Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Srikandi Cintaku

It's a job well done and congratulation is due to Akmal for the wonderful piano accompaniment of this equally wonderful and 'haunting' song that is synonymous as a tribute from sifu M Nasir to his beloved wife.

I think Akmal was fantastic with the piano. In fact, I think as a whole the SMK Bandar Tun Hussein Onn Orchestra did an equally great job. It is a better job than the 2008 effort during the Merdeka Day show which Arif was a lead violinist and Amal a guitarist.

Akmal may be partially hidden in the screen capture above, but his piano intro resonates that night in the hall, as shown in this video clip below.

Listen to intro especially. I love it, and I am sure you would too. In fact, I think I like this better than the original version by Bloodshed. Call me biased, if you must - and I would accept it gleefully, but I think this intro by Akmal has an element of improvement in the melody continuity. Obviously he has the benefit of hindsight here.

And lotsa listening to YouTube.

Here, listen carefully to the intro especially as he was on piano solo during this period, backed up by the vocals. In fact the piano is prominent throughout the song.
I think Cikgu Nazeri, who is the band leader, did a good job guiding these kids. It is a mix of students from F1, F3, F4 and F5 which have not seen from my time in the 70s. I think our band during those days basically comprised of players from the same batch.

Anyway here are the players that night for Srikandi Cintaku.
Piano - Akmal Hariri
Drum - Aiman
Guitar Bass - Aiman Rahim
Rhythm - Rais
Violin 1 - Hanani
Violin 2 - Trisya, Azwan, Puteri
Backup Vocal - Adhwa, Shafiqah, Annies, Aliyah
Percussion - Fadhul

Here is Akmal during a practice session on his piano - we bought the electric piano for the SRJK(I) Lenggong school reunion last year and it is being fully utilised for this concert. I am not sure of his fashion sense though.

I think Akmal and Arif are competing with each other to become the de facto piano player in the family and I am all for them competing. Akmal is fast becoming a versatile player and can play it the classical way i.e. reading notes and by ears.

Who do you think is the better player - from this piece played by a 16-year old Akmal and Go the Distance by a (then) 14-year old Arif?
Caption: This is the band playing another song that night.
Caption: Ambience during the Malam Pautan Kasih held at the Youth Centre in Bandar Tun Razak. It was held to solicit funds for SMK Bandar Tun Hussein Onn's activities.
Here are some of the orchestra members during a practice session at our home. Obviously since the piano is most non-portable instrument, it had to be done at our home since Akmal is the piano (and keyboard) player.

I like the fact that they have included non-traditional instrument for this gig. Obviously 3 guitars and a drum would normally be enough to start a band, but they have enlisted the violin players and piano player like Akmal into this band.
I think band/orchestra should continue to practice for other event during the year, but I am not sure if I would like Akmal to be involved again. It takes him away from his studies quite a bit and I don't want this to become a norm.

But I think it is good for him to sharpen his skills playing and jamming with his friends especially in modern music. At times I thought he (and Arif) was a bit too much on the classical that they are neglecting the modern genre.

But with him playing a prominent role in both composing the music and playing it, I think he would do well.

Did I tell you that I just love the intro to Srikandi Cintaku?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Suliza's Eyes

She is perhaps Malaysia's answer to Bette Davis who is immortalized in a hit song from 1981 titled Bette Davis' Eyes, sung by the husky voiced Kim Carnes.

For some reasons, this is the time to reminisce the 80s - this time the location is Malaysia though. Yes, yes, enough pictures of me. Let's see and watching something more pleasing to the eyes and ears, ok. ;-)

As I have mentioned, the 80s are a mixed time for me. Tragedies struck during three consecutive years, but I made it through my studies in Dec '85, returned home in April '86 and got a job in July '86, so it can't all be that bad, right?

This song was released in 85, but made it big in 86 as I remember enjoying her and her songs after I had came back in early 86. By this time, I would have been working at a cement plant just outside of Taiping, and I guess all the hard work commissioning the plant would all be equalized watching this video clip.

