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.





Monday, August 25, 2014

POSTINGS PRE AND POST 23 AUGUST 2014


The time line as given marked a significant date in my life hitting a two digit number in the progressive years of my life and remembering that would be best to recapitulate the activities or programs that passed by within that vicinity. Firstly Ramadan and Syawal would definitely take preference and therefore activities if any were related to that special months.  Nonetheless these photos accompanying best tell it all. 



The house where it stands has been there for many years but never had this perspective before. While in the compound of the neighbor's home, only then I saw its new angle and beauty and so it is seen framed by the leaves and branches of our neighbor's home.


This is 'Pondok Maharizan' , home of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at Titi Gajah Alor Setar Whenever he and Tun Siti Hasmah are back in Alor Setar they would be staying here. During Ramadan he came home for several visits and I had this golden opportunity to take a picture of him with one of my grandson. A picture the young man would treasure many years later. He may not realize its significance just now. I only realized that Tun Dr Mahathir had put his arm on Danish's shoulder after viewing the photograph later. Truly a father's touch. Be it as it is I would believe that I have several good photos of this 'Negarawan', maybe able to compare with some of the press photographer's collections. 




The first day of Syawal would of course see all of us at the local mosque closes to you. Dressed in the best and not necessarily in new attire Muslims , men and women plus the children too attended the morning AidilFitri Prayer. At our kampong, it was a pleasant surprise for many, especially for those that returned home for the occasion to see Masjid Tuan Hussein in its new face lift brought about by the mosque's Committee. 




The morning and afternoon session must have passed with full of enjoyment and refreshment to have caused the young persons as depicted in the photograph below. Only three hours after noon and ALL of them are in deep slumber. Surely affected by walking, visiting and consuming all the delicacies laid on the tables at places visited and at home. That would not be an unfamiliar situation for many of us too many years ago.








This was one happy moment when all the children and grand children were at home and a golden opportunity to have recorded this photograph.



The Old Collegian Association had a Hari Raya Gathering at Putrajaya on 15 August 2014. Place: Office of Tun Dr Mahathir It was an opportunity to meet old friends again and signifying that the SAHC Old Boys Association is still functioning. It was here that with all the laughter and happy mood that prevailed Tun Dr Mahathir on asked to give a speech began by saying that he wished to be serious and delivered his speech amongst other things requesting all present to be aware of ENGLISH as an important language for MATHS and SCIENCE implying that to continue and expand in the two subjects one would need to know the media of English as daily hundreds of research papers are published or issued and one would be left behind if unable to keep in steps with them. That is if you would want to progress.


That done and the program ended with a group photo taken with Tun and Dr Siti Hasmah. As much as the group came for the friendship and celebration of AidilFitri they were left to take home a message that they should elaborate to their children and grand children for their future career and expansion.

Yes it was also an occasion  for the gathering to wish Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah a great Happy Birthday belated wishes. 


As usual, when away from home you would plan where possible to include other programs in the schedules especially when we receive invitations from friends. Post Hari Raya would of course see invitations to attend wedding functions. One was at Putrajaya too and it was from one of our neighbours of Presinct 16. I choose to highlight the theme of the function and direction taken by the host and hostess to make the event a memorable one.


A garden scene was chosen as the theme and as the bride and bridegroom sat on the stage a group performed the 'Zapin' to an accompanying music much to the surprise of the guests. Necessarily our attendance at such get-together allowed us to meet friends whom we have not met regularly since they live away from our normal circle. More so a golden opportunity to know new friends as well.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

LET'S CONTAINED IT FOR A TRY ....




This picture may be familiar to many as it appears in the local  press to herald the opening and current show piece of Putrajaya Flower Show when it was opened to the public in June 2014.The colorful umbrellas along the main entrance pathway helped to cover the visitors from the noonday sun especially but the colorful display of "fluoride 2014" .in the show area cast away any fear of the scorching sun. 

Our attentions however were glued to the container home on display. Not that we have not seen containers used as offices for the construction industry however hats off to the planner and designer of this project who realized the potentials of the box as a home and a very beautiful and homely one at that. It's a double storey one with garden landscape added.  Imagine collecting branches and harnessing them as fences. Unique and indicating what we too often forget the ability and durability of materials around us for many purposes.


 "The main entrance to the container home, arrange in a T formation"



     
"Possibly not many look at this fencing, but when you do then realize the potentials of the discarded materials around us... wood especially. Most important the 'idea' that it threw. I would guess 'Robin Hood and his group or Tarzan' would have barricaded their camps in similar style."

                  
 " The bottom section with added flooring and designed side walls. On the right is the small courtyard with stairs to the top floor.



    
'The top section opening to a garden landscape view'


                           
'The courtyard and the stairs to the top floor'


                                           
'The view from the upstairs box'



"It gives a thought of doing something like this. Then again it has to be a 'gotong royong'  to collect the branches and arranging them in the manner as seen. Nevertheless 'SALUTE' to the designer and grateful that we are made to realize the potentials"






        
     ' From the upstairs box home'








   "Yes even the side wall can be organized to look like this. Yes truly a GREAT idea and if you have a piece of land somewhere along a flowing stream and right in a fruit orchard, why not get on to organize one like this. I am sure you could get old containers to come to your aids. But a group of friends to assist that would be another question. Good luck to those who succeed. 

It would be a great HARI RAYA CELEBRATION FOR THE FAMILY if you succeed.


Below three pictures of other designed products on show at the 'flower show' held at Putrajaya recently. We were there on 17/06/2014. You contribute RM1.00 for entrance and the ticket will allow you to reenter again if you visit the show ground again on the same day. You would have to pay 'tons' to enter the Chelsea Flower Show in UK.