Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A tribute to a friend...

[November 24, 2007] The news on TV that evening of the demise of Datuk Mohd Taha Ariffin jolted us. It was a shock to both my spouse and me. The first to hear the news is my spouse who was at the kitchen at that time. She call me and told me of the sad news. Because the news was just in a flash, we had to sought a confirmation. I then call a friend in Kuching to get some confirmation from the hospital and at the same time my spouse call the hospital. Both enquiries confirmed the passing away of an honorable man. He die of cancer. A remarkable friend that I had known from the first day I was posted to Sarawak, in 1986. Immediately I SMS a condolence to Datin Siti Zaharah. Our house was adjacent to each other, off the Rock Road in Kuching.

I wanted to write this on the same day but just could not do it until now. It was just too difficult to write and I have been procrastinating on it for months already. It is only today that I am able to put in words of how I felt of our friendship. Even that I could still felt the pang of sadness in my heart. Anyway I am doing it now. It was a real heart breaking news for both my spouse and me. He had been one of the closes friend that we had from Sarawak and even after he retired we kept in touch. As I relate before in this blog, he was indeed an honorable man to have as a friend. Simple yet so full of the aura of friendship. Every time he is in Kuala Lumpur we would meet just to exchange notes. Out of the blue even when he is in Perth, Australia where he has a home, he would call and we would just talk of whatever that comes to our minds.

On March 10, 2007 we invited the couple to dinner at our home in Ampang Jaya. As usual after dinner we sat to chat. My spouse and me took a few snaps of that occasion as in the images below. Sometime in late October 2007 he call us to join them for lunch at the Flamingo nearby. So we went and had lunch there and as usual chats on things of interest and he said that he is flying to Singapore for a checkup and that he might buy a house in Singapore so that it would be easy for him to stay while there. Since he was in a hurry to catch his flight, we ended the lunch with the usual greeting. See you again and take care. That was the last time I saw him until we heard on the TV of his demise.

His widow in Datin Siti Zaharah, a charming lady, now a retiree was once a very senior female figure in the Civil Service of the state government of Sarawak. The last SMS I got from her shows the pain she still had on the demise of her husband. Even as I write this I still could feel the pain of the lost but I felt that I had to do this posting, just in a way to immortalized him in cybersphere. A true friend indeed until the end. Friends, Death is definitive. Alfatihah and Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Sunday!!!....

It was a beautiful Sunday morning [January 27, 2008] with the sun shining bright. I am suppose to join in for the Tiffin Run to Bentong organised by our Kelab Volvo Kelasik but could not made it for an unexpected reason. Last Friday I sense that I am going to get the Flu virus, starting with that sore throat. I am always dreadful of getting the Flu since you would be in a condition of sick and yet not really sick. By Saturday I had it full blown with sore throat, running nose and fever. The doctor says that I should start taking anti biotic which I dislike most. But what can I do when its the doctor's order. It is the only way I could get cured. So I have started on that medication yesterday and as usual you feel bad before getting better.

I was rather anxious to join that group of crazy folks with their classic Volvo 122, on this trip using the old country road to Bentong in Pahang, where we would have Lunch at Bentong Golf Club. Most of the cars of the Amazon series are forty years old but still working perfect. Mine as seen in the image above is forty two years old and I love this beaut although it is not as comfortable as the present car with the latest technology, like my other car the Honda Accord. The convoy would do a stop over for a few hours at the Bukit Tinggi Hot Spring and enjoy nature at its best there. The old winding roads is hardly used now after the construction of the Karak Highway, but it is still well maintained as an alternative route to Bentong, Raub and Lipis. It would be a beautiful trip down memory lane for it was through this roads that I use to return home to Kuantan from time to time before the opening of the Karak Highway.

