Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Most Beautiful Mosque II - The story behind

I found this information from the website of Jabatan Warisan, which I thought I should share with everybody.

I told you that there is always a story behind old buildings like this one. May Allah bless their souls - Sultan Iskandar Shah and Juragan Abdul Shukur.

Thank you Jabatan Warisan. The conservation work was commissioned in Dec 2008.


Masjid Lama Kg. Kuala Dal ini telah dibina pada tahun 1936, kira-kira 73 tahun yang lalu. Pembinaannya dibiayai oleh Sultan Iskandar Shah, Sultan Perak yang ke 30. Berdasarkan plag perasmian yang terdapat pada masjid berkenaan, tercatat majlis perasmiannya yang berlangsung pada 10 Zulhijjah 1356 hijrah bersamaan dengan 11 Februari 1938 yang dirasmikan oleh Sultan Iskandar Shah.

Pembinaan masjid ini sempena menunaikan hajat baginda Sultan Iskandar Shah yang berniat dan bernazar untuk membina sebuah masjid apabila salah seorang daripada anakanda baginda telah sembuh daripada gering.

Lokasi Kampung Dal menjadi pilihan kerana baginda dan para pembesar serta kerabat DiRaja sering pergi berkelah di Lata Bubu iaitu kawasan perkelahan DiRaja yang berhampiran dengan kampung tersebut. Di dalam perjalanan baginda telah melihat orang-orang kampung tersebut bersembahyang di madrasah yang telah usang. Maka lahirlah rasa belas kasihan baginda terhadap penduduk setempat, maka baginda menitahkan supaya membina masjid yang baru di kampung tersebut.

Masjid ini telah dibina di atas sebidang tanah yang diwakafkan seorang bangsawan iaitu Juragan Abdul Shukur secara lisan dan kemudiannya diletak di bawah nama pemegang tanah wakaf negeri Perak. Masjid ini tidak digunakan sejak tahun 1976 setelah Masjid baru Al Wahidah dibina bersebelahan dengan masjid.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The most beautiful Mosque in Malaysia

This is our heritage indeed.

Without a doubt of the intrinsic beauty and at RM700,000.00, it was well worth it. Many times over, I must add.

You won't get a more beautiful mosque at less than a million ringgit. In fact, you can't ge a bungalow at RM1 million. For that reason alone, I think we should have more of such designs in the future.

It is now well and alive, and in full 3 dimensional splendour, that one can touch and feel; that is not only confined to the frames of pic sold at the souvenir shop at the Craft Centre at Jalan Conlay.

I am ecstatic; I am a very happy man, so much so that I drove 300 km just to record this beauty.

I saw it last Raya, but being very tight with my primary school reunion, I just did not have the time to stop over and enjoy it.

It has just been officiated by Prof Zuraina, and hence I have not heard much on the news. I thought it should have been officiated by Dr Rais Yatim, not so much that he was an important man, but at least the camera would follow him, I guess.

Apparently Jabatan Warisan commissioned Asli Bina Jaya to rehabilitate this 1938 building to its full glory, and it is now completely done. Well, almost. According to the draftsman of Asli Bina Jaya, the original building is yellow and not the natural wood colour that we can see in the previous entry.

According to Imam Adnan, the building were in the state of disrepair since the mid 70s, and since the mosque was surrounded by durian orchard, quite a bit of the roof were broken especially during the durian seasons, and it gradually got deteriorated over the years, and by the 70s, it was abandoned.

It was easier to get funding for a new nondescript mosque than to repair the old mosque and he said then too the interest and awareness were not there. At one stage, it was even decided they were going to pull it down and let the wood get rotten. I am so glad that they didn't go through with that idea.

Fortunately someone from Jabatan Warisan saw it fit to rehabilitate the mosque.

I am quite sure by the time it was mentioned in my blog, Jabatan Warisan had decided to hire the conservationist to do the work on the mosque. But still, I am proud to have mentioned it in my blog and pretend that I have a say on this conservation.

For the record, those usable items were re-used while many new materials were used to. Part of the wall had to be re-sculptured all over again. The roof was made longer to minimize seeping of rain into the main hall, though Jabatan Warisan want to ensure originality, but relented to request on practicality.

Now that it is in livable condition, Imam Adnan told me they will hold Zohor and Asr prayers daily there, while the 'newer' mosque will hold the remaining prayers. They are also requesting the contractor to provide with a PA as it will take ages for JAIP to come up with the funding if they were to request through JAIP.

Honestly, this mosque has no need for air conditioning. By virtue of it 'kelarai' wall, you could get a constant breeze coming through all day. It is ideal for the tropics; our forefather knew about this.

I salute those involved and I hope to see many more of our old mosque will get rehabilitate.


If you wish to see the mosque in its full splendour, please visit my fotopages and All pics were taken by Arif, Akmal and yours truly. Of course the most beautiful ones were taken by yours truly! ;-) I wish.

Not all things must come to an end (as advocated by a commentator more than a year ago). Especially old mosque.

Like good old soldiers, they will not die. In fact unlike good soldiers, they will not even fade away.


