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

Friday, December 28, 2007

18th December 2007

The 18th of December 2007 was an auspicious day.
What was so great about that day you might say. Well for starters it was a Tuesday. Tuesday means MRT at Kak Ton's place in Kelana Jaya.
Didn't I attend the previous MRT and blogged about it?
Yes I did. Everybody knows that I attended the previous MRT by being fetched by no less than Elviza Michele with Acciaccatura as the navigator and later sent home right to my daughters doorstep without having to ride the now well known RapidKL bus no 69 to Amanputra Puchong.
The MRT of 18th December was important as I had permission from Kak Ton to bring my wife Fatthiyah and the whole family of my son Azrin comprising his wife Yani, two and half year old son Irsyad, daughters Ayen who is one a half year and Syakirah 4 months. Even the Indonesian maid came. Hey we need extra hands to keep the two hyperactive Irsyad and his sister Ayen. I have requested an early arrival and so by 12 noon we were in the vicinity of PKNS hockey pitch in Kelana Jaya where Kak Ton's place was located.
When I rode in Elviza's car I wasn't paying much attention to the actual route. All I remember was Kak Ton's plece wasn't far from the field. Elviza took several turns as she wanted to buy some 'buah tangan' for Kak Ton at the convenience shop of 'Seven Eleven'. That detour screwed up my recollection abit. The fact that we were early and non of the expected many cars were there made me doubt that the place we were looking at were really Kak Ton's. A few calls to Elviza failed to get a responce. She must be facing the right honurable judges or something or suspecting me of asking for another ride to Kak Ton's place may have deterred her from answering my call. When in a fix, many silly reasons suddenly play up in my mind. If only I had asked Kak Ton for her phone number all this doubt could be avoided.
It was Yani who gave me the confidence that this was indeed Kak Ton's place as she had seen the photographs I had taken of the bloggers at Kak Ton's house. Smart girl this daughter inlaw of mine. Seeing photograph of the inside of a house can make her visualize the outside of the house. With that booster to my confidence I rang up the door bell. Somebody from insde the house came out and she confirmed my inquiry of whether that house really was the house I was looking for.
I beckoned to the rest of the family in the car to alight and join me in the house.
Profusely apologizing to Kak Ton for being too early and bringing along such a large entourage (others only bring themselves, their spouse or at the most their friends) we immediately trooped to the back of the house where most of Kak ton's grandchildren's toys were located. Kids being kids immediately made it as their home to play with the toys. At least the toys kept them occupied instead of going after the many ornamental things used to decorate the house.
One for the album with Kak Ton.
'Can we play with the toys?' Irsyad was pleading.

The grandchildren making themselves at home

The reason for me to bring my wife along is for her to meet some of my friends from the blogspere. She must know what kind of crowd I am keeping up with. How I wish I could take her to Ontario to meet my good friend U Lee. Since she didn't read blogs she wouldn't know what sort of history or background U Lee had.
Prior to this I had taken her to Ampang Jaya to visit Pak Idrus and his wonderful wife who served us with great nasi minyak. She met Akmal there too.
Being early we were served with the Mee rebus early and on the way back we talked about how great the mee was. Even the children had second helpings. I didn't go for second though since my family had taken a big chunk of the food to be served to the other bloggers who arrived soon after. First to come was Captain Yusoff Ahmad, followed by Bernard Khoo who came with Tony Yew. Soon after Stephen came. Kak Ton's sister Nuraina came next. By then I was already taking leave of Kak Ton and Abang Ruslani.
Kak Ton and Abang Ruslani, the ever gracious host.

Lending an ear to Tony Yew.

Stephen, don't we look like brothers?

