Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On The Train (Fortunate or Unfortunate), April 26, 2010

By their behaviour I was certain the main thing they craved for was the love of parents. They may have everything else catered for them, even care takers or surrogate mum and dad, but they were completely missing the real thing in life. Seeing them I could not help thinking how lucky my children are and how they take life for granted. This sure begs the question of who actually are the fortunates and unfortunates. To me this depends on how you see the world and all of us see things using different lenses. Some of us see the world using a wide angle lens, the big picture and normally from a far. You tend to see things on the surface. Those that are using a close-up micro lens would be able to see a bit more detail and the tendency to be a bit more involved trying to understand further and help whenever we can. A lot of us also use our standard zoom lens and not sure how to react but just to pull in and out of view searching for something that you also not sure of. No matter what kind of lens you use you need to really explore an understand a bit more of your images. The first time I saw the kids when we arrived at the Rumah Kebajikan Ash Shakur I saw smiles and excitement on their faces. Probably because that day was the best day of their life to be able to go to The Lost World of Tambun that they probably never heard of before. Maybe just simply because they got to be away from the ‘home’ for a day to enjoy other parts of the world. Or maybe, just maybe, they were, because they were told they will be given a mum and dad for a day, looking for that unfulfilled needs to be loved. After few hours at Tambun I was certain it was the later and I was more certain when we were about to part ways at the end of the day when we sent them ‘home’. My ‘assigned’ daughter was a twelve year old Julia Azira Mohd Jamaluddin and son Mohd Hasbullah Mansor. Like the others both came from a different background.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On The Train, April 20, 2010

It has been two weeks already that I am in a thinking mode. Today was no different and while deep in thought I realized that between all of us we have, collectively, about 40 years of KM experience. So, except for new tools and thinking why are still relying on external expertise with our KM initiatives? We are experienced enough to develop our own perspective of what’s working or not. More than that I would think if we were to sit down and think about it we could even develop our own tools and techniques based on what we know and experience. A think tank of sort is in order for us. Maybe the next area to explore for us would be complexity science, Complex Adaptive System. Putting everything that we do in a better perspective. We seriously need to find opportunity to allow organic growth of the practice.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On The Train (Di Antara Agensi Melancung dan Agensi Melancong), April 16, 2010

Aku baru sahaja selesai menbaca Stones into Schools semalam dan ketika berkemas untuk ke pejabat pagi ini telah mengambil keputusan untuk mula membaca semula buku karya Bapak Hamka Tenggelamnya Kapal Van de Wijck. Buku ini telah lamu ku cari dan telah ku perolehi melalui belian di Internet. Buat pertama kalinya aku membaca buku ini semasa umur ku 18 tahun. Asyiknya aku membaca dan berkhayal sehingga mampu habis membaca dalam masa satu hari. Masih ku ingat ketika itu cuaca tidak menentu tetapi emosi ku jauh pergi berkelana mengikut jalan cerita yang diolah oleh Bapak Hamka. Indahnya kisah cinta sehingga aku teruja ingin terus mecari karya sedemikian rupa seterusnya. Malangnya aku telah kecewa.

Muka surat pertama buku ini telah ku meluai membaca sebaik aku duduk di tempat kegemaranku di atas keretapi pagi tadi. Aku pasti sehari dua ini aku akan tetap diasyikan dengan cerita lama tapi masih gagah berobek jiwa. Malangnya pembacaan ku telah diganggu oleh keinginan untuk lebih prihatin terhadap bahasa yang digunakan. Tidak semena-mena aku teringat akan teguran kesalahan menggunakan bahasa melayu Agensi Melancung dan Agensi Melancong. Paparan iklan sebegini kerap kita lihat tetapi masalahnya ia membawa dua makna yang berbeza. Dari segi bahasa kedua-duanya betul. Ia menjadi salah jika pernggunanya salah kerana Melancung bermakna Menipu dan Melancong bermaksud pergi berjalan bersiar ke tempat-tempat riadah. Jadi jika kita melihat paparan di papan iklan ditulis Agensi Melancung ia bermakna agensi itu adalah Agensi Menipu.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On The Train (Knowledge and Learning Spaces), April 13, 2010

