Monday, December 29, 2008

The day I was a Pembawa Tombak

In my lifetime, I have seen a few royal burials.

And I was personally involved in one!

Seeing the last telecast of the burial of the Yang diPertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan, I am reminded of the many royal burials that I have seen - mainly on telly, I must say. Sultan Perak's (almarhum Sultan Idris) burial in 1983 if I am not mistaken was live one that I saw; I was back for the holiday and living in Bukit Chandan, in the royal town Kuala Kangsar, I could not escape it.

The royal burial of the Yang DiPertuan Agong (almarhum Sultan Salahuddin), quite recently; I remember watching it on the tele, though I could not remember (without surfing) the exact year.

But of course the special one would be the royal burial of an incumbent Yang diPertuan Agong, Sultan Yahya Petra, the Sultan of Kelantan in 1979; it is something this blogger was personally involved.

I remember that night, the principal (MRSM KB) came to our dorm and asked us to assemble around 20 of us to be part of the Pembawa Tombak Jajahan who would accompany the hearse from Balai Besar in Kota Bharu to the royal mouseleum in Lundang(??), and this blogger carried the Tombak Jajahan Pasir Putih.

We were asked to wear light coloured baju melayu for the occasion.
The blogger with the tom-tom-bak! He is 3rd from the left and other MRSM friends behind him. The front two in the pics are soldiers from the PPH Pengkalan Chepa - our neighbour, I think. Li, maso ni aku lebih tinggi dari mu, hehehe...jadik aku dok kat depan sekali, depan mu.

I remember queueing and the march to the mouseleum. We thought we would have to follow the footstep march of the army personnel carrying the hearse and of course it was ackward for us for we were not trained. Later on, one officer told us to march 'normally'.

Certainly I don't remember how far was the march, but I thought it was a good few kilometres, and of course it was televised live on TV. I am sure I was in it, but of course I didn't get to see myself on telly!

As part of the official entourage, we were allowed quite close to the grave actually, if my memory serves me right.

Looking at the royal burial of the head of Negeri Sembilan, I could not help but wonder how we could be involved in the royal burial of an incumbent Yang DiPertuan Agong in 1979 (31 March to be exact). To me it was an honour, and as a schoolboy to be part of the royal hearse is something I would remember for the rest of my life.

Of course, I must say the next 40 days was difficult as it was official mourning period for Kelantan. No music at all; quite painfully for us teens then, and mind you, we don't have the private radio stations then as alternative.

At the end of the mourning period, we were all invited to a majlis tahlil at the Balai Besar and were treated to sumptuous dinner. I remember meeting and shaking hands with the then MB who conveyed the royal thanks to us.

Moga Allah mencucuri rahmatNya keatas ruh almarhum Tuanku Jaafar dan almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra, dan seluruh muslimin. Amin.

The Jannatons


GEORGETOWN: Lebih 400 ahli keluarga keturunan Datuk K Jannaton yang dikatakan antara orang pertama membuka Pulau Pinang, berhimpun pada majlis perhimpunan keluarga itu buat kali keempat, semalam. Majlis itu yang berlangsung di Dewan Budaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Minden, di sini, turut diserikan dengan pelancaran jualan buku dan laman web mengenai sejarah Datuk Jannaton.

Presiden Jawatankuasa Ahli Keluarga Keturunan Datuk K Jannaton, Rahmah Aziz, berkata perhimpunan dwitahunan itu diadakan bagi mengeratkan hubungan silaturahim sesama keluarga selain mencari ahli keluarga lain.Katanya, perhimpunan secara besar-besaran keluarga itu pertama kali diadakan di Ipoh pada 2002, disusuli acara kedua di Taiping, Perak pada 2004 dan ketiga di Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, dua tahun lalu.

Majlis diserikan dengan forum salasilah Jannaton, persembahan video lawatan bersejarah ke Padang dan Batu Baru, pelancaran laman web dan cabutan nombor bertuah serta lawatan ke makam Datuk Jannaton.

Beliau berkata, ramai ahli keluarga keturunan Datuk Jannaton berjaya menempa nama di negara ini termasuk bekas Presiden pertama Singapura, Tun Yusof Ishak; bekas Menteri Pertanian pertama, Aziz Ishak; Duta Singapura, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh dan Hakim Persekutuan, Datuk Wira Wan Yahya Pawanteh.Tokoh lain ialah bekas Pengerusi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB), Tan Sri Razali Ismail yang juga Pro Canselor USM; bekas Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Bakri Omar dan Menteri Wilayah Persekutuan, Datuk Seri Mohd Zulhasnan Rafique.
(The above was taken from Harian Metro)

I didn't attend the above gathering, I must admit. Heck, I didn't even attend the first one in 2002. A few of my siblings did attend the one in Ipoh, but I am not sure if anyone did attend this one in Penang.

I would like to get hold of the family tree to know my exact position in this lineage. Actually when we were kids, we knew of the name Jannaton as aruah bapak had named his second son - my younger bro - with that name as a family name. In fact as my bro rightly pointed out, at the first meeting, he should be given an 'award' as he is probably the only one with that ancestral name in the hundreds attending the first gathering.

