Wednesday, 30 November 2011

al Hikmah

I cannot recall much about my late uncle Dato' Haji Ahmad Ismail (Dato' Lela Negara), a name well related to publications of books, magazines and translations in Kelantan circa 1920s and 1930s.  He was born in Kota Bharu in 1899 and only passed Standard II from a Malay Government School and later he learned the English language from a Ceylonese teacher.  On his own initiative he managed to master the Arabic language with the help of his friends and of course with the help of dictionaries (Arab-Malay in Jawi, I presumed) which was then his best companion. 

Ayah Ngah became involved in the writing world when he was made an editor of al-Hidayah (1923) with Dato' Muhammad Ghazali Ariffin, Hassan Haji Omar, Haji Abdul Rahman Daud al-Makki, Muhammad Adnan Arifin and others.  In 1929 he opened his own printing company,  al-Mathbaq al-Asasiyyah (spelling?) located in a row of shop houses at  Jalan Hilir Pasar, Kota Bharu right infront of the wet market  of KB, a very busy area in those days.  Cold Storage occupied the end lot next to uncle's 'opih chat' (that was the name we used to call his shop).  It was around this time (1929 onwards) he printed and published books that was translated from the Arabic language...Egypt, Turkey, France and English being the background for these books. Book titles such as Tut Ankhamun (1929), Chogan Setia (1929), Pahlawan Perkasehan dan Peperangan (1930), Selamat Tinggal Ayuhai Timur (1931), Perjalanan Mustaffa Kamal Pansha (1931), Puteri Mesir dengan Puteri Raja Rarina and Rasputin (1935) were published.  I can't for the life of me imagine how these books look like nor the contents because I don't know if there is any copy left lying around now.

He produced the magazine al-Hikmah (a popular magazine in Kelantan of that era) with the help of Abdul Kadir Adabi (Adabi... a very catchy name first used for a private school in Kelantan in the late 60s and later used as a brand name for food condiments..Kicap Manis Adabi etc etc).  al-Hikmah was first published in 1934 but publications had to stop in 1941 due to the break out of the Second World War.  The magazine featured translated serial stories such as Pundi-Pundi Biru (1936), Kecenderungan Perempuan (1936 - 1937) and Rahsia Kasih (1938)... a pity none of the mentioned stories were printed into novels/books.  In 1937 he published the well-received 'Kerana Mahkota'.  Sadly, uncle's 'opih chat' is no more in operation since the 1980s when his son who took over the business died in the early 80s and none of his siblings were interested in the business and the shop lot was sold off.

A copy of al-Hikmah kept by a cousin as a personal collection

Ayah Ngah was also influenced with Tok Kenali ( a very well-known ulamak in Kelantan) who played an important role in giving sound advises and ideas for al-Hikmah.  Tok Kenali was a regular patron at uncle's opih chat where he spend the time to read newspapers and magazines of that era.  Infact my mother used to tell us that Tok Kenali frequented our house after his asar prayers at Masjid Muhammadi and held intellectual discussions on current issues with uncle and my grandfather, who was also a learned man and kept journals and also involved himself in writing.  

And yes...he brought back reading materials for my mother (his youngest sister).  In the 1920s and 1930s malay girls were not allowed to go to school but my mum was one determined girl and self-taught herself in reading Jawi.  She would hide what she was reading from my grandma and would only read after everyone else was asleep by using a small 'pelita'.  However, her nocturnal activity was discovered by grandma and she was scolded for trying to enter a man's world.  But mak...I'm so proud of you for being literate in those days and we (the siblings) caught the reading bug from you.

