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A kampung boy’s first day in Perth

7 February 1979 late night. Our aircraft, a four-engined Malaysian Airline System’s Boeing 707-300 took off from Kuala Lumpur’s Subang International Airport on our way to Perth, Western Australia.

Malaysian Airline System's Boeing 707-300 aircraft, with registration number 9M-MCS. On Feb 8, 1979 this aircraft was flight MH02 from Kuala Lumpur to Perth via Jakarta, carrying a kampung boy to his destiny. This picture was taken 15 months earlier on November 25, 1977, when the aircraft was on final for runway 13 of Hong Kong's Kai Tak International Airport.

Malaysian Airline System’s Boeing 707-300 aircraft, with registration number 9M-MCS. On Feb 8, 1979 this aircraft was flight MH02 from Kuala Lumpur to Perth via Jakarta, carrying a kampung boy to his destiny. This picture was taken 15 months earlier on November 25, 1977, when the aircraft was on final for runway 13 of Hong Kong's Kai Tak International Airport.

It was quite a stressful night for me. That was the first time ever I left Malaysia. And I was practically alone. Even though there were 9 other JPA (Malaysian Public Services Department) students on the flight to Perth, none was from the same school as me. We were strangers because we came from different schools – MCKK (Malay College of Kuala Kangsar), STAR (Sek. Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Ipoh) , STF (Sek. Tun Fatimah, Johor Bahru), TKC (Tunku Kurshiah College, Seremban), SMS Kedah, SMS SAS Pahang and SMS Terengganu. We formed the 1979 batch of 10 JPA students sent to Perth for matriculation (pre-university study).

And we were sent to Perth based only on forecast results of our MCE examinations (Malaysia Certificate of Education, a year 5 secondary school examination). Our other friends needed to wait until the results came out and then only in September onwards would the selected ones be on their way to colleges in the United Kingdom or universities in the USA.

By going in February, we had a 7-month advantage compared to our contemporaries, and with that came the very high expectations from our parents, teachers, sponsors and classmates, that being the supposedly selected few, we would excel when the results came out. And that placed enormous stress on us, or rather on me, because I did not know what was going on inside my new friends’ minds. But I could do nothing, except pray and hope for the best.

Feb 8, 1979, 3.30 am. A night view of Jakarta International Airport Halim Perdanakusuma from Malaysian Airline System flight MH02 on transit from Kuala Lumpur to Perth. We were stranded here for more than 5 hours due to a mechanical problem on the aircraft.

Feb 8, 1979, 3.30 am. A night view of Jakarta International Airport Halim Perdanakusuma from Malaysian Airline System flight MH02 on transit from Kuala Lumpur to Perth. We were stranded here for more than 5 hours due to a mechanical problem on the aircraft.

The aircraft landed at Jakarta Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport about 1.5 hours later.

The stopover was supposed to be a brief one before we continue to Perth and arrive there around 5.00 am. We were asked to remain on board.

However at 3.30 am we were still inside the aircraft on the apron at Halim Perdanakusuma.

It turned out that the aircraft had developed some mechanical problem, and all of us on the flight were then asked to disembark into the terminal to wait for the repairs to be completed.

We waited, and waited, and waited. Some of us could not fight the sleepiness any longer and had to make best use of the transit lounge’s chairs and carpeted floor.

Feb 8, 1979, mid-morning. Window picture of an atoll somewhere in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia. MCS, part of the 9M-MCS call-sign of our Malaysian Airline System's Boeing 707-300 aircraft was clearly visible on the wing.

Feb 8, 1979, mid-morning. MH02 KUL-PER. An atoll somewhere in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia. MCS, part of the 9M-MCS registration number of our Malaysian Airline System's Boeing 707-300 aircraft was clearly visible on the wing.

At 8.30 am, weary and hungry, we finally re-boarded the aircraft and was on our way to Perth. We landed in Perth at 1.00 pm.

At the airport we were met by officials from the Australian government agency ADAB (Australian Development Assistance Bureau), and 3 senior Malaysian students.

The seniors informed us that many more seniors were waiting for us at 5.00 am, the original arrival time, but left after we never arrived.

After our luggage were collected and accounted for, we were led to the taxi rank outside the terminal. The summer air, hot and dry, blasted onto my face. And it had a kind of peculiar scent which I later knew came from native eucalyptus trees.

