Friday, December 4, 2009

On The Train (Oh Keretapi Ku Laju), Dec 3, 2009

Kekalutan dan kekusutan minda terpampang di hadapanku. Manusia masih tidak mahu menggunakan akal yang dikurnia kepada mereka. Mereka beanggapan segala kemudahan yang disediakan adalah haq mutlak mereka untuk menggunakannya sewenang-wenangnya. Kehairananku makin ketara apabila mendapati kekalutan dna kekusutan minda itu terserlah di kalangan mereka yang diketgorikan sebagai berpelajaran tinggi. Adakah ia disebabkan salah didikan, pembelajaran atau keadaan yang membentuk mereka menjadi begini? Aku bimbang akan anak bangsa ku dan kebimbangan aku ini berfakta.

Keretapi yang ku naiki terus meluncur
Menuja arah yang sudah tentu
Malangnya isi perutnya berkocak
Dikocakan oleh manusia
Yang tidak tentu haluan
Yang tidak tenu tujuan
Yang berpelajaran tetapi bodoh
Yang berfikir tapi kalut

Lajunya keretapi membelah malam
Isinya terus gelap
Gelap kepercayaan
Gelap pemikiran
Gelap minda
Gelap masa hadapan

Disetiap perhentian keretapi ku membuang dan menelan
Manusia ganas tidak berperi kemanusiaan
Aku terus keraguan
Risau akan zuriatku yang akan berperang
Ajaran, nasihat dan kelakuanku sebagai sandaran
Mampukah mereka?

Keretapiku begoyang-goyang
Beralun-alun tapi bukan ombak
Isi perutnya yang berkocak akan terus berkocak
Jika perjalananya diurus oleh akal yang ketandusan

Jiwaku terus tidak tenteram
Tidak ....
Tidak ...
Tidak diubati oelh satu ketentuan

Laju pelahan keretapi terus berlalu
Akhirnya kumpulan besi waja yang tidak bernyawa
Meninggalkan terus manusia

On The Train With a Group of Annoying Idiots, Dec 2, 2009

Terlalu angkuh diri ini agaknya sehingga mampu menasihati seseorang sementara aku sendiri tidak terdaya unutk melakukannya. Aku kalah dan terus tidak terdaya untuk melakukannya selagi aku tidak bersungguh-sungguh. Kesungguhan yang aku perlukan harus datang dari dalam yang ditonggakkan oleh jati diri dan semangat yang tidak akan luntur. Percaya ku terhadap kemampuanku tidak perlu disangkal lagi kerana aku pernah melakukannya. Kepayahan kini sebenarnya dibelengu oleh ketidakupaya ku untuk memulakannya.

What am I talking about? Not like before currently I find it is very hard for me to focus to start on my research writing. I just know once I start I would not have any problem writing.

Keinginan yang memuncak dihasilkan oleh dorongan persekitaran menolak aku kearah melakukannya. Keluarga dan sahabat terutamanya. Aku tidak boleh lagi mempertikaikan kehendak mereka.

I was trying to think and write when a very loud conversation materialized in front of me. As I was engrossed in writing I did not realize a group of college students came on board at Mid Valley Station and parked themselves in front of me. Their conversation was too loud for me and I just let it go for a few minutes thinking they will tone it down. I was wrong the decibel level increased exponentially to the extend I could not tolerate it anymore. I was annoyed big time at their behaviour. Being college students they were idiots with no sense of consideration to the rest inside the train. The boys were trying to outdo each other to see who’s more macho and the girls were blabbering as if they were the only group inside the train. Annoyed that I was, I was surprised that I could restraint myself from yelling at them. Really, I was really at my most patient.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On The Train (e-Books), Nov 30, 2009

All these while I had been ignoring, in fact it was a denial, the existence of e-books. I kept on giving my excuses not to read from it as trying to stay true to the original. All that changed now. I downloaded The Lost Symbol onto my iPhone last two weeks and started reading it on the train last week. I finished it this morning. My verdict - IT WORKS! Although I may be sentimental fool that would still buy books at certain occasion e-book would be a convenient version. It is not a substitute but a very good option. While reading Lost Symbol I still was engrossed in my reading and got the same satisfaction of reading a paper based book. I used to complaint quietly that I could not read in the dark or limited light source but with my iPhone it does not matter anymore. The only drawback was my reading wound only last as long as my battery could last. Having said all these I am very sure I would not be reading any books out of my Laptop or PC. What make it works is the handheld devices like iPhone. BTW The Lost Symbol was really a disappointment to me. Not only it dragged with so much detail about Freemasons but also I could anticipate the storyline easily.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On The Train, Nov 13, 2009

From PJ I took a taxi back to KL Sentral and from there I boarded a train to Sg Buloh and I thought I would be getting down at KL Station. I was a smashed tuna and my face was flat on the glass at the wrong part of the door. The door to disembark at KL Station from KL Sentral was on the right side I was on the left. Not wanting to bother myself I just carried on to Bank Negara where I disembarked amidst a chaotic Friday evening crowds. I walked over to the other side and waited for my train. The new system by KTMB seems to be working as the platform was almost empty. At least two short run trains passed in 15 minutes interval. Patiently I waited for my Seremban train that came on time few minutes later. When I was at KL Sentral before it was the usual scene of chaos but when I arrived there afterwards it was a 9pm scene of calm and orderly

Aku ratib mengikut nada
DIiringi bunga-bunga yang mengasyikan
Suara-suara masih berupaya
Gembira
Mengharap hujung minggu yang menlenyap kelesuan

Ratib ku masih segar
Kasut selipar berjenis bewarna
Berbagai bangsa berbagai bahasa
1 Malaysia?
Mungkin kesempurnaan sementara
Yang asyik tapi bertanda tanya

Semalam aku mengharap
Hari ini terjawab
Kekal ku harap
Tiada siapa walaupun KTMB boleh menjawab
Soalan cepumas tetapi jawapan tak berhemah

Ratib ku makin rancak
Mengikut rentak
Tetapi hatiku lesu
Selesu selesuan.
Malas ku memberontak
Mata meledak
Perut ku berkocak

Ratib ku
Melalaikan rindu
Mengumpan kuyu
Ya Allah aku di atas keretapi kenapa aku merapu

Friday, November 13, 2009

Melekat di KL Sentral, Nov 12, 2009

Aku tiba lebih awal di KL Sentral dari pejabat ku di PJ. Tetapi awal tidak bermakna aku mampu menaiki keretapi ku dan balik ke rumah lebih awal dari biasa. Aku bagaikan rusa masuk kampong terpingga-pingga memikirkan apa harus ku lakukan. Melalui kaca-kaca yang menjadi diding di sekeliling aku lihat hari makin gelap bukan di sebabkan kegelapan malam tetapi langit yang berat mahu mencurahkan air yang ditakung. Keputusan untuk aku sudah dibuat kerena sia-sia sahaja jika aku turun menunggu keretapi yang pasti akan menjadi tin ikan sardin. Aku terus belegar mencari tempat yang sesuai untuk melepak. Pilihan pertama aku adalah SwissGarden yang menjual scone kegemaran ku dan juga mempunyai pancaran wifi yang agak kuat dan stabil. Malangnya apabila tiba di kaunter scone tidak kelihatan di rak-rak jualan. Aku dapati juga sistem jaringan internet di KL Sentral seperti di pagi hari yang tidak berfungsi kecuali jaringan wifi MRCB. Aku terus naik ke tingkat dua dengan tujuan ke Dunkin Donat tetapi setelah aku melepasi tangga mengubah haluan ku ke Medan Selera di tingkat 3. Satu keputusan yang kurang tepat kerana di situ tidak terdapat sumber elektrik yang boleh digunakan. Aku terus turun semula ke tingkat 2 dan mengambil keputusan untuk berlabuh di KFC.

Dengan secawan kopi berserta gentang goreng aku terus mengeluarkan komputer riba ku. Di meja kiri dan kanan juga terdapat dua manusia seperti aku yang sudah ketagih, tekun melayari alam maya. Oleh kerena cuaca di luar agak muram ramai yang mengunjungi tempat makanan segera seperti KFC untuk menunggu. Aku perhatikan riak-riak manusia di sekeliling ku dan memutuskan bahawa KFC bukan lagi Restoran tetapi tempat kekasih bercumbu, kawan bertemu dan berbual, ruang mesyuarat dan ruang melayari internet. Ketagihan ku akhirnya diselamatkan oleh kedatangan waktu maghrib.

KTMB terus menguji kesabaran ku yang makin menipis setiap hari. Kononnya keretapi rosak. Kami tidak lagi ikan sardin tetapi menjadi tuna hancur untuk dimakan dengan roti. Mungkin dosa kami semasa kecil tidak memberi peluang untuk orang lain menaiki upeh pinang yang ditarik laju. Ataupun menyorok upeh supaya tidak ada orang lain yang boleh menggunakannya. Apa jua dosa kami KTMB tidak wajar terus menghukum. Tren terhenti di stesen Seputeh dan kemudain pemandu tren merayau melalui pembesar suara ’Sayang tolong tutup pindu nombor dua di gerabak nombor dua sayang’. Terus muka-muka lesu dan menyampah di dalam gerabak gelak ketawa riang. Seketika tiada bunyi pindu ditutup dan sekali lagi pemandu tren bersuara dengan nada agak keras tapi bersahaja ’Kalau pindu tak tutup kita tak boleh jalan la’. Kemudain baru pindu tersebut berjaya ditutup dan sekali lagi dengan nada keras dan bersahaja ’ Haa macam tu laaaa’ Terus kedengaran .gelak riang yang lebih kuat di dalam gerabak. Setidak-tidaknya pemandu tersebut telah berjaya mengubah fisiologi ku. Mungkin lebih ramai pemandu tren komuter berperangai sedemikian rupa untuk menceriakan keadaan yang sudah lama muram.

On The Train (Non Verbal Knowledge Sharing), Nov 9, 2009

While sitting in the office watching the rain out of my windows I realized something that has been my second nature. I started to do a quick research on the subject and discovered that there is actually quite a body of research on the subject. It is as much as part of conversation as well as knowledge sharing. The first being on of the methods or process and the later the discipline itself. The non-verbal knowledge sharing that I have in mind is even more complex as it does not include the use of any tool or technology. It is more of a gesture and one’s conducts as a person. Through out my existence due to the environment that I grew up I became very good at this. The only problem for me is that not many people realized or understood my intentions despite most of them are good ones. For example I would expect my children to learn and receive the knowledge that I am imparting by merely looking at what I am doing or not doing. Making it more difficult most of my behaviors are not obvious and I do not care to explain carefully as, again, I expected or assumed them to understand me. Well after being close to me for 20 years they should be. Although I have my point it is still difficult for them. The worst I have my ego in the equation. Looking at academically it is still a form of knowledge sharing methodology albeit a complex one. In my case I could slowly see the result and it took us almost 20 years. Sometimes it is just an intrinsic understanding of my intention that wins the day. The easiest way out though is just to take everything at face value without giving certain actions or behaviors much thought. Serve me right for getting people angry at me because they could not decipher my non-verbal knowledge transfer. Still, I believe it is a necessary part of life especially in educating my children.