Then again, who would not? She made it big at the local music scene, not only because of the melodious song, but I believe it was her eyes that somehow caught the imagination of many of us. Hehehe, she somehow has what the Malays called 'mata kucing' and I am not sure if that's the proper description. You can watch it at 0:40, 1:18 and 1:19, just in case you did not notice.

Hehe, don't get me wrong here. It was the mid-80s and the mid 80s was a revival time for Malay song after many stale compositions in during the '84 time frame, so she was a breath of fresh air, and a few years of pop songs, though this was soon followed by the rock era in the late 80s.

Yeah, yeah, her song sounds good, the voice listenable and the face pretty with a peculiar but lovely pair of eyes - I'd admit I enjoy watching her on the telly. ;-) Then la.

I guess, after many years of following the great English songs of the 80s, it was time to settle down with the local songs, and Untuk Sekali Lagi and Suliza Salam was a great re-introduction to the local music scene.

And TV3's Muzik Muzik would be our best (read: only) avenue to listen to songs of the day then.

She did come up with another album and another great song Cinta diHatiku in 1990 before she left the scene to get married I guess. At least we can still enjoy those years in Youtube.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I have been to hell and back

Even if it was just a small corner of hell. And I am talking literally here.

Not many would be able to claim that, that's for sure, especially when it's not metaphorically. Not that anyone of us would be thinking of going to one. Na'udzubillah. Moga kita semua dijauhi darinya.

However this is one hell I would not mind going to again.

I guess, as an unpaid spokesman for Air Asia promoting their new destination ;-) and a city I used to call home more than 25 years ago, I present you Hell Corner, circa 1982.
Caption: But he was still smiling even if he was at Hell Corner.

You would find this Hell at Mt Buller, the skiing destination of the state of Victoria. It is about say 3-4 hours drive from downtown Melbourne, so you could do a day trip and bask in snow. Mt Buller is to Melbourne as Genting is to Kuala Lumpur.

I am not sure what I was doing wearing a skirt, ;-) I mean, anorak.

Unfortunately it was not snowing when we were there during my first year in Melbourne, so I could only enjoyed ground snow i.e. whatever was there already. At that time, I shared an apartment with Sle (as in my story on exam) and Salleh, whom I later found out, was a former classmate from SRJK(I) Lenggong, and I didn't even remember. It is a small world indeed.
As I have mentioned in earlier entry, Melbourne is one city that you could get four season weather in a single day, but never - almost - the snow, so you need to go out to the Alpines. I don't remember if Mt Buller is part of the Snowy Mountains, which I had passed by on the way back from Sydney to Melbourne in 1983.

The Alpines of Australia are perhaps not as spectacular as the Rockies in Colorado or Alberta, but they are still majestic and a beautiful sight as any mountain ranges would be. And it would satisfy your skiing crave and get to do everything snowy.

Beyond that of course the city of Melbourne itself is considered as the art capital of Australia, home of the Australian Grand Prix and of course the Australian Open. It is also home of the Melbourne Cricket Ground where more than 100,000 people would pack it to watch grass grow over a five day period.

To many of course that would be the case since there is typically no action whatsoever at the centre of the field during a five day test match say between Australia and England aka The Ashes. Let me repeat, especially if England is playing and hence all Ozzies would turn up at the MCG to watch the grass grow. Definitely more action there.

Yes, test cricket is akin to just that - watching grass grow.

That's the MCG on the lower left part of the picture above. I once saw a Man United game there circa 84.
Unfortunately, Shema, it is not RM9.99 that I was hoping it would be, but still affordable methinks. Your wish may come true after all. Rashi, you are still thinking about it? - thinking of transporting your MTB across the ocean for a bicycle ride on the Great Ocean Road?

Or if you think the terrain at GOR is child's play, you can try cycling up Mt Buller then. ;-)

As for me, will I get a chance to return to this green tram city ever again and walk down memory lane here?


