Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Praying for Pakdin

I was surprised to read Prof Pakdin's blog last night!

I was told that Pakdin was admitted this morning for further tests.

Who's Pakdin, some of you might be asking... He's a fellow alumnus during my secondary school days. He's also the GURU in Rafflesia in this region. My "rafflesia"outing with him was documented here and here.

My prayers are for him, hoping for his fast recovery.

Monday, July 30, 2007

27th-29th July 2007- What A Weekend!!!

Just an ordinary title to an extra-ordinary wewekend :-)

27th July
Arrived at parents-in-law's place at about 4.30pm.

At night they had a small "sembahyang hajat" for my son, Ayi, who'll be leaving for Canada next month.

I knew Dr Nordin and family were on their way back to Kelantan too, so I asked them to drop by at PIL's place.

When they were nearby, they called me, but, I forgot to chekc my handphone. When I remembered to check my hp, they were about to give up (Dr Nordin, I am very sorry for keeping you waiting). They eventually arrived at our place to have supper.

28th July
I was invited by my alma-mater to attend the closing ceremony of their "Annual Camping for the Uniformed groups", which was held in the nearby field. The night before it rained heavily, and that morning the day started very gloomily, that they decided to have the ceremony in the school hall:

I was invited to a sumptious tea break, after which I was given the opportunity to visit their camp sites (since the clouds had since moved away). It was very entertaining. The school kids are very hardworking and creative in setting up their corners. They also welcomed me to their camps in various entertaining ways!!

I was having a good time that I forgot to snap any pix of their camps :-(
(bad Sabariah, very bad...)

On the way back, i couldn't help feeling very sad when I saw this pix:
This is the very bus that used to take me to various places on various school trips while I was there (1975-79). I wrote about this bus here while another schoolmate described here the excitement on the day the bus first arrived in our school.

29th July
This day was the highlight of the weekend!

More to come later. But in the mean time, here are some pix:

PK (Pentadbiran), Tuan Haji Zainuddin

Pakda mesmerising the audience!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Back to School Again

Yes, tomorrow morning I will be travelling with my no.2 child, Ayi (20) back to our hometown Kota Bharu. Why? Because apart from some family matters to settle, I will be going back to school on Sunday, 29th July, for some activities organised by my alumni, SEMESTA.

To be precise, SEMESTA is organising a Career Day at our alma-mater on that day. Some 25+ alumni will be there, to participate in the program. Even though this is not my first time going back to the school for such programme, this is the first time the alumni of several batches, go back in full force, for a whole full day program during a schoolday! Previously we went during the weekend, or even if we went back during a schoolday, there were not more than 10 of us.

The programme will start during assembly on that morning (being the first day of school) with the plenary speech by our own legend, Rosli Hussein aka Pakda. He was the first from the school to be awarded the school Colours for Sports. During his prime days, he was one of the strikers for the Malaysian soccer team, way back in the 1980s. Now Pakda is the general manager of Dale Carnegie (Malaysia).

Later we will be conducting parallel sessions of various career fields. I am so grateful to my felow alumni who have agreed to come along to make this event a success. They represent various fields of engineering (civil, EE, mechanical, electrical), law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, finance, accounting, architecture, just to name a few. Ah, yes, we will also have two pilots too to grace the event! Each of these sessions will consist of seminar-like presentation on the career as well as Q&A sessions. There is really no set format- it's up to the respective alumnus/alumni how to conduct the session.

We will end up the programme by having lunch together with the students in the memorable Dining Hall together with the existing students :-)

Many other fellow alumni who could not join us, but have instead contributed some souvenirs to be given out during the programme. Salute to you guys/gals! And to those who could not make it, don't worry... we will have other programmes* too in the future that will provide you another chance to go back to our beloved alma-mater.

I really hope this programme will turn out well. Wish me luck!

We plan to go back to school again on 1st Sept 2007 for some fun activities such as friendly matches with the students/teachers!
We also have our annual Raya (Aidil Fitri) Gathering on the 3rd Day of Raya, At 3pm, in the School Hall! All alumni are invited to this function, FOC!