I guess he has the longest name in the family - Abdul Latif Janaton Hariri.

It is fun to be able to trace one's family especially if it is as steeped in history as the Jannatons. By this I don't mean material wealth. For me, the fact that I had rubbed shoulders with many names that are mentioned in local text book is a source of pride to me, and nothing else I guess.

While Mak's side came from Kampung Haraban as mentioned in earlier entry, bapak's sides came from another Minangkabau town of Pagar Ruyung (or is it Batu Bara?), which I believe should be less than 2 hours away from each other.

But these towns, or kampungs could not have been so different, for Pagar Ruyung is the site of the Minangkabau's royalty, though I am sure Datuk Jannaton was not a royalty. I am a bit confused with the town Batu Bara being mentioned in the Harian Metro. Are we from the twon Pagar Ruyung or Batu Bara? Then again, they are probably half an hour away.

I guess I am Minang through and through as there are Minang bloods on both sides. But don't ask me to speak the Minang dialect; I can't, and I don't think I am interested at this stage of my life.

do wonder though why I am not a good businessman, as many Minang man, whose business prowess is quite well known in Indonesia. In fact, a business acquaintence, from a state-owned oil company in Indonesia, by the name Ricki Riswandi, told me that the Minangs are known as the Jews of Indonesia.

might have been offended by his remark, made during one of my many business trips to the refinery in oil town of Dumai, if he was not a Minang himself!

Now, if only I can get hold of the family tree....Errr, dear Zaman, are you still reading my blog? Have not heard from you since the election. Must be busy with the March election eh? :-) Would you have access to the presentation materials, the book and the family tree?


I found
the website thought did not have the time to scrutinize it yet. There is a book by Aziz Ishak called Mencari Bako and I would like to get my hand on it soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some people can love one another for life

Love is in the air I guess.

Notwithstanding that it is holiday season and hence the many weddings throughout the country, no one I know is getting married. But I do know someone is getting engaged this week, so I thought it would be appropriate for me to offer the couple my best wishes.

This song by Champaign I thought would be ideal. It is a beautiful love song. It was perhaps released in 1981 (or was it 1982?), and I must say I love it then and I still love this song. Actually I have forgotten this until one day last Sept when I was driving from Kerteh. It was aired on Light FM and I have not heard it for over 20 years.

It is a lovely love song. Question young couples should be asking of each other. As a matter of fact, this is also a timely reminder for married couples too. Listen well to the lyric.

Some people are made for each other
Some people can love one another for life
How 'bout us

I present "How 'bout Us". All the best on the happy day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I feel so guilty

At last, the pictures that I have been waiting are ready for uploading.

Well, I didn't get all of them, perhaps there were 1000 of them and I need to vet the personal pictures from the lot.

I am glad that my bro and his family went to the kampung in Sumatra for the Raya Haji and be able to perform the kurban there.

Arriving on the Friday before haj, he went looking for the cow for kurban only on Saturday and were greeted with the dilemma of picking up the thin and small local cow, or the big Australian one. Unfortunately we had given him the budget and he ended up having to pick up the local one which has, in a good way, a leaner meat.

But when I first saw it, I said, "Ha? Anak lembu can ah?"

What to do? It costs us Rp 6 M for it while the Australian one would have cost us nearly double that. No time for a change of plan anyway - there is no bank in Kampung for money transmittal except the one at the back of the house.

So I present you, my first kurban ever thought not all of its portions are mine.

My transportation at the Mahsyar?

I am glad in some way to be able to contribute my part, even if I have to admit that it is way too small to be mentioned here or anywhere else. In fact I am a bit embarrassed about it.

But I know, the kampung folks are humble and polite people. They accepted our small gift with open arms. And open hearts, I must add.

When we were kids in the early 70s in a small town in Lenggong, having meat for our meals would be an occasion to savour. Meat would typically be available perhaps once or twice a month. It was a luxury then.

Unlike nowadays.

Masjid Abrar in Kampung Haraban where we slaughter the cow.

I know that that would be the case in Kampung Haraban. Their diets would typically be the small freshwater fish, with sambal and ahh, beras kampung.

I was told that each house would get their share of about 1 kg of meat , and they would cut the meat very thinly before it is cooked. This is to ensure that that would allow more to be shared around.

My heart sank. I knew I should have followed my heart and not my brain when I determine my budget. I was just too cautious (read: stingy). Stupid me, I told myself. When opportunity comes a-knocking (todo some good deeds), I complained of the noise!

I know we should have gone around looking for more people willing to do their kurban away from our comfort zone in Kuala Lumpur. I do wish we had taken time off to do the needful so that many more would enjoy the jor of Hari Raya.

I am 'cursing' myself for that.

The kampung kids watching the spectacle.

Hari Raya Haji in Kampung was celebrated in a very small scale. Lemang, which according to my bro are a bit tough, and biskut Mary. Biskut Mary for Raya? I mean when I was small, yes, it was fun to have biskut Mary for tea.

But biskut Mary for Raya?

The menfolks with the Raya dishes after the solat.

And how do I celebrate my Raya?

