Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Writing poetry has been in my life for a long, long time. I write poetry in Bahasa Melayu @ Malay language (my mother tongue). I started writing at the age of sixteen  when I was still in the Form 3 at St Thomas's School, Kuching. Earlier than that I did write pantun and was published in a magazine called Perintis (back in 1968 or so).
          My first poem was published in a local Bahasa Melayu Newspaper, Utusan Sarawak in 1969 under the title 'SATE TETAP NUNGGU'  or in English " Satay Will Be Waiting. Motivated by the publishing of the poem I kept on writing and in 1971 my poem was published by Dewan sastera , a national magazine on literature.
          Why poetry? Why do we write poetry? I think by wriiting poetry I am able to talk to the world a large. I am saying what is in my mind. What I think of the world and it's surroundings, the people, the love, the forest flora and fauna. Writing poetry keeps me feeling young and energetic and always at high spirit.
        Poetry taught people to understand the feeling, to appreciate the world and to love. Poetry is the language of loving. Some said poetry is a weapon but I said poetry is a flower given as a sign of love. The words of poetry are the words of compassion, loving and not hatred and bickerings. 
        Oh how I love to see poetry came to be loved by everybody and I hope one day, in the near future poetry would play its rolls for the better world of tomorrow.

 Reciting an anthology NUZENTARA by a poet friend, Mohd Farez

enjoying a poem and a roti canai: Mary Hayati Lam, Saiee Driss, Capt Mohd Saiful

Dr Kamil Salem engrossed with his gadget, looking on  Noor Aishah Salleh and mary Hayati Lam
 Encik Japri Bujang from Pustaka Negeri Sarawak with his copy of Sanjak Si Renta

 a copy of Sanjak Si Renta for a friend

 Sarawak's own poet, Maslina Mahbu reciting a poem

 Prize giving to the champion of poem recital

Monday, September 09, 2013


I fell ini love with bicycle and cycling since 2010 after my son bought a second hand bicycle from spare part shop in Kuching as a present to his youngest sister, Nurul Hakimah. I called that bicycle, Ros Kalas (it means pink rose).Not long after that I went to the same shop and get myself a Japanese postman bicycle for RM780.00. I named the bike, Pak Lurah. But bicyle actually has been in my life for a long, long time. As far as I can recalled, I had my first taste of bicycle in 1959. I was 6 years old then. My father put me in a basket at the back of the bicycle. There is a rack at the back of the bicycle where my father placed the basket. It was used to put the bread for sale.

In 1961 my family moved to a village across Sarawak river called Kampung Pulo Hilir. I went there with my eldest brother who carried me with his bicycle. Going down the hill from Kampung Panglima seman Ulu to Kpg Panglima Seman Lama, we fell off the bicycle andI've got scratches here and there on my hand.

I sat for Sarawak Junior Certificate examination in 1969 and passed. A Chinese towkey, the owner of Ting & Ting Supermarket at that time was a friend of my late father. He was so happy with my result that he gave me a bicycle that belong to his son. The bicyle need to be refurbished and after the repair walla..I have a bike of my own for the first time.

In 1972 I was offered a government job at Education Department Headquarters, kuching. The office situated at the Textile Museum today. My father bought me a racing bicycle for my transport to the office. Yes, I have to pay him after that...after receiving my first pay.. hehe

In 1973 I was transferred to Simunjan  and the bike followed me. Pity the bike it had problem with the road/path in Simunjan that I have to send it back to Kuching to be repaired. I just thought may I a the first to ride a racing bike in the town of Simunjan. (a fact that can be argued). The bike did not last long in Kuching. It was stolen after a few months there.

In 1976 I was transferred back to Kuching. To enable me to go to work, I bought another racing bicycle. I used it for a few months and it received the same fate as my earlier racing bike. It was stolen. So I have to use a bus to work before turning to motorcycle and then motor car.

Between 1976 to 2010, I have no bicycle in my life. A bicycle came back to me after I retired from my government service. I bought the red bicycle that I called Pak Lurah in 2010. After that I kept purchasing a bicycle as part of my collection. Now I have 7 bicycles with their unique names; Pak Lurah, Mak Honey, Ros Kalas, Bujang Cheby, Minah Jepun, Mat Kona and Bujang Pantai.

