Saturday, October 18, 2014

Eid Fitr August 2013

 Photo 1 - Kamariah asking for forgiveness
 Photo 2 - Rozita's turn to seek forfgiveness from her dad
 Photo 3 - Family photo - Rozita and Roslan are just out of range of the camera
 Photo 4 - The usual favourite Hari Raya menu of the children and grandchildren -
Ketupat daun palas with rendang and kari ayam, nasi tomato and ayam goreng 
 Photo 5 - Family friends
 Photo 6 - Neighbours
 Photo 7 - The Patrick Lee family from Petaling Jaya
 Photo 8 - Nephew Rozaidi and his wife's extended family
 Photo 9 - Nephew Dato' Anwar A. Rahman and his family
 Photo 10 - Andre and Esthewr Sibert old family friend of the Sabah days
 Photo 11 - The family members of Wak Manaf
Photo 12 - With Dato' Dr Halim Osman, classmate at Sultan Abd Hamid College, A. Star

     Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Eid Mubarak fell on Thursday August 8, 2013 after a month of fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadhan.  The spirit of Hari Raya could be felt when the grandchildren of my youngest child, Rozana moved in two days earlier. At nights prior to Eid the children were firing crackers and playing fireworks in the compound of the house.
      As usual I was out of bed early for the Subuh prayer, followed by an early shower and dressed in my old pink Malay baju, to be in colour harmony with Malay baju of the grandchildren.  My son, Rosmin and sons-in-law, Roslan and Nizam and the grandchildren walked to the nearby surau An-Nur arriving there at 8.00 am for the Eid prayer.  The sound of the takbir resonated followed by the Eid prayer at 8.30 am sharp. I had the opportunity of meeting friends and wishing them 'Selamat Hari Raya - Maad Zahir Batin' after the prayer.
    On returning to the house, Kamariah after kissing and asking for forgiveness, sat with me to receive the Hari Raya wishes and forgiveness from the children and grandchildren (Photo1 and 2). It appears to be a good business year for my son, Rosmin and son-in-law Nizam as both Kamariah and I received 'duit raya' from them.  Soon after stream of guests started visiting us. Among the early birds were the family of Tuan Hj Ahmad Nordin, Tuan Hj A. Rahman and the Rohinya children who are our regular visitors every Hari Raya (Photo 5 and 6) .  It was then followed by immediate relatives - my brother Ahmad Shadzli and his children and grandchildren, nephews, Jaaq, Anwar, Rozaidi; cousins of the Wak Manaf clan (Photo 8, 9 & 11) and non-Muslim friends, Patrick Lee family 9Photo 7) and Dr Chua Swee Lin, both old friends, the former in Malaysian Nature Society and the latter at Universiti Putra Malaysia. We still received visitors till late at night on the first day of Hari Raya.
     As the traditional practice of the younger paying their respect to the older, I managed to take a short break on the first day of Hari Raya, to visit my neighbour and friend, Tan Sri Mohd Nor Ismail.  I scheduled my visits to my other older friends on the second day of Hari Raya (Friday Aug 9).            

ASM Fellows' Lecture - Acid Sulfate Soils: Occurrence, Properties and Utilization for Rice Production

1. Introduction.  The Academy of Science (ASM) Fellows' Lecture on the above topic was delivered by Prof. Dr. Shamshuddin Jusop at Dewan Pertanian, Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) on Friday October 17, 2014 to an audience estimated at around 100, composed of the principal and academic staff and students of UPM, fellows of the Academy and members of the public. The Event was a joint effort of UPM and ASM.  UPM was officially represented by Prof. Dr. Azmi Mohd Lila, Deputy VC (Research and Innovation) and Prof. Dr Shukor, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture.  The Lecture is an activity of the Academy in its effort to introduce newly elected Fellows and as a forum for Fellows of the Academy to interact with the scientific community.  As Chairman of the Biological, Agricultural and Environmental Discipline Group of ASM, I was assigned to give a Welcoming Address, introduced the speaker, moderated the session and deliver the Closing Address.