Very delicious lemang, with rendang, ketupat and kuah kacang, cakes and cookies, and nasik minyak for lunch!

I really am guilty.

The womenfolks in the mosque after solat

My bro's family walking to the mosque for the solat Raya. Gentlemen, and Ladies, this road is part of the trans-Sumatran hiway that connects Medan and Palembang, and passes through our kampung.

The kenduri after the kurban. This is more like it for us here I guess.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Menjejak Bako

So the Haj had come and gone.

And I am still in Kuala Lumpur.

It was not too bad a Raya this time around, even if it were celebrated way from Taiping. Visited the inlaws in Rawang before heading to Shah Alam to celebrate with Mak at my sis.

To be honest, my mind this Raya is far away in our ancestral home land near Bukit Tinggi in Sumatra Barat. Kampung Sepisang to be precise.

I first visited them on my way to Padang in what I now considered as Menjejak Sitti Nurbaya.

But Sitti Nurbaya is not the purpose of this piece, so I will not touch on her. It then became a Menjejak Bako travel.

When I first step my foot in the wee hours of March 1998 in the kampung my grandmother (Nenek Bulan) lived before coming to then Malaya - perhaps in the early 20s, I was touched. It was a peaceful and serene village.

Perhaps too peaceful and too serene.

But sentimental aside, I was touched by the hospitality of them to embrace strangers like my bro and I and took us into their humble abodes. It turned out that practically the whole village was related to us!

But it saddened me even then to see the hardship of their lives.

No electricity, no piped water. Obviously no TV whatsoever. Only radio - powered by the batteries. At night the house was lighted by the kerosene lamps.

We are not talking about 1950s; we are talking about 1998 - it is practically the millennium for heaven's sake. And yet the basic amenities have not reached them.

And we are not talking about about a remote village in Indonesia. We are talking about a village right next to the Trans-Sumatran highway, and about 1 hour from the resort town of Bukit Tinggi, may be two hours to Pagar Ruyung, the craddle of the Minang civilisation.

But I simply could not forget the cool mountain water piped down using bamboo - air palong. Aah, so cool and refreshing. We were bathing in mineral water.

The luxury of kampung life!

The under-privilege children of Kampung Sepisang in Sumatra, but they lead a carefree life.

Mak Juli, Mak Sawi and the various old ladies manning the kampung in the truest Minang style while the menfolks migrate to various parts of Indonesia - or perhaps Malaysia, looking for opportunities to better their lives.

They are the embodiment of strength, mentally and physically even if they are half the size of this blogger.

I am anxiously waiting for my brother to come back from Kampung with the latest pictures of them and the kampung nenek left behind more than 80 years ago. Ten years have passed since I last went there, I am told that things are not getting better in Kampung. Obviously all the Maks are getting older (I was told Mak Juli dah bongkok), but they are big hearted people.

The blogger with the Kampung relatives. This was perhaps the best house, still under construction, with money from Malaysia (not mine). Mak Sawi is third from left, Mak Juli is fifth from right.

I do wish we had sacrificed two or more cows instead of one. I do wish that we would do this every year. They are probably in need of it more than we do here in Malaysia. This kampung with 80 houses had two (one courtesy of the Hariris). Some mosques here in Malaysia would sacrifice 30 cows or more, and I guess the meat was distributed even to the rich!

Aah well....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Of SPM, Haj and Old Friends

The D days are over and it is now supposed to be the H days.
But only in my dreams, I guess.

Much as I would like to take the H days, my time is very limited as it is the B days nowadays at the office.

Anyway, in many ways, I am relieved that the SPM exams are over. Now, I guess, is reflection time for Arif. He needs to quickly decide what he would want to do for the rest of his life in the next couple of months. I am of course hoping that he would stick to his dream of taking up flying. Like all fathers, I would do everything that I could to make it come true.

I would, as it was my dream to be a pilot when I was in primary school.

But these eyes of mine would not allow it .

I guess he would be joining me at work to give him an idea of working life. It would do him a world of good.


I have been a hermit the past 3 weeks, not meeting anyone or traveling and totally ignoring invites. Unless of course if the invites were for Kenduri doa selamat for the haj. That I would attend to 'ambik berkat' I guess. So when Zul, a former classmate of mine, invited me for his doa selamat, I could not say no, though I told him that I would be late.

I also found out that he is now much in building conservation, and hence he is frequenting Taiping to observe buildings. "What a coincident!" I told him. "I spend a good day last Raya holiday snapping pictures of old kayu houses and istanas in Kuala Kangsar and I really think we need to take care of our heritage."

I can't wait for him to return for Haj to be talking about building conservation.


I can imagine meeting Kodeq at Zul's doa selamat. Afterall, the 3 of us were quite close in 1980. But to meet him again 3 hours later in Ulu Langat for another doa selamat was unthinkable.

I reached the doa selamat at this very nicely done bungalow on a 10,000 ft land while they were reciting the wirids, and Kodeq was just 5 mins behind. Rusman, the host was not a friend from school, so I didn't expect to see anyone I knew at the doa selamat. I was prepared to be lonely or making new friends there to be honest.

But there he was again.

The world is getting too small!


