Friday, July 31, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
this was the only one i brought back to kampung that seemed decent (and cute) enough. abang khaleef wanted to wear his ben10 and nothing else. okay.
so in quite a long time, i was part of a real kampung kenduri. masak gotong royong, marhaban by orang masjid and the works. classic.
when we arrived, mr. khairul's mom had already fashioned two hammocks for the 'naik buai' ceremony - green one for kahfi, and the purply girly one for his cousin wafa.
for my non-malay buddies, lemme enlighten you guys on what is the 'naik buai' ceremony!
this ceremony is usually done to celebrate the birth of the first grandchild in the family. however, these days, any baby is a wondrous gift to be celebrated! kahfi is the second grandchild in mr. khairul's family, while wafa is the first grand-daughter.
the celebrated baby would be placed in the buai or hammock-like thingy made from 'batik' cloth or 'songket' and decorated with flowers, fancy cloth, silvery strings and such. if you notice the fancy cloth is elongated on one side of the hammock, to be pulled slowly to rock the hammock as the baby lies inside.
while the baby lie (or if we're lucky, when the baby sleeps) inside the hammock, a group of men or women would sing the 'marhaban', 'nazam' or 'gurindam' to mark the celebration. once done, a decorated door gift, usually in the form of 'bunga telur' would be presented to the marhaban group.
thankfully abah just gave khaleef this new songkok, so i had it with me and put it on the day's celebrity - kahfi! he is so cute in songkok, eh?
right before the marhaban group arrived, khaleef went goofying around with his aunty sofia, mr. khairul's youngest sister. they're two peas in a pod, they are!
while the kids goofed around, the makciks had bigger things happening in the kitchen. they single-handedly cooked the food for the kenduri. that's kampung event for you - gotong-royong is always the dish of the day - neighbours left and right coming over to help cook and prepare the food. something malaysians should be proud of.
what do we have on the 'dulang'? ikan goreng, sambal udang, ayam rempah, gulai lemak nenas and salad telur. simple but satisfying! served on transparent kenduri plates, placed on white kain seprah right on the floor - memang kenduri melayu!
correct me if i'm wrong, but usually the architecture of a rumah kampung is longer rather than wider so as to provide a suitable venue for an indoor kenduri. even my opah's house in teluk intan has a long design from the hall all the way to the kitchen - no dividing walls!
from the picture you will see how the 'sets' of food were arranged in a long line, on the white cloth. a minimum of 4 people would share a set, as can be seen from the arrangement of the glasses and plates. during the makan-makan, no matter how chaotic, it is quite festive to hear someone shout, "nasi tak cukup!" or "pinggan satu lagi!" or "sambal tambah!" and someone would hurriedly amend the situation.
the marhaban people arrived after maghrib. mr. khairul's family took their place and got ready. the proud dads - mr. khairul and my bro-in-law k. proud host and hostess, haji anwar and hajah azian, mr. khairul's parents. proud aunts and uncle - my siblings-in-law teh and asrar. sorry you missed this, tina but i heard you had fun so i guess things went well in genting!
the marhaban troupe comprised of men from the nearby mosque took their place and sat cross-legged in front of the food. they started with tahlil, reciting 'lailahaillallah' - there's no god but Allah - and the loud voices singing glory and praises for Allah reverberated throughout the kampung house in kampung lalang.
after that, the men were invited to feast upon the food. jemput ye, jemput makan!
what? no, the babies were not placed in the hammock just yet. at the time of the makan-makan, they were in fact asleep in the room downstairs!
oit, bangun! your time is coming soon! meanwhile big bro khaleef ate first, munching rice with fried fish. nyum nyum nom nom.
after dinner, it was time for the babies to be placed in the decorated hammock. by the time mr. khairul carried kahfi, he was already awake. but little wafa? she slept right through, totally and absolutely undisturbed!
