Monday, December 29, 2008


Al-Marhum Sulatan Ibrahim Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Ke IV after whom my school is named.

The school motto remains as it was since the school was established. I am sure glad they didnt try to translate the Motto. Just teach the students the meaning, that should suffice.

Contrary to popular belief the idea of the gathering was mooted by Tuan Haji Azmi Omar Al Ahmadi almost a year ago. "2008 would be a significant year" he said "that would be 40 years after we left our beloved school". The school which was then known as Sultan Ibrahim Secondary School Pasir Mas or SIS for short. Now the school has been renamed as Sekolah Menenggah Sultan Ibrahim Satu as there is another school nearby that carries the same name and thus given the number 2 as an extention to the name.

We had a surplus of fund from our first gathering done in 2004. The way we did our gathering at the school dining hall (the main hall was under renovationas) saved us alot of money as we had only needed to pay the food caterer. This time around it was the school main hall, so we don't really need to have much money to hold such a function.

One of our illustrious classmate which I mentioned in my blog The Great Doctors of Kota Bharu, came in support with the promise to underwrite any shortfall in fund. He proposed that we contribute towards inspiring the current students who are considered as excellent by the school management and teachers by giving them RM100 each. 30 students were selected. He told us not to worry much about finance and spare no expense if it was necessary. How comforting indeed.

I was glad to see the name of a chinese girl as one of the recipient. Merit was the criteria used instead of skin color as the committee had stipulated that they must be based on excellence and the under privileged.

The number of attendance this year fell short of expectation compared to the more than 100 that attended in the 2005 gathering. Due to various reasons such as illness, prior predetermined engagement, going for Haj, aloofness, sheer feeling of inferiority and a few who has passed on, many couldn't attend. Some were expecting to be given an invitation card before wanting to come. There was no invitation card extended as all invitations were by word of mouth or SMS and phone calls.
We have a classmate who lives and works in London. Most of us have not met him since the last fourty years. We were hoping for him to come back for the event. Sad to say despite of him knowing about the event far in advance, he couldn't make it this year. If he were to come back this time, his mum will be the happiest person on earth to see him. I have promised his mum that I will try to bring him back. Now I know I have failed her.

12 exteachers came to the event including one from Johore. Not many out station teachers came as they were not invited for this gathering. We want to wait for a gathering of the school alumni before calling them as that will will give them a bigger opportunity to meet the rest of the students from the other years.

We recruited an experienced emcee for the event, another classmate of ours by the name of Dr. Rohani Ibrahim of University Putra Alumni. Even she had difficulty to start the event due to te excitement among the attendees since some of us didnt turn up for the previous event and had not seen each other for the past 40 years.

Here are some pictures for you to see how much we enjoyed ourselves even though the numbers were not as huge as the previous gathering in 2005. I am sorry I can't arrange the photos in sequence so they come in no particular order. Some captions are concocted and intended to be funny so please dont be offended by them.

The group photo courtesy of Mohd Ilhan Akbar.

YBrs. Puan Muhanizah Bt. Mustapha (Right) prmosised to rebrand the school and bring back the the school to it's former glory as one of the former premier school in Kelantan. Back then SIS was of the two including Sultan Ismail College in Kota Bharu. The School Alumni will be giving it's backing toward achieving this goal.

Datin Widiyarti with daughter Nefertiti arrived early for the function. On their left is Puan Hanisah Noh and on their right is Puan Maimoon Mohamad Noor while I can't recognize the lady in the dark dress.

The early arrival. Left to right: Fakry, yours truly. Major (R) Yahya, Tuan Haji Azmy Omar.

Our guests: Puan Wan Karimah (IAB lecturer), Puan Muhanizah and Puan Rashidah (in orange. Sorry I can't name the lady sitting next to her).

L to R (sitting): Wan Zain (blue shirt), Nik Kamil, Rahim Mohamad,Sudin Piah, Cikgu Aziz Abdullah.
L to R: Tuan haji Ghazal (back to camera), Suhaimi Hussein, Abdulah Awang and Chegu Zain Ismail.

L - R: Puan Norani Muhammad. Lee Kew Pee, Azmy Omar, Major Yahya, Hasan Sulaiman, Saari Ibrahim, Dr. Ridzwan Hashim and Noor Rudin Mustapha.

