Friday, May 29, 2009


Let's listen to what the architect has to say regarding the 'rumah kayu' traditional. The Rawis at Titi Gajah

Last week was auspicious as we had friends visiting the home. After many years at last the Rawis of Kota Bharu managed to make their journey to Kedah and specifically to Alor Star. Saudara Rawi is no ordinary acquaintance as he is one of those colleagues whom I know since August 21, 1956 when we first travelled on a four propeller BOAC plane from Sungei Besi Airport to Heathrow London. They had intimidated several times to cross the Titi Wangsa range and come over to the Kedah plain. Circumstances barred them from making their way but at last however it came through. We were happy to see them and welcome them in the most cordial way possible. Yes any old friend like that would be very much welcome. Moreover we met them in Brunei too when we were first posted to the kingdom of course decades ago.
Anyone for that matter would be happy to meet old friends.

You would naturally like to show them the town, visiting some of the places and of course delighted that they would be able to take the ferry to Pulau Langkawi as well. Of course Rawi is not the only person who have visited Langkawi before but seriously he is much much outdated re the island since his earlier visit to the legendary island was way back in 1952 when he visited the island as a scout with his teachers and friends . Imagine his or anyone else in that predicament to see the island now as it is. We are delighted that their few days in Kedah especially at Geo Park Island has been wonderful. They have reached home and we hope that they will find time to cross over again especially they have their own kins here too.

These photos would remind them of their brief sojourn to Alor Star and Langkawi especially.

A photograph of the foursome on the staircase of Rumah Kelahiran Mahathir at Seberang Perak Alor Star.

A dish of ikan bawal puteh served at one of the restaurant that we visited. Mouth watering to say the least.

Must be an interesting story. The visitors had an opportunity to see a traditional Malay home under construction at Titi Gajah

Great that friends came a calling. We were delighted as a pair of birds came visiting too as we found them frolicking on the railings just outside the dining room as we were having tea.

Thankful for friendships that sustained life pleasures, true identities and linkages.

Monday, May 25, 2009


It is befitting that more flights are added to bring in more visitors to the island of Langkawi. Direct flights from Singapore effective June will surely boost the island's popularity and bring smiles to the hoteliers and the tourist industry as a whole.

There has been added home stays of exceptional dimensions with traditional homes built by private developers and individuals on the island. I would vouch that these homes will offer exciting challenges to the normal hotels and chalets as they provide ambience's much sought by visitors especially from the crowded cities of the world. Foreigners especially the sailing fraternity lured by Langkawi's charm and tranquility have extended their stays on the island for months and years. Not surprisingly few have bought properties and stay put. On a normal drive through the idyllic countryside of the island you would be had put to notice such homes. Most lie hidden or camouflaged amongst the small hills and forested landscape of the countryside. Their idyllic homes with comforts of modern living come translated into traditional Malay wooden houses standing in tranquil countryside surroundings amidst palm and fruit trees. Much as these homes bring peace and comfort to the owners, they would naturally excite visitors who choose to make them their abode during their short stay on the island. It is a comfort to know that traditional Malay homes have such great pull and hopefully many more will sprout the countryside not only on this island.

The excitement

Friday, May 15, 2009


We have been looking at this home coming into its reality and neutrality for months. After a labor of love no less than five months, the old timber home saved from extinction and discard is back in its true identity. My architect's wife full attention to details to the particulars inherent in such Malay wooden homes of yesteryear have certainly put character and distinction in our new home. We await for its completion added with landscaping and the odds plants and shrubs normally found around Malay homes of the 1940's decade. The half century or more wooden pillars,rafters etc remained intact and make up part of the distinctions of the home. Added to that the motifs and free-flowing air around the home added comfort and warmth.

Wood carving motifs from the old house was replicated

The carpenter at work giving his attention at fixing the windows

Seen here the veranda as part of the old home and the staircase looking towards the padi fields across the road.

