Thursday, 31 December 2009

Backtracking - 26/12/2009

We returned from our short vacation in Terengganu on Boxing Day - what the matsallehs quaintly call the day after Christmas, perhaps to store away the boxes of Christmas presents. Or could it be that after the season of joy and goodwill, it's time to get back to punching their foes?

Anyhow, before I lose all recollection of the trip, which is getting to be blurry memories already, I thought I'd just put up the pictures in reverse chronological order. Freshest memory first, somewhat like a REWind instead of a FastForward.

Going home, we used Federal Route 14 - Kuala Terengganu-Jabor or what is frequently referred to as the "inside" road (jalan dalam) as opposed to the coastal more affable route. It was the natural choice, reason being that the wedding we attended was located along that particular road in the Pengadang area.

 Here we are at the rendezvous point for the entourage

The family of seven sisters and their parents, plus bridegroom

 Hubby was fascinated by this contraption
- a temporary sink for handwashing
complete with water storage and discharge plumbing
- not yet seen in KL

We left at 1.30pm after a very satisfying lunch kenduri of nasi minyak complemented with buffalo meat cooked in gulai kawah, roast chicken in korma sauce, and acar, followed by tapai wrapped in the leaves of the rubber tree, wonderful egg-tarts and other kuih-muih.

Further along the route, at the Pekan Ajil T-junction, it makes a 90 degree left turn where we ran smack into  a row of warongs selling Terengganu delicacies.

Mek comey rolling out keropok lekor

Mek boss packing the wriggly-looking lekors

Mat semangat processing satar

 Satar on the pit

We settled for 2 packs of steaming hot keropok lekors and some varieties of keropok kering. Satar - maybe next time.

Go here for more on keropok lekor and here for satar.

Moving on, Route 14 is not very well maintained by the looks of it but ample warning signs were put up along the way referring to a number of dangerous turns (selekoh merbahaya) and and death corners (selekoh maut). There was one which said in no uncertain terms "KEMALANGAN MAUT KERAP BERLAKU DI SINI". However this is just the kind of road that keeps hubby wide awake strategising on how to overtake the next heavy vehicle with a dozen or so cars in front of us. I guess all this will end when Phase Two of the East Coast Expressway is finally completed, maybe in 2011 or 2012. Just in time for the next general election I presume.

The route links with the Kuantan-Karak segment of the East Coast Expressway at Jabor. We grabbed an opportunity for a quick spiritual break at a nice lay-by surau and then some liquid replenishment at Gambang R&R before the final push home, arriving at 7.30pm, a full 6-hour journey with the expressway portion taken over by co-pilot Adeen.

End of holiday.

I love this funny Terengganu song "Kerabu Pucuk Paku" sung in local dialect. It's the second song in my "Ganu" playlist.

Kerabu pucuk paku sayur kacang
Panggang ikan puyu tumbuk sambal belacan
Celur pucuk labu buat ulam
Tanak nasik beras kusang
Ikan kering anak tambang
Nok makang sedap kite pitih x dop
Bini beranok rapat anak rama terlajok
Kadang pisang sikat kite dok dang koyok
Ade lagi hok duk teriok
Hok ni kecing hok ni berok
Tambah pulok kije buleh sikit2
Byk hok duk sj perabih duit
Lepas2 ise dok dang makang nasik
Bosang anok duk jerik
Pepagi2 mitok duit

Kadang2 mari pikir dlm hati
Mcm mn cara nk tambah rezeki
Mujur lah pagi ni ade saing mari
Ajok niaga kecik2
Rase senang dlm hati
Amber meniaga buat kusi rotang
Ade warna coklat warna itam
Nok ato dekat jabat kraf tangang
Jln kolej bukit bintang
Boleh tambah pendapatan
Begitulah care kalu mahu hidup
Buat ape sj yg kite sanggup
Jgn duduk sj buat buncit perut
Lama2 buleh meletup
Anak bini buleh cabut
Org tua dulu ade beser pesang
Kalu2 kite nok wi anak jarang
Rebuh akor kayu bui bini mkn
10 tahung buleh sorg
baru ceroh mase depang

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

First up, let's just say Sunday was Fun Day. Here's why:

(Alamak, wait, wait - before that let me own up that I stole the bowling pics from me nephew Ayub's web album - teequeues Yoob!)