In any organization I believe this non verbal knowledge sharing and transfer also a reality that needed to be understood and leveraged. Asian culture dictates for us to do less talking and more about doing and following.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Di Perut Gerabak Keretapi, Nov 5, 2009

Lamunan ku tidak begitu menjadi pada hari ini. Sebaik sahaja aku tiba di tempat menunggu kegemaranku aku terus membuka komputer rba ku untuk cuba berkarya. Seperti selalu aku mula mengelamun untuk cetusan ide tetapi malangnya hari ni, walaupun dengan galakan keadaan di sekeliling yang agak sunyi, aku gagal. Selalunya lamunan yang baik terus membuahkan hasil. Tidak hari ini. Mungkin di sebabkan pemikiranku yang masih berkecamuk oleh permasalahan kerja yang harus ku tangani. Malahan minggu ku yang meletihkan dijangka sambung menyambung membawa ke hujung minggu dan ke hujung tahun.

Sekali sekala pandangan ku lontarkan ke kanan cuba melihat keretapi yang tidak sampai-sampai. Perumpamaan seperti menanti buah yang tidak gugur cukup wajar diubah kepada seperti menanti kepala keretapi yang tak muncul-muncul tiba. Lambat atau cepat sudah tidak ku perdulikan. Aku tetap dengan hal sendiri. Munculnya setengah jam kemudian tidak mebawa perubahan kepada kebanyakan pemumpang. Muka-muka lesu terus memenuhi ruang yang ada sehingga ke stesen KL Sentral. Muka-muka lesu ini juga terus malap di sepanjang perjalanan ku. Malahan kepala si gadis di sebelah ku longlai hampir mencecah di bahu. Bangla di depan ku terlopong seolah mendongak menanti lalat dan angau. Ingin ku tolak takut terus tersungkur ke bawah. Hendak ku biarkan aku sungguh tidak selesa.dan segan di perhati ramai. Sungguh, ampun, benar sedikit pun tidak ku sukai.

Ooiii! Bond bangun la! Ko cerita apa ni? Sejak bila ko jadi Mat Jiwang-jiwang ni? Nak muntah aku baca tau?

Terpulanglah nak kata apapun kata la tetapi itulah cerita sebenarnya yang berlaku pada diri ku hari ini.

Eh! korang jangan lupa malam ni malam Jumaat. Baca yasin, ngaji dan sembahyang tahajud. Anak-anak pun ramai nak periksa ni tolong doakan.

On The Train, Nov 4, 2009

The school of the bridge collapse incident in Kampar was reported to make a statement saying based on the forms signed by the parents that they were not responsible. Naturally the parents think otherwise and, if not the whole Malaysia at list the majority, think so to. The story from the parent side could be very obvious but what about the school and the organizer? Are they the right party to shoulder the blame or to be blamed? I had learnt recently that our brain is designed to be positive but somehow habitually we are always negative. A lot will argue though how one can be positive in facing such tragedy? Tough no doubt. One thing we have to recognize is that we are dealing with what any schools suppose to achieve. Education – educating all of us to behave the right way and be responsible. Greed most of the time override every thing. The thing that I am very sure of is that we are still looking at things using the old lenses. Our visions are blurred to the extent that we do not know what’s in front of us really.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On The Train, Nov 2, 2009

Two more months to go and it would be 2010. As much cliché as it can be it has been a high speed chase for me that left me wondering aloud today where had the year gone and what have I done? Nevertheless it is going to be another two months of high speed finish for me.

It is raining almost daily now dampening the spirit a little bit. My colleague mentioned to me that KTMB was going to start a short run at the interval of 15 minutes between Sg Buloh and Kajang as well as KL Sentral and Shah Alam. Just yesterday I shared my thoughts with my wife suggesting to nobody in particular that KTMB should start a short run between Serdang and KL Sentral as I could see a lot of potential there. With the new information from my colleague I obviously had to ask the question using what? There aren’t any additional carriages being brought in. How do we expect KTMB to service this new proposed run? All of us know that isn’t enough carriages is the reason of the bad service in the first place.

The plan for KL Sentral – Padang Besar – KL Sentral -JB – Tumpat – KL Sentral in four days is still on and doable. Anybody interested to join me?

Monday, November 2, 2009

On The Train, Oct 29, 2009

KTMB was at its nuisance best yet again today. I was trying my best to be early today and was confident of catching the 2000 train only to be disappointed by the same announcement that is a permanent fixture for any KTMB stations. Although I was already occupied my laptop today I could not stop myself from exclaiming loud enough for everyone on the platform to hear me. Hearing me my office colleague sitting two benches away laughed with me aloud. We were told our train was at Kuang Station which translated to mean at least 45 minutes extra waiting time. I spent my entire waiting time editing my recent cycling photos. Obviously I was not in the mood to be a poet and if I had it would be one hell of a nasty poem.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Di Perut Gerabak Keretapi, Oct. 27, 2009

Aku mungkin dilihat seperti mengelamun atau termenung jauh memikirkan sesuatu semalam. Hakikatnya aku duduk teruja di hapadan ahli-ahli panel bukan bangsa Melayu yang fasih bertutur di dalam Bahasa Melayu. Hari ini aku teruja sekali lagi dengan bacaan bait-bait puisi yang indah lagi mengasyikkan. Secara kebetulan tetamu undangan kami, Prof Siti Zainon Ismail, membawa bersamanya naskah-naskah tulisannya untuk dipamer dan dibeli jika berminat. Di antara naskah-naskah tersebut adalah sebuah antologi puisi yang mempunyai judul kecil Dari Stesen Ke Stesen. Dengan pinjaman RM oleh sahabat yang hadir bersama senaskah antalogi itu menjadi milikku. Ku belek-belek isi kandungan naskah itu dan teruja terus ingin berkarya. Jika kusut, mengelikan, membosankan dan memualkan bahasa ini anggaplah ianya cubaan seorang yang ketandusan ilmu bahasa.

Perjalanan Dekat Tapi Jauh


Saban hari aku meredah hutan yang bernyawa atau tidak
Dengan harapan keikhlasan menjadi lumrah
Berbagai telah ku alami dan rasai
Namun aku tetap kebal dengan kerenahnya
Sudah enam tahun rupanya

Hutan bernyawa kadang kala sumber hiburan ku
Sumber gurauan ku
Sumber ilham ku
Sumber kedengkelan ku

Hutan besi pula ku sedihi
Tidak mahu memahami
Tidak mahu mengerti
Tidak mahu belajar dari kesilapan lampau maupun terkini
Tetapi aku tetap setia sentiasa menanti
Kerana perjalanan ku yang dekat masih jauh

Diikutkan hati marah ku sudah berkodi
Sudah berguni
Malah baru sebentar tadi pengendali mengingati yang sudah berkali-kali
Di sebabkan masalah teknikal yang menjadi misteri
Aku sudah lali
Sudah 30 minit!!!
Mungkin menjadi 1 jam!!!!
Akurku dan tafakurku masih diuji
Kerana perjalanan ku yang dekat masih jauh

Ragam-ragam itu
Ragam-ragam ini
Tidak ada akhirnya
Ku penuhi dengan melalaikan keraguan yang membuak
Dengan buku-buku yang mengasyikan
Dengan teman setiaku yang diriba
Yang membawa aku jauh meneroka
Kerana minatku, sukaku
Aku akur
Perjalanan ku yang dekat tetap masih jauh

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Engagement, Bera and Temerloh, Oct 10, 2009

The sequence of importance is as in the title but how it evolved was the reverse and I find all of them interesting and fun. The whole experience brought out the best in me and gave me a better perspective of how I see the world.

The objectives of the day were to get to Bera, Triang safely, get Nan engaged successfully and return home intact. We left home at around 0830 with most already attired for the occasion. Since my dear wife picked blue, and it was very much still syawal, I put on my blue baju melayu. Apart from my wife was Baqir who decided the night before rather than staying at home unable to go to any open houses to tag along. Good as well for me as I really needed a photographer as I can’t be talking and taking pictures at the same time. Well, I can but then I will annoy a lot of people and I did not wish to make it any harder for Nan. On the way out Sam called Ecah to find out where they were and was informed somewhere in Pandan Indah which meant we were about 20 minutes behind them. In order to save time I decided not to stop for breakfast and we agreed to meet at the Petronas just before Bentong’s tol plaza. As it was my normal route going back to Raub, confidently I floored the pedal and maneuvered the Ranger through the highway. At about 1 kilometer reaching the Petronas rest area Nizam called to ask our where about. He was 15 minutes behind us and we told him of our meeting point.

Along and Ecah were already at the Petronas rest area waiting. I checked on Nizam’s progress and since he was still about 15 minutes behind I decided to have a quick breakfast there.

We left the area together when Nizam arrived. Driving his new Myvi and with his injury Nizam decided to drive slowly and carefully where as Along with his family inside the car decided to be cautious. I was not impatient but they were too slow for me so I sped on the highway and was very early and the first to arrive in Temerloh. As I was driving into Temerloh town Nor called to ask our where about. Since we were early we decided to just take our time and meet in Bera. I duly concurred and knew what I wanted to do straight away. Explore the new Temerloh. As I was driving in I was really surprised by the development around me so much so I lost my sense of direction until we reached the round about just before the sungai Pahang Bridge. I turned left and left again at the next junction to drive into the old Temerloh town. Even that I was a bit confused by the new building and developed areas. I was helped by the need to engage my striped good friend – Kawanku. When I saw the building I stopped to withdraw some money and stood for awhile to make sense of the surrounding. Only then I saw the old police station as well as the old Temerloh town ahead of it. And I was immediately in a very familiar territory to take charge. I drove into the old town area and identified few familiar buildings including the Mosque and the bus station. I was not looking for anything in particular but if I were to chance upon a cheap decent bicycle I’ll buy one as I saw one quite a big bicycle shop on the way in. My wife is into old fashion kitchen ware now and the old town shops would be an ideal place to find such items. We did not find anything worth stopping for so I drove out of the town towards the route to Bera and Triang. Since we were still very early I drove slowly and took my time photographing things that I felt like. One of them was a nice surprise – as I approached a corner I saw a sign with a very familiar logo stating Mengkarak Station. Through out my many years going home on the train to Kelantan and Temerloh Mengkarak was one of those small, quiet and dark station that we stopped at the very early in the morning. I do not know about others but I always wondering the life around it during the day. That day I knew what it was like. It was not what I thought it was like. It was, even then, more vibrant and full; of life.

