Saturday, December 31, 2011


There are queries as to the location of the film 'Ombak Rindu' which has hit the movie houses and now entertaining the home audiences through the TV. Ombak Rindu is not the only movie that has been shot on the island of Langkawi. Anna and the King of Siam was one and Sharook Khan has also chosen to make his film in Langkawi too. Sometimes we failed to recognize the location as being Langkawi because the directors or producers failed to advertise its where about or hide its true identity.

Ombak Rindu with its director being from Langkawi itself helped to promote the beauty of the island. The sea, landscape, the beaches with their rocks, the typical Malay homes and yachts that roam the legendary island all added to its majestic splendor. Not to mention the hills and padi fields and the soothing music plus the breeze that beat the beaches and the padi stalks in the fields all helped to move the film towards its romantic mood. A close up of the old railway station in Alor Setar when the actress and her uncle took the train to Kuala Lumpur added antiquity as well. But one noticed that the train was moving northwards rather southwards to Kuala Lumpur.  Cameron Highland with the Boh Tea plantation added to the richness of the hero's background while showing that Malaysia does have color and beauty of all dimensions.

Please see the following as being parts of the scenes that are located in the film or a similarity  that one can easily seek out. It is a discovery that surely will bring more visitors to the island. I am from Kedah and the scenes and locations of the film are no strangers to those who know the state and the island in particular.. 

    The Railway Station at Alor Setar. Notice the Clock Tower

                          One of the houses featured in the film

    Langkawi has many scenes like this, with fishing boats       basking in the hot sun on blue waters

              The Boh tea house in the Cameron Highlands

                Another scene in the Cameron Highlands

      No such scenes in the movie but they make authentic scenes any time

                            A yacht one of many at Langkawi 

Friday, December 30, 2011


When in Guangzhou China, I was struck by this poster. It was placed at the convenience rooms for all to take heed. Maybe as a start to the New Year we need to remind ourselves who use the convenience rooms to be aware of such doings. Now that PLUS especially have constructed new ladies and men toilet facilities along the highways with attendances to see to their upkeep day and night we should like wise assist towards their upkeep and cleanliness. So too facilities at many petrol stations which come pretty handy when we need them. Malaysian 'men'/'gentlemen'/ 'Lelaki' or 'Ladies' / 'Perempuan' were at one time the focus of visitors from overseas. Even parliament debated the issue. Thankfully they have improved but you and I know that more have to be done to make the practice favoured by all and at ALL places too. 

Less you may not make out the small prints above let me spell it out what were written in English. Never mind the grammatical errors if any but the message was exact and clear. Have anyone seen a similar reminder anywhere at home?

             Pay Attention to Social Mobility and Sanitation
             Rules in the Washing Rooms
             Don't damage facilities in the washing room
            Don't erlieve ( relief) yourself anywhere. 
Please Throw used toilet paper into the litter  basket 
Don't throw butt, peel, cans and pour remaining tea anywhere
 Throw them into the dustbin 
Don't scratch on the wall and board

  Please save water. Don't have the tap running after use.


as photographed along the north south highway when approaching Alor Setar

Saturday, December 24, 2011


It was a week and a day in history too. For on the13th of December 2011 early in the morning, as from 5.30 am chartered buses had dropped groups of people along the main road in front of our house at Titi Gajah. They came from offices, departments and the communities. Many too had come out from their homes fronting the road that  stretched from the Istana at Anak Bukit to the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport at Titi Gajah. All gathered to bid safe journey as well as shower the people's gratefulness to the Sultan and Sultanah of Kedah for their appointment as the Yang DiPertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia. Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah took office as the 14th Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia on the same day. The Sultan's departure for the next five years left the state of Kedah under the charge of a regency of his three brothers and his daughter. It is historic for this is the first time that  a Sultan from the states has been appointed as the Yang DiPertuan Agong for the second time. Tuanku Abdul Halim was the fifth Yang DiPertuan Agong  1970 - 1975. It also saw a council of regency applied for the first time. On the previous occasion the Raja Muda held fort but his poor health has called for the new arrangement.   

        12  Dec 2011.  I took this picture of the fountain fronting the airport a day earlier at sunset. Characteristically the monument was built in conjunction with the Sultan's appointment as the fifth Yang DiPertuan Agong. and was erected at Jalan Teluk Wan Jah in Alor Setar. Double tracking of the Malayan Railways and new road constructions at Jalan Teluk Wanjah saw the historic monuments pulled down and a new one replaced and rebuilt at the airport frontage. It too heralded the Sultan's departure to Kuala Lumpur for the second appointment.

