada sahabat kami.

Aku hampiri Z & memeluknya…tiada kata2…hanya doa untuk sahabat kami. Yang lebih, bahasa dunia saja…hanya hati yang hidup dapat merasai…mungkin lebihkurang begini, ayuh bro…kita sambung hidup ini jangan patah semangat…doa untuk sahabat, kita kuatkan hati…life goes on.

Kini, berakhir drama sepuluh hari itu, sahabat kami, rakan ‘rider’ telah meninggalkan kami bertemu Penciptanya. Semoga beliau diampuni Allah & ditempatkanNya bersama orang-orang beriman & para Solihin.

How it all happened in 2014, what a colourful year….

I spent over an hour this morning scrolling through diaries/year planner and emails checking all my official external commitments for the last six months. The University wanted each lecturer to list down all forms of recognition/awards/invitations from national/international institutes as a common practice of evaluating their performance.
I have listed 23 commitments, commitments ranged from external examiner, invited lectures, appointment as expert panel, awards, and invitation as reviewer of journal manuscript. No wonder my weekeds are always occupied (for the periof of July-December 2014).
So to extend the work personally, I began rewinding back on the year of 2014. Had a look again at the diary beginning January. Now I feel congested and almost could not believe myself how much commitments that had been undertaken throghout the year, which I consider had been somewhat quiet. No it wasnt at all. Lets look at a few landmark events.
For the year 2014 alone, I had traveled to overseas 9 times – Singapore, Washington DC USA, Soul South Korea, Melbourne Australia (twice), Paris France, Tokai Japan, Barcelona Spain and Bali Indonesia. All except one were invitation to attend meeting & Conferences or taking up faculty role or presenting abstract.
As to national meetings: The Asean Federation of Cardiology Congress (KL), Asian Pacific Cardiology Congress @USM, Interventional Cardiology Forum (Ipoh) did not sound plentiful, however taking into account number of lectures/faculty roles taken up in various meetings/invitation, the number came to 17 lectures and 12 chairs/faculty roles, 6 Advisory boards appointment, 2 writing groups/Clinical Practice Guidelines committee, 2 national level organising committee member of National Meetings; with almost one in very two weekends regularly filled with meetings/commitments. Hah, no wonder, I have had some sleepless night preparing lectures or writing up my masterpiece.
Thank God, it all did not come without any visible fruits, we have managed to win at least two major titles: one Best Abstract from Malaysia award during the American College of Cardiology Congress @ Washington DC, and another First Price for Abstract Poster competition at Asian Pacific Cardiology Congress @USM. And, with the hard works of colleagues and collaborators, I have co-published 7 journal articles and 8 abstract proceedings. Not to forget, I have the previlige to co-organise two national level courses at our Medical Centre – the ECG Masterclass and Clinical Cardiology Masterclass.
All these, I am trying to take it easy with the number of clinical researches undertaken, not less than 8 in counts including 6 multicentre trials, and plenty of funds secured. And some other positions such as member of the JKTU (Therapeutics and Medicine Board), appointed as Head of the Heart and Lung Centre, and still on as the Head of Cardiology Unit.
MIB resting
Moving on to a personal and social perspective, this was the year I had been given a serious role of leading a number of organisations – Exco member (later appointed as acting Deputy Chairman) of Ikramhealth, Exco member of the Pertubuhan Ikram Bandar Tun Razak, Organising Member (dubbed VP!) of the MyIkram Bikers (MIB), and later, most demanding job as the Ikram’s Chairman of Community Service /iBantu Wilayah Persekutuan (among others managing missions for the flood relief to Kelantan/Pahang totalling to 10 missions altogether). Earlier on I was preoccupied with organising events within the fraternity of MIB, including a long ride to Tanjung Piai Johor in December.

The year that saw us acquired two new vehicles brand new and another used. That was, a brand new motorcycle Triumph Street Triple in February, a used Hyundai Getz in September and a brand new Volkswagen Golf GTi in October (a replacement car).
me n missus
Now come to misfortune, the year that saw us lose our lovely BMW 320d car in a spontaneous fire.

The year also saw our family shrunk in number (of house occupants) when two of our children moved to their school/university’s accommodation.