2. Opening Remarks.  In his opening speech, Prof. Azmi congratulated Prof. Shamshuddin on being elected as Fellow of the Academy and appreciate his effort in sharing his research work on acid sulfate soils and their utilisation for rice production.  He viewed this as important as it is linked to contributing towards the food security of the country.  In my welcoming address, I expressed my happiness at being able to visit my alma mater again, being a graduate of the then College of Agriculture in 1959 and meeting friends in the agricultural fraternity. I enlightened the audience on the background, objectives and activities of the Academy.  It was established in February 1995 by an Act of Parliament with the main purpose of  advancing STI for the development of the country and for the betterment of mankind.  The Fellows of the Academy are elected every year in six discipline groups.  Currently, ASM membership is composed of 7 honorary members, 22 Senior Fellows and 260 Fellows. Among its iconic activities are The Mega Science Framework Study for National Development covering a period from the present to 2050 covering such critical issues, among them, as water, energy, health, agriculture, biodiversity, housing, transportation.
With Prof. Shamshuddin Jusoh at the front of the Lecture Hall displaying the publications by the speaker
The Fellows' Lecture started with the National Anthem

The Welcome Address
 3.  Content of Lecture. Acid sulfate soils which contain pyrite are found along the coastal plains of Peninsular Malaysia.  When these soils are drained they become acidic and over time with weathering and disintegration, high amounts of Al (Aluminium) and Fe (Iron) are present, which adversely affect plant growth and aquatic lives.  Rice grown in these soils would suffer from the two minerals.  Experiments were conducted to evaluate the amelioration of the acid sulfate soils of Jelawat in Kelantan, using ground magnesium limestone (GML), ground basalt, bio-fertilizer, biochar or their combinations where rice was grown for three seasons.  The results showed that GML at 4t per ha improved soil fertility leading to better growth and yield performance.  The best yield however was obtained when GML was applied together with bio-fertilizer.  It is thought that the positive performance from the fertilizer combination might also be contributed by the presence of microbes in the bio-fertilizer which facilitated in the chemistry of the soil and also the secretions of organic acids.  Addition of ground basalt was also observed to enhance the growth of rice but the basalt in combination with bio-fertilizer appeared to be the best option as the bio-fertilizer provides the benefits as discussed above and at the same time basalt increases pH, supplies Ca and Mg and also releases K, P and Si.  He concluded that further refinement to this amelioration study need to be undertaken with the overall objective that all these technologies could be packaged and utilized to enhance the productivity of rice cultivated on these soils and thereby able to uplift the self-sufficiency status of food in the country.
   In the discussion, participants pointed out that there is a need to know the extend of these soils in Sabah and Sarawak and that there is competing utilization of these soils for other crops like oil palm and herbs such as lemongrass.
   His last parting words were that we need to leave  legacies.  Money, power and positions are meaningless. Among the legacies that can be left for future generations are the technologies that one develop and the publications that one writes that cover one's expertise, experiences and wisdom.
   Prof. Shamshuddin obtained his bachelor's degree in Geology from the University of Malaya and D Sc in Soil Minerology from Ghent University, Belgium.  He is currently Professor on Land Management at the Faculty of Agriculture UPM.  He has held other academic and administrative positions in the Faculty.  He has served as Editor of the Malaysian Journal of Soil Science and the Editorial Board of a few Agricultural-related Journals.  He is a prolific writer with more than 150 articles published and the same number presented and 14 books, not only on soils but novels.  For all his contribution he has been conferred many awards, among them are: professorial chair, Federal Govt Award of Johan Setia Mahkota (JSM), elected Fellow of the Malaysian Society of Soil Science and Fellow of the Academy of Science.

 Prof. Shamshuddin, delivering his passionate topic

The Q&A Session

A cross-section of the participants
Photo with old friends
 4. Summing-up Address/Concluding Remarks.  Utilization of a problem soils like acid sulfate for growing rice is viewed as providing the potential of increasing production to overcome one of the challenges of agriculture - food security.  There are other challenges that we have to face - population increase; depletion of such resources as water, energy, land; loss of biodiversity; and climate change.  We need, as Prof Azmi indicated, team effort for us to be able to overcome these challenges.  Taking the cue from Prof Shamshuddin, I support the suggestion that we need to leave our legacy by sharing knowledge, experiences and wisdom by writing.  I shared my experience in being involved with the University of Life established by  Syed Hussein AlAttas in Janda Baik Pahang where we share with participants of our training modules; philosophies of life developed through our experiences such as healthy, active, balanced and happy living; writing on our experiences etc.  Writing is not difficult, I said. Always carry with you a digital camera and a note-book.  Take lots of photos and notes of an event that one participates. On returning home, download this and file it or publish them in blogs. After a period of time there will sufficient materials that can be compiled into various types of publications - books, lecture notes.  Finally, a big thank you to the speaker and deep appreciation to UPM for having provided the facilities for the Fellows' Lecture and the participants for having taken the time to be present

Published on Saturday Oct 18, 2014