Monday, November 3, 2014

Serenading Juria

Prologue

In the 70s, specifically from 1974 onwards, we lived in a government bungalow located within the compound of the police barrack of Aulong, Taiping. I guess the bungalow was built for senior government officer, so for security reason, it is placed within the compound of the police barrack. One can't be at a safer place. Most of the time, the police officer on duty would be opening the main gate for us; at times, we would open it ourselves to show respect.

As I have mentioned in a-much-earlier entry (2010) - Beautiful homes of my souls, the barrack boys are of different materials than us. They were much more hardy and resilient. Tougher, if you must. Unlike us, I must admit.

I wrote about them being thick-skin having serenading a particular girl that caught their attention. Yes, they would, much to my amusement. I would never do such thing. Of course especially not today and certainly not during those years.
But the song in particular was not really a big hit song, so I can't find it over at Youtube and posted in together with my entry.

Until I uploaded it myself last night.

This is a lesser known song of Hail Amir, but in 1978, I would think, this girl Ju (or Juria) was The girl at the Aulong Barrack. Perfect. I was really amused with the boys' antics to remember it until today.



Serenading Juria

And I certainly would not forget during one of the rare occasions I was at home - circa 77/78, a group of the Berek kids would sing Juria, a song popularised by Hail Amir. And they would sing it out loud; loud enough for me to hear them and remember it.

Juriah, engkau cantik, engkau manis...so goes the lyric. I don't remember the whole thing now. It was not the most popular of Hail Amir's songs during those years, but there is a reason why the kids loved to sing this song in the 70's Aulong Police Station.

For obvious reasons, there was this (pretty) girl called Ju - I am not sure if her actual name is Juriah or the Ju is just an initial of a slightly different name, I think, living in the police quarters, and she was the object of their attentions and affections.

As for me during those years, there were already many pretty gals in Kota Bharu, so I had never been bothered with the Berek gals! Obviously, I am trying to justify that I have nothing to do with this episode.

And I would like to make full denial that I have anything to do with this! ;-)

I remember this incident because I thought they were funny, and downright brave - if not foolish, to be doing what they did. Actually I found it amusing. It reminds of movies where the boy would serenade the girl at their home - and sometimes they got kicked at their ass by the gal's dad. PRamlee also has similar scene with S Samsudin trying to woo the maid in one of his movie - was it Antara Dua Darjat? But of course Wak Karto would come to the 'rescue' much to his chagrin.

Brave indeed - these Berek kids. And they must have thick skin.

EPILOGUE

This is Juria, but not the Juria of the 70s. Of course I would not have a picture of the Barrack police Aulong's Juria.

This is the Japanese version Juria and a fashion icon in Japan.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Live-in Maid: Is it necessary?

I have never been a fan of the maid concept, especially live-in maid.

Why would anybody agree to work in another household, and to sleep and live there, and work day, and night, when there is no specific time to start working, and no ending time? It is like an open-ended thing, and with  no privacy of one's own.

And no dignity.

Yes, I do hire people to work in my office. But they have very specific terms of employment and it normally runs from 9-6 pm daily and for five days in a week.

Yes, there are many reasons for having maid or helper. To assist in the day to day running of the household. But I am not sure what the parents are doing then?

Oh I am sorry. They are both working people

But hang on a second, why are they both working? To get more money so that the family can live well, or perhaps just to making end's meet? Which one are they? Yalah, minyak dah naik harga dua puluh sen, teh tarik pun sama. There is not enough income earner in a family. I guess many have similar reasons for having maid. I don't have maid, had never had maids throughout my life and throughout my kids' lives, so I don't understand.

OK, I guess, everybody have their own reasons. I don't walk in your shoes, so we do what we need to do. Bik, buat air teh ya. While you are at it, why don't you goreng cekodok di dapur ya? Oh and clean up table. Basuh sekali pinggan di sinki. La, kenapa dibiar anak bermain sendiri? Tolong tengok2kan ya. Oh jangan lupa sapu daun2 dilaman, dan keluarkan sampah ya.

Jangan lupa cuci baju.

Eh hari dah hujan. Bik, jangan lupa jemuran!

Aah well.

It is one thing we work on whatever in our home. It is our home so if I wish to mow the lawn, it is my prerogative. I don't get paid for it. But I can choose to sleep all day in my living room, and no one will argue with me for doing that. So it is a big difference between voluntary and doing it as part and parcel of earning a living.

For the past year, I have been going to office very early. I normally leave home by 0530 hours and I would normally be in office by 0630 hours. No, it did not take me too long to reach office, especially at that hour. I normally spend at least 30 mins at the local mosque near my office for my early dawn prayer, before clocking in at my office.

