Saturday, December 30, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya Haji.

Assalammualaikum & Good Day;

Hope you are all well and ready to face 2007. Had another great TT with the MyStream gang last night. I suppose the occasion also marks Den's 34th birthday. Doc was not there as he is celebrating in Kelantan, not because he's afraid of his wife but because his wife is not afraid of him. Jac was called to fly to Hong Kong at the last hour, Mat Salo have to remain in Balik Papan and Dee is wrestling with some fish somewhere. But we do miss the promised sponsored kuaci...

Bbugs is bravely facing the foggy, cold and wet London streets I suppose, so is Azman. Take care guys. Look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Where do we go from here ?

Another waypoint is fast approaching in this journey we called life. A marker of time, counting the days that have passed and will never return. Where have we been ? Where next ? Do we really plan our passage or let the ebb and flow of tide carry us at will ?

Yesterday a colleague remarked " never seems to end does it ? Seems yesterday we were worried and excited about the Aidilfitri arrangements, then it was the school holidays and the trips, now with Christmas just gone, I am yet again bogged down with the Aidiladha preparation. One after another, never stops !"

From the movie Volver starring the voluptious Penelope Cruz " always leave a lot of unfinished business when you die, even if you do finish most likely its done all wrong. Forget it, if you have to go, just go."

Ultimately, thats it isn't it ?

Then again, while I am still living and breathing, perhaps I should heed Subra's nag and really work towards getting rid of this filthy habit. Though according to a Doctor friend, based on the latest research, if you have smoked for more than 15 years (which I have - god, has it been that long), then your body needs at least 15 - 20 years to heal itself. Statistically, I may have another 22 years, so if I quit now, most likely the day that my body heals from the nicotine and tar would also be the day that I expires. Hmmm.... The consolation comes in the form of financial savings and avoid the smell - don't like the lingering smell.

God, please give me the strength, wisdom and patience to quit smoking. Amen.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mak Lang.

Alang, the title bestowed on the third child in the family. Mak Lang, the female acronym. To me Mak Lang is the most giving person I have ever known.

She was widowed at an early age. She just got her second daughter and their family is about to join the Felda program when her husband passed away. All her plans came to a standstill. My grandparents took them in and there they stayed. Mak Lang was a pretty lady, a lot of men asked for her hand but not once did she even considered those proposals. Her reason was that she worries for her daughters, their welfare, if she is to give her life to another man. To raise her daughters, she helped in the paddy fields and tap rubber. She worked hard. Amazing thing is, not once did she complain, about anything. Least of all about the cruel blow that life has given her. She worked so hard, that her hands, in the later years athropied. We suspect it was the chemical that she used for the latex and those in the paddy field. She refused to be sent for treatment.

I was close to her and her daughters. When I started sailing, there was once when I visited them and over lunch just casually mentions that it has been quite some time that I have eaten pucuk manis, a village veggie she normally collected in the rubber estate where she works. I did not give any further thought to that matter and left. Instead of going back home, I went to visit another sailing buddy. Spending a night or two before I get home. On getting home, there was a bunch of pucuk manis and some young coconuts in the kitchen. According to my mother, it was Mak Lang, she came from Linggi alone, by bus to deliver those things to my house in Cheras. She is illiterate and has never travelled alone before but insisted on doing it as she can't bear the thought of me going away for months on end on a ship without having tasted the foods that she thought I crave. I was wrecked with guilt, there I was having fun with my friends and here is this lady summoning whatever courage she has to venture into the unknown just to make sure I get to eat those veggies. This happens in the early 80's, since then I never again mention such things if they are not already on the table or in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Art on the Railings.

Bayswater, London, end May 2001. Sunday morning along Hyde Park. Rows of atrworks on display and for sale. The Khat was there alongside masks, crafts and nudes. Real reflection of life, the good and the evil in existence at the same time and space. Make your choice....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Interesting ID.

More to come....

Asia's Southern Tip.

Beluncas, a thriving population in the muddy mangroves of Tanjung Piai. Hmmm, I know some people like that.....

February 24, 2001. A working visit to Tanjung Piai, the Southern most tip of mainland Asia.

We stayed at the small resort pictured above. Very basic amenities. Hopefully its being developed and prepared for VMY 2007.


March, 1999. For Aiman & Akmal. Taman Melawati. Seems like yesterday yet ages ago. Korban, sacrifices, do we actually get what it means ?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Broken Promises.

Photograph by cousin.

AN Uncle and Aunty was hit by a trailer from behind. The car spin twice and ended up in a storm drain. Fortunately, the incident occurs near a mosque at about zohor, the mid day prayer time. Unfortunately, Johor has been having heavy rain and the storm drain is filled with water. Somehow my Aunty was thrown out during the fiasco and ended up standing in water up to her neck, her attemp to climb out was futile as she keeps slipping back into the water. My Uncle was strapped in and still in the car, fortunately again his side was above water.