This old road that connect the west coast to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia was constructed during the colonial era and run along the hills and valley of the main range. Where there are rivers, ferries were used to cross from one side to the other. Bridges was non existence then. It was after independent that bridges was built to connect the roads. The old roads was built by following the contour of the hills and valleys. So you actually snake your way up and down on those many cliff hanging roads with deep gorges down below. It was then the only road connecting the east coast to the west coast. A vital link indeed. In the mid fifties a bunch of us who were members of the First Kuantan Scout troop went on a cycling expedition from Kuantan to Kuala lumpur. It was an adventure that I still remember very clearly till this day. At that time the country was still infested with communist terrorist and many times buses were ambushed by the terriorists. Yet we boys were never afraid of the terrorist and venture on for four days and nights, with sleeping on the way before reaching Kuala Lumpur. Looking back it was simply a crazy things to do. Riding bicycle from Kuantan to Kuala lumpur through roads in the middle of thick jungles, crossing rivers and sleeping at school canteen when night comes and cooking our own food with whatever we brought was out of the ordinary. But then it was fun and we never thought for once of the danger, for we were really an adventurous group of Boy Scouts. It takes us another four days for the return journey and till this days it remain a memorable event in my life. Been sick today I missed yet another adventure, this time with the KVK group.

Last week I got my Volvo 122 in tiptop condition and was ready for this weekend adventure but then I got sick and could not take part in that adventure today. So early this morning I SMS the Secretary and another friend saying that I just could not made it for the trip. It would have been a nice weekend adventure with friends on that old country road to Bentong. At Bentong we would be entertained to lunch by the Secretary of the KVK, whose hometown is Bentong. Well, that is life and we can never know when we could get sick but as usual lives must goes on and here am I writing this posting to humor myself of the lost opportunity to enjoy with friends on that adventure of the day. Friends, that was my Sunday. Have a nice day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Above is a snapshot of the garden at the Colmar which I describe in my previous posting. Indeed a gorgeous sight to watch and enjoy. The garden is a riot of colors and we did enjoy wondering around it. So what has this garden to do with the subject of this posting. Well, in the first instance, would there be a garden there for us to enjoy if there is not an architect of it. It would not be a garden but a bush that grew by itself in the cool mountain atmosphere. But there is this garden with well manicured lawn, plants and flowers. A great landscape indeed. To me it is because there are people involved in this creation and they did it very well because they are kind to the greens, the plants, the flowers and everything else that made this garden. If you do not have kindness in your heart you would not be able to create such a thing of beauty. It would be just another bush with plants and flowers but not a garden.

I read somewhere that our species is special in that it has kindness in their heart. Look, we took great care to raised our young which at birth are helpless. We spend countless hours nurturing it to a level that he/she could survived on their own. A baby at birth is hopeless and would not survived without the kindness of his/her parents. Because of this value and norms that we have in our genes, our species have survived and flourished. With knowledge we gain over times we continue to be kind to everything on this planet. And this garden is one of it. Had it not been because of our kindness, love and passion this colorful garden would not be there for us to enjoy.

I have been ask why are your plants, the green leaves, the orchids and flowers bloom so well. My reply has been the same, in that you must be passionate about what you do. Other then giving that plants the daily dose of water and other nutrition you must also take care of it with kindness. As well as sprinkle it with lots of Love. It is not just about planting. It is more then that. It is about kindness to whatever species that you handle. You just do it because you love to do and enjoy the process of doing that. The outcome of the process is not your end. It the the means of getting there that you enjoy. More often then not you would be rewarded with Joy. But remember from the first time you start planting you already enjoy care less whether at the end of the day you would get to see the flowers blooming or not. You tend your garden with love and the kindness that you give would eventually be return to you. And that end result is a bonus for in the process you already enjoyed. Even without the bonus you are already happy of what you have done. Why some garden fail and some garden succeed. It is simply because of the way one do it. The one done with kindness toward all that made that parcel of the garden would surely be successful.