Monday, July 23, 2007

"Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijck" - revisited

Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijck is the title of a famous novel by Hamka. The first time I read the book was about 35 years ago, when I was still in primary school. I enjoyed the book very well. However, as the years passed by, I gradually forgot the story line- what I could remember was only that the book is about the love story between Zainuddin and Hayati, with a sad ending to it. I also remembered vividly that part of the story was told through the letters written by these two love birds.

I have been looking, though not seriously, for the book. It was only early this month, when I visited the birth place of Hamka did I finally come across a copy of the book - this time with the modified current spelling (the original book was written in old Indonesian language, with a lot of weird spellings to me, such as "djari" for the word "jari", etc..)

During that visit, I bought 2 novels, i.e. this book and "Di bawah Lindungan Kaabah". The latter is much thinner, and I finished reading it soon after we got back from that trip to Sumatera Barat. Two other novels were out of print :-(

It was a pleasure reading the book the second time - now that some of the places mentioned in the book are familiar to me. And the old customs and tradition of the Minangkabau people can be more appreciated now than 35 years ago when it didn't mean a thing to me!

After a few interruptions, last night I finally managed to pick up from where I left, and I finished this book at 1am!!

Remembering my primary school days, and the first half of my secondary school days, I realised that I read quite a number of novels by some famous writers. Among them are Shahnon Ahmad, Marah Rusli, Sutan Takdir Ali Shahbana, Azizi Hj Abdullah, Adibah Amin, Rejaf FI and Khatijah Hashim. And, there are many more whom I can't recall their names :-(

Next "project" would be to locate those books, and read them again!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Between Noodle in Tom Yam Kung and Vietnamese Beef Noodle...

yeah, between the two dishes was a great meet - of me and a fellow alumni of SMSTMFP, Ireen! Location: Damansara Utama..

It's a pity I didn't bring my camera (and forgot that my phone has a built-in camera!). Both of us agreed that we just ate too much, esp with the brownies as desserts.

Nothing much to blog about, but we had a great time together, though very briefly (it was during lunchtime). Ireen works in one of the buildings nearby.

Monday, July 16, 2007

MAVCAP OSP2 Signing Ceremony

Somehow, today I ended up at the function :-)
You people don't believe it??

now for a more formal pix (of course, I am not in it!):

sigh.... I need to finish up my other blogs on Padang-Bkt Tinggi Trip and the earlier Bangkok trip...
good night... (11.25pm)

SEMESTA's Futsal Carnival

Yesterday, my alumni, SEMESTA had another Futsal Carnival at the Bukit Jalil Futsal Complex.

For more pix, please visit the following pages:

NFahmi's album

Whusmi's Album

Dashuki's Album

Selamat Tinggal Teluk Bayur Permai...

3rd day (Sunday 8th July)

The final leg of our visit here is that afternoon. After we checked into Hotel Pengeran, Padang, and had a rest, we went out for a local sight-seeing at 5.30 pm (though I thought was a bit late..). First stop was to Siti Nurbaya Bridge ("Siti Nurbaya" is a famous novel written by Marah Rusli which I read during my primary school days).

The bridge is a place to just relax and enjoy the view while enjoying local fare in the evening.

4th day (Monday 9th July)

Today we woke up early to get ready for our journey home :-(
After an early buffet breakfast (of various local dishes. DH asked for bread but was politely told that they do not serve any bread), we check out and headed back to Minangkabau Airport. Anas and Mawan (the driver) took us along the coastal road (read scenic - facing the Indian Ocean) which is still incomplete, after which we had to head back to the old road.

Our flgiht was on schedule, and by 11.30am we were back home! Aina changed clothes and insisted that we send her to her school (which we obliged!).

please come bakc later for pix (smz, 16/7/07)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Finally to Padang..

