Tuesday 27 April 2010

..awang goneng, kota bharu and pakmat..

..the new Parkson/Giant getting a bit of rain..

..unlike Awang Goneng, (whose blog can be viewed here) who grew up in Trengganu and put out a book and a blog about Growing Up in Trengganu, I did not grow up in Kelantan..for a few years as a kid, I was in Kuala Krai and Pasir Mas..later, I was transplanted to Perak and Kuala Lumpur..coming back to Kota Bharu in early 1969 as a strapling youth..I like to think that I spent the best part of my youth in Kota Bharu..whether as a bachelor or as a newly married young man in the seventies..before being transferred to Kuala Trengganu in 1974..

..sometimes I pined for the old Kota Bharu, ..but unlike Awang Goneng, who laments the lost of old Trengganu, and wrote so beautifully about it in his blog and his column in NST, I cannot put into words the way he did my feelings and emotions..my mastery of the language is limited, as it were..and I do not have much experience in travelling, either..not having ventured beyond the peninsula, except once to Lake Toba. so  I cannot do much comparison..

..but sometimes I missed the old Kota Bharu....like the day when from an aimless wondering around the town, trying to get familiar with a town that has changed so much that I felt a little bit overwhelmed by the strangeness of it...I came across a street from my youth of 40 years ago, Jalan Ismail...I found myself standing in front of a restaurant that I used to frequent back then..Restoran Seng Huat..standing at a corner of a junction of Jalan Ismail..

..I stood there next to my car and felt a rush of memories and I wondered how would Awang Goneng go about writing about it if I was him..

..and I recalled his words, that he wrote so skillfully in his column..that words, laughters and tears of yesteryears did not just settled into dust or decay..but somehow they remained there...reverberating among the walls of old buildings..playing endlessly in the labyrinths of minds like this old coot...

..I walked into the restaurant..the table was still there..we were having chicken chop..her laughter was teasing....'Marry me..'I said. She let her laughter hung in the air..her sparkling eyes consented..

..as I walked in, I heard her laughter again...

Thursday 22 April 2010

..oh my darling..

..a song from Kelantan..parodising a man who should have known better..I have reproduced the lyrics. and translated them into English..

bilo doh umor kat lima puloh..dega ore tino gah ja re se tuh..
when you are fifty...you seldom touch your wife..
makane kerah takleh mamoh  gadoh..takut patah gigi bubuh..
cannot hurry with hard food..less you break your false teeth
suka derah derah sungguh..gangga luas gigi plong jatuh..
laughed too hard, mouth too wideopened, teeth will drop plong..

oh my darling I love you..pedih gusi makan nasi dengan budu..
oh my darling I love you..it hurts the gums eating rice with budu..

dah berkedak ma ce ore bujang,..gi bertekok di kelab male..
like to move like a bachelor..have drinking sprees in nightclubss..
kilek anok ayam mempeh..nak bangun taklek gatong ke ore..
grab at girls drunk..cannot stand up, holding onto people..
kecek jugak berhingok bergotel..ke parking sembur sembo keno ore..
..carry on with the girls..vomitted in parking lot..splashing others..

oh my darling I love you..paka kencing sapu daun kayu..
oh my darling  I love you..wipe your urine with leaves..

kelik ke rumah duit tadok..teraso lemah awo jadi sesok...
..back home with no money..feeling weak now poor..
tido bawah rumah jenero dale rok..bini dok gamok anok teriok..
sleeps under the house and bushes..wife ranting children crying..
naik atah rumoh tak de nok gangkok..bini maroh nak te denga kapok..
no time to crawl once in the house..wife wanted to strike with an axe..
terjun ke tanoh berjalan kecok..
lept to the ground and walked with a lame

oh my darling I love you..duit habih licin hok tino tipu
oh my darling I love you..all money gone, cheated by the girl..

..enjoy the song as you read my post below..cheers..

..65 and none the wiser..

..being old does not neccessarily make you wise..experience  makes you prudent, yes, but not wiser.. matters of the heart will render most men foolish..as I was, when I was in my early fifties..foolish and
shortedsighted..but then, I had always been foolish and impulsive in heart matters..

..I was fifty-two when I married my third wife..and she was a year past half my age..I already had a dozen children then..separated from my first, living with my second in Bachok with five of my children.... yes, I should have known better..it was so unneccessary..but it was my last attempt at holding onto my youth..at fifty I was still unable to rein in my heart...and I know that a man of fifty unable to rein in a buckling heart is not worth his spurs..looking at pictures of that very much publicised marriage of a starlet, I supposed that was how I looked at that time..ridiculous, even though, then, I, too, was grinning..