Remember just planting alone do not made the garden. It is the whole process of the eco-system that did it. It means you are not alone. You have the insects, the flora and fauna and every living organism helping you to made it into a beautiful garden. You succeeded because you are kind to the birds and the bees, the insects, the squirrels and everything that are around you. It is your Kindness that give you that beautiful garden. I believe that Garden at the Colmar was care for with kindness. So friends, be kind. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bienvenue vers la France

It was yet another beautiful Sunday [Jan 20,2008]. After a short visit to a relative in Bentong, on the way back we decided to detour a little. To visit a French hamlet atop a mountain enclave, where the weather is cool and the atmosphere is just like summer. After a short drive on the hillside roads, winding its ways up the hills we soon arrived at the Colmar, France. From our home in Ampang Jaya it is just a mere twenty minutes drive. This enchanting French hamlet is situated on the hills of Bukit Tinggi in the state of Pahang. Once you enter this resort you would be transported in times to another world altogether. With a blue sky and patches of white clouds with the sun shining bright as the backdrop, the Colmar Resort is indeed a picturesque sight to wonder and enjoy. Another world indeed.

I parked the car at the basement of the resort and took the lift to the ground floor. This lift takes us to the lobby of a hotel coffee house. We then walk out to be welcomed to a totally French environments. What a change from the scene just half an hour ago. Just look at these images and you would agree with me that you just can't tell. You, in France or Malaysia. It is a made belief reality in the heartland of the jungle of the tropical forest. Indeed an enchanting place to spend the weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.

We sat to enjoy a meal at one of the French restaurant and while enjoying the coffee watch passerby enjoying themselves in this beautiful enclave of a wonderland somewhere in France!!. We than took small steps on the cobble path that lead us to a gorgeous garden, with a well manicured green lawn with the plants and the flowers blooming in its glory. It was indeed a well made landscape. What! with the cool fresh mountain air, it made this garden such a wonderful place to sit and just gaze at the glory of nature in all the colors of the rainbow. Indeed it mesmerised you to want to stay forever and enjoy that moment in times where everything seem to be in harmony, nature and yourself in all its beauty. Fascinating!!. You just do not want to leave this place. I thought at that moment in time that it would be great to watch the rising and the setting of the sun from here. Some other day we would stay for the night here and would take that opportunity to watch the sunrise as well as the sunset at this height. It would surely be a spectacular scene if the weather is good.

The architect of this resort did a great job indeed. It is so real!!. Everything here are man made and those artisan did a splendid job of creating this wonderland in the middle of the tropical jungle. I have been here some years ago when it was first open to the public. At that time it was a different scene. Now all the plants and greens has matured and it look just natural, well blended with those buildings in that enclave. Indeed such a picturesque sight to wonder and enjoy. Just by sitting and sipping hot steamy coffee and whilst your imaginations away would surely made your day.

In a country that is progressing fast, with some ingenuity and creative minds anything could happen in beautiful Malaysia. Just to makes life more interesting like never before. Have a nice day..[Note: The French title is done by AltaVista-Babel Fish][click images to enlarge]

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gorgeous Pink!!...

Gorgeous isn't it. This pink stripe orchid as seen above has just started to bloom. It is one of the rare variety in our garden. Look how refined the pink veins on this particular orchid. It is said that Pink is the sweet side of Red. Indeed it is Sweet. Watching it would surely made your day. Have a nice day

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A retreat call Janda Baik!!!...

A clear mountain stream flowing through boulders, rocks and pebbles. Trees in all shades of greens, hills and valley. A hut to give you the shade come rains or on a hot humid day. That is the scenario that we would love to be and enjoy life with the loved one.

So on a beautiful sunny day we decided to take a trip to an enclave, a valley that is not that far from our home in Ampang Jaya. Actually crows fly it is just about twenty kilometers away across the Titiwangsa Mountain range. At the west side is the sprawling township of Malawati of Ulu Klang in Selangor. On the other side is the valley of Janda Baik in the state of Pahang. Legend had it that this was once an aborigines settlement and because of its enchanting landscape it was later settled by the Malay from Bentong and its vicinity. This place actually nestle between the hills and mountain that made the range. With a cool climate, with rivers and streams flowing through it making it a great place to settled. So a few families start to build their home there and one of the many was a relative on my spouse side. Now with the availability of water supply and and electricity more and more people began to makes this place a sort of a holiday homes away from the city.

