Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

After gorging myself at NATRABU Kampung Baru with wonderful food and equally wonderful company, I found myself at Selero Nogori at Amcorp Mall. Natrabu, like a phoenix rose again from the ruins of Brickfield to a nicer place in Kampung Baru (turn from Jalan Tun Razak, it is behind Petronas Service Station) is full of authentic Padang delicacies.Their rendang is to our opinion beyond compare. We enjoyed the food so much that we forgot to take pictures. Natrabu has a chef from Jakarta (but I guess originally from Padang). I do not know where the chef of Selero Nogori comes from. The taste is very close though. Only you can decide.

On Sunday we had a hankering for fusion and headed for Chef & Brew at the end of Plaza Damansara. Have I told you that you can get pasta, Japanese and Hainanese fare at this laid back place? I tried Hainanese Chicken Chop (see pic above) on Sunday. It reminded me of the old Wan Hai Restaurant next to the present Rex Cinema in Kuala Terengganu. My bah (father) used to send me there to ta pau Chicken Chop or Hainanese beefesteak (also available at Chef & Brew) whenever he had a loss of appetite. The Chef & Brew's chicken chop was close to what I remembered.

The next day, C&B again was chosen as the venue for a family celebration. Since non-smokers outnumbered the die-hards, we had the tables inside. I decided to try the Prawn Teppan with Garlic Rice. They didn't call it Teppanyaki because all the cooking is done in the kitchen and not in front of you like at teppanyaki joints. The dish was worth ordering. It came on a sizzling hot plate.

If you see the pic of the Prawn Teppan above and if you think the cow is familiar, having seen it at Victoria Station, it is not coincidental. C& B is part of Victoria Station.

They even tied a bib around me for the hot plate. For a brief moment, I thought I was getting a shave or a dental job.


Sunday, April 23, 2006
Malaysia lost one of the Old Guards today, Tun Ghaffar Baba.
You can read (or probably have already) all about him in the media. I am writing what I know about him to honour him as a Malaysian.

I distinctly remember that throughout Tun Ghaffar's tenure in public office beginning as the Chief Minister of Melaka and ending as the Deputy Prime Minister, he was simply known as Encik Ghaffar Baba. No Dato', No Tan Sri, nothing until he was conferred the Tunship after his retirement. My guess is he declined all these honours while he was in office.

I first met Tun Ghaffar during my early years in radio. I was producing a documentary on the cooperative movement in schools and I had to interview the minister in charge of Cooperatives then. Tun Ghaffar was fasting that day but he gave me the interview.

Much later, when he was the Deputy Prime Minister, I met him again. This time it was at Microfest at the PJ Civic Center. He declared the Microfest open and visited the booths. CUE (Commodore Users Exchange) had a booth with nothing much inside. I told that to Tun Ghaffar when he stopped by the booth. He appeared to be taken aback, shook my hand, said thank you and moved on. On hindsight, I should have at least let him come inside.

After he gave up the post of Deputy Prime Minister, I saw him driving a small car along Jalan Pantai Baru. I overtook him somewhere in front of the TNB HQ and waved to him never expecting him to respond. He appeared taken aback and a bit mystified and I moved on. You do not dilly dally on Jalan Pantai Baru, not even then. A few minutes later, Tun Ghaffar overtook me and waved back. It was my turn to be taken aback.

A few months back, I missed the chance of meeting Tun Ghaffar. I was visiting Rahman Bujang at Hospital Universiti and he told me of seeing Tun Ghaffar being wheeled in looking sad and sick. He wasn't allowed visitors then. Tun Ghaffar went to several more hospitals before Gleneagles.

As I am writing this, there are live broadcasts on his funeral. I join all Malaysians in conveying my deepest condolence to Tun Ghaffar's family. Al-Fatihah.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Lately there were questions flung from various directions questioning the right of local councils enacting by-laws on decency.

I am not questioning the right of those people asking questions. You get educated by asking questions provided that your questions are answered. My own question is: Do we need laws to define decency?

I am assuming that everyone in Malaysia has a mother and again, I am assuming that decency is learnt at the mother's knee. The rest is learnt at other joints. So what happened to the mother's child that he/she can ran afoul of the law with his/her excessive PDA? PDA here is not the palm top but Public Display of Affection.

Mores are decided by society or a community. In some societies considered primitive, female human beings can go about bare-breasted without raising eyebrows or any other parts of the onlookers anatomy. In advanced societies, women are only allowed to display their mammary glands in restricted areas such as the beach. Advanced societies sometimes have weird mores. For example, you can wear the skimpiest of bikinis in public but you are not supposed to appear in public in your pyjamas or in hair-rollers. Weird but true.

