Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Friends From Sweden - The Cedhagens.

The Cedhagens from Sweden. L - R: Lena, Tomas, Carl and Ingrid.

Tomas pointed excitedly to a Volvo 122 parked near The Padang Bank in Kota Bharu when we passed by it in my car on our way for a look around the town of Kota Bharu with the rest of his family. He volunteered the information that his father produced some parts for the car! That was exciting news as I was once a proud owner of this classic car built in mid sixties. Mine was made in 1966. Pak Idrus whom Tomas will be meet up while in KL is a proud owner of one too.
Tomas Cedhagen is a marine biologist and came to Malaysia for a holiday with his wife Lena, a busy company director, son Carl Johan 12 and daughter Ingrid 10. They had just came over to Kota Bharu after enjoying a couple of days sojourn on the beautiful islands of Perhentian. While there Carl did his PADI licence but unfortunately Ingrid wasn't able to do that being under the permissible age for such a licence.

Malaysia is not a foreign to Tomas since many many years ago he was here once and met my friend Zaharan Razak while teaching at one of the Universities here. It was through Zaharan Razak that Tomas' impending arrival in Kelantan was made known to me. Zaharan wanted to know if I maybe interested to befriend his friend from Sweden. Why not, I said. A friend of Zaharan's is also a friend of Pak Zawi.

Tomas sent a message on Facebook to me while still on the island advising me of his estimated time of departure from the island and also the estimated time of arrival at the Riverview Hotel in Kota Bharu where he had booked a room.
I went to the hotel at five o'clock and joined them for coffee because they have yet to complete their meal.

Photograph taken by Ingrid.

At the hotel lobby I saw a copy of Qiadah, a magazine published by Perbadanan Menteri Besar Kelantan. Pak Zawi contributed three articles to that second issue which I made Lena hold in her hands for a photograph. They will pore over the magazine when they return to their room later.

Lena holding the Magazine.

While showing them about the many places of interest in town which they could do on foot the next morning namely the War Museum, The Handicraft Village, Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah and Bazaar MPKB, we stopped at Arked Kota Bharu since Lena wanted to buy some gems.

Faizal the gems dealer showed some gems to the Cedhagens.

Due to time constrain as we were in a hurry to move on to Tumpat to see some Buddhist Temples as Carl is interested to study the various world religions. Faizal the gem dealer gave Tomas his contact number and expressed his willingness to open the stall the next day which was a Friday and a holiday in Kelantan should the Cedhagens have the intention to visit again. Faizal speaks English so he was able to communicate with them.

We proceeded to Tumpat where the Buddhist temples were located. Initially I offered them the choice of either the Reclining Buddha or the Sitting Buddha as these are the two significant ones in term of size. They prefer to let me make the choice for them to which I said I prefer both. Before making the turn into the temple compound I told the children to close their eyes. Upon stopping the car only were they allowed to open them again. The wow! that came from their mouth was stupendous.

Tomas posing in front of the reclining Buddha, purported to be the longest in South East Asia.

I saw this pomelo like fruit in the compound of the temples with numbers on it. Tomas asked me what the numbers mean. Some people must be playing cranks on punters by displaying these numbers. Who knows some punters may have made a strike by betting on these numbers?

At the tortoise pond, Tomas expertly explained to us all the various species of tortoises in the ponds and pointed out the local species against the introduced ones. He is so knowledgeable about his line of business.

Next we moved on to the Sitting Buddha further up to Tumpat. We spent sometimes at this temple. We had to start back to Kota Bharu due to the darkening sky. It rained quite heavily while we were on the way back to Kota Bharu but ceased by the time we reached the hotel.

As a token of friendship The Cedhagens gave me this beautiful key chain with a small replica of The Mermaid being the famous symbol of Coppenhagen embossed on it. Unfortunately I brought nothing to reciprocate with. We bid farewell to each other. Though it was a short acquaintance, hopefully the friendship established will last forever.

To the Cedhagens, I would like to wish you a happy stay while in Malaysia.


Akmal said...

Yes, I'm sure it will last forever, the friendship you've made.
We can be proud that there are actually many people from other countries come over visiting the many interesting things available around malaysia. you, of course, can be even prouder that you actually helped him around, even befriended him :)

Zawi said...

It was just a small deed from me but I think the family really appreciated it. How I wish we could do it all the time so that people will be very happy to come and stay in Kelantan longer. Make them feel that they are safe and welcomed here.
Who knows one day I may visit them in Sweden?

pendita said...

akum pok awi.. lamo doh dop komen blog pok awi.. stakat baco jah..huhu... janji nok jupo pun dop rajin buleh temu mato lagi keh sibuk sokmo kalu kelik kg.. takpo harap2 pahni bleh jupo pok awi.. ambo ado request, menjadi harapan ambo kalu pok awi dapat berjumpo dgn sore foreigner buko homestay kat PCB.. namo dio harry mulder.. ambo nok tau lebih dekat lagi gapo hok buko hati dio sapa nok duk kat kelate nih.. pahni bleh la ltak cito dio dale Qiadah retek.. ni website dio;

Zawi said...

