31 December 2014

The closing haiku

Langit membuka pintu
Air mata menderu
Cik Siti Wan Kembang menangis lesu

14 May 2013

The third Haiku


This year, unlike the previous years  I traveled the long and winding road down South  from my blissful Benua to visit Tikus mondok of which I left behind in the city. It was no the main intention though. It was about the choice. The Tikus has not changed much so was the city. But the voice in the shadow is becoming loud and clear. That was the  day my fingernail  tainted blue. That was also the day when the sky closed its heavenly door and never pour the shower onto my Benua.  So I wrote this Haiku...






Inai biru  
sejuta harapan
kemarau semakin panjang











This is not a foretelling from a human with the least of sanity.
It is a prophecy.


20 March 2013

Under the shadow, came the bug from my past


If you think this weird bug (from the photo above) comes all the way from the Black Hole to invade and take over our planet, you are off the target by a zillion year. My uncanny imagination says, this bug possess potent aphrodisiac properties that can boost some power to young-at-heart wannabes. Not that this theory has been proven by any sane human  or I recommend you to test this object of desire in the comfort of your bedroom, but in the time of uncertainty like now everything is possible.

Let me first introduce you to Cik Ru or Cik Mek (Ganu speak) or antlion (mat salleh speak). The physical form of this bug and the name Cik Ru don't strike  any resemblance to anything that will ignite puberty hormone furiously or raised  eyebrows of any kids on the street. The name Cik Mek however   doesn't do it justice to all the Cik Mek molek out there. Perhaps Mek Poghong is more appropriately named and given to this bug. But Mek Poghong after some 'tarbiah' and proper guidance by Iman muda for example, can be transformed into a Cik Mek Molek or even Cik Mek Berjuruh (a super courteous and well-mannered lady).

That bug was actually very special as  it brought back many  fond memories during my childhood time.   The fact that It had  wasted a lot of my childhood time sharpening my 'fishing' skill  under the shadow of my late grandfather's old house has never erased this bug from my memory. Fishing Cik Ru out from their sand pit which is also a trap was insanely a popular childhood pastime activity during my younger days. To see Cik Ru in person, one has to 'fish' them out from the sand pit by tickling the sand  pit by our own hair or a grass or anything that can tickle (by doing this, the antlions thought the prey has fallen into their pit). When they emerge from the pit, we scooped them out and tied them with our hair and again using this captured antlion we lured another antlion from their sandy dungeon. This process will go on and on until we were tired playing or tired of each other companion  or our mother called us for our usual ikang singgang sambal belancan lunch break. This  fishing activity could last through out the whole day.

What is more interesting, Cik Ru is actually a larvae, part of the life cycle  to another interesting insect known as lacewing. Not until last week, after 40 over years I thought this alien creature was some kind of sand bug that dug a sand pit, eat ant and then it completed its life cycle by getting old or having some terminal illnesses like falling in love with Najwa Latif. It was my youngest son who pointed out a story from a book I bought him a few years back that featured kids playing with antlions that made me realized the life cycle of an antlion. We can surely learn a lot from small kids and we should always do.

Antlions look ferocious and grotesque with its fusiform body and large mandibels. They however pose no threat to human or drag you into their sand pit unless some kind of mutation takes place and transform them 100 times larger than their normal size.  I always dream  to ride this bug to my office and occasionally scare off uncivilized mat rempit. Nowadays, it is very hard to find antlion as kampung houses are now made of concrete and modern houses don't spare any space  for antlion to lepak or settle down with their sand pit bungalows. 

This week I am off to Kota Bharu, I hope  Cik Mek Molek of Kelate are still around to greet me and bring back the nostalgic feeling spending time under the dark shadow of the old house. 






Exclusive and elusive sand pit bungalows of antlions. Surprisingly enough, I found it near the back stairs of my new office. I think they choose this strategic spot for a special reason too i.e reporting office staffs who smoke during office hour to the head of the department (the whole campus is now a smoke-free zone).