PS Dato' Seri Tony Fernandez, err, you don't need to pay me or give me free ticket for this promotion. It is my pleasure doing it anyway. May be I just need some tiny favour from you. Hehe.. Can you help my son Arif get into Air Asia as your cadet pilot say at the end of this year when he completes his CPL with instrument rating?

Ehem..ehem, can la...small favour only what. ;-)

Eh, and the Australian Tourism Promotion Board, no free ticket ah? I can be quite a good promoter and a tourist guide for Melbourne.

And I am just joking about the watching grass grow ok. I love cricket and I really miss the game.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fly the Distance

Congratulation Arif for completing 5 papers of the CA6 with flying colours - the pun was unintentional. You know I have faith in you. CA6 are external papers for the professional pilot exam set by the United Kingdom's Department of Civil Aviation, and conducted by DCA Malaysia. You would be paying at least 90 GBP just to sit for one paper.

Six papers means a big hole on the dad's wallet.

In normal circumstances, I would be upset for him missing out on the other paper, but I know that it is not for the lack of trying. He, for the first time since joining the flying academy in June 09, did not return home for more than a month last month; normally he would return every weekend, after all Melaka is only two hours drive away. All in the name of study I guess. But I think it is a matter of balancing all the subjects, so that you would cover most of the ground, rather than concentrating on certain subjects and get full mark for them.

I know he has been under a lot of stress trying to ensure he would get through alright.

Well, Arif, I guess it is time to enjoy your solo flights again.

I thought since I am yet able to show the picture of him flying solo, to commemorate the joyous occasion, I thought I should re-post him at 14 playing piano solo for a concert at Sedaya Uni College Auditorium, and bagging the best performer award. It is still solo, right? ;-)

Obviously he clinched it not by this performance alone, he had a violin solo performance, plus four more; the only student with multiple performances, and from a handful of Malay students in that school.

Let me remind you that he was 14 in 2005. What did I do when I was 14?

Here are the comments from viewers at Youtube. I did not know since he first posted it, there had been so many comments. Not bad for a guy at 14.

Highest Rated Comments

CurlyHairedDemon very powerful, but on the hight notes you manage to make it tender. also, your pedal is A-MA-ZING 5 1 year ago

Flight277 You're awesome! Love This song! 5 2 years ago

Most Recent Comments see all

n3rdycow that was heart-warmingly beautiful...i can feel the passion whenever i hear this song and your playing, but i must ask how did you learn to play this song? Did you have sheet music? If so, where from? 4 months ago

cristokiohotel it's awesome, i'm learning it at the moment, it's quite difficult at a start! 10 months ago

slimkip SOME GOOD SHIT MAN 10 months ago

Blitzblurr upload la lagi... 1 year ago

Blitzblurr bagos2... 1 year ago

francescosv O_O!!!!!!! 1 year ago

zetpower .... 1 year ago

Hiphop618 Wow, great job! 1 year ago

martyta16 wooow me encanta goood 1 year ago

300Lui300 i enjoyed that lol, how long u been playin for ? 2 1 year ago

300Lui300 i enjoyed that lol, how long u been playin for ? 2 1 year ago

Pianist1991 Thank you everyone for all of your nice comments... : ) 1 year ago

theGAPkid bloody brilliant mate

should be proud :) 1 year ago

etela Nicely done! :D 4 2 years ago

Sarn0 Woot! =D 2 years ago

efreund Great hands! 2 years ago

Auderianu I think so, I saw my choir teacher's book, and it sounds like the same arrangement. 2 2 years ago

Flight277 You're awesome! Love This song! 5 2 years ago

undeniable09 Supppppperrrrrr!!! 3 2 years ago

loiho5 Nice.  Why don't you musicians make more stuff singers can put on their video for accompaniment? 4 2 years ago

Andy20019 Where'd you find the piano sheets? 3 2 years ago

CITYVOGUE I'm learning the exact arrangement you played.  Good job. 4 2 years ago

KittyPerkasa Fantastic, man! You remind me of my piano and singing performance on "My heart will go on" during the talent show when I was Grade 9. 4 2 years ago

kuromakii purrrrrtyy :3 4 2 years ago

violinhelp911 I am singing this in my choir class on may 22nd.