i can see the suspenseful look of dismay in kahfi's face as he was placed in the hammock as if asking, 'why in the world am i put in here, being stared at by these pakciks and atuks!' and true enough, when the troupe started singing the marhaban in their high, manly-shrill voices that were booming, kahfi started showing signs of pre-crying complete with mulut cebik-cebik.
milk was prepared, kahfi fed and he became more relaxed. in fact, he looked unblinkingly at the 'choir' of men before him as if enjoying a show. and soon enough, eventhough the voices became louder, higher with thundering inflections every now and then - kahfi actually fell asleep! as if after being lulled to sleep through a soothing lullaby!
you must imagine that these are men. manly men. men with loud, raspy voices. booming voices. men who do not sound like anuar zain nor michael buble. they sing marhaban like it was a war-cry to celebrate a triumphant day of happiness, joy and warm welcome to new members of the family. to thank Allah for this bounty. they were loud.
and yet kahfi fell asleep. nyenyak tak terkejut lansung! wafa? she was STILL asleep. i can say that she probably was not even aware of the whole event ever taking place! that, was the power of the marhaban.
other than the normal marhaban which i often witnessed in such events elsewhere, like for my own nephew haiqal, the marhaban group that my dad-in-law invited also sang the amusing gurindam, laden with words of wisdom. gurindam is like a poetic song, sang in the malay community from the days of yore.
in this gurindam sang to my son and my niece, i can hear basic life-advice like 'ilmu agama kajilah selidik' and 'berhati mulia', 'berkasih-sayang' also 'bantu-membantu sesama manusia' - in the hope that the babies would grow up to be good people, pride of their parents.
another interesting thing to note - i was told that in that marhaban group, there was a strong main PKR person in the kampung, and a strong main UMNO person in the same kampung. and i believe the group also had men who were members of these two rival parties.
..and yet, in this little event, in this humble kampung, they put aside any political beliefs and affiliation - to come together for a mutual reason - to laugh, to sing in praise, to celebrate a happy day for one of their neighbours. these are the kind of political leaders we need. i was truly inspired.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Majlis Hari Anugerah Kokurikulum akan diadakan pada 25 Julai 2009 (Sabtu). Semua ibu bapa, bekas pelajar dan orang awam dijemput hadir bagi memeriahkan lagi hari tersebut...so goes the ad in the official website for raja perempuan school, ipoh. i didn't go to this school, nor am i a fan. budak-budak sekolah ni tak la sebest MGS girls - malaysia's best school! haha. however it is special in a way, since my mak is a product of this school, (still unbelievable since she's such a COOL person!) while currently my eldest sister, though an ex-convent-ian is teaching there. hello cikgu syazrin!
Terdapat pelbagai aktiviti menarik seperti gerai jualan, pameran dan persembahan pelajar.
anyways, we went to its 'hari koko' for short. in recent years, my school mgs called it 'pesta ria' or a fun fair. call it whatever, it is still a 'hari kantin' for me. a day where the students put on the role of canteen makciks, aci and ahso. form 2 and 4 student open food stalls, while students facing major exams like form 3 and 5 organized fun-fair-like games, karaoke 'lounge' and the ever popular, gearing the longest waiting line - 'rumah hantu'!
last time (now, azi said the boys and men were shun from entering the school on a hari kantin after several untoward incidents) anyone from gramma to mat motor can come. they buy coupons to be used to buy food.
my best hari kantin was undoubtly when i was in form 2, under the helm of the fantastic mr. ooi ah bah. we sold burgers and our class collected the most moolah! yay!
back then i remember the heat was already on right from the week before the actual day, with perang poster - students aimed to come up with the most creative, most catchy posters, banners and buntings for their stalls. it was festive!
and the crowd - man, oh man. you can't hardly recognize our canteen with the amount of people walking within the vicinity! dah tak nampak apa! the field was teeming with people and the hall, crowded! even the walkways from the main entrance leading up to the field was full of people walking to and fro.
as for raja perempuan school, yong said before this only students and family members were invited to join. however, this year is the first time their letting the outsiders in. yong said by the time we came which was fairly early, the coupons to buy food were already sold-out and the teachers and students were overwhelmed by the crowd.
