Monday, December 31, 2007

A Bird In The Sky

A group of young boys and girls were happily taking picture with an old caucasian man in front of Istana Balai Besar next to Istana Jahar which is now a museum in Kota Baru, Kelantan. The activity caught my attention while I was on my way to the Income Tax Board's office nearby.

A group of teenagers taking photograph with Mr. Fuchs. Sorry for the poor image as it was taken with a cheap handphone.

On my way back to the car I saw the old man sitting alone on a long wooden bench browsing through his copy of lonely planet, the Bible of most backpackers. My curiousity got the better of me so I approached him.
Mr. Fuchs with the Kota Bharu Landmark in the background.

The Arch as the background to the picture of Mr. Fuchs.
Istana Balai Besar is the palace where all the official ceremonial functions are held.
Intricate carvings on the door of the side entrance to Istana Balai Besar.
The main building in the Kampung Kraftangan(Handicraft Village). The lady in the picture is a contractor doing some measurement to a new job.

"May I share this bench with you?" I asked him as a matter of courtesy.
"Oh go ahead and do whatever you like" He answered in impeccable English with a thick German accent. In my years of dealing with tourists I could discern the various accents like German, Australians, English, and Americans among the caucasians. The French and Italians don't speak much English and their lapses into their own language are dead giveaways. Those from the Scandinavian countries still escape me. Spotting their country of origins based on their accent was quite fun. I did fail to identify them on several occassions though.
Thinking hard on how to break the ice, I dug into my backpack and brought out my newly aquired toy, the Twinhead laptop. Booting it on I prepared myself to draft a new posting to put on my blog.
The old man couldn't resist the sight of the new notebook and with twinkling eyes he asked me "So your are connected to the internet?".
"No. I have yet to buy the modem that will allow me to be connected from anywhere. I will get one soon". I replied not even sure how soon is soon.
"I am Zawawi" I said extending my hand to him which he gripped back warmly.
"I am Ernst Dieter Fuchs" he replied. Seeing my perplexed expression he spelt it out one by one and I dug into my backpack to retrieve my notebook and wrote his name. He explained the last name Fuchs as to mean fox in English.
"I am a blogger" I announced with pride of my new preoccupation as if it was a full time occupation which can earn me an income that can support my life. What a laugh if he were to find out that I didn't earn a single sen from it. I explained a bit about what I meant by blogger and being a very learned man he understood what I meant.
"May I write about you?" This request of mine opened the floodgate and he acceded to my request by telling me more about himself.
So here is the short summary of Mr. Ernst Dieter Fuchs' travel that he managed to divulge and share with us all.
At the age of 65, Mr. Fuchs is a senior citizen and enjoyed some benefits of being one. One of which is the benefit of having accumulated enough wealth to travel the world without having to work at all if he so wishes, to support himself and his travel expenses which ain't much considering he does most of it using busses and railways and sleeps in guesthouse as long as they are clean. On most railways of the world he even get a discount as a senior citizen. He has sold his house in Germany and without a permanent address the German government will not allow him to vote.

"What is my one vote when there are millions of other voters who will vote?". I have no comment to that statement.
The Royal Guest House located close to Istana Jahar, Istana Balai Besar and Kampong Kraftangan. Mr. Fuchs could have stayed here.

When he was 14 he did his first overseas travel with his uncle to neighbouring Holland and Belgium. That was when the travel bug hit him and he made up his mind to travel the world. Single mindedly he focus on his desire to travel the world one day. One of the things he did for his preparation was to study the languages of the world. Over the years he mastered six other languages excluding his mother tounge German. The languages he mastered are English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Definitely more than enough to travel the world without having to use any interpreter. He could even be one himself.
After selling off his house, he began his epic journey 15 months ago on the 18th September 2006 heading for Italy where he stayed for 15 days, then took the ferry to Greece and stayed there for 25 days. The next leg of the journey was a 25 days stay in Turkey before taking the bus to Iran. He was proud to be a German as he can obtain a tourist visa to Iran unlike The Americans who can't. He volunteered the informations that beside Iran the Americans cannot travel as a tourist to North Korea, Libya and Cuba. He has his own opinion of Mr. Bush and Mr Blair which isn't nice for me to put it in here. Just use your imagination OK?
While in Japan, he taught the Enlish language and while in Korea he taught the German language.
Surprise of surprise he told me he felt safe in Islamic countries while he was robbed in Christian countries naming Mexico and Guatemala where he was robbed in 1980 and he said Columbia was another dangerous country. During that period he did the American continents from tip to tip from Cape Horn to Alaska except the Canadian countries. What a miss otherwise he might have met my good friend U Lee.
It was while travelling around Bulgaria that his drink was spiked and he went to sleep for ten hours while the seemingly friendly people that he began to have trust in robbed him of whatever belongings that he carried. The people at the German embassy considered him lucky as there were other incidences where the victims didn't get to wake up at all. At least he lived to tell his story and kept his precious life intact.
Two elderly Japanese gentlemen relaxing in the vicinity of Kampung Kraftangan.
All in all he had travelled to 111 countries including small countries like the Vatican and San Marino, however small are still independent countries. In the process he had expended 17 passports and the one he was carrying was his 18th. He rattled off all these numbers without referring to any notes as he didn't write notes and all were stored in his memory. Such great memories can only be sustained in a healthy body which he definitely has. Without fail for every 2 and a half years or thereabout he had been hiking the Himalayas to at least the 5,000 metre level without the aid of any porters and sleeping in the open without even the the use of tents. His highest point was 5,600 meters. A no mean feat for a 65 year old.
To achieve his ambition to travel the world, he decided to stay single throughout. He had witnessed the many problems and breakups in marriages which made him think it was unnecessary for him to get hitched. Having to answer to a wife wasn't his cup of coffee either. He wanted to be a free man like a bird in the sky, flying to anywhere that his heart desires.
(U Lee, you can forget him as he won't be buying your book on Ninjalogy containing the ways of how to seduce a woman).
By now Mr. Fuchs should have proceeded by bus to Kuala Terengganu, Mersing and on to Singapore before moving for Indonesia to spend about 20 days for his second visit there.
Before parting he gave me another surprise by reciting the Al Fatihah albeit with a German slang.
I promised him that I would be posting this story within ten days of our encounter and this is about time.
Mr. Fuchs, if you are reading this, I would like to wish you the best of luck and a may God bless you with a Happy and Prosperous new year.
Please keep in touch via email. Mine is


