Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nang bo ti nang kui bo ti kui

Yeah, orang bukan orang hantu bukan hantu! I often heard this phrase uttered by my late auntie when I was small. This phrase refers to a person who is jahat dan tak makan saman. These are one of the few phrases or words that I still remember until today. But I couldn't recall who fell in this nang bo ti nang kui bo ti kui or orang bukan orang hantu bukan hantu category in my kampung at that time.

But I do remember the word 'bo patut' ie tak patut that referred to a person in my kampung during the 60's. He was a successful businessman , he got a sundry shop and he was dealing with cane and rubber business. I asked my mother why people called him Bo Patut? She told me when he was young he 'buat jahat' to this particular lady who also owned a sundry shop, therefore the Chinese community sanctioned him by calling him Bo Patut.This Bo Patut was so succesful in business eventually he got the title JP and people called him Dato' JP! ( during that time title Jaksa Pendamai was the highest and very rare award received by a person in my kampung therefore people called the recipient 'Dato' ).

Wayang pek ji troop will come to my kampung during Perayaan Hantu. They set up wooden stage near tokong area and the show lasted for 7 nights. Those days I didn't know where the Chinese opera came from and who paid for it. I used to go and see and became very familiar with the story, the costumes the high pitch songs ,the kungfu and swords play. But during the 90's I found out there were no more Chinese opera but it was replaced with modern kugiran. So we used to say, Wah, macam wayang pek ji! if someone put on a very thick make up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Once upon a time

Masa kecil dulu suka sangat bersumpah, sikit-sikit ---' sumpah, lillah !' tak caya tanya mak aku! Tak cukup sumpah suruh mak konfirm kebenaran seseorang. Tapi tak sorang pun pergi tanya mak sapa-sapa tentang kebenaran sesuatu. Cukup dengan nama mak saja semua orang percaya.

Duduk di kampung ramai kawan, banyak aktiviti lasak,seperti main hujan, main anak patung dan bila besar sikit main anak-anakan yang dibuat dari kain dan di beri pakai baju dan main masak-masak,besar sikit lagi main konda-kondi, tali skipping yang dibuat dari getah ( rubber band ) yang disambung-sambung. Besar sikit lagi main panjat pokok petai belalang yang rendang dan senang budak-budak perempuan nak panjat sebab tak tinggi sangat. Bila masuk darjah lima main melukis dan mewarna di atas kertas lukisan beli dengan cikgu 5 sen sehelai.Bila masuk tingkatan satu mula main di padang sekolah, main netball,pingpong dan pergi perpustakaan baca buku dan pinjam buku.

Dalam ramai-ramai kawan ada yang tak berapa sesuai,tapi berkawan juga. Selalu bergaduh dan tak tegur menegur. Kamu jahat tak nak tegur! tarik muka 14 dan jeling mata macam nak juling. Petang esok pergi rumah dia ,sambung main batu selemban dan share makan kacang goreng.

Inilah kawan-kawan yang kita ingat sampai bila walaupun dah berpuluh tahun tak bersua muka. Anehnya,kawan yang kita selalu bermasam muka,bila bertemu setelah dewasa menjadi begitu mesra dan ketawa bila teringat zaman kanak-kanak dulu.

Monday, February 23, 2009



Waiting for you on Sunday,but when Nuwal came in the evening, she told me the sad news. Auntie ucapkan takziah di atas kepemergian ayahanda Siti dan auntie doakan semoga roh beliau ditempatkan bersama-sama orang yang beriman,amin.
As for you,banyaklah bersabar di atas segala dugaan yang Allah beri, 'sesungguhnya di samping kesukaran akan datang kemudahan '-AlInsyirah- ayat 5&6.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A place to die

Why is it when you want to visit the Haramain ( Mecca and Medina )you always think 'If I die there....'.

For as long as I can remember, during the 50's and the 60's even the 70's ,the muslims went to perform the hajj by ship. It took about 3 to 6 months to come back home from Mecca and many people died in Mecca as well as on the ship. That is because the Malays waited until they are old then only they go for the hajj. Some said 'buat dosa dulu ,last-last baru minta ampun!' ( kalau sempat!? ), jangan-jangan padam dulu sebelum bertobat.

