Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer

500th POST

Monday, December 29, 2008
Syukur Alhamdullillah, I thank God for letting me live long enough to see the dawn of the new Hijriah year. I did not see "Happy Maal Hijrah" or words to that effect on buntings or banners in the city although there were buntings and banners wishing me "Merry Xmas & A Happy New Year!". Even TM is giving a special offer on New Year's Day, (AD 2009 not H1430). I am sorry I could not take advantage of the offer because my phone is still out. Thank you Rocky and the National Consumer Complaints Center for trying. I am truly grateful. I am also hopeful that residents of Vista Angkasa will have a working phone again before TM make a Chinese New Year offer.

I had a nice Xmas Eve. On Christmas morning, the fuss was on another baby - Sharifah Alis Nabiha, my youngest granddaughter. She had her sparse hair snipped to the accompaniment of berzanji and reading of verses. She will be as beautiful as her mother and aunties in due time, InsyaAllah.
(Nabihah & Mom - pic taken by her cousin Abang Adam)

I am also grateful to the visitors of this blog - both friends and strangers. As I have told many people, many times, Strangers are just friends who have not met yet. I have made many friends who were strangers at first. Many became friends. A few became friends but remain strange. That's the way they are, I guess. Thank you to you all.

Ever since I moved to Blogspot over 4 years ago, I have written on many things. I have since ran out of things to write on. It would be easier if I were a political blogger. There would always be issues, real or imagined. So, beginning this week, you tell me what you want to read. Just remember that I am not affiliated to any political parties and I do not suffer fools gladly.

With your help, maybe we can get another 500 posts in less than 4 years.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A few days ago the piano tuner came to tune Mimi's piano. Unlike previous tuners, Mr. Lau Jr. came with a gadget (the black box on the keys) to help him get the correct pitch. This does not mean that anyone can be a piano tuner. A piano tuner must have good ears and most tuners can play the piano well.

Somehow, whimsically, pianos remind me of nations. There are Grand pianos and there are great big grand nations. There are smaller uprights and there are smaller nations trying very hard to be upright. Whatever they are, pianos are useless if the keys are out of tune. The black and white keys on the piano must give the right note to, together, produce music. So, what music are we listening in our country now? Don't you think it is something discordant or as my late father used to comment on my guitar playing "Sumbang!" (Out of tune).

This is not to say that everybody must have the same opinion. In music, they do have counterpoints and in jazz, you are allowed to improvise or ad-lib as long as you keep the song intact. You keep to the rhythm and the chords. You read the comments in the popular blogs or overhear remarks in coffee shops and what do you have? Suara-suara sumbang. Like good music, we need harmony.

Maybe it is because we have "piano tuners" with tin-ears. Maybe we ourselves have tin-ears and do not appreciate music.

I would have written more but I got distracted by "Duelling Banjos". As my grandson, Ilham said once "Sorry, I got off my train of thoughts".

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Sunday, December 21, 2008
Congratulations on being appointed the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur. As a citizen who made the mistake of buying a place administered by DBKL, I am naturally hopeful that we have a mayor who cares about people's welfare and comfort, especially people living in DBKL's realm.
I am pretty sure that the people welcoming you in DBKL did not tell you about the urgent problem in Vista Angkasa, Bukit Kerinchi. It is not important, apparently. But, as you might remember from your studies, "important" and "urgent" are two different things.
Mr. Mayor sir, on the 3rd. of December 2008 (before you took office), thieves stole the phone cable in Block 2 and Block 8. Barely a couple of hours after the theft was reported to the police, Block 5 suffered the same fate.

So it has been nearly 4 weeks we have been without house phones and no internet. Not many people are lucky enough to have sympathetic relatives who could lend them expensive (but unstable) wireless modems. Old folks in the affected blocks complained of not being able to get calls from loved ones overseas, Calls to mobile phones are more expensive, whatever the ads say. Our friend, an old retired teacher on one of the lower floors is undergoing chemotheraphy for cancer. She is anxious to reassure her children in the US that she is holding on. She can do that only when the cable is restored.

If our Joint Management Committee were already up and running, we could have our cable back faster. As it is, the JMC was set up late, long after the Act came into effect in April and I saw them a few nights ago at the mamak shop downstairs meeting to get their papers in order. The maintenance fees that we pay every month are still collected by DBKL, DBKL still pays for the security guards that were unaware and unconcerned about the thefts. So, dear Mayor, it is still the DBKL's responsibility to replace the cable. The guards can be replaced later. We did not complain much when our buildings are the scruffiest in the Klang Valley, They have not been painted since they were built 12 years ago. That is important but not urgent. A working phone though, is very urgent. So, please take a bit of your time to evaluate our problem and tell your officers to get off their posterior and do the necessary.