You know what a D day, but H stands for Holy as in holidays and B stands for busy.

Zul is going for the first time while Rusman is going for the second time in consecutive years. He told me that he enjoyed it so much last year that he simply have to go again this year! Haj has that effect on you, I guess.

The question that both of them posted to this blogger is when is he going.

That's a very good question, I must admit. I've been asking myself of the same thing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Peristiwa dibulan November


Found in the online NST.

Khadijah Ibrahim’s The Pearl Anniversary Concert at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas had the audience mesmerised.

SHUIB TAIB was one of them.

THIRTY years of a glittering showbiz career sallied forth in a remarkable show by Khadijah Ibrahim billed “The Pearl Anniversary Concert” at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, Kuala Lumpur.

Khadijah took her audience back to the days when her hits like Ku Sangka Siang Kiranya Malam, Ku Pendam Sebuah Duka, Tangisan Hati Yang Derita and Janji Mu dominated the airwaves.

She began the show by singing a line from Leaving on a Jetplane, the first song she sang in public. Kathy, as she was known when she started her career, also entertained the audience with anecdotes.

“To finally make it here is just great. It’s tough competing with all the new stars like Mawi, er, who is he?, she joked. When I first started touring, I went to places like Jengka, Machang, Tasik Cini... not Los Angeles, mind you!
“With my looks, height, a name like Kathy and the fact that I could speak a little English, kampung folk thought I was a mat salleh. So it was all right for me to sing in English. They found it surprising though that I could sing in Malay as well.”

Back in 1979, this writer attended a RM5 concert on a school football field in Kampung Manjoi, Ipoh.

Artistes included Khadijah’s brother Latiff and comedians A.R Badul and the late Yusni Jaafar but Khadijah was the main draw with a 40-minute slot.

Those days, anyone worth her salt would be compared to the dynamic Anita Sarawak who was already well-known in the Asian region. The local Press was predicting Kathy to be the next Anita.

Thankfully, there was no need for comparisons. Khadijah proved that she could hold her own.

And her Pearl concert was added proof. With her powerful and at times husky vocals, Khadijah had the audience in the packed hall mesmerised.

“Before I recorded my first English album, I was required to prove that I could sing in English. I was asked to sing a song of Donna Summer’s (the queen of disco at the time),” said Khadijah before giving a soulful rendition of Summer’s version of MacArthur’s Park, another song she used to sing.

Khadijah recalled how her father did not get to see the day when she released her first album in 1978.

“Mum would follow me around then but after six months, I lost her too. Ladies and gentlemen, I dedicate this next song to my mother,” she said before belting out Mama Oh Mama.

Khadijah’s following medley of numbers reflected her career journey, with the audience cheering her on: Oh Kekasih Ku (a Malay version of Wishing on a Star), Ku Gembira Di Samping Mu, Potret Kasih, Kau Timbul Kembali, Sabar Menanti and English numbers like Memories (which she dedicated to her ex-husband, Mohd Rashid Fahmi Bastaloo), Everyday Girl as well as a cover version of Autumn Leaves.

In between her three costume changes, Khadijah introduced her guests, Datuk Ahmad Nawab and Ramli Sarip.

Ahmad was the man who was instrumental in Khadijah’s success, her mentor of sorts, having penned more than 2,000 songs and so many of her hits. The 75-year-old saxman hit the right notes with the audience when he played Spanish number Besame Mucho and his self-composed winner, Kali Terakhir Ku Lihat Wajah Mu.

Khadijah and Ramli did a beautiful duet with Doa Buat Kekasih, one of their evergreen hits. It also turned out to be the favourite number of Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah, who was also present.

Others in the audience included singers Syafinaz Selamat, Halil Chik, politician Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and several corporate figures.

She ended her show with Peristiwa Di Bulan November, and from her performance that day, November 2008 will be hard to forget.

If you haven’t caught any of her shows, you should not miss any of her performances. For here is one entertainer who can lift up your spirit as high as her immitable vocals can soar!


AAH, it has been thirty long years and how I wish I had been able to see her perform during her heyday. Not that I was anywhere near Jengka or Cini the past 30 years. Then again I was not near New Zealand at any stage of my life either.

Kampung New Zealand I may have passed on the way to the East Coast though!

Like Shuib and many others in the sold out concert, I was mesmerized.

Mak thought she looks younger and smaller when she first appeared on stage. May be. She had to ask if she was my age which is not! She is older than me, but of definitely she looks younger than this blogger. But smaller?

I guess she didn't see her at Imbauan recently.

All in all, I have enjoyed her performance. She was cheeky with the glitters of the diamonds that she wore that night - I guess she was not unlike Madonna. She was funny and no one would be in doubt of her stature in the Malaysian entertainment scene.

Many song I seems to have forgotten but were rekindled in my mind. Memories - one song that caused this blogger to quiver in his seat. It has been so long. Everyday Girl too. I thought the best performance was Salam dari Benua. The composition was excellent, beside the singer of course.

All her songs from Ku Gembira disampingmu, Tangisan Hati, Ku sangka Siang, Potret Kasih would cause to writer to jog down memory lane. In fact those songs would have him running out breath, just to keep himself up. Her songs were great, so was she. You would have read the review in Mingguan last week beyond the excerpt above.