I couldn't stay much longer as I had intended to visit a close friend in Pandan Indah. This friend had the misfortune of having a second stroke attack. Now he couldn't even speak normally. This friend was one of the best specimen of a healthy man. Slim and finely built with no noticable tummy. He was a sportsman. Where did he go wrong to deserve such a fate. Maybe an immediate stop from hyperactivity to a slow and mundane one did the work on him. Or the high pressure of his job that did him in.
Halfway to Pandan Indah, we were caught in a heavy traffic snarl. My headache acquired from lack of quality sleep start to build up. Thinking that it will only get worse if I we were to proceed to Pandan Indah, I told Azrin to proceed directly to my other son's place in Shah Alam, much to the relief of Azrin who was driving. He had cautioned me about my plan to go to Pandan Indah at that hour but didn't dare to object being a filial obedient son. I will have to make a spcial visit another time and time my visit perfectly to avoid the high midday traffic level on the way to Pandan Indah.
Getting away from the maddening traffic of KL was one way of easing my headache. Thinking of getting a swim in the pool and have a sauna after that tricked my mind of the pain the headache was giving me. Immediately after arriving at Azuan's 13th floor apartment in Shah Alam, the grandchildren quickly changed to their swimwear. This pressure us adults into doing likewise imediately and so we trooped to the recreation area on the fifth floor where the swimming pool, gym, surau, library and the games room were located. The sauna is one floor below accessible by a short flight of steps. This is the benefit of apartment living though the homes were mere cubicles high up in the sky. Ample fascilities were built in into the package beside the good security. I believe security at Brunsfield Service Apartments was adequate. I wonder how things were at nana's Acapella a few minutes drive away. It being newer and more posh was definitely something to dream about. The tenant immediately in front of Azuan, a Datuk, had moved to Acapella immediately after it was completed. It must be something definitely better than the one at Brunsfiled otherwise why would he vacated his unit at Brunsfiled.
The swimming pool at Brunsfiled is what attracted the grandchildren to come here most. So today, the four of them (Syakirah is still too young to enjoy such facilities) had fun splashing in the childrens pool. I took to the pool before going for the sauna which like most other well maintained facilities on weekdays seemed to be under utilized. What a happy situation for retired people like me who can choose the times to use them whenever I am in Shah Alam. The sauna could really relieve the tension and hopefully the headache in me. How I wished I could have a sauna in Pasir Mas. I used to do my own repairs to my house and up between the ceiling and the roof, the situation is just as warm as any sauna. Maybe I should go up there more often to enjoy a free sauna.

Irsyad swimming in his birthday suit.

They love the play ground too.

When evening came, my eldest daughter Azura arrived bearing the birthday gift for the mother. The 18th of December being my wife's birthday is another reason for this date to be auspicious. After what the children did to me for my birthday in October in Pasir Mas, a similar affair though as small was definitely due. This was the first time in our life that we get to blow candles. Let this be our day even though it was just this once. Remember such events has never been a custom in our family. So let us too at this late age, enjoy it like the grandchildren does. Remember the Shakepeare's Seven Stages of Man? We were getting to the 7th stage hahahaha.
Azuan came home with a cheese cake from Secret Recipe. I heard cakes from Secret Recipes are nice and the children deemed it fit to buy one for the mother to blow her candles on. When the time came everyone including the grandchildren stood around the mother and sang the birthday song. Of course Shakirah didn't stand or sing as she is only 4 months old.

The cheesecake from Secret Recipe.

Irsyad being nearest to the cake blew away most of the lit candles except for one which was left for the grandmother to blow away. Young kids don't know whose birthday it was and must have thought all candles on a cake is meant to be blown off by anybody. Yummy, cheesecakes from Secret recipe is really delicious.

Singing Happy Birthday to mama.

Another one for the album

Next was the giving away of the gift. The eldest grand daughter Lis (Real name Nor Alia Jazleen, the one who called herself Budak Puchong) was given the honour to hand over the gift to her grandma. It was a Dior's perfume, the 100 ml Tender Poison in a gift box bound by a Dior ribbon. The gift definitely brought a happy smile to my wife. She was happy to be remembered on her birthday with a gift rather than the usual sms and phone calls from the children which was the norm for earlier birthdays.

Tok Ma proudly posing with the gift from the children.

Opening the gift.

The sarong is definitely comfortable at home. Why cant we wear it to the office?
With that done over we began to shovel in our dinner, so happy to be together with our children and grandchildren again. Azini, Lokman and daughter Nur Aqila Balqis were too faraway in Labuan to join us.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Memorable Experience Riding A Bus

In my ealier blog I wrote why I will never ride a bus again in KL. Read it here if you havent read it. The reason for it can be found at the end of this blog.

It was easy for me to get out of Amanputra that Sunday morning to get to KLCC as my daughter wasn't going anywhere and there was her hubby's car that they could have used. So the Kelisa was convenient to take me to the bus stop in Putra Perdana which previously I had found to be exactly 1,684 steps away from her home. I used the kancil to get to the Putra Perdana Bus stop less tha 2 km from home. Parking the car I walked towards the 3 rapid KL's busses parked some distance away. I asked the bus driver which bus will be moving out first and he pointed to the bus and told me it will be going out at 8.45 am which was just in 10 minutes time and the one that he is driving will be moving out at 9.05 am. Hey I didn't have to ask him to say "Seven Eleven" to find out that he was a Kelantanese and he gave a friendly smile when I immediately changed my lingo to the Kelantanese dialect. His name was Maizaki. Very rare name among Kelantanese in the same genre of Elviza Michele I thought. I asked Maizaki to join me for breakfast at the Indian Shop nearby which he declined saying that he had had his breakfast. I had a tosai which was pretty good by my non Indian palate.

