Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Often we come across designs that delight our senses but do we stop a while to admire and heap thanks to the designer and establishment that give comfort as well as peace of mind. The opportunity to travel within and outside the country allow me to look at things, discover the people's ability to design things and naturally offer the best. More often just grateful that  they are there for our convenience while of course thankful that there are people who cares for comfort and esthetic for fellow humans.  The past may have their establishments rendering cultural and historical significance while the present seek for the best that can be given.

I am talking of 'comfort room', 'men and women'. 'Damas' and 'Caballeros', in short 'the toilet'. We used to hear of dissatisfaction over Malaysian toilets and invariably agreeable to the conditions then prevailing. That there has been improvement and a great change is undeniable. Now everyone is likely to have a peace of mind when approaching the 'gentlemen' or 'ladies'. Many of course place a small levy for usage.

Our recent visit to Bandung Indonesia surprisingly disclosed facilities or conveniences that should be emulated by many. Have a look at the following photographs and you will agree with me that it is 'extraordinarily' exceptional and first class.

Our normal search for the 'comfort room' this time was  rewarded by a pleasant surprise. We not only saw the normal narrow corridor that led to the zone but instead was greeted by this wide pathway towards a lighted or bright zone with entries left and right to the 'peria' and 'wanita' (men and women) sections.

At the end of the corridor, we came upon this pool with fishes and greenery, the left turn led to the 'ladies' and the right to the 'gentlemen'. I was unable to have a look at the other sector but what was registered on camera of the right section pleased the eyes and rightly showed that the establishment really took pain as well commitment to give the best without spending much for the upkeep and maintenance.

The 'gentleman' zone is enclosed with creeping vines as a privacy factor yet continuing the greenery of the whole public toilet at a shopping small in one sector of Bandung City.

It won't be fair if I only choose to show the 'public zone' of a foreign country which fortunately or otherwise we had the chance to encounter. Therefore following this, one at home ground will need to be exposed, congratulating the community concerned at their efforts to improved a much talked about topic or issue at one time. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


BANDUNG sebenarnya tak asing kepada kita, sekurang-kurangnya kita sentiasa menikmati 'mee bandung' dan sekali sekala mencoba pula 'ais bandung.' Para pelancong khusus dari Malaysia berduyun-duyun ke kota ini yang terkenal dengan barangan dari kilang-kilangnya. "Factory Outlet' menjadi sebutan ramai dan penerbangan Air Asia merupakan satu-satu pengangkutan udara yang mendarat di lapangan terbang Bandung. Anehnya tidak terdapat penerbangan tempatan seperti Garuda atau SriWijaya yang mengguna lapangan terbang Bandung.

Mereka yang mendarat di Jakarta jika hendak ke kota ini perlulah mendapat teksi, bas atau perkhidmatan keretapi . Perjalanan tentu memakan masa lebih daripada tiga jam.

Kami mengalami peristiwa itu apabila dipandu terus dari Lapangan Terbang Jakarta ke Bandung. Jalan yang sesak bermula dari Lapangan Terbang Jakarta lagi menyebabkan perjalanan itu mengambil lebih daripada empat jam.

Kebetulan kami ke sini bukan untuk berperwisata tetapi kebetulan menyertai satu persidangan. At least my wife attended the conferance and I was able to take time to see parts of the city while the program was on.

So enjoy viewing the photographs accompanying as we found the city keeping close with its historical and geographical origin, preserving its characteristics and able to sustain the old while developing and extending with a huge population of more than 14 million people.

Cool and refreshing, resemble Cameron Highland  and the sun comes up quite early in the day. By Malaysian time it was 8.18 am as registered on my camera. In fact it is an hour behind at Bandung. 

 The cool highland location of Bandung made it a favourite week-end destination from the populace of Jakarta. Greenery and flowering plants added beauty to the city.

 This landscape garden was at the hotel where we stayed

The wooded area around the province must of course provide quality wood for the furniture industry but my close encounter with this masterpiece at a shopping arcade indicate that there must be excellence craftsmen in the  province while of course not denying the availability of quality wood..