For the record, the mosque is in Padang Asam, at the outskirt of Kuala Kangsar. We used to pass this mosque years ago in the 70s and 80s, and didn't bat an eye-lid then. Well, time has changed, and so too my perspective in life, I guess.

I feel relieved and satisfied that this old mosque has been fully restored. I know I have little say on this, but nonetheless I feel good about it since it was highlighted in this very blog more than a year ago.

Now if only I have the time to move around the country and record old buildings worth remembering. I personally most old buildings are worth recording. There are always stories behind it.

There is this Rumah Kutai in Kota Lama that should be restored, and of course many more that I will try and highlight in Time in a Bottle.

This is our heritage Revisited


I posted this in Oct 2008 and thought I should re-post it as I have new info update to go with this one. For the record.

And wait for the new entry please. It is such a heart warming story that I would travel 300 km just to get it.

Friday, October 24, 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)


farahmunirah said...

oh, well, everything comes to an end.

Rahman Hariri said...

Disagree and in this particular case, not the proper attitude to have. It can be salvaged. Just imagine the hundreds of people praying in this mosques for a hundred of years. Historical sites must be kept intact since we dont have that many.

If we think that the twin towers is full of ciri2 kebudayaan islam, then this building epitomized it all.

Kementerian Kesenian can do something.

Bo Boon@Yasmin said...

I love to read your writings and your conservation awareness.Keep it up. I have always wanted to travel back ( if only a time machine coulds make it possible! LOL ) and relive the 60s and 70s, away from the busy and hustle of city life ( not that i live in a city though! lol ), away from all the environmental issues that i see almost everyday, the evil abusive of mankind , the increase in crime rate etc... I am almost afraid to see how it will turn out in the next decade or two. what is in store for my children and their generation?
If people are willing to make changes, I believe all is not lost yet. Oops, sorry for babbling here.. I can get carried away sometimes .. hehehehe..

Rahman Hariri said...

Bo Boon, thank you for dropping by. I am glad to find someone with the same interest! And passion I must say.

I totally agree with your view.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rawana comes alive at the Filharmonik

I was just curious; as such I thought I should revisit the epic tales at the Filharmonik.

I mean, after getting mesmerized by the dance drama as presented in Jogja (Sendratari Ramayana), I thought I would give the local a version a chance and hoped to be bowled by the PETRONAS Performing Art Group last night.

Obviously I told the kids to look hard at into the dance-drama and compare between the two. You probably had read my entry on the Jogja version here.

Let me go from point to point, to cut the chase short.

1. Choreography - This one the one in Jogja wins hands down. No competition, in all aspects of the dance. The choreography itself were elegant and more epic in Jogja. Every single move by the dancers was full of passion and and you can see that they were one transformed into their characters.

Unlike the dancers at PPAG. They are devoid of such emotions, and they and their character sdid not become one during the play.

You can say that they were amateurs which is a shame actually. I know they were all hired and employed by the PPAG, but they are only now learning their rope in Ramayana and are not fulltime dancers of this dance-play.

At times, they were just walking around and not in such graceful manner either, whereas in Jog, every single step they made is choreographed and you know that that night, they all became one with their character.

The only resemblance of the real thing - if I can call the one in Jogja the real thing, and with apologies to actual home of Ramayana, is the character Rawana. He did a decent job there.

2. Character - As I have said, the improvement is the fact that the PPAG did well with the portrayal of the nine heads of Rawana, by having eight different dances to imitate his every move. And to great effect I must admit.

In term of dancing, you still can't beat the real thing.

Rama and Sita in this dance play are quite weak and could not match the warrior that was Sri Rama in the epic tales and could not match the grace of Sita in the Jogja play. I must admit I did not feel for the two of them when they face Rawana, unlike when I was in Jogja.

Each dancer has not mastered their characters that well, and hence you don't feel that embodiment in them.

3. Music - Last night the background music was more modern, though at times it did switch to traditional. But I love the background choir. The vocal managed to heighten the tension and one could feel it all over at the DFP. I think if there is a selling point of the PPAG on the Ramayana, this would be one. Of course the acoustic of the DFP may have a say on this too.

To my mind, if they could reduce the touch of modern music - just a little bit, it would be perfect.

4. Unfortunately, they aren't that clever in using the acoustic of the DFP to its full effect. When Rawana, with its nine heads were laughing menacingly, the voices came from the individual dancers (without mikes). They should have use decoys placed at strategic places so to speak to imitate the laughing and fill the hall with the menacing laugh.

I told the kids, I remember watching a drama during high school (MRSM Week at Kota Bharu), when the drama done by Seremban use this effect to great effect as the shrill of the shouts were echoed through out the dewan obviously by actors placed at strategic places.

Much like a home theater I must say.

5. I like the idea that they were using a TV screen to broadcast the subtitles of the dance-play so that everybody could follow each segment and understand exactly what's going on. Brilliant idea, I must admit. Now I know exactly how Sita (Dewi) was born, and to which parents and - I didn't know that or I may have forgotten as it would have been over 35 years since I last read the epic novel.