The Annual Clan Bowling Tournament found me in the team yang paling corot - consisting of 2 off-form ladies (previous top pin-slayer Dr. Sue, and me), 2 gutsy drainers Rozanna and Aniqah, and the only thorn Ali to roll the team's first of only three strikes. So we won the prize for the team with the most potential. YAY!

However hubby bagged a special prize - sehelai kain pelikat - for being the highest male scorer.

Munie contributed a couple of strikes for the winning team, whilst Syirah was just happy not to be part of mine.

Lunch of Nasi Lemak Jalan 223 and Ikan Bakar Sambal Hijau Sg. Penchala was sponsored by Nini and Salleh, and hosted by Rose and Rahman. And December-borns were celebrated with doas and a huge chocolate moist cake courtesy of the gang of Ram and Lat.

Owh, and snacks of Keropok Lekor Losong during the rolls was provided by yours truly;
just back from a V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N in Ganuland.

And here's the other fun happening:

Munie and I got ourselves surrounded by a group of inimitable  blog-yakkers -

Desert Rose & Edelweiss, Kak Teh & Kama, Shahieda (in red top), Pi & Radiant Galoh!
Eh eh where is mamasita? Mammamia!  She was inspiring everyone into colgate smiles..

(My, my don't I look well-fed after my gastronomic holiday on the east coast?)

The meet-up, organised by the glamourous mamasita, gave hubby the opportunity to chat with the gentleman behind the Sakmongkol nom-de-plume - Dato' Ariff Sabri.

And it was such a pleasure to meet Kak Teh, Shahieda, Pi and Raden Galoh in person for the first time and to realise that they come across exactly as in their blogs. Wow!

How could a group of cyber makciks and kakciks fill the Seoul Garden with so much aura and vibes (read gay chatter) I just can't explain, but it was hard to pull ourselves away from there to get back to the bowling awards ceremony.

It was indeed a fun day  Sunday to remember!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Makang Anging Atau Makang Hujang

Konongnya nak cuti-cuti kat Pantai Timur sambil jadi ahli rombongang penganting kat Kuala Terengganu nangti 26 haribulang.

Ikut ramalang cuaca bagi Kemamang, besok OK jugak boleh singgah satu malam kat Cherating - sebab cuma light showers

Tapi ramalang untuk Kuala Terengganu amat kurang memberangsangkang.
Nak buat apa ya nangti kat sana selaing tengok Masjid Kristal dang makang nasi dangang dang keropok lekor?

Harap-harap ramalang ni tak betul, boleh gak naik bot gi tengok-tengok Pulau Kapas yang selama ni dicanang-canangkan oleh Tok Ubang tu... Tapi takut jugak ek kalau pegi OK tapi balik tak dapat - makang kenduri pung melepas...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Not for the faint-hearted....

.... and only for the fit and sure-footed was our Awal Muharram caper.

A fitting start to the new Islamic year (which actually began at sunset on Thursday) was us being part of the congregation for Subuh prayers at the well-attended Surau Muwafaqah in Taman Melawati. "Us" were hubby, son Adeen, and princesses Munie and Syirah.

However instead of staying for the dawn Maal Hijrah talk, we prepped for the climb we were about to undertake. A climb up the formidable Bukit Tabur - yes, where two medical specialists had met their fate in March this year; may their souls be among the saliheen.

Read here about some of the reported accidents.

Bukit Tabur is actually a narrow ridge of about 16 km long comprising of a series of karst hills situated on the eastern edge of KL close to the KL-Karak Highway, and accessible through Taman Melawati. Averaging 200 feet high it is purported to be the longest quartz-rich ridge in the world.