U.Lee said...

Hi Zawi, what an interesting encounter with Mr Fuchs. I bet he too enjoyed your company very much. Anyone would with someone like you.
I think when we meet, we'll talk till the cows come home.
Zawi, you carry your laptop wherever you go? Income tax office, market?
I too those days on my weekly travels all over Malaysia met foreign tourists from around the globe, male and female, young and matured and would give them a ride in my car if they heading where I was headed.
I enjoy meeting people and learning their various cultures and one reason why I love Toronto, there are 127 different Nationalities here.
Right now, my neighbour is A Russian family (gosh, the daughter is one gorgeous 18 year old!), opposite, a family from Sri Langka, then there's Greeks, Italians, brazilians, Albanians, Mainland Chinese, too many to list here.
But Zawi, quite recently I learned something that I never learned in school.
It was in the elevator, I overheard a man talking to his wife and it sounded like Malay, except for the accent.
I can distinguish Indonesian and Malaysian Malay, and politely enquired whether they from Malaysia?
He told me they from Sri Langka and are Malays. They looked more like fair Indians from India to me.
It was then I learned there are thousands of malays here in Toronto from Sri Langka, and they not exiles from malaysia, but original peoples.
I learned there is a very big population of Malays in Sri Langka. And surprisingly, they are not origins from Malaysia.
Holy Smoke, I never knew that!
He few days later invited me to his house party and met his parents, relatives and friends, all Malays. He showed me his passport,'Nationality, Malay'.
Everyone was speaking in Malay with a slight Sri Langka accent, but Malay.
They could understand my Malay, but I had difficulty catching some of their Malay words...maybe due to their accent.
I must tell you this, one day I was walking by our swimming pool, and noticed someone had thrown some autumn leaves in it and said a naughty Malay expression. Behind me was an Indian lady, I thought.
She burst out laughing hearing my naughty exclaimation in Malay, saying she has not heard 'that' word a long time. I immediately apologised, she laughed and told me she's Malay.
Now my wife always warns me about my naughty expressions in Malay if see any Indian looking people around, ha ha.
I love Toronto! Lee.

Zawi said...

You better watch what you say nowadays in whatever languages. There people out there like Mr. Fuchs who understand and speaks 7 languages of the world and I bet you understands some Malay words too. Wasn't it you who told me about the Vietnamese fruit seller in Toronto who responded in Terengganu Malay after you mentioned the word 'mahal'? Luckily it wasn't a swear word hahahaha.
When we meet we will just take up a room in Perdana Hotel and spend the night there till the cow came home alright.
The Sri lankan Malays just like the Cape malays were supposed to be descendants of Malays from Indonesia or Malaya who sailed the high seas in the olden days. Maybe they didn't know their roots as it was too long a time ago.
I carried the laptop as it was in my car and I don't feel safe to leave it in the car as the temperature in the car can get heated up and I dont want the laptop to be fried up hehehehe. Love my laptop so much that I dont want to be far from it though I use my PC more when at home.
Whenever possible I would like to meet up new friends. Thanks to the net I found great people like you as well as the others too.
Good night my brother.

uncleawang said...

