Friday, February 1, 2008

Kota Bharu In Pictures Part 4

Today I am free as my son inlaw who is back from Labuan for a short course in KL came back for a few says break to see his daughter and he has taken Balqiss to his mom's place in the next village. With this free time I would like to continue our exploration of the town of Kota Bharu and its vicinity to update you the cyber travellers on the Kota Bharu of today as of 30th January 2008.

This posting is specially dedicated to my friend U Lee from Ontario Canada, who some 23 years ago, had painted this town red. He had also used the very popular beach wellknown by it's initial of PCB which stood for Pantai Cinta Berahi meaning The Beach of Passionate Love which the present state government found to be abit sexy and thus renamed it Pantai Cahaya Bulan meaning the Beach of Moonlight which is very apt as the ruling party in the state carries the logo of a full moon. Anyway since the beach and the village is known more by its initial of PCB, nothing is amiss unless people like U Lee choose to come back to Kota Bharu one day and ask to be taken to Pantai Cinta Berahi, the taxi driver who might be carrying him will correct him on the name change.
As usual before you proceed reading this, I encourage newcomers to this blogsite and all those who are not familar to Kota Bharu to carry out the following procedures:

Click on the URL below to see a map of Kota Bharu at the bottom of the page. Please enlarge the map, focussing on Kota Bharu until you can locate the intersection where Jalan Mahmood, Jalan Padang Garong, on the left and Jalan Pengkalan Chepa to the right meets. We will be going straight ahead into Jalan Kebun Sultan. You are on the right track if you can locate our present location as we wait for the traffuc light to turn green.
Please open Life As I See It in another browser window to read this post and refer to this map from time to time to see where I am leading you. Enjoy the rideabout.

We are at the traffic light of Jalan Pengkalan Chepa and Jalan Padang Garong. If we turn right we will go to Pengkalan Chepa where the airport is and to the left is Jalan Padang Garong where the road ends abrubtly in front of The Store Supermarket and where Giant Supermarket will make its appearance soon.

Look right, did you see The Kamdar Store? They too want to have their presence felt in Kota Bharu.

Diagonally to us is a new building going by the name of Center Point. CIMB Bank who financed the project when it was still known as Bank Bumiputra occupies the lower floors. Locationwise it is a superb location but parking is quite difficult here.


The traffic light has turned green and so we moved straight ahead into Jalan Kebun Sultan. Look to your left and see the magnificient architecture of The Dewan Perniagaan China which is dwarfed by the newer Wisma Abrar.

Abrar International was once an iconic public listed company once chaired by someone no less than the present Second Finance Minister and Mun Loong was in its stable of companies. The guy who started Abrar International was a very intelligent local boy who chose to do actuary science because it was purported to be the most difficult subject. Nothing less is challengging enough for him. Being perceived to be a close aide to the then Deputy Prime Minister popularly known as DSAI has its downside that led to his downfall from grace. He was made insolvent even though Abrar Discount, one of the companies in his stable of companies, is so profitable that selling that single company alone could solve his insolvency problem. But alas when you are stuck on the otherside of the fence, nothing will go your way. So this bright young Malay entrepreneur from Kelantan is now stuck with a debt of about eleven million ringgit. The laws are applied on him such that he can't liquidate any of his assets.

On the opposte side of the road I saw this large poster of Dato' Annuar Tan The State Exco for Tourism. From the look of it, everybody is prepared for the GE. Rumour has it that Tengku Razaleigh will be pitted against him too while he will be the incumbent for the parliamentary seat of Gua Musang. It will be interesting to note the result if the contest really happens.

I wonder how the translation of PAS is in Chinese as the translation of the one in English seems to differ from the one in Malay.