crowd? what crowd? haha.
we arrived bright and early morning, only to find out we were not that early! yong was waiting at the hall and her bright all-teeth smiles welcomed us into the vicinity of her beloved school. we met a teacher who's the boarding school warden (maaf, lupa nama. yong?) and she led us to the back of the hall where a feast of spaghetti and kuih melayu awaits. it was the extras from the vip in the morning award-giving ceremony (remember the one where yong won the best club?) langkah kanan lah, bak kata yong!
then i met the charming mr. t.j., teacher with loads of experience on his back. i thoroughly enjoyed talking to him, not only because he has a nice sense of humor, but he's the sort of teacher you know you'll enjoy listening to in class. nice to meet you, mr. t.j.! and yes, you are young at heart!
after the simple spaghetti meal, we were off to where the action really is - the field!
as expected there are stalls selling cupcakes to burgers. from rojak buah to fresh fruits. there was even this questionable murtabak made from maggi. hmm. not bad.
there were a few students urging cikgu syazrin (yong) to buy from their stall but this was only when we approached their stall. some with aprons and standing up ready to welcome customers to their stall. however, i can see some girls just sitting down sembang with each other without even looking at us, even when we're near their stall! macam mana nak berniaga macam ni!
there was a karaoke section right at the edge of the field - and the worse part was the speakers were directed straight across the field! so any minah or minachi singing can be heart from miles away - pitching ke laut, screeching voice and all! but i guess to the girls and gang, that was the thing that added to the festive mood. loud, noisy and full of fun!
a young male teacher (hmm, did i hear it right? young? MALE? in an all-girls school? i thought that was just a myth!) was the top attraction of the day when he went 'centre stage' to grab the karaoke mike singing 'jai ho'. amboi menjerit-jerit le anak murid cikgu bagaikan menonton konsert!
it was - different - from the hari kantin i was used to. less crowd, less madening students screaming for customers at the top of their voice - but it was still an entertaining day.
i think yong was very proud of her hari koko. what more since she won the best club award for her english club. congratulations yong! she is indeed one of those rare individuals who genuinely enjoy teaching and is passionate about the profession. i'm saying this not because she's my eldest sister, but i've seen and heard so, so, so many teachers who do nothing much but complain, sneer at the 'extra' work they're expected to do and gossip at the teachers' room. yes, NOT ALL teachers are like this but admit - you definitely must have encountered some.
before this yong devoted years of her life in the corporate world. i wonder how she compared both experience. so i asked her, yong, kamu suka tak jadi cikgu?
without a flinch, she answered, 'suka! not just the teaching, but the concept of being a teacher.' yes! the problem with teachers - yes, THE PROBLEM with teachers these days is they only want to TEACH. full stop. no bigger picture. in fact, THE PROBLEM with some teachers is they went into the profession because they have nothing else to do. not by choice. that is why the passion is lost.
run a club - no time. take kids to field trip - malas. organize an event - banyak kerja la. but gossip time at the teachers' lounge - boleh aje! the PROBLEM with teachers these days are excuses. no, i may not be a SCHOOL teacher, but i do teach, and i do more than just teach. teachers should understand that with the role comes other responsibilities that may not be written in the job scope.
how can you inspire young minds when you're not willing to go the extra mile? are you a teacher? brickbats are welcome!
Friday, July 24, 2009
i'm not a super cook, but i cook with love. *smile* enjoy the pictorial entry!
a simple prawn dish. marinate with serbuk kunyit and garam. fry till golden brown with red chilli and onions. serve hot. nyum!
masak lemak cili padi with chicken. blend cili padi and onion. smother all over chicken in the pot. pour santan. sprinkle serbuk kunyit till you get the desired yellow gravy. add a pinch of salt. put potatoes and stuff if you like!
lovely mix vegetable. just campak whatever vege you like! i have carrots, brocolli and capsicum. slice and dice. add oyster sauce and a little bit of water for the gravy. nyum.