Sitting (L - R): The only 2 members of Kostrad Pelajar 68 Suhaimi Hussein (Lead guitar) Azmy (Bass). The other members were Fauzan Omar(Rythm), the prominent Malaysian artist who was unable to attend because he is having a solo art exhibition somewhere inMalaysia and Muhamad Jusoh (drums) still MIA but according to Lim Siong Peek he had meet Muhamad Jusoh recently but didn't have the opportunity to take his contact number as Muhamad had walked away from home. To us that is a god news as we now know that Muhamad jusoh is still well. In the background we could see Zainon Jaafar the owner of Zainun Palace Inn Rantau Panjang pointing at something with Dato' Dr. Mahmud and Puan Noraini.

Nik Hassan, the former OCPD od Shah Alam is holding court.

Mr. Pang Chok Chu (our former science teacher) seems to be scolding Nasir Ismail while the other ex teachers, Mrs. Foo and Puan Hasnah Sulaiman pretended not to hear him.

All the ex teachers sitting together. L - R, Chegu Ismail Sulaiman, Tuan Syed Halim Jamalullail(partially hidden), Chegu Zain ismail, Chegu Darus, and Chegu Osman Ismail.
General view of the attendees having their late lunch.

It is makan time. The local dishes with budu an ulam seems to be very appetizing.

The ladies had their own servings.

Chegu Nik Alwi consoling Hassan Sulong. Hassan Sulong is now confined to a wheelchair after suffering from a crippling stroke. The two of them had a story to tell from the schooldays.
Muhamad Deraman(in white shirt had manay stories to tell as he had just came back from performing the Haj just the day before. A few more like Mohd Nor Harun, Awang Ahmad, Pak Su Man ismail have yet to reach home from Mecca.

The family of Dato' Dr. Mahmud having their meals together.
The show began with Dato' Dr. Mahmud making a speech on behalf of the students. Being a hostellite from 1964 - 1968, the school was not just a place to study but also a home as the hostel was located in the school compoud. Later the speech was followed by Chegu Osman Ismail on behalf of the ex teachers and finally Puan Muhanizah on behalf of the school.

Puan Hasnah Sulaiman together with her hubby Ruan Syed Halim Dato' Dr. Mahmud. Puan Hasnah later in her career was promoted to become the headmistress of the school and that of Sekolah menenggah Zainab.
The giving away of assistance to the students.

This girl did not wear the tudung. Why? She was not compelled to do so by her religion. She is a Chinese and she maybe be a Budhist or a Taoist.

The school Principal received the rest of the donations on behalf of the students who didn't attend the function.
We did a live crossover with Mr. Loo Hock Guan who could not attend because his mother inlaw suffered a slipped disc after a fall. Mr. Loo couldn't attend the previous meeting too due to prior engagement. Mr. Loo, let us have you at the next event. Dr. Rohani Ibrahim the emcee with yours truly, truly mesmerised by what Mr. Loo was saying.

Tuan Haji Ashaari Amin (Yee Body) meeting a close friend Tuan Haji Azmy. Yee Body had a part in shaping my life by asking me to stay in the hostel.

See more pictures of the event from the lens of Tuan Haji Azmy on his fotopages here.

Finally I would like to record a word of thank you to all the committee members and all others from the school who was inlved in making the event a success. I will not forget Mohd Ilhan for some of his photos that graced this page. My apologies to those whose picture did not appear on this blog as putting too many pictures will make it too big for easy download.

There was an appeal from a cyber friend from Kampung Tok Sangkut for donation to to a single mother of 34 with three children, Ain, 16 months, Fatihah 5 yrs and eldest brother Muhamad Aiman 7 yrs old. The father was drowned during the last November flood while fishing in the neighbourhood. The father sufffered from an attack of fits. During the gathering we decided to collect some donations and my generous friends managed to contribute a total of RM662.00 to this cause. So today the 29th of November 2008 we went to Kg. Tok Sangkut to deliver the donation to the mother.

The pictures below showed clearly how deserving they are as the very house they are living in aren't even their's as it belonged to one of the neighbours who allowed them to stay for free. It was such a dilapidated wooden house.