..but we started as friends, she and I..a friendship that began among the hills, brooks and creeks..rivers, rapid and rafts.. I would like to  think that we ended also as friends..distance separated us..and tiredness..at 60 you could not anymore do things with the same vim and vigour..something has got to give..you could not anymore drove non-stop to KL alone, braving the sun and the pelting rain..no matter how warmth the welcoming embrace..

..and so I said no..no more..I need to wind-up whatever was left of my assets and simply closed shop..I did what any tired old man would have done, under the circumstances...I hung up my spurs...

Saturday 17 April 2010

..my elder brother, Jo..

...he's getting lonelier  by the day..when he came to see me this morning, there were tears in his heart and lament on his face..he was also almost a destitute..he had sold the house that he built with his late wife and moved into her inherited home, which he later pulled down with the intention of building a better one on it..now, out of work and strapped for cash, he has no where to stay..whatever the alternatives, they are not good..and he got no one to blame but himself..

..'I am lonely, Mat..' He let his voice trailed as he toyed with the roti canai sardine..I devoured mine. It was nine in the morning and I was hungry..He needed to be lectured, and I am going to need all my strength..He needed a wife..but wives don't come easy at his age..being a Class F contractor, he also needed jobs..but jobs do not come easy, too...not matter your age..I looked at this pitiful sight of an old man and tried to feel his sorrow..he is my  brother, after all..but I might as well be looking at a stranger...

..there were no early memories between us..we grew up separately, moving in different worlds..fate has taken us along different paths.only as adults did it crossed...but he is my brother, nonetheless..my very own flesh and blood..and he was telling me that last night he slept in a mosque..against myself I sighed as he took out a cigarette to light...Saat..living life out by the seconds before death embraces us all, I pondered..

..Will you quit smoking?..I was  thinking aloud..he heard it and pushed back the stick into the box..he has outlived his time..and nothing can pushed him back into his past..he was silent as my words flowed..he has to find his peace..with himself..and with his Creator..I ignored his tears that filled his eyes..

'I am lonely, Mat'...I never felt so helpless....God..whatever Your plans for this servant of Yours, please, let him find his peace...

Wednesday 14 April 2010

..grandchildren and gatherings..

..sometimes they gathered at their mother's house, with their husbands and children..like this evening, to celebrate in a laid back way the birthday of one of their siblings..my fifth daughter, of whom, some years ago caused everyone, including me, a little bit of heartache with her decision to marry her then beau who was a Thai.. two children later they were still married..

..after a tumultuous beginning things are now a bit settled..hopefully their marriage will last..things are looking up for her, it seems..a gleaming new car outside stands as testimony to her prowess in sales with a firm selling the Toyota brand..and he is a cook with an established restaurant somewhere in Kota Bharu, but not too far from her mother's house..where once I called home..

..pakmat with his 6 grandchildren..

..and their 3 mothers..1st, 2nd and 5th daughters..

..inevitably I will be invited, too..and happily I would made the trip from Bachok..as on other occasions, I busied myself with the grandchildren, whilst eyeing the food..the children knows that I enjoyed their mother's cooking..whether its cakes or bread pudding or spaghetti...but we did not really talked much, their mother and I..but I can sensed that the  animosity is gone..a smile that came like the soft evening breeze from Pantai Irama, signalling, perhaps, acceptance..as to what I am..or what I have become..a toothless old man, just coming to terms with himself and his past...

Saturday 10 April 2010

..these days, those days..

..these days children mature early and marry late.

.blame it on their diet..or the quality of life..or on all those rich food from fastfood outlets and designer restaurants..or on changing lifestyles...girls tend to have their menstruation as early as nine and boys mature by the time they are ten or eleven...

at fifteen or sixteen, their bodies are ready for motherhood..like that fifteen-year old hitting the news for adamantly wanting to get married, Halimaton Ab. Rashid...she looks twenty..and ready for marriage..and knows her mind..and I applauded her steadfastness..

but these days it is the norm to marry late..never mind the hormones or the testorone..or their over developing bodies..basic schooling have to be completed..college and university after that.. and maybe additional tertiary education before they can even think of entering the job market...and by the time they can start thinking of marrying, they are pushing thirty..

in the meantime they must learn how to control all those hormones and testorone effect and wayward desires as best as they can..not too successfully, judging by the number of babies found in dustbins and drains..

