Country Heights, Kajang

Day 15 of quarantine, day 13 of MCO. Alhamdullilah. Did our 2nd tests today as first customers of Gleneagles KL drive in tests. Syukur, all safe and healthy at home thus far, no cabin fever.

Life in the time of Corona and 15 days of solitude, like everyone else, very concerned for the nation and the world, but also very thankful to our heroes, the medics and the frontliners. Discovering and rediscovering lots of things… >>> Reading and thinking,
… Spring cleaning and rearranging,
… Zooming and calling,
… Fund raising and helping,
… Vents hunting and coordinating,
… Exercising, huffing and puffing,
… Maggi cooking and Serpent lunching,
… Fruit and vege planting and harvesting,
… Online grocery and fish shopping,
… Sleeping and resting,
… Youtubing and binge watching,
… Bread baking (Mas) and eating (Me!) ,
… More reading and whatssaap discussing,
… Books moving and papers filing,
… Kids remote learning (US ET) + some FIFAing
… Virtual birthday celebrating (Chris)
… Friends a calling and also some working,
… And, more reading, reflecting and some praying too πŸ™πŸŒΉπŸ™ Alhamdullilah. May our nation and the world heal, may we ride through this together. InsyaAllah. πŸ™β£οΈπŸ‡²πŸ‡Ύ #lifeinthetimeofcoronaΒ 


30 March 2020

Special Officers

There is a very good reason they are called SPECIAL Officers! πŸ˜πŸ†πŸ‘πŸ½

Alhamdullilah, was really nice to have a SO Reunion yesterday (Sunday 27th September) and great that 14 of the 17 SOs turned up, the other 3 either overseas or out of town. The bottom photo was on 31.7.18, my last day at Khazanah, in fact, the very last time I used that meeting room. πŸ™πŸΌ

Between June 2004 and July 2018 at Khazanah, I was lucky enough to be served and supported by these 17 brilliant young men who were my special officers. Hand picked for their character, ability, integrity, discretion and capacity to take on a lot of high pressure and stress (!.. They even have a hashtag #hanyasoygtahu πŸ˜ƒ). Always two at a time, they stayed for an average of two years, getting direct exposure to all kinds of things from the billion dollar deals to buying nasi ayam! Dubbed from SOA to SOQ and colorful acronyms in between including SOE, SOJ, SON and SOB too πŸ˜‚

So proud that they are all doing very well in their own ways. Five are still at Khazanah, several are on the entrepreneurial path, several more are CEOs already including in a listed company, others are partners at Big 4 firms or heading Malaysia offices of major MNCs. After their SO stints, many were sent for their graduate studies including one did his PhD in Islamic Finance and four did their masters at MIT and Harvard.

It was important to get a mix of backgrounds, absolutely merit driven: only 4 were Cambridge graduates, and only 6 were MCKK old boys, and none are Spurs supporters πŸ˜‚ (5 are Man U, 4 hard core Liverpool, 1 Arsenal, 1 Newcastle (very happy with that smash and grab tonight), the rest are football agnostics).

InsyaAllah, may they continue their career and life journeys, contributing more and more to their organisations, their families and to the nation ultimately. Mudah2an, InsyaAllah. All the very best guys, carpe diem, seize the day! πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ€²πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌΒ 


28 September 2020

September Meets

A more normalised weekend past… Alhamdullilah, catch up w old friends.

Visited the Nasyrul Quran complex at Putrajaya last Friday, followed by solat Jumaat there. MasyaAllah, an impressive integrated Quran complex that does Quranic khat, printing, teaching and outreach of the Holy Quran. Under a trust, Yayasan Restu, set up c.25 years ago by Datuk Latiff Mirasa, it is now one of the most significant Quran complexes in the region and the world. A key insight I took away is the power, dynamism and long term orientation of private enterprise for public good is what can make a meaningful difference. Tqvm jzkk to Datuk Latiff who hosted lunch too! Alhamdullilah bumped into DS Prof Zaini Ujang, my old fellow Haj mate in 2018 and back now as KSU Environment.