I gave my usual talk on work spaces this morning and I had a very receptive as well as perceptive audience. One thing for sure I need to do a bit more selling for the whole community for them to really understand and appreciate the importance of the concept and spaces we created for them. In Knowledge Sharing, Creation, Transfers and Learning spaces play a major role. I used the term ecology and described the history of Silicon Valley. Paradoxically all of my audience today did not know where and what Silicon Valley is when I asked. They are the internet generation. They were born to live and use the products that came or originated from the Silicon Valley so to them for all they care these products could just be from China, Taiwan, Japan or even Vietnam. They certainly could not be bothered by where or what Silicon Valley is. It just did not register in their young brains. I shared with them how Silicon Valley emerged to become a habitat and used that as an example to explain what I meant by ecology. Although, it is a complex phenomena they are certain aspects of the ecology we could introduce in our environment. Using all the models and concepts that I knew of knowledge management and learning I explained how we developed the idea of work spaces in our organization that are crucial for an improved performance.

Come to think of it now train coaches should be designed for knowledge sharing and learning as well :))). Some of us commuters are already reading, like the lady sitting next to me, on the train, one or two like me writing or blogging on the train and maybe it could be a good place for story telling and discussion as well. A lot of things happen on the train that can be used as opportunities for conversation starters.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

3N2D Around Malaysia By Train - Final Leg

JB – KL Sentral, Jan 31, 2010, Departure 1420. ETA KL Sentral 1915.
Travelers: My Wife, Kak Cik, Mar and Me

At about 1300 we started walking to the railway station, Upon reaching it we found out not many travelers waiting. We couldn’t be too early? The fact is not many people like to travel by train anymore. Especially with the kind of services KTMB providing or maybe not providing. Those waiting together with us mostly looks like they were students or family traveling in large group. The state of the waiting area also indicated to me that KTMB was either losing money fast or could not care less. Granted they maybe waiting for the new modern terminal to be ready but that should not be at the expense of us. The surau was pathetic and when I asked for the restroom we were told it was inside the platform. The gate was padlocked. Innocently I asked how could we go in to use it and was told when we were ready to board. His next response was the best, well at least he tried to be helpful. If we really needed to go there was one across the road. Ha ha ha ha that was customer relationship management 101 KTMB style. They did not have a clue as to what customer experience was, and still is?

Again, trying not to spoil our mood we just made do with what KTMB could offer. We said our prayers and waited for our train to come from Singapore.

At 1420 we checked onto the platform, rushed to the restroom before our train arrived at 1420 for us to board for our last leg home.

Our first class seats were indeed first class albeit a bit rundown. We did not mind. Our coach was the only first class coach that day. Apart from the nice seats we were surprised by the availability of power socket by the window. Kakcik straight away plugged her handphone to be charged. I did not have my laptop then if not for sure I’ll be using it. In the future internet access would be the norm. The first class coach came with one master attendant and a waiter/cleaner that served us bottled water and bread when we boarded. My only complaint was that KTMB expected all their first class travelers to have bionic ears. The attendant put on a movie and the screen was naturally at the front of the cabin but to my dismay there was no sound. Well at least not for us halfway down the coach ha ha ha. I saw a passenger across the aisle actually took our his mini DVD player and put on his own DVD to watch. For us we did not care. The movie was an old movie anyway.

We purposely did not take our lunch before we boarded because firstly, we were still not that hungry and secondly, we wanted to eat at the buffet car again. So, ten minutes into our journey I asked the attendant how far down was the buffet car. I almost yell loudly when he said there was none. But, luckily that was a quick but, he told me ahead at Majidee, or Tampoi, there would be a caterer coming on board to sell packed food and drinks. Mar was already crying, more like yelling, for food already by then. Despite constant reminders she pestered me relentlessly. Indeed the food ‘boarded’ eventually and I quickly followed the guys to firstly determine what kind of food he had for sale. I was told of quite a nice variety but I had to wait for at least 20 minutes for him to start his business of a storage area at one corner of a coach down from our first class coach. I relayed a message to my family of the variety and I placed an order immediately and waited.

The food were not too bad. We finished everything in record time.