A Metro Bus is another that ply the Putra Perdana - KL route but stops at Kota Raya Bus stand.

This is how it looked inside a RapidKL bus with Maizaki at the wheel.

By the time I returned to the bus stand, the 8.45 bus was gone and I took the ride on Maizaki's almost empty bus and he picked up more passengers along the way and disgorged most of them at IOI mall in Puchong. I observed the place to ensure that I wont miss the landmark of the place when I have to wait for Elviza to pick me up to go to Mee Rebus Tuesday at Kak Ton's Tok Mommy's home. The bus moved on and after slightly more than an hour I reached my first destination of Pasar Seni. There was still the LRT to ride ride on and I was late for my first meeting with Akmal of Wise Up at KLCC. I smsed Akmal about my late arrival at KLCC and since Akmal came via LRT himself he said he will wait for me at the exit to KLCC. It was the first time that I met Akmal, and after a brief 'apa khabar' or something of that kind we walked to the nearest gents as I was at the end of my ability to contain whatever that I was holding up in my bladder. To tell the truth we didn't 'cuddle' up like Akmal said it on the blog on his site. We didn't even hug each other. If he were a girl like the one who sold me the laptop, it may have happened.

Tiffany, the salesgirl who sold the laptop to me.

After being relieved of that burden I was carrying in my bladder then only I managed to size up this young blogger from my own district of Pasir Mas. Akmal in the blogspehere is an older matured person than this 19 year old boy who is even younger than my youngest children. Ask any of the other bloggers who know Akmal via his blog and they will say the same thing of him. Most were surprised after knowing that Akmal is just 19 years old. He even looked the 19 year old that he was.

Yours truly with The Petronas Twin Tower as the backdrop

Akmal had promised to take me to the computer fair in KL Convention Convention next door to the twin tower. Only yesterday he had bought himself a laptop that came with a PCI card that can be used with a phone SIM card to make phone calls and sms at a much cheaper rate using the internet protocol. A common thing you might say, but this one is using your own registerd phone number that the recipient could identify you and call you back with. It was an ASUS weighing in at about 2.8 kg. I was thinking of buying an exactly similar one because I have problem deciding on what to have. All the more so when you are buying at a PC fair where you can be spoilt for choice of laptops in the below RM4,000 range. That is how cheap laptops are nowadays. The same specification could only be had if you have RM10,000 some 5 years ago.

The first stop was the ASUS stall where Akmal bought his laptop. The stall was immediately at the entrance. Akmal must have fallen in love with the ASUS model at first sight. Agreeing that we checked as many brands as possible before I make the final decision to buy my own laptop, we moved on to the next booth selling HP branded laptops after telling the sales person at Asus's stall that we will come back to him afterwards. I told the guy at HP the same thing before stopping at NEC. The NEC brand booth had great looking laptops on display. I would have bought them based on look alone especially those with the superb leather cover on the top casing. We were invited into the booth to have a better discussion on the models that will suit my small budget. I have decided on the set and would have closed the deal then but for the urge to look around more without having to lug a 2 kg weight like Akmal was doing right now with his Asus. After telling them that I would come back later we moved on to the next booth selling Twinheads.

The Twinhead booth displayed a laptop functioning with water being practically poured on its keyborad. Yes, they did just that, let the water from a tap flow on the keyboard. Not that I was impressed with the feat that made me decide that this was the brand that I would have. Its the lightweight and the latest 2 core duo processor and not the older dual core processor. The same processor could cost much more on other brands. The 1.65 kg weight was another plus. Only later that I realized the weight was without the battery. Hahahaha some advertisement. That was quite misleading advertisemnt.

A call to my cousin who had just bought a laptop with about the same specifications confirmed it was a good buy. It was just me not having confidence with my own ability to make a decision. Given the number of possibilities, I guess everybody will face the same problem. The bigger the budget the more difficult to decide as the models available is stupendous. The girl sitting next to Akmal was egging me on to buy as it would be the first sale for their booth and it will be credited to her. We have a special term for such first sale, we call it 'Ghori'. Some Chinese businessman consider the first sale as important as a failure to clinch a deal is tantamount to bad omen and will result in less brisk sale or no sale at all. If you are a hard bargainer as my wife is, you could have got a good price since such believers won't mind to sell at the lowest price just to clinch the first sale of the day. An item may still be sold even at a loss sometimes. The final revealation that buying from them is good when her supervisor reluctantly told me that he lives in Puchong. He thought nobody would even know of Amanputra and how surprise he was when I told him I was from Amanputra too, just a some 10 doors away from him. This is too good to be true as having somebody who knows your computer inside out can come in handy when you have problems with it later.
With all the payment concluded via the credit card, we trudged out to KLCC foodcourt to fill up our now empty stomach. The place was full. Not even a seat for two. We saw a table with the crockery still uncollected. Like a waiter I took all of them to the person who was washing the dishes. He was happy that I did the job for him and I was happy we got a table.

