Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya [Eid Mobarak]...

It is a beautiful morning and as usual after doing the chore at the patio I took a leisure walk along the road toward the community garden. I felt that it is unusually calm with cool air blowing all over. It was just like a cool summer day in Boston but then this is Kuala Lumpur. It is so unlike the normal day, at this time with traffics rushing out of the housing estate but today it is different in that city folks have already left and got out of the city of what we folks here call the Balik Kampong or going back to the village. The irony of all this balik kampong is that most of these folks no longer have a kampong to go back to, for most of them are cities dwellers now. But then nowadays it has turn into a sort of a getaway holiday during the various festivals and that includes the Hari Raya holiday season.

Since I am not going anywhere, my kampong now is Ampang Jaya where all the kids grew up and the grand kids call it their kampong. Nenek and I have decided to make it our Kampong now. So we are the first generation of the family that made Ampang Jaya our Kampong and it would be call so by the other generation although it is now a suburban of the city.

Tomorrow we would be celebrating the Festival of Eid or the Hari Raya as we folks here call it. It is the celebration after been fasting for a month in Ramadan and on the Hari Raya Muslim are forbidden to fast. You have to enjoy the festival and if you want to fast then you may do so the next day. Some folks would fast for another six days, an optional fasting of what folks here call the Puasa Enam [the six day fasting]. The atmosphere of the Eid could be felt already and I am glad that the whole families are here to celebrate this year Eid together. Some year our daughter and son in law with their kids would celebrate the Eid at the in law home in Batu Pahat but this year they are having it here at our home. It would be indeed wonderful to be able to enjoy this festival together.

To all do have a great time this Eid. Selamat Hari Raya. And I hope that we all would continue to have a prosperous life always. Have a nice day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Peti Nyanyi @ Gramophone

Folks this is a story of a dream come true. It sort of a back to the future story like in the movie. It is about this amazing machine that came into my life at an early age. It is about what we folks at that time call the Peti Nyanyi as seen in the image above. A direct translation into English of Peti Nyanyi would be the Singing Chest/Box. I first got introduced to this fascinating machine was when I was growing up in the forties. I believe I was then just ten years old when my dad brought home a gramophone. The one he bought is a huge one unlike the one shown in the image above. It is sort of a combination, a huge cupboard with the gramophone mounted on the top. Below it there are spaces to store the vinyl records. To get to the gramophone and wind it up to get the machine working, I had to climb on a high stool. To me at that time it is a wonder machine that could nyanyi or make sound of our favorites song especially of P.Ramlee, Saloma and Normadiah. And the English numbers as well. With this instrument it sort of changes my life and I began to appreciate music and good song. Friends would come over to our house and we all would sing along and enjoy like all kids do. If fact it is the only such machine in our neighborhood and we are indeed proud to own one of the latest technology at that time.

I have been trying to get one of these classic machines and every time I saw one the price has gone up. Anyway I told a nephew of mine who sell antique to look around for a good one and get one for me. Just before leaving for the US in May this year, that nephew of mine call and said that he got one for me and since he live in Kuantan, I told him to keep it and that I would come over and get it. Busy with things in KL I did not get the opportunity to get to Kuantan and take the machine. He call last week and said that he would be coming to KL and would bring the machine along. I was delighted. So last Sunday I got this wonderful Peti Nyanyi. Without much ado I put a piece of my old vinyl record and play an old song by non other then the famous P.Ramlee.

That evening our grand kids came and saw this machine which they say they saw in the cartoon movies. Wow! They all shouted, is it the real one. Grandpa where did you get this and all the other questions that came when they see something new. I gave them a short explanation of what the machine do and how does it works. They all were excited in trying to wind up the machine, giving it power to play a few records. I could see the joy in them seeing this out of their world music machine, so unlike their iPod and the computer that they are used to. Even their mom and dad and auntie were as excited. It is a sort of a back to the future, taking them back to the time of my childhood. A time that darkness was brighten up by the oil lamp and the only music we hear are those that are made by the cricket, bird and insects. There was no noise population thus you could hear the flow of water in nearby stream and from time to time enjoy the platter of rain drops on the thatch roof. And then this machine came, the noise pollution made it beginning and introduce new cultural element on the music front. Indeed a beginning of a revolution of sorts; the invention of the music/songs/talking machine that became the wonder of the modern world. It is a wonderful experience that made me love music.

I am glad that my generation got to see the first music machine and along the way saw the coming of the Radio and TV and now the iPod/MP3 and other electronic gadgets. Indeed a wonderful journey with fun all the way. Folks of my generation would agree with me that indeed we are a lucky generation that got to seen these developments during our live spans. What a wonderful world we live in. With this gramophone in my living room it completes my mission of getting this piece of history. My own classic Peti Nyani. A perfect birthday gift on my sixty ninth birthday.

Folks have a nice day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Breaking of fast and family value...

