Saturday, December 25, 2010


These were scenes when we took leave and depart for Haj on 4 November 2010. The living room was almost 2 ' under water. Lucky we had a boat, bought since the last flood in 2005 and this made transportation possible. As the frontage was on lower piece of land, it was near chest height in depth at the main gate. The flood water also covered the main road and made the airport nearby inpassable  for planes to land. 

WE have been away almost forty-three days and arriving home after the departure on 4th November have added more experiences and recollections. By all means we have had the privilege to  add to our list of friends: friendship acquired while being together during the period of the Haj. Meeting, knowing,travelling, praying and lunching or dining together during that period with new acquaintances surely helped to bind a closer rapport and helped bind a friendship especially when it happened in two beautiful cities of Islam i.e Makkah and Madinah. We were on the Haj journey along with more than three million pilgrims who made Makkah their destination during the Haj of 1431 Hijrah from all over the world. That magnitude of people converging in the holy city is hard to imagine unless you have been there. That they came with one intention and resolution only added to its uniqueness and that their journey ended with success, fortitude, craving for a return if possible and pleasantries indescribable by each and every one tells of the magnanimous of the Haj. Peace  and goodwill, pleasanteries and harmony prevail throughout. No anger, no confrontation but friendliness, politeness and resolute respect for one another. That was what we savoured.

Homecoming, besides the expactant of families welcoming you, safety of being at home again however took a side attraction this time. As we had left at the peak of the big flood that hit Kedah and Perlis in early November our attention turned to the home which seriously escaped us when we were away. How much damage has been caused? What need to be attended to?

It was blissful when our worries were swept aside. Any sign of ravages of nature has been cleared. Thanks to our children and friends who knew what to do and affected the necessaries. 

Everyone affected however has to savour the damages and cost and hopefully a return will be avoided in the coming years unless the cause and effects are left in the doldrum and nothing done to correct the shortcomings.

Thankful that we could put that aside immediately and savour the visit of friends and neighbors at home and share with them pleasant memories of the Haj and consignments of dates and likeable delicacies from the holy cities including the zam-zam water which every pilgrims would bring home in  permissable containers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


IN THE TIME AND SPACE GIVEN I saw two interesting news in the local papers and pertaining to activites here. Unable to transfer directly to the page I suppose the next best thing is to give the web site and maybe you would be able to read them after all. "QUICK BUCK" or "FAST BUCK" seems to be the choice of the topics. Naturally with three million people gathered at one place for a period of time there are opportunities. The hard working, the initiative, the planners all can benefit. At Makkah Muslims from all walks of life can be trustful, forgiving and CHERITABLE. There is no let to their sacrifice and desire to assist and offer services esp alms. But the Zam Zam mafia if so needs fast action.  Please refer:

oop sorry that the news re zam zam waters was way back. However there is a latest report. There is a need to be cautious.

Monday, November 22, 2010


1. NOW THAT THE RITES AND OBLIGATIONS have been performed, all can sit back to prepare for the next programs or actions.Nevertheless  none would miss the daily prayer at Al Haram while he or she is here. Several Malaysian groups have already departed for home, everyone wishing that his has been 'Haj Mabrur'. For those that are still here and given the time and space they will have the opportunity to perform 'umrah' as many time as possible. Others may be getting ready to travel to Madinah to visit  and pray at 'Masjid Nabi' while appreciating the grandeur of a most beautiful mosque and the finer character of the people of the city. Hopefully too the winter weather most have been expecting could be realised come December when the jemaah are there. 

2. Truly all the obligations that the jemaah have been through are exacting to time. Islam truly perfected timing for all its followers. No qualm about the five prayer times. Then again even the Haj calender and all its rites have to be followed, programming all services to perfection less three million people or more at one center in a city may be left in a chaotic mood. Imagine the departures of hundreds of flights either from Jeddah or Madinah with all the check-in, inspection and baggage clearance.Syukur Allah  is great the climax of the Haj moved on smoothly.

3. Following are several photographs of Mekkah and the sites of Arafah,Mudzalifah and Mina; places that jemaah have been attached with. Except for Mekkah, these places have returned to their former selves, empty except for the brigade of cleaners and their machineries to clean the area. Once done they await their visitors for the next Haj season.

