Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims. It strikes a lasting impact each year it comes around. Much as it heralds the first of Shawal after a month of fasting during the day and celebrated by all, it necessarily bid a farewell with thoughts whether we would be fortunate to welcome the month again the coming year. The religious obligations that we performed during Ramadan far outstretched any other months in the Muslim calendar.  

This morning the attention is focused at looking the current obligations of Muslims breaking fast at sunset. 'Obligations' to an extent when we depart from our home and instead break fast outside thus not being with the whole family. Maybe the attractions and callings or invitations do take us away from the family and allow us to be with others for the occasion.  

A, With friends and neighbors at the mosque.

No you do not have to travel away from home but just arrive in time at the local mosque for reading of the prayer and helping where necessary with the jumaah. You simply sit with the rest of the neighbours and breakfast with the the call of the 'azan' The dishes are served either by the mosque officials or the caterer. No one lingers for the maghrib prayer soon calls upon all to be in the mosque. All will leave for home after the prayer and prepares to return for the Isyak and Terawith prayer soon after. Much as at our local mosque only the male jumaah attend the breakfast session, there are mosques which see the family attending the breaking of fast. This surely assures a healthy growth in the community. 

B, At a hotel or restaurant in the city. 

Advertisements in the newspapers and hoardings outside hotels and restaurants invite customers to breakfast at these places. Naturally they showcase the delicacies and menus that are attractive in combination with the price set. A family which takes to this invitation will naturally pay a RM 50.00 per person or more, not counting that they have to leave home to arrive at these establishments. Naturally the atmosphere added to the 'luxury' of the establishment not forgetting the display of dishes which catch your eyes.

      The servings that tempt you but the how much can you eat?

No this now appear as a display item at the restaurant, though they must have been a hit before

This was all that come to be placed on the dining plate.

       At a middle eastern restaurant in Kuala Lumpur

C, At home or a restaurant in town particularly at Restoran TT Gajah Alor Setar

We offer a good rate for breaking of fast at RM 20.00 per person with the homely atmosphere and local dishes added in. This is just like breaking fast at home too. A surau on site offers the necessarily need of the guests.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL AT THE RESTORAN, After a break of two days the staff is set to welcome guests for the stretch of Ramadan. We offer a promotion of RM 20.00 p/p for our buffet Ramadan.

For friends and colleagues of KOTASTAR do come and have a look at the restaurant which has been running since Muharram 1434. Not reaching our first anniversary as yet.

This wooden house rebuilt from its old dilapidated condition and forming an attraction of its own, now is used as a surau for visitors that are at the restaurant for 'buka puasa' an addition to the existing one. It's next to the restaurant as can be seen from the picture below.

 We are sure the chefs and the staff have prepared the best for the customers and hopefully this Ramadan will be the beginning to many more in the years forthcoming.

 This is the inside of the wooden house ready for 'maghrib' prayer especially for our guests. Our large parking space and safety add to the facilities that Restoran Citarasa TTGajah offers.

A few months back I was on the top of the building under construction right in front of the restaurant and managed this aerial photo with the greens around. Two days ago, I have a picture of the completed building which now stands right in front of the restaurant. Both now compliment each other positioning at Kilometer 10 Titi Gajah Road.

This is the new Tabung Haji Hotel which will see the Haj passengers leaving from here direct to Jeddah or Madinah starting this haj season. It stands directly in front of Restoran CitaRasa TT Gajah and both are landmarks on the Alor Setar Jitra Road and a stone's throw to the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport.

Monday, July 8, 2013


 IT'S THE TIME of the year when the fruit is in season.It is no ordinary fruit but the thorny one at that and better known as the KING OF FRUITS,especially in Malaysia and South East Asia in general where the "durian" is found. The base word 'duri' means thorn and 'durian' applies to it.

Several motor cyclists with special carriers had arrived earlier at Azam's fruit stall to deliver their supply of the fruits. These would be the collectors who had visited the orchards in the area earlier in the morning.

On Saturday morning the 6th of July 2013 I was at Biak a village in the district of Kubang Pasu Kedah to collect several fruits which I have ordered earlier. Knowing there would be a big request for the fruit you would have to make a prior order less you may arrive and come home empty handed or with a mere collections not enough for the group that you expect to come to your function.I needed a fairly large number and therefore the prior order with the request for quality fruits too. Azam the fruit distributor who operates the business from his stall had promised to meet my request.

Two boxes had been unloaded and ready for classifications. The likelihood you would be one of many that would find it hard to identify and select the better fruit from the other.

Already the fruits are grouped into size or quality as known by Azam, who has been in business for several years and know from which orchards the fruits came from.

Nine durian fruits of good size and quality from our novice eyes but they have to be opened to discover the actuality of the fruits. However Azam would be able to show the best from his long experience. Now how do you 'break' open the thorny fruits?

They are on the weighing scale. Altogether they weigh 75 kilograms. About sixty fruits of various sizes were entered into the boot of the Volvo car. In town the durian would cost RM 4.00 to RM 8.00 per kilogram depending on the quality. If that was the price I would have to pay a heavy price. For that very reason that's the reason for making the visit to the village and the orchard area itself.

  All that to be taken home and at a price most unexpected. No I will not reveal the price less there is a great rush to the place. Give me a call perhaps we can make the trip together.

Now they are at the restaurant, ready for the guests.
Restaurant Citarasa TT Gajah is ready to receive its guests for the 'khenduri' in conjunction with welcoming 'Ramadan'. held after the Asar prayer. We had the 'jummah' from the local mosque, neighbours and friends. Besides the dishes prepared, the guests had the taste of the local fruits in season and especially the durian. It was a hit as none would miss the opportunity to taste the good and delicious king of the fruits.

