Wednesday, June 30, 2010



These two pictures at least their images seems to be my earlier perception of China. Of course earlier photographs of China scenes seemed to capture China as being poor, backward and the people at their wits trying to make a living. As such the two separate scene come as a nostalgic reminder though maybe they are exceptional whereas motorized transportation and even electric vehicles are the norms now.

( half heartily pushing this door open with rain drops falling, I did not expect to see what lies behind, what transpires do surprise the beholder. So too the city of Guangzhou)

'GO EAST AND TO CHINA' AS THE ADAGE SAYS AND YOU WOULD GAIN MORE KNOWLEDGE.Of course the 'hadith' refers to visitation of centuries ago. Yet its strength and reality stays forever because traveling alone adds to your experience and wider acceptance of things.

Graciously accepting the imposition, we joined a group to visit Guangzhou , a city in the southern province, perhaps better known as Canton and a small portion of modern China thriving in the 21st century. Our trade group organized by Berita Publication was an introduction to purchasing at the wholesalers market and enhancing importing into Malaysia. By good fortune of course we met with Bumiputra entrepreneurs who made up the group in the retail business and therefore acquired more than expected. That's already a plus point for the visit.

On the 28th of June, an English edition of a China newspaper slotted that motor vehicle purchase in the country far outpaced even USA for the first quarter of 2010. Sales in China 2009 rose 46.2% with 13.64 million units sold .That indicator summed up the modernity and purchasing power of new China as much as its growing trends.

A first visitor to modern China with outdated perceptions will of course be jolted by its current expansion, multitude of people , thriving business and focus. Our group's specific intentions to purchase various items for their entrepreneurial business no doubt guarantee them a good hit. Yes there are lots to be seen, picked and hopefully sold at home with satisfaction and gainful too.

Branded items: Gucci,Samsonite,YSL,Nokia, Adidas and lots more decorated the decorative stalls with their sellers adapting only to calculators to bargain for the required prices. Not many can make themselves be understood in English though it seems that is a temporary issue as more are learning English or at least picking it up fast.

Guangzhou with a population of 10.5 million somehow registers an orderly calm with the populace moving around throughout the hours without the ever presence of security personnel, siren blasting of police, ambulance or fire engines. Its 'Pearl' river bisecting the city into north and south parts and the third longest river in China liken itself to the Thames, Menam Chao Praya and other great rivers as tourist attractions and the live-blood of the region.
Guangzhou historic past would also set historians, architects and planners spending days exploring its streets, buildings, parks etc.

People work hard; here are no Sunday rest but they do take a long break during the annual Chinese New Year. No coffee shops or stalls at various corners as people do not have time to halt for their cups of coffee, teh tarik, roti canai or mee goreng.

A brief observation of a four day visit surely would never do justice to a city like Guangzhou but we are thankful that we have made our way to that continent, observed and know a little bit more. Otherwise we would be wondering or never fathoming what it meant when they refer to the giant arising and gripping the world's economy.

A visit to Shanghai and the World Trade Fair currently held there would of course compliment your expanded knowledge of the country.

The pictures following picked up the varied subject matters that struck us as we moved around visiting the various outlets specific to marketing while of course wishing to see and know more. Like other places visited, the call to visit again echoes on. We would like to learn more.

The door unexpectedly opened into a garden and a beautiful restaurant

April to July would be the rainy season and throughout our stay we had the advantage to use the hotel umbrella with compliment. Yes, there are trolley cars still moving on the streets. Ours in Penang retired more than a half century ago. Notice the fly over and the road underneath.

Halal food from restaurants are found at many places and that settled your gastronomy needs

The 'Pearl River' during daytime. At night it is a scene to behold as buildings and bridges are lighted.

This is a 'Flower City' too and many parks lent charm and restful splendor. As legend goes 'five immortals' who visited the city brought grains and promised that the city would never suffer famine.

The trolley as seen from the taxi we were in. No problem in stopping a taxi and fare starts at RM3.50 and a trip which would cost a hefty RM 35.00 at home would see you here departing with 22 Chinese Yuan ( RM 11.00) only.

A street scene in an old quarter of Guangzhou ( Canton). Yes it is left hand driving here.

White petals of flowers on the ground and the tree as seen through the open doors of an old mosque in the city

The interior of the mosque

The open court yard and the mosque building in the background

Furnishing and curtains galore

Textiles, bedsheets, pillow cases etc.Your choice

Your plate of 'mee' or spaghetti is prepared on the spot.

Street hawkers selling fruits. It seems water melons, papayas, corn, lychee and many other fresh fruits are in season

Plenty of bananas too.Here heading to the market place.

It's South Africa and the football mania is here too. We visited a night street market though all goods are sold in established buildings. Only you moved around in lighted open spaces free of motor vehicles

A leather emporium in the background with typical old styled bamboo fences as guard rails in the foreground. Bamboo is still used in the construction industries, especially for scaffolding

Office workers lining to buy their take away fast food lunch at a temporary set up

Friendly stall owners or sellers go a long away to promote sale. Here at a leather handbag stall

Notice in Chinese and English stressing on cleanliness and proper expectations of toilet usage, Don't be surprised when you see open toilets at some places. One part says " Don't release yourself anywhere ....." as a caution.