If only they would consider putting the flat screen on the middle so that I would not have to turn my head to either my right for English subtitles or left for Malay.

Oh I nearly forgot, please get someone with a good command in English. Much of the subtitles left much to be desired, some were downright laughable to be honest, if not embarrassing!

6. PPAG introduced the segment on how Sita came into being, with Dasaratha, Mandudori and Mandudari being part of the play. I didn't know about this actually, so it was news to me.

All in all, I must say the PPAG must have dancers specializing on certain dance, and if they want to be considered a serious player in this arena, to hire professional dancers. who specialize in that particular art form. You can't turn a rap dancer and expect him to perform the Ramayana! They can't afford to have Jack of all trades (and master of none) to do these kind of dances.

Everybody should specialise in a form of dance; much like you don't want your pianist to masquerade as a violin player, methinks.

The same dancers later were masquerading as dancers from Borneo in Laman Etnik which made it one of then most boring dances I have ever seen. Only the closing dance was beautifully executed with so many dancers giving it an epic feel.


I know, I know, two outings in two consecutive Saturdays for us at the DFP. But it is better than sitting at home idling our time away. The tickets I must say are cheap enough for stingy people like me!

And I am becoming to difficult to please nowadays with stronger criticisms in last two performances? May be I am a bit harder to please nowadays. But MPO has only themselves to blame for setting the bar too nigh previously! ;-)

Actually I have attended four performances in the last two months and I do have things to say about all of them. Make it three of them.

I met with Datuk Rahim, a retired ex VP of the big oil organization. He was my former manager at a refinery in the East Coast. Apparently one of his children was the play and hence he was there to watch. I am glad to be able to catch up with him. You may have read an entry I did on him in July last year, and I was briefing him on the status of the work that I am doing for him (before he got retired).

We didn't call it a day after the end of the play. We went visiting a friend at Wangsa Maju, who was doing a doa selamat for his son who is recuperating from an operation and undergoing chemo at the moment. So it was another epic chat with An/Liza, and Chepok/Yong, all former friends at MRSM KB.

We called it quit only at 1 am.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If not for the splendour of Tunggu Sekejap...

the whole Irama Warisan Kita Concert at the Philharmonic would have been a huge disappointment.

I am not sure if it was the arrangement, or if the selection of songs was at fault, or may be both factors came into play, but somehow the concert that I have been looking forward for more than a month seems dull and unexciting.

Nevermind if Datuk Johari Salleh was at the baton. By virtue of him conducting, I was expecting much more. Him having helmed Orkestra RTM in the 80s - ok ok, it was nothing much compared to the MPO, but it was the only orchestra that we have then, and having produced suc classic albums for SM Salim, we were looking for a touch of his genius but it deserted him last night.

But I love Tunggu Sekejap, especially when the strings sections took over for the final part. It was beautiful and better than what I heard at the MPYO a year ago and certainly an arrangement that P Ramlee would be proud of.

I have high expectation and I was pleasantly surprised and it left me satisfied in the end.

On the other hand, I was lamenting initially on the selection of Getaran Jiwa. I thought it had been played to death by too many artists and I was not expecting much from last night, but The MPO did a wonderful job here. I was bought over by the beauty of this song and the beautiful arrangement and the great orchestra played it well.

Much more than that, it showcassed why this song is such a masterpiece.

But Hijau was a huge disappointment, so was Joget Kenangan Manis. I simply thought these songs could not withstand the full orchestral arrangements, and were obviously missing traditional instruments that made the songs as we had known it.

In general though, Aisyah and Lah Ahmad did a good job albeit the mis-selection of the above two songs.

Arif said he loves the Overture, but weren't sure of the others. I was looking for familiar tunes but I could not find any so I thought it was bad. It was after all a Sabah Overtures. Not that I have anything against Sabah, but I am missing a point here. Are we so lacking in other signature songs that could have been turned to an overture?

All in all, I think they were simply missing the traditional instrument when playing Sri Mersing and other traditional songs. On that basis alone, I thought the SM Salim concert from about 8 years ago were many cuts above this one.

That was Mak's opinion anyway.

But I do love Mega Mendung. It was a wonderful piece when the violins and the cello were lamenting about the sky. I thought Warisan should not have been selected, and I thought poorly of the selection of Pandang Pandang Jeling Jeling. It has a weak melody and would not withstand some other traditional piece that Johari Salleh had produced in the past.

Don't get me wrong. The MPO in general is much better than any orchestra in the country.

But the arrangement left much to be desired. Surely in their zest to give these songs classical feel, some of them were torn apart at the seam and did not resemble the original masterpiece. Part of Tunggu Sekejap did feel that way - for a moment I thought I was in Vienna listening to Bach, but not all songs can withstand such scrutiny and hence many sound like broken pieces.

More pure traditional classics such have been selected. In other words, no need for pop musics as had been showcased here. Go back to our roots please.

Anyway, this is just an opinion of an amateur listener and probably did not count much in the greater scheme of things.

Yes, in the greater scheme of things, last night was a wonderful concert that alleviated our music to greater heights.