Feb 8, 1979, ~ 2.00 pm. At Perth International Airport. 3 senior Malaysian students posing with 8 of 10 JPA students who had just arrived on the delayed flight MH02 from Kuala Lumpur via Jakarta.

Feb 8, 1979, ~ 2.00 pm. At Perth International Airport. 3 senior Malaysian students posing with 8 of 10 JPA students who had just arrived on the delayed flight MH02 from Kuala Lumpur via Jakarta.

On direction of the ADAB officials, the taxis took us into the city, to a place called Haywin House, an inn located in Irwin Street, between Hay Street and St. George’s Terrace.

That became our lodging place for several days before ADAB completed the finding and booking of our apartments near our college in Leederville, a suburb a few kilometers north of the city center.

At Haywin house, I was put into a two-bedded room with Nor Azmi Kamaruddin from MCKK, whose hometown was Tapah, Perak. On a wall inside the room there was a strange appliance, about 2 feet long with one glass-like bar running from one end to another, and backed by a silver metal. We did not know what it was.

A wall mounted 3-bar radiant heater. I did not know what this thing was for, the first time I saw a similar appliance inside the inn room at Haywin House, Perth.

A wall mounted 3-bar radiant heater. I did not know what this thing was for, the first time I saw a similar appliance inside the inn room at Haywin House, Perth.

Later, one of us flicked a wall switch to turn on the room light, but no light came on.

OK. So the electricity in Australia was not that different compared to Malaysia then, putting aside the peculiar-looking electrical wall sockets and plugs.

Maybe the electricity would be turned on when it got darker.

I laid on the bed. And then I noticed that the strange appliance started glowing red and redder, and heat radiated from it. Hehe. That was our first encounter with a single-bar radiant wall heater, used to keep a room warm in cold weather.

The room was just that, a room with two beds. For calls of nature and shower, the bathroom was shared with other room, and situated at the end of the corridor. The first time I went in there to have a shower, I saw there was not one, but two water faucets on the wall in the shower cubicle.

Twin wall faucets. Hot and Cold. The labels did not indicate that turning on the Hot faucet would cause the gas-powered water heater to go "booooom".

Twin wall faucets. Hot and Cold. The labels did not indicate that turning on the Hot faucet would cause the gas-powered water heater to go "booooom".

There was also a white-colored appliance on the wall of the bathroom.

I turned on one of the faucets and a frightening sound, a booooom, came from the direction of the white-colored appliance.

I saw something like a blue fire inside the appliance. Alarmed, and to avoid any untoward incident, I quickly turned off the faucet and hastilly cancelled my shower.

Hehe. Another encounter. This time with a gas-powered water heater.

It was all new experience for me. During the pre-departure orientation camp at MRSM Seremban and briefing back in Malaysia, no one had told us about these small details.

And the day was not yet over. More surprises to come later to this kampung boy…

On a motorcycling trail

1981 November - at Williams Street, Perth, W.A. The Perth Mosque was to the right of the picture.

1981, November – at William Street, Perth, W.A. The Perth Mosque was to the right of the picture

1981, November – This was the first bike I ever owned. A Yamaha RD250. A chain driven, two-stroke, 250 cc machine. Bought used in 1981, it clocked some 14,000 km before I sold it in January 1983.
I was very thrilled with the bike that I even planned, for one of the Australian summers, a solo trip of 2,770 km from Perth, Western Australia to Adelaide, South Australia, crossing the Nullarbor Plain.
I had made the crossing earlier in the summer of 1980, in a convoy of old cars, from Perth to Melbourne, which was further away to the east than Adelaide. But the solo bike expedition never materialised 🙂
If it had, I would have driven the bike for an equivalent of 2/3 across the United States mainland.
A more achievable and arguably safer trip would have been from Perth to Port Hedland, a distance of only 1,646 km. However, I only had reason to go there in the summer of 1984, when I won an industrial training job at the Mount Newman Mining Company. But then by that time I had already sold the bike. Instead, I went there and back by long-distance Greyhound coach.
One very memorable incident with this bike. It was a Tuesday afternoon in October 1981. I was on my way home to Nedlands from a Fremantle fish market, where I had bought some fresh fish for dinner. On Stirling Highway at North Fremantle, where on my left I could see the Indian Ocean and on my right the Swan River, I was stopped by an RTA (Road Traffic Authority) patrolman, for excessive smoke emission.
The bike was a two-stroke machine after all, and I had not experienced it enough to know that the machine’s twin exhaust pipe cores needed to be regularly burned to clean them of any excess two stroke oil which could cause blue smokes.I sheepishly showed him my car driving license when asked for a license, but it was obviously no good for a motorcyle, hehe.
Instead of a mere traffic citation, I was given a court summons. It happened only a couple of weeks before I successfully passed my motorcycle driving test. The good thing was that after giving me the summons, the patrolman allowed me to resume riding the bike home, unescorted.
1981 November - somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1981, November – somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1981, November – Trying out my good friend Leman’s (Abdul Rahman) powerful Honda CB750 bike.

