Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Arabian Music Memories... by an Englishman

While I was growing up in Kuala Terengganu, my mother was very strict about the time I should be back home from my afternoon activities.

Before the synchronisation of the time between the Peninsular of Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak, the sun set around 6.30 which was the time I should be home.

While waiting for the Maghrib call of prayer, I would often listen to the radio which only had RTM on it and they would played a selection of songs with Arabian feel to it.

They were very soothing and I thought they were performed by some Arabian orchestras.

Until today that is.

It turned out the music that have been performed by Ron Goodwin and his concert orchestra. Perhaps almost the whole of relatively matured Malaysians would take the trip down memory upon listening to his performance.

The songs are labeled under "Music for an Arabian Night" and to my understanding they were originally composed by Lebanese musicians, The Rahbani Brothers.

To take a trip down memory lane just go to YouTube and key in "Ron Goodwin".


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

We are Shopkeepers

One of the prominent name in the blogging world is Awang Goneng of 'Growing Up in Trengganu' which made it to print. I have two copies of it on my shelves, along with his later works 'A Map of Trengganu'.

All are collecting dust as I found time to go on a trip back in time through them quite scarce nowadays.

With his other half, Kak Teh of Choc-a-Bloc initiating the re-opening of Sentraal Station, I suddenly remember his words a few years back, commenting on the re-development of his beloved Kampong Tanjong:

"One day we will be just shopkeepers."

Day by day we in Kuala Terengganu are seeing his words becoming a reality.

The reclamation project which had begun in 2008 to transform Kuala Terengganu into it supposedly 'City by the Water' tagline has seen numerous commercial area been created.

A surau which used to be surrounded by houses now stands alone

I am not sure whether these commercial lots will be taken up anytime soon with the rental cost could rival those in the Klang Valley, which in turn will leave these buildings empty.

For me it is a huge loss for the government to demolish all the houses in Kampung Tanjong.

With the area was well known for making local handicraft such as brass making, it would make more sense if the government earmarked the area as a traditional Malay settlement.

The remains of the houses which will soon be cleared away
The Kampong Tanjong that we know before was a crammed area with houses built close to one another. Instead of demolishing them, the government should have retained some and convert them into homestays surrounding an area which could become a square where all sort of traditional activities can be carried out.

Cranes and all sorts of equipment cover the horizon
Tourists could begin their day walking through the settlement, experiencing life there with all sorts of traditional games being played by children and adult alike and then go through the Payang Market before ending their walk in Chinatown.

I really do not understand what goes on in the heads of those in powers, chasing modernity at the expense of traditional values.

It was a loss, a great loss for me seeing the chance to retain our heritage and culture and showcase them to the world was not taken up.


That's who we are going to be.


Friday, 10 April 2015

Duyong Art Festival

The Duyong Art Festival is currently being held at the Duyong Jetty for two days and will end tomorrow.

With the trip to Perak is scheduled for tomorrow, I decided to pay the fest a visit together with the roomie and the youngest offspring after visiting the goalkeeper at her hostel.

There were games for children, fishing competition, handicraft making demonstrations, art exhibitions, street musicians and of course vendors selling their wares but with a twist.

Unlike the usual fares that we saw almost at all other fests which emphasis on selling their online goods, the vendors at the Duyong Art Festival offer items more on the art side (then again, it is an ART festival).

The are artists painting on the jetty, the group Ganukelele promoting their passion for the musical instrument to the mass, the art of making coffee and of course vendors selling foods and drinks.

For the first time in my life I enjoyed my nasi lemak on the waters off Pulau Duyong, all two packs of it followed by a shot of latte. The youngest offspring meanwhile helped herself to the ice kepal which in the end had to be finished by me.

Enjoying the nasi lemak on the jetty

The art festival is a good way to promote Pulau Duyong especially with the Monsoon Cup is no longer going to be held here, showing the world that it is still remain relevant to the populace in it's own way.

More photos here

Friday, 26 December 2014

Subang Airport Shuttle Bus Service

Today I made my way to the Klang Valley again for the Goods & Services Tax (GST) Agent examination to be held at the Putra World Trade Centre.

If last week I took the bus, this time I chose to fly with Malindo Air. Despite the current weather it was a rather turbulence free flight and I arrived at the Subang Airport on time.

Unfortunately mate Nasser could not pick me up as scheduled thus a change of plan was necessary.

I decided to head for kL Sentral to have lunch there before checking in at the Plaza Hotel in Jalan Raja Laut.

Now there is the Airport Shuttle Bus service that will take travellers to two destinations, the LRT Station in Kelana Jaya (RM4) and the other one is to Pudu Sentral via Sunway Pyramid, Bangsar LRT Station, kL Sentral and the KTM Old Railway Station (RM10).

If you take the cab it will cost you around RM40 for a single trip to kL.

The journey to kL Sentral took around 30-45 minutes in smooth traffic.