Thank God and we praise Him for all the achievements and seek His forgiveness for our mistakes and weaknesses.

When a close friend biker involved in a near fatal crash…

I am still in shock. It was around 1 pm, on the way home riding from Port Dickson, through the windy suburban roads of Sepang-Nilai then the Plus highway I decided to have a quick break at Serdang. 

While having a bite I scrolled through Whatsapp messages. There were a few new messages from the HUKM Great Riders group, on top of a few hundred other messages mostly groups’. Usually I read this group’s messages at leisure only, since most of the conversation are about rides, that normally involve the same guys, led by Z and MH. Suddenly it dawned upon me to read the messages from this group ahead of others.  There was a horrid photo of a motorbike burning on the road sent by Z with the caption, “please pray for our friend, MH. Accident at Bukit Tinggi, GCS 4″ I felt numb, scared and in disbelief.

I immediately dialed Z’s number and asked what had happened. Z confirmed that MH was involved in a bad accident, his bike collided with another rider’s, burst into flame. He just managed to pull him away from the fire. The other guy died on the spot. MH was transported by ambulance to Bentong hospital.  When transferred to our hospital he was barely conscious and multiple injuries suspected awaiting scans and further investigations. Up to the time of writing he remains in critical condition at the ICU.

MH has been an avid rider since over a year ago. One day he was late for work due to traffic jam so he said he will get a superbike. Thats it as simple as that and he instantly became a rider. But he didnt ride the bike to work, instead turned it into leisure activity. As a young, brave and enthusiastic person MH was fast becoming a competent rider. One of his hobbies is adventure ride at those famous spots like Kelawang, Bukit Tinggi, Genting Highlands etc. Now the guy who had been one of his trainer claimed that during any ride, MH will always be ahead of everyone, being a fast paced rider. I rode with him once, and I knew I can never be in the same league with these guys! I learned a few useful riding tips from him.

Denial and disbelief….
I could hardly take it…still dumbfounded, I did not feel right and wished that I could just lie down, and keep the bike aside for a good moments.
I sent alert messages to few people who are close to him, since I have no contact number of his family or relatives. I also shared the scary incident with my club members – MyIkram Bikers. Then I slowly got myself ready and climbed onto my bike. Wrapped in full suits – helmet, gloves, leather jacket, I began riding.

But once on the road I forgot the painful reality and just rolled on fast – though not as fast as earlier on. True as they said it, once on the bike, you put behind all that fears and worries, the adrenaline surge will put you totally in charge and ready to tackle the wind, blast the traffic and charge though the rain. There, on the road I was back in action, manouvering the bike swiftly in the midst of mixed traffic.

This incident just happened a day after a good friend of ours launched his book “44 Sebab Kemalangan Motosikal Maut” (44 causes of fatal motorbike accidents). As for myself, it is now coming to about a year since I have been riding the Triumph Street Triple (previous bike KTM Duke 200), just about two years experience, approximate mileage covered 28,000km. Not long enough. But I have noticed some ‘improvement’ such as confidence at cornering, surfing the traffic jam and riding in rain or at night no longer a chore. For instance, the ride I undertook yesterday to and from PD. Onward journey accompanied by a good friend RS who had introduced me to the motorbiking world. I felt much more settled on the road, and going at anything above 150km/h with the Triumph was achieved in a more relaxed manner. RS complimented me on the Triumph’s exceptionally crisp acceleration and fluid handling. In fact, I stil managed to attract the attention of people at traffic stops, parking or refuelling stations who keep asking what bike is it, perhaps the brand is not much known like those Japanese ones, yet many were impressed with the smooth sounding engine and beautiful exhaust hum. bukit tinggi jan 2015

The return journey, I purposely took the inner road heading to Sepang/KLIA, then was offshoot to Nilai. Along this journey there were many bends and corners which I felt much better at tackling now. Towards the end the traffic seemed to get heavier, hence spoiling the joy of riding a bit. I still rode with extra care, slowing down a lot due to unpredictable oncoming traffic (obliterated view ahead due to many acute bends). Yes, I place safety above everything else, and if safety requires me to slow down or even stop be it. Of course, we can only afford to be as careful, as with the other hazards such that caused by third party, that will be impossible to know, though we could practice as much defensive riding as possible. Therefore, speeding does not become the primary aim of riding, but safety is. One should treasure the joy of riding itself and not the speed per se. Furthermore, a rider must be aware of his own limit, and knows his bike well. So, before you know how fast you can go, you have to be sure, how fast you can brake your bike to a stop. Hmmm, having said that, on a straight road, I bet, most regular bikers would feel inadequate riding at anything below 150km/h, hence speed is only something relative.