i believe this is the first ever lauk that i learn to cook by myself without mak's help. in fact i was rather proud of this little dish that only i can cook (konon). i remember mak always put aside the white meat, cut it out in cubes for me just so i could prepare this roti bungkus dish.
tumis bawang, put in diced chicken. add cili, tomato and soy sauce. salt and pepper to taste. done. for the 'pembungkus' just use 3 eggs, and try to make it as paper thin as possible. baru sedap!
finally, the main act - the sambal belacan! mix and match cili padi and red chilli, onion, and garlic. ground them up in the mortar. when they're all meshed up together, add lil bit of lime squeeze and air asam. fuyo!
"abah sedap tak? ni syigim buat dengan yong? jadi tak?"
"hmm. sedap, sedap!"
..of course! it is cooked with love!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
ipoh town holds many memories of my teen years. hanging out at the local mcd opposite super kinta (pasar besar ipoh) - ade lagi ke super kinta? behind that, there's 'kompleks yik foong', lepak place and the location to get funky clothings that mirror the rap groups of my time - 4U2C, kru, feminin and res2. dengan seluar gedoboh, oversized t-shirt dan baseball cap, masa tu rasa macam kita la yang paling kool! hihi.
after a walk through pekan ipoh, (selalunya ke yik foong, kemudian ke super kinta, mungkin makan di mcd) this is where i waited for my bus - at that tall brown building on the left - i call it 'bangunan martell' - pasal ade signboard besar that says 'martell'!
and if buses don't come after few hours (it happens!) i just walk to the back of the building, where a cab company offers their service - but i have to wait until there are 4 people going to the same direction. then only we board the cab back home. nak jimat - bayar 1/4 je!
ah, cathay cinema. smelling of mouldy seats and stale popcorns. but for cheap seats and a decent cinematic experience, this was it! complete with leather seats at the 'waiting area' upstairs that looks like it's taken straight out from a jefri zain's movie!
we eat mcd or kfc, then scoot off to cathay, or lido next door. i remember once my friend accidentally bought the cheapest seats right at the front of the big screen, and we suffered stiff neck and joint-ache afterwards!
this was also the first cinema theater i went to with just my friends. yes, it was a big deal back then for me to be able to gain my mom's trust and watch movies without the family. i remember my first movie was 'home alone' and i saw it with niraku. kamu ingat tak?
pasar besar ipoh - super kinta
pass the dark murky walkways, smelly with an awful stench of a week-old poultry - and you will get to super kinta, the superstore for the ipoh folks back in my teen days. that's where 'big boy' is. that's where i buy my school uniforms. that's where i get my telekung. that's where i get my latest 4U2C cassette tapes. fresh flowers and fresh fruits. you'll get it all here in pasar besar ipoh.
i remember as a kid, this was where we get our baju raya. it was such an event for us when mak got the monetary provisions from abah (thanks abah for ALL our baju raya!) and we got to shop for our clothes - kain baju kurung beli di kamdar, and here we looked for 2 more baju raya - 'baju pusing' and a pair of shirt and jeans. these are the usuals.
ye? baju pusing tu ape? baju pusing tu baju gown la. haha. apparently i coined the term when i was younger because when i wear a dress, i like to turn round and round, hence - 'baju pusing'!
just yesterday even abah was asking aloud, "ade lagi ke supermarket kat atas tu?"
after a day of shopping at our humble neighbourhood 'mall' - we definitely rest our feet and fill our tummies with burgers and fries at the opposite mcd. yum!
mornings before going to my 1119 class. lunch before a movie. afternoon snacks after school. tea-time after staying back for club meetings. dinner - hmm, dinner tu jarang!
i always, always lepak here as a teen - in fact i had my 16th birthday bash here. 14 years and 2 kids later, i took my boys to lepak here. seeing the girls in light blue school uniform brought back so many fond memories.
korang ingat tak ade satu mamat keja mcd ni muka macam azhar sulaiman? i bet all the girls have a crush on him!
yup people. i'm ipoh mali.
there's no place like ipoh. i was born and bred here. went to school here from standard 1 to form 5. had my first ever paid-job here. met mr. khairul for the first time here. what a special place!
come raya, even after getting married, i'm glad that our destination to balik kampung is still perak. to ipoh my abah's place, and to padang rengas my in-laws' place.
