Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, December 30, 2005

Younger Malaysians are embracing IT as easily as my generation embraced the transistor radio. Adults have preconceptions and sometimes misconceptions about computers. They do not take computers as readily as today's kids. I guess, to these kids, computers are natural progression from handheld "game watches" which are actually abbreviated dedicated computers.
I still remember making "telephones" using milk cans and strings to talk to a friend about 10 yards away. Even though we could have shouted at each other, we used the "telephone" because it was more fun. About 20 odd years later, I got my first walkie-talkie set by mail. It was sealed by Jabatan Telekom pending the approval of a licence. That didn't stop me from experimenting and I could talk to my headmaster across the school compound in Kuala Brang. Now my grandchildren talk to their cousins across the sea using the Internet. In the photos above, Ilham( 7+), at my messy computer table was talking to Adam (10+) who was in Jakarta. They did it without any help from adults. Adam, being older knows more about computers than the rest of the clan. One night, while online with his Ki (Grandpa), he took delight in changing his sisters and himself green by fooling with the webcam's controls. Aisyah, on the other hand likes to send me "winks" found on MSN Messenger.
I am watching with interest how Najwa (5 next February), Naim (4 next July) and Ariff (2 next April) will discover and eventually use the computer. One thing I am certain - they will be better at it than my classmates (mostly over 61 this year).
Happy New Year everyone!


Monday, December 26, 2005
On a soaking wet Xmas afternoon, we had to send Mimi to Melawati to keep her promise with a friend. Taman Melawati, if you must ask is on the other end of KL and I am at the wrong end. It is best to drive to unfamiliar Melawati on a full stomach and an equally full tank of gas. Having a stomach full of gas is not so good for your passengers.
By the time we got off the Ampang Expressway and got on the MRR2, it was raining cats and dogs. Visibility was limited and traffic was reduced to a crawl. Somehow, we ended up with Melawati facing our backside. We took the turning to Lembah Keramat and discovered that the road was already flooded and the car's fuel tank almost empty. Sighs of relief were heard when we spied a Petronas station just after the Dewan Orang Ramai Lembah Keramat. When I wanted to fill up, the boys at the station told me lightning tripped the computer and I had to wait for a while.
By the time we got our petrol, the road leading to the Melawati junction was already covered in water and we had to detour through Taman Permata and managed to get to the start of Jalan Melawati without drowning our car. We could not proceed because there were a few cars stalled on the road. Even an SUV was seen ready to float. We made a U turn over a low divider and asked Mimi to call her friend, explain our predicament and cancel the appointment. The friend suggested another route and we got Mimi smiling again. By this time my stomach was growling and we had absolutely no idea where to have lunch. I could call Som in Taman Permata to get some suggestion or I could call Zainaldin Zainal who was still waiting for me to size up Century Paradise Club to hold committee meetings. Before I could phone any of them, I saw a building with "Roti Prata" written on it so we headed towards it. They were out of roti prata so I ordered mee mamak. Then we saw this lady across the road.

Sata sold in KL? Sata is not to be confused by the new pc hard disk system. Sata is Terengganu's fishermen's food. Sata is fish flesh blended with grated coconut and finely shredded daun kesom and ground spices. The blend is then shaped like a cone and then wrapped in banana leave before being skewered on a bamboo stick and grilled.

