Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PICTURES WITH A STORY .....

Often we glimpse at a picture or pictures and never attempting to see or read the stories behind them. Often concluding that it or them has or have no stories to tell. Very true for only the photographer can tell us the stories within that picture. Especially when we have right in our hands pictures dating back many years ago.

Let's go back a few decades back when pictures are in white and black and discover the stories. Well I am able to tell the background to that picture because I was the photographer. How we dismissed the facts and the stories within because failing to look deeper and unwary of the wealth within. 





                                                                     PICTURE A                                                              
It's a quiet and peaceful. No traffic except for two persons about to cross the road. Even then they looked cautious.  It's early morning, a beautiful day with a slight breeze in the air. Obviously it is not of the current time frame but one snapped in 1957 when Malaya was heralding its Independence     (Merdeka) The signage on the arch framing the road tells all. There is a picture of Tunku Abdul Rahman the first Prime Minister for all to see when they passed by. 
 
The road is still in service in 2015 but transformed through the years to be a busy double thorough fare. Imagine only a bicycle or two on the road minus the cars , motor cycles lorries etc. The air is cleaner and the trees grow to their full heights and right to the road boarders. Years earlier a horse drawn cart would also be on the road. Alas all that has gone. 2015 sees a total change of the area fronting the road side at ALOR MERAH four kilometres from Alor Setar city centre. 

All the greens are gone. Bare and brick buildings have taken their places. You risk your life if you do cross the road without watching for the heavy traffic to and fro.



This is a picture of Alor Setar in 1955 with imported British cars parked in front of Bangunan Wan Mat Saman ( now the Kedah Religious Department). A 'Humber' or a Hillman Minx could be the model of the car. Angsana trees lined the road stretching from Bangunan Balai Besar to the corner of Jalan Raja and Jalan Tunku Ibrahim. The white building stretching across the picture was the PWD office and later became an art gallery. The open field in front of the PWD office is known as 'Padang Court' the public open field for the Alor Setar community where all state functions were held here. Its proximity to the Zahir Mosque and Sultan's office and in the centre of the town makes it the "Town Padang" typifying itself as many other established town padang in all the state capitals of Malaya and Singapore.

A look back at history, glimpses at old pictures will open our eyes to yester-years and that too if the old pictures are still safe in our keeping.






                                

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

APRIL 2015 IT'S GETTING COOL WITH THE RAIN FALLING AND THE TREES GREENING YET IT'S WARM OUT THERE ....

I am sure all of us who read and hear perfectly realize what's happening in the country. As if the monsoon, the flood , the immigrants, the illegal entries, the IS and the corruptions plus the GTS have not dislodged  us from our positions, now the political awakening of the RULING GOVERNMENT with show of supports to the chief help to shake further the stability of the country.

The question and answer sessions in the newspaper and the electronic media continue relentlessly. Years ago you may expect replies to come days later but now it is directly there soon after one is uttered or published. Never mind who said what, there will always be a prompt answer.

We look on and declare that with such going on, will the people have peace and calm. Remembering that the country's security itself is on hold will the discourse over 1MDB, jet plane, Pak Najib, Tok Tun M and IM4U declaration etc continuing beyond its boundary will bring us OUT successfully?

The 2 bye-elections due in May 2015 will surely be something to focus on if speakers or candidates dare to speak and reveal all.

I am sure many of my blogger friends may have been at least dislodged from their favorite outings with the current news headlines in all the media. Stability is an issue.

Salam to all.  Two pictures taken recently while in Dubai UAE help to state the feelings we may feel at the moment. 




Falling with magnificence and setting sun with its closure of the day and what will it be tomorrow?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

RETURNING TO THE FIELD

A lapse of almost three months, bring me back to familiar ground. However it took a time to click back when password and other directions got entangled due to lack of practice or maybe blanks. 

Blogging however seems to take a back seat now with 'whatsapp', 'telegram' etc taking a new foothold. The latter is organized and executed right away via your telephone inclusive of photos that added impact and reality.

Be as it is, this chapter identifies activities and visitations of the past months helping to record them while of course remembering that the nation  Malaysia has not been spared of calamity and incidents of varied kinds. The tragic flooding on the east coast coming with Christmas Day 2015 and earlier the Cameron Highlands landslides and flooding hit the nation with tragic impact. People are still reeling with the tragedy.


On the bright side let's see what has actually comes our way.