The picture shows one 'factory outlet' which sells products produced in Bandung. We never got to see any factory but the amount of goods of various types and quality assure that the production must be strong both for export and home consumption. The large number of Malaysian buyers naturally allowed RM to be accepted by the sellers at most establishments.

If in Malaysia we had heritage buildings reflecting British presence in the country, Indonesia has Dutch built buildings to show its linkages with Holland. We had the opportunity to visit a great building currently used as the office of the Governor. It is named as Gedong Sate for the sate stick that tops the building as a symbol. The view from its highest point is as seen in the picture below.  A dinner reception was held in one of its hall. Observe its ceiling height.

Imagine being serenaded when you are having breakfast. This two musician were at their best during breakfast time at the hotel we  stayed. Don't be surprised that guitars are freely available at this city and at a take away price too. I ended taking home one, hoping to start plucking away or let my son do justice at it.  

Bandung  in Jawa Barat invites you to visit the city and the current return air fare is as good as visiting one of our towns in Malaysia.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Thursday 5 December 2013:  This morning we were in the city. At first together with the young office and departmental members who were in their attires waiting at  'PUTRAJAYA SENTRAL' for the KLIA transit to take us to 'KUALA LUMPUR SENTRAL'. Mind you there is no mistake in the spelling. The Putrajaya Railway Station, similarly Kuala Lumpur central railway station go by that name and spelling. 

I find it absorbing and interesting to look at things and where and when possible click the shutter and there you have the moment captured. In this case the first two pictures have stories of their own. Maybe on a casual and fleeting observation you may not see the secrets and the lifeline they displayed but with the evidence at hand you realized the sanity and the life style adopted. The fellow passengers stood in proper order, one behind the other, queuing before the train arrived at the point where the doors would be when the train stopped. Give another look and you will notice at least they don't stand ideally but busy .... reading. It's either the pages of a book or the screens of their hand-phones.Messages, twitters, blogs, news, music, radio programs, games etc are items you get on your cell phones and connectivity gives you sound and music too.

Similarly, another group close by are at it in the same way. All oblivious to the surroundings and the fellow human beings around them. All are casually dressed, black being the favoured colour and the haversacks have become good companions. I remarked to my wife that once mothers carry their young babies in similar styles. Well is this then an adoption or adaptation? One thing for sure the sale of such bags is a hit. Is it lighter or easier carrying the bag in this manner? For sure you have both hands free.

It is not hard to guess that daily such routine applies and you wonder how much the group pay to things that move around them and realize the human factors participating.

The transit train arrived as announced and we moved into the  carriages, each one taking his seat or standing in the crowded train that arrived at the city centre in quick time. Another routine in the daily mobility of persons has been casually observed.

Then in the city, Kuala Lumpur continues to present its never halting expansions. The earlier train ride was a good respite from the normal traffic to the city. As I walked to KLCC( Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre) I noticed this part of the city, a section sandwiched by two tall buildings, yet it occupies a business centre of a unique kind, designed as a restaurant or a coffee-house even offering an open-air first floor.  It even advertised that a 'flea' market will be opened here.

Now are we so congested or devoid of space that we allow for such construction to take place? A few minutes later, I came across these two brave workers who are already in their gears, checking that all are clear before they are hoisted up into the sky to begin their duties for the day. One moment you see the road cleaners and the next the window cleaners in the sky. 

Hopefully they will not repeat what we saw earlier at the railway station  ... taking a short break, having a breather and a casual look at their hand phones while up there.

Questions? In future will books be on sale for the masses? Will reading newspapers and magazines  be a continuing affair? Will persons carry pens for the normal usage i.e for writing as clicking away on the phones continue to be the norm? Will we be knocking into each other and likely to say 'hello' and be introduced? Many of our lifestyles and norms seems to depart from what it is now!