03 March 2013

A quickie and wet escapade into Hat Yai


Hat Yai is not one of the best cities on the earth but  deceptively a wonderful city to visit occasionally and periodically when my feet are itchy for some not-so-faraway foreign adventures. I'd only been here twice and only for a few days at a time, but this place is always happy to welcome me back and offers me some new experience each time I lay  my feet onto this region. It is fairly an inexpensive place to visit and with an exchange rate of  approximately 10 Thai Bath to 1 MYR you can practically forget Maggie mee or Brahim chicken masalla forever and can safely exclude them in you travel baggage. If you consider walking is  not the best transportation mode in Hat Yai, Tuk-tuk is the best option to get around comfortably and affordably. With only a few Thai Bath, it will get you to almost anywhere around Hat Yai, to places where you can find delectable foods and major tourist attractions. The best thing with tuk-tuk is that you won't get lost  and that is very assuring enough.

The trip started when we traveled up North for another interesting fact-finding mission. A  trip to Kedah and Perlis, the Northern  part of Malaysia had never ceased to persuade my adventurous spirit to hop across the border for an ad-hoc adventure into the foreign land. This time I submitted myself to an urge of  visiting the Klong Hae floating market in hoping to catch a glimpse of Thailand's unique and vibrant marketplace and to capture those brilliant sight through the lens of my camera. 

With that one and only special mission, my entourage obediently followed me into this Sawadee-kap territory for a three days two nights floating market photo-safari short trip. For some of  my entourage members, that was their virgin visit to Thailand and they expect  the new place will be kind to them and the people will be gentle as well. Both assumptions (the place and the people) were spot on except the weather was not on their best mood. The first night after we checked-in into our hotel, the sky opened up and generously poured down the rain heavily - nonstop. Few hours later we received a warning note under our hotel's door that flood was  inevitable and any guest that parked their car at the underground car park had to move their vehicle to a higher ground. Looking trough my hotel's window and how heavy the rain  poured down that night I had to believe that the warning was not a joke or some kind of  hotel new-year's prank. Not to be defeated by the weather, we managed that night to scout the surrounding area and enjoyed some tasty street food for our dinner.

The next morning we received another bad news that  Klong Hae river was over-flooded  and there won't be any floating market in that wet and potentially dangerous condition. So, half-heartedly we packed our bag, panickly check-out from the hotel and jumped into the waiting  van that was supposed to chauffeur us to the Klong Hae river but then to  head back down-South  into the Motherland.  Before we ended our trip and since we had some un-spent Thai Bath in our pocket which was  also another good reason to justify our craving for foreign souvenirs, we waded the heavy rain and stormed into some street stalls to empty our wallet.

I didn't manage to buy anything except a pair of  branded-but imitation boxers for my friends and some colourful fridge magnets to mark my visit to this place. The journey back was smooth as we traveled during the weekdays (try to avoid the weekend as  immigration can be jam-packed with tourist - particularly Malaysian tourists who are looking for some wet experience)

General consensus throughout Malaysia says that Hat Yai is one of the food capitals in the Southern Thailand. I have to agree with that but Hat Yai , with very unpredictable weather and other surprises, is also the flood capital in the region. It is good and I like it.




Travelling into this exciting and unpredicted territory, you were not supposed to be alone. My jubilant entourage checked-in into a love hotel...I meant a lovely hotel.   A barricade of sand-bags was not included in the hotel brochure but somehow they gave some sense of adventure and thrill. An awesome view from the rooftop pool was an added advantage. This hotel situated at a junction of Thanon Prachathipat and Thanon Saneha Nusom and very close to everything.


Hotels and lepak spots are quite plentiful in Hat Yai.  A view from Centara Hotel lobby barricaded with sand bags ready for the flash flood. Barely missed by merely three weeks, the pre-explosion Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel stood beside McD was still intact.


Great street food, plentiful of street vendors and colorful cheap stuffs  were potent enough in their dosage to drain our pocket if we don't watch our budget carefully. Hamid restaurant, a popular halal hangout is just a walking distant from this spot, on the far right cornet of this street. At night, this spot was transformed into another side alley food paradise with prawn the size of our big ego and traditional mango on sticky rice to satisfy our unequal appetite.