The shuttle bus service is operated by Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB) which also has Nice Executive Coach, Transnasional and Plusliner under it's stable.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Chonburi Revisited

How so many things could change within a year.

My first visit to Chonburi was almost exactly a year ago, covering the Asian Youth Trophy (ACT) 2013 match between the home side Chonburi FC against Frenz United B.

At the time I was still the editor of the Dunia Sukan magazine.

Last Sunday I found myself travelling to the tow 100 km southeast of Bangkok again for an assignment which almost mirrored the one that I carried out last year.

However this time, I was travelling for which had been engaged by the ACT organiser as their official photographer for the tournament.

Air Asia was still the official airline for the tournament and I departed to Bangkok's Dong Meuang Airport with the rest of the media group and after an hour journey arrived at the Chon Inter, the same hotel that I stayed last year.

Then I found out that the senior side were playing that night against Thai Port Authority in a Thai Premier League match at their stadium. It was an opportunity that did not come all the time, to capture the actions in the best league in South East Asia.

With a little assistance received from the home side I managed to get by the pitch side.

It was a fast and thrilling match in which the home side needed to win in order to continue their challenge for the league title.

They managed to take the lead on the hour mark but the visitors levelled not long after, thanks largely to a mistake by the home side goalkeeper.

It was a pleasure for me to be able to cover a match in another league which gave me the insight on how much better the organisation of the match-day operation at the club than the one we encounter in most local matches.

The next day it was the match that I was assigned for with Harimau Muda C taking on the host Chonburi for a place in the final.

The Thai youngsters who were trailing 3-1 after their first leg defeat did not put much fight after the Malaysians scored their first goal of the night and went down 3-0 for the Young Tigers to go through on a 6-1 aggregate win.

The next day there were talks that we would have the time to go around Bangkok before catching the flight back home.

Unfortunately the hope went up in smoke when the driver pulled into a familiar looking building along the way to the airport, an IKEA store!

Well, taking the infamous Bangkok gridlock into account it was perhaps a good decision as we need to catch our flight back home soon after.

I had been to Thailand twice now but still to visit the country's capital, Bangkok.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Day with the Elephants

It was our last day of our sojourn in the Klang Valley. Unlike our previous visit here, we decided to get out from the Valley early this time.


Mostly it was due to the elephants.

To be precise, the elephants of Kuala Gandah.

It has been our intention to visit the sanctuary for quite some time now and today was just as perfect as any other day to do so.

Thus we departed around 11.30 am and after a brief stop at Batu Caves for lunch there was no further stop.

At least that was the plan.

However as we approached Karak suddenly Cha vomited. Thus instead of going to the Lanchang interchange we exited at Karak to get the youngest AKS clean up.

After everything was cleaned up we were on our way again. I decided to take the old trunk road.

It certainly brought back memories of driving to and from the Klang Valley before the existence of the East Coast Highway.

The road to the sanctuary was quite winding and it could be quite dark during the night.

We reached the sanctuary at around 2.30 pm and after the formality of registering ourselves at the welcome centre we went to the pen.

Our timing was not good as the show by the elephants was ending by the time we reached the pen.

But the timing was right if we wanted to watch the elephants having their bath.

After the show the older elephants were brought to the area while for the bath, two younger ones were brought to the stream.

I was thinking of taking part in the bathing with the elephants but it seemed quite late when we arrived thus I did not register myself for it. By the way it cost RM30 per person to take part.

Thus we watched the two young elephants taking their bath and the public who had registered to bath with them in the stream.

It looked like a lot of fun. Thus I am determined to come back and do just that in the future.

After a while we decided to go back to the pen where an older elephant was being fed by the visitors.

The sugar cane cost RM3 and we had fun feeding the elephant.
So that was about it, the day we visited the Kuala Gandah Elephants Sanctuary.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A Doggy Issue

Ever since Maznah Mohamad Yusof's video of her celebrating Aidil-Fitri with her three dogs, there has been numerous views about her, about dogs and their standing in Islam.

I would not dare to volunteer my opinion because I am not really knowledgeable on these matter.

However, from a few short researches on YouTube (The one by Ustaz Azhar Idrus is the easiest to understand) and reading a number of materials on the net, I came to these conclusions.

Dogs are not forbidden in Islam. A muslim can touch them without having to cleanse oneself using six parts of water and one part of earth EXCEPT when they are wet or one comes into contact with their saliva.

Muslims are encouraged to keep them for the following functions:
1) Shepherd dogs
2) Guard dogs to farm/orchard
3) Hunting dogs
4) Security dogs to property

Muslims can keep dogs as pet. However, by doing so they will lose their 'pahala' (rewards for carrying out God's command) by one qirath for each day they allow dogs in their home.

Thus it would not take too much intelligence to figure out which action one should take in this matter.

In Malaysia, especially to most Muslims, dogs are a sensitive issue.

Those Muslims who keep dogs as pets should be more sensitive to this and not add fuel to the fire. Keep your dogs and care for them but do not flaunt them in front of others who do not share your idea.