A touch of modernity with sand finish pastering added to the pillars and the ground flooring

The ground floor with glass windows all round, yet to be fixed.

The question ! What will it become? A house, a shophouse
a holiday home or a homestay. All is possible

Looking for an old treasure like this? You will help to preserve our heritage. Please don't delay while there are some still standing and waiting for saviors to come their way. It's a great pity if they just diisappear


"Ini dia rumah lama yang kebetulan kami temui bulan Nobember 2008 lalu. Tuan rumahnya sudi menjual dan kami memindahkannya ke tapak baru. Syukurlah seni binaan lama dengan sentuhan baru berkekalan."


Friday, May 8, 2009


Last Friday 1st of May being Labor Day, I was in the city and performed my Friday prayer at Al Bukhary Mosque Jalan Pudu. Kuala Lumpur. Then I was with Hj Hashim Abdul Rahman a very dear old friend who was leaving for home in Canberra Australia late in the evening. The Al Bhukary Foundation has marvelously built several magnificent mosques and this one quite close to St John's Institution is another addition, It of course served the community in the area well being situated in a heavy populated area without any other mosque close by.On that day, I thought I was in a foreign country ether in India or Bangladesh as most of the jumaah were foreigners. Still it was good to see Muslim of many nations at the Friday prayer and the mosque accomplishing its true function. Hj Hashim would be at the Abu Bakar Mosque in Canberra this Friday together with other Muslims in his home town.

Yesterday was another Friday and I was back in the city again and this time Friday prayer was at An Nur Subang Jaya. For the Friday 'khutbah' the mosque focused on the current calamity that seems to rock the community and highlighted by the news media. It was up- to- date indicating not only this mosque's prominent attention to the problem but the whole nation. The bilal touched on the 'ragut' and 'mat rampit' that have developed into uncontrolled situation and the former claiming three lives within a week. In one instant it was for a TWO RINGGIT assault as the victim had nothing on her except that small cash value. Earlier over FIVE HUNDRED 'mat rampit' on their motor cycles courted danger and challenged the authority on the streets in Kuala Lumpur. They made Dataran Merdeka their racing circuits.

It was a prompt and concerned view from the 'mimbar' stressing that it was not only the responsibility of the security authorities but the whole community as well. You and I, parents etc have the rightful duty to stop or curb this continuing menace from increasing and troubling the society. How we go about doing it is left to our discretion but we must come forward to work together with the authorities. One mosque in the city had focused its attention on the issue. Other mosques in the country and many other platforms must continue to bring about this dangerous and developing tendencies to the attention of the populace and asking for a concerted effort at iridicating it once and for all.

That having been said, now we look forward for actions. Will it simmer down again with no one taking the challenge to organise a concerted effort? Would it be too hard to hope that all the political parties in the country so much concerned with governance come forth to clear this troubling and other calamities that are beginning to disturb the fibre of our Malaysian society? Or are we leaving the issue aside to solve its own problem?

One sure way is to disallow any opportunity for the 'ragut' or grabber to take anything from you. Don't carry anything as you move in open spaces. Walk with friends never alone. Be alert.

Monday, May 4, 2009


DAILY as we opened the newspapers, we are confronted by news. Some invigorating, some comforting while some others may be worrying to the point of dangerously threatening. Maybe all countries of the world have that kind of calamity. Certainly if controlled and guided at its beginning there could have been a stop or control. Now what do we face at the moment in our country? Foreign workers? Foreign visitors? Foreign students? Certainly we do seems to have an influx of foreigners in the country. Malaysia has been a hub because that's what we wanted it to be. A hub for foreign students to acquire their studies in Malaysia; a hub for 'Malaysia my second home', a hub for 'halal' food and now a hub for Islamic banking. It is no wonder the attractions have pulled in various communities of the world to flock into Malaysia. The intentions are honorable, calculated to bring about greater participation in the economic fields and globalization of course. With an expected 100,000 foreign students in the country filling the seats in our colleges and universities, 500,000 foreign workers in varied fields plus visitors who came on visit passes but remained and never wanting to exit it can only bring headaches and much more to the men in charge of security. Already several parts of Kuala Lumpur are dominated by foreigners from one region of the world and bringing about unhealthy development and scaring the local community.