Cycling is actually good. It is good for your waistline, lifespan, coordination and mental health. Why not start cycling now. You cycle to the office, to Gym or to anywhere you want to go. It is economical too. It is one way to beat the oil price hike. Now lets cycle and say adios to oil.
Me and Mak Honey
Bujang Cheby (Chevrolet)

Me, Nurul and my bike called pak Lurah

With Bujang Pantai, a beach cruiser bike.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


The mighty Sadong river. Simunjan lies at the bank of this river.
Crossing Sadong river using  ferry that would take 12 minutes to reach the opposit bank
Last month I went to Simunjan with my wife, daughter-in-law and grandson, Mukhtar. I went there to send back my DIL and grandson to their house at a palm oil plantation where my third son worked. It was an interesting journey. It has been quite some time that I have not visited this peaceful town of Simunjan, or can I say  its just a bazaar.  A place left out by time, slow in its development, rich in its natural resources before, especially timber. But today most timbers are gone. Land are being planted with palm oil by big companies.

Simunjan has always been in my heart. It is a place where I spent most of my bachelor life back in 1973 to 1975. In November 1975 I got married and brought my wife along to Simunjan. I was one of the staff of the only secondary school there ie Simunjan Government secondary school. I stayed there until May 1976.

After 37 years the bazaar still remain as it is. Development were slow. The problem of water supply that I faced back in 1973 -1976 still existed. It really need some strong hearted leader to lead Simunjan back to its aged-old glory. And the search is still on...

I will not be fair to you when I said there are developments going on, but it is not enough to change the face of Simunjan. Will Simunjan existed in future or become the ghost town that will disappear from the map of Sarawak. Mighty Sadong river are ever ready to change the landscape of Simunjan. I have seen the changes from 1973 till today. It will very much depended on the people of Simunjan. I pray to Allah that Simunjan will prosper . Simunjan is one place that remain as a memory of my life.My hope: Simunjan remain in existence for there are memories that is hard to foget and it all started in simunjan.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Education Department Headquarters Building
The last two days  I had been cycling around our housing estate at Taman Sumber Alam Sanctuary and I thought it would be good to try cycling outside the compound. So this morning I ride my bicycle called Mat Kona out of our housing compound. 
From our Housing estate I ride my bike through Pelita Road turning right following heavy traffic at Sultan Tengah Road. At the junction  I turn left  anf ride pass Siol Kanan Road before entering Pustaka Road and Stadium Road. 

At the end of Stadium road I turn left entered the newly built road that lead to Sultan Tengah Road again befor entering Pelita Road that lead to our housing estate, Taman Sumber Alam Sanctuary. The whole journey of 18 km plus took me 60 minutes to complete. Not

Tomorrow is Hari Raya Aidil Adha. Early morning I'll be going to Masjid Jamek Negeri Sarawak with my son Khairul Anwar and daughters Siti Sabariah and Nurul Hakimah. Well its's a rest day for our friend Mat Kona.

My Street bike, Mat Kona at the newly built road

A tanker found along the newly built road near Jln Sultan Tengah

Riding through the new road we will pass a bridge that crosses Siol River

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Cycling with my youngest daughter, Nurul Hakimah and my grand daughter, Yasmin sitting at the rear rack.
I began to fall in love with bicycle again since 2010 after my son, Faizal bought a second hand bike imported from Japan . Faizal bought the bike for use by Nurul Hakimah. I began to see beauty in cycling and the bicycle itself.

My next step is to look for the bicycle of my choice and for my first collection  I bought this Posman bike imported from Japan. Paddling it is so smooth and soft . I like the shape and colour, red. In Bahasa Malaysia red mean merah and so I named my bike Pak Lurah.

Today I have five bicycle under my collection and I will keep looking for the one I love. My latest collection is Road bike "Kona  - Dew". It is a great bike and it is used in the morning around our housing estate. I intend to bring Kona around Kuching in the near future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Mighty Sadong River taken some time in 2006

