Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Most Precious Antique

Sandra, my outgoing next-door neighbour, has packed her things and had the movers send them to her parents house in Ipoh. more sweet sounds of her piano recitals, and no more cheery face Sandra to 'bump' into every now and then. Kind of sad, but life must go on.

I was out for most of the day. When I returned around 6pm, the movers were about done and just waiting to shove off. I took the opportunity to talk to Sandra and her mum. It was whilst that I noticed a laptop bag on top of a pile of garbage. Took a close look and found it to be in excellent condition except for a broken handle; nothing which cannot be fixed by a diy person (don't look at me!) or even the roadside cobbler. I remarked this to her and she said she has a whole load of them already, some, presumably, qualify as antiques. She was, off course, trying to make a light humour. But, it reminded me of an episode a week or two earlier.

The kitchen pipe sprang a leak for several days already. Emak and I, well, not being plumbers, could not detect the leak aproper. But a puddle keep growing leak on the kitchen floor. It was then we decided to call a plumber, a malay chap who quite recently married Leeza, the girl emak was eyeing as my wife. This guy - Nasha, by the name - is more than just a plumber. He's also a good diy guy and we make fast friends.

Anyway, soon he discovered the leak. It was just within the walls and behind the faucet. He brought a helper along and between them, they completed the job within a total of several hours. And a pretty good job it was! Really! I was quite impressed.

At the end of it all, we were all happily chatting with sips of coffee in between. It was then he remarked about the many items in the house and that many were antiques which could fetch a good price in the market. It was then too I realised why emak had been so adamant to bring all her stuff when ever we shift.

There's the old wooden sattee set which is what, 50 years old, with the wood still as strong. There's the black cupboard which is 80! A set of crockery which dates back to emak's teen-age days, with all the intricate handpainting still beautifully preserved - emak is 75 this year; so the set must be at least 55 years old! A complete set of malay brasswares, meant for wedding or engagement functions. Then there's that Malaysian Parliament painted on carpet like material, (or was it weaved?), that's a year or 2 younger than the Parliament building! Wow! All these stuff here in this house and I never really give them much thought, I must be bonkers!

But honestly no, I would prefer a spartan living - only the necessitie one need to carry on with one's life - and this pc is one of them, mind you.

Anyway, back to Nasha and those antiques; it was at the end of my narrating some of the items to Nasha that I suddenly realise another antique. And my gap, which was never as gifted as many I know, and that it sometimes blurt out some embarassing statements at times, while another something rather profound, which I have to admit surprises me too, chose to mention, rather luckily, a statement which had every one looking at emak with tender loving thoughts: "She is, by far, the most precious antique, not only in this house, but in my life".

More than once several friends have mentioned that I should have been either a lawyer or a politician. A politician? Never! Not if I can help it! But then, my daily actions revolves around politics...sigh. The thing I would like to say is this: "For once, I am truly glad for my gap which I have been trying to control for many a years". Only precious few really know about this.

As soon as I finished the statement about emak being a most precious antique, I kissed her cheeks. And if ever one were to recognise a face, beaming with happiness, radiant with love, then it must have been the look on emak's face. If ever a son would like to see the look of his mother, it was that day. Words, just fail to convey the meaning, though the meaning should be well understood.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Not what I expected...

Sometime last week, in the midst of 'mourning' the demise of my 2 email addresses, I received a all from a customer satisfaction survey company. The lady mentioned some strange name, and I just said "oh!", "oh!" and "Ok". It seem that some radio company wanted to do a survey on radio listeners' choice of music and I was one of those names picked. They invited me to a hotel in mid-valley for a session. Well, since I had time on my hands, why not. So, there I was on the 5th floor surrounded by a bunch of mixed lot and total strangers. Well, to me, at least.

I was told to register at one of the several counters they had set up. Now, luck seem to be on my side that day. For all the counters seem busy except for one. And wow! Was the girl there a real beauty! Since I was feeling quite in the mood that day, I decided to be zanny, and approaced the girl.

Me: "Hi! I was told to register here"

Girl: "Oh hi! Ok. Can I have your name?" (with a smile that was almost a grin).

Me: "Look up for 'Khan', it should be there".

Girl: (After several long seconds of searching) "Khan, you said? I'm sorry, I can't seem to find any".

Me: : " sure can't find my name? You must be new at this, aren't you? (And so I begin interviewing her, to which she politely - and I must say rather shyly as well, as she was blushing - refused answering some of the questions. Oh well, at least I tried. Her name, it appears, was Rohaza).

Rohaza: But sir, I still must register you. Any other name you go by?

Me: Khan? How could they...? Try looking at S then - Shah Rir Khan.

Whoa! You should have seen her then! Amidst the blush, she was trying her damn best to control her laugh! I could have fallen in love there and then. In fact, I think I did. But by then, there was already a queue behind me. And ah!....along came her supervisor to assist her and put an end to my quest for happiness. Oh well.

Soon, the staff ushered all the participants into a room, had it locked, and threw away the keys. I'm kidding, off course. But there we were, total strangers, each assigned to a keypad of his own. Hmm...reminds me of the fist day at school in primary one, it did.