Thank you sir.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008
Terengganu- speaking folks use panah sok oh to describe uncomfortably hot weather. What is sok oh? The answer will come later. First, my question:
How often do you see your Class Monitor after leaving school? Our friendly and likable Class Monitor was Hj. Mohd Nor Bakar affectionately known by all and sundry in our school as Mat Nong Jawa. How he got his "Jawa" tag remained a mystery. Some of my classmates have not met Mat Nong since leaving school. Some met him at our Class Reunion over 10 years ago.

Thus when Mat Nong came down to KL from Kuala Terengganu we decided to have lunch with him. Only 6 of the classmates made it to the Lake Club on Saturday. Since Mat Nong was also part of my first band "The Arjuna" (he was the drummer), I invited another member, Adnan Othman, our junior, to come along.

(Back row L-R) Kolonel Bersara Shafieq, Shamsuddin Jaafar (School Head Boy), Adnan Othman, Mohd Som
(Front row) Mat Nong, Shamsudin Zahid, Yem Al-Qudsi, TMA.

During lunch Som asked me why my blog does not deal with Terengganu words any more. I did not tell him that the primary reason was that Awang Goneng is already doing an excellent job in that area. When not giving us insightful peeks into the history of Terengganu, Awang Goneng explained Terengganu words precisely and elegantly. For someone as inadequate as I am, it would be foolhardy to duplicate what he is doing.

Just to soothe Som (he is the only classmate in KL regularly following my blog) I asked him whether he knows the origin of panah sok oh. Som, like many Terengganu folks had no clue whatsoever. So I told him.

Panah sok oh is when the weather is so humidly hot and uncomfortable that you want to divest yourself of all clothings. You want to strip down to your kain pelikat (sarong) or, depending on your company, to your underwear, be it a Jockey thongs, boxer shorts or striped seluo katok ( a home-made version of the boxers). It is that hot. But where does the sok oh come from?

Just like mat salleh came from Mad Sailors and ropa came from rolled pie, sok oh was attributed to Englishmen who had to endure Terengganu weather. Being prim and proper, the only thing they dared to take off in the sweltering heat were their socks. So there were shouts of "socks off!" from Kemaman to Kuala Besut during the hot season. Thus, to their Terengganu eavesdroppers "sock off" became sok oh and became assimilated into the Terengganu vocabulary.

I credit this discovery to my good friend Mat Jali, who as far as I can remember, would never wear socks. He is a cool dude.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008
Last Friday, I took an early Firefly flight to Kuala Terengganu. Although the flood situation has improved, I saw many houses still surrounded by water.
After breakfast at the wrong nasi dagang joint, Ramli took me to Cendering Beach where our Scout troop used to camp. There were no picnickers there at all.
Everything was I remembered i even down to the this trio of coconut trees.
They still do not know the proper name of the popular market. The jury is still out on the name of the market. The name on road signs is different from the name on the market itself.
There were some changes though. The whole road running through Kampung China is now paved. Prasad told me that there is a plan to turn the street into a pedestrian mall.
Some things do not change. For many years now, Kuala Terengganu does not have a cinema hall. This is the old Rex Cinema. It has no movies, but shops. At least you are guaranteed a future. What kind of future, this billboard doesnt say.
The other cinema in town, Cathay, is also converted into a shopping place. I did not go there to look for condensed milk. After failing to get any at a hypermarket, Daud, who, over the phone, assured me that condensed milk are everywhere, took me to Astaka at Tanjung. Awang Goneng's house sat forlornly deserted beside this supermarket. Security at the Astaka was seemingly tight. The guard stopped me from entering because I was wearing a windbreaker (it was raining cats and dogs at the time). I was about to turn back and forget about my condensed milk but Daud removed my jacket and deposited it at the authorized place. I did not find condensed milk at the Astaka either.

I wish security was just as good at my condo. Last Wednesday my phone went dead. With the phone, my internet also vanished. Telecoms was duly informed. On Saturday Mimi phoned me in Terengganu that Telecoms checked and found that the cables in Block 8 and Block 2 were stolen. With the red-tape over at DBKL, I will be lucky if I get my internet at the end of the week. Thus, 3 of my grandchildren will be without internet for a while because I have hijacked their mummy's broadband modem so that I can surf and not go crazy with withdrawal symptoms.

Have a meaningful holiday, friends.

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