The place they call home.

My other half Fatthiyah handing over the donation so that I can photograph them receiving it.
Read more about them here.

With this event over, I am already thinking of the next gathering for 2009. This time it will be for the School Alumni. This will give us a chance to meet with all the ex-teachers and vice versa.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


My new found friend Zaharan Razak sent me an email telling me of his failed effort to send a much waited response on my last blog about him. He did respond but failed to get it posted. Beside the above predicament he listed as per below his other problems:

My post trip problems:
1. The PC was infected
2. Some cash and a few small items missing
3. Internet connection fouled up - not fully solved as of now
4. I lost not only all my old photo collection but also those taken with new camera of the recent trip! Priceless! Someone has promised to retrieve it tonight using software for a small fee. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

How unfortunate for him as he must be so eager to get connected on the internet.

Today I went to Kota Bharu to check on an event that I saw being placed on a banner somewhere about an event with the following Headings:


The event is being organized by:
41 Trading

Lancer Marketing Sdn. Bhd

Kelab Sukan Motor Mini.

Date : 25 - 27 Disember 2008

Time : 9.00 AM - 6.30 PM

Place : Lembah Sireh (Perkarangan TESCO)
Kota Bharu Kelantan.

By 10.30 AM I was at the site but was surprised to see nothing much there. Anyway I managed to get some more information. For today there will only be the preparation of the track. The track optimization will be done later at 3.00 PM.

For those who are interested to witness the event, here are the programme for the event:

26th Dec 2008
9.00 AM - Registration and briefings

3.00 PM - Heat for all categories.

27th Dec 2008
8.00 AM - Final Registration and Motor Inspection.

8.30 AM - Championship Briefing

9.00 AM - Heat for all categories

- Semi final

- Final

5.30 PM - Prize Presentation.

I will be covering the event on the 26th Dec 2008 and will update this post soon after. Unfortunately I won't be able to cover the event on the final day due to another predetermined event. Hopefully there are other bloggers from Kota Bharu who will be covering the whole event and blog about it.

I didn't manage to cover this event so I wont be able to update it. I am sorry to all Pocket Bikes fan who were looking forward to this post.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Zaharan Razak Came A Calling

Two friends meeting for the first time

It was indeed a great surprise when I received a SMS message from Zaharan Razak that he was on his way to Pasir Mas town while he was in Lubok Jong. He was on the way back from Rantau Panjang where he visited his children and put up the night there. I shot back a reply asking him to call me when he reaches Pasir Mas town.
After waiting for 30 minutes, there was no call from him. Knowing that Lubuk Jong was less than 15 km from town, I thought the fit as a fiddle Zaharan Razak whose chronological age is coming to 63 but whose physiological age is barely 50 years should be in town by then. Could he have missed my SMS and not respond to it? I decided to act and rode my Honda Cub to meet him in town. Failing to locate a cyclist with a full biking gear in such a small town as Pasir Mas was an impossible thing. So I decided to go farther to meet him by riding toward Lubok Jong along the road to Rantau Panjang.
Another SMS asking for his location failed to get any response. I stopped by at a stretch of straight road and looked hard down the road. It was impossible for a biker not to have reached the spot where I was waiting by then after such a long lapse of time from Lubok Jong.
Finally the sight of a small red flag at the tip of a small rod caught my attention. The rod was attached to a low tri cycle with who else but Zaharan Razak astride it! I called his name and he acknowledged me but later I found out that he didn't recognize me with my helmet on. Though we have never met, I know how he looks from the pictures in his blogsite. I rode my bike to his side and we shook hand while we were on each others bike. Since there was a slight drizzle falling and Zaharan started to open up his umbrella, we agreed to meet farther up for 'roti canai'.
The drizzle was getting heavier so I found an eatery where Zaharan could park his tricycle and I waited for his arrival. His arrival invited amused stares from onlookers due to the peculiar shape of his tricycle.

"You look arrogant in your photo" he said, which made my face became contorted up with surprise . "You look super friendlier in real life" he quickly added which helped to unscrew the distorted look. Ah! This man is something.

