19 November 2010

Pakcik Reminisces (Part 13) - Generations

This picture was taken on the recent Hari Raya Qurban showing a grand old lady and one of her great grand children - the most senior and the youngest in my family.

She is 87 and the little girl is just two, making them 85 years apart, spanning four generations. In the Merdeka year of 1957, my mother-in-law lost her husband. She was 34 and the father-in-law I never met was 39. And since then, for 53 years, she has lived a single mother, raising her four children, and now enjoying seeing her great grandchildren howling and shrieking around. How I wish I had met the man she loves all her life, the man who left a simple book TIGA BERADIK Di-ENGLAND, publishe in 1954, recording in simple children’s language, the family’s sea voyage to England where he was among the first lecturers at the Malayan Teachers’ Training College, Kirkby.

I have gone through materials left by my father-in-law ( the person I never met) and I cannot help feeling certain that I would have loved this man as I love my own father. We have many things in common. But life is never that simple. Who are we to have all the wishes we fancy. I have often told my other half that had her father lived long enough the chances were that I would have never met her at all, and the life we cherish today would never have been there in the first place.

That is life, perfectly destined, sculptured and shaped by the Greatest Creator.

How often I look towards the sea from our bed room window, watch the old and young coconut palms and philosophise on life. The old trees are truly very old. A number have rotted away beginning from the top, first losing their leaves followed by sections of their stems blown down by the wind. And finally the bottom section would just fall to the ground. They have served mankind in so many ways.

I cannot imagine there is another plant on earth which can equal a coconut palm. Its uses and usefulness are so numerous and varied from its stem to leaves; from making a temporary bridge for crossing to brooms for sweeping the floor and ground; from preparation of foods and drinks to medicine. Indeed it is a plant created for service, for life.


Every so often I ask my pupils to watch a coconut tree and think of the answer to a simple question. How on earth so much water can rise all the way up the solid trunk to as high as 160 ft or more to fill up the nuts? An engineer would have to work out the size of a pump to send water to the top of 16 storey building and can never be sure the pump will never fail. What is the perfect mechanism we take for granted used by this palm? Look at the stems and watch how they bend in the strongest of wind - and I have never seen one break. Look at the roots and see how they grip the sandy beaches to remain anchored.

The picture above shows an old plant, without its top. Coincidentally it is about 87 years old, the age of my beloved mother-in-law. At the end of its life a years ago its height was not less than 170 ft, higher than its younger sister standing nearby.

By comparison look at the small figure of a form 5 girl standing at the base. The tree is about 17 times taller, still healthy, occasionally throwing down a nut or two.

Not far from the dead tree a section of its fallen stem lies not far from a young plant, a new generation ready to grow and take over the duty.

As Pakcik ‘struts and frets his hour upon the stage’ he looks at the coconut trees and wonder how, blown and forced to bend in all directions, they keep serving mankind ‘to the last syllable of recorded time’. Yet we despite being the best of creation ( .. ahsani taqwim... of Surah 95, ayat 5) often fail to observe and learn to be a little selfless.

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06 November 2010

Pakcik Reminisces ( Part 12 ) – Oh my God, what am I eating - Section (i)?

News from
Published: 2010/09/07


By Sharen Kaur
Jom Makan, will open its third outlet in the UK on September 27 at the Loughborough University.

The opening represents a major coup for the Malaysian restaurant brand as it will be the first full-fledged Malaysian food outlet to operate in a PRESTIGIOUS CAMPUS in the UK.

With an annual STUDENT POPULATION of 25,000, Jom Makan will introduce the Malaysian dining experience that will impact the future international working population for Malaysian cuisine.

Jom Makan serves fast, fresh Malaysian food of the traditional and hawker vendor styles with a fusion touch.

It will offer HALAL MEALS to the students, the Muslim community and general public in the Nottingham, Liecestershire and Loughborough areas.

Mohd Zuhri Abdullah, the managing director of Jom Makan in the UK, said he is proud to open a third outlet in the region and serve healthy and tasty Malaysian meals in a prestigious campus.

"(The) Loughborough University is an exciting new site for us and great news for the thousands of students who will be given the opportunity to sample real Malaysian food at a great price right on campus," Mohd Zuhri said in a statement.

"With the third outlet, we believe it will open up spin-off opportunities," he said.

Mohd Zuhri said pricing of the Malaysian dishes at the university will be more affordable than at commercial restaurants in London.

The first Jom Makan outlet opened at Pall Mall East near Trafalgar Square in June 2008, followed by the second outlet at Westfield Shopping Centre in White City in October 2009.


Business Times had the above item published but I do not read Business Times. In my part of the world if I need to read the nst daily, I would have to drive to a newsagent who only gets his supply by about 11 am – sorry, no home deliveries available! Fortunately, knowing that this news item would be of interest to me, a close friend had it e-mailed.

Having read the news I am pleased to see that Loughborough is, first of all, regarded as a perstigious campus with an annual population of 25,000. During my time it was not as populous 55 years ago. But it had the pride of having students from 52 countries in the world, for which reason the Club of International Students played a role then. I know that because I had the honour of being its Secretary for two years.

Then, secondly, Loughborough now has a Malaysian restaurant serving Halal meals.