Folks the best time during the fasting month is at the time of the breaking of the fast and surrounded by the kids. In any family this is the time where everyone would sit down together and sample the spread that had been prepared for the first meal of the day. The breaking of the fast start just as one hears the sound of the Azan for the Magrib prayer. It is not just about the eating but the culture of togetherness among the family members that made it such a wonderful moment in time.

In our home come the weekend; Friday and Saturday the grand kids and their mom and dad would come over and break the fast together. You get to see how the grand kids, the new generation of the twenty first century adept themselves to the norms and value of the society. The small tot began to practice the way of fasting just like we did when we were at their age. It was just like a flashback to the time when we had to break fast under the light of oil lamps and the food was much simpler then now. It does bring memories of those beautiful moments in our childhood. To me and my spouse it is one of the best moments in our lives. For folks in their golden age like us it is indeed a moment of joy and happiness. Have a nice day

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of Petai, tempoyak...

Petai and Tempoyak is one of the best appetizers that have been pass down from one generation to another. It is only the Malay that knows best of the know how to prepare this wonder of an appetizer. This image shows Pickled Petai and Tempoyak [fermented Durian]. The Tempoyak as seen has already been mixed with mashed hot red chilly. Folks it do makes great appetizer at Buka Puasa or Iftar. It goes well indeed with steamy white rice, Ikan Singang [fish stew], Ulam [salad] and fried salted fish. With the Petai and Tempoyak you do not need more dishes to turn your breaking of fast into a great and enjoyable meal. I love this appetizer for its not only just to wet your appetite but it nutritious as well. Have a nice day.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Food fusion @ Ramadan bazaar...

Where else that you could get that combination of the Chinese Tau Fu Fa, the Indian Waday and that wonderful Malay traditional cake such as the Tepung Pelita as shown in the images above sold at the Ramadan Bazaar during the fasting month but in Malaysia. It is the uniqueness of the Malaysian society that made such fusion possible.

Once on a busy Ramadan bazaar two foreign ladies were seen talking to each other. One quip that these folks who sell varieties of foods and drinks at the bazaar did not eat or drink all day long because they were fasting and yet it is them who had prepare these many delicious food spread that are been sold at the bazaar. That only happens during the fasting month. How true. The uniqueness of the Malaysian cultural scene comes the month of Ramadan.

Like mushroom that sprout after a raining night Ramadan bazaar sprang all over the country selling the best of foods, cakes and drinks that the Malay had prepared showing their culinary expertise especially for sale at the Ramadan bazaar for the duration of the month. The stalls at the bazaar which are erected on parking lots and other open spaces would just vanished into thin air after the month of Ramadan and would emerged again during the next Ramadan. Where all those traders go after the fasting month, one has just to wonder. It is like that all throughout the years. And the Ramadan bazaar is always worth the wait come the fasting month, for it is there where one could get all the goodies for the Buka Pusa [Breaking of the Fast].

On the Tepung Pelita, It is a simple Malay traditional steam cake. It is prepared in a box made of banana leaves and look very simple indeed but do not allow the look to deceive you for in it is a kueh made in heaven. It has a unique texture and taste unlike any other Malay traditional cake. Scoop it with a teaspoon and eat it slowly. It sweet salty taste would just melt in your mouth. One is not enough and like Farina said in her blog you might end with having it every time you Buka Puasa.

So folks if you are around during the fasting month in Malaysia do visit these Ramadan bazaars. It is everywhere and surely you could find one near you. Sample those tempting spreads of Malay traditional foods and other Malaysian goodies that are been sold at the bazaar. I am sure you would not only experience and enjoy the colorful and vibrant atmosphere of the bazaar but would also enjoy those sumptuous foods. Even if you did not buy any goodies the experience of been there is surely worth the visit. Have a nice day.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ramadan and the rays of hopes...

It is the first of September 2008 and it is the start of the month of Ramadan of the Islamic calendar. With that Muslim in Malaysia and I believe the other part of the world start to fast during the day. Fasting is the state of the mind. In order for you to practice fasting you must be of a sound mind and fast not only by not eating and drinking during the day but you must also practice all the good value and not to even think of getting into doing evil. If you for a second thought of evil or do harm to others in whatever forms then your fasting is useless. So during this fasting month do behave and be a good person, for only that would your fasting be of any use.

In the recent elections many things happen and said by politicians who are against the teaching of Islam, which from the result does not go well with the voters and because of that change continue to happen. We need to put back the political system of the country on to the proper track where good governance would be the norm and value of the system. I believe the result of the March 8 election and the August 26 election would be the beginning of the change to come. We just celebrated the 51st Merdeka [Independence Day] celebration and it is time we get to see good governance in the political system. What the rakyaat [the people] want is accountability and transparency in every deal the government does, after all the government in a democracy is the representative of the people. Thus the people have the right to know.

Like the rays of light above that always give us joy and happiness each morning, it is our hopes and aspiration that the new political changes to come would bring greater joy to the rakyaat as well. Let us hope the future would be brighter as ever, beginning on this auspicious day of Ramadan 2008. Have a nice day.