View Bukit Tabur Western and Eastern Ridge in a larger map

 To view this Google Earth Picture in simulated 3D 
please Right-click and Select "Open Link in New Tab"

And, led by Adeen, climbed the eastern ridge we did, following a clear trail. By his estimates, we could climb up, take in the magnificent views and be down before noon in good time for Friday prayers.

Well, here are the pictures:


Passing by huge pipes channeling water from the Klang gates dam
before the start of the trail

Climbing, me with the MJ gloves and headlamp, hubby always behind

Negotiating jagged rocks - Adeen keeping an eye on mom

About 7.20 am - View of Taman Melawati from the first look-out

7.55 am At Peak No. 1 - Two more to go

Guess who?

A wonderous view of the catchment area

Mossy terrain

Getting down off the other side to get to Peak No 2

8.30am Arriving at Peak No 2 - marked by a yellow flag
after some more climbing

A view of  Peak No 1 from where we came
and the western ridge in the background

Peak No 3, the most challenging, looming ahead

This is just after a hard vertical climb using ropes, roots,
whilst keeping close to the rock face

Almost there.......

9.05am AAAAAHHHH!!!! The RED FLAG!

I get a HUG


a KISS!!!!

Adin and Munie at the other edge of the 3rd peak,
also Syirah below, seemingly unfazed by
the sheer drop to the bottom

The 4th peak - said to be unclimbable

 So those were the climbs up  to 3 peaks of Tabur Eastern Ridge. At the same time I was savouring the achievement, I was also dreading the climb downhill.The upwards climb was torturous enough, but getting back down was absolutely dangerous.

9.35 am we started the descend.

After carefully descending the tricky 3rd peak, the two young ladies went on ahead after a reminder from us to think safety all the way, while I had with me my two able-bodied young men to guide me, and to whom I'm ever so grateful.

We were literally scaling down, hugging the rock face, again relying on sturdy roots and tree trunks and branches whilst making sure of a firm footing everywhere we stepped before lowering the other leg. Where it was safe, I took to going down on my bum which seemed easier and less trying for me. As for the men, I guess it's not macho that style.

I took frequent sips of water to stay hydrated as I tend to sweat profusely (cold sweat included) and we all remained focussed - never chatting unnecessarily and not even taking photographs. At many places, a slip of the foot could mean an unforgiving fall.

We reached the start of the trail at 11.30 in a slight rain but feeling absolutely exhilarated and jubilant, glad that we had made quite good time despite my slowness.


We shouted their names thinking they had taken shelter somewhere and even drove out to the main road to look. But zilch. We inquired from some locals and children playing in the stream, also nothing. There was a "not available" respond from Syirah's phone whilst Munie had not brought hers.

Only God knew the anguish I felt, realising that they might have fallen somewhere. Adeen went back to search whilst I related what had happened to a young couple visiting their friend. They themselves are quite familiar with Tabur and assured me that they think the girls are OK.

About 10 minutes later, Adeen called to say that he had found the girls not far from the start of the trail. I was so relieved, apparently Syirah had indeed taken a fall, but was able to walk normally.

When they emerged at last, Syirah was in tears and Munie was animatedly recounting what had happened. Somehow Syirah had lost her focus for a split second and slid down the side of a slope about one metre. When she tried to get up the slope, she slid further but was fortunately stopped by a tree 3 metres down. By this time she was screaming for Munie, who talked her into calming down while she inched her way down to carry out a gallant rescue, by holding on to a tree with one hand and pulling up her sister with the other.

We must have passed them while all this was going on, because we certainly did not hear or see anything though I remembered at one point to recite Surah Insyirah after which she was named.

And after that heroic effort, Munie never stopped saying zikirs and reading Ayat Kursi in case some paranormal beings take them into their care and return them 5 days later. I never thought Munie would think that way.