What can I say to that? Maybe Mat Cendana or Mat Salo can confirm or rebut those statements. Since there was no 'roti canai' at the place, we decided to have 'nasi berlauk' and consider that as lunch. Though the gravy tasted good, the beef in the dish was pretty tough. Zaharan didn't manage to finish off his food and asked to be excused.
As the rain had abated and time for the Friday prayers was near, I offered him to stay the night at my home which he accepted. After telling the where about of my home, I asked him to proceed so that I could rush home to get my camera which I didn't bring. A man on an ordinary bike wont make much of an impression. This time he looked very special indeed riding his tricycle almost lying on his back with his feet pedaling in front of him. I needed to photograph him the way he was as the slight drizzle would make him use his umbrella with the Malaysian flag clearly emblazoned on it.
Kg. Mekasar where I live provided the best backdrop for him to be photographed as there was a shop displaying second hand bicycles imported from Japan.
Zaharan was so engrossed looking at the bikes on sale that he didn't see me taking his photographs.

Thi is how his Tribike looks. It costs him a cool RM5,000 for it. It is made in Florida USA.

My SMS and calls to Mat Cendana has failed to bring a response and Zaharan was intent to meet Mat Cendana who had agreed to meet up with him via sms communication between the two of them. His phone rang but there was no answer. I was worried about Mat, so immediately after the Friday prayers we proceeded to his home in Kampong Kenjong in in the same district of Pasir Mas. We rode in a car this time as riding bicycles could take up too much time.

We were awed by the serenity and ambiance of the area around Mat Cendana's home. It was a perfect place for writers who need the quiet environment as available there.
Since no one answered our salams and call at his house and his mother in law who lives nearby couldn't shed any light on his where about, we left for home disappointed but hopeful that we could meet him sometimes before Zaharan left for Kuala Terengganu the next day. On the way back we stopped at the place where the second hand bicycles were being sold. Zaharan was surprised to find that the dealer had so many things that he requires for his bike in stock. Those that the guy didn't have could be made available the next day. He found Nexus dynamo, headlamps, Bridgestone branded rear gear hubs, umbrella brackets and a few other parts that he would otherwise have to buy online from overseas at exorbitant rate. Since we have other things to do, Zaharan promised to come back the next day to look at things he requires.

Zaharan has a class mate who lives in Kota Bharu. The last time they met was at his doctor friend's clinic in Pasir Mas some 5 years ago. Since I know Dr. Nik Azam's wife Wan Karimah quite well, I called her to find out whether the good doctor was home or not. Later after a few missed calls from Dr. Nik Azam, Zaharan managed to talk to him and we were invited to Dr. Nik Azam's place for tea.
The two friends had a great time talking to each other. Being an ex classmates at MCKK where our good friend Mat Salo was a junior there, there was always the stories of old MCKK cropping up.
Dr. Nik Azam and his wife Wan Karimah the gracious hosts.

The two old friends of the MCKK days.

Tea was a filling affair as we were served with Laksa Penang (which I had a second helping), tasty murtabak made by who else but Kak Wan herself and some fried popias with grape fruits which I found to be difficult to stop eating.
Delicious Laksa Penang made in Kelantan.

The evening wore on without us realizing it. We asked for leave and on the way home we stopped at Tesco to purchase some presents as we have to attend two 'kenduris' the next day.

I was full enough and wanted to skip dinner. I thought our guest must have felt the same as we had the same food. I made a misjudgment as Bro Zaharan won't be able to go to sleep without his plate of rice. So my wife Fatthiyah quickly cooked up some simple dishes which our guest seemed to enjoy very much. It was fortunate that we could ask our guest directly, otherwise he would have gone to bed on a growling stomach as he had agreed to some light snacks of roti canai earlier.

We retired early to bed that night. Zaharan declined my offer for him to use the internet or the Astro TV for him to watch.

I woke up early for the Subuh prayers at the surau near my house. Zaharan woke up to do his Subuh prayers in his room but continue with his sleep till late morning. By then I had completed my draft of the blog about his visit which I started immediately after coming back from my Subuh prayers.