But since the 80's people started going to Mecca by plane, and it sparked controversy among the Malaysians muslim. Some said it is better to go by ship,longer time means more pahala, if you go by plane as if you got instant hajj ( less berkat therefore less pahala ). But after that there's no question about more berkat or less berkat,everybody flies to Mecca.

Me and Syarifah planned to go for umrah soon ( ladies trip ) and guess what? I've been thinking what if I die there....... Sure enough this morning when I met Syarifah she has been thinking if she dies in Mecca, it would be good for her.Die in Tanah Suci, is quite easy, no fuss, people will bury you there and then. I told her Pah don't you ever dare to die there, how I'm going to explain to Pak Toyyib and your children when I come back? She laugh!

I told her that I thought of the same thing too, if I die there, mau pengsan Cik Pah terkejut. Ahhhhh....ha..ha...! TOUCHE'!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hosting the Arab way.

We were guests of an Arab family in Mekah long time ago. It was Ramadhan and we were invited by Ustaz Oudah and his wife Aida ( Habibti's friends ) to break our fast in their house. Upon breaking fast we were served with a few types of drinks, zam-zam,sherbet,fruit juice accompanied by samosa and some other savoury and sweet dishes,not to mention kurma,grapes,oranges and buah delima which was in abundance.

Finished eating we prayed and we excused ourselves to go back to get ready for terawih prayer at al Haram. But of course we hadn't started our meals yet,said Ustaz Oudah,wait for a while for the main dish. What main dish I thought,we were so full and we felt like going for a 2 mile brisk walk to make ouselves less bloated.

In came the maids carrying a tray of mutton, a tray of chicken, a tray of rice and a pot of soup. Those are the kind of food I love , but at that time the food was too much for me. I thought of many ways to escape from eating ,like I'm too full,I couldn't eat any more and other excuses ,but to no avail.Big chunks of mutton and chicken were loaded in my plate and my husband was speechless. We couldn't figure out how to finish the whole thing.

Later I learned ( in Cairo ) that you don't have to finish all the food they put on your plates. You can immediately put it back into the serving plates. You just eat whatever you can and be prepared to remove your plate when the hosts attempt to refill it. But if they are succesful, you put it back when they are not looking.But if you are a really big eater, you can enjoy the food as much as you can ( like eating one whole chicken or a leg of lamb! ).

It is an offence if you eat too little or if you don't eat at all. You'll insult your hosts as if there is something wrong with their food. It happened to me when I was with 'Habibti' in Cairo. Those days I didn't take dinner, I stopped eating after maghrib. So when I stayed in sister Suad's house I seldom eat , just drink some water or eat very little during dinner time. The next week, we went to Tanta to sister Wafa's resident, that night I ate something ie one egg since I had eaten so much in the evening. Sister Suad was very offended because I ate dinner in Sister Wafa's house but made a lot of excuses not to eat dinner in her house. I had to explain (through Habibti)that I forced myself to eat to please sister Wafa, since it was the first time I met her.

Now only I realise when we are a guest we should follow our hosts ways. We should forget our ways, like not eating ( just because we don't take dinner ) whereas the hosts take the trouble to prepare good dinner for the guests.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lain padang lain belalang the sequel

Well,the way we talk differs from one state to the other. This particular story will tickle me whenever I remember it. One of our friends, who is a Kedahan went to the east coast. He stopped at a stall selling all the goreng-gorengan things such as kepok goreng,goreng keledek,tapai goreng,cucok udang and cucok kodok. He was very fond of goreng keledek,so he ordered some. Before that he thought hard how to tell the lady ( owner of the stall ) what he wanted. So he figured out --- cucok in bahasa selatan must be cucur and (keledek) ie ubi must be ubi too. So he said .. Makcik bagi saya cucur ubi seringgit. The lady said goreng ubi tak ada .Surprised, he pointed out to the cucur ubi,yang tu makcik......Oh, ini goreng keledek!.....Pulak dah..( salah care off rupenyeee! )

Another incident, " Hi, handsome " son of our family friend and his sister went on tour to Pulau Langkawi. He was about fifteen at that time. He told me about his visit to Langkawi,first thing he said it was very hot over there and the second thing he said he tried to speak their lingo. So when he was about to order coffee he had to think hard as how to translate air kopi to bahasa tempatan. So, air is ayak...what about kopi?.. If air is ayak then kopi must be kopak. Pak cik..bagi ayak kopak satu. Ayak apa dek? Tu, yang itu ( pointing to the coffee ) Oo, mau ayak kopi ka?... ( ( blushing ) Ya,ya , ayak kopi satu!

