Looking around me I see the bigger pictures. And I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Please Donate

There he sits like a hermit, reading the Koraan, at one corner just outside the Muslim Prayer House (Surau) at the Tapah (Malaysia) Rest & Recreation (R&R) area, on the North South Highway. He collects donations to build a School for Al-Hafiz (Koraan Readers who can memorise the whole Koraan) for orphans.
He must have been permited to do so, he has actually a letter with a Seal from the Muslim Religious Department to carry out his collection for such donations.
I began to notice him since about 6 months ago when I often use the Highway to travel to and from Ipoh, and at Tapah R&R I often stop as the facilities over there I consider as First Class.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Walking on Melaka Beach

A very interesting weekend I thought. Spent it in Melaka (Malaysia), as a guest at a friend’s house. Not really a house, more of an apartment, a sort of self owned service apartment really. Abandoned for a long time but now given a new lease of life.

The main objective of being in Melaka (Malaysia) was as a guest at a newly found friend’s daughter’s wedding, a special wedding between a foreign lad to a local lass, my newly found friend’s daughter.

My wife helped out at the wedding, where necessary, but I was more interested of spending a leisurely few days in Melaka, as my friend’s house guest and spending sometime seeing the newly developed areas of Melaka. Not that Melaka did not develop, and I think Melaka was one of the few States in Malaysia where development had been taking place since the early 60s, but recently it has stridden at a rate faster than any of the other States in Malaysia, to the best of my knowledge.

But the sad part is that they are also very ambitious, many condos and apartments have been built on the beach front. Spoiling the seafront sceneries and because of the too fast high rise development they cannot find buyers for them condos; most of the buyers are from Singapore, thus one would see many such projects being half finished and abandoned halfway. And the Melaka State Government seems to compensate for these by claiming the beach land, planting trees on them and have creating space for people to enjoy the beach, and the sea beyond. It was a massive project, and they have reaped profit from them..

During my stay at my friend’s place, I took the opportunity to walk the beach. On the Saturday morning I walked toward the east side of the beach they call Pantai Putri (literally translated as Princess Beach), in the old days when I was working in Melaka it was called Pantai Kundor (literally translated as Watermelon Beach).

A beautiful morning walk I had. I passed the fishermen just about to go to sea, baiting their hooks, a public toilet clean and manned (womanned really, I saw a lady cleaning it), some old folks reading the newspapers, some teenagers swimming and one not even caring what is happening around her too busy reading the morning papers, a boy fishing, and some youths jogging on the beach, shy when I tried to photograph them. A lady cooking something for breakfast.

And two lovers on the beach oblivion to the surrounding activities.

The most fascinating scene was when I saw a man sweeping the rubbish on the sandy part of the beach, that was new to me. When I approached him he smiled and answering my greetings in good English. Strange I thought but I was very pleased with what I saw. And I saw a male child helping his granddad sweeping the pavement between the road and the beach proper. Quite a discovery really, they look after the environment well.

A mosque was under repair, and I observed that a new roof was being installed. I wonder what happened to the old roof, they were good slate or tiled roof in those days.

And I discovered a holiday bunglow for the Brothers (as in Christianity) fraternity up a hill about 500 m from the beach . I knew that it was there since I was in Melaka in late 60s, and until today its still stand proud on that hill.

And the Straits of Melaka, it’s a scene that one can never forget, one sees lines of ships passing by, at a distance on the horizon. When I was here about 40 years ago I did not notice this, there were ships passing the Strait then, I only took all that for granted but this time I wonder at what these ships are, what they carry and how far have they been and where is their destination.

On the Sunday morning I took a walk towards the western side of the beach, I was a bit disappointed, I saw rubbish on the beach and I was prevented from walking the beach by an unbridged mouth a of a small river (more like a drain to me) in the front of the building that I used to know as the holiday bunglows of the Port Authority of Singapore.

Anyway I came back from where I started and walked the road. It was fascinating on how the kampong by the road side have not changed, only that the buildings are now more modern and made of bricks.

I found a spot where the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) probably Melaka Branch was having a weekend family gathering day, and on walking further I came across a Orphanage, some youths camping by the beach and fishing, and a fishermen’s base where I caught sight of some rice wine bottles being collected by some fishermen. These bottles have been caught in their net where they were fishing.

I could not go any further, I was already be the fence of the Melaka Refinery, where Malaysia oil Co. PETRONAS refines crudes from the Middle East; its jetty juting out into the Straits of Melaka.

When I walked back, I was reflecting on the development that have taken place in Melaka.

Melaka has come a long way, its nice to be here, and anyone coming to this part of the world would be wise to take a look at what this small Malaysia State called Melaka has to offer. I would probably come this way more often. And to get to Melaka is a breeze from Kuala Lumpur by the North South Highway.

At the front of the 'hotel' where my friends apartment was situated I saw this scene of a Company gathering, workers and their family enjoying the Sunday in Melaka. On enqiring I was told that these people were from Kuala Lumpur.

Untill now I have not really thought of Melaka as destination for a weekend by the beach.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ustaz Mustaffa Umar.

For about 8 years, Ustaz Mustaffa Umar had been patiently teaching Tafseer Al-Quraan to the flock at a Surau in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur. He is there almost every Tuesday night. His dedication is beyond reproach and his knowledge is beyond question.
And now he has to say good-bye, he is going back to his country of origin. We will miss him. As the Malays say, "Di mana kan ku cari ganti?". He leaves in late April 06
May Allah bless him, and may he continue with his missionary work, and may his life be a success.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Morning in Kuantan Town.

Chiggong in session. And at far background, some folks having open air public exercises, a sort of aerobic session usually using Chinese music and lead by a Chinese lady.

Public aerobic sessions. This one is organised by the Kuantan Municipal Council, and usually lead by a person employed by the Kuantan Municipal Council; and music mostly of Malay, English and Hindustani recordings.

Old folks relaxing and talking after their morning brisk walk.

Walking on small cobblestone massage path.

Children playing, in the children playground, with one or two resting.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Lady doing the hula with large wooden beads on a string. She was just exercising to keep her hip trimmed.

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