Thursday, July 21, 2011
Pak Pin the Kelantanese expatriate in Jeddah is rasing some fund for his Rumah Anak-anak Yatim dan Miskin in Kuala Krai, Kelantan. The hostel will be able to accommodate about 25 female students studying at an Islamic School nearby. Since Pak Pin has already spent a substantial sum of money on its construction, it is only right that others chip in to buy furnitures for the house which will also be the home of a live in warden to look after the students.
In his latest post on his blogsite "Bakpo~?" Pak Pin is raisng fund via selling almost all of the paintings that he bought from me since 2009. Read more of what he is offering at his blog HERE.
It is for a noble cause and for those with the extra money to spare, please chip in at the same time you will get to own one of my painting from his collection. The reward of pahala will be even bigger.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It is necessary for me to delay the posting of the final part of The Trip Down Memory Lane in order to accommodate this post about the visit of this illustrious son of Kelantan who is now currently working in Jeddah but came back to Malaysia for a family business and a short holiday in Singapore. They once lived there. Pakpayne as I first knew with his blog Bakpo~? is also known as Pak Pin or just Pp.
I had enticed him to come to Pasir Mas for a home cooked lunch/dinner even before he left the shore of Saudi Arabia. I have something to pass to him and it would be most convenient should he dropped in to say hello and stay on for lunch or dinner.
A message on Facebook from him inquiring whether he could drop in on 11th July 2011 was answered in the affirmative by joyous me. This generous man deserve the best treatment from me as he had been instrumental in motivating me to be a painter after Zendra of Zendra's Fascinations spurred me on with her purchase of my first painting even before it was done. How not to be motivated when Pak Pin ordered 10 paintings in one go and paid for them in cash up front even before I have completed even half the numbers? This man really had faith in me though I only became a painter sometime in August 2009.
We had known each other in the blogosphere and we met for the first time only in August 2008 when we had a mini gathering of bloggers in Kota bharu where Puteri Campbell and Family dropped by into Kota Bharu enroute home for the US after visiting her parents in Sarawak. The late Captain Yusoff Ahmad of The Ancient Mariner with three other friends and Adawwiyah Abid, who is another blogger was in attendance too.
Painting came into my life only in August 2009 about a year after we met, so I gather he doesn't have any inkling at all on how well or how bad my work can be. Back then I thought he was just being charitable because Pak Pin was buying paintings on the net at auctions. The paintings he was buying and selling cost more than USD500 each and most of them are the works by established world class artists. Well lucky me as I have him as my patron who in a way encourages me to be a painter.
In all Pak Pin has 11 paintings of mine gracing the walls of his home in Taman Melati, Gombak.
To commemorate his visit to my home I gave him a painting of Sawah Padi with a backdrop of Bukit Panau, the famous hillock that forms the benchmark for all land survey work in Kelantan. Bukit Panau is visible from the house where Pak Pin grew up in Pangkal Kalong, Kemubu with his late single mum as a young boy during his primary school days.
Pak Pin receiving 'Sawah Padi' from me as a token of my appreciation for his visit and support.
Pak Pin and his family had lunch at our place. Since we had a small dining area with just a table for six, we let them have lunch first and we hang around to serve them. As En. Sahlan the owner and driver of the vehicle that they rented had just had his brunch, he declined to take lunch. The sixth seat at the table was taken up by our cousin Kamal who had been acquainted with Pak Pin during his days in Dubai where Kamal's company was doing some business there.
For the lunch we had a simple spread comprising mainly of 'daging singgang', my signature siakap sweet sour, fried fish, 'ikan tawar bakar' to go with the budu and ulam-ulam, young mango slices, sambal durian of the hottest kind, petai masak tumis with cockle flesh, fried 'ikan gelama sungai kering' and a watermelon fruit dish. Since the table was so small and everything was in two's, the table seemed overflowing with food and we had to take some out to accommodate the serving plate. Pak Pin's family are small eaters and they didn't consume much.
Before leaving the house, this couple gave me this perfume with the delicious scent.
Now it will be my favourite perfume as it is bereft of any alcohol.
On his previous visit to kelantan Pak Pin gave us this gold plated commemorative plate of Dubai which is proudly displayed on a cabinet in our main guestroom.
Such a precious gift.
After a short rest and after Puan Aishah and her mother had done the Zohor prayers, we moved on to Kamal's house to see Kamal's yet to be completed Bali styled house. (Please don't imagine it to be anywhere near as huge as the ex-Selangor MB's house though). Kamal had built his Bali styled home using mainly recycled building materials he collected from buildings torn down at project sites that his company was rebuilding. It is not so much on saving of costs that he uses these recycled material as transportation costs bringing them over from KL was high but he had managed to lay his hand on high quality heavy hard wood to suit his design. Kamal by training is not only an architect but also a quantity surveyor.
