Sunday, July 26, 2009

Doing Our Bit For Charity

Buah Seto Tok Ma (Grandma's mangosteen)
Click on the picture to go to the blogsite where the painting is being put up for auction or click here to go to the same site.

The above oil painting was donated by the painter Chegu Mazeri Othman or Deen as he prefers himself to be called. He gave away the painting so that it can auctioned off and the proceed will go to 'Tabung Kebajikan Tok Sangkut' (Tok Sangkut Benevolent Fund) whose purpose will be spelt in detail at the site.
I first met Deen at his mother's home when I visited Kg. Tok Sangkut to hand over some monies collected from my ex classmates when we had a gathering of ex students of the Class of '68 Sekolah Menengah Sultan Ibrahim Pasir Mas, Kelantan. You can read about the event here. We collected some RM600 ringgit to donate to a single mother with three children whose husband was drowned while fishing in a paddy field due to an attact of fits. Read about Deen's plea here.
To ensure that a sustainable benevolent fund can be set up, I have persuaded Deen to donate one of his many paintings that he had been working on for use in his new house (still under construction as of this writing) which he aptly named as Villa Heritage. The proceed from this first sale will go towards the purchase of more materials for painting such as oil paints, canvas and frames. Only high quality materials are used by Deen. The new paintings by Deen using these materials will be further auctioned off to provide a continous income for the fund. Thus your support to buy this first painting and subsequent paintings will be extremely appreciated. After all it will be for a good cause with the purchaser benefitting too by owning a great painting by Deen.
Deen has a Diploma in Music/Art, a BA (Hons) Geography (USM) and an MA in Heritage Studies (UMK) and has set his mind to do his PhD in 2010 which is something doable given the hardworking person that he is.
He was recently appointed as the deputy secretary of PESENI Kelantan (Persatuan Seni Lukis Kelantan) at its recently held Biennial General Meeting on 25th Julai 2009 after joining the association barely a week before that.
The first time I saw Deen's painting was at his mother's home which he has developed as a homestay. Two of the paintings were of koi's, another of a heleconia and the other one was of bamboo stems. I was really impressed by his paintings since they were very much to my taste. Somehow I can't find the pictures of those paintings which I took during the visit.
Deen invited me to see more of his newer paintings which he was collecting to decorate his yet to be completed Villa Heritage. Here are some of them including some that was still working on.

Deen with one of his favourite painting at his rented home in Lubok Jong.

Buah Seto Tok Ma which is currently being auctioned.

A close up of his favourite painting.

The folowings are some of the new paintings he is working on. I guess they are all done by now as this pictures were taken quite sometime ago.

For those who love fine works of art and some money to spare, please visit Tok Sangkut Benevolent Fund to bid for Buah Seto Tok Ma at the reserved price of RM500. The bidding can be done openly in the comment column or if you want to do it in private, you can do it via email at the given email address.
Let us do our bit for charity. Rest assured the fund will be put to good use and the use of the fund will be regularly posted to show the beneficiaries and the amount collected and spent.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Lady From Kafe Dakoh