We have to move on. We are on route D2 on the map and the road is still Jalan Kebun Sultan. We will just drive ahead and after passing two traffic lights we reached the junction of Jalan Wakaf Mek Zainab and still on route D2. We turned left heading for Kampung Cina. Almost immediately opposite the junction to Jalan Atas Banggol watch out for a big building to the right with the name of Kelantan Match Factory. This factory produce matches by the symbol of a red chilly. Somebody mentioned about the Kelantan Match Factory and I had a small headache trying to look up the person who made the comment so that I can mention him/her here.

During those old days lighters were unheard of. Matches are the only source od fire unless you are going back to our primitive ways of producing a fire rubbing sticks against a piece of wood or the more sphisticated way of using a 'Gobek Api' which I last saw when I was about 12 years old. (I will post the picture of a gobek api when I get it.)

Anyway this factory belongs to the family of a former classmate of mine who is now a well known name in the theater circles. Those who loves theater definitely knows Shabera Shaik. We were classmates when I was doing my sixth form in Sultan Ismail College. I remember Shabera vividly as she used to come to school in a car longer than two proton sagas joined together from end to end. I remember her too from the fiery oratory when we were on the opposite side of a debating team in the class. How I wish she was on my side then.

We took a 3 oclock at the roundabout at Kampung Cina. The route is now designated as D1. In the map the road is still named Jalan Pantai Cinta Berahi. Just ignore it as this map must be quite old. After the roundabout in Kampung Cina I saw the sign of a Chinese temple by the name of Tokong Mek. I will have to skip it for now as it is slightly off our road as it is located quite close to the river. From my previous trips on river cruises along the Kelantan River, we could see this temple clearly from the river boat.

The sight of a traditional Chinese house on the other side of the road caught my sight. The architecture of this house is peculiar to Kelantan. Read more about it in my friend's Leong Siok Hui's take on this houses in A marriage of traditions published in The Star Weekender of March 24, 2007.


You won't miss this prominent house of Songket in Penambang on the route to PCB. It is the famous Che Minah Songket. Don't worry they will accept your credit cards here.

Kite making can be best demonstrated by Pak Wil at Ismail & Sons batik outlet. Pak Will brought the demonstration of kite making to such a finese that no words need to be spoken to describe how he makes his kites. I did't stop at his place to see how he is now as the last time I saw him doing the demonstration, he was so fragile that he can't even spin his tops for guests to see. Who knows if he isn't around anymore? I will update you about him in my next blog.


This shop is located beside the entrance to Ismail & Sons. It is a place where the making of silverware can be viewed. You can stop here to buy some as souvenirs.

Corns on the cobs are sold along the road to PCB. If you are hungry, just stop by to enjoy boiled sweet corn going for RM1 for a cob. As the cob is quite large, it is quite filling.

Hey is the election war already declared here? Saw these on the way to PCB.


When we reach Kg Semut Api, the village where the beach is located, we saw many batik shops displaying colorful batiks for sale. Find a batik piece to take hom as souvenirs. This village is home to many small cottage industries making batik.
Another shop.


Jalan Pantai Cahaya Bulan ends abruptly at the seashore. Previously you could see the sea from here but with the construction of the wave breaker levees, you will have to climb the levee to see the shore.

As you stand towards the sea, PCB resort is on your right. A row of new chalets has been built at the resort. I guess the old ones must have succumbed to the attack from the big waves since it was made of wood.

To our right is a row of eating stalls displaying such food as in these pictures.

Where the old foodstalls stood, they have lined up beach umbrellas to shelter the many visitors that will congregate here in the evenings. As we were there during the hot noon hours, the place is still deserted.

Come in the evening and the ambience will be better.


Feast your eyes on these fried lobster. Ask them for the price first so that you won't be shocked once you started digging into the delicious seafood.


Have you seen a flying boat? Here is one kite in the shape of a boat. It really flies.

More Kites.

The next picture taken on a gloomy day sometime ago is a silhoute of my son whose son wanted to see where the sound of the waves was coming from because it was obscured by the levee.