Ipoh is a city in Malaysia and is the capital of the state of Perak. It is approximately 200 km (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway.
The name Ipoh derives from a local tree, pohon epu or now more commonly known as pokok ipoh. The sap of this plant is poisonous and was used by Orang Asli (indigenous people) to coat the tips of the darts of their blowpipes.
if you guys wanna go see the ipoh tree, there's one right smack in the middle of the beautiful floral green garden right in front of the ipoh railway station, another classic landmark in my town. it combines gothic and moorish architecture, and was the setting of (tak silap aku) a scene from one of my favorite malay movies, jimi asmara.
ipoh in movies
speaking of movies, the simple and serene ipoh city has been top choice for filming - 'anna and the king' starring chow yun-fat and jodie foster, erma fatima's 'embun' and the war movie 'paloh', and even oscar-winning director ang lee's 'lust, caution' starring tony leung!
ipoh is also a favorite location for award-winning director yasmin ahmad for her movies 'gubra', 'sepet', 'mualaf' and 'talentime'. (i hope yasmin recovers soon! we need her to make more soul-searching, heart-touching movies with ipoh setting!)
Ipoh City is the home to many a miner who has made a fortune during the heydays of tin. Once a small kampung with dilapidated buildings, Ipoh, a town that tin built, did not pass with the demise of the tin industry. Instead, it has grown with the country's economy. Poised to become the focal point of industry, business, investment, education, and social activities, Ipoh reflects the overall progress and development that Perak is experiencing.cuti-cuti ipoh
read more here.
if you guys want to cuti-cuti ipoh, there's a lot of interesting places to visit! it might be a small, simple town but it has its little gems!
try spending your nights at 'kellie's castle', which is the unfinished, abandoned mansion of an eccentric rich british dude, near batu gajah, half an hour's drive from ipoh city centre. it is believed to be haunted (biase la kalo dah abandoned) and contained secret underground passageways.
i remember going there with ani my neighbour, yong and abang mat yang nak berdating, and i took the time to explore, and we even climb windows and jumped on the other side! masa tu lagak indiana jones!
after exploring your inner horror-movie fan, relax yourself at 'd. r. seenivasagam park', or simply 'taman d.r.' to the locals, located in the heart of ipoh. is known for its scenic beauty and recreational facilities, but best of all - an artificial lake filled with various types of fishes, which was our favorite haunt as children.
we used to bring our overdue bread yang dah keras tu to feed the fish. the sight of huge schools of fish racing towards your piece of thrown bread is just priceless!
gua kek lok tong
ipoh has many limestone caves due to the surrounding karst formations. the sam po tong (in chinese 三宝洞; cavern of three precious) temple, is a chinese temple built within a limestone cave. another sight worth seeing is the kek lok tong (in chinese 极乐洞; cavern of utmost happiness), another cave temple accessible through the gunung rapat housing area.
if you're coming from kl, look out for the 'simpang pulai' exit, turn right and drive straight on. after throngs of pomelo stalls, you'll definitely will catch sight of the beautiful cave temple, kek lok tong.
speaking of pomelo, ipoh is famous for this lovely round fruit, among other things. it's green, round, the size of a bowling ball. cut open and you'll find sweet, seed-like fruit in bunches, soft to the touch.
if you guys want to look for goreng-goreng yummies, the best two places i know in ipoh are the greentown area near the ipoh city council building and ipoh parade, or right near abah's house at the new ipoh bus station. long line of stalls offering hawker food hot from the wok and pan into your tummies!
lost world of tambun
if you like sunway lagoon, you may like the 'lost world of tambun', a water themepark fit to bring not only the kids but the whole family and friends for hours of non-stop fun in the water!
are you an ipoh kid too? then you're sekampung with these popular figures!