Almost the whole journey to Bera was along side the mighty Pahang River. The road was quite good to maneuver through comfortably. At 1140 we arrived at the traffic light in Bera town. I drove a bit further and turned left into a row of shops. It was then that Sam mentioned that Nizam was behind us. Without prompting we search for interesting place to stop and we chose one promising hardware store. We took interest of what’s inside the store as it was full with necessity required by Felda settlers as much as river fishermen. In the end Sam bought a nice periok. With not that many option we crossed the road to the other side of the town and then decided to drive ahead to Felda Mayam which was the second furthest Felda in the area. It was a good 20 minutes drive. Nizam planned to stop at the coffee shop at the junction to Felda Mayam. Luck had it the Eddy taking the others coming form his house from the other direction arrived at the junction at the same time. SO we drove straight in towards the mosque to prepare ourselves before we proceeded to Ila’s house. It was already 1234. I did not really know the plan but was told by Nan the host was expecting as at 1230. Nizam suggested after Zohor but since we agreed to be there at 1230 I made a decision to go then. After putting my samping and songkok on we drove towards the house.

The house was at the edge of a small hill forming a cluster of 20 houses around it. At the top of the hill was a beautiful gated muslim cemetery. Being at the top of the hill, with hardly any big trees and clean it was more like a garden. The instruction given to us was to enter the cemetery on a good tarmac road and to come around to park along the small road in the cemetery compound. I chose to park close to the gate so that it would be easy to get out later. AS I was parking the Ranger Then I heard someone yelling ‘senget nak tertonggeng tu’ and look at my side mirror to see a white Toyota wish was sort of hanging on its belly on the edge and frantically somebody was running over to pull it down. What a drama, initially I intended to reverse and park there but trying to let other use the spot I moved forward. It was Asri and everyone commented after that he was not driving a Ford Ranger like Pak Cu.

The little drama did not help to ease my anxiety. Nevertheless we could not let the host waiting and quickly gathered everyone. Leading the group we walked towards the house which was already full with the kampong folks waiting, I guess since 1200. I said my salam and shake everyone’s hand before I took my seat normally reserved for the head of the delegation in any majlis bertunang. As I shook every hand moving along the line I tried to absorb the environment deciphering whatever the situation I could. I felt some eyes were checking me out but I was not worried which was a good indication for me. After making myself comfortable before the small talk I looked at the faces in front on me. The man on my left was definitely the father of the bride and I thought immediately on his left would be the person that I would be talking to. If he were the person I could see him being thoughtful and knowledgeable. His strength and the respect for him were obvious making my anxiety grew and I could be in trouble. A young gentleman started to fiddle with the PA system and once working started to address the room firstly to welcome us and eventually introduced a man sitting almost directly in front of me as the Tok Ketua and the would be spoke person for the host. I was a bit relief. As the young gentleman finished with the initial introduction he passed the microphone to the Tok Ketua. The first few words that came out of the Tok Ketua’s mouth made me smiling inside. He was even more nervous than I was. I relaxed a bit and started to listen to his welcoming address. To my surprise once he was done with the introduction he straight away addressed the issue at hand to get the ball rolling. He was in a hurry to finish this unpleasant, to him, business I said to my self and became more relax. I knew straight away whatever words that will come out of me would be acceptable and the jokes that I was going to tell would be working. Another microphone was passed to me. With the mike on I seriously thought I would start my introduction with a pantun. Then not wanting to create even more tension on the part of the Tok Ketua I instead introduced myself with a jest of jokes followed by an invented story of my own before officially putting forward our hajat of the day. The Tok Ketua without missing a beat said something like correcting me that the majlis was a merisek first and bertunang second. I was caught by a surprise but the To Ketua excused me saying it was ok and rushed the whole thing with direct questions about the money matters, dates and all. I was not sure whether he was trying to corner me with a knock out punch or just plainly ignoring my question. I had just actually asked about bunga di taman yang ingin disunting bernama ….. followed by the expectation of the host in terms of hantaran and whatever else. He answered as those should be our action to recommend. I smiled at my nephew who was sitting on my immediate right. I was thinking hard what to do next as everyone was expecting for me to say something. I decided to be as direct following the Tok Ketua leads. I said as was informed to me after a discussion with the family the hantaran would be such and such amount hoping that it would open up a discussion. Instead the Tok Ketua took it as a fact repeating the figure and accepting the akad meminang. He continued to ask about the period of engagement. I replied with a joke about my nephew being dah gatal nak kahwin and offered a suggestion to let us put it as a year. I joked in the event the economy got better quickly we can do it even earlier. The actual date will be discussed and decided between both families. I asked apart from the hantaran what else would be expected of us and the duit hantaran when are we suppose to deliver and in what sum. The answer to my question was as much a surprise as well as assuring. No, the hantaran was all it and it should be delivered in full three months before the actual date of the nikah.

Again, the Tok Ketua was clearly trying to finish the ceremony off. I jumped in as soon as I saw an opportunity in the event putus tunang what would be our course of action. The replied was something that I like very much, ‘Kita megharapkan yang baik jadi sekiranya berlaku perkara yang disebut kita bawa la berbincing dengan baik dan mengambil jalan putus yang terbaik. Kita sesama keluarga berbincanglah.’ With that only I think matters at hand could be closed. As if trying to have a final say the Tok Ketua continued to close the majlis by calling the man sitting next to the bride’s father to recite a doa. The imam started by commenting that he was glad that despite talking about money and adat we had adopted a virtue or proper conduct in meminang. Compromise, acceptance and trust in each other would certainly a good started for better family relationship.

After the doa the Tok Ketua proceeded to announce the majlis menyarongkan cincin which I could not show to the father of the bride first. I just follow the lead again and let the ceremony to continue as announced by the Tok Ketua. I relaxed a bit knowing everything is in order. I started talking to the father of the bride to learn more about life in tanah rancangan like Felda Mayam. Honestly I got more interested about to place and would not mind to stay overnight there to experience more. It was obvious the live you have in town despite the claim of contentment it was just physical most of them. Life in places like the Felda has it own soul and tranquility. The Tok Ketua and the rest of other guests eventually politely left. I shook and thanked most of them.

While the ladies were still busy taking photos En Sharif the father of the bride invited me to eat outside. As expected the spread was local food that included ikan patin masak tempoyak. Even though I cannot take the ikan patin the other lauk were something that I was not going to miss. You can bring my doctor sitting next to me then I’ll still eat the food. They were that good and tasty. If it would make it less worrying I limited myself to just two plates of rice ha ha ha. Looking around it was only us that were just eating indicating that the rest of the guests had eating earlier. Had we waited till after zohor it would have been disastrous. We continued to eat comfortably not wanting to disappoint the host. The father of the bride sitting next to me was quite chatty and he shared a bit of his life history. The hardship of their early life in the Felda was so obvious. I know the younger generation would not have a clue as to what En Sharif was talking about. There is a definite vast difference between hearing about it with being there and experiencing it yourself. Sadly, though for people like En Sharif most of their children would grow up just to leave the Felda to work and live somewhere else. It was not anybody’s fault as naturally their children being a bit more educated would be working in cities like KL. Only a lucky few that have their children taking over the plantation. The program brought about a new generation of settlers but at the same time killing the program itself. I was told most of the plantations were given back to Felda to care.

Once most of us had eaten I thought we were ready to leave. Then we were invited back into the house for tea. We were served cool milk and a bit of kueh. We stayed a bit longer and eventually I asked everyone to not take any more time than necessary to leave the house. Once again I thanked everyone and left for home via Eddy’s place.

Eddy took us through the plantation back route via Chenor to his house in Kg Awah. The route was narrow bur big enough for lorry to pass through. If you were driving a 4X4 like we you would have loved the route and anybody slow in front of you, you would think it was a nuisance  Once at Eddy’s place we said our prayers and rest a bit. Around 1730 I decided to hit the road home. As I was driving from Kg Awah to the Temerloh town we chanced upon a Pasar Malam along the way and we stopped. A sense of adventure and serendipity were so strong for me not to stop.

When we were back on the road it was a matter of how fast we can get home to me. At approximately we were safely home around 2300.

For the pictures please click below:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=148399&id=732507245&l=759beaf23e
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=148407&id=732507245&l=344376a305

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On The Train (KTMB Of My God KTMB), Oct 22, 2009

The idiots at KTMB were making our life miserable yet again today. It may sound that I am being too harsh or hard on them but nobody in KTMB, despite the well documented problems that they were facing, really care about their customers. They rather let all of us standing there waiting for trains that we were not sure of coming at all. Oh yes I am piss with them now. How could I not be when I had to wait for extra hours unnecessarily?

On The Train (Bahasa Melayu), Oct 20, 2009

One of my colleagues in the office made this conviction in his blog.

‘Pengendali blog ini beriltizam untuk bersama-sama memartabatkan semula bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa Kebangsaan, seperti yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Malaysia’

http://mybabah.blogspot.com/

Satu usaha yang murini yang patut dicontohi. Mungkin di hari-hari yang akan datang say juga akan memartabatkan bahasa Melayu di dalam penulisan saya. Jika kita halusi bahasa Melayu itu amat indah bila dituturi terutama sekali di dalam majlis-majlis istiadat. Malahan did lam majlis pertunanan dan perkahwinan bahas Melayu jika digunakan dengan rangkap-rangkap patun yang indah membuatnya lagi mengasyikkan. Sahabat saya ini beriltizam ke arah pengunaan bahasa Melayu yang betul. Sebenarnya senagai seornag Melayu, seperti saya, kita telah beranggapan penggunaan bahasa Melayu kita samada di dalam penulisan maupun pertuturan telah mantap tampa silap sebenarnya hanya satu dongengan. Malah tulisan saya yang seperenggan ini jika ia diteliti mempunyai kesalahan-kesalahan. Sama-samalah kita mempelajari dan membaiki bahasa Melayu kita.

Kenapa saya akan terus juga menulis menggunakan bahasa Inggeris? Kerana pembaca saya> Saya akan cuba selang selikan pemulisan saya.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On The Train (Decency and an Idiot), Oct 19, 2009

Last week in a packed train on the way home I witnessed something that gave hope to Malaysia if not 1Malaysia :)). There was this lady sitting by the door and at Bandar Tasek Selatan came on board, more like being pushed on board by the crowd, an old lady. Despite the squeeze and difficulty the lady surrendered her seat to the Mak Cik. As the Mak CIk was sitting there was a young lady carrying a helmet and holding it in such a way it was above the Mak Cik. Realising that the Mak CIk offered the young lady to hold it for her. The young lady smiling accepted the offer. That was not all, the whole sequence from the lady offering her seat all were done with smiling faces. To make it even better there were these two Chinese ladies, Ah So, standing around her and started to remarked on what she had done and they started to ask about each other. It was not a small talk. Honest friendly conversation. Looking from four feet away I was smiling at the whole incidence. There was hope for Malaysia I said to myself.

