Thursday, February 28, 2008

Run Up To GE12 Pasir Mas 27th Feb 2008

PAS had a big ceramah in Gelam Mas last night. Guessing the number of attendees isn't my cup of tea as your guess is as good as mine. As always when Datuk Paduka Ibrahim Ali was the main speaker, the crowd was huge. He didnt have to work them up as he was an orator in his own right. Words seemed to flow from him seamlessly with ease and the crowd was lapping it up as Ibrahim played to the gallery.

This is the second time Ibrahim Ali is facing a general election on the other side of the fence. The first time in 2004 GE where he secured a 6198 votes, splitting the vote and bringing the UMNO candidate down with him. He tried his luck again in the 2005 Pengkalan Pasir by election and secured another dismal 415 votes losing his deposit.

Before 2004 he was the UMNO Pasir Mas Head of Division. A very powerful position as he would have a hand in proposing who and who could contest in an election in the Division. In this dog eat dog business, you can't maintain your position for too long as the second top dog will always be scheming to eat the top dog in order to climb the ladder of hierachy to be the top dog. For some reasons or other, he was suspended from the party.

In the 2004 GE thinking that he still had a loyal following among the voters in Pasir Mas, he contested as an independent and lost. He obtained 6198 votes. His was not the only loss as he split the vote and brought down the UMNO candidate Datuk Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman along leaving a clear passage for Ismail Noh of PAS to become the member of Parliament for Pasir Mas with a majority of 1251. For his part, he was booted out of UMNO and they said thay have closed the door on him forever.

The experience of the Pengkalan Pasir by election made him wiser. He came into the present battle with preparation made since the by election of 2005. He chose his aides better and those that couldn't be trusted were dropped.

Single mindedly he prepared for this election knowing that he is the only decision maker and everything depends on him alone. With or without a party, he will contest. Somehow Tok Guru Nik Aziz received his proposal well that he should contest under the PAS banner just for the Parliament seat while he will throw his support for the state seats in the parliamentary constituency of Pasir Mas. As usual when Tok Guru made up his mind he will stick with it no matter what objections there was. Of course the incumbent Ismail Noh wasn't happy although the voters were not happy with Ismail Noh himself. Hanifa Ahmad who lost in the GE of 2004 in the three cornered fight with Ibrahim and in which Hanafi Mamat won the by election, wanted another go at being an MP too. Tok Guru has to decide and he has decided that Ibrahim Ali will contest as an Independent under PAS while Hanifa is allocated the state seat to contest. A very wise decision as it is a win win decision provided voters of both sides will honour the gentleman agreement and not later deny that there was no such an agreement like what happened between the current and the previous PM's of a country called Bolehland. Ibrahim's supporters will definitely deliver and most PAS supporters are obedient to the wishes of Tok Guru.

This is the first major ceramah organized by PAS Pasir Mas. The earlier major one was at Mini Stadium Pasir Mas when the lineup of candidates were announced. This was a few days before the Nomination day and a clear 2 days in advance of UMNO's announcement of the finalized list for Pasir Mas on 23rd February. In last night's ceramah, Ibrahim spoke about why the voters of Pasir Mas need to send him to Parliament. To him there is a void of vocal members of Parliament who can speak up against the ruling coalition. Everybody knows of Ibrahim's ability in this department. Though there are many opposition members of Parliament, when was the last that we heard of one of these members speak with substance? Silly and trivial matters were brought up and such people were made the laughing stock of not only of parliament and also the public by constantly playing them on TV and with wide media coverage. So now who next dare to be made a fool? If you speak on a good subject, an opposition rarely get a coverage. I have known Ibrahim to publish his speeches. That is something good really as the masses could know what he spoke about. I don't know of any others who do such a thing. Last night in his speech he mentioned that speaking in parliament isn't easy as you must know what to speak and must do your homework well.