Both of them were finally rescued by people on their way to prayers. My Uncle had to be pulled out from the right window as the door is jammed. He suffers broken ribs and internal bleeding. She is traumatised but getting better, there's a huge laceration on the side of her neck due to the seat belt. Pray that they will get well soon.

Why the title broken promises ? Well, this incident really put a damper on my confidence in Proton because the friggin' AIRBAG DOES NOT DEPLOY !!! The car is declared total lost, the impact is tremendous, just look at the picture. To make matters worse, this is a Waja Premiere, not your common garden variety Waja. I just pray that this is an unfortunate occurance and not a norm. I would really hate to think of the thousands of Proton drivers out there driving with the notion of false security provided by an airbag that might not work when you need it to.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Folding Boat.

I went on a fishing trip with Mr. Mak in January 2001. Was not so interested in the fishing actually as I do not have the patience and prefer to get fish from the markets instead of fishing for it. I was very interested to see and have a ride in his folding boat. That's the boat loaded on top of my CRV. Of course there are bits and pieces of it in the car i.e. transom, seats, engine, gas tank etc.

The boat being unfolded with bits and pieces strewn about.

Its taking form with one seat in place.

Two seats and the sides secured.

All three seats and the transom attached.

This is the hardest part as it was low tide and we have to carry the boat and engine out quite a distance to get to the water. Actually we could just pull the boat along the sand but that seems risky at the time as the beach is littered with sharp stones and other objects.

The ride is not bad, you can feel the boat flex with the waves and I was quite certain that at some point it felt like being on a water bed.

Wet beaches.

The rainy season is truly upon us with news of flooding down south. Some acquintances and relatives were affected. My heart goes out to them. Especially the children and their damaged new school uniforms. Hang tough guys.
When we were in Kuantan last weekend, we were not spared. Luckily only intermittent rain and not a real downpour that could lead to flooding. The air became still, the skies open up and the beach got deserted.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quote logic ?

Saw a quote today "Even Plants Need Love To Grow...." in an e-mail, apparently by a person going through unrequited love. It immediately struck me how illogical and self-centered the human mind could be. In this case, most probably using an old cliche to pacify the hurt and sorrow experienced. I just wonder, why is it that people keep expecting to be reciprocated in kind ? If you love something, love it as sincere as you can, not because you expect to be loved as you have loved. Perhaps I am wrong but, if you do something and expect a return, then its just not giving but more a business dealing, especially in matters of the heart.

Of course plants need love to grow, I even believe that if you talk to it every day it will bloom. I do it myself. The picture below is one of the plants that I have and cherish. It has little flowers which gave out a pleasant scent especially in the evenings and at night when the air is cool. It hasn't produced flowers for quite a while but since I talked to it in the evenings after work, it bloomed. Scientific explanation anyone ?

When I talk to the plants, I do not expect it to talk back to me, when I cherish the plant, I do not expect the plant to cherish me. Its enough that it grows in my yard. Please, if you have to do something, do it sincerely, the returns will come perhaps not in the form that you want, but it will surely come. So, talk to your plants and see it bloom.

Windy days.

Hmmmm, got too close to the trees....

Kite boarding.

This looks like an interesting activity which I saw on the beach in Kuantan. Its a combination of surfing and gliding, well hanging on to a big kite actually. Ten or fifteen years ago I might have given it a shot but where I am now, its just too much of a risk. Being out on open waters on a piece of wood hanging on to a kite does not really appeal to me. I am used to being on a big ship if I need to be out at sea. It looks like fun though.

Fish crackers.

Malaysian "chips/crisps", not made of potato but fish as the main ingredient.

Fish is ground to a paste and mixed with sago before it is rolled into tubes, steamed, thinly sliced and then sun dried. To eat just fry in hot oil for a few seconds.
The ratio between the fish and sago, the type of fish used and the way it is prepared gave variety to the end product.
At this stall it is sold loose where it can be bought based on weight or ready packed.
And in the midst of the keropoks, salted fish and assortment of dried seafood, a drum set. A budding musician probably on the way to stardom....

Keropok lekor.

Along the coastal road between Kuantan and Terengganu, there are rows of stall selling this Malaysian snack.
Fish sausages or keropok lekor, as it is commonly known in Malaysia is a popular snack from the East Coast. It is made of minced fish meat mixed together with sago/tapioca starch, salt and sugar. The mixture is kneaded, rolled into tubes and boiled.
The boiled keropok lekor is then deep-fried and best eaten hot with specially prepared sauce. At the stall that we patronize, the young girl did just that. No such thing as ready fried stock, it is freshly fried as you order them. Its not much to look at, more like big fat wormy things but it is delicious.