Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Strolling and Posing-Memosing @ Darul Aman Park

Darul Aman Park, situated along the North South Highway, is a favourite public recreation area among families in Jitra, and visitors. It is also popular among students who are doing courses at the Polytechnic, Teacher Training Institute and other institutes such as ILP and Aminuddin Baki nearby. It becomes a landmark when it was chosen as the venue for the Rumah Terbuka Hari Raya Malaysia in December 2002. Various top artistes have also performed at its open concert during the Jom Heboh Extravaganza and other national events. It sure has many stories to tell, and many dramas are yet to unfold here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Breakfast at Kashmir's

Opposite the Arked Mara Jitra, on the other side of the river, is a long-established watering hole known by the locals as Kashmir. Papa was introduced to this no-nonsense place by one of his contemporaries, an author of several books and published manuscripts on Auditing and the Political Economy, who is also a food fetish, many many years ago when Papa was a swinging bachelor, swinging between KL, Cherating, Penang, Bangkok and Sydney. During their courting days, Papa and Mama dined here a few times, as well as at Restoran Mustafa in Pumpong, Alor Setar, which used to serve the most scrumptious kari kepala ikan.
The owner of the place is a retired policeman. When he dukung me, and I instinctively touched his white janggut, Mama chided me but he did not mind at all. Instead he told Mama "Tak pa. Itu pahala". The food is lovingly prepared by his wife Azizun (or Kak Jun) using the freshest ingredients and strictly non-import stuff, unlike the modus operandi of most owners of the ubiquitous Nasi Kandar restaurants all over the country. Her labour of love is widely appreciated by the locals and visitors, including Tabligh followers who regularly use the mosque adjacent to Kashmir as their markas. Below are some of the customers' cars parked at the huge parking lot next to Kashmir on Diwali 2008, indicating a brisk business.

Happy Diwali All.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Memories of Stamboul - July 2008

As previously gushed, rather excitedly, to Elviza, the bookworm lawyer-blogger:

I know what a mıssed opportunıty not to start bloggıng when ın beguılıng and exquisite Istanbul. What better way to do ıt than when at the Grand Bazaar/Sultanahmet tea gardens ın the company of wise ladies and gentlemen and swotty students from Istanbul University in deep thought sıppıng copıus amount of Turkısh tea ın daınty tulıp shaped glasses and inhaling and puffing for hours and hours the fruity flavoured tobacco from the nargileh. The air is impregnated with apple and strawberry scented intoxicating breeze. I had my fair share of the odd puff, and surprised myself that I could do it non-stop and still felt insatiable. Is blogging and winding down in tea garden under the canopy of fruit bearing grape trees possible? (one day insya Allah)

Oh, and I haven’t told you the incomparable beauty of the 3-hour Bosphorous cruise which is better than the trips by Venice waterbus, Sydney Harbour Ferry, or Victoria Harbour Star Ferry. Nothing can top the silhouette of Istanbul at sunset, viewed from the mighty Bosphorous (the Strait that divides Turkey into East and West). One marvels at the minarets, Palaces, kiosk and yalis of the Sultans embroidering both the Europe and Asia shores in quiet relaxation and contemplation. Followed by people watching the swotty types bopping the nite away on the large private boat to the accompaniment of lightning and thunder in the forms of the majestic firework display and the Turkish belly dancing music. What a heady mix and an unforgettable memories …

Not the Mak Datin Dress

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mama's Karang Kraf

One of Mama's enduring hobbies is beading embroidery. She painstakingly transforms a plain baju kurung into something vogue with her deft hands. She can only do this when I'm sleeping, or else she cannot concentrate as I'm curious to lick the colourful beads to find out whether they taste like smarties. She is now finishing a dress for Auntie W, an up and coming 30-something, for her to wear to an exclusive Raya do tonight. Unfortunately my brother is away on a school trip to Genting Highlands. Otherwise I can ask him to show the work in progress here. Papa is just hopeless.

UPDATE: 25 October 2008
My brother just called from GH and described to Papa how to import the memory card from Lumix to the Toshiba Satellite. Quite elementary, although Papa was at his wits end on how to make the photo enlargeable. After numerous attempts, he managed to post the desired pix as shown in the next post "Not the Mak Datin Dress" which depicts Mama's kraftangan when it was half completed. Please click the image to enlarge.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hari Raya and Spending Time with Opah

I am Opah's youngest cucu. She is 70 years old. Opah was so happy this Raya because she could perform tarawikh prayers almost nightly at the neighbourhood surau. At the moment Opah lives all by herself in Bedong, a small town nestled between Gurun and Sungai Petani, and an hour drive away from our house in Kubang Pasu. She prefers tranquility to the sound of bickering, especially involving my brother and sister who bicker incessantly for the sake of bickering, which isn’t music to her ears.

Each time we visit Opah, she has to endure another nightmare, and her frail heart beats faster than usual (and Mama’s too). I may smile like an angel, but like my siblings, I am no angel either. I am susceptible to inflict damages to her washing machine, fridge, TVs whenever my chubby fingers strike with unintended force. These gadgets have been with her like forever, as most of her other personal belongings. And I enjoy mixing up her tablets (the vitamin type, not Samsung, k) for no apparent reason, which she arranges nicely in a Tupperware box.

Near Opah’s house is a dense pocket of jungle where monkeys roam freely. But it is so difficult to see them hanging out, and when they do, they are not as cheeky and gentle as their counterparts in Langkawi or Gunung Jerai. And they love to ransack the rubbish dump.

Another highlight of visiting Opah is the stopover in Gurun to buy heavenly jagung rebus from one of the many stalls, run under the Program Usahawan Mikro Mara, stationed along the trunk road from Gurun to Alor Setar. Opah loves these boiled corn which are grown somewhere in Perak because they are so perfect, the corn kennels are evenly sized with no gaping hole in between and taste oh-so-original.

Another favourite stopover is the Laksa Mak Su stall, also in Gurun. The stall, situated in front of Mak Su’s two-storey house, is nondescript, but behind her house, hidden away from passersby, is lush garden of bunga kantan, so tall that the ginger plants almost reach the rooftop. The garish and bloomin crazy ginger torch flowers turn mak Su's backyard into a wild Gurun paradise. 

Which brings us to another weird revelation about Papa – his favourite vegetable dish is asam pedas bunga kantan.

Monkeying Around in Langkawi (and as Blogger)

Sometime this month, we left Kubang Pasu by car at 4.30 pm, took the 5 pm ferry from Kuala Kedah and reached Langkawi about 90 minutes later. On the way to Telaga Harbour Park, we stopped by the road side to play with friendly monkeys. They took crisp from my chubby fingers. I saw eagles and rabbits at the Oriental Village. I carried the rabbits by lifting their floppy ears. But only for a few seconds.
Bon Ton, that little gem of a resort, has lots of cuddly cats and sleepy dogs. There is a lagoon dotted with shocking purple water lilies, which they stopped me from plucking, just in time. Papa's favourite place in Bon Ton is of course the Chin Chin Lounge Bar. He can spend hours there browsing through the voluminous reading materials and leaving us to our own devices.
Although Papa has been monkeying around as a commentor in various blogs since late 2006, today, inspired by Kak Teh's delightful scrapblogging, Papa took the plunge and began blogging about my growing up in Kubang Pasu (in earnest, hopefully). So dear readers, do join us to shape up my growing up.