Three wheelers that take passengers or goods for delivery. Originally licenses issued to disabled
persons only. Not a safe transportation less you want to try an adventure.

A car parking yard with the normal car washing service in the center. A view from our hotel room. By the way a nourishing breakfast served at the hotel cafe would cost you 15 Yuan only. Meaning RM7.50. Imagine the price you pay at any of the hotels in Kuala Lumpur for a buffet b'fast.

We hardly had cups of coffee or tea served at the restaurants we visited. Instead a bottle of drinking water was supplied to each patron. This picture taken at a special restaurant would guarantee you get the choice of coffee, tea or other assorted drinks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


NOW I am falling into deep water for wanting to touch on the above topic. Not that I have any complain for women using the scarves. They have the right to do so. The choice of scarves has however been complex as the women have no easy way to pick the right one. Over the decades options have come their way and especially now there are so many styles and models.

I am sure not many men or husbands would dare to venture into a shop or boutique selling this special head dress. One simple reason, it will leave you waiting for a while. There were times when you would halt at a scarf shop especially at most international airports and pick up one or two for your loved ones. That would be a small gift to bring home. Especially if it is branded from Italy, France or Japan , it will be a delight. Not now, those designed scarves are out dated. New design and replacements that take to the shape of the head and wearer is in vogue. The choice is not that easy and I cannot guess whether it is the color, the shape, the usage, the style or the following that becomes the category.

Your views may enlighten us. Thanks

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Ever hear of Napalm. The canisters dropped at Trang Bang Village and this picture records it all.

Those of us who remember the Vietnam War that began as early as 1959 and lasted till April 30 1975 may recollect many scenes and stories. Surely none of us would ever forget the above photograph that appeared in newspapers and magazines of the world. That was an iconic Vietnam War Picture of the decade or century if it can be said so. True live story picture like the above is priceless and war correspondents would go all the way to get them. They did that before and will continue so even now be it in Iraq or at Bangkok recently.

I was reminded of the above story recently through a posting via Thirty eight years have passed and quite recently the photographer and savior of the naked young girl caught in the holocaust met again and their story was aired by BBC. Kim Phuc, that's the 7 year old young girl screaming and running on the road with other Vietnamese children after her dress burnt and she suffered serious burnt. Journalist Christopher Wain got his historic picture and he also saved the girl by sending her to a specialist hospital.

Wain found Kim Phuc again after 38 years. She has settled down in Canada, married with two children.Many who first saw the picture four decades ago must be grateful to be reminded that the little girl is still alive. I am one of the many all over the world that gazed at that picture and shed tears of pity then and always believing that she could never have survived . How comforting after all these years to know that she has been spared and alive. The story reminds us of humility and responsibility for the human being while of course condemning war and its atrocities. Sadly we still continue to wage war slaughtering and killing without mercy and grief. Do we wish for a third world war to happen? Request and plea have never stopped being forwarded to government, security councils and the United Nations. Who else can be the savior of our world?



WHEN someone makes news, then the media falls into frenzy. This is especially true when the news become attractive and captures the international media. You may remember that Al Gore, the former Vice President of America who gained an unsavory attraction when he last visited Malaysia made a surprise disclosure together with his wife regarding their split or 'divorce' after 40 years marriage. However he was not successful in breaking the record for being the oldest married person to gain that notoriety because a couple who announced their separation at the age of 93 and after a marriage of over a half century had capped the record. Now why would such couples after years of blissful life with families of their own would come to that embarkation? Theirs would mean a disconnection of sorts of children, grand children and families at large. Now it appears that what we would think as unforgiving, unrealistic and unthinkable seems to be a new direction at least in the west. The breeze of change would surely blow to other directions and cause a multiplying effect. There are copy cats and they would take on the style if we may say so.

Malaysian and Muslims especially would shake their heads at disbelief for such uncompromising agenda. Our trust in the sanctity of marriage and family hood would forbid such happenings. Yet recent marriage affairs in the country show that we are not far from reeling in such circumstances. As an example marriage and polygamy at that could be executed without written consent of the 'syariah' or religious court. At most it has been done though left to the court to decide now its legality or acceptance.

The extraordinary reason being proposed for the split at a late stage in life is that the couple now seeks freedom of their own. The lady of the house feels that she needs life of her own, seeks new friends outside the normal circle and get away from the doldrums of partnership with one mate. Hard to understand! She wants to quit routine chores: responsibility for house maintenance, cooking, gardening, entertaining and strings of other activities which she reckoned has bogged her down to an unsavory life style. She believes she has not been given the best of her life, halted from moving on because of marriage. Her partner too thinks the same and maybe more. All oriented to self motivation and glorification. No allowance for partnership. Strange that such thought disturbs them; and no qualms at taking the new strategy. Family unification is given the last guarantee.

There is no question of infidelity or sexual attractions here at their octogenarian age. No falling in love again; no more children or in the family way. It is a call for personal freedom which has escaped them for decades. Is it so? Come to think of it we have always been made to know that the west has practiced freedom. Is this it?