It was different story just now. While waiting for the train at KL Sentral I heard a commotion behind me. A lady was scolding somebody. I turned back and saw the lady auxiliary police on duty at the station was cautioning and Indian man who was smoking. For one this idiot knew it already that the place was a non-smoking zone and being stubborn went was asked to put the cigarette out. As if to irk the police woman even more he started to ridicule the lady. Couldn’t contain herself she started to get louder and the Indian man just teased her more. Seriously I was annoyed at the idiot and almost walked to him to give him a knock on his head. Lucky for him or me, which ever you look at it, he somewhat relented albeit still smarting from the incidence. An idiot will always be an idiot.

Monday, October 12, 2009

On The Train, Oct 9, 2009

The Friday mess continued itself on the train home. In situation like this I pitied the newbies that were caught by surprise especially those first timers. Just like today a Chinese lady sitting in the bowel of the coach while full with anxiety determining her disembarking station only to realize for a while she was actually at KL Sentral already. She was stuck in the middle of the rush in. So the advise to those using either Klang or Seremban lines of Friday evening to board as sit as close as possible to the exit and if you were not to get ready to disembark once the train is approaching your station.

Eid Mubarak 2009

During Ramadhan about 5 of our school friends passed away due to known illness. Just after Eid I received news of death of my relatives and other friends. Last night was my neighbor who had been sick for years. Of course all these are reminders for me that life is that fragile and more should be done in preparation for the inevitable. Most of my friends’ death was after years of suffering and getting the new of their passing during Ramadhan was a blessing in a way. This set my mood during the Eid celebration. It was not that I was unhappy but I was conscious of the fact that anything can happen to anybody. Even that I failed just because I assumed and delaying things.

On a brighter note we had our first family Hari Raya gathering on the first night at Mak Anjang’s place. It was a start that we want to keep doing in the years to come. We promised ourselves that we would keep the family together and trace our heritage so that we would have a family history. It is already fairly easy on my father’s side but a bit tricky on my mum’s side. The following day we stopped at Mamak Abas’s place to beraya and asked him to share what he knows. Unfortunately not much, still useful information from him. Hearing his stories got almost everyone including our children excited about our history and everyone was bullish contributing whatever the can.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On The Train, Sept, 28, 2009

A representative from TRANSIT wrote today in the Malay Mail commended the staff of KTMB of the job well done during the recent Hari Raya exodus home. Mentioned was the sacrifice the staff of KTMB had made in order for their passengers to have a smooth ride home. No taking this away from them I also appreciate this gesture and it should be the norm. However the writer wrote on the last paragraph passengers, especially commuters using the Komuter service kike me should not complaint too much as we do not know the kind of problems KTMB are facing. The writer mentioned about the fact the government did not allocate enough funds and the fact that the government also does not make any announcement to that effect to mitigate our negative perceptions. The writer mentioned that KTMB requires about 60 cars to have a ten minutes interval Komuter service.

Well, I know all these. In fact most suffering commuters know this. THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS KTMB DOING ABOUT IT? Don’t tell us they accepted these facts just like that without thinking of other alternatives and solutions.

Suddenly just before Kajang a hnadphone went off and a very loud foreign voice answered it and in rapid African language he spoke loudly. It was of course annoying for even from the place I was sitting let alone somebody close to him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

On The Train, Sept 13, 2009

It was Monday morning again and the last week of Ramadhan. It was not the fact it was just it was the last week and the normal occurrence on certain things during the last week of Ramadhan but more of my realization of the commuters on my morning ride every Monday. Just like this morning the number of commuter has always been more than the usual and I do not know why. Whenever the train arrives at Bangi station I would be lucky to get a seat and looking at the commuters around me I’ll see different faces that I normally see everyday. I could only speculate really and here are my hypotheses.

1. They went back home to Seremban or any place along the route for weekend and come back to work to KL on early Monday morning from their kampong. I used to have friends who did this every weekend, or
2. Some of the normal commuters just wake up very early on every Monday and take earlier train to work, or
3. Most of them just work on Monday ) and that would be need., or
4. It is the combination of number 1 & 2

Looking at my hypotheses now I would say the strongest would be number 1. If you think otherwise please drop me a line or two.

This morning I observed another thing when we were at KL Sentral. Came on board a group of 4 Filipinos. How do I know firstly it was so obvious from their dressing and demeanor and secondly they started to speak in Tagalog loudly. I observed for a few days already and by the look of it they were not going somewhere near KL. I could be wrong and as they do not look like they were maids I was wondering where they were heading for.

I was dozing off after Serdang this morning and just before Bandar Tasek Selatan with my head still looking downward I opened my eyes and as I saw beautiful colors in front of me. Four ladies in a row in colorful baju kurong were standing right in front of me. What a beautiful sight like colors of Malaysia.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On The Train, Sept 11, 2009

Another Friday evening and the same thing as any other and I was lucky to get a seat at KL Sentral. The composition was really mixed today. There were Arabs tourists onboard talking loudly; presumably because nobody else would understand them; holiday makers going home for the weekends, young gen y going home from colleges and shopping malls; one or two making an early way for home for the EId celebration; and the usual like me going home for the day The average age around me was 27 and could be younger. This morning of the way to work a young lady started to talk to her friend over the phone. Well that was normal enough the problem was she animatedly, complete with giggles, talking as if she was alone in the whole coach. Sometimes I am amazed at how oblivious or rather forgetful some people are. In fact now a guy was talking to his friend loudly in a packed train.

The guy on my left was swaying up and down sleeping soundly so was an old Chinese lady on my right.

On The Train, Sept 9, 2009

The train was on time today and with fewer commuters on board when I boarded. At KL Sentral it was the same old story.

I was looking out of the window and admiring the scenery outside when we on the way to Kajang from Serdang when I noticed the changes to the landscape. Obviously after six years the place changed, in fact most places along the track did. People on the train also changed except for the regular few. The sad part and to my dismay KTMB did not, well they changed for the worse. It is no point in exaggerating my agony further by continuing to talk or write about them so today I wanted just to accept the fact that it is unbecoming of them if they change. Mentally at least that would minimize my stress level.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On The Train, Sept 8, 2009

My 1800 train was latte by 10 minutes. I got a seat at KL Station and I was packed at KL Sentral.

My mind was searching what to write and my eyes kept on darting inside and outside of the train hoping for inspiration. Suddenly, just before Salak Selatan I was surprised by somebody’s phone that sat off with a ring tone of ‘everybody was kung fu fightingggggggg’. That brought me back to 70’s when I was in school. I remember once somebody actually sang that song and when he came to that part immediately after he sang ‘fighting' he gave a flying kick to the toilet door. Lucky for him it was the door not me. If not he would have been flying in the toilet himself. It had been more than 20 years now and I was really surprised by the ring tone. Further more it came from a handphone owned by a gen x. I just wonder whether he knows the significant of that song to people my age or even the baby boomers. It is also interesting to note as if the current artists do no know how to write a new original.

Come to think of it just like fashion songs also being recycled. I wonder if it is the same with management concepts? Maybe the concepts are just the same but being repackaged differently camouflage by different names.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On The Train, Sept 7, 2009

The train service during the Ramadhan was heretic to say the least. So far I was delayed three times already and all of them due to cancellation. When KTMB uses Cancellation it means the train brokedown somewhere and being pulled out of the service. Just this morning when I was at the Bangi station there was already a Seremban train on the track being repaired. There were two engineers/drivers trying to restart the engine that refused to do so. Maybe it was over used and in need for a rest he he he. Whatever it is this is going to be the norm for at least the next three years for me. These days going to work in the early morning I’ll join the rest catching up on lost ZZZZZZZZZ. Going home is like playing Russian roulette with KTMB and if I am lucky on the day the train would be surely sardine can pack at KL Sentral. I was joking one day with another commuter while commenting the late arrival of our train said, ‘Surely it’s going to be a hot packed sardine can after this.’ He remarked, ‘No, I do not think so it’s more like a blended fish or meat,’ We laughed about it. Well, you need your sense of humour to keep your sanity in balance if you were a regular KTMB commuters.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

On The Train, Aug 28, 2009

It is Friday and a three day weekend coning in the month of Ramadhan what will you get in KTMB’s commuter service in the evening?

A long chain of sardine can that they called a Komuter train service.

At Bandar Tasek Selatan Station those on the platform started to push in and someone, a lady, inside the train yelled, ‘ Tak tahu sempit ke jangan tolak geramnya akuuuuu.’ I was tempted to sing ‘ Geran jangan enkau geram, Geram, geram, Geram bermacam ragam’. Loudly just to enlighten the atmosphere. He he he the song is an old song by the Black Dog Bone

This year's Merdeka celebration would only be a small celebration due to the fasting month. If not on 31st Aug I would be somewhere with my camera taking photos of the parade or something. So my Merdeka celebration this year would be doing my chores at home and maybe going down to Melaka in the evening

On The Train, Aug 26, 2009

Should we spend time and effort to change a culture if we thing it is the main barrier to progress? Or should we just strategize around it? Or to ignore it and plough through with our efforts? There is no answer to the questions really. As I learned recently we need to continue to converse about this and to get more people to discuss about it. Also with enough people coming from various angle better understanding of the problems would at least prevail. Receiving mix signals from the management is a real issue anywhere. The need for the management to walk the talk is a must to ensure certain change behaviour to really have the opportunity to happen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On The Train, Aug 24, 2009

Third day of Ramadhan and first day of Ramadhan at work I am going to be late for iftar already. Now at 1838 I am still waiting for my train. It was announced just now that my 1820 train had been cancelled. Yeap! KTMB can do just that. At this rate I would be home at around 1950.

I am on the train now but as you could guess almost rip at the seam. At the moment I am trying my best to be positive with the whole thing. Frankly, my fuse is at the thinnest string now. Anymore ‘technical problem’ from KTMB would deem my puasa meaningless for the day. I just hope I do not have to come to that. On a brighter note despite the obvious I have learned to really control myself as it could have been worse.

Indeed I landed on the platform at Bangi station at 2001.

Looking at the whole scenario I think conceptually KTMB did the right thing, giving their current train shortage, with the schedule. The only problem their execution could have been faster and better. They really have to see this as not a technical problem but and adaptive one. What they are doing now is whenever there is congestion in either line they will take a train out of the other line to cover. They do this by closely monitoring the volumes. As I said they could do this better and decision making is the key element.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On The Train, Aug 21, 2009

I just knew that today is going to be worse than yesterday for two reasons.