Ibrahim also spelt out why the current campaign period is longer than usual. He said that BN wants the opposition to expend themselves. Maybe there is some truth in that. At the moment BN has yet to go all out on their ceramah. Are they waiting for the other party to expend themselves first?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nomination Day In Pasir Mas

Annonymous asked me to blog about the election scene in Pasir Mas which I declined since this is not a political blog. Since politics is now part of our life, and I owe some readers who are not able to see or experience for themselves the scenes on sight in Pasir Mas by the virtue of them being away from home or people who are not from Pasir Mas but are interested in the happenings here. So Anonymous, from today onwards you will be seeing me making almost daily reports on the happenings here. Any other postings will be done after the election.

One Day Before Nomination Day, 23rd February 2008.
Though 24th February is the nomination day which was yesterday, BN (UMNO really) Pasir Mas announced their candidates only yesterday 23rd February 2008 at about 5 PM. The announcements were made at Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Mekasar about 500 meters from my home. About 500 youth on motorbikes attended the function and were entertained by a dikir barat performance before the speeches by the UMNO candidates. The Azan for Asar was heard from the mosque but the show went on unimpeded. Time selection was definitely poor. Datuk Rahim Ab. Rahman made his speech announcing the line up infront of youth on motorbikes who were gathered there at the school fileds. They were from all the constituencies in the Pasir Mas Parliament. Tomorrow all these youth on motorbikes will be riding in convoy to the Nomination Center at the Land Office in town some 5 km from the present location.

The motorcyclists gathered for the announcement.

The announcement by The Division Chief includes some surprises.The biggest surprise was the announcement that Dato' Halim Ahmad who was announced to be representing BN for the Parliamentary constituency earlier, wasn't contesting. In his place he announced Rusdi the UMNO youth leader for the division is standing against Datok Paduka Ibrahim Ali, an independence standing on a PAS ticket. Rusdi was earlier announced to be standing in DUN Chetok. With that move the void in DUN Chetok was filled by Datuk Rahim Ab. Rahman himself which he just announced. Rusdi was visibly absent from the function and somebody had to represent him making the introductory speech. Datuk Rahim left the scene because he had to go to UMNO Kelantan Headquarters to fill up the nomination form.
I didn't wait to listen to all the speeches as maghrib is nearing.

The Nomination Day 24th.February 2008.
I arrived late at the Nomination Center for today's Nomination Day as I had to send my grand daughter Balqiss to be taken care of by her paternal grand parents. Spent another half hour chatting with the other grandparents before drinking the customary drink and then only I managed to ask for leave. When I reached Pasir Mas, the nearest parking to the Nomination Center was more than a kilometer away. Too far for my gout suffering legs to carry. Drove home to take the motorbike only to find the front tyre to be flat. Tried to inflate the tyre with a handpump but the air won't hold. Rode the bike with the airless front tyre to a repair shop and had the tube changed.

By the time I reached the nomination center it was almost 11.00 AM which signify the end of the protest period. After this point the Returning Officer will scrutinize all the protests, if any, forwarded by any of the contestants.

I was with a Kampong mate who is a avid supporter of Datuk Rahim Ab. Rahman. At that point of time his friend received a call from his friend at the nomination center for Chempaka. He was devastated because the candidate from BN Dato' Dr. Nik Mohd Zin Omar did not sign his nomination paper. Words were spreading like wild fire that they have lost the Chempaka State seat to who else but Tok Guru Nik Aziz himself due a silly oversight.
The sight at the front of the nomination place was a sight to be experienced. Inspite of the animosity, there was no untoward taunting which could lead to trouble. The UMNO supporters were just shouting among themselves by one side shouting "Lapan Belas" and the other group replying "Pade Dah"(Eighteen Is Enough) referring to the 18 years of PAS rule in Kelantan.

On the PAS side they were much more subdued with them in robes or baju melayu and wearing skull caps. One of them was leading a chanting of a written prayer asking God to destroy the coalition of their enemies. Quite a harsh words to use even on your enemies just because they happened to believe diferently from you in politics.

Personally I would like to congratulate the police for keeping the situation under control and prevent any untoward incidents due to the charged up sentiments on both sides of the fence. They didn't allow the use of any loud hailers which somehow managed to reduce any attempt at inciting the crowd. Though they had the rolls of sharp barb wires, it was never put to use as the crowd was considered as well behaved.
The following pictures will show give you some idea of the Nomination Day in Pasir Mas.
The nomination center at Pejabat Tanah Pasir Mas.