The following pictures show the scenes on Tuesday morning 13 December 2011 as people awaited and gave farewell to the Sultan and Sultanah of Kedah.on the departure to Istana Negara Kuala Lumpur. Thhe royal couple would be the first residents at the new Istana Negara too.

                                         13 Dec 2011                        1.






Not to be forgotten too was our gathering of ex-classmates of Cambridge School Certificate 1954 as we met at PJ Hilton on Saturday 17 December 2011. Happy and grateful that this gathering  has continued to take place permitting us to meet one another otherwise there would be no opportunity of its kind. A previous meeting was held in Alor Setar 18 June 2011.

Out of two classes with a total of eighty plus classmates in 1954, the small group as seen tells its own story as many has been called by Illahi and others were unable to make the trip to PJ.   

                                                         17 Dec 2011

 On  Wednesday 21 Dec 2011 saw us at Banding in the Royal Belum territory as the consultant group set out to define their works that would start soon. Off they go in the two boats that took them an hour away to reach their destination in the majestic Belum Territory.

    21 Dec 2011.   In the background the bridge that linked the East West Highway Kota Bharu and Kulim

Not to be forgotten as we attended a happy occasion at a neighbor's home in Putrajaya earlier in the week as they celebrated their parents 50th wedding anniversary, To add joy to it Sdr Hj Zainal Manaff and wife were ex Kirkby students who lived in Ipoh and had come to Putrajaya to celebrate  the happy do with their daughter and son -in- law. Other Kirkby friends, Dr Shaari Isa and wife, Aziz Sultan and wife and Othman Desa were there too.  

   Hj Zainal Manff and wife walked in with claps of joy from friends and family that gathered to wish them blessings.

                                                                    11 Dec 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


It was many months ago that I last visited the cinema to see a movie. No. It has been no less than three years ago. Last Saturday with the urge of the family I found myself at a matinee show in the cinema hall at Alamanda Putrajaya. The movie 'Ombak Rindu' was good in all characteristics since it pulled you to see the film to the last. Scenes shot at Gunong Jerai, Langkawi and a riverside some where in Kedah  all made the movie authentic and alive. Sufficient that it is a box office hit now. Not to mention the actors and actresses for their performances. As the title goes be ready to have your tissues ready. 

No I am not about to talk about the film but to grasp with one that came to mind when I was waiting in the foyer to enter the cinema hall before the scheduled time. At that very moment I was transported back into time. Not far back but distance enough to retreat at least a half century ago. I looked at the colorful posters that acclaimed the movies on show or the forthcoming ones. They were sizable printed copies large enough to be noticed ten yards away. They attract the audience to realize what are forthcoming at their favorite cinema.Those posters and other photos about the current movies on show or those forthcoming must have come together with the movies. The people at the movie house have only to place them where necessary. 

You who knew the cinema as before may recollect that cinema halls in the past had resident artists as their employees. I remember 'Pak Hassan' of the Empire  Theatre in Alor Setar. A senior man in his forties he had the indomitable duty of painting large sized posters of the forth coming movies at the cinema. Be it a 'tarzan' picture, a gorilla or a 'Gary Cooper' cowboy film, you would find posters right in front of the cinema hall  days before the film was scheduled for screening. They were not life size but giants in comparison. I remembered that his drawings were life-like and attraction pullers. At times they were paraded round town attached to the bodies of lorries that canvassed for the films currently on show.  Pak Hassan must have been 'commisioned' to draw hundreds of posters, portraits of movie stars and other images. Thinking back if only those posters or 'masterpieces' were salvaged they would have been a collector's dream now. Imagine selling them in EBay or at Hollywood itself. And what about the productions from the other cinemas in the country. Alas we were unaware of their contributions or we failed to value their assets. Like many others they suffered the fate of being discarded. Yes much we do not know and only live to regret. Now there are no more Pak Hassan or no more resident artists at the cinema halls. I do not want to think whether Pak Hassan's sons or daughters managed to salvage some of his works or if ever they realized his contribution to the arts in Malaysia.