Its ambiance, closeness and the friendship of group and community help to usher in Ramadan realizing our obligations; grateful that we are able to welcome the month again with all its distinctions.

The durian was a hit at the gathering as all the fruits turned out to be of good quality and the complete disappearance of all the sixty odd fruits after no less than two hours was testimony to its favouritism amongst Malaysian especially. Nevertheless the current fruit season saw other local fruits making their appearances too. Distinguish them?   

  Rambutan, mangosteens and dukong are favourites too. Petai of course cannot be missed.  

Wishing all my Muslim friends all the best of health and may you fulfill all its obligations during Ramadan.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Members of the staff with the Principal Hj Baharom Othman in 1967.
 The blogger is tenth from left in the front row.

Fifty years ago I was one of the teaching staff at Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim Jitra Kedah.

Last Sunday the 30th of June 2013 the school achieved its 50th anniversary chalking a historic landmark for the fully residential Malay medium school established in the country. When previously residential schools and those with hostels were English medium, the government of Malaysia went on to start Sekolah Menengah Alam Shah Ceras Selangor followed by the one in Kedah. It was to be the beginning of many that followed their trails. Now Malay fully residential schools plus Mara Colleges offer the best of secondary education to the students throughout the country. SMSAH at Jitra also came to be referred as JENAN taking the name of its location adjacent to a Military base of the early 1940's. 

Reporting in 1964 to the Principal (Dato) Hj Ahmad Saleh as the Senior Assistant of the school, after a tenure of four years in Brunei Darussalam, it was an experience that capped many challenges yet fulfilling. More so it continues to secure strong linkages with the former staff as well as the students that formed the members of the school population in the initial years of its existence and growth. Even now members of the former staff and students meet quite regularly always reminiscing the spirited days at Jenan with all its quaintness, discipline and familiarities. With many short comings in its initial years, the students grew to appreciate what was offered and yet survived with success, never complaining of the inadequacies of the time.Their prowess in the community, public and private sector later justified what Jenan had given them. 

The attendance of more than one thousand two hundred students and guests at the dinner graced by the presence of Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong at Dewan Wawasan Jitra was testimony to the school success story. Even one member of the former student amongst others donated a new Proton car for a lucky draw. One lucky former student went home the happiest man of the night with a price worth RM38,000.00 with the lucky draw picked by Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong himself.

Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah delivering the speech and receiving a gift at the function.
The school carried the name of the Sultan of Kedah, who officially opened the school in 1966 when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Chairman of the School Board.

      A picture personally taken on the occasion when the school was oficially opened by the Sultan of  Kedah . Present on the stage were Sultanah Bahiyah, The Raja Muda of Kedah and Dato Syed Omar Menteri Besar of Kedah then. Dr Mahathir Mohamed is seen delivering his speech. Notice the furniture and deco of the time.

            The friendship and comradeship endured between teacher and student. At the occasion on Sunday I had this photo taken of Che Gu Hj Omar Saad and Hj Ismail Hj Din a former student of the school in the early 1960's. Both naturally have reached their gray age.

      On another occasion students and teachers met at the Selangor Club Kuala Lumpur for dinner.Such close linkages endured the teacher student relationship. Another shot when the photographer would not be in the picture.

These are some of the junior student members of Jenan who traveled from Kuala Lumpur to attend the gathering and were at our home for breakfast on Sunday morning. They happened to be colleagues of our son-in-law Idzfan Idris who also happened to be an Ex SMSAH student. They recognized me as the super teacher being much ahead of their time. It was fun time and a great break for them being away from works in the city.

                    Noted the ex students with two of their teachers at our home in Alor Setar. Che Gu Hj Hashim Abdul Rahman ( in black and blue batik) now resides in Canberra Australia and was the Guru Sains at Jenan 1965  - 1970

On another occasion the Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak was also at the school, with the official opening of 'Seminar Pembangunan Masharakat' ( the old spelling) 5 -7 Sept 1966. Again please notice the layout and the simple chairs used for the national seminar and the school hall without 'air-conditioning' and personal speaker system for the members.

The 30th of June 2013 celebration gave me this opportunity to throw back some of the recorded moments of the past. Thinking back we are blessed to be able to see and be part of the centenary celebration of my former Alma Mater Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid  in 2008 and now the second Malay Residential School of SMSAH at Jenan Jitra Kedah. Where as the former was built during the colonial period in 1908 with English as the medium, the latter came with Independence and formation of Malaysia. Its Bahasa Malaysia media was the giant step that heralded education in Malaysia especially for the rural populace, beginning with two fully residential schools and exploding many more as years progressed.

As a teacher and parent you would be happy and glad to learn of your children's success. On one occasion we were at Abu Bakar Omar's house in Kuala Lumpur. He proudly said " Che Gu I have won this price" and showing the reward for his achievement in drama and film. Many of us would have seen this known dramatist in films especially via the TV. Abu Bakar was one of the earlier students at Jenan and began his acting career on the school stage with the play written by Dato Shahnon Ahmad and directed by Hashim Abdul Rahman both teachers at the school then. 

The close teacher and student relationship, continuing after many decades speak well of our linkages with one another. It is this affection which perhaps make teaching the best of all careers. Frankly I would say that you would never get that same respect and honour if ever you are in any other professions after retirement. The teenagers that you knew would remember you much more than the adults that were members of your office or department.

(Orang yang paling bertuah pada malam itu menerima 'kunci'kereta daripada Yang DiPertuan Agong.) 

One lucky ex student who was the special lucky draw winner at the Anniversary Dinner receiving the mock key of a brand new Proton car from Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Yang DiPertuan Agong.