4. Now at Al Haram too the Kaabah has taken a new shrouds of black with golden embroidery stiches of Koranic verses only to be replaced the next coming 'wukuf'. I am made to understand that the black cloth cover measures 14 metres by 74 metres ,hand made and has taken eight months for the craftsmen to get it done.

5. No signal or directive to the functions and exacting of time for the people of Mekkah especially and the Muslim world at large can be more definitive than when we observe the new clock tower looming above all the high buildings near Al Haram excepting the old houses on the surrounding hills. Its green face with a large circular frame can be seen miles away. No chime or sounding of the time though.Yet it's a guidance.

6. Several surah in the Koran will attest to such wantings for us to adhere to time.

'And it is He Who made the Night and Day to follow each other: for such as desire to be mindful or to show their gratitude"    Al Furqan: 62

A new section at AlHaram built above the saie sector. Its intricate design yet again compliments the grand mosque.

A street scene away from Al Haram, yet the clock tower is visible from afar.The 'Masjid Kuching' as most Malaysian know is seen in the foreground.

There are several historical sites around Mekkah and JABAL NUR  being one.

Walking in the grounds of 'Ma'la' at Mekkah I took this photo with new buildings in the background of hotels and apartments with the grave stones in the foreground. A branch of a tree in the Ma'la area lent shade.

  At night the imposing clockface with its green background can be seen miles away 
'Wukuf' at Arafah in the tents will forever bring back unforgotten memories and no less internal and personal feelings as you pray for forgiveness. While many seek the comfort of the tents on the plain others risked themselves on the high ledges of the surrounding hills"
Only a moon and a single star of the constelation shine on us that night over the Mudzalifah plain as we 'mabit' while waiting for transportation to Mina. At other times they would guiding lights for travellers.

A small corner at Mudzalifah that took the jemaah from South East Asia epecially. All singly robed in white.

Modern construction at the 'jambrat' with flyovers, lifts and bridges have eased the flow of pilgrims to the area. It is a far cry from what that existed fifteen  years ago. With rail service on the way by the next Haj season it will be a greater help.  

Six photographs taken at Mina, with scene of the tent housing, walking to the Jambrat and along the tunnels, the jambrat as designed to take in the throngs of people and men in action stoning the 'devils'. Not forgetting a group doing morning exercise.

This scene from the very top floor, part of the new construction of Al Haram shows the various floors with the Kaabah below with a large crowd of jemaah circumnavigate it or performing the 'tawaf'

Saturday, November 20, 2010


1. IN THE CONTEXT OF HAJ , there are literatures abound and even videos and cassettes to put you right on the path of  your pilgrimage. Courses are conducted by Tabung Haji, mosques, institutions including travel agencies that promote packages for pilgrims besides the national organised setup by Tabung Haji itself. All that being specific to Malaysia.

2. Believe me nothing compares to being here yourself and of course performing the Haj with three million Muslim pilgrims all over the world. When everyone covers himself with the two pieces of white shroud called ihram, there is nothing to show where he is from excepting the color of his skin. Their sole focus is towards 'Haj mabrur'.

3. For sure the Haj begins at Mekkah.Millions of pilgrims moved into the city before the 8th of Zulhijjah. With its bursting limits, an additional three million visitors from all over the world moving into Mekkah for an extended period of a fortnight to seven weeks no less surely would put the local city councils at a high point for the necessary services besides the security to the visitors and its populace alike. 

4. The peak of Haj meant  seeing all pilgrims dressed in white, moving into the plain of Arafah before dawn breaks on 9th Zulhijjah. Here everyone has to perform the 'wukuf', meaning to be at Arafah even for a brief moment between noon and sunset.

5.All are prepared for the pilgrims. Accomodation in tents, toilet facilities, food and drink plus special 'surau' etc are there. He has to be here only in person.   He has only to spend his precious moments here praying, reciting holy verses or read the Koran.Here he will experience moments only the 'jemaah' could  personally described. The prestine moment after the zohor prayer allows him to read a prayer repenting and asking for forgiveness from Allah for all faults, sins and wrong doings  he has committed in his life. It's soul searching. Confessions, sobs and tears flow unspared.

