NOW & THEN

A HUNDRED DAYS OF BLOGGING DURING PANDEMIC COVID-19

It is a collection of daily morning notes written from 24th February 2021 during the second year of Pandemic COVID-19 until 4th June 2021. The topics chosen were based on what came to my mind that very morning on matters that were the issue of the day before or the subject of my interest that I feel I must write about. Each note was relevant at the present time of writing but I also look back on a few decades of my life that are connected to every topic of the day. It is a mixture of what I see now with a memory of the past and thinking on what may lie in the future.

Whatever we did and experienced in the past will shape and influence the outcome of our future. Our tomorrow is a reflection of what we did yesterday and before yesterday. But as we move along the route of our life journey, the future comes to us every day as the present. For me, the present is the present(gift) of Allah to me. We live and make the best of our life in the present. The past is gone but we gained experience and have memories of them. In the future, we plan and hope for the best.

Each day has a topic of its own which I only decide on that day I write. You can reflect and learn a few lessons from my life experience that I shared in these daily notes. Then you decide what to do about it. You can’t change THE world but you can change YOUR world. Happy reading.

Wednesday 24th February 2021- Reading

Here is my first attempt to start writing as I wake every morning. I was inspired by Sarah Werner who started blogging more than twenty years ago as I did. But she took up her writing to the next level by writing her books. Sadly, I did not but I keep writing my blogs. She is also a public speaker and a consultant. I am not a public speaker but I am a project management consultant and a business coach. I could be like her or better. It is not my intention to be ungrateful to Allah for what I am but more a gap analysis of what I could have done if I had allocated my time and effort at the right places and got my priority right. Neither is it my intention to brag about my personal achievement. My intention to write this collection of 100 DAYS NOTES in this time of pandemic COVID-19 so that younger people can learn from my views and life experience in the last five decades of my adult life.

Yesterday, I was contemplating what notebook to use and what pen to write with. That is not important in writing-not for me. What matters more is that I write and keep writing. I want to use a blank page but I want to ensure my sentence remains horizontal. I want to write in the old fashion way. So I chose this A5 Lattera Notebook by Unicorn. The page looks blank but it has tiny dots all over the page to guide my writing. About fifteen years ago I used an Italian Notebook. It was the famous Moleskine. The cost has gone up and my income has gone down. So I have to get the cheaper Japanese version. The notebook I am using to write this book is RM25 compared to RM85 for Moleskine. To write, I use a Lamy pen with Lamy ink. I know the contents are worth more, but the tools and the process of writing have their own respective impacts on the outcomes. Now the engineer in me is talking.

Since I do not have a coaching session this month( February 2021), I started another two simple book projects that I kept on postponing since five years ago. The book projects are Joys of Cycling in Putrajaya and Postcards of Putrajaya. It is more of a guidebook and documentary of my cycling experience in Putrajaya since 2008. As I cycle into the nooks and corners of Putrajaya, I also learn to take photos of places of interest to me. Later, I also organise Photowalk with my friends so that I have more time to take better photos with my better cameras. My original plan was to print postcards for sale so that I could earn money to buy a new camera but my advisors told me not to do it. Who wants to buy and send paper postcards nowadays? I listened to his advice and the idea fades away from my memory.

Why now? It is the roaring eCommerce market due to COVID-19. The public even buy pampers for their children online. I also buy my lunch online delivered by FoodPanda or Grab Food! My new business model for my book projects will be eBook. If my eBook version is doing well, then only I will be selling the print version.

Waking this warning at1:30am, I saw Reader’s Digest(RD) January 2021 I placed beside me before I went to sleep. I was too sleepy and dozed off. I picked up and read the Editorial that told me that RD was first published in February 1922! Another year, I may be able to join the 100th Anniversary. RD contains a lot of stories from yesteryears. The first story was published in 1968. It reminds me of my first encounter with RD magazine way back in 1968. I was then a 16-year old boy studying in Form 3 at Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak(SDAR) tanjung Malim, Perak. I remember trying to read the first English magazine in my life at Ustaz Jailani’s house. He hailed from Kedah and was the only Ustaz in my village who could read RD. He was teaching at Maahad Amir Indra Putra, an Islamic religious school founded by my late father Tok Guru Haji Awang Noh.

In the late ’60s, my kampung school did not have a library. In fact, the whole district of Bachok back then did not have a library. And sadly, even today in the year 2021, Bachok does not have a proper district library. For the record, Bachok Hospital is now under construction. If you go to Bachok, only a few old people know where the district library is. As a student back then, I only read textbooks and Malay newspapers that arrived one day late. No TVs for us even though TV came to Malaya in 1962. There was no electricity and piped water supply. Thank God, I was lucky to be selected to go and study at SDAR. There, I learnt English from a Eurasian Mr Weller. He had a beautiful Indian wife. There I learnt about more different cultures from my teachers who were Malays, Chinese, Indian and Sikh. In my kampung(village), I only see and mix with the Malays.

To improve my English I visited and borrowed books from the school library. On my first entry, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many books in English that I could not read! At that time, I only knew may be less than a hundred words of English Language.I came from a Malay medium school and had to undergo one year of Remove Class before I was allowed to join the standard English Form One class. Just imagine if I could read all the books if only I knew the English Language. During one afternoon Prep Class, Datuk Salamon who was then a prefect and in form four taught me how to create a vocabulary. That is where I began to know more and more English words as the years passed by through my reading. Mr Weller taught me more grammar. By the time I left SDAR in 1968, I could read NST Newspapers and read most of the story books by Enid Blyton. I must thank Enid Blyton for writing many interesting books for boys like me to enjoy reading. By knowing English, it opens many windows of opportunities for my knowledge and career. Later I continued my secondary school education at Technical Institute, Kuala Lumpur. After passing my HSC, I got a government scholarship to study civil engineering at Sheffield University, England. The rest is another day, another story.

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