1. Friday evening
2. Tomorrow would be the start of Ramadhan. Extra bodies would be going home for the weekends as well as people going home a bit early to start going to surau for their sunat ramadhan.

Nevertheless I tried my luck as I hoped to be home earlier than the usual. No dice and once again I got out of the platform and parked myself at the Swiss Oven.

Around 2000 I dragged myself out onto the platform for the Sentul bound train so that I could catch my train at KL Station. My timing today was brilliant as I did not have to wait long. I was alos lucky to get a seat as we rolled into KL Sentral. Just like the trains before it was transformed immediately into a hot sardine can.

It was really chaotic when we stopped at MidValley and Bandar Tasek Selatan. To make thing worse one of the door refused to open.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On The Train. Aug. 17, 2009

It was still drizzling when I walked down slowly to the station anticipating a nice ride home. Naturally after the heavy downpour the station was wet from one end to the other. Sitting down in the bench was a lucky event after somebody had actually sat to dry certain spot. I thought the train was coming in a short while so I paced myself to the end of the platform. As I turned back at the end came the dreadful announcement that the Seremban line was delayed by 30 minutes. Not wanting to drain myself further of my already depleted energy I sat myself down and relax. The hope of a nice ride home diminished as I see more people come waiting and even more when the train actually rolled into the station with almost total capacity.

I was lucky several commuters near where I was standing got down at KL Station and I got a seat. But then my mood had already been spoilt by KTMB. The best way was to converse with myself through my writing.

On The Train, Aug. 13, 2009

The week so far has been unpredictable for me. Both physically and mentally I am drained. I do not know why physically my mentally I was disappointed with the development of our project as well as worried of the situation of the H1N1 pandemic now. More and more commuters putting on their masks on the train now. Yet I am still adamant that I am not zorro. But I know I am just being stubborn about it. Eventually I will put on one once the situation is out of control.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On The Train (High Bandwidth Network), Aug. 5, 2009

I was at the MSC Innovation Centre this morning having a discussion on MYREN. MYREN stands for the National (Malaysia) Research Education Network. Technically it is a high bandwidth network infrastructure that was meant to provide opportunities for the research communities to collaborate virtually. Their popular services being an infrastructure for high definition video conferencing (VC) or just a normal VC, video streaming, e-learning and high power computing facilities. These are the obvious usage of the network and if you study and understand the network better actually it could be the best investment that you ever made for knowledge sharing and acquisition especially among the academic community. One thing that I like and people at MYREN doing right is to encourage a community-based business model among their users. Simply because that what it should be. Their entire research community should realize this and tap all the potential of the network to the fullest. As I was listening to the briefing I was also thinking and one thing that I realized immediately was not the bandwidth or the power of the network but the power of connectivity it provided across all expert groups for face-to-face conversation. Unfortunately, culturally, the research and academic communities failed to see this and instead pegged themselves to the belief that knowledge is power. They refused to recognize the big picture. Whatever their issues or problems they have with each other they have to see the positive side of the coin. For us we have a pretty good idea of how we are going to utilize the network.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On The Train (Adaptive Challenges), Aug. 4, 2009

I learned about Adaptive Challenges today when I read Nancy Dixon’s blog and it cleared my thoughts on the things that I was thinking in trying to find leads to possible solution. As always the reading introduced me to further reading materials that I would want to buy later at MPH.

Dixon wrote:

‘Characteristics of adaptive challenges are 1) their unpredictability, 2) the lack of agreement on exactly what the problem is, and 3) differing views about what constitutes an acceptable solution. Examples of adaptive challenges are, organizations that have merged and now must create a new and joint culture; hospital systems faced with an interminable nursing shortage; the anticipated retirement of thousands of workers in the government sector; and companies that, in order to survive, must change from selling products to service.’

She further wrote:

‘With adaptive challenges existing assumptions, methods, and tools are useless. They may even get in the way. Dealing with the complexity of adaptive challenges requires altered assumptions, different methods, and yet to be invented tools. And beyond that, adaptive challenges often necessitate that employees learn and practice new behaviors.’

This is exactly what we are facing now and as I said cleared some of my thoughts on the issue. The best part is that it explained why we are doing what we are doing now. It is as if this writing was just written for me or us.

On The Train, Aug 3, 2009

Another H1N1 related death was reported today making the total number for Malaysia to 6 deaths. From the report so far most of the death happened because it was detected too late. There are still some pockets of the population are not aware of the situation and what to do. This is more of an attitude problem rather then just communication. Nevertheless, the failure of communication stills very much the case in Malaysia. Misinformation is still rampant and the channels used sometimes are not appropriate if not outdated. And if you combine these problems with the attitude of Malaysian the problem snowballed. Malaysian still has the attitude that if it is not happening to me or my family I am ok. Again I feel we are engaging complex issue and situation using the old tools.

Monday, August 3, 2009

On The Train (Language, Conversation, Connection and Recognition), July 31, 2009

Maybe not with the same bang as the first one we had still this year’s K Fair was concluded successfully. I do not thing we could make the turn up any bigger than the first one for the lucky draw. The first one was always special for the obvious reason. My personal observations of the three days have been:

1. Those that came to the booths and events were not the normal people that came just for the sake of the gifts and lucky draw.
2. From the questions that they asked indicated that they were there really to learn and share.
3. Again awareness and the use of new language proved to be important in creating change
4. Some of the events that were not ‘work’ related should be encouraged, apart from discovering fresh talents in the organization, they were opportunities for connecting people. Thus, the seed of their social networks and communities of practice. This was obvious during the puisi and story telling sessions.
5. The award recognitions opened up better understanding to the management and they encouraged us to continue with the effort. With their understanding and support I am positive we could see better things to come.
6. Yet again with proper guidance, support, believe and trust you could delegate almost everything and your colleagues would deliver

I was so tired that I left the office after I had a bit of rest in the office. I was also conscious of the Friday evening crowd. I got to the platform with my train approaching and as soon as we were at KL Sentral it was solid packed. With that ended another week of my life.

Friday, July 31, 2009

On The Train, July 29, 2009

I was already tired and really looking forward to catch the 2040 train home but then my mood was spoilt by KTMB yet again. The train was announced to be 30 minutes late where in the end came at 2108. I boarded in a carriage occupied by a number of college students wearing mask going home for their unscheduled holidays due to the H1N1 pandemics. The situation in Malaysia is getting worse it seems as today the fourth death was reported. I was personally impacted by this when I was told yesterday that I had been in a meeting with a positive carrier in attendance last week. Since incubation period for H1N1 is 7 days I only have tomorrow to see whether or not I have been infected.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seminar Melayu Rao Malaysia, UPSI, July 25, 2009

Tun Ahmad Sarji opened the Seminar with a speech by asking the question. Siapakah Rao itu?

The morning session was evolved around a discussion of the origin of Bangsa Rao (Rawa). Obviously in situation like this there bound to be different views and hypotheses. In this case came in the form of two different views from two researchers form Indonesia. The first one was Amran Dt.Jorajo who opined that based on, one, historical artifacts, second, the Language and third Adat (rituals, culture) Bangsa Rao did not originate from Pagaruyung or Luhak Nan Tigo. He argued:

• Peninggalan kebudayaan yang ada di Rao, seperti ukiran Jejak Puti, ukiran roda di batu, dan tempat duduk dari batu, walaupun tidak dapat ditentukan tarikhnya, tetapi berdasarkan keterangan yang kita peroleh bahawa peninggalan ini merupakan kebudayaan tertua dalam dalam Hindu-Budha. Hal ini bererti lebih tua drp peninggalan yang ada di Pagaruyung
• Kebudayaan orang Rao, seperti bahasa, adat dan suku-suku orang Rao merupakan identiti orang Rao, dan jauh berbeza dengan yang ada di Luhak Nan Tigo/Pagaruyung
• Peninggalan kebudyaan berupa candi, walaupun perkiraan tarikhnya hampir bersamaan dengan kerajaan Adytiyawarman di Luhak Nan Tigo. Tetapi sepanjang yang kita ketahui tidak ada Adytiyawarman membangun candi. Hal ini bererti candi di Rao bukan tempat beribadat Adytiyawarman, Tambah lagi Adytiyawarman sepengetahuan kita bukanlah Raja Pagaruyung
• Orang Rao adalah suku bangsa tersendiri, mempunyai identiti tersendiri dan dianggap di sinilah munculnya suku Minagkabau yang mewarisi kerajaan Holling sebagai cikal-bakal suku bangsa Melayu

Whereas Prof. Dr Puti Reno Raudha Thaib in her perentation titled Hubungkait Adat dan Budaya Minankabau Pagar Ruyung dengan masyarakat Rao Malaysia argued.

• Nama Rao itu diambil dari nama daerah asalnya. Jadi, dapat ditegaskan di sini bahawa masyarakat Melayu Rao Malaysia yang ada sampai sekarang dan berkembang di beberapa daearah di Malaysia nenek moyangnya berasal daripada keturunan raja-raja di Rao yang asal muasalnya keturunan dari[ada raja Pagaruyung

Today the secretariat and the organizing committee came out with their resolutions which can be read here

On The Train (National KRAs?), July 28, 2009

The PM today announced the six national key result areas. I do not wish to list them out here as you can read it in today’s newspaper online or otherwise. What I would to comment here is this. Knowing how it is in Malaysia. These KRAs will become targets and they are going to make sure they are met, at any cost. At any cost means in the end it just be numbers game for them and totally ignoring any elements contributing to the possible successful outcome. In achieving their targets most of the time they will ignore human element or getting to know the real issue in the process. The other thing is about the KRAs themselves as I eluded earlier they are mostly not outcome KRAs and not comprehensive to tackle the real problem that we are facing. One good example is in the transport industry.

By 2012, the LRT service will have an additional 35 sets of 4-car-train operating the Kelana Jaya route.

If the government would want to be specific the one thing they should really tackle now is the KTMB Komuter service which through my six years using it is pathetic. In fact I am on one now with the old dead carriages being pulled by a normal engine car. When I read the KRAs on this I was more than disappointed. I was madly angry. Don’t tell me this route has no potential compare the Kelana Jaya line. I have seen, observed and believe there is potential. It is only the failure of KTMB to provide a good service.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On The Train, July 21, 2009

The issue that we are facing today is really less of the need to do what we normally termed as KM but more of the trying to solve of being helpful to the real bottomline. Thus understanding the real business issue is key. The recognition that we received on the assessment of knowledge sharing in the organization by the management is encouraging but those kind accolades would not stand the test of time until and unless we deal head on with business issues. Indications were noted today as to what are the possibilities.