SMK Simunjan early 70s

SMK Simunjan and Gunung Ngeli in the early 70s

Recently someone commented on my write-up in my blog about Simunjan. They too have some memories to share about Simunjan. They said Development in Simunjan is quite slow. I agreed with them and I really hope that development of this beautiful bazaar be sped up for the sake of this nice people of Simunjan. You can see thier comments here.
Back in Simunjan during the 70s I have a lot of friends there. Some are local youth and eldwers and some are from other towns of Sarawak working in Simunjan. A few names that I will never forget. Amongst them, Julaihi Suhaili, Cosmas Allen, Abdillah Aerowaini,Hamlet and Adenan Joli and many others.
Julaihi worked with Agriculture Depat Simunjan and so is Cosmas. During weekend I would cycle down to the town and stayed with Julaihi and Cosmas in their quarters near the bank of mighty Sadong River. We spent our weekend attending film show or singing. Cosmas is good with his guitar and harmonica and Julaihi , a very good traditional dancer.
Abdillah worked with Tenant Registration dept (defunct now) that time. Now he is a police chief in Saratok. I think he will retire soon. Abdillah join us in singing. One of our favourite number is Melody Fair. We sang during a stage show at the Simunjan Bazaar. Ah its such a happy moment.
I have known Abdillah earlier in Kuching. We were classmates in SMK St Thomas, Kuching. We were also together in police Cadet Corp movement. In fact we were the first group formed in Sarawak. Our leader that time was the late cikgu Abdul Rahman Sahari.
Hamlet is a primary school teacher and his elder brother, Adenan is a cook in SMK Simunjan. We were and still are good friends. Time has passed by and we still kept our friendship alive till this day. Hamlet and Adenan are from nice family that has treated me so well. Their families are just like my family. In fact they are just like my adopted family in Simunjan till these days.
My weekend in Simunjan never bored me when I am with friends. The made my life alive and happy. Oh how I wish those beautiful moments back. But then..thats memories. memories are for us to recall and remember. They are beautiful moments to be keptr alive and be come tresures of our life.
Simunjan, I really miss you...May be I 'll drive to Simunjan during the coming school holidays...or may be let Simunjan be there, remain as a long lost friend...

Friday, May 29, 2009


A poet's hope: to be,
like some valley cheese,
local, but prized elsewhere.
W.H. Auden

Thursday, May 28, 2009


What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window

Burton Rascoe

Thursday, May 21, 2009




Sunday, March 22, 2009


You see things; and you say, "why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" ...George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Have you ever been faced with a situation where a loaded pistol is being pointed at your head by a police officer? And you are just a twenty year old bachelor who have just completed your Senior Cambridge examination and now have just been recruited as a young government staff, serving in a remote district, say Simunjan. hink about that for a while and read further what happen next to me...
It was in 1973, my first year in Simunjan. That night I stayed with my friends in a government quarters closed to Sadong river (That quarters now gone, swept away by the great Sadong river). During that time security was still a problem due to communist insurgency. We sat at the stairs, talking, instead of attending film show because the film shhown was not to our liking.
Five metres from our quarters is a concrete pathway leading to the bazaar. The pathway passed our quarters to river bank, Police satation and than to Kampung Sabun. A few men passed through the road. Suddenly one of the men said something, we could not hear what was being said so I went toward the group to find out. Out of the blue, a stout, five ft tall man came and shouted at me in Malay,
"Hei..Nak matikah!!!" at tyhe same time took a pistol from his jacket and pointed the weapon to me. I was totally panic and almost collapse. I put both hand to my head waiting for the sound of that pistol to vomit the bullet. In my head, I said, this is the end of me.
Suddenly two other man held back the one who pointed the gun to me and said something. I could not recall what was said but I can hear them telling me to go back to the quarters. I rushed back, feeling totally down and scared.
It was the Police chief of the district who pointed the pistol at me, an inspector. I was given to understand that night he was quite drunk. Whether he really wanted to shoot me or not, I do not know. Only he himself and God knows. But the behavior of the officer was quite well-known in the district. Every night he could be seen at one the coffeeshop in the bazaar having yamseng with the chinese towkey.
Ok that's not the last time the incident happened. AS few month later, Simunjan bazaar were celebrating one of the official functions (could not recall what celebration was all about). Anyway, our organisation were involved in the celebration. It was raining heavily. I did not go to the town that night due to heavy rain. That night one of my collegues were being pointed a gun on his head by the same officer, just like me, but worst, it happened in front of so many people. He was really embarrassed.
The next day my colleague reported the matter in writing, to various authorities of the state. The moved taken by my colleague really worried the officer. To cut the story short, that police officer came to our organisation a few days later to apologise to my colleague after receiving the copy of the letter written by my colleague. He apologised to me and one other staff too.
That's part of the bitter experiences of life I could recall. After so many years has gone the incident that night still left in my mind. I do not seem to fear him after the apology. But it is still in my mind and I kept asking myself, how could such an act gone unpunished?
After many years that officer were transferred to Kuching and got promoted. One day I read something about the officer in the paper. He got himself into trouble with something that I need not mention. He deserted the force. I do not know what happen after that but I am sure a deserter would definitely face the law.
Lesson from the story, please don't point your pistol anyhow especially to a peace-loving citizen or you may end up being sad for the remains of your life.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.:
...Albert Camus

Monday, January 05, 2009


Niah Cave

Sarawak River

To the complaint, "There are no people in these photographs," I respond, " There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer."
Ansel Adams
US nature photographer (1902 -1984)

Friday, October 17, 2008


Hjh Azizah( left ) and Hj Sabri (right) with us in their home.

