Sunday, December 30, 2012


Now how would you like to end this glorious and meaningful year 2012? For sure it comes with resolutions for the coming 2013. Foremost blessings from Allah SWT and good health for all in the family and all your friends too. Next would be to look back through the 366 days and realize what has transpired and how much or less you have yourself performed. For sure you have added another significant year to your ladder of aging and yet how significance has it been?

2012 has been a leap, a bissextile or a intercalary year giving us 366 days instead of the normal 365. It also marked the Mayan 'dooms' day which raffled some community and at our national level there is much to ponder and much to appreciate for the goings on. In less than 40 hours it would be good bye 2012 and welcome 2013.

Now what awaits us? For sure here in Malaysia the 'election' awaits all. We pray for the best and may guidance be the salvation for the country in the coming five suceeding years. 

With that in mind, I will get back to the topic of this note in the first place. 

" Many of us would have heard of Agatha Christie, the detective -story writer who lived most of her time in Bagdad where her husband an archaeologist worked on important excavations. The writer vowed that an 'archaeologist' would be the best husband a woman would wished for. "The older she gets, the more he is interested in her".

Words have their beauties and how frail one would be if we failed to understand their perceptions, colour and puns. Now how would we stand with our partners in life based on their designations? That gets us to thinking in a positive way!

Wishing all our friends and those who know us the BEST IN THE COMING YEAR.
                          Hovering in the breeze

Friday, December 28, 2012


Trees of course we are familiar with. More so with fruit trees that grow by the sides of our homes. There are also shaded trees that cover the routes we take every day, giving us shelter from the noon day sun. Yet forest trees from the deep jungles are getting felled down and vast areas of once thick forested areas become less and less and helping to cause vast damages of all kinds. Almost all areas by the sides of main roads now show commercial trees organized as plantations. Timber lorries which once frequented the main roads with their heavy loads of sized logs, sometimes only a single trunk now carted several pieces of tree trunks and more ever rarely seen.

Now what has become of the logs? Furniture for one and buildings the next. Surely modern wooden houses are seldom built for the simple reason that timber has exploded in price.

This subject particularly looks what one friend has tried to capture the lure of timber while bringing home the exquisite quality and finery of timber. Yet it has taken him more than a year to complete his home, painstakingly worked by craftsmen who share the skills and expertise of building wooden homes. Hopefully when completed it would be a treasure house expounding what we can do with timber in modern times. Nevertheless it does not require total pure quality timber to grace our homes. Even the discarded timber pieces or left-overs could be treasure piece giving our homes especially the grounds a fixture of their own. The following pictures would speak for themselves helping to indulge you in quality wooden frameworks, with skills that hard to come by now. Then interest and a little share of 'madness' may awake you to indulge in the beauty of wood and all its forms. 

 Notice the two wooden pieces that become a show piece. Punctured with holes and possibly discarded they stood as master piece of art.

Three roof tops for three separate buildings, shelters for the timber buildings.
Notice several other pieces of wood that in the foreground as supports.

     Old railway sleepers become good choices either standing vertically or horizontally.
     A gazebo or a small hut for the children is another construction piece that utilized timber.

          The large wooden house which has taken him more than a year to complete but since it is a a labour of love even the long period has given satisfaction and the dream can still endure until full completion.

         The man's creativity is seen in many places. Possibly there are many more secret pieces that remain hidden from view. Whatever I salute the owner for the painstaking planning and accomplishment.

Not often we get the opportunity to view such interesting pieces and works. Surely as they lay hidden within the gates of private homes. Given the chance a camera in hand is a necessary perquisite. THANK YOU

At another venue we see the roots of a tree trunk being turned into a beautiful piece of art and below teak planks for a cabin house being dried in the sun. All adding to beauty and creativity but at the same time reducing the timbers trees and greenery in our country unless replacements are in order via replanting.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


We say that Malaysia pushes itself to become an agricultural country, wanting and wishing to produce food for its own people and trying not to depend on import as far as possible.Exposition the likes of MAHA biennially hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro based Industries is a showcase and even acknowledged as a global agro- exhibition. Exhibition as it is expects much from realty. All the best could be exhibited, exciting everyone with what they see or observe. The question always boils to the real production rather than the best of the best.

MAHA 2012 was held from 23 November to 2 December 2012 at Serdang Selangor recently. Many were excited by the products of agriculture they saw at the exhibitions. No I was not at the exhibition ground, missing out the grand show.

However I frequent markets either the weekly fair or the normal daily market places. Certainly they give us a good and fair picture of what are produced and what are not.The quantity and quality too define the production at hand.

A one day visit to the neighboring country and especially to the border town of Haadyai in Thailand recently gave an indicative of Thailand's agricultural production. A good morning walk with two friends from Putrajaya after the 'subuh' prayer exposes us to an open market close to the city centre, displaying the early morning activities of the sellers and buyers. More excitingly we were greeted with fresh greens and all the richness of food for the dining tables or kitchens where ever you choose to place them once you have made the purchase and taken the produce home.