• The need for the majority of people in the organization to be strategic in their thinking and doing things
• All tasks should be organizational centric that would mean due focus on the bottomline
• Higher sense of urgency
• Stakeholder's needs - internal & external
• Greater collective responsibility
• Organizational change - Traditions as barriers
• Governance

In our planning and execution we have to be mindful and give the above due consideration

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cuti Cuti Malayia: Langkawi 2009, Day 2

Second Day: June 9, 2008, Tuesday

I woke up as usual and did my usual morning things before I yelled everyone to wake up he he he. The plan for the day was simple – be at the Kilim Jetty at 1000 and take a mangrove boat ride. The rest of the day would be an anything goes.

It was a very beautiful, morning over the Awana Porto Malai harbour which prompted me to stay out at the balcony taking few shots of the sea. I knew my photos would come out good and postcard like finished. I took enough to satisfy me and I knew I still have the next day to do it again. First thing first, since we had to be at the Killim Jetty at 1000 I woke everyone and announced that I would be going down for breakfast in 10 minutes. Anybody that was not ready would be left behind. With that ultimatum everyone got up and ran around taking their bath. I told everyone to dress properly for the boat ride and be prepared for the worst.

Breakfast at Awana was a disappointment First of all not much variety and secondly some of the food were tasteless. We just quickly ate and left. It was 0827 when we were taking our photos in front of the Awana before we left. Since I was a bit familiar with the handling of the car already I sped cutting though Langkawi to the other side of the island towards Killim Jetty. I only had to look at the map once and I knew my way already. Ever since we arrived I could see a number of cyclists on the road and they were note the tourist type but locals. That morning while driving to Kilim I saw a guy on mountain bike cycling hard on the same direction. Instantly how I wished I had my bike then. I guessed then there would be a number of cyclist communities in Langkawi. Baqir and I had been talking about the possibility of buying a new bike in Langkawi and seeing these cyclists on the road I got more confident that possibly there would be one or two bicycle shops around selling decent cheap bikes to take home. But one thing for sure though the next time we will be in Langkawi we will try our best to take along our bicycles.

Around 0910 I took the right turn next to the Perdana Conplex towards Kilim Jetty and we arrived 45 minutes earlier. Since we had our breakfast already I parked the car close to the jetty and walked around to take few photos of the place. The rest with the car aircon on full blast continued to sleep. The jetty, I suspected, mainly being the jetty for the local fishermen before was a bit dirty. The same Malaysian problem of poor maintenance. Judging from the attraction of the place it has greater tourist potential. What I am afraid without proper planning and monitoring the place will be ruined and no tourist value in the future. I have seen enough of these all over Malaysia to be apprehensive about the place. Really a pity if that really happen. LADA should seriously monitor the situation and should not allow even an ounce of opportunity for this to happen. You cannot fault the locals for behaving certain ways as they could not have been exposed and knowledgeable on how to keep on improving. Somebody has to seriously guide them. At the moment they rely totally on what they have, know and all the natural beauty of Kilim. Just one example is the number of boats operating within the area; no matter how many tourists coming there they should limit the number. As it was I could already see some of the spilled petrol or the emission of the boats creating oily sludge.

Fifteen minutes to 1000 I called En Ali to inform him that we were already at the jetty at which he replied he was on his way after picking up some petrol for his boats. I woke everyone up and asked them to go to the restroom to freshen up and prepare for the long boat ride. Ten minutes later we were standing in front of the big advertisement board explaining about the various places of interest. Initially I thought En Ali would be doing a short safety briefing about the boat ride but instead he ushered me closer to the board and told me what I had paid for and suggested that if I wanted to go to all of the places it would be a 4 hours ride and I had to pay an additional RM100. Not wanting to miss anything I paid for the extra two hours.

It was a medium size boat that easily could carry 12-15 people comfortably. With six of us it was even better. Our first stop was the Gua Kelawar (Bat Cave) which was surprisingly just near by. Our boat was commandeered by a nice young man, to make it easier let’s name him Captain, who sent us to the Bat Cave first and told us to take our time as he was going back to the jetty to collect our safety jackets. Gua Kelawar was indeed occupied by a lot of Kelawar. Our route was actually paved with concrete pathway and platform. Judging from the mud around the path in the cave it would be submerged during high tide. Of course one disadvantage in the cave was that I could not use my flash gun to take photos. I had to rely a lot on smooth handling and most of the time the results were unsatisfactory. Since we were on our own there was no guide that could explain anything to us. So we just enjoyed ourselves and once in awhile I was the guide to Mar, mostly explaining what I know. However, later as we moved forward in front of us was a couple being ushered around by a knowledgeable guy on the area. He started to explain couple of things that got me interested so we hung around close to them. We got an instant free tour guide. What I like about the cave was not so much of the bats but for of the rock formations that had gone through the test of time and changes. It was a nature art. Since the cave was within the mangrove swamp the pathway took us through quite a good section of the mangrove. I just love it and we stayed a bit longer trying to learn as much as possible about the swamp by observing the lives within it. I hope excessive tourism would not spoil the mangrove swamp. Majority of the locals as well as the tourists are still not properly educated as to the important role of the swamp to the ecology of Langkawi. The path took us around into another small cave that opened up to where we came in. Mar and I stayed a bit behind to indulge ourselves to more photography. When I got to the pondok where we disembarked I saw Sam with the children talking to the lady manning the place. True to form and thanks to her training Sam played the information seeker role beautifully. They learned a lot more about the place from the lady. I hope my children would learn from that experience and try to emulate their mum in the future. So much to learn in this world and the best way to learn is to experience the place and ask the locals to tell stories. Most people when asked about places that have been part of their lives would oblige with lots of interesting stories.

With our safety jackets on we left Gua Kelawar to the unknown, well at least to us. The whole thing was a journey of discovery for us. We sat back and enjoyed the ride and the places that our expert Captain took us. We were taken further in and the Captain did it in certain speed that we overtook few other boats. I was not sure why he did that but sitting in front I did not mind having a cool breeze blowing on my face. In fact I started to like it even more as he did a speed boat like cornering. We joked we were ‘drifting’.Then we came to and open area where both banks were about 200 metres apart. The Captain slowed down until we came to a complete stop. He started to look for something and poured them into the water. Instantly I knew why we were there. It was the eagles feeding time. We got very excited and I was ready with my Nikon to shoot. He then rammed the engine creating a bit of ruckus. He told us later it was to call for the eagles and indeed immediately I could see at least 20 eagles circling and cruising up above. Within a few minutes they came flying down to grab the food one after the other. It was a wonderful maneuver to watch. This was also when I cursed myself for not having long lenses. Mar was especially excited watching the eagles. All of us assumed that the food that was thrown into the sea was either small shrimps or fish but to our surprised when Baqir asked they were chicken intestines, gizzards and the likes. To make it even more interesting the Captain told us the eagles would not take anything else but that. I guess they were forced initially to taste the chicken ‘leftovers’ and over time became their staple. Thinking about it I was worried for the future of the place. If by their activities they could change the eating habit of the eagles without they realizing it they could disrupt the whole ecology of the place. It was just an instant small reflection to me as I could not but enjoying the whole scene of the beautiful birds flying in the sky. I was shooting at will taking as much photos as possible. When I saw my family was really enjoying the experience I knew the value was more than what I had paid. We stayed at the place for a while to enjoy the whole things and when other boats started to join us we slowly left the area.

The Captain announced that we were going to see the friendliest sting ray on earth and swung the boat around to track back to the way we came from and turned right to what I initially thought a commercial caged fish farm. It was a fish farm indeed but it was intended as tourist attraction. Once we were on board of the platform automatically a young Malay guy came over to welcome us and to act as our dedicated guide to show us around. I straight away impressed by this. Not only because they have it right by making it proper with dedicated guide/spoke person for each group of tourists but the guides were also knowledgeable and know how to handle the tourists. We were taken around from cage to cage to be informed and educated about the fish that they have there. Due to the other groups already there we started with a spitting fish. We called it tiger fish because of the obvious stripe on their bodies. This was also the fish that we saw at the Awana Porto Malai harbour and boardwalk. Of course we did not know it then that they also jump and spit to the surface to get their food. The guide pinched a slice of bread into a small ball, wet it using the water and then stuck it on one of the pole next to the water. It was placed quite high above the water and the guide asked us to concentrate our sight at the piece of bread. We did not know what to expect and we were really surprised to see suddenly a spurt of water came hitting the bread and brought it down into the water for the fish to immediately pounced eating it. It was really amazing. The second time knowing what to expect we concentrated on both what happened in the water as well as the bread. The only sad thing about it because of the relatively low light there I could not catch it with my camera. The next thing that the guide did was to wet another piece of bread and stuck it at the tip of his finger and put it up about a foot over the water. As soon as he did that the tiger fish jumped out of the water to grab the bread from his finger. He invited my family to try it and not even Baqir dared to do it. What a chicken! It left to the hero of the house, me, to do it to prove it was not painful. So I took the wet bread stuck it on my finger and put it out even higher then the guide before. Amazingly the fish jumped even higher and stuck its soft teeth on my finger to make sure it did not miss anything before jumping back into the water. Had I wanted to catch it I just need to make a quick grab.

Once we were bored with spitting fish we moved on to the next cage where they have a barracuda, and two coral fish one of them being a midsize grouper. Nothing much to see or play with except the guide shared with us about the peculiarities of each fish. Then we moved on to the ‘friendliest stingray in the world’ to play with. Nobody dared to put their hands out to rub the belly and mount of the rays so I just did. It was soft and when its mouth touches you, you can feel like something nibbling at you. When we were done with that we continued our round and in the end decided to go back to the spitting fish to end our visit there. So what do I think about the place?

1. They need to find new fish or things to add to the attractions, and
2. Improve the ‘look and feel’ of place a bit. Not too much that you spoil the natural setting.

On the boat again our Captain took us into the mangrove and immediately I was somehow reminded of St Lawrence’s waterway. Amazing, as that was from my geography classes way back in 1977-78. Anyway it was a very nice feeling and I love the ride with mangrove close on both sides. We came to another cave and this one looks like and underpass and it was known as Crocodiles Cave. Obviously the belief was that the cave was used to be occupied by crocodiles. When asked our Captain told us he had not seen any in his life there. It has a small entrance where only one boat can pass though one at a time and once inside it has to either reverse or find a way to turn inside the cave. There were about three boats already waiting when we got there. Our Captain suggested we proceeded as it could be a long wait and he described what we would see inside the cave so that we can decide whether to wait or to continue. We decided to continue and he took us along the waterway. With the almost still water he drove the boat at a faster speed maneuvering corners expertly creating a very enjoyable motion for us, especially if you were to sit in front with the wind blowing on your face. The kids joke about us being drifting. To certain extent they were right we were drifting smoothly on the surface of the water. We really were having fun with the experience.