The indoor section of Kim Yong market didn't look very appealing at all with load of birds' dropping and other unthinkable residues by any human standard on this indoor rooftop. However below this row of plywood, there were labyrinth of shops that will  make shopaholics salivating and never to think twice when emptying their wallet. 


Hat Yai had been and always be a shopping paradise for her Southerner neighbor.  When a Thai lady says "Mari lah abeeeee...Muroh ja abeeeee..."  you'd better watch your wallet or anything that close to your pocket with some serious precaution.



A mobile food hawker for a quick  afternoon snack is a normal sight in the street of Hat Yai. I supposed this mode of business was very convenience indeed as  you can just grab the food virtually anywhere even right from a moving tuk-tuk.


Restoran Kelantan, off the Thumnoonvitithi and Thanon Sangchan didn't look any much difference from any food stalls in Rantau Panjang. We strolled to  this restaurant  for a famous, fantastic nasi kerabou Hat Yai-style. A local delicacies of unknown and unconfirmed origin exploded with wonderful color and taste. 

My entourage, fresh and motivated to continue the journey up North. A plate of nasi kerabu managed to boost some spirit. That was  before the heavy downfall and the bad news which prematurely ended our wet dream.



A transit station near  Bkt Kayu Hitam, a rendezvous place to plan for an exciting trip across the border. We parked our cars, rented a transport, hired a  travel guide, got some Thai Bath and booked hotel at the same counter and not to forget to empty our stomach here. A one stop center before starting an exciting journey.


It is good to have friends particularly when you travel to a distance place and your Thai Bath, for example is dangerously running low  from over-spending on cheap stuffs along the street of Hat Yai. They smiled because the heavy rain and unexpected flood had saved them load of Bath from impulse buying and one-of a lifetime shopping spree.


An hour journey back to the border of our Motherland and 62 km away from Hat Yai, we reached the gateway of  Thailand/Malaysia. We  promised to go through this gate one more time for another floating mission in Hat Yai. After all the set-backs I am hoping  my entourage is still up for another uncompromising adventure in the land of Sawadee-kap.



14 February 2013

Vote for me and I would make Blogosphere a cool place to stay



Dearest Blogger friends,

This is the first time I write a serious cyber letter to you that meant to be read seriously. Somebody, a ghost writer who is hiding his/her true persona nominated my humble blog into a local Blog competition dedicated to tourism (MITBCA). I got to know my blog was nominated when a letter from the organizer reached my mailbox to confirm the participation. This  event  recognizes and awards Blog/Blogger who has in one way or another contributed to our local tourism industry. This is the second time this event being hosted.  The last day for voting is 22 February 2013. 

Thus, I am making a personal  pledge to all ardent Bloggers, Netizens,  and phantom voters to voluntarily cast their  vote for my blog. I promise, if this blog win we could celebrate, perhaps way ahead of  PRU13. As an added bonus, you will guarantee to get the opportunity  to read more spicy and juicy stories extracted from the tiny box of my brain.   

So, here is a step-by-step instruction on how to cast your vote:

1. Go to www.mitbca.com website
2. Login with you Facebook account
3. Look for "Tourism Lifestyle Blog" category
4. Look for Archiveoftime.blogspot.com
5. Click "vote" button and Voila! You are one cool guy/gal...

For your good deed, I thank you very much.   May God bless you all!

Yours truly,

DrSam



12 February 2013

Turtle Alley and Kampung Cina are painted red


I have no special  relationship or interesting childhood memory that can be related to the Chinatown of Ganukite or Kampung Cina as known by the locals. There are not many stories regarding the place that I can tell or pass down to my future cucu cicit muit.  But I 've always had keen interest in this place. There is some sense of  rustic feeling or classical Oriental ambiance attached to this place. Unlike the other old and historical buildings in this vicinity, Chinatown of Ganukite seems to have strong immunity, standing tall and manage to evade greedy development that is fast ravaging the small towns of Ganukite. The oil-money that flooded Ganukite doesn't seem to pour  down onto this place. Or perhaps the money only linger and circulated among the pockets of some 'boyeh' tokeys and taikor who reside in the small idyllic shophouses or   big bungalows somewhere, hidden from the prying eyes the uninitiated tourists,   I have no  idea. But thanks to UNESCO for making this place another heritage site and saved this place from extinction from the World map.