1. If you wish to see some pictures of the night, please visit Akmal Hariri's Fotopages here.

2. Oh I think the security at the MPO during the meet the artist session was a tad too strict and for no apparent reason too. I was just trying to encourage Akmal to take pictures for his learning process, and not so much because there is a need for us to take pics with Aishah (whose wedding I have attended in the early 90s, and who I would normally meet at kenduri or wedding since she is related to bapak's side of the family) or Johari Salleh (yeah I like Kehilangan sung by Yasmin Yusuf and Duniaku, a song about blindness or songs he composed and arranged for SM Salim), but all three of them are not the latest things in our local showbiz that would warrant such security measures.

3. I am not sure why they would need to have hosts in Awal Ashaari and Deborah Henry. It serves no purpose and only delay the show as they would need to strut across the podium. (Read: Deborah need to strut herself on stage to the eyeing audience - It is candy to many eyes, but totally unnecessary!) If there is a need to have hosts, give them a small corner so that they would not have to walk across just to have a quick one para dcription of the next song.

Sure I don't mind a pretty face but I was there to enjoy the beautiful music and could not care less about a beautiful face.

4. Here was my take on another Tunggu Sekejap repertoire.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maksim's Still Water

I didn't realize Akmal did this a while back, and thought I should just post it here for your enjoyment.

Anything more and you should go back to the original author to find out more about this video.

Tell me, is he good or is he really good? ;-)

And this is him during a practice session with a friend.

The shortest distance phone call

Time is a valued commodity these day and time is something I can ill afford nowadays. So I thought I should just re-posted an entry from my now defunct blog at Yahoo.

For the record.

You know, hand-phones are so prevalent today that even kids have them. I have always wondered how we survived without them in the not-so-distant past – well, we did, didn’t we? From one as heavy and as big as the brick, it is now so small that it can fit in the palms of the smallest of us.

It is amazing to think that in the late 70s or even early 80s, we can practically count the number of households having fixed-line phones. My family in Taiping surely didn’t have one then. We communicated mainly via letters and it was always fun waiting for the letters during those days, although I have to admit I don’t remember how we got our letters in those days at MRSM KB.

However, in 1980 we have a Physics genius by the name of Fauzi Daud. This guy can do miracles with circuits, and it is no surprise that he now works for Intel. He was to physics what Rashid was to Add Math – in those days, at least. I believe he created the club COLLEGELECTROHAMRADIPLEX (quite a mouthful as far as name was concerned but for obvious reason, I guess) which, according to Shema, was bigger than Persatuan Islam Maktab. I for one would dispute that, but if she was talking about their long, mouthful name then yes, they were longer!

At MRSM KB, the dorms in each block are located on the side with a courtyard in the middle. Dorm B10 (or the old G10) was the one nearest to the girls’ dorm of E13, and if my memory serves me right, it is probably less than say 5-10 m apart. Don't let these numbers fool you - it is that close! and then without any fence, unlike now.

B-10 dormmates. One of the architects of the phone link between the girl's and boy's dorms is the one seated, in the blue shirt. The chief engineer is not in the picture - he was from another dorm. This wing of the dorm is the one closest to the girls' room. Mine is on the other wing.

I don’t remember how he (and Razin, I think) got it started. All of the sudden, we have phone service between the boys’ room of B10 (or G10) and the girls’ room E13. No wonder my dorm always has a stream of boys coming over all the time, beyond its strategic location of course.

Those days, at times, I liked to study in my room (basically at my locker), especially if I was too tired (read: lazy) to go to the library. One day while studying, suddenly someone (perhaps Razin. No I think it was the man himself - Fauzi) came by and told me that "ada oghe talipon". Initially I ignored him as I knew he was just pulling my leg, but he insisted that I came over. So I went to the other side of the dorm – the room was divided into two wings, and picked up the phone.

Now I don’t remember the exact conversation then, but sure enough there was this girl on the other line. She of course would not reveal her identity even though I had asked her to. She instead asked me to guess her name.

You know in those days, I seldom talked over the phone, if ever. So even though her voice sounded very familiar (she had to be a classmate as no one else would be bothered to play this kind of game on me!), I simply could not figure her out.

To cut the story short, upon her insistence, I took the bait and guessed her name.

Ni (a classmate’s name)ke?” I reluctantly asked.

All of the sudden, I heard an eruption of laughter coming over from the girls’ dorm. It was loud - I can tell you that, and it didn’t come via the phone itself – the two dorms were that close anyway for me to clearly hear the laughter. I guess there must be a group of them on the other side, waiting for that moment. And yes, at the point, I knew I had made a mistake. Dah terkena lah tu.

Alamak!” I cursed myself. I should have known better. It was too late then. Terlajak perahu boleh gostan, terlajak kecek.....might as well be dead! Tebal deh muka ni...

Later the next day, going to our class high up on the 2nd floor of the new lab building, she was there waiting for me; ready to mock me for my gaffe. “Ohh, (the classmate name), iye! she said with a hint of a teasing smile, but pretending to be upset with arms akimbo, “kita yang susah-susah talipon dia, dia ingat orang lain!