From a far I could already see the opening in between two high wall rock formation and I guessed we were going to go through that. I was right when a saw a boat came through from the opposite direction. From a far you thought it was too small for our boat but as we inched closer a frigate could pass through comfortably. When I look at it the first time the first thing that came to my mind was Jason and the Juggernaut movie. The scene when his ship was bout to pass through a tight space in between to high rock walls. Of course in that movie mythical water giant came out from the water to part the walls for his ship to pass through. Of course I did not expect the same to happen for us that day :)). But your imagination works overtime once you remembered something like that. Once we passed through we came to a wider body of water and I saw two boats there waiting. Once I saw the eagles in the sky I knew why. Not as many as before but still a good number on them in the sky. I took few shots and we left to the open water. Our Captain informed us that we were going to feed some fish in an open sea beside a small island. I though it was going to be a short ride there but it was not. The sea was a bit choppy and since we were riding forward against the wave we were jumping and hitting the water quite often. With the speed the boat was driven it was really a jumpy ride. Suddenly Mar was quite, very quite in fact, and moved to sit on the floor of the boat next to Baqir. Her face was almost blue of fright and I pitied looking at her. Since we were jumping on top of the waves, water splashing in at will and this made Mar even more scared. I was worried as well and it was a long ride out. Had I known what we were going to see I would have not ventured out there. Eventually we came to the small island where there supposed to be a lot of small beautiful fish to feed. But because of the sea condition it was not conducive for that and the Captain took us around to the other side of the small island that was shielded from the waves and there was another boat and a family snorkeling already. We joined them but we did not seem to see any fish. Our Captain started to take out a packed of crackers and crumbled some into the water. In a few minutes we could see a lot of small fish came swimming grabbing the crackers. It was just one type of fish so it was not that interesting. Nevertheless we fed them still and once in a while munched the crackers ourselves ha ha ha.

Sensing our boredom the Captain turned the boat around a drove slowly back but not through the route we came out. Since we were not riding against the waves it was a better ride. The Captain being mindful of Mar’s reaction before said we were going to do it slowly. So we were a bit relaxed. Looking beyond from our back the Captain told us that 10 minutes towards that direction would be Thai’s water. He started to share with us that it was not that far if we want to cross. However it was not as easy because Jabatan Laut via it’s radar at the top of one big island we saw as we came out would monitor all the boat movements in that area. However there is a black spot – during Suboh. So if you fancy crossing to Thailand by boat in Langkawi do it during suboh :). The Captain drove slowly out even more and I thought he was taking us to the border line but then turned inwards again towards several islands. By that time we saw a lot of other tourist boats like us around the area. We saw one boat beached at one of the island and the people were playing and swimming on the beach. This was one question our Captain asked us earlier on, did we sign up for swimming as well. Meaning he will take us to one of the nice secluded island for us to enjoy the beach. Maybe some other time I said as we did not have our gears with us. With the sea getting calmer between the islands our Captain sped towards one island on our right. I saw from far that there must me another cave to see as I could set jetty and walkway going up. When we arrived there we were told that it was Gua Cerita (direct translation being Story Cave ha ha ha. Actually it was translated as Cave of Legends) and we were the only ones there. Before we went ashore I asked the rest whether they wanted to do this and with a boisterous yes we climbed down to shore. The beach area was not too big but if you want to have a dip it would be pleasant enough. We lingered around reading the plaque to learn about the Gua Cerita story. The legend has it that the Gua Cerita was a place where the Sang Garuda hid the beautiful permaisuri and once in a while he would come to share his story. I could be getting this wrong but it was something like that. He he he actually what was written on the plaque was.

‘Gua Cerita

Mudah dimasuki dengan sampan dari Tanjung Rhu, gus ini dapat didaki melalui tangga kayu. Terdpat dongengan yang mengatakan Gua Cerita ini dikaitkan dengan peperangan burung garuda yang menakjubkan. Ia datang kesini kerana seornag puteri dari China telah diculik dan dijadikan tawanan. Dapat dibaca walaupun samara di dinding gua ini beberapa tulisan kuno yang dikatakan adalah rangkap-rangkap dari kitab suci al Quran’


There was an English translation of the above there but I do not wish to translate it here.

Satisfied with that and after few tourist photos shots we climbed the stairs into the Gua, It was not a deep cave but deep enough if you want to make it a home. Inside in one corner was a flat rock formation that resembles a bed. Giving greater myth to the idea of it being the bed for the Chinese princess. We did not explore the cave earnestly just enough to satisfy us that we were there. Of course being a cave I suspected there was/is, were/are already occupants. After I gave my salam we walked down to our boat. On the boat and on our way back I could sense that we were already at the tail end of the ride and I tried to squeeze more shots of the surrounding. The clear indication that we were almost at the end was when our Caption took us to the rock formation where the Kilim Geoforest Park was inscribed on the rocks for all to see as a signature. Obviously the route back in was a different route where all kinds of rock formation to be admired were displayed. They were all there for individuals to admire and form their own judgments as to what formation they are. To us without wanting to spend time thinking too hard decided on the obvious. Soon the inevitable arrived and we docked at the place we got on the boat.

It was almost 1 pm when we were on firm land once again. Due to the sea water we headed for the restrooms to clean up and do whatever we could do to our shabby appearances. Satisfied with that we parked ourselves at one of the warong to taste the local food. Not much different but good enough for everyone. Judging from the surrounding if it were not during tourist season the place would be almost empty saved for occasional group tours. One thing I like about the whole operation was it was mainly local. 45 minutes after we left the place.

I knew what to expect at Perdana Complex, Baqir had been here so he was also noncommittal about stopping there. But I thought just to be a decent and complete tourists we need to explore the place. I paid for the entrance fee and all of us walked in. As expected the whole complex was filled with all the gifts, tokens and mementos presented to Tun Mahatir by various guests to him while he was in office.. A major section of the complex also housed Tun’s old car collection. Other than that nothing else interesting there. We did the necessary tour and walked to our car for Padang Matsirat. Our first stop there was Atma Alam Batik Village where my personal objective was to source for good art piece. I did not find any to my taste but of course being there I further contributed to the economic being of Langkawi all the same. My wife and daughters took a bit of time browsing, selecting and finally agreeing to purchase. With my eye lids being pull down by a sheer unseen force I put my tired body down on the only comfortable chair there and dozed off. Knowing better they only woke me up when the time came for me to part with more of my RM. At least it was not stressful as I did it virtually courtesy of Mr Visa.

By then the day was really hot and sticky that we could not wait to go back to our hotel. But then on the way out I made a turn to the left at Padang Matsirat town to stop at Beras Terbakar bazaar. We have been to the place at least three times already so most of us did not have anything specific to do there except my dear wife who wanted to find unique new patterns for her batik lepas collection. At this rate not only I have to break the walls to make room for my arts collection but a small museum for my wife’s batik collections as well. With that I just passed the bazaar quickly with the others to make sure I did not miss anything and parked ourselves at one of the cafes outside. I could not resist the temptation so I had cendol, 100 plus and hot Nescafe tarik kurang manis at the same time. With that concoction I knew I was going to pay for it after our vacation. Closed to 1700 we left the place and straight away headed for the hotel.

Backed at the hotel I could not go to sleep and since Mar was pestering me to go to the pool ever since we were back at the hotel I relented. It was a short deep as I planned to start shopping for chocolates at Kuah that night.

Impulse buying prevailed for me again, RM300 worth of chocolates and around RM200 for the other stuff. Then deciding on the place for dinner was really a challenge where in the end we settled for the Medan Selera at the Kuah Jetty.

It was a beautiful night again at the hotel harbour but we were too tired to enjoy it too long.

You can few the photos of the second day by ckicking the nlinks below.

http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=732507245&__a=1#/album.php?aid=115796&id=732507245&op=6
http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=732507245&__a=1#/album.php?aid=116373&id=732507245

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On The Train, July 13, 2009

The 1820 train was late by 10 minutes and when it arrived the second coach was an oven. I walked out straight away and walked up to the first which slightly cooler but still, with not many people on the train, hot. Just imagine it would be at full capacity which it was likely going to be soon. The driver walked down the line to inspect and I told him it was definitely very hot in the second coach. He took about few minutes to inspect to come to a decision whether go or no go for that train. Having been on the train for close to 7 years now I just knew what it meant. When he passed by I asked ‘jalan?’ he said no so I disembarked to wait for another one. Those on the train did not know it as the train cannot stop there it had to be the KL Station and the driver upon reaching KL Station would ask everyone to get down to wait for the next train.

I did not have to wait long for the next train and it was almost empty and cool as a fridge. As I predicted the people on the last train were on the platform at KL Station waiting to board. When they did the train was a packed sardine can. We were fortunate that the aircon was put on full blast. Though I was oblivious of the surrounding the frustration and anger dominated the air inside the train. The story of our last Langkawi trip was really hard to materialize in my brain. Alas I was typing away like crazy

Monday, July 13, 2009

On The Train, July 10, 2009

Yes, I have not been publishing any blog lately. Sorry for that. Indeed I have continued to write but on other things besides my daily musing on the train. Since, my neighbour mentioned about my blog yesterday I better strat publishing again to make sure it is alive.

Lately I find it really difficult to concentrate to write. Not so much I have a lot on my mind, it just that nothing clicks. As far as the train, of course KTMB’s Komuter, service goes it is getting better now with the introduction of the so called hybrid train. To those still wondering what hybrid train is? It is the old or not working Komuter train being pulled by the normal engine. To those old komuter that already dead KTMB even add a Gen Set at the back to power the aircon system. I knew it was suggested before by somebody or even their own staff but it was not down until every commuters cried for the heads. I met my ex-school mate on the train sometimes back and he told me the reason was it is costly to do that. In my mind still KTMB didn’t get it then. It was not about cost it is about customer experience. The failed to see the big picture until the damage had been done. Sadly a Malaysian mentality.

Yes, for almost a year now I have changed my morning schedule by taking the 0631 train to work. Earlier and ensure me to get a seat. Just the other day I realized the demography of the commuters has change as well. Firstly, I could see less than 10% of the usual faces remain. Secondly, most of the new faces are younger. Third, there are lots more causal or tourist kind on board. All these are good signs for KTMB unless they see otherwise.