In 1974 two trained teachers from Semenanjung Malaysia came to Simunjan Secondary School to serve in Sarawak for five years. One of them, Mohd Sabri Hj Ishak stayed together with me in my quarters.

Sabri came from Kedah. Years gone by and we became good friends. While in Simunjan we have gone through a lot of activities together. In 1976 I was transferred back to Kuching. Sabri remained in Simunjan.

In 1979 I was posted to Stampin Secondary School and over there I met Sabri again. After I left Simunjan, Sabri managed to get a transfer to Kuching and served in Stampin Secondary School.

So we met again and started to build our friendship that has stopped for a while. I was married by then and Sabri did not seem to be attached to any girl that time.

In 1980, I think, more teachers from Semenanjung came to Sarawak. One of them, Cik Azizah Rasol, a graduate teacher from Negeri Sembilan was posted to Stampin together with another lady Puan Rohana from Malacca. Azizah, a sweet and nice lady, a teacher with high commitment towards her service and very hardworking.

On her first pay day Azizah came to me and handed over an envelope that contained some cash and said' Encik Pharo, today, my first pay day. Please give this as a token of appreciation to your daughter. Azizah handed over some cash to my daughter, Laila.

One day Sabri brought me along to look for durians along Kuching- Serian Road. Sabri had just bought a car, Fiat 124, yellow in colour and wanted to test drive it. Coming along with us was the late Amir Hamzah, Azizah and Rohana. We managed to buy some durians.

End of 1980 /1981 Sabri was transferred back to Kedah leaving Azizah, his girl friend ( fiancee?)
in Kuching. A year later Azizah managed to get a transfer back to Kulim, Kedah. She was posted to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Badlishah, Kulim. Our friendship ended there. We lost contact from then on.

Some time in 2007 I met a friend, a former teacher, who informed me Sabri did come to Kuching recently and was trying to meet me but in vain. I got hold his hp no and we managed to get in touch.

Last hari Raya, I went to Kedah to celebrate hari raya with my daughters and son in Sungai Petani. I was able to meet Haji Sabri and his wife, Hajah Azizah and also their two sons and a daughter. It was sad to hear that their first child, a daughter, 27 years old, passed away during the first day of Ramadan. I can see the pain in the face of Hj Sabri and Hajah Azizah and I could only say my deepest sympathy to both of them.

In his house Hj Sabri was even more friendly then before . My wife couldn't believe the kindness offerred by this beautiful family. We are able to be in touch again after being seperated for almost 30 years. Friendship that come from our heart with no motive of self interest will last forever. And so our friendship came back after an interval of almost thirty years.

To Sabri and Azizah, Thank you for your hospitality.


Saturday, August 09, 2008


In 1965 there’s a boy from Bintulu who entered our school. I was in Primary five. That boy named John Wayne, Eurasian, came with his family to stay in our village. He entered our school and joined my class. Everybody talked about him as a smart boy and keen football player.

Years gone by we built our friendship. Everyday John Wayne came to my house, played and studied together. We ate together and it was a wonderful time for me.

Come 1966 we faced a tough challenge during that era. We sat for common entrance examination. Both of us managed to pass through the obstacle and we entered St. Thomas School.

Something happened during the three years together. John was adopted by our primary school teacher and stayed with the family. Our friendship began to diminish due to certain misunderstanding.

We sat for Sarawak Junior Certificate Examination in 1969 and I managed to cling on and proceeded to enter form four in the same school but not John. He did not further his study instead after some years he joined government service as a fireman at the Department of Civil Aviation.

Time passed by as we live our life on our own directions. John married his childhood sweetheart and so am I. We stayed together in the same housing estate but seldom has time together. I guessed life now is totally different from what we have thirty plus years before. I have retired but John still in service. I believe he is now somewhere in Bintulu. How do I know that. Guess what, I was informed by his son, Fikri. Yes, I met his son who is now with SAINS, govt owned company dealing with Sarawak ICT. The face of John Wayne is certainly reflected in the appearance of Fikri…ah the Almighty Allah…