6. With the break of 'fajar' everyone started moving to Muzdalifah.Transporting such a huge number of pilgrims to the plain of Muzdalifah within two to three hours is a daunting task and not surprisingly many 'jemaah' would be making the short journey by foot.

7. The temporary halt at Muzdalifah allows the 'jemaah' to pick seven pieces of stone while of course enhancing on him or her to continue praying, reciting and reading the Koran. Nearing midnight, everyone is on the move again. Now to Mina. the camp city for religious rites for the next three days.

8. Mina enclosed in a valley sets again an experience to be felt and treasured by the pilgrims. The stoning of the 'Jamratul Ula, Wusta and Aqabah' then takes precedence. The presence of 'jemaah' old and young, men and women arriving from the whole wide world set on one purpose can only be marvelled. They walked in groups at alloted time for several kilometers and through a large man - made tunnel to gain excess to the 'jumratul' and back not once but four times amongst the uneasy crowd. The sick and elderly got wheeled - chaired.The hot weather plus a sudden storm followed by swift flood waters at the camp on Friday 12 Zulhijjah in the afternoon only make the three day stay at Mina  memorable and significant. No doubt there was enlightenment with comraderie amongst hundred others who were strangers before but now closed friends and links resulting from the jemaah prayers in the tents  which were our homes.

9. The history of Islam's devout and followers' journey to the Holy Kaabah and AlHaram for the Haj has now recorded 1421 times bearing that it began since the 10th year of Hijrah. Prophet Muhammad saw led his friends and followers numbering 90,000 to 120,000 from Madinah. Since then the Haj being one of the pillars of Islam has guided millions from all over the world to make that one important journey once in their lifetime. The onset of sacrife, danger and time have now moved forward to convenience,security and comfort. Malaysians took to shipping embarking from Penang in liners and disembarking at Jeddah more than a half century ago. The sea journey alone lasted weeks. Thanks to the Saudi Arabia's authorities, the Kingdom's royal house and the facilities afforded by the respective governments of the world and especially the Muslim nations our journey and our search for Haji Mabrur has never been more meaningful and accessible. Only it takes  a longer time for newly fresh registered pilgrims to fulfill their Haj due to a quota system. All being fair, Muslims all over the world will forever look forward to their first Haj journey.      

(satu imprasi dan pemerhatian diri berkaitan Haj tahun ini, mengingati kami dilanda bajir pada hari dijadualkan berlepas dari Lapangan Terbang Alor Setar)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


KITA MENITISKAN AIR MATA MELIHAT KEIKHLASAN DAN KEJUJURAN jemaah menghulurkan bantuan kepada seorang yang amat memerlukan bantuan.Bayangkan kalau anda kehilangan wang ringgit semasa jauh dari halaman rumah sendiri.

Dia berdiri dikalangan jemaah yang sedang menunggu menunaikan fardzu subuh dan menjelaskan dalam bahasa yang tidak kami erti tapi maksudnya difahami bahawa dia kehilangan wang saku yang tersimpan dalam tali pinggang putihnya. Dengan spontan seorang demi seorang bangun menghulur dan menyerahkan sumbangan mereka kepada peminta itu. Ayoh sungguh mengkagumkan melihat peristiwa ini berlaku didepan mata kita sendiri. Tidak putus seorang demi seorang memberi sumbangan mereka, Sipeminta menitis air mata dengan apa yang dihulurkan kepadanya.Tidak dalam sangkaannya. Tidak pula ada apa-apa seruan kepada penderma. Mereka terus membantu dari keinsafan hati masing-masing.

Apa yang kita boleh kata? Syukur kepada setiap individu yang menghulurkan bantuan.Sipeminta mungkin tidak jangka begitu perihatinnya manusia Islam khusus di Masjid Al Haram. Pungutan Saudi Riyal itu tentu segali melegakannya. InsyaAllah.