BY THE WAY... nice job 4 3 years ago

Ayquepesado is that from the "disney piano solos" book? sounds great! 4 3 years ago

Wishmaster300 That was amazing. 5 Stars! This is the only

performance of "Go the Distance" on Piano in Youtube. 4 3 years ago

blackricardo hey nice man i'm learning it too but it's kind of hard for me because i never had piano lessons ^^ 4 3 years ago

Peng2830 very nice..

i really like too learning it.

could you maybe make a video, "how to play i can go the distance" by piano :) 4 3 years ago

pnoyboy88 o.O nice im learning it too!!! u did an awesome job!!! 3 3 years ago

sexypiano Aw, this is awesome ... I'm learning this on the piano. You did a really really good job! :D 4 3 years ago

dynsim Nice. Well done. 5 3 years ago

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Greatest Road on Earth


This is the greatest road on Earth in as far as spectacular views are concerned - the road from Torquay to Port Campbell and Warnambool through Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay in the Australian state of Victoria.

I do feel that the honour given to this road is more than justified, and to be honest, there are only two places on Earth that I would not mind retiring to due to its beauty. Actually one of these places is probably not a suitable as a retirement town due to its harsh winter, but the other one probably offers a mild winter.
In fact, during my second trip there in 1986, when I passed by this by during a full moon, it had crossed my mind that I would not want to return home as the view from this road looked so spectacular and so peacefully romantic during a moonlight night. But of course with the sight of Mak at the back of the car, that feeling disappeared as fast as the moon being covered by the clouds that night. (I could not tell her then I would want to stay on in Australia. She would be broken-hearted.)

Understandably, we were by the seaside with good breeze dominating the pleasant March sky in the Southern hemisphere.

We had taken this great road on the way back from Ballarat after a day's expedition at this famous mining town at Sovereign Hill. Obviously in the late 1800s, this was the town that triggered the great Victorian Gold rush, and we had our hands on it in 1986.

I guess, I would not be writing in this blog, had I made a fortune that year in Ballarat. I guess I was in the wrong century, and at least a century too late to participate in the richest alluvial gold rush in history.

I present to you - The Great Ocean Road.

Greatest Road on Earth
This stretch of road hugs the coastline, very tightly, I must tell you. It offers the most scenic ocean view and the surrounding area, and hence the name the Great Ocean Road.

According to the Wiki, The Great Ocean Road is a 243 km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between theVictorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool.[1] The road was constructed to provide work for returning soldiers and dedicated as a Memorial to those killed in the First World War.[2] It is one of Australia's great scenic coastline drives.

In my typical unexaggerated writing, I would claim it as the world's most scenic coastline drives. ;-)

In December 1985 - perhaps one of the better years of my life, for the simple reason that nothing untoward had happened that year, compared to the prior three consecutive years (1982, 1983, and 1984) and of course, it was the end of my student life after four toiling years at Monash, the four of us decided to reward ourselves with a drive alongside the south-eastern corridor of Victoria.
Kinda a victory jig, I guess, for four engineering students before our homecoming - from right, my housemates Rosli Abdul Hamid aka Sli (now VP at Malakoff), yours truly, Parid Sulaiman (now big shot at Intel), and Khairuddin aka Din Kecik. Another of our friend joined the journey to complete the group.

That's us before the start of the journey at our house at Hilltop Avenue in Clayton North. Three electrical engineering graduates in their jeans with their chemical engineering counterpart in his slack. One thing that we were proud of ourselves then was for the fact that all of us completed our undergraduate engineering course without having to repeat a single year, which was quite rare at Monash during those years.