I tried to sleep but was not successful. In the end I planned my photo sessions for the rest of the journey. Having got down at certain stations already on the way down to JB I chose Kluang as my main station to shoot. When we got there I straight away jumped out with my camera blazing shoot at will he he he. I was joined a Caucasian tourist shooting the happenings there. Seeing us one of the train conductors advised us to come closer towards the station to shoot. It was also in a way telling us it is ok we would not be left behind ha ha ha. My shooting partner remarked loudly. ‘ What was it with tourist?‘ Jokingly saying that both of us were nuisance to others boarding the train. I just laughed at his remark. Maybe it was through for him but for me I was really just menyebok. Or maybe he was also a Singaporean resident taking the train for a short holiday in Malaysia. In any case we did our best to capture the lively scene.

From then on I decided it was not worth going back to my seat. I stood and sat by to the door until when we were about to reach Seremban. Immediately after Seremban the atmosphere and our demeanor changed. As if the lights had been switched off for us. We just sat quietly with our own thoughts waiting for our last stop. At that point was still KL Sentral. Even Mar was quite. Only whenwe reached Labu and realising the time we decided to disembark at Kajang instead.

At 1955 we disembarked at Kajang station and the end of our 3D2N Around Malaysia By Train. Till the next one 5D4N Around Malaysia By Train - KL Sentral - Padang Besar, Padang Besar - Gemas - JB, JB - Tumpat, Tumpat - KL Sentral.

Friday, April 9, 2010

3D2N Around Malaysia By Train (Almost) - 2nd Leg

Tumpat – JB, Jan 30, 2010, Departure 2030 ETA JB, Jan 31, 2010, 1045.
Travelers: My Wife, Kak Cik, Mar and Me

We were eager to be on board again. I told my family, once I was inside and the train moved, I was going to sleep straight away. Which I did. The day was hot and humid and with lack of sleep the night before even if I would want to stay awake I would not be able to. So I just followed what my body naturally told me to do. With the train movement rocking me I went into a deep sleep. I stirred once in a while but most of the time fast asleep. While sleeping I could feel that the train was actually traveling very fast. I felt like I was flying through the dark cold night. I woke up around suboh and called my wife to get up and we decided to take our bath. It was the first time experience taking bath in the small bathroom for my wife. I coached her on what exactly to do and she went first. Actually it was not that difficult after so many years doing it I could claim that I am an expert at it. Ha ha ha. Well my wife came back smiling and when I asked her how it was she said she did what I told her to do and she was fine. I followed suit and had a good morning bath. Since the Tumpat JB train did not provide a surau we said our prayers on our bunk.

Just after suboh we slowly rolled into Gemas Station and this time I went down on the platform with my camera. My camera clocked a time of 0708 on the first photo I took of the station. Still, in that early morning I could not help being so nostalgic. The train however did not stopped long at Gemas but enough for me to see the hand over of responsibility to a new engineer/driver. My guess was that the new driver would take the train all the way down to Singapore and later in the late evening would take the train back up to Gemas or maybe all the way back to Tumpat. Whatever it was soon everyone was awake and ready to have breakfast. Just like the day before we walked to the buffet car to have a breakfast of almost the same things we had on the train from KL to Tumpat. But instead of the morning scene of inner Kelantan that morning Buloh Kasap and Segamat were our views for breakfast. At 0814 we arrived at Labis a small station but very much alive with passengers embarking. I really was surprised with this

We sat in the buffet car for awhile trying to kill sometimes and for me for something interesting to capture. Eventually the usefulness of the buffet car as much as for us to use it to extract something special reached its maximum. We walked back to our coach and do nothing but just waited for JB to show up. The waiting was so unbearable especially for Mar. With the almost empty coach we joked and messed around with one another.

At 1050 we were standing in front of the JB station signboard to take our pictures. Another phase of the adventure completed and we had about 3 hours to kill in JB before we board another train back to KL. Since we had taken our bath and breakfast on the train the only next logical thing to do is explore what the vicinity could offer us. The JB train station was connected to the new mall opposite the road so we climbed over the pedestrian crossing and entered the mall. Of course it was already opened and we walked around. The usual outlets were there but all of us were not in a mood to window shop let alone do a serious shopping.

