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.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Kuala Trengganu (KT) weekend

At the weekend, my wife and I and some friends made a trip to Kuala Trengganu. It was a change from the familiar sites of Kuantan Town (where I spend about two weeks in a month, when duty calls) and of busy and humid Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Trengganu is different, in many ways. It has a slight eastern architecture in its buildings, it has got beautiful beach scenery, the sea is bluer and the sand on the beach is whiter. And the people smallish in stature and quite fair in complexion. I am told that many have their ancestory from the Chinese in Yunan Province. I am no historian but what I am writing here is hearsay. And the upper class of the people over there are mostly of the Middle Eastern origins. And presently the Sultan of Trengganu (one of the nine Sultanate States in Malaysia) is the Yang Di Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (The Supreme Ruler of Malaysia constitutionally).

It was a pleasant weekend, and I was glad to take the boat ride and met this young (almost baby, photo above) girl and her young mother. I met them on the boat when I went on a ride crossing the clear bluish water of the Trengganu River mouth. Currently dredging is being done to clear the sand bars which used to block the smooth flow of the River. For the local, crossing the river by this mean is a daily occurrence and is a convenient way of commuting, but of course they can take a long round about ride by bus if they want to get from that side of the river to the Kuala Trengganu town. And what scenery is presented from the other side of the River. Beautiful!.

The smell of the sea, the cool fresh wind from the waters and the pleasant surrounding was invigorating. And with such beautiful scenery and friendly people who can forget Trengganu.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

A local legend of 'lubuk'.

This article very localized. Its basically for Malaysian, and for those living in the State of Pahang (and bringing it down one level further, i.e those living in the District of Temerloh). The place names are also very localised, and very micro. The legends are also very localized and very micro. If anyone were to read this article, I wish to appologise if its irrelevant to be included in a blog with worldwide readers.

I doubt if anyone have heard of a place called Lubuk Mendi. You may have heard of Lubuk Pelang, Lubuk Kerdau or Lubuk Kawah. Lubuk I recall means a place in the river where there rocky bottom, deep water (still or twirling) and associated with crocodiles. These Lubuk I mentioned above are all in Sungei Pahang. Lubuk Pelang is in the Mukim of Pulau Tawar, Lubuk Kerdau in the Mukim of Kerdau and Lubuk Kawah in the Mukim of Bangau (I stand corrected in all these), all in the Temerloh District. There may be other Lubuk in the Sungei Pahang for which I suppose many of you are familiar with.

Lubuk Mendi is in the Mukim of Lipat Kajang, between Kampong Nuar and Kampong Kerai, the Lubuk about 2 km down river to Pulau Pasir Mandi, a big sand bank island in the Middle of Sungei Pahang, near the border of Kampong Lipat Kajang and Kampong Tekal. This Lubuk is an outcrop of hard (volcanic) rock jutting out of the bank of Sungei Pahang, its too hard for the fast flowing water of Sungei Pahang at that point to erode and because the softer soil on the upper part of that hard rock has been eroded, when water hit that rock directly there form a twirl of water which can be very dangerous at high water level, and people in boats avoid that area even those boats with outboard engine. In the middle of that out jutting rock is a rounded hole of about 20 feet in diameter where water seems to be very calm. Its deep. When I was growing up in the kampong, I once with my brother went trying to fish in that still water, and when we casted our fishing line the fishing line weight pulled the line right to the end of my line at the spool and the line was straight right vertical down at the end of my fishing rod. I could not imagine how deep that pool is. We straight away pulled our line, got into our boat and rowed back to our house about 1 km downriver, on the other bank of the river. But the water was so calm, but some people say sometimes the water in that pool twirls slowly and then faster and then slowly again, like what you see in your sink when you wash dishes. People say that Lubuk has a lot of fish. We also knew (and we still think so now) that the Lubuk has a lot of crocodiles in its deep water.

Legend has it that in that Lubuk there is an old crocodile living there. It seems that the crocodile is a twin brother of a human, that is a common human mother, born long ago in that kampong, first the woman mother put it in a basin, then in a pool when it grew bigger and when it was too big let it into the Sungei Pahang where in a dream the mother was told by the crocodile that then it found a residing place in Lubuk Mendi. The mother was told that the crocodile has to be symbolically fed every year first by his brother and when the brother dies by the brother's descendents. Until today one of the brothers descendent is appointed to feet the crocodile in that Lubuk. Now it seems that the old crocodile is too old and to big (and too heavy) to surface so one of the old crocodiles appointed descendent will rise to the surface to meet the human descendent where the human descendent will ceremoniously feed the crocodile by putting his hand deep into the crocodiles mouth holding a sort of charmed ‘kemian’, at appointed time.

True or not, but the legend sticks in the mind of the people in that kampong. Just for the record, no one in that kampong has ever been attacked by any crocodile (to date). Buffaloes can cross at any point of the Sungei Pahang in that kampong without being attacked by a crocodile. Cases has been known where somebody’s boat overturn in the fast current of Sungei Pahang in that kampong, and in panic that person will feel a log under his/her feet and that log will move towards the bank to save the person from drowning. Cases has been known where people from the kampong in search of ‘kijing’( a sort of brownish brackish big smooth shell ‘kerang’ shaped shellfish), normally under old rotting logs by the river bank, hugs a ‘log’ and the log moved slowly and nothing more, with the person hugging just in shock running to the bank, harmless. And I have seen crocodiles in the water in a slow flowing tributary in my kampong. Those are all the excitement that we have ever had with crocodiles in that kampong. Legend has also said that that part of the river belongs to that crocodile family and any other crocodile coming from outside to that part of the river will be attacked and chased off. I have witnessed such crocodile fights in the middle of Sungei Pahang, but I still do not know what the fight was all about.

