Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hanafi Kasbi

Although we both joined the same organization Felda after leaving the then College of Agriculture Malaya (now Universty Putra Malaysia) in 1972, our path has never crossed and thus we have never met.
Hanafi was not only a classmate in Serdang but he was also a groupmate. In Serdang term this is a group of ten person who will form the smallest unit for each year from a total of approximately 180 students. The formation was done by the College authority, Every activity will revolve around this unit for tutorials, sharefarm and many other activities within and without the college. It was a closely knit unit randomly chosen irrespective of race, sex, religion and state where we came from. A member of this group are like brothers and sisters. Even outings for satay Kajang in Kajang are made together after every disbursement of scholarship money by the College.
It was after some members namely Aziz Abu Hassan, Dato' Khalid Hassan and several others were planning a get together in August and another one in October 2010 that we started looking for all the members. Thanks to Facebook, things were made easier for us all to locate each other.
The biggest surprise came on 28th July 2010 when we were chatting on facebook and we enquired about each other's location. He dropped the bomb and told me that he had settled down in Kubang Kerian, Kota Bharu, kelantan since 2008, almost 3 years ago without any of our other classmates knowing it. Being a Selangorian, I thoght he must have settled down in Selangor at the very least. Who would have thought of him settling in Kelantan?
Since we are quite near with me staying just a across the Kelantan River, a meeting was in order and he agreed to come over to Pasir Mas at 3.00 PM.
He was supposed to come via the Tendong bridge to pick me up at my house before we proceed to an eatery famous for its Mee Udang. He came via the Jambatan Salor instead after missing the turn to the Jambatan Tendon which often happens to people not familiar with the area. If you were to follow the road sign to Pasir Mas, it will lead you to pasir Mas via the Salor Bridge.
He made a stop and called me for direction. Since the place where he stopped was close to the mee udang eatery, I told him to just stay there and give me time to meet him there.
It was impossible to talk much at the eatery as the place is located to close to the busy road. We finished our delicios plate of mee udang and proceeded to my house in Mekasar a distance of about 6 km on the other side of town.

We reminisced about old times especially about those times we were employed by Felda.
The best topic was about our classmates especially the group mates during our first year in Serdang. We recalled the other members of the group comprising of the only rose in the group Rokiah Yusoff from Terengganu, Mohd Hamzan Din from Negeri Sembilan, Taharin Shafie , Aziz Muhamad from Pahang, Sabundok Linggo from Sabah, Adzaudin bin Salleh from Kedah, Zainuddin Shamsuddin from Penang, Ali Abu Bakar and of course himself Hanafi Kasbi and myself Mohamad Zawawi Ahmad.
I related to him on how I met Sabundok Linggo in Bukit Bintang KL and after telling him who I was, we parted as complete strangers as he couldn't recall much of our time together in Serdang way back in 1969.
As to Hanafi he remarried a Kelantanese since the demise of his wife some ten years ago due to breast cancer, an incurable disease that has been inflicting the female gender. I guess Kelantan will be his home and he will settle here for good. It is normal for non Kelantanese to SKMK, Sampai Kelantan Mesti Kawin and Saya Kahwin Mek Kelantan. In Hanafi's case he married the Mek Kelantan while they were based in Kuantan where they met.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Korea - The Final Part

Seoul-Ho Chi Mink City-Kuala Lumpur

This was the final night we are spending in Seoul, Korea. The hotel Stay 7 where we are putting up is located on an island which bears many similarities with Manhattan Island in USA. One similarity is it being the business district of Seoul and thus it is also known as Manhattan and there is even Manhattan hotel beside our Stay 7 Hotel.
Since we checked in at almost 9 PM at the hotel and we will be checking out very early the next day, I didn't really have much time to explore the area around the hotel and thus couldn't write much about the area.
The next day we checked out at 7 AM without any breakfast at the hotel as we usually do. Breakfast was arranged at another restaurant en route to the airport. This quite convenient it seems.

Early morning pose infront of the hotel.

Then we rode the bus to the place breakfast. Since we have collected some money among us to tip the helper Mr. Jeung, Tuan haji Shafie was elected to present the gift. I doubt anyone knows how much was collected as we just passed the plastic bag around.

It was a Korean breakfast for us mainly comprising of kimchi and seaweed which I managed to down them all. A half boiled egg and some bread brought by Lucy the tourist guide helped those who can't take the Korean original dish.

On the shelves inside the restaurants are some souvenir samples that can be bought at the shop below. Now I know why we were made to stop at this restaurant. It was the last stop where we could finish our Korean Won or US dollars that we had on us. For those who still need a few more souvenirs to take home, this is the last chance though the price marked were definitely highly marked up. This is a good tactic and Malaysia should emulate it to extract the last bit of money from travellers before they depart for their next destination.
I found this beautiful kitchen knife which was priced at a hefty USD 35.00 an amount I could easily pay for a Victorinox. Well since we have quite a bit of unspent budget, we bought it. The knife is beautiful to look at as well as very sharp.