By Monday (9th July), we had spent 2 nights in Sumbar (Sumatera Barat - West Sumatera), i.e. one each in Bukit Tinggi and Maninjau. We were then on our way to Padang (to spend our 3rd and final night there).

After visiting Hamka's birthplace, we proceeded back to Padang Panjang (en route to Padang). We climbed up the famous 44 bends that we decended yesterday to get to Danau Maninjau. The scenery was breathtaking!!

No space was left wasted! every little corner is turned into small terraces of padi plots:
I kinda fell sad that we had to leave the place :-(

On the way, we made a few other stops - again to enjoy the views:

DH has prepared a better travelogue on this trip under these titles:

Padang to Bukit Tinggi
Bukit Tinggi Afternoon
Bukit Tinggi Morning
On the way to Batusangkar
Pagaruyung to Maninjau
Padang and home

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Danau (Lake) Maninjau

click to get a bigger image

The third day (Sunday, 8th July) we started from Lake Maninjau. Having spent the night before at Pasir Panjang Permai Hotel, we checked out at 8.30am to continue our journey.

Soon we were passing by terraces of padi, old houses (some of Dutch influence), mosques and scenic views. On our left was the hill and on our right was the lake. What a view!! I just didn't get bored looking at the greens of chillies, corns, potatoes and tapioca.

Our first stop was Hamka's birthplace, also known as the Museum of Buya Hamka's Birthplace (Museum Rumah Kelahiran Buya Hamka). Buya is an arabic word that carries the meaning of "my old man/my dad". His original home was a ruin, but a new house was built on exactly the same spot as the old one. It was nice to know that the re-construction of the house was mainly financed and supported by our own ABIM.

A colllection of his writings, and recordings of his speaches (in tapes/CDs) can be found in the house. If we had ample time, I wouldn't mind sitting there, listening to these tapes his talks. I was delighted to see some of his novels that I have read long long time ago, when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old.

The caretaker of this place is Khatib Hanif, who is actually Hamka's nephew. He was very helpful and friendly to us, volunteering information on the great man. Only when asked, did he reveal that Hamka is his uncle.
Khatib Hanif, PIL, MIL, me, Aina in Hamka's house with Hamka's portrait in the middle :-)

I was told that the small shop across the little road sells some of Hamka's books. Soon I headed to the shop. I bought my favourite "Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijck" and "Dibawah Lindungan Kaabah". "Merantau ke Deli" and "Di Dalam Lembah Kehidupan" were out of stock - and these are the novels that I have yet to read! :-(
His famous "Tasauf Moden" was also on sale, but we've already got a copy at home :-)

Well.... if we were not in a hurry, I wouldn't mind a drive round the lake, even though our guide Anas said that the road is no so comfy. But we had to leave... Goodbye Maninjau... I hope I will get the chance to come back - and hopefully in a not so rushing manner...

On the way back, as our vehicle climbed up the slope (in a zig-zag manner of course), we looked back and enjoyed the view of Lake Maninjau for the last time.... and I was reminded of a poem by the former Indonesian President Sukarna, which I saw in the hotel lobby, as well as Hamka's home:

Jika adik memakan pinang
Makanlah dengan sirih yang hijau
Jika adik datang ke Minang
Jagan lupa datang ke Maninjau
- Bung Karno

Hamka's poem in the hotel cafe:
An interesting blog about Maninjau and Hamka (in BM) can be read here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lubang Jepang, (whatever is left of ) Pagar ruyung and Harau Valley

Day 2

After having the buffet breakfast at Gran Malindo Hotel, and checked out, we walked to the nearby Lubang Jepang (Japanese Tunnels).

Guide Jeffry explaining the layout of the tunnels.

Inside one of the main tunnels

This one is the tunnel to store ammunitions, and this is the original height!

