About A. Bakri
I don't like to be hurried in making a decision. Interesting... where did I acquire this trait from? Certainly, I wasn't born with it. Hence, 'acquire' is the most appropriate term to use.
As the Commanding Officer of a warship I brought the ship to berth alongside a jetty/wharf as a matter of routine (normally, merchant ships are assisted by tugs). And it was part-and-parcel of the job.
Yes, we were taught and schooled how to perform the task right and proper. That was the science part of it (like, state of the tides - whether high/low water, whether enough clearance under the keel at the wharf; the state of the current, it's prevalent strength and direction; state of the wind, it's prevalent strength and direction at the wharf. Just to name a few). These are the documented part and almost likely quantifiable part of the information. In other words, they are the hard facts of the equation.
The other half, i.e. the arts part, was not taught formally in the college, rather, it was gathered and learned as I went along whilst on tasks. This was collectively known as 'experience'. It was painstakingly learnt through close observation by recording the intrinsic characteristics of the ship (no two ships, even of the same class, would have the same characteristic). It took time to intimately learn about the behaviour. For example, when the wheel was applied to a certain degrees to one side, how it reacted? how long was the time taken to turn? how was the turning circle like? etc.
I learned that the singularly most important trait to get the ship safely and successfully brought alongside was by remaining cool throughout the process (do not allow yourself to look like a nincompoop moronically harassed or flabbergasted). The transformation from a 'raw' to cool individual varies. Some took it longer, while others blended into it like a fish to water.
Personally, during my heyday I wanted to nominate myself to the shadow (if any) Oscar Award presentation as the Best Actor of the Year. Why? Because, being (seen) cool on the bridge-wing of a ship while going alongside a wharf in a foreign land with entourage of receiving parties, namely the troop of Embassy officials, berthing party members, the military band playing upbeat scores (distracting your concentration by humming along), the bevy of ladies bearing flowers to garland us, and the swelling curious crowds were more than enough to distract and demotivate me.
However, I should remain cool and seemingly detached from the on-goings around me, although my heartbeats thumped ever so intense against my chest. Wasn't that acting at it's best? I should have won the award hands down (if nominated at all).
Never mind the award. I've won it in my own rights, anyway. I've methodically adopted the sterling trait of being cool (any wonder why my peers called me 'Amir the Cool McCool' ?). Gone are the bygone days...
Penned on : 17th March 2010.