Shoving some money into Akmal's hand, he was given the task of deciding and buying what food to have for our lunch. I was to look after our precious computers the total price of which could easily pay for the price of an old car. It took him quite a long time to come back with two bowls of laksa sheikh or something and a glass of drink for himself. As for me, I wanted fresh orange juice. It took him another long while and by the time he came back I have swallowed all of my delicious bowl of laksa. That was how I managed to take a photograph of him drooling over his laksa. There wont be such a chance if we were to start eating at the same time.

Akmal drooling over his laksa sheih. I have finished mine by then.

We went down to the surau for our Zohor prayer taking turns to do it so that our valuables were safe. Who knows somebody may want to kill two birds with one stone, praying to God and at the same time steal something. Just to be safe. Most of those doing the prayers were quite young. Only a few of them sported the white colored hairs or at least a mixed one with some whites showing in between the blacks. Non were baldies. How come? Ain't the probability of the older ones meeting their maker is higher than the younger ones like Akmal for instance?

Spacious male prayer room at KLCC. No excuse for you to miss your 'solat'.

We went early to Coffee Club above Kunikuniya Bookstore and had coffee. It was another hour before the others and Awang Goneng with his lovely spouse Kak Teh came for the signing of GUIT.

The Twinheads.

We chit chat among the bloggers and get to know each other more since it was the first time that we met each other. This went on till 6.00 before we break up and headed for home. Akmal and me stopped at the surau again to perform the Asar prayers. Before we reached the surau we saw the Nandos outlet which we failed to locate during our search for our lunch.

It didn't take us long to board the LRT and in no time I was at the Klang Bus stand. Here my nightmare with RapidKL bus begins. No RapidKL 69 was insight. The only one that goes to Putra Perdana near to Amanputra. Bus after bus came. There was a scuffle where I saw a man was manhandled, probably a pickpocket being caught by palin clothes policemen. The bus stands are where the pickpockets are active and there are signs asking bus users to beware of pickpockets. Another man was seen trying to sell bus tickets but was warned by a bus worker not to buy tickets from him. The guy selling the ticket just cooly walk away. It was only at 8.30 PM after a wait of more than an hour's wait that bus 69 came. The many passengers waiting to board jostled each other to rush for limited seats. It was packed tight. Smelly bodies standing so close together with shouts of requests for the aircond to be turned to the highest level of coldness and replied back by the driver that it was already at its maximum level of coldness. More stops to pick up more passengers with some potential unable to board due to the lack of space and the driver insisting that those inside try to move even further inside to enable more passengers to board. No fare was collected as the driver was now bent on helping the people to get home. The jovial driver helped by being a comedian by imating the voices of any ethnic groups to cheer up the half suffocating passengers. In one moment he was bantering in Chienese bazaar Malay, another time in Indian Bazaar Malay and yet another time in impeccable Indonesian lingo. The only language he seemed unable to immitate is the Afrikaan or the Bangladeshi language that make up the many ethnicities of the bus passengers. Only after reaching Puchong were there a noticeable number of reduction of the bus passengers. One seated passenger alighted and I grabbed his seat after more than an hour of standing. My legs were then in a state of cramps. Being able to sit down was bliss. Less passenger means more air to breathe and the aircond was feeling cooler and more comfortable.
We reached Amanputra and an Indonesian lady passenger told the driver the destination she was going. Mimicking an Indonesian accent the driver told her that she was on the wrong bus and that she had to backtrack to Puchong to take another bus to her destination. She was lightly ridiculed for not telling him earlier so that he could had helped her to get to her destination, all done in jest. A lesson well learnt by her that if you dont know your destination, ask the bus driver. He was really helpful and didn't charge her any extra for the extra trip.

I alighted from the bus in a state of shock to find the place where I left my daughter's car was actually a night market where tents were used as shelter for the goods being sold. How on earth am I going to drive out of the sea of tents. Luckily I didnt have to wait long as it was raining and the night market was at its tail end since not many customers would be out by then. By 10.30 PM I was able to drive out of the night market area for my daughter's home less than two kilometers away.