I remember being in awe and scared of Ayah Ngah and would always hide behind my mother whenever we visited him.  Still fresh in my mind when after isya' prayers I would accompany mak to his house, we walked along the almost deserted road to his house which was about 1/2 km away from our house.  He would be sitting cross legged in his white pagoda t-shirt and sarong and talked in a deep guttural voice which I do not comprehend at all and the times when he passed by our house on a 'teksi' (trishaw) on the way to his 'opih chat'  complete with his tongkat (walking stick) looking sternly at my sisters and I sitting on the bar at the old wooden door.  My sister recalled mum  telling her, Mak Ngah (uncle's wife) would always prepare kopi O and a plate of his favourite fried bananas, the 'pisang khaghae' (small green skin banana) and he would settle down to write at nights. That's the only memories I have of my uncle... and he passed away in 1969 due to what illness I cannot recall.

My youngest uncle (Ayah Su)
Last but not least I can say that we have quite a few budding writers in the family, another uncle, Ayah Su my mum's youngest brother was a reporter with Utusan Melayu in Singapore in the late 40s.  My second eldest brother (Abang Ngah) when he was studying at the Federal Military College (now Royal Military College,  RMC) won an essay competition organized by the New York Herald Tribune and won a trip to New York in 1961.  My sister, Teh Ani who was an editor with DBP and a daughter of Ayah Su, Kak Mah was a reporter with NST in 1980s and 1990s.  As for yours truly, I can't be counted as a budding writer and it is only for the love of reading and writing that I caught the bug too.  For the rest of the family who are reading this entry...please ponder for a while and ask I bitten by the writing bug?..Probably you do!

My thanks to Haji Ahmad Farid Mahmood (Binaraya PKINK) for his time in searching and supplying me the above facts (written by Abdul Razak Mahmud) regarding Ayah Ngah (the picture is from a calendar published by BRP on Tokoh Penulis Kelantan for the year 2003);

and facts from 'Titih Galur AIF' - courtesy of our dear Teh Ani

Saturday, 26 November 2011

So True...

From the most astonishing of things that you know Allah,
yet you do not love Him ..
You hear His caller,
yet you delay in responding to Him..
You know the extent of His wrath,
yet you expose yourself to it..
You taste the anguish of loneliness when disobeying Him,
yet you do not seek intimacy by obeying Him..
You experience the heart constricting when speaking of other than Him,
yet you do not desire the heart's expanse by engaging in remembrance of Him or communion with Him..
You experience the torment of attaching the heart to other than Him,
yet you do not escape from it to the bliss of devoting yourself to Him and repenting to Him..
More astonishing still is the fact that you know you are in dire need of Him,
yet you turn away from Him and hanker after that which distances you from Him..
[Ibn al-Qayyim] 

(Sourced from HOTD)


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Air Naik....

A normal scenery behind the house at this time of the year...

 Before going off to work this morning, a calm morning..
Air tak sampai ke pagar rumah lagi..
6.45 pm..the wind was blowing hard and the water has risen...

When I heard voices...
It was these 2 boys riding horses in the water..

Mana nak bawa kuda tu???

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Makan Makan

Ada kedai makan baru dibuka dekat dengan ofis, tiap hari ke pejabat tengok boleh tahan ramai jugak orang masuk makan di situ.  Lagipun lokasi kedai makan ni agak strategik, banyak pejabat dan supermarket di sekeliling dan ramai budak-budak supermarket makan di situ.  Taukenya  chinese muslim dan pekerja-pekerjanya pastilah kesemuanya budak-budak melayu.   So last week after office hours dan kebetulan lunch pun tak makan, singgah di restoran ini dengan hubby dan anak sebelum pulang ke rumah.

Ada pelbagai variety nasi ayam dalam menunya. Bila tanya waitressnya nasi ayam mana yang biasa diorder oleh pelanggan dia kata Nasi Ayam Panggang (Roast Chicken Rice)....patutlah pun sebab nasi ayam itu yang paling murah dalam menu.  Tak ingatlah apa variety yang lain (macam2 ada) dan yang diorder sepertimana gambar-gambar di bawah...