Pak Zawi,very interesting story indeed about MrFuchs.When i was with the airline for 20 years i only travell to London,Taiwan,Manila,Bangkok & HongKong.Well once a year free ticket or airline term FOC ticket.
My last was posting to Jeddah for Hajj season 1992.So that my last overseas trip.Insyallah,my 2008 project will be from Johor Bahru all the way to eastcost with my laptop& camera.For yr easy internet connection simply registerd with 3GX unlimited surfing & rm68.00 per month.Modem is just rm500 or less availiable all computer store at LowYat in KL.
Happy New year to You & your Family.

Nightwing said...

Helo Pak Zawi,

Lovely posting (as usual)...:)

Not bad traveling alone in the world. If he is the writing type, maybe he can write a book one on day on his experience.

On another note: regarding ur laptop...yes, better do not leave them in the car..beside getting 'fried'..some people might steal it too.

I heard in West Malaysia, some people have device in detecting lap top batteries or electrical components. Once detected, they will break into the car and steal.

Take care now...can;t wait for ur posting on the up coming event..:)

Zawi said...

Thanks for the appreciation of the post.
Wah lucky you to have travelled the owrld in style. A posting in Jeddah was definitely a great gift as you could be near to Mecca.
When you reach Kota Bharu do call me ( I will email you my contact numbers). We will go round taking pictures.
I am aware of the avaiable modem but since I have exhausted my budget for IT, I will have to wait for my next fiscal year to but it which is a year away (less than 48 hrs to be exat hahahaha). Its being offered at at RM407 in Kota Bharu dunno if there is other hidden cost.
Please come again as I will be posting more pictures on this site soon.
Thank you for the New year greetings and I wish you the same.

Zawi said...

Mr. Fuchs knows what he wants in life and wont trade his independence for anything.
Maybe after he has done his travelling by the middle of 2009, he may write a book about his travels. Being a linguist, he can easily translate them into 7 languages and can you imagine how big is his market? I hope he will read this as he still have everything clearly stored in his memory. It is God's great gift to him.
I heard about the detection device too and I prefer to believe it exists. All it takes is to break the glass pane to open the boot.
Please come back again as I am putting more pictures into this post.

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

Alhamdulillah, this is a most interesting entry - I love it!

I'm like you, all for meeting strangers - local and foreign alike, for the many stories and experience they can impart, and the friendship that can be built!

As for the language, Northern Europe, the Scandivanian countries and English, used to share a common root language. Somehow later, the English Language assimilated more latin words and are now somewhat looked upon with disdain by the european countries mentioned before. If you go to Europe and try to communicate with English on the first try, they will not entertain you. So the trick several of my friends use now is to speak in BM which th europeans do not know, and only then to English.

Anyway, I love those photos too. It is especially near 'White Horse', the favourite kopitiam in KB, kan? :)

Hi&Lo said...


Very heartwarming encounter. We broaden our horizon by opening up to new friends of different cultures and experiences.

You and ULee like long lost brothers. When you two shoot the breeze, hope it won't bring down the roof of Hotel Perdana. hehehe

Not surprise to find Malays in the far flung corners of the earth cos historically they are one of the most adventurous race in the earlier centuries.

Must be very courageous to sail the high sea without navigational aid and sophisticated maps.

Firstly, they believed the world was bigger than their eyes can see. They were imbued with a strong desire to explore and unafraid to take risk.

2ndly, they were very innovative in craftmanship, particularly ship-building and very advanced in that era.

3rdly, they were highly adaptable with survival instinct to leave the comfort and safety of their environment.

4thly, they were not a complacent race.

5thly, and most importantly they had the human spirit to test fate with calculated risk.


Zawi said...

Salam Shah,
It warms the heart knowing that there are people out there who enjoy this posting. It gives us the strength and enthusiasm to strive for more.
Love for friendship is a universal feeling that is in every peace loving people. One one needa to do is to approach strangers with sincere intention and things will take care for itself from there.
Thanks for the tip on the use of English in Europe. It will come in handy when I do Europe when day.
Shah, Its the 'White House' not the white horse. Its famous for its half bolied egg and the best coffee. The half bolied egg is nothing really as they use the same half boiled egg maker as available vis direct selling.

tokasid said...

Salam Pak Zawi:

Nice one here.
It was so nice of you to make the first move and approached Mr Fuchs.

I think you impressed him with your notebook. Who knows, he might one fr himself and start blogging about his wandering feats.

As for Mr Fuchs, tabuk spring to him. He knows what he want and he went for it and avoided all possible obstacles by not getting married.And the fact that he can speak( most probably read and write to) in 7 languages that is incredible.

U.lee 's account about the Malays from Ceylon in Toronto is also interesting. Your reply to him about the origins of Malays in Sri Lanka and South Africa is correct. And your advise of speaking in your national language oversea is appropriate.
Let me tell you one story. A friend, had a daughter who studied in Australia about 10 years ago. One day, she and several friends took a bus and it was almost full excepat there was an empty seat at the back row. Beside the seat, sat a middle age Australian man who was so fat.
A student ask ne of them to go and take the empty seat. Not wanting to sit near a fat person, she said: "Tak nak lah..ada anak gajah kat belakang tu,nanti terpenyet aku."