After awhile the mall lost its notoriety with us. Our feet suddenly were heavy and refused to comply with the instruction coming down from our brain. Yes, we were tired but it was not really because of that. Our brains were like saying after KB is this the best JB could do? We walked out and decided to explore beyond the mall. We walked down to the road and crossed the old main, famous main street of JB, road to the other side The other side were Sikh Temple, Puteri Pan Pac, a mall with Kamdar in it and resemblance of the old JB that I was familiar with. It was actually a futile effort as the ‘other side’ proved to be a disappointment for all of us as well. We lazily, with faces of almost disdain, walked back to the first mall to wait it out before we take our train home.

While walking back looking around to find something interesting to shoot an interesting realisation struck me. I saw around me the dichotomy of the old and new JB that forcefully staking their claim in the city. Clearly I could see a very old building sandwiched by new modern office blocks and hotels. Not only that within these old buildings or blocks lifestyle was preserved like it was then, lazy, what do I care and couldn't care less attitude. Observing and absorbing it made me somehow agree with their statements. It was by no means political but a statement of intent none the less. ‘Leave us alone we like our lives the way it is.’ I took some shots to immortalized this statement.

While walking on the other side of the road I saw what I was looking for all this while. Across the road on the ground floor of the first mall we entered was the Starbuck. We bought some coffee and tidbits and parked ourselves in there until almost an hour before our boarding time. We just crashed, I guess due to lack of proper sleep the night before.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3D2N Around Malaysia by Train (Almost)

I have been planning this trip for quite sometimes. My intention was really to do the entire KTMB system KL – Tumpat, Tumpat – JB, JB – KL, KL _ Padang Besar and back to KL. When I planned this earlier I needed 4 days to do it and I was already at the KTMB counter to commit myself when I found out KTMB had changed its schedule. Dumbfounded and angry at KTMB I shelved the idea until recently when I found out that they changed their train schedule yet again. Mapping out my proposed journey I found out still I require four days to complete the whole system. I stalled and put it off for a while as it would be too early for me to take leave. The Chinese New Year holidays is one option that I could consider but I rather not compete with the rest of the holiday makers. Too stressful. I thought that’s it for now until I realized actually I could do KL Sentral – Tumpat, Tumpat – JB, JB – KL Sentral in 3N2D. Which means I do it over the weekend and back home on Sunday night. Luck had it that the following weekend was a 3day weekend for me due to the Hari Wilayah. I sent a message to my wife to say I would be doing the train trip and let me know who would like to follow me. The following day I dropped by at the KL Sentral and booked us for the adventure.

KL Sentral – Tumpat, Jan 29, 2010, Departure 2035 ETA Tumpat, Jan 30, 2010, 0946.
Travelers: My Wife, Kak Cik, Mar and Me

Initially two other relatives wanted to follow us but at the last minute canceled.

We arrived at the KL Sentral almost at the same time. Mar, Kak Cik and my wife from Bangi and I was from work. Despite their experience on the Komuter train battling the Thaipusam and 3 day weekend crowds everyone was very excited about our trip. Upon seeing me, Mar did a Baqir by saying, ‘Abah lapar.’ With that we went down to the Secret Recipe on the L1 to have dinner. Knowing what you could get from KTMB’s buffet car I ordered something heavy and advised everyone to do the same. When we were at the Secret Recipe I was frantically trying to locate a power source to charge my handphone as at that point in time I was already running low. I need my iPhone to be fully powered to last me until Tumpat as I was planning to do a live updates to my Facebook status.

Dinner was quick as we need to say our prayers before we went to wait for our train. An advise to travelers if you want to say your prayers without having to fight for a space go to the surau at L4.