Pak Pin with Kamal as viewed from a wooden arch in the garden.
Pak Pin was so impressed with the style and he was broaching the idea of creating a cluster of such villas with a gated community for sale to the many Kelantanese living in Kuala Lumpur who yearns for a second home in their home state and be used when returning to visit family and friends. He has friends who are willing to buy them. This idea not only excited Kamal but yours truly as well. Just imagine a cluster of 8 Bali style villas will translate in quite a market for original paintings for the market hungry painters in Kelantan including yours truly.
I had brought over some durians which Pak Pin had earlier brought to my house but we didn't have the stomach to consume them at my house because of the lunch. They were the best of durians with a rich yellow, thick and sweet flesh. Pak Pin had bought them in Pasir Mas from an old mak cik without bothering to bargain as we normally does. With that kind of quality, it was a bargain at RM10 per kg.
It is not only the king of fruits but also the king of durians.
Enjoying durian on the wakaf.
Dreaming of our own Bali styled Villa. Pak pin will realize the dream but me?
Pak pin took this picture. Dunno which is his subject, the family members or the wakaf?
One for the album. from left, my wife Fatthiyah, Kamal's wife Safiah, Puan Aishah and her mother.
We drove on to Pasir Mas as Pak Pin has something to do with ustaz Mat Zin, the owner of one of the top Malay jeweler in town. I won't be surprised if Pak Pin is going to open a jewelery outlet somewhere one day as everything this man touches seems to turn into Gold.
Pak Pin and Puan Aishah, thank you for the visit and gifts.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Sri Garden Hotel Kangar.
We checked out of the hotel immediately after having our breakfast of nasi lemak at the hotel. Our inquiry with the receptionist indicated that even the more expensive rooms are equipped with the same bedding materials so we have no choice but to change hotel though I like the wifi facility so much.
Our destination today is Gua Kelam along the way to Padang Besar. The place is quite easy to find with sufficient road signs to show us the way. Though we had known that Gua Kelam is closed for repair due to a severe flooding of the cave at the end of March 2011 we decided to see the place non the less. Gua Kelam is wet cave with a swiftly running stream through it coming from the other side of the limestone hillock which is part of the Nakawan Range. A wooden boardwalk had been built from one end to the other providing a lighted passageway across. The flood had damaged the wooden boardwalks and they are now under repair which should be completed soon. They are scheduled to open tomorrow! What luck! How I wish we could stay for another day to walk into the cave after it’s reopening.
The entrance to the cave is at the end of the road and the 1000 steps to the top of the hillock is on the right of it.
The entrance with a river running through the whole cave system
A peek into the darkness of the cave.
There is also a gallery displaying artifacts found in another man made cave which was formed by tin miners. A mini train used to run from the top of the gallery to about 400 meters into the cave but the service was suspended after a serious accident happened when a group of youths rode it into the caves. According to the park ranger, the youths had behaved worse than monkeys that live around the area. The loaded train was being rocked by the youth riders to scare off their fellow riders. The carriage had broken off from the front driving loco which is made of a forklift driven by an electric motor. The coaches with the full load of passengers had ran backward slowing gaining momentum along the inclined rail and the riders had no way to jump down due to the tight space between the walls. The carriages stopped only when it hit the end steel barricade with more than sufficient force to injure some of them. Though no life was lost, the accident was serious enough for the park management to suspend the service.
The coaches of the train whose services is currently suspended.The section of the river from the cave entrance to the Gallery is well landscaped and is an ideal place for picnics. Ample and well maintained shelters with seats are available.
Fungi found growing at the base of a tree trunk.
For those agile and energetic enough can walk up the thousand steps for an exhilarating vista view from the top of the limestone outcrop. How I wish I am in my youths again to walk up those steps.
The wooden dulang found in the tin mine cave. This cave is purported to be the largest mining cave in the world.
We were told that there is a Pusat Latihan Khidmat Negara camp on the other side of the cave and we could drive over to the other side to see the opposite entrance via the camp. We were not keen to see the other entrance and decided to visit Wang Kelian instead.
Wang Kelian is another border entrance to Thailand. The road to Wang Kelian is via a torturous incline very much like the old route to Cameron Highlannds from Tapah. The only difference was it is being much shorter but much steeper accent.
Along the way we saw an uninhabited housing area which seems to be a big mistake for the developer. There is no sign to indicate who is the foolish developer. Another white elephant along the way was a bazaar with just a couple of shops being opened without a shopper in sight.
The white elephant with just two shops open. This bazaar may thrive occasionally when the peak tourist season that is the school holidays is on.We returned to the main road to Padang Besar and headed straight for Padang Besar.
