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.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Aerials and disks.

In the late 50s, early 60s and perhaps up to late 70s, when one flew in an aeroplane low over London one could see TV aerials on every roof, together with smoking chimneys, though the number of smoking chimneys have been reduced drastically by early 70s. But the number of TV aerials were never reduced.

In a less developed countries like Malaysia, TV aerials were not common untill the early 70s. Then overnight they proliferate, and almost every house seemed to have a TV aerial indicating that the house had a TVs, most likely black and white which soon got replaced by coloured.

Then satelite TV came into being by late 90s, when TV aerials now just became almost redundent and these are replaced by satelite disks. These are the current scenes in most house roofs, though there are still houses using TV aerials.

(These are TV aerials, which still exist on some roof tops in Malaysia, though its doubtful if they are of use anymore, except for places where birds perched and gathered in the early morning and before dusk. The round structure is a exhaust vane, exhausting hot air from house ceiling - they work on an air convection effect).

(These are the current satellite receptor disks for satellite TV used in Malaysia. Two are shown here but one seems to be not connected for whatever reason).

Probably in not too distant future TV aerials will be antique or collectors item or just pieces of metal to be shown in a museum. Technology has progressed fast.


Monday, January 22, 2007

In support of Malaysian bloggers

I believe that in Malaysia bloggers are the minority of the silent majority. The silent majority just suffer, and nowhere to redress their sufferings (but many of the silent majority are the ones that benefit most from the present regime so they remain very silent). Many others though are just living dead, no opinion, no thoughts and nobody. Bloggers have access to a media to express their opinions and many express their without fear or favour, (though many will express their opinion with fear and hoping for favour). Whatever the situations are, there is a flow of opinions in blogs and to my mind its good for our society, and for Malaysians in general. (Though the number of Malaysian having access to Internet is very limited, and those not wanting to access is a majority of those that may access). Many Malaysians are so subservient, earlier by the colonial rulers (got to blame someone, that is our culture and in our genes) and then by our own 'colonial' rulers, they taking the queue from the colonial rulers to silent the majority; at the same time blaming the colonial rules publicly to gather the support of the silent majority. Now
with attempts to guillotine opinions in blogs, we are once again the 'living dead'.

Whatever it takes, within our means and within the Malaysian laws, we must defend our rights to express our opinions via blogs.



I often wonder why is it that in Thailand they produce sugar coated tamarind and export those to Malaysia. And tamarind trees can be grown very well in Malaysia. And they fruit as well.

Near where I live, in Kuala Lumpur, there are about 30-40 matured tamarind trees planted by the roadside and they bear fruit often, so I observe. And those tamarind fruits are left to rot on the trees and nobody bothers to pick them up (so I observe). Such waste.

A row of tamarind trees by the roadside.

Fruiting tamarind tree.

Tamarind fruits on a tamarind tree


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Early morning hours to prayers.

Its a strange feeling walking alone in the brightly lit street towards the masjid in the early morning hours to perform the Subuh (Fajar) prayers. Maybe one or two people walking, passing you in their quick pace manner, not saying a word of greeting but just walking, ready dressed for the occasion, and probably a car humming driving fast (seemed so when you are walking) towards the masjid, and you passing some parked cars on the street.

And you make your way towards the masjid passing this beautiful bougainvillaea flowering bush.

A lone person walking in his own pace towards the masjid, in the cool morning air. The lights are still shining at full blast in the morning darkness.

You are now at the entrance to the masjid, still lonely but not for long. People will be trickling in, some walking and some on motorbikes while others coming in into the compound by cars.


Friday, January 19, 2007

A BIG fight


We are expecting a big fight. So watch this space!


Coach ride

I thought that it’s interesting to note about the coach ride I had on a number of occasions these couple of weeks,. I have not been doing such ride for a long time, mainly because I usually travel by car. However on recent occasions when my car was not available, my wife using it to go about the City preparing for my son’s wedding, I traveled by coach to go outstation to work. I traveled the Kuala Lumpur route and back.

Its a different feeling altogether to ride on a coach with the opening of the new Kuala Lumpur/Kuantan Highway. The coach no longer has to manouvre sharp bends and narrow roads, and the overtaking more safe, no more the near misses. Less thrill though. And the stopping points for rest breaks no longer at some dirty dingy eating shops in nowhere land.

The coach now stop by proper rest areas,

though there is still room for improvement. Some coach drivers stop at rest areas along the Highway where there are proper restaurants and some only stop at only minor rest areas where there is no proper restaurant facilities, only small tidbit stalls available. The discretion is seemed is left to the coach driver.

The coach itself is very comfortable, with aeroplane type of seats (well almost), with a single seat on the coach left side and double seat on the right side.

And the drivers area is also very comfortable, large front windows and special gear change arrangement,

in the picture it was still long gear changing arms, probably mechanically connected (or pneumatic or hydraulic, I am not sure), but some coaches have the short gear changing arms (not sure whether these are mechanically connected to the gear box or hyraulicaly or pneumatically connected), and the coach drivers seat is more springy. Whatever they are, the coach driver seems comfortable enough.