After a while the bus stop and the fat guy stood and walk towards the door. As he passes these Malay girls,he said: " Tompang lalu sikit...anak gajah mahu turun"( with Aussie slang).

So you see, you need to be careful when talking in Malay even in Australia.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
Interesting story indeed. In my travels, I find there are many old people who travel either as a couple or on their own, that made me wonder whether they had saved all their life to go overseas.
But the one thing that amazes me is how fit these people are. Infact, some of them don't look their age.
In 2004, I met this 81 year old Scottish lady who makes a visit here every year for the past 17years and staying at the same hotel in KL.
I don't know if she's back here for the Christmas/New Year holidays. I haven't heard from her.

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi, you made Mr Fuchs day in KB memorable, what more in sharing his travels. The pleasure & experience of travels is so great that no University could teach us. My ten years of travels by sea to most ports of the world became one of by biggest global assets today. I hope by and by I will be able to share some of my key moments on that.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Ahh, I love the pictures. Haven't been there for quite some times. The museums, the craft village, personally is the best architectural bliss to be found in the heart of Kota Bharu.
It has always been nice to make more friend, be it online or offline. Mr Fuchs over there sure got lot of stories. If he happens to come out with a book, do inform me. I'd love to read it(",). He has been around the world, and I am pretty sure he wouldn't have the heart to keep all the experiences for himself. Should he contact you in the future (I'm pretty sure he will), keep us updated about his journey OK?
You better not leave you laptop in the car. This reminds me of my roommate, he left his Apple MacBook in a car, with an 80 gigs iPod and 2 80 gigs and 1 120 gigs external harddrives. He and his friend went to Seksyen 2 for dinner, and when they returned to the car, the rear mirror were broken! I don't have to tell you what happened to the techie stuffs, but it wastes him a good RM5000-6000. Safety wise, take your toy along wherever you're heading to.
Pak Zawi, 4G iZZi is now available in Kuantan, Selangor, Penang, and Johor. If you are interested, you can wait for some more time and you'll get 4G connection in Kota Bharu vicinity. I had tried it here(not mine), faster than my broadband, and most of all, no question about signal traffic. It utilizes earth-landyard-signal-band,something merapu, I don't know the exacy name (3.5G utilizes Highspeed Downlink Packet Access through GSM signal). RM77 per month, and you'll need a specific modem. Amacam? Hahaha. Well, I am good in making you spend your money and provoke war in your house eh?

Zawi said...

We are all game for new friends. Ain't that just what we are doing right now on the net via our blogs? I have never had so many new friends in my whole life spread far and wide all over the world.
Yes you are right, U Lee and me are really long lost brothers. We had been to the same places from Singapore to Kota Bharu except that he did it earlier than me. We will bring down the roof of any building when we start to 'buka cherita' is my brother Lee would say. See he still spells cherita with a 'ch'.
Hopefully my Malays would still maintains those traits that you mentioned.
Happy New year and have a good day.

Zawi said...

Fauziah Ismail,
Salam to you.
Coming from you, the impact of the compliment is indescribable. You really made my day. I enjoyed all of your posts on your experiences just as much. I have a project coming which will involve you. Watch out for "I Have A Dream" in my future posts.
Travelling on your own is the epitome of adventure. The uncertainty and the anxiety involved can pump your adrenaline sky high. I love it but my wife don't. Since we travel together I will never get to enjoy it.
Mr.Fuchs was the best example of fitness level inherent in such travellers as they have no one else to depend on except themselves.
How great if you could have been contact with this Scottish lady. At that age, not coming back after being such a regular visitor could mean something untoward may have happened to her. Anyway what can we do even if we know that happened to her rite?
Happy New Year to you.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

I love the Kampung Kraftangan and the area surrounding it. There is Restoran Cikgu smacks right inside the compound of Kg Kraf, and how about the ulam-ulaman, ikan bakar and asam pedas that they the serve. Nearby is the Tourism Malaysia pondok as well. And what a bunch of friendly staff they have manning the counter, who gave me a copy of 224 coloured pages of Malaysia Travel Manual. Great job TM, Tourism Malaysia i mean.

Zawi said...

I wish I could have done more for Mr. Fuchs. He seemed to be contented with just sharing with me his travel experiences. I just acted as a good listener and just probed him to speak up on pertinent points that is interesting to blog about. Travelling definitely broadens our horizon beside the incomparable learning that no University could ever teach you as you said it.
Please blog about your numerous experiences which definitely are too many and too good for you to keep to yourself. Let us leave the business of politics to the political bloggers like Raja Petra, Rocky, Zorro and the rest. Let us leave behind a legacy of experiences for our future generations to cherish.
Have a good day Sir.

Zawi said...