 Here are the girls happy to be back in the safety of the car.
Syirah, still traumatised, managed to ejek the cameraman.

Back at home, showing off the forensics

People, some young people might be encouraged to attempt this climb after reading about a makcik (me) making it, but let me say this:

Tabur is a climb not to be undertaken for fun and frolic. It is a serious hill and there had been a number of reported accidents that had included fatalities. Although I was confident that my girls had the presence of mind to stay safe, but mishaps can and do happen, and in our case IT DID HAPPEN.

Before anyone does Tabur, I would recommend him/her to read this - Agnes Tan's Tip's on Successful Trekking up Tabur  and do take the tips seriously.

But there's no mistaking the magnificence of nature designed by the Almighty that one can see from atop Tabur and how indeed small we are in attempting to get there.

Take a look at these other blogs about Tabur East and some of the precarious spots:
Agnes Tan's Crystal Ridge Blog
Fabio's Blog

     Still, the men made it to the Friday prayers in time.

    As for Syirah, we think this is a good mental preparation for her when doing her National Service at Kem Sentosa near Lata Kinjang in Perak - especially for the physical aspects of the training when safety should not be taken lightly.

    And if you ask me, despite it being a great achievement and all, everytime I think about the descent my heart will race. And when hubby said, "Let's do the western side next week", I went "Oh no, not me, thank you. Once in a lifetime is more than enough!"

    Hardly a caper, wasn't it?


      Wednesday, 16 December 2009

      Wood vs Iron

      And so I am a wee bit closer to understanding the age-old dilemma of a beginner golfer, when I came across this at

      Wood Vs Iron??
      I have a 3 wood which I hit 235, then jump to a 3 Iron which I hit (sometimes) 200, if I get a 5 wood or 7 wood, is that better for distance and control, should I replace my 3 Iron??

      The best answer selected was:
      That's a huge gap. From 235 to 200.
      You can slow down that swing on the 3 wood to get a shorter distance but if you have space in your bag for a 5 wood then carry that! Going from 5 wood to 3 iron or hybrid is a good step down (maybe 1 1/2 club)
      .....yada, yada, yada

      No, I'm not taking up golf, just fascinated by its technicalities. Years ago hubby and I did try that totally meaningless activity of hitting a couple of hundred small, hard dimpled balls at a driving range. Until he got TENNIS elbow (hitting GOLF balls?). Me, I gave up much early on. If I'm not to sweat but still have to wear special shoes, I'd rather go bowling where I can see my scores being chalked up.

      Anyway, in the hoo-haa of the recent Copenhagen fiasco,  I was looking up some information on the oxygen-generating potential of trees versus grass (just trying to do my little bit). And I found this article from Ask A Scientist :

      ... If you want to determine oxygen production differences, the answer is found in
      the total amount of green surface area of a tree (all of the leaves)
      versus a bush (all of the leaves and green stems) versus a patch of
      grass (all of the blades).

      So, if you are interested only in the efficiency of a plant to produce
      oxygen, you should look at the individual plant and ask what proportion
      of the plant is producing oxygen. The grass is producing oxygen in 100%
      of its leaf blade while the bush and tree are producing much less (the
      trunk and nongreen stems will produce no oxygen).

      However, if you are interested in the total amount of oxygen produced in
      each plant, I would guess that the area of leaves produced by a tree is
      greater than the area of grass blades found in the shadow of the tree.

      However, if you look at a tree, bush or grass in a forest, you can find
      a tree with some bushes and grass underneath. So, if you calculate how
      much oxygen is produced in a patch of land, it will be higher if a tree
      is there with some bushes and grass than if there is only one tree, or
      several bushes or a lawn of grass.

      Jim Tokuhisa, Ph.D.

      Which brought me to wonder just how many trees had been felled, how much oxygen now compromised in the making of one golf course. And in the vicinity of Taman Arboretum in the Kiara hills, there are 2 golf courses. Just a short distance away at Tropicana and Damansara Indah, there are another two! And who knows how many there are in total in the whole Klang Valley.