Just like Bukit Kayu Hitam, Padang Besar is a busy entry point to Malaysia not only for passenger vehicles but for good laden heavy vehicles.
We headed straight for the Bazaar where most outlets stock cheap goods from Thailand. Here you can find large ‘Deuter’ bag packs at below RM100. So are many other branded T shirts and shoes, all going for a song compared to the price for ‘originals’ displayed in many outlet in posh shopping complex. I doubt many of us could differentiate between the fakes and the originals and for all we know it maybe the same products.
I had a bowl of ‘pulut pauh’ glutinous rice with sweetened coconut milk accompanied by slices of sweet Thai mango at a warong beside the bazaar to tide my hunger.
Inside the main bazaar.As is in most border towns in Malaysia, the selling items are those that depict something from Thailand. In this instance it is Hard Rock Cafe, Bangkok. Why not Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur?
Here branded 'Deuter' backpack costing below RM100 are available.
We returned to our car to drive back to Kangar. Along the way we stopped at Tasoh Resort. This resort is located on the fringe of the Timah Tasoh Reservoir, a splendid resort but in a state of degradation. I guess poor business is depriving this resort from retaining its splendour and glory. A restaurant by the lake side shows signs that it is only operational in the evening.
Passing through Kangar, we drove onward to Kuala Perlis to check on a hotel that is offering rooms at a promotional rate of RM98 per night without breakfast. We had a slight problem locating the hotel as it did not display any name on the rear of the building though it was clearly visible from the town.
I should have checked this small hotel which claim to provide bedsheet with 280 thread count and not only wifi but wired internet. Their standard room cost only RM85 during off peak season.
The wifi connection at Putra Berasmana Hotel was bad. I couldn’t get any access at all though the wifi connection strength was OK. With that failure, I decided to rest my tired body. The lack of sleep the previous night due to poor bedding clearly showed it on the both of us.
After a shower and a nap and it was still early afternoon, we decided to visit a family friend in Arau which is about 20 kms from Kuala Perlis. Tuan Haji Shuib and Puan Latifah was on an Umrah package with us in April 2011. Tuan Haji Shuib had to be admitted to a hospital in Mecca when he vomited blood after performing the Shaie. He was suspected to be suffering from stomach ulcer. By the time we finished our Umrah, Tuan haji Shuib had recovered pretty well to travel back to Malaysia where his children took him to a private hospital in Damansara for further treatment.
We reached Arau and purposefully stopped in front of Istana Arau and called Tuan Haji Shuib. He told us to wait there as he will arrive in 14 minutes. Half an hour later we reached Haji Shuib’s residence in Taman Jejawi mere 5 kms away from Kangar! We should have contacted Tuan Haji Shuib while we were in Kangar which we didn’t. Taman Jejawi is located between Kangar and Arau in the district of Arau.
We had so much to talk about and Tuan Haji Shuib who was a former teacher and headmaster had so much to share about his teaching days.
My request to take leave to return to my hotel in Kuala Perlis was vetoed out as he wanted us to take to dinner at a nearby restaurant a short distance from his home. Puan Latipah was fasting for that day. Steamed siakap, chicken tomyam, beef soup and fried egg stuffed with some condiments was extremely delicious.
We left for our hotel immediately after dinner. Tonight we need all the rest we could get to prepare for tomorrow which will be a drive to Prai with a stopover at Tuan Haji Zakaria’s place in Gurun.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Inside Pekan Rabu.
Crytals mounted in a flat shallow vase with crystal chippings at the base.
The Muzium Padi from afar.
After another hug, we took leave telling him that we are heading for Kangar Perlis with a stopover Kg. Sungai Baru where Gunung Keriang and Muzium PADI is located. Cikgu Hashim specifically told us to look for Alor Janggus and take the right turn but we took an earlier turn when we saw the sign showing Gunung Keriang.
Upon reaching Gunung Keriang, we headed for the Gunung Keriang recreational park with the intention of buying some crystals which we didn't buy when we visited the place with Haji Zakaria earlier. This time we bought a piece together with a kilogram of the white crystal chippings.
Upon returning home to Pasir Mas this is how the crystal look.
Muzium Padi is on the other side of Gunung Keriang. A short drive took us there.
The spiral cavelike staircase to the top of 'Gunung Keriang'
The view from 'the top of Gunung Keriang' based on the paintings by some North Koran artists.
Padi seed samples from all over the world is displayed.
Equipments related to rice production on display.
Scenes of the rice growing areas in Kedah painted by some Koran artists.
Preserved specimen in the gallery.
Live specimen of an albino python
Live King Cobra in their hut.
A beautiful lansdsape pond with a few kois in pool.