The bus ride gave me an insight of how the ordinary people had to endure daily on their return trip home from work. How lucky I am that I don't have to endure this discomfort daily. This was just a once of a life time experience as I will never ride in a RapidKL bus again, at least not at this hour of the day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Am Back Home

This posting id to tell you all my friends in KL that I am now back home in Pasir Mas. We travelled by road from KL via the PLUS Highway exiting at Kuala Kangsar for the East West Highway that took us through Jeli and Tanah Merah.
It was when entering Tanah Merah that we got stuck in a traffic jam that took us hours to reach this small town. The reason for the jam? They were resurfacing a section of the the road to Bukit Bunga from Tanah Merah pock marked by potholes due to the rainy weather. Doing it on a rainy day will render the newly laid surface useless before the PM's arrival on the 21st Dec 2007.
The PM is due to co officiate the opening ceremony of a new bridge linking Bukit Bunga in Kelantan to Bukit Ta (Buketa in Thai) in Thailand.
I have yet to survey the damage by flood in Pasir Mas and will post news about it for readers who are interested to know more about it. Meanwhile it is still raining out there so even if the flood has subsided, it may come back.
Selamat Hari Raya EidulAdha to all fellow moslems.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Kampong Home In Ampang Jaya

It was the 15th. of December 2007, a Saturday. What was so special about that date and day you would say? Very special. I was going to Pak Idrus's home in Ampang Jaya. I have met him once at Kunikuniya a KLCC over a large cup of coffee. He asked me to visit his home one day and if possible to bring my wife along to meet his wife and make it a friendship of two families. I told him I would and will do so after my wife came over from Pasir Mas on the 14th. of December 2007
An email from Pak Idrus excited me greatly as he was asking me to visit his home on that Saturday the 15th since he would be having a lunch meet with his fellow Kelab Volvo Klasik (KVK) memebers. How opportune can this be.
I shot back a reply confirming my attendance and request an earlier arrival than the 12 noon as per his invitation. Another of my request is to ask for an extra two guests as my son would be driving me there and being just married he wouldn't want to leave his wife behind. Both requests were granted.
An sms from Akmal asked me if I was going to Pak Idrus home for the lunch which I confirmed with a solid yes but apologised in advance that I couldn't help him to get there as my son's small kancil will be full with four adults. Compact cars are really small.

My son Azuan came all the way from Shah Alam to fetch us. He came alone as his wife Izzah wanted to stay home. So there were only three of us instead of four. I gave him Pak Idrus address and the directions given by Pak Idrus on how to get to his place. Pak Idrus said it would be easy for my son to find his place as after reaching Ampang Putri Specialist hospital, take the road to Kelab Darul Ehsan and after SPCA building on the left ride over the two bumps. After the second bump, turn left and proceed uphill and the first road is Jalan Dua after which is Jalan 4. At this junction take Jalan 4D. The second terrace house with the 'hutan' with a brown gate is his house. Simple enough rite? Not when you were looking for SPCA building expecting it to be the size of Ampang Putri. Not that easy when the left turn turn out to be a right turn actually. I made the mistake when recalling from my poor memory. Not that easy when MPAJ forgot to arrange the the alphabetically named roads in alphabetical order and forgot or missed the road 4B. 4H doesnt mean that you are faraway from 4D. The sight of the green Volvo 122 parked behind Pak Idurs's house and walking to the other side and seeing him standing on his serambi brought great relief to the driver who kept pestering me to call Pak Idrus and get further directions from him.

Arriving at Pak Idrus's house.

It was not quite 12 noon when we reached there and no other guests were there yet. That gave me ample time to start shooting pictures of his house from outside and inside. An electric gate opened outward to let us in. A very modern feature in a kampong look alike home. A short walk up the short flight of stairs took us to the 'serambi' of the house which is a typical feature of a Malay house. Food were already served at the 'serambi' but despite our hunger due to a very light breakfast, we chose to engage our hosts in small chats. My wife met Pak Idrus's wife Puan Asmah and after that she settled on the comfortable chairs in the lounge area while the very big flat screen TV was showing some programmes which never attract the attention of any o f us or even the host. Pak Idrus was indeed a gracious host and engaged my wife and son in exciting chat while his wife was busy in the kitchen I prefer to click away with my camera first by visiting the now famous 4 star restroom in his house. It was a comfortable one indeed. I tried the pedestal toilet for comfort. I had to do it after drinking those acasia drink as advised by Puteri for people with high water retention in the body. The drink made my bladder reach its maximum ability to contain the fluid in quite a short while from my last visit of the loo at my daughters place before leaving. Any moment longer and I would have wetted my pants.

Food delicious food were ready when we arrived. It was served at the serambi.

The large TV screen would be fun to watch the movies.

