Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Thursday, December 31, 2009
This is Sungai Keluang in Besut, Terengganu snapped just a few yards from where it meets The South China Sea. The river is almost at the end of its journey from its source deep in the heart of Bukit Bintang. You read right. Terengganu does have a Bukit Bintang although the debauchery (if any) is considerably less than the other more well-known Bukit Bintang. The streets around THAT Bukit Bintang will be closed tonight so that all the merry-making (and maybe the debauchery) will not be marred by the screams of merry-makers being run over by the assorted Kancils or other lethal vehicles.

Back to the river. When I viewed the pictures of the river as part of the test for my new wide screen monitor, I did something that I do not do often. I began to think. The river is as old as Terengganu itself. The water is not. Same river, different water. You can prove this by pouring some eco-friendly dye of different colours into the river at different intervals. Then you run to the spot near the kuala (river mouth) where I took the photograph. Watch the dye being swallowed by the South China Sea, one colour after another.

Terengganu, I hope, is like the river. The ever-changing water refreshes the river. The water also nourishes the banks (no puns intended). We hope there will not be any undue erosions and the river will never be stagnant. Let the crocodiles remain benign and out of sight.

You are welcome to add your metaphors, whatever either for Terengganu or for Malaysia (either 1 Malaysia or 3 in 1 Malaysia). Thinking gives me a headache.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It is always sobering to realize that you do not know or do not remember everything.
I always thought that rokok arab (see pic above) is a rolled up version of apit-apit or kuih kapit (love letters). Boy, was I wrong.

I bought the rokok arab at the bazaar in conjunction with the launching of Kulit Manis: A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage. The launch was a resounding success although some might want to complain about JW Marriot's version of the Terengganu nasi dagang and the "diving midwife" older MC's lack of teeth. This Christmas, he would want more than 2 of his front teeth.

Anyway, the rokok arab is softer than the rolled version of apit-apit. I suspect that the minyok sapi (ghee) used had something to do with that. While the apit-apit is hollow inside, the rokok arab has a sweet filling. Coconut maybe? You, the rokok arab expert would have to tell me. Tell me too where in KL can I get a regular supply of rokok arab because this batch is fast depleting and I need to replenish.

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Friday, December 11, 2009
( Pic from mamawandiha, terima kasih!)

Long long ago when I was young and growing up in Terengganu, I had to walk to the only 2 cinema halls in town - Capitol and Sultana. My cousins and I usually caught the afternoon shows. Our route would take us through Kampong China. When we reached the titian (the short bridge) that spanned the big drain and the river, we would often came across a balding middle-aged Chinese man in shorts and Pagoda singlets carrying a bamboo tray on his head and crying out "Pulut lepa juak juak!".

One of my cousins insisted that "juak juak" is the Chinese equivalent of "jual, jual" (for sale). Indeed the man was selling pulut lepa because we saw him stopping at several shops along Jalan Kampong China/Jalan Bandar where hungry customers were waiting with fistful of coins. Later on, when I got to Merang, I found out from my Tiah and Ee (they sort of adopted me) that "juak, juak" is the Hokkien equivalent of the Malay "panas panas".

Most food should be eaten hot. But chances of getting pulut lepa hot off the grill in KL is quite remote. It is a different story if you are in Terengganu. There is a place in Sungai Rengas Kuala Terengganu, near the jurunikah's house where you can wait for the pulut lepa to be grilled. And what wonderful pulut lepa they are. The generous filling is made of fish. The colour is whitish. If it is orange, it is not Terengganu's pulut lepa. There is ginger in the filling but never turmeric. Do not confuse pulut lepa with pulut udang or even pulut panggang. The filling should be fish and not some curried coconut. Note too how the daun pisang (banana leaf) wrapper is fastened. The real MacCoy uses sharpened lidi NOT the office staples.

If you are curious to see and taste the real pulut lepa, you are in luck. Come to the foyer of Mayang Sari Ballroom, JW Marriot KL on Sunday 20th Dec between 11 am and 5 pm. There will be limited pulut lepa for sale as well as rokok arab. Awang Goneng and Kak Teh will be in line to get rokok arab, which, in spite of the many Arabs in London, are scarce. There will be songkets and other Terengganu stuffs too at the bazaar in conjunction with the Official Launch of "Kulit Manis: A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage". Come and enjoy yourself. Get the book and get the tastes of Terengganu too. Admission to the bazaar is free. A handshake with Awang Goneng is free too, if you smile nicely.

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