Saturday, 11 October 2008

Ops Landslide - Gombak

I was at Sg Wang, window shopping, when the call came at 1745hrs. It was my Ops Officer, asking me to report to Bilik Gerakan (BG). The case...a house had partially collapsed into the swollen river, taking 1 person with it. I then proceeded straight to BG which located nearby at Jalan Semarak.

Our RIM (Rapid Intervention Motorcycle) had proceeded to the location to do the primary assessment. It was then followed by our RQ (Heavy Rescue Vehicle) and lastly by the Land Rover of which the Water Rescue & Scuba Unit was in. The roads were heavily jammed... even with the siren & flashing strobe lights...sometimes Malaysian drivers are so occupied either on their phone or chatting with their GFs that they hardly notice what's happening around them.

Arriving at the location, the water level was still high. Upon inspection, the back toilet and part of the kitchen are gone. Slabs of concrete and bricks lay in the river. The victim is a 40 yrs old male. He was in the toilet when it happened. We then decided to wait for the water level to recede a bit. After discussion with other agencies, 4 of our guys from JPAM (Jab Pertahanan Awam Malaysia) and 2 from JBPM (Jab Bomba & Penyelamat Malaysia) conducted the in-water search. The search went on until midnight. Still no body in sight. After that, its time for me to have my dinner.

Today (Friday) was the final day...Day 4. Either we find him today or we have to wait until someone finds him. We were all very tired from almost 4 continuous days of searching.

Me giving briefing to my team including RELA members joining us for the search

River search

The search party coming back after the operation was closed down.

Actually, yesterday (Day 3), a body was recovered somewhere in Puchong/PJ area along the same river. The family said that it was not him. Even though deep down inside our hearts, we knew that there is a very high possibility that it was him, we had to continue our operations. I could not write that here yesterday, as the family had not verified that it was him.

Even though we have been conducting our search localize near to the red zone, there are people looking along the river from Gombak right up to Kelang, esp the rubbish collection areas. JPAM, JBPM, Skuad Penyelamat DBKL, JPS...almost everyone.

Finally today, at 1130hrs, as the search team was in the river, the brother of the deceased came to inform me that the family had verified that the body found yesterday was actually him. Alhamdullillah. Now the family can prepare to give the deceased a proper burial. Al-fatihah.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

A sad drowning case

Rescuers searching for the bodies. Divers underwater.

I was on the way to pasar ramadhan when the call came. "Lapor diri di bilik gerakan (BG). kes lemas. 3 mangsa kanak2. pandan". So I immediately made a U turn and headed home to change and pick up my diving gear.

Upon arriving at BG, the boys were waiting. The first team was already on site and delivering more info through the radio."Mandi tasik"...hmmm, that makes the task easier, I thought to myself. With strobe lights flashing and sirens blaring, we made our way through the traffic jam.

When we arrived, we met up with the first team and teamed up with members of Fire Services & Rescue. All of us were determined to retrieve the bodies before dark. There was a huge crowd of onlookers. Amidst all these, a group of women sat huddled together, crying in silence. "Itu emak2 mangsa dan keluarga, staf" I was informed.

At around 6.35pm, the first victim was found. At 7pm, the second followed by the last one 5 minutes later. Upon seeing the bodies of their sons, the mothers wept uncontrollably. This is the point where everyone, including the rescuers, shed a tear. Of course being in uniform and all, we had to swallow our sadness. After a short while, the call of azan could be heard, adding to the already emotionally draining scene.

After packing up our equipments, we headed back to BG. One 'makcik' was kind enough to give us dates to break fast with. By the time we completed cleaning and storing back the equipments, it was already 9.15pm. At 9.30pm, we finally had our 'buka puasa' meal.

Coming home, after taking shower and saying my prayers, visions of those boys were stuck in my mind. I had come across much, much worst scenes, even mutilated bodies, but somehow, when it comes to kids, esp 3 young kids, laid in a row, side by side, friends till the end (2 of them drowned while trying to save the other), was harder to forget. I had broken the golden rule of a emotional attachment to the victims.