It was much more powerful than my RD250.

But the price of power was that the CB750 was tall, or rather I was short, hehe. On the seat, my feet could barely touch the ground.

I was still a few weeks away from my bike driving test.

1982 January - at Serpentine Dam, Jarrahdale, Perth, W.A.

1982, January – Serpentine Dam, Jarrahdale, Perth, W.A.

1982, January – It was my third summer in Australia. On my way back to Perth after  several days’ camping outing with fellow Malaysian students at one of the caravan parks in the seaside town of Mandurah, I took a detour to the Serpentine Dam which was one of the major water supply dams for Perth.

Together with the smaller Pipehead Dam, they were not only precious sources of fresh water for the people of Perth, but also the perfect place for a family day out. Plenty of attractive picnic spots, barbeque facilities and play areas were available at both dams – all of which had spectacular views.
As can be seen from the “P” plate at the rear of the bike, I had gone on the trip with a newly earned bike driving license. Every newly licensed driver would have to hang the P plate for one year, to alert other road users to be extra careful with the newbie, Probation driver.
1982 June - somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1982, June – somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1982, June – Trying out my good friend Leman’s (Abdul Rahman) exciting brand new bike, Yamaha XJ-750 Seca.
It had a shaft drive instead of the conventional chain drive.
It also had LCD meters, which were then very unconventional, instead of the normal needle meters.
1982 June - in the parking area of Murdoch University, W.A.

1982, June – in the parking area of Murdoch University, W.A.

We rode the XJ-750 from Nedlands, up the Kwinana Freeway down south to Murdoch.
The bike’s four-cylinder engine whined softly, not unlike a small jet engine, and we effortlessly overtook several big-engined cars on the highway.
Some souped-up Holdens tried to play catch up with us, but we were in a different league. We left them sniffing our exhaust fumes, hehe.
It was late Australian autumn but a winter-like chill bit through my cool weather riding gear of fur-lined leather gloves, double-layer outer jacket, woolen inner jacket and woolen neck scarf.
1986 August - Taman Seri Semantan, Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia.

1986, August – Taman Seri Semantan, Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia.

1986, August – It was slightly over one year after returning to Malaysia from Perth. I was posted by my employers to Temerloh, a town which I thought was in the middle of nowhere. I had no inkling that three years later while I was still in Temerloh, I would meet my future wife, whose father was, and still is, a close friend of one of my office colleagues. That was fate..
In Temerloh I bought my first car, a first generation Proton Saga 1.3S in Langkawi Blue color, clearly seen in this photo. But the more interesting object in this image was the Suzuki bike, belonging to my Perth friend Hisham, who rode all the way to Temerloh from his parent’s in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.
I did not yet have a big bike driving license then, but I took the Suzuki for a drive anyway. My Perth bike driving licence, converted to Malaysian license was only good for up to 250 cc. This Suzuki was at least 750 cc.
1994 July - York, England

1994, July – York, England

1994, July – It was the English summer. I has just successfully completed my post-graduate degree at Essex and had taken my wife and two children on our well-earned holiday trip around England and into Scotland and Wales.
For our first night out of Essex, we stayed in Bradford at my long-time good friend Ahmad Zahidi’s house. The next day we set out to York to see the castles there, on our way to Scotland.
In front of the York Castle Museum we came across a strange looking bike, in pink color, parked at a spot on the circular drive. The York Castle was on a hill, the foot of which was visible in this photo.
I did not know what bike it was but I could not resist taking its photo, with my chidren Aqilah and Hanif posing in front of the funny-looking bike, and with my wife laughing at Hanif’s antics and Aqilah looking at her mum. Little did I know that one year later, the very same bike model would be mine, more than 10,000 km away in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Another fate…
1995 July - Taman Seri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, July – Taman Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, July – My 7-month old Honda EX-5 100 cc bike. I bought it new, to commute to office in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.