Well, what can I say? I protested meekly that they did sound similar, especially over the phone that Fauzi Daud and gang assembled. I simply took a guess based on the perceived pitch of the voice (both were singers in their own right) and I am sure it was distorted by the electronics, and not based on the likeliest classmate who may pull this kind stunt on me. For some reasons, I could not detect her East-coast accent – she did well to camouflage it.

The Pasteurs under the Rhu tree. Now which one of the girls was the one who played the joke on me and which one was wrongly accused of making the phone call she didn't make?

On hindsight, I should have known better. It could not have been anyone else but her - the friendliest classmate of them all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Two Nations in Distress

Just to commemorate the holy day of Eid, I would like to further reflect on the social environment that we are in this very moment. Based on my two-day observations while on a trip to Jakarta, our neighbour down south just the day before Eid.

First Case:
A family of four, including their teenage son, was caught 'stealing' a gunny of cotton (kekabu) from a plantation. They were remanded for 45 days in prison.

How much is that sack of unprocessed cotton? Rp6,000 or approximately RM2.50.

Second Case:
A guy was caught stealing slipper. He was bashed by the public and blood was all over his face when brought over to the police station. He pleaded to the police, in front of the news camera for leniency and told them that he didn't have any money to buy food.

While being questioned by the police he attempted to run away by climbing the roof and after being cornered, he jumped and broke his leg.

All in the name of a pair of slipper and for him to have a meal for the day.

How much is a pair of slipper? Rp6,000! Or less, I must add.

Third Case:
A grandma was tried and convicted for stealing 3 'cocoa' bean pods worth Rp1,500, or around RM0.50. She is sentenced to 45 days in prison.

Click on the pic above to read the case.

How much money have the working elite been stealing from the country's coffers in the last 50 years and why should small people like them be subjected to this stringent law while the 'jaws'
got away scot free?

Remember the guy who stole RM22 M from Bank Negara 20 years ago? How long was he imprisoned? Honestly I thought it was well worth it for him; for twenty years on, I have not amassed anything closer to one million ringgit, let alone 22 millions!

I am sure he would have done his time by now.

Now this is a Malaysian case that I read today in the newspaper.


A grandma (66 year old) was killed when she was injured during a snatch theft.

What was inside her bag? A telekung and her ID.

Two nations of culturally similar people. Two nations in distress.

What more can I say.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Doa dihari Mulia

Sempena hari yang mulia, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha.

Moga ibadah kurban dan ibadah kita diterima semuanya.

Upon returning from Jakarta this evening, KL KL were playing this Uji Rashid's raya classic from the 70s. It is a wonderful Ahmad Nawab's song, but for some reasons, this song didn't get its fair share of airplay during Raya.

So I thought I should use this song this time around.

Again, Selamat Hari Raya to all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Haj - A reflection

This was posted at least two Haj seasons ago (2007). And I thought it is high time to remind myself again this Haj season.
The Haj - A Reflection by a non-Haji

I thought it is about time I put my thought on the Haj on this special day. I have been keeping it close to my chest until recently.

You see, coming from a person who has not performed the Haj, and the Umrah, and currently has no specific timeline when he is going to complete the last pillar of Islam, this reflection is definitely not going to be about the experience in the holy land. All those great philosophical, eye-opening and heart-warming stories; I have none to tell you. I have only seen the Kaabah in the telly and pic; I have seen documentary in National Geographics on people preparing for and doing the haj.

Nothing beyond that, I supposed.

I have always wondered when I will be going there. To use the over-used phrase "belum sampai seru" is blasphemous to many. To them, it is like blaming to God when you have the willpower and means to decide it yourself. So I can't, and I won't, use that.

And going from the criteria that make the Haj compulsory, I know I have the mean and that I am still 'young' and healthy enough to be going soon (man, I never thought I would be able to use the word 'young' and 'I' in the same sentence!).

Mum been wondering when I am heading there. Few friends been asking too. Normally I would smile at them without specifically answering them. Some of them went when they were only in the mid-twenties, which is considered very young by the haj convention.

A year ago, a former schoolmate An went to the Haj with his wife Liza (another former classmates). I visited them prior to them going, and after their return, An and I sat at a mamak restaurant in PJ; for him to narrate stories from Mecca, and for this non-haji to benefit the baraqah from someone just returning.

At the end of it, after hearing many stories from An, I made a confession to him that has always been in my mind when the subject of me heading for the Haj was broached. I had never told anyone before. "You know, An, I can't imagine myself in the holy land with 3 million pilgrims and have to fight for basic amenities. Queue to go to the restroom? That was a story unknown to me after 1980. This is my main worries that kept me away from the holy land. Can I survive the 15 hour journey in a bus? How do I answer the call of nature in the middle of the desert with no water?"

I hate to even share restroom with strangers in Malaysia .

I guess it is inevitable. He has had that predicament in one of the bus journey in the middle of nowhere.

I made the same confession to a client when I visited her at her office at the twin tower yesterday. I had earlier made a remark that it is not much of a Raya this time around. So she asked me if I had been for Haj myself.