Then, I gazed at the wall with eight slots marked " Now Seating". At first it baffled me. If we had only one cinema hall with all its characteristic then here the audiences had the choice of eight halls showing different movies at specific times. Entrance is allowed once the slot is lighted. Just like others I too waited for the lights to be on at No 2. The hall where Ombak Rindu would be shown. What an adventure! Back then either the black curtain was pulled aside or the door was opened with the attendant standing to tear your ticket and returned the other half to you. Keep it for otherwise you may have to move from your seat if someone demanded to sit there. Now tickets were numbered and you sat at seats allocated. Back then for several classes, early entries get the better seats; unless you bought first class or reserved class seats. Let's not talk about the comforts of the seats!   

Purchasing tickets? If it was a good movie expect there to be a big crowd. You would probably buy tickets through the black market.Of course with extra dollars for the guy who had ventured forth to push himself over the crowd at the ticket booths. All are made easier now. You can buy tickets via your phones and pay pal etc. Maybe the adventure of going to the cinema has been taken away. 

Back again to the past you would not like to bring refreshments into the hall. 'Kacang' or 'koci' would be acceptable for reasons you would know why. Surprised when the lights were on after the show at seeing the floor of the cinema halls. Now 'pop corn' and beverages in containers accompany you into the hall. Even in exclusive kiosks you may be served with hot drinks too while enjoying your movie.

Be that for the meantime as the opportunity allowed me to recapitulate what comforts we enjoyed when going to the cinemas during times before 'Merdeka'. But one thing for sure we picked up and improved our English with attendance at the cinemas and reading the 'movie news' magazines. Even learning to sing popular English or later Hindustani songs came from the frequency of patronizing the cinemas. Yes we even gathered 'programs' or pamphlets  that were distributed in the towns by distributors who came on trishaw or lorry. 

The old cinema halls have all been pulled down or converted to other usages. At one time it looked like the movie houses were destined for their ends.Sadly or otherwise the new cinemas with their technologies are making a come-back and the movie industries  are moving into finer directions. TV programs were heralded as putting the death knell to the movie industries. That too has not come about. In fact movies come into TV as well with purchases to be made for the movie you would like to see at home.

It is interesting to know how the movie houses in US, Japan etc are functioning now. What are their extra qualifications in the industry?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The motorcar with its auto parts to learn and know. Learning to drive would require you to know how it works too. Helping you when there is a breakdown. No doubt quite often too

     Do we ever learn about the motor engine now? We have complete trust and therefore why bother to know how it works.

THERE ARE MANY DRIVING SCHOOLS NOW. All guiding and teaching learners to ride the motor-cycles or to be at the wheels of lorries, buses and motorcars and pass with flying colors in quick time. Technologies and no doubt the schools with all the facilities have made learning to drive an easy accomplishment, just as in many other approaches too.

Recently, while rearranging my collection of books, I found " Odhams Motor Manual - How Your Car Works and How to Service it' a fourth edition copy printed in 1960, a hard cover book with 320 pages. Noted on the front page " Bought in Singapore 25 March 1961. The price (Ringgit) $ 9.00  This is one habit which I practiced even currently allowing me to trace through the years all the books that are in my collections and realizing when and where I bought them.

Pretty sure we do not refer to such signage now though a few may be standing still in many parts of the world

That reminded me that it was within that time that I took to driving. First a motorcycle and later the motor car. I got a 'D' licence for the former allowing me to ride a 500cc big bike and a B for the latter.I used to ride an BSA, a Triumph  and a Norton.Not my own of course. While for the motorcars, the likes of Ford, Triumph, Rover, Austin, Morris, Worsley and VW would be familiar names.

It is to be reminded that driving in the 1960's and earlier is far different from what it is today. Now firstly the vehicles are modern with automatic facilities. Secondly the road signs , road conditions and traffic regulations are a far cry from what they were before. 

MANUAL would be the order of the day. No automatic gears. Especially NO air conditioning. Road signs have to be given manually. You stretched out your arm if you want to turn left or right and giving the correct signal. When stopping, you held up your arm giving another version. .

  How the arms give instructions when auto signals were not yet designed

     The policeman on duty.Characteristically you would still obey his signals when he is on duty Notice however currently they are casual

Yes sorry no traffic lights. No red, orange or green. At main junctions you looked out for the policeman on duty. He would give directions. 

Imagine when you had a traffic light failure now. Everybody rushes making a hell of a jam until a person or a traffic policeman comes to sort out waving his  arms left and right. Traffic policemen are still trained to move vehicles when such situations occur.