..those days they marry early and mature late...

..girls are known to start menstruating at 17..again we put the blame on the diet and the  quality of life then..but they marry at fourteen or fifteen, waiting a few years before consummation of their marriage..by the time their hormones start to play havoc, they are safely married, so to speak..less babies in dustbins and drains..

..these days children are healthier than their parents..they are prettier, taller, better built and sometimes, more intelligent..they are wise to the ways of the world...information are instantaneous..and unlimited..they are exposed to porn earlier..by their 13th or 14th year, it is at their fingertips..cyber friendship and cyber porn..

..those days children listen to their parents..these days parents listen to their children..

..and yet, parents would rather impose their terms on them..as in the case of Halimaton..we say she is too young, when she is not..whereas those days we allow them to marry at 15..we do not think of them as too young, then..whereas in reality, they are...

..so, why can't a girl of fifteen marry and continue with her schooling..?

Thursday 8 April 2010

..death imaginings..

..journeys' end..

..no matter what age you are, you know your time on this earth is limited..but you don't think about it..as a kid you were busy with school or whatever that kids are busy with..as a youth you were busy with your pimples and angsts to even think about it..you heard it happening to others, but your time, then, was forever, as was with every promises that you made.. with every girl that caught your your fancy then...you looked to the horizon and saw eternity..for a lifetime, then, was forever..

..until you are sixty-five..then you realised that death is just around the corner..it can come anytime..as it did to your neighbour who was stricken with a stroke weeks ago..he was 62..or to that grand old lady across the road, just a few days later..she was 70..or that Pak Haji a few houses away, who died a week after her, also 70, or thereabout..and we had tahlil almost everynight..and pakmat helped tended to the deceases, layering them in white, and soft muff of cotton..before the solat jenazah, a final prayer before the burial..and even as I amin'ed the doa, I wondered when will my turn be..and tried to imagine that it was me that lay prostrated, bounded in white..

..tears and grief will be short..a final kiss to the forehead, before it is covered..but they have to leave me there..within the soft earth that covered my breast..an old record that can no longer be played..
..the past, holding the future..

..at sixty-five, you do not looked to the future..for you are the future..each new day is a bonus..as every morning I looked to the eastern sky and welcomed the sun..Lord, let the power of your Mercy be like the sun's rays..unrestrained...

..sunrise in Irama..

..no, 'I will not brood the time I have left..I will just type faster'..


Monday 5 April 2010

back to the hills..and a little beyond...

..sometimes, I give vent to this innate desire to travel..load the family in the car, fill up the tank, and simply point the car onto an open road, and just go..I need to smell and feel the petrol and rubber burning...but being no longer young, and no more the impulsive, devil-may-care youth of before, I have to plan a bit..but the hills beacon again..and the children who are still with me, Akram and Auji, needs some cajoling..Tuesday and Wednesday being public holidays, as it were..should be a good time to leave the state, while they ponder between the two palaces,  Kota Bharu or Kubang Kerian..

..and so it was that we decided to retreat again to Camerons, whilst checking out preparations for the wedding of niece scheduled for the 1st of May this year...but looking a the number of cars making a bee-line for the hills, it looks like we were not the only one taking the opportunity to leave the state..
..grilled cobs, souvenirs galore, and breakfast of roti canai at Pak Wan and Mak Wan's restaurant, Tanah Rata..two unassuming millionaires who would occasionally holidayed in Europe... 

..Camerons-Simpang Pulai Road..

..old men are like old cars..once in a while, they need to go on long journeys..to clear up their systems and cylinders of carbon build-up..after such journeys, old cars feel preppy..and pakmat feels happy, zesty even..
..but there were too many cars in Tanah Rata..fighting for limited space on the road with no alternative access..polluting the air and bringing up the temperature..

..after a quick discussion, we left for Lumut the next morning..taking the Simpang Pulai-Batu Gajah-Pusing-Lumut Road, as advised by Google Maps..a journey of 169 Kilometers, which we did in 3 hours..but we were in no hurry..evening was spent checking out Lumut and its water front..but the next day was at a lagoon..Teluk Batik..I was here before, twenty years ago with this wife and two children..and found the wooden chalets were still standing..but the rates have trebled..from RM60.00 to RM180.00 per night..

..daughter Auji with her aunt, cousins...

..we skipped Pangkor as the wife was not feeling well..until the next time, perhaps...