She reckons that may be I have to go for the Umrah first to get a feel of it. "Doa banyak-banyak and ask for Him to give you the strength."

Of course she herself has horror story about the restrooms there. I shall not repeat it here.

I was reading Harakah this morning while waiting for the Raya solat. It was written by Lanh. He noted some of my worries well in his article.

Perjalanan Arafah-Mudzalifah menguji ketahanan diri sama ada dari segi mental dan fizikal. Apabila ratusan ribu jemaah berhimpun, berlaku ketidak-tentuan yang menguji keimanan dan kesabaran diri.

Bayangkan dalam masa mengerjakan manasik haji, masih ada jemaah berebut-rebut, takut ketinggalan bas. Ada isteri yang sudah naik bas, suaminya belum. Berlakulah kekecohan dan perselisihan, sedangkan perbalahan dilarang sama sekali ketika menunaikan haji...

.....Di situlah jemaah berehat, berbaring berlantaikan tikar dan beratapkan langit. Sambil baring-baring, sesekali sekala terbau najis binatang, mungkin pada siangnya tempat itu menjadi lokasi persinggahan kumpulan unta.

......Berusahalah untuk menjaga wuduk kerana untuk memperbaharuinya atau ke tandas, selain jaraknya yang jauh, terpaksa menempuh ribuan manusia, kemudian beratur panjang. Bersabar dan terus bersabarlah sepanjang malam itu.

Ketika berbaring dalam khemah di Mina, terbayang dalam kotak fikiran saya akan kesukaran sesetengah jemaah dalam perjalanan Arafah-Mudzalifah-Mina yang diceritakan oleh ibu saya ketika beliau menunaikan haji.

Katanya, antara masalah terbesar dihadapi jemaah veteran adalah berkaitan buang air kecil dan besar. Bayangkan jika seseorang jemaah yang lemah sistem perkumuhannya, bagaimana dia dapat bertahan sehingga berbelas-belas jam dalam bas. Tiada apa yang dapat dilakukan, kecuali berdoa dan berdoalah agar perkara mengaibkan diri tidak berlaku ketika perjalanan yang amat sukar itu.

Demikian juga apabila berlaku kes kecemasan, seperti jemaah tiba-tiba jatuh sakit kuat atau meninggal dunia dalam bas. Maka terpaksalah pesakit dibantu oleh jemaah lain setakat yang mampu manakala jenazah terus dibawa sehingga bas dapat keluar daripada kesesakan itu.

I guess I am too proud of a person - egoistical, to be more precise. I have to get rid of it. I need to lower myself for me to see Him. I am lowest than lower in many respects. After all twenty years ago when I first started working, I lived in a kampung house with only basic amenities in Dungun. Of course I have a choice but I was just starting out. I had to be very prudent living my life then.

If I can do it twenty years ago, she reckons I can do it today.

I know it may sounds petty. It is petty. I know that. But it is these petty things that have kept me away from the Kaabah.

God, please give me the strength to meet you at your abode. Soon.

This was posted at least two Haj seasons ago.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bagaikan mutiara

The clip was taken in 2006, but we didn't do anything with it until today.

The song, a favourite from 1980 when I was in Form 5. But it didn't click to me then of the 'pearly' wisdom of Sudirman (and of course the writer, his buddy Syed Haron) until I sat in front of this small pond during a rainy evening and all of the sudden, it all came to me 26 years later.

Hujan yang turun bagaikan mutiara
berkilau bersinar bekerdipan

How could I have doubt Sudirman and Syed Haron, though not in public as this song was too beautiful to be questioned? Memang bagaikan mutiara.

Video taken by Arif during one rainy day in 2006 and put together by Arif today.

And to commemorate the rainy season, here is a tribute to this glorious heavenly gift.

The rain. Aah, bagaikan mutiara!

Enjoy the show!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kenang Daku Dalam Doamu

Which version is for you?

I always think that the original is better, hence I would go for M Bakri's version. But SM Salim and Sharifah Aini's versions are not too bad. In fact I would put them a close second.

But there is caveat to my judgment there. The close second is the original SM Salim's version in his album in the 70s as produced by Johari Salleh - not the karaoke version. That's a much better version than the one I found in Youtube. This one in the karaoke version certainly sounds like an el cheapo music to me.

But the originals are heavenly. What else can I say on this keroncong classic? I love the 'rolling' guitar, which is a trademark in keroncong songs.

I would just normally close my eyes and be immersed into this wonderful song. In other words, one would cease to exist as a person.

What do I mean by that?

You listen to it, and you would be one too. With the yearning and the longing!

Yeah, kenang daku dalam doamu.

This is MBakri.

And here is Sharifah Aini. Interestingly this is one piece with a twist - not the dancing genre type ok!, but this piece is laden with asli flavour that change into keroncong during chorus. I prefer the keroncong to be honest, but it makes this version different.