Zaharan saw my draft of the blog at the table in front of the house while waiting for Fatthiyah to serve us with breakfast. He said he liked the draft but would enjoy it better if I could spice it up with some witticisms and some literary flavour. With just the most basic of education, all I can do is try. Like a true master, he asked me to read Writer's Digest which I am doing now. Hey this is definitely a good site.

Soon after a lady friend arrived. She was the secretary to our committee working for the coming gathering of ex classmates of Sultan Ibrahim Secondary School Pasir Mas. I introduced her to Zaharan and he had a short interaction with her. After her business with me was done and she left off, I told Zaharan that she was very very available. Zaharan's ear seemed to prick up at that news. With encouragement from the two of us, Zaharan was inspired to try his luck and explore the possibilities of establishing a firmer relationship between the two lonely souls.

We didn't have much time left as Zaharan will be leaving for Kuala Besut en route to Kuala Terengganu by noon and I have two 'kenduris' to attend. Since Mat Cendana had agreed to a meeting with Zaharan this morning, he decided to give it another try. Unfortunately Mat Cendana's phone had been off since morning making us think that he was still asleep. We decided to act so we drove to Kampung Kenjong again. The only way to meet Mat Cendana was to wake him up from his sleep, if he was asleep. We couldn't know for sure whether Mat Cendana was home or not. Our hollering and salams didn't get any response, not even the assistance of his sister in law did manage to get him to answer. I guessed only a bomb would wake him up. Either he was in too deep a slumber or he just refuse to meet us. I prefer to think that Mat Cendana was sleeping a sleep of exhaustion. Whatever the reason, Zaharan had to leave disappointed at not being able to meet Mat Cendana whom he had a very high esteem as a Malay writer in the English. Coming from such a person as Zaharan Razak being a former lecturer in mass communication at UiTM and University Malaya was indeed a respect of the highest order.

Failing to meet Mat Cendana, Zaharan did the next best thing he loves. Zaharan clicked away happily on his newly acquired Panasonic Lumix to record the beauty of the place. He even posed for a picture of himself with the yellowish Kelantan River as a background. There were two large bamboo clumps growing near the river bank. If it was in Thailand, the place could have become affordable homestays with cute little huts made of bamboo and attap roof where writers like Zaharan or even Fauziah Ismail would happily pay to stay to read books or write their masterpieces. Hey that will provide gainful employment for our friend Mat Cendana while creating jobs via local tourism.

On the way back we stopped at another bicycle shops where Zaharan again checked out things he could purchase to fit on his bike. At another place we found another tricycle with articulated section between the rider and the rear wheels. As such on a banked corners, the body of the rider will tilt sideways while the two rear wheels will remain in contact with the road surface resulting in stability even though the bike has a high center of gravity compared to the one Zaharan was riding.

The articulate tricycle.

We returned home as Zaharan had to pack up. Meticulously he packed his things into the two dry bags which he clipped to the side of the small carrier at the back. Everything was finally securely tied down with rubber straps.

Giving the Tribike a try. I could do with a headrest.

It was time for him to move on with his next journey to his place of birth Jertih where he will put up the night. It was sad to see this new found friend leave. He vanished from view when he turned the corner.

Zaharan starting off for home.

Bye bye.

He went out of sight as he turned the corner.

In my heart I know it won't be the last sight of him. If he were to pursue the heart of the lady who came a visiting earlier in the morning, he will be coming again. It would be nice to see these two lonely persons unified in marriage. I will play matchmaker. Nothing is impossible!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Labuan - Keningau - Kundasang

When I drafted this post I was in my daughter's place at Taman Amanputra, Puchong. Somehow the pictures were not properly re sized until I came back to Pasir Mas to complete the post. It is nice to be connected on the internet via Streamyx again. All these while my only connections was via the free wifi from the hotel I stayed in or from cafes when the hotel didn't have any. I will be posting the next part of my 730 km journey through Sabah. The next part will be as mentioned in the topic from Labuan to Keningau and on to Kundasang via Tambunan and Ranau.

Before we left home we playfully put Balkis in the car boot and she seemed to enjoy herself lying on the luggage.