( It happened right in front of your eyes. A man stood up amongst the congregation and briefly explained that he had lost his money showing the white leather belt that many pilgrims carry with them. Only a brief explaination between sobs. Next moment the large congregation gathered for the 'subuh prayer' digged into their pockets and offered their contributions to the man. No doubt many who heard the man's crying want never really understood what he meant but his action spoke louder than words. It is hard to believe how many irrespective of country and color  voluntarily came to his aid.We cannot help noticng how overwhelmed he was with such offer of help from complete strangers. The next moment the congregation offered their subuh prayer. The man disappeared in the crowd. Others had done their duties.  Surely he must be grateful.) ALLAH is GREAT. ( Noted as it happened at Al Haram Mosque Mekkah)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MUSIM HAJI 1431H ( 2010)

"Hamba Mu datang menyahut panggilan Mu, ya Allah!
Hamba Mu datang ,menyambut panggilan Mu; 
Hamba Mu datang menyambut panggilan Mu !"

Begitulah bergemanya 'talbiah' sepanjang perjalanan. Pada satu masa tanggal 4 November 2010 ucapan talbiah memenuhi ruangan pesawat Boeing 747 Mas apabila 450 orang penumpang senada menyuarakannya berulang kali.

Banyak perubahan telah berlaku dan banyak lagi sedang diusahakan dalam usaha menyambut 3 juta jemaah Haji khususnya ke Mekkah dan Madinah. Lapangan Terbang Haji di Jeddah diubahsuai dengan pelbagai kemudahan dan memudahkan penumpang mendarat dengan cepat.Tidak lagi seperti masa lampau.

Di Kota Mekkah  jam besar yang baru dibina menjadi mercu tanda sentiasa mengingati penduduk kota tentang kepentingan masa.Kedudukan nya yang tinggi membolehkannya dilihat dari jauh. 

Para penumpang dalam kapalterbang sewa khas MAS.
Ubahsuai membolehkan seramai 450 oang dibawa sekali gus berbanding 350 orang pada masa biasa.

             Banjir di kampong tak mengapa. Tumpuan kepada satu sahaja

Pembangunan berjalan siang dan malam


IT JUST HAPPENED THAT THIS IS A TEST PHOTO, in an attempt to load a picture in the blog. Not that he is a young soldier but this grandson of mine seemed to be carrying my old  gun. Many senior persons in the country had permits to purchase shotguns or rifles in earlier time for reasons to protect their properties or plots of lands against destructive animals. Try going to a police station in May /June each year you will find this brigade of senior persons with their prized possessions lining to renew the gun permits. With strict control, it has become difficult or indeed impossible to transfer permits to our younger generation. Very soon most of the old guns would be absorbed back by the police force who in the first place issued those permits.

It is interesting to compile a story or account of the seniors who held these prized and treasured items and their adventures of times a half century or more ago when hunting was a possible pastime.The makes of the guns themselves would disclosed where we imported them from and perhaps tell the history of the world's gun makers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


IT'S RAINING CATS AND DOGS. On the east coast the warnings have gone out. The rivers have reached their danger levels. A friend at Kuala Trengganu barely mentioned of the coconut trees in his yards shaking in the wind and the next moment heavy incessant rainfall floods the plains and the lowlands in Perlis and Kedah. A picture of a rice storage barn called 'jelapang' ironically has become a victim and it appeared on the front page of a local newspaper.Had it stored its old content, it would be a loss indeed. Sadly 'jelapang' are no more. Those remaining would be hard to come by. Ironically does it harbor a forbidding calamity?

Still  heavy rain would bring disaster in many ways, Yet this is a perennial affair. Just as people in Kelantan once took to the flood waters, rejoicing at  its occurrence, authorities seems to awake when they are drenched, sounding the danger alarm, moving the boats along the highway, initiating school buildings as relief centers etc. Can't we wake up to the realities and do the necessary during dry season and stop gallivanting during this time of the year?

No we prefer last minute surprises for its aura and news worthy pull.

Flood disaster alarm hit Perlis and Kubang Pasu and Kota Star on 3 November. Only a day of continuing rain and in the late afternoon its evacuation for all. Very immediate. The rest of the story is told over the TV and local newspapers. We were hit. Time was just sufficient to move the heavy furniture. Many others did not have that luxury.

Will we continue to see a repeat as we have seen in 2005/6 and now 2010? Will we continue to dole cash, equipment and energy again after each flood? Will we continue to clean and clear the rubbish after each flood? Become poorer for all that have to be replaced?