We also explored the main market of the city and obviously perplexed with what we saw. The quality and quantity themselves far outstretched what we would find at many of the big fresh markets at home. We wondered and asked would all that productions for that particularly day find the market and buyers. Remembering tomorrow is another day and more would be added.  

Take a look at the following photographs which speak volume of the agricultural supply that are served at two markets on the same day. The prices offered or listed made us want to cart home most things only the transportation limited the quantity. Imagine the other market places in the country!. Maybe we underestimated the power of people to buy products either for home consumption or for trade in all the business places especially the restaurants and hotels in the country. Nevertheless we are thankful to have been given a golden opportunity to see the agricultural sector at its best i.e the products in the market places and not at exhibitions.

It is no surprise that lorry-loads of greens, fishes etc crossed the Malaysian border at Bukit Kayu Hitam and Padang Besar  every evening and moving on southwards even to Singapore.     

 We noticed that the Buddhist monks were at the market early in the morning, receiving 'donations' in terms of foodstuff from the sellers as well blessing them for their generosity.

 'Petai' ready for cooking and a kilo would have kept you contented for weeks.

At another section we found 'petai'and bananas. 'Pisang awak' fresh, ripe and would surely make good 'pisang goreng' A bunch costs RM2.00

 Now here is 'Pisang Bunga'. I was searching for 'Pisang Raja' and found that at another section of the market.

The prices are in Thai 'bahts' and fresh 'dokong' at RM 6.00 a kilo


Housewives would be happy to find fresh vegetables for lunch or dinner preparation.

This section of the road near the city centre was taken up by the street venders from 6.00 till 11.00 am. Seeking out the market in the morning has become part of the attraction whenever we visit a town and especially in a foreign country. It's colourful as well as lively and gives us an understanding of the people and their production.

 Moving about  a kilometer away we came to the main market of the city. Here we found the produce in abundance and thus wondered whether they would be sold off. Maybe we were conservative not realizing the size of the population here and the nearby towns and suburbs.The greens were still our focus though we did go into the fish markets as well.

This shop particularly sells 'petai' and it's a galore.

 Hundreds of 'limau manis' in the plastic bags.

  In large plastic bags ' daun limau purut' . These go for the 'tomyam' dishes.

Take your choice and see anything familiar. This is part of the interesting thing discovering the familiar and the new.

 At the market such as these, you would naturally be snapping away photos after photos as the atmosphere presented a unique experience.  Leaving us to question where we are in the agricultural sector. Now that we are also operating a restaurant, the exposure at the market gives directions and benefits to our advantages too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friends Came Visiting

 After a good morning ride near Alor Setar, the group arrived at TT Gajah for breakfast and they had a hearty one at that.

 All cheers for having made it to Alor Setar and TT Gajah especially after all the planning.

 Dinner at Citarasa TT Gajah. The plates are ready on the tables and the dishes have yet to come.

 Before that light conversation was in order with them discussing the plan for the next day

Help yourselves! Surely these are not the shy types when it came for what are served for dinner.

Now these two bikers found themselves at the Haadyai Food Market and especially at this solely petai shop.

They are bikers, not youth but seniors in the range of the 5th and 6th series . Sometimes even the 7th series may be in too. They came from Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur. Not necessarily on their bikes i.e cycling right from the the two cities but carrying their folding bikes in the car boot and ready to do exercise upon reaching terracotta of Alor Setar.Three members flew to Alor Setar and the bikes made available to them. Several of them were members who cycled at Perth a few months back. It was a get-together as promised and it came through meeting again and now in the north of the peninsular with them having a magnificent sight of the rich Kedah rice-fields at this time of the year.

The vast greenery of the Kedah Plain near Gunong Keriang and where our visitors absorbed the view as well as visited the Padi Museum. Come a few months later it will be a golden field when the padi ripen.

No doubt feeling tired and a restful break with a good cup of coffee helped at Hj Salleh Kedai Kopi did wonders.

The nine magnificent in front of the gate to Istana Anak Bukit with seven folding and two mountain bikes for the ride in Alor Setar. Many would remember how we rode our bikes in the 50's and 60's. Even school boys and girls cycled for more than 10 miles to get to schools and back. It would be thought as a tragedy now. Thankful that cycling has come back.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The main door to the house seen from inside

Part of the Penghulu's office, with the staircase to the 'Rumah Ibu'

A section of the back part of the house with the open door to Rumah Ibu

The stove in the kitchen. It was time when firewood was the norm and no gas or electricity for the housewives. Nevertheless the prepared food were the best you could ever find.