Monday, December 2, 2013


Recently I happened to visit a shopping centre at Jalan Mat Aroff in the Bangsar area of Kuala Lumpur with my wife and curiously walked into a store that pulled our attention. The shopping arcade obviously cater to the discreet customers, obvious from the displays and decorations as seen. This store especially had a fine display of ornaments and jewelery products imported as well as locally assembled.

 It wasn't the articles or the precious items that caught our attentions, though there were by themselves of exquisite quality and design but the manner and arrangement they were displayed. Take a  look at the pictures and you will notice the approaches to display all the items in a unique way. I stood amazed at the arrangement made to show case the items. Old trunks and drift woods collected by the owner become centre pieces.Never- the- less they were crafted beautifully and stood as objects of arts rendering a richness of their own.

I have often admired people who collect drift woods especially washed by the sea. But here the owner, I was told ventured all out to collect the pieces. Rightly you would want to purchase them rather than the better items that stood on or around them.

I was glad that I was permitted to  photograph the collections and thus able to share with friends the beauty of wood or the craftsmanship. We must likewise keep our eyes opened and perchance come across pieces that will become collection pieces of our own. 

Brown and black were the dominant colours, with white sand forming the basic layer. Notice also the strips of wood, tree trunks or branches that make up the decoration of the showroom.

Our track into the Belum Valley recently exposed us into the varieties of timber pieces that are often washed away or gathered as a result of on going projects. Sadly we threw the opportunities away never realizing or caring to reap the golden harvest that were presented. 

Last but not least I am sure friends who lived by the sea, similarly cast the opportunities away, giving no chance to become entrepreneurs, craftsmen, artists or designers by collecting such throw backs until they themselves come to terms with the beauty and exquisiteness of drift woods. 

Given the opportunity that you are in such a place as above, then you will be happy to survey what are available and collect the necessary treasures of the forest.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


My recent reading, alerted me to the needs of under standing the photographs we take. Seriously each one of us as photographers have owned cameras of all types and the seniors among us would know that there would be a large collections of photographs stocked somewhere at home. Not surprising the old cameras may still be around. 

This subject addresses the photographs at hand and seriously how do we value them. It may be interesting to ask in the first place why do we take the photographs. What do we focus upon in the photos taken? Do we take photos of individuals? Do we go for landscape, scenery, buildings, developments, news-worthy or candid photographs? If we had the time to analyzed our photographs we may come up with several classifications: " I took pictures of friends and families". 'My photos relate to scenes of the countryside"." I record new developments as I see them". I am sure if we go through our collections we could separate them into many classifications.

Our journey through live, especially all the stages of development: schooling, higher education, service and career, family etc all in themselves must have a record of sorts and we cannot fail to trace them from photographs that  surely must be around in drawers , boxes, albums etc.

What do you do with the pictures taken? Print and keep them or sent to friends etc. Not likely you would sell them, unless you are a professional photographer. With face book, you may post them for others to see. Now with 'WhatsApp' it opens a new direction. With 'photobooks' you may start a collection.

Old photographs are especially valuable especially to historians and 'photo- archeologists'. I am inclined to history from training and education and therefore my collections of photos plus my directions at focusing the lens would naturally go towards that direction. Inspired by this discovery of the great values of photographs, especially in our ability, skill and training to decipher their intrinsic values and contents our directions  should focus on discovering our old collections especially those of the early 40's and 50's. Our chanced training and posting overseas for those who had that opportunity would help to document from our collections of photographs life and style then. You may never know what the photographs have hidden in the background less you look and become a Sherlock Home yourself.

I know for sure my earlier collections of photographs of Europe in 1950's of Singapore and Brunei of 1960's and others taken during visits would surely be a new discovery of wealth and information . 

This photograph is one example of much that can be discovered but more often than not we only give a glimpse and failed to notice its intrinsic values.  By the way it happened to be a picture of my late mother and her parents. Sadly I never took the opportunity to ask her about the picture when she was alive. One thing I know it must be dated as way back as 1915/16 based on her age. My earlier consideration was the great opportunity I had for possessing the photograph not realizing it can speaks volume of the decade then. 