I have my own views of the situation. When I was small we all used to use the Sungei Pahang for everything. And probably then the crocodiles recognized us human, as the humans in did not harm them. So they were friendly to human as the humans were to them. But again remember that in those days the Sungei Pahang has a lot of fish, and the crocodiles were never hungry. But now with the murky water of the Sungei Pahang and the lack of fish, crocodiles may not even be able to recognise between human and fish and they may also be hungry. I cannot conclude anything but I am just aware of the current situation.

Of the legend about the twin, scientifically I cannot explain it but who knows………….

I have heard a lot of legend about other Lubuk in Pahang (Malaysia), only God knows about the truth of any such legends.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

another book


Please visit book above site. Its mine, I published it. Maybe you may like to purchase a copy for yourself or your children.


Friday, April 13, 2007

An old building

A few months ago I would have never thought that the old building at Jalan (Road) Telok Sisek, Kuantan, Malaysia would be revived. But about 1 month ago I saw some people working on it, and very recently I saw it revived, as a business premises.

That is what it looks like now.

The front porch.

The back with a gazebo, but it seems to be neglected.

The main hall. Observe that staircase to the upstairs (left top corner of the photo) but I did not manage to take photographs of what the upstairs looks like.

And the original tiles leading from the ‘kitchen (and probably dining area) to the main hall.

The kitchen (and probably the dining hall) areas.

Its just my guess, as I saw that the chimney position (top right hand corner of the house photo)

is at the edge of the building but the chimney does not seem to have a bottom, probably that part of the house has been demolished (and changed).

But the washing area seems intact and the window has been bricked over. Just my guess.

There seems to be an underground area, not sure what it was for originally.

I am happy that they have not demolished that building, one can see the date when it was built. It has a local historical value, but in Malaysia such values seems not important unless it has some political connections.

But I am sad that in the process of renovation for whatever the modern use of that building is, they seemed to have changed the facade so that the building originality seems lost.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ismail Hussin

Ismail Hussin, I must say that he is one of the better artist in Kuantan (Malaysia) today. I am not in that profession neither do I meet any other artist around Kuantan town but my experience with Ismail Hussin has been very satisfactory, since I met him more than 5 years ago. And I have used his talent to paint some paintings of my family members, using pencil, or pastel or even water colours for scenery.

He has this small studio workshop

in Hyatt Kuantan,

close to the pool.

A very unassuming person, very friendly and very hard working. When I took this photograph of him, it was on a Sunday afternoon, and he was in his studio working, and the photo showing him among his paintings.

His favourite painting? For local character, “Mat Kilau” he says.

And for foreign character, “Mother Theresa”. Strangers, “That blue eyed girl from Afghanistan”, and he is keeping the magazine whose cover shows that ‘girl’. All these paintings have now been sold of course.

Looking around his studio I asked him which is now his favourite painting. He showed me an oil painting on a canvas showing a fisherman’s house by a stream. He is pricing that painting at over RM 3000.00 (USD 1 = RM 3.5 presently).

And my favourite, among the paintings present is an oil paint (?) on a canvas (?) showing a boy with his buffalo. The price? I did not ask him.

He can be contacted at hp: 012-9562392 or e-mail: ismailhyatt04@yahoo.com. His website / homepage is http://www.artismail.com


Saturday, April 07, 2007

My book.

I have just published a book, to be found at,


Anyone like to buy my book?


Mee - the Artist.

Kuantan (Malaysia) has a beautiful beach called Telok Cempedak, which is on the coast about 5 km from Kuantan Town, and where the local Hyatt Hotel is located.

The beach is a popular family recreation spot, nothing much really, just sand (the beach front has been extended by the Town Council, putting more sand on the beach thus now the beach is about 100 meters further seaward from where it was before the extension),

and a few small restaurants where they sell overpriced local food. Anyway its always pleasant to be there especially during the quiet weekdays; at weekends its too busy with too many visitors.

In that quiet beach in the evening, where wild (?) monkeys gather in search for food from waste bins before they disappear at dusk to go back to their jungle hideout nearby to rest for the night,

and where there is a MacDonald restaurant where licenced Mac food can be obtained,

eating in that restaurant or take way, watching the slow waves in the sea; a very pleasant experience indeed, and where old men probably relax or read papers passing the evening away.

(During the monsoon season the sea can be pretty wild). And in that area is a young artist, doing his work, sketching portraits with his pencils, unperturbed by the curious onlookers and passers by.

“Mee” he said when asked for his name, “From Kuantan” he said when asked where he comes from (Kuantan is the local town). “Been here four years now” when asked how long has he been doing this pencil sketching on this beach. “Had some art education” that was all he was willing to say when asked how he got involved in this sort of business.

Looking at what he was doing, he seemed to have then talent. He has sketched correctly what many of our people looked like, especially our past Prime Ministers, and also some of our past leaders like Dato’ Onn Jaafar.

He was busy doing other portraits given to him when we walked away from him.


Malaysia Blogsites List