We need to rush back to Kota Bharu to visit my wife's brother in law Tuan Haji Hussin Musa who is leaving for KL soon to have a bypass done at IJN KL. We will back track until we reach the Jalan Atas Banggol to see Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Chung Hwa where I had intended to send my son Azuan to study after he had completed his primary school education in a chinese school in Gua Musang. The idea was aborted due to accomodation problem and he went to Sekolah Menengah Ahmad Maher instead because the school has a hostel.

I am sorry to say goodbye to you now without taking you to Pengkalan Chepa to visit the new airport. While there I promise to show you arond MRSM, Royal Kelantan Golf Club, Penjara Pengkalan Chepa and the industrial area of Kota Bharu. Can you wait for Kota Bharu In Pictures Part 5? It will be the finale.

28 comments:

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Ahh, PCB...I am recalling an event at the end of 2005, many form-fivers of Falahians fled the hostel at night for our farewell party at PCB. Shhhh,if you happen to be a friend of Ustaz Abd Rahim Otsman, the principle aka mudir of SMKA Falahiah until 2006 or 2007, keep this a secret OK? Hahaha.
Have a nice day ya :)

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

I'm still enjoying the ride, sir. Thank you :)

Zawi said...

Akmal,
Don't worry I don't know anybody at Falahiah except for a nephew who is studying there. Don't worry your secret is safe with me. I can't speak for the others though hahahaha.
I think even the Principal will be proud of you even if you have been that naughty when you were there.
Have a nice day yourself.

Zawi said...

Shah,
I purposely kept the section for Penglan Chepa last as I have not been able to visit the areas around your former house. Need to find time to go there and take photograph before I can write. I manage to get abit of time for the PCB photo because my son inlaw took the baby back to his parents to be cared while he is home.
The next one will be for you and I am determined to find your old home so that you can see them again, if they are still standing.
I am happy that you find the ride enjoyable.

Hi&Lo said...

Pak Zawi,

Thanks for showing around KB. Ahem, ULee once painted the town red.

Pak Zawi, I had heard of the brain behind Abrar. So sad his brilliance was snuffed off by politics and power play of Umno. What an irony of Malay Dilemma (pun intended). It's the height of hypocrisy.

Zawi said...

hi&lo.
It is just the way the game is played. Kill or be killed.
The biggest surprise was when somebody new replace the author of the book as PM, they thought things would change for the better with their former chairman becoming the 2nd Fin Minister. It seemed he just saved his skin and let that fine young man to fend for himself.
Sad case really.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Zawi
When I was in Forms 1-3, my classmates and I used to camp for several nights at Pantai Cinta Berahi during our school holidays. Our Chinese Sience teacher often tagged along and there's nothing we could do about it. I think he really enjoyed our company.

Is there still a crocodile farm in PCB? The family of my classmate used to run it. Our History teacher at the secondary school used to live in that Cik Minah Songket house. We visited him during hari raya open house in that partiuclar house.

I think it is Fauziah Ismail who's wondering about the match factory.
aMiR

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
I think my Mak would love to go back to Kota Bharu as much as I love you postings on the town. She would be delighted to know that the kilang mancis still exists today!
Yes, Abrar's Dr Wan Muhd Husni Sulaiman is a brilliant guy with a double degree in finance and another major I couldn't quite recall now.
I met him once for dinner and was told by some of his close colleagues that when Dr Husni returned fom his studies in the US, he brought home US$1 million after having invested wisely money borrowed from his university friends.
It's a pity how politics can do a lot of damage to one's life. I think his mistake back then was that he was in the wrong camp or be seen in one, irrespective whether or not he was actually linked to one.

Zawi said...

Amir,
Camping by the seaside is always a memorable experience.
The crocodile farm in HB Village is still there. HB stands for Husin Belada.
Your History teacher stayed in Che Minah Songket? Its a large building, I guess it is great to stay there and many tourists stop there so you could meet many of them there.
Thanks for reminding me it was Fauziah. I am getting forgetful nowadays. Even forgot my friend's birthdays. Such things happen when the brain is not functioning well.