More news at

Friday, 23 May 2008

Across the causeway

I just came back from Singapore, to get some BBT (big boy's toys). Why am I writing a trip to Singapore in my blog? What's the big deal right? Well, I just want to tell you of an alternative way to go bus. Now hold on, before you get turned off, here me out. I used to think that way too. But then...this trip changed my mind.

The bus that I took was aeroline, a 2 storey VIP coach. The lounge is at the bottom and also the toilet. The seating area is upstairs. Comfortable reclining leather even has a power point. There's a stewardess on board, who gladly did all the serving and pampering. On my way to Singapore (morning), they serve us Subway sandwich and on the way back (night), they served us meals from The Chicken Rice Shop. Hot beverages were free flow. One way trip takes only 5 hours.

I didn't do much sight seeing at all. It was purely business (yeah right) looking for useful equipments (again...yeah right). On the last night, my friend Amin took me to eat the famous Murtabak. We even managed to perform our prayers at Masjid Sultan, one of the oldest mosque in Singapore.

One thing for sure, the cost for accommodation is very expensive over there. For the amount I paid for the budget hotel, which is SGD145 (roughly about RM340), I would be very comfortable in a 4/5 star hotel here in Malaysia. Believe me folks, that was the cheapest hotel around (the Hotel 81 chain).

In the end, what did I get?

  • Yaesu VX-6R

  • Icom V8000

  • Garmin 60CSX GPS

I learned quite a bit about Singapore this time...about its people, its culture...most importantly, its public transport. Yes, there are things that we can learn from our neighbour...especially in town planning and civic. I was surprised how easy it is to cross the street there as compared to here. No motorcyclist try to squeeze thru the red light and no cars tries to beat the red light. Maybe Singaporeans will outlive us Malaysians on the road. But then again, have you seen Singaporean drivers once they cross the causeway into Malaysia? Hooligans. Didn't mean to generalize, but I had a few close brushes with some of them. Yes they do have nice big cars. Guess they use Malaysia as their vehicle testing area. Goes to show our level of enforcement here.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My best friend's wedding

My best friend...or buddy...Dr Lynn married today. The nikah ceremony was at 10am followed by the wedding reception at 12noon. The decorations were nice, the food was great and everyone whom attended had a good time. There were a mixture of scuba divers and basketballers too.

Where was I amidst all these? I had to 'cover' the event as a wedding photographer..officially. Our friend who was the 'real' photographer, had to leave after the nikah ceremony. So I took over. I was nervous as I didn't want to let my buddy down. After all its not everyday that one gets married. So I was behind the lens until later that evening.

The groom, Ardi, was also a good friend. We became friends when he took up his open water (scuba) certification with me. In fact my buddy was also my student. So two of my students getting married...there's no way I am gonna miss that. Being true scuba fanatics, they are going for their honeymoon scuba diving in Boracay, Phillipines.

Just want to wish them "Selamat Pengantin Baru. Semoga bahagia ke anak cucu"

Sunday, 27 April 2008

A gathering like no other

It was a night like any other night...except...last night I got to meet my fellow ex-SSP'ians. Last we met was in 1981...such a long time. It was an unofficial TT (teh tarik) session and it was an impromptu meeting..thus the small group. But it's a start.

Oh ya...what is SSP? It stands for Sekolah Sri Petaling. a primary school located somewhere in Petaling Jaya. An extract I got somewhere (can't remember where)...

Sekolah Sri Petaling was originally known as Sekolah Rendah Universiti, an experimental school administered by the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya. The school became operational on the 6th of January, 1969 with 648 pupils and 26 teaching staffs. The main buildings of the school were designed by architect Dato' Baharudin at the cost of RM 300,000. On the 28th of October of the same year, the new school complex was officially opened by the then Ministry of Education, Dato' Abdul Rahman Yaakub. He proposed that the name of the school be changed so as to avoid the misconception that the pupils of this school would be given priority to enrol at the university. As a result, the school changed its name to Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Sri Petaling (or Sekolah Sri Petaling (SSP), in short).