Facing the reality
At 10pm he arrived at our hospital. Laid in bed, mechanical intubation in place, chest tube on the side, blood pressure dwindling, hips broken, signs of chest and heart injury, all not looking so good, let alone the high possiblity of cerebral injury.
I couldnt speak much. A lot of friends were there. I applied my own expertise to examine the heart. After talking to a few people I left to a nearby cafe, sat down and started mourning again. That led to a sleepless night. Body aching, intermittently having harrowing dreams, and even at work I felt exessive lethargy, all indicating the mind is struggling to cope with the shock.
Did I stop riding? It had been a practice up to now, that everytime I encountered bad accident, I made it a habit to stop riding for a day or two. While I was about to do the same this time, suddenly my mind revolt, and I made a last minute decision to pursue the ride to work.
As I have written before, if riding reminds us of death or accident, then it is one good means of keeping ourselves close to God. Just to remember, the road is not the place to race or express your rage. Certainly the life goes on. We are riders. May God keep us safe and carry on life as His servants.

From a dream machine to a death trap….(when my one year old BMW 320d caught fire)

5 months ago, we had a beautiful red car, it was a stunning performer – fast, slick, economical, prestigious and fun to drive and own. One year of enjoyable driving experience, no complaints. The car that defined driving pleasure and transformed me as an accomplished driver, who could stop the car right from 160km/h to 0 in no time, and hence transpired great confidence on any road. We clocked over 20000 happy kilometres and covered north, south, west and east of the peninsular during this one year with fun packed adventures. Indeed the car had delivered its promise, it has brought back driving pleasure in my life. It taught me how to drive fast and safe, and when I got stuck in heavy traffic congestion, the sophisticated stereo entertainment system helped to overcome the stress when I was able to listen to ‘halal’ music, favourite ‘nasheed’, Quran recitation or lectures, and take calls on my handphone automatically or get guidance from the GPS navigation using the bluetooth system.

Legendary red beauty...the car that had taught me the fun of driving

Legendary red beauty…the car that had taught me the fun of driving

The BMW 320d, a turbo diesel powered car that behaved like its petrol counterpart, with a more powerful torque, was indeed a genious machine. On a long journey it could hit almost 800km with one full tank (57 litres), a distance that could never be covered by any of my previous car including diesel, even with larger tanks. In the city it would not disappoint you since it still offered good economy, covering over 600km with one full tank. We treasured the spacious cabin, comfortable ride and its prestigious look.
The car came with full 3 years warranty, and we enjoyed the compliment of free maintenance services at 10k intervals. We had not done any modifications, the only little things we did was fixing the headlight beam and had the passenger front door repaint due to a dent that was accidentally caused by a friend’s car while reversing at our workplace’s car park. No signs of trouble at all from the engines, electronics, mechanicals etc., the car was a sweet companion that willingly took me anywhere long or short distance, day or night, in rain or darkness.