On the eve of the Chinese New Year we traveled to Batu Pahat in Johore . Batu Pahat however has been on the map but unvisited by us until  today. Segamat, Muar, Johore Bharu, Kota Tinggi , Ayer Hitam situated closer to the highways and main roads have not been missed. Now what do we discover at Batu Pahat in the confined of a 24 hour visit and that too compounded with attending a wedding function; maybe a glimpse of the town but enough to know its potentials and directions. 







One thing for sure, we landed after a lengthy drive from Putrajaya due to traffics on the highway because of the Chinese New Year balik kampong to a comfortable hotel in town. I must say it was a pleasant discovery to find such a hotel in town. I am appreciative of the design, service and comforts of  The Katerina Hotel at  Jalan Zabedah 83000 Batu Pahat Johor Takzim. Several pictures attached testify to the cleanliness and comfort  you would enjoy. Talk of a boutique hotel , Katerina would fit into that category.

Batu Pahat takes its name literally from this sculpture or monument you see in town. Appreciate of the skills inherent in the people you would of course like to see the products and meet the craftsmen. Alas that would not be fulfilled. Centuries has passed and old traditions have departed too.






At the Asam Pedas Restaurant in town. Good to see  Malays with their restaurants and support customers. 


Not for dinner but reserved for the next day and we had to search for it. From the many customers at the restaurant it does established itself as a favoured one in town. 

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Our visit to Batu Pahat was to attend a wedding reception and solemnization and the visit to the resident's of the bride yet again introduce us to other aspects of the community and  people who make up Batu Pahat and this sector of Johore.












Yet there are other welcome invitations. Batu Pahat has offers for your gastronomy. Nasi Berani Power and Assam Pedas come to mind. Either would be our destination for dinner. For Malaysian towns the like of Batu Pahat and others outside   the arm bits of tourism you are assailed by the lack or obvious absence of brochures and maps promoting the town or locality. The best would be to access your phone or computer if you have them with you.






 A picture taken from the 7th floor of the hotel gives some idea of the landscape of the town. A highland close by added that it is not a flat land though rice farming and rubber plantation have shifted to oil palm plantation.

A 2 day visit seriously require a follow up.
 


 
 



 
























HAVE YOU VISITED BATU PAHAT?


BATU PAHAT has its name identified by this structure in town. The question begged to be asked  " Are there masons and stone's quarry in town and where or what are the products of the skilled craftsmen? "

Likely you will not find a trace of them but discover other aspects within the short hours you are in town.Just because it is not a centre frequently visited especially by tourists you find a dire lack of information and especially brochures or maps of the town. Thus you may end up guessing all aspects of the town even to the very fact of finding directions to a restaurant where you would enjoy dinner of local delicacies. Knowing that Batu Pahat has culinary to offer. 

Johore is recognized with various 'parit' ( canals, riverlets, drainage) and your journey around town will bring you face to face with signages that declare their existence.     

Saturday, February 21, 2015

FEBRUARY 2015 POSTING

Having been away from blogging for  months, it gets difficult to get back to the path or clicking to note down what you planned to do. Your attempts to find your dashboard also meet with failure. Memories and patience become the tester; you may easily give up when several attempts find no way out. You lose your blogs?

Thankfully there is a discovery and here you are typing away. The next best way to go back to your album and post photos taken in the past months. They recorded intact what memories may not recollect immediately while you grope for stories.


 At the home of a family friend near Batu in Kuala Lumpur, it was a surprise to meet up with an old friend of the teaching days. Only upon asking we found out the next person sitting near to us was  Abdul Rahman Yeop, a former headmaster and Pengarah Pelajaran Selangor in the 1970's.Forty years and more have passed by and thankfully recognition stays put and help us to be connected again.


Last month while driving to Baling that historical town where Tunku Abdul Rahman met Chin Peng, we saw again this building at Jeniang in the district of Sik Kedah. Astride a river, I stopped to take this photo from the bridge of an old police station dating back to the prewar days and still in service with its well kept grounds. How much longer will it stay there? Will it give way to a new police station? Badan Warisan Negara must take note of this building in Sik Kedah.  
A Visit to Langkawi took me to this site where the owner tended to his orchard while at the same time showed us this rows of tree trunks positioned as they were. He is a 'honey' collector but not derived from bees  but from 'kelulut'. Rightly there has been many enterprises set up to collect 'honey' from 'kelulut'. 