Necessarily the media too must make it known that marriage lives have importance and rights of their own. Marriages throughout the world in all religious and customary backgrounds have bind families together, afforded union hard to find in any other concept. Must we allow a group who are disenchanted by its own lifestyle and mood sway the rightful feelings of the majority of the world to believe in their matrimonial and family unity? You and I who are happily married with decades of togetherness not only with our partners but with children, grandchildren and multiple families of our own must continue to show the comforts, security, bliss and rewards that we get from staying together. We do not need to seek extra freedom and life style and go gallivanting all over again and not when we should be besides our prayer mats most time. Religious teaching and acceptance play a strong role in maintaining our family unity.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


THIS IS ANOTHER PICTURE that no photographer can ever compose through his lens again.Not that he could not get the same number of ladies to pose as they were but he could never get them to discard their head scarves which have become their characteristic attire now. In the above picture only ONE lady had hers. This is a unique picture by any mean and it shows how head scarves have progress in terms of usage, religious significance and marketing. Walk into any boutique shops in the country now you will find all colors and styles to tempt the ladies to choose the range offered. Significantly though the majority of Muslim and Malay women in Malaysia have taken to cover their heads with scarves of varied styles, there are a few who stuck to the old adage and of course get brick bats for their resistance to change or adapt to the common norms.

Over forty years must have passed by since such a photo session came before a cameraman and the trend has been overwhelming with school children and women folks taken naturally to the change. Unlike the songkok when it can be established that the wearer is undoubtedly a Malay and a Muslim, the same adage cannot be applied in the case of the scarf wearer. She can be anybody but when 'some body 'does not adapt to the change and set the trend right then it can be nosy and grumbling for many.

Friday, June 4, 2010






THERE was a time when happenings took place without our knowledge. For one simple reason we were not there or we failed to know about it. Yet looking back many stories do creep by helping to enlighten our sights and mind to yesteryear.

A case in point, how often do we see an elder man in our neighborhood and give a thought of what he was before or do we care to learn anything about him. He is in his octogenarian phase, yet agile and active in the community, never missing his morning walk and prayer time at the village mosque. Pak Hj Zakaria is one. He goes on his personal phase, accepting that people know him as a quiet family man contributing to the community's needs when necessary, happy with a home of his own and the simple comforts of life. Yet he has a wonderful story to tell, an inspiring youthful lifetime. There were times when we learn of our young men enlisting in the army and serving the country during the emergencies and caught in ambushes and booby traps etc. Pak Zakaria went further back. He served in the British army and had recollections of living in barracks at Singapore and even Hong Kong. The exposure must have put him for what he is today. Yet many would have thought theirs would have been the best of time having lived in Britain, Australia, United States of America, New Zealand or any other parts of the world as students; theirs the worldly experience. Whereas here this senior man has served in the British army, specifically in the British Air Force, learned what has to be learned and regimented in all things wise. He left his home while a youth and way back before Merdeka was the crying call. Upon leaving the army he became a forester, acquiring more skills and knowledge and this time of timber and its resources being much wiser about our Malaysian jungle and its secrets.

Pak Zakaria's story or episode or others like him make us realize that our adventures in life are no comparison to those like him who came earlier than us; theirs saw hardship and tribulations. They may not have the opportunity to acquire higher education as opportunities were not there but they acquired wider and worldly knowledge.

The photos accompanying show in term of experience that it outweighs yours and mine of our youthful days. Yes search around your kampong and you will discover similar stories or personalities. Scout around, find them and write or tell the world. Sadly at times even their own children know nothing of their rich past.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Wedding in 1960’s

Digging into the old files and albums, I found several pictures of yesteryears. The above is one in particular. Now that the season of weddings and 'khenduris' is hitting the country side with invitation galore perhaps it is fitting that we look back to the time when we attended such ceremonies and savor the happy times.

Not much differences looking at the invitees as all friends and relatives are guests of honor. Only the venues may change as currently grandeur or convenient places are preferred to the individual homes. Not for anything else but for space and facilities.

This was a wedding back in the early 1960's and at Pantai Johor Alor Setar Kedah. The old house sadly is no more since the land has become a thoroughfare and the family lost a treasure. The couple is Hashim and Zaiton. Both were teachers at SMSAH Jenan and therefore the attendees in the picture were colleagues of the school. On closer look friends may recognize some of those in the picture. Over the years several of them have passed away and we are thoughtful of them and fittingly may we recite the AlFatihah and other verses from the Koran for their souls. Zainol Zakaria, Ismail Salleh, Wan Khadijah, Zainol Rashid and Syed Abu Bakar are identified in the picture.

This posting is also special because it is in recognition of Zaiton's quick recovery from an operation that she has gone through three weeks ago at Canberra Australia. Hashim and Zaiton have settled at Canberra and we are indeed happy that her 10 + hr operation has put her back on her feet and we all pray for her immediate recovery though she has to visit the hospital quite regularly after this. The report from Hashim speaks well of the facilities afforded by the medical staff and the hospital including community visit to the home of the patient after her discharge. Hopefully when Malaysia reached developed status we too would similarly afford facilities as available and enhance our lives and conditions.