Around 2010 we walked towards the waiting area and still I was searching for a power source that I could benefited while waiting. In the end I found one at the bottom of an accelerator next to a vending machine. We waited there until we were called to board. Mar being herself could not even stay still a minute and deep down both Sam and I were hoping she would be quite once on the train. Since I was a bit late with my booking our first leg had to be done sitting in an economy class. It was not bad as we did that before from Singapore and it was better for us as it was our first leg and we were still fresh. Luckily I managed to get sleeper for everyone for the second leg to JB from Tumpat. We were in Coach GX seats 7A-D and one advantage of our coach was that it was next to the buffet car. The coach was three quarter full when we boarded where at one end seated a group of young hikers, I thought, were heading for Dabong to hike Gunong Stong. Later I found out I was on the money on this one. At the other end closer to the buffet car a bit empty but for a group of young guys traveling together. I sat together with Mar and opposite us across the aisle my wife and Kak Cik. Directly behind Mar and me was a lovey dovey couple that later was a nuisance to our eye sights as well as our comfort level.

Once seated we could not wait for the train to start moving which it did slightly of schedule. I was delighted to see my planning and the eagerness to experience the long train journey once again materialized. Looking across at my wife I could sense her excitement and looking at Mar beside me was always new territory to experience. I, on the other hand started getting nostalgic about the whole things. I did not pay much attention to the early part of the journey as between KL Sentral and Bangi is my daily route to work. Instead I gathered my things, pulled out my book, I brought along Eleven Minutes Late: A Train Journey To The Soul of Britain by Matthew Engel, and coached Mar on the mechanics of using the chair. But one station that I was really going to get serious about – Seremban.

When we arrived at Seremban station I put strong words to Mar not to follow me. I got down and started to take a few shots of the station. When I was about to take one particular shot I saw the station’s clock through the view finder and that gave me a first indication that we would not be on schedule. The time 2215 really surprised me as I knew we could not have taken more than two hours to get to Seremban from KL Sentral if we were on schedule. That time on the clock also triggered my subconscious search engine to pick certain events and experiences in the 70’s. Almost exactly at the same time we would normally boarded our east coast train. Back then our trains were known and called by either east coast, south or north trains. South meaning the train was going to JB , North to Padang Besar and East Coast to Tumpat. The train did not stay long at Seremban, as soon as the last person boarded the whistle was blown. I jumped up onto the train before the train conductor, but continued to take few more shots from the slowly moving train.

I had brought along the KTMB route map with me and now using it Mar kept on asking where we were and what was the next station. Tampin would be next but it did not hold any significant as far as my memory bank was concern. It was Gemas that I was looking forward to. However in between reading and trying to stay abreast with Mar’s antics I got sleepy. At Tampin few more passengers boarded and among them were those without tickets. These passengers were normally a short distance passengers that would pay for the fare onboard and sit where ever they could find empty seats before the rightful owners boarded. They kept on walking the aisle if they could not find any and the younger ones would just prefer to stand by the doors. By that time I was really sleepy and despite the uncomfortable seat I entered my never ending story world. Mar was fast asleep already by then.

I must be really tired. I missed Gemas altogether in fact I missed a lot of stations. I only woke up when we arrived at Kuala Lipis at around 0530. I have never experience arriving at Kuala Lipis that early in the morning. The platform was empty and quiet. When I saw it from the train I decided not to get down and take photos. Instead, since Suboh was about to knock on our spiritual door, I asked around whether or not there was a place to pray. I was told one of the cabin at the back was used as a surau. I walked back to my seat and mentioned this to my wife. It was still too early to go though so we waited a bit. Mar by this time was still in a deep sleep, lucky for us she could go to sleep at all, and we planned it as such for Kak CIk and my wife to go first and I stayed behind to accompany Mar. Kak CIk and Sam came back a few minutes later to inform me that the prayers room was packed and I should be going there immediately to avoid further delay. Indeed when I got there men and women were already waiting out side of the small cabin and it got worse as we waited. At the first opportunity I rushed in. KTMB should provide another cabin for the ladies to pray.

When I was at my seat again I tried to read but I could not concentrate. The next station would be Merapoh and it was still along way to go, I dozzed off. I woke up when we were coming into Gua Musang station. I always had my camera hanging around my neck, instantaneously I jumped up and walked to the door to get down at the station to take some photos. I was so fast that i did not realised Mar was following closely behind me and I only realized she was there when I was already at the door. I strictly told her not to follow me down. It was still early in the morning and the light was low. I had to do some quick thinking and decided on a smaller aperture to make sure I capture enough. If I were to use the flash I knew it would not be enough to capture enough depth. Early in the morning my hands were not steady so I did my best. Realising in any minutes the chief conductor will blow his whistle I took a few quick shots. I jumped back up when the train started to move. Maybe we were to far at the front but I did not see any meks selling foodstuff at the platform. I really missed that scene.