We talked and laughed a lot, reminiscing when we were kids running around in school. We were just like a bunch of kids again. After a few rounds of TT, some began to nervously look at their watches. Alas, the reality hits us. We are no longer kids, but grown ups with responsibilities. Most of us are coming full circle...our kids are the same age as when we last remembered each other... in primary school.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Congratulations to Amir & Wanie

Congratulations to Amir & Wanie on the birth of their new baby girl. On 20th april 2008, after more than 7 hours in the labour room, Wanie finally gave birth at 1954hrs. At 3.25kg, she was a very healthy baby indeed.

From what I can see during my visit at the hospital, the baby was always trying to put her hand into her mouth. Maybe mimicking her mother putting in a scuba regulator? A new diver perhaps??? Cute.....

Friday, 18 April 2008

Drowning Case

On 17th April, Thursday, at 1630hrs, I was called by Ops Centre to report duty for a drowning case. The task was for body recovery of a 11 years old boy and the location was at a mining pond in Kampung Malaysia Tambahan, Sungai Besi.

The first team comprising of 15 personnel responded immediately. I went later with the second team which comprises of the scuba team. The search went on until 2230hrs and the ops was to be continued the next day. The next day I couldn't be part of the ops as I flew off to Langkawi. However, the body of Arwah Khairuddin Kassim, age 11, was recovered at 1030hrs.

Semoga dicucuri rahmat atas roh beliau. Al fatihah.

For those of you who can read Malay, here's the link....

Monday, 14 April 2008

A bad day In Gunung Nuang

On Sunday, at 1900hrs, I received a call from Gerakan to report duty. A member of JPAM was struck by lightning on top of Gunung Nuang. I immediately geared up and rushed to Gerakan over in Jalan Semarak.

Upon reaching Gerakan, our heavy rescue vehicle & 4WD had already been deployed. I went to location with the Ops Officer. With sirens blaring and strobe light flashing, we were worried as we do not know the condition of our guy, Mujahid. A direct hit could be fatal. Also on our mind was 27 student from SM Taman Tasek Ampang. The program was organized by MPAJ, and the students were from Kadet Pertahanan Awam, Kadet Bomba, Pengakap etc. Since most of the students were from Kadet Pertahanan Awam, MPAJ had requested that we accompany the group.

A call was made to our friends from the 4WD community. Abg Halim and his PAT team came with 15 4WDs. A big number. We have a long working relationship with them. Some of us, including myself, are also part of that community. Then Abg Aziz & his MARES gang came. Who says the spirit of voluntarism in Malaysia is dead? After all, we from JPAM too were volunteers in our own right.

Anyway...on with the story. It was raining heavily, making the track muddy, slippery, treacherous and dangerous. A forward base was set up at Loloq. It takes many hours of walking to their location from there as there is no track..even for 4WDs. Suddenly a breakthrough. we managed to call them (this area is known to be a blind spot for telecommunication). Mujahid was snapping in and out of consciousness, coughing blood and was having bouts of convulsions.

An airlift was ruled out because it was too dark and the weather was bad. I informed them that once stable, they have to hump him out of there on foot to base camp, and bring him down by 4WD from there. Since we invoke the esprit de corp similar to the army...'we never leave a man behind'.

To cut the story short, we managed to bring everyone down the next morning at 0900. Mujahid was transferred to the waiting ambulance and rushed to Hospital Ampang (see picture). Where was I amidst all this? I was the dude coordinating the rescue, upon instruction from the Ops Officer. I was also the dude rendering medical assistance in the ambulance.

Upon reaching the hospital, I made sure he receives the best medical care. He was young, 21, and he was scared but tried to put on a brave face. I guess who wouldn't be. His pulse rate was not stable...70...90...111..78...125, he was coughing blood with a bloody urine. So I told the ambulance to go back and I stayed until his family came at 1600hrs.

The students were also taken for a check up. Alhamdulillah, everyone ok. What I had seen is a group of people, who actually took leave from work on Monday, to rescue those involved. The PAT group even sacrificed their personal 4WDs and went up. My hat's off to them.

If you can read Malay, here's the link to the news article...

Thursday, 10 April 2008

My CAT found..part 2

I shall continue …..

0430hrs – CAT was stolen right in front of my house in Taman Melewar. My mum was reciting Quran at the time had actually gone to the window and saw CAT being driven off. She thought it was me responding to an emergency call.