Why? Why? No solution to it all during the long dry season? Why the waterways,rivers and canals never get clean, deepen and cleared? Why developments etc never get the full attention during the sparing dry season less they hinder flow and allow congestion? Why are road and highways constructed much higher than the surrounding kampong land and the drainage by their sides only meant for surface water from the road? Now don't deny that the double tracking of Keretapi Tanah Melayu under construction from Ipoh to Padang Besar does not contribute to farther seriousness?

Or are we too tired having spent cleaning all the debris etc after each flood season that we need to take a long rest? Or are we too rich to throw much ringgit to the tune of millions come the flood waters? Certainly it is luxurious for committees set up after the disaster to spend money for assistance!

Noted while at Mekkah 9 Nov 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What can you say? Merapi and Matawi Calamity

Once again our neighbor Indonesia is wrapped asunder with a volcano Merapi near Jogjakarta blowing its top and Matawai Islands  on the west coast of Sumatra swept by a 16 foot tsunami within 24 hours of each other. With a 7.7 magnitude earthquake the tsunami has claimed no less than 400 dead so far. Merapi claimed its toll too including an 83 year old man named Maridjan who was entrusted to watch over the 'spirits' of the volcano.

Associated Press has now apologised for wrongly reporting that Maridjan had thrown rice and chicken into the burning cauldron to appease the 'spirits'. Beliefs and traditions do not necessarily mean  people living near Merapi have not trusted  seismologist or the government officials but sensationalising such happening  and wrongly too has done its damage. Living for years along the fertile foothills of Merapi, farmers and dwellers would definitely harbor constraints to leave their homes and livelihood. Like Maridjan they too would stay to the last moment. Only they were too late this time. No doubt another Maridjan will surface, giving strength to the dwellers who will return to the slopes when the mountain stop spewing molten lava and ashes.  

Back at home a turn over bus accident with two dead passengers so far at the Karak Highway is claimed as the headline news.

Surely we are grateful to Allah for preventing great disasters from occurring in our country. Yes we need to realize the bounty and safety we acquire in relation to the neighboring nations.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010







A million of pilgrims have already made their way to the holy city. A million more will journey there before the expiring date. Over the last few months, embassies, consulates, travel agencies and pilgrimage boards have been working hard to accommodate visitors to Makkah. Chartered flights designated KT( flight number) have left KLIA and several other airports in the country for Jeddah and Madinah carrying their loads of Malaysian pilgrims. Malaysia's Pilgrim Board known as TABUNG HAJI has been at it for decades now, committed to make Muslim pilgrims from Malaysia get the full privilege to travel on their Haj journey with comfort and satisfaction. For sure from their initial registration, saving, request for the pilgrimage date, approval and full arrangement for departure to Makkah including medical checks, specific  courses for the Haj itself, passport and visa requirement, flight, ground transportation, accommodation, meals, luggage arrangement, home coming etc are arranged by Tabung Haji. The board sees to it that medical facilities are provided to its members while they are there. Medical personals and even chefs are transported to the holy city respectively to care for their health and their taste buds. It is with honor that Malaysia's Pilgrimage Board is recognized as one of the best in the world for its arrangement. 

It is to be expected there is a VERY LONG queue to get approval for the Haj journey. We are made to understand more than 500,000 from Malaysia alone are in the line to get their stamp of approval  to be invited there. Many have to wait several years before their turn. Meaning of course if you register earlier your chances are better, giving better space for your fund to accumulate at the Pilgrimage Board. For many it is a life time saving. Thirty years ago, it would have cost our Muslim pilgrims less than RM 5000.00 per person. Now it is almost double. Specific package trip with extras attached could see you contributing five to ten times the current price range. Added to all that, there are also many return visits to perform the Haj and the seniors do get preference  .

Islam's Holy Pilgrimage is one of its pillars. For millions all over the world it is one journey in their lifetime. For them it saw a saving throughout their working hours; to prepare in all respect for an obsession that have to be met. For sure not many Muslim countries have the satisfaction of the pilgrimage board as our Tabung Haji; for them it becomes more challenging if not hazardous.