Though we were at the Labuan Car Ferry terminal at 7.00 AM, the cars queuing up to board the ferry were long and there were many passengers queuing up to buy the boarding tickets. It was only by 8.30 AM that the ferry started to leave the pier. We reached Menumbuk Jetty at about 10.00 AM and we were soon on our way to Keningau passing by Kuala Penyu, Membakut and Papar. This was the first trip for my wife Fatthiyah but not for me, grand daughter Balkis and definitely not for our son in law Lokman who was driving. This trip was one of many for him.

Balkis was never stingy with her smiles and she always make every stranger around her reach for her.

We started to ride up to cross The Crocker Range, the highland dividing Sabah from the coastal region to the areas which the locals term as 'Pendalaman', the outback. We stopped at a small coffee shop as Lokman had to do a pee stop which was actually a ciggy stop for him. Most passenger vehicles and buses stopped here for the same purpose. The sight of many dirty stray dogs with serious skin diseases loitering around the toilet doors put me off and made me hold back whatever that was contained in my bladder to later. However, the sight of turtles and river terrapin being kept in a cut up plastic drum and a bus with a Kelantan license number caught my sight.

The river terrapin, tortoises and some kois were reared in a plastic tank as an attraction.

Further up we saw this sign indicating the misty zone.

True enough, we were soon shrouded in mist.

This slope once collapsed and a new road was carved at an even higher level.

Before cresting the Crocker Range I saw the sight of the sea separating the two islands of Labuan and and the bigger island of Borneo. I had to give this sight a miss as the road was too narrow to stop and take photograph. It was just too dangerous as most cars will be flooring their throttle to tackle the incline and those coming down will of course be cruising down at speed. On the way up we saw a coffee stop near the top of the range. I think it was within The Crocker Range Park whose park office was on the other side of the mountain.

When we reached 32 KM milestone Lokman slowed the car down to a stop. He then put the gear lever at neutral and released the handbrake. Though we were at a slight gradient sloping downward, we felt the car with the three of us moving backward. For our safety we couldn't have fun for too long due to the narrow road and speeding cars from behind. There was a dip behind us too making the cars coming from behind us to suddenly appear without us noticing it.

Lokman demonstrated the rolling motion of the water bottle. Is it an illusion?

The bottle did roll, but since this is a still picture, just imagine it rolling.

Parking the car on the road shoulder, we alighted and did the usual test of putting a bottle of drinking water on it's side, with a slight nudge the bottle full of water appeared to roll upward. I took some shots with my camera. With my mini DVD camera malfunctioning, I forgot to use my Olympus pocket camera or the handphone camera to record a video of it. While I was moving about taking photograph my foot hit a protruding stone on the road shoulder sending me sprawling on the roadside. Fearing for the safety of my camera, I held on tight to it and took the fall with my body. Lokman said I looked funny sprawling down on the roadside. The only damage was some scratches on my left hand knuckles, my left knee and a small patch of skin missing from my chin which bled. Hey a man love his toy so much that he would rather break a limb to save it.
We were in a hurry to pick up my daughter Azini whose last day at her teacher's college was yesterday and was now staying at a hotel in Keningau town. So we had to move on.

Keningau as seen from a hill before reaching it.

It was almost 1 PM when we reached Keningau town and after a few wrong turns we found Oriental Hotel where Azini was staying. Lunch was next on our agenda. Azini took us to a Malay food restaurant where we had sumptuous lunch.

Keningau town. This town is often saddled with water supply problem so most dwellings will have containers to collect water.

The folks of Keningau waiting for transport.

Azini had found out that the road to Kundasang our next destination via Tambunan and Ranau is passable and from previous experience Lokman remembered the scenic views we could have along the way. The route could save us a lot of distance as compared to having to go via the Kimanis, Kota Kinabalu way. Above all it would give us a glimpse of the other side of Sabah the other side of Crocker Range which I doubt I will have another chance again.

We left off Keningau immediately after Lunch. Since Lokman had been through this way before (He went to Tambunan) it was easy to get us on the correct road to our final destination of Kundasang. When we reached Tambunan we went into town to see how it looked. Being a Sunday, the town was eerily quiet unlike Keningau.