We bought a 24 carat plated plate with the Korean symbol.

It has found a place among our collection of plates.

We landed at Ho Chi Minh City airport.

A local tourist guide took us in a bus to our hotel.

A beautiful Pagoda along the way.

Poster of what is showing at the movies. This shows the film industry in Vietnam is still thriving.

Instead of taking us direct to the hotel, we were taken to a shop selling all sort of food. The main item was coffee. I recalled reading somewhere that not all Vietnam coffee is halal because some people roasted the bean in lard. I told my other half about it but she seemed to pooh pooh what I said. I abstained from drinking the coffee and had tea instead. She loves coffee and tasted her Vietnam coffee and fortunately she did not buy any to take home seeing that I wasn't drinking it despite my love for coffee.
Later somebody told her that Vietnam coffee are like the 'kopi musang' in Indonesia where the best coffee comes through the backside of the musang. That I concurred and made her angry that i did not tell her earlier. Hey didn't I try to caution her?

There were all sort of things they tried to sell to our group but not many of us were interested as many of us had already decided on what things to buy at Ben Than market.
We checked in into our hotel.
Tan hai Long Hotel is quite close to Ben Than Market and all we need is to walk to it.
The hotel room is cosy and the internet connection is good and free.
Some of the ladies wanted to buy 'telekong' (prayer robefor ladies). For that we were taken on a very short unnecessary bus ride. I guess the tour guide wanted to mislead into thinking that the place was far from the hotel and thus we would not be able to go on our own. Going on our own will mean cutting off his commission, a real necessity for him in this business.
While waiting for the wife to buy the 'telekung', there was a sudden electrical outage in the area. Then suddenly we saw some outlets bringing out standby generators. Such power failures seems to be a normal thing in Vietnam or at leat in Ho Chi Minh City.
A 14 year old girl was accosting me to buy some beautiful fans. She was selling them at USD10 for 10. Though I didn't want to buy them, she was persistent and hang around me like a lost cat. I tried to get her to go by taking a picture of her which she avoided by opening the fan across her face.

Sensing that she could make me buy her items by letting me take her picture, she brought the fan down. Ain't she pretty?

We walked back to the hotel. on the way we stopped at Ben Than market. There are lots of things you can buy in the market. make sure you stop there when you are in Saigon. This is how the market look from afar.

Dinner that night was again at the 4 Season restaurant, a restaurant operated by the Champa Malays. Told you the food there was so so.

That night it was another round of shopping at the street market around the Ben Than market close to the hotel. Some of the stalls were at the doorsteps of the hotel at the back entrance.

Here the other half is buying some T shirts for the male family members. price are cheap and the quality acceptable though the brands are obviously fake.

Initially we bought the yellow wooden container. Later when it was almost closing time, your truly was made to rush down to buy the more colorful one to make a pair.

This is how the city look at night near the hotel.

Pretty paintings on hotel walls. How I wish I could explore the city for such art work. Saigon is city with many talented artists, only one must know where to go.

We were up quite early the next day. We were checking out after having breakfast at the hotel. While waiting for our bus to coma, we spent sometime at the free internet station available at the hotel lobby. Below Aizat and his mum were using the internet too. They almost missed the flight home as his father Mohamad Yusoff had ofted to use the safety deposit box provided in our room to keep their passport. The box refused to open up and the hotel could not assist them despite calling for an expert. They had to wait for the supplier in Bangkok to come into office to give further instruction. Later a master password was received from Bangkok and they managed to open the box. They had to take a taxi to the airport as the bus could not wait for them. Luckily they were still in time to catch the flight home.

As usual the roads in saigon is teeming with motorbikes.

The wearing of safety helmets is now mandatory in Vietnam. hence you can see them being sold by the roadside.
Coffee corners are available around the city for breakfast. locals have their breakfast there before going to work.
The parks are used for recreation and exercise by the locals.
Finally our Tour Leader Norma representing POTO Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, thanked the group for travelling wiith the company.

Pak Zawi slouching on a bench while waiting for the flight home. Though tiring, we did enjoy this trip to Korea which included stop overs in Saigon.

Thank You Google

Thank you Google for giving me back my blog LAISI.
The admin at Google believed me after I have made several more reports. They allowed me to reset my password and now I have my blog again to carry on posting new stories.
I have yet to check my Gmail and I am sure it is accessible again.
I had given up all hope and told them to just cancell both the email and the Blog. Lucky thing they are also people who feels for people like us.
You are really wonderful people at Google.
In the meantime I have already set up another blogsite also by the same name of LAISI but with a different URL. I am in the process of copying all the posts from this site to the new site. I guess i will be maintaining both sites and making posts at both sites just to be sure that should one go down again, there is the other one to be used. So dear readers, you can use either one and you will still be able to read my posts.
Now I am feeling rejuvenated and will be making new posts with much gusto.
Again I want to thank you people at Google.