The Haj Journey is no doubt one of the important ceremonies of life. You would be one happy soul to know at one time you have been selected to make the pilgrimage. Much happier too realizing that you are not alone but your partner in life or your parents could be also on that important journey. Most likely husband and wife have planned to make the journey together. The Haj is no holiday trip but a religious obligation built with rites that have to be performed demanding good health, strict observations , timing, frequency and in settings unfamiliar to oneself amidst almost three million people gathered at one point. Yet at its completion its satisfaction at its extreme. You achieved a grant for the continuing life time  as you are known as a Haji or Hajjah demanding upon you a stricter lifestyle in according to Islamic rules. Your visit to AlHaram would not probably be the first and last time. You request and pray that you may visit the two holy cities again. 

The period before your departure to Makkah for the pilgrimage is full of appointments and planning. More satisfactorily relatives, neighbors and friends rejoice at your fortunate calling, wishing theirs would be the same too. They call at your home to wish all the best and both honor each other with forgive and forget for any ill feelings or misdeeds if any created. Probably not to be missed is an invitation to friends and neighbors to your home to read Surah Yassin, requesting for a safe return journey and the fulfilling of duties for Haji Mabrur. The journey to Makkah has in fact begun at home. 

You may have notice scenes of joy and sadness at the airports when the pilgrims depart . Embraces, kisses,'bersalaman' are the order of the day. Everyone wishes good health, safe journey and a fulfilling mission to their love ones who are departing. Some may have lingering doubts that they may not see their relatives  again. That would be quite probable a half century ago. Facilities and arrangements at Makkah , Madinah and Jeddah are at their best now and pilgrims are made welcome by the authorities. However with a huge invasion of people confined at one particular spot on a special occasion you may expect some shortcomings. So it is best to keep a weather eye out for something.     

The wonderful scene does not stop at that. Wait till the pilgrims return home. Satisfaction, happiness, gratefulness, blissfulness embrace them. Happier still when they embrace their love ones as soon as they come out of the gates at the airports. The full meanings of the Haj is known only to the returned pilgrim as he or she steps into a new life.

For all the goodness and directives in preparing for the Haj, we are always reminded of its true objectives i.e to be sincere, truthful and focus. All for Allah and only HIM. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w has reminded of time when people go to Makkah for Haj with other objectives in mind Quote below refers. We pray that does not happen in our lifetime or later. InsyaAllah.

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

(dalam rangka persiapan mental, bakal haji hendaklah berniat ikhlas, keberangkatannya ke Tanah Suci adalah semata-mata kerana Allah, bukan untuk tujuan lain. Rasullullah s.a.w pernah memperingatkan menurut hadis riwayat AlKhatib Al_Baghdadi daripada Anas:

" Akan datang suatu masa bagi umat manusia di mana orang-orang kayanya mengerjakan haji untuk melancong, kalangan menengahnya untuk berdagang, orang-orang besarnya untuk riak dan ingin dipuji dan orang-orang fakirnya mengerjakan haji untuk meminta-minta"  

Friday, October 15, 2010


A ring being placed on the finger of the young lady. She must be thankful and grateful for this special day in her life.

         The delegation brought five gifts with them. In return it's  seven pieces for them to take home.


But through out our live ceremonies hemmed in too never sparing their calling and demand. Yet many a time we forget about them because they are not official yet they contribute to be part of our well being, development and maturity dictating our culture and beliefs. You may have just celebrated a birthday, maybe your own or your darling's wife or your daughter's.It is a simple case of reminding that they have added another notches in their life's and a fervent wish for many happier occasions to come. No elaborate planning at all.

When you help to orchestrate such celebration then you may realize their significance and their enduring attachments to our live circles. Last Sunday I was asked to help in a ceremony that saw the enjoining of two souls that simply marked their new adventure in live. "Majlis Perjodohan dan Pertunangan" you may call it. It's an engagement do yet rich in its ways, simple and can be complicated if handled amiss. No it is not simply the giving of a ring to the girl of his choice but the attendance of representatives from the lad's family to the girl's house or in this case at our home. At a prearranged time they arrived. The space between 'Zohor' and 'Asar' would be a good choice. All were welcomed and invited in. Pak Cik, Mak Cik, Abang and Kakak 'bersalaman' greeting each other in our best traditions. 

The living room is spacious enough to allow the guests and the hosts to sit down on the carpeted floor. The living room furniture has been put aside otherwise hindrances to such occasions or when congregations met for prayer and 'doa' at home. The room now gave a voluminous feel void of the decorative furniture. Being the host  and representative I greeted all in the customary tradition thanking all for their attendance and visitation.