We tried a skewer (se nyocok). We had 4 cones of sata for RM 1.50 which is more than reasonable. The sata were delicious albeit on the sweet side. Sata should have more fish than coconut but with the price of fish in KL, it is forgivable. When Zainaldin Zainal joined us later, he told me of another place that sells sata. It is the same place that I wrote about earlier. We couldn't get sata there then.
Zainaldin was marooned by the heavy downpour at the Dewan. He came as soon as he could and took us to his club to let me see if it is suitable as a venue for Perstauan Veteran RTM's committee meetings. The club is nice but too far and too expensive for our purposes. We will stick to Hotel Singgahsana for the time being.
The Satanic Santa? No it was never Zainaldin. It was someone who broke into our surau just before Xmas. He didn't leave any present but instead carted away the PA System. Now we have a silent surau. May the thief's testicles be infested by the hungry fleas of a thousand camels.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Last week I had to spend a few days (and nights) at KLCC. It was not my choice. It was the KL Children's Choir first performance with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Mimi was involved. So in between rehearsals and performances, I had to stay close to the venue, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in KLCC.
The first few days I had a few classmates for company. One uses Dome Cafe as his office. What a pleasant place to conduct business. On Sunday, I had Atraco and another friend for company. Atraco and I were trying fix a lunch date for several months now and when he phoned me Sunday morning we agreed to meet in KLCC. Since we were not very hungry yet, we had coffee and did the requisite tawaf of Suria KLCC. Atraco noticed the unusually large crowd at KLCC. I think the crowd there is always large. School holidays or not, the crowd is always sizeable.
KLCC does not need any feng shui to draw the crowds. Apart from the Twin Towers as the main attraction, the shops seem to have everything. I even found nasi dagang Kelantan (with kerutuk) in one of the food courts. Of course pc kaki will not come to KLCC to look for blank DVDs or DDR memory chips - they will go to Low Yatt Plaza, Imbi or even IT World Mega Mall. But how many malls do you know that have the LRT station right under it? For God-fearing Muslims there is a clean surau and there is a modern mosque at the end of the park. One my most memorable sights in KLCC was of a small boy trying very hard to learn how to take wudhu' from his bigger brother.
Atraco and I were trying to find out what was the cheapest filling food in KLCC. We agreed that it had to be 2 orders of Rotiboy. Of course we are ready to stand corrected. So, the minimum amount of money one should have on one's person when going to KLCC is 10 ringgit. This is on condition that you do not use the 2 ringgit toilet.
While the Twin Towers are the main attraction for some of the people who comes to KLCC, I amused myself by watching people. It is an interesting thing to do while killing time. You look at the people of various shapes and sizes and begun to conjecture on where they are from, what they do etc.etc. I wish I was brave enough to snap a few pictures. I took an upside down picture of the Twin Towers instead.
I got to spend a lot of time at Dome for a few days that one of the waiters jokingly asked me if I ever went home the day before.
Actually he was right. I didn't go home. One of his captains got me a good rate a hotel nearby.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Moon Over Menara
Unexpected things happen during the full moon. Usually crazy things. Things such as bloggers being invited to prestigious conferences, which is good. Congratulation to Mack, TV Smith, SK and Ms Fong. Now at least more people know what bloggers are, that is if they read the mainstream papers.
People who read the mainstream papers were misled into thinking that the Gadis Lokap was a Chinese national. That, is not so good. Now we know better but not before the damage has been done and delegation sent to do damage control. Damage to the image of the police however is at the moment beyond control. Even the former IGP wrote of police excesses.
We were made to understand that people arrested by the police are searched thoroughly as a matter of course. This is a universal practise. Even airport police do this as complained by many travellers. Smugglers go to great length to carry out their mission even to the extent of hiding contrabands in their body orifices. So far, they have tried to hide drugs in their anus or vagina (if they are equipped with one). No one has been caught trying to smuggle keretek, electric irons, amplifiers or airconditioners using this method though. We never know.
Those who have been to tiger shows in Bangkok or other places would know that trained women can do many things hands-free. They can make 2 boiled eggs complete disappear inside them and expel them again one by one. They can hold about 10 live fishes (obviously not ikan duri) and then disgorge them later, a bit dazed but alive. Some have muscles so powerful that they can puff on a cigarette and blow out smoke rings. Mind you, all these were achieved before Kegel Exercise was even discovered.
If you think that the full moon is making me make up all these, you can have visual proof. If you are of the right age and disposition, not a prude or easily shocked, go download this particular torrent rhymingly titled "Stunts With *****" and maybe you will have a different perspective on why the detainees were made to squat. I chanced upon its clip while asking for the much-talked about Squat video. They didn't show me that but instead showed me some (purportedly) Kuantan students fornicating on stairs and later the mentioned clips. Stop tut-tutting me. Blame it on the full moon and a few glasses of caramel latte.
Have a relaxed Monday.


Friday, December 16, 2005
I am suffering from creative constipation again brought upon by an unusually hectic and frenzied week. My bronchitis came back and I was brought to a Chinese sinseh who prescribed a herbal concotion and prohibited me from taking chicken for 3 days. Thus when I found myself in DELIcious at Bangsar Village, I could not savour my usual nasi kerabu (with budu) because they could not subsitute ayam percik with anything else. I also had to decline ayam nara brought by Jiwarasa when he visited me on Wednesday.