The main road was not closed.
All in pink and with the word Puteri Umno on their vest.

Blue versus green
This green umbrella is for Datuk Ibrahim Ali. This guy was waiting at the wrong exit and later he had to rush to the other exit where the PAS candidates exited.

A badge of Datuk ibrahim Ali on the shirt of a supporter.

The candidtaes coming out from the Nomination Center led bu Datuk Rahim Ab. Rahman (Datuk Rahim owns Rahim & Co)
Datuk Paduka Ibrahim Ali, an independent candidate standing on a PAS ticket.
The incumbent for DUN Pengkalan Pasir Haji Hanafi Mamat being shouldered by his supporters.
Badges, lapel pins, flags and caps on sale. I wonder if Maidin of Kota Bharu carries these items like they did for BN at Maidin Melaka.
The procession of PAS supporters with their candiadates on the way back to Bangunan PAS at the end of the road.

The 8.00 PM News announced that Dr. Nik Mohd Zin will be contesting the Chempaka State seat. The Star of the 25th confirmed that TGNA and Dr. Nik Zin reached an amicable compromise since BN too protested against TGNA and Nik Amar Abdullah had used their honorific titles "Datuk" in their nomination papers. Now we know that honorific titles can be a nuisance sometimes beside making it difficult for Emcees to remember when addressing them in a function. The loss could have denied Dr. Nik Zin access to massive election fund. Thus the contest also provide much needed entertaiment in this laid back constituency of Cempaka.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


February 6th, 2008 was the day Fauziah Ismail tagged me. It took me this long to come up with this piece which maybe nothing worth reading compared to what I have read in another friend's blog going by the name of Mat Salo in his blogsite Borneo Blues.
There is no need for me to further bore you with the definition of Muhibbah. Read here, here, and here to get some ideas of what it means.
Today I had breakfast with my friends Ah Tee, Wan Zain and Azmi at warong Mok Doh near my house. Abe Pa, Ah Tong and Ah Kong the other breakfast mates were not there. Ah Tong always has his breakfast late. Ah Kong couldn't come because he had a minor accident which cost him RM200 to repair his motor bike after a car driven by a stupid driver (the same kind as mentioned in Mat Salo's blog on his muhibbah tag) simply drove into his path from a junction in the compound of Hospital Kota Bharu. Can you guess who was this stupid driver? Ah Kong suffered bruises while the wife who was riding pillion suffered a hard knock.
Abe Pa must have gone somewhere to replenish his stock of second hand bicycles which he is selling to make a living.
This breakfast together among us has been almost a daily routine for us. I have ceased to be a regular since my 7 months old Bilqiss came home to be minded by me while her mother attends college in Keningau, Sabah for a while. I had to bring Balqiss along in her pram to be able to be there. That is why I am unable to be with them for breakfast as often as I used to.
This breakfast together was a daily routine with at least one or two or sometimes with all of them. They are my biking buddies. We ride bikes together. Thats all that brought us together and binds us till this day.

Ah Tee, Ah Kong, and Ah Tong are panel beaters. Abe Pa has a small business selling reconditioned bicycles, the second hands one from Japan. Azmi is an ex army guy and now is doing the simplest of all job for a retiree, a school 'jaga'. I say it's a simple job as this is the only job which allows you to sleep on the job.

From left: Ramli, Ah Kong, Ah Boon, Abe Pa and Ah Boon. Ramli and Ah Boon rarely join is for breafast.
Why do we have breakfast together you may ask. Its friendship. Its the feeling of liking each other's company where we just chat about anything that takes our fancy that brings us together. Most times it will be about bicycles. Never about politics.

Abe Pa refurbishing his new acquisition for sale.