The delegation too had brought with them several trays with 'gifts' for the occasion including the indomitable 'bekas sirih' ( betel leaves container). These were placed in the middle of the room. Tact and humour thrown in I mentioned that not often that we had visitors like this at home. "It is pleasant and great of course but why the trays and their contents? " Pak Hj Ayob a man of experience and equally my age too took the mike that was handed to him, recited some 'surah' and graciously thanked us for the friendly welcome. He conveyed 'salam' from the families at Padang Serai Pokok Sena where they came from and expressed their true intentions. The mike helped to define what were said and helped to focus the attendees attentions. A stage known as "meresik" or seeking to know if the flower in the garden has been plucked yet has not become necessary as the visitors have been consented to approach. And so they did today in respect of an engagement for the 'dara' and 'teruna', the former being my niece and subsequent arrangements if there is agreement or consent. The gifts they brought along included a ring symbolic of acceptance. Simplicity reigned as the issue has no doubt been acknowledged earlier. Only the verbal consent by me as spoke person would seal the agreement. Only then we moved further to the next stages.

"Syukur" and "Alhamdullilah" expressed. That done, now come to declaring the "mas kahwin", "belanja kahwin" and other "hantaran" or gifts on the part of the would be bridegroom on the wedding day. The first two items are necessary while the the gifts are left to discretion. Necessarily a piece of ring, gold and diamond is an added request. As spokes person I mentioned the request as earlier conveyed to me by the parents of the would be bride. The request was accepted. Imagine if the demand is high and the representation could not decide promptly. Anyway when it comes to such issue I suppose discretion takes its direction. Face value is at the forefront. Negotiation at its simplest order could be said to be the procedure then. All went smoothly. Yet I have seen proceedings that lasted longer than it should just because too many questions were asked and no answers given. 

This is one ceremony. A very important one at that. It marks an extraordinary stage in the life of a young man and a young woman. It meant that two persons have found love and blessed with their parents acceptance and commitment they would soon embark on a life of their own. They would leave their families, away from the confine and control of their parents to start a life and family of their own. Maturity and independence meet them soon. In the meantime officially engaged both the 'teruna' and 'dara' have to prepare for their up-coming marriage day with compulsory attendance at a marriage course plus other necessary duties. For sure they are reminded to uphold religious obligations and traditional decorum at all time.  

The gathering is not over yet. "Majlis menyarong cincin akan menyusuli". It was time for the young woman, the subject of this story to be sited amongst the gathering and the engagement ring to be placed on her finger. The honor is given to the mother of the bridegroom to be. She approached the young woman and lovingly placed a ring on the 'jari manis' of the left hand of Wan Nursyazwani bt Megat Nasir, her would be daughter-in-law.

Thus she and her family together with Megat Mohd Nasir and wiife would meet again to decide on the dates for the marriage ceremonies. Dates? It has to be at least two separate timing; one for the bride's side and another for the bridegroom.

The delegation left after a light refreshment. All were pleased with the outcome. Significantly it assures friendship and cordiality between people who were strangers only an hour or two ago. Personally I feel happy too to have helped and gained an experience not often offered to many persons.   

Looking back, there are many treasured moments that we experienced yet many escaped our attentions either because we were too young or since they were organised on our favour less our own involvement or commitments. The very day we were born is exemplary. Photos and videos now help to reminisce. Next perhaps our first day in school. Had our parents to stay back till the school break off at noon? How were we dressed and what of our first visitation to the school canteen? Majlis Berkhatan or circumcision is another with the added naughtiness and old traditions. Our acquirement of the first job, our marriage ceremonies etc all saw the involvement of our parents. They have been all along behind us assisting in no small way till we leave their homes to be on our own. Still the linkages continue with some unknowingly getting assistance even though their parents have aged. Yes ceremonies will continue till the last one. All along it has been with assistance of others: families, neighbors and friends.

I am reminded that many have helped me in seeing through the ceremonies of my life. Thank you. The least you could do in the seniority of age is to assist where and when it is due. Our definitions and commitments would help in circumstances where traditions seems unconcerning and forgotten. One last ceremony however, will not see you there helping out. Trusting only  others come forward.             