Yes my memory flashed back 55 years, yes indeed, back to 1956/57. As I am putting this down I see in my mind’s eye the campus, the cold foundry where I was made to work in the freezing winter, the heated swimming pool where I enjoyed my swim in mid-December, the many tennis courts, the town hall, the beautiful falling leaves in the park, the early spring cherry blossoms along Forest Road, the famous bell making factory in town, the forest up the Beacon Hill where the young went loitering in summer.
And the misery of not having Malayan food.

And today, half a century later, Jom Makan is serving HALLAL Malaysian meals!

And I remmber today how I struggled to suppress my craving for what resembled Malayan. For that, every so often and all alone, I would board a bus to take me to Leicester city about 25 km away. Two shop corners away from the bus station was an Indian restaurant. Did it serve hallal food? I did not wish to know as it did not matter if what I wished to have was simply some rice and prawn curry, none of the exotic chicken and meat dishes. I wanted some real rice (not the English rice pudding) and the taste of spices. Then, half an hour later, satisfied, a lonely young man I was, walked back to the station and boarded another bus home - until the next time, I promised myself.

Then the opening of a Chinese restaurant in this very English town was news among the Hong Kong students – the first oriental restaurant, can you believe it? They all talked and were excited about it. To me it meant rice for certain. Feeling somewhat generous I pulled my friend from Nigeria aside.

“Paul, how about some fried rice for lunch?” I knew Paul Emirinini was game for anything. When he grinned, the set of white teeth would seem whiter against the shiny dark face, a charming fellow.

So it was to be simple Chinese fried rice with egg and marshroom. I was certain that, without asking too many questions, it should be ‘safe’ enough. Yes we sat down comfortably talking and enjoying the dish when among the egg pieces a few fine cubes of pale reddish substance caught my attention.“Oh my God, what am I eating?” I asked myself, yet knowing it too well even without beeing told what those fine pieces were; and without alarming my guest I stopped, calling the waiter for some desserts to follow.

No I will never ever forget that incident` half a century ago. Living in that kind of environment I learnt to rationalise in order to console myself and to survive - Prophet Muhammad asked the Arabs to travel all the way east to China to seek knowledge, and I took the opposite direction, but for the same purpose. Surely God is most forgiving.

( to be continued in part ii )

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02 November 2010

Awnag Goneng Kita Pulak Buat Pasa - His comment on Halloween or Monsoon?

Our celebrated modern writer on old/ancient Terengganu, Awang Goneng, himself enjoying the beautiful autumn far away from his monsoon stricken state, has chosen to send the following comment. I am sure many would want to share his genuine Terengganu-speak. This time he goes poetic, perhaps the fore-runner of his future works. It would be interesting to see our readers, the like of Ninotaziz, try translating this into English. I am sure many would like to have the following ‘translated’ into ‘bahasa baku’ in the first instance. As usual this blog encourages healthy exchange of views. I welcome volunteers.

Comment By Awang Goneng ;

Muséng jo'ong mari döh O Mèk,
bila burong ciök dök bbunyi cèk-cèk
pasir rebih ttepi pata, ömbök parök
Ikang pong takdök ssèkör d'lauk

Döh nök wak guane O wok aku sayang
Kita makang pucok je lah cicöh garang
Takdi Mök mung gi ppasör Keda Payang
Cari ikang takdök ssèkör sebutér harang

Tohok gök ubi setököl ddalang bara tu Song,
Biar garing ddalang api ceröh museng jo'ong
Kita minung kawe denge ubi cicöh gula
pah tu kita dengör bangsawang d'udara

Ggininglah bila hujang turong ssining
Habis ketör anak beranok, laki bining
Mung batok köh-köh, aku pong bereséng
Dengör sayu anjing nyallok Ppula Kambéng

Nök ccöcök ttanang pong aku dök reti
Badang letéh aku dök rök göhék tèksi
Kita gi ppanggong Sultana bila malang
Ada nasib buléh tèngök cerita hindustang

Ggitulah le ning basöh jjerok
Dok ngökkör bbawöh atap nipöh burok
Nök bèkki takdök ppitih setarang habok
Tunggulah bila ikang mari balik d'lauk
Tue Nov 02, 09:18:00 PM
Pakcik's Response

Pakcik cannot let this go without a response. I am afraid I have none of the skills to produce anything creditable, let alone in genuine Terengganu-speak.

Aku pegi Pasar Batu Nang
Nak cari ikang
Oloh Mok Mu nok tahu
Semme ikang bbau

Ikang kerapu mate merah nynyala
Penoh lalak ijaa atah ppale
Aku tanye bakpe jjadi ggitu
Die rowak molek tahang seminggu

Keda hak se lagi jjua kembong
Semme napak perok bucik kembong
Aku tanye die jawab sombong
Tu sebab panggey ikang kembong

Kalu mu nak hak molek
Ambik hak dalang kotok pelastik
Buke tudong aku nok tengok
Ikang jerok bbau macang orang berak

Aku teringak pulak Pula Kambing
Lerni ade tepak jjua ikang
Dulu dulu aku tekenang llaki ppuang
Jalang jalang maing ujang.

Orang ppuang bawak payong
Belah atah Kering kkutong
Bawah basah sampa ppunggong ttonggeng
Orang llaki ketawe pecah keng

Mu Awang Goneng dudok jauh di inglang
Mari balek Ttanjung
Lame sangak dok ngeri orang
Habih rumah ambik kerajaang

Kata orang
Ujang mah nggeri orang
Tak same nggeri tngganu
Ade Aer bah ade budu

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