This could be a photo album documentation of sight and sound that saw us indulging ourselves in. It had been a full week of sheer moving from north to south since we covered several states having to drive southwards in the peninsular. Only a week back it was in Kota Bharu and now on to Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Johore and the Federal territory of Putrajaya. Our country does offer sights and sounds that would delight us while leaving many questions as to their contributions and significance in a larger sense.
Driving in the rain in Kuala Lumpur one evening, I caught the view of the city through the windscreen. It was possible since the car was above the street level and moving on the raised
'sky' highway. However it struck a sad recollection, leaving a definition of the future 'Malaysia' with people living in concrete homes of a structured order divorce of the old Malay kampong kind. Will it be as below?
Our next move was to proceed to Port Dickson to attend a reunion of Kirkby College graduates of the 1952 to 1962. A two day event organized by a working committee residing in Negeri Sembilan managed to bring about a grand attendance of 200 plus former students of Kirkby College. That the College existed for only 10 years and closed permanently in 1962 never stopped its former students from giving its due importance in their lives. Naturally their youthful experience and exuberance were colored by the early decades of the 1950's. Meeting old friends again was the recipe for the 'diamond jubilee' success at the holiday resort and army town of Port Dickson. To find members of the first group ( 1952 - 1953) at the gathering, all aged 80+ was a significant observation, with spirits stronger than physics. Even those residing outside the country never failed to attend.
A former class member even brought sets of photographs to share with friends. I grasped two from him. No I did not take away his precious copy but photographed them on the spot. Here you see us in the 'prime of our youth' challenging Britain's nature at Scarfell in the Lake District the highest mountain in England and on a yacht in Norfolk Broads at Norwich, a program we had to accomplish as part of the course structure. So we were sailors as well as mountain climbers while absorbed in the theories of Plato, Rousseau etc. Do they insist on current teacher trainees to undertake such activities? Imagine what our students would have to perform realizing our ability to accomplish things ourselves.
School mates who spent five years in their secondary school appreciate the friendship linked. But living together in an educational institution for two years in a foreign land, more so accommodated in a former British army barracks steeled the spirit to challenge the impossibles.
Keeping our eyes open wide, we continue to marvel at many things around us. As much as greenery decorates our homes and public places, we are never short of seeing innovations in many forms. Here we see potted plants arranged on stacks thus filling the space horizontally and vertically and become a welcoming centre piece at the entrance of a new hotel.
No! Children don't play around here as much they would love to jump into the heap of sand by the beach. Yet this is no ordinary mound but one that is organized by the participants that took part in a 'sand sculpturing' competition at a Port Dickson beach front. How much more complimentary if other department or agencies take to arrange such competition at places where the sea frontages permit such skilled activities.Thankful that our visit to Port Dickson took us to this site and knowing why the town has a large invasion of holiday makers and families at the weekends.
Now what would turn on most Malayians ? FOOD - seafood at that plus all the concoctions that come with it. Besides ' Ikan Jenahak bakar', 'Seafood tomyam', 'Masak Udang' and of course a plate of 'Petai Bakar' would bring about the proverbial saying ' tak sedar pun kalau Mak Mentua lalu'. It's so delicious and good that even if the mother - in -law passes by you would not even notice her'. Yes Malaysian would go afar where fine dishes await.Now why the mother in -law?
That would also include venues that offer the best of things in terms of presentation, service, qualities you would like to look for. We came upon two locations. One was at Cyberjaya and the other at Petaling Jaya. I walked into the Cyberview Lodge and Spa much too early before lunch time and had the chance to see the chef and staff arranging the display of dishes on the tables. Thus void of customers. It was my first visit to the Lodge and understood now why at one time world leaders conference was held here. It was marvelous to see old oil palm trees dominating the site, sculptured and co-existing in the natural order.
Now at one corner of Petaling Jaya, once the most thriving suburb outside Kuala Lumpur and where properties have multiplied leaps and bounds in terms of price, we came about a 'bistro' type restaurant courtesy of our daughter who invited us for lunch here. Meaning we had to travel from Putrajaya. It was well worth the time to discover how a Malay couple has managed to give definition to their business while attracting large customers. Both being serious photographers had their works adorned the walls. Their black and white pieces stood out on the white washed walls of the quint single storey bungalow.
It puts on place that Malays have the capacity to do things successfully and the food service has to take a different route from the 'warong' that clusters the roadsides every where you go in the country. Authorities must give encouragement and motivation to entrepreneurs who offer clean and delightful surroundings while serving the customers meals of their choice. Roadsides stalls especially must be discouraged on account of hygiene and good health. Streets cafes along streets in the city and towns in the country seems a far cry from those we see at Champ Elysee in Paris. A copycat but never in earnest.
Back to base at Putrajaya, a morning walk at Presinct 8, brought me to the back of this modern row of houses. Few are lived in for the moment. But it is not the houses that fetched the 'good' price, the views from the windows and verandas would add all the spices one would require. Especially as it overlooked the scenes below of the Putra Mosque and the lakes. You would have the 'azan' calls as companion everyday of the week.
Our stay at Putrajaya coincided with the 'International Flower Show' which was a great show piece. As much as being able to view the displays and arrangements, you would have the opportunity to cart back plants of all nature and colors for your own garden. All brought to you by entrepreneurs of the flower and gardening industries. A flower arrangement display allowed those interested to learn the basics as well as participate in a competition to test their skills after the brief course. My life partner did not miss the opportunity while bringing our visit to the southern states a grand finish. What more for being able to pay back to her mother times the lady has spent when she was young showing her round. She was with us to the places mentioned including a drive to Segamat for a 'khenduri' and touching the fringe of 'Gunong Ledang' and passing the town of 'Labis' one would remember as being often in the news during the emergency years.
Bees naturally love flowers as well as other insects that formed part of the decorative items at the International Flower Show
When we were young our parents gave their time to care for us, taking us where ever they go. The least we could do now is to show the same cordiality especially when they now walk with support etc. The wheel chairs could come for assistance and you are required to push only. Taking them away from home for a fresh of new experiences and meeting people would be a fitting reward and rejuvenation.
The fireworks and the colorful floats at the Putra Lakes put a final closing to this indulgence of the mind and sight. Much as it colored our experiences it places a strong impact on things we care for and love .