SM Salim - not his best version to be honest.
The instrumental version by Hamzah Dolmat

Although I would not rate this version too highly, I know this song is one of the most covered Malay song.
I think she tried too much to sound like a genuine keroncong singer, but failed miserably.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tigo Gunuang - A Humanitarian Tragedy


This is not my entry per se; meaning I did not write the entry. But it is definitely of interest for me and I am reasonably sure to many too. And I have posted the same entry at my - practically the same exact word, but that entry is dotted with more graphic pics of a humanitarian tragedy. If you want to see more pictures, please go to that site. The link is also on the side bar of this blog.

My brother Aboy and his friends Wan and Hafis went to Padang on the 9th Nov (or 40th day since earthquake hit Padang). Basically it was humanitarian mission albeit on a very small and personal scale, with many boxes of old but usable clothes and of course cash that hehad gotten from friends and relatives - anybody actually who is sympathethic to the plight of their own kind and brothers.

If you were to ask me during the Acheh tsunami, I had always thought that the main reason the mosques had stayed intact in many places in Acheh, when most other buildings surrounding it were in total annihilation, was that it was made of concrete and that they were better built than the others. 

But I could not explained what happened in Padang. As pointed out by Aboy below, the earthquakes was centered at least 50 km from Padang, but the way Padang was destroyed was way beyond what our eyes could perceive. Some buildings were left untouched, some were in total ruins. I am not sure if you could explain it from the plate movement of the earth beneath.

All the pics were taken by Wan and Hafis.

Here by I post his entry with minor changes for clarity. OK Aboy, take over from here.

Tigo Gunuang jadi makam besar

Perjalanan dari Padang ke Lubok Laweh mengambil masa 2 1/2 jam. Kami tiba jam 1245 wib. Ada dua laluan, satu melalui Sicincin kearah Bukit Tinggi, satu lagi melalui Pariaman. Kami guna laluan Sicincin.

Sicincin ni kira pekanlah jugak, tapi kena lalui kampung Tandikat, sebelum masuk kearah gunung dan hanya ada laluan satu lorong jalan jenis simen blok.

Kampung ni juga dikenali Tigo Gunung, sebab ada 3 gunung keliling, dibahagi kepada 3 dusun. Lubok Laweh, Cumanak dan Palo Koto (Kepala Kota).Terletak dilembah gunung sebab ada sungai mengalir melepasi ketiga kampung.

Here are the actual photos before they were combined using photoshop by Akmal.

Lubok Laweh 132 kematian, 51 dibawa keluar, yang baki tertanam hidup2 Cumanak 76 kematian, Palo Koto 32. Digunung sebelah kiri tu agak mistik sebab ada penemuan barang2 mistik spt bantal, lesung etc. katanya tempat bunian.

Caption: Hampir jadi padang Jarak padang tekukur di sini. Di lopak air tu bekas masjid yang dah hapusada gerai kopi sebelah kiri, semua di gerai mati, hanya nampak gerai aje. Bendera putih tu tapak kubur lama.

Direkahan sebelah gunung tu, tempat rumah pengantin yg sedang pesta, emak pengantin didapur mati, sementara pengantin dpt diselamatkan, Dihujung atas ada sebuah rumah yg masih tersangkut , hanya boleh dilalui dgn heli masa kejadian.

The house is hanging precariously. 

Nofaldi 28 tahun, dimasa kejadian katanya sedang tidur dirumah, dia lari keluar rumah masa gempa pertama, jerit emak dan adik 23thn, dan 2 keponakan yg baru 2-3 hari balik dari Jakarta bercuti di tanah Minang. Tanah waktu itu beralun, ada yang terangkat keatas dan kebawah, dan dia dpt lihat gunung yg kami berfoto itu bergerak kebawah sebelum menghempas kampung. Semua pokok karet (getah).

Selepas kejadian, dia merayau cari emak, tapi ada org kampung kata emak dia bawa cucu2 dan adik ke kedai. Hingga kini tak berjumpa. Sedangkan abang ipar dan kakak naik motor keliling kampung, hanya jumpa mayat, tapi motor hilang.

Caption: Nofaldi sedang diinterview team Padang.

Kami jumpa khemah Mercy dan Amal Malaysia. Mereka agak aktif, termasuk yang antarabangsa. Mengikut infonya, ramai NGO antarabangsa cuba ubah Aqidah anak2 di sekolah kpd Kristian.

Kalau NGO Muslim beri 1 gula2 kepada anak2, mrk beri 4!!

Secara keseluruhan , tak se-ngeri Acheh, tapi, trauma kepada yang hidup, masih ada yang berkhemah dihalaman rumah, dan masih ada gempa kecil. Sepanjang 2 mlm di Padang, kami tak rasa gempa .

Jarak pusat gempa is 50 km di Laut Pariaman, and Pariaman ke Padang is another 50km atau lebih, tapi mengapa Hotel Ambachang and sekitarnya menjadi sasaran utama, selain dari perkampungan Tigo Gunuang (kena ikut telo minang) Mssjid yang sentiasa di imarrahkan terselemat dr kejadian, yang sentiasa berkunchi, dikuburkan.

Hotel Hang Tuah, still kukuh, I rasa sebab owner muslim n dia tak benarkan pasangan bukan muhrim menginap, sedangkan hotel yg 4 atau 5 bintang, tahu tahu ajelah. Hotel Rocky di Jln Permindo, pun tutup.