As we left Gua Musang I decided to have breakfast at the buffet car. When we found a table we sat ourselves and started to think what food to have. That decision was not that hard for us as the waiter came to announce that they had only nasi goreng china or just plain nasi goreng. Even the eggs were ran out. I was lucky to get the last mi goreng. All of them not even fresh but for someone hungry we just ate. One good thing was the drinks were hot, original and fresh. The buffet car was not that full so we stayed back a bit longer to enjoy the scene outside. Since we were passing rural Kelantan we could see green of the jungle mostly. Now and then we would passed small kampongs and towns. At the back of my mind I had implanted a trigger to be aware of Bertam Ulu, the place that we used to live for couple of years, to take a look and take some photos. Alas, it happened so sudden and I was not ready. I was eating and talking when I look outside I saw a familiar rural stop and straight away my subconscious mind said it was Bertam Ulu. I almost yelled at everyone and tried to explain to them about the place. I thought the police station was still a bit far ahead as it was on top of the highest point of the place overlooking the bridge where the train would cross Kelantan river but I was wrong. It came so fast that I could only managed to grab my camera, pointed and shot what ever I can. The darn glass was a mess of droppings and lines of water tracks that the camera captured. I only managed to catch a glimpse of our old barrack. I was pissed with myself. As that was the second time in my life since we left Bertam that I failed to capture the image of the place from the train. Well, trying to be positive, I said we could always comeback again. We continued to sit there and enjoy the ride.

I could not stop talking about every place we passed. In a mix of geography lessons, social studies and religious opinion I was animated in front of my family. I was especially excited when I saw a small hut with a Astro disc on its roof. In places like that Astro is a must for them I guess and for sure the top channel for them would be Zee. Maybe it was the only channel for them he he he. Kelantanese love for Hindustani movies is phenomenal.

Overtime we saw people started to trickle into the buffet car signaling it’s the time for us to vacate the table and return to our seats. Back at our seats we just silently, but of course not Mar, decided to do our own things. I picked my book to continue reading but after few minutes I just could not concentrate. I knew I was too excited by the fact that we were about to pass through stations that I really knew and nostalgic about. Kuala Krai came under the early morning bright light. As we approached I could see the authoritative figure of the station master standing waiting for us on the platform. The station was his domain, territory and home that he had every right to feel that. Anything about the train stopping in his area was totally his responsibility. I could relate to that and respect him for his authoritativeness. Actually station masters are great source for stories of the area. For Kuala Krai it was Station Master Tajudeen. Since the station was fairly renovated I did not feel like going down instead I just sat to enjoy the view from my seat. After Kuala Krai the one prominent different would be the long bridge and crossing of Sg Kursial followed by a journey on flat land. Soon enough farms like paddy and tobacco fields started to materialize as our constant views.

When we arrived at Tanah Merah then I knew how really late we were, by at least two hours. With that information I did a mental calculation how much time we would have at KB. It’s all depends on how soon we could get a cab to take us to KB. Right after Tanah Merah as well I decided I had enough of sitting down and started to walk to the back to stand by the door. There were already three young guys/ teenagers on the right side of the door and another young man that was not part of the three guys standing on the left. With my camera I parked myself next to the guy on my left and stand facing where the train was moving. From the conversation that I overheard form the three younger guys two of them were brothers and they were going to disembark at the next station, Pasir Mas. From their vocabulary as well I deduced that they were either locals that have been brought up outside of Kelantan or really someone from out of town but visiting their parents who were stationed in Kelantan. Seeing my camera and in action one of them asked me whether I was on a assignment. I knew what he meant and not wanting to spoil it I just nodded my head. Who would have thought otherwise? With my discovery pants, t-shirt and cap backward on my head I would not blame him for thinking who I was.