First to impress me was the brown metal gate. It was an automatic gate. Very convenient if you are in a hurry to escape from falling rains. Next was of course the serambi replete with wooden railings. Pak Idrus's pet frog will croak the minute you passed by it to walk up the few steps to the serambi. If you are just coming for a casual chat with the host, sitting around the table at the serambi should suffice. As I had bigger misson than that I had to ask the gracious host to show me around. Near the kitchen I could see another flight of steps to another room where Pak Idrus stock his 6,000 books in his study. No wonder this man could write so much. He reads alot. I forgot to take a good look and a snap of the kitchen. I will have to ask Pak Idrus for a picture of it as I guess it's so beautiful and modern that he will want everyone to share it beauty.

The serambi is a nice place for visitors to chat.

The decor of the lounge area was definitely very pleasant to the eyes. Everything was neatly arranged. The lady of the house must have loved it very much and spent lots of time arranging and dusting the many mementos from their travels and gifts by loved ones in such a neat manner. I would have spent more time there if not for the need to fill up my growling stomach which was by then trying to outdo the croaking of Pak Idrus pet frog.

The gracious host in his living room.

Two attentive listener listening to stories from Pak Idrus.

Didn't I tell you the rest room is classy?

The shower room is enclosed keeping the rest of the area dry.

It would not do much justice if I didn't tell you anything about Pak Idrus's mini garden. Located at the front end of his serambi, this garden seemed elevated from the road level by some 5 ft of height. That made it all the more fascinating as sitting at the serambi will give you quite a vista view of the neighbourhood. Though a small garden, it was complete with many plants among which was the orchid plants. A small pool with fishes swimming around made the garden complete. It was at this garden that Pak Idrus bribed the wild squirrels with fruits no less than apples to make them visit him as often as they could. I now know that the ciku fruits were not good enough to make the couple of squirells at my home to pose for me for the kind of photography sessions that Pak Idrus had managed to get with his squirel models.

The mini garden where Pak Idrus kept his guard frog. The frog will never fail to greet a visitor.

Puan Hasmah, the lovely wife of Pak Idrus.

While we were having our lunch, the frog gave another croak announcing the arrival of our mutual good friend Akmal. Akmal had taken a taxi to get there. He joined us for the lunch of delicious multicoloured nasi minyak with mutton, beef and chicken curry. Such a varied servings and you can't blame the host if you still cannot find something of your choice. The dalcha was nice too. For desert the host gave us musk mellon, chocolate fruit cakes made specially by one of his children. There were delicious biscuits too but after 3 helpings of nasi minyak, I had to forgo all the other delicacies except the chocolate cake which was too delicious to pass.

Akmal in the dark shirt came in time to join us for the lunch.

Pak Idrus's friend by the name of Encik Ahmad who used to work in Sarawak came next. Pak Idrus spent sometime doing his goverment service in Sarawak of which he had many fond memories. Another guest who came was an Encik Kamaruzaman whose face looked all too familiar to me. Pak Idrus introduced him as a former Felcra Officer (Federal L and Coordination and Rehabilitation Authority). Upon recollection, I now remeber that he was The Director General of that organization. Never too scared to voice how I felt about him as being familiar, I told him that I was an ex Felda (Federal Land Development Authority) staff. I narrowed it down to the Training Division and threw down a few names for good measure to rekindle his memory. Bingo, he was an ex officer at Felda too before joining Felcra. In fact he was my boss when I was in the the training division. I opted to go to the plantation side to get better promotional prospect. It was only for a while that I served under Encik Kamaruzaman and hence the poor recollection of him but remember him I did. He invited me to his home nearby to Pak Idrus which I declined as I want to pay another visit to Pak idrus and drag him along to Encik Kamaruzaman's place to reminince about old times.

My Ex boss En. Kamaruzaman. He was the head of The Training Division when I was a training instructor in one of Felda's Training School.

More guests of Pak Idrus came, mostly from his Kelab Volvo Kelasik. How I wished I could stay on as Volvo classic is another dear subject to me as I had rebuilt one my self when I was in living in Kuala Krai. If you see the Volvo 122 with the registration number MB 7363 running around in Puchong soon, you know it was once my baby. The car is being refurbished again by its current owner Mr. Ng Kah Sing, an old friend of mine.

A certain Dr. Chow Chee Keong who was originally from Malacca must have left the car in Kelantan after upgrading it to a newer model, a 144 or even a 164 probably. He was a medical practitioner doing his practise in Kelantan.

Taking leave from our gracious hosts Pak Idrus and Kak Asmah, we left for my sister's place in Gombak, a sister whom I have not visited for some time. With a son doing the driving, visiting places around KL is so much fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Its The Tag Thing Again

Thinking that I have managed to escape doing the tag after Ruby Ahmad accidentally deleted her tag posting and bragging to the world that I won't have to do the tag was a great mistake. Rita Ho immediately put the tag on me as she couldn't bear the sight of me grinning from ear to ear after escaping the tag by Ruby. Like it or not how could I not be sporting enough to do it after being tagged by such great friends especially one who is recuperating from a broken leg? So Ruby, for your pleasure and Ruby's pleasure of seeing me answering the 35 or so questions, I give you my sincerest answer as only an honest man could do it. I hope none of the readers will be pissed off by my honest answers. Other wise just dont continue reading beyond this point.