Too many things happened during the past 2 weeks and I was hard pressed for time to do my next post. I am having a dilemma as to what to post next. If I were to post the last and final segment of the European Tour, it maybe sometimes before I can post the next items which will end up with being overtaken by events and left not posted. Delaying the last segment to a later date maybe better as some of you might be bored with them by now.
In a nutshell these were some of the major happenings since my last post.
- Met Maria of Kafe Dakoh
- Attended the opening ceremony of Program Penempatan Pekerjaan Peringkat Negeri Kelantan Tahun 2009 by Y.B. Dato' Maznah Mazlan, Deputy Minister of Human Resources Ministry.
- Went to Shah Alam to see my latest bundle of joy, my eighth grandchild Adam Hakimi.
All of the above three deserve to be mentioned as part of happenings that deserve to be recorded in the history of my life.
Now I am back home in Pasir Mas so I must start with posting a new post should I want to get one done. I have decided to start with my meeting with blogger Maria of Kafe Dakoh.
It was her Europe Here I Come - Part 8 that first establish us as a new blogger friend. Knowing that she resides just across the border in the often turbulent district of Narathiwat in Thailand adds to my curiousity of what a 25 year old American doing down there. Visiting her blog Kafe Dakoh added a new puzzle as to why she is so addicted to the bygone era of Hang Tuah. Another knowledge that she frequently visited Kota Bharu for lunch gives the possibility to know her more and perhaps learn something about this humorous lady who is as old as my youngest daughter.
Though she mentioned that she was going to KB for lunch, I was unable to make time to meet her that week. Only on her subsequent visit that we managed to meet for lunch but read here how the meet nearly failed to happen.
We have agreed to have lunch in Kota Bharu and since her co worker Robert from the Philippines who usually drive to Kota Bharu will not be coming, she will be coming on her own via the immigration checkpoint of Takbai, Thailand. According to her it is just half an hour van ride from the town of Narathiwat. She mentioned that she could be in on the other side of the border across the river in Pengkalan Kubor by about 10.30 AM. Well and good, I said I will be there to pick her up so that she doesn't have to ride the bus.
By 10.25 AM I was there at the Malaysian side of the immigration check point. Having given her my car registration number,car make and colour, I thought she would be able to find me in a jiffy. For me to spot an American lady in Pengkalan Kubor will be chicken feed. 10.30 went by without any sign of any American be it male or female. Waited for another half an hour before I decide to perch myself on a specially made viewing point tat gave me a clear look of the river and the town of Takbai across the river.

This is the jetty where all arrivals by passenger boat arrive. I can easily spot her arrival.

This is the view of passenger boats plying across the river bordering Thailand and Malaysia.

That is the jetty on the other side of the river as far as the eyes could see.
Using a 200 mm zoom this is what I could see.

Then this vehicle ferry crossed the river and I thought she may have used this ferry to cross the river and would thus be using the other immigration check point. I rushed over to the other side of the small town but there was no sight of anybody looking like an American.
Then only it dawned upon me there there is a one hour difference between Thailand and Malaysia. What is 10.30 AM to Malaysian is just 9.30 AM to the Thais. OK I will wait till 10.30 AM Thai Time. 11.30 AM came and there was no sign of Maria. After giving her another 30 minutes of grace, I decided to to go home. A few kilometer down the road I saw a cyber cafe. I decided to check my mail because I know for sure she would have emailed me something if she were unable to come. The cyber cafe had many computers mainly used to play games by the kids in the area. Most of them were the low end types with slow processors. It was only after changing to the third computer that my emails managed to load. I saw no mail from Maria, meaning she didn't cancel the trip. I decided to check her again at the jetty.
When I reached the fate to the immigration and custom complex I saw Maria in her stetson hat clutching a plastic packet of the 'cendol' drink.
She entered my car and immediately she revealed the reason for her late arrival. She realised too late the difference in time zone. The van ride that usually took half an hour took much more than that. The reason? It was the durian season and the van driver went to every small roads to pick up fares of durian sellers with durians to sell in Takbai.
When I asked her how she managed to handle the durian smell in the van. I was surprised to hear the answer that she loves durian and could withstand the smell.
On the way we stopped at a Buddhist temple because on her previous trips she never had the chance to stop at one. Here Maria gave one of her manly pose.
Since I had only a piece of 'roti canai segera' for breakfast, I was on the point of starving. Maria suggested that we have Banana Leaf rice for lunch,which happened to be my favourite too. We stopped at Meena's Banana Leaf Restaurant in Jalan Gajah Mati. Ahhh just the right place for me to get the owner of the restaurant to test her Tamil which she profess to speak as she was a student of Classical Tamil at Berkeley University back home in California. Berkeley is not the Berkeley School of Music that many Malaysians had been to to study but this Berkeley is the rival of the famous Standford University and both are located in the Silicon Valley in California. Maria hailed from St. Jose.
Both of us must be starving as we had second helpings. It has been sometimes since I had rice at this place. The fish curry is out of the world and so is the 'ayam goreng kichap' (chicken fried in soy sauce).
The Indian guy who owned the business later told me that her Tamil was definitely the classical Tamil better than his own low class Tamil.
Next we moved to KB Mall where Maria wanted to buy an alarm clock. She needs such a gadget to replace the alram provided by her handphone which came back without the alarm after a repair job.
The first stop was a camera shop since she needs to look around for a video camera. She needs to know the price before buying one. I suggested that she buys one with a build in hard disk as the other tape or mini DVD format is getting out of fashion and too cumbersome to use. She will buy one after her parent's consent and perhaps share the expense as most of the videos to be taken will be sent to them for their viewing.