It does not take a sleuth to realize the the nature of the dresses worn, nor the headgear and 'kris' on the grandfather's body besides the chairs as exhibited. The background itself has a story of its own, if only you wish to decipher. The wooden grills on the window and take for example the hat left to dry on the pole, all left questions to be answered.  It obviously has a story of its own i.e period before the first world war.

Lately I have been scouting for the 'beca' or trishaws. Typical was the one seen in Penang, Kelantan or Malacca. Hoping to purchase one at least. 

The likes of one seen above have never been seen in Kedah but this picture definitely shows that such vehicle was available in Alor Setar before the second world war. 

Only on a recent visit to Bangkok we found the likes of it there. With the tourist guide I posed for the picture.Obviously the vehicle is not on the road, since congestion would not allow such as one to move around. Yet there is continuity, the old vehicle is taken care with love and now positioned for others to admire and a collector's piece .

Old photographs, going back sixty, seventy or even a hundred years go would certainly be of great value. Nevertheless how many among us realize that? If you are one of the senior members of this blog you would agree with me that it is time we look back, fall back and re-evaluate the content and treasures in them. Yes the old and newer photographs seriously have within them wealth of information. Further we must be sure the reasons for our habits of snapping away .... surely with reasons and intentions whether we use the camera,the telephone or other media that record things for posterity.

This black and white photograph was taken since I saw the students competing in cutting the logs. They were Australian National University Canberra students of the Forestry School (1972) Looking at it one may get a story of its own.

Monday, November 4, 2013


 Excepting the Alma Mater (SAHC) which is a centenarian, the general attendees  are at no account youths or persons of agility and steadfastness for many are grouped as octogenarian,  sexagenarian and the seventieth , though there were a sprinkling of football or rugby loving youth at the SAHC or SAHOCA Bangsawan theme gathering held at Dorset Subang Jaya on 1 November 2013. Our table attendees are surely not by accident members of the seventies all having finished schooling in the mid 1950's as the invitation came from one member of the association and a classmate. Tunku Yusoff and wife came down from Kota Bharu and we arrived from Alor Setar to be with colleagues whom we would not have met otherwise. A get together the likes of former school associations, bring about the best of the school with former students meeting associates whom they may have missed for years and no surprise if you could not recognize many of them.

The theme for the night 'Bangsawan' obviously was a reflection of the time when stage shows the likes of 'bangsawan' was in the offer. Dramas, comedies, singing presentation took on temporary stages as theatres for such presentation had not found their existence. The music, singing and presentation that night had all the offerings of the best with multimedia effects at its assisance. The function graced by the presence of Yang DiPertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong and other VVIP surely added lustre and orderliness.  Members who contributed by buying tables and issuing invitations to friends not only assisted the association's coffers but helped to strengthen comraderie.

At the main table is the patron of the association Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah the Sultan of Kedah and the Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia, one of the senior students of the College. Besides Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Hanafiah Hussein were also on the same table, both being students of the College at the time Tuanku Abdul Halim was in school at SAHC.

I had the opportunity to meet Tan Sri Hanafiah earlier on and reminded him that he was one of my teachers in the Special Malay 1 class of 1948. He was then a temporary teacher and laughingly he asked whether I was 87 years old as he was. Moments as this brought us back to reality and days when we were growing up.

Tun Mahathir Mohamad was surrounded by younger admirers as he was leaving the hall.A golden opportunity for the youthful SAHC group to meet and be photographed with the 'negarawan'. 

Five classmates crossed paths again 

With another classmate Dato Khalid Halim

Naturally we came with our spouses and a golden opportunity for them to know each other

 When you come with your camera at the ready, you would likely capture some of the candid moments. Here the line out shows several members of the old collegian. I would not  leave home without my trusted small box.