Now I remember it was you who reminded me about the thieves ability to detect high tech gadgets in our car. That was why I wont leave my toy in the car.
Since there is an interest about Kota Bharu among many readers. I guess it will be useful tolet people know what is there to see in Kota Bharu and in Kelantan in General.
I have given my blogsite to Mr. Fuchs and I believe he will read this blog. Should he ever email me anything, I wil definitely post it here and share them.
Its now 4G connection? I dont care much about the speed but I care about the connectivity due to bad weather which results in constant outage. If the 4G can prevent outages, I am willing to wait for it. Dont worry I dont have too many things to spend my money on. I will be too happy to spend on my toys.
Consider yourself as my official IT adviser. Thanks.

Zawi said...

Sorry I didn't respond to you earlier. Seeing the uneven reply, I did a track back and realised it just now.
By nature I love to set things moving. Never wait for things to happen but make it happen.
How nice it will be if he were to buy a notebook and start blogging himself. It is not something beyong him really. Lets hope that he will read this blog. Let us urge him to do it. just wait for him to make contact. I will add my footnote to contact me by gmail.
The point about the anak gajah is taken. The moral of the story is never to use deragotory words in whatever language on others. It may backfire on you.
Doc thanks a heap for the story. Time for maghrib now. Nak pi mesjid.

Zawi said...

a malaysian in riyadh,
I have more pictures of the Kampong Kraftangan including the retaurant and will be posting more of them when I finish the draft specifically on the Kampong Kraftangan. I just wanted to entice you with some pictures first. Like a teaser hehehehe.
I think it will be good to promote Kota Bharu to people who have not been there and doesnt know what is there to see. At least it wont be something obsolete like in some brochures.
When was the visit to Kelantan? I know some of the staff there. The previous Director Puan Lijah Othman is already retired and I have yet to meet the new Director though he has been here for quite awhile already. The Majlis Tindakan Pelancongan Negeri Kelantan is also located in the same building.
Hope you will pay Kelantan another visit when you are back home. I will guide you around.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Thank you for your offer to guide us around Kelantan. Truth is we were there during the recent Raya Kurban hols. But most of the time, I had to be the driver (from and to Pasir Putih and around KB) for our auntie who flew from KL. Her daughter is scheduled to be married in March 2008, and she had a shopping spree buying hantaran, gifts for tetamu, etc, etc., and she did all that in that amazing one stop shopping galore, the famed Pasar Buluh Kubu which is a walking distance from Kg Kraf.

I'm not a songket buff, but I think Pasar Buluh Kubu has a better selection of songkets and at more affordable prices than the counterpart in Pasar Payang KT. Soon, there will be another attraction in the Kg Kraf vicinity - the much awaited Bazaar Tengku Anis.

Can't wait for your follow up post on Kg Kraf. Will let you know when we're back in Kelantan next. I suspect it may be quite soon.

Hi&Lo said...


I should say if you and ULee could bring down the roof, by all means. We only live once and might as well be passionately happy.

Oh, I know he will tell you of his brush with the security forces during the emergency.

Will wish you happy new year tomorrow.

Zawi said...

a malaysian in riyadh,
Sorry i forgot that you are local too.
I will do my posting on Kg Kraftangan soon as a duty to promote Kelantan. Should focus more of that in the future.
Tesco is opening up soon. It may spell the demise of many of the small minimarkets around the area.

Zawi said...

Shooting the breeze with U Lee is easy if you know how. Just keep on laughing at all his funny stories and soon enough you will find the sun is already up and yet you havent managed to get any sleep. How much more fun can you get than that?

U.Lee said...

Hello Zawi, its 10.56am Sunday here, you in Pasir Mas 11.56pm and snoring away, maybe cuddling your laptop.
I was reading about Akmal's very savvy hi-tech knowledge on computers...I don't even faham three words there, ha ha.
Anyway, apart from taking extra caution with your laptop from being goreng in your BMW, do put in good security programs in your home computer and lap top.
I'm not sure about Malaysia, maybe Akmal might know, but here in Toronto, there are unscrupulous bums who drive around with their laptops in their cars and and using a special program, they cruise around very slowly around housing estates pretending to look for an address but in actual fact, listening, copying anything interesting if someone is on his, her computer typing away.
This person within seconds can use 'keylogging' and other programs to note your password and from there he steals all your personal stuff without you knowing....till you go to your bank and see only a $1.00 balance.
Or he steals your girlfriends (this example only) or wife or wives photos, etc...and if the pics are similar to what Incik Hugh Hefner publishes in his mags, he blackmails you.
Quite a lot of times the cops catch young High school boys with nothing better to do.
One fellow here almost had a heart attack when saw his gorgeous new wife in her birthday suit a pic he had taken on their honeymoon and saved in his computer appearing in the Net. Someone had keylogged into his password.
Zawi, change your password every 3 to 6 months if possible.
Another thing Zawi, never let anyone keep your computer overnight for repairs, and please bear this in mind, whatever you delete, even 5 years ago is still in your hard drive.
If changing to a new pc, after transfering your stuff, take out that old hard drive, use your hammer and destroy it to 3 million pieces, ha ha.
Have a good night, my friend, Lee.

tumpang reply Hi&Lo sini.
Hi&Lo, yes, when Zawi and I meet one day soon, I hope, it will be over his udang masak nanas lemak and at least 6 glasses of ice coffee and a dozen goreng pisang to last us till the cock crows 5 times.
Maybe we go sit on the beach at Pantai Cinta Berahi and buka cherita there, a moonlight rendezvous, ha ha.
You keep well Hi&Lo.
You remember that Emergency story of mine, huh? Ha ha.