Maria looking at some of the handycams available at the shop.
Later we saw an activity at the concourse of the shopping complex. Y.B. Dr. Ng Yen Yen was due to open the Mega Sale 2009 for Kelantan. Her arrival was greeted by the din of the loud chinese drums and cymbals interspersed with kompang beat. Accompanied by a group of boys dressed in monkey costumes, she was led to the stage where the boys performed a monkey dance with music provided by a local ensemble of musicians using recycled contraptions such as large plastic pails and earthenware urns. They manage to produce splendid music led by the local 'serunai'. This is definitely a great show for tourism. Unfortunately there were not many tourists around to benefit from the pageantry. What a bloody waste. I guess it is the usual reason of insufficient publicity by the people who is supposed to publicise it.

YB. Dr. Ng's arrival was greeted on arrival by the troup of boys in monkey costumes.

Maria observing the spectacle from the balcony above.

Among the VIPs on stage being entertained by the monkey dance was the rep from Narathiwat Thailand.

On the top floor we found this shop with the name Tentative Computers. Maria was amused by the name use and asked met to take a shot, Yeah it was tentative business too as they have either close down or moved to another location. Should you want to open up a business, make sure you find a good name with an appropriate meaning otherwise you may end up the way the business was named.

Always game to try on something, the lady from Kafe Dakoh triend her hands as making some noises on the urns. Well she did managed to produce some sound.
On the way back to Pengkalan Kubor we stopped for a drink of coconut water. Pure coconut drink with no sugar added. It was bliss.
We stopped at another temple popularly known among tourists as the Reclining Buddha. It is purported to be the longest in this part of the world.

The older buildings though in a stage of degradation seems to attract Maria's attention most.
After that I just gave Maria my camera as I wanted to see what really is seen by her eyes. Here are some of them.

Details of the murals on the wall of the reclining Buddha.
An ancient urn from China which is used to burn the incense.

Now which is it? The pillars or the statues?

More murals.
The dragons on a roof top.

At another temple we saw a wooden building in an advance stage of damage. This one really caught her fancy and she went of a frenzied spree of photography. I dont really know what went in her mind.

The building from afar. It was beautiful once but it is losing is luster. Being made of wood, it must be very difficult to maintain and repair.
On the way back to the jetty, Maria talked about her life's experience after she graduated from School. Her parents had given her the choice to do her post graduate studies or to see the world and study from the life university before coming back to pursue her higher studies and later perhaps become a lecturer at her Alma mater. She had chosen the later which has taken her to Japan, India and Kuala Lumpur before landing a teaching job in Bankok Thailand. The dirty air in Bangkok didn't help her health much and she was offered another teaching job in Narathiwat at the same pay making it very affordable for her as the cost of living is very much lower in Narathiwat.
From her eyes she let her parents see the world via volumnous emails which her parents made into hard copies and compiled them. Numerous pictures accompanied the emails. It was a win win situation because her parents refused to leave their heaven on earth as they thought they are living in the best place on this planet so why should they leave their place even for a short while?
Soon her parents will be seeing streams of videos when Maria manages to gat her hand on a video camera.
See more of Maria at her site Kafe Dakoh named after the sweet smelling coffeee being brewed on roadsides in Cambodia. Muslims traveling in Cambodia must beware that Kafe Dakoh is brewed in lard.