Thought lagged behind, I was glad to finally get out of the historical tunnel

in progress... please come back for more.
The Padang-Bukit Tinggi-Maninjau-Padang Trip

Day 1
It was a fine morning when we, i.e. DH (dearest hubby) , Aina, MIL (mum-in-law), PIL (pa-in-law) and i, took the 7am Air Asia flight from LCCT. Unfortunately I was sitting in an aisle seat, so I didn't get to see much of Sumatera from the air. DH was lucky enough to be able to view and snap a pix of Gunung (Mount) Merapi. We arrived at Minangkabau Airport, Bukit Tinggi at 8am last Friday. The immigration Q was long and it was moving rather slow but eventually we were out of the airport..

We saw DH's name on a piece of paper held by a very tall guy. We went to greet him. He introduced himself as Anas, and took us to a Kijang (Toyota) Innova.

Our agreed (planned and paid for) iterinary is as follow:
Day 1- Go to Bukit Tinggi, spend a night there
Day 2- Go to nearby area, then Danau (lake) Maninjau, and spend a night there
Day 3 - Come back to Padang and spend the night there
Day 4 - Catch the 8.30am flight home

Anas told us that we would go straight to Bukit Tinggi with a few stops on the way.

The first stop was at a lookout point, overlooking the picturesque Kiambang village:

We then passsed by the Anai Valley, and stopped over at the waterfall:

We also visited this beautiful Minangkabau centre:
Our first "commercial" stop, where I got myself a pair of leather sandals at RM24:

Soon it was time for Friday prayers. Well thought Anas left us ladies at An-nisa Boutique before heading to the nearby mosque. Which ordinary lady would not be tempted with such show:
but this one was taken at the previous place. Not at An-nisa

After a few hundred thousands rupiah short, we had our first Minang lunch:

We had the best beef dendeng there!

With tummy full and happy, we continued our journey to Bukit Tinggi. We checked-in at Gran Malindo Hotel (not really that grand, LOL!). We took a short rest.

Then it was the mandatory visit to the Gadang Clock, or rather the "Pasar Atas" to "let go" of more rupiahs and RM (yes, most shoppers accept our RM!!).

When it was almost dark, we were driven round the Bukit Tinggi town, before we went back to our hotel for evening prayers and to freshen ourselves, in time for our second Minang meal:

to be continued (pix will come in later, hahaha!!!)

Monday, July 09, 2007

To see more pix, please visit the family's gallery at Sumatera Barat.

Last week 5 of us spent 3 full days and 3 nights in Padang, Bukit Tinggi and Maninjau (West Sumatera). It was a great holiday, thanks to the friendly Ero Tour.

Five of us travelled with a tour guide, Anas and the driver Mawan. Both are very nice and very accomodating to us.

Special mention has to be given to our travel guide, Anas. Apart from being polite, soft spoken, punctual (he was always ready well ahead of time) and ever ready to serve us, Anas is also very knowledgeable. Just mention any name (of current or past Indonesian leaders, poets, warriors) or ask anything about any place in this region, Anas would given a very detailed and easy to understand explanation.

I will write more about our trip there in a latter post. Here's the map of West Sumatera that we found in the seat pocket of the car (Kijang Innova) ans also Anas's call card. I will strongly recommend Anas to any visitor to Padang-Bukit Tinggi who is comfortable with a Malay speaking guide.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Padang(Sumatera) Here I come!

Yes!! Tomorrow morning we'll be flying off to Padang for a 4D3N trip, and again thanks to Air Asia - Now everyone can fly!!

After a few hectic weeks of various chores and tasks, I really look forward to this trip (never mind I haven't finished my blog on Bangkok!).

What am I looking forward too? Friends have been kind enough to remind me that Padang is a shopping paradise for people like us who want to look for embroidered blouses, textiles, etc...

On the other hand, when I searched for interesting places to visit, I found out that the great writer Hamka hailed from Maninjau, which is nearby Padang. I hope our package tour will include a stop over at Hamka's house.

And today I managed to find some related links to refresh my memory of Hamka's infamous novel "Tenggelamnya Kapal vander Wick". I read the novel when i was still in primary school and enjoyed it very much. The book was borrowed from a friend whose brother was studying Malay literature in University Malaya then.