      However golf courses can be very pretty and serene with their green, finely manicured lawns, the occasional shrubbery and thickets of trees, bodies of water and sand patches. And I guess they do contribute somewhat to the air quality in the Valley.  But I wish more of them had remained forested areas, with walking trails and picnic areas for city families to enjoy. There's a dearth of such places here - the area where I live, there's not even a decent-sized park or green-lung for residents to escape to. All around us is a  steel-reinforced concrete jungle. 

      If  I were the chief city-planner or minister, I would legislate that every City/Town Council start an arboretum or two similar to the one at Kiara. Or for every golf course, 2 or 3 arboretums.

      Just think about it, if we compare the two activities, golf and trekking:

      Golf - yes (downright expensive);
      Trekking - free

      Golf - heavy;
      Trekking - light (water)

      Golf - Carbon (buggy);
      Trekking - Shoes

      Trekking - Self;
      Golf - Holes!

      Golf - Business Clients/Prospects, Buddies, Caddies;
      Trekking - Buddies, Family, Pets, Girlfriends/Boyfriends, Nature!

      Trekking - as we like;
      Golf - as per handicap

      Qi (chinese concept of life-force):
      Trekking - Invigorating;
      Golf - gotta work at it

      Trekking - there's more per sq foot;
      Golf - less

      Chiropractic Risk:
      Trekking - Minimal;
      Golf - high

      For me, definitely trekking rather than golf, rather have trees than grass, rather wood than iron.

      By the way, I'm so glad Malaysia's not mentioned in the statistics below. But I think that's only because we are too small to be significant. I wonder how KL compares with other cities in the region - who knows, maybe we are the worst.

      So what's the message?

      Well, the message is let the big boys fight themselves green, but let's keep our little neck of the woods, mmmmm...... woody?


      Monday, 14 December 2009

      A Good Dose of Qi

      Last Saturday morning we again went to trek up the Kiara Hills at Taman Arboretum. The previous one we spent an hour walking. This time was two hours - by order - from hubby.

      Here is the signboard at the entrance explaining what exactly an arboretum is.


      The location:

      View Bukit Kiara Trekking Route (Tarmac) in a larger map

      Actually up until a few years ago, word has it that  this area of lush green jungle nestled between Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI) and Bukit Damansara, was earmarked for a high-end property development. There were roads and drainage already in place but the project was shelved after vehement protests from the residents of TTDI, and the area has been converted to an arboretum where many walkers, joggers and mountain-bikers gather for their exercise.

      At 7.45am, began at a leisurely pace due to my right knee that went clickety-click as I alighted from the car. It's a slight uphill gradient all the way to the crossroads.

      A biking trail begins here about quarterway up.

      8.07am reached the cross roads. I took the road down on the left-hand side.

      An easy walk downhill ..... at first

      This is a stream of clear water that originates from a spring further up the hill. It flows down into the TTDI recreational park below.

      The walk goes uphill after the stream

      A biking trail emerges here.
      There's another one further up. 

      The marching mak-sallehs - there were 4 of them last week yakking away as they marched energetically uphill.

      A pipe siphoning off some spring water 

      8.35am: Back at the cross-roads. Did some leg stretches.

      8.40 am Turned back and walked in the opposite direction down the same route, turning it up a notch.

      9.05am: Made it back again. Some more leg stretches. 

      9.15 am: Walked down the dead-end road with the princess.

      Returned to the cross-roads at 9.35am.

      Proceeded back to the entrance. On the way the princess recorded the gentle qigong? gait of an elderly gentleman - same-side arm same-side leg. Watch below. 
      (Apologies for the poor quality - ahemm deliberate to protect the innocent.)

      9.50 The girls and their father were already waiting for me at the rendezvous point.

      Hearty sandwiches for breakfast after!