Then came this lady, Noraini, by the name. She gave us instructions on how to use the keypads to reply questions they had on the screen upfront. And soon everyone was happily punching in the questions which three quarter of them had a single clue to what its all about! Honestly! I heard them whispering and giggling their way through. Oh, yours truly included.

Anyway, in between several questions, they threw in some short bursts of music, to which we must rate our preference. Initially they played some mushy songs and malay balad of which I'm not a fan to. Then, they had my head and shoulders shaking and rocking, and fingers tapping! For the group of listeners the radio play to, I was pleasantly surprised when Bernie Marsden, Robert Plant, David Coverdale, Jon Lord (ok, no Jon Lord) were played for us to rate! Its been literally ages since I heard their music! But alas, how cruel they were. Each song was no longer than a 3-second burst. Woe me. I do so enjoy listening to selected rock, blues and jazz.

Anyway, by the end of the session, and as much as we enjoyed it, each of us were sort of disoriented! I mean, an hour worth of music in short burst? They can make one go mad! But, we were suitably rewarded. Everyone was paid RM80 in cash. Not bad for a total of 2 hours sitting. But, it certainly was not what I had expected from a customer satisfaction survey session.

What did I expect? Dunno...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Don't know what to write, nor, what to say.

For several years past, I have been using 2 different identities in more than a dozen egroups. To avoid even the faintest hint of any relation between them, I even gave each a different personality. One, was a silent sender - sending with hardly any comment nor replying to the news sent. The other persona was the total opposite: vocal, and sometimes crazy but not to the point of nonsensical. Off course, this coull only fool the layman type, but not those who goes checking the internet protocl address and so on. Heck, I care hoots for the latter.

Don't know what to write, nor, what to say. I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm dispirited. But insyAllah, I will carry on. If any, it only shows that certain parties despise and fear the truths being sent.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Down Memory Lane: The Old KL-Seremban Road

Emak was not feeling well the past several weeks. Some 16years ago, she suffered a fall and fractured a rib bone. Though doctors insist the bone has healed, she still feels the scars.

Last week, when a makcik urut came to the house, she must have pressed the rib cage a tad too hard, causing emak to grasp for breath. The pain lasted more than a day and emak called makcik yam, her younger sister, and made plans to visit another tukang urut in Beranang. Now, this tukang urut is no ordinary tukang urut. I have heard of him ever since I was 13-14years old. His speciality is in helping folks mend their broken bones! But somehow, it never occurred to my mind to visit him for my leg problem. Anyway, yesterday, emak, makcik yam, makcik yam's son, Azman, and I took the old KL-Seremban road to Beranang.

We took the SILK highway to bypass Kajang town which is now fast regaining limelight, but now for its notorious traffic congestion. Somehow, without really noticing it, the highway ends just before Semenyih town and we found ourselves on the old KL-Seremban road; its not exactly what we had expected. From there, however, the old familiar landscape took shape. Must say, except for Semenyih town having grown a wee bit larger, other things seem to have not changed for this past 25 years or so we've not come this way.

After a short search, we found the pakcik's house. The house seem surprisingly empty, devoid of any waiting patients, a scene we had anticipated even before the drive. And the pakcik, he must have been, what, 80, 90? Initially, we were all taken aback as he puts on a very serious face. But as soon as he begins treatment, we found out the old man was quite a comedian! Somehow, he reminds me of my late grandfather.

We were there less than 30 minutes. After he treated emak and makcik yam (she too had a problem), he refused to treat my legs! Could not really understand his words, but I gather they mean "yo! Your legs' a goner!"

On the way back, we stopped over at Kajang town for lunch. What else, but the Satay Kajaang. It seems the local authorities had built an eatery near the stadium meant solely for the satay sellers. It does seem somewhat out of place for the food that had made Kajang famous throughout Malaysia. And the ambiance, its just not there anymore. Funny though, once a glutton for Satay Kajang (ate 60 sticks in a single sitting!), now I can only manage 10 or so. Off course, that 60 sticks record was when I was 19; 'Tengah membesar', as they say it :)

Over all, I must voice a sadness regarding an area I regard as one of the most beautiful place in Malaysia. Just pass Beranang and before the climb up to Mantin, there use to be what I called the 'The Swiss Alps of Malaysia'. No, not because of its cold weather, but because of the rolling landscape of small hills and open space! As I remember it, within the area of several acres, there were only tall green grass and a scattering of trees, giving the whole area a majestic view, what, with a several small mountains as its backdrop.

The mountains are still there though as are the rolling hills. However, some nitwit of a developer had fenced in a large portion of the area and had constructed some bungalows. Perhaps due to low takers, the fenced area and the bungalows seem to be unkempt and are now a sight for sore eyes to what once a scenic area. It's almost a sin!

Further on the issue, it seems developers and buyers can be a total dimwit when it comes to environment. When a developer finds a cool, scenic spot to develop, the do so without considering the repercussions of nature. And buyers, thinking the said area is a lovely place to own a house, do so without thinking, only to complain later that the area is not what it was when they first came. Well, what do you expect when all the trees are fell only to have concrete wall built?