A pleasant and comfortably languid Saturday afternoon was spent hosting two artists, Syed Bakar and Sabri Idris, and their wives, Nino and Ana. Syed was among others, the legendary MCKK art teacher in the 1960s and 1970s. We had been discussing while Syed was in lockdown in Taiping, about doing a sculpture for our back garden, a symmetrical β€œdeconstructivist” piece in steel. Last Saturday, Syed came around with a model miniature and so happened it coincided with a visit by Sabri. Have been collecting Sabri for several years now and delighted to see his progress in recent years at the likes of Rimbun Dahan and – when I saw him and Ana last, in NYC last September, where he had a residency. Sabri is thought of as an artist’s artist, much lauded by his peers. Bounced some ideas for a new piece InsyaAllah.

Sunday afternoon turned out to be a great discussion with various old friends and colleagues who are leaders in the field of human capital development. A confluence of various ongoing discussions and new ventures recently started. Shareen, Zu, Adam, Dato Tharumah, Shahryn, Mizi, MIA and Shahnaz…their commitment, knowledge and passion to develop “Model Insan” is inspiring. Food and then Food for Thought. Alhamdullilah, syukur for the blessings of friendships and happy meetings. πŸ™πŸΌβ€οΈβš–οΈ


22 September 2020

First Anniversary of KK2019

Stesen 357, 28th September. Alhamdullilah, first anniversary of the completion of Kembara Kretapi 2019, a year ago. Especially special now that you can’t do that trip this year. 77 days, 77 trains, 22 countries, 4 continents, 54 cities, 1 trip of a lifetime.

Came back on that date to make sure that I was in time for my Mum’s birthday on 29th September and in order to receive a special humanitarian award from DYMM Tuanku Sultan Perak at Mercy Malaysia’s 20th anniversary on 28.9.2019. Much honored and alhamdullilah and quite appropriate that, coincidentally, Mercy CEO Dato Dr Faizal and Mercy stalwart and Khazanah alumni, Zu Mian, popped by for lunch last Friday.

Was wonderful to host a KK 2019 crew reunion on Saturday too. Tqvm to Dave, Selva, Ramana, KS, Irfan and Mrs and Fuad who were able to attend. Syukur alhamdullilah a year on, the rhythm memories and trains of thought of the journey is still much felt πŸ™πŸΌπŸš‚πŸŒ #kretapikir


28 September 2020

Malaysia Day Hasbuna Lunch

What we thought was a Malaysia Day lunch πŸ‡²πŸ‡Ύ organised by HH turned out to be very special birthday celebration for our dear brother Hisham Hamdan! We were all so grateful that we could meet in health and happiness, especially for Hisham, otherwise known, a few months ago, as patient #26. Syukur alhamdullilah, we were gathered together today, much blessings InsyaAllah πŸ™πŸΌπŸ€²πŸΌπŸŽˆ

A long and convivial lunch, time to break (naan) bread, catch up on what the chattering classes tend to do when they meet and generally just testiculate a lot! (which means to hold up and wave your arms frantically and talk lots of bollocks! 🀣). Cakes for birthday (thanks to dear Mas who brought them from Publika), Hasbuna trophy presentation and exchange of old and new war stories over the obligatory curut, can’t think of a better way to spend a Malaysia Day afternoon among friends.

Continuing my “quantitative easing” of personal lockdown, popped by to see Tan Sri Nor for dinner at his house (tqvm Puan Sri Fawziah for the delicious home cooked food!) and in between, thanks to Adin and Renee for tea and tumpang to do a Zoom call!

Alhamdullilah, we must not underestimate the great blessings of peace, freedom and progress. May the nation resolve and heal where we need to and may we progress and march forward together. InsyaAllah. πŸ‡²πŸ‡ΎπŸ€²πŸΌπŸŽ‰


17 September 2020

Lunch and Classes at CH

Alhamdullilah, a more normal or possibly a new normal Sunday afternoon!

Hosted our first home guests in 5 months… Proper SOP, SD Sunday lunch we have been meaning to have. With the PM’s public health advisor, TS Jemilah and hubby Dr Ashar as guests of course it had to be. And of course, Prof Jomo and Dr Noer too.

A chance for the kiddos, especially Zayd and Tasnim to speak to their Uncle Jomo, Auntie Noer and Auntie Jemilah and Uncle Ashar about Covid, New York, and university life in the time of Corona. As our guests all lived in NYC and the East Coast where Tasnim is at college and where Zayd has started his first job, and they are of course well versed on matters of COVID-19 and merits of US vs Kajang! We had been in touch and have in fact already made the decision for Tasnim to do online classes for a year and Zayd having started but deferred physical presence at Hartford CT for a few months at least. Thanks so much, to the four good doctors, it was such a treat to have a meal together, alhamdullilah, thank you very much for popping by.