The Nasi Kerabu
The last time I took a break from nasi kerabu at DELIcious, I ordered sambal tumis udang served with white rice (with serunding sprinkled on top) and acar.

Sambal tumis udang

Udang would get me scratching all through the night so I opted for a non-native dish: Ms Read's Family recipe Shepherd's Pie. For dessert, I opted for their Cendollicious.

The Cendol

DELIcious did well to present nasi kerabu and other native food in a creative way for their cosmopolitan clientele. As you can see from the above pics (taken by Mimi on her Nikon Coolpix) they used daun pisang and jantung pisang. DELIcious also serves pasta. I shall dream of seeing nasi dagang on their menu one day.


Friday, December 09, 2005
Where I live, motorists get away with a lot of things. They park in no parking zone, around corners and sometimes in front of the entrance/exit of other people's parking lot. Mr.Gurunathan, our Scoutmaster who taught us Highway Code would turn pale at these daily goings on.
The wonder of it all is nobody got punished. No tickets given, no summons, nothing. The lack of civic-consciousness and total disregard for rules are compounded by the lack of enforcement. There is a serious bottleneck everyday. It is worse on Mondays and Friday when the pasar malam is on.
I understand that the police is short-handed but do we need the police to be civic-conscious and obey the law? God-fearing people need not see God to refrain from committing sins.
When education and good sense fail, maybe we should turn to technology. Somebody should invent a road that has properties of the pit moss or what Terengganu people call gumbut. Gumbut is the layer of grass and earth floating on water. You can walk on it without sinking. If you keep still for some time, you will sink. How nice to have a road like that. You can drive on it. If you keep moving, you will be ok. Park your vehicle for a certain time, it will sink below the surface and will not block traffic. Other vehicles can move over it. Bad driver sinking together with vehicle is optional.
Seriously, people are ignoring the law with impunity. The pavement/walkway to the LRT station is crammed with hawkers. Most put up tables and chairs for their customers. DBKL, aware of the problem put up several signboards
The hawkers set up their tables and chairs right under the signboard.
Doh nok wak guane?


Friday, December 02, 2005
Have you noticed that there are a lot of shampoo commercials on TV nowadays? Since most of us have hair it is natural for merchants to persuade us to buy their products to keep our crowning glory soft and manageable. Some wanted us to stop scratching our head by using their shampoo.
Hair has its ups and down through the ages. At one time, I guess since Samson's time, men have longer hair than Delilah. When the Roaring 20s came, the female flappers cut their hair short. During World War II and soon after, crewcuts were the rage although Malaysian males in Terengganu preferred the remos, with liberal dollops of Brylcreem or the thicker green Yardley Brilliantine. Some even went to the extent of perming their hair to get the P.Ramlee look. Of course most of them are gone now, some with hair going first. During the Flower Power era, more men sport long hair like rock stars. Malaysian men with long hair trying to get into Singapore were stopped. A few had free hair-cut courtesy of the Singapore Government and created a war of words between nations. People who remember that are either bald or have thinning hair now.
Why do our hair fall off and why do some go bald prematurely, if at all.
Our hair falls out all the time even if we refrain from eating MSG-laden food. People under stress, like old bloggers desperately trying to write a post, will have more hair falling. This does not include clumps of hair pulled out in frustration. Some antibiotics and pregnancy will also cause hair-loss. If you are the one who caused the unwanted pregnancy, you will lose more hair, naturally.
Baldness or receding hairline is part of the midlife crisis. There are people who have genes that jumpstart premature baldness. This article blames mothers when you lose your hair prematurely but I have noticed that it is part of the father's genes too. Anyway, to be bald seems to be the current trend nowadays. Young people shaved their head not just to fulfill nazar (vows) but to keep up with the rappers across the sea and maybe to look like macho film-stars like Van Diesel. In my time we had only 2 bald film-stars: Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas. Yul Brynner was the original king in "King and I" ( Chow Yuen Fatt didn't go bald as I remember) and Mr.Savalas was the sweet-toothed policeman, Kojak. Women found Kojak sexy although I am not sure whether it was the absence of hair or the lolly-licking that they found sexy.
There were rumours going around that men who have receding hairline (bald in front) think a lot. You know, masalah Negara and stuff. Those bald at the back are sexy. Probably the hair were tugged out by ecstatic partners, who knows. What about those who are bald both in front and back? Well, some said those THINK they are sexy.
Have a good weekend, with or without hair.