AS we moved along, we cannot help recognizing the changes that have taken place. It becomes truer when you visit places away from where you stay. Sometimes it is good to be touched by the old traditions, accordingly saved by concerned persons who cares for the past. A visit to the Badan Warisan Malaysia at 2 Jalan Stoner in Kuala Lumpur identified that traditions remained intact. There to be seen and appreciated. Then again how many recognized that? 

Just look at the above photos.Now how could we expect to witness such beauty in a concrete city like Kuala Lumpur, yet they are there. It is such ingredients that give pleasure to the visitors. Lonely Planet, the traveling guide listed Badan Warisan Malaysia as No. 46 of 465 things do when in Kuala Lumpur. Badan Warisan Malaysia founded in 1983 is concerned with the conservation and preservation of Malaysia's built heritage. Amongst its program included the Central Market, Istana Tengku Long Trengganu, Rumah Bomoh and Rumah Kutat Perak.

 The house is located at Jalan Stoner Kuala Lumpur

Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman of Serdang Kedah is another heritage built environment saved by Badan Warisan Malaysia. The above four photos were taken recently when I was on a conducted tour of the house. Yes twice daily except for the off days a conducted tour of the building is organised for the visitors. Like the foreign tourists visiting the house I too marveled at the exquisite structure, planning and naturally the openness of the house.  Thanks to Badan Warisan Malaysia for the care and deep rooted interest in saving our heritage. Whenever you are in Kuala Lumpur do give time to drop at No 2 Jalan Stoner. It is quite near to KLCC too.You will be surprised what else you will find there.

Friday, November 16, 2012


NOW WHAT WOULD YOU PICK OUT FROM TRAVELING  - be it inside the country or outside? It depends of course on the seekers, how much your eyes and brains take to the situation. How ready you are to observe and accommodate the new and the old around you.

Planning for a get-away have taken your time . What with adjusting the flight or whatever traveling schedules, the accommodation  and itinerary. Once you have reached your destination you must make the best of it and make the best to see what the town offers.

I would firstly seek information  regarding the places I would be visiting. The Internet presents you all the best; likely the best accommodation places, the weather, exchange rate of currency and even 'friends' who would welcome you to their towns. A good reading readies you for all you would want to expect.

Our recent escaped to Den Pasar, Ubud in Bali and Banjarmasin in Kalimantan helped in many ways ... defining the needs to learn and be educated from observations. Bali represents many things to the tourists. Your arrival at the Den Pasar airport itself is greeted by its gateway immediately you walked along the sky bridge to the terminal. Giving you what awaits.

Even before exiting the airport terminal, we were presented with this gateway peculiar  to most Bali homes as we moved along the sky bridge.

Checked in a the hotel, gave us this view of its ground and the swimming pool stretching towards the beach front. The large tree, spotlighted gave an ambiance to the courtyard.

  Our introduction to bamboo comes with this pole. A fluttering decorative cloth waved us to sites we would approach. 

In the evening, I caught the moon as it glided across the frangipani tree.

 The beach front is open to the public. No sign of the hotel establishments monopolizing the sea frontage. Observe how the man raked the sand to represent a smooth surface. Thus a clean sandy beach.

 We were walking along the beach front and entered a beautiful compound and fortunately met with the owner who welcomed us to see his home. Exchange of ideas etc ended with future visit and staying at this beautiful home in Benoa. The house was designed by a wellknown Indonesian architect.

                                                            The home at Benoa

 It was opportunity like this, meeting good people and exchange ideas etc which coloured the visit to new places. No it never comes with any itinerary set by any traveling agency.

The next morning as part of the Arcasia program we had the golden opportunity to visit a 'GREEN SCHOOL'  Your internet will give a good reading of the 'Green School 'in Bali Indonesia. Search for it and its worthwhile to know. Just let me show some of the scenes or objects that caught our eyes.

A bamboo bridge across a scenic river

 A large class room and also a hall. Observe the fan and the flooring.

 Yes no electricity at this part of the countryside but never mind solar power comes helping and bamboo poles stand as strong sentinels.

 I stood aghast at what I saw around me

The nearby kampong boys had the golden opportunity to share the wealth of opportunities presented at this 'Green School'

These were what we manage to see. I guess there must many more that we miss seeing restrained by time. Yet here is one. A n ATM booth powered by solar power and it was functioning as a customer was inside it.

 The inside seen from the unique fencing fronting the entrance.

A short story about the 'Green School'

Bamboo and wood presented their richness during our short stay in Bali Indonesia. Yes we envy and how we wish Malaysia had preserved its forest and have not allowed the jungles to be plundered.

Would we ever own a solid wooden tree trunk like this now? Or sit on a bamboo chair ? Not to mention have craftsmen for restoring their usage.

No iron or concrete but bamboo decorative poles alongside the road that caught our attentions.

These were some of the treasures that were presented to us. I guess there are many more waiting to be discovered if we skip the often trodden tourist routes and moved at our own space seeking out the best of the country..