Others like the elderly Pok Ku and a few others may join our table. We talk the same language, the Kelantanese dialect. Ah Tee, Ah Kong or Ah Tong may lapse into Hokkien sometimes when speaking among themselves but more often they will use Kelantan dialect when we are around. It is OK because I too understand a smattering of Hokkien and Mandarin. The Hokkien I learn when I was growing up in my village where a quite a number of Chinese families live.
Eh Tong (Chia Chu San) and his brother Che Ta (now deceased) grew up with us in Kampong Chekok, Chetok, Pasir Mas. Together with a few other friends we did many mischievous things typical of kampong kids. Eh Tong taught me the survival techniques when we go into the bushes to hunt for birds which we never manage to get using our catapults. More often untended unripe mangoes became the tagets of our catapult as they are not mobile and much bigger than birds. Unripe mangoes can be eaten there and then. Eh Tong taught us how to survive by eating root of tubers called sweet potatoes. Ahemm.. they are not the wild kind but planted by others. Off course taking a few tubers won't be noticed by the owner. Freshly dug young sweet potatoes are nice to eat even when eaten raw. Remove the skin first as freshly dug ones exudes whitish latex that maybe harmful.
When I grew older and was in form five, Ah Hoon (Quek Leng Hoon) whose family comes from Bukit Panau came to set up a bicycle repair shop in my Kampong Chekok in the mukim of Chetok. I must include the mukim as the name Chekok can be taken to be the Chekok in many other districts like Machang and Tumpat.
There was another family which Ah Hoon was close with. Due to my closeness with Ah Hoon, I became close with this family of the Kohs too. They asked me to give tuition to their children which I did almost everynight for whatever token sum they wanted to give me and I get to learn the Hokkien dialect and some Mandarin from them. Since whenever I go to their house, I haven't had dinner, they will invite me to have dinner with them so that it won't be too late for me to begin my tuition. My mum won't ne cooking dinner until after the isyak prayer. By the time dinner was ready, I would be so hungry that I couldn't concentrate on amything. I have no qualms about having dinner at the Koh's place knowing full well they won't serve me non halal food. So dinner at the Koh's house was a regular thing for me.
Tuition was actually helping the children with their homework. So Koh Soh Tuan and her brother Koh Poh Seng was once tutored by me. Koh Soh Tuan became a teacher whose expertise is well sought by some schools to improve the standard of English among their pupils. Koh Poh Seng set up a motor workshop at home and is well sought too due to his ability to use new technologies in his work.
Recently my old classmate Lee Kew Pee feted his staff to a Chinese New year get together. He invited me and my spouse for the function.

The gracious hosts.
Lee Kew Pee with some of the early guests.

Closer to home, on their own initiatives a group of Chinese and some Malays they were making 'bubur asyura'. This is something only done by the Malay moslems in the moslem calendar month of Safar.

Making asyura at Ah Thiek's house in Kampong Kasa.

Hey whats the big deal? What is the necessity of me telling you all of these old tales? I just want to tell you that muhibbah has been with us all the while. We never even realize it is muhibbah in the making. Nobody ever thought anything about being muhibbah. We just did it. Now after 50 years of independence why must there be any need to emphasize on muhibbah? Why didn't it happen naturally like it did happen the way I experienced it since small till now? What is wrong with us now that muhibbah must be forced upon us? Why must it be reminded all the time? Why must the government be spending so much money to spread muhibbah which doesn't seem to have any effect at all?
I tell you what is wrong. The change to Bahasa Melayu as the medium of instruction split us all. The days I went to school it was an English school where everybody goes to. Everyone of us even the rural folks feel the need of an English education to improve our lot. What more the Ah Chongs or the Muthus, they know better. So back then we went to the same primary, secondary schools and later to colleges or universities. English was the common language that allow us to mix freely. Nowadays segregation is so evident. Right from the pre school classes, right up to end of primary school where different ethnicities will go to different schools of their choice. This is the root cause because when they go to school at the secondary level, it will be very hard to integrate. There will be bound to be segregation due to instinct to be with your buddies, difference in spoken language and eating habit.
Then there is the race based politics that we have to contend with. Not many parties have really multiracial membership. The pesent policy is definitely wrong. Even after 50 years at the helm, nothing has been done to address this lack of muhibbah among the races. The New Economic Policy is the main bone of contention with it being extended and abused by certain people to enrich themselves.
In my second part of This Muhibbah tag, I will relate to you how the family Tan Soon Guan and his wife Chua Sek Khim of Machang Kelantan brought about the spirit of muhibbah in his family and community in a village called Kampong Chekok Tok Chuba. Thanks to Koh Soh Tuan, I managed to trace some of their children Tan Chu Gek in Sepang and Tan Chu Pang in Malacca to get some leads on the story. Tan Chu Pang nominated her mother as the mother of the year in 1999 and was featured extensively in the New Straits Times and I am going to see the framed copy of the NST at their parents home in Machang. The Tans are defintely the epitome of muhibbah. Can you bear to wait while I will go and do some research?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Food of Kelantan Part 2

aMiR who is a Malaysian In Riyadh made this comment on my blog Food of Kelantan Part 1.