Since you have chosen to carry on reading, don't blame me if you are pissed off.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.

My grand daughter Nur Alya Jazlin. She said that the smell of my fart was so bad that it could have killed a small animal. A seven year old girl speaking her mind.

2. What were you doing at 0800?

Walking with my wife to Pasar Tani Shah Alam near the Shah Alam Stadium. It is there every Sunday morning. It was quite a big one and you could get many things there. I bought a second hand transformer to bring down the 220 Volts of the Malaysian electricity to 110 Volts suitable for my daughter's radio which was bought from the US. At RM20 it was a good buy only to find that the radio was not in a working condition.

Pasar Tani Shah Alam as seen from the balcony of my son's apartment.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

Reading Ruby Ahmad's comment that now there are two hounding me since Rita Ho has ganged up with her to get me to do the tag.

4. What happened to you in 2006?

I retired from the government services. At last I was free what I had been dreaming of doing. Doing nothing.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?

Never remember saying anything aloud. My memory must be failing me now. Sign of old age catching up on me.

6. How many beverages did you have today?

I have to plead senility again for not remembering how many. Anyway do you really want to know?

7. What color is your hairbrush?

The last time I checked myself I was of a different gender than the one who uses the hairbrush.

8. What was the last thing you paid for?

Ah this was too recent to forget. I paid for the second hand transformer at the Pasar Tani.

9. Where were you last night?

At my sons's place in Shah Alam. Were you expecting me to be somewhere else? No way when my wife was with me hahahaha.

A flowering Bungor tree (Lagerstroema speciosa) being used as landscape around Brunsfield Service Apartment in Section 13 Shah Alam.

10. What color is your front door?

The last time I was home it was in dark brown. Could have changed if my wife paid somebody else to repaint it just to surprise me after being away fom home for a month.

Can you see the color of my front door? I cant.

11. Where do you keep your change?

My trouser's pocket. Who knows I may need them to ride the RapidKL Bus again tomorrow and they require the exact amount.

12. What’s the weather like today?

About 30 degrees C. Cloudy. Can't describe more details.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

I love the one with the yam flavour. Must be the kampung guy that I am being raised on tubers and all those kinds of food.

14. What excites you?

Reading great comments from friends on my latest postings on my blogsite.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?

Yes when it is abit longer. I do it once in every 3 weeks.

16. Are you over the age of 25?

Yes. How I wish to be 25 again so that I can relive my life, avoid doing all the mistakes that I made.

17. Do you talk a lot?

Depends on the topic and who is engaging me in the talk. If it is Pak Idrus of in passing - malaysian, of course I will talk alot as he loves to talk to each other.

18. Do you watch the O.C.?

What is O.C?

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?

None. I guess Steven Spielberg dont count right?

20. Do you make up your own words?

No. There are enough words in English and Malay words to communicate with. At the worse I can always fall back on my Kelantanese dialect. Do you want to know who did? My youngest granddaughter, she coined a few new words. It sounds something agaaga or something and I can't decipher what she mean't by that.

21. Are you a jealous person?

Who isn't? Even my good friend U Lee became one when a certain Tony walked away with his girlfriend.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.

Ashaari Amin. He told me he has the technology to detect breast cancer at an early stage. I will give you his contact number should you ever need his services. Remember, If it has reached the stage of a lump it is already quite too late.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.

Kamaruddin. I won't tell you more about him.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?

My daughter Azura.

25. What does the last text message you received say?

Sorry. Its private and confidential.

26. Do you chew on your straw?

How to chew when you are toothless?

27. Do you have curly hair?

Not when I keep it short.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?

Back home to Pasir Mas.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?

Can't think of anybody. Everybody seems nice to me. I will tell you when I meet one someday.

30. What was the last thing you ate?

Fried banana, Do you want some?

31. Will you get married in the future?

How could I? Though I can marry another three wives, my wife won't let me.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?

Never see a movie anymore since I started blogging.

33. Is there anyone you like right now?

I will skip on this one. Naming one will make the others jealous.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?

I do it everyday. Showing a good example to the grandchildren is good as everybody should chip in to help do the house chores.

35. Are you currently depressed?
Yes. I have yet to find a way how to tell my wife that I bought a new notebook which she will never approve. Please God help me.