Here the theme of Bangsawan becomes a record and recognizing that we were there that night at Grand Dorset Subang Jaya with former students of the Alma Mater Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid ( SAHC) Alor Setar Kedah

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I trust many by the nature of things would be guessing what the object is. A saying ' have somebody in the palm of his hands' or ' the goalkeeper just managed to palm the ball over the crossbar' bring us closer to palm trees or that part of our body structure, relating to an important part of our body structure. Yet the picture is far from that constituent. 

Nevertheless it fell off a tree, a palm of a kind and struck me as being quite extraordinary for its texture and formation. It would have been left by the roadside, discarded and disintegrated contributing as part of the debris of nature. I carted it home hoping to review and have a closer look.

Captured on film it left much to the imagination what we could have done with it. Artistic, graphic and designing skills could have made such objects a masterpiece.

It is left to our imagination. Imagine what else we may come across.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


It has been an ineffective month September 2013 looking at the listing of articles contributed to this blog. It's the least that I have contributed,never reaching such a low profile. A single contribution for the month only. This is the malady of under achievement, laziness and restfulness at its best. Doing nothing, casting away either temporarily or permanently your normal exercise or devotion. 

 Then again September and October 2013 have not been less effective months albeit quiet, non happenings of sorts but full of other activities that help to exercise the body as well as the mind. Having said that out, a soliloquy as we effectively remember Macbeth or Hamlet (two of Shakespeare's characters) nevertheless brings reality to life. Yes we do talk to ourselves, not madness but helping out of sorts to put things on tracks. Awaken we are on the rails or pathways again. Other wise  what has progressed would have been halted  or failed.

Where do we go from here? Leaping back and doing what you do like best. Blog writing is an effective approach leaving best your memoirs, feelings, feed backs,   


Next year we hope to be inundated by thousand of visitors as Malaysia opened its doors to the world. The expectation is to receive 28 million visitors for the VMY 2013. What is the show-case? Do we hugged on to the aged old tourism perspectives or attempt to bring about new destinations and programs? Food, Culture, Shopping, Luxury and Medical attractions must surely be in the forefront. Sabah and Sarawak appear to be a new hit for visitors and regular flights and new airlines added to the convenience. 

I was in the election zone of Sungai Limau Kedah a few days ago and the thought of tourism and VMY hit me realizing that we conveniently forget the beauty, grandeur and simplicity around us. There is no expanses to be extended to build up such attractions, its all there placed on the platter for all to see, appreciate and return for more. Yes we often forget God's natural gifts basked right in our views.  I have managed to record on camera the natural scenario of the Kedah Plain, parts that stretched from the foothills of the Kedah Peak northwards.

Notice the small blue spot on the horizon. Its Gunong Keriang almost 25 kilometres away from where I stand at this spot that stretched northwards. The late October and November months bring rain to the padi fields and soon the farmers will be hard at works.

This is Gunong Keriang , a picture taken early in the year when padi has grown and presented a most picturesque view of the area .

Soon the farmers will climb onto their machines and work the fields. Sadly the old trusted buffaloes cannot be seen

A mosque like this dotted the countryside of Sg Limau, declaring that it is prominently a Malay enclave zone.

This a modern Malay House, in the sense that its bigger than usual truly depicting that the owner has progressed in status and thankful for what is around him.

A canal and a road by its side forms part of the landscape in the Sg Limau area. The former offers good transportation while the latter provides irrigation and drainage to the area.


Not depending on the land for padi alone, the farmer has planted rows of sugar cane on his plot of land, Lending a fresh look while of course earning himself good benefits.

Take a drive on the North South Highway between Gurun and Alor Setar you will meet with this beauty, the wide open land extending northwards from the foothills of Gunong Jerai. A drive up the mountain takes you to the resort which offers another magnificent view of the plain and the Kedah coast. The North South Railway double tracks also run alongside the Highway.

Scenes you would appreciate and realize the true beauty of nature, Imagine having an island of palm trees in the padi fields, or seeing miles of young  padi plants growing and changing their hues later. My wife too had the opportunity to touch the nipah fruits which offer you the most delicious 'nira'. after having been fermented.