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....