No, I am not an exemplary boss, nor have I been an exemplary worker. I would vehemently deny that. ;) I just hate traffic, specifically traffic jam, so I would rather leave home in the wee hours of the morning than battling traffic at 7 am.

It is normally a blissful ride and the air is so fresh.

The maid washing the car at 5.30 in the morning. It is not that clear, but it is not my
 intention to have problems with my neighbours, so it is better it is not
clear so as not to identifythe location.. You could see the black figure
on the left side of the circle.
But I saw this scene last week. A maid cleaning up his boss' car at 0530 hours. Is it really necessary? I wonder what time she slept the night before, but normally it would be after everybody has gone to sleep, I am sure. 

Can one not clean up one's own car? Or if you are like me, well, I have a very fine looking dirty car, perhaps the finest looking  dirty car in KL. Hahaha.

It is one thing if she is preparing breakfast or making coffee. I would not mind having my cuppa at 0530 hours. I am sure that would wake up all my sleepy limbs. But washing cars?

Unless one's car is Lamborghini or a Ferrari!

Come on lah, have a maid if you must. But restrict the hours, and have specific tasks that she needs to undertake. Nothing more, it can be less. She should not be cleaning cars at 5 am in the morning.

If possible, do not have live-in maid; otherwise it will be difficult to have specific working hours, similar to office work. But I am sure if we try enough, we can do it. We now live in the 21st century. There is no need for slavery anymore. People have dignity too. Just because we have money, it does not mean we can hire people and work them for 20 hours.

And pay them pittance.

Help!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Arif Fauzan Othman: Remember his name!

Eclipse 1
I can't - for the life of me - explain about psychodynamic figurative that Arif Fauzan Othman is renowned for. In the world of arts, I am illiterate, uneducated and uncultured. We may be cousins, but we are world apart in artistic sense.

"Ojan," I texted him a couple of days earlier. "AbangMan will be at the gallery on Wednesday." 

Fortunately I was the only one that time, so I have a monopoly of his mind, and so he explained to me every single details of the paintings hanging at Arti Fine Art Gallery in Melawati.

"Man and mother nature," Arif Fauzan Othman said of the theme of his solo exhibition. The man in all his painting represents – well - Man. Men. Mankind. 

Shadow Beyond A Catastrophe.You can see the smoke billowing out on the foreground
And the destruction that follows him.

Look at Shadow Beyond A Catastrophe above. A man standing over what I perceive as the body of another man. Murder case? May be. You interpretation is as good as mine. But for sure it is a destruction by men on men.

The ladies in his painting do not (necessarily) represent – well – the womenfolk. As usual, they are bigger than that. They represent Mother Nature; Mother Earth if you must. No wonder the colour he chose are earth colours and grim. No wonder I can’t find smiles on their faces. They are not - unlike the man - gruesome; they are beautiful as usually they are, but they certainly look sad. The paintings are beauties in sadness.

A friend, one Soraya M remarked: "She's so pretty, in a sad and haunting way. Makes a good subject."

It does.  

Who is she? I did not ask in detail from the artist. Perhaps I never will. Sometimes there are things best left alone. And unknown. It will be more mysterious that way. I have seen a few pictures of her as shown by the artist, but I do understand that the two are sisters. She made pretty good muse for the artist.

We shall leave it at that.

Eclipse 2
Arif Fauzan admitted that it is easier to sell painting of the girls and a bit more difficult to sell man's painting. I have no doubt of that. The paintings of the girls are more pleasant to the eyes, even to a neutral like me - especially to neutrals like me! I could easily consider them adorning my walls, but would be hesitant to - errrr - consider the gal's counterparts..

I am not sure I can look at him on a daily basis. Another man - a stranger at that in my house? Definitely not! (Hahaha)

It can also be reflected in the sale of Arif's masterpieces. Only a couple of the Mother Nature series have not been sold from an entry of, say, 10. I would consider them sold out. But if I am not mistaken the paintings with the male character have not takers at that time of visiting.

In any case, I would think it is a good solo exhibition by Arif Fauzan. According to the Arti Fine Art gallery owner, one En Yusri, in the old days (read:70s or 80s), it is difficult to sell even a single painting. Things however have changed over the years. The fact that more than half have been sold speaks volume for Arif Fauzan's talent.

Things have certainly changed. People are more affluent nowadays, and more appreciative of work of art, and are now willing to spend over a masterpiece.

Even I would be willing to spend money on this piece - she has certainly caught my eyes. If only this piece is available, I'd pay the asking price. But then again, may be I am willing to say that since I can't have it regardless.
Ambergris
And to be honest, I would need to buy a new house just to hang Ambergris. It is that big. You would need an empty wall in a big living room. Make that a living hall and your hall would look elegant, I can promise you that. Ambergris is a lively piece; very unlike other pieces. May be because of the colour scheme. It is cheerful.