Typically, a student would have to repeat at least a year during the four-year course. Sli obviously was the star in our group having graduated with with a second class upper. If I am not mistaken, all of us graduated with at least an Honours degree.
So we rented a Mitsubishi Magna - mind you that's not the Proton Saga ok, but it sure looks like one. (So now you know how Malaysian the Proton Saga was. May be as Malaysian as the Bangladeshi pendatang tanpa izin?) Unfortunately this writer did not possess a valid driving license by then (after failing four driving tests in Perth four years earlier), so he had to take a back seat.

We headed South-West towards Geelong, where most Malaysian students studying architecture would live and study (Deakin Uni) and then off to Torquay, where the journey on the greatest road on Earth would begin.

It was slow drive to Apollo Bay via Anglesea and Lorne and it was done on purpose. We were view hunting to be honest. Armed with an Olympus SLR that is still in working condition today, we would stop over at strategic location to take pictures. As we had started very early in the day, the early morning weather was not cooperating as it was cloudy, so the initial pics tend to be a bit dreary with the grey cloud. But as the day progressed, blue sky started to emerged from behind the clouds and presented with our picture taking opportunity like never before.
Of course, with us being students on a limited budget, we had brought food from home to supplement the crackers and tidbits that we bought from the grocery shop. I am sure nasik goreng with ayam goreng would be our menu that day.

Typical student menu I guess those days, may be with telur goreng or sausages thrown in. And, yes no Maggie Mee for us, for we were more sophisticated then than to drown ourselves in that non-nutritious meals.

To me, the towns along this scenic route are aptly named - I love the name Anglesea, and Lorne; they sound so female and hence romantic, while Apollo Bay sounds exotic to this part of the world. Warnambool on the other hand is as Australian as the kangaroo and the koala bear. As I have mentioned earlier, the road practically hugs the coastline, at times precariously. While I don't remember us hanging on to our dear lives inside the car, we were often left breathless admiring the view.
Caption: The Australian Boys' Band from the 80s, with the lead singer in the middle ;-)

It was non-stop to be honest. Every other minute, one would get a picture-postcard scenery. In the end, the adventure is in the journey itself, while the destination (Port Campbell) would be just a distant memory. We would remember the coastline outside this town better than the town itself.

It was a journey to nowhere to be honest, and nowhere is where the heart was.

Obviously it has all kind of corners that we Malaysians would love to give name to - selekoh korner baring, selekoh siku, or 90 degree turn etc. The only corner you would not find here is Hell's Corner. That's reserve for a turn at Mt Buller, but that's another story.

If the muslim world has 25 Apostles that we have to know, Great Ocean Road has twelve, which would be the highlight of the journey. It was not originally named that way; the biblical name was chosen to attract tourists to this area, obviously the name refers to the twelve followers or disciples of the prophet Isa AS or Jesus. Even without the fancy name, I am sure we would have been attracted to come that day.
The two pics below were taken from the point as shown in the above pic. If you face the ocean, to the right is the multiple rock formations and to the left, there are two. I am not sure if one can walk right to the edge. May be not.
These two pics (above and below) were taken in 1985 from the same location, one to the left and one to the right if one were to face the sea. Of course the picture above is perhaps the most photographed of the limestone stacks.
At Port Campbell National Park however, the Twelve Apostles refer to the collection of limestone stack protruding out from the sea off the shore of Port Campbell. Don't start counting, ok! You would not be able to count to 12. Obviously it was the work of the ocean waves, winds and other forces of nature, eroding the cliff over thousand of years and to be honest, I am sure it goes on till today. I am not sure how long these limestones would last to be honest.
No, that's not Anwar Ibrahim. That's me in 1985 in front of the Twelve Apostles. As I have said, by this time, the sun had come out and it was quite a pretty day with blue sky. But obviously the chemical composition of the printed photo could not last long, and hence the yellowish tint in all the pictures taken in 1985.
A number of them has fallen over entirely as waves continually erode their bases. I was made to understand that a 50-metre Apostle collapsed in 2005, like in the picture below. The erosion is estimated to be at 2 cm per year, and I guess over 25 years since I was there, 50 cm or two inches of limestones would have been eroded away.