But to be honest, at one stage I was disappointed. In fact I was disappointed the moment I stepped into the hall, still smiling in anticipation of Janjimu for which this blogger would be ever so grateful to her. (I mentioned to Datuk Ahmad Jais that I have not heard of Nak Dara Rindu, an asli-laced song not to be confused with PRamlee's. But he didn't perform it when he did the concert at Istana budaya.)

I was expecting a full philharmonic orchestra to complement the DFP but instead we had a 'normal' band (3 guitars, keyboard, and a piano).

To say I am a bit disappointed would be an understatement to be honest. I guess I am now old enough to be wanting to listen to a bit more sophistication in musical presentation than say a 3-guitar and a keyboard band. Nevermind if Jenny Chin was on keyboard. To me, keyboard cheapen the sound especially if it was trying to imitate the wonderful sound of violins in an orchestra.

Especially when the DFP has a full size pipe organ adorning the wall of the stage!

Hence I thought highly of the arrangement of Salam dari Benua with violin, acoustic guitar and I guess a piano. Excellent!

I was hoping that she would not do medley of her major songs. Unfortunately Tangisan Hatiku Yang Derita, and Ku sangka Siang (not to mention Janjimu) were sung in shorter version of a medley.

I wonder how she would sound in the full splendour of a phiharmonic orchestra.

My other dislike would be all the names of the politicians and corporate figures mentioned over and over again by her. I never thought highly of them, and wonder what they had done to her career anyway. But I guess it is her show and not for me to decide how she wants to thank anyone for their support

Anyway, Dear Khatijah Ibrahim, I grew up listening to many of your songs especially the ones in 1980. Your songs remain high on my list of songs I would listen to, but please don't take what I am saying here in negativity.

I am giving you my honest opinion. I hope you would do another concert, this time with the back up of a full orchestra.

I would be the first to buy the ticket.


I thought there is no need for me to be waxing lyrically about her performance. It had been published by NST and Utusan. She is that good, I must admit. In fact I think she is great!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanks for Janji mu, Kathy

Kini tinggal kenangan saja
Kau berdusta
Hidup ku kini jadi sengsara

Berlinangan airmata
mengenangkan kembali
segala kisah asmara
suka duka ku harungi

Kini ku sendiri
Tiada lagi kau bersama
kurasa sepi
Hidup ku kini jadi sengsara

Ku mengerti
Kita tidak bersua lagi
kini ku sendiri

Aah, Janjimu. What a song! Sad, and melancholic; just the way I'd like my songs to be.

Last night Khadijah Ibrahim belted this song at the Philharmonic. I have not heard this song for years, beyond the fact that the song has been playing in my mind for years. Not many knew this song; it was not one of her most popular song.

But for some reason - and I remember it vividly, this song song seems to the class anthem for Pasteur 5. I mean, Kathy has so many great songs by 1980 - Ku sangka siang kiranya malam, Tangisan hati yang derita; all those sad and melancholic songs that were our cultural standard in the late 70s and 80s, but nothing beat Janjimu to many of my classmates then.

I remember it well, as I had the lyric of this song on the cover of my file; written in beautiful hand-written font by him that a few of my classmates asked me to write the lyric for them which I did on a Pejabat Tanah Taiping's letter head that I took from bapak's possession.

It puzzles me to this day on the reason why song were not popular on the airwaves but left an indelible mark on many of us in that class high up in the then new building of MRSM in Pengkalan Chepa then.

One thing for sure, it is a beautiful sad, melancholic song.

And Kathy last night renders it beautifully at the MPO that left me in awe in my seat.

I wanted to give her a standing ovation for that song, but the crowd was too timid. Most likely they didn't know as no one applause at all when she completed the rendition, and I was not extrovert enough to stand up on my own and gave her the respect that was due.

I guess I was the only one taken back to 1980.

I was surprised that she sang the song last night. I would like to think that it was due my request a couple of months ago at this blog and apparently she was alerted of my review of her performance at the Imbauan concert at the MPO.

(to be continued - my say on her Pearl Anniversary at the MPO)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The D Day today

Raden Adjeng Kartini, says the history book. An article in the The Sunday Star named her as Raden Ayu Kartini.

She's Javanese for sure. The latter is probably easier to our Malaysian tongue and hence it was used in the article. May be, I dont know. Apparently she played an important role in the birth of nationalism in South East Asia, or Indonesia in particular. She reckoned in order for Indonesians to get out of the poverty cycle, education is the keyword.

However, she died at 24 while giving birth.

But her effort would not go unnoticed or unremembered. She is considered as Srikandi in Indonesia and would be fondly remembered for her effort.

And why, you would ask, that I would be talking about this Indonesian lady who died in the 1900s in Indonesia?

The truth is I am sitting for my SPM and the history paper today (Tuesday).

Eh, I mean, my son Arif is sitting for SPM and his first paper is today.

But of course in this age, it goes without saying that the parent – in this case, it is this blogger, would be sitting for the same paper too. So I had been in the past week reading along his text on history, which is not really this blogger's cup of tea.