After Asar, it was session #5 of the “Country Heights MBA” and today’s topic was Operations Management and Entrepreneurship. Our second guest speaker for the series, Afzal Abdul Rahim of TimeDotCom was as always informative, entertaining and provocative. Having had the pleasure and pressure of doing a deal with Afzal back in 2008 under Project Orbit 2 at Khazanah, Afzal is eminently qualified to speak on these subjects. He updated me that the value creation numbers are quite insane… The telco portion of TdC that was valued at RM250m is now worth RM6.5bn, with RM500m of dividends in that 12 year period. That’s 28x returns! In our background reading on this, we discover that as high as 20 pct of succesful entrepreneurs are dyslexic, and our dear Afzal is in that category which at least in part explains his iconoclastic good dyslexia here! Tqvm again Afzal, much appreciated.

Nice family dinner followed, and discussions around the ongoing spring cleaning and the InsyaAllah upcoming Autumn event (!). Mudah2an. Syukur alhamdullilah πŸ™πŸΌβ™₯️🍜



10 August 2020

Lockdown Library

A day of lockdown reading interjected by a surprise visit from the dotters-in-residence!

Thank you @aishah.azm and @yaytassy for popping by to the Soho/Library, and more so for checking out the books and magazines! Please return the borrowed books OK! (book lent is often a book lost, this post is the library card!) πŸ˜‚. Alhamdullilah syukur πŸ“–β€οΈπŸ™πŸΌ


30 November 2020

Lockdown Gym

A post Raya ritual… Burn calorie time πŸ˜πŸ˜…πŸ˜¬… Created a little grunge gym in the garage! Alhamdullilah. And a nice walk in the hood before that. Thank you to the personal trainer helpers! πŸ˜πŸ‹οΈβ€β™‚οΈπŸ™


26 May 2020

Lockdown Walks

Green antidote to lockdowns!

It’s raining less these last couple of weeks… Cue to try out parks within 15 to 20 minute radius of the house! Taman Tasik Cempaka Bangi, Taman Tasik Cyberjaya and Taman Botani Putrajaya so far… Did not realize there are so many beautiful parks nearby, especially in Putrajaya. And still so many more to explore too.

The parks, apart from Bangi (can do much better!) are beautifully manicured and sparsely used (great for social distancing). The walks become much more pleasant as a result. At the last one, Taman Botani Putrajaya, we ended up getting lost, 3km around the lake, 5km on the roads trying to get back, solat maghrib by the roadside in between! Alhamdullilah. Look forward to trying out the rest. πŸ™πŸΌπŸŒ΄πŸ‘«



9 December 2020

Lockdown Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza night!

Bye-bye Domino’s and Pizza Hut, no more buy buy hehe πŸ˜‚. Tqvm @masrahman…Sedap!!! Alhamdullilah πŸ™πŸΌβ€οΈπŸ•


31 October 2020

Lockdown Football

Aha! Football is coming back πŸ˜πŸ”πŸ˜ EPL restart this coming week, so we do some warm up lah… In the back garden and on FIFA! I must say the 3 month break from football was not as bad as I thought it would be,… Less distraction and also the way Spurs was playing before the break 😬 it was a relief that the league stopped!

Restart kick off in mid week, and a big restart for us vs Man U at home on Friday evening. So, some warm up games lah… Spurs U-23 and Spurs U-60 fought out a tough 3-3 draw πŸ’ͺ🏼😁 while of course, the Fifa simulation score was 3-1 vs Man U… πŸ”> πŸ‘Ώ… InsyaAllah πŸ˜πŸ™πŸΌπŸ”


14 June 2020

Lockdown Barber

Day 30 MCO, day 32 quarantine

DIY short back and sides… #1 and #2. Potong rambut machine ordered on lazada, Bollywood 90s playlist from Spotify, kain pelikat hair ppe, FT on the floor. Ready to cut 😁. My Indian and Mamak friends say its not authentic enough lah πŸ˜‚ as no IMN (Indian Movie News), no Godrej cologne and no crack of the neck, but boleh lah, close enough. Besides, need to give employment to our regular barbers later.

Thank you my dear Mas and stand in barber, expertly done! alhamdullilah, blood pressure oso reduced πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‚πŸ’ͺ🏼. Stay home, staysafe! #lifeinthetimeofcorona. Video creds: Tasnim


14 April 2020

Lockdown Podcasts

118th day of lockdown today.