There is something this place has that always draw my attention. Everytime I pass by the small one-way road commuting toward the other side of Ganukite town, something hit my memory domain. The bridge in the middle of the Chinatown at least has some picturesque memory of me . It was during the New Chinese Lunar Year of some 40 over years ago, I stood on the bridge with my father watching the procession of  beautiful 'tanglung' and tantalizing dragon play. The parade was beautiful and the lanterns  were made of multitude shapes and patterns. There were also dragons and other mystical things on parade but I couldn't remember much as my memory was still in its embryonic stage at that time. The colorful display ended close to midnight. Accompanying us was Uncle Wat, my father's close friend, whom like to go hunting ayam hutan in the jungle of Jerangau, Jabor and Bkt. Besi. Uncle Wat  must be in his early 70's now. It was Uncle Wat who had also introduced me to the sweet sticky cake of Kuih bakul, a traditional Chinese delicacy. I haven't met Uncle Wat for ages. That was the last time I stood on the bridge and watched the parade.

Kampung Cina nowadays, doesn't change much since the last time I visited the place. It retains most of its old charm. At least there is still no Starbuck or Coffee Bean around. I can't testify much on the taste of the food but the traditional and modern eating establishments seem to be crowded  by customers. As this place is very close and just a walking distance from the new water front, Pasar Kedai Payang and Hotel Seri Malaysia, it is a good spot to visit whenever you are in Ganukite or your feet feel itchy for some good leisurely evening stroll.



One of the old shophouse along the road of Kampung Cina in Ganukite town. With such authentic decor and old ornate buildings line up the street, this place is declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO. 


 The arch with two dragons, is a prominent landmark at the Southern end of Kampung Cina. Walking along the street, you can feel the atmosphere and the pungent smell of the spices that fill the air.


This particular spot, a mid section along the road of Kampung Cina has some international appeal especially for the film maker. A scene for a period drama could make this place another silver screen hit spot.  


 This window panes with decorative  panels are a feast to my eyes. The building survives, so as the tradition.


 Another well preserved architecture on some of the old building along the street of Kampung Cina. I was told the unique motif of this building  articulates the houseowner's hope for longevity, good luck, abundance and offspring.


 Another interesting feature that caught my eyes. The subtle  background color of the building and the brightly red lantern made good contrast.



Beautiful Chinese lantern (tanglung) on display by the members of the Chinese community on their shophouses.

Another tanglung that exhibit interesting details.


I don't know what the letters on the tanglung meant, but they surely looks very catchy.


Lanterns 'fruiting' from bamboo trees.


The residents of this China town competed  trying very hard to outdo one another with creative display of tanglung. The winner came out with a cheque of few thousand ringgit.


During my recent visit to the China town with my significant half, I found many interesting things about Kampung China. There are new exciting 'upgrades' to the place that will surely catch tourists' eyes. One of them is this special spot dedicated to turtle conservation. I love "piung", is a beautiful mosaic build by volunteers and turtle lovers.


This alley is special because it is very unique and load of good information on turtle conservation. It is hope that this alley will bring  awareness to the public on the importance to save this beautiful creature. Kids and adult alike would enjoy strolling along this lane, while at the same time find it very educational.


On of the mosaics in the Turtle alley. Actually this particular mosaic is the beginning of a story line, a journey of a little Maya and an adventure with the special creature - the turtle. 


This stretch of narrow alley, approximately 50 meter long is the Turtle alley. My significant half stopped and got mesmerized by the mosaics and interesting stories told by little Maya.


I noticed this sweet sticky cake or kuih bakul being 'baked' under the sun at the back of Kampung Cina. This cakes were similar to what Uncle Wat used to give to my family everytime the Chinese celebrates their Chinese New Year.



05 February 2013

New Kids On the Beach

Trengganu, as laid back as it should be is seriously not for IT geeks who like to spend hours in wifi-free kopitiams, Gangnam style K-pop fans, youngsters and young-at-heart looking for a night out, 40-something from the Acute Gout club  or even peminat Che Kiah pekasam. The place is so cool and the people is so blessed with laid back attitude to the effect that until today, 83 days from the day I applied for a new telephone line into my new house, my whole family and I are still talking to the wall without any land line. But Trengganu is where I put my heart now. It is a place for people who love tranquility, jam-free journey, unpolluted air, amusing people with the most powerful G-force in the planet, fresh sea produces and not to mention a long stretch of unmolested golden sandy beaches. 