My late brother in law got a piece of land there and during his time had gone to the interior of Janda Baik to plant fruits trees just as a past time. But as time went by with their children grown up and took to their own lifestyle and could not help him in managing the land, it was soon left to be claimed by the jungle again. As usual in the circle of life, one of his children, a daughter and her spouse decided to reclaim this piece of the land from the tropical jungle and turn it into a goat farm of a sort. Both our niece and her spouse had their education in the US and now in their early fifty, still full of vigour, saw them starting this farm is indeed a good happening in their life. It all started some time in the mid of last year. They were talking of starting the farm and as usual we just go it along. We knew the risk they are taking but been their aunt and uncle we just gave them the best advice we could and just watch it from afar. As time passes we just follow the development and despite their invitation to come over and see the progress we kept postponing the visit and see for ourselves the farm.

As usual in life on one fine day, the first day of January this year we decided to just go and see the place and stay there for the day. So that is how we got ourselves into the heartland of Pahang, into the valley of Janda Baik that fine day. Some must be wondering of why this place is call Janda Baik. Translated into English Janda mean Widow and Baik mean Good, thus a Good Widow. No, no, this is not the valley full of Good Widows. It is just a name. And as usual with myth and superstition of folks in the rural area there are many version as to why it is call Janda Baik. I personally have been trying to get to the bottom of this 'name' but as yet to find the real reason to why this place is call Janda Baik. Since the name sound sort of romantic people just joke about it and it still remain that way, a mystery. In the midst of jokes and yarns with those folks who were with us on that day at the farm, a young son of one of our nephew says that the name of this place came from the days of the aborigine of this area. It seem that in the days when this place was out of reach from civilization a sick soldier found his way into the aborigine village and soon was attended by a gentle lady by the name of Janda and she is not a widow. Janda is an aboriginal name of this fine lady. She nursed the wounded soldier and eventually the soldier return home and relate the story to others, so the stories goes. I tend to believe this one then the many myths that goes around. It sound more truth and not mere fairy tale. Well, till this day there is not an official explanation of the how this place got it name. Thus the true meaning of Janda Baik remain a mystery. Anyway this is a great place to be as a retreat from the hassle of city living.

It is just a half an hour drive from KL. So here we are celebrating the New Year 2008 in the scenic farm of a family members. Indeed a great place to use as a retreat from time to time. With a mountain stream on one side of the farm and the virgin tropical forest on the hills on the other side, it is indeed a beautiful enclave that not only great for farming but for dwelling as well. The flows of the stream through boulders and rocks, making gushing sound as it flows by make this place an ideal spot for a weekend picnic. My spouse had prepared Nasi Lemak for that, so we all sat to enjoy the lunch while enjoying the great atmosphere of clean fresh mountain air together with the sound of the jungle, birds chirping and monkey jumping from tree to tree, happy of the freedom that their habitat provides. As for the farm, we saw some healthy goats and sheep, mostly of imported species roaming around the enclosure. In a way it is real nice to be able to get back to nature once a while. We like this place for it close proximity to our home in KL. It just takes thirty minutes to get here. So folks it is going to be one of our retreat to nature as we move on our journey of life.

Well friends, the images above are that I took while there. It shows nature at its best for us to enjoy. Have a nice day.[Note: the house in the images above is that of the neighbour][Please click on the images to enlarge].

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Flower and joy!!...

They say that things of beautify is a joy forever. How true!!. We are indeed blessed to be surrounded with such environment. We live in a colorful planet that we share with the other species. The plants, the flora and fauna, the animals and the insects are there to be enjoyed. It is up to us to includes it in our lives. It is the harmonious sharing of space that made our living environment so beautiful. Everything that are around us are things of beauty and could enhance our quality of living. If only we takes some times to includes it in our everyday living environment, it would surely enriched our lives. The above image of sweet petals in a glass bowl is my own creation. It is just a simple objects that you could get anywhere. It is the harmonious blending of the two elements that made things happen. Voila! you have a thing of beauty. It just takes a little ingenuity and some creative thinking you would have things of beauty to enjoy.

I enjoyed every precious minutes in getting it done. To me it is something that should be enjoyed and I am sharing it here with all... Have a nice day.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just another day in Malacca....