I embarked on the same strategy when I boarded going home and presented with a seat at KL Station. It was the usual Friday evening commuters. A lady on my right was sleeping soundly and she almost miss her stop at Kajang.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cuti Cuti Malayia: Langkawi 2009, Day 1

In between weddings and thanks to H1N1 I decided to go local for our holidays this year. I thought that was going to be a very easy decision but it was a decision far more difficult to make and implement. We have done Semenanjung Malayisa to and fro and round in circle clockwise and anticlockwise twice. Sabah and Sarawak at least once. And me being me always last minute with his travel plan made it more challenging. In the end I chose Langkawi as it has been six years since the last family vacation there and I decided to be more adventurous this time.


Day one: June 8, 2009, Monday


Five to 0600 we were already at the eKiosk trying to check in but the machine kicked us out. Were we too early? I do not know but certainly the kiosk failed on us. So we pushed our trolley to the counter and checked ourselves in. The nice lady at the counter did ask us whether the kiosk is working or not? I said maybe we were too early and smiled.

The breakfast cost me around RM80 the realization after a loud complaint from my wife when my daughter came back with the change. I said jokingly what do you expect a piece of timun already cost us RM1. The whole nasi lemak special was RM11.90 and there was nothing special about the taste. It is an economy of scarcity and a monopoly.


Six to 0700 we walked into the waiting lounge and waited patiently for our gate to open. At 0756 the gate was still close and was obvious that our flight would be delayed. We are only allowed to enter the waiting lounge at 0800 whereas the scheduled takeoff time was at 0815. No explanation given and we waited for a bit more. Since we were seated facing out aircraft we could see the going on down below. Within few minutes of waiting we saw the workers, Banglas to be precise, were busy loading our luggage. We witnessed first hand their definition of loading. Which was simply throwing things in at will. Was I surprised by this? Not at all but the idiots should have known that they obviously could be seen from the waiting area. Eventually it was announced that we could board and no one seems to be bothered to wait for further instruction and walked into the plane. We took our seats and waited. The waiting was longer than expected and I knew too well that there must be something wrong. However, the pilot did a KTMB on us by not giving us any information about the delay at all. So we waited in silent and for me with a sense of fault de javu. I did not pay to be treated like I was treated by KTMB. But trying not to spoil the beginning of our journey I just sat there managing Mar’s antics. I did not know it then but another incident was in progress that could spoil the beginning of our holidays as well. A couple was actually occupying Sam’s seat. But Sam not wanting to make a scene relented. Had I known of the situation I would have yelled at the couple saying ‘If both of you want to do this go with Airasia!’ With all due respect to Airasia, this couple’s mentality was exactly that. No respect for others.


Instead of 0915 we arrived safely in Langkawi at 1030. The pilot apologized while on the air and too late for me to even consider it. Again not wanting to spoil our holidays I blacked out the feeling and walked down the tarmac to the arrival area. Once I switched on my phone it buzzed with incoming missed call and messages from the agent that was going to rent me a car. I called him and was told that my car was already waiting at the car park. True to Langkawi form the key was also there which reminded me of the joke by my friend. He said if ever I am in a desperate situation just be at the airport parking lot and I can have a pick at any car parked there. Apparently most of the cars parked there belong to various car rental agencies and they parked their cars with the keys visible or at places that are not that difficult to find. As soon as we loaded the car we drove out of the airport towards Cenang beach. At that point in time the weather was already hot and walking around was definitely not in order. I called up the resorts to find out whether our rooms were ready to check in. The lady who answered told me check-in time was at 3pm. I corrected her that indeed our rooms were not ready for us. Since we were already at Cenang beach we decided to check out the new renovated Langkawi Seaworld.


As we walked along the corridor I noticed that walking towards me was someone very familiar. I took off my shade and stood directly in front of his path. He looked up and we eyed each other a minute, smiled and without saying a word hugged. The last time we met was in 2004 during our reunion in Seremban. Lokman Hakim Abu aka Ray Clemence and his family were already in Langkawi for two days and scheduled to leave the next day. We chatted a bit and not wanting to take much of his limited time we promised to have dinner together that night.


We knew we were not going to find anything new at the Langkawi Seaworld except for the seals and penguins. For Mar’s sake I paid the exorbitant fees for all of us. I said exorbitant because they priced the fee according to the western standard but not the service. Further more with that kind of price they are not going to attract a lot of Malaysians to the place. Anyway once inside we made the best of everything and as expected Mar enjoyed the experience the most. As in any tourist attractions like the seaworld at the end of the tour was their souvenir shop. However it was a light different in the Seaworld where the management decided to have various small stalls selling their wares. This one particular stall immediately attracted the attention of Baqir, Kak Cik and Mar as we walked out. It was a stall making a wax hand ran by two young Malay guys. They got interested to do their hands and looking at the process easy enough I agreed. Sam and I were more attracted to the two young Malay guys’ entrepreneurship nature. We chatted with them and admired their resolve and resilient even more. Since the process was easy enough I thought it would be a short once. I was wrong we had to wait for 40 minutes for the whole thing to complete. We waited with our stomach already growling to be fed.


As we knew that food can be a bit expensive in Cenang we decided to have lunch in Kuah and I took the Temoyong road there. That road took us passed the Shrimps the place where Sam and I had our seafood dinner once. I knew instantly where we were going to have dinner with Lokman that night. Nothing much has changed in Kuah except the main road to the jetty was closed for upgrade. The usual shops and players were still there the only thing we were told by Lokman’s wife was that now the prices are almost the same everywhere.


Since the main road was being upgraded gone with it the seaside Medan Selera. It must have been moved somewhere but I was not that serious to find where it is now. I just drove around and we could not find anything decent to stop to eat until I decided to just stop at one restaurant as we drove in the second time around Kuah and had our lunch there. The food was ok but what surprised me the price was not as cheap as before. While eating I tried to make sense of the town, of course with my benchmark being the old one that I used to, and found out nothing much has changed. So immediately I knew we would just be coming back to Kuah town to buy chocolates and do a little shopping of the usual.


Around 1510 I walked to the front desk of Awana Porto Malai to check in. As usual I presented the lady at the counter the two cards. my ID and credit cards. We went through the motion until she presented the key when I realized it was only for a room. I remarked ‘One room only?’ Implying I had booked two. Obviously I need two rooms and since my booking was done by my friend who happened to be somebody powerful in the state the lady did not say much but just to murmur and audible ‘the booking was only for a room’. Quickly she conferred with her supervisor and they decided to give me the next room which happened to be a connecting room to the first one given to me. I sensed they had to bump somebody to give me that room. Regardless whose mistake it was I still need another room. I could not have my family cramp in one room for two nights.

The room was quite spacious with two big single beds in both rooms. However because they wanted to have a bigger room space they sacrificed both the bath room and the WC which were separated. I guess the architect and the owner wanted their guests to enjoy the atmosphere more then the utilities. Well this could work for some people but not others. Especially those that were paying for a five star prices. To us it did not matter as long as we can enjoy ourselves and have beds to rest at night. Those paying for a sea view room like us then got compensated by the beautiful harbour like sea view. The holiday season rate for such room is RM275 but I, courtesy of my friend, got them at RM240 each. Maybe had I played my cards better I could get even cheaper rate. Nevertheless I am thankful to my friend who made my holiday possible and enjoyable. The only drag – there was no broadband connection.


After I took my bath and said my prayers I called Lokman to set our appointment for dinner. Since we were musafirs I offered two options, to have an early dinner or later after Maghrib. He could not commit at that point in time as his family were busy shopping and said would call me later. With that I decided to go down to the pool with Mar. Well actually Mar had been pestering me to go since we checked in. I actually wanted to go as well not so much to swim but more for the therapy for my clavicle that I broke late last year. Because of that, to Mar’s dismayed, I did not stay long. I had to promise her that we would be coming down swimming again the next day.


Back in the room I thought I was going to take a nap but the agent from the car rental agency I rented my car from called me to inform that he was coming over to give me a better car. Due to that I decided to go down with my camera to take some shots while waiting. Baqir and Mar decided to follow me. Just a few minutes, while we were busy takings photos Lokman called to say that they have decided to have an early dinner and almost at the same time our new car arrived. With that I called up to the rooms to inform the rest to get ready.


Despite driving from Cenang we arrived at Shrimps first. The place was empty and we were the only customers there. Sam, small Mar and I were there once tasting the food for the first time years ago. It was at night when we were there and nothing much we could see except lighted areas. That day there was a bit of daylight so we could enjoy the whole place a lot more. The commercial fish and shrimps ponds were down below like rows of small paddy fields very close to the edge of the Andaman Sea. Since we were the only one there I thought we could have the best table. Indeed I had the choice of a spacious sitting down kampong style gazebo but when we walked up we saw lizards droppings were almost everywhere. Initially we asked the girl to clean the place up. But after thinking and conferring it over we decided to move to the bench table across Sitting about ten minutes we realized the table was no better as the previous one. The place was littered with droppings. Not to waste any time we ordered our food and watched the girl clothed and cleaned our table. That was when my wife asked the girl honestly whether we were not going to have problems with droppings falling from the roof while eating. I was surprised after all this while they still could not solved the problem. Have they ever tried putting a layer of mosquito net as a ceiling? To her credit the girl honestly replied that she could not guarantee that we were going to have a pleasant dinner. With that we chose to have an open air dining under spot lights. That was the best decision of the night. As we were moving to that table Lokman and family arrived. As I recommended Lokman and wife, Fazlina, came with four of their children. Their eldest son chose not to join us.


Obviously Lokman and I could go on talking about old times but being a good husbands and fathers we decided to talk about our families and included everyone in the conversation. We learned about each other even more. Lokman and I having an unbreakable bond now became even unbreakable with our families in the relationship equation. For sure the next time we are down south we will stop over at their place. The good food eventually served and even with their freshness and good taste became the prop for the family gathering. We chatted, chatted and chatted, the food came and went but never seems to be able to satisfy our appetite for chatting. Just like playing chicken all of us were waiting for someone to give up first and call it a day. In the end our youngest hinted to us the fun, the good night and the gathering had to end. I paid the dinner, said our goodbyes (even this took us almost 20 minutes to accomplish) and departed Since Lokman would be leaving the next day I sadly said to myself when is the next time?


While waiting for Lokman and family to arrive earlier I called En Ali the mangrove boat ride operator to set and appointment fro our boat ride the next day. Since he suggested that the best time to feed the eagle was around 10.30 to 1100 am we agreed to meet at Killim Jetty around 10 am. Because of that we decided to cal it for the night and headed for our hotel.


There was a bright moon when we arrived at the hotel and it created a very serene environment deflecting shining lights of the quiet sea. I was tempted to sit around at the hotel’s boardwalk to enjoy the moonlit night and taking few photos. But once up in the room I misjudged myself and did not realized I was really tired. It must have been because of the heat. I changed and once my head was on the pillow I was gone.


You can view all the pictures for Day 1 here.