0730hrs – CAT spotted by the main road Gombak (from Karak) – Sentul near the new exit to Taman Selasih. The guy who spotted it was another 4WD’er whom evidently is an admirer of fine vehicles (we off road people have this strange fetish of big cars with big tyres). He thought that it belongs to the contractor building the road.

0930hrs – After I had gone downstairs, fully dressed for a day’s work, my mum looked at me and said that my staff had came by to take CAT this morning. I tried calling him but he didn’t answer. So I thought maybe it was an emergency that he came and drove off without telling me (he has a spare key).

1000hrs – My staff arrived. Confirmed, CAT was stolen.

1112hrs – After tedious communication to almost everyone we know, I lodged my police report at IPD Sentul.

2239hrs – A guy by the name Yusri called to ask whether CAT was a stolen vehicle. Informed me the location and promised to wait until someone arrives. Call the Investigating Officer (IO) and informed him. I had actually asked his assistance to send over a MPV as I was away in Cheras. He gave me reasons like ‘susah nak jumpa’ etc and finally asked me to get my friends to go. I called Gerakan and seek their help.

2330hrs – I arrived at location. After assessing the condition of CAT, I called up the IO again. I describe the damages to CAT and also the missing items. I also told him that we found a ‘molested’ motorbike near where CAT was which we suspected was stolen. All he told me was to take CAT home and come to the police station tomorrow to lodge a report.

2345hrs – Due to the damages to the door locks, we decided to tow CAT to Gerakan. It is by far the safest place as it’s always full of people.

When CAT was stolen, with the help of some friends, almost everyone was alerted. Police, Highway Patrol, Border Patrol, tow trucks, taxis …even the Police Air Wing. Information was conveyed thru the use of amateur radio network, SMS, emails, phone calls…and within minutes, almost everyone knew. When CAT was found, most of the people turned up to view the car and share their thoughts, JPA3, tow trucks, people from the press (TV3, Harian Metro)…almost all parties represented except….the police.

CAT was certainly covered in fingerprints of the culprits. Not even a photo was taken. No wonder crime is on the increase if this is the way an act of crime is investigated. I am glad that I had ‘anak gajah’ back, sure I got my car back, but I still lost about RM10,000 worth of rescue equipments.

I am sad the way this case was handled. With all the recent pay rise, increase in manpower and logistics…its surprising if they can still blame it on low morale. Just now I tried asking the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), an ASP, about their investigation procedure and all I got was a short laugh and a dumb look. He told me no need to take photos, fingerprints, case closed and I can go home.

I am sure the culprits will be back. Do I have to wear a cape and run around wearing my underwear on the outside in order to put crooks behind bars? Hmmm…maybe I will go shopping for red underwear just in case….

My CAT found

I have finally found 'cat' or 'anak gajah'. The call came at 2239hrs from a fellow 4WD member by the name of Yusri. He had heard it over the ham radio where we had broad casted. Ironically, the place was very near my house, about just a few kilometres.

I am tired now. So I shall rest and continue later.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

My CAT got stolen

Today is a very, very sad day for me. This morning at 0430hrs, someone stole my 4WD, nicknamed "anak gajah". It was parked right in front of my house, under the streetlight, at the junction to one of the main roads in this housing estate.

Details of the vehicle:

  • Registration No.: CAT 5588
  • Make / Model : Isuzu Trooper
  • Colour : Silver
  • Tyres : KUMHO MT
  • Last location : Taman Melewar, Gombak

Last I used the car was on Saturday, 5th April 2008, at 1630hrs, returning from public safety diving assignment, looking for arwah Mohd Nor Salam Hussein at Lombong Ampat Tin, Kg Batu Muda. As I was still in my wetsuit, covered head to toe in mud, I had taken the necessary items for washing and had left most of the equipment in there. As I was too tired, i had decided to just leave them in there as always. Read on to find out why this is so....

Today at 0430hrs, my mother heard someone starting the engine and drove off in a hurried manner. She thought that it was me, as this is a norm whenever I am called by Gerakan 999 at any time for emergency cases. When I went down this morning, she was surprised. To cut the story short, a report was lodged at IPD Sentul.