When in Sarawak do not praise people by saying you are lawa hari ini. Your compliment might hurt people because lawa means sombong. So you should say kacak kitak hari tok means awak cantik hari ini.

Oh, I miss Kuching and all my friends there already! I miss laksa Sarawak, I miss bubur pedas and I miss kek lapis ( during Hari Raya ). I miss their 'one mile long' pasar minggu ( maybe it is more than a mile now ),I miss Waterfront with its air pancut bermuzik. I think I should visit Sarawak in this near future !

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lain padang lain belalang

When we meet people we always compare our way of life. Some of us feel our way is better than the others.That is why when people got married they need time to adjust to each others way. Many parents wouldn't agree if their children want to marry foreigners or people from other religions ,because they think that it is difficult to adapt to their way. Many will try to convince the other to follow their way. Even people from the same country find it hard to adapt to each others way of life.

One of my colleages in Kedah, Cikgu Halim,a nice and hard working guy told me
about his own experience. He got some friends in Kota Bharu. Once he and his family went to KB and was invited for dinner.He said KB people are very friendly and lavish when entertaining friends. They prepared a lot of lauk pauk,but to his dismay he couldn't quite enjoy the food because it is a little bit too sweet for him. After staying for three days,he felt as if he hadn't eaten anything. So, on the way back to Alor Setar he found this mamak stall, so he stopped to have his lunch.They missed the curry so much like they had been starving for a week. To him there is no dish that is as tasty as fish or chicken curry!

After sometimes his friend and family came to visit him in Alor Setar. He went to market to buy kepala ikan to cook curry and others to serve them for lunch. To him kari kepala ikan is the most respectful dish to serve his guests. When his friends ate he noticed that they ( like him before ) couldn't enjoy the food as much maybe because it has got Indian taste and the other dish was too hot. So he thought they'll do the same as him that is look for Kelantanese stall on the way back home!

Our Mak Lang was from Kedah but stayed in KB ever since she got married. She maintained the Kedah speak, cooked Kedah food and all the Kedah ways of doing things but she never criticised anything about Kelantan. Even though she and her husband were Kedahan, but their children were born in KB,live like orang Kota Bharu,speak like orang KB and eat ( outside food ) like orang KB. The problem of different field, different grasshopper came out when her daughter got married to a Negeri Sembilan chap.

During one of the visits she made to her tok besan's house in NS, her son in-law wanted to eat udang galah ,so he bought some at the market. His mother being orang NS cooked the udang galah the way they used to eat ie masak lemak cili api ( I'm sure the son loved them very much ). But, to my Mak Lang's amazement..Whaaat...? Udang galah masak lemak? Pity my son in-law, how can he enjoyed that flat food and it spoilt the taste of real udang ( that's how she narrated to me ). So when they went back to KL she bought equally big (if not bigger )udang galah and she made curry (gulai )for her son in-law . Only then she was satisfied ---that's how you eat the udang galah!

With that, I rest my case!

Tak sayang body

I always get the morning appointment in Tanglin Klinik ( Kelinik Kerajaan Jalan Cenderasari KL ), I have to be there before 9 in the morning. I always arrive half an hour earlier so I can have my breakfast. There is the canteen across the road that sells all kind of breakfast from nasi lemak to breakfast kopitiam style consist of kopi, telur separuh masak and roti bakar.

What intrigue me is the nasi lemak stall sells the very lemak version of nasi lemak with various choice of very rich lauk pauk like sambal sotong, rendang daging/ hati/ limpa, telur goring, rendang ayam and so on. The queue is very long as the office people around the area come to have their breakfast ( from top gun to small fry, judging by the vehicles parked in the parking lot in front of the canteen ). Then in the afternoon the menu change to lunch and the same people will come for lunch followed by tea soon after.