Much as it would give me fine moments to remember the way we drive before, maybe you could look at the illustrations from the book I mentioned earlier and see the differences of then and now.  

Most of us, road-users and not necessarily car owners would have to learn the basics of the cars. So such a book as above  became a collection piece. We need to know about the vehicles especially the engine and other parts of the vehicle. It came down at weekends for us to open the car bonnets and look at the engine and do the servicing ourselves. Timing chain, carburetor, spark plugs,petrol pump, battery etc received our attentions. We were not machinists but circumstances made us learn the simple aspects of the engine and how it works.   

At modern launching of brand new cars, you may notice some differences in the observation styles or techniques. While a great majority will get into the car, appreciate its interior, its dashboard and cozy feeling plus the sound system etc, there will be a small majority who would open the bonnet and look what's under it. This would normally be the seniors. They would also like to look the undersides of the vehicle too. Well what are your preferences? How do you choose your new car?
I am happy with what is in the 'stable' as it is reliable like the old horse.  

Hoping this article triggers some past episodes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The First Day of the Year 1433

1 Muharram 1433 / 27 November 2011

I am no diary man. Though there are plenty now in the market for the coming 2012, meaning the diary of course. But I would admit if you had kept a diary, dotted down what went through each day of the year you would no doubt be awake to your past. I know a friend in Kuala Trengganu who can vouch for this reality. He has gracious moments to look back and remember intimately his actions in the past.

   Freshness as the new year, the break in the clump of trees seems to usher you into a new horizon. After clearing the branches and leaves that fell on the path, it would look more inviting.

    Oh! to see the old home, as old as the writer himself standing exacting promises that  many more years will come by for the occupants of the home, if they so care and cherish it. As a friend asks how many Awal Muharram for us? How contributing can we be?  

Perhaps this is a good moment to pen down what transpired on this day Sunday as it is a public holiday and many in the country would have a three day stretch break. If last night I was at Zahir Mosque in Alor Setar, way out from our home in Titi Gajah but the state mosque has been part of my life as we used to have a home only 200 metres from the mosque and that's where I grew up. So the attraction and the pull will be there. Not surprisingly I was there again tonight. But early in the morning it was a short drive to a kampong nearby to see to the clearance of bushes, bamboo grooves etc at the old home that once appeared in this blog. It has been raining, on and off and thankfully the flood warning remained a caution only as the deluge of heavy  rain and water from the dam upstream never come about. Yet the wet weather caused the greenery around the home to sprout fast and clearance become necessary. It was a fine morning, lush with the greens and coolness as you could observe from the pictures and necessarily a healthy exercise swaying the 'parang' for an hour or two. Of course leaving the tougher task to the men given the task to do it.

 The Zahir Mosque , a view from the back and from the car -park where once stood the homes of many 'Syed' families. Kedah had a gathering of  'syed's and the earlier families built homes close to the mosque.
This is perhaps one story that has not be written or told about.

A larger congregation than last night since Tuanku Sultan and the Menteri Besar attended the Maghrib and Isyak Prayer while also the Surah Yassin were read in conjunction with the Sultan's actual birthday.
In conjunction with 'hijrah' we may take a cue from the acceptance of Tuanku Sultan Kedah to hold office as the Yang DiPertuan Agong at his age. For sure it will not be a cosy office as there will many official functions. There was a talk that once Tuanku Sultan Kedah advised the Raja of Perlis to accept the appointment of the Yang DiPertuan Agong as he was reluctant as only recently he  was installed as the Raja of Perlis.. His advice was that it is 'duty ' bound. So when it comes to his turn the same advice was heard again. "Tuanku ini adalah satu kewajipan untuk Negara" Cannot vouch for its truth but it reflects the high esteem given by the Raja to hold office. Are we consenting to accept offers that require our attentions and contributions  especially in the community? 

 Tuanku Sultan Kedah, Menteri Besar Kedah and jemaah reading surah Yassin led by the Imam of Masjid Zahir

This being a notation of things that happened on 1 Muharram 1433.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Awal Muharram 1433

Muslim throughout the world begin a new year today. In Malaysia mosques throughout the country offer prayers farewell to 1432 and welcome 1433. No celebrations, No fireworks. No toll of the clock towers. Only remembrance; religious significance in the mosques and suraus. A special prayer for the passing of 1432 was read several minutes before the Maghrib prayer, signifying the entry of the new Muharam at 'Maghrib'. And therefore no association with the clock striking 'twelve' midnight. The  maghrib prayer is followed with the reading of 'Surah Yassin' by the jemaah and lead by the Imam and followed with a special prayer " Doa Awal Tahun Hijrah'.