Riding those coaches is a pleasure, and the 4 hours Kuala Lumpur - Kuantan or Kuantan - Kuala Lumpur ride seems just a couple of hours. Why 4 hours? Well, 1/2 hour break for rest and the traffic jam as the coach enters Kuala Lumpur.

The pleasure ride is broken by disappointment when one reached Kuala Lumpur. There in Kuala Lumpur taxi drivers are like hawk, when you ask them to take you to your final destination, your house say, they charge you exhorbitent fares, and they refuse to use the taxi meter. Cheating really. On one occasion I was asked for RM 10.00 for the taxi ride to my house and I paid (USED 1.00 = RM 3.70). But on another occasion I was asked for RM 20.00. On bargaining the driver agreed for RM 15.00; but when I reached home he still demanded R 20.00. I thought there was no point to argue, these taxi guys are old and uneducated and I did not want to cause a scene in my neighbourhood over the RM 10.00 extra.

The coach ride was pleasant but the taxi ride spoilt my day.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Urban Birds Nest

Bird nest soup is very popular among the Chinese. With the right concoction its supposed to balanced up the yang the ying (whatever they are). And in the market they are sold in ‘tahil', a fraction of ounces. Don’t know what the values are but they are expensive and one can hardly buy it just for fun.

When one think about birds nest one always think about dark caves in some remote regions of Asia (Borneo or South Thailand) where these birds nest are collected, probably in the high ceilings of these caves, vision of some half naked natives natives climbing flimsy bamboo poles or such similar structure. They are paid pittance compared to the market price of these birds nest.

Wikipedia has got a good description of bird’s-nest-soup at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird's_nest_soup

This site describes what Malaysia offers in birds nest market. http://www.alibaba.com/countrysearch/MY-suppliers/Birds_Nest.html

And this site describes further on birds nest. http://chinesefood.about.com/library/bltrivia33.htm
What is interesting about this site is that it reveals the fact that the birds nest that are consumed are, “Authentic bird's nest soup is made using the nests of the swiftlet, a tiny bird found throughout southeast Asia.” This brings to what I am trying to describe below.

Just last week while walking about in my town I heard this shrill bird sound coming from the back of a row of shop houses. I could not see the birds. I saw a lot of swallows, http://birding.about.com/od/birdsswallows/Birds_Everything_About_Swallows.htm (swift, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0821_020822_swiftlet.html I suppose is the correct name for them). In Malaysia and in this monsoon season there are a lot of swallows (or is it swiftlets) about. These are migratory birds.

On examining further, I saw these shophouses, brick walled at the back with holes made in them.

And these bird noises were coming from these holes in the brick walls. And birds were coming in and out of these man made holes. I asked the tenants below these shop houses and they told me that the upstairs in the back they breed (I suppose more correctly attract) birds (swallows or swiftlets) for making birds next. And they told me that the top houses tenants do not like people to snoop about looking at these bird nest making premises. Well I did not ask further.

In another part of my town I saw these other shop houses with the same purpose. I managed to take more photos.

Now one can see more clearly that in the ‘opening’ these small high pitch speakers, playing recordings of bird noises (swallows or swiftlets), attracting these high flying birds into the premises, inducing them to make nests to breed. And the owners of these premises collecting these bird nests, extracting the edible part to be marketed. Clever idea.

On further enquiries I was told that not only such usage of buildings are in my town, but also in other nearby towns in the State. In fact in some rural areas they make special houses and buildings just for the purposes of attracting these birds, inducing them to make nests and collecting the edible part of the bird to be marketed.

It’s a very lucrative business.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

They work at night

The are the heshe of my town. I see them only at dark hours on street corners, dressed well and looking innocent, waiting for something ............ don't know what. They appear very late at night and by the early morning hours, by first light, they just melt into nothingess, they just disappear. not to be seen at all.

These photoes were taken at wee morning hours, when activities seemed to be very silent, and there they were in the dark. You say "Hello", you smile, they smile and they say "Hello" back to you ............ the voice you can hardly connect with the person and the dress, manly or semi-manly. You ask them if they will allow you to take photoes, and they obliged .......... and you take photoes knowing very well that they were just being kind to you and not you to them. And you do not want to take a clear photo really, just photoes ......... protecting their real identity. And you may never see them again after a few months, ........ they will just disappear into another being when you see them next on the street anywhere in the daytime.

They are just people but they are different.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Eid day outing

Eid ul-Adha day, 31 Dec. 2006, 10 Zulhijah 1427, it was celebrated in our small masjid in Wangsa Maju, KL.

The cows were ready for the 'qurban', men and women came to pray, the prayers, and after the prayers.

After the prayers, my family went to a friends house at Janda Baik, a cool hill Malay village about half-hour drive east of KL. He had 8 cows 'qurban' and the meat distributed to the poor (maybe 1 or 2 rich) people of the village. We had a good luch at that friend's place.

After a heavy lunch at our friends place, we retreated to a nearby hill resort to another friend's empty studio apartment where we rested. And the scene from that studio apartment was beyond belief, green distant hills, a village in the valley, and wild monkeys on trees close by.

We came home by late afternoon, near dusk after a happy and enjoyable day's outing.


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