I mean years ago – 28 years ago to be exact, when he was sitting for his SPM, we had the choice to choose geography over history and I believe over 90% of us chosed geography which resembles more to science than history.

Nevermind that this blogger during F1 would want to be a archaelogist! So Add Math, Physics and Chemistry; these were difficult subjects to him then. But now, they are a piece of cake.

Sort of. With the benefit of hindsight, of course.

But Biology is still not my cup of tea, just like history or Bahasa Melayu.

To be honest, I am taking it easy this time around. Que Sera sera, so they say, what will be will be.

Sure, I would do anything for him to get good results. But life is a marathon and not a sprint. My regret in life was treating it like a 100 m sprint when it is really is a 42km run. By the time one reaches 100 m mark, one was almost dead if one were to sprint ala Carl Lewis.

So Arif (and Akmal of course), good luck and all the best for tomorrow. I do wish I have one more month to prepare you for the exam. But then again, it would still be one month short and it would never end.

In the end, what is more important is how you lead you life in the future.


I don't remember my SPM that well in 1980 beyond the fact that we were all expected to breeze through. The expectation were high but so were the confidence then. To be honest, at that point, we didn't really care much. Many of us were already visualizing ourselves in Australia or England, or in this blogger's case America.

Someone with his dad in Dewan Bahasa was putting out spot questions for BM on the Dewan Makan notice board. Hampeh, to be honest; we should know better though.

I don't recall much of the other papers. Add math and physics – we were quite nervous then. After all half of the us failed our first add math exam in F4 with getting the egg. This blogger was lucky he was not in that esteemed group. He probably score a 6 (out of 100 of course!).

Aah TY! Where would we be without you?

Honestly in hindsight, except for may be Rashid and Rozhan and a few others, I am not sure if many of us cared that much that year for our SPM.

If at least in reflection.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tanam Pinang rapat-rapat

I saw these pinang trees while visiting Batu Kurau in Taiping last Raya and suddenly the Malay pantun came to my mind; so I asked Arif to snap the picture.

I did not see any puyuh though ;-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This is our heritage 2

Call me incurable romantics if you must, but I just love the lifestyles of the years gone by, definitely all these wooden house.

I can imagine all those families living there, in these palatial homes; sipping tea (teh tarik if you must!) on the balcony or the foyers; the kids enjoying the spacious compound.

If I were a rich man, I would purchase these house, no matter how dilapidated they are. I would bring them back to their former glory. I would not mind retiring in one of these mansions!

Mind, you all these houses, or palace can be found in BUkit Chandan KUala Kangsar, a place I used to call home, even if it was just a long distance home since I was either in KOta Bharu or Melbourne then.

This one needs no introduction. Was built with a single nail, I was told. Was the Sultan of Perak's palace before the Iskandariah was built. Now it is a royal museum.

LOvely carving

I would not mind having this type of roof for my house.

The house below is in a very sorry state, situated just next to the Ubudiah MOsque.

HOw much do you think the owner would want for this house? I am sure the land is more valuable, but if he would just sell the house, lock stock and barrel, I would take it for the right price of course.

Assuming I could afford it in the first place.

I love the roof. Hang on, is that a face there staring at us or what?

Another view of the house

It look airy for me.

Aah, I would buy this one too. A lovely piece of real estate . There is still a family living in this one. Look at the very green grass here. Kuala Kangsar (and Taiping) is blessed with lotsa rains and good soil.

Sipping teh tarik on the verandah, can you not see me there? ;-)

This one is not really a house, but I love the wood carving just the same.

If only....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This is our heritage

Such a beautiful building in a very dilapidated condition. This is our heritage; this is our soul, for who are we without ourhistory.

Yet no one cares.

Tell me, how many historical site do we have in the country that traced back our history? Where are the Malacca Sultanate palaces that would showcased the empire our forefathers built in the 1400s? The Portuguese have the A Famosa or whatever remains of it; The Dutch the Stadyhust; the Babas the various building in Malacca.

Is Islam a new religion in Malaysia? Does it come in mainly after Merdeka?

I would think so. If you dont believe me, check out the mosques in Kuala Lumpur.

Masjid Negara, in the early 60s, Masjid Wilayah, very recently, Masjid Sultan Abdul Aziz in Shah Alam, may in the late 80s.

We have the Chandis in Lembah Bujang; The old church ruin on top of the hill in Melaka. All dated hundreds of years ago.

Where are our old Mosques?

It seems that we Malays are the pendatang, and a recent one at that, as we have the habit to demolish our beautiful old mosques and build non-descript buildings on its remain so much much so people are saying, "You guys must be new here. Look at all the brand new mosques. There is no evidence that you guys have been heer for too long."

This is what we saw on our raya trip to Kuala Kangsar on the second day of Raya. If you want to imagine this building in its full glory, please visit the Craft Centre at Jalan Conlay. You can buy the painting for about RM100.00.

The real one is in Padang Asam Kuala Kangsar.

The side of the building

A closer up on the side of the mosque

It is still beautiful though it is in ruins

The wall

The carving on the roof

These two pictures are the inside of the mosque

Can the state government of Perak declare the building as a heritage, and perhaps rehabilitate it to its former glory?