- Film and television: Dato' Michelle Yeoh, Angie Cheung, Amber Chia, Iqram Dinzly,
- Mamat Khalid, Patrick Teoh, Peter Pek
- Sports: (badminton): Koo Kien Keat, Choong Tan Fook, Lee Wan Wah, Cheah Soon Kit, Wong
- Pei Tty, Wong Mew Choo
- Cartoonist: Lat (yay! kampung boy!)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
i took the kids to meet their bapak in the afternoon. the plan was abah and yong would meet us later for dinner right here. the kids golek-golek. watched cartoon. took naps. i didn't see mr. khairul for the past 5 days so i gave him a big bear hug! *snicker!*
casuarina hotel is one of the biggies in ipoh, and i remember occasionally going there for dinner with the family way back in my teen years, when mak was still around. this is my first time seeing the room, though. i like the walls. they paint it in smudgy blue over a white wall, giving it a rough but creative finishing. soothing to the eye too.
the bed spread and curtains were way too plain, and not attractive. but to me, the room is comfy enough with all the necessary amenities. but there's nothing in the fridge (people hardly ever take anything from the mini bar anyway) which means more space for your air sejuk or ice-cream!
the best part of being in the 7th floor room was the view. hey you may be saying 'ek eleh' but to me that was a wonderful sight of ipoh, even if it's just a small part of it. i could spot ipoh parade at a distance, alongside syuen hotel and the bangunan perak. a quick span to the right and i could see heritage hotel looking so small amidst greeneries.
* * *
fast-forward to dinner time. mr. khairul had a chat with abah while i took pictures of yong and kahfi. the boys - khaleef, haiqal and haqeem had good fun running to and fro across the lobby and the reception area all the way back to the coffee house.
this is kahfi's mak long. my eldest sister.
these are the boys. cousins. khaleef, haqeem and haiqal. gaduh or gelak, they're buddies in crime. silly or serious, they're a hoot to watch.
..or at least until you could not hold your temper anymore!
it was weird to me that haqeem didn't want to order any food except ice-cream. "haqeem share ngan mama!" his abang ordered fish and chips while khaleef at the extra portion of french fries and took some of his maklong's pasta.
when haqeem's ice-cream came, the other two looked on, drooling.
abah and umi went malaysian - ordering mee kari and char kuey teow. i wanted char kuey teow too, but i wanted lamb chop more. and i made the right decision because it was goo-od. the rack of lamb, that it. its side dishes, sucked big time.
my rack of lamb were stacked on top of each other, on top of a pergedil-like mash potato that looked like it's deep fried. pergedil lah kan? let's call a spade, a spade lah! then there's this crunchy soba noodle ke ape ntah which i think is a nice touch to its food presentation.
siap ade polka dot polka dot gravy tu on my plate! i appreciate the effort!
mr. khairul's lamb shank was tender and juicy, but was slightly salty. i love it still but mr. khairul took a while to finish it. he no likey!
after the scrumptious meal, mr. khairul left early to meet up with one of his best buddies living in ipoh - blood (jangan tanya, aku pun tak tau nape nama dia 'blood'). balik ipoh je sure jumpa mamat ni. nice guy. since i'm sure these dudes are gonna have a late night out, i'm spending the night at abah's house still.
lagipun azi nak balik ipoh hari ni! yay!
abah and umi took kahfi back home first while i lounged around at the lobby with yong and the boys. haqeem and khaleef main kejar-kejar while haiqal took our pictures.
..with countless takes as he either gets it blurry, or too bright, or too dark!
sigh. i hate to leave these memories. i might not tell her often but i love every minute that i could spend with yong. she's been there through my ups and downs, especially the worst of times - she listens and never judges. she lends her ears, then offers comfort. i did good, she rejoiced. i make bad judgments, she reasons. thanks, yong!
that's when you know that your own sister could very well be the very best friend you could ever need.