Spt baca dlm harakah, Jln Dipenogoro yg kelam setiap mlm n dipenuhi waria, kini sepi.......

(Caption: The five star 'solid' Hotel Ambacang runtuh)

Yang kagumnya, mengapa ada yang terpilih dari Allah, hotel Ambacang dan sekitar, hancur, tapi kem tentera bangunan lama didepan mereka, steady aje. Begitu juga Kompleks Matahari, Ramayana, rusak teruk sdgkan toko2 disepanjang jalan tu tak runtuh pun.

Masjid di pergunungan, yang aktif dan penuh aktivity keugamaan, selamat, sedangkan yang sentiasa berkunci atau orang jarang solat berjemaah, hancur lebur.

Team ke Padang bergambar ramai - Hafiz, Aboy, Kak Yus, Wan and Pak Supir.

Air Asia - Memang appreciate dgn tambang kos murahnya, dan beri tiket percuma 3 hari lepas gempa. Tapi dari komen2 NGOs yang gunakan pkhidmatan Air Asia, mereka tak kompromi dari segi berat bagasi kpd kakitangan NGOs. Jadi, kos agak mahal bagi NGOs nak bawa masuk makan melebihi 15kg (RM10) 25kg RM55.00.

Sebaiknya, kos bagasi NGOs di beri diskaun sebab kerja2 amal. Group Amal paling aktif pada mata I, kira turun naik kapalterbang , mesti ada orang2 mereka silih berganti.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tigo Gunung - Padang Jarak Padang Tekukur

(Click on the pic or scroll down for the full pic as it was meant to be. Taken by Wan and edited by Akmal)

Coming soon - watch this space and my fotopages for personal pics and narration of the Padang earthquake, after 40 days.

Lifetime lessons to be learned here, that's for sure.

Alfatihah untuk semua yang meninggal akibat gempa.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ku Ingin Bahagia and The Universality of Music

Yes, music is universal. This is one (overused) cliche that I will use as the premise of this entry.

During the 60s and the 70s, or perhaps even in the 80s, we have adopted and adapted foreign song as our very own. It is called lagu saduran.

Some are really foreign to our ears and are really painful to listen to, but there are some songs that are perhaps more Malay than many Malay songs, especially songs from this decade. After the popularity of Fantasy by Earth Wind and Fire in the 70s, it was quickly adapted by BDB and so Khalayan was born.

Picking up English songs for adaptation was harder especially these days since many would have known these songs, and many would mock these adapted songs, especially us teens in the 70s. When Bee Gees released the Spirit Having Flown album, a friend Kamal would come to me day and said BDB has came up with a new song Terjadi.

Nice one Madi.

one were to buy an album in the 70s, you would know immediately if the song is composed locally or somehere else by the notation CC. For some reasons, they would not just revealed the song writer and the composer, instead they just put a note saying that it was copyright controlled.

Obviously the gomen aka RTM didn't like it then (in the late 80s) and banned adapted songs from the airwaves. It was said that adapted songs hinder the creativity of local composers and make it too easy for anyone to come up with an album.

Much like our soccer scene I guess. Just hire any pak hitam to be your striker and hey presto you have a super league team.

Honestly, I do enjoy some of the adapted songs. They were so good that you didn't even know they were adapted. Japan would be one source with it melodious and soft language, that it was ideal to be adopted into Malay song, never mind that culturally we are a constellation apart.

In 1979, Rina Rahman (now Datin) was reasonably popular with this melancholic song Ku Ingin Bahagia. I love this song and have played it to death, to be honest. But only with the advent of You Tube, I would know that it was Japanese song by Momoe Yamaguchi titled Akai Unmei.

Arif, just like me 30 years ago, thought it was a Malay song through and through.

Here is the Japanese version.

Another one was this 70s song by Rafeah Buang - Tangisan di Sisiku. Aaah, again, it was a sad song that I love so much. You can compare the two here.

Here is the original by Mieko Hiruta. I guess the first one was her in the 70s, and the second one when she was older. You can hear it in her voice.

There is another song in the 70s - Hari Ini tak Seindah Semalam by A Rahman Kadir, which I believe, was adapted from a Japanese song, but I could not find even the Malay version anymore. So there is no way for me to find the Japanese version.

Of course not to mention the beautiful songs and voice by Mayumi Itsuwa that we used to listen to in the 80s.

Even if I didn't understand a single word of Japanese then.

This one has no translation but the recording is better. This is Koiibitoyo (My Dear Lover). And a powerful rendition by Mayumi Itsuwa.

No wonder in the 90s, when I was spending months of my time in Japan, I was taken by their songs. I even took the time to spend hours in their CD shop in this small town of Tokuyama and look for the songs that I love so much which I spent time listening to after coming back from my training at the Idemitsu refinery there.

To me, Japanese is such a beautiful language and it shows in their songs.

And people, if I may add.

But then again, we are not the only one guilty of such digression, if you could consider this as a sin. The Americans did it with this Sukiyaki rendition by A Taste of Honey.

It was quite a popular in 1981 in Australia.