Over the weekend we went to stay at our condo in Malacca and enjoy that sunset again for the two evening we were there. Every evening it was a different scene, yet the same sun doing it disappearing act as usual. A ritual that had been going on since the earth was formed eons of years ago. I love to watch the setting sun and as usual got some snaps of the setting sun on that day. In a way to immortalized the evening scene of January 11, 2008.

We had lunch with a friend whom we had known from the year 1969 when I was working in Malacca then. She is now a blogger as well. During my days in Malacca, she a teacher would volunteer her free time to help us in some cultural programmes for the youth. It was nice meeting her again and now we talk about the joy of blogging. Like me she has retired but continue to contributes her spare time to help folks in their recreational activities. She say that teaching has always been her passion and would continue to be a teacher in one way or the other. Thus she enjoyed doing the same but to a different group of people, that of those in their golden age like her. It was real nice meeting her again. The last time we met was some eleven years ago in another circumstance. A meeting of this friend after a lapse of times do trigger great memories of our youth, especially so in that enchanting city. The historical city of Malacca. Well, that is life and it is the friendship of such people that made our lives so colorful.

Friends, I did not get the mean of broadband at our condo, so it was hard to surfed the net. Well, life is like that sometime. A little changes here and there plus a little happening with an old friend do made our lives more interesting and beautiful. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gorgeous white orchids...

Above are images of white orchids in our garden. This time we decided to put all the white orchids in one spot to see the effects on that landscape of our little garden. It do look enchanting isn't it!!. It is amazing that when all the white orchids are put together, white and whiteness do became colorful in its own ways. The greens around it do add another soothing color to the whole landscape. See how nature gives so much to our species to enjoy life. Have a nice day.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Yet another colorful day....

The happening Sunday 23, 2007. It was a Sunday before Christmas. We decided to visit Ikea and the Curve for another weekend adventure. We left our home early since we knew there would be a crowd at Ikea and the shopping mall around there since this places are often filled with shoppers especially so on weekends. And that weekend is just before Christmas and the holiday. When we arrived at ten in the morning the parking lots at Ikea has started to be filled. Anyway since we are still early it is not that difficult to get a parking space at Ikea. I parked my car at level one and proceed to Ikea and as usual end up buying things.

After that shopping at Ikea I took all that had been bought and stored it in the boot of my car so that we are free to roam about at the Ikano Mall as well at the Curve across. As usual this mall is throng with people enjoying themselves on this beautiful Sunday morning. We did some shopping at Metro Jaya and at the Boarder Book store, then went to lunch at Secret Recipe. As we sat to enjoy our lunch we notice more and more cars passes by heading for the parking lots. And soon the complex began to overflow with people coming to shop or to do lunch. After enjoying our lunch we decided to cross over back to the Ikano Mall and window shop there. Just as we were entering Ikano we met a couple whom we first met while living in Boston. We then chat of old times. My spouse and his spouse sat at the bench there to chat while we man just stood there and exchanges note. He was then doing his Master degree at MIT. I soon found from his Business card that he is now a CEO of an International Company. What an achievement in his career. It was real nice meeting this couple in that crowd. And as usual in that situation time just passes by fast. Since they were in a hurry we did not have coffee with them. After a while we parted company and went our own way.

We move on to look for a place to have coffee. I love a cuppa after lunch!! that steamy hot black coffee, our favourite. We thought to get the coffee at the Ikea Cafe just outside the payment counters and found that the crowd there was rather large. We could see people queuing up to buy snacks at this Ikea Cafe. I love this Ikea cafe for its Curry Puff, Hot dog, Swedish biscuits and the brewed coffee which is cheaper here then at other cafe. One thing about the Swedish Biscuits, you cannot get it anywhere else in town. We decided not to have coffee here this time because the place is packed like sardine. So we thought that we might as well have coffee at the Ikea Restaurant upstairs. So up we went and soon found that the crowd there is worst then the one below. It was like a market place, people were queuing as well and not a table was empty. Well, that's what Malaysian do. Makan!!. Enjoy eating.