Hantu Laut said...


That was a nice story.You must be one of those who has charisma and make friends easily.

You are right about being careful with language.We presume nobody speaks Malay when we are in some foreign country.

I had at least two pleasant surprise and one very embarrasing moment.My first encounter was at Vancouver airport at the immigration counter.The officer wished me in perfect Malay "Selamat datang ka Canada".Out of curiosity I asked him where he learned to speak Malay and he told me he was in the British Army during the emergency in Malaya.What actually amazed me he spoke with very little English accent.Another time I was at Macau ferry terminal immigration, the officer also wished me in Malay "Selamat Pagi Pak dan selamat datang ka Macau".Again, out of curiousity I asked him the same question.He told me he was an Indonesian before.He left Indonesia during Sukarno time when Sukarno threatened to throw out all Chinese out of Indonesia.Many Chinese left the country for fear of their life.

The most embarrasing moment was when I was in London.I have rented an apartment for a few months at Bayswater.When we arrived at the place there was a porter who helped carry our baggages to our unit.While on the way, my sister out of sheer ignorance and stupidity, made a remark in Malay on how thin the Englisman was.To my utter shock and embarrassment he politely replied in perfect Malay and said "Saya memang kurus dan tinggi".I apologised to him for my young sister's rudeness.Same question asked, where he learned to speak Malay so well.Co-incidentally, he was also with the British army during the emergency in Malaya.

There you are guys, just be careful what you say in Malay next time you are overseas.

Zawi, Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and all your family members.

Zawi said...

I took your caution seriously infact as seriously as I took to your lessons on ninjalogy.
An aquaintance of mine took a video of himself and his wife doing exactly the same thing as if he was doing a porn movie and sometimes even more. The wife was a very popular TV actress.
He must have downloaded it to his PC and may have later sent the PC for repair. Somehow the video which was a CD length was reproduced and became the best seller in Malaysia and maybe in part of some Asean countries.
He had to divest his share in a firm to avoid any effect on the firm's business and his wife stopped acting.
Sometimes later I called him up and he answered my call. Of course I didn't mention anything pertianing to the video because all I wanted to know was whetjer he was alright
Lately my wife saw his actress wife acting again on TV so I guess his life is back to normalfor them.
I can't imagine how some people can have the heart to make some money at other peoples expense. I would say being privileged to see the video for himself should have been reward enough.
Thank you for the tips. As I have said earlier to Akmal, I have appointed Akmal as my official IT adviser. Hopefully the content of my PC will be safe though. Anyway there is really nothing much for them to steal from my account as immediately after I received my minuscule pension, I used it up to payoff all my bills leaving only a few miserly ringgit which wont be worth the bother for him to steal.
My house happened to be a dead end road so nobody will pass by and if anyone does stop infront, I will immediately approach him to show him the way out to the main road as he definitely has lost his way.

maria a samad (kak ton) said...

Hi Zawi,

This is one of the best write-ups that I've ever read.

It's lovely. Just lovely. You are a good story-teller like u.lee.

I look forward to reading your next entry. :)

Zawi said...

hantu laut,
We don't make new friends because of the lack of trying and the expectation that th other will make the approach. I prefer to make things happen rather than to wait for things to happen.
Thank you for sharing the incidences. I will caution all of my children to be careful with what they say in whatever language in public lest someone who understands it may be offended.
It is a different things if said by the younger ones as they cant think rationally being of young age but not for adults.
I would like to wish you and your family a Happy and Prosperous new year.

Zawi said...

Kak Ton,
I can't resist using my overused expression of "The compliment of the highest order" since it comes from people like you.
Something like U Lee eh? He is my Guru! Definitely I will copy his style otherwise he would give me very low passing mark or would even fail me for deviating from his teachings.
From now on it will be very hard for me to maintain my standard as I have to find good topics all the time. I hope to live up to your expectation.
Wish a happy and prosperous new year to you and Abang Ruslani.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

I heard Tesco is fronting the river - Sg. Kelantan. What a location! All the ingredients are there for it to be World's Best Tesco, if not in Malaysia. But the locals need to improve on the cleanliness. That is imperative.

