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?

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