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.