Among the things am enjoying include the greater discovery of the huge pool of (free!) knowledge, wisdom and entertainment in the growing genre of podcasts! Almost always under an hour, podcasts trend is that it is getting shorter and shorter, getting closer to 30 minutes per episode now. They are particularly serasi (compatible) with going for walks around the neighborhood.

To share recent favorites :
* Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History – this best selling author has a knack of bringing to life overlooked and surprising things to great effect. Always makes you think.
* Michael Lewis’ Against the Rules, a new series about referees – all kinds of referees, not just in sports, but also regulators and looks at how society handles the rules and ultimately its desire for fair play. He is of course the best selling author of books like Liars Poker and the Big Short. Another iconoclast and entertainer.
* David Runciman’s Talking Politics podcast and within that a series on The History of Ideas. This Cambridge politics Don does a very good job discussing and analysing politics and relating that to the history of political thought which in itself is a history of society, ideology, and ideas. He works with the London Review of Books and has a big network of collaborators. He also has a husky voice that reads well in the medium.
* Tim Harford’s Cautionary Tales. The FT columnist, another keen observer of the overlooked, has started this series during the Covid crisis. As fascinating as his FT columns.
* Beautiful reflections on YouTube which can be just listened to by the Islamic scholars, Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad (of Cambridge) and Sheikh Yasir Qadhi in Houston, TX – especially enjoyed them during Ramadan, and after too
* The Guardian has some of the best content and podcasts, including its Daily brief, Audio Long Read, Football Weekly and so on
* the various Spurs podcasts (not much cheer currently πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ”)!

Also spent the last week giving a SD interview to the folks at TNB to honor its former chairman TS Leo Moggie, preparing home MBA classes for the kiddos, and more zoom calls and neighborhood walks. Syukur alhamdullilah. πŸ™πŸΌβš–οΈβ€οΈ


10 July 2020

Lockdown Spring Cleaning – Old Photos

The joys of finding old photos that we have forgotten about and seeing for the first time in decades!

We tend to take photos for granted these days.. Camera phones with 4 Leicas inside, social media, OPP (other people’s photos with you inside etc), copious corporate comms pics (which we never get to see, usually). Much of what I found are somewhat grainy and/or faded, but the memories do flow back. The black and white ones that are more than 50 years old are the ones that are the clearest though.

Nice to have on record nonetheless images from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s in this case… Some highlights and periods to record here
* 7th birthday party in 1968 and primary school at Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah primary in Jln Bukit PJ… Was class monitor for that Std 1C!
* some MCKK photos, including best use of library (coolest place in college ie got air cond! That’s the PAS ADUN Dato Iskandar Samad in the middle!). Also KK train station shots
* UK days in early 80s.. Wanderlust, Hitchhiking, camping. Longer hair, orange rucksack (its on my library wall now), tent, usually w a bandana, reading NME on a carefree Cotswolds field in the summer of 1980 while working on a strawberry farm to buy a cheap Laker Airways flight to see America…poor but Adidas trainers and NME mesti ada!
*Also the summer in America, from NYC (twin towers still visible), wanted to see the west, got a third way there, ran out of money and options at the Missisipi at St Louis.
* Also Brighton accountancy classes (FGV chairman Dato Azhar Hamid with biggest hair, Mcoba Prez YM Tab with biggest tummy then!). Photo in front of Westminster was like 7am, and in mud, after Police concert the night before at Milton Keynes Bowl.
* Rugby playing days in the mid 80s, for Mcoba, Selangor U-23, and LLN…with 2nd row partners, Tab in line out
* A rare photo, Feb 1984, 6 months into my first job of a very junior accountant meeting the big big boss of LLN, the late TS Abu Zarim
* all dressed up (you had to then!) with my Mum about to take first long haul flight to LHR in 1979, also a walk in the park in London w Kak Zaila and a one year old Armin (he is now about 25x larger!)

Syukur alhamdullilah πŸ™πŸΌπŸ“Έβ€οΈ



20 July 2020

US Elections

Ayo. 😳 …4 days and counting …Electile dysfunction lah ini macam ! 😬😹🀦🏽.

In 2019, 614m Indians cast their votes in a national election. As Foreign Policy magazine says here (2 days ago btw) not only counting would have been done by now, the winning party would have been distributing celebratory sweets and more!



7 November 2020