Yang ni diorder oleh anak - Ayam Madu BBQ

 Chicken Chop Rice with Thousand Island Sauce

Tofu dalam Menu

The real Tofu Thai Style

I ate the Chicken Chop Rice topped  with Thousand Island Sauce and coleslaw.  Gelenya sangat nak order nasi ayam ini....makan pun tak habis, mujur ada orang yang habiskan ... huhu.  Nasi agak lembik....ini memang dah sah guna beras wangi dan ada bau minyak bijan dalam nasi but the chicken chop is crunchy and freshly made.  Ayam Madu BBQ tu is a bit sweet (anak yang cakap cos she ate this dish). The tofu tu boleh recommend..sedap.  

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tragedi @ Tragedy

It befalls all of us and Allah knows best...

The first tragedy befalls my cousin sister last Sunday morning (13 Nov 2011) when she was not at home...her house caught fire and the 1st floor was all burnt out.  When asked what caused the fire, she told me the bomba said it started from the gas stove but she hardly cook at home and often eats at her mother's (my aunt) house which is attached to her house.   The upper floor housed the kitchen and bedrooms.  Nothing could be saved except for a copy of an al-quran which miraculously did not catch fire...  things such as this do happen!  The smell of charred wood still lingers when I visited her yesterday.  My cousin lives alone while her two children work in KL.

Her mum's house attached to her house luckily escaped the fire...

Front view of the destroyed upper floor..

The second tragedy befalls my son just a couple of days after the fire above ...

Kereta dirempuh motorsikal berkuasa tinggi (entah berapa tinggi tak taulah!)   dan inilah kesudahannya.  Si empunya motor tak mahu bayar kerugian walaupun dia di pihak yang bersalah (mungkin dia tengok budak muda yang bawa kereta so boleh kelentong). Disebabkan panik orang tua di kampung hanya tau perkara ini pada keesokan harinya.  Yang ni sedih sangat sebab kita yang sponsor kereta bagi pada dia untuk pergi balik kolej dan hanya dua hari berada di Shah Alam dah kena musibah ini ...huk huk!  Hutang pun tak start bayar lagi..uwaaah...  Abah dia tak bagi blog pasal ni takut anak tension, jadi mak dia ada tak tension?  But who cares its my blog!

Walau apa pun semua musibah yang berlaku ada hikmahnya..redha aje lah.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Friday Morning On 11.11.11

The day started early in the morning when her father sent her off to school...later

To be here for a special ceremony....

To stand at attention from 7.30 am - 9.30 am ....

While standing and waiting in of them was struck by heatstroke (kesian!) but it's still morning and the morning sun is supposed to be good for you (the sun shone quite fiercely that morning), these school kids were well trained not to be perturbed at all when one of them was led away in a daze, there were a few fainting spells from the other contingents...

The Arrival of ...

KDYMM Sultan Muhammad V...

Yup...its the official birthday of our beloved new Sultan...

The theme this year.. 'Islam Dijunjung, Raja Disanjung, Rakyat Dipayung' ... Semoga Allah Melindungi Tuanku Dunia Akhirat..

The awaited march begins...

Ceremony ends....

Smart Soldiers...

sedapnya aiskrim...hehe (entah anak siapa nih!)

Her school's contingent....

With the Commandants...

All ends well and below with her close friends.. (walaupun hanya dapat saguhati
untuk perbarisan...masih happy!)

The whole ceremony lasted two hours (7.30 am - 9.30 am)...its not a torture to the rakyat like before ..wink wink. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Cuticura Sepanjang Zaman

Cuticura dalam bekas tin (Vintage) - from Google Images

Cuticura dalam bekas plastik sekarang (sis punya ni)

Sis punya cerita ni...

Ingat lagi bedak talkum cuticura? Masa kecil dulu semua orang kenal bau bedak cuticura. Ingat masa line up ambil nasi kat Uitm tahun 70-an, ada budak perempuan di depan pakai bedak cuticura, orang hok bubuh nasi tegur, hai bau  bedak cuticura.

Dah mula balik beli bedak cuticura lo ni, boleh hilang gatal, bedak talkum baru walaupun bedak talkum baby tak sebagus bedak cuticura. Harum baunya lain dari bedak cuticura. Tapi lo ni tak dok ore cam bau bedak cuticura daa. 