I guess the explosion of messages in the media helps to change the way we think and the way we behave, publicly or privately. We watch TV programmes from other cultures and somehow we assimilate part of their cultures. After the initial shock, we tend to accept what people in other cultures do as normal. We think it is modern because it is commonplace in modern societies. Is this the First Class Mentality that we strive hard to achieve? Have we forgotten our religion and our own culture? Are we so weak as to accept wholesale the norms and mores of other people? Do we know who we are? If we do, we should not be like them. We be ourselves.

Maybe I should remind you of what a wise man once said: A living fish swimming in the briny sea will not get its flesh salty. The flesh will will only get salty once the fish is dead.


Friday, April 14, 2006
I have not watched my favourite talk show, Late Show with David Letterman for ages. I am not sure if the show is still on NTV7.

I am wondering if a local David Letterman show would be a hit when the original David Letterman show could not even make Prime Time. I had to stay up past midnight to watch it.

I am sure there are local talk shows that are good. I have not watched local tv fare for a while so I could not comment but I heard shows like HO Live (Astro) and the newer Thursday Night Live (NTV7) are worth watching. If you are one of their regular audience, please let me know what you like about the show.

If you haven't watched any Made in Malaysia talk show lately, I would like to know why. I would also want you to tell me what you think should be in a talk show that you would want to watch every week.

Every input will be very much appreciated. Thank you!


Monday, April 10, 2006
As evidently clear in our Parliament, public speakers are made, not born.
Ever since our MPs have begun to open up and speak, we noticed that most of them need to brush up on their public speaking skills. I wonder if there is an allocation somewhere in the 9th Malaysia Plan to teach our Yang Berhormat the Art of Public Speaking. If there is, they should attend some courses at reputable companies. If they cannot think of any, my daughter's company or my own company can organise some courses. Or else they can learn public speaking on their own by joining organisations such as the Toastmasters Club.

In the meantime, let me give some free advice. At least the YB will know that I know what I am talking about.

The first thing a public speaker should know is the subject he/she is going to talk about. Although some politicians think they can talk about anything to anybody, and most of the time they do, you simply cannot talk about something you know very little of. Cicero (106 BC- 43 BC), the Roman author, orator AND politician said
"I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity."
Centuries later, Mark Twain gave this advice:
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"
Of course it is not very prudent for MPs to keep quiet nowadays. Gone are the days when MPs can sleep or remain very quiet. Those who did not snore can do both. Today, with report cards and TV cameras around, our representatives scramble over each other to speak. Apart from shouting matches and name-calling, at times we can see battles of wits. Sometimes, at these battles we see combatants unarmed.
As mentioned previously, to make your talk worthwhile, you must have knowledge on what you are talking about. As one Samuel Johnson wisely pointed out in the 18th Century, there are two kinds of knowledge. One is where we know the subject ourselves and the other is we know where we can find information on it. If Mr. Johnson were to be around today, he would have mentioned the Internet. I wonder how many of our MPs, apart from those having their own blogs/websites know how to troll the Net. If they need to learn and a little bit averse to young people teaching them the Internet, again I offer my help at a nominal fee. I will throw in some interesting URLs as a bonus.
Of course knowledge alone will not make you a good public speaker. You have to arrange your knowledge, know your audience and deliver in an interesting manner. You have to attend the course. Reading about it is not enough. Otherwise this could happen to you:
A very boring speaker was barely minutes into his speech he was reading when the audience began to leave by the droves. Finally he saw only one man remaining in the audience. After he finished reading his speech, he came down the stage and thanked the man for listening to his speech.
The man replied "Oh, it's ok. It is my job to take the microphone away."


Thursday, April 06, 2006

I could be nosy or I could be homesick. Whatever it is, news about Terengganu grabs my immediate attention.
This caught my failing eye today.

It is laudable for the State government to put in place rules that can protect our common heritage. Friends sadly told me that some corals in Tioman were already destroyed due to careless enthusiasm of visitors and I am praying that Redang, Perhentian, Lang Tengah, Tenggol and Pulau Kapas will not suffer the same fate.

From my experience, flippers or kaki itik are not necessary for snorkelling. They help poor swimmers stay afloat and good swimmers cover greater distance with less effort. Flippers on their own do not indirectly destroy the corals. Stepping on them, even shod with just a pair of selipar jepung will break the centuries old corals. Stepping on corals while barefooted -kaki ayang instead of kaki itik will bring on painful and bloody poetic justice.