Zawi said...

a malaysian in riyad,
Its located on the recliamed area near the bridge on the KB side of the river. The building is very prominent. Thye are opening soon but I havent got the date. I have taken some photos of it. No date of opening yet and will blog about it after getting the actual date of opening.
The opening may spell the death knell of smaller supermarket especially the mini markets across the river in Pasir Pekan and will give KB Mall a tough fight.

Zabs said...

Salam Zawi,
A very interesting post. Just imagine of all the many Mat Salleh, visiting Kelantan, you have come across, Mr.Fuchs, a season traveller who had plenty to tell you. By meeting a kind Muslim like you, who knows he might even ssys the Syahadah one day. good for you Zawi.
However I just cannot let you go wihout doing the same thing that Jaflam had wanted me to do. So Zawi please have a look at my blog please.. TQ.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
May I respond to Uncle Lee? And this is for you too.
No la, I am not that savvy lah. Reading helped me a lot pertaining this techie stuffs.
Yes, I have heard of such activities, and watched it on a documentary. They utilizes, usually, bluetooth technology to infiltrate someone's handphone or laptops, and from there, the can use use the the similar method as if we are accessing wireless internet coverage, to download datas, decrypt passwords, download pictures and further blackmailing it, and many more. Those are some of the darksides of Bluetooth. You only need three things; a laptop, blutooth device and your fingers to type commands. And yes, they only need to use MS-DOS to make commands to download your personal datas or upload bloody virus. This technique can also be used to eavedrops on offline conversations. These people can make link to your bluetooth enabled handphones and make command to make call, and the one eavesdropping should be able to hear things they are talking about. Can you imagine what will happen if things on conversation is something above classified? Our ministry had taken a good measure in ensuring everyone with numbers are in their database. I don't know how effective this measure is, but as KL is going wireless, extra measure must be taken, as this thing is much easier to be done if we use the existing network. Places like CIA, FBI and all that kind of organization, can interfere external GSM signals, providing extra security...or so what I have heard.
Uncle Lee is right. Deleted datas are not necessarily completely removed from our harddrive. With right maths and algorithms, you can retrieve all the data. Hehe, I saw it on Numb3rs at TV2, very interesting, indeed. You see, hard drive uses optical physic to store data (can anyone confirm that). Well, physic is more than just math, but yes, sciences have so many unpredictable things.
Sorry I consumed to much space Pak. Hehehe.

Mior Azhar said...

Pak Zawi,
Absorbing yarn as usual from you. Interesting. One of my new year resolution in 2008 is to be able to write as good as you, meet as many good people like you. Actually meet as many intereting characters as possible and then wrte about them. Just like what you did.
Have a blessed 2008 Pak Zawi.

Zawi said...

Thanks for the appreciation of the posting.
Mr. Fuchs has a good impression of the moslems where he visited. Hopefully nothing untoward will happen to him when he goes to the other moslem countries to shatter that confidence. Let u pray that he will be safe and sees the syahadah one day. Afterall he could recite the Al Fathihah already.
I really dread the kind of tag that I saw at Jaff's place so I might as well tel you that I was the one who wrote in as Anon in his comment column hoping to escape the tag hahahaha. I will go there again to apologise to Jaff.
Let me see what I can do after I ahve posted my 'I Have A Dream' which I am working on now. Give me time OK?

Zawi said...

Very informative. No probem about the space. Blogger didn't charge me anything for it.
Thanks for the explanation.

Zawi said...

mior azahar,
What can I say when you put me at such a high esteem? A miilion thanks. I am just trying to make a simple story enjoyable, thats all. I guess you position as an Editor will get you to read more interesting stories than what I can do.
Anyway thank you again for the compliments. You made my day.

Hi&Lo said...


Mior Azhar paid you the highest and sincerest compliment. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Cos you write from your heart, you reach the hearts of your readers with your warmth and affection.

Re: Akmal's comment on eavesdropping

Even cellphone conversations boleh tapped. During one gen elections in the 80's I was with one politician who had a device to bug cellphones.

Zawi said...

Never in my wildest dream that I will get such praises for blogging about a traveller. I guess my story about Mr. Fuchs has evoked so much feeling for his bravery to travel the world alone and facing so much misfortunes.
Wah even politicians are into eavesdropping huh? Nothing is safe anymore these days.
Thanks for sharing.

Pi Bani said...

Interesting post on an interesting person. Teringin juga nak travel macam Mr Fuchs, but, oh well...

The last time I went to Kelantan was to accompany my sister (a single mom) to send her son to further his studies in USM Kubang Kerian. That time cuti sekolah, nak dapat hotel pun payah and that very day, Kota Bharu JAM!! Aduh!

Now my nephew is already doing his housemanship in Putrajaya, so don't know lah when my next trip to Kelantan will be.

Wishing you a happy year ahead!

Zawi said...

Next time you need a room in KB, inform me of the date and nuber of room required and number of persons coming. I can find an alternative lodging place for you.
It is so near to Ipoh you could literally hop over any time.
It should be interesting to travel the world without strict itinerary to adhere to and no worry about money to spend. Above all Mr. Fuchs doesnt have to answer to anyone when he should return home since he doesnt even have a home to return to.
Wish you a happy new year too.