Just outside Pasir Mas the train stopped to wait, not sure for what, and it was a long wait driving the three young guys impatiently mad. I myself was eager as if saying ‘hey! let’s get this over with. I wanted to see Pasir Mas station again so bad that I wished it was soon enough for me to get over it as well. The old station that I knew was a wooden station like Kuala Lipis and I was not expecting much development there. When at last the train moved all of us standing there almost gave aloud sigh of relieve. When we actually arrived I stepped down after the boys and started to snap a few. As I was still busy doing this the whistle was blown. Yes, we were late and the station master did not want to add to it further so I jumped up onto the train as it was started to move. As the train roll off slowly I was still standing at the door. With my left hand holding on to the handle bar and both my legs spread eagle hard against the two walls in order to steady my stand I shot the station and anything around it with my right hand. I did a continuous shot without stopping until we were out of the station. Leaving Pasir Mas meant we were not that far way already from the end of the Express Wau line. Coming up was Wakaf Baru where most people going to KB would get down. I was contemplating to do the same but then I won’t be staying true to my plan. I persisted and Wakaf Baru came and gone without much funfair. By then we were the only passengers in our cabin. The cleaners were already busy at work since Pasir Mas so after Wakaf Baru they were really at it. I could understand why, they wanted to leave the train for home sweet home as soon as it parked at Tumpat station.

We almost jumped out of the train when we arrived at Tumpat. Being late and our eagerness to be in and explore KB got us excited. With just a customary photography session we walked out of the station to be timely asked by a man whether we need a car or not. I replied KB and he said RM25 and I replied back let’s go then. It was a kereta sapu, why was I surprised I did not know as I should have known in Kelantan kereta sapu is quite command. The weather was a bit hot outside so the little comfort that the kereta sapu gave us was a blessing. As usual there was a bottle neck at the bridge going into KB. It looked abandon and I could not guess when the upgrading of the bridge area going to be completed. Maybe after the next election. Our destination was Pasar Khadijah as we intended to do a very serious shopping straight away. Indeed the first shop I entered at the Bazaar I bought a piece for Sam. The rest I left it to the girls to do the shopping and I gladly do the paying. We did not have much time left to spend in KB as our train to JB would be leaving at 2030 that evening so badly in need to take a bath we went to the restroom next to the Pasar Khadijah that had a shower facility to shower and immediately say our prayers at the nearby madrasah. When we got to the restroom we were told they had problem with water pressure and would not think it would be enough to take a bath. We decided to use the bathroom anyway to clean ourself the best we can. Once inside I saw the shower and turned the tap to have a nice surprise of flowing water coming out. Without much prompting I went in, undressed and had a very nice shower.

Refreshed after the cold shower and prayers we walked out of the madrasah with only enough time to take our cab back to Tumpat. We left a bit early as I did not know the nature of the traffic to Tumpat especially going through the never-seem-to-finish Sultan Mahmud bridge. Again when I was asked at the bus stand we were ushered towards a kereta sapu. Only this time a bit newer than the last one we took. We were lucky the traffic jam at the bridge was not so bad and cruised nicely towards Tumpat. I chatted the teksi sapu driver and was glad to find out that he used to work at Nilai. Well I was not surprised by it. It is common for Kelantanese to work in other state came back went they find life can be really hard in Klang Valley. He started to narrate about life there and the reason he decided to bring the family home. Life can be really hard away form home. He also lamented about the fact that his son actually failed four times in his application to join our police force. Promise after promise went unfulfilled. In the end his son moved to Klang Valley and applied from there and got accepted. Funny world according to him. To me it was just a basic economics. In places like Kelantan joining the army or the police force is one last and best option for the youth of Kelantan to earn a fairly safe job. Whereas in the city like KL it was the opposite. Not many youth would want to join the police force even if it meant that they going to stay jobless. So more opportunities to those applying.

We reached Tumpat railway station at 1831 and spent our time there taking pictures and enjoying the place as much as we can. Our train to JB would depart at 2030. While waiting for our train I was speculating whether or not it would be the same train with coaches that will be going to KL. Later I found out that the KL train actually already left the station at 1800. Our train was parked beside the station’s workshop. Just before maghrib to my astonishment came a cleaning crew with their water jet spraying the coaches. They were actually washing two or the newly chained coaches and it was almost dark. Sarcastically I remarked to my family they might as well start the job at 2000 when it was really dark. The surau was basic and the door to the lady’s surau failed to work so everyone has to use the man’s surau entrance creating a bit of nuisance to the ladies.