I told my spouse that we might as well go to the Dome which is much comfortable. We move on and got an outside table at the Dome, ordered coffee and sat to enjoy the brewed coffee while watching passerby in technicolor. Throng of people passes by in both directions enjoying their weekend at the Mall. And guess what!! Ruby walk by and stopped. What a chance meeting!!!. I introduce her to my spouse and she introduce us to her spouse and her son. What a day to meet another blogger in those crowd. We exchanges some short jokes about shopping and wish them well. They then left heading toward Ikea, perhaps to create more damage just like we did a few hours ago. Well, life is like that and we love shopping and enjoyed doing it.

After enjoying our coffee at the Dome we decided to window shop at Ikano and end buying at yet another store. I notice cars still coming into the mall complex. It look like that folks are having a gala time shopping at this shopping mall which includes the Curve and Ikea. After a while we decided we had enough for the day and to head home. We took the Pencala Link and enjoyed the drive home. No, we did not go straight home, we decided to visit a supermarket that has just open. The MaxValue at the new annex of the Petronas Station near Ampang Point. With this one open for business we now have three supermarkets to frequent. I notice that Carrefour would be opening an outlet soon in Ampang. So with that we would now have Tesco, Giant, MaxValue and Carrefour within a radius of just five kilometers from our home. It would surely be good for consumer like us. The more outlets the better would be the competition between these outlets. We did some purchases at MaxValue and then went home happy. Indeed it was a lovely weekend adventure for us. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Majestic Kuala Lumpur!!!....

Look at the images above and I am sure you all would agree with me that it is such a majestic event, with the pomp and splendour that befit the colorful country Malaysia. I was there with the millions of crowd that lined the streets, the highways, the elevated highways, the streets and the grounds of Bintang Walk, the Bangsar, the Curve/Ikano, the Merdeka Square, the KLCC and everywhere where the action are accross the country. Lives performances started at eight in the evening and ended awhile at the stroke of midnight to usher in the new year 2008. Revellers continue to enjoy pass midnight. Thats the way to go Malaysian. Enjoy!!.

What a evening for us and the family. This year my spouse and me decided to join our daughter and her family to watch the beginning of the New Year. We all packed in the MPV with our son in law at the wheel. He had done this many times before but we never took the trouble to follow but tonight we did and as usual with him he selected a spot on the elevated highway and parked the MPV there, just like the thousands of others did. We arrived at eleven thirty, half an hour before the Bang!!. By that time just before midnight the cars lined up in three rows all along the elevated highway. As can been see in the images above cars were everywhere, on the highway, below it along Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Ampang and everywhere the eyes could see. It was indeed a night of glitters that Malaysian took to the streets in peace and harmony to enjoy together in ushering the new year 2008. It was a spectacular shows of gigantic proportions, a colorful panorama of Kuala Lumpur in the night. Not any other night but the night of the first day of the new year 2008. Indeed it is a picturesque sight to watch and enjoy. With my camera I had a field day shooting and enjoy the electric moment in times. What an evening!!.

Friends, enjoy these images as much as I had enjoyed taking it. Have a nice day and may the year 2008 bring greater prosperity to all. Take care..

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year... - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Well, Happy New Year 2008 to all. May we continue to live in peace and harmony. And enjoy the prosperity together. Lets gives love and make it as contagious as possible. The whole world need all the loves, so that everyone could enjoy living on this beautiful planet of ours.

As for the family and me, the year 2007 had been a great year. Life has been wonderful and colorful as well. Indeed it has been a good life as always.

To bloggers me included it has been a great year for the blogsphere in Malaysia. The number of blogs continue to grows and I believe by the year end there would be hundred of thousand of Malaysian blogs in cybersphere. Bloggers are Citizen Journalists, so as journalist we have an important as well a responsible role to play in our young democracy. Let us play our roles in a positive way, for ideas and information are the vital components in the making of a better quality of life for all Malaysian. We have a great country Malaysia, lets make it greater in the year to come. Have a nice day. Take care and enjoy the holiday..