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.

Friday, November 4, 2011


   View from the Sg Tiang camp site
There are boats for rental as well as a boathouse too that can accommodate 20 pax. It comes with sleeping and cooking facilities.

'BELUM' as a Malay word evokes negativeness i.e referring to as 'belum makan', 'belum pergi' or 'belum berjaya' indicating not having food, not gone yet and not successful too. It's a preface to such  verbs. However 'BELUM' in its reality and solid identity now refers to a large area in Perak Malaysia gazetted and preserved as national park. It takes the calling as "Royal Belum"   

Where? It is half way on the east - west highway. You discover it as you reached Pulau Banding, an island that is joined by two bridges that stretched across the lakes. I cannot say that I have NOT gone to 'Belum" as from today because we had the good fortune to enter into its realm on Thursday 3 November 2011.

Royal Belum with its 117,500 hectares, three times the size of Singapore Island  was given the royal status on 31 July 2003 is rich in biodiversity. It is known that 3 out of 20 known species of Rafflesia flower are found here. All the 10 species of horn bills in Malaysia reside here and there are 60 salt lick locations where animals come to lick to get their mineral substances. It is thus a priority site for eco- tourism.

I would like to share with you some of the pictures we managed to click as we moved in the boat on the lakes and walked in the jungle tracks. We hear fishing and staying on the boat-house overnight (with rental subscriptions of course) is an added experience. Just imagine having fish freshly caught for dinner in the quiet of the evening.Time to digest the majesty of Allah's gift and creations too.

 In the background, the bridge that crossed the lake.

   Several guard posts and halting stations in Belum Valley.

                As we near the Sg. Papan Camp Site

                                        Could be seen a hanging bridge in the background

        Thick virgin forest away from loggers and their machines

      An outstretched tree lent a unique feature to the guard post

                  An observation tower for you to see the animals as they come to the salt lick

          This is one salt lick, favored by the animals and close to the above observation post

This is Sg Tiang camp site. Unfortunately we were unable to scout farther  in as the water level was low and therefore unable to see the waterfall and the other aspects of the campsite. From above you would get a majestic view of the lake and surroundings. 

No it is not a casual visit but an opportunity to submit a proposal for the development of the area as an eco tourism hub and also for the upgrading of the existing sites. InsyaAllah we may have the opportunity to see the Royal Belum at a closer and more interesting facade.

                       Pulau Banding lies across the lake. It's serene and peaceful in the morning.

The highway route from Grik to Jeli crossed the lake via this bridge into Pulau Banding. It exits via another bridge  three kilometers away. Pulau Banding is one of many islands formed as a result of flooding the valleys that now formed Royal Belum Park.