We looked for a restaurant called Ikmal. From previous trip to this town, Lokman came to know of the owner who was a Kelantanese who came here some 25 years ago. Most Kelantanese working around Tambunan will congregate here to be close to one another and feel at home away from home. Most Kelantanese feels meeting another fellow Kelantanese is like meeting a relative even though the feeling may not be the same when meeting the same person back home.

Somehow we thought the restaurant was closed so we proceeded on to Ranau. Only after we were on the way out of town that we realised that the restaurant was open.

Restoran Ikmal is operated by a man from Kelantan. Here is where the Kelantanese congregate in Tambunan.

Driving farther we came to a beautiful valley glowing with the golden colour of ripening padi. We stopped by the roadside because Balkis needed a change of diapers. Near to where we stopped we saw a lady doing the menial job of separating the padi from its stalks. The padi plants with the padi intact were cut at the base with a knife. I didn't check what sort of knife they were using. In our state of Kelantan we used the sickle or sabit. The serrated kind is the best as the serrated blade has a better grip when cutting the smooth surface of the padi stalks. The lady was helped by her son and another relative. I will not pass an opportunity to interact with the locals and such opportunity doesn't happen everyday.
The picturesque scene of a padi field full of ripening padi.

Crossing the low barb wire fencing, I went under the blue and orange plastic sheet used by the lady for shelter. The lady who was thrashing the padi to seperate it from its stalks was Julia Taraji. From her we came to know that the village was called Keranaan. She was a part time farmer as once a year she will be planting her plot of land with the crop for the family's consumption. Julia was a fulltime teacher at the local St. Teresa School. According to Julia, the padi variety known locally as Rayong is great to eat. Her 14 year old son Ronald was helping her with another relative by the name of Walter Minson. Julia was proud to tell us that Walter was the best student for the recent STPM trial exam at his school. Julia was teaching her children the art of planting and harvesting padi the way she was taught by her parents. How lucky her children and relatives could be as my own memory of doing the same menial job with my late parent is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

The sight of ripening padi is a beautiful sight to me.

Julia watched her son seperate the padi from it's stalk by beating them on the wooden bench with spaced out wooden rafters as Lokman looked on.

A padi house made of split bamboo wall. I believe the flooring is made of the same material too. This is where they store the harvested padi. The good air flow kept the padi well throughout the year.

After leaving Julia and her helpers to carry on with her task of harvesting the padi, we continued on our journey. Then we saw this signboard of Makam Mat Salleh, the legendary warrior of Sabah who fought the colonists. Since we overshot the junction on our left, we had to make a U turn. I wouldn't miss this place if I were a visitor passing by the place.

If you cant read the above written words let me write it here for you to read;
This plaque marks the site of Mat Salleh's fort which was captured by the North Borneo Constabulary on the 1st February 1900. During this engagement, Mat Salleh, who for six years has led a rebellion against the Chartered Company Administration, met his death.

Yours truly signing the guest book. I left LAISI's address hoping that somebody will notice it.

The road ahead to Ranau was still far. In all we had to cover 114 km from Keningau to Ranau. Some parts of the road were still being repaired. The going through these parts were slow but we still managed to drive through without any mishaps.

A section that once collapsed is now rehabilitated and passable to all traffic.

This is part of Ranau town.

While we were at Jhan Restaurant this boy took a few picrures of Balkis in her bee suit and showed her the results. I don't know if Balkis appreciated the effort.

The Ranau Mosque where we stopped for our prayers.

We stopped at a restaurant by the name of Jhan to buy some fried rice to take away for our dinner at the hotel in Kundasang which was some 25 kms away.

While entering the lobby of Cottage Inn's lobby, Lokman met a fellow staff from PML who had no luck in trying to get a room for his family. He didn't book a room in advance because he was banking on staying with a relative whom he didn't inform in advance either. It so happened that his relative went for a holiday too. Later we found out that he found a nice homestay for his family. Sometimes luck tend to give a person the better choice of things. After having our packed dinner of fried rice, I went to the hotels Restaurant for my first peek at the blogs on my Acer Aspire One netbook borrowed from my son Azrin in KL. Lugging on the over 2 kg Twinhead notebook seems to be a big load compared to the 1 kg Acer. I was too tired after the first day of travel and went to sleep early at 9.30 PM despite the free internet access at the restaurant.