The followings are what he wrote:

I love to play these riddles involving Kelantan Food with our daughter:
Papa: Tahi apa yang sangat sedap dimakan? (Name the faece that is good to eat?)
Ainaa: Mana ada (No such thing).
Papa: Kuih apa yang lagi kedut lagi best? (Name the food that the more wrinkled up it is the better it will be?)
Ainaa: Semua kuih kedut tak best, tapi siku papa lagi kedut lagi best kena squeeze. (All wrinkled food are not the best but if papa's elbow is wrinkled up, it is best (for us) to squeeze)


For that I am going to dedicate this post to aMiR of A Malaysian In Riyadh, this second part about Kelantan food.

For most people even Kelantanese themselves will answer 'tahi itek' literally translated as duck's faeces. That is the correct answer that aMiR was expecting from Ainaa.

This is how the delicious tahi itek look:

They are made of egg white plus some other ingredient and made into balls the size of a small baby's fist. It is so named maybe due to its colour which resembles that of the real thing.

Those who had lived through the period when coconut oil was the only oil available for cooking or for those whose mother still makes their cooking oil from coconut will be able to give an additional answer in the form of 'tahi minyak' meaning oil faece or sludge will be more like it. I asked my son in law Lokman if he knew of 'tahi minyak' and got the surprise answer of 'yes'! It seems his mother still make them. So I got his mother to make some for me to photograph.

The one on the left is coconut oil. When I was small such oil was used to oil our hair. The excess oil come in handy to make tracing paper by rubbing a piece of a white paper against the hair make it translucent. Traditional masseurs still uses coconut oil as lubricant.

Tahi minyak can be eaten with a Kelantanese kuih called K'oleh as seen in the photograph below.

The 'k'oleh' in the 'boko'

As to the second question, the answer is ofcourse 'akok'. Only egg white is used to make akok and the best eggs are ducks egg which is said to produce the best wrinkle.

If only the egg white is used to make akok what happens to the egg yolk which is egg yellow? It is used to make jala mas or buah tanjong that is why such kuihs are golden yellow in color. No coloring is necessary for jala mas or bunga tanjong.
Jala mas
Buah tanjong

So what other food that I havent shown you since part 1?

To begin with me asking you what kuih is named after a big animal? The answer is badak which look like a dough nut but instead of flour, beras pulut (gluttinous rice) is used instead.

Another badak is made from pulut hitam so it is called badak pulut hitam.

Badak pulut hitam

Buah peria of course look like a small peria (bitter gourd). They are made into many colours now to make it attractive to a child. Inside it contains inti kacang (green peas cooked with coconut sugar). The skin is again made of gluttinous rice and made to look like the real fruit with straits and all.

Dodol comes in different flavours and colours too depending on the ingredients used. Dodol manisan is brownish and sweetened with coconut sugar while dodol pandan is greenish and sweetened with cane sugar.

If you have read Awang Goneng's Growing Up In Trengganu, you must have heard of buah gomok which is callad buah beluru in Kelantan. Buah gomok in Kelantan is made of shredded coconut flesh cooked in coconut sugar and made into a ball and rolled in finely grounded white rice powder.

Awang Goneng also mentioned beluda in GUIT. Red coloured beluda are common. Watch out for the colouring used, if it looks opaque as in this picture, dont buy it as it tasted funny. Maybe the colouring used to make it red is not the permissible kind.
Couldnt find the nekbat which looks something like baulu soaked in thick sugar syrup. This was mentioned in GUIT too. Its too sweet for me and I guess for you too.