The last drive
That was the night just before the event. I drove the car to a friend’s son’s wedding at Hulu Langat during the day. There was this spacious parking spot on the field. I parked the car at one corner, and as we walked towards the house, I looked back at the sparkling beauty and took a shot. That was the last shot, the striking red sporty car standing proudly on the parking spot, waiting faithfully for its lucky owner to come back. With me was the whole family of 5 children (2 little ones). That was 7 too many in a car alright, as when we left the wedding, driving to Shah Alam to attend the Global March to Jerusalem event to take place later at night, I decided to divert to the hospital to change car. Back in my mind, I began wondering, well, we used to cope well with this number on a car with similar capacity, perhaps now all the children are grown up and they knew how to complain, whilst we are spoilt with choices. I gave up, and chose to please them by exchanging the bimmer with our Starex which I parked at the hospital. So we left the red bimmer at the basement car park, to be picked later that night.
It was not till close to midnight that I came back and took the car home. My wife who usually loves driving the bimmer chose to stay with the Starex to avoid the hassle of walking down the basement parking. I drove the red car instead. There was nothing absolutely wrong, the car behaved normally, singing and dancing the pleasant diesel engine tune along the way, filtering the traffic delightfully with its powerful muscle. Some remote thought lingered on. Yeah. its over a year, everything seemed fine. Just like any other car owner, one would sometime have that funny thought of when, if the car would suddenly misbehave or breakdown. But I could sense nothing, everything felt normal and the pleasure of driving this seductive machine made me forget how short the journey was, and now I was already in front of my house gate.
For the last good while we had swapped parking spot. The rather unsightly Starex occupied the roadside parking facing the neighbours. Our smaller car Satria Neo given the priority of staying under the shade at the front porch, while the bimmer was parked in the open, half over the grass, the half over the mosaic, front bonnet facing the neighbour’s. It was to sit there quietly, following the last drive, till the moment of disaster.

The Dream Machine on Fire…
Everything was so quiet that night. It was just going to be like any other night, except it had sparked fire. The red car was standing there quietly, just like any other day or night, except tonight it decided to ignite itself to its own destruction. Little did we expect an abrupt end to this companionship….in a most shocking way.
It was past 11pm at night when everyone about to settle in bed. Then my wife brought my attention to voices yelling from outside…I ran to the lounge to check. At first nothing obvious, then I noticed neighbours shouting in commotion…smoke…fire…or so. Then Harith our son was the first to notice, immediately shouted to me that there was fire coming from the car.
As I ran out I saw the horror, flame mostly from under the car, burning the grass. There was smoke coming out of the bonnet. We tried to put the fire off to no avail. Everything happened so fast. Now I realised the entire house and family members were at stake. I shouted “call the fire brigade!” While aimlessly trying to extinguish the fire with the hose that did not produce much water. We have two other cars and 4 motorcycles nearby now in danger. So off I drove the other cars away. And the two small kids safely escorted out. Then it took a few minutes to get our daughter Widad to get up and out as she was already deep asleep.
The fire got wilder and several explosions heard. We managed to salvage important documents out…at this moment we thought the possibility of fire spreading to the house was imminent.
Everything happened so fast. I forgot the fact that I was still suffering from bad flu, just woke up from a 2 hour long nap after swallowing the first dose of antibiotic. I forgot to put on the sandal, and I was running barefooted all the time!
The Fire brigade arrived swiftly and in no time they competently doused the fire off completely…of course the entire car was burnt beyond recognition.
The fireman and police have quizzed us repeatedly and we didn’t know of any reason how else the fire started if not spontaneously. However this would be a subject of further investigation later.

The last shot....a day before the car caught fire...the pic was shot, just then I thought about writing a one year review of the car, when the following day, a most unprecedented event took place...

The last shot….a day before the car caught fire…the pic was shot, just then I thought about writing a one year review of the car, when the following day, a most unprecedented event took place…

The Fire has been extinguished, but the nightmare remains…
The fire had been extinguished. The car was completely burnt. It would be towed away soon, however the agony and puzzle over the sudden horror still lingered on. Memory of the event replayed vividly, every moment I stepped out of the door, or even looked out through the front sliding door. Walking down to the lounge that led to the view of the car, brought the painful memory instantly. Usually (in the last while since I parked the bimmer there) each time I walked to the lounge, the sight of beautiful red car will immediately appear, as if greeting me, ‘come on, take me for a ride!’. But now, no more, only the ashes and the charred body can be seen.
For the first few days, weeks or months we lived in uncertainty and perhaps some fear of the unknown. Is my family in danger, if the fire was started by some ill hearted buddy, or…it was just a spontaneous fire, one of those rare things that happen to car, to any car, anytime? That, too hard to digest. I could recall, several occasions of falling asleep in the car while the engine running – an act that many of you occasionally do, nothing happened. What if, the fire just broke out while I was sleeping in the car?