After returning from Essex, England in July the year before, I used my car, a second generation Proton Saga MegaValve 1.5S, as my transport to office.
But I could not endure the KL (Kuala Lumpur) traffic congestion any longer. In January 1995 I bought the bike. It was a very utilitarian bike. Very numerous in Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities. Extreme fuel economy as well. For 1 liter of petrol this little bike could go 45 km. I even recorded many instances of getting more than 50 km per liter. But the bike only lasted seven months and 6,500 km. This photo was taken several days before I sold it (traded it in) for a slightly bigger bike, which had just been locally assembled in Malaysia.
1995 August - Taman Seri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, August – Taman Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, August – My 1-month old Yamaha Virago XV535 outside my home in Taman Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor. It was a four-stroke 535 cc machine, with a shaft drive just like the Yamaha XJ-750 I had test driven in Perth 13 years before in 1982.
I bought it new, several weeks after it was commercially launched in Malaysia as a locally assembled model.
The local assembly status made a big difference to the price, which was RM10,000 cheaper compared to a fully imported unit.
1995 August - Outside Taman Sri Gombak home.

1995, August – Outside Taman Sri Gombak home.

At the time the picture was taken, I had just succeeded in my “B”-class bike driving test, after a series of eight driving lessons on an aged Suzuki GS-550 bike.
A B-class Malaysian driving license is a full-class motorcycle license, allowing the holder to ride any kind of bike there is out there.
1998 May - Oslo, Norway.

1998, May – Oslo, Norway.

1998, May – I was in Oslo, Norway for a one-week business meeting in a mountain hotel at the outskirts of the city.
On my sightseeing trip down to the city, I came across a pack of three shiny Yamaha Virago bike models for rent – XV535, XV750 and XV1100.
In the picture, I was standing behind the XV535.
My Journeys

Re: Salam Aidil Fitri

Posted in October 9, 2008 ¬ 12:45 PMh.nordinNo Comments »

The following is a version of an email I sent to a non-Muslim friend of mine:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Hi (name of friend),

Thanks for the Aidil Fitri greetings.

Since you only came back yesterday from Ipoh, then I believe the journey was not much of a problem, because the Hari Raya crowd had finished all the traffic jams last Saturday and Sunday, hehe.

Me and family, we left Jerteh, Terengganu to return to KL at 9.00 am last Saturday. We normally took the Jerteh – Machang – Kuala Krai – Gua Musang – Kuala Lipis – Benta – Raub – Bentong – Karak Highway route. But while we were packing our bags in the car my mum asked me whether I could send my niece, who was spending her Raya holidays with us in Jerteh, back to her HUSM hostel in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. I said yes. Therefore I needed to change my route to Jerteh – Kota Bharu – Machang instead of the direct route Jerteh – Machang.

I understood that when our mum asks us whether we can or cannot do something, deep in her heart she wants us to do the thing. And in Islam we have a guideline, we must do whatever our parents ask us to do, as long as the thing they ask us to do is not against the teachings of Islam. If we cannot do it for a certain valid reason, then we must explain the reason gently to them. In no instance can we raise our voice to our parents. Even saying “ahhh” to our parents is forbidden and a sin. What more other stronger words and acts. This is the order from Allah Himself, in the Qur’an.

At 10.00 am we arrived in Kota Bharu and dropped my niece at her HUSM hostel. She’s a first year degree student there.

Following a route suggested by my Windows Mobile GPS mobile phone, we then proceeded to Machang. But on the way, about 15 km after leaving Kota Bharu, there was a massive traffic jam, approaching the town of Ketereh. Because of this, and knowing from my past experience of Raya jams in Machang and Kuala Krai, I decided to bypass Machang and Kuala Krai, and take an alternative, but longer route to Jeli and thereon via an older road to Gua Musang. If you remember, Jeli is the town on the Kelantan side of the East-West Highway, connecting to Grik in Perak. There were also two jams between Machang and Jeli, but I managed to keep my cool, hehe. At Jeli it was already 1.00pm. I stopped at Jeli Petronas station to buy some food for my family in the car. The Petronas Mesra shop girl who attended to me at the payment counter gave me a puzzled look when she saw the pile of bread, drinks and packets of sweet keropok keping I put on the counter table. “Askar ramai” (literally, “many troops”)  I told her, grinning. There were 9 of us in the car – me, my wife and 7 children aged between 1 year-old to 18-year old.