Tgk kat internet, dah 135 tahun produk ni kat USA dan ada banyak jenis, sabun, minyak ointment tapi tak dok napok kat supermarket, mungkin tak perasan.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

This Old Wooden Door..

This wooden door has stood here still strong and sturdy for over a 100 years and had withstood numerous number of big floods and small floods.  Upon's great grandfather's  (Haji Muhamad Doboh) insistence all his children had this door built at their own houses (it served as the main gate in those days) and this is the door at my maternal grandmother's house built at the end of the 19th century and it still stand in the compound of my family's house.  It is a simple wooden door made out of 'cengal' wood (maybe?), there is not much intricate design on the door and with steel bars supporting the roof. There was a pair of  round ringed door knocker on the outer side of the door made of copper and these have been stolen (kita jumpa di akhirat ya....wahai si pencuri!).  The door is barred from the inside using a piece of iron rod 3 inches thick (I remember it as being very rusty when I was a kid).  All the doors of Muhamad Doboh's family has a roof over it, maybe the original roof was made of tiles later changed to zinc and now being upgraded to tiles again in 1995 with the supporting brick pillars.

We still hold on to this door upon the advice of great grandfather to maintain it as a mark or rather a symbol for who knows in the future our far flung relatives might one day come back and be reunited with us.  For practical reasons, this door block the  driveway for cars to drive out to the main road.  As of many years ago another bigger gate was built at the other end of the compound and we had to reverse the car every time we want to go out on to the busy main road.   

There were several doors similar to ours that were still around in the 60s but were later pulled down for various reasons.  It was common to find this type of door in front of other family houses but with different designs because it was a trend back in the 19th century.

When we were kids we used sit on the bar across the door to watch the traffic goes by but then in those days there were not many cars on the road but a lot of bicycles and the pushcarts that was filled with tree barks (kulit kayu) used for cooking on wood stoves.  As seen in the picture above the bar seems to be at ground level now when in those days it was higher up by a foot or more.

Indeed great grandfather's prophecy that this door would someday bring together his descendants was proven when two incidents occurred to my sister Teh and in her own words...

When we were small children, we often used the Jalan Sultan Ibrahim to visit our paternal grandparents, and Jalan Sultan Ibrahim was where the police headquarters was located.  We noticed a similar wooden door at a traditional house along the street identical to ours.  We were told that the owner was our maternal grandaunt, Tok Ngoh Som who was then deceased.  Much later, my foster's sister's cousin married one of Tok Ngoh Som great granddaughter.  We realized that she was our cousin when her husband told me that his wife's family was negotiating sale for a piece of land at that particular place.  I made an effort to meet his wife's mother to see whether we are related.  Definitely we are related, the mother Kak Yoh or Safiah recalled that as a child she accompanied her grandmother, Tok Ngoh Som to visit my grandmother whom she called Mak Teh Jah.  She even recalled and remembered my own mother and my aunts.  She told me that my late grandmother loved to organize feasts for her relatives, friends and neighbours.  Exactly what my mother used to tell me!

The second incident occurred when I was working with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.  I met a new colleague, who just started to work there.  To me she seemed familiar and once we started to know each other, I found comradeship in her.  Later she, who happened to hail from Perak, told me that she had relatives in Kelantan and used to visit a house on my street.  She recalled that the house had a wooden door with a roof.  It clicked that she might be a relative because all of my maternal grandmother's siblings had that type of door.  I called my mother and she confirmed that her cousin, Pak Teh Daud's wife's sister had moved to Perak in the 50's.  Guessed what, I paid her family a visit, to visit her grandparents and her own mother in Parit, Perak.  Her grandmother had a fine time recalling and getting informations of relatives she had left behind.

Discovering long forgotten relatives is wonderful and this wooden door did play an important role.  Isn't it?

'SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL ADHA' to all muslims readers who happened to peek into this blog :)

Daiyan's Giant Caterpillars (Part II)

                                      CEO of RapidKL's tweet inviting Daiyan to visit LRT depot...                          ...