The pictures above records the prayer at Masjid Zahir the state mosque in Alor Setar at Maghrib time a few hours ago. .It seems tomorrow there is another session of reading Surah Yassin in honour of Tunku Sultan's Kedah birthday and that of Majlis Perbandaran Kota Star celebrating its anniversary as a city. Masjid Zahir in Alor Setar will honour the departure of Tuanku Sultan to Kuala Lumpur with a reading of Surah Yassin on 9 December 2011 after the Magrib prayer as Tuanku Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah departs to take office as the new Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia. It is historic too since Tuanku Sultan Kedah will hold office for the second time. Kedah and her people wish our Tuanku Sultan and Sultanah a glorious reign as the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia .

Saya dan keluarga mendoakan kebahagian dan keimanan kepada pembaca blog ini agar tahun Hijrah 1433 memenuhi segala cita-cita dan harapan kita. Wassalam..

Monday, November 7, 2011


The place is called PADANG HANG. It is a village outside Alor Setar. Interestingly it meant " Your Field" or 'Your own piece of property'. In Kedah's dialect it would sound 'rough', 'crude' or 'wild' but at the same time 'passionate' and 'intimate'.

'Hang Nama Apa?' would be a request to know one's name but not heard in good circles. As it would sound abrupt and unpolished if compared to the more often familiar approach    " Apa nama saudara? atau 'Siapakah Encik, Nama apa?" 

Let's not digress but stick to the actual story. I meant revisited because we were here several decades ago. Many changes have taken place. But many years ago it would have taken us half a day to reach the village. No roads to take you there. It would mean a good walk along the footpaths of the padi-fields, crossing rivers and drains and sweating out in the noonday sun. Now with all the infrastructures in place: tarred roads leading right to the front door, bridges across rivers and canals, electricity to light the homes and water supply connected as against well water or kerosene lamps then,you would reach the place in quick time and marveled by the expansion.
Thankfully there are old charms that still remained and to be enjoyed. The tranquility and simplicity of 'Padang Hang' hopefully is seen in the photos. Being AidilAdha and a public holiday we made the familiar 'kunjungan ke rumah keluarga' calling on old family friends and their families. Expected there would be other family friends there. No doubt about it. The group photograph spurred by the charming background and the old  'jelapang padi' ( old padi storage hut) and the families in their colorful dress on the non manicured lawn come as an added bonus to an unexpected return visit. More than sixty persons happened to be at the home in Padang Hang a great opportunity meet and get connected again. 

Earlier we had the delights of 'daging rebus cicah ayer assam' and bowls of 'sup tulang' or 'gearbox' sometimes referred too. The fresh beef and all delicious inner parts come from the 'Qurban' that comes with Aidiladha. 

I am thinking of getting the cycling group to tour the country side while the charms are still visible.

        Green all the way. Young padi plants in the 'sawah'

     Gunung Keriang ( elephant hill ) in the background with the 'Padi Museum' nearby.
         Our daughter and grand children on the country road and children in the background.

           Di sana tu pokok 'beras'. She gets to see the padi field.

What a natural view with the old 'jelapang' and the clumps of nipah palms in the background

The nipah palms: once it provided provisions for the home: roof as shelter and of course pure sweet juices as drink,
our supply of sugar and the fruits too are edible.

I am hoping the owner will want to demolish the hut and hence I can get it moved and restored in a new home. Mind you the 'jelapang padi' store for padi is hardly found now.Will inform if successful. Otherwise it will go with the wind.

 Old staircases lent magic to your pictures. Maybe it brought back old memories when 'appointments' saw you there at one time. 

satu kenangan di AidilAdha 1432

Sunday, November 6, 2011



                  Yang tidak kesempatan mendapat kemudahan bilik-bilik di hotel dsbnya. tembuk dan pagar ini menjadi tempat simpanan barangan mereka.

                              Sebentar tadi semua sudah meninggalkan bumi Arafah. Khemah-khemah ini akan tinggal kosong hingga menjelang tahun Haji 1433.