We used to joke among friends, the govt is very smart, every govt office there's a canteen selling very rich food for breakfast,lunch and tea . People will eat the food and go back to the desk work in aircond office. After they pension off about one or two years they get heart problem! ( as if that's the govt fault! ).

The same thing happened to us last week in Paka. A few friends were invited by the owner of a villa resort ---RUMBIA, we stayed there for three nights. The last night we were treated with barbequed lamb,lobsters,cuttlefish and the food were in abundance ( the owner is a very generous man ). Since all of us are above fifty, of course our topic of conversations not far from the food that is in front of us. Thus the words like cholestrol,high blood pressure, headache and sakit urat and even imbalance dominate the conversation... like, I got to take double dose of cholestrol pills tonight, don't worry the lobsters in Paka don't contain cholestrol, or if you take three pieces of lamb it's okay but if you take four pieces, you'll get headache. or you bring koyok, my shoulder already stiff after eating sotong bakar.

Not knowing one of the guests ( wife of one of the house guest who is a netball coach and well verse in physio exercises ) ,she couldn't help chipping in our conversations. She could't stand our pathetic words,scared of every food we eat. Thus she taught us how to breath and exercise properly ( starting from head to toe and if done properly it can last us about 30 minutes ) so we can be more fit and don't depend on those pills so much.

Her good intentions made some of us feel that we are not thaaat pathetic,we are only joking with the cholestrol thing but some of us took her tips with open heart. Yes, why not take it positively. Well, I have practiced the exercise this morning and I felt great.

Note: Rumbia consists of 100 three-room bungalows situated 1 or 2 miles after bandar Paka and its about 45 minutes drive to Kuala Trengganu ( we can go shopping in KT ). We can ask for boat rides and snorkeling to Pulau Tenggol which take less than one hour to reach there. The package to Pulau Tenggol includes food for the day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kisah dolu-dolu

My eldest son told me someone's mother knew me. He mentioned the name Zabidah Yusoff, I remember her immediately. We called her Kak Dah even though she is only one year older than me ,but that's the way it was back then. If your colleage is even one year older you call her kak. Once in Tg Karang my one year junior called me kak and I told her just call me my name. And I knew tounges were wagging. They thought I perasan nak muda!

I won't forget Kak Dah until forever. After two years of teaching in the same school I got transferred to SMKB from SMMM Kota Bharu. After that we rarely meet even though I was still in KB three years later. She was quite busy at that time because she was a tae kwon do ( ITF ) instructor during the weekends ( she is a black belter 2nd dan ) and her two daughters assisted her.I remember her two charming daughters Eriyanti the eldest ( tall and slim ,straight hair and looked like Kak Dah ) and the youngest Sofea looked like her father ( Abang Pin ),very fair with slightly curly hair.

Kak Dah is a very easy going person. One will be most comfortable when one is with her. And she is a bit kelakar too. If you don't know her you think she is a sombong person. She told me about an incident when someone knocked on her car ,she scolded the man and asked for payment there and then ( she said she pretended to be stern ) and the poor man did't hesitate to pay her. The second incident, she was on the way back from hospital ( one of the daughters was warded ), she knocked on someone's car and she quickly came down to apologise and explained to the driver she didn't sleep a wink the night before.If I'm not wrong she got away scot free.

And the other thing I couldn't forget was during Hari Raya she made a lot of cookies,among them is jam tart. She prepared a lot of tarts ( without the jam), she kept the jam in the bottle. When we Raya to her house she explained Kak Dah sengaja tak bubuh jem sebab susah nak simpan banyak-banyak.So when she served the tarts we have to fill in the jam ourselves.

Another story she told me, she had this aquarium at home,full of goldfish.After Raya she told me all her fish were gone ,either died or cacat. She said one of her friend's son loved to play with the fish and his hands stayed in the water ( throughout the Raya visit refusing to move from the aquarium )trying to catch the fish. When he's gone she found out most of her fish pening-pening lalat and the eyes of the fishes had all gone! She buried the fishes under her mango tree when eventually all of them died.

One thing I knew about her is that she is a good cook. She can cook chicken kuzi very well. Well, I hope I can get in touch with her often now that I found her again.