"Selamat Datang" Now don't we have a duty to perform this afternoon?Pak Hj Ayob now I leave it to you to say your pieces. We don't have scripts to read but it is intereting how things develop.


Tuan Hj Ayob representing the male side explaining his side of the story and the occasion can be pleasant as well as characteristic of our  tradition. Notice the five pieces of gifts that came together with the visitors.The betel leaf container takes the main position.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010


          photos that would tempt many to take the train in India and see the country side in no hurried manner

The Commonwealth Game at New Delhi now on has all the implications for India. Like the Olympic and the World Cup in China and South Africa such international sporting activities help to gear the organizers to new heights no doubt with much trepidations and anxieties. It now seems to fall on Indonesia when the SEA Game will see Palembang Sumatra as host in November 2011. 

As athletes compete in the various sporting activities, the medal winners especially those with the golden accolades will receive various incentives. Malaysian athletes can be bestowed with federal or state awards and stipends in the form of cash is no exception either. I am curious to know that athletes from India are promised rewards of a different kind when they struck gold, silver or bronze. They would get train odysseys, opportunities to tour their country by train. 

Fortunately we were on the Keretapi Tanah Melayu coaches recently either traveling on the Express Padang Besar to Kuala Lumpur Central or the ETS from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur Central.For a short journey even if it meant touring the whole length of the country, such a reward for our Malaysian athletes would not be strong incentives. Even its cash equivalent would seems a minor award. You can just expect the cries and dissatisfaction if such rewards were to be uphold in Malaysia. 

Now what does the train odyssey for the Indian winners refer to? Never been to India though the calls are there, we seek to find out and maybe embark ourselves on such a journey if promising. Surely it must be extraordinary and at best equivalent to the E&O Bangkok - Singapore Express. Was I to be flabbergasted ? 

Searching farther we come to know of a treasure piece in India's tourism. Long train journeys due to distances in luxurious coaches complete with tours and sight seeing adventures and the luxury of immaculate cabins plus services you get in five star hotels surely make India's train journey a luxury. 'Royal Rajasthan on Wheels', 'Golden Chariots', 'Deccan Odyssey' and 'Maharaja's Express' are some of the luxury train services that are known to offer new adventures in sight- seeing. It is no wonder that such offers are promised to India's medal winners and their companions. Checking out you will realize that these trains are epitome of luxury travels taking visitors across various tourist destinations. Now how much would you pay to ride and enjoy the privileges?  On checking out a 7 day /6 nights Royal India by train taking you to visit the sights of Delhi, Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Udaipur and Mumbai would cost INR 252,745 or RM17,689.00  Now wouldn't that make India's athletes  drive  themselves for a restful holiday after a competitive game?

It is interesting how offers are made in situations that are geared towards performances for the greater needs of the nation.There are alternatives in rewarding achievements. Only if we start to view out of the box.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day Break Over The Bay at Teluk Chempedak

            There are many ways of declaring the name of a town. At IPOH you would see the name standing on a top of a hill as you approach the city from the south. At Trengganu the word ALLAH welcomes you into the city.It too stands on a hill so it is seen even before you arrive in the city. Now at Kuantan, you need to come close to the river to see its name engraved on large alphabets standing out of the river. Yes we were at Kuantan last week.

         It was a moonlight night and we had this photo of the bay as the moon glides by the sole coconut tree standing by the beach while simmering its rays over the  water

As dawn creeps by and you awake to welcome the morning, what a sight to behold as the sun makes its early appearance with hues of changing colors as seen from the three sequence photographs. It must be almost four decades ago that I last visited this corner of Teluk Chempedak. It has remained almost as prestine  as before. 

'Footprints in the sand' is an often repeated phrase. Surely there cannot be so many people thrashing by on the beach yet there are patterns all over. The breeze and the waves help to leave their designs on the sandy beach  

Now what do you see? This is by far the first time ever that we have seen such approach at a restaurant. Malaysian culture and handicraft take a new direction. By the way we had a taste of 'puding sultan' a speciality known only here at Kuantan. Give a try whenever you visit this part of the east coast. A day visit to the town left much to be discovered. Some of the facades of buildings in town seems to equal those in UNESCO Penang.