This blissful place full of expressive form of life and nature has  never failed to inspire me and almost seductively transform me from being a scientist into a self-professed poet. The long infatuation with these zen-like life has from time to time drowned me into a nostalgic mode. My right brain tickles. Even an innocent looking female goat sunbathing  in the middle of Jalan Gong Pak Jin aroused my creative mind. 

My four super-heroes however are adapting to their new life. They are city boys. Three were borne in the City of Kay El and one in the City of Durham, a far away land where people eat Fish and Chips. But surprisingly, despite their endless fixation to PS3 and other  techno-gadgets, they share my intimate passion and similar perversion to the sand and the wave from the South China Sea. They are adapting well. The sea becomes a medium to bond the family together. I like it to stay that way. 

Somewhere in my sub-conscious mind  I always feel at home whenever i put my feet on the beach. I am not new to this  domain. It is very familiar to me.  I am not a new kid on the beach.  Ganukite is very synonymous with me. It will always be. But to my young super-heroes this place is an uncharted place offering them some new adventures. I however, have no worry as looking at their enthusiasm and their youthful spirit, I think they are ready to take the challenge. 

 And my significant half. She doesn't need to adjust herself or adapt to anything. She is part of me.   


 Trengganu without beaches is not Trengganu after all. It will be tasteless. Beaches almost without fail are always associated with fun and sunshine. But fun on the beach is as joyful only with calculated risk. With Monsoon season is  hovering and lingering  on the  horizon, still in its stagnant mode, do not estimate the power of the sea. Few fatalities were reported in the past along beaches like this because some didn't realize the hidden danger that lie under the gentle and alluring wave that beats the shore. (Pantai Pak Tuyu)


Friday morning we are on the beach, Saturday morning we are back on the beach, in fact family escapade will continue throughout the evening and some weekdays as well. In short, I can conclude that my four superheroes are also mesmerized and got sedated by Ganukite wonderful beaches....just like their  daddy. (Pantai Tok Jembal)

The four superheroes were warming up  for some beach actions and get ready to submerge themselves with whatever they thought fit into their fancies. (Pantai Pengkalan Maras)

Walking on the beach is like walking on an open field full of hidden treasures. You'll never know what you are going to find or stumble upon. You just have to pay more attention and with some sheer luck you will be rewarded with something totally unexpected. 


Anything that my superheroes found on the beach, anything that is playable will be their love and joy even an ordinary ornate slipper full of living barnacles.   This interesting slipper has some story to tell. Perhaps if we can talk their language, the barnacles will come up with some good epic story that fit into a Bollywood screen.

The slipper, perhaps drifting from one of  the Vietnamese fishing boats just off shore now become the beach volley-slipper. 

Oblivious to the big wave that hit the beach, my third and fourth progenies seemed to enjoy their newly found playground. The long stretch of Ganukite beaches are now becoming their private wonderland. Most of the time,  all by themselves. (Pantai Mengabang Batu Rakit)


A family photo beside a sampan, under the shade of a coconut tree to mark the historic and memorable occasions, which number is uncountable. The new spot is Kuala Baru, a new lepak place for the whole family along Pantai Tok Jembal. This blissful spot  has never registered in my 45-years-old's Ganukite map before which resided in my mind. Now it is a good time to update my mental Ganukite map with the latest version, minus the Nasi dagang of course.


The outing grand finale is always a family round-table meal  with a mouthful array of a-la-carte menu  consisting of nasi kerabu, nasi lemak and nasi dagang. This only makan place on the beachfront of Kuala Baru  is commendable for its reasonable price, scenic location and free air conditioning complimentary of 10-20knots wind from the South China Sea. And not to mention countless gallons of minute salty sea spray which in 20 years will corrode anything that is metalic in nature. I hope my mind and my perversion to the beach won't get corroded by then.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...