Zawi said...

Fauziah,
Please bring your Mak back to Kota Bharu. She would love it. Felt extremely happy that there are people like you who appreciated the effort really worthwhile for me to do it.
It is tragic that such a brilliant mind as Dr. Wan Muhd. Husni is hindered from contributing to the nations economic wellbeing by becoming the target of a political vengeance. I blame it on his so called mentor who was in too much of a hurry to ascend to the throne which should have been his for the taking. Now he is back into the political wilderness due to his folly.
Dr. Wan Muhd Husni is a victim of circumstances due to people's fear of his intelligent mind since he is perceived to be backing the other camp.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Zawi
Yes, Hussin Belada was a top ranking officer in Penjara Pengkalan Chepa. Was classmate with his eldest daughter for many many years. Sharifah Aini was invited to stay at their bungalow in Penjara Pengkalan Chepa once, and we all gave our autographs for the superstar to sign through her.

Yes, I remember our History teacher had to entertain the foriegn customers more than he entertained us. They are from Singapore, the way they talk is the give-away. I think they were buying the merchandise for their shops in Geylang.

Camping by the PCB beach, cooking canned food such as sardin cap ayam and YEO's beef curry, the campfire, and the stroll along the beach at night and what we witnessed ...

aMiR

Zawi said...

Amir,
Sharifah Aini stayed in their Bunggalow not in Penjara Pengkalan Chepa right? Just kidding hahahaha. She would have entertained all the jailbirds with her beautiful melodic voice.
Pray tell us what you witnessed along the beach at night? Did you take any night vision binoculars with you when you were on your rounds?

LadyZ said...

Salam Zawi,
This route is very familiar to me as my in-laws' house is situated along Jalan Kebun Sultan, just outside the entrance of Kompleks Sekolah-Sekolah.
The road you mentioned here "....We are on route D2 on the map and the road is still Jalan Kebun Sultan. We will just drive ahead and after passing two traffic lights ...." is known by the locals as the China Town. If you happen to be there at night you'll see lots of hawkers & Chinese restaurants, and cars parked along the road making the not so wide road quite impassable.
If you turn left (9 o'clock) at the small roundabout at Kampong Cina,just a short distance from it you will see a small market by the river, Pasar Gok Kapur. I like to buy the Thai kerabu betik (som-tham) from one of the stalls, very refreshing to have on a hot afternoon. Re the PCB Resort, it was a dire state when we last checked in last Hari Raya. My family has extended to include a daughter- and son-IL, so need to find rooms for them, as there are not enough rooms at the Main Hse (mum's-IL hse) as it was during Raya. They checked out the next morning and fortunately was able to rent a 3-room completely furnished condo for RM75 a night, for the rest of their stay in KB.
Thank you for the tour and and pictures. Have an enjoyable weekend.

Zawi said...

LadyZ,
Since your last visit was pretty recent, I guess you were right. Most of the resorts there (Perdana Resort included are pretty rundown. If u r adventorous enough you could find furnished bunggalows that has 3 bedrooms going as low as RM120 pernight and can accomodate the whole family with extra mattresses to sleep in the hall way for the young kids. Numerous guesthouses too has sprang up around Desa Cemerlang area.
Pasar Gok Kapur is my favourite for fresh fish in the evenings. Couldnt describe it in my post as it will be too detailed and Rakinzoku described it well in his blogs.
Thanks for the description of the som tham available at the pasar. That makes me salivate already.

Kak Teh said...

salam, I have not been back to kelantan for so long and this trip it was only Trengganu, trengganu and trengganu. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the support and friendship. we are now back in London.

Rita Ho said...

Zawi ... Wee hours here. I was enjoying the tour until we reached those PCB foodstalls! The batter fried seafood looks so YUMMY, I am hungry and all I have is grapes. :(

Do you know if those kites are exported? How big are they when folded? That flying boat will make David a happy man as he loves kite-flying and sailing. We looked for one to bring home when we were in KL and Langkawi last year. No success.