These two pictures (above and below) were not taken by me as you would notice the different tint in both pictures.
And this is me and Din Kecik. Din was not a housemate - unlike Parid and Rosli, but he frequented our house quite a bit. Apparently he married a gal from my Taman in Taiping as I last saw him during the Raya prayer there, but I have lost contact with him since then.
I think the rock formations add colours to the already scenic route. In fact, with them, this route not only becomes spectacular, but also majestic. I would recommend anyone to go and see it before all of them collapse into the sea.
Beyond the Apostles, you could find London Arch which you would never find in London and the Lock Ard Gorge. If I vaguely remember, there was even a London Bridge, no?
We are looking at the Bass Strait here I believe which forms part of the Indian Ocean. We were not quite at the Southern most part of continental Australia - almost though.
To be honest, I would love doing this all over again, this time around with the kids. It would be a lovely expedition for all of us. I just could not wait for Air Asia to fly to this city I used to call my second home.

To me, I had driven to many locations - and I am sure many of you had done so yourself, there are many drives that I love so much. The journey around the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and the journey in Colorado up the Rockies would be high up there in my list.

But for the ocean view, the cliff and the gorges, you can't compare the drive along the Great Ocean Road.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What would you buy with your first paycheck?

I only have one thing in mind when I was in school.

Dream was all that I could do then. Dream it when you can't have it - definitely not on a RM10 a month allowance that bapak gave me anyway. Dream of what you would do when you have the money.

At the very least, thankfully, it is a question of when and not if.
Caption: The barren but beautiful school - the dewan makan

At a boarding school in the 70s, it was a time when all I could do was dream. Dreaming my life away so that I don't have to wake up at 4.30 am in the morning in search of water the the old building on the other side of the school ground in drought stricken Kota Bharu - Pengkalan Chepa to be precise. Armed with a pail, toothbrush and a cake of soap perhaps, and of course a towel, we would cover one school ground in search of the elusive slightly polar bonded molecules we called water. Every tap would be turned clockwise in the hope of a gushing stream of water.

Instead most taps would be dry; not even trickling of water droplets to spare. You can see the yellow grass in the pic above obviously deprived of water, just like us in those days, or KLites in the late 90s!

I think I have digressed from the topic a bit here. ;-)

Those days, I used to own a small RM30 radio that I bought myself from the money bapak gave me after 'passing' my SRP in 1978. That's all that I could afford then - I was given Rm50 and that can fit into one's trouser pocket. The radio, that is. Even then it was the best radio in that range; there was a cheaper one at RM20. Obviously there were only a couple of radio stations then, so it was not the greatest of choice in as far as song selections are concerned; so I would often stand next to the lighting rod at the back of the dorm to get better signals of radio stations from all over the world - short wave signal typically then. On your lucky day, you could listen to the BBC.

In those days, that would be equivalent to hearing ET conversation from outer space today!

In drought-stricken Kota Bharu, one need not worry about standing next to the lightning rod. There was little chance one could get struck by lighting during the dry season.

Only one classmate/dorm-mate (MatJepun) would have a big radio cassette player - a mini compo if you must, featuring stereo speakers (my mini radio was obviously mono) and Dolby Noise Reduction. You can't get more sophisticated than his and this was more than what a typical households then could afford. The sounds were so crisp for the era. Fortunately for me too, his taste in music was not too dissimilar to mine or what one could term as mainstream, so most of his cassettes and song selections would be music to my ears.

But at times, you would want to listen to your own selection regardless, so I would ask him to play certain songs for me. I do remember asking him during a black out to play 'Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word' by Elton John, noting that the atmosphere would be just right for such soft and sad melody.

He obliged.