Kita dok sibuk with the House of Bok la, and the various buildings in Penang and Melaka, and yet we forgot - or conveniently forgot, about these beautiful buildings.

Where are the souls of the Malays in this country?

(All pictures were taken by Arif)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

King Edward VII-1 - Class of 1975

From Left: Zakri, Rahman Salleh, Zaki, the blogger, Dr Jalal, Joey/Zulkapri, Hasnul and Rani. All from Class 6A. Man Salleh is showing off his gut feel! ;-)
Playing the remembering game with a copy of the 1975 pictures

Dateline: 1 Syawal 1529/1 October 2008

Location: Taman Sri Kota, Taiping, Perak

Occasion: Reunion of Class 6A 1975

I would have never thought that it would be possible to gather my classmates from our primary schooldays ever again. Afterall, thirty three years have passed us by. Of course while time has separated us, the fact that we were just kids then when we parted our ways, make a reunion difficult, if not impossible.

Unlike reunion of our secondary schoolmates. We were practically adult by the time we left school.

Of course it would not be possible had it not been for Zaki to leave his comment on this very blog a few moons ago. Zaki, as I have mentioned in an earlier entry - if my memory serves me right, was one third of the two kids who made Aulong our playground with this blogger.

So I offer my mom's house as the venue for the small reunion under the pretext that Ustaz Adnan who taught us Ugama in Std 5 and Std 6 lives nearby. So does another friend - the only one I have had reunion meeting every year.
(Zaki and Hasnul were the first to arrive)

Much to my delight, eight of us made it to the Raya night reunion, excluding this blogger. First to arrive were Zaki and Hasnul, while they looked younger than their years and definitely this blogger would not have recognized them if he were to cross path with them. How time flies, especially for me I guess since I am the one who looks older!

By the time the eight of us were reunited at the corridor of my mom's house which allowed us some privacy, we had laughter and joy all over. Stories were traded, scores were settled there and then. With age and the benefit of hindsight and nostalgia, everything we talked about, all incidents and stories told, were wonderful and funny.

Of course our hairs, and tummy became the butt of our jokes, but all in the name of good and friendly bantering. After all, we don't really have old scores to settle and we were united under the banner of King Edward.

We went through the class photo of 1975. With eight heads, it is easier to identify us all.

Zakri, our headboy and I guess the only one with 5As in Penilaian Darjah Lima, went to MCKK but later during F4 went back to KE to complete his secondary education. Rahman Salleh, while he joined us during Std 5, I guess were amongst the two who completed his full secondary education at KE; the other one being Rani.

Correct me if I am wrong here guys.

Dr Jalal, who went to MRSM with me - so we shared two alma maters together, was one of the three whom I thought didnt change that much. Awet muda, I must say. With his line of work as a leading ergonomist in Malaysia, I am not surprised he is able to maintain his look!

Hasnul, a registrar at Masterskill, Zulkapri at Maxis, were there and Rani, who left us at Std 5 but joined at Std 6 a year later. I think he can't enough of KE life, eh Rani? ;-)

Capt Zainal Azman, who completed his education at Sandhurst, also joined us later. He has retired from the army but is still involved in the business of the army. He would have to compete with Dr Jalal for the awet muda award.

Steady, these two guys!

Azhar called me in the morning berating this blogger for not informing him of the reunion. I was surprised that he was able to contact me. His name was mentioned many times, with many of us remembering him and his mum's nasik lemak!

We would order it the day before and in the morning, there would be nasik lemak for us. A few would even eat them before recess underneath the table to avoid detection by Cikgu Kamariah, our class teacher. I guess many of us were hungry students.

And why not? Prior to the morning bell, we would have our games of popia (ouch!), or main guli or 'cop bai' or whatever underneath the raintrees. That would have made us very very hungry!

We end up visiting Ustaz Adnan at 10:45 pm, with him about to take his night rest. He was surprised to see us all; overwhelmed to be precise. At times he has difficulty remembering us, but I guess in no way a reflection of us. I met him yearly at least and I would always salam him at the end of each solat at the mosque, and he would acknowledge my presence by asking when did I return home. I had never seen him not even remembering me that till much later.

But slowly the memories did return and by the time we left, he was the Ustaz Adnan as I would remember him. He noted that if he were to tell his friends how the 9 of his primary school students visiting him on the Raya days, they would be very surprised indeed. I am sure he would relate this visitation to all and sundry, with pride. I guess we had made his Raya this time around.

Moga Allah panjangkan umur Ustaz and diberi kesihatan diri. Amin.

33 years may have passed, but I guess we were young again that night.

Very young indeed.

Twelve years old to be precise!


My apology for the delay. Been very tight with my time and the fact have had problem with my broadband at home and when I am ready to write, I have lost my train of thought. So this is just a first draft and if I had missed anything - which I am sure I did, let me know. I will try and update it as we go by.

There was one odd story about one of us during that night. I am not sure if it is nice to be told, but hoping that without naming name, it would be acceptable. At least one of us had become a Miss. And I remember him well too since he often got teased in class.