Machang-Gua Musang alternative route, via Jeli

Dotted in red, GPS track of Machang - Gua Musang alternative route, via Jeli

The road from Jeli to Gua Musang was OK. No jams. We safely arrived at my wife’s parents’ house in Dong, 15 km from Raub, 4.5 hours later at 5.30pm.

It was a good decision to take the route via Jeli. Several days after arriving safely home in Subang Jaya, one of my surau (small mosque) friends told me that some people he knew were stuck on the Machang – Kuala Krai route in a massive traffic jam for 4 hours that same day I took the alternative route!

It was already in solat Asar time in Dong. There we did our solat Asar 2 rakaat followed by Solat Zohor 2 rakaat. As you know, normally Zohor is 4 rakaat and Asar also 4 rakaat. And under normal conditions Muslims must do the solat in its time, i.e. Zohor can only be done in Zohor’s time and Asar in Asar’s time.

But Allah knew that travellers would be tired, therefore He in His limitless wisdom and care, give us flexibility to do normal solat OR shorten 4 rakaat solat to 2 rakaat, and we can do solat in batches. i.e. we can do Zohor and Asar either in Zohor’s time, OR in Asar’s time, depending on our convenience. Similarly we can do Maghrib and Isha’ either in Maghrib’s time or in Isha’s time. The shortening of 4 rakaat solat to 2 rakaat is called Qasar, and the grouping of solat is called Jamak. Doing a solat in advance of its time is called Jamak Taqdim. Example – grouping Zohor and Asar in Zohor’s time. Doing a solat later than its time is called Jamak Taa’khir. Example as what we did – grouping Zohor and Asar in Asar’s time.

At 6.30pm we left my wife’s parents’ house for KL. But 10 km from Raub, there was a long queue of cars. From my experience also, if Raub is jammed, then so would Bentong. Therefore I decided to take another alternative but longer route to Sungai Ruan, Felda Mempaga and Felda Sertik to connect to the Karak-KL highway at Kg Cinta Manis.

Raub - Karak Highway alternative route, via Felda Mempaga, Sertik and Kg Cinta Manis

Dotted in red, GPS track from Kuala Lipis to KL showing the Raub - Karak Highway alternative route, via Felda Mempaga, Sertik and Kg Cinta Manis

At Dong, the car only had a quarter tank of fuel left. I had been meaning to refuel at Benta Petronas Station, but all pumps at the station were empty. Must be the works of the Raya crowd. The next Petronas station was in Raub in Jalan Cheroh. But taking a detour via Sungai Ruan would not allow me to do that. Luckily the BHPetrol station in Sungai Ruan was open, and I had the car’s tank filled to the brim. It was already dark when we reached Kg Cinta Manis and joined the highway. Traffic on the Karak-KL highway was heavy, but there were no jams.

We arrived in Gombak, the gateway to KL, at 8.30 pm, i.e. 2 hours after leaving Dong. Normal travel time from Dong to Gombak via Raub and Bentong was at most 1.5 hours. At Taman Greenwood, Gombak, we did a Jamak Taa’khir for Maghrib & Isha’.

After that, at 9.00 pm, we had dinner at one of Taman Greenwood’s food stalls. At 10.00 pm we were back on the road, and we arrived home in USJ Subang Jaya at 10.40pm.

Alhamdulillah, the house was OK as what we left  one week before.

Phew, that’s a long story. I hope with this Raya story I have managed to explain to you two beauties of Islam. One is the very high position that Islam gives to parents. The other is that Islam is very flexible and understanding – one of which is in allowing us to shorten solat and to do solat in batches when we are travelling.

Until then, welcome back.


My Journeys

3 years down the line

Posted in August 14, 2008 ¬ 5:43 PMh.nordinNo Comments »

On 12th August 2005 I got my hands on a Dell Inspiron 700m laptop PC, with 12.1″ LCD display, Windows XP Home, 80 GB harddisk, 1 GB RAM, and a price tag of more than RM5,000.00. It became my trusted work and travel companion. It still is.

