Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It has been a while since I jot down my last entry here. Many changes happen in our life lately but it is great to have a tri family who kept each other company during good and hard times! I was posted out of UPNM in September, during fasting month and actually I asked for it. Experience from the past 17 years in the Air Force taught me well about PRE-EMPTIVE measures to be taken before a 'war'. But this is not a physical battle of military hardware but merely a battle of wits and wisdom (wont talk about it, just wait! COMING SOON TO THEATRE NEAR YOU).
Well, after all these hard years of racing and training, I felt so good about CHANGE. Just send me anywhere, I'll survive!InsyaAllah!
First task... DUTY on Hari Raya! Nothing to complaint about, my new post is about planning and coordinating of all the Malaysian Armed Forces mission with the United Nations - Nation Unies. At least I can feel how my fellow servicemen felt when they are away in Dem Rep of Congo, Sudan etc etc.... But the best has yet to come!
See photo... room with a view! This is the view from my cabin, for 12 days I woke up in the morning looking out of this window and saw a lot of water. Surprise? This is in Port Klang while loading the shipments.

From Port Klang to south of Nicobar Islands/ North of Sumatera took 1 day and a half! The ship sails at 16-19 knots, among the fastest compared to most cargo ships.

Another assignment 10 days after raya, accompanying military cargo in a civilian ships from Port Klang to Beirut! No weapon, 15 crews, 3 military personnel and only God knows how many Somalians pirates are there in the Gulf of Aden. What the heck is an Air Force officer doing in a civilian ship for 12 days? Nothing much to do hahaha... sleep, eat, sh*t, throw up, watch cd, talk to the Turkish crew in English! Learn some Turkish word, now forgotten. What else can you do in a 150m long ship. Running? The captain did but I cant, scared that the wind will blow me off the ship and I have to swim back to nowhere! The world seems so round when you cant see anything around you except blue water. Watch WATER WORLD!

Strange phenomena in the sea, the meeting point of Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, 1km deep but the waves break as if its hitting a shore!

The ship is called MV Vivien A, registered in Izmir, Turkey. We sailed pass south of Great Nicobar on 14 Oct. Nicobar and Andaman group of island was hit by tsunami in 2004.

The sea sometimes looks so calm like a swimming pool but the ship sway left and right until you feel like throw up. No choice! After 5 days, on 17 Oct everything was pushed out of my belly! Then... I felt normal, its like walking on land. Sunset in the north of Indian Ocean/south Bay of Bengal, end of the world...

Crossing from south of Nicobar Island to south of Sri Lanka took 2 days and a half. We reached Sri Lanka in the early morning of 16 Oct. Then turn up to Laccadive Sea, which is between India and Maldives.

Are we seeing the same moon? Moonlight in the Indian Ocean... same same but different! Photo from the bridge which is always dark at night. NO LIGHTS! Map of India showing Maldives Islands. Have a military friend there but no phone line!

Already passed Maldives, into Arabian Sea heading towards Socotra Island where the notorious pirates live! Pray... pray... pray... It was 17 Oct, ETA at sea lanes set by coalition navy ships near Socotra Island around 19 Oct.

The ship leaved a long white trail of water behind, powerful thrust from the engine that propel the ship to a max speed of 20 knots. We are now in the Arabian Sea, see? No land in sight! I caught a brown bird in the morning when it tried to escape from under the ship's deck. Probably too tired to fly and found the ship to take 5, the distance is more than 1000 miles across! On the 18 Oct, sometimes in the afternoon I woke up after a short nap just to find out that the ship had stopped! In the middle of the Arabian Sea, it drifted about 1 nm before the engine can be started again. That nite I told the captain dont do this in the middle of Gulf of Aden! I am not looking forward to high 5 the Somalian pirates. Our 'weapon' is the fast speed of the ship which would make it very difficult to be boarded. That will save RM5 millions of Gov of Malaysia's money in that ship. I cant be responsible if it's taken away by the pirates.
Oct 18, Saturday evening. We had a BBQ on the ship's deck. From left to right, Yahya Selchuk (deck officer), the cook (difficult Turkish name haha), Zaidi ( Malaysian Air Force staff) and Durga (in stripes, ship most junior engineer). It was Turkish dish from day 1 until the end of journey! But after 'emptying' my belly on 17 Oct, it can take anything! Even those saltless/sugarless/tasteless Turkish delight! The food is healthy type actually, sour yoghurt, vegies and more. All 15 crew are Turkish and the food is halal except for the taste... hehehe. That night we were moving in to Gulf of Aden, with the crew who were happily enjoying their Saturday nite talking and watching movies. I was on the bridge keeping an eye on the radar! Any 'yellow' beep had to be investigated carefully. The sounds of coalition warship communicating with cargo ships in the gulf was imminent. Every few minutes a cargo ship will be reporting movements of suspicious boats in the dark without any ID on the radar. I couldnt sleep until 4 am. Next morning, woke up at around 7 am, the Gulf of Aden looked foggy. We move on at 20 knots, which is above the max speed. Thanks God for the tailwind!

In the afternoon, Gulf of Aden looks stunningly blue. No one would suspects there are notorious gangs moving around hijacking ships! A view from the bridge...

A view from the bow... 120m away! The bridge is 8 floor above the ship. That high? Believe it....

At 6 am 20 Oct, the pirates spend around 20 minutes 'accompanying' us! They were checking our speed, then they will decide whether it can be boarded or not. Smart pirates! Using fast boat, the 4 pirates then left us alone knowing that their speed cant match out ship. The speed cant drop below 14knots. Well, we are 6 knots above it. Hopefully the engine wont stopped!
Last sunset in the Gulf of Aden! 20 Oct. 12 hours to reach Djibouti. The danger was not over yet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sad truth

"Army intelligence is a contradiction in terms"
This is not a joke but a sad truth

Preparing for Powerman:

Dino, Xman and Chew

Sue Ee

Look Aini, we've started wearing the new Powerman T immediately

Such a funny banana!!!
Danial at the JSKL biathlon