Why I had bought 'anak gajah' in the first place? It all started when the department's 4WD overturned somewhere in Gunung Nuang while we were extracting a drowned victim. It was raining heavily and the trail was slippery. Luckily we had packed the body in a sked stretcher, thus protecting the late victim from any 'further' injuries. At that point of time, we were in dire need of a 'hardcore' 4WD vehicle. After that, I bought 'anak gajah' and had it heavily modified for such assignments. That is why this vehicle is always parked in front of my house, seldom used, and always ever ready with equipments to render assistance in times of need.

What have I lost other than a heavily modified 4WD? The list includes medical trauma bag with
BVM, cervical collar, pocket mask, stethoscope, BP set etc; a set of scuba diving equipment, a set of Civil Defence uniform and an Icom radio mobile communication set amounting to more than 10k. All using my own personal cash.

Another item that to me is irreplaceable is my first BCD, US Diver Alcyone, bought in 1997. The problem is there is no more "US Diver' brand, except for specialized equipment. The brand was replaced by "Aqualung' brand. I had used this BCD for so long (refer file photo on the right). On that day, I had used my new Zeagle Search & Rescue BCD, so I took that out to wash. Guess my old faithful BCD 'merajuk' dengan I kot. I missed her....

The saddest part I don't have the equipment to help others I have to save up again to slowly start purchasing back those items that I have lost. I sure hope that at least, the thieves would have the decency to return back my equipments.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

My search of 25 years has ended

Today is a very happy day for me. I finally found my long lost best friend from my primary school years… Shariman Samad. You see, I don’t have that many close friends growing up. Thus when he went away to Penang with his parents, it was a great loss for me. When I spoke to him on the phone today, he sounds the same way. As we talk, visions of our past flashed before me. I began to remember even the minuet details.

We were close…like brothers back then…and I hope things haven’t changed. Thus, my search of 25 years has ended, and I am grateful that it ended in a happy ending.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Congratulations...and welcome to our world

I just got back from Tioman Island. Weather was good, viz was good...kind of makes up for the 1 hour wait for the ferry to start moving.

It was a good trip...well....any dive trip is a good trip for me. I had students with me, open water students. Land walking creatures converting themselves to aquanauts. The anticipation was high. The excitement was reflected in their eyes.

BEFORE 'conversion'

My hats off to the following students...oppss...I meant divers...Amanda Kay Zeltner, Ardy & Ryzah Hisham... who have crossed over and become part of the underwater community. They have done well and made my job easy.

A special mention also for my other student, Siew Lian, whom at the last moment could not join us for the trip as her grandma passed away (My condolences to her and family). She is small sized (the tank is ¾ of her) but has an enormous amount of determination to do the course.

A special mention for Nathan, Amanda’s significant other, who has been a driving force in setting the pace for her venture into the underwater world. All of us liked the couple as they are among the nicest ‘mat salleh’ couple we had ever met.

For the graduation dinner, I wore the nicest tshirt I had with me. The feeling is like a father giving away his daughter's hand for marriage. I saw them migrate from being the helpless students in the pool to being graceful divers in the sea, even at 18m. When I handed over their temporary diver’s certification cards, I could see the satisfaction in their eyes. As an educator, that’s the most satisfying reward for me and urges me on to continuously strive to be a better instructor. After all, that's what education is all about...continuous learning.

AFTER 'conversion'
(with the rest of the gang)

Again, congratulations.
P/S: Photos contributed by Lyn & Ryzah

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Good bye 2007

Wahh….its been a long time since I had posted anything here in my blog. The last entry was April 2007. I missed out on this whole blogging concept. I was procrastinating every time I came back from a trip or operations. By the time I planned to start blogging, it was time for another trip or operations. This was also true when something major occurs in my life.

Well, this year, I made a vow, though not a strong one, but a vow nevertheless, to at least blog once a month.

Lets summarize 2007….

2007 has held a few significant changes in my life. I have backed out from a biz venture, one that was started based on my ideas and my dreams. I planned it for 2 years and invited 1 good friend on board. Then we decided to invite another ‘friend’ (at that point of time) because we don’t want him to ‘kecik hati’. I was running it FOC for almost 3 years as Operations Chief.