Side by side : Year 2005’s Dell Inspiron 700m and Year 2008’s Acer Aspire 2920

Three years later, on 8th August 2008 I selected and bought for a niece an Acer Aspire 2920 laptop, also with a 12.1″ LCD, but with a sparkling new Windows Vista Home Premium, 160 GB hardisk, 2 GB RAM, and only half the price at RM2,600.00.

Twice the capacity, half the price !

Here are the two laptops, with the Dell on the left and the Acer on the right. Click on the image for full view.

My Journeys

Same Time, Different Year

Posted in August 8, 2008 ¬ 9:17 AMh.nordinNo Comments »

How fast time flies. It’s now August 2008. Seems to me that August 2007 was only one week ago.

Last year in August 2007 I went to do Umrah (small pilgrimage) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, with my dear mother. That was my second Umrah trip after the first one in April 2005. I first step foot on the holy land in Feb-Apr 2000 when I did the Haj (big pilgrimage) with my wife.

For the 2007 Umrah, I brought along with me my Lowrance iFinder H2Oc GPS receiver so that I could mark interesting waypoints and tracks during the eleven-day trip.

I did not expect it nor did I plan for it, but on each sector of the Boeing 747 flights, I was assigned a window seat. This enabled me to hang my GPS receiver on the aircraft’s passenger window, and let it plot the aircraft’s flight throughout the journey.

Lowrance H2Oc mapping GPS, showing the aircraft just inside Saudi Arabia border

Lowrance H2Oc mapping GPS, showing the aircraft just inside Saudi Arabia border

This is the mapping GPS receiver.

In this image the current position is graphically indicated in the display, against a built-in world map. This is one of the page views that the GPS can display.

For the journey, I set the map orientation as “top shows map north”.

The advantage of this orientation as a passenger was that I could picture the actual progress of the flight.

When I took this picture, the flight had just left Oman’s airpace and had entered Saudi Arabia’s.

GPS readings, showing current latitude (N or S), longitude (E or W), speed (km/h), track and altitude (m)


This is another page view of the GPS display.

Here numerical details of the position were displayed:

Latitude – the North-South position on the globe.

Longitude – the East-West position.

Speed – how fast the vehicle that the GPS is in, is moving. I set the unit in km per hour. The aircrart was cruising at nearly 1,000 km per hour !

Track – the direction that the vehicle is moving to. In degree.

Altitude – how high above sea level the GPS is at. The aircraft was nearly 12 km up in the air !

Here are some of my trip’s GPS tracks overlaid on Google Earth maps.

GPS flight tracks KUL-JED and JED-MED-KUL


On the outgoing journey from Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA to Jeddah, we flew over the Straits of Malacca into the Bay of Bengal, across India into the Arabian Sea, across Oman south of Muscat before entering into Saudi Arabia.

On the return journey from Jeddah to KLIA, the flight made a short transit stop in Madinah, before crossing the Arabian Peninsula into Arabian Sea, then flying over south of India, across Sri Lanka and Indonesia’s Sumatera.

More details of GPS flight tracks over the Arabian Peninsula


Here on the second image can be seen more details of the outgoing and return journey over the Arabian Peninsula. Interestingly, the flight tracks crossed each other nearly in the middle of the Saudi Arabian deserts.

After landing and dispensing with the usual airport formalities in Jeddah, we were taken to Madinah on a chartered bus. After two days in Madinah, we were taken to Makkah on another chartered bus.

Even more details


Apart from doing umrah and solat (prayer) in Makkah’s Masjidil Haram, Islamic world’s holiest place, we were also taken on a rarely allowed trip to Taif, the city which Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. (peace be upon him) went to do dakwah but was turned down and stoned by its people, until blood flowed down his ankles.

But he persevered and declined angel Jibrail’s offer to uproot and turn Taif’s hills on top of the city’s residents. Instead he told Jibrail that even though the city’s residents refused to listen to his dakwah, he hoped that their offspring would accept Islam and would proclaim the religion of truth.

By the grace of Allah, the city was saved from destruction. And true enough, several years later after the Hijrah, the city’s residents embraced Islam. In the above image we can see the relative locations of Taif, Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah.

On the above image we can also see the place called Qarnul Manazil, which is one of the “miqat”, boundaries of the holy land, where Muslims intending to perform Haj or Umrah are required to don the “ihram”, which for men are two pieces of cloth with no closed sews, and make the “niat” .