Monday, April 5, 2010

On The Train, April 1, 2010

This is no April Fool but a real sense of sadness dawned on me because of how people around us react to certain thing inappropriately. I am not talking about what had happened at work here. No matter what their motives are you cannot cloud your judgment with negativity. Well, one could argue it is easier said than done but then again if we do not try what are we? Life is full of surprises and not all of them are roses. Thus we need to learn how to deal with all of these and not creating additional unnecessary pressure for anyone. KTMB has gone back to being it’s incompetent self. Two days in a row the Bangi train just went missing in the thin air. Now I am in a solid packed train going home. I got my seat yeah, but looking at discomfort faces can get you feel sorry and very angry at the same time pretty quickly. I am also sad to think there is someone out there who is or might not be happy now. Am I being philosophical or reflective now? Maybe I am but that’s what I am.

Another month gone and I am not sure I have achieved anything?

Small Town Pahang, Stesen Keretapi, Holiday and Me, Dec 12-15, 2009 - Day 3

It was drizzling when I woke up on the second morning. Still, knowing that the rain would be intermittent I decided to go for a ride. I rolled off out of the resort at almost the same time as yesterday. I turned left also just like yesterday but I have no intention of cycling to TC. Instead I wanted to explore the inner life of Kg Balok. As soon I got to the junction pointing to the most promising route I entered and started cycling inwards. The rain got a little bit heavy for awhile and stopped as I cycled further in. Judging from the position of the kampung road I deduced that it was parallel with the main road going further up east. My mental calculation of the distance and direction was indicating to me that I would ended at Balok town itself and I was right. The route was not that difficult and I cycled at a medium pace. As much as I was trying to avoid the rain I was also trying very hard to explore and enjoy the kampung. It was not really a kampung like it once was. Instead of the old stilt kampung houses now many of the houses are modern exclusive bungalows or houses built, obviously, and owned by outsiders. I used to remember as well that part of Balok was actually a low wetland which now being reclaimed for the obvious reason. Once I reached Balok town I decided to turn back and use the Balok beach road going back.

It started to rain again when I was admiring Balok beach I cycled back to the Balok beach recreation centre office to take shelter there. When I explored the place I realised that it was a place where Azmi had his camping retreat recently and instantaneously gave me an idea. So I looked around to gather as much information as possible about the place. It was suitable for our Putra Terrace outing. Once the rain stopped I got on my bike and cycled back to the resort.

Once in the room no one is committed of anything to do. My lovely wife was still in the midst of her record breaking feat, Mar was her usual energetic self, and kakak and kakcik asleep. So I decided to take a nap before we check out.

The night before I decided to stay another night in Kuantan and of course we had to find another place to stay. Since I did not want to go far I decided to check the availability of rooms at the resorts exactly next to Duta Village. We were lucky there was actually a family room for us available at Swiss-Garden. So after we checked out of Duta Village we just lingered around Balok before we checked in again at Swiss-Garden. We have stayed there before so we knew what to expect.

Once in the room once again nobody wants to go anywhere so we just stayed in either sleeping or reading. Later Kakcik and Mar decided to hit the pool. When I woke up from my nap I decided to join them. As planned, for dinner, we went to visit my cousin. Frankly, thinking about it our third day in Kuantan was because I just did not wish to go home yet. Back from my cousin’s place we just hit the sacks. We checked out the next day thinking it would be just it would be a straight forward thing.

When I drove the car to the lobby to pick up everyone and our luggage I daughter exclaimed to me as I got down, ‘ Abah tayar pancit!’. Well, another thing to dela with. I put on my glove and changed the tayar he he he. Then stopped at the first tyre shop the we came to and had the puncture fixed. Because of that we decided to go to Tg Lumpur to have our lunch at the same palce we had out evening tea the day before.

Two and a half hours later we were safely home. He he he while they were sleeping I floored the accelerator.