Pak Zawi selalu free. SMS je la bila rasa ada masa nak jumpa.
Pasir Belanda tu dah tersohor dan banyak article dalam akhbar dan juga TV dah keluar mengenai mereka.
Atas permintaan Pendita ini InsyaAllah Pak Zawi akan buat bila ada peluang ke sana nanti.

Oldstock said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

I'm happy to read that you have befriended the friends of your friends. It's a lovely way to extend the circle of people that we know.

On another note, I received the first issue of Qiadah some time ago and have read the interesting article that you wrote on Kuala Koh. However, I have not received second issue. I was wondering if I need to check with the publisher to see if I am still on the mailing list.

Pak Zawi said...

Friendship transcends all boundaries and if there is any boundariy it should be extended or better still be removed altogether for easier access by either sides. I have learnt one lesson though, never expect too much from your friends, you may be disappointed. Respect your friends and you will be respected.
Just send a note to Sheikh of Kickdefella and I think he will do the needful. I don't have any extra copies otherwise I could send it to you. The second issue is definite better than the first. Thank you for the appreciation of my article.

Covert_Operations'78 said...

Well, the lives of both parties have been enriched by the friendship, which I trust will last for many many happy years, so a missed opportunity to reciprocate with a little souvenir is negligible. You have given them your time, the most precious gift of all.

I haven't been to Kota Baru in years. The last time I dropped by was to rescue my boyfriend's car in Laloh after Rainforest Challenge 2007.

I have an aunt, uncle and cousin in K. Baru but have not visited them in years. I remember the state museum and Reclining Buddha from my first visit there in 1986.

Best regards,

Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
Thank you for those inspiring words.
High time you come back to Kota Bharu. I will make sure you get to see all the nice places over here which are off the beaten track.
There will be a Tomoi event in Kulim in early May. Check for the details. I have confirmed my attendance barring unforseen circumstances.

Pak Idrus said...

Zawi, met them just now and took them shopping and eating at the Pavilion. Tomorrow would take them to Putra Jaya, then to the Museum Negara and then for shopping again at KLCC.

They are really nice folks and Asmah and I are indeed happy to have met them through Zaharan and you.

Have a nice day.

Pi Bani said...

Pak Zawi idak nak buat business homestay ke?

Pak Zawi said...

Pak Idrus,
They are the luckiest of people to have met you and Kak Asmah. I know they will be treated like a family by you. We both owe Zaharan one for his introduction to The Cedhagens.
Tell Tomas and his family I say Hi to them.

Pak Zawi said...

Pak Zawi tak nak buat homestay la. Ada kawan buat homestay kat P Mas dan saya akan pass kat dia je kalau ada orang nak experience homestay. Yang dia buat ni authentic homestay punya bukan jenis providr of room for lodging.

Mat Salo said...

Pak Zawi, you're the best spokesman for Kelantan tourism... even when you're not paid to do it. Ha ha. The Cedhagens are very lucky to have friends like Zaharan, you and Pak Idrus.

Just like the Muy Thai organizer, everything starts with a passion to chase their dreams. Good luck on the book project.

Volvo 122? Ha ha, I used to lust after this car when I was a schoolboy. Now it's an XC90 T6 SUV with a Thule roof rack to carry my bikes :).Hey, it's okay to dream, right?

Everything starts with a dream...

Sang Kelate said...

Pak Zawi:

I agree 100% with Mat Salo's comment above... SYABAS...wish

Did u happen to know there is a scandavanian cafe in KB? IF I am not mistaken, the lady that owns the cafe is also a Swedish who speaks Kelantanese (her hubby is a Tumpat chap who is also a diver). I am not sure it is still open or not. It is located at the back of PKINK building in padang garong area...

Ambo raso rugi & ketinggalan sungguh wei dok kenal Pak Zawi lamo doh sini but still tak dae sokmo nak 'jjupo mato'.... InsyaAllah... we will meet soon


Pak Zawi said...

Bro MS,
Thank you for the accolade. There are times being friendly can be bad when you don't live up to people's expectation. Now I have to be wary who I befriends. I may have to be more selective.
I once rebuilt a 1966 Volvo 122S from scratch when my sons were still small. It was my blood sweat and tears. Had to let it go to a friend and is now well maintained in Puchong. If you see an MB 7863 moving around over there, that was my baby.
It is definitely OK to dream. Everything starts with a dream. We must dare to dream.

Pak Zawi said...

Sang Kelate,
I will check on the Swedish Cafe. Hope it is still around. If it is, I will blog about it here.
I am just a phone call away. Just SMS me on 019 9125647 and if I am free we can easily meet. I am always free in the morning when I wife is away teaching in school. So you know when to meet me. Why not give it a try?

Patricia said...

This family is so lucky to have found such good people like you and Zaharan. Nothing can match being shown around by the people who actually live in an area. Your insights and little stories could never match the rot found in the guide books!

I am sure they'll treasure their visit here, and plan to come back again soon.

Pak Zawi said...

From what ZR posted in his site, The Cedhagens had a great time in Dungun with Zaharan.
Now they are in KL and knowing Pak Idrus, it will be even a better time for them in KL. Top that with a ride in Pak Idrus Volvo 122, Tomas and family will be going back in time to dreamland.