Aah well, I hope things will turn out ok for him. I mean her!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Time Traveller is here

And I would like to be the second one.

Ronald Mallet already has a blueprint for a time machine and he is not in Hollywood. You can't get any further from Hollywood than Connecticut.

For one I need to read his book "The Time Traveller." He was just 10 when his father died. Devastated, he found solace in science fiction of HG Wells, believing that if he could build a time machine, he could go back into the past, warn his father and save his life.

Noble intention bordered on impossibility and Hollywood melodrama. Or so I thought.

Only that he is a professor of theoretical physics. You need to know your physics inside out to build a time machine that I can only dream of.

And off to Kinokuniya this weekend. Will let you know of what I think of the book.

My hope has been raised.


Updated 24 Oct 2008

I am a bit disappointed with Kino for not carrying the book (yet may be). I thought they would have everything that has been published. But they are willing to special order it for me as a consolation.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

RPK in Kuala Kangsar?

It was a wonderful Raya, this time around.

While we were on Raya visit in Kuala Kangsar, another of my favourite town (after Taiping that is), we came across this school. Of course we used to live 5 mins away from this gals school in Bukit Kerajaan, but I thought with the ISA looming large during this Raya - and not only due to him, I thought this posting is apt.

Of course this school used to be the official residence of the Residence of Perak in the colonial time. Hugh Low may be? I don't remember anymore.

Wonderful building on top of a hill overlooking the Sungai Perak.

The Hariris in 1976

This photo was originally in black and white and was taken in a photo studio in Taiping in January 1976. I guess bapak just wanted to record the moment in time officially even though his Pentax SLR was as good as any camera one can get at the time.

I remember the occasion as being a couple of week away from heading to Kota Bharu to begin my boarding school life.

Of course by 1976, the family was still incomplete even with 9 children, three more were to follow together with another adopted daughter, making it 13 in all.

My kid bro on the front left (one of the two twins) has of course left us at the age of 30, while the rests are still around.

The original photo is still with Mak, though it is really in bad shape. I have no idea how the shop decided on the colour of our clothes. Hmmm..kinda funny to be honest.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

The preparation is still on going.

Five kilos of beef, 4 whole chickens, 6 lemangs, 50 pieces of ketupat, rendang in the wok and of course numerous cookies, many of them were cooked by Mak in KL, and I guess Raya '08 is on the way.

While we only have 3 families at this moment, making this raya one of the smallest in recent memory, I hope to make this a better one than last year. It seems to be heading that way. A few of my primary school classmates are coming for Raya, and I hope to do some visiting on the Raya day itself.

Well, I would like to wish all a Selamat Hari Raya and I guess with the thousands of words being typed over the past year or so, I do wish to apologize if I have hurt anybody's feeling.

I guess this apology is only valid for the non-politicians! Haha.. ;-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jom raya di Kamunting, eh I mean, Taiping

We are inching closer and closer to the Raya.

Honestly I am looking forward for the Raya break. Been quite awhile since I last went back and enjoy Taiping as it is supposed to be enjoyed. Sure I went back last week to pick up mum (since she wants to bake some cookies at my home) and also during the recent flood, but it was just a tad too short for me to enjoy Taiping and its ambience.

My former primary school classmates are supposed to have a reunion of sort on Raya day. Zaki is contacting the other classmates and we are also planning to visit our dear Ustaz Adnan who taught us in Std 5 and 6 in King Edward.

I am looking forward to seeing friends I have not seen since 1975.

And I managed to call one of my best buddy Zakri Khir. He is now a COO at Allianz. The good news he is also Raya-ing in Taiping and wants to meet up for bukak puasa first this Monday. Apparently his mum is still in Taiping (his dad died in July last year). The smartest boy in school then; no wonder he is doing well in his career, I am glad to say.

But at the same time, with the recent spate of arrest under ISA, it reminds me that for some reasons the power-that-be prefer to show their power and arrest many during the fasting month. The arrest of a former minister under Tengku is a case to point, and I guess RPK arrest and incarceration has to be done during Ramadhan.

How about the many others who have been in there for the past of 7 years? It is so cruel. How about one who returned only after his daughter was burried? Or one who had never bought his children any baju raya for the past 7 years. Read it here.

The Kem Tahanan ISA is in Kamunting, say half an hour from Taiping. When my in-laws were still living in Batu Kurau, we would pass it everytime on the way there. Of course we would not bat an eye lid then.

So let's all go back and Raya in Kamunting, what say you?

After all, gasoline has been reduced by RM0.10 cents. I would save at least RM7.00 if I were to fill up my tank to go back to Taiping.

Wow! Thank you Pak Lah.

I am really indebted to you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Of bygone era

This is the very reason I love to time travel. These lovely sets of pictures of Kuala Lumpur in the old days are priceless. Someone sent me these last year and while I was archiving past emails in my old computers, I came across these and thought it is appropriate to post them here.

I don't know who own the copyright of these pictures, so I am taking liberty here. If you are the owner, I hope that you have given me permission to share them here.

Now, where is my time machine?

Aah, lovely.

Not much change here I guess.
Would you believe that this is Bukit Bintang?