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The Great Flood of 1999 (Reproduced)
Written by Ismail Hassan   

In my previous story "My Loyal Assistant" I mentioned that my son Amir emerged from the deep floods of Pekan, Pahang.  I'm reproducing the story below. It was first published on 2 January 2013.


It is January and the Northeast Monsoon is officially here. As in previous years it announces its arrival with roaring heavy rain, howling cold wind, and threatening huge waves. Despite the cold gloomy condition and despite living dangerously so near the angry South China Sea, the Northeast Monsoon is special to me.

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The Loyal Assistant
Written by Ismail Hassan   

I just completed a long story about my second son where I shared the many challenges I had to face in my effort to help him achieve his dreams and ambitions. I must admit that there were times when I lost my direction as I groped and fumbled in the dark to find solutions to problems after problems. But in spite of the difficulties, these challenges actually made my life more meaningful as they painted my mundane existence with beautiful shades and pigments of vibrant colors. They absolutely made me feel truly alive, importantly purposeful, and significantly useful.

There is certainly a sense of great relief when he finally left for his studies abroad. And after the ordeal that he had to go through, I know he feels liberated too. With him safe and sound eight time zones away I can now worry less about him. But I know too well that I’ll be back in my problem-solving mode very soon. But at least for now, there is a brief well-deserved respite to catch my breath before another challenge knocks on the door. It is time to relax. But did I speak too soon? Perhaps I did.

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Life is a Challenge (Part 4)
Written by Ismail Hassan   

Part 4

I have written far too many words already. What started as a simple story has so far gone into three parts of more than 5000 words.  This is the fourth and final installment.

The story is about the challenges that my second son had to experience during his preparations to study abroad. I already shared about his A-Level results that were not completely reported, the bureaucracy of the UK Immigration Office, the stress of maintaining satisfactory grades, and the anxiety in securing a place in a top 100 university. Today I will talk about the issue of money.

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Life is a Challenge (Part 3)
Written by Ismail Hassan   

Part 3

This is the third installment of my story Life is a Challenge. It is a story about the hardship and challenges my second son had to endure while making his final preparations to study abroad.

In the first part I shared about his A-Level Mathematics grade that was not reported. That problem was eventually solved. In the second part I talked about the hassle to get his visa ready. And that was eventually solved too. In this part I will talk about the occasional bumpy experience he had to go through with his sponsor, the Public Service Department (JPA).

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