And I love the pose - the form, if you must. The setting has been carefully choreographed by the artist in his imagination. The girl is at peace; the setting is solitude.
The artist with the blogger with Ambergris. This is how big the painting is
Since that is unavailable, I would have to consider other alternative. I'd like to keep one of his painting at home. I already have one. So I decided on this piece. It is called Northern Light.
Northern Light
Northern Light may sound English - western to be precise but she represent the Malay demeanour with her attire and posing. It would suit my house decor, I believe. This would be coming to my home after 31 Oct, at the end of the exhibition. It is an investment. I'd pray that Arif Fauzan would become very big in the near future. And his work would appreciate in value!

But I am not buying to sell later. I am buying so that I have something I can pass down the generations!

Going back to his paintings, this is what the artist has to say; in Arif Fauzan's own words:

We live in the world of constant battle
Between Man and Mother Nature
The ones that should be living together
Not challenging one another
Intelligence morphed for more destruction
The faith is gone and so is humanity
For control and monopoly
In the name of freedom
freedom from our land'
freedom from our privacy
freedom from our will

Here are what I saw at the gallery that day.

Tree Hugger 1 series
Tree Hugger 2 series
Stain on Your Fingernails
Out of Devious Boxes
EPILOGUE

If you remember, in December 2013, I posted an entry called Old Painting by Othmansor. His real name is obviously Othman bin Mansor and of course he is related to Arif Fauzan Othman. He is the father.

You can read about the entry here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Membenarkan Yang Biasa, Membiasakan Yang Benar

Most of the time, I found riding a cab stressful.

It would normally be a matter of time when - not if - I would be cheated out of my fare.

Don't get me wrong. The last of time I rode one to Bukit Bintang from my office, nothing unusual happened. The last time a friend forgot his computer bag, it was returned by the cab driver who operates out of Bandar Tun Razak.

So it could merely be my impression. As people say, susu sebelanga rusak dik nila setitik, though again, I am under the impression that there are more than a setitik nila as far as errant cab drivers are concerned.
This is not Pak Sujono's cab. I did not hire nor can I afford this ride .
For the first time, I decided not to wait for my normal Bluebird Cab in Cengkareng. At peak hour, they did not seem to be coming at all. So instead I took Pak Sujono's Proton Persona Borobudur cab. As we were heading out of Sukarno-Hatta's Terminal 3, we passed by the flyover to downtown. That exit was manned by Pak Polisi, so traffic was under controlled even though it was peak hour.

So he said, "Well, only when the police are there!"

I laughed. I told not to be too hard on Indonesia. It is the same in Malaysia, though things are very different in developed country.

"Benar," he replied. "It will take many generations to correct the wrongs."

The he said something that caught my attention, though I have to ask him to say a few times to digest the content. Of course we were speaking in Bahasa, so it took me a bit longer to digest it. Be he said it beautifully.

"Janganlah kita membenarkan yang biasa; seharusnya kita membiasakan yang benar, " he continued.

I paused for many moments to mull over these words.I even had to ask him to repeat a few times.

"We have to go against the traditions, and do only the correct things. Traditions do not mean that they are correct. We may have done them for generations, but then, many a time we did not know any better. For example, if anyone dies, according to the tradition, the tahlil sessions will be conducted for 7 days and again at the 40th day. It causes a lot of hardship to the deceased's family. This is not right, but this is the tradition in Java. Muhammadiyah would not allow this anymore."

I nodded in agreement. Whole-heartedly.

"Have you heard of the predator fish and the small fish?" he asked me. I said no.

Normally they can't be together in an aquarium for obvious reason, but someone had done this experimentation. They put the small fish in a small glass compartment (in the aquarium), so the big, predator fish would attack the small fish to eat them. But of course, the predator fish did not realize about the glass wall, so it keeps on hitting the glass wall.

And it hurts them.

"It happens many time such that when the small fish is released to the main aquarium, it was never attacked again by the predator fish!" he concluded.

I'd take the story at face value and I believe we can be "conditioned" in similar fashion. 

If we have a good system, everybody would follow them. Look at Singapore, he continued, even Indonesians would follow the law there and would be a very disciplined driver in Singapore.

I smiled. Of course, I noted in my mind, even the supposedly discipline Singapore driver would drive as recklessly as their Malaysian counterparts when they are driving on the highways of Peninsular!

That's Pak Sujono for you. He seems like a well read and knowledgeable person. But he was only schooled up to Kelas 5. He told me so. I guess that that would be standard 5 in primary school. "Dulu bapak saya seorang preman and he had not encouraged me to do well in school."