I guess in normal circumstance I would glance enviously at him for being able to own such expensive piece of electronic device then, or actually I would be had it been any other person. But MatJepun is not someone for you to be jealous of, for he was not stingy or possessive with the expensive gadget.

I guess those rare moments would not be enough for this teenager then. Secretly, I held an ambition that the instance I earned my first salary, I would buy myself a hi-fi set complete with two big speakers and an equalizer, so that I could listen to my choice of songs to my heart's content.

I guess it was so easy to please this teen from the 70s. No, I don't need a big house or a sports car. A hi-fi set would be sufficient, thank you very much.

But time change I guess, and so do priorities.

Earning more than bapak would on my scholarship in Melbourne in the 80s, I only owned a small (not mini this time) single speaker radio and I lived with it until the very end. The same happened when I returned and started working at a cement plant in Padang Rengas in the mid-80s.
My first paycheck in July 1986 came and go and the hi-fi set never materialized.

Being only the third person earning a living in a family of 14 - the youngest being two years old, and the rests still at school, and with bapak no longer around to see us all through, I guess the cake needs to be carved to many portions, and there was never a portion for a hi-fi set as I had dreamt off a decade earlier. It would be the last thing we would need then and I guess this is one thing many of my siblings of the younger generation were unable to comprehend or pretended not to understand.

But that's another story.

When you have the money, especially when 'barely' is an adjective to describe it, you would be cautious with your spending, despite the urging of your desires.

Nowadays I guess, one could live with having just a radio. With the proliferation of private radio stations, I could practically decide which songs to listen to by just tuning to different radio stations. Heck, chances are your kind of music might be played at certain radio stations that you would not have to even lift a finger to listen to them. If I wanted to listen to English, I would go to LightFM, otherwise the radio is stuck on KlasikNasional.

I no longer have any need for a hi-fi set. A good set of radio in the car would be sufficient. These days I would prefer to listen to live music by Akmal, or occasionally by Arif and if I want to listen to really beautiful music played by professional, with over 10 (sound) channels, I would drive to the Philharmonic (or Istana Budaya). No need for an equalizer, or Dolby NR and the likes.

You would be able to hear the violin, the cello and the piano, and many more in their full glory. Right there in front of your eyes and ears. You would hear music in three dimensional.

And that's more than any modern digital equipment can do.

Especially if the singer looks resplendent in red on stage. ;-)


Yes of course, in the natural course of my life over the last twenty years, I do have many other dreams in life and I guess most are still unfulfilled - car and many of you would probably be cynical at my selection and perhaps a daughter.

But life goes on I guess.

And they would have to be in different entries! ;-)

Oh and to show you how sophisticated the machine that he has, the cassette player would run on dual voltage. Obviously you would need to select 240V for Malaysia, but it could also run on 110V. That was one of our first introduction at such fanciful gadget. However, one of us decided that he wanted to learn more about the nature of electrical voltage and switch it to 110V while running on 240V. Obviously the motor and the power supply got all burnt out, and he had to replace them on his own.

it was an expensive experiment, perhaps best left in the physics lab of Cikgu WaRo.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Happy Days

I would have never thought that I could be cheeky then and I guess I would have never pictured myself in this light if not for this particular photo.

And who says life in the 60s was harsh and difficult?

Definitely not if you were only a kid then!

It was perhaps the best of times - far exceeding the iPod years for sure. I am sure my two kids would not disagree with mw. They know better than to disagree with their dad. ;-)

The only problem with the above pic is that I could not figure out where it was taken. There are two calendars adorning the wall, but even using FBI technology we could not decipher the calendar to estimate the date the pic was taken. I had asked Mak, but even she could not remember this particular house and I thought I remember all the houses of my childhood.