While many of the old timers may recognize this plant or creeper which naturally clings to telephone or electric poles and on fences in our homes yet one of many that has  disappeared from the local scenes,yet here it was and I am told its food for the 'kelulut'. It's name ... "ayer mata pengantin" . wow!!!



 Early February 2015 morning, as I tended to the small garden at home and upon looking up saw this beautiful sight. Our tall 'kuinin' tree has blossomed signaling that its the beginning of 'spring' in Kedah and like similar fruit trees we may expect a good fruit season.



 Alor Setar and Kuala Kedah as a estuary close by has a small port with ferries commuting between it and Langkawi. It too has a large LKIM building with fishing as a spearhead of the community here. What a surprise and a pleasant one too when for the first time I was here and discovered a picturesque site with activities that made you clicking away the shutters of your camera. The three pictures below speak better than words.   




    


December 2014, January and February 2015 have  caused us to continue with our works and at the same time allow us to discover activities, episodes and programs that helped to link us to the communities, neighbours and friends.Thankful that Allah gives us the energy and the opportunity to discover  and see more of His Creations and Magnificence.

Monday, November 24, 2014

NOVEMBER 2014 ROYAL BELUM VISIT

It has been several months since I am back here on the blog. Not that it escapes me to pen down the happenings and observations that passed by through the days of the past weeks but directions towards other obsessions perhaps divert the attentions.  By doing that I too missed out from getting close to other blogger and friends especially who continue to pen down their stories and observations. Never to worry since the writings are there and only a click will get you to read them.

Where do I start to reel back the past months that have been filled with activities? I guess several throw backs with pictures would do it. My camera at the ready helps to capture the activities, happenings , observations etc keeping the records which otherwise would be lost and erased the next moment. Here in the confined of the smart phone or the camera the vivid scenes or characters are kept intact. It helps especially when you need to recount or recollect as I am about to embark on.

The opportunity to be at Putrajaya fortunately allows us to meet with families. On one occasion my sister and her family joined us for a good morning walk by the lakes near the home. Added to that there was the opportunity to attend a wedding invitation of one of the members of Presinct 16,  a close knit group akin to being in our own kampong   



         With our sister and her family at an exercise station near one of the Tasik at Putrajaya

  The homes at Presinct 16 Putrajaya


           
    Would it dawn upon yourself to meet with a nephew, a former student of the school when I was the principal and friends who joined on a cycling trip to Perth at the reception? The linkages continue when the Precinct 16 community group organized a trip to Royal Belum Perak. 


                            


7-9 November 2014 found 25 seniors ( 5,6,7 Series) embarked on a boathouse for 3D2N adventure into the Belum Valley in Perak. It was a testing time for the 7th Series to keep in momentum with the younger group but the activities pushed all to enjoy what was programmed and Belum Valley is a place to be visited for those who care and love flora, fauna and the treasures of our jungles and lakes. It was also a return to the base where who had moved into a year and more ago when a tourism project under the Northern Corridor Agency was implemented.   Lakes, waterfalls, fishing and the comforts of the  'houseboat' with outboard motors for trips to the islands and places close by plus the warm serving of breakfast, lunch and dinner with fresh water fishes servings etc plus the camaraderie helped to make the trip a successful one. It makes us think why we would go visiting places beyond our shores when here it is the best of its kind. 


                                At Sg Rouk Waterfall, one of several to be discovered at Belum

      Members of Precinct 16 Putrajaya who traveled  by bus to Belum and the two of us joined them after our drive from Alor Setar.



         The house boat which can take up to 40 passengers complete with the amenities you would find at home. The owner and guide Sdr Abd Mutalib an ex-army officer familiar with Belum would assure comforts as well as safety and guidance.. 

          BELUM ( land before time) sits astride the East -West Highway as you drive from Jeli to Grik and crossed the two bridges at the lakes. It also joins to the Temenggor Lake at its southern and eastern part.   



 

  They had their fun and excitement fishing in the lake.


  Not necessarily being in a Jurassic Park but you will admire the giant growth of existing trees at Belum


  You may choose to stay in the Boat House or stay in the several chalets built for Northern Corridor or the Royal Belum Authority



An opportunity to visit a 'Kampong Orang Asli' is possible since there are several in the Belum Valley. You will notice their homes are built of natural materials found in the jungles.


Now should you need or feel that the adventure into the Belum Valley is your next program for a family visit do feel free to contact if you should need a helping hand. I can assure you even the family would love and enjoy the short trip.