Crime waves are reported arising, coupled by smuggling, kidnapping and others you may think of. Certainly it is not comforting. As citizen wishing for peace, safety and security for our homes and families, we look forward to more stringent rulings and control by all the authorities concerned in the light of continuing development in the country. Perhaps concerted efforts by our Malaysian communities themselves with enforcement by the government would help to clear the gray sphectre clouding our skies. The number of 'gated communities' in the Klang Valley justifies to the insecurity inherent. Not surprising there are already homes guarded by security firms and employing 'gurkhas' as they have earned their names during the Malayan Emergency.

This is a reflection of what an outsider away from the Klang Valley sees. Outside the metropolis of Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya we may still linger in our comfort zones.

For how long?

The likes of Great Britain, USA and Europe with influx of immigrants and displaced persons are lessons before us.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The on going TV show by Astro in its seventh edition is coming to its conclusion with only two more programs in the offing. You may be surprised or even wondering why a senior person should be writing about this youthful and entertaining program and more so shocked to know that we were at its latest show last night held at Dewan Sri Putra Bukit Jalil Selangor.

Truly for a RM20.00 ticket it was worth for all the knowledge and information derived from the three hour show. Not so much for the entertainment but for all that you see developed and happening right in front of your eyes. The stage with its props and lighting's , the stadium with its fantastic acoustics, the crews and camera men with all their paraphernalia helped to make the show a great success. I had my first sight of a movie camera with hydraulic facilities allowing the cameraman to zoom in and out at all angles while himself moving around with definitely a heavy equipment. Of course there were cameras that moved on extensions and controlled remotely.

Much more it was a live show and it is extra ordinary to see how everyone works within the space of time and urgency to make it a success. You saw the emcee came on stage and throughout delivered his role with flying colors even without reference to any notes etc as he faced the audience. Of course there were breaks in between but as seen on the TV screens you would never know what happened within that short lapse of refreshment to the crews and actors as viewers at home were transfixed to advertisements.

The greater success I believe is in being able to turn or transform the candidates into entertainers and successful personalities in the entertainment business . Imagine being able to become an icon after only three months of intensive training. Astro has of course succeeded in polishing our youth out of a choice of thousands who had come for its auditions earlier on. I am sure the director and staff of the show who have given their best to the students must feel proud to achieve such distinctions.All goes to show with full efforts, determination and discipline whatever we wish and want could become reality. I would like to think that if our students in schools, colleges and universities have that kind of training or enforcement surely they would pave the way to success.

Last night show was special in that it represented a musical theatre, perhaps in the light of the academy's mentor earlier success of the Putri Gunong Ledang show. The students we believed successfully played their roles of singing and acting to the best of their abilities. That they received complimentary comments from the three critics that come with the show every week justified their prowess and abilities. Still AF has always a shocker at the end of the show. With audience voting through sms we are always shocked to see talents being given the exit cards. Last night show was no exception. The audience saw two female candidates marching out. All is not lost since the director used her discretion to allow for a 'vote-in' which will see candidates ousted brought back in.

Truly we had a good three hours learning new experiences while spending moments away from our normal do. The comments from the three distinguished critics afford a clearer look and understanding of acting, performances and delivery be it voice, body movements, eye contacts, audience interactions, feels etc.

Time was an essence in the live program too. Seconds count and every one from actors to crews and audiences understood its necessity and order. Why do we not concur to the same in everyday existence?

Perhaps we may look to future programs 'yang mengilap bakat' or transform talents in other fundamental areas and not confined to the entertainment business alone. The ability to do so and the methodology is already there. Only we need the sponsors.