In Redang, most snorkellers wear a life vest or life jacket as a flotation aid. Kain batik jawa or kain pelekat, when suitably inflated can help you float too but not recommended for snorkelling. You can keep your watertight face-masked face underwater longer and easier if you use a life jacket. Then you can lie face down in the water effortlessly for hours and enjoy the coralscape. Flailing your arms and legs frantically will not be necessary unless you think that the nurse shark is after your family jewels.

To avoid stepping on corals, snorkel in deeper waters. The lady in the picture above should strive for greater depth. Above all, snorkelling should be a closely supervised activity. Like any tours, there should be a certified guide. The guide should be trained to lead snorkellers back to the shore or to the boat without stepping on corals.

The best way to see underwater corals is by glass-bottomed boat. This is something that should be introduced in Redang and other islands. Limit the area to feed bread to the fishes to shallower waters. Of course all rules need to be strictly enforced. It will be interesting to see how The No Flippers Rule fares out there in the South China Sea.


Monday, April 03, 2006
(Continued from the last post)

Pok Yeh berahi makang telo piung?

Jamang muda-muda dulu berahi jugok. Ler ning dak beraning doh. Daroh tinggi.

Memang telo piung banyok kolestrol. Maseng pulok tu. Kalu daroh tinggi, jangang tebeng!.

Molek beno lah tu. Lagi pong, telo piung maha le ning. Maha pada telo ayang.

Maha pasa mari Sabboh nung!

Seder tu. Macanglah Teganung ni tadok ibu piung.

Telo sinning kerajaang beli balik Pok Yeh weh!

Kerajaang beli nok wat bejadoh apa? Meteri Beso berahi makang telo piung ke?

Kerajaang beli telo piung, dia rang, dia dak makang.

Menteri Beso rang telo piung?

Pok Yeh ning! Adalah orang lain yang buat kerja tu. Kang ada tepat orang rang telo piung ni...

Ada ke? Duane?

Pula Redang ada se, Rata Abang ada se, kat Kemamang nu, kat Ma' Daerah ada se...


Ustad Wei mari tu Pok Yeh!

Bia nye mari lah. Takut apa. Kita bukang nye khalwat...


Assalang mualaikum!

Walaikum salam Ustad!

Walikum salam!

Dudok biccang masaloh Negara ke Deng?

Dak jugok....

Bukang masaloh Negara ustad, masaloh piung!

Masaloh piung pong masalah Negara jugok Pok Yeh. Kemareng saya baca dalang surat kabo kerajaang nok beli telo piung luo negeri nok rang.

Seder tu! Telo piung pong nok impot jugok?

Telo piung belimbing je Pok Yeh.

Piung Belimbing hok tadok le ni.

Piung Temaga Lladang pong tadok jugok doh.

(Chuckling) Tu piung hok kita buleh buat. Piung sungguh, kita dak leh buat. Kena jaga mollek lah......

Apa hukong orang gandeng piung ni Ustad?

Hukum dia dossalah. Allah bui kita nikmat alam suruh kita jaga bukang suroh kita buat punoh jahanang.

Orang dak kira dossa pahala doh le ni ustad. Seme kira pitih je.

Lama-lama, ada pitih pong, dakleh beli piung!

Boleh beli telo Deng!

Mujo lah ada SETRU boleh tulong piung.......

Seteru piung buleh tulong?

Bukang seteru musoh Pok Yeh. SETRU ni bagiang yang buat kajiang pasal piung ning.

Ya, SETRU, Sea Turtle Research Unit ke apa......


Dak rajin dengar seteru ning....


SETRU ning dia ikut piung jugok. Ayang tello sebutir rioh sekapong, piung tello beratuh-ratuh butir, dak gege rioh..


SETRU tu di KUSTEM, di Pulau Redang nung STOP....

Mung ni Deng kalu pasa piung ni, tahu belaka. Mung nak negga telo piung ke?

Bukang nok negga Pok Yeh. Kalu abih piung jamang kita ning, ssiang ke anak cucu.

Binning pong dok lagi nok beranok cucu guane?

Heheh. Dak lama doh Pok Yeh, Jideng nok tunnang doh!

Yak botang! Meroh merrang muka Jideng! Mung nak pinang anak sapa Deng?


Pok Yeh dok tau?

Tau apa? Dak tau setabok ambe.

Jideng nok pinang Mek Yoh!

Mek Yoh anok ambe?


(rang -ram in BM=to hatch)