Looking forward to Part 5. :)

Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
We know you had a busy schedule when you were here. Happy to note that the Chief minister did take some interest in GUIT and as such it can be used as souvenirs for Visit Terengganu year. Your mission is thus considered a success with GUIT going into reprint.
Thanks for the visit Kak Teh.

Zawi said...

Rita,
The flying boat is quite small. I presume they are foldable. Will check on them ASAP and inform you about them. Is that the only model you are interested in? I will see what else they have and let you know.
Part 5 will come as soon as I have some pictures taken for the area around Pengkalan Chepa.

Rita Ho said...

Zawi ... Thank you very much for offering to check out the kites for me. I appreciate it and please, no rush and only when you have time to spare.

David like all kites but will prefer a Malaysian design, something reflective our culture & heritage. I guess it finally depends on how easy it will be to ship or bring the kite back to the US without damaging it. :) Do you fly them??

Thanks again, Zawi.

Rahman Hariri said...

Bro Zawi, thanks for the tour. In the 70s when we there, PCB is popular for us. Of course then it was a different-name PCB, but the ambience was similar then. The beach was of course more natural then, unlike today. Anyway, can't wait to see what PC is like today, and of course my school MRSM. Been awhile since I was last there.

Zawi said...

Rita,
It will be a breeze to send the kite to USA and put in a few 'wau' in the package as well. Will keep you advised when I have the info.
Hope your feet is healing well.

Zawi said...

Rahman,
It is with sadness that we find the beaches along Kelantan shores have changed so much. Above all if you have seen the waters along the beaches of Perhentian's or Redang's, you wont feel like dipping your feet into them anymore.
Pengkalan Chepa will be featured in the next episode as Shah of Cakapaje is pining to see the sight of his old home somewhere near Maktab Perguruan Kota Bharu. Sad to say I have yet to go there to shoot the pictures. I will try to do it today.

kbguy said...

The Kelantan Match factory is now run by the late Mr Tan's family. The late Mr Tan was the contractor for New Pacific Hotel before he passed away, before the project was completed. Now the match factory is run by the son.
Anyway, you have cover the write up for Kota Bharu very well.Got lots of up-to-date photos. You must be running around like a photograher or journalist. And I am glad to see quite alot of Kelantanese reading your blogs from elsewhere of the world.. I wonder, are there any ex-Ismailian born in 1961 ? I am a 100% Ismailian. Hope to meet at least one, someone I know.
So, what will you be writting next ? Oh, btw.. you must be promoting Visit kelantan Year. Haha..keep up the good work, Mr Zaki.

Zawi said...

kbguy,
Thanks for the info about the Kelantan Match Factory. Since my story is just a rideabout, and it is supposed of in pictures, I am not going for details yet. It is just like an overview of Kota Bharu. The pictures are the latest of course taken specifically for the b;og sometimes done on the very day itself.
As to Ismailians born in 1961, I dont know of any and hopefully they will respond themselves.
The next posting will be the Part 5 which will be the final part. It will be about Pengakalan Chepa. Though Pengkalan Chepa is out of Kota Bharu town, I consider it as a satelite of the town and the Kota Bharu Airport, Kota Bharu Jail and even the new Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah is being built in Pengkalan Chepa.
I have yet to complet Food of Kelantan Part 2 which will be posted after KB Part 5.
Correction my friend, I am Zawi which is short for Zawawi and not Zaki hahahaha.
I love tepung bakul and bought one at the KB Market yesterday. I like this one as it is still wrapped in banana leaf and not plastic as often found nowadays.I would like to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year.

Anonymous said...

tank, for present kelantan in such documentary. know kwlantan is exsiting.. let us know more about kelantan n make us proud as a citizen of kelantan

Zawi said...

Anonymous,
Thanks for the encouraging words.

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