But do not get him wrong. He did not blame his dad. Just telling the fact as it is.

I guess he learned a lot in the university of life. He even quoted me Ayat 85 in Surah al-Baqarah. I can probably quote you the first 10 verses of the same chapter!

We talked about many more stories from Sukarno and the ideological war that went into Indonesia's independence, between him and this two other buddies. This uneducated cab driver from Java is really educated about life as a whole.

Thank you Pak Sujono for a very enlightening ride.  To me, he is a Porche class cab driver and a great ambassador for Indonesia.

EPILOGUE

Actually I did not try to argue with him on the fish story. I read about fish 30 years ago, just after I returned home in 1986. Monash would send me their post graduate magazine to me, I am not sure whether it was yearly or twice yearly. I remember about one of the article was about fish and whether would feel pain (as we human would).

I am not sure about the conclusion then. But browsing through the net, I am told that fish do not feel pain as we would. They do not have the neuro-physiological capacity as we do.

Fortunately for us.
Because if they do, we might be banned from eating fish.
The hook of a fishing lure is stuck in the upper jaw of this rainbow trout. Whether the animal feels pain is not verified beyond any doubt, according to a new study.
Credit: Alexander Schwab

Read about it here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Damba di Dada

This song reminds me of Dungeon, the coastal town of  the state of Terengganu. A town with no shopping mall.

But with a beautiful beach. Perhaps the most beautiful beach in Malaysia.

I had been working for sometime by then, but may be only a year in Terengganu, when I decided to move from Kerteh. I had to commute daily as it was 30 km from office, but luckily I have friends to pool car with.

She was a not the most glamorest of singers in the late 80s. May be because she was not a looker, but I was caught by her voice and the Malay melodies of most of her songs. Her album has no killer song, but I must say most of her songs are candies to my ears.

A time when when rock music was the music of the time, so her keroncong and Malay melody laden songs were a breath of fresh air to me.

Then I was living in a kampung house - on stilt. 

Simple music for simple time.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Syed Haron - Songwriter/Composer Extraordinaire

"Tuan Syed Haron!" I called him,

He turned around, and I grabbed his hand and shook it. Not knowing me obviously, he was puzzled by the attention this stranger is giving him.

"Thank you for Hujan, thank you for Warisan and thank you for Hanya Lagu. I think Hanya Lagu is yours, right? " I said, while still holding his hand. (Hanya Lagu was his first composition for Sudirman that caught my attention in his first LP in 1978.)

"You remember alll his songs?" his wife exclaimed, listening intently to my monologue with her husband. "I was brought up with Sudir's songs, dan tentunya mesti ada lagu-lagu tuan Syed. Masa itu saya sekolah menengah." I replied.

He squealed in delight, obviously embarrassed by the attention, and clearly overwhelmed by the occasion. Being a humble man, suddenly he was surrounded by more and more people wanting to take pictures with him.

Hujan and Kepulanganku are probably his two best songs; they are a delight to my ears. Kau Akan Kembali, Tak Perlu Diucapkan and Hari Itu Dalam Kenangan were amongst the other many hits he had with his best buddy Sudirman. Untukmu is another pleasant song to me. Beautiful. Back then I would only know him by name, and had never seen his picture. They were all beautiful songs and I can only then admire this gifted songwriter.

Warisan has been used many times over, over many events and occasions, especially Merdeka day celebrations. Yes, I don't understand why he is not being recognized and rewarded by the government. He deserved better for sure. Lesser mortal had been rewarded much more.

Thank you again, tuan Syed Haron. Your songs live on in my mind, and I am sure I not exaggerating if I say in thousands others. Make that in million others!

The boys also memorializing the occasion with this picture

EPILOGUE

You can read my take on Kepulanganku here. Otherwise here is the song.




 Hari Itu Dalam Kenangan

I uploaded this song. Now with over 24,000 views and 77 likes.



This is the first song he penned. I like this song. It is close to my heart.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kesempatan yang datang

They say one is given one chance in life. If you didn't take it, you'd lose it forever.

I am not sure to be honest. But I know if opportunity comes a-knocking, I wouldt complain of the noise. That's just me. [sigh].

But this song from Pelangi is a beautiful song about just that. I love the lyric and the melody. I love the piano arrangement. It touches my heart in 1987, and even today. When this song was popular, I had just gotten a job with the black gold company. While it has nothing to do with the lyric per se, but I remember spending 2 weeks for orientation at Bangi training centre - can't recall whether it was Maybank or another bank's training centre as Petronas in 1987 had not completed building its own.

Of course it was a testing time with Ops Lalang then, but we were too far from KL to see the impact. But I remember many of us at that orientation.

Bagaimana ada terjumpa
Bolehkah kau ku sapa?