Even the house I was born in Assam Kumbang, Taiping, which I believe still exists, but it is in the most dilapidated condition. The address: 3 Jalan Maxwell, Assam Kumbang, Taiping.
For me, the 60s rivaled those years in the early 70s. May be in certain ways, one can't beat those years when we were able to remember things better - even without the benefit of photo, since we were a bit older. But the memories of the early years of our lives were supplemented with about 3 sets of photo albums as many aspects of our lives then were recorded diligently by bapak with a Pentax SLR.

Life then was simple living in a semi-detached government quarters in Batu Gajah. Nothing to shout about I guess; it was a wooden house with separate kitchen at the back of the house. The picture above shows the main entrance of the house with the living room immediately after the stairs obviously. Since this house, we have had similar houses in Kuala Kangsar. Even the house in Lenggong was similar in nature albeit it being a concrete house.

Only the bungalow quarters in Aulong Police Station was different architecturally, and especially for the fact that we would have the policeman manning the guardpost giving us (read:bapak) the salutation everytime we passed them by.

You can see an radio on top of the cabinet. I wish I still have it. Unfortunately during those years in Taiping later on when we got addicted to radio, we must have broken it.

Ni mesti kes berebut nak dengar lagu - the sis would go for English songs, and I Malay and probably we would fight over radio selection and eventually destroyed the radio. Not that there were many stations then for us to fight over anyway. We could carry this radio into our own rooms.

And of course on the rarest of occasions, bapak would be in the picture, just like the above picture.
For some reasons, we have a lot of pix of us at the playground or Taman Mainan - for the lack of a proper description or or a name. It must have been close to our house, since if we were looking for open space, we need not have to go beyond our compound of the government quarters.

It was not quite 'saujana mata memandang', but ample enough for us to roam around.

Actually while I love to see us in the picture, I would like to divert your attention to the background of most of the picture.

The environs and the surrounding then was so tranquil and so peaceful, and so unhurried. I can imagine seeing the swaying coconut trees, and there were so many of them that added character to this scene. Would we ever get back to those lovely years?

I wish.
As I have mentioned in earlier entries, this made our childhood memories as if it was only yesterday. In those days, I guess there wasn't any queue for other kids to use this playground. It seems like we have the whole playground to ourselves.
This picture was taken of us on a small hill with a surau in the background. I remember it very well as it was quite close to our house and on one occasion, I was left alone while Mak went for a mengaji there. Obviously I didnt like it at all, and after a long wait for her to come back, I went to this hilloverlooking the surau and, well, started to cry, hoping she would hear and come back.

Hehehe, I was a kid then; what do you expect? ;-) I must have been bored then I think.

That's my memory of the surau. I am sure it would have been demolished by now.
Again us kids, with the neighbour friends.
Me on the swing. Again I love the blurry coconut trees in the background. It looks so natural. I am quite sure you wont get this kind of background anymore. All kind of artificial trees being planted everywhere.

We would be lucky if they were not plastic or metal.
Kids from the 60s Batu Gajah.

I guess bapak would take the whole neighbourhood children with us when he goes out shooting our pictures! there were so many of them all over the pictures - at our house and at the padang. As I have pointed earlier, we have a disproportionately high volume of pix taken in Batu Gajah compared to those taken in Lenggong. And I am sure economic factor would be the main reason for this.

I believe that many of the pics were taken circa 1967/68 as by 1969 for sure we were already in Lenggong.

If you look at the surrounding then I guess, and the empty spaces, I would probably love to become a property developer. So much space that it seems like a waste not to build something there, and tons of money to be made.

We need to prop up more building as the background and not coconut trees.

And that's exactly the attitude that brought us into the current predicament with the social and environmental problems that we now have.


Arif thought that I looked like him in the first pic. Or should it be the other way round? May be I do, if at least when I was younger. He for sure has more of his mother's features than of his dad's..

Akmal on the other hand would love doing all kind of facial expressions and posture whenever we took pictures of him in his younger days.

But I do wonder what happened to my teeth. I don't remember not having much of them. Hmm..

And oh, I thought I should revert to stories of the old days. Too many entries about the 'new' days already.