36. Did you cry today?
Not yet. I will only cry after reading U Lee's sad story. Since no new one was posted today I havent cried yet.

37. Why did you answer and post this?
Ruby Ahmad reminded me thet there are now two ladies hounding me to do this tag. That means at least there will be two readers who will be reading it. What more could I ask?

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.
Is this really a survey? What are you studying? I cant think of five people who loved to be tagged. I think the following 2 people will do it:

j.t of 'JAQUI's CURVE'

fye_d.flowright of 'Flying Without Wings'

Is there anybody else who wants to be tagged? Just indicate it in your comment and I will add you to my tag list.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MRT @ Kak Ton's Place.

I had the opportunity of my life to attend Mee Rebus Tuesday (MRT) at Kak Ton's place in Kelana Jaya. My attendance was made possible by courtesy of Elviza Michele who had volunteered to pick me up at IOI Megmall Puchong and later send me back to Amanputra Puchong. Without her kind assistance, I would have never made it to Kak Ton's place as I don't even have her address. Elviza came together with Acciaccatura as she herself wasn't so sure of the way around Puchong. Founding IOI Megamall wasn't difficult as it is the most prominent landmark in Puchong.
Only the traffic held her back from reaching there at the agreed time of 11.30 AM. Since Elviza was the only one who had been to Kak Ton's place before, she was allowed to show off her expertise of driving us around Kelana Jaya only to be told by Acciaccatura later that she should have taken a more direct route to Kak Ton's place by driving straight along Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong. We had been driving all along LDP from Puchong. A left turn before the PKNS hockey pitch and a few more turns took us to Kak Ton's place.
In the absence of Mat Salo, I became the official photographer. This post is only meant to show some pictures and show you who were at the MRT of 11th Dec 2007. Please use the pictures as you deem fit. They have yet to be resized though.

The group photo. Kerp is always the star in group photo.
Standing from left: Captain Yusof, Galadriel. Middle row: Kak Ton, Raden Galoh, Acciaccatura, Pi Bani, Elviza. Sitting: Kerp. Squatting: Yours truly. Ofcourse you cant see Rocky, he is behind the camera. Shanghai Stephen was still at the table accompanying Pasquale with his mee rebus.

Kak Ton's other half, Abang Ruslani. A short chat later revealed that we were both involved with Kumpulan Fima once, with him being the Insurance Consultant and me the Project Officer of Cashew Industries of Malaysia, Padang Saujana, Besut. If I had known him earlier, I would have stayed on with Kumpulan FIMA as he was so close to the late Chairman of Kumpulan FIMA, Tan Sri Basir Ismail.

Can you guess who is the demure looking lady seated between Raden Galoh and Acciccatura? If you can tell me the right answer I will think of a present for you. Those who were at the MRT are not qualified to participate.

The star being photographed with his female fans.

Husna with Elviza trying to hide her face from the camera while Kak Ton gave us a sweet smile.

Dino with Shanghai Stephen and Galadriel.

Kerp loves the mee rebus so much that he put it close to his heart while Captain Yusof gave us his Monalisa smile.

Captain Yusof telling tales of his seafaring days. "When I sailed the high seas, the waves were so big", he seemed to say.

How cuddly can you get?

Dino reciting the doa before having his mee rebus.

Yours truly with Akhiruddin Attan aka Rocky of the famous Rocky's Bru. Rocky and H J Angus were instrumental in getting me to blog beyond the first blog. Unfortunately my ignorance about how to manage the blogsite led me to delete that first blog where I wrote the reasons why I have to blog and join the other thousands of 'goblogs' in Malaysia. Some politicians hate goblogs as they tend to tell the truth to the public which may tarnish their 'good clean image' that they have been displaying to the public. Their good clean image is vital to their political survival. So now you know why politicians hate goblogs.

Can you guess whose unfinished ciggarette this is? See who felt guilty and owned up in the comment box for this blog.

The following bloggers attended MRT of 11th December 2007 at Kak Ton's place.

Pi Bani of Pi's Twist

Kerp of Let's Wheel

Acciaccatura of So What Now? (Apa Lagi Ya?)

Captain Yusoff of The Ancient Mariner

Galadriel of Euphoria In Misery

Raden Galoh of Onebreastbouncing

Pasquale of Barking Magpie

Stephen Francis of Shanghai Fish

Elviza of Write Away

Akhiruddin Attan of Rocky's Bru

Pak Zawi of Life As I See It.

Also present, Rusdy Mustapha of NST.

On behalf of the bloggers who attended MRT of 11th December 2007, I would like to say thank you to our gracious hosts Kak Ton of Tok Mommy and her other half, Abang Ruslani whose ability to make my first visit to their home felt so welcomed will be remembered forever .