Cendol is available everywhere in Malaysia, except that cendol can be white too. Like it or not they will put in some of the white ones for you unless you tell them not to. Red coloured sagu balls are sometimes mixed to add some colours and flavours.

Butir nangka is a kuih in Kelantan. I have reduced the gravy to make it visible.

The chicken feet is delicious if made into kerabu kaki ayam. To me the hotter the better (makin pedas makin sedap).

How on earth did they come up with such a name as lompat tikam? The white sauce is santan and the red sauce is gula melaka syrup. The red one is pulut.

Boiled corn or jagung rebus is usually on the cob. Here the corn seeds are seperated from the cob and boiled till soft and taken with shredded coconut flesh with salt and if you like some sugar added.

This year the Chinese New Year is celebrated with lots of merriment. Kuih bakul is a standard fare. I bought a piece from a stall in Pasar Siti Khadijah from one of the stalls there. I took the one wrapped in banana leaves because thats the original way its made and not in plasctic film. Cost me RM2.00 a piece.

The chinese new year coincided with the months of asyura. This is how a bubur asyura look like when cooled down. Of course it is sweet in Kelantan with ample sugar and gula melaka added beside other ingredients such as beef or chicken.

Today 15th February 2008 I saw a chinese family is cooking bubur asyuria in their home with assistance from the Malays in the neighbourhood. How much more muhibbah could that be? I guess that should give me an idea when doing Fauziah Ismail's muhibbah tag which I havent been able to do till now.

Kelantan's laksa differs from laksa Penang and laksa Johor. All are delicious and taste differently. Why not give it a try when you are in Kelantan.

Laksam uses the same gravy and ulam as in laksa Kelantan. aMiR of A Malaysian In Riyadh loves to cut his own laksam when he was a kid. A scissor is best used to cut it as it is safer.

Kerp (ph.d) asked me to mention something about etok. I can mention it in passing since I will be doing a blog on etok which I would like to dedicate to kerpie. Would you believe that etok is almost extinct in the Kelantan River? If so where does the etok comes from now? Read about it when I blog about etok. Meantime enjoy the sight of delicious etok salai below.

Ubi gadong is rarely found in Kelantan nowadays. Many of the younger generation havent tasted gadong in their life. Ubi gadong must be treated after slicing them into this pieces by soaking in water for many days to remove the hallucinic agent inside it that can cause dizziness when taken. It can be taken by steaming it with gula melaka and gluttinous rice. I bet Elviza of Write Away or Akmal of Wiseup has never tasted ubi gadong in their life.

Slices of uncooked ubi gadong.

Kelantan food will never be complete without the mention of nasi kerabu, nasi dagang and nasi berlauk. This stall in Pasar Siti Khadijah sells nasi kerabu hitam and nasi dagang. There are several varieties of nasi kerabu. Nasi kerabu putih uses white rice, nasi kerabu kuning uses yellow coloured rice, nasi kerabu tumis will have tumis made of santan with shallots and grounded dried chillies.

The nasi dagang of Kelantan uses a different kind gluttinous rice compared to the white glutinous rice in nasi dagang Terengganu.

Indulge yourself in sumptious large prawns in the food section f Pasar Siti Khadijah. A large prawn can cost upward of RM15.00. Ask for the price first before ordering.

The sight of a crowd indicate the place is popular. That means the food is good. Just follow the crowd, you can never go wrong.

Whenever we travel overseas where halal food are difficult to get, we never fail to bring serunding along as many things beside rice can go with it. My wife's favourite is sambal (serunding) daging as the Kelantanese call it, while sambal ikan is mine.
Sambal daging
Sambal ayam
Sambal ikan.

The most often photographed section of Pasar Siti khadijah Kota Bharu (below).

Mat Salo of Borneo blues requested me to put some pictures of beautiful people from Kelantan. Not wanting to disappoint him, here are some of them which has been beautiful to me and never failed to let me buy anything from them.

Mak Su sells laksa and laksam and her neighbour below sells k'oleh

Fresh water fish seller

He sells rice for nasi dagang

She sells etok.

Another etok seller

She sells ubi gadong.

There are too many food, I can't mention them all. Come over to Kelantan and see for yourself.