Desert traveller from Kuwait, at Qarnul Manazil Mosque

Desert traveller from Kuwait, at Qarnul Manazil Mosque, Saudia Arabia

At Qarnul Manazil mosque I came across many vehicles at the parking lot. One especially caught my attention, because from a distance it looked like a two-tone SUV.

Upon closer view I realised that the lighter tone on the Ford Excursion was actually desert dust, which had covered and stuck to half of the front of the vehicle.

From the registration number, the SUV apparently had crossed the desert all the way from Kuwait, about 1,500 km away…

Racetrack above the Straits of Malacca

GPS flight tracks over the Straits of Malacca, showing a racetrack-shaped holding pattern

There must have been heavy airport traffic at KLIA when the aircraft was approaching the Malaysia Peninsula, because about 67 km North-West of the airport, the aircraft did a racetrack holding pattern in the Straits of Malacca off Pulau Ketam, Klang. From the GPS track I measured the loop as 28km by 17 km.

The aircraft then got out of the loop and took a  059 degree bearing to north-west of Meru before making a turn to approach KLIA on 145 degree bearing to runway 14R of the premier Malaysian airport.

My Journeys


Posted in August 3, 2008 ¬ 1:47 AMh.nordinNo Comments »

Saturday 2nd August 2008.

It was a sweet reunion. Meeting new as well as trusted friends from the first gathering of year 2000, from the formative year of 2001, from the second gathering of year 2001 (whilst I was strapped under weighted traction for 42 days in a hospital bed due to a leg bone fracture), and from the third gathering in year 2002.

The venue was beautiful, amidst flowing stream of cool, crystal clear waters in the hills of Gombak off the old Gombak-Bentong road.

The children of the friends were even more beautiful, just like ours.

I wished I could stay until the end of the program, but I had to reluctantly leave after lunch, to meet another equally important group of friends at another place.

My Journeys

My Long Lost Friends

Posted in May 8, 2008 ¬ 11:04 AMh.nordinNo Comments »

It has been a long journey across the gulf of time. 36 years. The last time I saw these two friends of mine was back in 1972, when we were in year 6 of primary school in Jerteh, Terengganu. We were only 12 years old then.

Then on Friday 25th April 2008 at a mosque near my house, after Asar prayer, someone that I had noticed had been scrutinizing me approached and asked me if I was me. It was my friend Wan Ismail. Sorry my friend, all those years had muddled my mind. It was a chance encounter. Maybe a one in a million chance. And I was grateful for that. And he gave me information about another long lost friend.

And today Thursday 8th May 2008, I connected with that other friend, via email. Wan Azmi.

Alhamdulillah, all praises be to Allah.

My friends, we must meet soon. So many things to talk about and catch up with.

My Journeys

Exotic fruits from my childhood

Posted in March 6, 2008 ¬ 7:18 PMh.nordinNo Comments »

On my last night Wednesday, March 5, 2008, here in Washington, D.C., my newfound friends from the Embassy of Malaysia took me to dinner at Penang (Restaurant) in Bethesda, Maryland. It was Kak N’s idea. And she was joined by Kak Mun and Kak Siti as well as Suhaimi and Amir, who drove me there, in the chill of the wintry evening, from my hotel.

Over splendid dishes of specially-ordered “upright” fried snapper, pasembur, giant popia, belacan-fried watercress (looked like kangkong), soy sauce-fried sotong, Penang home made tofu, mee goreng mamak, rice and other dishes which I could not remember, we talked about a great many things – the upcoming March 8, 2008 Malaysian 12th General Election, voting away from home, etc, etc, and about certain exotic fruits from our childhood.


My Journeys

My first post .. from the hinterlands of Pahang, Malaysia

Posted in February 11, 2008 ¬ 2:01 PMh.nordinNo Comments »


Hello World.

Here I am. My first post on php-mySQL weblog that I self-installed on my own personal webserver.

What follows below is a post that I made elsewhere last Saturday 9th February 2008, that I want to share here.

= = = =

It’s Saturday 9th February 2008 9:38am Malaysian Time (+08:00 GMT).

I’ve just completed registering this blog several minutes ago, using a Toshiba Satellite notebook PC with Sierra Wireless AirCard 875 3G datacard.

I’m here at my wife’s village in Kg Durian Sebatang, Dong, Raub, Pahang since yesterday afternoon 8th February, the second day of the Chinese New Year.


My Journeys


Posted in February 9, 2008 ¬ 9:30 AMh.nordin1 Comment »


My Reflections