Hi&Lo said...


I wish you amd your family, including all your fans here A Happy New Year. May the new horizon bring fresh hopes and vision to all of us.

Re: ULee, I read your footnote. Yes, how could I forget any of your blockbusters?

zaitgha said...

interesting posting Pak Zawi....looking forward for more in 2008...

once in Houston, Texas, i was talking to my housemate while waiting for my next class...most of the time she and i would speak english but when we got excited over something we would speak that time we were talking about how we missed our food and suddenly one guy sitting beside us approached us and started talking to us in Malay...lucky we didnt say anything rude about the Americans ha ha ha....he was brought up in Indonesia for almost 15 years....

Happy New Year to you and family Pak Zawi....kat luar bole dengar bunyi bunga api....

Zawi said...

Thank you for your new year greetings. I wish you a happy new year too.
Thank you for reminding U Lee of another one of his blockbusters. Hopefully that will spur him on to rewrite it and publish it again.
Have agood new years day.

Zawi said...

Thank you for the appreciation of the post. I couldnt wait for the countdown as I was too tired and sleepy. By the time the clock struck 11 times, I was already in dreamland.
It was nice of you to share the incident of the American guy approaching you to chat to you in Malay. He must have missed speaking the language so much that he cant help homself to listen to what you were talking about.
A friend of mine who married a German lady once related how they treated his wife she went to a governemnt office in KL. The guy manning the counter made this remark "Mat Salleh ni nak apa pula" in a loud voice that elicited laughter among his office mates. My friends wife who is an elderly lady north of 50 at that time cooly shot back "Mak Cik nak minta tolong....." which clearly shocked all of them who around the counter. She had been living in Malaysia for the past 25 years and could understand and speak Malay perfectly well albeit with a German twang.
The moral of the story is, never never assume that people who has a different colour that what is normally the color of Malaysian skin, cannot understand what you say and when manning a public counter, do mind your language and always act with decorum.
I guess last night's fireworks was a sight to behold right?

Moonlight_tears said...

Hi Pak Zawi,
Apa khabar? Terima kasih banyak banyak singgah di blog saya.
I am so glad that you drop me a note, I know you are one of the funniest person in Uncle Lee's blog world. I do read your comments written at his blog. You are a very intersting person, with your funny, sometimes too hilarious comment.
I love your blog too, it's so surreal with your humble, sensible, funny writings. Please keep writing!
Selamat Tahun Baru!


Zawi said...

Hi Nicole,
Khabar baik disini.
I am humbled by the almost immediate reciprocal visit from you.
Now I know of another blogger who find myself or my comments to be funny and hilarious beside my good friends U Lee, Nightwing and Akmal. U Lee often told me that he had been laughing at some of my silly comments so loudly that his lovely wife often thought that he had gone bonkers.
If you have to laugh please control your laugh so that your hubby will not think the same has happened to you.
Nighwing wasn't so fortunate, he had to mute his laugh. Look at what he wrote in U Lee's blog:

It is 1:53am (Sat morning) in Malaysia...had to pop in and see the comment section before turning in..:)
hehe...Pak Zawi, your answer is beautifully written and had me in stiches..if not because my family is sleeping (using dad's lap top outside his room)....would be laughing out loud.

I guess he must mutate himself into Daywing to be able to laugh normally. On the other hand Akmal only laughs with a smile.
Laughing is good in that it releases tension and helps to loosen up some tight muscles in your body. Please laugh whenever you find a reason to laugh even if you have laugh at yourself which I often did.
Have a good day.

Puteri said...

Good for Mr Fuchs who can still travel at his age. My in-laws are in their early 70s and love to travel too esp now as they think they don't have that many years left to travel.

I don't know if I will be up to any travelling when I get to 70! I better do my travelling now esp when I still have the strength to do it!

Zawi said...

Sorry for the late response to this comment of yours. I just came back from Kota Bharu and didn't realise you posted a comment on this blog too until I checked my gmail just now.
I have just celebrated my 57th birthday last October and I doubt I can travel much after my 67th birthday. Even at this age I am affliced ith gout which made my walking very painful. I will try to make a few trips this year and as much as I can next year when my wife retires. We are very keen to perform the Hajj for a second time and perform The Umrah (Smmall Hajj before that so that I can be assured at least I can do for the last time while health permits me.
Several friends who seemed fitter than me have succumbed to stroke which is a pity really as they have just retired and have yet to enjoy the luxury of life called retirement.
My children encouraged me to travel while we still can and not worry about them as they have established their own lives and need no more need for parental care. They told us that we have done enough for them and its time for us to enjoy ourselves. Please tell your parents and parent in laws the same thing. Treat yoursleves to the joy of travelling. Who knows whether we can ever reach 70?