Huh…at first I had remained quiet…handed over the running of the shop and just kept quiet. I minded my own biz but guess what? Taking the shop was insufficient for these people. They had to bitch me also. They started to be bolt and wrote some stuff about me on their blog. Then I guess that’s not good enough and they decided…hei! Why don’t we write it on the company’s website…which they did. Now I am contemplating to sue their asses off but since they don’t worth s**t, I couldn’t be bothered.

This is typical example of a malay proverb “kacang lupakan kulit”. Even another malay proverb “kera dapat bunga” could also be used to describe these people. But you know what? God is GREAT…I don’t feel a thing. In fact, I just laughed…honest truth…I just laughed. “Ibarat membuka pekung di dada”…another great malay proverb. Its pity when you have eyes but you can’t see, you have a heart but you can’t judge (ada mata tak boleh melihat, ada hati tak boleh menilai).

I sure wish that they would grow up. Even though they are old, but they are not a penny wiser. Legally I still have a share in that company. I haven’t seen any biz financial report. I haven’t signed any legal documents for some of the transactions they had made. Maybe its time I get ‘someone’ to have a look. Maybe that will shut them up.

2007 was also the year when I finally bought my own 4 wheel drive. It’s not new, but I had modified it and now I call it ‘anak gajah’ simply because it is built like one. It’s my life long dream to own one. This year I decided before I die, I have to get one. You see, I love the outdoors, be it the forest or the sea. It’s where one goes to be part of nature, to look and admire the beautiful creation of the Al Mighty. Then we can reach into our inner soul and discover who we really are. Then we can laugh off the stupidity and the arrogance of other people who try their might to hurt us.

Mind you, I am not pious, I don’t go around telling people “I nak gi solat jap” or asking people “you dah solat dah?”. To me, the relationship between us and our creator is so sacred, pure and intimate that no one should know. Why should they? I know people who may look ‘modern’ but they are way better in terms of ethics and morals.

2007 was also the year I was directly involved in some major operations. One of the infamous one was Ops Nuri, the ill fated helicopter that crashed off Genting Sempah. What I saw was a very big group of people, from various backgrounds, converging to help out. We (JPAM-Malaysian Civil Defence Force), a total strength of 138 was there at Institut Aminuddin Baki under the command of Maj Gen Dato’ Soheimi, Panglima 4 Div. Combined with the Malaysian Armed Forces, there were more than 1000 in strength. Every unit was represented, the PASKAU, PASKAL, Green Berets, Para…even the combat sniffer dogs were there. The spirit of our Armed Forces that I admire is the Esprit de Corp. They look after one another….AND…they never leave anyone behind. The JPAM guys were there side by side. Ops went on for 24/7, day or night, rain or shine.

2007 was also the year where I went diving overseas the most. I was there in Hin Daeng (Thailand) twice, Similan (Thailand), Tulamben Bali (Indonesia), Lembeh Manado (Indonesia) just to name a few apart from the various local dive destinations. What amazes me is the level of awareness about tourism among the population. Almost everyone has the mentality to be helpful and courteous to the tourist. Their roads may not be the widest in Asia, some as big as our kampong roads and their buildings definitely not modern looking, but their logistics is surprisingly efficient. Maybe we can learn from them as to how they inculcate these values among the people.

2007 was also the year that I started to loose friends. No…it wasn’t due to quarreling or misunderstanding. Loose meaning they got transferred to another state, continued their education locally and overseas, got married, have kids etc. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for them and we still do keep in touch. Its just things are and shall never be the same. No more wacky, crazy running around the country or even overseas with our heavy dive bags with an impromptu scheduling.

I won’t mention their names here, but I guess if they are reading this, then they’ll know who they are. I just want to say thank you for those good times and I shall always treasure those memories till the day I die. Even now when I look back at the photos, I just laugh by myself. Next to my own family, I guess I consider them as my ‘next-in-line’ family members’ maybe?

Well, I just wave goodbye to 2007 and welcome 2008.

Related Posts with Thumbnails