There were, worst moment. I recalled, one day, I left my daughter who was asleep in the car with engine shut down. We just arrived home, and about to go out again, so I thought, maybe I left her there for a few minutes. I left the window open slightly, and unintentionally locked the car using the remote control.
Just while I was busy organising things at the lounge, I heard something very unusual, like a kid screaming. Then I remembered my little girl, oh no, I was just a few minutes away from committing a gross act of negligence! I rushed out and disarm the alarm to open the car door, and quickly took my daughter out. She was yelling in panic, locked inside unable to unlock the door to get out, apparently the remote central locking was designed to lock the car so secure that someone who is sitting in the car will not be able to open the door, that was harrowing! I tried imagining, what if, the fire broke out then, at that moment, while my daughter was trapped inside?
Imagining all sorts of worser scenarios, I felt thankful to God. Yes, something worse could have happened? The fire could have spread to the house any moment should the fire brigade was delayed, even by a few more seconds, that was a real possibility. Our two other motorcycles already suffered severe burn that required major repair. The small glass windows above the sliding doors of my house lounge had cracked and marks of burn can be seen. Yes, it was just a matter of few minutes, or seconds that made the difference.
What if the fire broke in the middle of night, while everyone including our neighbours were asleep? It would have not taken long before we are awaken in horror trying to escape fire and smoke that spread inside the house the extent which only God knows.
Yes, something worse could have happened, and thinking of this, we considered ourselves lucky, despite the trauma and loss.
Nevertheless, the memory of the whole event can never be wiped away. Poor little Hazim who would repeatedly uttered the words ‘car is on fire’ randomly. He refused to step out of the house for many, many days since the fire incident. One day, 3 months after the event, my wife drove home an old Mercedes which was loaned by a friend, who sympathise with her loss and noticed her struggling trying to park the massive Starex at school. While we were driving the car, Hazim slowly remarked, ‘umi bawak kereta ni sebab kereta merah umi dah terbakar’ (mum is driving this car because the red car was torched).
Since I posted the news on my FB wall, many have sent their condolences, even up to these days, whenever I meet friends I still got quizzed about the incident, and each time, I would patiently answered by giving narration of the event. One of the best consolation words sent by one of my staff: May God replace the lost with something better, if not in this world, in later life in the hereafter.
Since the bimmer was our only compact family car, we had to live without one for almost 4 months. It was not a major problem since we still have the Starex, which my wife drove to work everyday. Fortunately I do not need a car to work, I ride the Triumph Street Triple bike everyday, even when it rained.

Will I ever drive a BMW again?
Yes I will. But to own one, would be a big NO. Sorry, it may have not been the fault of the car. As to the question whether there was any electrical or mechanical faults that led to the fire, only God knows. The investigating team from the Fire-brigade Forensic had given their reports which basically concluded that the fire started internally. Auto Bavaria, whom I purchased the car from, towed the car away two days after the event, sent it to the BMW paint and repair service for analysis. I requested the report but was declined. Later the head engineer called and tried to explain apologetically, and defensively what their finding was. Basically, the conclusion was: surprisingly, inconclusive. I begged further explanation but the guy repeated the same explanation, basically during their investigation, they could not conclude whether the fire started externally, or internally. From my understanding, inconclusive meant that the fire did not start externally (no foul play), whilst they failed to identify the source of the combustion. Do I get any compensation, since the car was still under warranty? I asked the guy. He again apologetically said, well, since…the fire may have started from some external source….(as if he wanted to reinvent the finding of the investigation himself) we can offer nothing in return. Basically what I understood, they had washed their hands off, refused to take responsibility in whatever form. Fortunately the insurance company, Etiqa Takaful, professionally handled our case and settled the claim for fire (total loss) – of note, we only moved to the new insurance policy for less than a month, in this regard we are thankful to Etiqa, despite the fact that my wife (the car was insured under her name) had lost her non-claim bonus.

Again, what do I think of the BMW 3 series
Despite the loss and trauma, I must admit that I have had, yes, a most enjoyable driving experience with the 320d. It was the best car we ever owned – in all sense, prestigious, beautiful look, great performance and driving fun, economical, everything really. I remarked with friends one day, that even after experiencing such trauma, I found it extremely hard to find another car that would replace the 320d bimmer. There are several alternatives, but they are either too expensive, not economical, no match for driving fun, or don’t look as good. It is ironic that the car that we regard as a dream machine and an icon of fun had turned into a deathtrap. Only God knows the truth.